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Another take on the keeping works alive issue

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I think Robert Gottlieb remarked in the Observer that Phaedra was a bit of a hoot when it first appeared, so perhaps it was off schedule by any timetable.

I wonder if people sometimes jump to the "dated" conclusion when they see a well known work for the first time that disappoints. When I first saw SFB's mounting of MacMillan's "The Invitation," that was the adjective that popped into my head first,but I'm willing to concede that in another performance it might look different and fresher, and the Freudianisms less overt.

I think Rockwell is a little hard on Laura Shapiro's piece in New York. If she thinks the thrill is gone, it's legitimate for her to say that, and raise the question of, should we try to revive the unrevivable? -- she wasn't dancing on Graham's grave by any means.

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Originally posted by dirac

I wonder if people sometimes jump to the "dated" conclusion when they see a well known work for the first time that disappoints

That was my experience with Balanchine's Orpheus. It wasn't in NYCB's repertory at the time I first started watching ballet, and I yearned to see it for years. When it was finally revived, I was disappointed. I didn't like the ballet. I think I called it "dated" because the Noguchi costumes really did look like old-fashioned modernism, and I was baffled by the ballet's high reputation. I could only account for the disconnect between its original reviews and my own reaction by assuming that something in the ballet spoke to an earlier era. (It couldn't have been the staging, because that was supervised by Balanchine himself.) After watching more performances, I reluctantly came to the conclusion that the ballet had never been any better. Perhaps the critics were so awed by the reputations of Stravinsky, Balanchine, and Noguchi that it didn't occur to them that their collaboration could result in anything less than great art.
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