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pherank

SFB 2019 Program 5: Lyric Voices

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34 minutes ago, pherank said:

Sadly, I can't remember the last time I really liked a mixed rep contemporary ballet's costume designs. Some of them don't bother me as much as others, but that's all I can say about it.

I agree!  I have a lot of thoughts on this topic too :)

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On ‎4‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 11:50 AM, Phrenchphry11 said:

"... two united in a single soul..." was fine.  Interesting concept but seemed a little gimmicky.  I got tired of the partnering and the team-USA-gymnastics-looking costumes after a while.

The costumes are hideous -- the women's costumes in particular. They look like a high school gymnastics team. (Team USA Is being too generous . . .)

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I received an email from SFB today about how it was our last chance to see the six ballets of programs 5  and 6, as they would not be done next season (though some are being danced in London this summer).  I also checked my emails and saw that they announced the 2018-2019 season on March 27, 2018, so the announcement for the 2019-2020 season should be imminent.  

 

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3 hours ago, Josette said:

I received an email from SFB today about how it was our last chance to see the six ballets of programs 5  and 6, as they would not be done next season (though some are being danced in London this summer).  I also checked my emails and saw that they announced the 2018-2019 season on March 27, 2018, so the announcement for the 2019-2020 season should be imminent. 

I've been wondering If Yuri's latest would be brought back. That would be two in a row that were "interesting", but apparently not good enough to merit a repeat. Meanwhile, his ballets for other companies have done well. C'est la vie.

Given the success of the Unbound Festival I've thought Tomasson should try a 'mini-festival' of 3 choreographers (preferably ones we haven't seen before). Or even two programs of 6 choreographers, but that's obviously a lot more work and would take much more advanced planning. Tomasson mentioned in one of his podcast interviews that planning for the Unbound Festival took 2 1/2 years. Three new works/choreographers strikes me as more doable.

Edited by pherank

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The costumes are hideous -- the women's costumes in particular.

The costumes of "Two united" made the men look especially puffy and shapeless, not very narcissism-making. Narcissus himself (Joseph Walsh) seemed closer to the Prodigal Son in his argument with the world than in traditional treatments of the myth (such as Robbins simple and elegant Afternoon of a Faun). Even when Narcissus was at rest and looking at his reflection, he had the intensity of a cat waiting to snap a fish out of the water.

In Possokhov's The Swimmer of two years ago the protagonist's task was clear – to swim across the county through all its pools and interact with its party goers. Here it wasn't clear what Narcissus was supposed to do other than to choreographically rant. Could he have gone through his mirror image into the other world / world of others? Was he the loved or beloved ( another traditional question in the myth)? There are lots of good paintings at Pompei of the story, which was a favorite with the Romans – perhaps one of them would have made a clearer basis for the set than the Warhol mylar balloon space capsule that occupied a good portion of the stage.

Of the other two ballets on the program, Wheeldon's ballet "Bound To" (itself a kind of essay on narcissism) seemed stronger this year. But with "Your Flesh/Poem" Benjamin Freemantle seemed to have ironed out all the rough edges of his solo, which lost some of its unique character as a result. Last year you could sense how it was constructed, see its seams and sutures, feel its stops and starts and stresses, imperfections that made it a more rewarding experience to watch.

Edited by Quiggin

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1 hour ago, Quiggin said:

The costumes of "Two united" made the men look especially puffy and shapeless, not very narcissism-making. Narcissus himself (Joseph Walsh) seemed closer to the Prodigal Son in his argument with the world than in traditional treatments of the myth (such as Robbins simple and elegant Afternoon of a Faun). Even when Narcissus was at rest and looking at his reflection, he had the intensity of a cat waiting to snap a fish out of the water.

In Possokhov's The Swimmer of two years ago the protagonist's task was clear – to swim across the county through all its pools and interact with its party goers. Here it wasn't clear what Narcissus was supposed to do other than to choreographically rant. Could he have gone through his mirror image into the other world / world of others? Was he the loved or beloved ( another traditional question in the myth)? There are lots of good paintings at Pompei of the story, which was a favorite with the Romans – perhaps one of them would have made a clearer basis for the set than the Warhol mylar balloon space capsule that occupied a good portion of the stage.

Of the other two ballets on the program, Wheeldon's ballet "Bound To" (itself a kind of essay on narcissism) seemed stronger this year. But with "Your Flesh/Poem" Benjamin Freemantle seemed to have ironed out all the rough edges of his solo, which lost some of its unique character as a result. Last year you could sense how it was constructed, see its seams and sutures, feel its stops and starts and stresses, imperfections that made it a more rewarding experience to watch.

Very interesting analysis, Quiggin - thanks. In the present day, Possokhov seems mainly interested in running experiments on SFB dancers. I like what you say about Freemantle's latest performances in "Your Flesh". It makes me wonder if there have been other ballets that actually benefit from a less tutored/rough approach...

