mussel

2013 Met Season--Pre-Season and General Info

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One more prediction, one production will be retired with a new version to be premiered in 2015.

Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty?

This seems to be written in the stars. And it might be SB I guess. Revamp maybe from the resident choreographer, just a wish!

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Oh Terpsichore, please do not let Ratmansky ruin the Swan Lake. It's one of the last pleasures I still have in life - please do not take it away from me.

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Oh Terpsichore, please do not let Ratmansky ruin the Swan Lake. It's one of the last pleasures I still have in life - please do not take it away from me.

Hilarious..rofl.GIF

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One more prediction, one production will be retired with a new version to be premiered in 2015.

Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty?

Alastair Macaulay has already told us which way he would vote. From his overview of ABT's Met season, in today's NY Times:

"This sub-Disney "Beauty" has great faults; its fiddlly overhaul of Marius Petipa's choreography for the Prologue Adagio damages the whole ballet's structure. But thanks to changes large and small, it now repays rewatching as the company's "Swan Lake" does not."

Castle Denizens Spring to Life (Some Especially)

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If it's one of those two I'd guess SL, as it is the older production (no matter how flawed the SB is).

SL actually is a fairly handsome production physically--Von Rothbart costumes notwithstanding.

SB is not, but both have problems with the dance text.

SL thus seems a more appealing revamp project (financially), as hopefully some of the sets/costumes could be retained.

NB: I think this maybe should be in the 2014 prediction thread not the 2013 gen info one?

I agree that the scenery (excepting the rickety maypole) and costumes for Swan Lake are actually quite lovely and are among the most richly detailed in ABT's repertoire. I wouldn't mind if they kept the physical production and restaged it, hopefully with a more complete final act. Does Ratmansky ever do more historically-based reconstructions/restagings of nineteenth-century ballets? Or are they always in the vein of the ABT Nutcracker (i.e. mostly original choreography)?

Now that I've gotten more used to the Disneyesque elements of the Sleeping Beauty, it has given me time to take in the awful quality of the painting of the backdrops and side panels (not sure of the term for the flat panels by the wings). During every wedding scene we have to look at a hideous, poorly drawn, poorly painted cherubin face above the central door where all the characters enter. And the forest in the vision scene looks like it was painted by someone who specializes in airbrushed t-shirts.

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Oh Terpsichore, please do not let Ratmansky ruin the Swan Lake. It's one of the last pleasures I still have in life - please do not take it away from me.

Agree w. you Waelsung. When Ratmansky gets his hands on a classic that he tries to revamp to make his own unique stamp, things go off the rails. I could not stand his Nutcracker or his Firebird. He is at his best when he is creating something from scratch, rather than making a new version of a well known classic.

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Oh Terpsichore, please do not let Ratmansky ruin the Swan Lake. It's one of the last pleasures I still have in life - please do not take it away from me.

Agree w. you Waelsung. When Ratmansky gets his hands on a classic that he tries to revamp to make his own unique stamp, things go off the rails. I could not stand his Nutcracker or his Firebird. He is at his best when he is creating something from scratch, rather than making a new version of a well known classic.

I actually like both those ballets very much (especially his Nutcracker). That said, i don't have the investment in either of those ballets that I do in SL and really think that in a company such as ABT the SL has to cleave closely to the original dance text (ok we know it has changed a lot over the years and I don't want Benno in the Act II pdd, but a fairly "traditional" approach is warranted).

What about his DQ? I know some people on this board have seen it...where does that fall in terms of originality v tradition

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I think it's safe to say that if one of the "warhorses" gets revised, Ratmansky will be the one to do it.

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Ratmansky's Don Q is traditional. There's a DVD/HQ digital download version available with Dutch National Ballet. He and Burlaka also collaborated on the Bolshoi's "Le Corsaire".

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Ratmansky's Don Q is traditional. There's a DVD/HQ digital download version available with Dutch National Ballet. He and Burlaka also collaborated on the Bolshoi's "Le Corsaire".

I forgot about the Corsaire, which is a fantastic production.

Thanks for responding re: the Don Q! That was my impression from what was said about it previously, but I wasn't sure if I was remembering properly.

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NB: I think this maybe should be in the 2014 prediction thread not the 2013 gen info one?

The production was part of 2013 Met roster, and I don't want to start 2015 thread.

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This clip will give you an idea of the Ratmansky version (although this is not my favorite ballerina to play Kitri)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8ebKxHkaHY

Mr Ratmansky's ballet follows all of the iconic steps from the original, but his version has more steps, fewer pauses to stand around compared to more traditional versions. Also, his versions look more like natural, organic dances. The characters look more like they are dancing for their own pleasure, and for the pleasure of their own friends. This creates a sense of vitality that is very engaging for the audience. But they also look less formal in style (not necessarily formalistic, as in the Soviet criticism). Some people think it looks sloppy. I know "The Rat" has his detractors. But I enjoy his works and will continue to pay my hard earned money to go see them.

