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Graeme Murphys Swan Lake


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#1 Tillimari

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:38 PM

I've just seen on Amazon UK that Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake with the Australian Ballet dvd is due for release in the UK on the 21st June. Does anyone have any idea of Murphy's take on Swan Lake?
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#2 Helene

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:45 PM

Did you by any chance see "Mao's Last Dancer"? The "Swan Lake" excerpts in the movie are Graeme Murphy's choreography. It's a contemporary version.

#3 bart

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 04:45 AM

Here's our thread on Mao's Last Dancer:
http://ballettalk.in...mp;#entry269370

Entering graeme in our search engine turns up quite a few links and references. I didn't have time to scroll all the way down, but here's one post by SimonG which has a more negative take on the Swan Lake than yours, Tillimari. I'm sure you'll find other impressions as well.
http://ballettalk.in...mp;#entry253854

By the way, Welcome to Ballet Talk. :wub:

#4 Tillimari

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 01:49 PM

Thanks for that Bart. I don't think I'll be buying it.

#5 johnnyware

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 05:29 AM

As my first post, I would love to offer a defence of the Australian Ballet's new Swan Lake.

Yes we had the traditional '77 Wooliams production which had served us well for 25 years, but I applaud Ross Stretton for commissioning Graham Murphy (and his artist associate Janet Vernon) to create a new completely new interpretation. Murphy was given absolute carte blanche, but like with his new Firebird, he decided to stay true to the spirit of the ballet. Yes this is not a production for traditionalists looking for another Petipa/Ivanov version, but it is definitely a solid artistic choice to draw parallels with the story of Charles and Diana. By taking the supernatural and the tutus out, Murphy created a production that is accessible for a non-ballet-going audience, while giving the regular balletomane a Swan Lake unlike any other.

#6 Sophoife

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 11:08 PM

I would also like to defend this Swan Lake. No, it's not traditional, but yes, the dancing is excellent, the storyline credible, and on the available DVD (recorded live at the Sydney Opera House in April 2006) Madeleine Eastoe (seen in the film Mao's Last Dancer as "Lori") is a superb Odette, and Robert Curran a wonderful Prince. The costumes, particularly Odette's wedding dress and the swans' costumes, are amazing, as is the fantastic set for the lakeside scenes.

My mum can't stand Graeme Murphy's work (she says so much of it is "unnecessary" i.e. too sexy), but she liked this, although she said she still prefers a traditional Swan Lake.

I would say if you are interested in seeing classical ballet and in opening your mind to a new interpretation, go for it. For example, I recently saw Royal New Zealand Ballet in Christopher Hampson's Romeo and Juliet and didn't like it. But I saw it twice just to see if it was the dancers not the production I didn't like :blink:

There is also a DVD available from The Australian Ballet (Australian Ballet Shop - scroll down) called On the Wings of a Swan which is a documentary about the creation of the ballet and The Australian Ballet's tour of the UK with the production in 2005.

#7 Mashinka

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 01:38 AM

Another defender here: I thought it was a thoughtful and in places very poetic production when I saw it in London a few years ago. I can understand traditionalists not liking it, but I found it ingenious in use of music and the dramatic development of the plot worked well too.

#8 pasmaroo

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 11:56 PM

I never tire of seeing Swan Lake in its traditional form and would always prefer it to any other interpretation.

Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake explores different concepts and promotes a different perspective that I find has served to enhance my enjoyment not only of Swan Lake itself but ballet in general.

His interpretation of The Nutcracker illustrates my point, for those of us Downunder.

#9 bart

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 05:56 AM

Setting aside the concept, what do you think of the choreography per se?

The brief view we got in Mao's Last Dancer suggested something very conventional and far from innovative. And, at least what we saw in the film, the dancing seemed both small-scale AND crowded onto the stage.

#10 pasmaroo

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 02:31 AM

Setting aside the concept, what do you think of the choreography per se?

The choreography not only stays in tune with the storyline without detracting from it but also serves well in developing the characters. But I would not have said the same thing about the choreography in other ballets he has had a hand in. I think with Swan Lake he "hit the mark" well. One might argue that his choreography in Swan Lake winning a couple of awards, is testament to that.


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