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Subject: "RB's Remanso triple bill" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2544
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Jane S

06-03-02, 01:51 PM (GMT)
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"RB's Remanso triple bill"
 
   There seems to be a deathly hush about Monday night! I thought it was a disappointing evening. I'd really been hoping to enjoy Por Vos Muero - after all the best recipe for ballet happiness is that your taste coincides with that of the director of your local company, and this work was obviously a key piece in Stretton's vision of the future. But all the way through it I was reminded of the sort of thing Rambert used to do in the 1970s - specifically, of a work by Jonathan Taylor called 'Tis Goodly Sport. The Duato is bigger, glossier, more portentous, but unfortunately none of those implies 'better'. I did like Remanso better than when the RB did it 2 years ago, but that's not saying much as I loathed it then: it seems much less camp and twee this time, but it still doesn't look like a ballet for grown men.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB's Remanso triple bill sylvia 06-03-02 1
     RE: RB's Remanso triple bill alison 06-03-02 2
         RE: RB's Remanso triple bill Mike 06-03-02 3
             Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002 Brendan McCarthymoderator 07-03-02 4
                 RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... PhilipBadmin 07-03-02 5
                     RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Lily 07-03-02 6
                         RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... smelly 07-03-02 7
                         RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... gd 07-03-02 8
                             RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Bruceadmin 10-03-02 17
                         RE: Flowers alison 08-03-02 15
                 RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Brendan McCarthymoderator 07-03-02 10
                     RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... AEHandley 07-03-02 12
                         RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Brendan McCarthymoderator 07-03-02 13
                             RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Helen 07-03-02 14
                             RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Brendan McCarthymoderator 10-03-02 16
                             RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... Tony Newcombe 10-03-02 18
                             RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 20... StaceyP 23-03-02 19

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sylvia

06-03-02, 03:02 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB's Remanso triple bill"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 06-03-02 AT 03:55 PM (GMT)

I enjoyed some of it. It was my first 'In the Middle' and I thought the choreograpy was just awesome. All the dancers, Yanowsky in particular were superb. I keep saying it but it's such a buzz seeing so much talent on stage all at the same time and I love the physicality of this and Remanso as well.
Kim McCarthy's funny commentry kept popping up in my head throughout Jonathan's solo! Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude I found to be the most disappointing. I couldn't get into it at all. Por Vos Muero I loved for the beautiful music and dancing, especially the first Spanish big group number.

It worked well for me with the dancers so close at the front of the stalls. I'm not looking forward to the last performance which I'll be watching from the amphitheatre. I suspect I'll be doing a lot of squinting because the lighting is so miserably dim.


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alison

06-03-02, 06:35 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB's Remanso triple bill"
In response to message #1
 
   >I'm not looking forward to
>the last performance which I'll
>be watching from the amphitheatre.
>I suspect I'll be doing
>a lot of squinting because
>the lighting is so miserably
>dim.

You certainly will, Sylvia - I was desperately trying to make out the dancers' faces in the gloom, even the ones I should know really well by now.

I haven't commented because I came out feeling really just a bit flat - nothing made that much of an impression on me. I found Vertiginous really annoying - it seemed just busy and very unmusical and even Yoshida couldn't convince me otherwise. I'm certainly not convinced that Por Vos Muero is "a masterpiece", and can't see much point to Remanso, although I'm sure I've liked some of Duato's work in the past. In the Middle appeared to be well-danced, but there was so much happening that it was difficult to focus on. Certainly the dancers I was watching were dancing it well, but since I couldn't even make out their faces I wasn't sure if I was following the same ones the whole time or not.

And a side note to anyone who has respiratory problems: double-check that you've got your medication with you. There was a lot of incense used during Por Vos, and it hung around for far too long for comfort - noticeable increase in coughing in the amphitheatre, anyway. I was very aware that at least 2 people I knew in the audience were asthmatic, and was wondering how they were faring.


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Mike

06-03-02, 07:26 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB's Remanso triple bill"
In response to message #2
 
   I too was fairly unimpressed by Monday evening, after the expectations generated by seeing the castings. However, I thoroughly enjoyed 'In the Middle' (once I got used to the volume and nature of the music - something of a shock to the system!) and thought Darcey, especially, was excellent. Found parts of 'Por vos Muero' interesting, but overall was a little disappointed, although my partner said that she found it enjoyable. 'Remanso' - not really to my taste, and 'The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude' - a waste of a fine cast (and what WERE those costumes all about???)

