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volcanohunter

Royal Ballet cinemas season 2017-2018

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Let's hope for better North American distribution.

http://www.roh.org.uk/cinemas

 

23 October 2017
Wheeldon/Talbot: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

 

5 December 2017
Wright/Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker

28 February 2018
Wheeldon/Talbot: The Winter's Tale

 

27 March 2018
new McGregor/The Age of Anxiety/new Wheeldon
all-Bernstein program

 

3 Mary 2018
MacMillan/Massenet: Manon

12 June 2018
Petipa, Ivanov (Scarlett)/Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake (new production)

 

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I'm wondering how many of these are rebroadcasts -- I know I've seen Alice, Nutcracker, and Winter's Tale. 

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All of the transmissions will be new performances and broadcast live in Europe, even though some of the ballets, namely Alice and Nutcracker, will be filmed for the umpteenth time. I hope the company will at least field new casts. The Bernstein triple bill and the new Swan Lake will be shown for the first time, but everything else has been filmed at least once before.

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Glad to hear it.  Seattle has been fairly lucky with these broadcasts this year -- hoping that it continues.

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Seattle gets it on 4/25 as well, at the Crest Theater -- which is so much better than not getting it at all.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours north of Seattle (near the Canadian border) at the Pickford Theater we get it on May 20.  It pays to check you local theater listings.

Edited by SandyMcKean

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20 hours ago, SandyMcKean said:

2 hours north of Seattle (near the Canadian border) at the Pickford Theater we get it on May 20.  It pays to check you local theater listings.

 

They do some excellent programming.

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Posted (edited)

The U.S. and Canada initial screening was on July 31. Some cinemas will repeat it on August 7.

https://www.thewonderfulworldofdance.com/the-royal-ballets-critically-acclaimed-new-production-of-swan-lake-released-in-cinemas-across-the-usa-on-july-31

 

I caught it in NY. I’m wondering if others may be as disappointed as I am with this production? The RB waited 30+ years for a new Swan Lake and got this??? All of RJ Wiley’s portions based on 1895 - the treasures of the Dowell production - are gone! The sets/projections are either gaudy (ballroom with Merry Widow staircase) or cheap (A1 painterly 1970s trees, the crazy gate to the side; the lakeside acts’ simple rock cluster). Extremely dark lighting. OK, the return of traditional classical tutus on all swans is a plus...but Von Rothbart’s TarantulaMan get-up is ridiculous! 

Not to take away from the magnificence of Nunez, Muntagirov & other performers. Akane Takada was especially wondrous in the Pas de Trois; most beautiful feet I’ve seen in a long time! :) 

Edited by CharlieH

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I saw the RB's new Swan Lake in a local cinema a few weeks ago. I must admit I had mixed reactions (but then I have never seen the Dowell production).

Quote

Von Rothbart’s TarantulaMan get-up is ridiculous!

On this we totally agree.

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Posted (edited)

I wasn’t able to see the screening—though did see the production live in June, once from well upstairs.  I didn’t have such a strong reaction to Rothbart’s make-up, but am wondering more generally, if screenings don’t give a distorted idea of stage make-up....?

Edited by Drew

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Posted (edited)

I didn't see the cinemacast but saw it live in London four times when it premiered.  Macfarlane's design for the Act III ballroom is one of my favorites: rich, opulent, and slightly macabre.  Video does not do it justice.  I was less enthused about Act I:  the gates and backdrop are fine, but the trees are indeed distracting and even the benches looked cheap.  There is a very sterile, cold feel to Act I which I thought both Scarlett and Macfarlane accomplished in their choreography/designs; it's just not how I envision a prince's birthday party.  The lakeside scenes are VERY darkly lit.  The return to the corps in swan tutus is welcome, but the long skirts were the least of the previous production's problems.  It cannot be overstated how hideous the Sonnabend designs were....as a 7-year-old I hated them.  

Marianela Nunez I previously saw in the Dowell production in 2011, and she is still one of my favorite dancers.  At 36 her extension and back flexibility is declining, so the exposed adagio in Act II was not her strong point.  But her Odile was wonderfully glamorous--a true Belle of the Ball as she seduced her Prince--and Act IV poignant and tragic. Sarah Lamb did not have the strength or security technically of a Nunez, but she had incredible detail in the mime, with her entrance scene performed about as well as I've ever seen it.  Her Odile wasn't sensuous but rather sinister, calculating, and manipulative, and Act IV, like Nunez, was her stronger of the two white acts.  There was something truly grave about her predicament in those final moments before her suicide.  Akane Takada received much praise on the balletcoforum, but her O/O left me stone cold.  Perhaps as a result of her Bolshoi training, she had some unmistakable Russian qualities in the ballet: sinuous rippling port de bras, high extensions, and even the Russian "non-whip" technique to her fouettes.  But she didn't have the pathos, grandeur, or distinction the dual role deserves, though I found much to appreciate in her technique.  Her performance in the pas de trois was dynamic, but while she has nice feet her there is something awkward about her right shoe (I believe to accomodate an injury), and in spite of a great jump she didn't even attempt entrechat six.  

