brokenwing

MCB 2013-2014 season

60 posts in this topic

There is an article in the Miami Herald with Lourdes discussing her programming decisions for next season here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/23/3247628/mcbs-lourdes-lopez-takes-reins.html

The full season is listed as follows on MCB's website in a press release for subscriptions to next season going on sale:

Program I:

Ballo Della Regina

Polyphonia (premiere)

Serenade

Program II:

Concerto Barocco

Jardi Tancat (premiere)

Symphonic Dances

Program III:

Episodes (premiere)

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux

West Side Story Suite (premiere)

Program IV:

Don Quixote

Nice to have lots of premieres and some real Balanchine classics back. Don Q, not so much...

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Thanks for posting that, brokenwing. I'm taking the liberty of reproducing the blog listing, which also include performance dates at each venue. (Naples not included, since MCB does not self-produced those performances.)

Four Balanchine, all of of them top-shelf. (I haven't seen Episodes in a long, long time. I actually saw it first with the Martha Graham portion intact. I wonder whether this is an MCB premiere.

Ballo della Regina was last done at MCB in 2004 -- Serenade, in 2008 -- Concerto Barocco, in 2009. Based on this week's performances in West Palm, they are dancing SO well right now that I am looking forward to seeing how each will look now. Lopez is making interesting casting choices, especially in the opportunities she is giving to younger dancers in the second and third casts. This adds to the suspense and fascination of the whole enterprise.

Ratmansky's Symphonic Dances (the closer in Program III this season) will be repeated next season on Progsram II. It's so incredibly dense -- with so much going on, so much worth looking at on the often crowded stage -- that repeating it strikes me as a great idea. Rachmaninov is not my favorite composer by a long shot, but this score works beautifully for the kind of dance Ratmansky is creating. I am entrance by this ballet, though I recognize that it might have benefited from a little bit of editing, on the principle of "less is often more." Looking forward to seeing a 4th performance this afternoon. smile.png

Don't know Wheeldon's Polyhymnia, but am looking forward to it. I've seen bits of Duato's Jardi Tancat. It was performed in West Palm (Duncan Theater) just a week or so ago by Ballet Hispanico. A friend tells me they did a fantastic job, including dancing in silence for a while when the music tape went dead.

West Side Story Suite sounds like a sharp programming choice. (I thought of it during the first and third sections of Symphonic Variations, which includes sections in which the men are often massed into what looks like military formations.)

Like you, I'm not thrilled by Don Quijote. This production has always had a semi-lifelessness to it that is hard to explain. (I can appreciate the effort but am underwhelmed by the effect.) Maybe Lopez can do more with it than Villella did. You have to take these war horses seriously. and this is especially true about the "comic" sections, which can be deadly when they don't work. I suspect Villella -- who was fairly open about not really valuing Don Q except as entertainment -- was never able to do that.

[Edited to add: Just noticed Cristian's comments above. Sorry to disagree with you about DonQ, Cristian. Like you, I am surprised by the repetition of Theme and Variations. By the way, Catoya and Penteado were at the absolute top of their forms in T&Vs on Friday night. Natalia Arja took another step in the directions of real ballereina-dom on Saturday night. Captivating, charming, technicallyi strong, and very promising for the future.]

I have taken the liberty of copying the full program -- including performance dates -- from the MCB blog. Subscriptions are already being offered to sale -- with mailings to subscribers going out next month, I think -- so it makes sense to mark these dates on the calendar right now.

13-14 Season Highlights - Premiere Packed Programming!

Song & Dance from the hit Broadway musical West Side Story

Like no other ballet performed on MCB’s stage, a work by Leading Spanish contemporary choreographer Nacho Duato

Christopher Wheeldon’s breakthrough contemporary work

Balanchine masterpieces – old and new - coupled with today’s leading artistic forces

The popular full-length story ballet of Miguel de Cervante’s legendary tale

For Subscription Packages:

Call: Miami City Ballet Box Office at 305.929.7010 or 877.929.7010 toll free

or email boxoffice@miamicityballet.org

Fax or Mail: Download the Discount Ticket Order Form (below) and fax to 305.929.7012 or mail to Miami City Ballet Box Office, 2200 Liberty Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Program I: First Ventures

Ballo della Regina (Balanchine/Verdi)

Polyphonia (Wheeldon/Ligeti)

Serenade (Balanchine/ Tchaikovsky)

Scheduled Dates:

Adrienne Arsht Center: Oct. 18-20, 2013

Broward Center: Oct. 25-27, 2013

Kravis Center : Nov. 15-17, 2013

Program II: See the Music

Concerto Barocco (Balanchine/Bach)

