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World Premiere of Whipped Cream by Ratmansky

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From the company:

 

WHIPPED CREAM, A WORLD PREMIERE BY

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE,
CHOREOGRAPHED BY ALEXEI RATMANSKY AND DESIGNED BY ARTIST MARK RYDEN, SET FOR MARCH 15, 2017

AT SEGERSTROM CENTER FOR THE ARTS,

COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA

 

TWO-ACT BALLET WITH ORIGINAL LIBRETTO AND SCORE BY

RICHARD STRAUSS

 

NEW YORK PREMIERE SCHEDULED FOR MAY 22, 2017 AT

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

 

            American Ballet Theatre will present the World Premiere of an all-new production of Whipped Cream, a two-act ballet choreographed by Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, with sets and costumes by artist Mark Ryden, March 15, 2017 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California.  It was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

            Whipped Cream, is based on the two-act ballet with libretto and score by Richard Strauss, originally created as Schlagobers and performed at the Vienna State Opera in 1924.  The ballet will be given seven performances by American Ballet Theatre, March 15-19, 2017 in California, and will receive its New York Premiere on May 22, 2017 at the Metropolitan Opera House. 

            Designing the sets and costumes for Whipped Cream is artist Mark Ryden.  Known as a forefather of Pop Surrealism, Ryden will create a fantastical world to convey the tale of a young boy who overindulges at a Viennese pastry shop.

 

“I am so very intrigued by this unique story and the approach Alexei and Mark are taking,” said McKenzie. “The combination of fantasy and surrealism will prove something dreamlike from both of them.”           

Leadership support for Whipped Cream has been provided by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the Lloyd E. Rigler – Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation.  Additional support has been provided by Linda Allard, Avery and Andrew F. Barth, The Susan and Leonard Feinstein Foundation, Brian J. Heidtke, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, The H. Russell Smith Foundation, and Stewart R. Smith and Robin A. Ferracone.  Whipped Cream is generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

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Here's the accompanying sketches.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 12.26.22 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 12.26.13 PM.png

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I love Mark Ryden so I'm very excited to see how this goes. 

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Interesting and hopefully this won't be an extended version of the Land of Sweets from the Nutcracker. A new ballet is always refreshing and glad to see something like this is being considered in the repertoire, I am sure this would be a good thing for young audiences.

 

I do have to add that I like Mark Ryden and his artwork so the art will be quite fun to see in itself!

Edited by stuben
Mark Ryden work

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I am excited for this! Might have to look into flights to LA to see this!  

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How can the dancers dance in those costumes( if the sketches shown will be the actual costumes) ?

 

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Thanks ABT Fan--I was just writing my dates into the calendar last week and was wondering when we would hear! I currently have tickets for opening night which I am thrilled about:clapping: and then the Friday cast, Cirio/Boylston/Lendorf/Copeland. I may decide to switch those Friday tickets to the Saturday afternoon cast with Murphy in place of Abrera, after the Boylston/Cirio Nutcracker which I really wasn't enamored with this year. I haven't seen Cornejo in a while, though, so that cast may also be worthwhile. Really glad I will get a peek at Hallberg after many years!

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ABT has released a photo of Abrera wearing one of the new tutus: 

 

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She looks gorgeous!

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The Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa has made its big-type programme available online:

https://www.scfta.org/scfta/media/General/PDFs/Program_LP_ABT_WhippedCream.pdf

 

The above link includes a complete Synopsis of the ABT version of the ballet. Now we can see how Ratmansky and his team have adjusted Strauss' 1924 scenario a bit, to make it more palatable to today's audiences, perhaps. The biggest change is in the last scene, which is no longer the 1924 "chaos" and angry Viennese citizens being appeased with free beer and coins tossed into the air, followed by an Apotheosis with Princess Praline atop a giant multi-tiered cake.  The new scenario takes the leading character (unnamed "Boy" who eats too many sweets and goes to hospital) to the end, making him the obvious center of the ballet. Instead of just staying in the sinister hospital at the start of A2 and reappearing with his friends at the Apotheosis to stare at the cake, he is now rescued by Princess Praline, taken out of the hospital and joins the happy citizens in the city square just for a romp. No "politics" - no coin tosses and beer by the government to calm-down citizens.  Hmmm...now we seem to have an "all's well & happy" ballet without the comments on impoverished European citizens...at least according to the new scenario.

