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Subject: "Opening Celebration II" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #387
Reading Topic #387
Bruce Madmin

03-12-99, 05:07 PM (GMT)
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"Opening Celebration II"
 
   The first thread was getting quite long so I thought I would open a second.

Here is the full casting for the Wednesday performance. Do excuse the formatting - it comes from a heavily formated Word document and I have not the time to recut. But you should be able to see who did what in full tecnicolour...


SLEEPING BEAUTY - LILAC FAIRY TRANAH
THE ROSE ADAGE BUSSELL
SAUNDERS PICKERING BURLEY MARRIOTT
CONLEY TUCKETT

SYMPHONIC VARIATIONS - PAS DE DEUX YOSHIDA SANSOM

CINDERELLA - "ORANGES" DREW SYMONS

BALLET IMPERIAL BULL
8 TALL GIRLS DAVIES ORTUETA TAPPER ARESTIS LACK
FILPI LOW MURPHY
8 MEN MATZEN WATSON TUIFUA WHITEHEAD
GARTSIDE HARVEY KURA PUTROV
8 SMALL GIRLS MAEDA L.PALMER PIETRA TATTERSALL
FURUYA HEWITT REYNOLDS NUNEZ

BIRTHDAY OFFERING - MENS DANCE URLEZAGA CERVERA ESSAKOW HOWELLS
LIU MEISSNER SASAKI

LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE - CLOG DANCE PAGE
LISE'S FRIENDS GALEAZZI GALLIE MORERA V.PALMER

NAPOLI ACT III - MAN'S SOLO KOBBORG

LE CORSAIRE - MAN'S SOLO ACOSTA

THE GOOD HUMOURED LADIES - COSTANZA MCDERMOTT

LA BAYADÈRE YOSHIDA MUKHAMEDOV
3 SHADES RAWLINS ORTUETA TAPPER
24 SHADES RANSLEY ARESTIS RUSSELL FENTON DECORTE
FILPI HEWITT MURPHY LOW WISHINSKI DAVIES SYKES RAINE LACK PIETRA FURUYA MORERA
NUNEZ REYNOLDS TATTERSALL MAEDA L.PALMER
LOOTS COJOCARU

LES BICHES - "HOSTESS" SOLO YANOWSKY

ROMEO & JULIET ACT 1 BALCONY PAS DE DEUX DURANTE CORELLA

RAYMONDA GRAND PAS - CODA YOSHIDA KOBBORG
8 COUPLES VALTAT MORERA RAWLINS GALLIE ORTUETA
BARAHONA TATTERSALL GALEAZZI
MARRIOTT DOUGLAS TUIFUA SASAKI WHITEHEAD
HARVEY LIU CERVERA

MANON ACT III PAS DE DEUX GUILLEM COPE

ELITE SYNCOPATIONS TRANAH REVIE BURN
MOSLEY SAPSFORD CIRIACI GARTSIDE JULLY
PUTROV RAMSEY PENNEFATHER STOJKO

A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY - "CHERRIES" WILDOR SANSOM

GLORIA PAS DE DEUX BENJAMIN SAUNDERS

"STILL LIFE" AT THE PENGUIN CAFÉ LIU
MCGORIAN ROSATO V.PALMER ARESTIS
FENTON HEWITT RANSLEY RUSSELL

LA BAYADÈRE ACT III - BRONZE IDOL CORELLA

PRINCE OF THE PAGODAS PAS DE DEUX BUSSELL COPE

FEARFUL SYMMETRIES MUKHAMEDOV
ROBERTS GALEAZZI YANOWSKY ORTUETA REVIE
WATSON TUIFUA CERVERA LIU ABEGGLEN
TATTERSALL L.PALMER DAVIES LACK

