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Liliom at the Orange County Performing Arts Center


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#1 GianninaM

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 04:52 AM

Saw Liliom twice at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.  Didn't care much for it the first time so I went home and read everything I could find about it online.  Loved it the second time!  Anyone else see it?



#2 Josette

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:56 AM

I loved it both times I saw it, Friday and Sunday, and was having a hard time keeping myself from sobbing the last few minutes. It was so moving.

That company has brilliant dance-actors who are so utterly invested in what they are doing.

#3 Josette

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:58 AM

I'm going up to San Francisco to see the February 14 Midsummer Night's Dream.

#4 fadedhour

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

That company has brilliant dance-actors who are so utterly invested in what they are doing.

 

Yes :)

I'm seeing this in July and really looking forward to it.  Would love to hear everyone else's thoughts.



#5 fiddleback

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:46 PM

A few belated comments on John Neumeier’s Liliom at Segerstrom Center for the Arts…

If you’re not familiar with Liliom, here’s a good review to start with: http://balletalert.i...iom#entry332948

It’s hard to imagine a more compelling pair of dancers to play Liliom (the tough carnival barker), and Julie (the young somewhat naïve waitress). Carsten Jung IS Liliom. With his rough-hewn features and muscular torso, you might not want to run across him late night in an alley. And yet he has a softer side too, that is sometimes evident in his relationship with Julie and often in his relationship with his son Louis (Aleix Martinez). (A liliom is apparently a tough guy, but the word also means ‘lily’.) And after having seen Alina Cojocaru in the role of Julie, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else dancing that role with such fragility, sensitivity, and strength.

A key aspect of Ferenc Molnár’s original stage play was to contrast the relationships between two young couples. Marie, a waitress, and Wolf, a bellhop, seem to have a pure, simple, infatuation with one another. (Marie naively thinks that Wolf is a soldier, because he wears a uniform.) Julie, also a waitress, and Liliom, a carnival barker, have a much more difficult relationship. Liliom, coming from a rough background, finds it difficult to show his affection for Julie, and he sometimes mistreats her out of frustration at having lost his job. This is definitely not the rosy relationship that Marie and Wolf share.

The poignancy of the difference in these relationships is dramatically related in a park scene.  Marie (Leslie Heylmann) and Wolf (Konstantin Tselikov) perform a lovely, simple pas de deux, downstage, stage left. Enthralled with one-another, their faces are positively beaming. Upstage, Julie is seated on a park bench, holding a balloon, and watching Marie and Wolf from a distance. While seated, Ms. Cojocaru is able to express an array of emotions thorough the slightest of movements – the nervous handling of the balloon, nervous shifting of position on the park bench, casting her gaze toward and away from the couple, facial expressions. All so eloquently and subtly stated – she is simultaneously happy for Marie and Wolf, but profoundly uncomfortable that her relationship with Liliom in no way resembles theirs. I found it hard to drag my eyes away from Ms. Cojocaru’s discomfort in order to watch the dance. (This is, after all, a ballet, and I’m supposed to be watching the pas de deux, right?) Kudos to Mr. Neumeier for having conceived this heartrending scene, and to Ms. Cojocaru, Ms. Heylmann, and Mr. Tselikov for having executed it so superbly. It is one I won’t forget.

Another visual that will be hard to forget is that of Sasha Riva, the Balloonman. It seems that feats of exceptional balance are normally left the ballerinas, but in Liliom, Mr. Riva takes the prize. His repeated, agonizingly slow, very high leg lifts, sur la dot_clear.gifdemi-pointe – all while holding a massive bunch of helium balloons – was stunning to watch. (How can he do that???)

Here is an excellent set of still photos of Liliom: http://www.danceeuro...-hamburg-ballet

And I cannot finish without mentioning the pre-show talk given by choreologist Sonja Tinnes. Ms. Tinnes is the person responsible for capturing Mr. Neumeier’s choeography using the Benesh Notation http://www.rad.org.u...vement-notation. This super-human feat amounts to many hundreds of pages of notation for any given ballet – a mind-boggling effort. Her job puts Ms. Tinnes in the position of being intimately familiar with the ballets. She is a fascinating and riveting speaker, providing in-depth insight into the ballet in her pre-show talks. One fascinating detail:  Mr. Neumeier’s initial interest in staging Liliom was kindled during the 1960’s by seeing the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, which was, of course, inspired by Molnar’s Liliom. So the story has come full circle.

Bravo, Mr. Neumeier! Please come again in 2015!!!

 




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