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Subject: "Memories Triple Bill" Archived thread - Read only
 
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sylvia

27-01-02, 05:00 AM (GMT)
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"Memories Triple Bill"
 
   Finally! I've been enjoying the long run of Onegins but it's gratifying to have something new for a change.

Beyond Bach

Beyond Bach is too beautiful to describe. A cathedral-like setting with a huge window looking out into a surreal bright blue sky that fades and becomes bright again. The dancers periodically appear from all over the stage, through doorways, behind columns, and the prettiest picture of all, down a spiral staircase so that the first one sees of the girls are their bare backs. I love one of the quotes given by Stephen Baynes in the programme

“When the curtain raises it should be like opening the door to a place which has remained untouched for centuries.”

First cast were wonderful all round. Marianela Nunez has come a long way since I first saw her as a snippy Swanhilda. She's obviously grown since adding Kitri and Olga to her repertoire and in this role she displayed a gentleness that I’ve never seen before in her. Is it the first time Nunez has been the lead in first cast because it’s something she fully deserves. Darcey looked completely at home, a picture of serenity, and both dancers were beautifully partnered by Cope and Urlezaga.

There is no discernible plot – the ballet is choreographed to the composition of the music. It’s detailed with quiet entrances, beautiful lifts and dancers effortlessly changing from one partner to another - all very pleasing to the eye. Air on a G string was my highlight and was enchanting to listen to and watch. The choreography is seemingly very spare, like the costumes. One quibble I have is the lack of uniformity in the corps, which destroyed the mood for me in some places.

The Leaves are Fading

Set to pieces by Dvorak, is centred on 4 pas de deux and is about ‘changing love’. I thought it was superb throughout, the standout unsurprisingly being Alina Cojocaru. She attacked her solo with verve and was so fast, but at the same time so expressive and supple and absolutely breathtaking. Her entire body seamlessly made one beautiful shape into another. Her arms were making tiny subtle motions right to the very last lift. She was partnered so well by Kobborg in the second pas de deux but Alina pretty much obliterated any dancer on stage beside her.

Also very impressive were Leanne Benjamin and Nathan Coppen in the first pdd, Tamara Rojo and Martin Harvey I liked especially in the third, and Mara Galeazzi and Johan Persson in the fourth.

Marguerite and Armand

I have to confess that until today I had seen nothing of Marguerite and Armand – not Fonteyn and Nureyev (live nor on video) and I’m probably the only person here who didn’t see it’s last run in the Ashton mixed bill. The compressed, fast-paced format I found a little unsettling. I wasn’t very moved by the ballet apart from the crescendos in the Liszt music, and there were long stretches of choreography that I didn’t find at all compelling. Still Sylvie Guillem was lovely and looked so young from my seat. Her broken walk on pointe is an image that I won’t easily forget. I thought Le Riche’s dancing was tremendous and through him I could easily imagine Nureyev in the role. Looking forward to seeing Cope and Murru in this as well. And a final note, the programme interestingly states that Ashton hadn’t meant it for just Fonteyn and Nureyev – that Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable were understudies.

As a triple bill I’m not sure it works too well. Beyond Bach and Leaves are stand out ballets on their own but I think it’s a mistake to put them back to back. They're too similar in mood, both very languid and dreamy. And though I appreciate the ‘remembrance of things past’ thread and the exceptional music that runs through them, I wouldn’t have minded something more contrasting like The Dream/Song of the Earth mixed bill we saw last year.

So what did everyone else think?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Memories Triple Bill meunier 27-01-02 1
  RE: Memories Triple Bill Viviane 27-01-02 2
     RE: Memories Triple Bill Brendan McCarthymoderator 27-01-02 3
         RE: Memories Triple Bill sylvia 27-01-02 5
     RE: Memories Triple Bill cclayt 31-01-02 15
         RE: Memories Triple Bill Viviane 31-01-02 16
  RE: Memories Triple Bill PhilipBadmin 27-01-02 4
     RE: Memories Triple Bill Justin 28-01-02 6
         RE: Memories Triple Bill Lynette H 28-01-02 7
     RE: Memories Triple Bill tortie14 29-01-02 10
  RE: Memories Triple Bill Anneliese 29-01-02 8
     RE: Memories Triple Bill sylvia 29-01-02 9
         RE: Memories Triple Bill Helen 29-01-02 11
     RE: Memories Triple Bill Richard Jones 29-01-02 12
  RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 Jane S 31-01-02 13
     RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 sylvia 31-01-02 14
         RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 eugdog 01-02-02 17
             RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 Tomoko.A 01-02-02 18
             RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 alison 01-02-02 19
                 RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 tortie14 05-02-02 20
                     RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 alison 06-02-02 21
                         RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2 Viviane 06-02-02 22
                             Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 Jim 08-02-02 23
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 AEHandley 10-02-02 24
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 Shirley 10-02-02 25
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 AEHandley 10-02-02 30
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 sylvia 10-02-02 32
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 AEHandley 10-02-02 33
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 sylvia 10-02-02 34
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 Tomoko.A 10-02-02 26
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 AEHandley 10-02-02 29
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 Helen 10-02-02 27
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 Helen 10-02-02 28
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 sylvia 10-02-02 31
                             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001 Paul A 11-02-02 35
  RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February Viviane 11-02-02 36
     RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February Helen 11-02-02 37
         RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February Viviane 11-02-02 38
             RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February tortie14 11-02-02 39

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meunier

27-01-02, 08:55 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #0
 
   Agree that the ballets were too similar.

