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Australian Ballet - New York City, June 12 - 17, 2012


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#1 susanger

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 06:28 PM

[size=3][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Any advice on what to see when the Australian Ballet is at Lincoln Center June 12 - 17, 2012? They are bringing[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Swan Lake - June 15 - 17[/font][/size]
[size=3][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"This dazzling version, created by superstar Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy, gives this most classical of ballets a modern twist. Set to Tchaikovsky’s immortal score, this spectacular interpretation features a contemporary storyline full of drama, wit and passion."[/font][/size]

[size=3][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Infinity - June 12 & 13
"The Australian Ballet shows off its agility, athleticism and unique Australian style in Infinity, a daring mixed bill. The program features Wayne McGregor’s rule-breaking Dyad 1929, a work created in 2009 especially for the company’s dancers; an electrifying collaboration between The Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australia’s Indigenous dance company; and a sensational selection of excerpts from the company’s most loved ballets set against a multimedia backdrop."[/font][/size]


[font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=3]Casting is not posted yet.[/size][/font]

#2 FauxPas

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 06:45 PM

Okay, if casting is posted - do we know any of these dancers? Is anyone following this company and can provide a cast list and advice on which cast to see?

#3 jsmu

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:12 AM

Okay, if casting is posted - do we know any of these dancers? Is anyone following this company and can provide a cast list and advice on which cast to see?

Faux Pas, I know some of them. however, imbecilically, the casting is still not available--the day before opening night in NY. Inexcusable.

#4 nysusan

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 07:35 AM

So nobody has seen them yet? Or is it that everyone is at a loss for words...

I wasn't planning to see the mixed bill but I got a free ticket so I went. It was a mixed bag. The first piece was a 45 minute combination of film about how the company started & how it has developed (rather self congratulatory, but then they are celebrating their 50th birthday) interspersed with gala type excerpts.

The excerpts were La Favorita , the 2nd act pdd from Giselle, grand pdd from Don Q and 2 modern pieces, Molto Vivace and an excerpt from Stanton Welch's Divergence. I'm not familiar with La Favorita but it was a classical type pdd that reminded me of Grand Pas Classique.

Basically, I thought the dancers looked much more comfortable in the modern works than in the classical/romantic pdd. In fact, my 2 favorite dancers were the ballerinas from Molto Vivace & Divergence, Amber Scott and Leanne Stojmenov respectively.

Although the women all looked well schooled, there was a certain stiffness and rigidity in the classic works that made them look very academic. The Giselle excerpt was very strange, the ballerina (Rachel Rawlins) showed rather formal, non romantic epaulment during the pdd, but became softer during her solos, some of which were quite lovely. Reiko Hombo did the DQ pdd with Chengwu Guo. She was the only one of the 3 women who did the classical/romantic pieces who really looked like a natural for the style she was dancing. She brought great soubrette charm and technical fire to DQ and I enjoyed it, especially her "fan" solo.

They had some tall, dansuer noble types (Ty King-Wall) and some great jumper/turners (Chengwu Guo) among the men but there was just a tiny bit of sloppiness and lack of clarity about them that kept them from being in the same league as ABT's men (IMO, anyway).

The program went down hill from there. I didn't enjoy McGregor's Dyad 1929 or Warumuk, although they were both danced very well. Waramuk especially started well, I liked the first 2 movements but after that ballet lost out to some very modern dance influenced aboriginal dancing and it lost my interest.

I saw their Swan Lake yesterday and, frankly, it is one of the worst ballets I've ever seen. They chopped up the score (just a few examples - the first act included the music from one of the national dances and some 2nd act lakeside music & they broke up the pas de trois music).

I found the choreography boring and unmusical, which made it very difficult to watch.This is Graeme Murphy's Charles/Diana/Camilla inspired version. I couldn't muster any sympathy for any of the main characters and I was ready to go home after the 45 minute 1st act but I convinced myself to stay. In the 2nd act the jilted princess bride Odette was confined to a sanatorium where she dreams of being a swan. It was better, but still not good and I left at the 2nd intermission.

I can only take solace in the fact that about a week from now the lovely Veronika Part will make all visions of this frankentchaikovsky nightmare vanish.

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 07:55 AM

...this frankentchaikovsky nightmare....


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#6 aurora

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:08 AM

So nobody has seen them yet? Or is it that everyone is at a loss for words...

I saw their Swan Lake yesterday and, frankly, it is one of the worst ballets I've ever seen. They chopped up the score (just a few examples - the first act included the music from one of the national dances and some 2nd act lakeside music & they broke up the pas de trois music).

I found the choreography boring and unmusical, which made it very difficult to watch.This is Graeme Murphy's Charles/Diana/Camilla inspired version. I couldn't muster any sympathy for any of the main characters and I was ready to go home after the 45 minute 1st act but I convinced myself to stay. In the 2nd act the jilted princess bride Odette was confined to a sanatorium where she dreams of being a swan. It was better, but still not good and I left at the 2nd intermission.

I can only take solace in the fact that about a week from now the lovely Veronika Part will make all visions of this frankentchaikovsky nightmare vanish.


I am in the "loss for words" camp.

It was interminable. 3 hours that felt like years. Black swan in act 1? what?
I pretty much agree with everything you said.

I did like some of the costumes and sets, but that isn't enough to make a dull/bad/tedious ballet worthwhile.

act III was just really really confusing btw, you didn't miss anything!

