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Everything posted by papeetepatrick

  1. Yes, I can see most of that. But No more so than fairies waving magic wands, or taking any kind of ballet fairies seriously requires suspension of disbelief. There IS no la sylphide, just as that funny Southern woman said that time of Capote's unfinished work 'There IS no Answered Prayers!' As for 'human charity and dance grace' producing 'ballet miracles', the latter is always definitely required even during the mundane, dry periods, the former not always (there's a lot of diva fighting throughout the ballet eras, I believe; competition may be healthy, but it's not exactly charitable.)
  2. The "Christian element" bugs Alastair Macaulay, too, and he's glad to be shot of it: If Ove was rescued by a fairy waving a magic wand, would Macaulay be bothered by that? How does stripping an overtly Christian story of its Christian elements help the work? Sanitizing old works of qualities that might make modern audiences uncomfortable is nothing new, of course. Yes. I don't think it 'helps the work' either, and 'sanitizing' is definitely what that sort of thing is. What are we gonna lose next, the Holy Grail in Lohengrin and Parsifal? I think this is a specifically Scandinavian sentiment, although not limited to Denmark (or especially Sweden in my experience, where the 'peace-loving' types I've known well always are almost rabidly anti-religion; by that I mean they go too far, and I've got real problems with overzealous Christians myself), in which traditional religion is often thought to be more intrusive than even anybody else thinks it is. There then come these substitutes for it, as Macaulay here terms it 'human charity and dance grace do the trick that holy water used to', but I don't find it at all convincing. These human substitutes can be just as pushy and downright cloddish as your basic Christian Crusade, if the truth be known. But so much for that kind of provincialism, and there is deflnitely Scandinavian provincialism of a quasi-sophisticated sort that exists today just as was well-portrayed in its older, unsophisticated form in 'Babette's Feast', where the stolid Lutherans (who are like the contemporary atheists very often) could not enjoy Babette's French genius except in the most limited way, not quite even a whole afternoon. I've heard about 'Italian Catholic Atheists' and 'French Atheistic Catholics', but they just don't hold a candle to the overt atheism of some Scandinavians, who've got it down to even being self-righteous about it. And there is often an attitude that re-writing history is not that serious, that people in the past 'should have just known better'. It's very oppressive. The review was otherwise very interesting, as has been the evolution of this thread since the tour began in CA. I don't think I've ever seen so many reversals and extreme differences of opinion on choreography, productions, and individual dancers. Now who am I supposed to trust, Natalia or Mr. Macaulay or Anne on Ms. Grinder next week? After all these strong opinions, I daresay I won't even know what I think.
  3. It doesn't really reference it as much as it seems by now, although it never seemed to me at all serious the way you seem to think. Recent well-publicized events give us all pause about thinking that unbuttoned shirts are going to be all that sexy after popinjay BHL's silly defense of DSK. If you think Nikolaj got his just deserts, then there you have it. This photo is well before DSK, so alas, poor Nikolaj! Balanchine has made ties look comfortable again, so that, if you think about it, it doesn't reference the Balanchine photo nearly as much as it would have before BHL starting preening all over the place as of late (the Libya sojourn wasn't quite enough to make us button up, but the DSK thing sure was, BHL just seems passe...) Who would have ever thought a fashionable French 'intellectual' could turn us off to selected accessorizings?