I thought Leaves looked under-rehearsed. Seems to be a current RB problem for first nights of works which are either new or new to the company. The principal dancers are fine ones, but for me the dramatic shifts which are so necessary here were clouded. Gone were the subtle intensive shifts in harmony betweeen the couples. A tad too much sunshine methought, where more 'In the Night' could add much needed flavouring in order that the air might rise as it should. I found myself missing Kirkland and Baryishnikov in this regard. But, then, with this ballet, I find I usually do. I'm confident that the Company will grow into this piece given half a chance. Having found the steps they will free themselves to let the characters fly.

Agree - Very refeshing to catch the Baynes after an all too steady diet of far too many Pages.


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Viviane

27-01-02, 09:27 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #0
 
   >Finally! I've been enjoying the long
>run of Onegins but it's
>gratifying to have something new
>for a change.

Sylvia, thank you so much for your thoughts, I'm looking forward to see it myself.
A question -in the margin- eh...we all know you have seen all Onegins ! ....so please try to add your thoughts to the mini-poll thread : "What makes you go time and time again to the same piece ?". I'm anxious to hear you


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

27-01-02, 10:33 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #2
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-01-02 AT 11:15 AM (GMT)

I saw the first two ballets at a dress rehearsal - and will see the full programme during the week, after which I hope to write about it properly.

In the meantime, may I agree enthusiastically with Sylvia about 'Beyond Bach'. It is simply exquisite - an affecting and deeply meant homage to classical ballet. In Australia critics have described Baynes's work in terms of its spirituality. Now I know what they mean - Baynes is not 'spiritual' in a religious sense, but he has a deep personal faith in classicism coupled with the theatrical imagination to express it.

If possible try and see 'Beyond Bach' at ground level - even if it means standing at the back of the stalls circle. The designs by Andrew Carter really do evoke a 'magic' or 'sacred' space. The set is huge - going right to the back of the Covent Garden stage. The Australian Ballet used to remove the firewall at the back of its theatre in Melbourne to give the required sense of depth.

Finally, I think Sylvia's instincts are right about back-to-back programming of Beyond Bach and The Leaves are Fading. The contrast is not strong enough.


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sylvia

27-01-02, 01:25 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #3
 
   LAST EDITED ON 27-01-02 AT 01:38 PM (GMT)

>It is simply exquisite
>- an affecting and deeply
>meant homage to classical ballet.
>In Australia critics have described
>Baynes's work in terms of
>its spirituality. Now I know
>what they mean - Baynes
>is not 'spiritual' in a
>religious sense, but he has
>a deep personal faith in
>classicism coupled with the theatrical
>imagination to express it.

I hadn't thought of it that way but I wholly agree. I love the word Baynes uses in the Independent article - 'Reverence', which is right away apparent from the opening moments with Cope and the woman (so sorry, her name escapes me now).

>If possible try and see 'Beyond
>Bach' at ground level -
>even if it means standing
>at the back of the
>stalls circle. The designs by
>Andrew Carter really do evoke
>a 'magic' or 'sacred' space.

I saw both the rehearsal and performance from the front of the amphitheatre and I think it's easy to appreciate 'Beyond Bach' from that level. But I also think 'Leaves' is better seen close up. The casting sheet doesn't say which dancers are in each pdd and I had the darndest time trying to figure out who was dancing with who in the rehearsal - amazing what a difference a couple rows makes.


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cclayt

31-01-02, 09:04 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #2
 
  
>A question -in the margin- eh...we
>all know you have seen
>all Onegins ! ....so
>please try to add your
>thoughts to the mini-poll thread
>: "What makes you go
>time and time again to
>the same piece ?". I'm
>anxious to hear you
>


could anyone tell me a link to this poll please?


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Viviane

31-01-02, 10:05 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #15
 
   cclayt, you can still add your thoughts and suggestions : http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/2441.html


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PhilipBadmin

27-01-02, 11:39 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #0
 
   I watched from the Balcony and this gave a good view of the depth of the Beyond bach piece. However, I would prefer to see M&A from the front stalls as it is a much simpler piece.

I certainly agree with the opinions already voiced that the evening became a bit "samey" - too much of "languid" was exactly the word that came unbidden to my mind. Two consecutive pieces of little plot and leisurely dancing made it difficult to appreciate the nuances of M&A. Or maybe I was just tired!