I think I'll make the effort to see 'In the Middle' and 'Por Vos Muero' again as part of the next triple bill (but mainly to see Sylvie in Carmen, if I'm being honest)

Since I took advantage of the half-price ticket offer to treat myself and my partner to stalls seats, I didn't find the low lighting restricted my view of the dancers too much, however, it may well be a different story next time when I'm in my usual place up in the amphitheatre


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

07-03-02, 01:14 PM (GMT)
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4. "Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #3
 
   LAST EDITED ON 07-03-02 AT 03:23 PM (GMT)

This is a better evening than any of the newspaper critics have suggested. Of the two works by Nacho Duato and a further two by William Forsythe, only the latter’s ‘In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated’ is really familiar to a London audience. There is a large back catalogue of modern works that have rarely, if ever, been seen here. Inevitably they are of mixed merits, but it is right that Ross Stretton should show them at Covent Garden.

Forsythe’s ‘In the Middle’, first set on a Paris Opera Ballet cast, may not be typical of his work today. Intended to decentre classical language, it is not hard to imagine what that first Paris cast might have made of its then new and unfamiliar grammar. With the years the shock of the new may have worn a bit thin. Last night’s cast, led by Darcy Bussell, Roberto Bolle and Zenaida Yanowsky gave an account of the work that, if anything, was sassy and vivacious. Technically they were consummate, unscrambling the piece’s DNA, essentially two long sequences of dance-code, in the balletic equivalent of aerial combat.

Remanso, last given here three years ago, returned in a reworked version. Wednesday’s cast was Jonathan Cope, Robert Bolle and (an unexpected bonus) Edward Watson. While simple and witty, Remanso is rich in ideas. As ever Watson was completely mesmeric. It is not a matter of technique alone, eye-catching as his is. His stage presence also manifests a personal stillness coupled with a degree of abstraction. While not arrogant, it suggests that his main concern is an argument with the substance of the dance rather than with its presentation. He does not smile in the irritating way that dancers sometimes do. He is almost self-effacing, but despite himself compels attention.

There was a very short curtain between Remanso and Forsythe’s ludicrously titled The Vertiginious Thrill of Exactitude, leaving Watson with about 90 seconds for a costume change before re-emerging on the Opera House stage. In this 11-minute work Watson was cast, perhaps for the only time in his life, in a pas-de-deux with Alina Cojocaru. Danced to the final movement of Schubert’s C major symphony, the work is Forsythe’s ‘homage’ to classical dance; a piece of archaeology intended to retrieve a store of lost meanings and eccentricities. It is a homage that falls strangely and unpersuasively from Forsythe's lips – and in last night’s performance felt rather lifeless.

Duato’s Por Vos Muero ended the evening. It was a curiously layered piece performed to a soundscape of 16th century Spanish secular and sacred music, together with spoken fragments of verse culminating in the Por Vos Muero sonnet from the poet Garcilaso de la Vega. Intended as an evocation of the importance of dance to the society of the day, it fused contemporary dance idioms with quotations from Spanish folk dance as well as with gestures from period paintings and sculptures. Taken at its face value it was attractive if, perhaps, too long. It was oddly costumed. What jarred, in particular, were the thurifer-swinging acolytes clad in flesh-coloured shorts with burgundy capes. The women’s costumes too were problematic, if anything, masking the full intent of the choreography.

For last night’s performance the Royal Ballet mustered eleven of its thirteen principals (two were missing due to injury). On all the evidence this is a company in superb technical shape. And Ross Stretton need make no apologies for the programme. While it contained perhaps one masterwork, it is also the case that London audiences need to know what is happening elsewhere in dance. A diet of the purest classicism is no prescription for the future.



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PhilipBadmin

07-03-02, 03:31 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #4
 
   Nice review, Brendan. I much prefer to bounce off your thorough write-ups than attempt my own. This way I can just write about my personal feelings.

I saw it on opening night and was, frankly, knocked out by the evening. No other modern/neo-classical production has touched me in anything like the same way. I had a headful of bees at the end, was quite hyper and promptly went online and booked more tix for the 18th!