  4. Thoughtful post, very good. I had not thought that about Jowitt, but I also can't say, since I have read her through the years, but not consistently for some time. This practice of 'always writing positive reviews' I never noticed on my own except with former NYTimes film critic Janet Maslin, who seemed afraid to say anything even about the most obviously frivolous products. So just to stick to your topic, I did find that Maslin's reviews became useless to me after I identified (or thought I did from reading them nearly every day for some years) a pattern that I thought very weak. I do recall one negative review that I thought was not only one I disagreed with, but was factually inaccurate, and I thought it was so off I almost didn't check out the film, which was one that did happen to have resonance with me, as had the book it was based on (script written by the novelist.) Otoh, it's the Voice itself here that comes into play. I don't see how they're even in business, and by the look of the paper edition, they barely are: I had need of reading some of their book reviewers right now for possible personal contact, which I haven't done yet; but I picked up the paper for 3 weeks, and it's about 10% the volume it was even 3 years ago. There is no political writing at all, and as recently as 2004, all the longtime well-known journalists, were still there. It was in the following year that all these began to be fired, with the acquisition by New Times Media. From Wiki: Nat Hentoff is not there, Sidney Schanburg and Richard Goldstein were fired, Wayne Barrett was gone by last fall, and the wiki article also said something about 'unstable since the acquisition by New Times in 2005'. I'll say. I don't even consider the paper to exist, so although I don't know, I'm not sure what an editor there who's talking about the release of a dance critic is saying between the lines. The ad volume is now so tiny in the real estate sections, you can't even believe that that was once the major place for finding your apt. Craigslist put an end to that, but it has to have been sometime in the last few years that all the in-depth writing disappeared. But you bring up a good point, even if any decisions by Voice editors may not be anything more than a starting point, because he happened to say it--I may or may not be correct not to take him literally. So I do think too many positive reviews is weirdly suspect, I just noticed it in big papers the one time I described, and I think it leads to mediocrity being given the green light (I agree with you about the 'uninformedness' in lots of smaller papers, but it's definitely spread to the big ones too, and that I don't think Jowitt is guilty of, I would tend to go along with your assessment of 'boosterism' regarding her. I always have thought she was really good). Not that I think a number of other critics, including at the Times, haven't done that, and in some cases, it's because of not doing the kind of homework that critics used to seem to do more (reading the novel that's been adapted to a film, for example, in one case I wrote about by Stephen Holden--at least Janet Maslin had read the book she thought had been thinly adapted.)
  5. I love this, and it shows what a creative intelligence Vishneva has to think to do it. I bet it will be great.
  6. I don't think that's accurate really, although I'm sure many envy her. I recall a Vanity Fair article about Shirley MacLaine, in 'Postcards from the Edge', and there was Shirley's daughter comparing Shirley as if embarassed to the great Meryl Streep. When it's not so hard to see that Shirley might be perceived as the better actress, even if she says idiotic things like 'I talked to Goldie about it [Meryl], and she thinks it's channelling'. So much for a coupla white chicks sittin' aroun' talkin'. You have to find her 'mature female parts' interesting to begin with, which is totally subjective. And they're not, as far as I'm concerned. Then there's Vanessa, who out-acts her and is even better on the stage than she is on film; as well, she can do 'younger wives' if the plays are ancient enough (Euripides). Then there are some slightly younger ones. Streep gets the big cartoon parts--Prada, Julia Child, Thatcher. The word 'overrated' has always followed her around, and she even said she 'wondered if she might agree that she was overrated', which is a little like hiding in plain sight. But, admittedly, she gets starring roles, even if I think they've all been grotesque for the last 10 years. She's a brand, and now that people are mentioning Blanche Dubois, I definitely think that ought to come next. Who needs Natalie Portman to get a second Oscar? Very interesting. Marvelous, all of it, and that irony/tragedy is especially moving since you've articulated it in a way so that it is like an immutable cloud over the entire art, and yet forms a structure within which the art functions, and must do. Maybe it's so integral to the art that it's even positive. That's helpful. I tend to think the 'love' aspect has to be emphasized a little more than is 100% convincing for that age, given that there's not much 'quotidian economy' involved, and Romeo's gentleness accounts for the fact that he didn't ask for permission to kiss on the first date. I didn't see these on purpose, but heard about them. He would naturally do that though, he was that kind of driven stage animal. Alonso obviously too and I saw her Giselle in 1979. I barely knew who she was, so was not subject to any knowledge of her diva status. A ballet teacher I worked for told me she loved the way Alonso knew exactly how to take center stage, but it wasn't till I saw the clips leonid put up that I saw all of what the fuss about Alonso was all about--one was La Fille Mal Gardee and leonid has said 'madame always looks so centred and pulled up'. Quite so. It was glorious. But I can easily understand those who find the 'theatrical aura' satisfying as bart pointed out, even when the steps aren't there. I concede that I was never able to.
  7. I'll be seeing Ms. Grinder as the Sylph. Is her 'delicacy and refinement' perfect for it? I bet it's going to be really exquisite. Charming photos I just found: http://www.ballerinagallery.com/grinder.htm I might be too late in my answer (I haven't visited this site for a longer period and I seem to have missed out on a lot of things concerning the RDB tour - I'm a bit shocked, and sad too, that they have had such a bad start on their tour) but I think Susanne Grinder has the potential, physically as well as psychologically, to be a very exquisite Sylph. When I saw her in La Sylphide more than a year ago she still hadn't fully developed into the character, but I think that over time she will be one the great Sylphs. Maybe you have already seen her perform? (I'm not quite updated on their tour schedule.) Thank you for the link to the photos! Thank you, Anne. No, I haven't seen her ever, nor anybody in the RDB except Hubbe himself when he was with NYCB; he was one of my favourite dancers of my balletgoing life. But I have the feeling that she is going to be wonderful, too, and I am sure they're going to be in good shape by the time they get here--really, it's hard to imagine that at least 'La Sylphide' won't be one of those 'once in a lifetime' experiences. I appreciate what you've said about Ms. Grinder--because even if she's still 'evolving into the role', there's bound to be a lot there already.
