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Subject: "Ballet Scene In Berlin" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1345
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eugene merrett

13-02-01, 05:20 PM (GMT)
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"Ballet Scene In Berlin"
 
   In Berlin Ballet is very much the orphan of opera! At the State Opera of Berlin they do 4 ballet productions to about 24 opera (7 of them are by Wagner including an entire Ring Cycle). Obviously East Germans did not think too highly of ballet.

But the Deucsche Oper has 9 ballet and a staggering 30 operas. There are some fascinating ballets which are well worth a look. Of particular interest is the Goldberg Variation (not by Robbins). This use to be Leanne Benjamins company.

Ticket prices are amazingly good value for opera but not so much for ballet. The highest prices for opera (Wagner Gotterdamerung) is an absurd £65. Top Ballet prices are about £38. But this is still much better then London They also do some hoplessly uneconomical things like one performance of Gotterdamerung only! According to ROH musician I spoke to it requires 43 3 hour rehearsals to do a 5 hour Wagner opera and just one rehearsal for Giselle and Swan Lake. The disparity in incremental costs are huge but it is not reflected in ticket prices.

But this hardly matters because looking at these very low ticket prices it would appear that most funding comes from the government. So as far the opera houses are concerned - patrons! who needs them!


There is also the Berlin"comic" opera house which has numerous ballet - this feb they are doing Swan Lake! Other well known "comedies" they do include that Don Carlos. They will be doing Wagner soon!

Check out their respective web sites
www.deutsche-oper.berlin.de (absolutely untraceble through Yahoo) and www.staatsoper-berlin.de. You can book online.

There is a link to the Berlin Comic Opera at the Deutsche Oper.

Can any of our German friend throw more light on the ballet scene in Germany.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin Kate R 13-02-01 1
  RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin Kevin Ng 14-02-01 2
     RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin eugene merrett 16-02-01 3
         RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin Kate R 16-02-01 4
     RE:Tour in China Kevin Ng 20-02-01 5
         RE:Berlin Ballet Sonja 20-02-01 6
             Berlin Ballet Angela 20-02-01 7
                 RE: Berlin Ballet pantoose 20-02-01 8
                     RE: Berlin Ballet Jonathan 22-02-01 9
                     RE: Berlin Ballet Jonathan 22-02-01 10

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Kate R

13-02-01, 10:59 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin"
In response to message #0
 
   If you visit the Komische Oper (Eugene refers to it as "Comic") you will find the delightful Ann de Vos, late of the Royal Ballet.


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Kevin Ng

14-02-01, 03:48 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 14-02-01 AT 04:01 AM (GMT)

Actually Berlin Staatsoper Ballet has been touring China in the past fortnight with Swan Lake, and a mixed programme. They are in Canton this week, and will perform in Beijing next week. ENB star Thomas Edur is a guest with the Berlin company on this tour.

http://www.staatsoper-berlin.org/news/ballnews.htm


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eugene merrett

16-02-01, 04:29 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin"
In response to message #2
 
   I was just watching the Berlin Staatsoper performance of Swan Lake on DVD. It was very good, extremely well danced and the orchestra was conducted by Daniel Barenboim. The corp was very good. The production was pretty serious and more Prussian then Slavic but it was fine. Trust me this is Premier Division Ballet.

In fact on June 8 (Friday) the Deutsche Oper will do Goldberg Variations. On Saturday June 9 the Belin Staatsoper will do Sleeping Beauty (or you can watch Die Walkure at the Deutsche Oper).

I am definitely considering a trip for this. Thanks to Buzz Airlines - Flights to Berlin from Standsted are under £100.

I should also point out that the days when Berlin have two fully funded opera/ballet companies are numbered. It is a relic of the Cold War where both East and West Berlin were trying to out do each other in the cultural stakes. I think they are going to close down one of the opera house in order to spare the long suffering German tax payers a mark (euro) or to. So enjoy it while it lasts.


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Kate R

16-02-01, 04:37 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Ballet Scene In Berlin"
In response to message #3
 
   I think that you will find that there are three funded companies, not two.