Jardí Tancat (Duato/del Mar Bonet)

Symphonic Dances (Ratmansky/Rachmaninoff)

Adrienne Arsht Center: Jan. 10-12, 2014

Broward Center: Jan. 24-26, 2014

Kravis Center: Jan 31-Feb 2, 2014

Program III: Triple Threat

Episodes (Balanchine/Webern)

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine/Tchaikovsky)

West Side Story Suite (Robbins, Genarro/Bernstein, Sondheim)

Adrienne Arsht Center: Feb. 14-16, 2014

Broward Center: Feb. 21-23, 2014

Kravis Center: Feb. 28-March 2, 2014

Program IV: Don Quixote

Don Quixote (Petipa-Gorsky/Minkus)

Adrienne Arsht Center: April 11-13, 2014

Broward Center: March 21-23, 2014

Kravis Center: March 28-30, 2014

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Tchai. PDD two seasons in a row... ?

Or Symphonic Dances three seasons in a row? But reading posts here about this year's Program III, I have been thinking that both Ratmansky and Rachmaninoff are more accomplished craftsmen in their ways than Scarlett and Lieberman, whose Viscera last year gave me claustrophobia, although I haven't really seen anything of Ratmansky himself; his and Yuri Burlaka's revival and refurbishing of Le Corsaire, or most of it, a few years ago, was a solid good time.

(Recently I went to an "encore" showing of the Met's Aida in their "Live in HD" project mainly because he had some dances in it, but the camera work wasn't much better than NYCB's PBS Nutcracker of a year ago, and so it was hard to get much of an idea of them.)

Still, it's been decades since I've willingly listened to Rachmaninoff's cheap, exciting ways of saying things of little importance.

If this reads like some grumpy ruminations, I'm afraid that's exactly the mood this schedule puts me in. Some good ballets scattered around it, but...

Okay, I'll try to get serious now:

Aside from, or in addition to, the question of how good these ballets are individually, how well do they go together on a program?

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I'm not a huge fan of "Jardi Tancat," but the music is a combination of three fragments from traditional Catalan song and two new original songs sung by the incomparable Maria del Mar Bonet.

While I appreciate the genious of "Agon," "Episodes" is my favorite of Balanchine's leotard ballets. I'm glad to see it getting some traction outside NYCB: Ballet Arizona did a fantastic job with it last June.

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Even though they are doing Symphonic Dances 3 seasons in a row, last season was a one night only world premiere and only in Miami. It was not part of subscriptions either. I think they are not counting that. And I suspect Ratmansky's name is prestigious for a small-ish company, so in a sense they are milking it, and who could blame them?

It is more interesting than the average "new" work, and a lot is going on, as Bart says above, so I think it deserves multiple viewings.

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Thanks, Birdsall, even allowing for the extra effort, I may give it a try. Of coure, someone who lives in Chicago already has reason to visit Florida in the wintertime, though The Nutcracker - Balanchine's Nutcracker, constantly new and fresh as danced by MCB - has been working out to be a great occasion, with no disappointment.

Helene's are much my own thoughts, as far as those three ballet are concerned, though I do enjoy a good, whipping Agon, and admiration is more what I feel for Episodes. We got whipping Agons years ago - the audience knew not to applaud but twice, and Farrell and d'Amboise, IIRC, could give us an intense, sweating pas de deux. You felt at the end that the "contest" - the agon - was a draw, and that neither contestant had yielded.

But I wonder about leading Program III straight off with Episodes. MCB is the company that presented Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 but called it Ballet Imperial because "it's easier to sell"; an old program-making suggestion from Mr. B. is to put something - we would say "accessible" - first, the most "difficult" item second, and much of the audience that had problems with that might stay for the last one - "maybe that's as nice as the first one."

So what to open with, if Episodes were second? Maybe something in simpler costumes (and danced to a streamlined score) than "ballet," as a preparation for the brevity of the look of the dancers in Episodes, where the spare music, not to mention the inverted ballerina,* ought to bewilder sufficiently those with conventional expectations. I remember the evening I sat down next to an overdressed lady who wanted to tell me her dislikes, and when she finished with, "Oh, and Stravinsky. I don't like Stravinsky," I thought it would be interesting, because I knew the program would open with Apollo: "How was that?" "Loved it!" "How was the music?" "Loved everything about it!" She and I were the last to stop clapping for Apollo in our section of the theater. (I'm not making this up.)