  8. Hunterman--I read your post 3 times about a week ago, and started to say something, but these responses were good to have. It reads a bit like a short story, because there is the matter of the relationship with the psychologist, and that is personal and of value, and is now tied in with valuing experiences. These two things could benefit by separating them to a degree as some posters have already done. You can always re-install them within the framework of your experience with this person and how they work with each other. It's the joy you feel in ballet that makes it seem important to proclaim it perhaps a bit 'more profound', or that's in the way you wrote it up. I've had similar experience, not exactly like yours, and I've tended to want to favour 'the Arts' more than various 'spiritual' endeavours in the stricter sense of that term. I've changed a bit over the years, even though my tendency for 'spiritual' in the larger sense continues to be often, though not always, within the Arts, but my definition of 'the Arts' is also looser than it was, just as the larger view of spirituality. So, for example, although I'd never go on a kind of religious pilgrimage for a sense of the 'spiritual', I might definitely (and have done) travel to places that are not usually considered 'spiritual' in the religious or religiously-tinged sense, and consider that as enlightening as any music or writing I've done, or dance I've seen. Or many of the activities of daily life can become quite elevated; just as in ballet, the sensual and the spiritual are not so separated in some of us. Friendship, love (all kinds), family life, these are all 'spiritual' in the large sense. So it's different orders of experience. My own problem with this certain person did occur when she thought such things as you imagined your friend probably did, that 'ballet was superficial', etc., that's when the difficulties and defensiveness came in for me. In my case, this was a dancer of South Indian dance and was also very involved with Eastern religion and made trips to India. The resentment can come to the surface when someone (especially if it's a Westerner who has gone that route) seems to think that a 'greater spirituality' is available only by certain routes. You also mention the greater joy you get from ballet than from the other Arts, which is fine and means you have this source of joy. That's subjective and personal, though, too, and these are all different orders of experience, so that actually they're really all valuable. Lots of things work ecstasies for different people. My similar experience with this woman dancer who thought ballet was 'mechanical' and superficial did not have the strong element of comradely attachment and friendship that yours does, so I simply went my way and she went hers. I will say, though, that until I did, she expected me to go her way, as she had also been my yoga instructor and was very good when we did these classes in town. But the 'going her way' led to my going to what was described a bit too much as an 'artistic retreat' and was more of an ashram, and one taste of that made me know where I stood. It was not at all artistic, and eventually she even gave up all her dancing in the city that she had done for some years in favour of the various things that these 'spiritually-oriented centers' eventually expect you to make a choice for. She was very anti-individual as well as 'naturist', so that didn't work for me: By the anti-individual, I mean I once said something about 'going to dinner with some friends', and she said something about 'I don't visit people', and this was part of what she had decided was the 'spiritually serious quest'. Despite her excellence in yoga and also doing some professional Bharata Natyam dancing, her attitude was that of a rube, and she did not like my city friends that she met, for example, tried to make me move away from them like all cults do to lesser or greater degree. So I can see what the conflicts are, although yours involves a relationship you seem to value more highly than I did this one I've described. That doesn't mean I don't think the experience was less disturbing than yours. I was so angry for awhile from that ashram experience that I even wrote vicious songs parodying that ashram and how 'I frenchified hick ashram into New York City Ballet', and I've even published this one recently; the 'friends I visit' rather love it. However, by now I've calmed down from the horror, although it did seem to annoy me quite profoundly for the longest time. And I do remember that about a month after going to that ashram I bought a big ream of NYCB tickets and went as much as I could afford. That was a good start, but it took me many years to get over my loathing of that place (which happens to be in a very beautiful natural environment, by the way.)
  9. These reports are depressing and surprising. Reminds me of someone writing some 6 months ago maybe, about the Royal in 'A Month in the Country', I believe in D.C., and then we saw the glorious video of the old 1975 (?) with Dowell and Seymour. It's not that difficult to find a number of companies showing some deterioration, it seems. I can't think of any but POB that come across as constantly fit (but not always in terms of new works), but I haven't kept up with the Bolshoi much, nor seen them live since the 70s. I had thought I was going to hear all about magics of all kinds, and precision everythings. These stories I would expect to hear about other companies. And some of what Andre reports doesn't have to do with being on tour. Yes, I also hope that the NYC perfs. are going to be better than what you and a couple of others saw, but I'm not getting my hopes up at this point.
