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#16 Alexandra

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Posted 23 November 2001 - 10:31 AM

Dang, Autumn, you beat me to it. That one gets my vote, although if I get to vote more than once, I'll also vote for Victoria's choices -- both "Swan Lake" and "Nutcracker" were unfortunate for ABT, which generally has solid productions of "the classics."

I remember MacMillan's "Isadora" which died a sudden and quiet death with some fondness and wouldn't mind seeing it again. It was considered a turkey in its time, but you never know.....

#17 Yvonne

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Posted 23 November 2001 - 12:01 PM

All this talk about PAMTGG has got me started thinking about Balanchine's "Electronics" (with Verdy & Villela - I think....)

I've never seen Electronics (WHO has??), but always got the impression from eveything I've read about it, that the costumes alone almost certainly quailfy it as a "Turkey".

Has anyone here EVER seen it........and is is a turkey??? eek.gif

[ November 23, 2001: Message edited by: Yvonne ]



#18 Helena

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Posted 23 November 2001 - 12:22 PM

It's going back a long way, but once seen, never forgotten....Helpmann's Elektra.

#19 Mel Johnson

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Posted 23 November 2001 - 05:26 PM

I saw "Electronics" when I was a little kid, before I started dancing. All I remember is really hating the electronic music. Even before that, I saw "Opus 34", Balanchine's sort of 50s Horror Movie ballet. It scared the bejeezus out of me. One turkey for "Opus 34"!

#20 liebs

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Posted 23 November 2001 - 08:01 PM

Organon, the Duate (sp?)piece to Bach that I saw this summer at NYST, and McKenzie's Nutcracker.

I rather liked Mayerling and Isadora, for me McMillan's turkey is Manon, especially as danced by Guillem (this girl was never a virgin).

I would also add most or all ballets by Richard Tanner. Gobble, Gobble.

#21 attitude

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 06:07 AM

Hands down, Maurice Bejart's "Nutcracker".

#22 Alexandra

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 11:37 AM

A belated answer to Estelle's question (and perhaps a ;reminder for the rest of us): a turkey means a big, expensive, usually over-hyped and unexpected, flop. Not just something I don't like, or that critics panned, but something that books a house for a month and sells 10 tickets, it's that bad.

#23 rg

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 12:21 PM

leave it to the ever-innocent and INTELLIGENT estelle to put a sane and sober question into a mix.
i don't know what the dictionary of slang (or at least of theater slang) says about 'turkey' officially. but if it's a box-office flop then almost to a one no 'swanlake' can be so classed, as in g.balanchine's wise words: "all ballets should be called 'swanlake' because 'people would come'."
so it probably is a personal definition being used here.
i think, for ex. that PAMTGG is a convenient thing to poke fun at. to be sure, it was hardly top drawer balanchine, but it was balanchine and he was no slouch/idiot theatrically. i saw it. it was puzzling, i suppose, but it offered victor castelli, for example, a splendid turn as very young dancer (i still remember a circuit of coupe/jetes he had), it was probably more slight than awful.
i know in nyc theater lore something called 'moose murders' was said to have been so bad that its audiences were laughing uproariously, at supposedly not intentionally funny moments, so that's a way i suppose to see a turkey in legit theater.
if it's just a personal judgement, such as when an audience is having a good, or at least okay, time at a ballet and one is not necessarily having the same experience, then it's a candidate for one's own dud list, but as for this list's being the same as a roster of all-time turkeys, i guess the call is tricky.
someone mentioned 'gaspard de la nuit' which had very few perfs. and which incidentally was just named to me last week in a conversation w/ a colleague as one balanchine's lost major works, so one person's turkey is another's ....
also, some works i suppose are so surprising and 'out there' they might initially seem duds, when in fact they might just demand more careful viewing, which in cases like 'gaspard' and 'pamtagg' wasn't really possible. any number of people for example also would damn balanchine's 'don quixote' but i'm not sure 'turkey' is an apt description.
in somecases today's 'turkey' might just become tomorrow's lost masterpiece.

[ November 24, 2001: Message edited by: rg ]



#24 Alexandra

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 12:36 PM

rg, I've been dying for someone who actually saw PAMTGG to post something -- THANK YOU!

Back to the turkey question, I didn't see "Pied Piper," but it meets my definition of a turkey. It was very much hyped, it was calculated to be a hit, both critics and audiences disliked it -- one might say saw it for what it was -- and I don't believe it's in repertory this season. In New York, anyway.

#25 catlady

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 04:04 PM

How about some of Nureyevs contributions when he was in his Paris Opera days? His Nutcracker was quite "something" as I recall.

#26 Manhattnik

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 05:25 PM

Hmm. Well, I guess by the proffered definition of turkey, most of the ones I mentioned wouldn't qualify. Sniff.

Pied Piper, maybe Organon.

Nureyev's Raymonda for ABT, back when?

Certainly Eifman's works are great popular successes, as were Bejarts.

#27 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 05:31 PM

i seem to remember one ballet i saw called 'washington square'. i didn't like it, tho i don't know if it's considered a success or not.

#28 Estelle

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 07:26 PM

Thanks for the explanation about "turkeys"!

If I remember correctly, Nureyev did a "Washington Square" for the POB in the mid-80s, but it was not danced again by the company. It was the same for his "Manfred". I've no idea how much critical and public success those works had, but I suspect that they weren't well received. On the other hand, his "Nutcracker" (which I haven't seen) still is in the repertory, and seems to be quite successful with the audience (but well, perhaps it's a bit the same as what rg wrote about "Swan Lake": a "Nutcracker" always sell tickets...)

In terms of bad taste and pretension, I remember a Bejart, work supposedly about Pasolini, which was quite something, but it seemed to have an audience.

#29 rg

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 10:47 PM

re: alexandra's comment, truth to tell, i did publish the words "total turkey" when reporting on 'the pied piper' well before this thread spun itself out. the designation just popped onto my pages, so i guess i agree w/ alexandra that this a.b.t. creation qualifies somewhat aptly.
also re: alexandra's PAMTGG note, besides the little athletic 'turn/role' for castelli, i recall little, except von aroldingen's hippy-fringed costume, which jiggled alot when she did entrechats, if mem. serves. also, in plotting the groupings and pathways for the cast's formations, i recall there was a dancer with those torch-like flashlights that used to guide landing planes into their lanes etc. on stage giving guidance of some kind or other. other little moments may also surface some day again. i don't think i saw it more than once or twice, not that one had much chance.
nancy reynold's 'repertory in review' should be an aide memoire.

#30 Mel Johnson

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Posted 24 November 2001 - 10:48 PM

I saw Washington Square. It was a turkey. Also, the Nureyev Raymonda, which seemed to have spun itself from photograph to photograph. The tableaux were perfect, it was just the getting there that was painful. Same went for his staging of the Laurencia pas de six for Joffrey. Not a happy concoction.

[ November 24, 2001: Message edited by: Mel Johnson ]




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