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Kevin Ng

20-02-01, 10:57 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE:Tour in China"
In response to message #2
 
   I just received this report from a friend in Canton, where Thomas Edur danced with the Berlin Staatsoper last week.

>Thomas Edur danced on the first night as the Prince. He gave an excellent performance. He has perfect technique and expression. He is the Prince personified just as the ENB website says. He is really charming ! Thomas Edur also performed " Sleeping Beauty" (Grand Pas de Deux of Aurora and Desire) and " Grand Pas Classique " (Grand Pas de Deux) the third night. He was one of the two who won the most claps and Bravos. We like him a lot!


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Sonja

20-02-01, 12:07 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE:Berlin Ballet"
In response to message #5
 
   To be very honest - living in the South of Germany, I am not very familiar with Berlin ballet scene, but latest status is that three ballet companies are to be "melted" into one, called "Berlin Ballet" - which is trying to keep three separate "branches", for classical and modern ballet as well as for "Tanztheater", to keep as many dancers as possible employed. This has been discussed for a long time (see also postings on www.balletalert.com) and honestly I am not sure what is the latest version....!
I have watched several performances of the Staatsoper (former East Germany), some live which were not my favourites (Bejart's "A propos Sheherazade" and Petit's "Dix or Eros and death") and some broadcasts on TV - the latest a very Freudian version of the "Nutcracker" - delightfully danced by Nadia Saidakova, Wladimir Malakhov and Oliver Matz (as Drosselmeyer), but most parts too dark and too much psychological for my personal taste.
But worthwhile for the music and the dancing, though!


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Angela

20-02-01, 01:53 PM (GMT)
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7. "Berlin Ballet"
In response to message #6
 
   German theatres get almost all their money from the Land or/and from the city (for example from the government of Bavaria, of North Rhine-Westphalia or of Hamburg, not from the German government), they are mainly funded by taxes. Sponsoring is rather seldom and makes only a small part of the theatre expenses. The government fundings are paid on a regular base, not connected to certain productions or events, so the theatres are almost free to do with the money what they like. There are actually quite few private theatres – some big musicals and some small Varietés or playhouses. Everything else depends on money from the Land or the city.

In Berlin there are three government funded ballet companies, as there are three opera houses, and everyone of them insists on nurturing an own ballet company. Though Berlin is the German capital and they get even more fundings than other theatres, the situation for the three ballet companies in Berlin is devastating, mainly thanks to a complete lack of interest from the audience. The German "ballet towns" are Stuttgart and Hamburg, also Munich and Düsseldorf, and as some kind of exception Frankfurt with the small but highly esteemed company of William Forsythe (they also did classical ballet until ten years ago, but now totally concentrate on dance theatre). In these cities the ballet companies are much bigger, they have more performances per season, the ticket prices are higher (in Stuttgart and Hamburg, the ballet prices often surpass the level of the opera prices) and most important, the audience loves ballet. Somehow the Berlin audience doesn't – not any more.

The ballet of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (former East Berlin) is a classical company with about 40 performances per season (compared to 70 in Hamburg or 80 in Stuttgart). After the former director, long-ago Paris Etoile Michael Denard left some years ago, they don't have an artistic director, but the managing director of the Opera House, Georg Quander, holds the title of "interim director". The principals in a company of around 60 dancers are Steffi Scherzer, Oliver Matz and Nadja Saidakova; Vladimir Malakhov and Roberto Bolle were guests in previous seasons, this year Thomas Edur and Australian Margaret Illmann were dancing in "Giselle". When Michael Denard was the director, they did Roland Petit and some new Béjart ballets. Now they live mainly on well crafted, but boring versions of the great classical ballets by Patrice Bart from the Paris Opera, who did Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle and a Verdi ballet for them. They have very few mixed programs with choreographies by William Forsythe, the German Uwe Scholz (ballet director in Leipzig), Peter Martins and others. When they do Tschaikowsky ballets, you can catch Daniel Barenboim conducting (the artistic director of the opera house), and that really is an event.