Anyway, the production is no masterpiece, but I did enjoy it more than most on this forum.  Rarely (ever?) does Swan Lake get every aspect of the music/designs/choreography/dancers right, and in comparison to Houston Ballet's production which I saw recently that got just about every aspect wrong (despite some fine performances), with the Royal's I felt like I was seeing Swan Lake.  Given the vast number of unwatchable Swan Lakes out there, I'm just glad I don't have to add this one to the list.  

Edited by MRR

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I also saw the new Royal Ballet Swan Lake last week in Albany and I agree pretty much entirely with CharlieH's review.

I also thought that several of Scarlett's innovations were misguided (or at least that they didn't work for me). i didn't think the political angle added anything to the story . I also thought that the apotheosis, with Odette's soul in the swan costume while her dead body was in the princess dress was completely misguided. On the whole, although I enjoyed this Swan Lake, I wasn't moved by it.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, FPF said:

I also thought that the apotheosis, with Odette's soul in the swan costume while her dead body was in the princess dress was completely misguided.

Not sure if this is what you had in mind, FPF, but whenever I've read about this, it's seemed backwards to me. Wouldn't it make more sense for her soul — her true self — to be her human form, released at last from the swan body in which she has been trapped? Or am I missing something (not having seen the production either live or onscreen)?

Edited by nanushka

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2 hours ago, nanushka said:

Not sure if this is what you had in mind, FPF, but whenever I've read about this, it's seemed backwards to me. Wouldn't it make more sense for her soul — her true self — to be her human form, released at last from the swan body in which she has been trapped? Or am I missing something (not having seen the production either live or onscreen)?

Yes, you have it exactly. At the beginning (overture) it shows Odette first in a dress, captured by Von Rothbart and transformed so that she is wearing the white swan tutu. At the very end, Odette in the swan costume is floating overhead while her body, retrieved from the lake by Siegfried, is wearing the dress. 

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And I agree that it  doesn't make sense.

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1 hour ago, FPF said:

Yes, you have it exactly. At the beginning (overture) it shows Odette first in a dress, captured by Von Rothbart and transformed so that she is wearing the white swan tutu. At the very end, Odette in the swan costume is floating overhead while her body, retrieved from the lake by Siegfried, is wearing the dress. 

My first thought upon seeing Scarlett’s ending was, “Aha! Odette is as fake as Odile.” Then I thought that perhaps Scarlett is illustrating the religious idea:  the human may be gone (a corpse) but the spirit lives. Siegfried doesn’t realize it...he is not yet religious, so he only sees the corpse. 

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59 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

My first thought upon seeing Scarlett’s ending was, “Aha! Odette is as fake as Odile.” Then I thought that perhaps Scarlett is illustrating the religious idea:  the human may be gone (a corpse) but the spirit lives. Siegfried doesn’t realize it...he is not yet religious, so he only sees the corpse. 

But why would her spirit have the swan queen form, rather than a fully human form? 

I found a lot of that act confusing--I spent part of the time wondering why Siegfried was laying on the ground--I wondered if he was already dead. Then he got up, and went into the lake, and I thought that he was committing suicide, but then he came back with Odette's body. 

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5 hours ago, FPF said:

But why would her spirit have the swan queen form, rather than a fully human form? 

...

White Swan = Ultimate purity? Human body can never be pure. Just wracking my brain for an explanation (!). 

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Hmmmm, I thought Swan Odette during the apotheosis was not a spirit, but rather a figment of Siegfried's imagination, or memory.  So when he is walking downstage, he is thinking of Odette and the promise he couldn't keep to break the spell, which explains the projection of Odette in the tutu.  He carries maiden Odette because now that she is deceased, the spell is broken and she can never be transformed back into a swan.  

If we literally apply the story, the audience never sees the ballerinas as swans at any point in the ballet except for Odette's transformation at the end of Act II.  However, Odette, Big Swans, Cygnets, and the corps are still in swan tutus, which represent the spell they are under even while they're in human form.  So Odette in her maiden nightie in the apotheosis made sense to me because while she is dead, effectively so is the spell.  It is an awkward juxtaposition, however, against the corps who are still in swan tutus even though they are freed.  But there is no practical way to have all the corps women quick changing while Siegfried retrieves Odette's body to show all of them in maiden form, so I accepted the ending for what it was.   Of course I prefer the double death ending, and for an alternative ending I enjoyed the RDB's which had Siegfried marrying Odile in the closing seconds.

