mussel

New Ratmansky Swan Lake to premier at Zurich

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The Zurich Opernhaus web is now showing that the designs will be by one of Ratmansky's frequent collaborators, Jerome Kaplan. So much for a true recon with Tsarist-era design visuals...sigh. Nonetheless, it will still be a treat to see the fruit of Ratmansky & team's research (Doug Fullington, for sure contributing).

http://www.opernhaus.ch/en/activity/detail/schwanensee-06-02-2016-17454/

Sorry, but you're off-base here. Kaplan designed Pacific Northwest Ballet's reconstruction of Giselle and did an astonishing job with the period. He has an incredible eye for the historical and a great deal of respect for the past. Zurich is extremely fortunate.

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I'm sorry to have missed Giselle so cannot comment on it. I absolutely love Jerome Kaplan's designs for contemporary narrative works, such as all of those J-C Maillot ballets in Monte Carlo and the fantastic "Raise the Red Lantern" for the Natl Ballet of China.

However....

Didn't Kaplan design "Polyester Paquita" for Munich? Tacky use of shiny sateen for those day-glo gypsy costumes...El Cheapo! I even detected zippers on the tutus. Horrible backdrops (those big fat red columns in the last scene). Nothing like the finesse and 19th-c elegance in the POB Lacotte Paquita. It's all in the details of fabrics & execution. I felt the same about Kaplan's Don Q for DNB...tacky fabrics, mix of colors, etc.

See Toer Van Shayck's gorgeous designs for A2 of the Berlin Nutcracker, crafted with a true 19th-c sensitivity. What a shame that he backed out (?) of the Zurich Swan Lake.

That said, it's the steps - the choreography & staging - that means the most to me. I'm looking forward to seeing this next month, no matter the designs or dancers who'll be cast in principal roles. It would have been great to have seen an authentic recreation of the 1895 designs, but I never expected that. It's the steps and their execution on which I'll concentrate. I truly look forward to seeing if any of Kirk Peterson's revelations from last year's staging of Nikolai Sergeyev's 1930s Sadler's Wells version for Washington Ballet will be apparent here, such as the mime for corps, the 'kiss blowing' by the two solo swans, and Odile/Siegfried's final pose in the Black Swan adagio with her hands on his knees as she penchees towards him.

I am genuinely wishing the greatest success for this production, no matter the designs..and I've put my money "where my mouth is" as I'll attend the opening two performances the first weekend of February in Zurich! Toi Toi to all concerned...and may the Weather Gods cooperate. :)

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Natalia, the cheapness or otherwise of the costumes is surely dependent on the budget rather than on the designer? When Kaplan designed Christopher Wheeldon's production of Sleeping Beauty for the RDB, I got a brief tour of the costume shop and the fabrics - all from Paris, I believe - were enough to make you faint with bliss - exquisitely beautiful but must have cost the earth. Kaplan's designs for the RDB's latest Kermessen in Bruges were also very beautifully detailed and, I believe, historically correct. So don't panic yet!

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Thanks, Jane. First, Im not panicking because I care most about the staging (steps). Secondly , you are right that it's all about the budget. Zurich is a city of bankers, hopefully with nice funding, beside what La Scala is bankrolling.

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Thanks, Jane. First, I'm not panicking because I care most about the staging (steps). Secondly , you are right that it's all about the budget. Zurich is a city of bankers, who have hopefully contributed ample funding to this project, in addition to what La Scala is bankrolling.

The Danes know how to craft luxurious sets & costumes the right way, as I recall with Ratmansky's COQ D'OR. Richard Hudson's designs, after the Goncharova originals for Diaghilev, did not disappoint. ABT fans are in for a treat. Yet, in some other collaborations with Ratmansky, Hudson's designs can look cheap. One thing is the design; another is the execution, the fabrics, etc. The audience should not be able to tell the budget trimming measures; if the cheapness is apparent, then it's 'fair game' for criticism.

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The "polyester Paquita" was ugly indeed, but I don't think that the Bavarian State Ballet has a smaller budget for costumes and scenery than Zurich. There were lots and lots of costumes in Paquita, it did not look like he had to economize. And even if you have little money, no need to use floral, shiny polyester prints in a historic reconstruction. Uargh.