I was impressed by Bussell's arabesques in BB - if you're with someone who is new to ballet and they ask why one dancer is considered to be "better" than another, point out Bussell's arabesque on pointe at the front of the stage in front of other artists - her's is complete still, complete graceful and seemingly effortless - thus conveying the emotion of the ballet perfectly, where others may wobble or take longer to achieve peace in the position.
A few people said Bussell looked to be "getting back into it" in the Nutcracker. I'd say she was fully back now.

I found Cojocaru the only dancer to really knock me out last night - despite one horrendous pirouette - she positively sparkles with life and seems to have the rare ability to convey that effervescence to every member of the audience even if they are sitting far away - again, if you're with a ballet newbie and they're, naturally, casting around for something concrete to latch onto and understand - they will snap forward with eye wide open and "get" Alina immediately. Priceless.

I didn't catch her famous Giselle last year but have tickets this year - I wonder how someone so full of life can play a dead person?

Marguerite and Armand was interesting - I might have enjoyed it more if I wasn't feeling so languid/sleepy by then. I look forward to seeing this again on Friday. Certainly, Guillem got the loudest cheers and I'm sure people wouldn't cheer just because it's her.


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Justin

28-01-02, 07:57 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #4
 
   Many thanks to posters so far - it's always good to get back from a weekend away and then find that there's already some critical & informed comment. My wife and I saw Saturday's performance from the balcony, and disgreed about it. She loved 'Beyond Bach', I didn't, preferring 'The Leaves', which I thought had much more depth, and was the triumph of the evening. (My impression of the audience reaction was that the Tudor was most favourably received too).

I struggled from the amphitheatre to detect who was dancing what which pdd in the 'Leaves': am I right in thinking that this is Martin Harvey's first main auditorium partnering? I thought he did very well, as did they all. I agree about under rehearsal - I think I spotted Nathan Coppen turning the wrong way and only just managing to catch Leanne Benjamin at one point.

'Marguerite and Armand' was danced beautifully, of course, but I am not convinved of its merits as a work: the main weakness for me was the pdd after Marguerite has decided to leave Armand. Does she tell him or not? I assume not, but I couldn't tell from the way it was danced, and it seemed to me to lack the deep sense of tragedy which that should have caused. (It's not a scene that occurs in the opera). But overall, a very interesting and successful evening.


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Lynette H

28-01-02, 09:10 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #6
 
   Memories Mixed Bill, Royal Opera House, 26 January 2002

Perhaps first nights at Covent Garden are to be avoided these days. The company’s nervousness and general air of uncertainty rendered the production of Don Q on the first night of the season a rather tense and dull affair which failed to communicate much sense of fun. Some similar cloud seemed to hang over the first mixed bill of the season. The company turned in dutiful performances in the two new works they were showing, but seemed lacking in sparkle and fizz. It was a curiously anonymous showing, lacking in personality – there was little that said ‘Royal Ballet’ about it, they could have been any ballet company, anywhere. Perhaps they just need more time to get these works under their skin.

There was a full house though, keen to see Guillem in her first appearance here this season in the evening’s closing work. The evening also offered the chance to see Darcey Bussell in a new role. This was in the opening work, Beyond Bach, by Stephen Baynes (1995) which Ross Stretton has brought from the Australian Ballet. This is a handsomely designed production in a great cathedral-like space with huge pillars and candelabra, using up the full extent of the Covent Garden stage. Two lead couples (Bussell with Cope: Nunez with Urlezaga) are supported by twelve couples (sadly uncredited in the cast sheet although there were some very familiar and senior faces among them) in a cool, restrained, plotless work which uses classical steps to echo the formality of Bach’s musical structures. Intermittently dancers in formal Eighteenth century costume process across the back of the stage (where incidentally, they cannot be seen by most of the audience sitting along the sides of the theatre – such are the perils of staging a work created elsewhere for Covent Garden’s very limited sight lines).

Sadly, for fans of Darcey, the role did not seem to offer her much to get her teeth into, and she remained a muted presence. Cope had a short solo in which he made some impact, but most of the dancing was joyless. There were some attractive sections were the two lead women were each partnered by two men, but the choreography, although it looked carefully crafted, wasn’t involving. Perhaps I’m being harsh here, but my mind is still full of Hampson’s Double Concerto after seeing it a couple of weeks ago – a complex and intricate work fully inhabited by the company it was made for. By comparison, the Royal looked like they were trying on someone else’s clothes without enthusiasm. Let’s hope this is just a case of first night nerves dulling the impact of the work, because we will be seeing a lot of it. It is scheduled for another ten performances. The work received a polite rather than ecstatic response from the audience.

The second work was The Leaves are Fading, made by Antony Tudor in 1975. Last season saw a couple of Tudor revivals for the Royal, such as Shadowplay, which didn’t quite seem to come off. The Leaves are Fading is an interesting acquisition, and it ought to fit in with the Royal’s particular skills in portraying finely shaded and differentiated states of emotions. On this showing, they haven’t got there yet, but they are on the way. There are four pas de deux which may or may not be one woman’s memories of various encounters, with a supporting cast. Irritatingly, the cast list gives a general list of names but doesn’t indicate who partners whom. I think we had Galeazzi with Persson, followed by Benjamin and Coppen. The third couple were Rojo and Harvey, and the last couple Cojocaru and Kobborg. Although the dancing of Cojocaru and Kobborg was delightful, I enjoyed the second couple most –they exuded a sense of connection and commitment which was rather lacking in a generally careful and cautious rather than rhapsodic performance. This may be a problem of distance - I suspect this work reads better close up from the stalls and stalls circle than it does upstairs.

