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Everything posted by Ari

  1. Just a little amendment to Scoop's post -- tickets for the Suzanne Farrell Ballet are on sale at the moment only as part of a subscription that includes other companies. Single ticket sales for those who are not Kennedy Center members begins April 11.
  2. Zenaida Yanowsky's Sylvia with the Royal in November. When buying the tickets I'd figured that two Sylvias would be enough, and I wanted to see some theater in London. But even after reading the terrible reviews for the new West End mounting of Becket and enjoying my first two Sylvias, I stuck with the play, which was dee-readful. I'd have had a much better time at the ballet. :bash:
  3. Performances: Peter Boal's Prodigal Son with NYCB in Washington. His interpretation of the role has developed tremendously over the years, and has matured into the most affecting performance of the part I've ever seen. Daria Pavlenko as Odette/Odile with the Kirov in Washington. My previous experience of her, in Diamonds and Bayadere, showed me a technically gifted but stone cold ballerina. Her Swan Lake revealed a warmer side and showed why this role is only really worth watching when it's danced by a world class ballerina. Sofiane Sylve in Cortege Hongrois with NYCB in Saratoga. A reminder of what true ballerina presence is -- womanly, glamorous, sexy, and masterful. Bring on Tzigane, I say. Bring on the last movement of Brahms-Shoenberg Quartet. Bring on Diamonds! (And bring on Farrell to coach her in all three roles. Sigh -- a fantasy only.) In the junior category, Megan Fairchild's New York debut as Swanilda with NYCB. Not perhaps as astonishing as Stephanie Saland's debut a quarter century ago -- Fairchild lacked Saland's stamina -- but as close as anyone has come in this ferociously demanding role. Ballets: Sadly but not surprisingly, no new ones. The best were revivals. Nikolai Hubbe's production of La Sylphide for the Royal Danish Ballet. A model of what Bournonville should be. Ashton's The Two Pigeons by the Birmingham Royal at the Met. Not a revival, but the first American performance in donkey's years. A lovely ballet that deserves to be in the repertory of some American companies. Was Peter Boal in the audience? Ashton's Sylvia for the Royal Ballet. A gem, miraculously restored after years of neglect. Now if only they could find the right dancers for the leading roles. Which leads to . . . Trends and Events: The Ashton Centennial Season at the Royal. Monica Mason programmed this not as an attention-getting stunt but as though she really wants the company to re-learn how to dance Ashton. This will be the work of years, though, and since Mason has only two more full seasons after this as director, we can only hope that the powers that be will choose someone who will continue her vision. Peter Boal's appointment as AD of Pacific Northwest Ballet. This is a good news/bad news thing, based on the sad fact that Boal can't be in two places at once. The world is losing a great dancer and SAB a valuable teacher, but Seattle will enjoy artistic continuity and the leadership of a wise and (relatively) experienced director. Dance Theater of Harlem's return from the dead. Another mixed development, and it remains to be seen whether it will work out long term. Michael Kaiser should be knighted for services above and beyond.
  4. Contents: Reviews From The Hague--Leigh Witchel Kansas City-- Martha Ullman West Paris--Leigh Witchel Denishawn Dances--Barbara Palfy New York--Joel Lobenthal Boston--Debra Cash St. Petersburg--Joel Lobenthal Alexandrova in Paris--Don Daniels In Balanchine's Company--Barbara Milberg Fisher Martha Graham Redux--Alice Helpern Portraits of Mr. B--Carolyn George Visions & Challenges in Copenhagen--Camille Hardy A Conversation with Antonio Granjero--Francis Mason Ashton & Balanchine in Hartford--Eric M. Zafran London Dance Scene--Photographs by Petra Bober London Reporter--Clement Crisp Music on Disc--George Dorris Check It Out
  5. Perhaps you're thinking of the recording made around 1994 in Denmark? It was shown (on PBS) along with Western Symphony and both looked very good indeed. Unfortunately the program has never been shown again and was never released on video.
  6. Re the Nutcracker prince's costume transformation: I have no definite knowledge of this, so if someone who does will jump in I'd be grateful, but from the audience it has always looked to me that the prince comes onstage dressed in his pink satin costume and holding in front of him a lifesized replica of the Nutcracker's costume, which he then flings into the wings. The Nutcracker's costume has always looked stiff and artificial to me, so I think it's on a board of some kind. Just a guess, though. I'd appreciate it if someone who knows how it works would enlighten us.
