This is the other side of "Guilty Pleasures". You know that a work is of supreme genius, all your friends say so; all the critics and historians hail it from the rooftops; you can't stand it. Every time it comes onstage, you know the strong desire to go out of the theatre for a smoke, and you don't smoke! A friend of mine used to hate the daisy sequence in "Giselle" and thought that it was greatly improved when Violette Verdy seemed to eat the thing as a goof in a rehearsal.
My own least-favored ballet of this sort was Balanchine's setting of "Don Quixote" with music by Nicholas Nabokov, and decor/costumes by Esteban Frances/Rouben Ter-Arutunian (or was it the other way 'round?). Anyway, this balletic stuffed owl held a sort of morbid fascination for me - I had to see it at least once a year in order to assure myself that it was as bad as I remembered. I did like the "white scene" in the forest however, and Marnee Morris and Anthony Blum's variations were really very good. I did think that the palace set would go very well for somebody's production of Act III "Swan Lake", in fact, the sets and costumes were the best things about this turkey.
I did feel some justification a number of years after they had dropped it from the active repertoire, when a major NYC critic admitted in an interview that the opening night critics had colluded to give it good reviews even though they thought at the time it was wretched. They opined that had they given it the bombing it deserved, it would have killed NYCB, so expensive had the production been to mount - a real White Elephant. Anybody else have pet hates, great or small?
[This message has been edited by Mel Johnson (edited 11-12-98).]
[This message has been edited by Mel Johnson (edited 11-22-98).]