Posted 19 October 2000 - 01:02 PM
Posted 19 October 2000 - 02:03 PM
[First rule of debating: whoever frames the question usually wins. If you don't agree with the question, rephrase it early in the game. Otherwise, one just ends up getting defensive. "Everybody has a mother who wants them to do things they don't want." "Love still counts." "Well, swans are an endangered species" -- whatever.]
Posted 19 October 2000 - 02:13 PM
Posted 19 October 2000 - 04:46 PM
Posted 19 October 2000 - 05:16 PM
“How is the traditional version of Swan Lake relevant to todays audience and society?”
Among the responses so far was one from Cargill: “There are so many underlying themes in it--the power of nature, of sacrifice, illusion, seeking for an ideal. The issues are timeless, and it is so limiting to "modernize" a work of art. The music is lush and romantic and a production to be effective, must work with the music.”
Cargill’s answer may seem complete in itself, but I wonder if part of the answer is also how to make the themes which seem so obviously evident to us just as clear to those who may be only occasional viewers of “Swan Lake” and ballet generally?
One way not to do it is the current ABT production, with that horrible staged prologue behind a scrim, von Rothbart as the coolest pimp around playing footsie with the Queen in one act, then becoming a slime monster in the next. Which is not to say that all attempts to foreground (if I may) some of the themes must end in failure. This is a continuing controversy in opera, where stage directors now have significant power in staging classics, especially in the big festivals in Central Europe—Beyruth, Salzburg, Munich. They are important because they serve as indications of where opera staging is headed in the future. Festival audiences are often a bit jaded (“Cosi again this year?”) so it is easier to get away with outrages.
The lush, romantic music of great nineteenth century ballets sounds different now from what it did then. Instruments have changed, as has musical training. We still respond to the music in a visceral, emotional way and the production needs to touch us, at least partially, in the same manner. How this can be done in the year 2001 I will leave to my betters.
"The great pleasure in hearing vocal music arises from the
association of ideas raised at the same time by the expressions
Joseph Addison, "The Spectator", 21 March 1711.
Posted 19 October 2000 - 08:37 PM
Sometimes we try to help, but we get fooled, (we didn't research the problem well enough) and we end up hurting, instead.
An example is the many, many times we have tried to redo Mother Nature - we tried to help the environment - animals - etc. - and would up hurting instead. Simplistic? perhaps - but surely a moral.
Posted 19 October 2000 - 08:51 PM
I don't understand the idea that art must be relevant, though. I think WE have to find the relevance -- it's different for everybody. "Swan Lake" may leave you cold for ten years, and then one day, for whatever reason, it strikes a chord and it means something to you. That's what art does. (Nature too )
Posted 19 October 2000 - 08:56 PM
Posted 21 October 2000 - 07:31 AM
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