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ABT Ashton Revivals?


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#1 Diana L

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 05:00 AM

I was reading an article in the SF Chronicle that mentioned ABT is planning to do Ashton's "La Fille" and "The Dream" next season. Does anyone know anything more about this? Have they ever done either before? I ask b/c it was my understanding that due to financial hardship they were scrapping new productions.

#2 Dale

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 06:09 AM

I had heard that they wanted to do "Dream" in New York. But that was about a year ago, and as you said, many plans, including the new Sleeping Beauty, had to be put on hold.
Somewhere else on this board, someone said that ABT is going to do Raymonda. The company has brought in a few productions from National Ballet of Canada and they did Dream last season.

#3 cargill

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 11:28 AM

Dale, I think McKenzie has wanted to do The Dream for quite a long time. I remember a number of years ago talk of a Shakespearean triple bill of The Dream, Moor's Pavane, and Tudor's Romeo and Juliet. I heard that money was the problem (the sets for R & J were very cumbersome and expensive.) McKenzie danced in The Dream as a member of the Joffrey, as I recall.

The Dream is a stunningly beautiful ballet, but very hard to cast, with Bottom, Puck, and the lovers, who have to be very subtle comedians. Anything too broad or silly can make the work seem so trivial. The last time I saw the Royal Ballet do it, it looked in pretty bad shape, but then my memories go back to Sibley, Dowell, and Alexander Grant!

[ 06-26-2001: Message edited by: cargill ]

[ 06-26-2001: Message edited by: cargill ]

#4 sylvia

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 12:14 PM

I know that RB only just did La Fille and The Dream, but I'll say it anyway - I'm more than jealous that ABT may be bringing it to US audiences - there's hardly any Ashton in the new RB season at all.

I don't know when you last saw RB do The Dream cargill, and unfortunately I have little to compare with, but when I saw them last month ago in the last matinee with a much less experienced cast, they looked marvellous. I thought they handled the humour beautifully, and were in fantastic shape.

#5 cargill

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Posted 26 June 2001 - 02:20 PM

I saw them here in New York in the mid-90's, and the rustics seemed like buffons and the lovers like dandies. It oculd have been that the Met is so huge, they felt they needed to overplay it a bit, but I was very disappointed. It is one of my very favorites, but is such an ensemble piece that any wrong note jars so.

#6 felursus

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 05:54 AM

My "birdie" who told me about Raymonda is extremely highly-placed (i.e. not just a kid in the corps who's heard rumors). As far as the "Dream" and "Fille" go - everyone backstage was talking about it - so if it's a rumor, it's a very strong one. It may have been strengthened by the fact that Anthony Dowell and Kevin McKenzie were meeting last week. Dowell was in NYC (seen by me) and attended Amanda McKerrow's "Swan Lake".

As far as casting goes: I think they have the people to do the Dream. As for Fille - well, that is so special. I know a lot of companies other than the RB have done it, and I saw Joffrey do it, but it just wasn't the same. (Joffrey also did "The Dream".) I'll keep my fingers crossed.

#7 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 08:06 AM

As for the Tudor R&J, I recall a conversation with Michael Kaiser about 3-4 years ago. The costumes are at this point so fragile from humidity that they cannot be worn and would need to be completely remade. The estimate is $500,000.

#8 samba38

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 10:50 AM

I've just had the fresh pleasure of RB's "La Fille" at Kennedy Center. Could ABT deliver the full experience? Unquestionably, ABT has plenty of dancers who could do the leads but the corps is a character in this and I'm not very impressed with the ABT corps under McKenzie. They were pretty but not brilliant in Giselle. (The less said about the hysterical colliding swans of the first searson of his Swan Lake the better. Can't fault the dancers on that. I was just praying for them to survive unscathed.)

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 11:14 AM

Kevin McKenzie and David Richardson were in the audience for several performances of "Fille" so there's at least an interest. Naughty Washingtonians immediately began casting it down to the inevitable 7th cast.... I don't think Ashton crosses the pond well. The Joffrey (under Joffrey) made a real attempt to do the works well. I think Joffrey cared, I think everyone involved respected the works, etc., etc. and they still....didn't look much like Ashton. "The Dream" is very fragile. "Fille" is more dancer-proof, but if everyone there dances it the way Stiefel did, it's not going to look like Ashton either.

#10 Natalia

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 01:45 PM

From a Naughty Washingtonian:

Can you just imagine Paloma Herrera as Lise...Act III inside the house...stretched out on the sofa, pouting, and flexing those amazing feet of hers? OK - I'm ready! One ticket sold!

#11 Manhattnik

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Posted 27 June 2001 - 03:28 PM

I remember when the Royal came here in the late seventies seeing Park, Nureyev and Sleep in The Dream. What a shame I can't remember much more about it....

My most memorable Fille was seeing Peter Schaufuss dance Colas one night and Alain the next with the National Ballet of Canada...

Actually, that's the second most memorable. Most memorble was when NBoC danced it at the Met in 1977 (with Bujones as a guest, I think). The houselights went down and down for the start of the second act -- and then we sat there in pitch blackness until the ushers could get the emergency lights working. Of course, when we emerged from the Met we realized there weren't any lights on in the entire city.

Ah, those were the days....

As I'm still basking in the glow of an utterly perfect performance of that "other" Dream, it's hard for me to concentrate on what ABT's Dream might look like.

#12 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 07:06 AM

i wish i could remember more, but it was so long ago when i saw rebecca wright and burton taylor in 'the dream' with joffrey. my memory says it was magical.

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 28 June 2001 - 01:16 PM

I've seen Ashton's "The Dream" several times and loved it, even in less than perfect performances. It was broadcast on British television (with Merle Park and Anthony Dowell). I didn't like the Balanchine version at all at first (I saw it before the Ashton) and had to be dragged to see the Ashton -- also with the Joffrey; Burton Taylor/Denise Jackson.

I'd be very happy for ABT to add both "Dream" and "Fille" to its repertory because Ashton is done so infrequently in New York. They're welcome to revive "Birthday Offering" and "Symphonic Variations" and "Les Rendezvous" too.


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