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About sappho

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Sanz and Kretzschmar are such delightful hosts. Loved the latest episode & hope they do more crew/wardrobe/admin interviews. I imagine they could spend a whole season in conversation with Marc Happel.
  2. ditto, as well as Gina Pazcoguin and Lauren King
  3. Canari qui chante and Violente, which are somehow bland and anxiety-inducing at the same time.
  4. Sterling and Indiana were marvelous, and -- at least from where I was sitting -- Veyette looked better than he has in a while. Most endearing moment of the night occurred at the beginning of act II, when the SPF gestures for each pair of angels to switch sides of the stage. One of the angels began gliding forward too early, and when she realized the mistake, she simply glided backwards in character, completely unfazed.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?"
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Loved both. The neckline of Gretchen's suit is so good. Well done, Marc Happel. 👏
  12. 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.)
  13. 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. 🙃
  14. 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
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