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miliosr

2016-17 Season

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Oh, that's sad news.  It doesn't look like I'll be getting to Sarasota anytime soon, but it was so nice to think about that rep being performed in the US (or anywhere, really)

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The same thing happened with the cancellation (postponement) of one of Sir Peter Wright's one-act ballets a couple of seasons ago, eventually reinstated last season. Maybe the same thing will happen with APPARITIONS and we might see it next year.

 

Sometimes such postponements happen if the stagers are suddenly unavailable or if additional research must be conducted to do the best job possible.

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2 hours ago, Natalia said:

Sometimes such postponements happen if the stagers are suddenly unavailable or if additional research must be conducted to do the best job possible.

 

True, you need a lot of elements to come together to make something like that work.  Hoping that you're right, and that this is only a postponement, not a total cancellation.

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Posted (edited)

I'm all for keeping standards up, even if it means a postponement of the performance.

 

But, with regard to that replacement repertory, is there any word as to which of Balanchine's Valse Fantaisies is planned?  (The 1953 version, for four principals - three women and a man - or the 1967 one, for a principal couple and four women?)  Ian Webb's published remarks in the article linked to indicate an admirable bias toward maintaining good versions in repertory, so maybe it'll be the earlier one, presumably in greater danger of loss owing to being older - but also, as some think, being better. 

 

Personally, having seen both on stage, I might say I've enjoyed both very much, though the one I think less of (1967) was literally buoyed up by Mr. B's cast, led in lighter-than-air fashion especially appropriate to this perpetuum-mobile number, by Judith Fugate and Daniel Duell, when I saw it around 1980 (not that the little corps were anything to sniff at), while the earlier one danced by Villella's MCB in 2010 looked to be a revival of more brilliant choreography, making more substantial effect - and very well realized by those casts, too.

 

(I gather there is yet an earlier choreography of this piece by Balanchine, making three in all.) 

Edited by Jack Reed

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No idea. Sarasota always has a big season booklet with lots of info about each ballet of the season (and a separate smaller program for the specific show you are attending with casting info). The season booklet had Apparitions in it because I am sure it is too costly to reprint the season booklet. It is like a thick magazine but the pages are much thicker than magazine pages.

 

The website often has bare minimum info. 

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Posted (edited)

I can only begin to guess at the problems that Mr Webb will face in trying to restore Les Apparitions to the stage. According to the Royal Opera House Performance Database it disappeared from the SW / RB repertory in 1953 although an excerpt from it was danced at the Ashton Gala in 1970.

 

It was last performed in London  during Schaufuss' directorship of English National Ballet when it was revived by Ashton assisted by Jean Bedells. The revival was not a success. Critics old enough to be familiar with the work wondered whether its lack of effectiveness was attributable to the ballet's theme, style, or contemporary tastes,or whether it was the costumes that were at fault. It was suggested by some that perhaps the Beaton designs were too old fashioned for modern tastes or that the use of cheap materials in recreating the costumes had helped to undermine the work's effectiveness. 

 

In 1994 Katherine Sorley-Walker writing about the generally poor quality of the Royal Ballet's Ashton revivals, insensitive casting and coaching, also mentioned ENB's revival of Les Apparitions, She said that the work belonged to a time when the concept of ballet was totally different and that the quality of its performance in revival had completely distorted the ballet. If I recall correctly,Kavanagh's biography of Ashton says that Ashton and Jean Bedell's who assisted him in the task of restoring Les Apparitions to the stage both tried to distance themselves from the project by having their names removed from the details of the staging made available to the public. She suggests that the problem was that the dancer who was cast in the Fonteyn role of the Woman In the Ballgown, was resistant to Ashton's direction and coaching which of course means that anyone saw those performances did not really see Ashton's Les Apparitions at all.

 

 This was not a problem confined to Ashton's Les Apparitions it was probably true of many of the performances of Ashton's Romeo and Juliet which was revived for ENB in 1985,if Katherine S. Healy's account of her involvement with the ballet both as the first cast Juliet coached by Ashton himself and later involved with coaching other later casts is to be believed. She describes a second less detailed account of the choreography and Ashton's characterisation developing influenced by the dancers' experience of performing Nureyev's version of the ballet.Perhaps Markarova's account of the Fonteyn role in Les Apparitions was similarly affected by her attachment to the Vaganova system.

 

I think that if anyone can get Les Apparitions onto the stage in a form that Ashton would recognise as his work it is the Webbs as they have a real affection for the choreographer and his style. Anothe early Ashton ballet that I believe that Webb has expressed an interest in reviving is Foyer de Danse of which I have only ever seen tantalising film clips. I can't help wondering whether the Royal's AD will express any interest if either of them is staged successfully.

 

Unfortunately I don't foresee any great interest as I often feel that the

RB management's attitude towards the founder choreographer is somewhat ambivalent and that many revivals are staged out of a sense of duty rather than any enthusiasm for the works themselves and that indifference to the quality of the works as experienced by the audience goes a long way to explain the truly eccentric casting to which most of them have been subjected over the last thirty years. After all if a sufficiently bad job is done in casting them in a short time London audiences may come to believe that what they are seeing at Covent Garden is the best that can be done with Ashton's ballets and interest in them may wane. 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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17 hours ago, Ashton Fan said:

In 1994 Katherine Sorley-Walker writing about the generally poor quality of the Royal Ballet's Ashton revivals, insensitive casting and coaching, also mentioned ENB's revival of Les Apparitions, She said that the work belonged to a time when the concept of ballet was totally different and that the quality of its performance in revival had completely distorted the ballet. If I recall correctly,Kavanagh's biography of Ashton says that Ashton and Jean Bedell's who assisted him in the task of restoring Les Apparitions to the stage both tried to distance themselves from the project by having their names removed from the details of the staging made available to the public. She suggests that the problem was that the dancer who was cast in the Fonteyn role of the Woman In the Ballgown, was resistant to Ashton's direction and coaching which of course means that anyone saw those performances did not really see Ashton's Les Apparitions at all.