The political plot got out of hand though.  It never made sense to me how, for all of Rothbart's presence in the court, nobody noticed he had a daughter!  And his curse for Odette almost seemed independent of his plot to take over the kingdom.  During the closing of Act I, Rothbart wants Siegfried to go back to the palace, while Siegfried refuses.  It's as though Rothbart doesn't want Siegfried to go shooting for swans, or find Odette, much less fall in love with her.  But then, if Siegfried doesn't meet Odette, how does Rothbart know he will fall in love with the "real" Odile at the ball?  The whole point of him of his infatuation with Odile is that she is transformed to resemble Odette.

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9 hours ago, MRR said:

But there is no practical way to have all the corps women quick changing while Siegfried retrieves Odette's body to show all of them in maiden form,

Yuri Vasyuchenko's production in Odessa has the corps swans remove their feathery headbands as the apotheosis music plays and drop them on the floor. Makes the point unequivocally. Obviously he had to ensure that none of their choreography in the final scene was so strenuous that the unpinned headbands would come off early. And the dancers put the feathers back on before the curtain comes up for bows.

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10 hours ago, MRR said:

The political plot got out of hand though.  It never made sense to me how, for all of Rothbart's presence in the court, nobody noticed he had a daughter!  And his curse for Odette almost seemed independent of his plot to take over the kingdom.  During the closing of Act I, Rothbart wants Siegfried to go back to the palace, while Siegfried refuses.  It's as though Rothbart doesn't want Siegfried to go shooting for swans, or find Odette, much less fall in love with her.  But then, if Siegfried doesn't meet Odette, how does Rothbart know he will fall in love with the "real" Odile at the ball?  The whole point of him of his infatuation with Odile is that she is transformed to resemble Odette.

But they don't know that Odile IS his daughter, do they? He just produces this glamorous girl, who has been magically made to resemble Odette and presumably the rest ot the time looks quite different - she could just have sent in some excuse for her non-appearance at the ball.

Thinking about the plot makes my head spin - what is the point of the whole Swan thing, actually? And whyever, having captured Odette, did he give her the get-out clause of being saved by the love of some passing man? Was there some sort of Lilac Fairy intervention? Etc etc - I end up really believing that perhaps Rothbart wasn't actually very bright and hadn't thought it through properly.

 

 

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3 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

Yuri Vasyuchenko's production in Odessa has the corps swans remove their feathery headbands as the apotheosis music plays and drop them on the floor. Makes the point unequivocally. Obviously he had to ensure that none of their choreography in the final scene was so strenuous that the unpinned headbands would come off early. And the dancers put the feathers back on before the curtain comes up for bows.

I've seen other productions where the choreography indicates that the corps has been released from the spell. I didn't notice that in this version.

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4 hours ago, Jane Simpson said:

But they don't know that Odile IS his daughter, do they? He just produces this glamorous girl, who has been magically made to resemble Odette and presumably the rest ot the time looks quite different - she could just have sent in some excuse for her non-appearance at the ball.

Thinking about the plot makes my head spin - what is the point of the whole Swan thing, actually? And whyever, having captured Odette, did he give her the get-out clause of being saved by the love of some passing man? Was there some sort of Lilac Fairy intervention? Etc etc - I end up really believing that perhaps Rothbart wasn't actually very bright and hadn't thought it through properly.

 

 

While I was watching this Swan Lake, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about Von Rothbart's motivations/actions (e.g., why is he stalking around in Act 1), rather than just going along with the story. Most of the innovations in the plot try seem to be trying to impose logic/realism on the fairy tale (e.g., Von Rothbart isn't just an evil sorcerer, he wants to take over the kingdom). But this just raises a bunch of other questions that aren't answered. 

Also, I think that having Von Rothbart in all four acts plus the prologue took some focus away from the Odette/Siegfried romance. 

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On 8/8/2018 at 10:15 AM, volcanohunter said:

Yuri Vasyuchenko's production in Odessa has the corps swans remove their feathery headbands as the apotheosis music plays and drop them on the floor. Makes the point unequivocally. Obviously he had to ensure that none of their choreography in the final scene was so strenuous that the unpinned headbands would come off early. And the dancers put the feathers back on before the curtain comes up for bows.

Having not seen this, it sounds very tacky.  I should've remembered: Stanton Welch's production for Houston Ballet used to end with a swan exiting while a maiden entered in her place, with the maidens slowly realizing their newfound freedom during the apotheosis.  Beforehand, Siegfried intends to shoot Rothbart but misses and hits Odette instead (!), so the spell is broken.  I don't even remember what Siegfried did after that point.  Alas, in the most recent revival we now have the classic double suicide ending, but occurring later in the music.  The swans stay in tutus and bourree in formation until the curtain falls.  

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