I thought Bussell, in particular, in Middle was superb - these murmurings about her being better since the break may be true! She threw herself, and was flung, about like a teenager, hyperextending with impunity. It seemed obvious to me that she and Cope were enjoying themselves that evening enormously.

There was then a 15 minute interval - not quite enough time to get a drink comfortably, too long to stay seated. Annoying.

I fell in love with Remanso at the Insight day and simply could not help but be charmed and delighted by the full performance. The background of the Insight Day really opened up the piece and gave me an instant connection and rapport with it. I heard someone wrote things like "twee" and "self-indulgent" but I think that's a personal POV rather than impartial criticism. I had to chuckle when an American chap in the Balcony exclaimed "Holy s**t" when Cope climbed over the wall - he was obviously "in to it", and so was I.

There was a very short gap before Thrill, and I have to say I didn't really get into it, partly because my mind was still taken up with the Remanso that had just ended. Probably the first time that a performance with Alina Cojocaru had not slapped me across the face and sat me on the edge of my seat, but it was nothing to do with her. So I shall wait for the 18th and make more of effort this time!

Finally, after a more sociable 20 minute break, we had Por Vos Muero. Again, the Insight Day had got me warmed up and in touch with the background and inspirations of the piece and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't quite agree with the "masterpiece" rating, but I'm a long way away from the panning given by many of the critics. Perhaps the professional critic who only heard "what sounds like fiercely depressing verse in Spanish" would find the snippets less depressing, and indeed uplifting, if he took the trouble to read and understand them. Ignorance is sometimes bliss, but usually it just means you don't understand stuff.

Overall then, I had a great time. The on-stage talent makes the ticket price worthwhile, IMO, especially as the prices are about 20% cheaper than for a classic. My main complaint would be the lighting - this has been going on too long to continue to be charitable - Stretton should go and sit somewhere other than the stalls one night and then sort it out! I was only in the Balcony and had problems identifying dancers - I feel people above me must have needed a telescope.

One final thought: although they are only putting Enduring Images on 4 times, the poor sales may give Stretton pause for thought before embarking on a contemporary-centric strategy at Covent Garden.


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Lily

07-03-02, 03:58 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #5
 
   I thought it interesting last night that at the end of In The Middle, Darcey and Jaimie Tapper were given flowers and Zenaida wasn't. I thought that she was one of the lead roles.

Also, did anyone find this a tad too loud?

I have to say, that I was blown away by Por vos muero. The way the dancers faded into oblivion and reappeared again as if they were coming back into the story again. Odd as it may sound, but I found it very like the Bayeux tapestry. A medieaval story told along a line which was very like the set - which appeared like a moving image - v hard to explain. Loved the incence too!

What a joy it was to see such talent all in one night. Aren't we all so lucky and spoilt!!!


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smelly

07-03-02, 05:20 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #6
 
   Oh goody!

glad that i am not the only person who enjoyed Por Vos. in fact i enjoyed the evening as a whole. it certainly won't be included in my top 10 ballet evenings, but a good night out nonetheless.


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gd

07-03-02, 05:28 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #6
 
   In the Middle is distinctly quieter than in previous showings (!!)and I think the lighting is also more subdued.
'Por vos' is too Kylian/Bruce for me but, as with all the pieces, was excellently danced


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Bruceadmin

10-03-02, 12:01 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #8
 
   >In the Middle is distinctly quieter
>than in previous showings (!!)and
>I think the lighting is
>also more subdued.

Yes thats what I felt. It had all been dialled down a bit including the soundtrack... though that may be my ears giving up of course! This may sound stupid but the dancer I really missed in it was Natalie McCann. I suspect I was seeing more first night then anything and it will tighten. For me Yanowsky looked the sharpest. And I was impressed by Bussell too.

Por vos - the only new piece in the evening of course - was pleasant. Enjoyable to see a time or two but not really a major acquisition for the company. Together with Remanso you get the idea of a safe pair of modernish hands but unlikely to particularly become a must see amongst the traditional audience or the new one they are searching for. Strangely enough the most enjoyable piece of Duato I've seen was Jardi Tancat that NBT put on a couple of seasons ago

My overall feeling was that it was terrific to see the dancers doing something else but not a classic mixed bill of our time. Be interested to know how well it sells, but the two for one offer for the opening night was appreciated by a fair few I think.


