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Sonja

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  1. It's been more than two weeks now, but still I would like to post a few notes on this programme I saw in Stuttgart (matinee and evening performance). The triple bill consists of following ballets: 1) Symphony in C (Balanchine) 2) Pierrot Lunaire (Tetley) 3) The Concert (Robbins) I assume many professional critics have written about it, but most reviews I could find are in German only - and since it is such an American programme (and since I loved it...), here are my comments: It is such a great mixture - the neoclassical "Symphony", then the "toughest bit" in the middle, and for the finale something to leave the theatre with a bright smile on everyone's faces. Symphony in C Guess I don't have to tell a lot about this ballet. My impression was (probably very biased!) that Munich dancers in general look more elegant (if only a bit), especially the corps de ballet - but it was nice to see some young faces tackling Balanchine! Matinee showed an almost entire new cast - Diana Martinez Morales and Friedeman Vogel lead the first movement, Alicia Amatriain ventured the second (she looks beautiful, a true Balanchine ballerina - only towards the end she became visibly tired), supported by very attentive Douglas Lee (at the end, he only had eyes for her and how he could help her instead of smiling to the audience - I found this really nice!); third movement was lead by Sue Jin Kang and Jason Reilly who flew around the stage, and fourth movement's leads were Roberta Fernandes and Mikhail Kaniskin - the latter with amazing scissonnes a la seconde - he's quite tall, and it was unbelievable how quickly he fully stretched his legs to the sides, almost in a split - and got back to exact 5th position within no time! Evening cast were Alicia Amatriain and Robert Tewsley, then Bridget Breiner (she was with Munich ballet before, is now first soloist in Stuttgart - and also had problems towards the end) and Roland Vogel, then again Sue Jin Kang/Jason Reilly and for the final movement we had Elena Tentschikowa and Ibrahim Oenal. I was a bit surprised - from the names I would have expected that the evening cast outshines the matinee - but I would say both performances were almost equal level! Lucky Stuttgart to have that choice! Pierrot Lunaire Feeling lucky I had read whatever I could find before, as this ballet is so different. Well, it's not so much the ballet, for me the main "problem" is the music. It's a mixture of speach and singing, the texts are quite horrible at times, and it's sometimes really strange. Nevertheless I found it impressive how Tetley created movements to this score. Matinee cast was lead by Alexander Zaitsev as Pierrot, Yseult Lendvai als Colombine and Jorge Nozal as Brighella - a good performance, but I understood the ballet only in the evening performance! The evening was lead by Robert Tewsley - and he WAS Pierrot from the first moment he was on stage. He was so touching, his movements came from within - and although we felt sorry for him as he was cheated so much, at the same time HE was the one who remained "sane". Lucky Londoners! The Concert Some may call it old-fashioned - but I had a good laugh at this ballet. I am no fan of slapstick comedy - and still, I almost feel tears of laughter in my eyes in some scenes. Plus I find it amazing how a dramatic ballerina like Sue Jin Kang suddenly becomes such a terrific comedienne! Watch her sitting on that chair, trying hats on, see this face that is almost bored to death - and compare this to her Marguerite, then you'll know what I mean.
  2. Music of "The Concert"?

    Estelle, thank you so much for this quick reply! I will check the link... and then hopefully have time for the review...;)
  3. Yesterday I watched Robbins' "The Concert" in Stuttgart - and although they have really good and informative brochures, I missed any information about the music, apart from that it is Chopin. So I was left sitting in the auditorium trying to figure out the various hints and quotes, but not very successfully, I am afraid. If anyone could help me here, I'd be very glad! (This was part of an interesting Triple Bill, starting with Symphony in C and Pierrot Lunaire - will try to post a review when I find some time! - Just one note: Lucky Londoners to get Robert Tewsley at the Royal - I found his Pierrot outstanding...!!!)
  4. Events in Auckland in May?

    Dear Alexandra, thanks for searching for me!! I won't have much time there anyway, attending a trade show, but... better be prepared/informed.... Sonja
  5. Seeming unable to track a useful link in the web - maybe someone can help me out: I will be in Auckland middle of May and was hoping to check for any theatre/ballet/dance performances in advance. So... if anyone could provide me a link or give me any information, this would be greatly appreciated!! (Will be there around 16-24 May) Thanks in advance!
  6. Kirov's Sleeping Beauty/opening night

    Thanks so much for the detailed reviews - makes me feel almost as if I had been in the theatre as well!!
  7. Stuttgart Ballet in Japan?

