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Royal Ballet 2013-2014 season

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Why does Kevin O'Hare express a goal of having a rep of all new full length ballets in 10 years? Why would audiences want to give up the opportunity to see beloved favorites, even if not to the exclusion of new dances?

That struck me as odd, too, but I think he's saying he'd like new productions, along the lines of the "new Don Q" next season, which still uses the Minkus music, choreography "after Petipa," and presumably the same general libretto. So it's not "entirely new," but more refreshed, updated, etc.

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Well I guess the Bolshoi's loss (McGregor's Rite) is the Royal's gain?

It will be a revival of the MacMillan version.

Oops! I read that much too quickly since it's on a bill with a McGregor piece. Thanks for the correction

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I wouldn't want to see The Winter's Tale as a ballet – it's such a perfect play. I'm afraid Wheedon is attracted to it so that Hermione can be carried around stage – as in The Unanswered Question.

The best ballets seem to come from modest folk and fairy tales – Cinderella, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, Coppelia, Petrouska – or from slight intellectual conceits such as Parade, Apollo or La Chatte. Rarely from masterpieces.

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Since the question of this ballet arose on this thread, I'll post this here:

New Ballet by Christopher Wheeldon Announced Second Co-Production with The Royal Ballet

March 14, 2013... Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, is pleased to announce that the company will be creating a new full-length production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. The same creative team behind the smash hit Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, composer Joby Talbot, designer Bob Crowley and lighting designer Natasha Katz, continue their successful collaboration to bring Shakespeare’s romantic play to dance.

The Winter’s Tale will be the National Ballet’s second co-production with The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, London, following the rewarding partnership between the two major companies for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Winter’s Tale will premiere in London in Spring 2014 and the Canadian premiere to follow. Details to be announced.

The Winter’s Tale follows the destruction of marriage through consuming jealousy, the abandonment of a child and a seemingly hopeless love. It provides highly powerful material for a ballet and presents the opportunity for the National Ballet to bring to life a wealth of new characters.

This April, the National Ballet will tour to London for the first time in 26 years with Romeo and Juliet by Alexei Ratmansky. The ballet opened in Toronto yesterday and runs until March 17.

Lead philanthropic support for The Winter’s Tale is provided in part by The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Richard M. Ivey, C.C. and The Producers’ Circle.

The Producers’ Circle: John & Claudine Bailey, Susanne Boyce & Dr. Brendan Mullen, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Hal Jackman Foundation, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, O.C., Julie Medland, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, Sandra L. Simpson and Noreen Taylor & David Staines, O.C.

The 2012/13 season is dedicated to the memory of The National Ballet of Canada’s greatest patron Walter Carsen, O.C.

Thomson Reuters presents Romeo and Juliet.

Lead philanthropic support for Romeo and Juliet is provided by Sandra & Jim Pitblado with additional generous support from Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, an anonymous friend of the National Ballet and Walter Carsen, O.C.

Thomson Reuters and RBC Wealth Management are co-presenting sponsors of the London Tour.

Air Canada is the Official Airline of The National Ballet of Canada.

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Economic Development & Culture Department; the Government of Canada through the Honourable James Moore, Minister, the Department of Canadian Heritage; the Government of Ontario; and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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Romeo & Juliet and Eugene Onegin weren't masterpieces in their orignal forms?

Yes – I guess – Romeo & Juliet and Midsummer's Night Dream were successful ballets but derive from Ovid and an early Greek novella (as Dream did) and had cast-iron, almost generic, plots. Winter's Tale is much more subtle and mysterious – how do you transcribe it into mime and dance – it's all words, it'll fall apart.

(And for me Onegin irons out the tone and all the contradictions of the original – Puskin's novel doesn't quite know if it wants to be a romantic story or a parody of one. It's as if they share the same original source, rather than the ballet being based on the novel.)

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Winter's Tale is much more subtle and mysterious – how do you transcribe it into mime and dance – it's all words, it'll fall apart.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess, but it is hard to see this working out successfully. You also have a striking difference in tone between the first and second halves of the play that will have to be resolved in dance, probably mostly dance, given the modern low tolerance for mime.

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Is this going to be RB's first DQ, ever? I don't recall RB ever performed DQ.

The RB had Baryshnikov's production some years ago. In the 90s I saw THE most wonderful performance with Miyako Yoshida (then still with BRB) and Tetsuya Kumakawa. It was also shown in the early noughties.

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Osipova has now cancelled her third and final performance of Sleeping Beauty, to be replaced again by Choe:


One thing odd in the official announcements: they said she suffered soft tissue injury, but no broken bones, but not a hint of how this happened. As it was in a rehearsal (unlike the concussion she sustained during a performance earlier in the season), no one really knows, except those in the room. If anyone sees published press reports, please share the link

Another disappointment: the Friends' open rehearsal for the day of the Winter's Tale premiere has also been cancelled. The "scale and complexity" of the production is the stated reason in the e-mail they sent out today:

Due to the timing of the General Rehearsal on the morning of the premiere, the cast who are dancing the performance on the evening of 10 April will dance the pre-General Rehearsal on the previous day. Due to the scale and complexity of this new production, and the amount of rehearsal time available, it will not be possible to run the General Rehearsal with the alternate cast as is usually the case.
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By citing "scale and complexity" I wonder whether they're suggesting there are still technical problems with the sets, the choreography or both.

The scale models they showed in the promo trailer (screened with Sleeping Beauty) were pretty complex.

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Some brief comments on the final two Sleeping Beauty performances: I was disappointed by Roberta Marquez' Aurora on Tuesday, April 8. She certainly performed all the steps, but I didn't see anything special. It was disappointing that her balances were so uneven -- she faltered/shortened many in the Rose Adagio and would then show off an unusually long balance, as if to say: I can do this! Am I missing something others see in her?

Ryoichi Hirano substituted for Nehemiah Kish as Marquez' Prince Florimund. I felt badly for him at his entrance in Act II, which seems designed to give the audience applause time to acknowledge his presence for the first time -- dead silence. Very awkward! I was impressed that in his many double turns and multiple entrechats, his landings seemed so secure -- none of the little baubles and shakiness that are so common, especially with soloists. (I noticed the same thing the next night when he was the Lilac Fairy's Cavalier in the Prologue.) I have no idea what experience he has in this role or partnering Marquez, but the partnering seemed solid. During the bows, she seemed especially gracious, giving him a flower with genuine warmth.

In the final performance April 9, Yuhui Choe was quite special. She has an elegant, silken movement quality that is never rushed, never seems like she's just anxious to get something over with. I've been struggling with metaphors to describe it -- pulled taffy, perhaps? Everything is drawn out, appreciated to the fullest. The partnering was fine this time and she was more gracious to Golding during the bows -- giving him a flower, e.g., which she skipped Saturday night.

I think it's odd at both Royal and ENB that the corps members are not named in the cast list distributed before the program, just "Artists of the Royal Ballet." I suppose that makes it easier when subs are necessary, but it's too bad they don't get even that named acknowledgement. I also appreciate the absence of crying babies and late seating, but was surprised at two flash pictures taken during the performance Wednesday from a side box in the balcony. I assumed an usher would scurry over after the first one; apparently not.

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