  7. The first Dewdrop was Tanaquil LeClerq. Jillana danced it later on.
  8. Maria Calegari was a fleet and gracious Dewdrop. Colleen Neary was exciting in the role. I wish I'd seen LeClerq!
  9. Ashton's Dream has a consciously Victorian sensibility. I think he was aiming for the sort of cozy entertainment you might have found in the 19th century, and a Bowdlerized version of Shakespeare, one more suited to conventional Victorian ideas, would be in keeping with that.
  10. I wasn't thinking so much of dancers airing personal grievances (I'm not dancing enough, my husband is being slighted, Dancer X gets too many performances, etc.) but rather of them offering opinions on artistic policies -- for instance, Lopatkina criticizing the historical reconstructions.
  11. In this thread, Natalia mentions the high visibility that Uliana Lopatkina enjoys in Russia -- not just as a ballerina, but as a commentator on the arts. She has been outspoken in her criticism of certain decisions of the Maryinsky Ballet's management, such as mounting the historically reconstructed Sleeping Beauty and Bayadere. Thalictum replied that Lopatkina is "a wonderful ballerina but qualified only to determine what she wants to do, not what the direction of the company should be. She is not a ballet scholar, not an executive, not a person whose artistic judgment is at all infallible." Retreating from this particular instance and looking at the overall picture, is it proper for dancers to criticize their companies in public? Is it healthy to stimulate public debate on arts issues, or does it erode discipline? Is a ballerina (or a danseur) incapable of judging what is best for her or his company as a whole, or is the issue really that we might suspect that they might be motivated by selfish concerns? Looking for parallels in the other arts is hard because few opera or theater troupes are run like ballet companies. Or is it just that the traditional ballet model is male director/female star, and the woman is expected to be submissive?
  12. It may be unusual for ballet, but having the "real" characters and fairy characters played by the same performer is often done in productions of the play. Pity that Neumeier isn't using Mendelssohn for the whole thing, though -- his music is much more fairy-like than Ligeti's, IMO. (I assume "Tessey" is Theseus, btw? )
  13. I think Tarantella, with Villella and McBride, was one of the ballets filmed in Germany in 1973. I think I remember seeing it on TV once, but it's never been available commercially.
  14. Natalia, if the Russian public so dislikes the production made from Sergeyev's notation, why do they want it back?
  15. This just in, from the Kennedy Center's dance programming department: Cinderella casting January 11, 14 Sologub, Merkuriev January 12, 15 matinee Golub, Merkuriev January 13, 15 evening Vishneva, Kolb They have no information on the casting for the matinee of the 16th for some reason.
  16. To return to the subject of the new/old Beauty: I'm in the process of reading Scholl's book, which is tough going -- it's the worst kind of turgid academic writing, and contains inconsistencies and areas of vagueness -- but the material it covers is fascinating. His argument, in a nutshell, is that The Sleeping Beauty has acquired mythical status in the history of Russian ballet (his subtitle is "A Legend in Progress") and that the 1917 revolution caused a schism in the ballet's history: the authentic text went West with Nikolai Sergeyev ("the most reviled man in Russian ballet") and that Soviet stagers made politically-motivated changes to the Petersburg production that have come to be accepted by Russian audiences as the real thing. I don't want to comment much more on the book until I finish it, but as a lover of the 1999 reconstruction, I'm finding most of Scholl's arguments pretty convincing.
  17. Yes, I remember that. It was a Saturday matinee and she danced with Peter Martins -- the difference in age was striking at the time. Kistler was fascinating to watch in those days because she often made mistakes, forgot the choreography, but she coped with it without sacrificing the music -- that is, when she had to scramble to get back on track she never placed making herself look good at the expense of the music, but instinctively responded to what was happening musically even if it made her look a bit awkward. So many dancers would have put themselves first, and the music/choreography second. I also remember a very early Kistler performance, either her first or her second, in which she perservered though a number of mistakes (they were so endearing, they had the effect of highlighting her spectacular talent) and, at the end of the adagio, released Martins's hand, turned into full-fledged attitude (so many Sugar Plums just sort of lift the arm, without the leg bending), took an Aurora-like balance and just held it. Up in Standing Room, we were all screaming. Which reminds me, it was Suzanne Farrell's musicality that first showed me the kinship between Sugar Plum's adagio and the Rose Adagio, both in the music and the choreography. Memories flood back . . . an early Nichols performance in the days when she was just learning to command the stage and act like a ballerina. She projected a warmth and involvement with her surroundings that was (and is) very unusual for NYCB. At the beginning of the second act, when she led the angels around the stage, she turned to smile tenderly at them, and the first little girl was so startled that she stopped dead in her tracks. You could just see the balloon over her head going, "What the hell is she doing?"
