PeggyR

Wheeldon's Cinderella

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Christopher Wheeldon's new, full-length 'Cinderella' is being co-produced by Het Nationale Ballet (world premiere in December) and San Francisco Ballet (U.S. premiere next May). Here's a short promo (in Dutch) on Facebook.

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And here's a

video (part 1; apparently part 2 hasn't been posted yet).

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And here's a

video (part 1; apparently part 2 hasn't been posted yet).

Thanks Peggy - I look forward to seeing this production in the Spring!

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Thanks for the "making of" link -- it's quite brief, of course, but it looks like he has some very interesting things going on rhythmically and technically. I hope I get a chance to see this at some point.

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Some more dancing, and a quick look at one of the (very pretty) costumes.

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(second not there yet) showing rehearsal footage with the Het Nationale Ballet. Wheeldon reveals that he has added four Fates characters who guide Cinderella through her story. It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

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Interesting that Beatriz Stix-Brunnel is the model in the costume design segment. Is she no longer at the Royal Ballet?

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More talking heads than dancing, but Anna Tsygankova (Cinderella) has some interesting comments about Wheeldon’s process (starting about 3:35).

Also, if you follow Isaac Hernandez (former SFB soloist, now at Het) on Twitter, he has a nice photo of the stage set (I'm at work and can't get to Twitter for the link).

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A couple of Cinderella rehearsal shots of Het Nationale Ballet via tweets from Isaac Hernandez.

A look at some of the costumes. Not sure I want to know who/what the gentleman with the really bad manicure is supposed to be.

This one looks like it might be the ballroom set.

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Cinderella opened last night (12/13/12) at the Het Nationale Ballet. Here's another

with a good look at sets and costumes, and some of the choreography.

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I'm planning to see this in San Francisco -- I can't wait! I wish they'd film this in Amsterdam though: I'm sure Matthew Golding will be a wonderful Prince.

Edited to add: Of course, it would be wonderful if I had beaucoup frequent flier miles and could just pop over to Amsterdam:

Marc Haegeman's Photos from Amsterdam

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Here's a good review from Laura Cappelle at the Financial Times

As with Wheeldon’s recent Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the Royal Ballet, Cinderella’s merits are often more theatrical than choreographic. Meaning and character are layered on top of the steps rather than carved within them, and the ball scene and grand pas de deux for Cinderella and her Prince fail to get under Prokofiev’s skin. The dancers run with Wheeldon’s efficient, fast sequences, however, and the production is irresistible in its handling of the narrative. The evil stepsisters are surprisingly tolerable, Maia Makhateli makes a delightfully fleet and natural Cinderella in the second cast ...

And there's also this note about a dancer missing from the San Francisco Ballet lineup this year:

and the matinée...featured a dancer to watch: Isaac Hernández, who announced his potential as the Prince’s friend with bright clarity.

My only quibble with the review would be about San Francisco Ballet's straitened times, what with its ambitious program in the past two years of lush ballet-opera works.

There are also reviews in the Amsterdam newspapers de Volkskrant and Trouv – the latter exuberantly headlined "Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon proves he’s the best in the business with his version of the enchanted love story".

http://www.ft.com/in...l#axzz2FecR4fvo

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Quiggin: Thanks for the review link. This is sounding better and better.

Here's a link that I don't think has been posted here yet: Marc Haegeman's photos of the ballet. Whatever it cost, the money is up there on the stage.

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That looks like an absolutely beautiful production, though I can understand if a critic thinks the staging/storytelling is more interesting than the actual choreography (the effect in the trailer of the carriage travelling looks amazing). That's how I felt about his Alice as well, when I saw the National Ballet do it. Still, for a family story ballet, that's not all that bad of a thing.

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Here's the synopsis, taken from the DNB program:

Act One

1 Garden Estate

Young Cinderella is playing outside with

her mother and father when suddenly her

mother is taken ill. In terrifying rapidity

her mother is taken from her and Four

Fates are left to watch over Cinderella,

who weeps over her mother’s grave. A

tree sprouts from her tears.

2 Royal Palace

The young Prince Guillaume and his

friend Benjamin, the valet’s son, dash

through the hallways of the palace causing

havoc, pursued by Madame Mansard,

the prince’s dancing mistress. Suddenly

King Albert and Queen Charlotte

appear, stiff and formal. The king is appalled

at Guillaume’s lack of discipline

but the queen is more forgiving. The boys

dash off again into the garden.

