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John Neumeier


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#16 naomikage

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 06:18 AM

San Francisco Ballet is giving the U.S. premiere of Neumeier's The Little Mermaid in March, 2010. Had anyone seen this one?

I enjoyed the La dame aux camellias POB DVD, although I thought the story could have been told with more economy (an opinion based on only one viewing). On the other hand, there were so many beautiful moments in the choreography it was easy just to let yourself be swept along.


I have seen the Neumeier Little Mermaid in Japan earlier this year, and it is a very dark yet beautiful piece, very heart-crushing and heavy one.
The Mermaid is portrayed as a strange, rather ugly creature, and her love never reaches the prince. The designs were very stylish, and the score
is very modern but wonderful. This work is a masterpiece and I love it, but maybe so heartbreaking and somewhat cruel that it might be difficult for children.

#17 PeggyR

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 06:37 AM

I have seen the Neumeier Little Mermaid in Japan earlier this year, and it is a very dark yet beautiful piece, very heart-crushing and heavy one.
The Mermaid is portrayed as a strange, rather ugly creature, and her love never reaches the prince. The designs were very stylish, and the score is very modern but wonderful. This work is a masterpiece and I love it, but maybe so heartbreaking and somewhat cruel that it might be difficult for children.

Thanks for your comments, naomikage. That's encouraging to hear. I've noticed that the ballet audience here (at least for the Saturday matinees that I attend) seems to lean toward the loud and obvious, so it'll be interesting to see how this is received.

Here's a note from the website for the performances:

Please Note: This critically acclaimed production focuses on the deeper, mature themes of the original story and is not recommended for younger children.



#18 Richka

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 10:00 AM

I hope somebody tells him that fine sets and bunch of "contemporary dances" wouldn't make good ballets. The right selection and correct intrepretation of music does.


After 36 years as the Artistic Director at Hamburg Ballet, I can't imagine there is a whole lot any of us good "tell" Mr. Neumeier. The man has a huge repertoire of choreography and a devoted following in Hamburg. :flowers:


I wouldn't think of 'telling' Mr. Neumeier anything at all as I have not seen any of his ballet output for mamy years, actually not since 1977 (that's 32 years ago). So my comments may be valueless in this present time.
But I did know very well his methods of choreographing then since I worked with him at that time while he was doing a Hamlet for ABT. I was ABT's resident choreologist (that's a Benesh dance notator) and so had to attend his rehearsals and write it all down. First of all, his cast could not have been better chosen for star power, or rather given to him by ABT management for box office. Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, Eric Bruhn, Marcia Haydee, William Carter. All top stars. Even with that line-up, the ballet was a disaster from start to finish and Lucia Chase pulled it after only one performance at the Gershwin Theater on 51st Street. I don't know what it's called now as I no longer live in New York.
My feeling was that he had made a bad choice of music: Connotations for piano by Aaron Copland. A solo piano throughout. Baryshnikov kept asking me about the counts and I had a hard time figuring them out myself, and I am trained in music. John does know music and I often saw him studying the piano score, which is not too often seen with other choreographers. The Copland score was unlistenable, at least to my ears. That's only my opinion of course but the audience reaction was the same when I went out front at intermission time to listen. John was rather young then, I think maybe 30 or so, and already well established in Hamburg. I admired him and his tenacity. He was possibly a bit overwhealmed by all that major star power. I remember him asking me how he could to do the curtain calls cautiously, so as not to offend any of them I suppose. (I suggested they come out all at once). I was overwhealmed as well because it was my first job with ABT plus also notating Baryshnikov's Nutcracker and rehearsing Sleeping Beauty at the same time.
I believe John re-worked Hamlet after he returned to Hamburg. I do remember sending him the notated score. It was possibly a big success in Germany. I never did a follow-up but the choreologist there would probnably know.
At the present time I am very much admiring John for his founding of a museum for the Diaghilev/Nijinsky era. Apparently he has done tons of work in collecting materials from all over the world. My friend and neighbor, George Zoritch, who just recently died, thought very highly of John and I believe at least part of his own vast collection will end up in this setting. It is truly remarkable when an American dancer from Milwaukee is so much honored and respected in Germany and we can be proud of him and his success.

#19 innopac

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 12:22 PM

Thank you Richka, that was so interesting. I was wondering if Neumeier come into the studio with his choreography pretty well worked out or if he developed his ideas in the studio? How did his way of working compare with other choreographers you have worked with?

#20 volcanohunter

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 12:42 PM

I believe John re-worked Hamlet after he returned to Hamburg. I do remember sending him the notated score. It was possibly a big success in Germany. I never did a follow-up but the choreologist there would probnably know.

The Hamburg Ballet web site does list Hamlet Connotations. In 1985 he also mounted a full-length Hamlet to music by Michael Tippet for the Royal Danish Ballet.

http://www.hamburgba...fall_hamlet.htm
http://www.hamburgba.../rep/hamlet.htm

#21 rg

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 02:38 PM

f.y.i.

NYPL cat. listings:

Hamlet: Connotations - Chor.: John Neumeier; mus.: Aaron Copland (Connotations for orchestra, Piano variations, & selections from Piano fantasy); lib.: after Shakespeare's Hamlet; scen.: Robin Wagner; cos.: Theoni V. Aldredge. First perf: New York, Uris Theatre, Jan. 6, 1976, American Ballet Theatre, with Mikhail Baryshnikov as Hamlet, Marcia Haydee as Gertrude, Gelsey Kirkland as Ophelia, Erik Bruhn as King Claudius, & William Carter as the ghost of Hamlet's father.
First Stuttgart Ballet perf.: Württemburg Theater, Nov. 28, 1976; under title: Der Fall Hamlet; scen & cos: John Neumeier.

Hamlet - Original title: Amleth. Chor: John Neumeier; mus: Michael Tippett (selections from various compositions); lib: after Shakespeare's play & the 13th century Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus; scen & cos: Klaus Hellenstein. First perf: Copenhagen. Royal Theatre, Nov 2, 1985; Royal Danish Ballet.
New version. First perf.: Hamburg, Staatsoper, Hamburg Ballett-Tage, May 4, 1997, Hamburg Ballet.

if memory serves there is an exceprt of the latter on Natalia Makarova's BALLERINA series - for a segment on Mette Bodtcher

#22 innopac

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:39 PM

Sybil Shearer's evaluation of John Neumeier quoted in a review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

"His praise continues, as the woman who discovered him (none other than the mystical dancer Sybil Shearer) reflects on the choreographer’s progression, ‘Yes, the phenomenon of John Neumeier is unique in the world of ballet. He is avant-garde in an entirely different way from anyone else. He is not rebelling, he is not straining for recognition, lie is not taking up a cause, or joining a school, or throwing out the past. He is simple; through his own integrity and insight, pointing a way to the future.’"



#23 innopac

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:06 PM

[size=3]"Neumeier: the presiding spirit of Hamburg" by Valerie Lawson[/size]

This article first appeared in The Australian on 25 February, 2012

http://dancelines.co...rit-of-hamburg/


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