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Everything posted by felursus

  1. The last act - to the Martinu score - was choreographed first. It was done when MacMillan was in Berlin, and somewhere there is a film of it (at the time), as a friend of mine was then in the corps of the Berlin Ballet and appears as an asylum "nurse". Interesting point to look for: there is a step where Anastasia holds her hands, one in front of the other, close to her face and moves the front hand back and forward rapidly. It's there because MacMillan asked Monica Parker, his notator, what movements she would have trouble notating, and her answer was "small movements in front of the face." Naturally, she solved the notation problem! The first two acts, to the Tchaikovsky scores, were added for the London production. Yes, there IS an awful lot of marching around by "officers" - who at least USED to wear white jackets and so got nicknamed the "waiters". There's also a moment in Act I where they jump into a "lake" from a "diving board".
  2. A ballerina friend who is of Icelandic origin and typically very fair and blonde used to dye her hair dark in order to look "more like a ballerina". She said directors had suggested that she do this in order to "look better on stage." As far as "beauty" on stage, I do think that there are dancers with unfortunate faces - and there are those for whom no amount of makeup will help - although they may look perfectly good-looking offstage. I'm sure that there are those who dance beautifully and whose careers have been stunted or who have been shunted into character roles because of the way they look. And then there are those with body types that I find unappealing, such as those who either are unfortunately proportioned or who are too thin and/or obviously muscular. Obviously this can be a matter of personal taste. One ballerina whom I find painful to watch in classical roles has the "ideal" body type for a bunch of ballet students I met at a performance. The saying "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" really does apply.
  3. I thought the bleeping spoiled the entire scene and ruined it for me. There is plenty of profanity, violence and nudity on TV. These days they put up warnings so that parents can decide whether or not they should allow their children to see a show. So why not on PBS? Because they are afraid of affending some congress person??? I want to know just what those congress people are watching at home.
  4. An article in the Sunday NY Times announces that the Graham Company will be reforming with performances in January at the Joyce Theater. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/02/arts/dan...todaysheadlines
  5. I haven't seen the third ad yet. I remember doing a double take when the first one - the one in which she didn't speak - came out. I shall look out for it.
  6. My husband, a member of the New York Choral Society, performed the Mahler 8th at Avery Fisher Hall a couple of years ago. AFH is the normal venue for the NY Philharmonic, which frequently performs choral works. The lights in the hall are usually dimmed - but not so much that one cannot follow the words in a programme. The same holds true of Carnegie Hall, which is frequently the venue for recitals by singers as well as for choral groups. I imagine, however, that people who need a lot of light in order to be able to read do have a problem with the lighting levels, but I think that if the lights are kept fully up, it would be very distracting. Helena, I hope you enjoyed tonight's performance. I need to listen to it more, as I'm struggling with the score, and rehearsals start in a week's time. (What's more, I'm also re-learning the Mozart & Brahms Requiems, both of which I will be singing on Sept. 11th as part of the anniversary commemorations of the terror attacks. So I'm getting quite a contrast in musical styles all in one week!)
  7. I would familiarise yourself with the music before going. It's fairly programmatic, so it's easy to follow what you can expect to be happening - once you know the 'libretto'. A complete recording should have an outline of the scenes/dances. I was "raised" on the Ashton version and loved the male sisters. I have very fond memories of them being played by Ashton and Helpman. I hope you enjoy the performance.
  8. Someone mentioned this topic somewhere else on this board, but I couldn't find it, so - has anyone else noticed the ad that has what appears to be wooden Nutcracker figurines hopping out of a cabinet (they are supposed to be Christmas decorations that have been stored away). They "dance" to Nutcracker music. There's even a ballerina in a pretty pink tutu (presumably the Sugar Plum Fairy). Then a door opens and a human says something like: "Just becaue we are having a (brand name) baked ham doesn't mean it's Christmas." The figurines fall out of their pirouettes and look disappointed. I thought it was amusing and quite well done. ;)
  9. Well, the no clapping between movements 'protocol' is at least 110 years old. I was a late-life "accident": my father, if he were alive today, would be 111 years old. (Yes, my mother was considerably younger.) He was a violinist - trained at the Liszt Academy in Budapest. He told me that the no-applause convention was considered the correct thing when HE was a child. I know that when I go to concerts I find applause between movements disturbing to the flow. If people applauded between movements of, say, the Beethoven 9th, it would break up the performance, and then one couldn't appreciate the relationship between the movements. As a choral singer, I have performed in a number of 9ths. I can tell you, we are thinking: "please, please, we want to get to our part - so we can sing and go home!" I am also going to participate in a performance of the Mahler 8th at Carnegie Hall in November - and that's one of the "all-nighters". That one is different, because there is usually an intermission between the 2 halves (the first part is sung in Latin and the second in German). ;)
  10. Thanks for the description of the concert, Lolly. I wish I could have been there. The Proms have such a special atmosphere. When is the Last Night, by the way? If you could find out when the repeat broadcast is scheduled, I would appreciate it if you could let me know. I hope it will be at a time when I can listen in.