 

 ...

 

Anothe early Ashton ballet that I believe that Webb has expressed an interest in reviving is Foyer de Danse of which I have only ever seen tantalising film clips. I can't help wondering whether the Royal's AD will express any interest if either of them is staged successfully.

 

Unfortunately I don't foresee any great interest as I often feel that the

RB management's attitude towards the founder choreographer is somewhat ambivalent and that many revivals are staged out of a sense of duty rather than any enthusiasm for the works themselves and that indifference to the quality of the works as experienced by the audience goes a long way to explain the truly eccentric casting to which most of them have been subjected over the last thirty years. After all if a sufficiently bad job is done in casting them in a short time London audiences may come to believe that what they are seeing at Covent Garden is the best that can be done with Ashton's ballets and interest in them may wane. 

 

These comments remind me of several conversations we've had on this board over the years about changes in company style, and the difficulties of maintaining historical repertory as current aesthetics shift.  The Ashton repertory does really require a certain skill set in its performers, as does Antony Tudor's work -- we see so few performances of them now, that I'm afraid we'll lose them altogether. And that would be a shame.

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I saw the De Valois, Balanchine, and Robbins program tonight. I enjoyed it very much, although I am not sure I will ever run to see Checkmate. Not even sure I would cross the street for it. I liked the idea of a ballet based on a chess game with love and death fighting (love being red and death being black). I feel like the only exciting choreography is for the Black Queen (Danielle Brown was commanding and showed off some great extensions and jetes) and for the red knights. But so much of the time the corps (made up of red and black pawns) is doing repetitive steps almost like they are in a ballet class. I really wanted to like it, but for me it barely felt like ballet half the time. Maybe one day if I see it again I might appreciate it more. I am glad to have seen a fairly rare piece (for America at least).

 

Then, the two short Balanchine pieces Valse Fantasie (1967 version, by the way) and Tarantella came after an intermission, and the evening finally felt like a ballet evening. Victoria Hulland was lovely in Valse Fantasie, and Edward Barnes was the male lead. He is new to me. I never noticed him at Sarasota, or I forgot. He looks very young but did a great job.  Tarantella brought down the house, especially since the fabulous Logan Learned danced in it. He is always amazing. Kate Honea was no slouch either. Learned was playful and had great arms and great rhythm. Honea did some good off balance balances.

 

Fancy Free was the final piece after another intermission, and I do think it is a fun piece that gives male dancers a chance to shine. The man next to me freaked at the turns ending in a split on the floor. It was funny to hear him yell out as if the dancer hurt himself. It seems like a good "dessert" ballet (end of evening), b/c even when you want to frown at it, you can't help but start to smile. Alex Harrison, Jamie Carter, and Ricardo Rhodes were the sailors. Sareen Tchekmedyian and Danielle Brown were the two main women with Kristianne Kleine as the final woman at the end. All were great in their respective roles. I have seen Fancy Free at Miami City Ballet and felt those performances were slightly more polished, but the Sarasota dancers bring a humanity to their acting and dancing, so I enjoyed it for a different take on things.

 

Overall, an interesting night at the ballet. Originally, Ashton's Apparitions was scheduled instead of the two short Balanchine pieces, but Balanchine as a substitute is always welcome!

 

By the way, if you are ever in Sarasota, right around the corner on the main restaurant drag there is an amazing restaurant called Mosaic. I had a warm goat cheese skillet, diver scallops on lemon asparagus risotto, and a key lime bar. The presentation tends to be an art piece!

 

 

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Sounds like an enjoyable evening.  I have only seen Valse Fantasie once (and don't know which version I saw)--I'm pretty sure it was with some kind of apprentice company such as Joffrey II and many, many years ago. I remember liking it a lot and wish I could see it again.

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Above on this thread Jack Reed gives the differences of the two versions as far as the amount of people in each version. The Balanchine Trust page only lists the 1967 version. But maybe the posting above by Jack could jog your memory if you want to figure out which version you saw. The 1967 one that I saw tonight is a lovely short ballet.

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2 minutes ago, Birdsall said:

Above on this thread Jack Reed gives the differences of the two versions as far as the amount of people in each version. The Balanchine Trust page only lists the 1967 version. But maybe the posting above by Jack could jog your memory if you want to figure out which version you saw. The 1967 one that I saw tonight is a lovely short ballet.

Thank you--I saw the ballet decades ago: I have a few memory images of romantic tutus and a definite memory of my own delight at one point when I felt the movement just perfectly captured the music.  But any more details than that are certainly past jogging. Since this was an apprentice company in the 70's or, maybe, 80's I suppose it's likeliest they would have done the most 'available' version -- which I infer from Jack Reed's post would have been the 1967 version. But that's a best guess.

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