87Sigfried87

Which ballet do You think is the most boring You've ever seen?

106 posts in this topic

I find 'Mayerling' boring and also hate it.

Me too, and I'm usually a huge fan of MacMillan's ballets - his Romeo and Juliet, and Manon usually have me in tears by the end.

I think that Mayerling is trying to tell too convoluted a story, with too many people having too many affairs, and what is it with the opera singer in the middle?

Mayerling is one of those ballets that fascinates for one viewing only.

As I watched it I was almost transfixed by the decisions made by the choreographer and stagers -- wondering why? how? why emphasize that? why is this part so long? why is this part being neglected? Thinking: is this sleaze, or an accurate depiction of late 19th-century Middle European decadance? What are we being encouraged to FEEL about these characters and their situations?

When it was over, I realized I had no wish to see it again, not even with alternate casts. And I've stuck to that so far.

as Mme. Armfeldt sings in A Little Night Music:

Once, yes, once for a lark.

Twice, though, loses the spark.

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:smilie_mondieu:

as Mme. Armfeldt sings in A Little Night Music:

Once, yes, once for a lark.

Twice, though, loses the spark.

Madonna in "The Seven Percent Solution"? :unsure:

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Thinking: is this sleaze, or an accurate depiction of late 19th-century Middle European decadance?

It is unquestionably sleaze! I know of many ballets I find boring, and some have been put here. Frankly, I don't find 'Six Antique Epigraphs' as boring as Mel does, I don't know how much it has to do with the Debussy music, which is so divine. But I actively loathe 'Mayerling', more than any ballet I've ever seen by a major choreographer, both for reasons I've written in other threads and alos for the excellent reasons written by people here. (I liked it considerably less than even Bart and Mme. Armfeldt...) What is done to the Liszt is musically criminal, and the plot is completely repulsive, not to mention seeming to weigh a ton.

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Frankly, I don't find 'Six Antique Epigraphs' as boring as Mel does, I don't know how much it has to do with the Debussy music, which is so divine. But I actively loathe 'Mayerling', more than any ballet I've ever seen by a major choreographer, both for reasons I've written in other threads and alos for the excellent reasons written by people here. (I liked it considerably less than even Bart and Mme. Armfeldt...) What is done to the Liszt is musically criminal, and the plot is completely repulsive, not to mention seeming to weigh a ton.
Fine, but does that qualify as boring? Seems to me not. If this offends you and that offends you, at least you are engaged. When I'm bored, I just check out. In the grand scheme of things, I think it's better to be offended. At least the choreographer, misguided as s/he may be, is trying to do something. There's so much ballet out there these days where, if there is any artistic purpose, any inspiration, any single idea, it is too obscure to identify. That's boring.

Robbins "Antique Epigraphs" is pretty boring, but his real snoozer is his Two and Three Part Inventions, which even with such thrilling dancers as Bouder and TAngle, left my eyelids struggling against gravity.

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[Fine, but does that qualify as boring? Seems to me not. If this offends you and that offends you, at least you are engaged.

Oh, dear, I just don't know how to get my point across, je crois...I can only say that 'Mayerling' is both offensive and extremely boring. Mr. Mukhamedov got me through the tape, I never think he is boring, and felt fortunate that I hadn't gone out to a real performance of it...Maybe the endless but uninteresting plot twists were what made it boring, but the barroom scene with the sped-up 33 LP to 78 'mephisto waltz' was horrifying, yet also boring... of course, you have a good point about this in general, and I know a lot of offensive things that are not boring. Let me see if I can think of a ballet....off-hand, most ballets that are truly offensive are also boring, like Sleeping Beauty on Ice Skates. I'll admit ballet by its nature is not that often as overtly offensive as are other arts quite often, I think it is usually that they are offensive if they do something gross with the music. I'll get back to you when I have found something truly offensive but fascinating!

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I'll get back to you when I have found something truly offensive but fascinating!

Eifman, sometimes; usually, though, he's just boring too.

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I'll get back to you when I have found something truly offensive but fascinating!