  11. Geiko Insurance. The point was that the mom had no car, was pretending to BE a car - down to stopping for a traffic signal, having a license plate on her rear, and having a horn in her hand which she tooted to attract her daughter's attention. Any kid would be embarrassed to have Mom show up at school like that. I think the point of the ad was that if you have Geiko insurance, you get a loaner car and don't have problems like that. I admit, I'm a Geiko ad fan - just LOVE that little gekko in most of them.
  12. Oooh - I'm so sorry I didn't see this until it was too late to listen in. Thanks to computers we can now listen in to British broadcasts, but alas, it's now 2 a.m in Britain as I write this. Sob!
  13. Someone asked about a dancer sometimes getting to do a solo and then being back with the corps. Many companies have contracts that specify what a dancer can/cannot be asked to do. One thing is that he/she can be asked to do a role that is normally assigned to someone either one rank below (not to mention the joy of being asked to do something normally assigned to someone one rank above) - so soloists at ABT can have a very, very busy life indeed. They can be asked to dance with the corps, and do soloist roles in the same performance, while if they are lucky also do principal roles. It can get to be exhausting. Principals, on the other hand, can never be asked to dance in the corps. I had a conversation with a dancer, now a principal, and then a soloist, who complained that he was fearful of getting injured because he was dancing in every ballet because of this. When offered a principal contract, he felt somewhat torn: he said he felt that he wasn't ready for it yet, but he acknowledged that life would be "easier", as he could no longer be required to do corps roles.
  14. Frankly, I think that you get far more out of a parody if you are very familiar with the thing that is being parodied. While anybody can have fun at a Trock performance, I think that if you know the ballets, mannerisms, people and choreography that is being parodied you have a much better time. The last time I saw the Trocks I noticed that a segment of the audience laughed at things the majority failed to understand. A toast to all of the great "ballerinas" currently performing with the Trocks.
  15. Frankly, I think that you get far more out of a parody if you are very familiar with the thing that is being parodied. While anybody can have fun at a Trock performance, I think that if you know the ballets, mannerisms, people and choreography that is being parodied you have a much better time. The last time I saw the Trocks I noticed that a segment of the audience laughed at things the majority failed to understand. A toast to all of the great "ballerinas" currently performing with the Trocks.
  16. In the Nureyev production of "Nutcracker", (done by the RB in the 70s and later by the POB), there is the moment when the Nutcracker changes into the Prince and that gorgeous pas de deux music (alas, often 'wasted' in other productions) starts. For a moment Clara and the Prince just look at each other before they start dancing. It's magical. Merle Park once said that that music always made her cry - as it does me. I always feel frustrated when music like that is used for "business" - eg. to advance the story - rather than for dancing.
  17. I know several people who, as members of the Dessoff Choirs, participated in these performances. I was at an event with some of them, and they spent a lot of time waxing eloquent on the subject of Mark Morris' choreography. They all LOVED it and said accompanying his group was one of the most enjoyable performing experiences they had ever had.
  18. There is more than one kind of criticism: the constructive kind that is intended to help the performer grow, to understand his/her mistakes and problems and the destructive kind that merely serves to undermine the performer - to belittle him/her. I have rarely seen a performance that was so bad that one could find no mitigating factor(s) in it. I have seen dancers who were totally unsuited to a role but who were clearly trying hard. Perhaps it was a role that particular dancer had always dreamed of doing and was being given an opportunity or perhaps the dancer had been miscast or was the only one available to do the role. I'm sure a critic who is trying to be fair can find *something* of value in the performance. I do know that there are dancers whom I do not like to watch - that doesn't make them bad people who need to be ripped apart in the press. I also abhor critics who make snide remarks sort of "behind the door" - such as the one made by a well-known critic about a Kirov ballerina when she was referred to (in a cattily-phrased manner) as one of the "senior ballerinas" - the implication, in the context in which it was written, was that the dancer was past her prime. The object (again given the context at the time) was to make the ballerina in question look bad compaired to the critic's favored dancer (who earlier in the day had given a simply dreadful performance). In other words, in order to make the "favored" dancer look good, the critic had to 'put down' the less-favored dancer.