    Tatsu, thanks for your report! Glad you enjoyed the performances - and your feeling about Lendvai/Malakhov in R&J is exactly the same I had when I saw them in "Lady of the Camellias". (I have, however, seen Yseult Lendvai with other partners, and then I thought their rapport was much better....)
  8. Any reviews, please? I've read they are bringing some of their "classics"... Thanks in advance!!
  9. ..with a new cast in Munich (01.02.02) The "Shrew" in Munich has been associated for years now with the cast Judith Turos / Kirill Melnikov - both great actors and a great pairing, maybe to some of you known from their guesting in New York years ago, when they received praise for their Tatiana and Onegin. Judith Turos has even been compared to Marcia Haydee and been acclaimed by some critics to match the original interpretation - not only because she looks quite a lot like Haydee, but also for the fire and depth of her characterization of Kate. And it's amazing how good she is - think she must be fourty (plus?) now! So... every new cast in Munich has to expect to be measured against this - and that's probably why we haven't seen many other dancers as Kate and Petruccio for a while - Oliver Matz guested from Berlin, with Kiki Lammersen (who stopped dancing some years ago), once Oliver Wehe got a go - but that's about it. Last Friday finally saw some new faces - Lisa-Maree Cullum and Alen Bottaini. Both are dancers with very nice technique, so this was no point to worry, although I believe this ballet gives the principal dancers a hard time! They were given the probably best possible coaching - by Marcia Haydee (see also my review of the masterclass). But still many of us were sceptic: Lisa-Maree Cullum does not only look soo different from Judith Turos (she's not so dark, plus much smaller) - so far, she has had greatest success in fairy style and very classical roles (Giselle, Raymonda) and also dramatic ones (Manon). But is she a comedienne? Alen Bottaini is a fine actor - but how about the rapport between the two? To cut a long story short - it was a huge surprise. And a huge success. Both really got into the roles right from the start - and they found their own interpretation. This cast was not as "rude" as Turos/Melnikov - one could see quite early both had a soft side hidden behind their horrible behaviour. They added individual notes - Bottaini's Petruccio is a real Casanova who knows he can get whoever he wants; he nods happily when Lucentio, Hortensio and Gremio tell him Kate is beautiful - hesitates when they tell him he must marry her - but then has to agree as he needs the money. After he has presented the three in disguise to Kate's father (remember, they pretend to be teachers to get close to Bianca) he would love to stay there to court Bianca as well - but the father leads him out to Kate. Nice little details - thoughtful interpretation! Lisa-Maree Cullum's Kate is really a horrible woman at the start - but already in the middle of the first pdd she realizes that Petruccio has something she likes. (This "turning point" was pointed out by Marcia Haydee in the masterclass, that's probably why it has become so obvious to me only now!) When Petruccio knees in front of her and kisses her hand after the first pdd, for a moment she enjoys this - but as soon as she realizes the others are watching, she remembers her role, quickly takes her hand away and walks away a few steps - looking at her hand as if there was something very interesting - while Petruccio walks away very very proud and with a big smile on his face. When Petruccio takes her home, this Kate looks as if she was starving and freezing - like her Manon, Lisa-Maree's Kate makes me feel so sorry for her - while Petruccio has such a great time teasing her. And at the end, the third pdd was full of harmony - like it should be. I hope they will be given another chance soon - they seemed to have fun on stage, the audience went really mad (this does not happen too often in Munich), and it was a great night! PS: Not to forget to mention a third debut, that of Gremio (the "old" guy, disguised as singing teacher) - Norbert Graf gave a very nice interpretation, portraying an elderly man who tries to catch up with the young and attractive but ends up looking funny as he falls over his clothes, drops things - and is not successful in courting at all...
  10. THANK YOU! PS: Found a link (German speaking) with photograph: http://www2.merkur-online.de/magazin/magaz...dnr=11965968000 [ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Sonja ]