Well, with no doubt, many things (arts included) that are usually considered "offensive" by the current standarts and/or "good taste", usually are truly fascinating, aren't they..? :smilie_mondieu: so let's blame human nature.(For some reason, it just came to my mind this other thread about guilty pleasures/pop culture, or something like that) Now, i also understand that things, (ballet included) can have a variety of "offensives" adjectives: offensively long (lots of examples provided in this thread), offensively short, (which would be a good thing if it seems that you never get enough of it -e.g the female variation of TPDD in my case-)and yes, in a very personal way, offensively boring, (closely linked with offensively long)...

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and yes, in a very personal way, offensively boring, (closely linked with offensively long)...

Oh, good heavens, yes, boredom is so readily available that we forget how offensive it is...I think carbro is trying to direct us to something that is truly so gross but that we will actually go back for more of its peculiarly disgusting fascination, and I find that easier with television and movies, of which there are literally hordes of items available.

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I wakened some deep subconscious thought that was better left alone, but I do remember the most boring ballet I've ever seen, and it wasn't even Manon: It was John Neumeier's Mahler's Third Symphony which I saw performed by the Hamburg Ballet at BAM. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a row with a friend, and we hadn't developed a silent way of coordinating our escape.

If I remember correctly, I went to see the performance because Gina Gail Hyatt was in the Company, and I had seen her dance in the documentary made about the 1982 Jackson International Ballet Competition where she won Gold in the Junior Division, beating out Katherine Healy and two other men.

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Usually dancers,and ballet fans do not usually find boring a ballet.

Well, apparently we certainly do, ..., wow!, it's amazing how the most succesful-longest running topic at present time (84 posts and counting) in a ballet-loving site is about boring ballets matters, more appropiate perhaps for something like www.Ihateballet.com (fictional site, for the record)... so talk about contradictions as a part of human nature..! :smilie_mondieu:

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Well, apparently we certainly do, ..., wow!, it's amazing how the most succesful-longest running topic at present time (84 posts and counting) in a ballet-loving site is about boring ballets matters, more appropiate perhaps for something like www.Ihateballet.com (fictional site, for the record)... so talk about contradictions as a part of human nature..! :smilie_mondieu:

It's the same reason why the news on tv are mainly about bad facts happened...there's not much to say if something is likeable,nice and beautiful....;-)and dancers(and co.)are deemed to be very fussy and damn critical.Isn't it so?go on posting...:unsure:

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Fine, but does that qualify as boring? Seems to me not. If this offends you and that offends you, at least you are engaged.
I agree with this, to a point. However, you can be "engaged" and even fascinated -- as I was in Mayerling -- for all the wrong reasons. It was like an impenetrable puzzle -- what can they think they are doing? what will they do next?. The fascination was in focusing on the puzzle as it unfolded. Not in trying to solve the puzzle by subsequent visits.

"Boredom" is indeed a complex experience. I found myself trapped Saturday night in a production of The Fantasticks, which I hadn't seen in decades. First act, charming enough. Then I remembered .. there was a second act coming up. :smilie_mondieu: A secomd act which, as I remembered, was stupefyingly obvious and derivative. We had no choice except to remain. I was quite depressed during the intermission, I can tell you.

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Well, apparently we certainly do, ..., wow!, it's amazing how the most succesful-longest running topic at present time (84 posts and counting) in a ballet-loving site is about boring ballets matters, more appropiate perhaps for something like www.Ihateballet.com (fictional site, for the record)... so talk about contradictions as a part of human nature..! :smilie_mondieu:

It's the same reason why the news on tv are mainly about bad facts happened...there's not much to say if something is likeable,nice and beautiful....;-)and dancers(and co.)are deemed to be very fussy and damn critical.Isn't it so?go on posting...:unsure:

