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Sleeping Beauty


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If Kirkland's second book is anything to go by, it's hard to imagine that she didn't coach every last gesture with a backstory.

Indeed, from Kevin McK in today's Times piece:

"Where our process differs is that she will attack the whole thing at once. She will teach the first tombé pas de bourrée with all its meaning and its back story, the character and what's happening at that moment . . . "

:(

I confess to feeling a teeny bit sorry for the ABT ballerinas. :mad:

I was struck by this comment made by McKenzie to Robert Johnson:

The ballet "is about style and manners, but I think more importantly it's about good and evil, and style can sometimes get in the way of that," he says.

Hmmmmm.......

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Is it possible Kent could be the backup if it is decided Part won't perform opening night?

:angel_not: All this "will she or won't she" talk is most depressing......it seems she cannot be forgiven for her Gala slip up.....There is no ABT ballerina I would rather see tomorrow night as Aurora....(I saw Vishneva in the Kirov restoration :flowers: )

What slip up was that? Just curious... :off topic:

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You know, there is something that makes me distinctly uneasy about this production, even if I haven't seen it yet. We've got a lot of lifting going on, and I don't mean in the pas de deux.

We have learned on this board that the production includes a principal being flown, as in Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream, a mother weeping a body of water which will prove significant later in the plot (Swan Lake). Anonymous spirits also being flown, from Lander's La Sylphide, which bit caused great horror when the production debuted. Extended and enhanced dance for Carabosse, from the Haydée's Beauty at Stuttgart. (Thank God they didn't have McKenzie doing the part.) It sounds to me as though somebody was listening to an old theater prof of mine who declared, "Dramaturgy (the art and practice of dramatic composition and theatrical production) often encompasses thaumaturgy. (The making of miracles.)" True enough, but when introducing stage magic, a judicious hand is needed, otherwise it gets to be a freak show.

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We have learned on this board that the production includes a principal being flown, as in Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream, a mother weeping a body of water which will prove significant later in the plot (Swan Lake). Anonymous spirits also being flown, from Lander's La Sylphide, which bit caused great horror when the production debuted. Extended and enhanced dance for Carabosse, from the Haydée's Beauty at Stuttgart.

... to say nothing of the hero drinking/inhaling a strange substance leading to a vision (Bayadere); a Swan Boat (Lohengrin); parent(s) having to abdicate in favor of the child (Idomeneo) and hero being caged by spiders (The Cage).

And probably more that will be picked up on a second viewing.

Other voices other dramas.

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Mary Cargill wrote an amusing review for Dance View Times.

Add Romeo and Juliet to the list:

Instead of a court unified in mourning, saved by the Lilac Fairy, the new version has the Queen run to the center stage and indulge in a Lady Capulet fit of rending and chest-beating, while everyone watched, completely ignoring Aurora in the corner.

This in particular made me laugh out loud:

For some reason, she never showed him a vision of Aurora, and the yearning, triumphant music where he begs the Lilac Fairy to take him to see her is wasted in some vague gesturing. He did get to see yet another pop up version of Aurora’s castle. It may be that this touch is designed to appeal to New Yorkers, where a glimpse of choice real estate is certainly far more spiritually enticing than any pretty face, but presumably the Prince has his own 18th century palace, and an old medieval castle shouldn’t be that exciting.
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and hero being caged by spiders (The Cage).

And probably more that will be picked up on a second viewing.

Other voices other dramas.

Don't forget - I've never seen any company in the US do the introduction to the "Grotto (of the Undead Ballonés) Scene" in Don Q, which features the old knight defeating a monster spider and cutting open her web to enter the cave.

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Don't forget - I've never seen any company in the US do the introduction to the "Grotto (of the Undead Ballonés) Scene" in Don Q, which features the old knight defeating a monster spider and cutting open her web to enter the cave.

Uh oh .. better keep this from reaching the ears of the McKenzie team or we'll have a new ending to Swan Lale, with Don (sic) Rothbart being dragged into his cave by giant scorpions in tutus.

Come to think of it, any change in McKenzie's last act of SL could be an improvement.

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And what's with this "dramaturge" shtick anyway? Where I come from, that's the old-fashioned euphemism for "We don't know exactly what he does, but he hangs around the theater a lot, and seems to get paid for it."?

