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POB @ Harris Theater in Chicago


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#1 miliosr

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 05:03 PM

According to the e-mail I received from the Harris Theater in Chicago, the POB will perform two programs:

Program A: Giselle
Tuesday, June 26 @ 7:30PM
Wednesday, June 27 @ 7:30PM
Thursday, June 28 @ 7:30PM

Program B: Lifar's Suite en blanc/Petit's L'Arlesienne/Bejart's Bolero
Saturday, June 30 @ 2:00PM
Saturday, June 30 @ 7:30PM
Sunday, July 1 @ 2:00PM

#2 Jack Reed

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 08:01 AM

Thanks, miliosr. I just received a large postcard from the theater which doesn't bother to identify the choreographers in the mixed bill, so your identifications are welcome. Was there any word in your e-mail about the presence of an orchestra? Nothing about that on the theater web site, either (though there are some links to YouTube clips, a good idea not carried far enough, IMHO).

Oh, and was there any word about a third program? The Harris Theater web page says

The full 154-member company will perform three diverse programs.

and then presents the repertory for Program A and Program B. (Let's hope the dancers can count better!)

But I don't think I have ever heard of tickets going on sale over a year before the curtain goes up!

Edited by Jack Reed, 13 April 2011 - 09:53 AM.


#3 lovemydancers

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:07 AM

A friend who lives in Chicago purchased Giselle tickets mid-morning the first day they went on sale, and said much of the orchestra was already sold! :speechless-smiley-003:

#4 Jack Reed

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:09 AM

Was that for opening night, which is getting more promotion, or one of the later Giselles?

#5 lovemydancers

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:59 AM

Yes, for June 26th.

#6 miliosr

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 03:57 PM

Oh, and was there any word about a third program?

Sorry for the late reply.

No, my notice only referenced two programs.

#7 Cliff

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 09:00 PM

Selling tickets 14 months before the performance is surprising to me. Is this a record lead time?

#8 trieste

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 09:26 PM

Snagged tickets to see Giselle tomorrow and the Sunday mixed rep. Didn't think I'd get to see Giselle, as it was evidently sold out when I got my Sunday tickets, but today the Harris sent out a newsletter for $30 nosebleeds. Anyone else going?

#9 miliosr

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:58 AM

Anyone else going?

I'll be at both mixed bills on Saturday. It was Limon or POB this year and I went with POB.

#10 lovemydancers

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:03 AM

A good friend is going. He has only been to one other ballet performance in his life, and all he can say is "Ah, Patricia McBride....". I'm looking forward to his reaction to POB's Giselle. Posted Image

#11 Jack Reed

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:47 PM

I'm going Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, and I'm hoping to meet a few "modern" fans, neighbors, there on Saturday. I'll be farther back than I really like, in row U, where the price might give you a nosebleed, but - as we observed long ago - the tickets flew this time. (And it's not even called Swan Lake, either.)

#12 trieste

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:25 PM

Beautiful, even in the last row of the upper balcony (stuck in an acoustic deadspot no less)! I was pleased to see Marie Agnes Gillot as Myrtha -- and what a Myrtha she was, as if on wires. The corps was stunning. One thing though -- was Ciaravola injured? She did the act 1 hops left to right, and didn't make it very far. Other than that she was gorgeously romantic.

ETA: Hm, it seems the French do the hops that direction, rather than right to left as I'm used to? Can anyone clarify?

#13 kbarber

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:30 AM

Anyone else going?

I'm bringing a group of 27 (!), most from Toronto, Thursday and Friday, some of us also going Saturday night.

#14 Jack Reed

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:33 AM

27 people from Toronto?! Ho-ly Cow! Wait 'til the Mayor hears about that! I'm not inquiring on Hizzonner's behalf or anything, just curious, but, why Chicago and not DC, the city closer to Toronto, kbarber?

#15 Jack Reed

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:07 PM

(Wednesday, June 27, 2012) Oh my God, I thought, the real thing! ABT's production of several weeks ago (I saw the Ossipova - Hallberg cast) proved to be something of a warmup for this. There, wonderful ability was on view in the principals' dancing - although Hallber's acting seemed weak - but in some other roles, the farther down the ranks you went, the - to make an analogy with dramatic theater - the worse their costumes fit; they inhabited their roles less well, I mean, even though the roles made more modest demands.

But here! Every move by everyone on stage contributed to the effect of the whole, and what a beautiful scene the first act was, too. (And very effectively lit by the Harris Theater, with a slight golden glow upstage and brighter light downstage to set off the more important action there.) Everything of a piece, all one, a vital and energized organism, a thriving world for us to visit.

At an hour, longer than usual, too, I think; usually, 3/4 of an hour for Act I is my recollection. I'm not such a huge fan of this ballet as of some others, so I'm less familiar with it, but my feeling is that by extending it - by the inclusion of the group of eight girls whose dances were especially unfamiliar, for example - extending it at the same high quality as the familiar parts, POB has made it still better. Or was it that all of it was so well performed - better than perfect, not boring, unfailingly fresh and vital - that these dances seemed new to me?

The qualities of the dancing that most pleased me were the inflection of detail - now sharp and clear, now nuanced and clear, within the phrase, as appropriate to it, most taking in the arms of the corps early in Act II, all within continuous flow. Nowhere was there the sense of "Here we do this and then we go over here and do that", barely connected posing I have sometimes seen - I recall from many years ago a detachment of Kirov in Scotch Symphony staged by Suzanne Farrell, no less - and veteran watchers of POB may grin if they want, but now I share the regard I've heard for this company. (Before, I was more my habitual skeptic.) What a rich experience!

A comparison that came to mind from my recent experience was MCB's performances of Balanchine's Nutcracker last December - the ballets are similar in that they're - may I say multimodal? - there's dancing and pantomime and drama and stage fantasy - and though I had a sense of more ripened mastery here and greater immediacy there, the realizations were of a kind. (POB states on the cast sheet this was their 758th performance, not necessarily of Giselle. Okay. I don't think it would ever occur to anyone at MCB to count up their performances.)

I did notice a certain underplaying sometimes, though, and I wonder whether this is due to a sense that the heightened drama we sometimes see - I'm probably most familiar with the Makarova-Baryshnikov video, where he makes much of that "She's here!" moment on the upward rush in the music at the beginning of the first pas de deux in Act II, makes his exhaustion later pretty agonizing, and plays up his astonishment at the end at the night's experience, to say nothing of his laying the trail of lilies from Giselle's grave as he exits at the end of Act II, and I remember the National Ballet of Cuba years ago pointing up Albrecht's rejection of his royal robe (and, we infer, everything it represents) at the end of Act I - is inauthentic, maybe even Russian: Nicolas le Riche merely caressed the cross on the grave slowly, and walked slowly, pensively, off, dragging his cloak, which I thought rather understated what had happened; but sometimes the implicative is more effective than the overt.

One thing irked me though, and that was the lighting in Act II, which, unlike in Act I, made major matters downstage - downstage center especially - less visible and consequently, less effective: In this part of the stage the light was weaker than upstage, where already it was weaker and "cooler" than in Act I, appropriately, as Act II takes place at night, and although there was some attempt at times to bring out the principals with soft follow-spots, these and the general downstage lighting were inconsistent depending on just where the dancers were, so we had no chance to adjust and compensate.

So it's my fond hope and wish that when this lovely, beautiful production gets to the Kennedy Center it benefits from lighting which enables it to be seen in its full glory, instead of subjecting its audience to the provincial bumbling we had here. The Harris Theater has as its motto, "Hear the Music, See the Dance" but it takes good lighting for us to See the Dance.


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