No problem with the ability of the final work to carry, however. Guillem and Le Riche continue to work on deepening an refining their roles as Marguerite and Armand. On seeing this again, I’m more struck than ever by Ashton’s ability to cut to the essence and discard anything unnecessary. All you need to know about Armand’s farther is conveyed by David Drew’s self important walk and the way he stands and holds his stick and gazes imperiously at Guillem in the garden scene. Ashton’s use of the music, and how it naturally seems to contain Marguerite’s consumptive cough and a brooding sense of dread, is remarkable. And as for Guillem and Le Riche they brought a red blooded passion and ecstasy to an otherwise rather pale evening, and received a suitably passionate response from the audience.


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tortie14

29-01-02, 04:31 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON 29-01-02 AT 04:40 PM (GMT)

My feeling on Saturday was of a pleasant but unexciting evening.
Alina shone brightly but I was disappointed with Baynes - sort of feel I've seen it all before with MacMillan's Concerto and many a Balanchine piece. Had hoped for more from Leaves but agree that it was subdued - probably due to lack of rehersal time.

Im afraid "they would cheer just cause she's Guillem". On Saturday night cliques had a field day with Darcey and Sylvie. Die hard fans will cheer their favourite just because they turn up on stage. That's not to say they did not perform well.

Without the X-factor of Fonteyn and Nureyev I think M & A is best left in the archive and our memories. I also wonder why Ashton never had any other cast perform M & A if Gable and Seymour learned the roles. Perhaps he felt F & N made it their own in a special way - I think they did.

Having said that, any Ashton is welcome!


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Anneliese

29-01-02, 12:18 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #0
 
   I will be at the last night of this - I'm looking forward to it but the reviews are making me wary of the Baynes. I feel that Bach, like Mozart, doesn't lend itself to ballet. The music is complete without steps - unless they sail straight over and past the music. The Bintley (?) piece to Mozart (seen in Dance Bites 3 yrs ago) is a prime example of this - either too busy or too trite. Still, I may be proved wrong. Really looking forward to the Tudor (I may be the only person whose favourite composer is Dvorak) and also to seeing Le Riche, who I haven't seen before.

How long was the performance(back to practicalities, not that I expect trains to be running...)


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sylvia

29-01-02, 01:27 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #8
 
   Anneliese, the performance is about 2h 45 mins long. I think the ROH website usually includes approximate running times of the ballets.

The subdued reviews of Beyond Bach put a big frown on my face. I thought the chroegraphy was uncluttered and melded with the music so beautifully, but that's just my opinion. I'm looking forward to the second cast tomorrow.


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Helen

29-01-02, 05:36 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #9
 
   I have heard that Seymour and Gable learnt M&A and understudied Fonteyn and Nureyev in case there was a last minute hitch - illness or a broken ankle in the middle of a performance, when it would have been too late to cancel the ballet. They would have been quite good, I think, but basically it was Fonteyn and Nureyev's ballet, and looks completely different without them.


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Richard Jones

29-01-02, 10:47 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Memories Triple Bill"
In response to message #8
 
   LAST EDITED ON 29-01-02 AT 10:50 PM (GMT)

Anneliese

I'm interested to read your opinion re. Bach/Mozart and ballet. Like you, I wasn't over impressed by the Bintley piece to Mozart (I think it must be Galanteries that you are thinking of). He used a fairly lightweight piece of Mozart as I remember it (18th century occasional music). I've also seen BRB do Powder, which is set to the clarinet concerto - it simply seems to devalue the music, especially the slow movement where the choreography is unbelievably fussy. I remember also reading Mary Clarke's comments in Dancing Times - she didn't think much of it either.

Somehow I could imagine Bach faring better, but need to see this proved. The counterpoint in the music is often so dense that to add another layer and make it seem convincing is very difficult. On the other hand, there are many movements in Handel's Concerti Grossi that I feel have great potential for choreography (I have read that Cranko used this music once, but have never heard of this ballet being performed).


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Jane S

31-01-02, 06:35 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #0
 
   In the second cast of Leaves are Fading last night, the pas de deux were danced by

Benjamin/Coppen
Rojo/Urlezaga
Tapper/Gartside
Galeazzi/Persson

From the photographs in the programme, I'd guess that Cervera and Chloe Davies are also going to do one of these at a later performance - very well earned in his case, after all those Don Qs and Onegins. It was nice to see Samantha Raine in this, as well.

