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Subject: "ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1222
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Bruce Madmin

10-01-01, 03:30 PM (GMT)
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"ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
 
   I managed to get last night and See Tom and Ag (Edur and Oaks) open the run.

It really is a rather good Swan Lake - a straight telling with no particular excesses this way or that. And danced incredibly well by the whole company. Given their size and grant they are punching a few levels above their weight and I think these performances are easily comparable with what you might see 5 minutes away at the Opera House. I have no time to write more, but I did a review when it was first premiered down in Southampton:
http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_00/dec00/bm_rev_enb_1000.htm

Certainly if you have turned away from Deane's productions in the past you should try seeing this.

Many other readers seemed to be their last night - what say they?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum Lynette H 10-01-01 1
     RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum Naoko S 10-01-01 2
         RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum Kevin Ng 11-01-01 3
     RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum alison 11-01-01 4
         RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum Lynette H 11-01-01 5
             RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum alison 12-01-01 7
  RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum Stuart Sweeney 11-01-01 6
     RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum Richard J 12-01-01 8

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Lynette H

10-01-01, 05:55 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #0
 
   A fine, solid performance, with the corps in particular having an excellent night of it.

Although the programme describes this as derived from Deane's earlier in the round production, there are quite substantial differences: the inclusion of a prologue where we see Rothbart capture the young princess and turn her into a swan, the inclusion of the Ashton pas de quatre in Act 1, and his delightful Neapolitan dance in Act 3, and most importantly, the tragic ending. Designs and costumes also seem to have had a substantial overhaul.

It is a very straightforward telling of the story, without any fanciful embellishments, or the ironic modernity Deane brought to his production of the Nutcracker.

Generally the standard of dancing was very high. Agnes Oaks seemed more commanding and in control than I'd seen her before and her long delicate arms were used beautifully. Edur is technically as strong as ever, but it's not just the individual execution of the steps that one enjoys, but being in the presence of a dancer who is always a prince. One item which survives from the arena production is the prince's short melancholy solo at the end of Act 1, executed here with real feeling.

I didn't think the dancers did too well with the Ashton pas de quatre (although it was lovely to see it) - a bit stiff and not pliable enough. Simone Clarke and Yat Sen Chang made a much better job of the Neapolitan dance.

The tragic ending has always seemed to me to be what the music requires in Swan Lake, and I'm glad to see ENB have finally got one - this is the third production of Swan Lake in 8 years.

A very good, touching Swan Lake. And again. I must say, I thought the corps were on really good form.


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Naoko S

10-01-01, 11:42 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #1
 
  
> And again. I must
>say, I thought the corps
>were on really good form.

Totally agree. I saw SL by three different companies in the recent months -RB, Kirov & ENB- and found this ENB corps best; their uniformity both in movements & physique were simply outstanding...

Also it felt like an added bonus to see the rarely seen/heard (am I correct?) pas de quatre (music of 'pas de six' in original score) and Prince's solo in Act I.

Highly recommended!


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Kevin Ng

11-01-01, 11:37 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #2
 
   I agree with your praises of the Tuesday performance. I was so glad to see the Ashton pas de quatre again after a long time. I think the superb Thomas Edur would have looked even greater in the Nureyev solo in Act 1 (in the previous Royal Ballet production) instead of Deane's solo in this production.


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alison

11-01-01, 01:22 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #1
 
   I thought the Ashton Neapolitan Dance *was* included in the RAH version!

I saw last night's performance (Gruzdyev/Takahashi). Who was doing the Pas de Quatre on the first night, because there was a last-minute replacement last night?

Agree with you that I thought the corps were very good - and I also think I agree with Clement Crisp that this is the best thing Deane has done.

The worst thing about last night, unfortunately, wasn't what was happening on-stage but in the auditorium. I can't remember the last time I experienced such abysmal behaviour from such a large proportion of the audience. It certainly prompted one spectator, well into Act I, to suggest that if the culprits wanted to talk they should go outside, and I couldn't blame her. After the break for the scene change between Acts I and II, despite repeated "shushing" from other audience members, far too many people kept on talking, at virtually normal volume, not only over the whole of the "Scene" but well after the curtain had risen as well. I know Act II starts off very quietly, but even when the music had got very loud and after the dancing had started it wasn't enough to shut those people up. Since I'd already heard other reports during the ENB of very poor audience behaviour, I think possibly this is something that the Coliseum management should be looking at. (And they should also look at extending the intervals from 15 to 20 minutes, given the woefully inadequate toilet facilities at the Coli and the fact that people have had to sit through 2 acts without a break!). My companion actually commented during the interval that she was looking forward to the matinees, where the audience would probably be better behaved!


