Sunday, June 08, 2008 2PM matinee...another great performance by OBT.
Act I: Rubies by Balanchine.
We saw the company perform this in 2003 and enjoyed both performances. It is a fun ballet to watch and it looks like the dancers are having fun right along with the audience. Hope they firm up a few things if they are going to perform this ballet at the Kennedy Center. One of the lead females struggled and shook during a few of her positions, and we were unmoved by the lead male.
Act II: Tolstoy’s Waltz by Christopher Stowell.
This ballet was magnificent. Christopher really pushed the envelope with this one. In it Stowell finds the balance between classical and advent garde. Ann Mueller was outstanding, as usual, and the pas de doux with Kathi Martuza and Artur Sultanov could not have been more captivating. They were well matched and bold with their movements. Gasps could be heard at multiple times throughout the performance. We left with a new level of respect for Christopher Stowell after this show.
Act III: Raymonda by Yuri Possokhov (after Petipa).
As we were waiting for the show to start, my wife mentioned to me that her and a previous partner (a former board member for the SF Ballet) walked out in the middle of a performance of Raymonda in San Francisco when Rudolf Nureyev was the lead male. I had never heard of him before, but my wife tells me he is (or was) well known. I guess they had some issues with costume choices or Nureyev's take on the theme, or something....and felt the need to "make a point" as it were. Regardless, nobody left during today's show. I am not a big fan of the tutu, but the costumes today were beyond beautiful. Alison Roper was stunning! She is always stunning! Ronnie Underwood is perhaps the strongest male dancer in the whole company, and we need strong male dancers like him. It was pure pleasure to watch. This is why we go to the ballet!
We are thankful to have OBT. We are especially thankful both Alison Roper and Ann Mueller dance for this company. We dread the day when one, the other, or both leave. We have watched both these women since 1996 and they just continue to amaze us with both their strength and their grace. In a company that seems on the young side to us, these two dancers really stand out and have for a long time. We find them fascinating.
Questions or comments on ballet etiquette.
How does this compare to other venues around the country? Take into consideration that we choose to go to the Sunday Matinee, realizing full well Sunday matinee is when parents are most likely to take kids, the atmosphere is a little less formal, etc. The tickets still cost us around $75.00 each (which some of you will find inexpensive). To us, $150 is a significant amount to pay for two-three hours of entertainment. With that in mind....
We had a man in front of us take off his shoes and socks during the performance. He would slip them back on during intermissions, but took them off and aired his feet out during the performances. For the most part, he sat with them crossed...the sole of one foot facing the aisle. Just enough in front and to the side of me that my peripheral vision engaged whenever he wiggled his toes.
A woman behind us gave her child a cellophane wrapped bag of goodies to eat. They did not get eaten during either of the two intermissions, but were held in anticipation of the show. Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle....munch, munch, munch.
I can excuse the occasional parent who needs to leave with a child, but do they need to come back in? We have monitors in the lobby. One lady left and returned with her child twice from the row in front of us.
Lastly, what do you do about people who keep talking? Either telling the person next to them what just happened on stage or chatting away about non-ballet related events?
I was instructed at some point in my life that going to the ballet was special, and that talking, unwrapping cellophane, crunching plastic water bottles, and going barefoot were unacceptable. Have the standards changed? Have I become an old fuddy-duddy? Am I a 40+ year old beer-drinking gun-nut ballet snob?
I am glad people are supporting the ballet and the arts in general. I want more people coming to the shows, but at what point do you tell people that their behavior is inappropriate? Is this an "only in Portland, Oregon" thing?