But, even if the single post is longer, the different posts and threads added together that are enthusiastic about dance and dancers end up swamping the 'negative' post. The critical posts are necessary, but i would disagree that this is like the news, because the 'positive' news on newscasts and in newspapers are not even supposed to be the main thing, they are features and diversions. There was a film made back as far as the early 60's, can't remember the name, French though, that was about the attempt to turn all news into 'good news' and the results, which might seem to be admirable at the outset, were disastrous. But this forum obviously spends a lot more time celebrating dance than it does lamenting it, so that even the ones that are obviously for doing some dishing are not like newspapers with only the lastest events--threads are revived at BT from many years back and continued, which goes along with the sense of tradition. That the 'Boring Ballet' got this many hits and comments is probably purely coincidental with who picked it up and revived it, and then it's also novel and an important matter too, so that people don't get too stiff and reverential: Like, say, it was good for some people on the thread to say they find 'Diamonds' boring, so they are not forced to be in an artificial state of awe even about one of Balanchine's most quintessential and ultimate works. It made me think that on one level I probably find it boring too, since I don't really want to see it with anybody but the original--although that could change.

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it's also novel and an important matter too, so that people don't get too stiff and reverential: Like, say, it was good for some people on the thread to say they find 'Diamonds' boring, so they are not forced to be in an artificial state of awe even about one of Balanchine's most quintessential and ultimate works

This is so true, papeetepatrick...actually i must confess that it was after reading some of the posts that i was encouraged to take my pick on the boredom-in-ballet subject and accept that my all time most boring work was one of the trademarks of my all time beloved and favorite ballerina...

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I wakened some deep subconscious thought that was better left alone, but I do remember the most boring ballet I've ever seen, and it wasn't even Manon: It was John Neumeier's Mahler's Third Symphony which I saw performed by the Hamburg Ballet at BAM. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a row with a friend, and we hadn't developed a silent way of coordinating our escape.

I hope it wasn't because of the music, which is one of my favorite Mahler symphonies.

(When I first read your post I took "row" to mean "quarrel," and I wondered how that fit in. I'm okay now.)

In case it hasn't been mentioned yet, Musagète by Boris Eifman (sp?) was a huge bore for me.

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I can see how it would read that way, LOL! I'm afraid both of us were too near comatose to be able to quarrel if we had wanted to :wink:

It definitely was not the music, but even the music (taped) couldn't salvage this fiasco.

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This post attempts to generalize instead of being specific...I know this is treasonous (I live in the Bay Area) but 95% of Helgi Thomasson's one acters meet or exceed the boring quotient.

I saw his 7 for 8 (?) recently, and could not stay awake. What a waste of a major company's time.

I saw 7 for 8 with two different casts and was impressed that each cast could stamp its own personality on the ballet. I liked it more than most of Tomasson's one-acters, most of which I find dry as kindling and very tedious.

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Apologies -- I was just looking through my programs and it was Blue Rose, not 7 for 8 that I didn't think was the most boring ballet I'd ever seen. :)

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'Paquita', easily as boring as any full-length ballet I've ever seen. I'm sure I'd like the piece of it that people have been seeing with Vishneva at CC right now, but this POB DVD seems so perfectly done (someone can tell me if it's not).

This made me imagine that this particular ballet may separate the extreme balletomane from the rest of us. POB is one of my two favourite companies, so I'm glad the one time I'll see a full-length 'Paquita' was from them. I don't know whether traditional productions contain only Minkus music, just read that Deldevez wrote the first music for this. Whatever it is, it's loud and coarse even in the waltzes and pseudo-lyrical parts; even when it tries to be piano it's loud and raucous in its coarseness and ugliness. There was all this brilliant male dancing from Jose Martinez, and POB has gorgeous dresses for Letestu, but it's meretricious to me, not charming like 'Coppelia', and not one I could develop a taste for when I 'find the right production' like 'Giselle', which does also have some simple, sweetly affecting music and real feeling in it. The only thing I find as boring as 'Paquita' is 'Mayerling.'

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Papeetepatrick, I'm inclined to agree with you about an evening of this sort of music, which can be -- under certain circumstances -- rather like a preview of purgatory. The advertising for the Paris dvd mentions, variously, Edouard Deldevez and Minkus, or Deldevez with the addition of certain numbers by by Minkus.

