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MCB Program IILa Valse, Nine Sinatra Songs, Aurora’s Wedding

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#31 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 03:24 PM

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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