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The "polyester Paquita" was ugly indeed, but I don't think that the Bavarian State Ballet has a smaller budget for costumes and scenery than Zurich. There were lots and lots of costumes in Paquita, it did not look like he had to economize. And even if you have little money, no need to use floral, shiny polyester prints in a historic reconstruction. Uargh.

This! And those stylized craggy rocks with the zig-zagged painted lines in A1. Then those fat red columns - like those in ancient Crete - show up in a ballroom in Zaragoza!

Well, I *always* hope for the best. Even simple designs can be executed with class...like the National Ballet of China (Beijing) did with Kaplan's designs for "Raise the Red Lantern." I don't ask for Fancy; I ask for Class...although Fancy can be Classy if well executed, as the workshops of the Mariinsky did with the new-old Sleeping Beauty and the Bolshoi with the new-old Corsaire.

Zurich does not purport to be mounting a true-to-1895-design Swan Lake, so I've no expectation of seeing something akin to what the Tsar saw at the Mariinsky in 1895. I'll be ok with seeing Ratmansky's interpretation of the Stepanov notes, transmitted through the Zurich dancers, on a simply-designed canvas...which is preferable to a canvas littered with cheaply-executed tutus, crudely-drawn backdrops and La-Z-Boy thrones.

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The "polyester Paquita" was ugly indeed, but I don't think that the Bavarian State Ballet has a smaller budget for costumes and scenery than Zurich. There were lots and lots of costumes in Paquita, it did not look like he had to economize. And even if you have little money, no need to use floral, shiny polyester prints in a historic reconstruction. Uargh.

This! And those stylized craggy rocks with the zig-zagged painted lines in A1. Then those fat red columns - like those in ancient Crete/Knossos - show up in a ballroom in Zaragoza!

Well, I *always* hope for the best. Even simple designs can be executed with class...like the National Ballet of China (Beijing) did with Kaplan's designs for "Raise the Red Lantern." I don't ask for Fancy; I ask for Class...although Fancy can be Classy if well executed, as the workshops of the Mariinsky did with the new-old Sleeping Beauty and the Bolshoi with the new-old Corsaire.

Zurich does not purport to be mounting a true-to-1895-design Swan Lake, so I've no expectation of seeing something akin to what the Tsar saw at the Mariinsky in 1895. I'll be ok with seeing Ratmansky's interpretation of the Stepanov notes, transmitted through the Zurich dancers, on a simply-designed canvas...which is preferable to a canvas littered with cheaply-executed tutus, crudely-drawn backdrops and La-Z-Boy thrones.

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I wonder what sort of budget the Bavarian State Ballet had for its reconstruction of Paquita? While it is true that many European opera and ballet companies receive state subsidies it does not mean that they are all awash with cash. Comparing the ballet company at Munich with those at Paris or La Scala when it comes to the choice of designers or budgets for costumes makes little sense to me. Among other things it assumes that the three companies share a similar level of eminence in their respective countries and the same level of resources is available to each of them. France has seen the arts as a way of projecting its culture and power at least since the reign of Louis XIV, La Scala may not be in Rome but in many ways it operates as if it was. It is the main opera house of Italy and the centre of the country's operatic and balletic activity.Munich does not quite operate in that league. It is a state capital and while its opera company might be able to claim to be the greatest in Germany it can not make that sort of claim about its ballet company. Both Stuttgart and Hamburg have stronger claims because of the choreographers who have worked for them.

If any German ballet companies receive lavish funding I would expect it to be these two rather than the Munich company.

I have no doubt that the Bavarian State Opera is well funded but I would be very surprised if the ballet company at Munich got anywhere near the same budget as the opera company. The size of its budget will affect every aspect of its activities and in particular the amount of money available to spend on a new production which might be regarded by many as an experiment rather than a production likely to be revived over many seasons. A limited budget does not mean bad design although it does mean that cheaper materials are likely to be used. Having lavish funds does not guarantee that a good designer will be engaged

or good costumes produced.

But if I had to choose between a reconstruction which had a sound choreographic text based on the Stepanov notation, included all the mime which was part of the production at the time the text was notated and was danced in a period appropriate style and at a period appropriate speed but had cheap uninspired designs and one with a good choreographic text including the mime, with designs based on the original ones but danced in the currently fashionable style with high extensions and tempi so slow that they make a nonsense of Tchaikovsky's score I would choose the reconstruction which showed me the choreography danced in a way that Petipa might recognise as having some connection with his work. Of course I would like good designs too but it is the text including the mime performed in period appropriate style and speed which interests me.