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alison

08-03-02, 01:02 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Flowers"
In response to message #6
 
   I don't think the RB management usually, if ever, pays for flowers. So anything that is presented on stage is there because a loved one/fan or whoever has stumped up for some. I've always thought it a slightly embarrassing policy, if a leading dancer in a full-length work doesn't get any flowers but one of the minor roles does.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

07-03-02, 06:35 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON 07-03-02 AT 06:57 PM (GMT)

>costumed. What jarred, in particular,
>were the thurifer-swinging acolytes clad
>in flesh-coloured shorts with burgundy
>capes.

I meant, of course 'thurible-swinging acolytes'; 'thurifer swinging acolytes' scarcely bears thinking about.


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AEHandley

07-03-02, 08:36 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #10
 
   I didn't notice till you pointed it out but now am laughing so much I can hardly type... I suspect there aren't too many high church ballet.coers around!


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

07-03-02, 09:14 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #12
 
   Having been a Mass server and swung a thurible when I was younger, I wince at what I wrote above!


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Helen

07-03-02, 09:29 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #13
 
   The advent of smelliballet is quite a shock! I have occasionally had to sing in the presence of thurible swingers - it does nothing for the breathing.

I am afraid this thread is in danger of being diverted......


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

10-03-02, 11:08 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #14
 
   Jann Parry wrote the following in today's Observer:

"This kind of contemporary dance (usually to baroque music) is a commonplace the Royal Ballet can do without. There are far more challenging works the company should acquire instead of clutching the tail-gate of a tired bandwagon. Por Vos Muero has all the usual signs of flagging inspiration: meaningless props (masks, basques, incense thuribles), moody lighting and pious emoting. If Stretton believes that Duato's sub-Kylian choreography stretches the dancers' abilities, we're in for a dreary ride in the future".

I didn't think Por Vos Muero was a masterwork, but do argue that we need to see pieces like it. It is in the mainstream of what is happening in today's dance and we ought not to be cut off from it (even if it is the dance equivalent of MOR).

The one question in my mind is this: what are the "far more challenging works the company should acquire"? I don't question that they exist, but would be interested to see a shortlist of what they might comprise.


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Tony Newcombe

10-03-02, 01:49 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #16
 
   Wonderful people critics aren't they. I remember some of their comments over ten years ago after it was announced that the Royal would be "aquiring" a Forsythe ballet. The general feeling was that a bunch of classically trained dancers would be sorted out by such modern choreography. The rest is history. I seem to remember Dowell accepting an award (? Olivier) on behalf of Forsythe and his own "magnificent" dancers. I like her description of the last two mixed bills. Memories all chiffon and Prozac and the current one as Lycra and metHamphetamine. My capital H.


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StaceyP

23-03-02, 04:57 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Enduring Images, The Royal Ballet, ROH Wed 6th March 2002"
In response to message #18
 
   I saw the Enduring Images bill on the 6th. “Vertiginous Thrill” didn't leave me with one, as it has when I've seen the San Francisco Ballet perform it. For one, the costumes are made for those in expensive seats, rather than those of us in the gods... And SFB dancers have a rich enough diet of Balanchine that they attack the positions and the enchainements with the clarity and speed required by Thrill. There's something about how they need to be ahead of themselves more. Ideally, one is left with an image of ice skating – skimming across the surface, while underneath the legs are moving at a blurred pace.

In the Middle was invigorating and compares to my memories of SFB performances (long ago). Darcy Bussell was astounding, really pushing the edge in a wonderfully unaffected way. Although the extent of risk-taking was apparent, I trusted her enough that I could relax and be drawn into it.

My companion and I discussed how the men moved so differently in Duato's pieces than they do in the standard fare. Extreme attention to detail with a flow of energy and strength revealed a very different side of them as dancers (especially Jonathan Cope, who I've seen more than the others). While watching Por vos Muero, I had a some scary flashback moments to Michael Jackson's Thriller -- an MTV gestural style kept popping into my mind (having been thinking about issues of postmodernism and consumer culture recently). The design elements, musicality, use of weight and quite unusual "ballet" costuming managed to knock away those mtv images, though. I've not seen Duato's work before, and can see the comparisons to Kylian, Bruce and Eks.


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