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Subject: "Durante and La Scala in California" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1867
Reading Topic #1867
lara

12-07-01, 07:36 PM (GMT)
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"Durante and La Scala in California"
 
   How to start... ok, first impressions...

The venue: Orange County Performing Arts Center in Southern California. Lovely modern facility with really uncomfortable seats! Or maybe they just seemed that way because I had been driving two hours to get there.

I had a “good” seat — 13 rows back and dead center. A great seat. Site lines looked to be good from anywhere in the house. Row M orchestra is pretty close to the stage.

The man sitting next to me was wearing either an old leather jacket or a vinyl one — that squeaked when he moved. Disconcerting to say the least.

And then he would open up these noisy paper-wrapped candies. Thank heavens he didn’t do that too much.

I was very concerned about sitting still, which is nearly impossible for me, but after reading some of the comments here about twitchy people I sat as still as possible. Only shifting about during stage changes. Y’all would have been proud of me.

Amarcord: The audience let out a gasp as the curtain rose on the set of life-size dolls hanging in multiple rows across the back of the set. Very stark, very interesting.

Not sure what it meant - more of the townspeople hanging around the square, or maybe representing civilian war dead.

I liked this dance - very contemporary ballet with great energy by all the cast. Too long, bits and pieces could have been cut out without disturbing the flow of the story.

Wonderful dance by principal Vittorio D’Amato as the Father and corps member Raffaella Benaglia as the Mother.

Another stand out was soloist Sabrina Brazzo as Gradisca and Maurizio Licitra as Titta.

One of the reviewers mentioned Murru as the cross-dressing German officer. I must have missed something because I did NOT see any cross dressing. Maybe Murru just looked so good as a girl I didn’t notice anything amiss.

His Amarcord German officer pdd and solo work were good if a little understated. Rather reserved I think.

He is much taller than the rest of the troupe - one of my first thoughts when the dancers took the stage was they were short...most of them anyway. I expected the women to be short, I didn’t expect the men to be so.

Four taller men played the Fascist soldiers who were very good and very handsome. Couldn’t help but notice that — they were REALLY handsome.

The audience loved the piece. Many curtain calls, bravos and bravas as the dancers bowed. In particular the male dancers were very strong, and not just in their leaps and turns.

The whole cast seemed to really enjoy dancing and they were very skilled. Their smiles during the curtain calls seemed genuine and honest. Murru was somber. I wonder if he can smile or if he is just so “star” that he has to appear morose.

And the real reason I went: Carmen.

The very opening number had the dancers all dancing with cigarettes and it caused quite a bit of verbal commenting — like a whisper of noise running through the house with a word understood here and there.

I don’t think smoking on stage is common in US ballets????

Murru’s solo early in the ballet was strange. Not because of his dancing, which was quite good, but because there was this chanting going on in the corps which was posed behind him.

Like in his big jumps they were saying something like “ka-boom” or some such in Italian. The audience laughed.

It took away from the moment you might say. Then the chanting really got going accompanied by hand slapping rhythmically on the stage.

Poor guy. How can a danseur compete against that?!

I am not sure of the name, but the soloist in this ballet - dancing in the red corset - was really good and fiery. I almost thought she was Carmen!

There were some real standouts in this ballet including the Toreador - Francesco Ventriglia.

There was much dancing with chairs, which caused more audience comment...why chairs? And one poor girl, after leaping from chair to chair across several chairs - fell as she went off stage.

Durante: It was great to see her live. She either has cut her hair REALLY short or she had on a wig that really didn’t look like a wig.

Her entrance was rather a let down. There was so much going on before she came on stage it was hard to figure out what was what.

I have seen her in several MacMillan pieces I have on video so I was expecting more emotion than was actually there.

In her first big solo she fell off pointe early on coming out of a small turn which made the audience gasp. It was SO unexpected. She recovered quickly and I didn’t see any more broken moves the rest of the ballet.

And then a really strange thing, when she snapped open her fan it split in half. So instead of hiding her face behind it and peering over the top, she was peeking out between two halves.

I can just imagine the curses going through her mind when that happened!

Her bedroom scene with Murru was grand - but again, there was something missing - a passion or something. She did all the moves technically perfect and I had tears running down my face at the end because her dancing is so lyrically beautiful, her line and extensions are amazing, but there was no real connection to Murru.

Most of her solo he sat in the corner smoking, which caused some consternation in the folks around me. Perhaps the lack of passion was due to his remoteness.

The ending scene where Don Jose kills Carmen is visually very exciting and Durante danced beautifully and again a sigh from the audience when she died. Very moving.

Then the troupe came on and that was that.

I thought to myself - Is that all there is? And the squeaking-jacket-paper-crackling man said “Is that all there is?”

Then, as the dancers were taking their final calls he said about Murru, “boy, that guy was sure lethargic.”

He was right. The corps men were so much more energetic and feeling. Murru was just there.

I am glad I went, Durante was worth the price of the ticket, I just wish there had been more of her!