  10. Yes, that's the same thing as this which I said in the last post, and was, I thought, a credible possibility. But if that's the case, it's as all right to point it out as it was to 'take care to show that the men in the piece weren't gay'. That is absolutely legit to want to make that as part of the statement; after all, one of those dancers himself did some 'Ballet is not sissy' pr a few years ago, although I don't see that as particularly artistic, more political and, I thought, fairly insipid. A trio of guys who 'definitely are not gay' is perfectly fine, and there's nothing wrong with implying it (and perhaps even emphasizing it, if that's thought to be necessary to get it across), although it's at most a subtext. As such, if the critic 'slams' that artistic choice, it probably falls on deaf ears. I doubt it was a 'slam' or a 'cheap shot', and that Macaulay was just expressing amusement at Millepied for doing that (if he did.) If that's the choice Millepied made, it's as credible as someone's to 'make a point that the guys are gay'. Takes all kinds. I don't think making that statement about their heterosexuality (if he was doing that) necessarily points to any kind of insecurity at all. I think literally everybody suffers from 'heterosexual insecurity', including non-heterosexuals, because that's the dominant mode, therefore everyone is somewhat subject to it, even when they win 'liberations'. And I don't know either, but that's what I think it was, and I can't imagine any of the men involved, including Millepied, being the slightest offended by it, probably even get a bit tickled next time they 'do it' (pun intended? don't ask me...
  11. Thanks for your take on it, Patrick, and you may be correct. To answer your question, that "don't worry" sounds mocking, as if he's presuming the existence of and then mocking hetero sexual (no pun intended) insecurity. That's why I wonder if there is something defensively hetero in the piece . . . and, er, just how he would know it. I didn't even know what you were talking about at all at first, frankly, and I still don't really. It might have to do with what one knows about the various parties concerned, I know little or nothing about any of them outside their professions. So that 'presuming the existence of insecurity' may refer to specific persons which never even occurred to me. My immediate reaction was that Macaulay himself thought it seemed rather sexy, but it could even be that he meant it literally, as with all-American athletes, which can be cool. In that case, there could be a kind of all-male heterosexual (or usually in my experience) athleticism that is mostly gymnastic and maybe even like Big Three athletes, actually this might seem even more exciting to some than anything overtly 'homoerotic' or implicitly homosexual. In any case, I'm no insider on any of these people, and haven't read any gossip on Macaulay or Millepied (except for that silly 'feature' from the NYTimes a few months ago that somebody linked here from the Style Section, I believe, about Millepied, I think, and reading much like an old Photoplay). There have been also the few straight choreographers like Petit in his Proust ballet, and also Nicolas le Riche in 'Caligula', who were perfectly capable of doing males dancing in specifically homosexual contexts (again, I don't even know le Riche's orientation, although I think I remember a girlfriend or wife in some publicity; one understands Petit as heterosexual from being married to Zizi Jeanmaire, although marriage has never been a firm indicator in these matters, and there are plenty of examples of this from Julius Caesar up to notorious examples in the present day). Mainly, I came away from the review not thinking Macaulay meant anything about anybody's possible homosexuality in the piece, and that it probably was strictly straight-guy-styled, in fact; it did occur to me that Macaulay may have meant this almost as if it were a near-caricature of Strict Heterosexual Athletes, as if Reggie Jackson, Michael Jordan, etc., but that it was possibly almost self-consciously so. Which sounds just fine to me, mainly I remembered some of the reviews of the all-male (or almost) evenings of RDB in OC on here the other day, and the main thing that came across was that Macaulay thought this piece was a good one, which reviewers generally did not feel about the big 'Bournonville Variations', the Elo, etc. This was just to clarify that I didn't even know what you were talking about with 'Millepied's heterosexuality' at first, and started talking about the dancers themselves. I guess you thought he was taking a 'cheap slam' at Millepied. Beyond that, I wasn't as interested in this piece by a long shot as I was in the Ratmansky, which really sounded arresting. I haven't cared much for what Millepied I've seen, including something extremely boring at PNB last year, but was fascinated that Macaulay seemed to have hit on an evening of new works, all of which he thought to be of very high quality--THAT is unusual, and one only needs to think of Sarah Kaufman's reviews of Balanchine spinoffs of a year or two ago to see just how rare it is to find new work that major critics find praiseworthy, but three in an evening? Almost unprecedented. And since he actually really liked the Millepied as well, although probably not quite as much as the Ratmansky, that's why it didn't occur to me that he meant anything untoward or snippy, and maybe was himself just expressing some mild flirtation, which caused no one any harm, or I wouldn't think it did. But it's definitely not very important. I see what you were referring to now (or I think I do), but I still see the remark as light-hearted, because he LIKED the Millepied work.
