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Edinburgh Festival

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I can't make it to Edinburgh myself this year, but for those with the time/money/stamina to combine a visit with the recent SFB season in London, it gives the opportunity to see, in just over a fortnight, 23 non-Balanchine works made for American ballet companies - unprecedented over here, and not that common, I'd guess, even in the USA.

There will be a lot of interest in the two works by Christopher Wheeldon which NYCB are showing - his Sea Pictures for SFB had rather mixed reviews.

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What I found really interesting is that Lynette felt the Wheeldon was very Balanchine, while looking at it with an American viewing history found the non-Balanchine parts of it most refreshing, and thought it looked British. The fact that it reads so differently depending on who is watching is not necessarily a bad thing at all.

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Just a point of clarification. As regards Wheeldon, I think what I had in mind when I wrote that was a comparison to some of Wheeldon's other works that I've seen. His Sea Pictures for SFB looked much more British in influences than Mercurial Manoevres. Sea Picures has a loose narrative, and it has sweeping, swoony pas de deux and quite a bit of rolling on the floor - all much more reminiscent of MacMillan, or possibly even, in the shipwreck scene, Christopher Bruce (though he would probably have used Bob Dylan, not Elgar). Compared to this, the work for NYCB looked much more Balanchine - influenced to me.

I find Wheeldon somewhat chameleon like, but none the worse for that. Mercurial Manoevres doesn't look too much like other works he has made - certainly not much like Sea Pictures, or other works he has made for the Royal such as A Royal Ballet, Pavane pour une infante defunte.

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regarding wheeldon's 'mercurial manoeuvers' it was, i believe, only one reviewer who pointed out that the 3 mov. ballet was given, due to stage space limitations, without the drops that were a significant part of the ballet's design. (i think the writer was percival, who reviewed the ballet initially after its nyc premiere.) though none of this would affect the way the choreography was given, this lack of setting would affect the way the ballet looked and the initial intentions of wheeldon's 'vision'. the first movement was much elaborated by the way the stage flats initially masked the stage and gave it intimate, false perspective and the way, then, those flats rose and eventually opened the stage to its full dimensions. i suppose some light cues might have indicated these original intentions, but w/out the flats (painted [or lit, or both] an intense red) the ballet's original intentions would be hard to assess. (this is a case, related to jeffrey's 're-do' question, when the design was redone not out of choice but out of necessity, a whole new kettle of fish.)

[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: rg ]

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