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Estelle

NYCB in Edinburgh, program 2 (Aug 18)

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The second program of the NYCB tour to Edinburgh included four works of Balanchine.

I attended it on Aug 18.

It began with "Concerto Barocco", and when seeing it I realized again how deeply I loved that ballet, how beautiful the music and the choreography were (I had fallen in love with that ballet when I first saw it, even though it was performed by a not very uniform corps de ballet of students in Lyon...) and what a great feeling of harmony and serenity it gave. Indeed, just seeing it would have been worth the trip to Edinburgh. I especially appreciated Jennie Somogyi in the soloist role, with somthing daring in her style (but never careless). By contrast, Margaret Tracey, who danced the main role, looked a bit too calm (I'm afraid it was the general feeling Margaret Tracey gave me in her performances: a nice dancer with a clean style, but not showing much personality. But of course four performances aren't enough to judge a dancer.) Nikolaj Hubbe managed to have some stage presence in a not very rewarding role.

The second work was "Duo Concertant". I was looking forward to seeing it, as it is not in the POB's repertory, but was a bit disappointed. Perhaps it is because I didn't like much to the music (but I guess I might just need some time to get used to it), and perhaps also because I found that the dancers (Nilas Martins and Yvonne Borree) were somewhat bland, with little stage presence and chemistry. However, the very end of the ballet, with the male soloist kissing the had of his partner in the dark, was quite moving and mysterious.

I preferred the third work, "The Four temperaments". The three pas de deux of the theme alone would be enough to consider it as a great ballet, and all the variations were wonderful. I especially liked Peter Boal in the Melancholic variation (what a great moment when the female corps de ballet arrived on stage, with their threatening pointes), and also Albert Evans, who had some kind of feline grace and fluidity in the "phlegmatic" variation. Kathleen Tracey was very energetic in the Choleric variation, and the finale was stunning. It also was interesting to find some similaries between that work and "Agon", which was created 11

years later.

The last work was "Symphony in three movements". While most of the audience received it enthusiastically, I'm afraid I was only half satisfied with it. Perhaps it was parly because of the music, that I didn't like much, because of the somewhat bizarre costumes (those shades of pink didn't go well together), and also because, as in "Agon", I had trouble getting used to the pairing of Jock Soto and Wendy Whelan in the central pas de deux (also, Abi Stafford and Wendy Whelan looked so dissimilar next to each other!) Also there was something which looked a bit too dated for me. It wasn't a bad work, and there were some really good moments in the variations, but after a masterpiece such as "The Four Temperaments", to me it looked like a rather minor work.

Pst-scriptum: does anybody know how to find a recording of "The Four Temperaments"? I found a CD of it once in a French shop, was stupid enough not to buy it, and never found it again.

[This message has been edited by Estelle (edited August 28, 2000).]

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Re: 4T's - There are four recordings listed at CDNow, but the one by NYCB (The Balanchine Album on Nonesuch) which also gives Serenade, Emeralds and Agon is not currently in print. I think it may be available at the NYCB or Lincoln Center gift shop though, want me to check? (it's two CDs and would be somewhere around $35-$40 at full price)

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Leigh Witchel - dae@panix.com

Personal Page and Dance Writing

Dance as Ever

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Estelle, I'd like to thank you for your perceptive reviews. Almost makes me wish I were in Scotland.

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Originally posted by Manhattnik:

Estelle, I'd like to thank you for your perceptive reviews. Almost makes me wish I were in Scotland.

Hey, one can't have everything! You already can see them in New York! (And I didn't tell you about the weather in Edinburgh...) wink.gif

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Estelle, I think your feeling about Margaret Tracey is the one generally held by many NYCB watchers. Lovely but a bit bland. Every once in awhile, she catches fire in a role and it is a joy to watch. But it doesn't happen often.

Martins and Bouree are very strange casting in Duo given the disparity in their heights. And both are rather cautious dancers. I wish you could have seen Duo with P. Martins and Kay Mazzo and later with Martins and Farrell. In these incarnations, it was one of the greatest statements about male/female relationships in any art form. Who is the conqueror and who is the conquered and does it matter. Duo seems to me to ask these questions wordlessly. And everyone can provide their own answers.

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Estelle, I also love the ballet "The Four Temperments", and I found a Hindemith cd which contains "The Four Temperments". (It also contains something called "Noblissima Visione".) The cd is on the Delos label, and the music is conducted by James De Preist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I got it last year at Tower Records on Broadway and about 3rd or 4th street in Manhattan. You can probably find it at many stores which sell cds. I think it's a very good version of "The Four Temperments", and have listened to it many times. I hope you're able to find it in England or France.

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