  12. verged on profound If he wrote like this all the time, which is definitely more understated than we almost ever get, I wouldn't complain. I don't know, that last quip of Macaulay's sounds uncalled for, given that Millepied is heterosexual. Can anyone who saw the ballet explain the line? Is it really justified by the choreography, or just a cheap slam? Or am I misreading it? My intuition is that you are misreading it, because I think Macaulay was just going along with the 'jovial' aspect of the thing, the 'nonchalant' charm, the fact that the guys were 'off-duty' and 'informal', and it probably came across as that they were all rather sexy in the piece. It didn't even occur to me about the sexual orientation of the actual dancers; frankly, I don't know what the others' sexual orientation is, nor even that Millepied is exclusively 'heterosexual' just because of having a famous movie-star media blitz right now, nor do I care particularly. I didn't think it was a slam at anybody, but your question 'is it justified by the choreography?' would need to be definitively answered by someone who saw it. The way Macaulay described the piece, it sounded as though it would have that 'natural sexiness' that you can have in 'Fancy Free'--you know, sailors--even if there are also women involved. I realize he goes back to talkihg about Wheeldon's' 'heterosexual couples' (he even makes it clearer by saying 'rigorously heterosexual', and because of his previous commentary on the Millepied), but then there they are if it's men and women. Why would he be slamming somebody by saying that? My impression was not that he was really implying that anybody was homosexual, but that it might have some element of the homoerotic to it (artists aren't the only ones who see things in their own works that really are there, they can be unconscious of some of it till it's pointed out that even if the intent was 'not that', one could 'read it as such). But I could be wrong, not having seen it. He was pretty detailed in the way he evokes the atmosphere, it's to me more of a 'masculinism' than a 'homosexualism' that I picked up from his (I thought) good-natured teasing. I thought it was little different from his earlier , which was a nicely turned bit of jade, I thought, but also good-natured and affable.
  13. I also wonder if more could not be done to make these programs sell better and I was surprised not see more "fuss" whether in advertising or special features about an evening featuring premiers by the two choreographers usually considered the best classical ballet choreographers working today. Of course, it would have been good for ABT had the NYTimes, say, had a big Sunday feature on their "Premier" night. (I should add that it's entirely possible a Times writer or critic lobbied to do such a feature and was turned down by the editors.) But I also think casting can work wonders, which Vipa also suggested. What about a classics to premiers evening that included "Other Dances" with Osipova-Halberg alternating with Vishneva-Gomez? That would be artistically substantial and a crowd-pleaser. Macaulay's own suggestion about pairing a short work with one of the shorter, two act "full length" works is also shrewd. ABT's "audience" may be happy with the current Met seasons--but that does not mean they would not also be happy if the company developed its strengths in repertory programs (or, for that matter, improved the quality of their full length productions). By featuring just one repertory program for four performances in the middle of the week, it's as if the company is actively discouraging audience interest by showing its own lack of faith in that kind of program. The Met season is the company's "big" New York season so what they do there matters and there are a number of short works that, historically, have played there very well including ABT classics such as Rodeo and Fancy Free. I don't think the ABT Met season need or even should radically change--far from it--and I hugely admire much of what Mckenzie has done. As the director of a ballet company only in fantasy, my job is a lot easier than his! Still, I can't help but think that at least a full week or week and a half could be managed of two different programs or varied mix and match repertory with shrewd audience-pleasing casting. I also suspect that having more repertory programing would generate more interest in that programming, as it would show audiences that these programs are an integral part of the season, and that the company itself has faith in what they are doing. To say something a little more directly on topic: in one or two articles I have thought Macaulay sounded as if he simply wished ABT were a different company and for me as a reader those are not his most interesting moments, but in his review of the recent premier evening I did not think that was the case and he does seem to put his finger on something at least some ABT fans care about...which is part of the reason it has generated this discussion... Drew, you've written here that rarest of things--a long post with which I agree 100%! Brimming with fine ideas, and if this is feasible it's a superb idea. When I wrote last night, I hadn't even read the Macaulay article, but today I see this, and just wanted to point it out, given my panic at the idea they'd not use the Met: But even though he says 'seemed recessed on the stage', he doesn't seem to consider that especially a problem, and in mentioning the 'expectations of a Met audience', he does point to the element I kept emphasizing about the ABT's need for the big Met stage and sound. I'm glad you pointed back to the review, as I would have to also say that I consider this easily to be the best-written one I've yet read by Mr. Macaulay, and he makes you want to see the 3 new works by really describing them well. Part of it could be that the works really did all turn out to be satisfying in a number of different ways, but his descriptions are very useful, and sound for the first time like the kind of dance criticism I like to read, i.e., not so much hyperbole, which often puts me off with him, and just talking about the works and even doing some thoughtful musing, whether or not one agrees with all of it. And I thought the witticisms were really funny here, not twee. The Portman/Millepied/Macaulay, et alia seating arrangement that anthony pointed out, was quite hilarious, plus the verged on profound If he wrote like this all the time, which is definitely more understated than we almost ever get, I wouldn't complain.