 

I'm a bit surprised that Ratmansky - normally not one to shirk from "political comment" scenarios - is choosing to go the "simple happy route" here. Let's see what we see in Costa Mesa two weeks from now.

 

NOTE: The 1924 scenario is printed in the booklet that accompanies the late-1980s Japanese recording of this ballet, issued in the USA by Musical Heritage Society. I've now listened to the music many times. Very little of it is "dansant" and I am curious as to how Ratmansky will choreograph to much of it...somewhat atonal, modern tone poems, yet pleasant to the ear. The final scene in the town square is particularly brooding and long.  Maybe some of it will be deleted to allow for the new slap-happy ending?

 

The complete score, as per the above recording, runs a bit above 75 minutes (about 35 mins for A1 and about 40 mins for A2). Unless ABT edits/enhances the ballet, we're looking at a rather short ballet to fill an evening, with one intermission.

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Natalia, thank you for this.

 

I agree that Ratmansky isn't one to shirk from political commentary, but, he's usually reflecting on the past (I'm basing this on what I've seen of his, which certainly isn't everything). Since I'm not familiar with the original synopsis, since you say it emphasizes "impoverished European citizens" that need to be "calmed down" by the government, I would understand his desire to leave that out and lighten it up. There could be a lot of assumptions that ABT is making geo-political statements about our current world with such a ballet, and I would understand them not wanting to invite that criticism or turn away patrons. Yes, art often (and, I think, should) reflect life, but these are very unpredictable times as evidenced by our other thread on the NEA. And, I think that no matter which side of political fence you sit on, one thing everyone seems to be able to agree on is the stress most of us feel every day due to the never-ending onslaught of negative news and world events. So I understand the desire to "lighten things up" if only for sanity's sake.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Natalia said:

The Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa has made its big-type programme available online:

https://www.scfta.org/scfta/media/General/PDFs/Program_LP_ABT_WhippedCream.pdf

 

The above link includes a complete Synopsis of the ABT version of the ballet. Now we can see how Ratmansky and his team have adjusted Strauss' 1924 scenario a bit, to make it more palatable to today's audiences, perhaps. The biggest change is in the last scene, which is no longer the 1924 "chaos" and angry Viennese citizens being appeased with free beer and coins tossed into the air, followed by an Apotheosis with Princess Praline atop a giant multi-tiered cake.  The new scenario takes the leading character (unnamed "Boy" who eats too many sweets and goes to hospital) to the end, making him the obvious center of the ballet. Instead of just staying in the sinister hospital at the start of A2 and reappearing with his friends at the Apotheosis to stare at the cake, he is now rescued by Princess Praline, taken out of the hospital and joins the happy citizens in the city square just for a romp. No "politics" - no coin tosses and beer by the government to calm-down citizens.  Hmmm...now we seem to have an "all's well & happy" ballet without the comments on impoverished European citizens...at least according to the new scenario.

 

I'm a bit surprised that Ratmansky - normally not one to shirk from "political comment" scenarios - is choosing to go the "simple happy route" here. Let's see what we see in Costa Mesa two weeks from now.

 

NOTE: The 1924 scenario is printed in the booklet that accompanies the late-1980s Japanese recording of this ballet, issued in the USA by Musical Heritage Society. I've now listened to the music many times. Very little of it is "dansant" and I am curious as to how Ratmansky will choreograph to much of it...somewhat atonal, modern tone poems, yet pleasant to the ear. The final scene in the town square is particularly brooding and long.  Maybe some of it will be deleted to allow for the new slap-happy ending?

