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NBoC in ClevelandJan. 27-29


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#1 chauffeur

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 05:45 PM

We're going to see the company perform Kudelka's Firebird and Four Seasons next weekend. Any thoughts from anyone on what to expect?

We saw their Nutcracker last month and, while I found that I enjoyed the spectacle of much of it, I didn't feel as if there was enough truly virtuostic dancing to sate my appetite. Hirano as Peter/Nutcracker impressed with his technical and acting skills. Minagawa and Ogden underwhelmed as the SPF and Snow Queen respectively: something just didn't seem to reach out and connect with either. But it was near the end of the run and with many last-minute cast changes, it's quite possible many dancers were simply exhausted.

#2 walboi

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 11:38 PM

We're going to see the company perform Kudelka's Firebird and Four Seasons next weekend.  Any thoughts from anyone on what to expect? 

We saw their Nutcracker last month and, while I found that I enjoyed the spectacle of much of it, I didn't feel as if there was enough truly virtuostic dancing to sate my appetite.  Hirano as Peter/Nutcracker impressed with his technical and acting skills.  Minagawa and Ogden underwhelmed as the SPF and Snow Queen respectively:  something just didn't seem to reach out and connect with either.  But it was near the end of the run and with many last-minute cast changes, it's quite possible many dancers were simply exhausted.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Well if the stage version of the Firebird is the same as the one I saw on television last year your in for a treat. A advent to look at and marvel in. But mind you lots of people found this performance overblown. For myself I loved it, allthough it deviated from the story and original choregraphy.
Walboi

#3 mom2

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:32 AM

Somehow I think this conversation has been had before...am I just imagining? Will have to check old threads.

I also have to admit that other posters here are much more articulate than I in describing how or why things work, but I'll give it a try....

Firebird is more of the eye-candy kind of a piece. Stunning costumes, and Firebird can be an amazing role (who is cast)? That said, it's never been one of my favourites and it's not one that I return to see "just because." I would and have gone back to see Four Seasons and Cinderalla (mentioning the latter because of another thread here). Four Seasons is one of my favourite Kudelka ballets. Of course it helps that I know and love the music so well, but I have always enjoyed it. The cast will have evolved significantly since the last time I saw it, as some of the original key players are no longer with the company. It was set, I believe, on Rex Harrington, who suit it perfectly. Johann Persson was also one of my favourites (he went on to the Royal, is now retired); but I"m sure that the current company members are up to the challenge. If you're looking for something with a classical sort of variation, this won't fit the bill but there are some amazing lifts.

Enjoy! I'll look forward to your reviews!

m2

#4 chauffeur

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:40 AM

I think if you use the "mom2" name on another board, mom2, that's where you're remembering some of this discussion from! :) So I'll warn you now you might see a review in both places!

I am a little stymied on finding out the cast we'll get, though. It doesn't look like, from the NBoC Web site, that they provide the cast lists at all when they're on tour. Bummer! :)

#5 Helene

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:50 AM

Somehow I think this conversation has been had before...am I just imagining?  Will have to check old threads.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You remembered right. The thread on Four Seasons and Firebird from 2003 is here:

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=12511

#6 chauffeur

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:08 AM

Thank you for finding that thread, Helene (and gosh, I wonder who "creativejuice" is! :) ) ! More great preparation for this weekend's show, but now I'm really chomping at the bit to know who we'll see dance.

#7 sparklesocks

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:10 PM

I too would like to go and see this...but I wish I could know casting ahead of time.

#8 sparklesocks

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 07:27 AM

anyone go to the show yet? got a program and can tell us who is dancing tonight and tomorrow?

#9 chauffeur

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 07:50 AM

Back from Cleveland and the Four Seasons/Firebird double billmatinee yesterday. First of all, I found the entire program to be absorbing and entertaining, the kind of performance that I think will yield lots of food for thought over time. It was absolutely worth the long drive.