3 The Grave

Cinderella, older, brings flowers to her

mother’s grave. Two girls, Clementine

and Edwina, appear, followed by their

mother Hortensia, on the arm of Cinderella’s

Father. Cinderella realises that this

is to be her new family. Hortensia hands

Clementine a bouquet to present to Cinderella

who, horrified on behalf of her

dead mother, discards it. Her father insists

that she take the flowers, but Cinderella

hurls them at Hortensia’s feet.

Cinderella’s father will not tolerate this

behaviour. Fuelled by pride alone, Cinderella

assumes a subservient attitude

towards the women, thus sealing her own fate.

4 Royal Palace Gallery

King Albert attempts to explain to his

grown son the political connections to be

gained by marrying a titled princess.

Queen Charlotte writes invitations to an

upcoming ball where the prince will meet

these prospective brides. Guillaume is

quickly distracted by Benjamin who imitates

the many foreign princesses in the

portraits hanging on the walls. King Albert

becomes enraged at his son’s lack of

responsibility to his future kingdom.

Guillaume can’t believe his parents

would force him into a loveless marriage.

Albert insists the invitations be delivered

in person by the prince himself. Guillaume

and Benjamin hatch a plan to

trade places, pretending to be one another.

5 Cinderella’s Kitchen

Cinderella stoically serves her family

breakfast. The briefest sign of tenderness

towards Cinderella from her father is

frowned upon by Hortensia. Edwina follows

closely in her mother’s footsteps,

gaining favour from her. Clementine, the

sweeter stepsister, is bullied into following

suit. A poor beggar arrives at the

door seeking food and warmth. Taking

pity, Cinderella brings him into the kitchen,

but Hortensia, horrified, casts him

out again. ‘The Prince’ (Benjamin) appears

at the door. He has discovered a

poor beggar outside and insists that

Hortensia offer him food and a bit of

warmth. Hortensia feigns concern and

orders Cinderella to help the beggar. ‘The

Prince’ has come to deliver invitations to

a ball where he shall choose his bride.

Left alone with Cinderella, the beggar

(Prince Guillaume in disguise) sees true

kindness in this girl. The two pretend to

be at the ball, laughing and dancing.

6 The Night of the Ball

Cinderella is cleaning the kitchen when

the rest of her family appears, dressed for

the ball. There was an invitation for Cinderella,

but Hortensia throws it into the

fire, and off her family goes to the palace

without Cinderella. The Fates, who have

continued to watch over Cinderella, present

her with her reconstituted invitation

and lead her to her mother’s grave.

7 The Grave

From the tree, spirits of Lightness, Fluidity,

Generosity and Mystery appear to

teach Cinderella the steps she will need

for the ball. Embraced by the branches,

Cinderella is transformed and the Fates

send her on her way, cryptically warning

her to keep an eye on the time.

Act Two

1 The Palace Ballroom

The Ball is underway when Cinderella’s

family arrives. The king and queen witness

the rather tipsy arrival of Prince

Guillaume and Benjamin, neither in correct

attire for such a formal occasion.

Cinderella’s stepsisters still believe Benjamin

to be the prince, giving the two

young men another chance for deception.

Guillaume finds he is uninterested in any

of the eligible ladies, stepsisters included.

A magical atmosphere fills the ballroom

as a mysterious masked girl arrives. Guillaume

is immediately drawn to her. Cinderella,

recognising Guillaume as the urchin,

turns to flee, but is gently guided

back to him by the Fates. The couple

waltz together. Seeing the interest the

prince shows in this mysterious beauty,

Hortensia takes to the bottle, humiliating

herself. Benjamin dances with Clementine,

whom he likes. Guillaume and Cinderella

dance, falling deeper in love.

When Hortensia rips off Cinderella’s

mask, it is time for her to flee. In the chaos

caused by her sudden departure, she

leaves behind one golden shoe. Guillaume

vows to marry her.

Act Three

1 In the Kingdom

Benjamin and Guillaume search for Cinderella,

trying the shoe on every female

foot they can find.

