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Orpheus and Chaconne

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I braved the crowds for the Santa Claus parade today and went to the ballet.  Has anyone else here seen this program?

I enjoyed the Balanchine piece - new in NBOC's rep.  Heather Ogden and Harrison James danced the leads - nice to be able to see them for a Sunday matinee. 

I should point out that Chaconne runs 30 minutes.  Binet's piece in contrast was 73 minutes.  In my view, 73 minutes for that work was way too much.  I could see 15-20 minutes, which would mean losing some of the random bits (such as the "kitchen" scene and the silly receptionists of the Underworld).  I understand what Binet et al were attempting to do - I think - which was to tackle a very dark subject in a variety of different ways.  In the end this was more of a play (yes there were speaking parts, so it's very clear that Eurydice has died and Orpheus wishes to have more time with her lover) with a bunch of dancing.  Binet has created Orpheus as a female role, and Eurydice as a male - just to clarify - it really doesn't change the story but does make it a little more difficult to remember character names. In this iteration of the story it appears that Eurydice's death was likely the result of suicide, however this is implied and not overt.  There was a small child in my row - she seemed to be about 5 years old - and I wondered how she felt being inside watching this and not outside watching the parade.  I can't imagine the questions she posed to her adult companions afterwards.  

I don't recall getting an alert about content from NBOC, and perhaps everyone should have anticipated this because of the Greek Myth, but I'm thinking the people with the small child would probably not have chosen this particular program if they'd known.  Again, perhaps they should have but an alert from the Ballet would have been in order.

The dancing itself was excellent - leads were Hannah Fischer as Orpheus, Brendan Saye as Eurydice and Tanya Howard as "Eurydice's mom."  This role in the program seems to be "Mourner."  Sometimes I find Ms. Fischer to be a bit stiff - this was not the case today.  She danced very well, and we could feel her emotion.  Brendan Saye also did very well - he didn't have the talking parts however that Fischer and Howard did.

So.  Is it a ballet?  A play? A drama or a "comedy/drama"?  Who really knows.  I just know that for me it was too long, and a bit more to chew emotionally than I really care to do for an afternoon out.

There were a lot of "Bravo's" in the audience at the end of Orpheus so clearly my lukewarm reception wasn't the only opinion out there.  I can only say that as a season's ticket holder for many years I am really going to think twice about renewal going forward.




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I saw the performance on Saturday night and share many similar thoughts. I went with my mom and having lost my dad suddenly a few years ago found the ballet very hard to watch. The tone was very off for us, especially with the three headed monster being so trivial towards death, and trying to find humour in a death bureaucracy or whatever they were trying to do there. My mom actually left about 10 minutes into the performance as it was too triggering for her. So I agree, that there should have been an alert as to the subject matter. 

I also found it odd to use Osgoode subway station as the spot where Eurydice dies. In my opinion that hits way too close to home and could you imagine if you decided to go for a nice night at the ballet and didn't know that was going to happen and had previously experienced anything related to a subway track suicide in Toronto? It just didn't work for me. I don't see the need to make these ballets so hyper local and familiar. Nothing would be lost with a more generic setting. 

I too found the dancing beautiful, along with the score. I don't think the spoken word scenes added anything. I could feel that pain and emotion from the dancing, I don't need it drilled into me. 

I did not enjoy the experience and found the manipulation of emotions excessive. Maybe if it was edited down or further worked on it could be okay, but as it is, not for me. 

I am also a subscriber for the past few years and find myself enjoying things less and less, especially with new pieces like this, Peter Pan and Anna Karenina. Knowing these will have to be repeated again in the next few years leave me unsure on my subscriber status. 

Here's hoping for a much better night at the next program. 

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