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Everything posted by richard53dog

  1. Don't really know but suspect it is a matter of just only so much time available. A lot of time that would have gone to Balanchine is diverted to newer works. In theory, I agree with this but in practice it means that a lot of time and money (both finite resources) go to such junk as the Martin and Millepied pieces. This to me is the real downer of the Martins era at NYCB. so much time and money is spent putting on material that just doesn't merit the effort. But who is going to tell MArtins that he can't "create" (ha!) at least one "new" ballet each season? And this could conceivably go on for another twenty years, a depressing thought.
  2. It's pretty clear Mortier does have a huge ego. His program for Madrid includes many of the productions that were announced for Mortier's first season with NYCO, and in turn many of them were productions that he had already put on in different European houses. We'll never know how Mortier might have worked out in NY, I think conditions were already too far gone for his program to work and I suspect the Board may have contributed to the debacle by promising him an unrealistic budget that they couldn't deliver. In the meantime, George Steel has announced a season of only 16 staged performances for 2011-2012. Two highly questionable productions including a dreary Traviata that has already been schlepped around North America and Rufus Wainright's Prima Donna, both to be performed at BAM (will Manahttan audiences travel to Brooklyn for two such iffy productions?) as well as a rare performance of Telemann's Orfeo in Spanish Harlem and an intriguing sounding production of Alden's Cosi. Even on these two which seem to offer more luster than the first two, the theater at the Museo del Barrio is tiny and not very well equipped. the Cosi will take place in the John Jay Theater which is a very unfriendly concrete space not far from Lincoln Center. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/arts/music/city-opera-director-speaks-after-protest.html But there is at least one big "if". NYCO need to reconcile their affairs with it's unions. I hardly think they are even really negotiating a contract, it's more like an agreement where NYCO will use freelance performers and the unions will agree not to set up pickets. This sounds like a really unhappy situation to me.
  3. I saw the Saturday evening program and all in all was very glad I went despite a number of reservations. Alonso's Carmen???? I have trouble understanding why this was resurrected. I saw it a number of times back in the 70s, first with Plisetskaya and then later with Alonso. It's a vehicle, pure and simple, for a powerful, charismatic stage personality. The overall style is a very dated, 1960s "hip". Mostly Carmen just strikes dramatic poses all over the stage. It's a silly, mostly empty piece. At the center was Lopatkina and ,while rather remote, she truly did dominate the stage which is the purpose of the piece. Very striking and glamorous, with her long shimmering legs. The men were much less effective, but that is due in a big part to the requirement to the piece itself. It was a delight to see Symphony in C although the MT really doesn't convince me in Balanchine. Overall, the piece was a bit slow and a bit less clear than ideal. A sense of musicality and truly capturing the beautiful sense of the movement of the piece was at best intermittent. Many of the individual components were very nice. Tereshkina is a beautifully schooled dancer but breaks phrases into steps, which she then executes well. But mostly the flow of movement is not there. Kondaurova seems to me a similar case. There was a lovely languid quality to her dancing and it has a bit more flow (crucial in second movement) but again, the real sense of phrasing and large scale movement was fragmented. Of all the lead dancers, the one really outstanding performance was Shklyrov in third movement. He had the energy, the definition of phrasing, the articulation of the steps to make up a really great performance. I had never seen either Obratszova or Shirinkina before although I'd heard much about their dancing. I really thought both were pretty unsuccessful, both tried to go for speed and ended up with a lot of jerky, blurry movements, some almost frantic. But neither was negligible and both had their moments. The corp was mostly good although a lot of the footwork was very sketchy to saw the least. Yes, the upper bodies are lovely, but ladies you need to articulate both the steps and the movement more clearly and LISTEN to the music you are dancing to. I'd never seen the piece before with the colored tutus for the lead and soloist women and really liked the effect the costumes made. It served a purpose of defining the different movements. A number of people have complained of Schedrin arrangement of Bizet's tunes. Really, it has never bothered me and all in all I sort of enjoy hearing it. The orchestra then played well in the Bizet symphony, the quality of playing very high for an orchestra in a ballet performance. This is another of the MT Ballet's strengths; they share the orchestra with the opera company and as a result, the level of playing is much higher than the pickup orchestras other companies use. If only the dancers would listen to it more!!!! All in all, with a number of reservations, a very good performance of a wonderful ballet. Just seeing the piece performed is a treat.
