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Subject: "MacMillan revivals in 2002/3" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1886
Reading Topic #1886
Lynette H

16-07-01, 05:26 PM (GMT)
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"MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
 
   If I remember correctly, when discussing the Royal Ballet's schedule for 2001/2, it was hinted by the incoming AD that although MacMillan did not feature strongly in the 2001/2 season, this would change in 2002, to mark the tenth anniversary of MacMillan's death

What MacMillan work would you like to see revived ? Anyone care to suggest a MacMillan triple bill ?

I would like to see the Royal perform his Rite of Spring (last done in this country by ENB a couple of years back). And I'd be interested in seeing Las Hermanas - but this one in the Linbury, to suit the intimate and rather claustrophobic nature of the work.

I think there's plenty of MacMillan work that is less familiar - programming has stuck to some tried and tested items. I have some rather vague memories of Different Drummer from the 80s - anyone remember this ?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Paul A 16-07-01 1
     RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 lara 16-07-01 2
  RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Ann Williams 16-07-01 3
     RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Ann Williams 16-07-01 5
         RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Stuart Sweeney 18-07-01 7
  RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 lara 16-07-01 4
     RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 sylvia 17-07-01 6
         RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Steven 18-07-01 8
             RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Paul A 19-07-01 9
                 RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Lynette H 19-07-01 10
                     RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Martin Cooper 20-07-01 11
                         RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Paul A 20-07-01 12
                             RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3 Susie crow 22-07-01 13

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Paul A

16-07-01, 06:00 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #0
 
   Mayerling, Pagodas (and rest Manon, R&J). Did anybody see Isadora - can that be salvaged? Anastasia in the orginal designs.

Triple of: Danses concertantes/ Winter Dreams/ Requiem

But - do we really want to see MacMillan? Much of his later output concerned subjects that defied translation into ballet (ie nearly everything he did in the 80s has sunk).

MacMillan too is offensive - and my wife finds much of his depiction of women grotesque ie the manipulation of the woman, contorted at will to suit men. Think of how the maid is raped by the soldiers/ servants in Winter Dreams (treated as knockabout comedy by the stalls audience when we saw this) or how the writing for Belle Rose in Pagodas makes no distinction between how the good prince treats her compared to how she was manipulated earlier by the forces of evil.


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lara

16-07-01, 06:34 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #1
 
   >Think of how
>the maid is raped by
>the soldiers/ servants in Winter
>Dreams <

In the video the scene starts with the with the maid dreamily looking out the window, remembering. She is indeed passed between several men, laughing, drinking and dancing.
As she is smiling in her remembrance of this event, not looking stressed or tragic, I don't think it was rape. She was obviously enjoying herself with the men.



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Ann Williams

16-07-01, 09:48 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #0
 
   >I have some rather vague memories of Different Drummer from the 80s - anyone remember this ? <

YES!! I certainly remember it - I thought it was brilliant, as flawed as it was. I was going to suggest it as part of your suggested triple bill (nice one, Lynette). I would be intrigued to see his version of 'Agon', and what about the lovely 'Winter Dreams'?


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Ann Williams

16-07-01, 11:41 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #3
 
   Paul A - I put my posting up before before I saw yours.

I agree with Lara that the scene with the maid in 'Winter Dreams' was probably innocently meant given that she seems to be laughing and smiling throughout her scene with the men. But I understand your wife's feelings completely because I find an unmistakable contempt for women in several of Macmillan's ballets. Even in R&J, Juliet is bullied - almost brutalised - by both her father and Paris, Manon is of course sexually humiliated by the gaoler and I hardly need to mention 'The Judas Tree'. More subtle misogyny is evident in 'Triad', and I'm sure I could go on.

But I still think MacMillan was a genius.


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Stuart Sweeney

18-07-01, 08:23 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #5
 
   LAST EDITED ON 18-07-01 AT 08:31 AM (GMT)


Ann and others have raised interesting points, but I have to say that I see Macmillan in a different way. In many of his works MacMillan shows his deep belief and commitment to human rights. We see his concerns about war in a piece like 'Gloria', the deep inequalities in society shown in 'Manon' (almost entirely sanitised in the Kirov production), authoritarian parental attitudes in 'Romeo & Juliet' and the violent, sexist attitudes of the men in 'The Judas Tree'.

Many of his works are unsettling, but they are never gratuitous. I frequently see a concern for femninist issues rather than misogyny. Indeed, men are often portrayed in stark unsympathetic terms. It is this desire to address important issues, alongside leading novelists and painters such as Picasso, that contribute to Macmillan's importance as a 20th Century dance artist.

Mara Galeazzi, who loves performing in his works, said recently, 'He doesn't hide the bad things. It's not just fairies.'


