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Re-setting the Classics

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Andrew makes very cogent points.

I suppose the issue is more about when a company, rather than "re interpret" a work, massages it a bit so that much of what was there in the past is very recognizable and that "classic" becomes the yardstick by which it is measured.

In that sense it is a rather a bolder move to try to "perfect" a classic than to offer up something new. In ballet when you strip away all the production, a classic work is the music and dance, in opera it is the music and the singing.

I think both the ABT's Sleeping Beauty and NYCB's R+J were not well received because they in fact were too close to what came before and not a refinement, but were coarser in appearance.

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I don't see anything intrinsically wrong about making production changes; it's all down to why and how. Too often, perhaps, the updating is a gimmick to draw attention away from a generally inferior production, and I think audiences are right to be a little suspicious - but not to dismiss them on principle.

Thanks for posting, Andrew73. I think you've put the central issue in a nutshell. The devil, of course, always being in the details. :clapping:

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