It was a fairly full house at the State Theatre, though there were a few more folks recovering from upper respiratory illnesses than I like to see (or hear) at the theater.

The Four Seasons featured Aleksandar Antonijevic as the lead "Everyman". He grew on me. He was a bit too blank a blank canvas to begin with, but perhaps that was his intent? By the time he got to Winter, I was sorry to see him go. Stacey Minagawa danced lead on Spring. I so admire her technique -- that woman could probably remain balanced en pointe during a 7.8 Richter scale earthquake, but once again she failed to engage me emotionally (we saw her do Sugar Plum Fairy last month). As for Summer, I am officially a member of the Greta Hodgkinson Fan Club now. wow! I actually teared up a little watching the pas with her and Aleksandar in the first part of Summer. The choreography was so complex and rapid-fire -- yet it never overwhelmed the artistry. No matter how fast and precise the dancing, I still felt connected to the dancers and what they were expressing. I think it was honestly the most beautiful and thrilling contemporary pas I have ever seen. Autumn was interesting. There's something about Rebekah Rimsay's upper-body technique that's a bit too "lurchy" for my liking, but she has a strong and intriguing presence. I'll bet there are some parts out there that are spot-on perfect for a dancer like her. Winter, perhaps predictably, got a strong response from the audience with the quartet of older dancers. I have mixed feelings, particular with the two women, Victoria Bertram and Lorna Geddes. Something about the two men, Tomas Schramek and Hazaros Surmeyan, and their dancing felt more natural and unforced. Christopher Body had the role of the "other man" in Winter: he projected a very strong, dramatic presence. His stomping off as the curtain fell was heart breaking.

I know some have said in their reviews that following a couple through the "four seasons" of life might have been more effective, but I honestly liked the clarity and simplicity that following one person provided. Life is a solitary journey, even when and if you find a partner.

As for Firebird, I was very pleasantly surprised, especially having heard from so many people that it wasn't great. To be sure, it's not high art, but it was highly entertaining. I found myself smiling often throughout at the delightfully and subtly humorous details. It all sort of felt like Dr. Seuss on acid -- but then again, the Stravinsky score itself is like Tchaikovsky on acid. I think Kudelka did a very effective job of wedding all the senses by following the lead of this challenging music.

We got Guillaume Cote as Prince Ivan, Jennifer Fournier as the Firebird and Jillian Vanstone as Princess Vasiliva. Cote was superb, a very believable romantic figure and he was able to do the Firebird "catch and release" without it feeling borderline sadistic as it does with some dancers. The entire performance, in fact, had a happy, wacky sexy vibe to it -- Cote's performance helped a lot though I think most of it came from the giddy sensory stimulation (loved the set design, loved the costumes). Fournier didn't rock my world as the Firebird. She bobbled a few steps early on and her decision to do the part with her mouth firmly clenched shut became distracting rather than a seamless part of her characterization. And I know she's supposed to be a non-human character, but the character's decision to reward the prince with loyalty is very human and I would have liked to have had a stronger sense of the bird's feelings. I found myself wondering how Hodgkinson would have been in the part. Vanstone did as well with the princess part as I think she could, though she did seem to be a bit unsure of her partner. I sensed she was watching too often to make sure Cote would be where she needed him with his partnering. But it is kind of the quintessential "dumb blonde" role with Kudelka choosing to amplify the hair-tossing and baby-making hips of "women in heat" with the costuming and choreography. I'll choose to focus on the humor of the princesses rather than the latent hostility toward women. As I said, given these constraints Vanstone did as well as she could in creating a likable romantic heroine.

Last note, the scaled-down NBoC orchestra was in very good form. Fujiko Imajiski's violin solos during The Four Seasons were exquisite, and I don't think the quality or depth of sound suffered at all during Firebird from having the smaller orchestra.

#10 sparklesocks

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 02:56 PM

Sounds wonderful - I wasn't able to go as I would have been one of those in the audience coughing my fool head off.


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