Alistair Macaulay, in his review of the Paris production in the NY Times, writes the following:

Just as the choreography for the “Giselle†now seen around the world is the late-19th-century St. Petersburg work of Marius Petipa, some of it is set to music added to its original score by his long-term musical colleague Ludwig Minkus, so even bigger changes were made to “Paquita†by the Petipa-Minkus team. And when even the Kirov-Maryinsky Ballet dropped the complete ballet from repertory after the Bolshevik Revolution, the company kept some pure-dance Petipa-Minkus chunks glowingly alive, some of which have entered international ballet repertory since the 1970s.

It would be interesting to hear from the experts on who wrote what.

I haven't seen the POB dvd, but your post led me to Macaulay. Although he was enthusiastic about the designs, he was ambivalent about the project and makes an interesting criticism of the Paris company's approach:

My problem is with the Paris Opera dancing. No company is more elegant in presentation, and the level of technique is exceptionally efficient in academic terms. Yet I know no company that more completely illustrates the difference between academicism and classicism. The Paris dancers respond to the music without apparently finding any pleasure from, or point in, doing so. They exhibit line, placement and épaulement (shouldering) as if these points of ballet style were matters for point-scoring correctness rather than individual inflection.

In the late 1980s Manuel Legris, an étoile (the company’s special designation above principal dancer) who is now 43, used to transcend the company style better than anybody. On Tuesday he danced Lucien with remarkable skill and panache; no Paris dancer I have seen phrases better or shows a more serious response to music. His style is still virile and handsome, but no longer spontaneous. As for his Paquita, Dorothée Gilbert, it is awkward to say that a dancer so skillful and elegant is also bland, but in that respect she epitomizes the Paris dance manner. How can three-dimensional dancing be impressive to see and yet impossible to feel? The Parisians, going through the motions without ever demonstrating how perfection turns into real dancing, show just how.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/13/arts/dan...amp;oref=slogin

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Papeetepatrick, I'm inclined to agree with you about an evening of this sort of music, which can be -- under certain circumstances -- rather like a preview of purgatory. The advertising for the Paris dvd mentions, variously, Edouard Deldevez and Minkus, or Deldevez with the addition of certain numbers by by Minkus.

Bart--thanks so much for that most thoughtful response. I read the whole Macauley piece, and I see we agree only on the exquisite set design and the most luscious dresses (one of Ms. Letestu's had so many billowing dimensions to it, it seemed to dance itself). He actually found some of the music 'irresistible', whereas a Minkus 'Mazurka' is not what one tends to think of if one wants to understand the form, as it were. He also characterized the music in general as 'always agreeable.' Yes, until the ear begins to hear all the cornball as a form of noise.

And it was interesting that what he was talking about as 'POB style' did occur to me while watching it last night. But I think he is wrong--this incredible French precision is what proves whether something can transcend its exquisite drilling and become free on top of this--and I think this does happen with dancers as great as Aurelie Dupont, who to me is as great as any ballerina in the world today. When it's a silly ballet like 'Paquita', it is still not, IMO, the 'POB style', that is the problem, but rather its perfection of corps excellence actually deconstructs and exposes the tedium of it--because while you are still in the first act and not dying of the tedium, Mr. Martinez's virtuosity is perfectly thrilling. It is never less than extraordinary even when everything seems to repeat itself in the subsequent acts--but it's hard to keep caring. And even though I also recently watched Minkus/Nureyev's POB DVD of 'Don Quixote', I was not bored in the same way, however broad and popular Don Q. is.

I think this precision that one sees with POB should be one of the gold standards, against which the 'free spirits' have to prove themselves. So I do not see that as a problem, and I find that I have now got my own set of difficulties with Mr. MacAuley as do other BTers, for perhaps other reasons. But he is also right that the orchestra plays the tacky score superbly: But what this does is make you realize (or at least I hear it this way) just how worthless this score is. In the same way, when I finally saw the Bruhn/Fracci movie of 'Giselle', I was finally able to hear the music played perfectly--but in this case the excellent performance revealed the beauty in the simple Adam music that I had heretofore beeen unable to appreciate, and despite all the directorial pretentious, I was finally able to love 'Giselle.'