  19. Thank you, Lolly, for posting that link. I took the tour and found it most fascinating. I was interested not only in the "new" parts of the House, but in how the "old" parts had been altered - eg. the stairs into the stalls of the main auditorium now face a different way than formerly. When I was an usherette in the stalls, we were permitted to stand on those steps to watch the show. As they faced toward the rear of the auditorium and ended in front of Row F, by standing with one's back to the wall of the stalls circle, one had a fabulous, and very close, view of the stage without in any way obstructing the view of those in the seats in Row F.
  20. In "Giselle", Svetlana Beriosova would dust the chair Bathilde is about to sit on with the edge of her skirt - just to make sure that the beautiful dress she is admiring doesn't get soiled. I found it an extremely touching gesture. I haven't noticed anyone else picking up on it, but to me, that small piece of "business" made Giselle more of a "real" person.
  21. Well, if your widget-lovers ALSO like opera, and given that money is NO object, I would do Liebeslieder Walzer and recruit (maybe they, too love widgets), Pavarotti (or Domingo), Hvorostovsky, and whoever may be the latest and hottest soprano and mezzo. That should pack 'em in. Just to up the ballet ante a bit, one could have international casting in the dancing roles - so one could have one's dream (eg) Russian ballerina paired with ones dream (eg.) Danish man....etc. Oh - and Kissen and another pianist of choice....just to please all the music but not necessarily ballet lovers out there. For marketing strategy, I would make stuffed, cute, toy widgets - the gala audience would get them. Then afterwards, one could also sell them together with the "Save the Widgets" CD of the "Liebeslieder Walzer". The other pieces on the program could also feature famous soloists from the music world. Hmmmm - perhaps a new piece choreographed to something by a pop artist - say, Sting, who is known to have a fondness for Widgets and who might well be persuaded to make an appearance. I hope our town has a venue big enough........;)
  22. I was rather disappointed in the Kirov "Jewels". First of all, the tempi were far too slow - but then they never could move at NYCB speeds. I liked Ayupova in "Emeralds" - especially her arms, and I thought Part also did a good job. I think "Rubies" came off best: possibly because the style is so alien to the Kirov's natural state that they really had to work at it. "Diamonds" bothered me the most. First of all the brown in the costumes was irritating (and yes, it was a distinct brown-gold color). Then, I think because "Diamonds" was created by Balanchine as a nod to Imperial Russia the Kirov had a problem in trying to dance it as it should be - American style. They probably felt more "at home" in it and didn't think they had to adapt. Zakharova looked gorgeous, but had some problems, and those excessive extensions really spoil the line and therefor the "look" of the ballet. I'm going to have a second look tomorrow night: the closing. I shall also go to the matinee "Swan Lake" to see how Part does.
  23. Well, there is at least one character soloist/principal in the Kirov today who is certainly no beauty - although she is an excellent dancer. There is another girl in the corps with a face that, while probably not unattractive on the street, seems unattractively long on stage (probably because of the pulled-back hairdo). So the Vaganova school can't be choosing them purely based on looks (for the first cut).
  24. But would neoprene make the shoes noisier? It was all over the bottom of the shoes. I thought it was the result of using a hardening agent - eg. a glue.
  25. In response to Richard Jones' question about Bintley ballets being performed in the US: yes, "Still Life" was performed in NYC (not sure about anywhere else) on a tour the RB did a number of years ago. I liked it a lot. The other ballet has certainly not been performed here - at least not in NYC. Could we have a budget for our "Sim" ballet co??? I'd rather do small ballets well than "big" ballets poorly. Do we have a school to draw on for extra dancers - eg. in the Shades scene of Bayadere? I certainly would not want to do awful ballets that are "crowd pleasers" a la "Dracula". I'm sure there are ways of attracting a loyal audience without resorting to "gimmick" ballets. Nutcracker - a GOOD production - is another story, because it is a tradition, has a great story, great music and is beloved by children and adults alike.
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