Lara


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Durante and La Scala in California Tomoko.A 12-07-01 1
     RE: Durante and La Scala in California Pete 13-07-01 2
  RE: Durante and La Scala in California pantoose 13-07-01 3
     RE: Durante and La Scala in California lara 13-07-01 4
  RE: Durante and La Scala in California Terry 13-07-01 5
     RE: Durante and La Scala in California lara 14-07-01 6

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Tomoko.A

12-07-01, 11:27 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Durante and La Scala in California"
In response to message #0
 
   Thank you for posting, Lara. I wish I had been there too ! But I'm sorry to hear Viviana didn't seem to be in her best form. I read an interview with her last year. She said she had to try not to dance Carmen like Manon. I'd love to see her in Carmen oneday. (Hope K Ballet will bring it to London.)
Lara, you, lucky lady. Have a great time tomorrow too. Look forward to hearing your view of Sylvie's Giselle.


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Pete

13-07-01, 01:06 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Durante and La Scala in California"
In response to message #1
 
   Thanks for the interesting post Lara. It's a shame Viviana Durante's passion didn't seem to come through.
I also look forward to reading your thoughts on Guillem tomorrow.


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pantoose

13-07-01, 05:19 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Durante and La Scala in California"
In response to message #0
 
   Thanks for the update, Lara. It sounds like an interesting evening.

What were they thinking of? Smoking on stage in Southern California! I know it's Carmen, but the company really got off lightly with just a few mummers from the audience. One would normally expect the public to meet in the lobby and demand a ballot initiative outlawing stage smoking.

Sounds like an off night: breaking props and sluggish dancers. Pity. Murru has so much energy in the videos I've seen. I look forward to his New York visit and will let you know if his performance comes off with a bit more zip. Durante is stellar, but I can't picture her vamping on stage the way one expects of a Carmen. But isn't it great to get the opportunity to see them!

-- GARY


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lara

13-07-01, 06:23 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Durante and La Scala in California"
In response to message #3
 
   >What were they thinking of?
>Smoking on stage in Southern
>California! I know it's
>Carmen, but the company really
>got off lightly with just
>a few mummers from the
>audience. One would normally
>expect the public to meet
>in the lobby and demand
>a ballot initiative outlawing stage
>smoking.

Well at the very least! I was surprised they didn't just pick the whole group up and toss them out.

>Sounds like an off night: breaking
>props and sluggish dancers.

well really only Murru was sluggish...the rest of the cast was highly energetic. Maybe his stamina is down because he SMOKES too much on stage.

Durante is stellar,
>but I can't picture her
>vamping on stage the way
>one expects of a Carmen.
> But isn't it great
>to get the opportunity to
>see them!

Absolutely! But I kept wishing for a rewind button so I could watch the good parts again, or watch a different part of the stage when I missed something by watching another part f the stage!


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Terry

13-07-01, 07:22 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Durante and La Scala in California"
In response to message #0
 
   Lara, interesting comments!

I have yet to see Carmen with La Scala (in NY) but I've always liked the chanting and the singing that comes a long in the Carmen piece. It's a nouveau style that Petit tried to incorporate into his masterpiece, and I think it works pretty well with the choreography.

In the bedroom scene, I think Don Jose is supposed to stand rather "aloof," because he, at that point in the story, is a chauvanistic guy, who is madly in love with her but is in fact waiting for her to make the move. (At least, that's how I saw it with Petit's choreogrpahy.) Perhaps the non-existent "passion" has to do with the fact that Murru and Durante have never really performed together before, and this kind of piece requires *that* chemistry, which I'm sure would've have been stronger if they had some more rehearsal time. He probably would've done better with Ferri as they've performed this before more frequently.

Personally, I've always liked Murru in Petit's pieces, he does well with Notre Dame de Paris, Cheri, and I'm excited about seeing how he's developed as a dancer.


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lara

14-07-01, 07:01 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Durante and La Scala in California"
In response to message #5
 
   >Lara, interesting comments!


>but I've always liked the
>chanting and the singing that
>comes a long in the
>Carmen piece. It's a nouveau
>style that Petit tried to
>incorporate into his masterpiece, and
>I think it works pretty
>well with the choreography.

You don't think it takes away from the male dancer's solo? When the audience is chuckling at the chanting it really reduces the solo to a joke. I think the guy deserves better than that!


>In the bedroom scene, I think
>Don Jose is supposed to
>stand rather "aloof," because he,
>at that point in the
>story, is a chauvanistic guy,
>who is madly in love
>with her but is in
>fact waiting for her to
>make the move.

Good point

Perhaps the
>non-existent "passion" has to do
>with the fact that Murru
>and Durante have never really
>performed together before, and this
>kind of piece requires
>*that* chemistry, which I'm sure
>would've have been stronger if
>they had some more rehearsal
>time.

You are probably right on that one. But how can he and Durante NOT have danced together by now!

>Personally, I've always liked Murru in
>Petit's pieces, he does well
>with Notre Dame de Paris,
>Cheri, and I'm excited about
>seeing how he's developed as
>a dancer.

Well he was very good last night in Giselle...made me totally change my original thought about him. He was warm and tender and SMILED!!

More on Giselle in a bit.....



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