MCB 2013-2014 season
Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:45 AM
The full season is listed as follows on MCB's website in a press release for subscriptions to next season going on sale:
Ballo Della Regina
Jardi Tancat (premiere)
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
West Side Story Suite (premiere)
Nice to have lots of premieres and some real Balanchine classics back. Don Q, not so much...
Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:39 AM
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.
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:
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or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Program I: First Ventures
Ballo della Regina (Balanchine/Verdi)
Serenade (Balanchine/ Tchaikovsky)
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
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
Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:51 AM
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?
Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:18 AM
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.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:53 AM
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.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:00 AM
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, 24 February 2013 - 04:49 PM.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:02 AM
Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:09 AM
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.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:16 AM
"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.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:30 AM
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.)
Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:57 PM
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.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:30 PM
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.
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.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:36 PM
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?!?!" ). 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...
Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:48 PM
[size=4]Thanks, [/size]Jack[size=4], 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 [/size]Episodes[size=4], prior to the performances next year.[/size]
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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