 

The complete score, as per the above recording, runs a bit above 75 minutes (about 35 mins for A1 and about 40 mins for A2). Unless ABT edits/enhances the ballet, we're looking at a rather short ballet to fill an evening, with one intermission.

Thank you very much for the link. I actually find the synopsis as written in the program a little disturbing as the child never awakens from his delirium/fantasy. Fantasy becomes his reality .... is the way they put it. When I imagine Nutcracker with Clara eternally living in the kingdom of sweets, that's not exactly a happy ending even if waking from one's dreams involves loss. I assume ABT wants a feel good ballet, but it will be interesting to see what this ending is like in the theater. Is it the triumph of fantasy? Is that supposed to be the triumph of art -- like Ratmansky's recent Baiser de la Fee? Or just goofy fun? I could definitely imagine the same theme (a child who never has to leave his fantasies behind) with more problematic implications.  Very curious to see what this will be in the theater. 

 

 

Edited by Drew

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Thanks, ABT Fan & Drew. In the 1924 version, the chaos with the citizens happens only in the last full scene, by the way. Until the suite for "alcoholic drinks" everything was sweetness and light. The ABT version keeps the alcohol, it seems, but as a way to put the Dr and Nurses out so that the kid can escape. Not as a way to calm citizens in the street.

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Who here is planning to see the debut in California?

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I'm going Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday evening; three casts in Orange County.   I am missing Gillian Murphy because on Saturday I am going up to San Francisco to see the matinee of SFB's Balanchine program (Violin Concerto, Prodigal Son, Diamonds). 

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Listened to the CD again. The end of A1 (Schlagobers Walzer) and the two dances of Princess Pralines' entourage (dances of the "Little Pralines" - little negroes originally - and "The Leaping Crackers") are the most traditionally melodious tunes by a mile. Much of the rest, including the 5-minute solo of the leading female character Princess Praline, is like slow background movie music, very akin to the slow-walking portion of Balanchine's VIENNA WALTZES-ROSENKAVALIER, with multiple couples slowly shuffling across the stage, gazing around. Listening to Princess Praline's 5-minute slow solo...I can only picture her bourreeing back and forth across the stage and waving her arms. 

 

Also, I read that Ratmansky first choreographed this in 1994 (for Winnipeg Ballet or Kyev?), about the time that he first choreographed FAIRY's KISS for Kyev. So 2017 sees the revivals or modifications of two older Ratmansky ballets, with all-new decors. If someone could point me to photos of Ratmansky's 1994 WHIPPED CREAM, I'd appreciate it!

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27 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

Also, I read that Ratmansky first choreographed this in 1994 (for Winnipeg Ballet or Kyev?), about the time that he first choreographed FAIRY's KISS for Kyev. So 2017 sees the revivals or modifications of two older Ratmansky ballets, with all-new decors. If someone could point me to photos of Ratmansky's 1994 WHIPPED CREAM, I'd appreciate it!

His Bolshoi page says Winnipeg. But I have not found any pictures.

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Thanks, Drew. There must be some photos or Youtube clip floating around somewhere. :lol:

 

So Winnipeg got Whipped Creamed! I recall that he was  already dancing with RWB in Canada by '94 but returned to create some ballets for Kiev after having won the choreographic competition. 

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21 hours ago, sandik said:

Who here is planning to see the debut in California?

 

I have tickets for the opening night and the following night (Wednesday and Thursday).  

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From Ryden's Facebook Page:

 

 

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Fabulous. No " El Cheapo" production values! Substantial sets & costumes.

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Posted (edited)

I have the feeling that the Whipped Cream costumes and decor are going to keep me off sweets for a month. 

 

Edited by Josette

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1 hour ago, Josette said:

I have the feeling that the Whipped Cream costumes and decor are going to keep me off sweets for a month. 

 

 

They are certainly going to keep me off the color pink.

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