  4. Well, going (but this thread has certainly wandered anyway...) according to some very plausible theories, syphilis was one of the treasures of the Western Hemisphere and only came to Europe after crews returned from voyages with tobacco, gold, etc. There are counter theories that syphilis existed in Europe prior to explorations of the "New World" but just wasn't noticed or noted (that appears sort of a stretch for me). But the Europeans did bring smallpox over with the blankets......
  5. I agree very strongly here. They only need to think about how their co-tenant basically decimated their subscription base. (OK, NYCO had a number of bad moves but it's really possible the worst was to alienate their subscribers by going dark for a year) Aside from subscription problems, the NYCB has a clunky website, a ticket buying utility that has way too many extra steps and they seem to be a bit arrogant with their patrons. Remember the block programming they tried to shove down their patron's throats a few years back? My suggestion would be really, really seriously rethink the repertory. Program what audiences will buy tickets to (ok, this probably means some full lengths) and skip the junk that sinks so many of their programs. Redo the website, make it more efficient and more friendly. Make the subscribers and single ticket buys excited about buying a ticket and going to NYCB events. Don't try to ram some half-baked ideas a business school dropout in the marketing department had down the customer's throats. The MArketing department can be replaced much more easily than the customer base.
  6. This is the most shocking casting replacement ABT has made all season: a company member...replacing an injured company member?!? Maybe Kevin couldn't find anyone to guest.....
  7. But isn't this pretty much an elephant sitting in the room? There are obviously budget issues that are challenging to solve but nothing, nothing, nothing seems to impede the relentless procession of "new Martins ballets" that it seems no one is interested in seeing. I don't know, I'm only guessing, but I wonder if Martins' published salary DOES NOT INCLUDE commissions and royalties for this junk? To make matters worse, now we seem to have a "lighter version" of this Martins procession. It's called "new Millepeid ballets". I understand the need and importance of new choreography, but ,sorry, NYCB could take the money they spend on these projects, put it in a pile, douse it with gasoline and through a match into it. It would be a more efficent way of disposing of the cash and they coyuld use the rehearsal time for stuff audiences would buy tickets to see.
  8. Even more to the part, how would an "all Martins" program sell?
  9. I love the catchy quality of Bright Stream and I really like the almost coarse humor Shostakovitch incorporated into the score. I think that's what got him in trouble with Stalin; the score isn't all reverent to those upstanding Soviet citizens, it lampoons them a bit and Stalin didn't have much of a sense of humor. I was already familiar to this aspect of Shostakovitch's work with his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which also doesn't exactly contain upright Soviet characters and Shostakovitch adds these smeared trombone effects to satirize an off stage sex scenes. It's quite funny in a dark kind of way. Lady Macbeth is a very black comedy. Evidently Bright Stream and LAdy Macbeth got Shostakovitch into a lot of hot water. He must have been a very brave individual to steer so close to the edges of what was acceptable in the time and place he was living it. More and more, I have a lot of apprectiation and admiration for this very special composer.
  10. Good point about rep. ABT has a lot of problems, many of which have been discussed recently in various threads. But their repertory history is staggering. Over the years I've seen a breadth of repertory with them that's been wider and more varied than any other ballet company that I've seen. I wish they would play to that strength, I think it's a tremendous asset.
  11. I've seen the Ashton over the years, I've seen the Kudelka, and a couple of other versions(plus more on video) and I don't think any of them really rings the bell. The Ashton has some beautiful parts, the seasons sections as well as the Cinderella/Prince pdd, but it gets horribly bogged down with the stepsisters. WAY, WAY, too much of them, they hog the show. The Kudelka has some things about it that I like but it's sort of light on the choreography and I think the plot meanders. However, Kudelka includes the around the world sequence in act 3 which I like. I wonder if the problem is based on the score. I think it's actually sort of weak, Prokofiev tried to be really creative in Romeo and Juliet and got slapped down for it and I think he plays it much safer (and much duller) in Cinderella. If we are going to bring back a full length Ashton, I say revive Fille.