STEPTEXT - LAST PAS DE DEUX BULL COOPER

MR. WORDLY WISE MUKHAMEDOV

THE FIREBIRD - FINAL TABLEAUX THE ROYAL BALLET COMPANY
THE ROYAL BALLET SCHOOL


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Opening Celebration II Eugene 03-12-99 1
     RE: Opening Celebration II Jane S 04-12-99 2
         RE: Opening Celebration II Eugene Merrett 04-12-99 3
             RE: Opening Celebration II Bruce Madmin 04-12-99 4
                 RE: Opening Celebration II Jane S 04-12-99 5
                     RE: Opening Celebration II Kate R 04-12-99 6
                         RE: Opening Celebration II eugene merrett 04-12-99 7
                             Design - we need it! Bruce Madmin 05-12-99 8
                             RE: some general thoughts Stephanie 05-12-99 9
                             RE: some general thoughts Bruce Madmin 06-12-99 10
                             Gala Opening Stephanie Wragg 06-12-99 11
                             RE: Gala Opening alison 06-12-99 13
                             RE: Gala Opening Anneliese 06-12-99 16
                             RE: Gala Opening Anneliese 08-12-99 22
                             RE: some general thoughts Jane S 06-12-99 14
                             Stalls Circle Seasts Bruce Madmin 06-12-99 15
                             RE: Stalls Circle Seasts Stephanie 07-12-99 20
                             RE: some general thoughts Naoko S 07-12-99 17
                             RE: some general thoughts Daisy 11-12-99 24
                             RE: some general thoughts jonathan 07-12-99 18
                             RE: some general thoughts Bruce Madmin 07-12-99 19
                             RE: some general thoughts p.s.stammers 07-12-99 21
                             RE: some general thoughts alison 09-12-99 23
                             RE: Design - we need it! Eugene Merrett 06-12-99 12

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Eugene

03-12-99, 10:32 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #0
 
   On watching the ROH video I did not care too much for Ballet Imperial. It was more the sets and costume that were offputting.

In New York they renamed in Tchaikovsky 2 Piano Concerto and made the costumes and sets as simple as possible. This removed the rather decadent and effete ambience of this ballet. Lets hope the RB do likewise if and when they revised this ballet.


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Jane S

04-12-99, 03:38 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #1
 
   Been there, done that...the RB danced Ballet Imperial as Piano Concerto #2 in the 70s, but only for a very few performances, and they went back to Ballet Imperial for the next revival in the 80s. I'd be surprised if they changed their minds again.


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Eugene Merrett

04-12-99, 04:09 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #2
 
   That sounds like Dowell's handiwork. He is far too concerned about design and sets.


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Bruce Madmin

04-12-99, 05:23 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #3
 
   Cough.. splutter... rage....

Design matters!

It enhances all our lives and is not some kind of afterthought or option. Oh that more people thought about what is on stage and the best way to present it.

Its just like orchestras can't be thought of as great if their brass sections can't play the right bloody notes...

(sorry for that everybody - we all explode from time to time!)


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Jane S

04-12-99, 05:42 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #4
 
   The 1985 revival was in Norman Morrice's time, but Dowell was the Assistant AD so might have influenced the decision. Certainly the last revival (1993) describes the decor as 'Berman realised by Anthony Dowell' - i.e. he'd gone back to the original RB designs from 1950, a sensible decision as no-one much liked any of the 3 intervening versions. Personally I like it much better with a proper set and costumes - it was written as tribute to Petipa and the Maryinsky and in my view (though not Balanchine's evidently!) it comes over much better in a suitably 'imperial' setting.

I don't usually share Dowell's taste in decor, and often find his productions terribly over-elaborate, but I don't see how you can pay 'too much' attention to sets and costumes.


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Kate R

04-12-99, 08:31 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #5
 
   I have to say Eugene, that having also seen Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 in New York, it was a relief to see the piece in its original form. I find the the Royal's costumes much more in keeping with the stature of the music and the choreography. Stripping away the tutus made it vin ordinaire and only exposed the inadequacies of the dancers.


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eugene merrett

04-12-99, 09:20 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Opening Celebration II"
In response to message #6
 
   What I mean to say is that Dowell focuses so much on design that they become over-elaborate and dominate the dancers. Best example is his Swan Lake.

What I like about NYCB later productions is they strip out all this design so nothing is taken away viewing the dancers. They have a pristine clarity which I like so much. When it comes to ballet I think too little disign is better then too much. I think this is best illustrated in the later productions of Symphony in C and the original designs as performed the Kirov a few years back.

Occasionally design can greatly enhance a ballet such Symphonic Variations and Petruska.


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Bruce Madmin

05-12-99, 08:54 AM (GMT)
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8. "Design - we need it!"
In response to message #7
 
  
I don't think you perhaps have the correct view on what design is - sorry for the bold statement.

What I think I read is that for you design is almost seen as synonymous with ornamentation and over elaboration (and these you don't like). But of itself that's not design. Its very possible for designers to strip things right back - I've always been amazed by the sets for Appalachian Spring for example.

Design is about thinking of the best way to present something, be it ever so simple or complex.

To me its entirely wrong to say that occasionally design can greatly enhance a ballet. Design should enhance *everything* and if we live in a dull world at times its because too little attention is paid to the design of it.


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Stephanie

05-12-99, 01:16 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #8
 
   Was anyone there last night? Once again it was a super evening - I would say even better atmosphere than Wednesday as the audience had a wonderful buzz about it.

Some general thoughts...

