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The Taming of the Shrew


sandik

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5 hours ago, NinaFan said:

 but if you want to see a fun ballet, with lots of great dancing, then you can’t go wrong with this top Bolshoi cast in Taming.   And I loved the music.

 

Sure, I’d like to see them bring Spartacus, Don Q, Ivan the Terrible , etc. next time, but I am soooo glad I didn’t miss this! 

 

I'm glad you didn't miss it too -- not every work is for every person, but this is for you.  And I'm glad you got the chance to see it!

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8 hours ago, NinaFan said:

 

Sure, I’d like to see them bring Spartacus, Don Q, Ivan the Terrible , etc. next time, but I am soooo glad I didn’t miss this! 

 

Glad to read your reports on Taming of the Shrew...Thinking about repertory though...

 

...If the Bolshoi brings a Grigorovich ballet that isn't Spartacus to NY anytime soon, please let it NOT be Ivan the Terrible. Golden Age with its fantastic score or Legend of Love would--for my taste--be greatly preferable. And the last two named also have great roles for two different ballerinas.  Always a plus!

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9 hours ago, Drew said:

 

...If the Bolshoi brings a Grigorovich ballet that isn't Spartacus to NY anytime soon, please let it NOT be Ivan the Terrible. Golden Age with its fantastic score or Legend of Love would--for my taste--be greatly preferable. And the last two named also have great roles for two different ballerinas.  Always a plus!

 

I would love to see the Golden Age and Legend of Love !!!!!!  I remember Ivan the Terrible, not so much for it's score, but for it's high drama.  But I'd take Golden Age over it any day.  And you are so right about great roles for two ballerinas!  So I second your nominations of both ballets!!!!!  Bolshoi Ballet, are you listening? 

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Yes, thank you, Drew, for assembling those links. (I assume they are okay to post in the Ballets and Choreographers forum as reference.)

 

It is interesting that the opinions of New York critics are consistently more negative than they had been in London. For the sake of completeness, from DanceTabs:

http://dancetabs.com/2017/07/bolshoi-ballet-the-taming-of-the-shrew-new-york/

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Shrew is, as one would expect, packed with silly antics which verge on the serious and uncomfortable when certain positions are taken, like dragging Katharina around the stage by her neck. Sometimes the audience laughed, sometimes they let out low, questioning “oh’s.” But the funny parts weren’t that funny, the slapstick not that skillful, and the serious sections felt no real threat. 

 

Apparently I'm not the only person really bothered by this:

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The fact that Katharina only comes to be truly “tamed” post-coitus (she revels in her married state the morning after) smacks more than just a little of male fantasy, and to go from ‘playing house,’ to marital bliss is a little rich, particularly given how Katharina has been treated. Despite the desire to re-envision Katharina and Petruchio as tit-for-tat equals, Maillot’s work falls short of fully completing the job, nor is the crucial pas de deux a work of mastery on par with MacMillan or Cranko (who did his own Shrew in the 1969).

 

From Bachtrack:
https://bachtrack.com/review-taming-shrew-maillot-bolshoi-ballet-koch-theater-lincoln-center-new-york-july-2017

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If you went to the show expecting high class entertainment, this would be a disappointment. If it were a film, I’d say Maillot’s Shrew is more of a trashy Franco-Russian Rom-Com with literary pretensions than an art film. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not everything is or even should try to be edifying. I enjoy some lowbrow hijinks as much as the next person. I guess my reservation is in dropping Shakespeare’s name to draw an audience and then substituting something lesser. 

 

This rings true to me also:

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Everything looks good in this Taming of the Shrew but it’s short on substance. Part of the problem is that [Maillot] doesn’t seem to have room for anything but promiscious women. Katharina spends the whole first act in lingerie. Sweet, demure Bianca finally hooks up with a fiancé of her own and becomes… slutty. The Widow is sad and lonely except that she’s hot looking and, well, a little slutty too. The Housekeeper, whose job is ostensibly to keep house is also… slutty. It’s supposed to be sensuous and erotic but it really boils down to the objectification of women.

 

Then there's the "just go with it and lower your expectations" from Broadway World:

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwdance/article/BWW-Review-The-Bolshois-Inscrutable-Retelling-of-Shakespeares-THE-TAMING-OF-THE-SHREW-20170731

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Once I realized that trying to comprehend the story line was a futile distraction from the pleasure of watching the Bolshoi dancers and listening to the New York City Ballet Orchestra's fine rendering of the music, I gave myself over to enjoying the rest of the evening. In retrospect, I'm wondering why the company brought this ballet to our shores. Perhaps the intent was to show how inventive the troupe's repertoire is in the post-Soviet era. If so, there surely must have been more felicitous choices available than this one.

 

No ringing endorsements there.

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Plucked this from Judith Mackrell's review:
 

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So it’s hats off to Jean-Christophe Maillot for reclaiming the Shrew in this funny, fast-witted version for the Bolshoi. In his bold rethinking of Shakespeare, Maillot’s lovers are no longer a scold and a coercive bully. She is a clever, stubborn, frustrated woman – furious at the humiliation of being forced on to the marriage market; he is a swaggering joker with a romantic heart, who finds conventional society intolerably dull. As they battle towards their own idiosyncratic version of marriage, it’s a mutually mocking but fantastical and erotic discovery. If Petruchio slaps Katharina, she’s slapped him first: if he forces her to kiss him, she’s already had an appreciative feel of his body.

 

 

Where to start.....Shakespeare's Katharina isn't only a scold, and his Petruchio is a swaggering joker as well as a bully, so Maillot is getting credit for adding colors to characters that already had some. (I leave it to those who have seen the ballet to determine if Maillot's Petruchio has a "romantic heart.")

 

It feels embarrassing having to point this out, but it is not cute for Petruchio to hit Katharina even if Maillot sets it up by having her take a swipe at him first and not okay to for him to force himself on her just because she's copped a feel. How did this appear to others who saw the ballet?

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I did see it as her just "copping a feel". Overall, their relationship rather reminds me of Mr. and Mrs. Smith with Brad and Angelina, except that in one case the relationship is just beginning, and in the other it is being rekindled. Don't know if I'd call it terribly romantic though.

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