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cubanmiamiboy

1966 NYCB's "Midsummer.." film.

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I am just watching this from the endless and marvelous collection of John Clifford channel. Oh my....what a magnificent production, sets and costumes. And then....Allegra...once again mesmerizing me. This is definitely NOT what I saw down here. Here it was bare and...just forgettable. 

Is this ballet presented with this opulence in its current production at City Ballet..?

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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NYCB's Midsummer is roughly on par with its other narrative offerings - Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Sonnambula, etc. (I exclude Martins' exceptionally ugly collaborations with Per Kirkeby, Swan Lake and Romeo + Juliet. In addition to being eyesores, the sets and costumes are simply hostile to good theater, and Martins' storytelling needs all the help it can get. The company would be better off performing both ballets in practice clothes in front of a blue cylcorama. Did I mention the productions are ugly? But I digress.) NYCB's opulence tends to reside in its costumes rather than its sets. In Midsummer, for instance, it looks as if all the little bugs in Oberon's court have their own distinct costumes, which is a charming touch. They might have all been dressed exactly alike, or nearly so (like the fairy maidens in Titania's retinue), but no, each costume has its own special little touches. This became obvious when the costumes were refurbished a few years ago: suddenly you could see that the third buglet from the left wasn't wearing the same thing as the third buglet from the right. It really is just the sweetest thing. 

 

In any event, NYCB's production has lots of trees, but no grand staircase like the one in the film. Its big coup-de-theatre is when the court's tapestry-draped pavilions transform back into a forest in the closing moments. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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Pacific Northwest Ballet's production makes great use of multiple scrims with appliqued flora (and a few bugs as well).  It's quite lush, in a slightly over-the-top fashion.  (sets and costumes by Martin Pakledinaz)

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The NYPL Performing Arts Branch is screening this version on June 20th. I remember the notes on the program saying it was filmed in 1967, so I assume it's the same one.

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