  12. I suspect the person that uploaded it to youtube used the release date of the DVD rather than the actual date of the performance. I've had the audio version of this performance for many years and my copy is dated, as you note, from Dec 1988. Fracci would have been in her early 50s at this point.
  13. Yes, they certainly are worse than any seats at the NYST, certainly further from the the stage. But at least there is a low cost option for the really cash-strapped. Also, I wonder what impact this will have on standing room, we are talking about the extreme limit of the cash-challenged. Will that stuill be sold (I have to admit I'm still unclear if the prices have just been really raised on the 3rd and 4th ring or if they will be just not sold for certain perfomances.
  14. Well as long as we have exploding cigarettes, then there is a severe problem isn't there? As far as the term "happiness", I was replying to your use of the the term. You were no longer "happy" when you had to pass through the mushroom cloud. It must have been very upsetting.
  15. Richard, The thing is cigs will never be illegal as long as tax revenue is there to be garnered and indeed why should it, people have been enjoying a tab for millennia in one form or another. No kidding!!!! Agree, where is there is money to be made or collected, cigarettes will not go away. But I really agree with you overall take on the situation. Yes, it's a nasty, dirty, unhealthy habit... but it's legal and the fallout to non-smokers joins a host of other unsavory effects such as breathing smoggy, poluted air, or smokestack output. I live in New Jersey and one of the nasty local attractions is a group of large oil refineries. Really, really nasty. But again, here Big Oil is an interested partner here so the whole thing is allowed to continue. My problem is that many of the antismoker groups have more than a tinge of the Evangelical about them "you'll be puffing on your way to damnation...."
  16. Very true, but the Met hasn't collapsed their pricing scheme into a narrow range. I just subscription brochure and the MEt is still selling Family Circle tickets for a subscription price of $25 (except on Saturdays) Single ticket sales may be a bit higher. But the MEt is giving their audience plenty of options from those who can afford the $350 seats and want a really good view and those with really tight budgets who have the choice of "cheap seat" or "no seat". Shame on NYCB. If they didn't program so many substandard pieces, they might sell more tickets and not have hundred's of seats empty. How did the Balanchine black and white sell, huh? Maybe that should give a hint to the artistic administration.
  17. Wonderful image! Ah, the power of advertising! I'll play devil's advocate here. Scent isn't part of your experience here, right? Because while you're in MC, instead of that bracing mountain air tinged with the scent of the mountain pines and the added in whiffs of cow poop, you're not really experiencing any olfactory sensation, right? My own experience, when I smoked,is that you didn't smell much of anything. Although even then yesterday's unemptied ashtray still packed quite a punch. I enjoyed smoking for the years I did it and in a few ways I do miss it. But mostly, I'm glad I'm over it.
  18. I walked out of War Memorial Opera House early yesterday evening, happy as a clam after having heard Nina Stemme's Brunnhilde in a performance of "Die Gotterdammerung" that flew by, and one person lit up, and the entire area was hit by a chemical bomb. I was not happy as a clam after that. Well, see, this is the tricky part. Of course it's understandable that you don't like walking through a cloud of smoke. And certainly it's quite logical that it makes you unhappy. But for the smoker that can't light up because a ban has been placed on a huge outdoor area, well, they're not happy with that. So you have the problem of who's unhappiness/happiness is more important. Not an easy call. My own feeling is that common sense needs to apply. Even outdoors, there are areas that aren't ventilated well, say a space between buildings. And even though it is outside and in open air, the smoke will build up and become really a problem. It makes sense to me to say "no smoking in this area" But in general, in the open air, well smokers have rights too, as long as buying cigarettes are legal. For those really passionate about it anti-smokers, here's a suggestion, work towards getting the cigs made illegal.
  19. I pretty much agree with your sentiments here. Yes, smoking is bad and people shouldn't do it but it isn't criminal. I think antismokers have gone too far; it's fine to ban smoking indoors but in the open air? New York City recently instituted a policy banning smoking in the city's parks. That seems ridiculous to me. As long as cigarettes are legal to purchase, smokers should have some flexibility where they can enjoy their "dirty habit" I don't see that much harm in passing through some smoke in the open air. I'm happy that there is no smoking indoors but I have to be honest here, fresh smoke doesn't really bother me that much it's the stale smoke residue smell that seems disgusting to me.
