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The Goldberg Variations


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23 replies to this topic

#16 glebb

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 07:22 PM

Well said, Morris Neighbor!

#17 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 07:42 PM

I blush!

#18 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 05 April 2002 - 10:00 PM

Dunno. I can watch Liebeslieder repeatedly transfixed and listen to the Bach with all the repeats and the Robbins is still too long for me. 'taint my attention span. It's the choreography. Chacun a son gout.

#19 ShesnoFonteynsMom

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Posted 07 April 2002 - 01:58 PM

Well, Nanatchka & Manhattnik, there have been many a moment at the NY State Theatre that I have enjoyed a ballet with my eyes closed. The only problem is the accompanying 'head snap'. It's always a tad embarrassing but then again the guy behind me in the fourth ring is probably a tourist trying to get some culture or a 'ballet alertist' sympathizer. This past winter little Shesno helped out the conductor with 'Dances at a Gathering' with some petite battements de snores. If I ever accidently bought tickets
for Dances and Goldbergs I'd probably have to lay down in front
of the water fountain located just outside of standing room.


Manhattnik, I don't know why you like the Starbucks at 67th and Columbus--it's really gloomy and I really hate paying $3 for a jigger of coffee with a pound of milk foam. Better a cup of joe
or a small chardonnay at Peter's at 68th & Columbus.

#20 Juliet

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Posted 07 April 2002 - 05:21 PM

I think he just goes for the gingerbread lattes.

Myself, I have been known to run out to Balducci's and get soup and a biscuit...depending on what shoes I'm wearing....(sometimes I just stagger out to the lobby and listen in my head to the music....you can get a lot of beading done on a bodice in 83 minutes of Goldberg.)

When I was at school outside of Chicago, many is the fourth act of an opera which was sacrificed to The Last Train....

Back to Goldberg, I like the music. Sitting in the theatre for the ballet fulfills it's initial purpose: sound sleep. ;)

#21 glebb

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Posted 07 April 2002 - 05:25 PM

I was so enthralled with the artists' performances, I never got bored.

#22 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 07 April 2002 - 11:48 PM

In all fairness, I bet people who saw casts closer to the original ones found it more gripping. I saw the ballet first when it was going on two decades old - and they weren't bad dancers, just farther removed from the original source of inspiration. A great cast can make hours seem like minutes. Glebb, I wish I had seen in Goldberg what you had - I always liked it, but liked part I better than part II. It's so true that one of the joys of something we truly love is finding others who love it as much as we do.

#23 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 08 April 2002 - 04:16 PM

I've been watching Goldberg, and other NYCB staples for long enough to see the entire company turn over, and I have two comments on changing casts.

On the one hand, a part is often so clearly built on one individual's style and gifts that any replacement seems inept and out of place. The most obvious example is Mozartiana, a bouquet from Mr. B to Suzanne Farrell. The concluding "Theme and Variations," in particular, is a virtual encyclopedia of Farrell steps and gestures. After her retirement, the company avoided the work for a few seasons, then tried one or two top-flight ballerinas in the role. They just looked like bad imitations of the original, despite their considerable efforts. Finally, Kyra Nichols came along and showed how to make it her own. She explained in an interview that she only studied the tape long enough to learn the steps, then put it away, working on the part just with a mirror. As a result, there is an homage to the original in the high splits and off-balance turns, but the performance is all Kyra.

Sometimes, though, it's just a matter of experience. Darci Kistler, for instance, is a dancer who just keeps getting better the more often she performs a role. I remember her first Sonnambula only because I wish I could forget it: competent but without passion. When I saw her do it recently, she was ravishing, almost reminiscent of Allegra Kent's evanescent performance.

There's an extra problem with the Robbins ballets, since he preferred to stage revivals with the company's younger members, who would do his bidding in every detail. He was a fanatic for re-creating precisely the image he wanted, and more experienced dancers, confronted with a step they find awkward, tend to say, "Gee, Jerry, don't you think it looks better this way?" while demonstrating an alternative. As a result, Robbins gave us a chance to see rising stars in demanding parts, but they didn't always have the chance to mature in them.

#24 glebb

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Posted 13 April 2002 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for your thoughts Leigh Witchel and Morris Neighbor.

What both of you said helped me to understand why I loved it so much, and I agree with both of you on the points you made about Robbins. :)


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