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Naoko S

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  1. Cygneblanc, this is a very interesting development. But is POB in the scope as well? If you have seen a newspaper article or two on the topic recently on the net, I'd be so grateful if you could give links to them... I very much hope the troupe would not be in a position where one has loads of catching-up to do by the time the new boss arrives. Next season will see a lot of reprises of 21st century neo-classical masterpieces which is not a bad thing at all. But only one 19th century gland classics - it'd be easy to forget how to do classics in a proper manner
  2. Yes, that's what I meant - the TOTAL subsidy for both theatres, ROH and NNT. (I didn't compare oranges to apples...) However there's one thing I should have mentioned on a special (or rather peculiar) arrangement at NNT. There, opera and ballet have to share the pie with one more contender, 'play/drama' section (although it appears they almost always use medium/small theatres within the complex). Ah well perhaps I've taken it wrong for so long; NTT may not be seen as a 'lyric theatre', in strict sense... naomikage, I agree with your views that in Japan arts in general don't attract public money. But about the lack of support from wealthy individuals - if there's less financial support from rich people, compared to for instance U.S., isn't it partly because Japan is not a country of 'super rich', in the first place? (How many Japanese individuals have made it to Forbes's Rich List? Given the country's size of economy there's so few billionaires there... in modern-day Japan it's corporations that tend to have the accumulation of wealth...) Your point on the capacity of NNT's 'Opera Theatre' was interesting....I'm a complete novice on administrative side of performing arts, but.... Perhaps it may be too small to make a profit for visiting foreign opera companies, but what about NTT's giving their own performances? Do they lose out if throw more shows? (That they put on only 46 performances for opera and 36 performances for ballet in a season looks so wrong - overwhelmingly underused infrastructure! And I'm thinking of renowned lyric theatres with even smaller capacities, for instance, Brussel's La Monnaie...) I just had a look at NNT's website to find out the rental rate for Opera Theatre, but couldn't locate any info. Then a further digging led me to the page where they announced that currently Opera Theatre is not rentable due (mainly) to their own use ('for putting on NNT's performances, etc'). This is bizarre, as there seems to be no one who'll occupy the theatre during NNT's off-months: July, August & September. It's simply incredible if this heavily subsidised theatre (the main one) stands empty for the entire three months....
  3. What a fascinating, thought-provoking discussion! (Thanks also from me Natalia for having started the thread, and naomikage and ruteyo for the insight!) Being away from home for a long while and losing touch with Japanese ballet scene, I myself couldn't give any material, 'insider's views' ..... but thought perhaps I could contribute a bit too, sharing some objective info. - hard facts dept. Ah no, not everything is private - far from it! In fact, New National Ballet Theatre (NNBT) for instance is one of high-profile government-subsidised institutions. But precisely how much is being spent on them from Japanese taxpayers' money, I had no idea, so have done a quick research - here follows what I've discovered: * NNBT, alongside 6 other performing arts institutions carrying 'national' status, is run by Japan Arts Council, and grant come through its sub-org. Japan Arts Fund. (Approx. 83% of Japan Arts Fund's capital came from the government; the rest from Corporate/Private donors) The seven national institutions are: - National Theatre (for traditional Japanese performing arts: Kabuki, Bunraku, Buyo, Hougaku - traditional Japanese music, etc) - National Engei Hall (for traditional Japanese spoken entertainment: Rakugo, Koudan, Rokyoku) - National Noh Theatre (for Noh and Kyogen) - National Bunraku Theatre (for Bunraku - puppet theatre) - National Theatre Okinawa (for traditional 'Ryukyu' dance/music) - New National Theatre Tokyo (for 'modern/contemporary' performing arts: Opera, ballet, modern dance, drama/play) - Traditional Performing Arts Information Centre * According to the disclosure report, the subsidy for the above 7 national institutions totalled JPY11.6bn (equivalent to approx. US$112mn) in FY2006 (Apr06/Mar07). New National Theatre, the home to NNTB, had the biggest shares - JPY5.1bn (approx. US$49mn). This accounted for 60% of their total revenue for the period, JPY8.4bn (approx. US$81mn). * Japan Arts Fund also provides grant to medium/small scale performing arts organisations/groups, as well as more general cultural activities. In FY2007 JPY2bn (approx. US$20mn) was granted to 911 applicants located across the country. Beneficiaries included numerous ballet/dance/opera companies/groups, orchestras, drama/play groups, film creators, traditional performing arts groups, museums, preservers of cultural heritage - the list goes on and on! (I have a feeling