*Originally I posted here a link to a picture of the dustjacket of B. H. Haggin's Ballet Chronicle, which had a fine photo of Jacques d'Amboise holding Suzanne Farrell upside down, but it's from Movements for Piano and Orchestra, not from Episodes; there is a memorable image recorded from Episodes, in "Five Pieces Opus 10," where the ballerina inverts herself on her partner's back, her bent legs visible above and each side of his head, like giant antlers, while - depending who he is - may look left and right, as though to pantomime, "Where has she gone?", but I can't find any images at all from Episodes on line right now. (I regret my error.)

Edited by Jack Reed

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Arja might be a fabulous Kitri! She probably wouldn't be a first cast but I bet she would be exciting.

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So what to open with, if Episodes were second? Maybe something in simpler costumes (and danced to streamlined sound) than "ballet," as a preparation for the brevity of the look of the dancers in Episodes, where the spare music, not to mention the inverted ballerina, ought to bewilder sufficiently those with conventional expectations. I remember the evening I sat down next to an overdressed lady who wanted to tell me her dislikes, and when she finished with, "Oh, and Stravinsky. I don't like Stravinsky," I thought it would be interesting, because I knew the program would open with Apollo: "How was that?" "Loved it!" "How was the music?" "Loved everything about it!" She and I were the last to stop clapping for Apollo in our section of the theater. (I'm not making this up.)

The Stravinsky story you told made me laugh. I sat next to someone at MCB once who told me she only likes story ballets and doesn't like the ballets where they are just in tights because she doesn't want to just watch what looks like a rehearsal. Yet she claimed to love MCB. I was a little confused! Of course, there are often costumes in Balanchine but you can often get what the lady didn't want.

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I'm not sure how the "Episodes"/"Tchai PDD"/"West Side Story Suite" is going to work program-wise: will there be one intermission, with a pause between "Episodes" and "Tchai PDD"? Or will they add another short piece to "Tchai PDD"?

"West Side Story Suite," which I'd hate if I didn't find it so dull, will bring in the crowds, so that should cover people who are jittery about "Episodes." (Even though I find it dull, like almost everyone else, I'm curious about how the dancers will sing, and, especially, sing after dancing up a storm.) If there's a pause between the first two, then people won't be tempted to come at first intermission, because they'll be drawn to "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux," and they won't want to miss half of the program. If there will be another ballet paired with "Tchai PDD," the middle part of the program is where two small pieces go traditionally.

If I'm remembering correctly, "Episodes" usually started the program at NYCB. Maybe they'll play up how the last movement is really Bach.

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If I'm remembering correctly, "Episodes" usually started the program at NYCB.

I really don't think New York and south Florida audiences have much in common. In January 2009 in the City Center, the applause for the first ballet thundered on and on and on, so that some of the MCB dancers looked like they were going to cry. They never have gotten response anything near that when I've seen them in Florida. (I knew they would get that. That's partly why I was in the theater. As I told a friend there, I nearly cried. People need to get their due, and it's great drama to witness it when they do. And their whole season got the same reception.)

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I have to disagree on Jardi Tancat. I love it, and when the dancers are on stage, I can't take my eyes off them, it's a very emotional piece. There are plenty of youtube videos if you haven't seen it yet, the dancing is much closer to Martha Graham than to Balanchine, but I think it's an amazing experience for the audience. My facility in Catalan is zero, but perhaps if you grow up with Spanish as your native tongue, some of it will come through in the music. BTW some of the parts are supposed to be silent (no tape).

I'm surprised MCB does not have more story ballets this year, as they bring in more $$$ than other pieces. But I notice a pattern in the AD's choices: Jardi Tancat, Don Q, West Side Story. I think the AD is trying to find a connection to the latino population in the area, without transforming the company into Cuba National Ballet's Northern Branch.

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Jayne, clearly I'll have to do more research on Jardi Tancat. Thanks for your information

I think the AD is trying to find a connection to the latino population in the area, without transforming the company into Cuba National Ballet's Northern Branch.
Agree entirely.

Also agree with Helene's lack of enthusiasm for West Side Story Suite. On the positive side, WSSS is a ballet that could benefit from MCB's amazing sense of ensemble (comradery, teamwork, generosity to each other). This is a company in which the dancers really seem to relate happily and spontaneously with each other on stage. Watching them move so smoothly through the complex formations and maneuvering required by Ratmansky and Scarlett, I had the feeling that there is almost nothing they cannot do together.

