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Beauty and the Beast 2010

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I've made my requisite 2 trips (last evening and today's matinee) to see the Colorado Ballet's production of Beauty and the Beast (shouldn't it be The Beauty and the Beast?). I had no idea what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was a serious work and not a kid-oriented piece (though it attracted lots of children, not all of whom were well-behaved :wallbash: ).

For those who don't know much about it, Beauty and the Beast takes a quite large cast, so that even though there were 2 performances today there were only 2 significant alterations in the line-up for today's matinee: soloist Dana Benton subbed for principle Sharon Wehner as Belle and Luis Valdez stepped up from the corps to sub for principle Alexei Tyukov as Hercules. The Beast at all performances was played by soloist Dmitry Trubchanov, who appeared in the company roster just as mysteriously as Koichi Kubo disappeared from it. I would have thought that putting a newcomer in a featured role and pairing him with 2 different partners would be asking a bit much. Well, for the first time in my life I was wrong about somthing :).

I have mixed feelings about this ballet. Parts of it were very good, especially the last act when Hercules rounds up the villagers and heads out to get rid of the beast. The choreography for The Beast was universally excellent, with some interesting Chinese influences in it (the ballet was originally choreographed for the Hong Kong Ballet). But the program was overly long, with about 2 hours of actual show (plus 2 20-minute intermissions). In particular, the first act, which was nearly an hour long, contained a lot of what I consider to be filler. Lopping off 15-20 minutes from it would have made the show a better length and wouldn't have left anything important out. I didn't care at all for the music. It was mainly "atmospheric" music, without much energy or depth. Or as we used to critique music back in high school band, it "lacked moving parts" and "didn't have a solid middle". The music in the first act became somewhat repititious, as ifthe composer was having to stretch out the music to fit the length of the act.

The dancing was high quality throughout, with the numerous difficult tricks handled without a hitch (though an unfortunately large number of those difficult movements seemed to have no purpose other than to allow the dancers to show off a little). Sharon Wehner was perfectly suited for her role. Overall, a worthwhile show but certainly not up to the standards of some of the other contemporary ballets that the CB had performed recently.

I of course reserve the right to change my mind if I see it a 3rd time. My Sunday is now open because I won't be going to the symphony. Why? Well, my plan for today was to take in the CB matinee performance, swing by a mall to do a little shopping, and head up to Boulder for the organ recital performance from the Boulder Bach Festival. I was cruising around the mall and noticed that it was 6:30; time to get started towards Boulder. I then realized that I didn't know what church the organ recital was at. After 15 minutes of frantically trying to download info from the festival's website onto my cellphone, it had gotten too late to make a 7:30 show in Boulder. Since I was already dressed up, I headed back to downtown Denver and took in the symphony.

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I made a half-hearted, last second decision to take in the run-ending Sunday matinee. Much to my surprise, the show had actually sold out! Something that doesn't happen in Denver except for The Nutcracker. A lot of the credit for this probably belongs to the person who donated $100,000 to subsidize tickets for families.

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