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ABT's The Dream on PBS


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That's the awful thing about video-filmed performances, that you're forced to watch whatever the director wants you to watch.

Amen. The first Apollo I ever saw was a film of Villella, in which the director ZOOMED to his face at the moment when Apollo lays his head in the Muses hands. It took me years to get that picture out of my mind when watching "Apollo" on stage. I felt I had to ZOOM over to Apollo's face in close up at that moment.

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Way back in this thread, someone commented that the addition of vocal music was "jarring." I knew the music before I saw either Ashton's or Balanchine's choreography, so I'm quite used to, and enjoy, the voices. If asked, I couldn't have told you whether Balanchine used the voices, but I assume he didn't, since someone commented on the addition of voices in Ashton's. I only saw Balanchine's once, and I don't remember. Can someone enlighten me?

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The voices are also used in the Balanchine "Midsummer," roughly in the same spot in the story - that is, they both send Titania to sleep (logical since that is what the song is saying). Similarly, they are both pretty dances for Titania and her retinue of fairies. They're also used in the finale in both ballets - exactly where Mendelssohn wrote them in. I think what was meant by "jarring" was that in this recording of "The Dream," the voices come in very loudly and suddenly - much more loudly than the rest of the orchestra. They must have over-mic'd it a bit, so even if you were expecting the voices they are slightly jarring before they fixed the levels a bit.

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I saw it last night. My major quibble, aside from Stiefel's fine Norma Desmond impersonation (my impression is that niether in line nor in temperament is he suited to the role), is that the production is too darkly lit. I understand that it's night in a forrest, but it shouldn't look like Giselle's grave might be nearby. I don't remember the lighting being quite so dark and blue at the Met--perhaps that's just how it came across on tape, but at times the men's overcoats (and arm movements) blended into the background.

Cornejo was astounding, and it's not just the lightness and precision of his jump and footwork. A wonderful elegance is there, too.

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