I do think it's a shame that the supporting dancers in Beyond Bach don't get their names in the programme - they do far more than for instance, Admirers of Marguerite, who are carefully listed. That's at least the third time this season I've seen Muriel Valtat and she hasn't been identified once. On the other hand there's now a page in the programme with photographs of all the principals (and Guillem), not just those who are appearing that evening.

Last night the first interval lasted for 40 minutes - no explanation given - so the final curtain was a bit late.


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sylvia

31-01-02, 06:57 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #13
 
   I liked Leaves' 2nd cast, especially Tapper and Gartside who were really fresh and lovely to watch. Rojo was quite good as well but she wasn't nearly as breathtaking or as fast as Alina was on Saturday.

And I thought Sylvie and Jonathan were fabulous in M&A - beautiful and very passionate dancing! I've been going on in emails on how I finally 'get' it. It's like a whole other ballet up close.


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eugdog

01-02-02, 01:02 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #14
 
   I was dissappointed with Memories - I think the choice of works was not good. All the ballets are rather languid low key works and togeather they made for a rather dreary evening.

The weakest ballet was the Bach - I did not much care for the intervention of "sheep may safely graze" into the middle of Suite no 3. The whole ballet was lifeless and tedious.

It would have helped by replacing the Bach with a high energy ballet - preferable a Balanchine or similiar black and white ballet. This would have complemented the other two ballets much better


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Tomoko.A

01-02-02, 10:01 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #17
 
   My problem with "Beyond Bach" was the lighting. I thought it was too dark. But I loved the set and the costumes. Talking about Bach, I'd love to see Balanchine's Concerto Barocco. I've only seen a bit danced by Suzanne Farrel on video and found it very moving, maybe because I jsut love Bach's concerto for two violins. I think Bach's viloin concertos are well suited for dancing. I was wondering if a ballet to his concerto for violin and strings in E major exists as this music is simply perfect for dancing. ( I sometimes dance to it ! )


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alison

01-02-02, 10:46 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #17
 
   Well, this may be a first (actually, it probably isn't) but I rather agree with Eugene . Dreary is rather how I feel, having just come out of it. In fact, I'm trying to work out more whether I feel as though I've been suffocated under a ton of chiffon or if I've been force-fed a three-course meal of apple snow or Angel Delight (or possibly both). Definitely too similar to make a good triple bill programme. I'm sure the set for Beyond BAch may be stunning, but it certainly can't suit the 50%-odd of the audience who are stuck up in the amphitheatre, from which I'm afraid a lot of it is invisible behind the proscenium arch. I shall have to see it from nearer ground level before I can really make a decision, I think, but certainly I didn't feel enchanted, transported or anything particularly else having seen it. Oh, and yes the lighting in both that and Leaves is so dingy that you can scarcely make out who the dancers are.

BTW, the cast sheet had a footnote that Josh Tuifua was injured and replaced by Stepanek. Oh, I thought, he must have a decent role in something, but no, he was only one of Marguerite's admirers. What on earth is the point of bothering to point that out when nobody knew that he'd be appearing anyway!

More comments possibly when I don't have a train to catch.


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tortie14

05-02-02, 11:08 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #19
 
   Alison - you made me laugh out loud! It was the diet of apple snow and angel delight that made me feel so sleepy after the first two ballets! It definitely needed something sharp or spicy to cut through the sickliness not M & A - the dream topping.

I think Mr Stretton needs a rethink.


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alison

06-02-02, 01:29 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #20
 
   Ugh, don't mention Dream Topping. I feel sick ... Actually, that really would have been the icing on the cake, if you'll pardon yet another food metaphor. Wish I'd thought of it. (I am starting to get seriously worried as to why I've started comparing ballet performances with food over the last 6 months or so, though ...)


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Viviane

06-02-02, 02:02 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - cast 2"
In response to message #21
 
   Alison, ....wait until you see La Scala's "Excelsior" !
A 7 courses-menu with whiped cream and stuffed chocolates instead of the necessary ice-cream soda


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Jim

08-02-02, 10:04 AM (GMT)
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23. "Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #22
 
   I am a self-confessed closet Angel Delight addict. I sometimes make up a whole packet (butterscotch flavor preferred) and eat it all by myself. I usually skip the instruction: "spoon it into dessert dishes", and spoon it straight down my throat from the mixing bowl. Sometimes I can't wait, and drink it down before it has set. Now, Angel Delight with Dream Topping on top is a pudding fit for a Sylphe. And that's no trifling matter.

With this in mind, I might have been expected to enjoy the 'Memories' triple bill - and indeed I did. In fact it was one of the most enjoyable multiple bills I have ever seen. Of course, unashamedly, I went to see Sylvie in 'Marguerite and Armand' (I was starting to panic that I haven't seen her for a while). One industrial definition of a 'grievance' is when reality fails to match expectation. From what I had read here and elsewhere, I was expecting to snooze off during the first two ballets until it was Sylvie's turn to come on. So, with expectations rock-bottom, I felt I had nothing to lose.