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actually I have heard that the Bavarian State Ballet is the best funded ballet company in Germany.

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I didn't see "Paquita" live but instead from the stream from Bavarian State Ballet on a biggest screen. As a result, I can't speak to how the color and fabric choices played in the theater, especially from even a bit of distance. However, I liked the costumes very much.

Satin is shiny and is described in ballgowns in much classic literature. The "Paquita" costumes didn't look remotely like polyester to me. Chacun a son gout.

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I saw the live stream Paquita on my 46" screen, I also liked the costumes a lot and didn't find them polyester-y or cheap.

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I saw the live stream Paquita on my 46" screen, I also liked the costumes a lot and didn't find them polyester-y or cheap.

I liked them as well. I love how Ratmansky always uses so much color in his productions.

I wish I could make it out to Zurich to see this, but hopefully La Scala will perform it for a few years, as I'm thinking my next vacation might be Italy in 2017.

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The swan tutus are very pretty and appropriate to the Petipa/1890s aesthetic. Now if only they'd announce casting!

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Most likely it will be Viktorina Kapitonova and Alexander Jones in the leads. Their facebook page says it won't be Polina Semionova.

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Thanks. Viktorina & Alexander are good in the classics. I wonder who'll be 2nd cast or if the same couple will dance on two consecutive nights ? That would be tough. I have tix for the first two nights. Hoping for a great show - fingers crossed.

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I wish this was scheduled for some king of broadcast...

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That's not beyond the realm of possibility. The Zurich Ballet has been filmed with some regularity in the past, although I don't know whether this is still true in the post-Spoerli era, or there's always La Scala. However, the La Scala listing currently includes a curious note about casting.

After having verified the programming, the Ballet Management rectifies what previously announced: the performances of the new production of Swan Lake will be given to the dancers of the Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company.

I'm not entirely sure what that means, unless its supposed to indicate that the likes of Zakharova and Bolle (who I thought were in fact dancers of the Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company) will not be participating, and if there aren't going to be any "stars," visiting or otherwise, it may perhaps make a broadcast somewhat less appealing to RAI or cinema distributors.

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Greetings from snowy, slushy Zurich!

We finally have confirmation on the two sets of leads during the multi-month run of Ratmansky's SWAN LAKE.

Cast 1 (beginning Feb 6, this Saturday): Viktorina Kapitonova & Alexander Jones

Cast 2 (beginning Feb 7, Sunday): Anna Khamsina & Denis Vieira

It's amazing that so many performances between now and mid-May will see only two casts. Neither Zurich nor Milan will import outside guest Odette/Odiles and Siegfrieds; more power to home dancers!

http://www.opernhaus.ch/vorstellung/detail/schwanensee-06-02-2016-17454/

A photo of the beautiful 1890s-style swan tutus in rehearsals:

https://m.facebook.com/BallettZurich/photos/a.274337379335150.47978.274336709335217/726031387499078/?type=3&source=57

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Greetings from snowy, slushy Zurich!

We finally have confirmation on the two sets of leads during the multi-month run of Ratmansky's SWAN LAKE.

Cast 1 (beginning Feb 6, this Saturday): Viktoria Kapitonova & Alexander Jones

Cast 2 (beginning Feb 7, Sunday): Anna Khamsina & Denis Vieira

It's amazing that so many performances between now and mid-May will see only two casts. Neither Zurich nor Milan will import outside guest Odette/Odiles and Siegfrieds; more power to home dancers!

http://www.opernhaus.ch/vorstellung/detail/schwanensee-06-02-2016-17454/

A photo of the beautiful 1890s-style swan tutus in rehearsals:

https://m.facebook.com/BallettZurich/photos/a.274337379335150.47978.274336709335217/726031387499078/?type=3&source=57

Eager to hear about the production and perhaps, eventually, see it in the theater. Enjoy Zurich--

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Have fun in Zurich, Natalia! Can't wait for your reviews!

I love love love the costuming for the swans! Looks gorgeous.

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