#7 Barbara

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 10:35 AM

I'll add a different view of the Swan Lake. I knew it was a modern-ish re-imagining so I wasn't expecting much and was thankful that this wasn't going to be the only Swan Lake on my menu this year (upcoming Hallberg/Semionova). I was able to get low cost tickets through TDF or else I would not have sampled this production. So basically I went not expecting much and felt if all else fails at least there will be the music. I have to say that I found it very compelling. The cast I saw was Amber Scott, Adam Bull and Lana Jones; each one excellent dancer/actors. Physically Adam Bull reminded me of a Hallberg/Stearns mix. Amber Scott was touching and vulnerable and Lana Jones proved that a petite dancer can have chilling stage presence. I liked the costumes in the cream-colored monochromatic first act and the black costuming at the ball in the last act. My biggest complaint is that it needed some definite editing - Odette goes crazy, then goes crazy some more, then seems better but then goes REALLY crazy. And the last act seemed to end but no, still more, and then still more. The performance seemed almost sold out as I peered around the orchestra level. The balconies were occupied but I couldn't tell if they were to capacity. The audience loved the performance and gave it a standing ovation singling out Amber Scott with the most applause. So no, not a beloved Swan Lake but one I'm happy to have seen and welcomed the introduction to some wonderful dancers.

#8 abatt

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 12:27 PM

Hi everyone. I went to the Aussie Swan Lake on Sat afternoon. I left at the first intermission, deciding that life was too short (and the day too lovely) to waste on watching the rest of this awful ballet. Glad I didn't miss much in Acts II and III. I left with a new appreciation of NYCB and ABT. Even the worst ballet by Peter Martins is more pleasurable than this Swan Lake. Glad I only paid $29 for my ticket.

#9 bart

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 03:56 PM

It's great to read the different takes on the updated (truncated? mutilated? desecrated?) Swan Lake.

When I read about this production in the NY Times, I found myself thinking about Matthew Bourne's version. There does seem to be an audience for this sort of thing. For a few years, anyway.

#10 abatt

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 04:07 PM

I enjoyed the Bourne SL. It was different, but it was musical and well choreographed. The Aussie SL, in my opinion, had none of those positive attributes.

#11 duffster

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 06:49 PM

From all I've heard of this Aussie SL, I would love to see the Trocks do it.

#12 nysusan

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 06:57 PM

I absolutely LOVED the Bourne Swan Lake, I thought it was brilliant and I was hoping for a similar experience with this version. Alas, it was not to be. This one was just so, so bad...

#13 bart

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 04:15 AM

I'm also a fan of the Bourne, which I saw only once on stage but have revisited several times on video. Abatt, I agree that the musicality and choreography are strong points, though I find the story-telling portions, especially those involving the oedipal relationship between Queen and Prince, drag the work down.

Macaulay's NY Times review gives credit to certain elements of the Australian Ballet version, but on the whole shares the negative impressions of our posters. For example:

The central idea of swans is where the production is dimmest.

And:

The way that dances and acting scenes are fitted to certain beats or phrases, but not others, feels arbitrary and often clumsy. The score has been reordered and cut in ways that have even more disregard for its internal structure than usual.

And:

As for the most famous theme in Tchaikovsky's score -- which ties swans, mystery and fate together -- it's astonishing how often it's allowed to wash over the action as if irrelevant.

Bourne, I think, avoided these traps.

The photo that accompanies Macaulay's review refers to Diana's famous statement, taken from her calculated and rather manipulative tv interview. "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." It's a stock ballet situation, which looks particularly clumsy in this photo. The stiff, frumpy costumes suggest a 1950s, or possibly an Edwardian, time-frame. An overdressed Lilac Garden? Mayerling?

The original Swan Lake story line benefits from a fairy-tale magic that transcends any particular time period or set of personalities. The Prince and the Swan are ideal types, not figures puffed up and melodramatized by the tabloids. That -- combined with a willingness to trust Tchaikovsky's score more or less as written -- is what continues to draw audiences over many generations.

Having said that, I'm glad the Australian Ballet production seems to have been a box office success.

#14 cobweb

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 07:05 AM

I saw Saturday night's Swan Lake. I liked the sets. The corps was beautifully rehearsed and impressively in sync during Act II, a bit less in Act IV. The corps, male and female, had the best choreography and opportunity to actually dance. Otherwise, I didn't find a whole lot to like in this production. None of the main characters is at all likeable, and they don't develop in any kind of coherent way. Odette seems clueless, then pathetically desperate to get a man who seems to have no redeeming qualities at all. The Baroness is a bitchy, one-note temptress. Siegfried just stands around looking sullen. In Act III we're supposed to believe that somehow Odette is now able to dance with alluring purity (did her stay in the sanatorium cure her?), and Siegfried suddenly falls out of love with the Baroness; now it's her turn to alternately mope around and desperately cling to him. But then, having retrieved her husband, Odette... commits suicide? As for dancing, it was hard to really assess, since the principals are given little to do but lifts and various contorted moves meant (I think) to denote mental anguish. Glad I saw it, but I wouldn't sit through it again!

#15 jerryb

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 07:23 PM

I am also in the "lost for words" category. I saw the Saturday evening performance with TDF seats in the second row to the right and at first thought that the bad viewing angle was coloring my opinion. Alas, that was not the case. Things quickly went downhill. I think what bothered me most was the complete lack of respect for the score. Not only chopping it up but the terribly unmusical choreography. Very sad that the powers that be chose to present the Australian Ballet's dancers in a work that is not worthy of them.

I left after the second act. Was surprised the read that

The audience loved the performance and gave it a standing ovation

. I thought the audience response was pretty tepid except after the dance of the four swans which I think was something they recognized and could grab onto.

Even the worst ballet by Peter Martins is more pleasurable than this Swan Lake.


I said to my companion after the first act "I forgive Peter Martins".


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