  20. I really hope so, Goldfish. I don't know if ticket sales were really all that impressive but on the other hand ABT does have a pretty strong relationship with Ratmansky and I think it would be a vote of confidence if they revived it for MEt 2012.
  21. Jayne, I believe that figure, which is pretty horrifying, only refers to the last two years, where attendance has been really poor. Basically this crisis has been brewing since 9/11. NYC's finances, which depended a lot on tourism, were of course a byproduct casualty of that terrible event. Other arts organizations (theater, opera, symphony as well as ballet and other forms of dance) slowly recovered from that hit but NYCO started making a lot of questionable decisions right about then. I think they started to lose their way in the early years of the aughts and by the end of the decade were hit by a triple play of the fiasco over engaging Mortier/the dark season when NYST was being revamped/the 2008 recession. They've always had ups and downs, they almost went out of business during the late 50s and then in the early 80s, so this isn't their only crisis but it's the worst. Perhaps after a year or two of niche type seasons, they can gradually expand again. I'd really miss them terribly if they went under although the last 5 or 6 years haven't attracted me to any of their performances.
  22. Natalia, the sets didn't look at all like the colorful photos I've seen of the Messerer designs and the program says that the production originated in Riga so I think we saw the same sets you saw in DC. No polychromatic madness here! I was very happy with the production anyway. What a lot of fun!
  23. Peggy, I'm not a 100% certain on this , but I think the title is also known as "Limpid Stream" and there are some recordings of that. Someone who speaks Russian (or knows music better than I do!) may be able to confirm this. It's possible the translation/transliteration has some variables to it.
  24. I saw the matinee today and had a really wonderful time. Mostly I enjoyed the ballet itself, I love the Shostakovich score. What a delightful effervescent collection of numbers and what a sense of humor Shostakovich had! OK, it's a bit garish and over the top but I think it it matches the farcical nature of the libretto I also loved Ratmansky's staging of the piece it was fresh, funny and quick moving. Lovely to watch and all in all a lot of fun. ABT pulled out the heavy guns for this performance, Ivan Vasiliev made what I think was his first appearance with ABT as Pyotr and he was very showy in his several variations. Osipova danced the ballerina with her trademark virtousity. Reyes danced Zina and more than held her own, although hers is the least showy part of the leading quartet. Simkin was just wonderful in the role of the ballet dancer, he's small and slight and rather androgynous looking so in his Sylph outfit one wasn't sure just what gender he was. But he was my favorite of the leads, his comic timing was just perfect and he danced the Sylph as a virtouso, the audience gasped at one of the multiple rotation pirouettes on pointe he did. If anyone stole the show, he did. Among the smaller roles, almost all of which were very well done, I liked Craig Salstein as the accordian player the best. Very playful and with great flair. He made the small role very showy. Susan Jones was also good as the wishing-she-were-younger-dacha-dweller. She has evidently lost about 20 lbs but I still worried for her ankles when she went flitting around the stage on pointe. She was very funny without quite going over the top. Almost all the smaller roles were well done although the ensemble was just a bit ragged in spots. I'm really hoping ABT brings this back next year, I'd love to see the piece again with one of the other casts. The house was decent but far from sold out. I'm hoping word of mouth does the trick. I may go back Monday night but I still hope they bring it back next year. What a wonderful spring this has been in NYC, with a seemingly endless array of ballet treats of all kinds of different varieties.
  25. I got a huge chuckle out of this. It works amazingly well. I'm guessing that Nora responds to hand gestures. At one point you see a human hand in the corner of the screen opening and closing. Nora may be prompted by that. She also seems to have a little performance anxieties with the other cats milling around on the floor. I'm out of practice seeing a cat playing. My guy is currently 18. He's still very sweet and good natured (except with the dog) but he doesn't play anymore. He basically just eats and sleeps and purrs when he gets attention. But he hasn't done any playing in a while.
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