The Ballett of the Deutsche Oper (former West Berlin) was a rather big company once, with half classical repertory and half modern programs. Now there are about thirty dancers left, the director is former dancer and ballet master Sylviane Bayard, but she also has been appointed "interim", as the new director from 2001/2002 should be Angelin Preljocaj from France. But who knows – in Berlin, the only things that come and go faster than the ballet directors are the appointments for ballet director. Bayard's predecessor was Richard Cragun, former principal of the Stuttgart Ballet, who left after only three unsuccessful years for Brasil. This is the company where Eva Evdokimova was dancing for many years, where Peter Schaufuss was director in the nineties, where Maurice Béjart created his monumental "Ring um den Ring" in 1990. Now they struggle for survival, doing mainly story ballets by Preljocaj or by Youri Vamos from Düsseldorf.

The third company is the ballet of the Komische Oper (former East Berlin), where Richard Wherlock was the last director – for just one year. Until then, this company relied on the story ballets of Tom Schilling, a choreographer who was famous in East Germany. It was a small, but good company, rather dance theatre than classical ballet; their principal dancer was Gregor Seyffert, who also left this year to found his own company. Nobody seems to know what will become of them now.

In 1998 a certain Gerhard Brunner, an Austrian theatre director from Graz, was hired by the Berlin Senat (the town government) to make one big ballet troup out of these three companies, and they already have a name for it: the BerlinBallett. But Mr. Brunner, who was paid very well for this job, achieved nothing at all, the situation gets worse and worse, with more and more dancers leaving Berlin for other companies or for the off-scene (which is wide and very interesting in Berlin). The newspapers cry out for famous names like William Forsythe, Meryl Tankard or Vladimir Malakhov, but at the moment nobody wants to go to Berlin, not even for the lot of money they pay. So in these circumstances, you can only admire the quality of the performances that take place in spite of all the trouble...


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pantoose

20-02-01, 05:59 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Berlin Ballet"
In response to message #7
 
   Angela, thank you for your informative and very thorough post. I appreciated learning more about the ballet landscape in Berlin and Germany. As a frequent visitor many years ago, I remember seeing choreography in Berlin that I’ve never encountered since. In particular, I recall partnering and lifts that very different and impressive. Given the multiplicity of opera in Germany, I’ve always been surprised that there wasn’t more activity in ballet. Thanks to your post, now we know why.


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Jonathan

22-02-01, 01:15 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Berlin Ballet"
In response to message #8
 
   How odd that no-one should have mentioned that Kenneth MacMillan was director of the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1966 - 1969, and created Invitation, Las Hermanas, Concerto and Anastasia there, as well as versions of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Lynn Seymour was also principal ballerina there for a time.

There is an extremely good site for this company, built and maintained by dancer and all-round Nice Bloke Harald Krytinar on behalf of the DOB. It's in English as well as German, and has repertoire lists, booking details, casting, photos etc.

The English version is at
http://www.ballett-deutscheoperberlin.de/ballett/english/index_e.htm

The German version is at
http://www.ballett-deutscheoperberlin.de/

Eugene - stop using Yahoo! Use http://www.alltheweb.com/ instead, and you'll find things like this easily. Spelling helps, too.


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Jonathan

22-02-01, 01:15 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Berlin Ballet"
In response to message #8
 
   How odd that no-one should have mentioned that Kenneth MacMillan was director of the Ballet of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1966 - 1969, and created Invitation, Las Hermanas, Concerto and Anastasia there, as well as versions of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Lynn Seymour was also principal ballerina there for a time.

There is an extremely good site for this company, built and maintained by dancer and all-round Nice Bloke Harald Krytinar on behalf of the DOB. It's in English as well as German, and has repertoire lists, booking details, casting, photos etc.

The English version is at
http://www.ballett-deutscheoperberlin.de/ballett/english/index_e.htm

The German version is at
http://www.ballett-deutscheoperberlin.de/

Eugene - stop using Yahoo! Use http://www.alltheweb.com/ instead, and you'll find things like this easily. Spelling helps, too.


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