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Subject: "Coppelia on TV" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #530
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Alun

19-02-00, 09:57 PM (GMT)
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"Coppelia on TV"
 
   Who was responsible for the execrable interval fillers tonight?

Is the BBC to blame for the supercilious, patronising Tots TV approach in the first interval, where even Blue Peter viewers would have felt dumbed-down?

In the second interval, only the RB can only be to blame that a complete outsider (Simon Callow) and what they might consider a "downmarket rival" (Matthew Bourne) showed more balletic erudition than the RB's music director, who showed startling ignorance not only of the RB's own repertoire but also of other choreography, music and dance forms which are household words to anyone in the dance world who has passed puberty.

That the most expensive and (perhaps mistakenly) most highly-regarded artistic estblishment in this country should have reduced the balletic repertoire to a pot-pourri of tunes hacked out with the dismissive sentimentality of a hotel-lobby cocktail-pianist in a quiz less challenging than Countdown or 15 to 1 at prime time on a Saturday night makes me want to emigrate.

Both Carlos Acosta (Cuban) and Leanne Benjamin (Australian) were stunning in the ballet itself. If only Havana and Melbourne had had any part in the bits in between.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Coppelia on TV Dame Blandine 19-02-00 1
     RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 20-02-00 4
  RE: Coppelia on TV Nicola 19-02-00 2
     RE: Coppelia on TV Eugene 19-02-00 3
  RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 20-02-00 5
     RE: Coppelia on TV Ann Williams 20-02-00 6
         RE: Coppelia on TV Ann Williams 20-02-00 7
         RE: Coppelia on TV jonathan 20-02-00 8
             RE: Coppelia on TV Ann Welsh 20-02-00 9
                 RE: Coppelia on TV Shirley 20-02-00 10
                     RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 20-02-00 11
             RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 20-02-00 12
                 RE: Coppelia on TV Stephanie 20-02-00 13
                     RE: Coppelia on TV Eugene Merrett 20-02-00 14
                         RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 20-02-00 15
                             RE: Coppelia on TV jonathan 20-02-00 17
                     RE: Coppelia on TV Jim 20-02-00 16
                         RE: Coppelia on TV jonathan 20-02-00 18
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Eugene Merrett 20-02-00 19
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 20-02-00 20
                             RE: Coppelia on TV jonathan 21-02-00 21
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Bruce Madmin 21-02-00 22
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Eugene Merrett 21-02-00 23
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Stuart Sweeney 21-02-00 24
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Anneliese 21-02-00 25
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Vera 21-02-00 26
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Carly Gillies 29-02-00 27
                             RE: Coppelia on TV alison 04-03-00 28
                             RE: Coppelia on TV Anneliese 04-03-00 29

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Dame Blandine

19-02-00, 10:25 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #0
 
   I quite agree with all you have said Alun. What vexes me - and my copyright lawyers - is that the BBC could have had the audacity to imitate my own tabloid organ on national television. A visit to http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_98/nov98/First Page.htm will show that not only had the BBC copied my own design for dance, but singularly failed to captivate the public in the way that I and my staff have continued to do in the last 5 years.

As upset as I am, I believe that the Royal Opera House has considerable contingency funds for such occasions, and I am in a sense looking forward to the rich rewards which I shall reap from such an open and shut case of plagiarism.



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Bruce Madmin

20-02-00, 00:45 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #1
 
   Dame Blandine - as ever how right you are and I'm sure that MK is writing the cheque out even as I type.

I'm mortified however to see that some slip of HTML has happened and that your page was not displaying as it should. Now all corrected and here is the new URL:

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_98/nov98/first_page.htm


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Nicola

19-02-00, 10:31 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #0
 
   I must be a tot - I actually enjoyed the fillers - but then I am a sci-fi freak in between being a ballet freak so maybe maybe that's why I enjoyed the first filler especially.

Anyway, I loved the ballet and only wished the RB had revived it sooner - just think of the dancers we have missed dancing in it!!! - Lesley Collier would top my list of might have beens

I just hope there are many more broadcasts from Covent Garden.


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Eugene

19-02-00, 11:14 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #2
 
   I agree that the long first intermission with it filler about robots was a bit silly.

