fiddleback

U.S. Premiere of Napoli Announced

21 posts in this topic

Ballet Arizona recently announced their ’14-‘15 season, and a highlight will be the US Premiere of August Bournonville’s romantic ballet Napoli in February of 2015. Napoli has been performed almost 800 times by the Royal Danish Ballet (RDB) since its introduction in 1842, and it is still performed regularly.

Napoli will be staged by Artistic Director Ib Andersen, who joined the Royal Danish Ballet at age 16, and rose to the level of principal dancer by the age of 20. Mr. Andersen has danced leading roles in many Bournonville ballets, including Napoli. In 2013, he restaged Bournonville’s Kermesse in Bruge for the RDB.

Sets for the ballet will be on loan from the RDB, so there will be little doubt of their authenticity! Detailed background and history of Napoli can be found at http://www.bournonville.com/bournonville20.html.

Ballet Arizona will perform Napoli in conjunction with The Phoenix Symphony at Phoenix Symphony Hall on February 12-15, 2015.

(Note: This information is from the hardcopy 2014-2015 season brochure, however it is not yet posted on the company's website.)

Share this post


Link to post

Otherwise we'll need a time turner to see the production!

And I think you meant http://www.bournonville.com/ I hadn't really looked at the site before -- thanks so much for the heads-up and the link!

Share this post


Link to post

I'm in. Never been anywhere in US but NYC, SF and Hawaii, so this is a perfect excuse for the trip..! ;-)

Share this post


Link to post

There is a shuttle bus that goes from the airport to the airport light rail stop. There are several hotels within a 10-minute walk of that stop, and a bunch downtown and past downtown on the light rail lines. Symphony Hall where this will be presented is right downtown. A day pass on light rail costs the equivalent of a round trip, if you buy one from the machines on the platform.

I remember the first time I went in 2004, downtown Phoenix was a ghost town on the weekends, and the only restaurants open were the late Matador Restaurant and the one right next to it. (I was crushed to find during my last trip that Matador was closed because it owed back taxes.) The last time I was there, I had three really good meals at three different Thai restaurants, and things are picking up.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the tips, Helene..! I will certainly check the nightlife scene out while in there... ;-)

Share this post


Link to post

Do we assume they will borrow the traditional decor rather than the one currently used for Hübbe's updated version?

Share this post


Link to post

Jane, I frankly don't know about the version of decor, but I will post more info as it becomes available.

Northerners, please note that Napoli is scheduled to be performed during the 2015 Polar Vortex, and that the weather in Phoenix is likely to be most agreeable!!

Share this post


Link to post

Surely it would have been cheaper for them to rent the National Ballet of Canada's full-length (and beautiful) traditional Napoli that has been sitting in an NBOC warehouse for a few decades, rather than shipping from Denmark.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree completely about the Schaufuss production, but who knows whether the sets and costumes are still in good condition after so many years in storage.

Does anyone know whether London Festival Ballet had its own version of the production, or did it rent from the National Ballet of Canada?

Share this post


Link to post

I'm sure they're still in good condition, the NBOC has excellent storage facilities. They just revived Month in the Country after it had been in storage for 18 years.

Share this post


Link to post

Help, moderators. I can't start a new topic, and the contact us button isn't working for me.

Share this post


Link to post

I am quite curious to see how the company does with this ballet as it is so very stylized. Despite Anderson having the particular background for it... his current roster of dancers with perhaps an exception or two... do not.

Though I suspect both Anderson's current favorites (Arianna Martin and Jillian Barrell) will take to it beautifully and I feel Ilir Shtylla's lovely port de bras would shine in Napoli *if* he is given the opportunity. Roman Zavarov's fine footwork will hopefully get him cast well too.

I worry however a tad bit about some of the taller and/or more Balanchine-esque dancers such as Magnicaballi and Draxton struggling with the details that make Bournonville so special.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't know the company well enough to speculate about their performance quality in Bournonville, but I want to give everyone full marks for the commitment to the repertory -- we hardly see anything of this work here in the US, and I'm thrilled that they're taking on this challenge. They may have a difficult time of it, but what an incredible learning opportunity, for the dancers and for their audiences!

Share this post


Link to post

There are a lot of roles in the Tarantella from "Napoli," so we're sure to find out how they do.

The last time I saw Ballet Arizona dance Bournonville was in 2007, at the Orpheum Theatre, where "Flower Festival from Genzano" and "Konservatoriat" shared a mixed bill with "Rubies," and "The Golden Section." Several of the dancers who were standouts in those performances, especially Ginger Smith, Vitaly Breusenko, and Joseph Cavanaugh, are no longer with the company. Actually, looking at the corps list for Konservatoriat makes me sad: so many dancers have retired or gone one to dance elsewhere, Beau Campbell among them. Only Kanako Imayoshi and Tzu-Chia Huang, who danced in the corps when they weren't dancing Victorine, Kendra Mitchell-Dahl, and Ilir Shtylla, still with the company.

Michelle Vagi (then Mahowald) and Tzu-Chia Huang are such different dancers now, and I hope there's a way I can get to Phoenix to see the program and that they are cast. Natalia Magnicaballi didn't have the style, but she's such an individual dancer, that it's like watching Farrell, who brought Farrell to whatever style the ballet is in.

The two who "got" Bournonville in those performances over seven years ago and are still with the company are Astrit Zejnati and Imayoshi.

At the handful of programs I saw at the Orpheum Theatre, since there's no pit, the only time I heard live music there was when the wonderful Russian pianist, Alexander Izbitser, played Shostakovich for Ib Andersen's "Preludes and Fugues." "Napoli" comes with the magic words: "with the Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall."

Share this post


Link to post

I am completely unfamiliar with the Ballet Arizona, but to be honest I would worry most about the character roles. When London Festival Ballet brought Peter Schaufuss' production to the Met, it had the benefit of Niels Bjorn Larsen as the street singer and Alexander Grant as the macaroni seller, and they were hysterical. A few months later I saw the identical production performed by the National Ballet of Canada, but with a couple of corps dancers in those parts. (Larsen, Grant and Erik Bruhn had appeared in the company's premiere of the ballet, but by 1989 Bruhn was dead, and Grant's relationship with the company had ended.) I don't blame the young men who were dressed up funny for not being funny, but instead of being delightful, the first act now seemed interminable. Whoever had cast and rehearsed the ballet had severely underestimated the difficulty of the mime roles.

Share this post


Link to post

It looks like Ballet Alert folks didn't make it to see "Napoli," which is a shame, as it was *splendid.* The company did an excellent job with the mime. Frankly, Ib Anderson's own mime choreo is reptitive, in the extreme, with slow pacing. This mime was a big improvement (except Act II, which I think was his; it had his feel, in any event; happily, there wasn't much of it, there). The production was absolutely beautiful, with lovely, colorful costumes and operatic scenery and staging. The Third act was breathtaking -- the tarentellas were relentless, fast-paced, and clean. They pulled us right to our feet.

I missed Donald Dadey, a former Ballet AZ dancer who filled character roles for them until a couple years ago. His sense of humor is contageous, and he would have been great as the macaroni seller. The parts were well played, but Ballet AZ has always been particularly good at comedy, so "just fine" didn't quite measure up.

Such demands! There are many - so many - numerous fast and ground-eating glissades to the side, for instance. Kudos to Ballet AZ dancers, who handled these quite well. It was interesting to see this performance, in all aspects, not excluding its place in ballet history.

Share this post


Link to post

Sounds like at least one of the "Ballet Alert folks" did make it to Napoli! Thank you for the report -- I would be very happy to have a chance to see this production.

Share this post


Link to post