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Posts posted by miliosr

  1. I've been listening to Powell's contributions to Athena tonight. Such a beautiful score and Powell sings it wonderfully.

    Powell and Astaire from Royal Wedding:

    [HQ] How Could You Believe Me (Royal Wedding-1951) - YouTube

    Powell is the real revelation here. Who knew at the time she could so considerably transform her image and singing style? And keep up so impressively with Astaire during the tap dance portion? (I can picture Judy Garland doing this but for the life of me I can't picture June Allyson doing it.)

  2. Jane Withers has died at the age of 95. She was too young to have been a part of the Pre-Code era and yet she lived long enough to be one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood's Golden Age.

    The Norma Shearer page I follow on Instagram had a cute photo of Jane and Norma together at a USO event in 1941.

    And speaking of Norma, Wikipedia lists August 10th as her birthday. (Her actual birthday may have been the 11th but she celebrated it on the 10th.) Regardless -- happy birthday to Norma Shearer!!!

  3. Some of these ballet companies have problems that extend beyond the events of recent years and reach back to the "glory years" of the Dance Boom of the 60s and 70s. The "boom" could just as easily be described as a "bubble" given how many companies came into being without having a clear reason for being other than someone thought a particular city should have a ballet company.

    During the pandemic, I bought old issues of Dance Magazine from the 70s and the 80s. Reading those back issues, it's amazing to see how many companies didn't make it because they had no realistic artistic and business plans (or even a realistic view of the city in which they were performing.) The "boom" is long gone but there are still a lot of companies from that era hanging around and still trying to find the way forward.


  4. On 7/10/2021 at 5:56 PM, pherank said:

    I don't disagree with these statements. But I suppose one could argue that any company that's been following the same model exclusively for years is in need of some level of shaking up. No one's artistic vision is that sweeping and original.   😉

    Which also suggests that a change in artistic director(s) might not solve the problems some of these companies have.

  5. On 7/7/2021 at 9:33 PM, nanushka said:

    I think it sounds, at least generally, less provincial and less regional. As @Californiasuggests, think of the names of prominent US city-named ballet companies, orchestras, opera companies, museums, etc. compared with those named by state.

    The danger is that they achieve "negative crossover": people who have been loyal to the entity known as 'Pennsylvania Ballet' for decades are put off by the name change while "Philadelphia Ballet" does not attract a new, numerically significant audience.

  6. I don't think the Julian Mackay hire helped Kelly Tweeddale's cause any. While she was putting out press releases extolling Sab Francisco Ballet's commitment to diversity, the artistic director was moving in a different direction altogether. At best, it looked like one part of the operation didn't know what the other part was doing. At worst, all the press releases from the last year look like nothing more than an  attempt to get the press and the public off the management and board's backs.

  7. On 12/4/2020 at 8:39 AM, Hogmel said:

    I was wondering of all of the american companies, large or small, which ones are ready for a change of artistic direction? And for what reasons? 

    i personally think Houston Ballet might be ripe for a change. Its a good company that just seems to fly under the radar a lot. It seems they stage a whole lot of Stanton Welch’s creation which might not be all that great... 

    i am really curious to hear what you have to say ?  

    Houston Ballet for sure. It's lavishly funded but it has no national profile. I'm hard pressed to even describe its repertory. Perhaps they'll just coast along until Connor Walsh is ready to take over?

    I would put the Joffrey Ballet in second place. During his lifetime, the late Robert Joffrey worked ceaselessly to give the company an unique repertory. How wonderful would it be if the Joffrey was still the repository for all those Massine revivals? Instead, it's like a mild San Francisco Ballet.

    Los Angeles Ballet would be my third place. What is the point of this company? It slogs along with no discernible purpose and not much funding. (Don't know if you could replace the artistic directors as they and the company may be one and the same.)

  8. I took a look at Pennsylvania Ballet's Form 990 filings at Guide Star. Their last filing was for 2018-19 (pre-COVID):

    2016-17:  $1,411,315 (profit)

    2017-18: -$251,518 (loss)

    2018-19:  $164,705 (profit)

    The company's highest earning year was 2018-19 with $16 million. Their highest expense year was also 2018-19 with $15.8 million. From the 990s, it's not apparent that revenue has been disastrous enough to prompt a reboot (the name change).