  11. "The Taming of the Shrew", 30.01.2002 Last night saw the third masterclass given at Bavarian State Ballet - this one was sold out even quicker than the ones before, and again the studio was packed with ballet enthusiasts. (I am always wondering how the dancers find enough air to breathe in such an atmosphere!) Marcia Haydée rehearsed Lisa-Maree Cullum and Alen Bottaini, both Munich first soloists who have not danced in this ballet yet and are going to have their first night tomorrow. I think I have rarely before laughed and learnt as much as in these 90 minutes - it was a fantastic evening, and I hope I can transmit a bit of the atmosphere on this board for those who may be interested! Before the actual rehearsal started, Marcia Haydée told us a bit about herself and about working with John Cranko - unfortunately I have never seen her live on stage, but her presence and energy were still absolutely fascinating. Some of her remarks I remember.... - For her, Kate was a turning point - not only as a dancer, but also as a person - she learnt that she can be funny (Lisa agreed that she also found it difficult to be funny) - "Drama is much easier than comedy! Comedy - if you overact, it becomes Kitsch - if you don't do enough, it doesn't work." - "John said: 'Now you will be funny.' I said: ,'I am not funny.' - John said: 'That's your problem' and went for lunch." - "Shrew" is the most difficult ballet by John Cranko. You have to be earnest - and you must never ever look at the audience. "You have to dance as if you were in a closed room and if everything was real - as soon as you start to laugh, you have lost." - Difference Cranko - Neumeier: Neumeier gives the exact moves to the dancers. Cranko wanted the steps and a certain feeling behind them. Today's problem: Dancers watch a video and copy the step - "but they don't know why I did it that way. And in the next performance I did something different. Richie [Richard Cragun] never knew exactly what I was going to do - I was challenging him!" Rehearsal of the fist pas de deux - when Kate is the stronger one. With this pdd, John Cranko started the whole ballet! Lisa and Alen danced some bits, were corrected, and for the "finale", Marcia Haydee asked them to go through the whole pas de deux as if it was a performance. And it was amazing to see how many details they remembered after such short time! Some details that struck me: - Those "falls" of Petruccio looked so real, everyone kept his breath. There was such a loud "bang" when Alen hit the floor and he looked almost unconcious, so even Ivan Liska stepped a bit forward to see if he was ok! - Already in this pas de deux Kate starts to give in (typical for Cranko - at the end of a pas de deux at least one of the partners has changed) - before she turns a slow arabesque (Petruccio comes last minute to support her), "you realize that you do like this man. You don't want him to take his hand away - but you don't want him to know that - so you take away his hand slowly and walk centre stage - thinking: How can I get the man without that he notices that I want him?" At the end, Marcia Haydée gave a big compliment to Lisa and Alen: She told us (the audience) we had a wonderful cast (thundering applause) and said to them: "John would be proud of you." So... I am really looking forward to their performance tomorrow night - but apart from these personal emotions, I feel we have learnt a lot about John Cranko and his works that night!
  12. "Hamlet" video??

    Mme. Hermine, thanks for this quick reply that sheds already a bit of light onto the video. So... I am optimistic I will also find out the rest - Malakhov looks quite young, but Saidakova is still quite young, I think, so this is another riddle...
  13. "Hamlet" video??

    A friend of mine has bought a 65 min Hamlet video, starring Nadia Saidakova and Vladimir Malakhov - but since EVERYTHING on the tape is written in cyrillic, we have not been able to find out a) where this was filmed B) when it was filmed c) who are the other dancers on the video? Any additional information would be extremely welcome - thanks in advance! Sonja
  14. Raymonda

    I would guess it's most probably the Grand Pas Hongrois (that is the wedding scene), or parts of it. In the original (?) version there is also a "danse d'enfants" for the quite little ones, so this part is pretty varied... AND the Grand Pas is often performed separately, as far as I know - similar to the Kingdom of Shades of La Bayadere.
  15. Thanks for your kind words - I am always a bit worried because as soon as I start to think of it, I get carried away and write and write... Next Munich masterclass will be end of January, with Marcia Haydee coaching for "Taming of the Shrew" - and I guess there will be something in it as well... [ December 19, 2001: Message edited by: Sonja ]
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