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'The Golden Age' premiere - June 2006


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#16 carbro

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 10:29 PM

Moderator's Note:

Noah, I am posting this here because your personal message port at Ballet Talk is not responding and I hope that this will reach you.

Buddy, we cannot PM new members until they have ten substantive posts. Given the detail and quality of Samuelovich's post, he should be given special dispensation, but it doesn't work that way. :shake:

#17 Helene

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 06:39 AM

Given the detail and quality of Samuelovich's post, he should be given special dispensation, but it doesn't work that way. :wink:

And we won't for his own sake. Mr. Gelber was kind enough to identify himself and speak to us in the midst of a schedule that would fell most mortals. We need to let him do his work without outside distractions.

#18 Natalia

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 07:17 AM

A few details about Noah D. Gelber's (a.k.a. Samuelovich on BalletTalk) new ballet 'The Golden Age' -- set to premiere exactly one week from today -- are beginning to emerge, thanks to the current issue of Time Out - Petersburg weekly newspaper, in an article by Anna Gordeeva, with photo of 'our' Samuelovich:

http://www.spb.timeo...ext/show/28475/

Following are 'bullets' on the mere gist, not a complete translation:

* The ballet will resemble neither the 1930 original -- about a Soviet soccer team that travels to Western Europe & is tempted by capitalistic manners -- nor the ca-1985 Bolshoi-Grigorovich version, about gymnasts & gangters in a Black Sea town. According to the article the idea of the 'soccer team' is present but in an altogether different tale that will span two eras.

* The leading romantic couple will be seen in two ages -- youth & the western concept of 'Golden Age' of senior citizens. [The article explains that, in Russia, the term 'Golden Age' is applied to youth, most often, as opposed to the western idea.]

* The huge surprise is that great Kirov dancers of the past will portray the older couple. The Time-Out article cites Gabriela Komleva and Sergei Berezhnoi! [Natalia's comments - not from article: Rumors on the street mention - gulp! - Natalia Makarova, who happens to be in St. Petersburg right now, for the int'l ballet competition Vaganova Prix, so she must not be sleeping if she is both judging a competition and learning a new ballet! But the thought of seeing great Kirov ballerinas return to the stage -- be it Makarova or Komleva or whoever -- is simply delicious.]

* Mr. Gelber, according to the article, remains totally hush-hush about the identity of the premiere's cast. "Lots of people are being rehearsed!" is all that he offers.

Hmmm...start making plans for London in late-July, western Kirov-lovers!

#19 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 09:38 AM

Hmmm...start making plans for London in late-July, western Kirov-lovers!


I like your cynical remarks, Natalia :)

#20 Natalia

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 09:53 AM

I've deleted my message - posted incorrectly

Edited by Natalia, 22 June 2006 - 10:04 AM.


#21 Samuelovich

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 10:03 AM

Having just re-read my own words, I apologize for the numerous typographical and grammatical errors I found present at subsequent viewing. I wrote the above text in great haste between various meetings and rehearsals. Forgive me for my less-than-representative penmanship.
Again, I ask for your continued understanding and support of the Mariinsky Ballet.
All of us here thank you in resounding unison.

With best regards,
Noah D. Gelber

#22 Natalia

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 10:05 AM

Understood by one & all, Samuelovich!

Bless you & the dancers during these final stages of preparation. I'm keeping fingers & toes crossed for a beautiful premiere next week.

#23 Natalia

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 07:57 AM

A couple of items regarding tomorrow's big premiere:

1. This article in the current issue of St. Petersburg's Kommersant newspaper gives details on the production and offers a color photo of the front-curtain, with antique photographs. The ballet will indeed have Gabriella Komleva and Sergei Berezhnoi as the 'older' versions of the romantic characters, Alexander (a Soviet soccer player) and Sophie (a gymnast from the Western country that he visits). Unlike the 1980s Bolshoi-Grigorovich version, this new version will use most of the Shostakovich score in the correct sequence of numbers.