Darcey got a bit over ambitious with her balances in Sleeping Beauty - and nearly lost it!! Although she did do a great one right at the end of the piece.

Birthday Offering - On Wed the men really didn't seem together - but last night they were much better - much more gusto too.

La Fille - is it just be or does Page make this dance REALLY boring? Oh - and could anyone help me - what was the lady called who was in the blue dress??

Napoli - I feel quite sorry that this was picked at Kobborg's opening dance at the House. How dull for him...

where as Acosta looked fantastic in Le Corsaire. However, he doesn't have that arrogant quality that I think the solo (esp in a gala setting) needs.

Les Biches - I really didn't like this on Wednesday and found Yanowsky quite unpleasant to watch - however on a second viewing I found an elegance to her performance which was subtle and really quite captivating.

R&J - already drooled about this one - same applies - even more so because I've heard that Corella is also a v lovely man - ah bless - he can come a dance at my balcony any day!!

Raymonda - DULL - 'nuf said

Manon - Although I am a self professed Sylvie fan - she doesn't quite convince as being fraglie & dying. However, it was danced wonderfully - and it was great to see Jonathan looking so well.

Gloria - This blew me away - could anyone fill me in a little more with the story and what the characters were supposed to be??

Still Life - I would love to see the whole of this piec - I loved the music and thought that Liu was just super - what a dancer!! He gave it his all and may I add make a v convincing zebra!!

Bayadere - now was it just my imagination - or was he wearing nothing by a loin cloth type of thing and and lot of gold paint???

Mr Worldly Wise - not seen this bit before and I thought it was great! Really choreographed to bring out his Russian soul!! Is it just me or is he looking in better shape than Summer last year??

I would like to applaude Dowell for putting the evening together - I think it was beautifully thought out, v symbolic, and a fantastic tribute, not only to the company's heritage, but also hope for its future.


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Bruce Madmin

06-12-99, 02:41 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #9
 
   (Sorry to have missed you Stephanie! Here are my thoughts on a much watched Gala Bill....)

What bliss it was to be back in the People's Opera House...

Yes indeed the Opera House is now officially open and paying customers entered its portals for the first time on Saturday the 4th. It was the same Gala that was shown live on television on the 1st December and which resulted in many comments on our postings page.

The consensus view is that the Royal Ballet did incredibly well in the galas and the Opera looked much more ordinary - excellent singing and playing, if all rather dull and unlikely to win converts from the viewing millions. Ballet on the other hand looked progressive, diverse and above all entertaining...

The only concern was why the ballet was given the second part of the gala rather than the first as originally planned - rightly or wrongly the ballet side automatically suspect Opera plots in all such changes! Sadly years of seeing the ballet treated as second class have taken their toll and it will be a while before the promised parity of treatment is seen to be delivered and the message sinks in. As it happens I think the ballet were well-served going second on this occasion if only for the sake of the house overall, since ending with the opera part of the gala would have been rather a let down.

Despite the publicised problems with the stage, it's nice to report that the ROH to all intents and purposes looks finished and while there are still builders working on non-public spaces, it's not at all like it was at the Sadler's Wells opening. Given the massive spends involved I think they've done incredibly well.

All we need to do now is get on and enjoy it.... which brings me neatly, or not, to what the ballet performed. Given nearly everybody, in the UK at least, saw the programme performed on TV you will all have your own take. As ever though it made a palpable difference to be there and see it all live. Or it did to me anyway - I've never been so into videos or other mechanical aids to enjoyment!


1946 Sleeping Beauty. The lovely period designs by Oliver Messel were used. Bussell did some long balances, but I think she had to, given some hesitent princes. But she is more technically secure these days and can ride through anything with a smile.

But before we got to Darcey, Nicola Tranah did her Lilac Fairy and the thing I could not see on television, but was all too apparent in the flesh was that at first there was no scenery at all on stage and you could see the whole space to the side of the stage and behind. Even the word cavernous does not seem to do it justice.

Ballet Imperial. Nice for the corps to get some chances to impress and of course more great designs and in Ballet.co colours I note!

Birthday Offering - Mens dance. Inaki Urlezaga led this out and I'm increasingly warming to him. But... Yohei Sasaki was there and he moves with such ease and command I find myself constantly trying to figure out how he does it.

Napoli Mans's Solo. Kobborg. Repeat what I just said about Sasaki, but even more. He also partnered Miyako in the Raymonda Grand Pas as well. As a prince he follows the Cope mould rather than the Mukhamedov, and thats fine in my book.