  18. Hmmmnnn, no one's mentioned Allegra Kent. One of the all-time great beauties, with her otherworldly aura.
  19. Note: This was posted by esperanto, but it went astray: I'm not a dancer nor do I recall all the technical aspects of ballet. But I am an avid fan (balletomane as they used to say) , and am intrigued by all the analysis, etc of the different ballets. So, even though I'm new at this site I'd like to put in my two cents...if I may. I recently saw the Teatro alla Scala Patrice Bart version on TV, with Beatrice Carbone & Roberto Bolle in the Peasant Pas de Deux. He had them introduced to and then perform for the nobles, which I thought a nice touch. It was the only time I've ever seen that , and I thought it makes good dramatic sense. Anyone agree?
  20. Okay, now I'm really mad. I spent a fruitless 15 minutes yesterday on the phone with Ms. Kelly Ryan of ABT's press office, trying to extract casting information about the company's two-week season at the Kennedy Center, which begins on Feb. 1. She gave me the runaround, claiming that union contracts stipulated that casting was to be announced only a month before the performance. When I pointed out that casting was available for performances at the Met in July, she said that that was a special case. I guess Chicago is a special case, too, but that Washington, which was once considered ABT's home, is unimportant. I would think that with ABT's finances in the state they're in, they would do all they could to encourage ticket sales and maintain good audience relations.
  21. I was under the impression that authors had to provide their own indexes, either by doing it themselves or paying someone else to do it. That's the way it used to be, at least.
  22. As a former New Yorker now living in "the sticks," I'd say that while balletic riches are now spread over a wider area than they used to be, and the quality of regional ballet has improved, New York is still considered the pinnacle of success and the place where, generally speaking, the highest quality is found. This is really a multi-dimensional question, since it takes in level of performance, degree of choreographic and other artistic innovation, standards of training, and prestige. Regional ballet companies have certainly improved, to the point where some dancers spurn offers by New York companies (read: NYCB and ABT) to go to San Francisco or other places. But none of the regional companies (no, not even SF, although its supporters disagree) is on the same level as the NY companies when it comes to the overall level of dancing and depth of casting. And, due to their smaller size and shorter seasons, they can't approach the breadth of repertory that NYCB & ABT offer. I think that the improvement of the regionals is a healthy thing for the NY companies because it offers some competition -- they know that they can't just rest on their glamorous position to attract good dancers and choreographers, but have to remain artistically attractive. Others more knowledgeable than me will have to speak about whether NY is still considered the best place for dancers to train. As far as choreography goes, there isn't much to choose from between the big city and the provinces . . . everyone is impoverished! When it comes to New York as a venue for visiting companies, I think it is certainly still considered the pinnacle. Yes, many companies skip NY on a US tour, but most of the big ones will then go to NY for a stand-alone engagement, like the Kirov and Bolshoi. Most tellingly, the big companies, especially the Russians, send all their big name dancers to a NY engagement while doling them out much more sparingly elsewhere. And a NY season is still considered a great and important achievement for any company, regional or foreign. BAM is a NY theater, IMO, despite its unfortunate location . It's a valuable performing space for a town that lacks appropriate venues for ballet performances.
  23. Boal is 39. It's likely that he wouldn't have danced for much longer even if the PNB job hadn't come along. While it's a big loss for SAB, I'm sure that Martins knows that the opportunity to run a company like PNB is one that few people would want to turn down.
  24. The first program can be seen as a 40s evening. The two Balanchine ballets are from the 40s, and while I'm Old Fashioned was made in the 80s, it was inspired by a 1940s movie and evokes the period.
  25. The full-length Napoli, with Arne Villumsen as Gennaro, was sold as a video in the late 80s, but is now out of print. (Some benificent company should re-issue it on DVD.) Beyond that, there is an episode of Frank Augustyn's Footnotes series devoted to La Sylphide and Swan Lake, which presumably contains excerpts from the ballet (I haven't seen it). Those are the only ones I'm familiar with but others may know of more.
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