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Lynette H

11-01-01, 01:52 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #4
 
   >The worst thing about last night,
>unfortunately, wasn't what was happening
>on-stage but in the auditorium.
> I can't remember the
>last time I experienced such
>abysmal behaviour from such a
>large proportion of the audience.
>

This was sadly true of the opening night too. I don't think, in all my ballet going, including Nutcracker matinees, I have ever sat in a more talkative audience. They talked all through the overture: they carried on talking through the prologue, without seeming to notice that the dancers were on stage: they talked really loudly through the music at the beginning of Act 2. Various people around me chattered among themselves (not whispering - quite loud conversations) throughout the performance.

Quite bizarre. I don't ask everyone to sit in complete solemn silence, but some consideration for others would be appreciated. It detracted from an otherwise delightful evening.


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alison

12-01-01, 01:44 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #5
 
   Perhaps it was the same audience 2 nights running? Perhaps not ...


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Stuart Sweeney

11-01-01, 02:47 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #0
 
   I agree with Bruce that the opening night was a fine evening with excellent dancing from all. Frankly, the look of this production is much better in my view than the RB version and it would need a top RB cast to rival the standard of the dancing. Taking the quality of his dancing, his presence and his characterisation, Thomas Edur would be difficult to match anywhere, in my view.

ENB have put a lot of resource into this production and its Big Brother version and it showed in the corps de ballet. i suspect that the RB rarely has the opportunity to put in as much rehearsal time as the ENB have had to for its various 'Swan Lakes'.

I got more from this performance than I did from the technically splendid, but emotionally bland Kirov performance I saw last year.


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Richard J

12-01-01, 08:38 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: ENB Swan Lake at the Coliseum"
In response to message #6
 
   I'm glad I'm not alone in preferring the ENB Swan Lake to the Kirov production; I agree with Stuart that the Kirov offering is emotionally bland, however technically accomplished it may be.

Much thought seems to have been given to the overall look of the production. The designs, which are very effective, are greatly enhanced by the lighting; for once, the floor was not forgotten! Many of us see ballet from above, and it is not uncommon to find the general effect of the decor diminished by the sight of a scruffy, patched-up, more-or-less black floor.

I particularly liked the strong contrast between the decor for Acts I and III; the first is definitely an outdoor birthday party (touches of rustic charm in the music), while the third (with its use of flat keys) is a much grander affair (and also rather ominous for the Prince). This contrast of setting is not always as effective as in ENB's setting.

I did have a problem with the Act I polonaise. The music contains some lightly-scored contrasting sections, but this was not matched in the dancing. The choreography seemed to need some light and shade to accord with the score; at times the sound of many dancing feet outweighed the sound of the orchestra!

However, it was good to see a fine performance of Ashton's fleet-footed Neapolitan Dance, as others have noted.

I saw the production during the tour. From the upper circle of the Bristol Hippodrome I was at first unaware of S. and O. during their apotheosis, drifting skywards on their jet-propelled bed; I had to slump in my seat to see them. One glimpse was enough. I found that the combined effect of decor, lighting, swans sunken to the floor, and Tchaikovsky's music, was as effective and dramatically satisfying an ending as one could want, without the addition of a sentimental "vision in the clouds".

I know that I am not alone in thinking von Rothbart's appearance more than a bit OTT, but at least his cloak did seem to fit in with the colour scheme of the court decor in Act III; rather different from the Kirov version where it looks as if Batman has gate-crashed a rather smart party (hardly a suitable potential father-in-law for Siegfried).

Overall a production to watch out for. Ismene Brown didn't think much of the orchestra when she saw the show; they are a variable lot (in all senses, considering the number of deps. they use), but (fortunately) they were rather better on the night I heard them than on my previous visit to ENB. ENB needs to sort out its orchestral problems.


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