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About richard53dog

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid ballet goer
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    nyc area
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  1. Wish List for Next Spring-Summer Season

    Don't really know but suspect it is a matter of just only so much time available. A lot of time that would have gone to Balanchine is diverted to newer works. In theory, I agree with this but in practice it means that a lot of time and money (both finite resources) go to such junk as the Martin and Millepied pieces. This to me is the real downer of the Martins era at NYCB. so much time and money is spent putting on material that just doesn't merit the effort. But who is going to tell MArtins that he can't "create" (ha!) at least one "new" ballet each season? And this could conceivably go on for another twenty years, a depressing thought.
  2. It's pretty clear Mortier does have a huge ego. His program for Madrid includes many of the productions that were announced for Mortier's first season with NYCO, and in turn many of them were productions that he had already put on in different European houses. We'll never know how Mortier might have worked out in NY, I think conditions were already too far gone for his program to work and I suspect the Board may have contributed to the debacle by promising him an unrealistic budget that they couldn't deliver. In the meantime, George Steel has announced a season of only 16 staged performances for 2011-2012. Two highly questionable productions including a dreary Traviata that has already been schlepped around North America and Rufus Wainright's Prima Donna, both to be performed at BAM (will Manahttan audiences travel to Brooklyn for two such iffy productions?) as well as a rare performance of Telemann's Orfeo in Spanish Harlem and an intriguing sounding production of Alden's Cosi. Even on these two which seem to offer more luster than the first two, the theater at the Museo del Barrio is tiny and not very well equipped. the Cosi will take place in the John Jay Theater which is a very unfriendly concrete space not far from Lincoln Center. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/arts/music/city-opera-director-speaks-after-protest.html But there is at least one big "if". NYCO need to reconcile their affairs with it's unions. I hardly think they are even really negotiating a contract, it's more like an agreement where NYCO will use freelance performers and the unions will agree not to set up pickets. This sounds like a really unhappy situation to me.
  3. NYC Season

    I saw the Saturday evening program and all in all was very glad I went despite a number of reservations. Alonso's Carmen???? I have trouble understanding why this was resurrected. I saw it a number of times back in the 70s, first with Plisetskaya and then later with Alonso. It's a vehicle, pure and simple, for a powerful, charismatic stage personality. The overall style is a very dated, 1960s "hip". Mostly Carmen just strikes dramatic poses all over the stage. It's a silly, mostly empty piece. At the center was Lopatkina and ,while rather remote, she truly did dominate the stage which is the purpose of the piece. Very striking and glamorous, with her long shimmering legs. The men were much less effective, but that is due in a big part to the requirement to the piece itself. It was a delight to see Symphony in C although the MT really doesn't convince me in Balanchine. Overall, the piece was a bit slow and a bit less clear than ideal. A sense of musicality and truly capturing the beautiful sense of the movement of the piece was at best intermittent. Many of the individual components were very nice. Tereshkina is a beautifully schooled dancer but breaks phrases into steps, which she then executes well. But mostly the flow of movement is not there. Kondaurova seems to me a similar case. There was a lovely languid quality to her dancing and it has a bit more flow (crucial in second movement) but again, the real sense of phrasing and large scale movement was fragmented. Of all the lead dancers, the one really outstanding performance was Shklyrov in third movement. He had the energy, the definition of phrasing, the articulation of the steps to make up a really great performance. I had never seen either Obratszova or Shirinkina before although I'd heard much about their dancing. I really thought both were pretty unsuccessful, both tried to go for speed and ended up with a lot of jerky, blurry movements, some almost frantic. But neither was negligible and both had their moments. The corp was mostly good although a lot of the footwork was very sketchy to saw the least. Yes, the upper bodies are lovely, but ladies you need to articulate both the steps and the movement more clearly and LISTEN to the music you are dancing to. I'd never seen the piece before with the colored tutus for the lead and soloist women and really liked the effect the costumes made. It served a purpose of defining the different movements. A number of people have complained of Schedrin arrangement of Bizet's tunes. Really, it has never bothered me and all in all I sort of enjoy hearing it. The orchestra then played well in the Bizet symphony, the quality of playing very high for an orchestra in a ballet performance. This is another of the MT Ballet's strengths; they share the orchestra with the opera company and as a result, the level of playing is much higher than the pickup orchestras other companies use. If only the dancers would listen to it more!!!! All in all, with a number of reservations, a very good performance of a wonderful ballet. Just seeing the piece performed is a treat.
  4. Dancers Who Smoke

    Well, going (but this thread has certainly wandered anyway...) according to some very plausible theories, syphilis was one of the treasures of the Western Hemisphere and only came to Europe after crews returned from voyages with tobacco, gold, etc. There are counter theories that syphilis existed in Europe prior to explorations of the "New World" but just wasn't noticed or noted (that appears sort of a stretch for me). But the Europeans did bring smallpox over with the blankets......
  5. NYC Ballet Prices