I see no reason why Bach's precisely measured counterpoint should not be suitable for dance. After all, Sylvie gave a beautiful rendering of Bach's music (chroeographed by Maurice Béjart) in La Luna. Within a few bars of Beyond Bach starting I suddenly felt a wave of relaxation descend all over me, washing away the stresses of the last few weeks. I thought the ballet was a brilliant interpretation of the music - and why hasn't anybody commented on the playing? I thought it was superb and would be happy to award the harpsichordist 'Man of the Match'. I really thought the dancers showed respect, if not awe, of the music, not trying to 'upstage' it as sometimes happens with Minkus's thumping scores. And on this occasion I disagree with Eugene - I thought the 'Sheep may safely graze' was sublime.

After the New World symphony, I suppose Antonin Dvorák is best known for his Slavonic dances, and it is perhaps suprising that we don't see more of his music used for dance. This piece was scored mainly (if not entirely) for strings and I thought it was delicately and subtlely chreographed. No fireworks, brisés or fouettées but a charming interpretation of the score in which you can relax and watch the dancing speak the music. Not only the principal melodies were danced, but it seemed even the sub-themes of the different sections of the orchestral range were catered for in the dance. Easy to fall into a dream-world of wispy skirts and pointe shoes. My lasting memory of these two
ballets was what a wonderful dancer Leanne Benjamin has become.

Sylvie is Sylvie and always will be. I still get those mysterious tingles when I collect my cast sheet and see her name in print. And I was so glad to see her dancing with Jonathan Cope. But what about David Drew? Surely he now has earned the accolade "Master".


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AEHandley

10-02-02, 04:17 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #23
 
   Well, I was there last night and have to say that I really enjoyed Beyond Bach (cuts and all... see other thread...). It worked beautifully and far exceeded my expectations. I'd happily see this again.

Only real complaints were (a) WHY were the cast not credited? (spotted Galeazzi and Hatley - who has aged - and Watson, but couldn't identify the others) I didn't think that Darcey and Marianela did much more than the other women (Cervera and Cope's roles were obviously better than those for the other men but with the women that wasn't so clear). (b) why pair Bussell and Nunez if symmetry is important? Surely they should have put Yanowsky up against Bussell. (c) why pair Bussell and Cervera? Surely Bussell/Cope vs Nunez/Cervera would be better? (d) WHEN are this troupe going to learn to dance together? Both in this and the Leaves are Fading the dancing was very ragged in timing and stylistic harmony was lacking. That's all well and good in MacMillan but this work really demanded togetherness. The men were better than the women in this respect. It was great to see Cervera in a decent role.

Leaves are Fading - I enjoyed this too, thought there was some good stuff in it (but it did go on a bit and I certainly couldn't match what I saw to the programme notes. The different stages supposedly portrayed in the pdds (how many were there supposed to be? I certainly didn't find four!) weren't at all apparent). I have at long last identified Bennet Gartside, Jaimie Tapper and Chloe Davi(e)s, so I'm in with the in-crowd now... but IMO no-one really held a candle to Kobborg and Cojocaru. They get better and better!

OK, on to Marguerite and Almonds (as we used to call it). By this stage my blocked nose was starting to bother me so maybe my judgment was not top-notch. First, Philip Gammon was playing better than I've ever heard him (the band throughout had been excellent too) - what will they do when HE retires? IS there anyone else who can play "Month"? Second, HOW does Sylvie keep her shoes on? I find this lack of ribbons most disturbing! I scrutinised her feet closely through the bins (8* mag from front of grand tier) and no sign of elastic. Does someone sew her into them? Third, had she changed the costume subtly from Margot's? The red and white ones seemed too satiny, not tulle-y enough and I didn't think the nightie should have been pink. On other trivial matters, Kim wanted to know what happened to her lank greasy hair between death scene and curtain call...

Back to the ballet. I was disappointed. I think it was the best work of the evening, but it didn't catch light for me. Sylvie never really conveyed rapturous love; she looked rather worried throughout, I thought. Le Riche I just found rather dull all round. I'd had such high hopes of this from the reviews and found myself thinking that Viv&Irek would have ripped up the stage with it, and that Cojocaru and Kobborg should be the next couple to dance it. I think I'll watch the (past their prime) Fonteyn & Nureyev video again and see if it moves me in that version - this one didn't do it for me. Sylvie is just too controlled, and Le Riche was just a bit - well, nothing really. Even his spectacular run with the cloak didn't really take off.

What should I see next? Tempted to catch Rojo in Giselle after all this!

I also felt that the whole evening was extremely bad value - two 30 minute intervals were hardly necessary with these sets!


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Shirley

10-02-02, 04:57 PM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #24
 
   Not sure why the casting is not given for Beyond Bach but I don't think Belinda Hatley was dancing as she is injured and recovering from an operation.

Darcey was paired with Cervera because he was replacing Urlezaga and as you would have noticed the leads change partners quite a few times throughout the ballet. Also as Ricardo knew some of that role it was easier for him to dance that one than Johnny, Darcey and Marianela learn the others role at a couple of hours notice.


