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cubanmiamiboy

MCB Program III. Midsummer Night's Dream

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This is the second time for this "re imagined" production.  Much of what I wrote on the premiere of the work stays the same.  It is a very high tech production, which as we know, takes places underwater here. Lots of fantastic computerized projections and moving backdrops.  And I still have a problem with that.  This ballet is basically about the interaction of TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS...one real and one that is not.  If someone has no previous knowledge of the libretto-(or of  Shakespeare's work)-, then the general feeling is that every character onstage is fantastic, because they quarrel and fight and make up under the ocean.  So all the innuendo of why the humans are not capable to see their surrounding fairies is completely lost in translation.  Yes, I know that many ballets of the XIX Century had real characters going under the water-(The Pearl, for instance)- but this is not just another fantastic tale...this is a very particular text that calls for a very specific differentiation in between the two sets of characters. The two human couples entering a realm that has been completely taken over by fairies.  And how do you explain the why are this two couples under the sea...? Again...this ballet is just not another Petipaesque work with great classical variations to catchy musique dansante tunes as the center of attention.  Mood and story are key elements.  And that has not being achieved here.

Jordan Elizabeth Long and Renan Cerdeiro were Titania/Oberon.  Katia Carranza an Renato Panteado-(very classic MCB)- were the divertissement couple in Act II.

And that silly screen in between dancers and audience was annoying.  I saw it only one time, because I really never warmed to the whole thing.  But in all fairness...I have never quite "got" the whole Balanchine production.  I think Act Ii is a bit awkward and out of context, and sort of erases the main Titania/Oberon/Puck/Lovers story.  Which is why I much prefer Ashton's "The Dream", with its more dancing-oriented approach and focusing.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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:(:(:(

 

But:

1. We still have her Square Dance from PBS

2. Best wishes to her in whatever she does in the future. :flowers:

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On 3/31/2019 at 9:32 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

This is the second time for this "re imagined" production.  Much of what I wrote on the premiere of the work stays the same. 

Hi @cubanmiamiboy. I find your comments most interesting and insightful - can you link to what you wrote about the premiere? I'd love to read it.

I myself have not seen this version, but a writer for The Traveling Ballerina was in Fort Lauderdale last weekend, so decided to check it out; here's her take on the performance. Do you share any of these sentiments?

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On 3/31/2019 at 6:32 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

But in all fairness...I have never quite "got" the whole Balanchine production.  I think Act Ii is a bit awkward and out of context, and sort of erases the main Titania/Oberon/Puck/Lovers story.  Which is why I much prefer Ashton's "The Dream", with its more dancing-oriented approach and focusing.

In a way, I think that Balanchine was making a little bow to Petipa's structural development of the 3 (4) act ballet, where the story is all tied up in a bow before the final "happy ending" act. 

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On 4/16/2019 at 7:05 PM, sandik said:

In a way, I think that Balanchine was making a little bow to Petipa's structural development of the 3 (4) act ballet, where the story is all tied up in a bow before the final "happy ending" act. 

That might be the case, and I'd curious to see how the Imperial production of the ballet looked like. But the disconnection between the two acts is too visible, unlike every other Petipa ballet where the main couple always dances the grand pas. Hyppolyta and Theseus make a very brief showing in act I...not enough to fully connect it to act II. And then they don't even have a pas of their own! And the unnamed couple which takes over the meatiest dancing part of the act..too strange. 

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Oberon and Titania are immortal and, aside from some temporary shifts, they don't change.  Balanchine's approach is much more realistic: despite temporary reconciliation, Titania has her cavalier (and her donkey), and the depiction of true, calm, mature love is the Divertissement couple.  He doesn't pretend to think that Oberon and Titania are the epitome of that, even for a fleeting moment 

I heard Andreas Schager, who will make his debut as the Gotterdammerung Siegfried, in an interview with Mary Jo Heath, and he said that his approach to Siegfried is pure: Siegfried, under the influence of the potion, truly believes he loves Gutrune and is acting purely.  That's the magic of the donkey pas for Titania, and it's the same music Ashton uses for Titania and Oberon's pdd.

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On 4/18/2019 at 12:48 PM, cubanmiamiboy said:

That might be the case, and I'd curious to see how the Imperial production of the ballet looked like. But the disconnection between the two acts is too visible, unlike every other Petipa ballet where the main couple always dances the grand pas. Hyppolyta and Theseus make a very brief showing in act I...not enough to fully connect it to act II. And then they don't even have a pas of their own! And the unnamed couple which takes over the meatiest dancing part of the act..too strange. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet circulated excerpts from a wonderful essay by Anita Finkle (that they had commissioned in the 1980s for their first performance of the work) -- the gist of her argument is that all the couples in the work, both human and fairy, were incomplete in some fashion, and that it's only when we get to the second act that we see an example of mature, adult love.  It's not an exact example of Petipa's well-made-play structure, but I thought it was a compelling justification.

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