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Subject: "Stuttgart Ballet" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1683
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Kevin Ng

21-05-01, 02:40 AM (GMT)
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"Stuttgart Ballet"
 
   LAST EDITED ON 21-05-01 AT 02:47 AM (GMT)

Friday night saw a welcome return to Hong Kong by the Stuttgart Ballet for four performances of John Cranko's two-act "The Taming of the Shrew". The opening night was led by Yseult Lendvai and Maximiliano Guerra.

As Katherine, Yseult Lendvai was a sophisticated dance actress and extracted every emotional nuance from Cranko's choreography. Petruchio was danced by Maximiliano Guerra who was still in top form, and showed off his dazzling virtuosity. They were sublime in the several pas de deux, which contain lots of lifts as typical of Cranko's choreography. I was also impressed by the Kirov-trained Elena Tentschikowa who was totally ravishing as Bianca with her beautiful footwork.

The second cast was led by Sue Jin Kang and Robert Conn. Particularly noteworthy was Lucentia (Bianca's lover) danced by a young demi-soloist Ivan Gil Ortega. This tall and handsome dancer has a long and beautiful line and all the makings of a danseur noble.

During the press conference in Hong Kong, artistic director Reid Anderson mentioned about the 40th anniversary celebration of the Stuttgart Ballet in early November. The full details will be announced in Stuttgart in early June. The programme for the 9-day celebration will consist of new choreography as well as Cranko's ballets.

Reid Anderson also said he will be in New York in June to supervise the final rehearsals of ABT's "Onegin", as well as in London later to cast the Royal Ballet's production of "Onegin" next season.



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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Stuttgart Ballet Ed 21-05-01 1
     RE: Stuttgart Ballet Kevin Ng 21-05-01 2
         RE: Stuttgart Ballet and Lyons Opera Ballet Kevin Ng 27-05-01 3

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Ed

21-05-01, 10:27 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Stuttgart Ballet"
In response to message #0
 
   I saw the second cast of the Shrew in HK on Saturday evening. It was not very well executed. I don't know if the 2 principals were sufferring from jetlag or under-rehersed. The partnership was not smooth and some of the lifts were very awkward and simply awful. Conn even came out earlier than he should in his final solo and he went back in after realising it - shocking for any professional dancers. At any rate, his technique was no comparison to that of Richard Cragun. Very few people can get anywhere near let alone matching the dramatic performance of Marcia Haydee - Kang is definitely not one of them.
Nevertheless, the performance was well received and enjoyed by the audience - thanks to the late John Cranko, whose ballets are so easy to understand and be appreciated by the general public. Something so fundamental and yet ignored by a lot of the current choreographers.


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Kevin Ng

21-05-01, 11:57 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Stuttgart Ballet"
In response to message #1
 
   LAST EDITED ON 21-05-01 AT 12:47 PM (GMT)

Ed, I didn't see the second cast till Sunday afternoon. Their acting wasn't as nuanced as the first cast. You are lucky to have seen Marcia Haydee in "Shrew"; I saw her in "Onegin" but not this ballet.

Yes, this ballet was certainly very popular with the local audience. I was told this morning that the audience capacity for the 4 Stuttgart performances well exceeded 90%, which was higher than that for the ABT season last autumn. The first night audience last Friday showed their delight, and I haven't heard such loud ovations from a local dance audience since the ABT season.


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Kevin Ng

27-05-01, 04:15 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Stuttgart Ballet and Lyons Opera Ballet"
In response to message #2
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-05-01 AT 04:23 AM (GMT)

I'll write a proper review including the Lyons Opera Ballet which I also saw last weekend.
---

Last weekend saw a welcome return to Hong Kong by the Stuttgart Ballet after its last tour in 1996. This time they brought to the Shatin Town Hall "The Taming of the Shrew", a key work by its founder choreographer John Cranko which has delighted audiences worldwide since its premiere in 1969.

Cranko's spectacular two-act version of this Shakespeare comedy, set to a bubbling and vivacious score by Stolze, is a cracker. The choreography is full of good fun and humour, as well as many heart-stirring moments in the various pas de deux at the heart of this ballet. The first night audience loved every minute of it, and it's a long time since I had heard so much laughter from a local dance audience. The loud ovations at the end recalled the ecstatic reception for the American Ballet Theatre last autumn, especially after Angel Corella's dazzling performance in "Le Corsaire" pas de deux.

However the choreography for the ensemble dances in the masked ball and wedding scenes is rather simplistic and too linear, lacking a crucial third dimension to captivate the eye. And the minor roles of Gremio and Hortensio, though well danced by Thomas Lempertz and Douglas Lee, are nothing more than caricatures, since their characterisations are only cardboard-thin.

Fortunately Cranko scored in his writing for the main roles - the two pairs of lovers. Stuttgart Ballet, now under the directorship of former dancer Reid Anderson, continues to be a superb ensemble of dance actors who can illuminate this dance drama. As Katherine, Yseult Lendvai was a boisterous girl in the early rowdy scenes before being transfixed by Petruchio's love. In the final pas de deux in Act 2, she was transcendent and surrendered totally to her Petruchio in the swirls and tides of Cranko's choregraphy full of lifts. Lendvai extracted every emotional nuance from the soaring choreography.

Petruchio was danced by Maximiliano Guerra who showed off his dazzling virtuosity with flair and panache. He was a splendid partner as well. I was also impressed by the radiant Elena Tentschikowa who danced Bianca. This Kirov-trained dancer has beautiful footwork and was totally ravishing in the duets.

In the second cast on Sunday afternoon led by Sue Jin Kang and Robert Conn, particularly noteworthy was the tall and handsome demi-soloist Ivan Gil Ortega as Bianca's lover Lucentio. Ortega has a long and beautiful line and all the makings of a danseur noble.
--------------

Last weekend was an unusually busy time for Hong Kong balletgoers. I also caught the Lyons Opera Ballet making its second appearance in our annual French May Festival organised by the Consulate General of France and the Alliance Francaise. The programme at the Academy For Performing Arts opened with Pascal Touzeau's "Final Lecture", an exciting ensemble ballet with the dancers clad in red costumes against a white backdrop enhanced by very striking lighting.

Dancers form a variety of interesting configurations and groupings in their rapid razor-sharp movements. The action is often dispersed, and there is not always a main action in the centre of the stage, e.g. two dances take place simultaneously on each side of the stage. Towards the end there is an angst-ridden pas de deux.

Less satisfying is the middle work "Black Milk", by Israeli choreographer Ohad Nharin, which is a short macho dance for five of the company's male dancers. It is totally incomprehensible why each dancer takes turn to smear mud on the face in one episode.

The final work "Bolero", choreographed by Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard, is more a special-effects work than pure dance. Dancers perform behind a white backdrop upon which their magnified images are projected. There are some fascinating overlappings of images, evoking a dreamland of apparitions. This work was a spectacular finale to the evening though somewhat thin in dance content.


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