  14. With City Opera vacating the State Theater, I hope ABT and City Ballet will alternate seasons there. It would make so much more sense than their competing directly against one another, and after all it is the theater created especially for ballet. And many of ABT's mixed bills would look much better in a less monumental house. I hope they don't, and I like their competing against each other, it's healthy. But going to the Met for literally almost anything is better than going to the State if the money part is working for the company. Who needs that tinny sound you get at State Theater? Last summer I saw the Ashton program of 4 ballets, and the advantages definitely outweighed the disadvantages. ABT is used to projecting big, as I see it, and especially for the big 19th century 'warhorses', they need the Met. I've been seeing ABT sporadically at the Met for 30 years (probably only 20% as much as I've been to NYCB), and I'd hate to see them have to undergo the reduction that State Theater would require(although if it just substituted for the CC season, that would be all right); this is something you can even see when one of the big male stars from ABT guests with NYCB--they're used to big projection so that they really stand out a little more than they should, since that's what ABT is all about. And at the Met, even if the orchestra playing isn't first-rate, it still sounds fabulous compared to what you hear at State; you don't even care if they didn't practice or sound a little lazy sometimes, you're so grateful. I dread that aspect of going to RDB in a few weeks, although the delicacy of the Danish choreography probably will be one thing that will look better in the smaller house. Peter Martins's Sleeping Beauty would itself be much better at the Met, although that's not going to happen. I recall seeing Merrill Ashley's Carabosse in disbelief last year, looked like an old Mighty Mouse cartoon and sounded like it too. Yes, it was that small. I used to be very judgmental about this aspect of ABT, but now I'm like the 'large segment of the audience' who 'is perfectly happy with' it. I want the warhorses and stars there, and if that means I've turned into a philistine in some ways, I'm not worried about it. They get Osipova and Vishneva, just like they got Makarova and Baryshnikov. And it's fun for NYCB types and ABT types to compete with each other sometimes. Makes me think that now that if you see 'Swan Lake' at NYCB, you know you're probably never going to see the Balanchine Act II again there, which would be what that house should be more about (I think it was on a program a few seasons ago, but that's not what you will usually see there.) After having seen Martins's SB and SL at State Theater, there's not a single 'Swan Lake' or 'Sleeping Beauty' at ABT I wouldn't rather see, no matter who was in the cast, and even if the corps was not overly inspired (they're not nearly always at NYCB either). But if ABT was doing their big things at State Theater, I'd never go. The whole idea sounds claustrophobic, homogenizing.
  15. I'll be seeing Ms. Grinder as the Sylph. Is her 'delicacy and refinement' perfect for it? I bet it's going to be really exquisite. Charming photos I just found: http://www.ballerinagallery.com/grinder.htm
  16. Maybe. But even if that's the 'cruel business' and your points are good, that's not all it is. The very fact that one can even posit 'even if he comes back into favour' means that maybe these 'token performances' are not nothing. If Corella says he's available and only has a few performances, that doesn't mean he wouldn't rather do those than nothing. Or he wouldn't. Or Mackenzie wouldn't, or something would be decided now, not later. And maybe something is being decided already. But we know of several dancers who even recently danced way, way beyond their prime, and there were some past what is even a ghost of their former glory. Corella is not at that point, because you can't fake those roles at ABT, even if they most likely won't be delivering what he was 7 years ago. I's obvious that he's not being cast frequently, but those two performances are still something, when you're talking about starring roles at ABT. And then he does appear a few times in Tokyo. His star may be waning, and there was some talk of technical difficulties last year as I recall; but it's not finished yet, and if it were in Corella's snd Mackenzie's 'best interest to make a break now', then I think they would know to do so. I think it's nice to have a star who doesn't have to be one of the big powerhouses anymore, but will still have those who want to see him, even if he's on his way out. If some obvious 'replacement' appears, that one is not going to be somehow missed if Corella is already being used not so much. In short, Corella is not 'in the way' of the up-and-comers, and still has fans, even if he's not the 'hot new kid'.