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lara

16-07-01, 11:38 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #0
 
  
>What MacMillan work would you like
>to see revived ? Anyone
>care to suggest a MacMillan
>triple bill ?

Mayerling for sure. Winter Dreams.


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sylvia

17-07-01, 09:04 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #4
 
   Elite Syncopations - I've only seen a fragment from the Opening gala and it seemed very cheery and different from his usual work (i.e. all of the above).


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Steven

18-07-01, 07:22 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #6
 
   Full length ballet revival: Mayerling, definitely.

Triple Bill: Winter Dreams/Solitaire/Anastasia Act III (i.e. the original Anastasia).

Winter Dreams is a lovely work, full of real, believable emotions. I don't know if the Royal Ballet ever did Solitaire but I remember seeing Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet do it and it was very moving. I think the one-act Anastasia says everything that needs to be said in that story and the "first two" acts are not only unnecessary but actually do the "third" act a disservice dramatically. It deserves to be seen on its own again. But that will probably put the cat amongst the pigeons!


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Paul A

19-07-01, 01:45 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #8
 
   Not looking like much of a retrospective so far:

Does anybody want to see Valley of Shadows, Different Drummer, Fin du jour, Orpheus, Baiser de la fee, 6.6.78 (anybody see that?)again?

These were largely unveiled in the 80s but only had a toe hold in the repertoire. Some were created on Alessandra Ferri - surely we have the casts these days that could recreate these works.

Or - has the combination of MacMillan's choice of music, subject and choreographic style really staled?


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Lynette H

19-07-01, 02:09 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #9
 
   >
>Does anybody want to see Valley
>of Shadows, Different Drummer, Fin
>du jour, Orpheus, Baiser de
>la fee, 6.6.78 (anybody see
>that?)again?
>
>
>Or - has the combination of
>MacMillan's choice of music, subject
>and choreographic style really staled?
>

I don't think it's because audiences have gone off MacMillan. But the MacMillan works that have been programmed at Covent Garden have concentrated on only a certain subset, often repeated. If you only started going to ballet in the 90s then it's quite likely that you wouldn't have seen any of the works you mention above. Fin du Jour was very briefly revived at one point in the 90s, but I don't recall Valley of Shadows appearing at all - what was that like ? Orheus ? Tell us about them.

Other works that I've heard of, but not had a chance to see these last 10 years are Requiem and The Burrow. Anyone with memories of these ?



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Martin Cooper

20-07-01, 02:52 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #10
 
   >>
>>Does anybody want to see ... 6.6.78 (anybody see
>>that?)
>>
Yes I saw 6.6.78. I don't remember much about it - very much a piece de occasion. A plotless work, full of typical MacMillan movement, but without the necessary structure. Costumes by Spurling a la Elite Syncopations if I remember correctly. It was panned in the papers and was overshaded by a short Bintley work in the same program (Take 5 I think). There are certainly other works more worthy of revival.

Does anyone remember Playground which MacMillan did for Sadler's Wells ballet? Strange, distubing and well worth a second look.

As for Isadora, I wonder if anything could be saved? It had some excellent moments. I particularly remember a duet for Singer and Duncan (Rencher & Park) when they had lost their children. It consisted almost exclusively of falling movements. Very powerful and moving. Also Mary Martin as the older Duncan dancing to the French National Anthem.

However the use of an actress to narrate the story resulted in a strange hybrid of a work, almost more soap opera than ballet! As a consequence it lacked an overall momentum in the way that R&J or Mayerling have, and so there was no build up of emotional tension and cathasis.


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Paul A

20-07-01, 04:20 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #11
 
   Thanks for the impressions of Isadora. The reference to 6.6.78 in my original posting was ironic - I remember it got a roasting.

Of the ballets from the mid-80s created around Ferri, Different Drummer and Valley of Shadows, I've not seen these. By then I had been alienated by MacMillan's combination of subject, language and music by then - pushing narrative ballet beyond the limits of what it is able to say. Valley of Shadows was criticised for trivialising holocaust victims. Has anybody seen these - would they work now? Surely we have the casts to do them justice. But do we want to see them? To me (my personal opinion) My brother,My sisters looked very dated on its last revival - inpenetrable situation, difficult music, unmemorable choreography - pretentious.

I struggle too with Gloria - haunting images but I cannot reconcile the music with the subject matter or the moveemnt with the music. Requiem is altogether more serene and satisfying. The ending is as mesmeric as the end of Bintley's Sons of Horus.



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Susie crow

22-07-01, 02:34 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: MacMillan revivals in 2002/3"
In response to message #12
 
   For the record the RAD is planning a conference on MacMillan for autumn 2002 to commemorate the 10th anniversary and open up research on his work. Further details will be available once programme content and speakers are confirmed. Hopefully it will provide an opportunity to look at a wide range of his work including lesser known and earlier pieces.


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