miliosr

Ocean's Kingdom

57 posts in this topic

The September issue of Vogue (Kate Moss cover) contains a shortish feature on the upcoming Peter Martins/Paul McCartney/Stella McCartney collaboration, Ocean's Kingdom. (Sorry -- I couldn't find the story on Vogue's Web site so no link.)

Just looking at photos of Lauren King, Daniel Ulbricht and Giovanni Villalobos in Stella McCartney's designs . . . oh boy. I don't think there will be much middle ground on this one. If the costumes are any indication, this will be the most glorious triumph in the history of the classical ballet or its most embarrassing failure.

And here's the story synopsis from Vogue (without comment from me):

The production, which features Robert Fairchild as Prince Stone, Georgina Pazcoguin as Scala, and Sara Mearns as Princess Honorata, is a boy-meets-girl story; the daughter of King Ocean falls in love with the brother of King Terra and beautifully choroeographed tribulations ensue.

There's also an evil tribe called the Terra Punks.

Share this post


Link to post
If the costumes are any indication, this will be the most glorious triumph in the history of the classical ballet or its most embarrassing failure.

Lots of competition in both categories.

Share this post


Link to post

Sounds rather like West Side Story by the sea....but I'm still hoping for the best. I will not be surprised if it, indeed, turns out to be one of those love it or loath it type productions.

Share this post


Link to post

The September issue of Vogue (Kate Moss cover) contains a shortish feature on the upcoming Peter Martins/Paul McCartney/Stella McCartney collaboration, Ocean's Kingdom. (Sorry -- I couldn't find the story on Vogue's Web site so no link.)

Just looking at photos of Lauren King, Daniel Ulbricht and Giovanni Villalobos in Stella McCartney's designs . . . oh boy. I don't think there will be much middle ground on this one. If the costumes are any indication, this will be the most glorious triumph in the history of the classical ballet or its most embarrassing failure.

And here's the story synopsis from Vogue (without comment from me):

The production, which features Robert Fairchild as Prince Stone, Georgina Pazcoguin as Scala, and Sara Mearns as Princess Honorata, is a boy-meets-girl story; the daughter of King Ocean falls in love with the brother of King Terra and beautifully choroeographed tribulations ensue.

There's also an evil tribe called the Terra Punks.

The sets are credited to Perry Silvey,who began as a stage manager after the death of Ronnie Bates in the mid-80's. I know he has been involved in the construction/production aspects of all the productions, including things like the Calatrava sets. But as a set designer, he's the new talent on the block for this creation. My best wishes to him!

Share this post


Link to post

There was also a feature on Ocean's Kingdom in Dance Spirit Magazine this month. The article has some nice photos of Georgina Pazcoguin. Great to see her get some recognition with this opportunity! Link to story:

http://www.dancespirit.com/articles/3044

Wow, Krystin, that is so interesting! Thanks for posting. I always felt Georgina Pazcoguin was special and should be given recognition.

Share this post


Link to post

I think from this clip that the score sounds better than a lot of "serious contemporary classical" that's being commissioned these days. It also sounds to me like Sir Paul's been listening to a lot of neo-classical Stravinsky.

Share this post


Link to post

I think from this clip that the score sounds better than a lot of "serious contemporary classical" that's being commissioned these days. It also sounds to me like Sir Paul's been listening to a lot of neo-classical Stravinsky.

Sounds more like film music to me. Something like Jerry Goldsmith. Also, I am disappointed they have now dropped the performance of Union Jack from the Gala.

Share this post


Link to post

I have this irrational dislike of City Ballet and just about everyone connected with it. They just seem so darned smug.

But the photos and videos for "Ocean's Kingdom" are so freakishly beautiful that I want this project to be successful in spite of myself.

Share this post


Link to post

I just bought a tickets for Ocean's Kingdom - Thursday Sept. 29. The website wasn't working (at least for me) so I called. Guess I didn't realize there was a $9 per ticket fee.

Hope it's good. I'll be seeing NYCB a lot less than usual this year because of the prices and new seating situation.