  17. Whether or not he's filling theaters elsewhere is beside the point as far as ABT's current Met season is concerned. Right now, at ABT, he's a non-entity. I just took a look at the ABT calendar going through Japan. There is a Giselle and a Coppelia at the Met, and 2 performances I saw listed in Tokyo. None in the 5 or so days of Los Angeles. But I agree with 4mrdncr, 'non-entity' is much too severe a term for a major dancer who is performing less--especially since these are both important roles. Of course, Corella is therefore not the 'sensation of the season' (unless there's some sudden burst of dancerly eloquence), but his history makes it so that's not fair in my book. Even if it were only one, that's still the way I'd see it. Most people perceive 'non-entity' as quite a harsh word; he's simply lightly scheduled. Isn't it like Allegra Kent's very rare performances in her last years of dancing? Was she considered a non-entity for only doing the very occasional performance? And it's always possible that Corella's performances this season at the Met could be stellar, isn't it?
  18. Anything from E through N is going to be plenty close and good view. I think I like the slightly further back ones batter, as K or L, etc., better than D, E, F, etc. The first two (or maybe even 3) rows are on the same level, and are somewhat unique in the way they are managed, but that is not necessary for you; so the ones in the very front you don't want. According to how close you want to be, start with E and move back at will. It's not the most spacious leg room in some parts, so I prefer the aisle myself; once, years ago, I really got in an uncomfortable situation, felt totally locked in, although I think that was on the sides. That was back in the days when things would sell out there, and almost nothing does any more, no matter how good, so you can usually move over if you're not pleased with the seat (except to the center, which someone always wants). The ushers stop just short of actively even encouraging this. It's a very mellow seating policy at the Joyce, which makes up for some of their other shortcomings. Love that pic of 'Diamonds', I will definitely want to be there for that. Magnicaballi looks exquisite. I hadn't checked recently to know what they're doing! Thanks.
  19. After his absurd spectacle this week, covered on various sites (but presumably after The New Yorker's article went to press), I'm ready to stop with the proprieties of it as well. But I think I'll just call it the New York State Theater without anything to qualify it. The current remarks he's made are less offensive than just dull--sort of tell-tale, an admission of defeat.
  20. That one is good, and also has Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, as well as Ravel's Introduction and Allegro. There is also an even more ancient one with Rubinstein and Heifetz. If you like the piece that much, you might as well listen to some others if you're able to get them from a library and have the time. I played the Franck with violinist James Graseck a good bit in the 70s, but I've never liked it that much except for the last movement, which has a very Gallic sound, almost like a popular tune, or a touch of Faure. On the Lupu/Chung, I admit I much prefer the Debussy Flute, Viola and Harp Sonata, but then that's one of my favourite of all pieces--top 4 or 5. I had an organist friend who was much more enamoured of Franck than I've ever been, but people did usually respond favourably when we performed it. That 'French country' sound of the last movement is a little bit like what you hear, although this a kind of stretch, in the 'Etude pour les Accords' of Debussy, which is the last of the 12 Etudes, and is a very open and extroverted kind of joyful piece. I tend to prefer Faure as well as the others, but you can hear a lot of these other French composers on the various Franck Sonata recordings. There are a good many. Anne-Sophie Mutter/Alexis Weissenberg is bound to be good, too, but I haven't heard it.