But my impression thus far of POB (not having seen them live but once and many years ago), as I get to know a lot of their newer performances via DVD, is they are never guilty of the sloppiness that one finds in many other companies. There has always been talk, as long as I remember, way back to the NYCB's Golden Age (from about the mid-60s to mid-80s' I guess, in any case, it definitely is no more), was the occasional or frequent sloppiness of the corps due to having to give too many performances of too many different works in too close a period. While understandable, this was said in a way that made it then seem that the sloppiness you sometimes saw also did not really exist or even served a useful purpose. But after awhile, this weird suspension of criticism of technical laxity is not greeted with sympathetic good humour unless the company remains at a high level of inspiration in the most important creative ways.

Next week I'll see my other favourite company at this point in my ballet viewing--the Kirov. NYCB was my favourite when it was still the hottest thing in the world--when Balanchine was alive. At this point, I'd always choose ABT over NYCB (which I never thought I'd live to say), even while skipping 'Swan Lake' and 'Sleeping Beauty'. I'd rather see 'Giselle' at ABT than anything in the current NYCB.

Point being: I think this fierce precision is very much the hallmark of most of the finest Gallic things, and why France has long been the most supreme example of an artistic nation. You'll notice MacAuley only concentrates on the things that back up his thesis about the 'POB style' and how LeGris 'no longer danced with spontaneity...' etc.,etc. But who else has come up with a full-length ballet like 'Wuthering Heights', which just from clips alone show a fantastic creativity that is not within what MacAuley seems to want to emphasize. Likewise, glorious and incredibly beautiful Aurelie Dupont in Don Quixote is breathtaking. One wonders if some people need to see obvious messes and mistakes in order to find something 'musical' or 'expressive.' And Parisians are not interested in messes in their various arts. Not only that, but in the Jewels DVD, Marie-Agnes Gillot dances in a way that is not at all mechanical, has a great richness and musicality to it.

Sorry about length of this. Of course, I don't think POB took on Paquita to deconstruct it and show how basically ridiculous it is, but in dancing it and playing the vulgar music to near-perfection, they do this anyway. And their 'Coppelia' DVD is just marvelous, so much better-looking in every way than the Royal Ballet's that I had only memories of McBride to compare it to. I mean--'Paquita' is so slight a piece of material, at least when POB dances it you can rouse yourself from nodding off because they dance it so perfectly. And even though there are problems with the Jewels DVD, I can easily imagine that performances of 'Jewels' will come, and may have already, with dancers able to go beyond anything NYCB ever did with 'Emeralds' and maybe even equal 'Rubies' and 'Diamonds'.

Okay, so I'm a FAN of 'POB style. Macauley says this: 'The Paris dancers respond to the music without apparently finding any pleasure from, or point in, doing so. They exhibit line, placement and épaulement (shouldering) as if these points of ballet style were matters for point-scoring correctness rather than individual inflection.' One could as easily say he is trying to score points for something himself, but it's also true that this French coolness is not something everyone has a taste for.

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I share your thoughts on this, papeetepatrick. Like you, I've only seen POB on dvd in recent years (if you except a contemporary mixed bill a few years ago in Paris). I saw them on and off in the 60s 70s and early 80s and have the impression that they are a substantially different company -- more technically proficient and pure, but perhaps less successful in terms of affect -- than they were in those days.

I'm wondering whether we shouldn't start another thread -- perhaps copying parts of what you've posted here, papeetepatrick -- to discuss the Paris Paquita and posssibly the larger issues of Macaulay's criticisms in general. We have a number of French ballet experts who could give us some insights here, but who may not have been reading this particular thread. I would hate to start a new thread an lose papeetepatrick's comments on this one!

Helene, carbro -- would this be desirable? possible?

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