  9. 7 hours ago, dirac said:

    I don’t think Shearer was ready to quit just yet. Her last two pictures did not do well and they were her own bad choices (as she said in response to rumors that Mayer sabotaged her, “on those last two, nobody but me was trying to do me in” – from memory). She might well have retired by 1945 but I doubt she wanted to go out on that note.

    I agree with you that Shearer would have wanted to go out on a better note than Her Cardboard Lover. But she was savvy about life on the Metro lot and she knew it was her time. Thalberg had been dead for 6 years and her days as 'The First Lady of the M-G-M Lot' had already ended. Her contract with the studio was up in 1942 and she would have known that the only way Mayer would have kept her was as a character actress. For someone like Shearer, who had been an above-the-title star since the 1920s, death itself would have been preferable to playing mother or even grandmother parts. Shearer was set for life financially and, at 40, probably didn't want to drag herself out of bed any more to get to the studio at a ridiculously early hour. So, she left on her terms rather than having the studio impose terms on her.

    4 hours ago, dirac said:

    I don't remember MGM as being big on film noir generally although it did produce some.

    They weren't because Mayer hated it. The Postman Always Rings Twice was a big critical and commercial success for the studio and featured what was perhaps Lana Turner's greatest performance. But it went against everything Mayer held dear in the 1940s -- star-spangled "support the troops" musicals, Esther Williams 'aquacals', the Andy Hardy series, Ann Sothern's Maisie series . . . 

  10. 15 hours ago, dirac said:

    They were all approaching, or past, the female star's danger age of 35 (depending on whether you believe Crawford about her birthdate).  With Garbo, like Haines, there were other factors - specifically, the war cut off the European market that made her expensive vehicles financially viable, and her departure was meant to be temporary. Shearer turned down Mrs. Miniver, which might have been a game changer for her, because she did not want to play a mother -- once you got cast as desexualized Mom, it was very hard to get out of such parts.

    Specific circumstances aside (the War in Garbo's case and Irving Thalberg's death in Shearer's), I think Garbo and Shearer intuited -- correctly -- that life as a glamorous Metro star would only get harder with each passing year. To sustain the illusion of eternal youth, they would have to rise earlier and earlier in the morning to get to the studio and spend ever increasing time in the makeup chair. This is the exact thing Grace Kelly told Gore Vidal in 1956 when he asked her why she was giving up being a queen of the Metro lot to become a princess of an obscure Mediterranean city-state. She replied that, at age 26, she could still get to the studio at a reasonable hour and not have to spend an eternity in the makeup chair. But Kelly saw the older female stars every morning and knew they had already been there for a considerable amount of time before she got to the studio. (Whatever the movie Mommie Dearest may or may not be, the opening with Joan Crawford getting up at 4:00AM in the morning to get to the studio for hair, makeup and wardrobe is brutally accurate.)


  11. On 6/24/2021 at 1:10 PM, dirac said:

    A Free Soul was Clark Gable's breakout picture, although intended as a vehicle for Shearer. As discussed earlier in the thread, Gable is supposed to be a villain, but Depression economics and the sexual mores of the time made his gangster character unexpectedly sympathetic to audiences, and it's the most interesting aspect of the picture to modern eyes, apart from Shearer's slinky evening frocks. (And I love the way she undresses Gable with her eyes.)

    1931 was a big year for Gable. In addition to A Free Soul, he also appeared with Joan Crawford in Dance, Fools, Dance, Laughing Sinners and Possessed - all of which were big, big hits for Metro. He also appeared in Night Nurse (w/ Barbara Stanwyck) and Susan Lenox (w/ Greta Garbo).

    I always think of 1931 as representing a big change in the type of leading men Metro employed. The ascendance of Gable dealt the final blow to the waning popularity of the formerly big silent/early talkie stars John Gilbert, William Haines and Ramon Novarro. They would all leave in succession: Haines in 1932, Gilbert in 1933 and Novarro in 1934. (I realize there were other factors in play, particularly in regard to Haines.)