  21. I am sure they did not. Not only would they not want to indulge in propoganda, but Obama's timeline was unbelievable, with 8:20 a.m. sign-on to the CIA operation, then flying to Tuscaloosa to comfort the tornado victims (there was only minor damage in the 4 households in my own immediate family there, so we were able to enjoy the Royal Wedding in the cases where power was still extant), did the White House Correspondents' Dinner the following evening (Sat.) and played but 9 holes of golf on Sunday before huddling up with Hillary and the rest of the War Control room people as they took their chance. However, they couldn't have chosen a better way to continue the Royal Wedding festivities, as the CIA operation was just as flawless (even with some helicopter malfunction) as the British Celebration, and has allowed me to return to reality and enjoy the Royal Wedding in a very special way that I hadn't quite before Bin Laden was processed. In this way, not only the monarchy benefited, but all the citizens of all classes in the world. So I'm sure that that's not why the Obamas weren't invited (neither were Blair or Grant), but I guess the Kents had to be anyway--although since Fergie wasn't, it wasn't at all a foregone conclusion. Therefore, the Special Relationship between the UK and the US continued in a most beautiful dovetailing. I'd even buy a T-Shirt celebrating both events if I wouldn't have to argue with those so upset by this 'brutal murder.' The celebration can go still further when the photos inevitably are shown. As former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani--who spent a substantial amount of time with the QUEEN when she honoured him in 2001--said Monday night 'who cares what he looks like?' So frankly, the U.S. isn't jealous of the British monarchy (although it used to be more), but wants to help it continue to celebrate.
  22. This is the site I was quoting from, I just quoted one paragraph. I had said that they 'lost the apartment', but that was probably incorrect, and they just pay for it now. Your quote differs slightly, but both mention the Queen's 'private funds', I just couldn't figure out whether it became necessary for them to start paying themselves, or that they just weren't using it, probably the former: http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Princess_Michael_of_Kent That was just a fact about Princess Michael, I don't hold it against her. You were talking about military service of the Royals, and I actually enjoyed both of her lectures. She's very smart and very attractive in a formidable way. Others are more upset at her having married Prince Michael than I am. In other words, it's the same sort of fact that yes, the Queen now pays taxes (although I didn't know when she started, it was announced in the early 90s, I believe), and I think I recall that the monarch paying taxes was voluntary, that some had and the Queen hadn't until rather recently. That's why her generosity about offering to give up the yacht was of interest to me--I wouldn't have thought the monarchs who didn't choose to pay taxes but did offer to give up their royal yacht would be the same person. And also that people were talking about the 'more useless royals', etc., which I thought might mean the Kents, even though I believe some of the actual princes like Edward were no longer on the Civil List.
  23. Until you mentioned him, I even wondered whether the Kents were there, given that they moved to France for fox-hunting privileges (or at least acc. to the princess). I suppose so, therefore, and perhaps his own service makes up for some of her less-than-savoury past, in terms of her father's rather different military alliances, viz., a Nazi Party member. I can give her credit for informing us (in one of the 2 lectures I attended) of the quarter-mile-or-so--or more even, took 15 minutes--long walks they had to make at Windsor Castle after dressing for events they were invited to there, despite the exaggerated 'woman-of-the-world' persona which is a touch crass. So they were there in 1981 as well, I guess? I read that they don't get to do as many of the royal ceremonial things as they used to, and that she complains about this. But there's an early CD of Kiri in which it's called a 'royal command performance'--and it really is a 'command performance by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent!'--but which I thought would be what we usually associate with the term, that is, a command performance before the Queen, which Kiri obviously did as well (is 'command performance' a term that applies to all royals? I suppose so if it applies to 'our Val', as I remember the Queen amusingly referring to this rather more handsome than fairy-princess persona.) I read in the last year that they were having to give up their Kensington apts., for which they paid university-student dorm rents for. Accused of plagiarism a number of times, her last words at the lectures were 'purchase the book', but I didn't. Yes, this is definitely an improvement from the Kents' rent-controlled apt.: THIS is equally interesting. The Queen actually offered to give up the Royal Yacht about 40 years ago as a cost-saving measure, but was refused! I would have never imagined this. This is an article from 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/uk_confidential/1735555.stm Times may have changed and become simpler, but I doubt many know the Queen tried to give up the yacht so long ago to help the nation this way.
  24. C'est formidable! Thank you, Jane! I've had time for about 50 pages thus far and it is truly sublime. I imagine there are a number of people who grew up on 'The Boyfriend' and 'The Music Lovers' who were charmed by Gable years before we knew he'd been a Royal Ballet star. In fact, I didn't know it till I read his obituary, as I wasn't keeping up with ballet outside of New York during the 80s and 90s. He was more of a natural in the movies than most dancers, I'd say, and that Wedding Party scene with Glenda Jackson in 'The Rainbow' is for me the high point of what I was able to see. Had no idea about the dancing with Nureyev or 'Images of Love'. Beautiful stuff, and I'm looking forward to all of it. Edited to add: I see that almost all of the great ballet dancing was before he started making those Ken Russell movies, and some of those are already 40 years old.
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