Edited by pherank

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Reporting in from attending the Sun April 7th matinee performance. I'd seen the other program the night before, and that sort of colored my perspective. (Was that the reason I found myself thinking, "Here we go again, more guys lifting guys" and "great, more 'dark' lighting and music that challenges my ears"?) Pherank, you were right, that the "prize" was seeing Vladislav Kozlov, partnering in a pas de deus with one of my personal [underused] favorites, WanTing Zhao. I was just dazzled by that, in "...two united in a single soul...", which also wins the award for the most awkward title of the season (the decade?). Also very memorable was the pas de deux between Max and Sasha -- and to my favorite aria, "Lascia ch'io Piangia" - and thank goodness composer Daria Novo left this masterpiece by Handel free of the electronic whistles or creaks that made many of the other parts of the score "more interesting." (Her words, not mine. Definitely not mine.) Esteban Hernandez was amazing as Narcissus. So much energy, and he was very good at filling the stage space, in a way that seemed a bit lacking as The Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty. He'd had a big role in Die Toteninsel (LOVED it) the previous evening, and was in Rodeo and was in Bound To. Basically, it seemed like he was everywhere, and in a good way. He had to have been exhausted by the end of Sunday's program. 

Mixed feelings in general about Yuri's ballet. The moods were just too different, the "Narcissus" and countertenor (beautifully sung by Matheus Coura) theme, and then there's this "Hooked on Classics" rendition of Handel and an exuberant corps of 6 [or 8, or 4] dancers bounded around onstage, doing folksy Russian steps, and it just was too much of a stretch for me. A resounding "yes!" to what was said above, about the "Team USA" costumes. I was okay with the women's, but found the men's particularly unflattering. When their backs were to the audience, the look was distressingly feminine, so at odds with the men's strong dancing. Loved "Your Flesh..." and thought everyone danced it very well. Didn't get to see this one last year. Ethan Chudnow did a really good job in that male lead role (lots of solo dancing, so that might not be the right term). Sasha de Sola really stood out too - I don't see her in much contemporary dancing, it would seem, or I've certainly never had the "wow" factor happen, but I did on Sunday. Loved the pas de trois she shared with Elizabeth Mateer (who very much held her own alongside Sasha, always a delight to see with a corps dancer) and I believe it was Sean Bennett (someone correct me if I'm wrong) dancing with them. It was a delightful trio to watch.

I was rather "meh" on  "Bound To." The message was so crammed down the throat, I got it seconds into the first movement and was just irritably waiting for the cell phone theme to end. Yes, there was great dancing. My friend loved the music; I found it just "meh." Again, I can't help but imagine that I would have found it all much more energizing if it hadn't been following "Your Flesh" and the previous night's Bjork Ballet.

I feel compelled to whine about the lighting -- why is "dark" lighting (an oxymoron, that) becoming so vogue? It annoys me. It makes me squint, to no effect. It seems to be cutting off some of my sensory abilities. Of the six ballets I saw over the weekend, it seems at least 4 had compromised lighting. (Thank goodness for Rodeo!)

Whining aside, it was truly great dancing, all weekend long. While I would have liked to see the first cast of this program, it was very gratifying to see how wonderfully the second cast danced it all.

Edited by Terez

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22 hours ago, Quiggin said:

The costumes of "Two united" made the men look especially puffy and shapeless, not very narcissism-making. Narcissus himself (Joseph Walsh) seemed closer to the Prodigal Son in his argument with the world than in traditional treatments of the myth (such as Robbins simple and elegant Afternoon of a Faun). Even when Narcissus was at rest and looking at his reflection, he had the intensity of a cat waiting to snap a fish out of the water.

In Possokhov's The Swimmer of two years ago the protagonist's task was clear – to swim across the county through all its pools and interact with its party goers. Here it wasn't clear what Narcissus was supposed to do other than to choreographically rant. Could he have gone through his mirror image into the other world / world of others? Was he the loved or beloved ( another traditional question in the myth)? There are lots of good paintings at Pompei of the story, which was a favorite with the Romans – perhaps one of them would have made a clearer basis for the set than the Warhol mylar balloon space capsule that occupied a good portion of the stage.

Of the other two ballets on the program, Wheeldon's ballet "Bound To" (itself a kind of essay on narcissism) seemed stronger this year. But with "Your Flesh/Poem" Benjamin Freemantle seemed to have ironed out all the rough edges of his solo, which lost some of its unique character as a result. Last year you could sense how it was constructed, see its seams and sutures, feel its stops and starts and stresses, imperfections that made it a more rewarding experience to watch.

Loved all your comments, Quiggin! (I failed to notice these last few posts/comments before I posted my own.

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