I'm sort of reminded of Piave, Verdi's librettist, who was at great pains to pronounce himself a "poetaster" instead of a poet.

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Don't forget - I've never seen any company in the US do the introduction to the "Grotto (of the Undead Ballonés) Scene" in Don Q, which features the old knight defeating a monster spider and cutting open her web to enter the cave.

Uh oh .. better keep this from reaching the ears of the McKenzie team or we'll have a new ending to Swan Lake, with Don (sic) Rothbart being dragged into his cave by giant scorpions in tutus.

Come to think of it, any change in McKenzie's last act of SL could be an improvement.

Now let's turn all this negativity into a positive. The team's artistic choices for Sleeping Beauty can indeed rescue his Swan Lake. He clearly devised that ballet's new last Act because the original's was boring, no spinning and jumping or fun. The real point is that Swan Lake is over after Bad Bird and the Prince have finished their spins. So rather than fill in the rest of the time with his Frog Pond scene, just stop the ballet there, and then include his promised left-outs from Sleeping Beauty, to send everyone home happy. I refer to the promise reported three weeks ago in PlayBill:

...the third act will be streamlined: individual numbers by wedding guests from the supernatural world of fairy tales, such as Red Riding Hood and the White Cat and Puss-in-Boots, will be eliminated and their characters incorporated into the opening Polonaise. They won't be lost altogether: McKenzie is saving them for a one-act Aurora's Wedding in later repertory programs.

Of course the wedding will be of Odette and Siegfried.

Can you imagine the brisk sales from this twofer?

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Kent has been replaced on the 5th by Murphy.

Does that mean no Lilac Fairy performances from Murphy?

Correct... Murphy is no longer doing Lilac tonight, instead it will be Abrera.

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I see from the story in the Orange County Register (taken from Links), that changes have begun in the production:

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/enter...cle_1756332.php

For anybody who's seen the production and didn't like it, do you think it can be saved by some changes or is it a failure at its core?

If the core is mostly Petipa, then it can't fail. Dropping the flying on wires is just a start. The nine minutes excised from Act II I think would be the "Desiré Dream Ballet" with the jumping fairy knights swishing our hero around the dry ice on the stage floor. If they lose nine minutes of bad McKenzie in Act II, could they please restore some of the good Petipa in the divertissements in Act III??? It was a short evening as it is. My adverse reactions weren't to the length but the quality of the performance, specifically the design and the changes to the choreography. Actually the first night ran way too long due to technical delays. Later performances were tighter.

Also, all the big corps dances just had eight couples with 16 dancers at the most on the stage. This is fine for a student or regional small company production but couldn't ABT be a little more generous in using its corps personnel in this grand ballet?

As for the sets and costumes, those are bought and paid for and can't be exchanged. The sets are a particular problem. A big improvement to the sets would be to push them back to create more floor space for the dancing. Tony Walton said the intended effect was to be delicate watercolors, then why the garish hues and glitter??? The costumes could be toned down and a few discarded. I still think the sets look faded and tatty even though they are fresh-painted from the studio. Better lighting might be a start with some repainting.

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Ditto to everything FauxPas said above (and myself in previous review). Profound prayers, McK et.al. take a hatchet or good sharp blade to it...

Act II was SO disappointing: Plot/forward momentum/tension came to a dead stop and was lost in the fog. Prince Desire became a passive pawn in a war of fairies; his airborne swimming/scooping (courtesey 4 manly fairy bearers)was Cirque du Soleil gymnastics NOT classical ballet, and pointless. Why did we need to see Aurora's boat zooming around the stage too? She's a vision--not a cruise passenger! Please excize all, restore Petipa more, and give Desire something to dance instead of a long nap!

Also, why oh why does Desire have to be rescued by Lilac Fairy, instead of dancing/fighting his own way out with a nice shiny "Sword of Virtue" or some such?! HE, not Lilac, should vanquish Carabosse, (with maybe some beneficent encouragement from AFAR from good-fairy Lilac etc.), so that HE is not just a passive victim like his sleeping princess.

RE: Act III: Why use dancers for the characters who attend the wedding, if they never get the chance to dance except in a crowd? They could have been super-numary's for cheaper, and just as pointless.

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