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sappho

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Agree with Kathleen and vipa that a more intimate venue would help. Would also love to see this performed with better singers and pianists. (I imagine they'd draw more of the opera crowd, too.) NYCB's LW musicians have seemed sort of meh and uneventful, which is sad given the quality of both contemporary Brahms lieder recordings and recent lieder concerts in NY.
  2. I was at her first Il trovatore performance at the Met last January. Utter magic. It felt at the time like the audience sat in stunned silence between the end of "Stride la vampa" and the beginning of the uproarious applause, as though we all needed a moment to ask ourselves, "Wait, did I really just hear that?"
  3. Second this. Finley and Harteros were glorious, and Niermeyer's decision to stage Otello as a domestic drama centered on Desdemona was smart & well-executed.
  4. So happy to see Parsifal at the top of someone else's list! It's been almost a year and I'm still basking in the afterglow of that production. I didn't catch the 2013 staging, but I watched the Met On Demand recording and agree that the boyishness/clarity/brightness of Vogt's voice makes him a better fit for the role than the unavoidably tragi-glamorous Kaufmann. Pape and Mattei were divine.
  5. I knew about the Creutzfeldt/Jakob, although thanks for the fascinating NYT link @Helene; I hadn't known about how it specifically distorted his music & color perception. This is the sort of thing I had it mind when I flagged Clifford's references to Balanchine's waning health, which he sometimes seemed to invoke as evidence that his (Clifford's) few years in the company represented a more quote-unquote authentic period of the Balanchine style. I suppose I'm wondering if Balanchine's late-life health factors into how other répétiteurs interpret Balanchine's aesthetic. To this casual observer, the comments seemed like a really dodgy way for Clifford to position himself as the repository of 'true' Balanchine knowledge, but I could be totally off-base here given how much I still have to learn about this period of B's life.
  6. Hadn't checked Clifford's Instagram in a while, and wow. Recent posts constitute a real masterclass in how not to pitch oneself or one's ideas, and it seems like he's become more unprofessional since he accepted the fact that he was out of the running for AD. (Seems like he still wants to be involved with the company in some capacity, though?) In addition to the post that @nanushka linked to, I'm struck by a few things: A few instances in which he's discounted Balanchine's late-life decisions and statements on account of the latter's "brain problems." What's that about? Peter Martins was obviously no saint, but Clifford doesn't seem to realize that publicly and continuously attributing his own absence from New York to Martins' personal jealousy and vindictiveness is not what the board, the company, or members of the public want to see. You're not going to get a hero's welcome in New York simply in virtue of being different from Peter and more personally in awe of Balanchine. He's suggested that the board's decision represents a capitulation to "PC culture." Nope. Sorry. Being involved in the company in any capacity is going to require you to answer questions about gender and power in the ballet world -- including and especially from SAB parents -- with maturity and seriousness. Nobody -- donors, parents, press, board -- wants to talk to a spoilsport who rolls his eyes at the problem. He often says things like, "Everyone is interpreting these comments as a criticism of the dancers and boards." Tough cookies? When you're in a public-facing leadership position, you take ownership of the impact that your words have on others. Words such as: Eek, sorry for the rant. 😮It seems I'm annoyed by historical nostalgia and hagiography and entitlement of all sorts these days.
  7. Loved both. The neckline of Gretchen's suit is so good. Well done, Marc Happel. 👏
  8. YIKES. 🤯 I'm glad Anthony Tommasini made note of the self-aggrandizing speeches in his review, but this particular detail is new to me. Unsurprising; still atrocious. (And it makes me feel even more grateful that Iván Fischer is in town with the NYPhil this week.)
  9. Heh. My first thought when he mentioned this in the new video was that I'd sooner entrust the company to Marc Happel, the astonishingly knowledgable and much-beloved Director of Costumes, than I would to John Clifford. 🙃
  10. Hungarian cultural institutions are heavily and notoriously dependent on state funding. (The Budapest Festival Orchestra under the wonderful Iván Fischer is a noteworthy exception.) It's worth reflecting on this tour against the backdrop of Fidesz's increasingly alarming and illiberal cultural interventions. See for instance: https://www.ft.com/content/9c657408-b514-11e8-bbc3-ccd7de085ffe
  11. Oof, just saw that Leonidas Kavakos (with MTT & San Francisco Symphony) and Leila Josefowicz (with JvZ & NYPhil) both performed the Stravinsky Violin Concerto this past week, just days after the NYCB performance. Would have loved to hear either violinist try to tackle the piece as ballet accompanist. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/arts/music/stravinsky-carnegie-hall-opening.html
  12. To put it mildly. Beyond his unprofessional eccentricities (e.g. tagging certain dancers in every post), his sense of entitlement is shocking and foolish. He really does think he's an authority on the felt experiences of the women (and men) affected by Balanchine's various conflicts of interests, because he was 'there when it happened.'1 He also doesn't seem to understand what constitutes a conflict of interest, but that's a separate point. __________ 1 Always a bad look, but an electrifyingly bad one this particular weekend. 🤬
  13. Thanks for this awesome review and for the link; I'd seen the footage of Taylor Stanley but not the others. Love Ashley Bouder's exit in the second. Will be at the Armory for Keersmaeker's Brandenburg Concertos on Saturday, unfortunately, so I'm very happy to see that The Runaway is returning this spring!
  14. Hello from the intermission of a not-quite-packed but very enthusiastic house. Teresa was pure poetry in Barocco. Beautiful arms, gorgeous lifts, and she really allowed the music to breathe. Miriam Miller in the corps looked a bit lost or unfocused. Tiler and Joaquin brought down the house. There were moments when it seemed like the house would bring down Tiler and Joaquin, though; my sense is that the rambunctiousness of the audience threw the orchestra and dancers out of sync in a couple of spots. Edit after the show: Kowroski was wonderful in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Equal parts smouldering intensity and effortless joy. (It occurred to me that back-to-back excerpts from Violin Concerto, Mozartiana, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue would make for an awesome and sartorially striking Kowroski farewell performance.) Stravinsky is such an expressive corps showcase piece, too, and I wish they'd stage it a little more frequently. I look forward to seeing more of Christina Clark. She also stood out in the corps of Symphony in C, as did Emma Von Enck, who projects so much warmth and character. Consistent with reviews from earlier this week, Indiana Woodward's 3rd movement was terrific.
  15. Ummm am I allowed to be super stoked by this even if I've never seen Leta dance live?! 🙌 Even on tape, it's clear what an absolute force of nature she is. I particularly love the short clips on PNB's YouTube (or possibly Facebook?) of Biasucci dancing Rubies and David Dawson works.
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