Selfishly, I wish ABT would do the Ratmansky version. Why? Because I want PNB to build the sets and costumes, and share the production with ABT.

Realistically, the current Baryshnikov staging is popular in NYC and on tour, that blood-orange dress for Kitri is something of an institution!

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Considering that ABT already has productions of all of the usual suspects, it's a pretty sure bet that one of the existing productions will be replaced. The productions that bring in the most revenue, are the most prestigious and have the big guest names, and on which traditional sponsors want to hang their nameplates are "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty," which are also the ABT productions that get the most criticism.

I haven't seen the Swamp Thing, but my sense from what is written here, the criticism for the production has at least in part an affectionate tone, unlike for "Sleeping Beauty."

I saw the first revised version of "Sleeping Beauty," which is a hot mess, and if there's anyone who can bring coherence, balance, and proportion to this ballet -- choreographically and dramatically -- it's Ratmansky. Not to be underestimated is his ability to involve every last person on stage and how he demands that every person who puts foot on stage is invested. (This aspect is missing in the film of "Don Q" because the editors had to choose one thing to watch at any momement, and outside the set pieces, at most 25% was captured.). Since the corps has to spend a lot of time carrying the figurative baskets of grapes, at least in a Ratmansky version, they'll be integral. They deserve at least this.

Also, his versions look more like natural, organic dances. The characters look more like they are dancing for their own pleasure, and for the pleasure of their own friends. This creates a sense of vitality that is very engaging for the audience. But they also look less formal in style (not necessarily formalistic, as in the Soviet criticism). Some people think it looks sloppy.

I don't see anything sloppy about his "Don Q," which is put together with the precision of a room full of Swiss watches. There are a lot of things going on at once: it should be a perfect piece for our age of constant distraction, but it demands that the audience be it's own camera in many of the group scenes. However, where there was a plot point to be made, like Basilio feigning death, he seamlessly pulled back the distractions and the focus was on the point that furthered the plot.

He also used the Grand Pas structure that Petipa used in more than one ballet, which was having two soloists take part in it. It softens the circus aspect of the "Don Q" Act III Pas de Deux.

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Realistically, the current Baryshnikov staging is popular in NYC and on tour, that blood-orange dress for Kitri is something of an institution!

Although the current staging seems close to the Baryshnikov staging from 1978, he is not credited in the print programs. Choreography is credited to Petipa and Gorsky with staging credited to McKenzie and Jones.

After Baryshnikov resigned as AD in 1989, there were some reports that he was taking his ballets with him, but perhaps others remember the exact details on this. Others might remember better than I do to what extent we're seeing the Baryshnikov staging.

Another oddity about the Baryshnikov staging: several years ago, I stumbled onto a complete performance on YouTube of the Kirov in Japan doing the full-length DQ with Baryshnikov (before he defected, of course). It didn't stay on-line very long, though. My memory is that it was strikingly similar to the version he staged for ABT in 1978. Perhaps somebody realized the similarities were too close and demanded that the Kirov version be taken off-line. I wonder if others remember this.

The red dress for Kitri was worn by Cynthia Harvey in the 1983 performance, still available on DVD. But in the premiere season, Gelsey wore a long purple dress in Act I. You could see brief glimpses of it on her web site at one point. And it's visible in the archival tapes you can see at the NYPL Performing Arts Library.

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Realistically, the current Baryshnikov staging is popular in NYC and on tour, that blood-orange dress for Kitri is something of an institution!

the staging for ABT's current Petipa/Gorsky production of DON QUIXOTE is credited to Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones.

Baryshnikov withdrew his version when he left the company in 1989/90.

the one that immediately followed at ABT was by Vladimir Vasiliev.

if this current one bears any resemblance to what Baryshnikov staged it's b/c such sections quote the standard Petipa/Gorsky choreographic texts that Baryshnikov's own staging included.

Loquasto's designs, both scenery and costumes, have been more or less maintained at ABT but even these have been altered since the time of Baryshnikov's staging, tho' to be sure there are any number of similarities from Baryshnikov's day.

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Considering that ABT already has productions of all of the usual suspects, it's a pretty sure bet that one of the existing productions will be replaced. The productions that bring in the most revenue, are the most prestigious and have the big guest names, and on which traditional sponsors want to hang their nameplates are "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty," which are also the ABT productions that get the most criticism.

I haven't seen the Swamp Thing, but my sense from what is written here, the criticism for the production has at least in part an affectionate tone, unlike for "Sleeping Beauty."