that on top of this there should be other sources of subsidies as well, from local governments, private cultural foundations, etc.) Going back to New National Theatre.... the government subsidy of US$49mn - is this good enough or not? Surely not a small number, but again I had no clue so took rough measures and compared it with that of Covent Garden's (now my 'home' theatre). This has led me to a revelatory (or rather shocking) discovery... The state subsidy given to NNT, US$49mn, is roughly the same level ROH currently receives from Arts Council England! According to what the national daily The Independent reported in December 2007, ROH gets c.GBP25.5m (approx. US$51m) from Arts Council, and that makes up c.30% of their total revenue. A further 40% comes from Box Office, and c.15% each from fundraising and commercial activities. (That brings annual revenue of ROH to c. US$169m) Why the surprise? I certainly don't want to step in the danger zone being too simplistic to compare the two very different institutions, however, the contrast between London and Tokyo is a bit too stark. One very obvious difference is its scale; compared to Covent Garden, Japan's NNT is seemingly a lot smaller operation. They do not have their own orchestra, nor Music Director. Their ballet troupe, excluding ones on 'registered-base' contract, consist of just under 60 dancers. Then the biggest difference, the number of performances at the two theatres. In Tokyo it looks like the main auditorium at the theatre remains dormant most of the time, as there are about (or less than) 1/3 of the performances that takes place at ROH. (During 2006/2007 Season the number of performances given at NNT were: Ballet - 7 works/36 performances; Opera - 10 works 46 performances). All along, I thought it's lack of public money that caused the small-scale operation at NNT, but the state subsidy given to them doesn't particularly look 'disrespectful' level. (The findings leave me much to ponder....)
  4. Well well... My Oxford Dance Dictionary says her birthday is 15th November 1944! Let's just hope this is a genuinely accurate, truthful info. (and rejoice!)
  5. 'nonchalance' - that's exactly the word to describe Filin at the scene, Ostrich! The memo. I wrote after the performance reads: Filin held Alexandrova in the air with a single-hand lift for so long - longer than any body else I saw in years (and certainly much much longer than Matvienko from the previous evening). Particularly, second time he went for so long it's as if Alexandrova could suspend in the air forever! The audience went wild and cheered at them midway...
  6. ami, it was Sergei Filin who did it! He was amazing - after the hard work of doing the most of the first nights in the space of nearly three weeks the guy still maintained the stamina and strength to do that! (Wow!) I remember having cheered wildly at them, like a madwoman!! Thanks also from me to all of you for bringing me back the 'fond' memory of the 'great' summer of '06...
  7. Hi Leigh - I obtained approx. running times info. from ROH today. It appears there's going to be an intermission indeed after mere 34 mins. Prologue! *Evening Performance for The Sleeping Beauty when starting at 7:30pm* Prologue 7:30 (34 mins.) 1st Interval 8:04 (20 mins.) ACT I 8:24 (32 mins.) 2nd Interval 8:56 (20 mins.) ACTS II & III 9:16 (1hr 8 mins.) Curtain Down 10:24 Good luck!!
  8. Thanks hockeyfan228 for clarifications about the policy. ....but I'm not too certain about a rationality of the links I inserted in my recent posts - all Japanese-only websites. In these cases, should brief translations be accompanied??
  9. Wow - at last! Thanks for the info., cygneblanc and Sophia. Actually, having recently acquired a copied dvd of the televised version (that went on-air in Japan in early March - presumably the same version as the commercial dvd), I've been deprived of my sleep - just can't stop watching it over and over again! The more I see it, the more I love it.... The three leads are Dupont/Ganio/Hurel. If my memory serves, all three made "debut in the role" when this was shot? Amazing, just amazing.... Oh and someone kindly sent me this - Mathieu Ganio is featured in the current issue of a Japanese weekly magazine, "AERA"; his photo adorns the cover. http://www3.asahi.com/opendoors/zasshi/aera/
  10. Dear Natalia, As far as I'm aware, you're one of the craziest, most fantastic balletomane! Thanks for your enthusiastic, affectionate, and insightful reports from St. P - can't imagine how I could have managed the last 10 days without them! BRAVO!!
  11. It appears the two gentlemen like it *very* hot! Yet again, right in the midst of tropical summer, Legris and Ganio will be visiting Japan to dance in Tokyo Ballet's Sleeping Beauty. The dates and venue are: -16, 18 August 2005: Manuel Legris/Ryoko Koide (Solo Artist, Tokyo Ballet) -17, 19 August 2005: Mathieu Ganio/Mizuka Ueno (Principal, Tokyo Ballet) *All dates at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan http://www.nbs.or.jp/stages/0508_sleep/index.html Ganio guested with the company as recent as in February, dancing James in La Sylphide. As for Legris, who has a huge fan base in Japan, danced with the troupe countless times before.