Share this post


Link to post

Forgive my cynicism, but I'm looking at this whole undertaking from a whole new angle. Whether or not it ends up a great artistic success (miracles happen -- who knows?), it will prove, for at least a few seasons, to be a popular curiosity, likely to sell lots of tickets.

Even beyond that, Peter Martins has formed a relationship with a very wealthy potential benefactor. Every penny counts these days. I hope Sir Paul has a new passion for ballet and a burning desire to support it.

Share this post


Link to post

I have this irrational dislike of City Ballet and just about everyone connected with it. They just seem so darned smug.

But the photos and videos for "Ocean's Kingdom" are so freakishly beautiful that I want this project to be successful in spite of myself.

I used to feel the same way about New York City Ballet. Sara Mearns made me change my mind :P

Share this post


Link to post

Did anybody see this? So far the only review I've heard is from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, and he seemed to be reviewing the audience, which is probably for the best.

Share this post


Link to post

I attended. I enjoyed the music. It was a very distinguished composition. However, it sounded like it was more suitable as a film score than a ballet. (Sir Paul has mentioned in interviews that he had done some music for a project that didn't work out, and he used that music for this ballet. I'm wondering if the project he was referring to was a film score.) Anyway, as a result, there were many sections of the ballet where the music seemed merely like background music, rather than a source out of which the choreography arose. However, other sections were clearly more useful as the springboard for choreography. As for the choreography, the story was relatively easy to follow. Based on interviews I have read, Sir Paul may have intended some deep, political/environmentalist plot to the story. That didn't come through on stage. It was a boy wants girl/ bad people prevent boy and girl from uniting/ boy and girl finally get together story. It looked like a million other Martins ballets. In particular,the choreography was similar to various ballets that Martins has choreographed to the works of John Adams, particularly in the sections where the music was heavily percussive. Sara Mearns did a lot of swooning and emoting in Robbie Fairchild's arms. Their pas de deuxs were pleasant to look at, but not particularly memorable. Some of the acrobatic lifts of Mearns by Fairchild looked labored. The choreography for Amar Ramasar and his cohorts (in Mohawk like head gear) involved a lot of jumping and spinning. There was a section for "the entertainers", which in my opinion was the weakest section of the ballet, insofar as it did not seem to integrate into the story. Ulbricht did his usual jumping extravaganza ( in what looked like a clown wig). They finally found a suitable role for S. Lowery (as an Amazon). My favorite costume was the seafoam green costume of Sara Mearns. Georgina P. was saddled with the task of dancing with a huge cape. I feared for her safety with every step. Ramasar and his backup dancers looked menacing in their black attire, black eye makeup and mohawk headwear.

The audience seemed to like the show. Obviously, the crowd went bonkers when Sir Paul came out for a bow. Sir Paul seems like a very nice, humble man. Stella McCartney also came out for a bow. Spotted in the crowd were Alec Baldwin, Leslie Stahl, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Watts, Steve Buscemi, Bon Jovi.

On the whole, I would recommend the ballet. However, the choreography was not at a high level of sophistication or originality. Any other ballet talkers there? I heard on WQXR this AM that they raised $4 million last night at the NYCB gala.

At the beginning of the evening, Martins toasted Sir Paul with tea (rather than the traditional toast at the House Of Balanchine of vodka.

The evening started out with a little lecture by the conductor. The audience looked bored.

Share this post


Link to post

So the hype is finally over---thank you Mr. Macaulay. :huh:

Share this post


Link to post

Abatt. In your opinion, does this work have legs (in the sense of remaining in the repertory after the publicity has passed)? Will new audiences, attracted to a pleasant McCartney score and elaborate costuming, stick around to experience more serious work?

I ask partly because I am still befuddled by Miami City Ballet's investment a few years in a costly, elaborate and much-hyped Elvis Costello/ Twyla Tharp work which went nowhere and which, it's my guess, will not return.

Share this post


Link to post

I went the Gala performance too. Ocean's Kingdom - one word. Dud!

