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Peter Martins' Swan Lake - reception in the press


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#1 Anne

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 04:25 AM

Peter Martins’ version of Swan Lake from 1996 is back in the repertoire of RDB after many years absence. It was repremiered last Wednesday on the 15th of September.

It seems again that either you loath or you love this version, and that goes for Martins’ part in it as well as for the decors and costumes by the Danish painter Per Kirkeby. The reviews of the first night differ so much, that you wonder, whether they are talking about the same performance:

Some excerpts from Henrik Lyding’s review in "Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten", one of the big national papers (in my transation):
"It is hopelessly undramatic and on top of that extraordinarily ugly wrapped up. The costumes at the prince's court are shrill and unflattering”. "Per Kirkeby's pathetically amateurish costumes", "Showdance without feelings, without substance, without meaning. And everybody dance in the same way. Human beings and swans seem made of the same choreographic material, that is swaying arms, which apparently is the favorite motion of Peter Martins. (...) Paddling arms like swaying seagrass. Seasick choreographic boredom".

The full review (in Danish!) can be read here: Jyllands-Posten

In another of the big national papers, ”Berlingske Tidende”, Vibeke Wern tells of a completely different experience (again in my translation): ”The abstract universe of Per Kirkeby’s forest, which is the setting for the many spectacular and symbolic formations of the swans in Peter Martins’ version of the Swan Lake from 1996, is of marvellous beauty. It is magical already from the first act, when the young Siegfrieed stands in the forest and discovers the beautiful white swan princess, Odette, who dies her headfeathers.”
”The party in the second act offers both good choregraphy and dance, among other things in thesophisticated pas de quatre, and there are fiery temperament in the hungarian dance and sensual fervour in the russian dance.

The full review (in Danish) can be read here: Berlingske Tidende

Fortunately they are completely unanimous when it comes to the dancers: Alban Lendorf as Siegfried and Gudrun Bojesen as odette/Odile get all the praise possible:
Henrik Lyding: ”Gudrun Bojesen dances the swan princess with striking selfassurance, as if she were born on tiptoe. And sensitive as the white swan and icy as the black swan. Here you get all the bravoura you can ask for. And young Alban Lendorf as the prince proves once more that he is made of star material.”
Vibeke Wern: ”It was a delight to watch the lovely, experienced principal Gudrun Bojesen and the young shooting star, soloist Alban Lendorf, pairing as Odette and the Prince. (..) The charismatic Alban Lendorf, who danced the Prince for the first time, has the the most beautiful clear lines and epaulements in his dancing. He is an outstanding, precise jumper and without doing a lot of mime he is able to give character to the remote and dreaming prince (..). In their thoroughly musical phrasing one gets the feeling, that Bojesen and Lendorf have listened their way into the very soul of the music (..)”.

A new promotional video can be seen on the homepage of the RDB: Swan Lake trailer

#2 Jane Simpson

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 04:49 AM

Thank you for these, Anne - it's interesting to see two such totally different views of the production. And good to read such fine reports of Bojesen and Lendorf, too. I hope there'll also be reviews of the later casts.

(And I'd guess Lendorf would like your translation 'Alban Lendorf as the prince proves once more that he is made of star material' rather more than Google translate's 'Alban Lendorf...proves... he is made of the same stuff as asterisks'.)

#3 Anne

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 07:39 AM

Yes, these Google translations can really give you some good laughs! I just tried it out myself, curious to see what solutions the machine had chosen for some of the difficult passages in the reviews (Danish is an anarchic and very flexible language, which struggles heavily against being translated!), and I especially liked this one about the pale and delicate Gudrun Bojesen: "the beautiful tanned dancer". Tanned in this context just means highly experienced.

Apart from some good laughs it gives you the comforting insight, that the human brain is still not completely replaceable by machines!

#4 papeetepatrick

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 12:05 PM

I thought these were interesting too, and it does seem to give insight into Danish perception that I hadn't even remembered to associate much with this Swan Lake when I saw it last winter. I literally tend to forget that Peter Martins is esp. Danish, he's been with NYCB so long; while Hubbe's Danishness is always apparent. The 'paddling arms like swaying seagrass' is hilarious, whether or not it's accurate about the choreography or even a proper translation.

The more I discover about the unique tradition of ballet in Denmark the more I find it very special--but I'm surprised every time that I do find it so. I guess because it's so unexpected that it would have developed there to such a refined degree, when it didn't in other countries, including a number which are far more powerful politically. It is as if some extraordinary miraculous accidental thing happened--and early on too.

So that, in reading these, although I wasn't crazy about the production, it's the one that liked the production quite energetically that is the one that introduces us to a way of seeing that we aren't used to.

#5 Jane Simpson

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 07:11 AM

EVa Kistrup reviews three performances for DanceViewTimes - she's very enthusiastic indeed about some of the leading dancers, less so about the choreography.

"Alban Lendorf has already established himself as the leading dancer of the company "

"...only great misfortunes such a severe injuries will hinder [Guswiler] in becoming a leading star within the foreseeable future."

Bojesen/Lendorf and Grinder/Kupinski

Guswiler/Dean


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