Le Corsair solo - Carlos Acosta doing his impression of Rudolf Nureyev and a long way away from Kobborg in style and temperament. Acosta decided to go balls out for speed, perhaps at the expense of some elevation, but everybody was transfixed and his fleeting exit from the stage merely made everybody even more hungry for more.

Romeo and Juliet Balcony pdd. Viviana Durante and Angel Corella pleased many and of course it's MacMillan, it's Viv so its kind of duty bound to smoulder. Corella danced with much verve and speed - certainly faster than I've seen Romeo danced before and for many that seemed to signal a stronger urgency and passion than normal. But on a first sighting I thought it a bit unconvincing and the acting was not so strong. I enjoyed Yoshida and Cope more in this the week before (not that I wish to crow of course!).

Manon pdd. Guillem and Cope got the strongest applause of the evening for the swamp pdd. We all keep saying it, but it's so nice to see Cope well and dancing strongly. Guillem must be pleased as well. And because she dances with so few dancers everything locks together a treat in what is fiendishly difficult partnering. And Guillem takes big risks in her abandoned dancing, so secure is she in the knowledge that Cope will be there for her. It was the right piece for the night, but for Gala's I do like to see Guillem do a technical party piece, she is just beyond compare.

Gloria pdd. The find of the night in a way. I vaguely remember the Royal's last revival but somehow I never really warmed much to it. But on Saturday Leanne Benjamin and Christopher Saunders danced so well together. And the words about Guillem and Cope locking together equally apply here and there seemed to be no hesitation as they moved from one difficult embrace to the next.

Steptext. Deborah Bull in red swimsuit assisted by Adam Cooper. It's tough but thrilling stuff and they both let go of all classical inhibitions. Will Cooper ever come back?

La Bayadere, Bronze Idol. Corella again and very credible. But you can't get away from the fact that Teddy Kumakawa used to bring the house down in this and until somebody comes along so purpose designed for the role, it's perhaps best to leave it out of Galas.

Mr Wordly Wise. Last piece and Irek... and I do like much of Twyla Tharp's choreography. But regrettably Wordly Wise just does not compute for me, or indeed many others. If there had to be a least liked piece of the evening this was probably it.

There were many other memories including Bruce Sansom and Miyako Yoshida in Ashton's sublime Symphonic Variations, Christina McDermott in Massine's The Good Humoured Ladies and Zenaida Yanowsky as the edgy hostess in Les Biches. And Still Life was there too, a piece (along with Christopher Bruce's Swansong), that was a revelation to me about the subjects ballet and dance could cover.

The final tableau, of the entire company and school, I thought rather twee on TV, but somehow in the flesh and having seen 50 years of RB achievements and the passing on of batons from older dancers to younger, it all looked so right.

It also really emphasised to me how different are the traditions of ballet and opera. Hopefully in 25 year's time work will start on the new Dance House for the nation. Until then we have a damn fine place to make ballet and dance at all levels and I for one intend to get fully stuck in and consume a totally unfair proportion of the subsidy!


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Stephanie Wragg

06-12-99, 12:12 PM (GMT)
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11. "Gala Opening"
In response to message #10
 
   It's great to read all these impressions from viewers. The one major obervation I take away from it is that there seem to be no comments on Ashley Page's Fearful Symmetries. I think it confirms a past poll regarding overrated choreographers...I took advantage of the time to get a snack and fast forwarded through it when I watched the show again. His work is definitely not what I consider a highlight in the RB history..either he has a fabulous agent or has dirt on someone high up at the RB to keep him around, because I think his work is horrible.

It was interesting to see that no highlights were found between the excellent Gloria of 1980 and the excecrable 1988 work of Mr. Page. Further, I don't think Steptext is a highlight either, at least not with Bull dancing it.

Did anyone think some principals were underused? Too much Yoshida and not enough Wildor for example. I thought the Wildor-Sansom partnership shone again in that excerpt...I do hope they continue to be paired in the future.


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alison

06-12-99, 01:03 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Gala Opening"
In response to message #11
 
   Personally, I didn't feel that Symmetries, shorn of its sets, came over so well on TV.


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Anneliese

06-12-99, 07:08 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Gala Opening"
In response to message #11
 
   I enjoyed fearful symmetries! and agree with Bruce that the bronze idol didn't catch fire like it did with Teddy.


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Anneliese

08-12-99, 10:15 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Gala Opening"
In response to message #11
 
   I didn't think that the Month in the Country excerpt really allowed anyone to shine at all - Wildor somewhat wasted I think. On second viewing, perhaps Prince of the Pagodas wasn't so bad, but it's not really a gala pdd, is it? Many of the excerpts just didn't work out of context.