I saw the first revised version of "Sleeping Beauty," which is a hot mess, and if there's anyone who can bring coherence, balance, and proportion to this ballet -- choreographically and dramatically -- it's Ratmansky. Not to be underestimated is his ability to involve every last person on stage and how he demands that every person who puts foot on stage is invested. (This aspect is missing in the film of "Don Q" because the editors had to choose one thing to watch at any momement, and outside the set pieces, at most 25% was captured.). Since the corps has to spend a lot of time carrying the figurative baskets of grapes, at least in a Ratmansky version, they'll be integral. They deserve at least this.

I think people enjoy complaining about swamp thing and the purple pimp, but the real criticism (with more validity) of SL is its truncated final act.

Personally I'd rather see SB be overhauled. Despite Macaulay's assertion, I think it is by far the weaker by far of the two. I just wonder if ABT will be willing to toss such a considerable expense so soon.

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What struck me most about SB is how much classical dancing there actually is. I'm happy not to sit through a cutesy Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood, and instead keep the focus on the classical dancing. Please don't even touch the Vision scene. Mostly I disliked Carabosse's minions, who reminded me of characters in Ratmansky ballets (Nutcracker?) Also, the costumes are just too over-the-top elaborate. No wonder they need "dressers" backstage.

I'd love to see SL revised, especially (1) the el-cheapo maypole in Act 1; (2) the Act 1 costumes which seem huge and heavy and must be unbearable to dance in; (3) again, the heavy costuming in Act III, especially the headpieces, like the pillbox hat, that obscure the line; (4) the seemingly random running and jumping across the stage at the beginning of Act 4 while the scenery is being changed; (5) an Act IV closer in its soulful dancing of the entire corps to the beautiful one with Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev and the State Ballet of Perm, on DVD.

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I can't find where this was previously discussed, but has there been any formal announcement anywhere on any ABT corps members leaving post Met season? It doesn't look like their website has been updated with the dancer roster yet (even Irina is still listed).

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[Admin beanie on]

The forum rules prohibit the mention of any info that is not official. That includes partial info that hasn't been made official, ex: a number without names, and any mention that you know something that other members don't. There is nothing new in this: it's been policy for over a decade.

[Admin beanie off]

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Since Ratmansky's track record was bought up, here's the impressions (reviews here and in newspapers) of his full-length staging:

Petipa/Ivanov classics
Le Corsaire: positive
Nutcracker: mixed to positive
Don Q: positive

Non Petipa
Bright Stream: positive
Flames of Paris: positive
Lost Illusion: ?
Bolt: ?
R&J: ?
Cinderella: mixed
Anna Karenina: positive
Little Humpback Horse: positive

Did I miss anything? I haven't heard much about Lost Illusion, Bolt (both Bolshoi) and R&J (Toronto Ballet). So he's got a pretty good track record in terms of full-length staging. If he was to stage one of the Petipa classics, I hope he'd follow the paths of Corsaire and Don Q.

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Ratmansky's R&J is performed by The National Ballet of Canada (there is no "Toronto Ballet"). Reviews in Canada (and from Alastair Macaulay) have been mostly rapturous; in England they were mostly negative. I have posted links to reviews

http://toursenlair.blogspot.ca/2013/04/natl-ballet-of-canada-romeo-and-juliet.html

http://toursenlair.blogspot.ca/2013/03/national-ballet-of-canada-romeo-juliet.html

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As a former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, thank you, kbarber, for the previous email!

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Since we have been talking about discerning Iago's motivations, I thought I would post this review of a current production of Othello that is playing at London's National Theater, with the great actor Rory Kinear playing Iago. This article addresses the question of Iago's motives. Othello will be shown live in the US at part of the NTLive programs on Sept 26, 2013. (Go To the NTLive website to find theaters and times).

http://theater.nytim...6.html?ref=arts

off%20topic.gif I saw this yesterday and was disappointed. Kinnear's Iago was distressingly monochromatic. Adrian Lester was mostly a void, and the production itself is a little clunky. The only thing that saved it for me was Lyndsey Marshal's Emilia.

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Did I miss anything? I haven't heard much about Lost Illusion, Bolt (both Bolshoi) and R&J (Toronto Ballet). So he's got a pretty good track record in terms of full-length staging. If he was to stage one of the Petipa classics, I hope he'd follow the paths of Corsaire and Don Q.

As others have stated, Ratmansky's Corsaire is extraordinarily faithful to the Petipa version - probably more faithful than most other productions around. I'd add that for the two ballets where he's really invented his own choreography wholesale (Nutcracker and Cinderella) there is no canonical version available. (I happen to really love both productions anyway - although I seem to be the only person who feels that way about his Cinderella). Anyways, I think we could count on him preserving the Petipa and Ivanov choreography in SL and SB. I for one would love to see him revamp SL, mostly because I've yet to see a production anywhere that satisfies me and I want to see him give it a go, whereas there are lots of excellent SB productions at other companies.

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