  12. Perhaps it's because I myself didn't expect a radical, overnight change in POB's programming policies, I can appreciate certain differences from the current season, albeit small and barely discernible. (Maintaining the status quo is far better than moving forward towards advancements - in this case deteriorations.) Less classics, yes, but to me among them two "Petipa"-Nureyev works included is a good thing (current: just one) - and they are ballet blanc (current: none). As to contemporary works - I may be wrong but the line-up for the coming season looks less experimental; e.g. a new commission for a lesser known choreographer - just one? (current: certainly more than that). And an acquisition of a narrative work, a well-established 20th century ballet (La Dame aux camélias)...... Oh no that's too bad Estelle... I wish you could get to see more performances in the new season.
  13. Ladies - cheer up! A year ago, at the announcement of the current season's repertoire, we all thought things couldn't get any worse - and thank goodness certainly the new season's outlook, in my views, gives us the impressions we were not wrong? Surely they could have used a bit more of imaginations, and I share Estelle's dissappointments at the lack of Lifar and certain neo-classical works (particularly Balanchine!), but at least I can take a pleasure out of the fact that not a great deal of money seems to go to new commissions for ambiguous contemporary works.... I'm afraid you cannot avoid a certain mannerism watching the same company over and over again - so go out and see other companies of different styles and repertoire is a good idea, I think. (...oh that reminds me - isn't Kirov-Mariinsky coming to town in autumn? It should give you a nice change - particularly when they kind of promise Ulyana Lopatkina would take a lead in Swan Lake!)
  14. Thanks cygneblanc for the info.! The line-up looks f-aaaa-r better than the current season - don't you think? I'm particularly pleased to see a couple of ballets are featured in which Laurent Hilaire could appear; Le Parc and Mandarin (and hopefully Bella Figura). (Though I'm saddened by the absence of Raymonda for another season - we can't have everything....) And I spotted in French language forums that their visit to Sadlers Wells this autumn (with Le Parc) was now official? Hooooray!
  15. Thanks cygneblanc for the alert - I could secure a pretty nice place in the parterre on line. Three cheers for M. Legris's website!
  16. About POB's visit to SW this autumn - after having read the snippet of the info. I enquired with the theatre for a confirmation, in January. At the time they apparently were not in a position to discuss Autumn/Winter Season, which was still being finalised - yet they didn't deny the possibility either. A full season announcement is likely to be released around May. If they ever stage Le Parc in London - I can't think of anyone other than Hilaire who could do justice to the role..... after all it's his role, and Guérin's - together they created the roles for POB back in 1994. In the reprise of the work in POB's 01/02 season Hilaire danced with Dupont, then last summer in Tokyo the pair again danced the excerpt from the work - I'd lay my bet on Hilaire & Dupont taking the first night! (But first of all let's just hope their coming to London becomes a reality....)
  17. No doubt Mlle Maurin's adieu performance will be the highest point of 04/05 season.... the question is: How can I secure a ticket for the special event? You can rarely access casting info. well in advance, and it's not unusual tickets are completely sold out by the time the official distribution is out...... Another question is whether or not Hilaire will dance Tybolt in the ballet with Maurin and Legris - if that happens it will surely be a very special performance for all......
  18. Thanks Estelle for the news. I'd like to congratulate M. Hilaire for getting the appointment for an important and prestigeous role at POB and wish him all the best in the new endeavours. It hasn't come as a big surprise, actually .... over the last few years in a number of interviews he constantly made it very clear that the time was right for him to shift his energies and time more to coaching younger generations; it appeared he found it truly appealing and worthwhile job, coaching. His determinations to convey the spirit of Nureyev seemed rock-solid, and often it was very moving to hear someone who benefitted from a great encounter with a ballet giant of the last century genuinely wished to pass onto the future generations what he had gained through precious experiences. (But then it's not only Hilaire - "Nureyev's Children", the group of exceptionally gifted dancers including Jude, Loudieres, Platel and Hilaire himself, seem to share the strong views or beliefs; they are destined to advocate what Nureyev had taught them - it's their missions!) Having said that it would be a great loss not only for POB but for the ballet world if this decision would further reduce his appearances as a perfomer. Inevitable, perhaps, but I do believe he still has strong will and passions to dance - the evidence of which I witnessed not so long ago, in last summer - and continue coming back on stage if the repertoire was right. AND we certainly shouldn't let him go without allowing us to bid proper farewell!