    I agree very strongly here. They only need to think about how their co-tenant basically decimated their subscription base. (OK, NYCO had a number of bad moves but it's really possible the worst was to alienate their subscribers by going dark for a year) Aside from subscription problems, the NYCB has a clunky website, a ticket buying utility that has way too many extra steps and they seem to be a bit arrogant with their patrons. Remember the block programming they tried to shove down their patron's throats a few years back? My suggestion would be really, really seriously rethink the repertory. Program what audiences will buy tickets to (ok, this probably means some full lengths) and skip the junk that sinks so many of their programs. Redo the website, make it more efficient and more friendly. Make the subscribers and single ticket buys excited about buying a ticket and going to NYCB events. Don't try to ram some half-baked ideas a business school dropout in the marketing department had down the customer's throats. The MArketing department can be replaced much more easily than the customer base.
  6. Swan Lake- Spring 2011

    This is the most shocking casting replacement ABT has made all season: a company member...replacing an injured company member?!? Maybe Kevin couldn't find anyone to guest.....
  7. NYC Ballet Prices

    But isn't this pretty much an elephant sitting in the room? There are obviously budget issues that are challenging to solve but nothing, nothing, nothing seems to impede the relentless procession of "new Martins ballets" that it seems no one is interested in seeing. I don't know, I'm only guessing, but I wonder if Martins' published salary DOES NOT INCLUDE commissions and royalties for this junk? To make matters worse, now we seem to have a "lighter version" of this Martins procession. It's called "new Millepeid ballets". I understand the need and importance of new choreography, but ,sorry, NYCB could take the money they spend on these projects, put it in a pile, douse it with gasoline and through a match into it. It would be a more efficent way of disposing of the cash and they coyuld use the rehearsal time for stuff audiences would buy tickets to see.
  8. NYC Ballet Prices

    Even more to the part, how would an "all Martins" program sell?
  9. The Bright Stream - Spring 2011

    I love the catchy quality of Bright Stream and I really like the almost coarse humor Shostakovitch incorporated into the score. I think that's what got him in trouble with Stalin; the score isn't all reverent to those upstanding Soviet citizens, it lampoons them a bit and Stalin didn't have much of a sense of humor. I was already familiar to this aspect of Shostakovitch's work with his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which also doesn't exactly contain upright Soviet characters and Shostakovitch adds these smeared trombone effects to satirize an off stage sex scenes. It's quite funny in a dark kind of way. Lady Macbeth is a very black comedy. Evidently Bright Stream and LAdy Macbeth got Shostakovitch into a lot of hot water. He must have been a very brave individual to steer so close to the edges of what was acceptable in the time and place he was living it. More and more, I have a lot of apprectiation and admiration for this very special composer.
  10. 2012 Spring Met Season

    Good point about rep. ABT has a lot of problems, many of which have been discussed recently in various threads. But their repertory history is staggering. Over the years I've seen a breadth of repertory with them that's been wider and more varied than any other ballet company that I've seen. I wish they would play to that strength, I think it's a tremendous asset.
  11. 2012 Spring Met Season

    I've seen the Ashton over the years, I've seen the Kudelka, and a couple of other versions(plus more on video) and I don't think any of them really rings the bell. The Ashton has some beautiful parts, the seasons sections as well as the Cinderella/Prince pdd, but it gets horribly bogged down with the stepsisters. WAY, WAY, too much of them, they hog the show. The Kudelka has some things about it that I like but it's sort of light on the choreography and I think the plot meanders. However, Kudelka includes the around the world sequence in act 3 which I like. I wonder if the problem is based on the score. I think it's actually sort of weak, Prokofiev tried to be really creative in Romeo and Juliet and got slapped down for it and I think he plays it much safer (and much duller) in Cinderella. If we are going to bring back a full length Ashton, I say revive Fille.
  12. Bournonville's William Tell Pas de Deux

    I suspect the person that uploaded it to youtube used the release date of the DVD rather than the actual date of the performance. I've had the audio version of this performance for many years and my copy is dated, as you note, from Dec 1988. Fracci would have been in her early 50s at this point.
  13. NYC Ballet Prices

    Yes, they certainly are worse than any seats at the NYST, certainly further from the the stage. But at least there is a low cost option for the really cash-strapped. Also, I wonder what impact this will have on standing room, we are talking about the extreme limit of the cash-challenged. Will that stuill be sold (I have to admit I'm still unclear if the prices have just been really raised on the 3rd and 4th ring or if they will be just not sold for certain perfomances.
  14. Dancers Who Smoke

    Well as long as we have exploding cigarettes, then there is a severe problem isn't there? As far as the term "happiness", I was replying to your use of the the term. You were no longer "happy" when you had to pass through the mushroom cloud. It must have been very upsetting.
  15. Dancers Who Smoke

    Richard, The thing is cigs will never be illegal as long as tax revenue is there to be garnered and indeed why should it, people have been enjoying a tab for millennia in one form or another. No kidding!!!! Agree, where is there is money to be made or collected, cigarettes will not go away. But I really agree with you overall take on the situation. Yes, it's a nasty, dirty, unhealthy habit... but it's legal and the fallout to non-smokers joins a host of other unsavory effects such as breathing smoggy, poluted air, or smokestack output. I live in New Jersey and one of the nasty local attractions is a group of large oil refineries. Really, really nasty. But again, here Big Oil is an interested partner here so the whole thing is allowed to continue. My problem is that many of the antismoker groups have more than a tinge of the Evangelical about them "you'll be puffing on your way to damnation...."