    Interestingly, the Big Three female stars of the 1920s -- Crawford, Garbo and Shearer -- all carried on for quite a bit longer at the studio. Garbo was done in 1941 (although technically under contract until 1943), Shearer left in 1942 and Crawford was forced out in 1943. Respectively, their tenures were 16 years (Garbo), 18 years (Shearer) and 18 years (Crawford).  (Shearer's tenure was actually longer if you give her credit for being under contract to Louis B. Mayer's Metro Productions prior to its becoming part of the cobbled together Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924.)

  12. With Park's elevation to etoile status today and Eleanora Abbagnato retiring tomorrow, the number of female etoiles holds steady at 10 (as compared to 6 male etoiles.) But, the company will almost certainly lose 5 female etoiles to retirement in the next four seasons.

  13. On 6/5/2021 at 2:52 PM, Buddy said:

    Another ballerina that I like very much, ECat, is Héloïse Bourdon. She appeared at a rather young age as Odette/Odile (Swan Lake) at the 2016 Mariinsky Festival, which is quite an honor. I thought that she was very fine. I didn't hear much mention of her after that. Checking the POB website, she's listed as a Premier danseur, one step down from Etoile (the highest ranking), so that seems good. 

    Miliosr or Merit, maybe you know how she's doing ?

    It's hard to know exactly what her standing is (as compared to her rank.) Based on the published casting for the Roland Petit evening and Romeo and Juliet, I wouldn't say she's cast especially prominently. I don't see her name as one of the leads in any of the Petit one acts and I only see her cast as Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet. This in comparison to her fellow premieres Hannah O'Neill and Sae Eun Park, who are very prominently cast (the Petit evening for the former and Romeo and Juliet for the latter.)

  14. Premiere danseur Vincent Chaillet has announced on his Instagram feed that he will forego his last five years at the Opera. Not really a surprise since, if you follow his feed, he's been involved in a variety of different project outside the Opera for the past few years. Still, as we've discussed upthread, the company will have its hands full replenishing the top ranks with so many male dancers of longstanding retiring or about to retire.

  15. 17 hours ago, Drew said:

    It surprised me to learn that she had specifically requested not to dance with one of her main partners, and I was struck that in her own account of life at ABT that decision seemed to mark a (negative) turning point. Since it's easy enough to connect the dots and realize who it must be--one is left wondering what she thought might happen when she refused to dance with a)one of the very few dancers in the company for whose height she is perfectly matched  and who is also b)one of the company's most widely admired stars. The reasons she gives are understandable and yet, taking those two things into account, the decision--at least as she explains it in this interview--still seems surprising to me.

    I'm surprised as well. If she was going to make that kind of request/demand, she needed to have a backup plan (or two) in pocket. Her most likely partners were Herman Cornejo, Daniil Simkin and Joseph Gorak. Assuming Cornejo is the oft-injured male dancer (and a much bigger star too), that left her with Simkin, who was transitioning into guest star status, and Gorak, who had plenty of inadequacies as a partner. Marcelo Gomes was gone, Alban Lendorf was injured and would not return, and (the oft-injured) David Hallberg was on the way out. That left a shrunken male principals roster of Cornejo, Cory Stearns and James Whiteside; the latter two who were needed (primarily if not exclusively) to partner the taller ballerinas. So, however genuine her request was, it seems out-of-step with internal company dynamics (unless she was hoping to be paired with future principals Joo Won Ahn, Aran Bell, Thomas Forster and/or Calvin Royal.)

    4 hours ago, abatt said:

    I'm still holding out hope that after McKenzie leaves maybe Lane can do a farewell as a guest artist on the Met stage.

    If she ended up filing a formal complaint, I think that ship has sailed.

  16. 23 hours ago, Merit said:

    I once made a list, birth year -- possible farewell year

    Mathieu Ganio      1984--2023 

    Ganio's only 37 so I would put his retirement closer to 2026.

    The ranks of the male etoiles are thinner than they might have been under different circumstances because Josua Hoffalt resigned from the company while he was still in his 30s. So, with Bullion retiring soon and Ganio transitioning (in part) to character roles, that leaves only four other male etoiles. That should open up room at the top although I don't think Aurelie Dupont has any interest in elevating Francois Alu and Arthus Raveau to etoile status. Predictions: Pablo Legasa, Francesco Mura and the sujet Thomas Docquir are the most likely candidates to become etoiles.

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