  19. OK here's the search result....... First of all, please note Nagoya is a major Japanese city of over 2 million population..... so I'd say you'll be in a better position to find ballet DVDs/videos, in general, than in smallish/provincial towns. Yet some local residents have recommended that your best bet might be the shop called Chacott, a country's leading ballet-goods retailer. There seems to be two branches in downtown Nagoya, both are located in a convenient position from Aichi Geijutsu Gekijo, which I'd presume will be the venue for the competition you're taking part. They have the website in English version, so if you're interested, here's the link: http://www.chacott-jp.com/e/index.html Best thing, I should think, is ask people around once you're there - your fellow Japanese contestants, general public......I guess they'll be happy to help.
  20. Sorry Estelle you are right - I DID mention what roles Mathieu danced in back then but not on some reactions from Japanese ballet-goers. I guess somewhat I hesitated to comment as I can't speak for others.... Hi Daniil - no it's not off topic at all! I did search some DVD vendors' websites (Amazon UK & France included) but have been unable to get even a hint of a possible release date..... let's hope they'll release it before long. As for a hunting ground for DVD in Japan - well it really depends on where you are heading to. All big towns have numerous retail shops which sell DVDs in general, but even in a ballet-crazed country as Japan, not many shops stock ballet DVDs aplenty, I guess. If you're really interested, I'd do some research and let you know where to look out for. And best of luck in the competition!
  21. No, unfortunately not - I'm in London and won't be able to see Mathieu in this performance with Tokyo Ballet. As for the appearance last summer - Mathieu danced in the following roles: * Esmeralda PdD with Dupont * Who Cares? with Abbagnato (in the 1st PdD) * Sleeping Beauty PdD with Ould-Braham * Allez Waltz As I wrote back then in the thread: Legris gala in Tokyo, he did struggle, apparently exhausted from the sudden increases in workload immediately before the Tokyo gala. That caused open scepticism about his rapid asension to an etoile-dom among certain Japanese ballet-goers, who have eagle-eyes on quality of dancing, getting accustomed to seeing great and the greatest dancers from all over the world, and expect nothing but the best from a POB's etoile. (As for me, I never doubted the justification of his promotion, of course ) The picture with no kilt in sight - it's odd, indeed, but don't worry - it's been confirmed by my contact that he did wore kilt in the real performances! I guess it's only that the impresario couldn't get hold of an appropriate picture in good time so put on anything's available to them instead! Oh and there's one more thing that makes us green with envy - the Japanese national broadcaster NHK will show POB's La Sylphide with Dupont and Ganio taken last summer on a terrestrial TV (I think in its entirety), in March. Commercial DVD itself from TDK will be released later this month (on the 23rd) in the country. What about on French television's front - and do you know when commercial DVD becomes available in Europe?
  22. Mathieu is currently guesting with Tokyo Ballet, dancing James in La Sylphide (choreography: Lacotte). His partners are Tokyo Ballet's very own, Yukari Saito and Mika Yoshioka. Manuel Legris is also there to support Ganio (and perhaps restaging the ballet too) - it's said that his name is credited in the programme as the coach. I've read some favourable reviews in Japanese ballet-fans' sites. A good thing as Ganio's debut appearance in the country last summer didn't earn much credit for him! http://www.nbs.or.jp/stages/sylphide/index.html
  23. Leigh wrote: >>NYCB promotes like that all the time; the dancers who aren't the top principals, but buttress the company all the same. It helps morale at all levels when done correctly. Now this is a revelation to me.... but come to think of it, it doesn't sound too unreasonable, as different companies with different repertoire can have different policies for promotions. It's just that I myself cannot remember witnessing this type of promotions "to show a gratefulness from a company" at major ballet companies with classical repertoire at their core - e.g. POB or RB or Kirov - at least in the last decade or so, the idea looked too alien to me. It may not be a bad idea (it could benefit HR management to certain extent!), as long as it doesn't risk degrading standards of a company, at all levels. >>I don't think the promotion is of a patently underqualified dancer. I'm sure none of us thinks that way too and wish to think that this promotion was of a benign nature as you wrote. What drove me rather wild was not at the event itself, but at what this could possibly lead to...... Cygneblanc, perhaps the reasons M. Mortier chose Magic Flute particularly could have been an accessibility and the heavenly music of the opera, a combination not bad for kids to follow..... but then as you suspected there might have been the intentions to show them the ultra avant-garde production in order for them to get prepared for the future! Estelle, thanks for the links. Re: Split of the company - if it happened in the past, it could happen again? Well we'll see.........