The music was unsuited for a ballet. I echo the comments that it sounded most like a music score, like something scored by Jerry Goldsmith. This music was not suited well for ballet choreography, and there was nothing in the music that sounded original in structure or tone. It was bland. This music was over-hyped and under-delivered, much like another Sir Paul's foray into classical music, Liverpool Oratorio. He should stick to pop music and stop the pretense of making significant contributions to the classical idiom.

As for the choreography, I am not a Martin's fan, but the music made Peter's task difficult. That said, the ballet was also bland, the several pas de deux were wasted opportunities for flashes of invention. The movements lacked dramatic crescendo in the right places. It was just always at one level of emotional intensity, save for the finale when Scala reemerges. Overall, you developed no connection with the characters or their plight.

The ballet was also visually unappealing, such a mess, and quite visually intrusive. The costumes prints and colors clashed when the corps and principals were on stage in numbers - which was often. The visual stimuli overwhelmed the senses to the point that one could get induced into vertigo. It was almost nauseating. I was not impressed by Stella McCartney's work. She made Robbie Fairchild look so unappealing with his make-up and hair - this from a dancer with a natural sympathetic looking persona. How she could screw that up....

So Sir Paul got his way on this, in every element of the production, for the control freak he is. Banishing "Union Jack" from the original program lineup because he "doesn't open up for any one." This comment was confirmed by numerous members of the company. He dictated everything, all the way down to the all-vegan menu for the supper ball. True egoism.

For the McCartney and Beatle groupies, they will see no wrong in this. For the A lusters who attended, they will not speak I'll of this work. But if you are true lover of City Ballet like me, you just shake your head at how bad it was.

There is a silver lining. The gala raised $4 million, compared to last Year's fall gala which raised 2.2 million. That's a nice hefty cut into the $6 million deficit.

Share this post


Link to post

Abatt. In your opinion, does this work have legs (in the sense of remaining in the repertory after the publicity has passed)? Will new audiences, attracted to a pleasant McCartney score and elaborate costuming, stick around to experience more serious work?

I ask partly because I am still befuddled by Miami City Ballet's investment a few years in a costly, elaborate and much-hyped Elvis Costello/ Twyla Tharp work which went nowhere and which, it's my guess, will not return.

I saw the gala performance, and without new choreography or changes to the current, it probably doesn't have legs.

Share this post


Link to post

Abatt. In your opinion, does this work have legs (in the sense of remaining in the repertory after the publicity has passed)? Will new audiences, attracted to a pleasant McCartney score and elaborate costuming, stick around to experience more serious work?

I ask partly because I am still befuddled by Miami City Ballet's investment a few years in a costly, elaborate and much-hyped Elvis Costello/ Twyla Tharp work which went nowhere and which, it's my guess, will not return.

Your question could start an interesting thread. Is "pop" music suitable to ballet? What should come first? The music or the dance? What are some examples of successful ballets done to pop scores? Who has or could in the future write a great pop score? Can great choreography transcend and enrich a pop score? Is Gershwin a "pop" composer? What about Mozart?

Share this post


Link to post

I think Ocean's Kingdom is selling well. I'm not sure if it will be revived in the future, but I would guess that it will be revived. My opinion of the choreography isn't as harsh as the Times'. I've seen MUCH worse at NYCB (Call Me Ben, Seven Deadly Sins, Lady w. Little Dog, to name a few.) This score is not pop music. It is, in my opinion, a well crafted classical composition.

Share this post


Link to post

I think Ocean's Kingdom is selling well. I'm not sure if it will be revived in the future, but I would guess that it will be revived.

Back in spring 2010 during the Calatrava festival, somebody on this board said that NYCB usually brings new works back for a second year, just to recoup some of the investment. They changed that policy for Call Me Ben (which I had the displeasure of seeing, not only in performance but also in open rehearsals). I haven't seen Ocean's Kingdom, but seriously hope they put it on the schedule for 2012-13, as it looks like I won't be able to see it this season. Despite the Times review, it doesn't sound quite as hideous as, say, Ben.

Share this post


Link to post