MCB Program IFanfare, Bugaku, Theme&Variations
Posted 12 October 2010 - 07:55 AM
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Music by Britten
Jerome Robbins’ tribute to Queen Elizabeth II – its premiere took place on the night of her Coronation in 1953 – is an enchantingly bright and goofy take on Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music by Mayuzumi
Balanchine’s most erotic ballet, a highly stylized Japanese mating ritual, Bugaku was created on Allegra Kent and Edward Villella. One critic said it had “the subtlety of Japanese painting on silk, the strength of Japanese wrestlers.” Another described how “The lovers stalk each other with expressionless hunger.” A third suggested that it might well have been called The Deflowering.
THEME AND VARIATIONS
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: P.I Tchaikovsky
Set in a spectacular 19th-century ballroom to the soaring music of Tchaikovsky, this is classical ballet at its grandest. The cast is large, the costumes lavish, the dancing elegant and joyous with strong, bold leaps and sharp, crisp moves. Long recognized as a Balanchine masterpiece!
Posted 14 October 2010 - 08:52 PM
Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:06 AM
I CAN'T WAIT to see Theme and Variations!. I haven't seen this little jewel of ballet live in years, and having the orchestra back makes it even more thrilling. I mean, is there any other opening that can give you more sense of grandeur with that timpani's exhilarating sound drumming in your ears...? (Perhaps one can compare it to the opening of the Swan Lake ballroom act...)It really makes you very alert and prepared for what's coming.
And then, I want to see how do they treat that PDD. Here we have one of the most beautiful melodies ever used for a duo, and so simple at the same time, with those 3/4 opening bars in pizzicatos, while the ballerina is basically walking over clouds, barely touching the floor while lifted and carried away by the danseur. In this sense, I can't really say which PDD is more beautiful, T&V or Diamonds.
To be honest, many times I imagine this ballet as the extended 4th Act of Sleeping Beauty, with Aurora, Desire and all the fairies and their attendants celebrating the wedding.
Could this be arranged like that at some point...?
Will report back...!!!
Posted 15 October 2010 - 01:36 PM
(Cristian, can you recognize Catoya's partner in the video?)
Posted 15 October 2010 - 03:31 PM
The short promo for this season's T&V uses clips from that earlier video.
Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:59 PM
Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:35 PM
This opportunity to prepare for a ballet, with posts from BT members, videos and insider stuff from the company, is wonderful. I've always thought that, when you are willing to do some work before the curtain rises, you can experience so much more during the actual performance.
Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:00 PM
Sadly, I couldn't make it on time to see the first two ballets...even racing from Key Biscayne to Downtown, due to over extended working hours, but according to the program, the leads in Bugaku were Wu and Garcia-Rodriguez.
Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:49 AM
Ditto with Carlos Guerra's Besiree-( ). He tried his best, but he couldn't make it all nice and clean for that famous sequence of 7 double tours en l'air. Generally speaking, I saw a slowing down of the ballet, and this is a NO-NO for T&V. I kept thinking..."stop paying so much attention at lines, and port de bras and the perfect placement and ATTACK,ATTACK, ATTACK the music...this is not Giselle!!!"
Edited to add: Did I just say "Don't think and just dance..."?!
Posted 17 October 2010 - 04:35 PM
I thought the program itself - Fanfare, Bugaku, and Theme and Variations - was well-chosen. Fanfare heralded the opening of MCB's 25th anniversary season as well as the return of live orchestral accompaniment, and was danced in spirited fashion. The costumes, while colorful, clever, and amusing, somewhat overwhelmed some of the smaller men. I thought the company shone in this ensemble piece, and looked particularly grand in the opening theme and closing fugue.
It was wonderful to see Bugaku danced by two casts (Haiyan Wu with Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez and P. Delgado with R. Reyes) so fascinatingly different in physicality and tone. The pairing of Haiyan and Garcia-Rodriguez - her ultra-femininity and perfectly proportioned loveliness offset by his magnetism and powerful grace - left its imprint firmly in my mind. Although I am not old enough to have seen Allegra Kent in her heyday, this seems to contain her essence and perfume, in its beautiful evocation of feeling and form, and its slightly kitsch-ey style.
It is impossible to speak about Jeannette Delgado in the ballerina role in Theme and Variations without recalling the joy she transmits - to the audience and to the atmosphere on stage - through every glorious movement phrase. Her technical command of the role is a joy in and of itself, but her shimmering musicality, grandeur, and musicality are the stuff of long-term memory. She illuminated this great ballet.
Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:18 PM
Which two of the performances did you see? Did Patricia dance at either?
I am looking forward to hearing your review of the other pieces on Saturday night.
Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:45 PM
cahill, Patricia danced the lead of Bugaku on Saturday night with Reyneris Reyes. Today the cast was the same as Friday night, T&V with Jeanette/Panteado and Bugaku with Wu/Isanusi
Posted 19 October 2010 - 12:12 PM
I saw Saturday night and Sunday matinee. Patricia Delgado danced Bugaku on Saturday and the Viola in Fanfare on Sunday. I thought she was lovely in Bugaku, with Reyes. Tricia Albertson danced the Viola on Saturday. She was charming, fleet, elegant.
Posted 20 October 2010 - 07:56 AM
One advantage (or disadvantage??) of a live orchestra is that the conductor can alter tempo to suit the dancer. You seemed to have witnessed an extreme version of tempo variation in those two contrasting performances. I wonder which performance the demi-soloists and corps dancers preferered?
Like you, I prefer speed and momentum, providing the dancer can keep the details clear and avoid blurring the details. Delgado is very good at that. (Gelsey Kirkland and Merrill Ashley were, too.)
Since this ballet was created for the strengths of Alonso (and, equally important, for the strengths of Youskevitch), I thought you might be interested in what B.H. Haggin wrote back at the time of the Ballet Theatre premiere in 1947.
I can't wait to see both Delgado and Kronenberg when MCB comes to the Kravis. (Assuming that the Gods of Casting are in a favorable mood, of course.)
By the way, if you have a copy of Arlene Croce's Going to the Dance, have a look at "From a Far Country," a 1978 piece that includes a long comparison of T&V and Sleeping Beauty (esp. the prologue and vision scene). Apparently Ballet Theatre asked Balanchine specifically for a work that would "fill the same function in the reportory as did Princess Aurora" (a suite of Sleeping Beauty excerpts).
The essay is not included in Writing in the Dark. P.M. me if you would like me to send you a photocopy.
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