  24. Cygneblanc, >>Gerard Mortier went the POB ballet school to speaking to the pupils about the production and invited them to a performance. From what she told me and what I read in newspapers, it is looking rather "trash", they're giving condoms to the audience! It seems to me the idea of taking ballet kids to Opera performances itself is great. A pity your goddaughter didn't enjoy the production very much - she's certainly not among those who returned their impressions to M. Mortier, currently viewable on-line on l'Opera's website (under "À LIRE AUJOURD'HUI")! But giving away condoms??? How bizarre - is it aimed at advocating some sort of educations/enlightenments? (e.g. anti-HIV campaign etc?) And thank you for the English translations for Mme Lefèvre's comments. Very interesting, and it does make sense to me what she tried to imply with those words, and what she actually did. I think your interpretaions are pretty accurate ("... it looks like this promotion is a personal thank you from Mrs Lefèvre"), and in my fantasy world I'm tempted to go on reading the last sentence like this: "He has come with me during my journey to modernity, he's a leader in the compagny","....and so will he be, for many years to come, in enhancing the endeavours made in the last decade or so". Ah... just a thought, but seriously - isn't it an idea to split the company into two - one doing classics and the other modern/contemporary, I wonder..... Estelle, no you're not a cynic - ballet world too cannot escape "injustice", but I personally rate it's committed far lesser in ballet world than other fields of human activities. (After all when it happens in ballet world it's hard to disguise the misjudgements - it's so cruelly painful to see.....) You wrote: "There are 7 premiers danseurs, and I don't think that any of them has the "star quality" you described... " Well I don't know - although any of them may not be the next Manuel Legris (who's a one-in-a-million dancer), some of them seem to have great prospects - I think the standards are kept pretty high. And also possibilities are always there that some new talent storms the scene out of nowhere - like Mathieu (ah... to be precise his case may not be quite out of "nowhere", but...).
  25. Estelle, the only occasion I saw Romoli in a lead role of grand classiques was in La Bayadere, some years ago at Bastille. In my diminishing memories he wasn't too convincing a Solor.... didn't seem to fit the bill. But really it's not the point; I guess you understand how I meant - it's not only looks or technique that makes a dancer, let alone an etoile - but they do count. Professional dancers themselves are a group of highly talented individuals, for sure, yet to be on the top of the company like POB, that's just one of many prerequisites I think. What distingues a path for one dancer from others, sometimes it seems to me, is nothing but a sheer luck - that includes his/her very own ideosyncrasy luckily meeting the very narrow ballet aesthetism; also one should possess an aura which makes him/her instantly recognisable - it's crucial. Now that's a tough part 'cause you really have to be born with them! But that's why a true ballet star or ballet artist is hard to come by - and that's about *right*, I think. Just like everywhere else, not every one can succeed in the ballet world - I mean, if you define one's success by a rank with which a dancer ends his/her professional life. But unlike everywhere else, where often promotions are decided totally outside of one's true talent/abilities, I personally want to see ballet world stay that way - that only strictly selective few could be on the top. Being an outsider, maybe I have this very idealistic or idolised views towards 'Etoiles' of POB; maybe it's POB's current line-up of etoiles themselves (a few exceptions aside) are to blame - they set such high standards! (Particularly male etoiles - many of them are genuinely 'versatile' dancers, freely crossing boundaries of genre)...... Cygneblanc, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed an Ashton bill with Royal Ballet. Personally it's hard to imagine POB take on Ashton's ballets, as many of the factors are quintessentially British.....(particularly that humour!) Do you think they would fit POB's style? A shame you couldn't manage to see the reconstructed Sylvia - it's a delightful, glorious, fantastic ballet! It may be too early to say, but Sylvia, together with POB's SB, were two of my *best* balletic moments for 2004/05 season. (And the worst is "Soiree Preljocaj" - I went not for the choreographer, but for Laurent Hilaire!) About "la flûte enchantée" - I guess it's the one currently shown you were referring to - was it that bad? Looks like it's a new production - so they've dumped another "new" production staged as recent as in the previous season? Er... the one in which singers were restricted from moving about naturally - not only movements but eventually singing were affected and oddly supressed as if it's badly inspired by Noh-theatre...... that production was pretty horrible in their own right, I seem to remember.
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