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Spg '07 Morphoses/Carmina double bill


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#1 Natalia

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 01:25 PM

I'll begin this topic by simply stating that I attended last night's opener/preview. The evening was a total ruin for me, not due to what was on stage but because I had the misfortune of sitting next to a woman who took it upon herself to make noises (sighs, oohs, ahhs, etc.) and gesticulate/mimmick the conductor every 10 seconds or so. I wrote about this situation in this thread: http://ballettalk.in...=15#entry200782

I will give the Morphoses/Carmina program another 'try' on the weekend. In the meantime, I look forward to reading the reports of others.

#2 Mike Gunther

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 05:04 PM

My sympathies, Natalia, on the audience member that wrecked Wednesday's performance for you. I wasn't there, but... I know what you mean.

I attended Friday evening. Morphoses was a strong performance, with Sona Kharatian + Luis Torres as the "spiky" couple and Jade Payette + Jared Nelson as the "smooth" couple. Ligeti's score was well-played by the FLUX Quartet. I think I would find the music unlistenable on its own; for me, Wheeldon's choreography greatly improved it! In a talk after the performance, btw, Webre mentioned that Wheeldon is an arachnophobe, which adds interest to the dance's "spider" variation.

Torres also featured prominently in Carmina Burana, making it almost a Luis Torres evening; and what a fine dancer he is! Jonathan Jordan also stood out, as the male lead who spent the whole time chasing after love and never quite finding it; a very expressive and dramatic performance. Morgann Rose did a beautiful solo turn as the Swan ("Olim Lacus Colueram"). Her connection with the audience was electric.

The opening tableau with Vitruvian Man suspended in the Wheel of Fortune (sounds like a game show, doesn't it?), surrounded by 100 choristers on industrial scaffolding, brought *gasps* and *applause* from the audience, which remained very enthusiastic throughout the performance and surged to its feet at the end. I only wish we could have had the full orchestral version instead of the two-piano reduction, but call me a dreamer...

Interesting snippets from Septime's after-performance remarks: (1) he deliberately held off from printing the Latin text in the program, due in part to cost but also because he said his choreography responds more to the feeling of the music than to the literal meaning of the texts; (2) most of the dancers in tonight's cast were actually premiering in their roles - in which case an even bigger hats off to them! - and (3) although this is the third run of Carmina Burana, Septime continues to tweak the choreography, to match the style of dancers coming new into a role (parenthetically, I think his ability and willingness to match dancers to roles and to match/change steps to dancers is one of his great strengths as AD).

#3 Natalia

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 09:05 AM

Mike, I was able to attend the Saturday night program and it was altogether a much more enjoyable experience. No grunts, oohs, ahhh at inappropriate times from fellow-audience members. I could actually relax and concentrate on the lovely dancing before me.

I particularly loved Wheeldon's 'Morphoses.' Great dancing - great music - great interpretation. I agree with Mike - Sona Kharatian and Luis Torres were stellar as the taller & spikier couple. Torres has always been the most expressive of the recent WB male dancers but, IMO, Kharatian has truly come into her own as a dynamic ballerina this season. [She was best thing in the fall performances of 'In the Upper Room,' for ex.]

'Carmina Burana' was an exciting piece of showmanship, with its dramatic setting, choristers, props (extra scaffolding on wheels, the circle of life suspended above, etc.). But it's not much of a ballet -- although there were isolated bits of magnificent dancing, especially from high-flying Jason Hartley. It's an oratorio with movement. But entertaining theater, nonetheless. Bravo!

So, yet again, the Washington Ballet does not put its trust in the power of JUST BALLET to sell tickets. Instead, it's been Latino Revue Night, or Cabaret Night, or Kinky Choral Work night. Not to forget "Children of the Washington Area Night" a.k.a. Nutcracker. I bet that next year's season will also include non-balletic angles to its presentations. Perhaps there will be Shaolin Monks Night, or Flamenco Night, or Kodo Drummers night, "Balletic Hip-Hop" Night or Hungarian-American Variety Night? I anxiously await news on what non-balletic treats the new subsciption series will bring.

#4 bart

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 09:59 AM

I bet that next year's season will also include non-balletic angles to its presentations. Perhaps there will be Shaolin Monks Night, or Flamenco Night, or Kodo Drummers night, "Balletic Hip-Hop" Night or Hungarian-American Variety Night? I anxiously await news on what non-balletic treats the new subsciption series will bring.

:) I hope this doesn't give some ballet board members around the country any ideas. :jawdrop:

#5 Natalia

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 10:52 AM


I bet that next year's season will also include non-balletic angles to its presentations. Perhaps there will be Shaolin Monks Night, or Flamenco Night, or Kodo Drummers night, "Balletic Hip-Hop" Night or Hungarian-American Variety Night? I anxiously await news on what non-balletic treats the new subsciption series will bring.

:) I hope this doesn't give some ballet board members around the country any ideas. :jawdrop:


The miracle is that the WB doesn't have a 'Dracula'! Oops...I shouldn't say it too loudly or it will come.

#6 Tammy Spadina

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 10:53 AM

Re Morphoses -- It is not Wheeldon who is an arachnophobe, it was Ligeti. Mr. Wheeldon mentioned this in his fascinating chat for fans at the WB studio on last Monday evening, and Septime Webre was referring to this. Mr Wheeldon said he first became aware of Ligeti through his score for the movie Eyes Wide Shut, then listened to his complete oeuvre, and of course has gone on to make several ballets to Ligeti's music. Ligeti died just a year ago, btw.


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