Thanks, Jack, for the link to the photo of the "inverted ballerina." You brought back an isolated visual memory, and I have the feeling I'll have to do some serious research to reconstruct my memories about Episodes, prior to the performances next year.

Birdsall, I agree that Arja seems sure of shot at Kitri next season. She was given a chance to dance Catoya's signature role -- Tchaikovsky PDD -- this weekend. So did Jeanette Delgado, who has many Kitri qualities. There are a number of promising Kitri-Basilio partnerships, and a couple of Espadas, too.

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Like you, I am surprised by the repetition of Theme and Variations. By the way, Catoya and Penteado were at the absolute top of their forms in T&Vs on Friday night. Natalia Arja took another step in the directions of real ballereina-dom on Saturday night. Captivating, charming, technicallyi strong, and very promising for the future.]

I think you mean Tchai. PDD, bart..., and still, even if they're repeating it, that's ok for me. I really enjoy this concert piece. I just don't know why are they repeating stuff so much instead of, let's say, change it for another Peti-tuesque one...Sylvia PDD, for instance...

Oh, darn...all this Duato, Wheeldon, Ratmansky et al...(yawn). Anyway...even welcoming back DQ, I agree about being too soon yet to present it again. Let's suggest a new production of a full length Swan Lake instead. ("Really Cristian...YOU again with that darn old Swan Lake stuff?!?!" innocent.gif). Ok, ok...how about "Fille..."? THAT I know MCB can stage, and it is a secure ticket.

I seriously need to consider becoming an Advantage member of American Airlines by now...

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...

Thanks, Jack, for the link to the photo of the "inverted ballerina." You brought back an isolated visual memory, and I have the feeling I'll have to do some serious research to reconstruct my memories about Episodes, prior to the performances next year.

...

Yikes! It's another ballet! I did some research myself and corrected my original post. Have a look. There are inverted ballerinas in Episodes, in both "Symphony Opus 21" and "Five Pieces Opus 10," but the link I posted leads to an image from Movements for Piano and Orchestra.

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Birdsall, I agree that Arja seems sure of shot at Kitri next season. She was given a chance to dance Catoya's signature role -- Tchaikovsky PDD -- this weekend. So did Jeanette Delgado, who has many Kitri qualities. There are a number of promising Kitri-Basilio partnerships, and a couple of Espadas, too.

I suspect Jeanette Delgado, who is getting choice roles all the time now, is likely to get the first cast Kitri. And Arja might get a shot at it in a later performance, since she is still an up-and-coming dancer. I would enjoy seeing either one. Both have a fiery onstage temperament, in my opinion. Catoya could do the role justice too. I think she would be a somewhat softer Kitri personality, but that can also work.

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Cristian, thanks for correcting me. Of course, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.. This must be the 10th time I've made the same mistake on B.A. blushing.gifblushing.gifblushing.gif

Jack, I have the same book but not the cover, so didn't notice your error. There are11 photos from Episodes spead over 4 pages. In 2 out of the 11, women are being carried upside down. The Episodes photos come directly after a series from Agon. Both sets look as if the come from the same work.

.

Catoya could do the role justice too. I think she would be a somewhat softer Kitri personality, but that can also work.

Agree 100%, based on a comparison of Catoya and Delgado in the Don Q pdd last program -- and Catoya / Arja in Tchaikosvsky pdd in this program. It's not just personality but also Catoya's way of presenting herself and the quality of her movement. Her dancing this weekend in the Tchaikovsky was like pure silk draped around a core of high-tensile steel.

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Jack, I have the same book but not the cover, so didn't notice your error.

...

Catoya's ... dancing this weekend in the Tchaikovsky was like pure silk draped around a core of high-tensile steel.

Tsk! You're not going to let me off the hook that easy! The same picture from Movements appears on p. 157.

But, "silk draped around tensile steel" - springy steel that won't snap or stay bent, that rebounds with stored energy? That reads like an apt description of Catoya in motion. Resilient energy directed by dance intelligence.

Plus - mindful of Mr. B's wish that dancers shouldn't think, her intelligence is innate, she shows us not so much herself but rather her dance - she loves it. Just a little of that shows sometimes. I didn't see her Tchai Pas, but most recently her Dewdrop, but going back, one of the things that kept me watching Upper Room right through the end is looking for that moment when two guys pick her up and toss her in the air and she cracks a smile up there. Every time!

Well, if you don't have a show to watch, you make up your own, right? Keep it up, you guys, and I'm going to cry over having decided mostly to sit this season out up here in Chicago. (If I lived somewhere between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, I'd be nipping in and out for parts of programs... *sigh*)

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Just learned that MCB's production of Balanchine's THE NUTCRACKER will return to the Kravis Center (West Palm Beach) next December.

