Flindt's "The Lesson"what do you think?
Posted 08 January 2009 - 09:38 AM
I know that the Royal revived this a while ago for Kobburg. YouTube has a fascinating 5-plus minutes from Russian tv showing Flindt setting the ballet on Sergei Filin and Svetlana Lunkina -- who, by the way, are wonderful!:
I remember that in the past Arlene Croce and a number of other critics were critical of what they perceived as an anti-woman bias in some of Flindt's choreography. This actually made me feel insensitive and guilty about having enjoyed it.
Do people stilll find this ballet controversial when it iss revived today? What, in general, do you -- and others -- think about the work and/or about the issue? Which other companies are performing this work? Who, in your opinion, are its best interpreters?
Posted 08 January 2009 - 09:52 AM
It was revived in October of 77 (when I first saw it) and again in Chicago.
Flemming Flindt came to Chicago to oversee the staging and I believe we received letters complaining that it was too violent for children.
I saw a video of San Francisco Ballet's 90s? production. The sets and costumes were revised- the wife/pianist was in pants and boots in what I interpreted as a Nazi uniform.
Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:00 PM
True that the ballerina rehearsing with Filin in the studio was Svetlana Lunkina.
However, the blond ballerina dancing with him at the performance shown in the middle of the programme was Inna Petrova.
Posted 08 January 2009 - 01:43 PM
Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:05 PM
Posted 10 January 2009 - 01:57 PM
It was Flindt's first ballet, of course, and I'd imagine it's much the most widely performed of his works these days.
Posted 10 January 2009 - 02:44 PM
Posted 10 January 2009 - 10:24 PM
Posted 11 January 2009 - 11:37 AM
Posted 19 January 2009 - 07:14 PM
I'm having a hard time imagining the ballet version paired with a ballet something as sincere and literal as Sylphide. Which is usually performed first? Either way, the contrast seems HUGE and, I would think, unsurmountable. This is probably a failure of imagination on my part. How does it work in actuality?
Posted 21 January 2009 - 08:22 AM
(The RB's next double bill pairs the new, one act version of MacMillan's Isadora with Dances at a Gathering - an even stronger contrast!)
Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:17 AM
Sylphide, from the instant the curtain rises, demands emotional sincerity from the performers and a suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience. If you allow even a particle of doubt, insincerity or (worse!) irony to enter in, you've lost it.
That problem does not exist with Scenes de Ballet. The score still comes across as "modern"; it's witty, sophisticated, zippy, and not terribly involving emotionally. The choreography itself, as I recall it, comes across as something seen from a distance, possibly through a plate-glass display window. Though in no sense "absurd" (as Ionesco's scenario is), it's shares that quality of being something we can look at, think about, and respond to without having to commit our hearts or minds to the world it portrays.
I love the wackiness of combining Isadora with Dances at a Gathering. Over-the-Top Meets Super-Subtle. I'd be fascinated to hear the programmer's thinking on this. All I can come up with so far is that both ballets concern people who (a) are dancing and (b) are aware that they are dancing. Oh yes, and they both involve our perception of time. Isadora left me with the feeling: Too long! Dances at a Gathering always leaves me wishing it had not ended yet.
Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:00 AM
I would argue that this isn't so much wackiness as a cynical ploy: programme the excrutiating Isadora with the sublime Dances at a Gathering and the punters will come for Dances and stay for Isadora. Except the ploy won't work as in the hands of the current RB last year's revival went from sublime to disastrous, achieving the distinction of turning one of the loveliest ballets ever created into an hour of tedium, even cutting out one passage altogether. I made two visits and both times wished I hadn't.
BTW, I'm told that attendances have dropped drastically at the ROH recently, can anyone confirm this?
Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:11 AM
Bart, I hadn't thought out the Scenes/Sylphide pairing quite as deeply as you - I liked the thought of an Ashton/Bournonville pairing and Scenes was the one that came immediately into my head - but doing a bit of retrofitting, I'd say that SdB is a piece very much of this world and therefore leads on quite neatly to James's search for something beyond the tangible. But I'm really more motivated by the idea of seeing two of my most favourite ballets on the same evening!
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