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Magic Flute


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#1 E Johnson

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:40 AM

Can anyone who has seen it before tell me a bit about the Magic Flute NYCB is doing this season? I am particularly interested in whether a child would enjoy it, but any information is welcomed!

#2 Helene

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:58 AM

"The Magic Flute" is definitely kid-friendly. The boys who get queasy when the girl and the boy get together will get over it :)

#3 bart

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:29 PM

I saw this only once, in the early 80s with Kistler and Martins. My single strong memory is arriving at the theater and discovering to my surprise that this work had NOTHING to do with Mozart, Schickeneder, the Queen of the Night, Papageno, Masonic ritual, or any of that. :blink:

The effect is rather like that of Fille Mal Gardee -- a sophisticated person's fantasy of simple country people. The older generation does silly things to thwart young love, and the young lovers devise stratagems to thwart them back. The magic flute of the title compels the villagers to dance. It is provided by a kind of Drosselmeier figure who orchestrates the whole thing.

Martins choreographed some impressive dancing for himself. The female lead is a role that is traditionally described as charming and/or delightful (and occasionaly feisty). Kistler was certainly that.

The NY Times today reports that the Metropolitan Opera will be producing next season a "pasticcio" -- pastry -- under the title The Enchanted Island

It's a fairy-tale concoction loosely based on "The Tempest" and "Midsummer Night's Dream" with music drawn from operas by Handel, Vivaldi, and Leclair. The cast will be stellar (Domingo, Di Donato, de Niese, etc.).

Of course, this is important music and quite far from NYCB's Drigo. But these are troubled and uncertain times. Audiences may be craving a certain amount of escapism that comes with old-fashioned story-telling and music that comes with a long, reliable pedigree. The NYCB Magic Flute certainly falls in that category. With the right cast, it might be just what people are looking for right now.

#4 Helene

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:37 PM

"The Magic Flute" was choreographed originally for the student workshop, and the principal male role was choreographed for Jock Soto.

I'm not having any luck finding the rest of the original cast, but I did see Katrina Killian dance the role wonderfully when it was produced at NYCB. Perhaps she was the original female lead.

#5 jsmu

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:48 PM

"The Magic Flute" was choreographed originally for the student workshop, and the principal male role was choreographed for Jock Soto.

I'm not having any luck finding the rest of the original cast, but I did see Katrina Killian dance the role wonderfully when it was produced at NYCB. Perhaps she was the original female lead.


Helene, Katrina Killian was one of the original ballerinas (the other being Shawn Stevens) for the SAB Workshop--and she also alternated as Lise with Kistler for NYCB at least during the first run of the ballet. This may explain why the role is so demanding technically: the ballerina has a 'fan dance', so to speak, which is long and HARD, and I seem to remember both the principals having at least two variations. The woman's part is somewhat derived from Bournonville--a lot of tricky petit allegro. I think Sean Savoye was one of the men who danced Martins' part at SAB. To answer the original question which prompted the thread-- fluffy, insubstantial, a divertissement, but with some serious technical dancing, which makes it more palatable for adults.

#6 Eileen

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 02:46 PM

I was passing by the State Theater near the stage exit and saw hoards of little bunheads - girls of about 9 or 10. One group of 4 was sitting with a lady (who may have been an employee) and I spoke to both the children and their guardian. They told me they were rehearsing Magic Flute on the stage of the State Theater (sorry, Koch, I know) and Dena Abergel, the new co-children's ballet mistress, was directing them. So yes, Magic Flute is very kid friendly, lots of little girls in it, and they look so excited and happy. Take your little bunhead!

#7 E Johnson

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 05:48 AM

I was passing by the State Theater near the stage exit and saw hoards of little bunheads - girls of about 9 or 10. One group of 4 was sitting with a lady (who may have been an employee) and I spoke to both the children and their guardian. They told me they were rehearsing Magic Flute on the stage of the State Theater (sorry, Koch, I know) and Dena Abergel, the new co-children's ballet mistress, was directing them. So yes, Magic Flute is very kid friendly, lots of little girls in it, and they look so excited and happy. Take your little bunhead!