Dates for Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm are:

ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER (Miami)

Dec. 19 (7:30)

Dec. 20 (2:00 and 7:30)

Dec. 21 (2:00 and 7:30)

Dec. 22 (1:00 and 6:30)

Dec. 23 (7:30

Dec. 24 (1:00)

KRAVIS CENTER (West Palm Beach)

Dec. 27 (7:30)

Dec. 28 (2:00 and 7:30)

Dec. 29 (1:00 and 6:30)

Dec. 30 (1:00)

BROWARD CENTER (Fort Lauderdale

Jan. 3 (7:30)

Jan. 4 (2:00 and 7:30)

Jan 5 (1:00)

I don't know about Naples, since MCB is presented there by venue and does not do its own marketing.

This is the first time that MCB's Nutracker has played at the Kravis Center in several years. For a long time, they were stuck with dates in November, especially when they were competing with WPB-based Ballet Florida's very popular 2-week run right around Christmas. After Ballet Florida folded, MCB tried one last time, with only 2 (or 3?) performances in late November. When MCB withdrew from West Palm, the Kravis itself presented a touring Russian Nutcracker for several seasons.

With dates like this, MCB has a real chance of making the Balanchine Nutcracker a Palm Beach County tradition. I hope the marketing department does everything possible to make this work.

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I guess this is good news. I have to say that I like to watch Nutcracker leading up to Christmas and once Christmas is over I shelve my Nutcracker videos and can't stand to look at them until the following Christmas. LOL

I know that Nutcracker is presented in Russia anytime of the year and is considered just like any ballet, but I associate it with Christmas, and once the 25th is over, I am ready to move on from Christmas! LOL If I weren't so lazy all my Christmas decorations would be put in the attic on the morning of the 26th.

I suppose the West Palm dates are much preferable to Broward! There is no way I would go to a Nutcracker after the New Year has started! LOL

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By the way, I got my subscription renewal in the mail today. That is something new to get it this early. I think the last couple of years I had to call them and ask when I can renew and that was in summer and one time I was put off. With hindsight it makes no sense for subscribers to call them and ask, "When can I renew?" They should be beating down the doors to make sure we do! So this is a change, and it is a positive change.

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It always surprised me when I do the Calendar June/July that there are a handful of companies in North America that I have to keep checking until August/September. I don't know how they manage their budgets and cash flow.

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I know that Nutcracker is presented in Russia anytime of the year and is considered just like any ballet,...

As it should be.

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I know that Nutcracker is presented in Russia anytime of the year and is considered just like any ballet,...

As it should be.

Well, the reality is that in the U.S. the Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition. Whether this should or should not be the case can be debated, but it is irrelevant. It is the case. Every ballet company in the U.S. does Nutcracker at Christmas time and that is not going to change anytime soon. So here in the U.S. it is a Christmas ballet. I doubt if any ballet company here ever does it any other time, but maybe a few do. It would surprise me. It would also surprise me if there is any ballet company that does not do a Nutcracker during Christmas time.

Even before I ever saw a ballet as a child you would hear Nutcracker musical excerpts played in malls and the Nutcracker ballet advertised and on PBS, etc. Maybe this is the only country that treats it as a Christmas tradition, but it is how it is treated here, and, like I said, not about to change ever.

So after Christmas I can not watch it because I usually watch various versions to get into the Christmas mood, and it is like eating too much cotton candy. You simply get so sick of it and can't watch it again for an entire year.

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The premiere of the Balanchine was in February, 1954, according to the Balanchine Catalogue. The TV broadcasts on CBS' Playhouse 90* was in 1958, but no indication of when. According to this Google Books excerpt of Charles M. Joseph's "Stravinsky Inside Out" (p. 143), it was broadcast Christmas night and on CBS*.

*A photo caption on p.154 of "Repertory in Review" states, "Above: George Balanchine as Drosselmeyer. NBC-TV, 1958." There's no listing in the Balanchine Catalogue for another 1958 TV performance.

In "Repertory in Review," Nancy Reynolds wrote (p153),

Now that "Nutcracker" Christmas presentations have become annual events throughout the United States, by professional and regional companies alike, it is difficult to remember when this was not a tradition. Balanchine's was not the first full-length production (Lew Christensen's for the San Francisco Ballet preceeded it, and in the 1940's the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo had a shorter, two-act version), but since his staging, the ballet has become a habit.

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