cahill

MCB Program II

31 posts in this topic

Papeetepatrick, I agree with you about Tchaikovsky's music; something awful must have happened in Miami, since the music is so noble (in the words of balanchine) and if it's well played, it's and so beautiful, and unmisunderstandable, . Stravinsky admired Sleeping Beauty above all ballets, and died listening to the Pathetique Symphony.

Tchaikovsky's operas are fantastic things too -- here's a good entry-place: Fritz Wunderlich singing Lensky's aria, the one that comes before the duel, when he knows that something awful is coming and how did this come to pass? So noble, so beautiful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhpavbk6ZD8

wonder what you'll think.

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I call you one Fritz Wunderlich (lovely) and raise you one Leonid Sobinov, from 1910:

And Stanislavski called him the greatest actor on the Russian stage.

Another Tchaikovsky heartbreaker, this one from "Pique Dame" sung by Dmitri Hvorostovsky:

(I can't find a Pavel Lisitsian on YouTube.)

Ironically, the most beautiful aria for a man in each opera is not sung by the lead male in either opera.

Also from Eugene Onegin, Gremin's Aria, sung by the great Mark Reizen at age 90 (with subtitles):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MzO56PmjQ4

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seems like Puccini learned everything from the middle section of Lensky's aria....

Wonderful, Helene -- thank you so much,. I'd never heard Sobinov before. Really moving.

and also -- especially -- Gremin's aria. Such integrity in the performance.

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Another Tchaikovsky heartbreaker, this one from "Pique Dame" sung by Dmitri Hvorostovsky:

Ironically, the most beautiful aria for a man in each opera is not sung by the lead male in either opera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MzO56PmjQ4

The Queen of Spades aria is an absolute beauty and you wonder how Lisa could have turned Yeletsky down. But I guess

she was fated to cast her lot with Gherman.

Oh well, if the characters were just a bit sensible, there would have been no story to turn into operas.

Same thing with Eugene Onegin. Couldn't Onegin have been a bit less snobbish?

Sorry I'm taking this a bit more :off topic:

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Jack, I'm so glad you report on Villella's Q&A in Fort Lauderdale. His opening comments seem very much as in West Palm. But the level of questions/comments from the audience here is, alas, much more basic. Eg, almost every time someone raises his/her hand to saw: "I saw you in Prodigal Son." "I loved you in Prodigal Son." "Will you be reviving [X Ballet by Jimmy de Gamonet}?" "What is Iliana Lopez doing?"

Based on what Villella said about La Valse both in WPB and FL, his take on the story element in Balanchine ballets seems to be that they raise questions more than provide answers. It's a deeper level of story-telling than our average "story ballet," and one which is especially relevant to mysterious or ambiguous pieces llike La Valse, but also to more abstract pieces llike Agon.

Glad to hear they will be reviving Don Q next season. The comic nature of the piece -- and the athleticism -- make it a better fit for the MCB dancers than Sleeping Beauty. It would be wonderful, though, if someone worked with them to develop a bit more of the Russian style and expression.

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I'm surprised by the links to YouTube -- I didn't think we were supposed to do that, but I'm often a lap behind.

Maybe Villella's returning to Don Q partly to work on it some more -- remember that he put Ballet Imperial in rehearsal in August but presented it in March, preparing other rep along the way. My own take on MCB's approach, in contrast to the Royal's at one point in their history anyway, is as a clarified, streamlined, abstracted treament, as a huge string of Divertissement, a la Balanchine, and, as it happens, I prefer its bright directness, not inappropriate to a wedding of youngsters, IMHO, to the weird complications, including an interruption by Carabosse omitted in Florida, of the Royal on my video.

As for Tchaikovsky's Beauty music, I thought "Cinderella" was maybe a little thin in Florida by comparison with the other numbers, and I remembered that on the video I watched as a warm-up for the experience, An Evening with the Royal Ballet, it's replaced by -- wait for it -- "Russian Dance" from Nutcracker! (There are, as I say, several things to make you blink in this version.) The Opus One Orchestra played it well, respectfully and sensitively, which Tchaikovsky doesn't always get.

But I too was surprised by Jordan Levin's passing disparagement of this score. She's good for a general-audience publication critic, I think, helped by her dancer background -- I looked up her bio on the Herald's site -- but maybe, in this instance, hindered by it as well. Dancers often approach things differently; they mostly inhabit a different world.

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