I was taken aback by how little the RB music director new about ballet. The question about Red Rooster was a real shocker. This was not a very good PR move.


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Bruce Madmin

20-02-00, 01:01 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #0
 
   I think you are too hard - the fillers didn't do so much for me either, but this is TV for the nation, not those just into ballet as we all are.

For myself I think it's right to try new ways of making ballet relevent - after all the old ways havn't worked so well.

However I too was surprised by how little Quinn appeared to know about dance. As many have noted she seldom looks at the dancers on stage either... Perhaps she might do better going back to something she likes - such as ordinary conducting.


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Ann Williams

20-02-00, 08:35 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #5
 
   I also think you're being a little hard re the interval fillers. Admittedly they were an odd mixture, but not uninteresting. And I'd agree that the panel's ignorance was surprising. However. the main point was the ballet itself, and I personally found it very disappointing. Given that Coppelia is a slight offering anyway, I found that the RB's restored version looked unnecessarily silly and dull. Partly this is down to Osbert Sitwell's now dated sets and clumsy costumes, but sadly it is mostly down to de Valois' undistinguished choreography which sparked only to life in Act III with lovely solos for Mara Galazzi and Zenaida Yanowsky and a beautiful pdd for Benjamin ad Acosts (a last-minute pairing which worked beautifully). Luke Heydon's sly, doddery and touching Coppelius was a delight.

Good to hear that we'll be getting ABT's 'Corsair' on BBC2 next Sunday. That's much more likely to turn the general public on to ballet than this 'Coppelia'.


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Ann Williams

20-02-00, 09:57 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #6
 
   OOps! Got the designer wrong - it was Osbert Lancaster, not Osbert Sitwell....

Apologies, Mr. Sitwell, wherever you are.


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jonathan

20-02-00, 10:19 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #6
 
   I thought the fillers were mildly interesting, but my word, did it take a long time to get a small piece of information across. All those lingering shots of Deborah Bull paying her admission fee to the mechanical toy museum in Covent Garden, turning spindles and being followed by robots only restated what had been indicated in mime in a matter of seconds at the beginning of the ballet.

Yes, it's TV for the nation, not ballet freaks, but give the nation some credit; you wouldn't have watched up to the end of the first act unless you could make some sense of the form and content.

Janet Street-Porter's series on cathedrals contained much more complex historical and analytical detail per minute than this did. The fact that Swanhilda had for years been performed en travestie was only deemed digestible when it became the answer to a celebrity quiz in the mould of "They Think it's all Over".

I would loved to have seen an interview with Matthew Bourne, asking what he thought of the production and how he might update it; to have heard someone better acquainted with ballet music than Andrea Quinn talk about the score of Coppelia; to have compared different productions and their interpretations of the various roles.

What Alun doesn't mention is the complete lack of critical distance. We paid for this opera house, and we pay for our licence fee. A little odd then, that a member of the company is chosen to present the programme. How often does a manager with BT get to present a programme about telephones?


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Ann Welsh

20-02-00, 11:35 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #8
 
   I must admit to being disappointed in this version. There was so little for Acosta to get his teeth into even though he has a lovely smile! I much preferred BRB's recent showing, but then again I saw it on stage. As for the fillers, the first was just plain daft, except for the glimpse of Yoshida in rehearsal which revealed how much we were missing. I enjoyed the quiz tho' just for the Quinn revelation.


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Shirley

20-02-00, 12:41 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #9
 
   Must admit I really enjoyed it but have only seen one other version (London City Ballet I think) once a long time ago!

Amazing how folks are complaining - I thought most of us would be glad to see Ballet on TV getting publicity and air time as we normally complain about not seeng any on TV apart from Xmas and the Summer season they do on the BBC!

One concern however is the injury to Yoshida - she seems to be getting injured quite a bit in the past few years!


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Bruce Madmin

20-02-00, 01:54 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #10
 
  
>Amazing how folks are complaining - I
>thought most of us would be
>glad to see Ballet on TV
>getting publicity and air time as
>we normally complain about not seeng
>any on TV apart from Xmas
>and the Summer season they do
>on the BBC!

That's what concerns me - we must seem a right load of moaning minies at times. There were things to criticise but lets all be thankfull that 3 hours of primetime was devoted to dance and that a major piece by de Valois is not lost. We have so much to be thankful for at times.

