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PABallet Messiah


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#1 purelyballet

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 03:22 PM

In looking at the PABallet site it appears they will be performing Messiah next. I have never seen this ballet but would love to hear more about it from someone that has seen it. Anyone?

#2 Figurante

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:08 PM

Messiah was choreographed by Robert Weiss, now, director of Carolina Ballet, but once director of Pennsylvania Ballet. Bringing back some history should be great!
The score is to Handel's full length Messiah and there will be a full live choir on stage with the dancers. The choreography is engaging, and blends religious miming with neoclassical style. For the shorter sections in the ballet, Weiss chose to represent famous religious paintings through tableaus that the dancer's represent along with respective props. I do not know much about the costumes, other than the fact that they are simple, think Concerto Barocco-esque.

It should be a beautiful ballet. I definitely think the live choir will draw the opera crowd, as well as the religious go-ers, as PA Ballet's premiere is around Easter.
:dry:

#3 Ray

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 08:09 PM

Messiah was choreographed by Robert Weiss, now, director of Carolina Ballet, but once director of Pennsylvania Ballet. Bringing back some history should be great!
The score is to Handel's full length Messiah and there will be a full live choir on stage with the dancers. The choreography is engaging, and blends religious miming with neoclassical style. For the shorter sections in the ballet, Weiss chose to represent famous religious paintings through tableaus that the dancer's represent along with respective props. I do not know much about the costumes, other than the fact that they are simple, think Concerto Barocco-esque.

It should be a beautiful ballet. I definitely think the live choir will draw the opera crowd, as well as the religious go-ers, as PA Ballet's premiere is around Easter.
:dry:


I'm very skeptical about how this will turn out. Choreographing a ballet to a familiar, well-known, full-length masterwork only heightens expectations (see the work of John Neumeier); there are a lot of elements to balance here, and Weiss's track record doesn't suggest to me that he is up to such a monumental undertaking. Figurante, your description implies that you've seen the ballet. What about the choreography did you find "engaging"? And can you describe what Weiss's "religious miming" looks like?

#4 Figurante

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 10:01 AM

I can only really reply about the choreography from a corps de ballet standpoint. I have only seen the ballet on video in the attempt to learn all 52 sections in one sitting (hahah!)
I suppose the items that I found most engaging in Messiah would be all of the refrences in choreography to other choreographers, especially Balanchine and Kylian. There are certain sections in Messiah that seem to be directly influenced by Balanchine's choreography. One section in particular, I believe it is entitled "Fire" or something of that sort, has an uncanny resemblence of Symphony in C's second movement. There is also a lift with the Messiah that is basically identical to the ending of Serenade with the Waltz Girl, and three Blueberries. As far as Kylian is concerned, there is a section in Messiah with a big parachute that can only remind me of Petit Mort; and this is only from the first act out of three!
What I meant by religious miming is most simply put as a bunch of hand gestures portraying praying.
The one thing I am worried about is if the audience is going to understand what the dancers are trying to relay through the choreography, especially in the tableaus I mentioned earlier. Every section of the ballet is telling a story, and I am unsure that the choreography has enough narration to be understood.

#5 Ray

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 11:22 AM

I can only really reply about the choreography from a corps de ballet standpoint. I have only seen the ballet on video in the attempt to learn all 52 sections in one sitting (hahah!)
I suppose the items that I found most engaging in Messiah would be all of the refrences in choreography to other choreographers, especially Balanchine and Kylian. There are certain sections in Messiah that seem to be directly influenced by Balanchine's choreography. One section in particular, I believe it is entitled "Fire" or something of that sort, has an uncanny resemblence of Symphony in C's second movement. There is also a lift with the Messiah that is basically identical to the ending of Serenade with the Waltz Girl, and three Blueberries. As far as Kylian is concerned, there is a section in Messiah with a big parachute that can only remind me of Petit Mort; and this is only from the first act out of three!
What I meant by religious miming is most simply put as a bunch of hand gestures portraying praying.
The one thing I am worried about is if the audience is going to understand what the dancers are trying to relay through the choreography, especially in the tableaus I mentioned earlier. Every section of the ballet is telling a story, and I am unsure that the choreography has enough narration to be understood.


Thanks for all of your details--now my curiosity is piqued. And a corps standpoint is a GREAT one!

#6 purelyballet

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for the information. I am now really looking forward to seeing this ballet. Your description has really peaked my interest.

#7 Figurante

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:36 PM

I would just like to add, that if there are any Balanchine fans in the Philadelphia area, you should definitely come see Messiah before Sunday! After seeing numerous run throughs and dress rehearsals, I can only attest that any Balanchine-goer, would adore Weiss' choreography. The live choir and orchestra really makes the entire performance come together. Bring your chair pad though. The performance IS rather lengthly, but entirely worth it! Hope to see you!

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:20 PM

Lengthy yes!

Our choir once thought it might be a cool idea to end the Easter service with the "Amen" as postlude. Then we realized that for most of our congregation, we'd still be in the church singing, while they were at coffee hour, and some of them already driving home by the time we'd finished!


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