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AEHandley

10-02-02, 05:26 PM (GMT)
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30. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #25
 
   I would have thought that they would have understudies, that's all! I still can't see why you'd cast as two leads who are supposed mirror each other two dancers who are about 6" different in height!

If it wasn't Belinda could it have been Nicola Tranah? I thought it looked more like Belinda (smaller jaw). Who else has that sort of very symmetrical face? Baffled now.


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sylvia

10-02-02, 06:01 PM (GMT)
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32. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #30
 
   >I would have thought that they
>would have understudies, that's all!

I remember reading that Baynes didn't have time to rehearse more than 2 casts. He said maybe next time - for Trilogy I gather.

> I still can't see
>why you'd cast as two
>leads who are supposed mirror
>each other two dancers who
>are about 6" different in
>height!
>

I actually think Darcey and Marianela have a similar style of dancing - very expansive and powerful. Likewise for Leanne and Alina who are similar dancers and quite different from the first cast.


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AEHandley

10-02-02, 09:33 PM (GMT)
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33. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #32
 
   >
>I actually think Darcey and Marianela
>have a similar style of
>dancing - very expansive and
>powerful. Likewise for Leanne and
>Alina who are similar dancers
>and quite different from the
>first cast.

You're not the first person to say this - I couldn't see it. In fact neither of them really made me sit up and take notice - I really couldn't see what all the fuss about Nunez was. Leanne and Alina similar?!? Well I've never seen them dance the same things I suppose.


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sylvia

10-02-02, 09:41 PM (GMT)
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34. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #33
 
   >Leanne
>and Alina similar?!? Well
>I've never seen them dance
>the same things I suppose.
>

Well, more similar to each other than to Darcey or Marianela. Darcey and Alina were a bit of an odd match on Friday night.


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Tomoko.A

10-02-02, 04:59 PM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #24
 
   To AEHandley, did you enjoy the programme or not ?


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AEHandley

10-02-02, 05:23 PM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #26
 
   Yes, I did enjoy it - but possibly less than any other RB performance except Bayadere. I wouldn't rush to see it again. BTW I've just watched my video of M&A and think I was a bit harsh on Sylvie - I was picturing her as I watched Margot and I think I was a bit too negative in my review. However, the steps looked very different as well. Sylvie was a lot more natural than Fonteyn but different eras, different conventions. I just wasn't "sent" by this at all (but then I'm one of those who thinks Sylvie's quite a good dancer but that's all!)


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Helen

10-02-02, 05:12 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #24
 
   I'm relieved to find that someone (Anneliese) shares my opinion about the Guillem/Le Riche M&A. I haven't seen this round of performances, but I keep reading the rave reviews and thinking "What are they talking about?" They conveyed very little to me.

I really do think this ballet should not have been resurrected. I think it was a good ballet for a particular time and cast, but is fairly pointless outside that time and cast. Not sure that it should have been filmed, either, too late and so artificially. A film of a live performance in 1963 or 4 might have been worth having.

The visual element was very important with the original cast, and I felt Marguerite's costumes looked quite wrong on Sylvie, who is very different in proportions from Fonteyn. The Armand costumes look all right.

But I wouldn't mind seeing Cojocaru have a go at it, all the same.....


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Helen

10-02-02, 05:17 PM (GMT)
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28. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #27
 
   Afterthought - I thought David Drew was perfect as Armand's father when I saw it, so my opinions weren't entirely negative!


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sylvia

10-02-02, 05:55 PM (GMT)
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31. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #27
 
   >I really do think this ballet
>should not have been resurrected.
>I think it was a
>good ballet for a particular
>time and cast, but is
>fairly pointless outside that time
>and cast.

I know this has been debated to death but just to have my say I'm really happy that it has been resurrected. I've never seen Fonteyn and Nureyev in M&A, live or on film. It took me several tries before I really enjoyed it. But the music is amazing and the choreography incredibly beautiful and stands on it's own without Fonteyn and Nureyev. Regardless of how close these performances were to the orignal, I would hate never to have seen it live.

And I thought Sylvie was just marvellous. She's such a terrific actress and never resorts to over-emoting. I really hope her dancing this role paves the way for other ballerinas to dance in M&A - I can think of many I'd love to see cast.


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Paul A

11-02-02, 05:23 PM (GMT)
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35. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 7 February 2001"
In response to message #27
 
   Interesting response Helen - appreciate your previous posting on a long memeory not being helpful with Ashton.

Don't agree with you that we should have been denied the chance to see this. Thinks it works as a piece of theatre far better than the film would suggest.

But do agree that Guillem is a complete blank in this - think the ballet is suffering from the uncritical audiences "it's Sylvie therefore we must bray". Saw the original revival and once since - no presence, far too internalised a performance that does not register - likewise her Natalia - too minute embroiderings. Le Riche too unmemeorable.

Would love to see other casts in this - then the work may step from its shadows. Who owns the casting on this one?

Agree to on the costumes - they do not read well or travel well. There was a fascinating catalogue entry on the white gown at the V&A exhibition in 1981 about how the subtle details help the costumes, and hence the characters, register. Wonder whether some short cuts were taken in the remake.


