Katharine posted a long message on the Forsythe thread which raised all sorts of issues not directly connected with that topic; so rather than divert attention from the Forsythe problem, I've moved this out to a new thread.
Katharine, you make so many controversial assertions: reading your posts can feel a bit like being run over by a steam-roller. Having had time to pick myself up and think about what you've said, here are just some of the points I'd like to pick up:
>William Forsythe has referred to
>Petipa's Swan Lake as a
>pre-prandial divertissement. The present
>writer could not agree more.
I would also agree that Swan Lake might make a pleasant pre-prandial divertissement - but that's not to say that that is all it is.
Anyone can watch it at that level if they want, but equally anyone is free to look more deeply and find the rewards it has to offer. Why do you dismiss Swan Lake like this? Would you agree that La Sylphide or Giselle or Napoli would also make a nice evening out for tired business people?
> Indeed, whether Petipa's work
>might ever have qualified as
>classical, is a moot point.
You have to expand on this. To most people reading this site, I would guess that Petips's work not only is classical, it defines what 'classical' means. I assume you're saying that the addition of the Russian and Italian influences had already corrupted the perfection of the classical style: so if Petipa wasn't classical, what was he? And who would be the last choreographer you would call classical?
>On October 31st 2001, this Website
>posted up a transcript of
>a most edifying exchange on
>BBC 2 Newsnight Extra about
>Petipa's Don Quixote at the
>ROH (Nureyev production), of which
>the juicier extracts appear below.
>"Philip Hensher: This is such a
>depressing statement of intent. This
>awful piece is so dreary.
>(…) The orchestra just plainly
>couldn't be bothered, and I
>don't blame them. The designs
>could have been executed 50
>years ago. This was one
>of the most depressing, boring
>evenings I could have imagined
>spending. It gives ballet a
>bad name. It is very
>difficult to see the cultural
>merit of this.
>"Natasha Walter: (…) there's something sad
>about seeing all this technical
>training, this virtuosity, with no
>art really to spring it
>into life. In the end,
>it's very hard to take
>this kind of thing seriously,
>to see it as high
>"Kirsty Wark: Was there any emotion
>in it for you?
>"John Carey: None whatsoever, nor any
>intellectual content. That's the trouble.
>Here's this glittering audience, paying
>a great deal for their
>seats, and the intellectual content
>is less than a first-class
>football match. Much the same
>skills are used, and this
>is thought to be high
I don't really get the point you're trying to make here. (To start with, I'd say that if these people saw the first night of the RB's Don Q, I sympathise with them: it was a poor performance and I too went home thinking it was not worth either dancing or watching. But at later performances it looked quite different.) But what is John Carey talking about? What does he mean by 'intellectual content'? Is he talking about the subject matter of the ballet, or its form? Would he come back from a performance of The Barber of Seville complaining about the lack of 'intellectual content'? And are you agreeing with him?
And so on... it's hard to argue with you when you don't back up your sweeping statements with more explanation of what you mean.