Link to the Russian article: http://www.kommersan...5&issueid=35994

2. Finally, my 'in law family' in St. Petersburg reports that Irina Golub and Mikhail Lobukhin will dance the 'young couple' in tomorrow's premiere, as per the affiches on the facade of the theater. Golub & Lobukhin dance Sophie and Alexander in the 1930s, while in their early 20s. Komleva & Berezhnoi dance those characters in their 90s....so it appears that part of the ballet will be set in 2006 (or close to it).

#24 Natalia

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 06:55 AM

Very quick on-the-phone report from my sister-in-law, who went to the premiere last night. Quick 'bullet-points' format:

* Success! Huge applause and many curtain calls...but it is a success as a 'dramballet-pantomime.' Noah Gelber has definitely not created a traditional ballet, as there is very little (maybe 10% of the score?) danced, this mostly by the young characters Sofie & Alexander (Irina Golub & Mikhail Lobukhin). The older Sofie & Alex were poignantly acted by Kirov 'legends' Gabriella Komleva & Sergei Berezhnoi. Other notable soloists among the cast of 75 specific roles (!!!), plus corps de ballet and supers, included Ekaterina Kondaurova, Islom Baimuratov, Olesya Novikova & Yana Serebriakova.

* The complete Shostakovich score was presented & played magnificently. Gergiev did not direct; someone else & not one of the usual ballet conductors. [Edited to add name of conductor: Tugan Sokhiev]

* Very complex but interesting story. Program notes for Act I alone covered two and one-half pages. Sis said that it was "incredible" that the choreographer & dancers were able to put it all together in 6-8 weeks' time. Everybody in the audience appreciated the effort that went into making this night happen.

* Anybody going to theater expecting a ballet (dancing) will be disappointed. Anyone going with an open mind to see a mimed drama unfold will most likely love it.

* Fantastic, appropriate scenery & costumes.

* A Highlight: a 'football' (soccer) game but played without a ball; totally choreographed movement. Very realistic. [Most appropriate for this World Cup season!]

So these tidbits of information will feed our appetite until the reviews start to roll in from various Russian-language newspapers.

#25 Natalia

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 09:05 AM

Ouch! Russian fan boards, such as mariinka.com, liked the ballet a lot less than my sister-in-law. One so-so review among eight totally-negative ones, to date. Comments include: "agonizingly boring," "amateurish play with Hollywood aftertones," "Pompous & arrogant...This explains why the oldtimers in my family roll their eyes at the word 'dramballet'."

Well, it appears as if the non-dancing has turned off the fans - at least those with access to internet. Hopefully the reaction will be different in England, with its great tradition of mime.

As I said, my sister-in-law reported great applause & curtain calls, so lots of people in the hall were happy! *I forgot to mention earlier that she reported it to be a 'three handkerchief' drama, it was so poignant & moving. Quite a difference from the fellow who found it 'boring.' Different strokes for different folks.

#26 pj

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 01:15 PM

My daughter and her teacher (both former soccer players), and my husband (never a dancer, but definitely a soccer player/fan/ref/coach/etc.) would absolutely LOVE to see this ballet. And by Kirov (our family's favorite company) -- just to die for. :wink:

Would they ever bring it to USA??...here's wishing

#27 Helene

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 01:34 PM

There were people who found the revival Balanchine's Don Quixote boring because of mime and story-telling-to-dance ratio.

#28 Natalia

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 10:36 AM

There were people who found the revival Balanchine's Don Quixote boring because of mime and story-telling-to-dance ratio.


At least Gelber has music on his side -- an internationally-renowned Shostakovich score, versus poor-muzak-shlock by Nabokov for the Balanchine Don Q. Also, Gelber doesn't have to compete against an icon of the ballet world , as Balanchine did -- Petipa's Don Q with Kitri/Basil et. al. It's not as if the public for Gelber's 'Golden Age' will expect to see Rita & the other characters of Grigorovich's 'Golden Age' in the Gelber version.

#29 Helene

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 10:45 AM

Balanchine used to say that anyone who didn't like his choreography should close their eyes and listen. It sounds like some of the crowd at Golden Age didn't take his advice and listen to the superb Shostakovich score, while they had a chance.

There were similar reactions to some of Balanchine's special pieces performed at the Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky festivals, like Persephone and Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony. These pieces contained more pagentry and mime than dance, and there was a lot of head-scratching at them, too.


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