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Jane S

06-12-99, 01:19 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #10
 
   Did they do the Mistakes Waltz instead of Elite Syncopations? Did Dowell do his speech again? Where did you sit, and could you see?


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Bruce Madmin

06-12-99, 03:01 PM (GMT)
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15. "Stalls Circle Seasts"
In response to message #14
 
   We were in A14/15 on the Stalls Circle. A little of the stage is lost - just like before, but I would not have expected any difference given the horse shoe shape.

The bad thing though is that for some reason they have benches rather than seats now. I think the ideas was that you could swing around and hence see the stage from a more head-on position. However we, and all the people around us, would have much prefered seats.

I hope the Opera House do some surveys after a few months so that they can judge the effectivness of the new facilities and layout.

I also hope that we can share information like this, but can we please keep a sense of perspective and remind ourselves, and others, of all the good things at the ROH as well. I'd hate for us just to come over as a bunch of moaning minies with scare a good word. While I don't like the benches, hope they get changed at some point, there are so very many delightful new facilities of which we can all be justly proud.


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Stephanie

07-12-99, 12:05 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Stalls Circle Seasts"
In response to message #15
 
   I was working stalls circle, but was posted around the other side - What a shame I could have come and said hello!

Lovely words Bruce - I wish more people were as considerate as yourself!!


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Naoko S

07-12-99, 00:21 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #10
 
   I can't agree with you more about the comments on 'Bronze Idol'- but isn't it a bit extreme to propose banning the piece entirely from the gala repertoire!? Let them try!!

As many of you who were there may agree I found three principals -Sylvie, Viv & Carlos- simply outstood among others. Their strong stage presence, sophistication to its highest in each role was incomparable.

Nevertheless (and to my amazement), it was Darcy's 'Rose Adagio' which gave me the most moving moment. As Stephanie reported, she attempted a bold (long) balance with her third prince. Yes, she nearly fell over and I wouldn't call it a success but felt 'spirit' behind it should be much praised. It appeared it sprang from a pure intention of entertaining the audience who gathered for this special evening. And it also seemed to come naturally from her state of mind - how happy she was to see this day. Well she should, more than any one else - her dedication and contribution to RB for the past 2 and half years is undeniable. Here she's back on stage, looking cheerful and gorgeous as ever, enjoyed a challenge. I couldn't but admire this brave young lady.

Didn't anyone feel the same way too? Maybe I was getting too sentimental over reopening of the House....


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Daisy

11-12-99, 08:56 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #17
 
   I thought the whole thing was rather moving.
Wasn't ANYONE up there with me .
Maybe the content wasn't to everyone's taste
but personally, as someone out in the sticks
who dosen't get to live performances at all often
the broadcast had me riveted !
Was Dowell dead nervous or was he about to
shed a tear on his opening speach .( Me thinks
many of you him no like . 'Tis a shame ? )
As for the Opera . They did themselves
no favours . Was this stupidity or good
old fashioned arrogance .
Well you could have wrung me out like a flannel
at the end !!!!!


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jonathan

07-12-99, 04:50 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #10
 
   >Le Corsair solo - Carlos Acosta doing his >impression of Rudolf Nureyev..>

It doesn't seem very gallant to imply that when someone is doing what they do well, they are merely doing an impression of one of yesterday's stars.


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Bruce Madmin

07-12-99, 08:08 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #18
 
   Bad choice of words perhaps - it was intended to convey the style/approach involved more than anything.


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p.s.stammers

07-12-99, 01:55 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #9
 
   Page makes it look dull and boring.
Try to see David Morse in the role when BRB next take Fille to London. Michael O'Hare also makes the role live.
It was not a good advert for a colourful and fun ballet


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alison

09-12-99, 01:29 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: some general thoughts"
In response to message #21
 
   No, I didn't like the Page interpretation either - or maybe it was just the way it was filmed.

BTW, I was talking to one of my bosses yesterday, and he thought the opera bit was very boring, but really liked the ballet bit, and said he might even try going for once!


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Eugene Merrett

06-12-99, 12:39 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Design - we need it!"
In response to message #8
 
   Interesting point regarding design and ornmentation.

As a great believer in the "total art work" concept one would thing that I put great emphasis on design.

But I do think that most of the time design has the EFFECT of ornmamention even thought the desinger may be more artistically ambitious.

I find this particularly in so the RBs new Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and of course ballet imperial. I am very sorry but I have yet to see just how the current RB desings for Ballet Imperial/Swan Lake etc enhance the choreography.

Moreover in ballet design can be distracting. It is the dancer that really matter and fussy costumes can take away from beauty of the movement. I think Swan Lake is the best example of this.


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