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Subject: "Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem" Archived thread - Read only
 
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katharine kanter

12-07-02, 04:21 PM (GMT)
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"Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
 
   Could not agree more with Miss Franca's extremely frank remarks. Would appreciate hearing from musicians on this !

Celia Franca, founder of the National Ballet of Canada, on a Proposal to choreograph to Verdis's Requiem to commemorate the events of September 11th 2001 in New York

(from the Ottawa Citizen, 11th July 2002)

"The Requiem stands alone. It doesn't need any embellishment. I'm speaking as a ballet dancer and I love ballet, but I feel I also have respect for music. I think it's a matter of respect for the way Verdi wrote it, and Verdi didn't write it with ballet in mind," said Ms. Franca, who regularly attends dance, theatre and orchestra performances in Ottawa. "It's not that I don't like Brian, but I just think this is in bad taste. To embellish a work that stands alone is the height of conceit."

Mr. Macdonald said that other requiems, including those by Mozart and Fauré, had been choreographed over the years, but Ms. Franca said "two wrongs don't make a right. The only good thing I can say is that at least the artists involved will be paid."


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem Flight 12-07-02 1
     RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem Annelieseagain 12-07-02 2
     RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem Paul A 12-07-02 3
         RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem Flight 12-07-02 4
             RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem AEHandley 12-07-02 5
                 RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem Jonathan S 13-07-02 6

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Flight

12-07-02, 04:35 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
In response to message #0
 
   I certainly agree.


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Annelieseagain

12-07-02, 04:57 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
In response to message #1
 
   I think that "bad taste" is too strong, but I have to say I can't imagine this piece working for ballet. Well, hang on, maybe I can. It is a highly theatrical piece (as well as being totally sincere) and the musical sweep does admit choreography, I think. I wouldn't write it off totally till I'd seen it. I think it would be hard to keep the creative momentum going throughout the whole work, though - I can certainly picture snippets to various bits (can you imagine an Ashton-inspired Sanctus? Wonderful!) but other bits aren't at the right tempo for dance (eg the "recordare" ought to work but I think it's just the wrong pace). No, I was just about to wholeheartedly agree, and I find that I can't quite. Mind you, whether the implementation would meet with my approval is another matter entirely!


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Paul A

12-07-02, 04:59 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
In response to message #1
 
   What's the objection: cheapening the memory of 11 September or the music?

This like the ROH objections re Requiem and Song of the Earth.

I say why not? It will need mighty choreography (which it may well not get) but let us at least try.

The Strauss estate banned the ballet to the Four Last Songs (don't recall the choreographer: ENB used to dance it). Whilst those songs are masterworks in their own right, and the choreography was not great, the ballet does stay in the mind and expresses an additional dimension on a meditation on mortality.


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Flight

12-07-02, 07:26 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
In response to message #3
 
   I don't think ballets should be danced to well-known music because people have their own ideas about the meaning of the music.


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AEHandley

12-07-02, 08:38 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
In response to message #4
 
   Well, a lot of ballet music IS well known... I don't know. I don't think that ballet works well to very descriptive or programmatic music (eg Peter and the Wolf) - that's definitely overkill. But to "just music" (eg Symphony in C, Serenade, Concerto) well, why not? Speaking personally, I have some mental pictures of ballet to Brahms symphonies which I think could work, and I really tried to visualise ballet to the Verdi and I could (I surprised myself). ON the whole I don't think ballet plus voice is a good thing - I think that's too much, potentially conflicting, stuff, and that's my real problem with the Verdi in principle. MacMillan's GLoria to the poulenc works I think because of the dreamy nature of it so that the words gloss over you (BUT the subject matter is so totally inappropriate to the music that there's another problem there. However I don't see how a requiem is out of keeping with a memorial ballet for Sept 11). I sort of see what you mean, but think that it's a limiting view to take, a bit like only ever wanting to see one cast in a work.


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Jonathan S

13-07-02, 01:37 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Celia Franca on Verdi's Requiem"
In response to message #5
 
   LAST EDITED ON 13-07-02 AT 01:38 AM (GMT)

It seems bizarre that anyone should be sensitive to Verdi's Requiem being danced to, considering how much this piece has been criticized in the past for itself being too dramatic and operatic. (I'm too lazy to supply supporting documentation - but just search for Verdi AND Requiem AND criticized and you'll see what I mean).

You could argue that the music itself is dramatic enough, without needing more visual drama on top. However, Verdi treats the drama/narrative of the requiem mass like any other operatic narrative, with all the accompanying bells, whistles, trumpets and drums; it is music perfectly suited to the stage. Though the drama in the music may be enough in itself without dance, the same could be said of the transformation scene in Nutcracker, yet, to date, I know of no-one who suggests that the music is so self-sufficient as to make movement a superfluous annoyance.

If there is any problem in my mind about this venture, it is with associating Verdi's Requiem with what happened on September 11th. The Dies Irae is pornography for those who haven't experienced death close to home. How anyone could want to celebrate a posthumous punishment on those who have already suffered enough is beyond me. To remember those who died, quite literally, in flames, with a poem which metaphorizes fire, is obscene.

What happened last year may have seemed apocalyptic, but who died and who didn't was a matter of which floor you worked on, not which religion you subscribed to.



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