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Viviane

11-02-02, 05:46 PM (GMT)
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36. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 11-02-02 AT 05:49 PM (GMT)

I think I better hurry and add my thoughts to this thread before the Bayadère-invasion !

The "Memories"-evening started a bit in confusion : a lot of cast changes, and after a quick read of the list I hardly could remember some of the names.

I definitely saw another "Beyond Bach" than a lot among you. The only thing I liked about it was the music - although not a great revelation, but it was the whole of the scores who created the atmosphere rather than the dancing and the scenery.
To be honest, I couldn't believe my eyes : the RB was dancing more like my home-company does on a bad day !?
Please do correct me on this if I have it totally wrong. I saw a lot of uneven, messy dancing, lots of mistakes and a troupe that seemed bewildered as if they were put on stage after a huge dispute behind the scenes
Concerning omitting a part of the choreography, I suggested in my notes to take this as a subject for a long thread ! Unbelievable !
Darcey was my only comfort, the scenery my biggest disappointment !
On this level (this is London's ROH !) I simply expect another grade of creative input. The quote in the programme "The stage should look like a cross between a cathedral and the Palace of Versailles" is a hollow phrase. What we saw was a amalgam of elements, out of all 18th Century proportions. Have a look at the sublime oilpainting-copy in the programme and you'll understand.
The combination of the right proportions of a space and light (where was the light ?) on his own can create the sacred space-feeling, not putting all external symbols together in a mix-up.

I suggest to have an animated debate during the intervals of languid ballets !
Indeed, as soon as the music started I understood the many complaints on this.
"The Leaves are Fading" are offering lovely pdd's, although I had some difficulties to distinguish them all four ? and had problems in recognizing the dancers. Exception for Alina ofcourse ! I even can find her by candlelight ! She is so outshining, her joy for dancing and her care for detail is heartwarming...on her own, she was worth the ticket !
And I discovered Johan Kobborg as an outstanding partner.
I really must mention Jamie Tapper too, as always she catched my attention.
I'm afraid 'The Leaves are Fading" will not leave a long-time impression to me.

My greatest expectations went out to "Marguerite and Armand".
I never saw this ballet before -hardly some brief excerpts.
Thought the choreography a real treat : the storyline is clear without the need to read a book about it. The scenery set aside (a bit strange to me), this ballet shows, in every detail, the power of a good choreography : using in a subtle way the language of dance and mime interlaced with beautiful music : I was thrilled !
On top of this all seeing Sylvie in real -at long last !- with Le Riche as her partner made me somewhat biased I'm afraid Although Sylvie isn't my preferred 'ballerina-type'and -to be honest- I hope this isn't her best role (!?) one can't stay indifferent towards her supremacy and personality. But it was Le Riche who made my day ! I only saw him a couple of times before and never thought him convincing...I still wondered 'what' I was missing. But Saturdaynight, there it was : I catched some of his magic at the end of the performance and he moved me to tears. Hmm...sweet Memories


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Helen

11-02-02, 06:31 PM (GMT)
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37. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February"
In response to message #36
 
   I think I may have been wrong about resurrecting M&A, since so many people enjoyed it and obviously got a lot out of it. I was having a "Things aren't what they used to be" day. To me it just looks as if the vital ingredient is missing. But yes, the use of the music and the construction of the whole thing does make it worth seeing. More varied casting would make it look less as if it was being "stolen", somehow.

The films are almost disastrous, I feel - even the earlier one of them (the one from the TV series "Magic of Dance") was made ten years after the creation of the ballet and the performances I remember, and in the second one, made for Nureyev's "I am a Dancer", Fonteyn was 60 or very near it. Just not the same, I'm afraid!

All right, I know this thread is getting too long.


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Viviane

11-02-02, 09:32 PM (GMT)
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38. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February"
In response to message #37
 
   >I think I may have been wrong about resurrecting M&A, since so >many people enjoyed it and obviously got a lot out of it. I was >having a "Things aren't what they used to be" day. To me it >just looks as if the vital ingredient is missing.

Helen, it's quite possible that you have it right with 'the vital ingredient is missing'.
But, being a completely novice to M&A, this ballet surprised and moved me....I don't have any background to project my thoughts on this.
And it still takes me by surprise that I had tears in my eyes at the end !


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tortie14

11-02-02, 10:47 PM (GMT)
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39. "RE: Memories Triple Bill - 09th February"
In response to message #38
 
   LAST EDITED ON 11-02-02 AT 10:50 PM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 11-02-02 AT 10:48 PM (GMT)

My memories of M & A was right at the end of Fonteyns career with Nureyev and Friends at the Coli - it was such a moving experience - quite overwhelming the power of their presence and partnership. I certainly did not focus on technique or sets cause I was transfixed by the tragedy of the lovers. Not so much tears in the eyes, as overcome by emotion and needing smelling salts! But I am so glad you enjoyed it Viviane - that is good enough reason to resurrect this ballet.



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