2 Cinderella’s Kitchen

Cinderella awakens, and with the help of

the Fates, remembers her astonishing

night at the palace. Hiding the other

golden shoe on the mantelpiece, she resigns

herself to her daily chores. Clementine

tells Cinderella of the boy she met,

and then Edwina turns suspicious when

she spies Cinderella dancing steps from

the ball. Hortensia viciously attacks Cinderella,

and father must step in. Unannounced,

Benjamin and Guillaume arrive,

exhausted from trying the shoe on

so many feet. When the shoe does not fit

either of the stepsisters, Hortensia

throws it into the fire. Cinderella comes

forward with the matching shoe. Prince

Guillaume has found his princess. Cinderella

and her prince leave the family

behind. All is not lost for Clementine,

however, as Benjamin returns to take her

with him. And a royal wedding is held.

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Except for the blaming Cinderela for her own fate with her new family members, that scenario sounds fascinating.

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Here's the synopsis, taken from the DNB program:

Wow, this is complex -- thank you so much for posting it.

Act One

3 The Grave

Cinderella, older, brings flowers to her mother’s grave....Fuelled by pride alone, Cinderella assumes a subservient attitude towards the women, thus sealing her own fate.

This has greater detail than many versions of the ballet, and the possibility of the stepmother not being a total harridan, although it looks like Wheeldon didn't move her in that direction.

4 Royal Palace Gallery

King Albert attempts to explain to his grown son the political connections to be gained by marrying a titled princess.

This reminds me of the 'no mothers-in-law' aphorism -- I have a feeling it would be a difficult mime sequence to craft!

Guillaume and Benjamin hatch a plan to trade places, pretending to be one another.

Now this has possibilities!

A poor beggar arrives at the door seeking food and warmth. Taking pity, Cinderella brings him into the kitchen, but Hortensia, horrified, casts him out again. ‘The Prince’ (Benjamin) appears at the door. He has discovered a poor beggar outside and insists that Hortensia offer him food and a bit of warmth. Hortensia feigns concern and orders Cinderella to help the beggar. ‘The Prince’ has come to deliver invitations to a ball where he shall choose his bride. Left alone with Cinderella, the beggar (Prince Guillaume in disguise) sees true kindness in this girl.

And here's the possibility realized. In the Stowell production for Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Godmother is the beggar in disguise. I hadn't really thought about the biblical reference, though, until I saw it performed again this autumn.

cryptically warning her to keep an eye on the time.

As if ballet mime wasn't mysterious enough.

And a royal wedding is held.

There's act the last!

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Guillaume and Benjamin hatch a plan to trade places, pretending to be one another.

Now this has possibilities!

This is how Rossini's "La Cenerontala" is set up.

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Guillaume and Benjamin hatch a plan to trade places, pretending to be one another.

Now this has possibilities!

This is how Rossini's "La Cenerontala" is set up.

Can you think of another ballet version that follows that twist?

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Can you think of another ballet version that follows that twist?

I've only seen a handful of "Cinderella"s and none of them used this convention.

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Terrific review!

Sandik said: "In the Stowell production for Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Godmother is the beggar in disguise. I hadn't really thought about the biblical reference, though, until I saw it performed again this autumn."

I'm sure you already knew this--but this is how both of the original Soviet versions, the 1945 Zakharov production for the Bolshoi and the 1946 K. Sergeyev production for the Kirov staged it.

Helene, not having seen Rossini's opera, does this version seem to use any other elements of its story besides the "switched identities" of the two men? Is the Fairy Godmother in the opera?

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There's no Fairy Godmother per se in the opera, but there's a Godfather of sorts. The beggar in disguise is the Prince's tutor, who, along with the Prince's valet, who pretends to be the Prince, is also on a secret mission for the Prince. After the Stepfather -- there's no Stepmother -- leaves Cenerontola behind to head to the ball with his two daughters, the beggar throws off his beggar's outfit and tells Cenerontola that he'll accompany her to the ball, and, presumably, he's responsible for arranging for her to be decked out in her ball clothes.

The tutor is also responsible for encouraging the Prince to search for Cenerontola.

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Thank you for the excellent review.

Great news that a DVD will be coming out. I hope we don't end up with a mishmash of fancy camera work and not much sense of the production and dancing.

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