The child in question is a 9 year old boy, and he's opted for Tarantella instead of Magic Flute this year (and Stars and Stripes). maybe another season!

#8 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 06:39 PM

I may be wrong, but my recollection is that Martins did not dance it himself, but that Soto and Ib Anderson alternated in the male lead. I remember Heather Watts dancing the female lead, with Darci alternating.

#9 Helene

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 07:36 PM

According to this entry in the NYPL catalog, Heather Watts and Ib Andersen danced the leads in the "Dance in America" broadcast, while Martins introduced the broadcast. I thought there was a picture of Martins dancing it with Kistler in "Far from Denmark", but I'm probably imagining it.

I saw the ballet twice in April 1983 with Katrina Killian and David McNaughton in the leads.

#10 bart

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:08 AM

I may be wrong, but my recollection is that Martins did not dance it himself, but that Soto and Ib Anderson alternated in the male lead.

I'm finding that my memory has become such a strange and variable thing, often based on visuals and impressions, while information per se often evaporates.

I have a strong feeling -- based on costumes and the Danish connection -- that I saw Martins and Kistler. It could, I suppose, have been Anderson, but he never struck me as being "like" Martins, despite being a Dane. It was definitely not Soto. Kistler humanized Martins dancing, lightened it up, it seems to me. That may be another reason he seems to stick in my mind in this.

Does anyone have more information on this that could help us out.

#11 kfw

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 04:02 AM

Martin's book Far from Denmark has photos of Martins dancing Margic Flute with Kistler, and photos of him rehearsing the work with Shawn Stevens, Deidre Neal Jock Soto, Stacey Calvert and Patricia Tomlinson. Martins notes that there were two casts of principals.

ETA: the photo of Martins and Kistler is from opening night. Far from Denmark also lists the casts:

Cast 1: Shawn Stevens, Sean Savoye 2. Katrina Killian, Jock Soto.

Opening night cast: Darci Kistler, Peter Martins.



#12 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 04:17 AM

i remember seeing it though i don't recall exactly when, just that i saw david mcnaughton.

#13 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 11:25 AM

Martin's book Far from Denmark has photos of Martins dancing Margic Flute with Kistler, and photos of him rehearsing the work with Shawn Stevens, Deidre Neal Jock Soto, Stacey Calvert and Patricia Tomlinson. Martins notes that there were two casts of principals.

ETA: the photo of Martins and Kistler is from opening night. Far from Denmark also lists the casts:

Cast 1: Shawn Stevens, Sean Savoye 2. Katrina Killian, Jock Soto.

Opening night cast: Darci Kistler, Peter Martins.


Good to have confirmation. I couldn't imagine Martins, at that time, dancing his own choreography. Isn't it interesting to see that casting, in light of everything that has happened since.

#14 bart

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 05:30 PM

Thanks for that information, kfw. I have never gotten around to Far from Denmark, but your post led me to look through Steven Caras' book of photographs, Peter Martins: Prince of the Dance.

There's a sweet full-page color shot of Kistler and Martins on page 63, taken at the NYCB premiere (Jan. 21, 1982). Caras has captured them hand in hand, suspended in air (assembles en avant). Martins has dark brown hair; Kistler's appears to be chestnut. To be honest, I would not have recognized her if it were not for the caption. Martins actually appears to be having a good time. :innocent:

#15 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 05:58 PM

Thanks for that information, kfw. I have never gotten around to Far from Denmark, but your post led me to look through Steven Caras' book of photographs, Peter Martins: Prince of the Dance.

There's a sweet full-page color shot of Kistler and Martins on page 63, taken at the NYCB premiere (Jan. 21, 1982). Caras has captured them hand in hand, suspended in air (assembles en avant). Martins has dark brown hair; Kistler's appears to be chestnut. To be honest, I would not have recognized her if it were not for the caption. Martins actually appears to be having a good time. :innocent:



I knew there was another documentary I'd just heard about, thanks for reminding me, Bart: Steven Caras.

I will add the info and link (to an article in a Huntington, LI paper about a documentary about Steven) as a reply to the information I posted about NYC Ballet dancers in Williamstown MA. which reveals an upcoming documentary about Karin von Aroldingen.


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