>One concern however is the injury to
>Yoshida - she seems to be
>getting injured quite a bit in
>the past few years!

I hope it's not her back again - she was off for months last time I think.


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Bruce Madmin

20-02-00, 02:01 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #8
 
  
>What Alun doesn't mention is the complete
>lack of critical distance. We
>paid for this opera house, and
>we pay for our licence fee.
> A little odd then, that
>a member of the company is
>chosen to present the programme.
>How often does a manager with
>BT get to present a programme
>about telephones?

I think Dame Blandine should host such events in the future. While clearly part of the dance establishment she has a certain independence of spirit.... Indeed in the hunt for a new RB Artistic Director, the ROH search party could do no better I feel.



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Stephanie

20-02-00, 02:45 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #12
 
   Bruce - you are very right - either we are moaning because there is no ballet on and when there is we have to moan about the unimportant bits (ie NON DANCING).
I for one have found it a joy working nights when Coppelia has been on. I thought that Leanne and Carlos were super together (it was a back injury that took out Yoshida). I agree that the sets are out dated - but I think that is the joy of them. It is such a sweet ballet and I don't think there was anything deep to it - everything was just supposed to be pretty and pleasing.

However, maybe it is because it has been programmed just after the McMillan bill, but I really don't think there is any greatness to de Valois's choregraphy, especailly in the pas de deux which always seemed a little awkward.

Luke Heydon I feel was just fantastic - he always give that role much more than anyone else and the audience find it highly rewarding.

However - THE most important thing is did you enjoy the flying daffs at the curtain calls?? That was me!!


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Eugene Merrett

20-02-00, 04:35 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #13
 
   I agree that too much is said about the intermissions. Uninspiring as they may have been it is the ballet that counts.

I still think Bintley's production is the best. But I should say that I have only seen Bintley's on video whilst Da Valois and Hynd's I have seen live.

Da Valois developes the drama further then other roles particular in Act 2. In fact I find the long scene where Swanilda is terrified to confront the puppet is too long and a bit silly.

I did like the sets although their simplicity take away from the fairly tale atmosphere. It is definitely a poorer area of "balletland".


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Bruce Madmin

20-02-00, 05:57 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #14
 
   >I still think Bintley's production is the
>best. But I should say
>that I have only seen Bintley's
>on video whilst Da Valois and
>Hynd's I have seen live.

I don't think Bintley has ever produced a Coppelia.

The current BRB Coppelia production is by Peter Wright surely.



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jonathan

20-02-00, 07:34 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #15
 
   Amazed at how folks are complaining? How often do you hear "it's just too little too late" about everything from pensioners' heating allowances to gay TV programming. The same should apply to ballet programming. It's about bloody time the BBC put some mainstream theatrical entertainment on TV.

I was completely unsurprised that when I rang my parents on Saturday night to find out what was on telly, they were watching Coppelia. It's what used to be called entertainment. My grandfather, an RSPCA inspector, introduced me to the music of Coppelia when I was eight. My parents have probably seen three productions of it without even being ballet fans. It's what you do on a night out in Bournemouth.

For the money that has been spent on reconstructing the opera house, and for what we spend on licence fees, we deserve to see a performance a week on telly - we shouldn't have to feel grateful. Otherwise, who on earth is it all for?


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Jim

20-02-00, 07:29 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #13
 
   >It is such a sweet ballet and I
>don't think there was anything deep
>to it - everything was just
>supposed to be pretty and pleasing.

However, I wonder what today's public would think of a gang of thugs mugging an old man in the street? Surely they would be arrested for assault? I think there should be devised an alternative way to haveDr Coppélius drop his key.

I thought Leanne was fabulous. Just think how good Sylvie would be!!!


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jonathan

20-02-00, 07:36 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #16
 
   My friend and I wondered why Coppelius was portrayed as a Jew. A small point but....


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Eugene Merrett

20-02-00, 08:43 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #18
 
   Jonathanm wait till the technology arrives that allows live pictures of broadcast quality to be done on the internet. When that comes I think you see far more performances available on the screen - albeit a computer screen

Then there would be no need to worry about other programes competing for TV air time.

I think there will come a time when every performance will be televised for subscribers or pay per view. The only cost will be the camera cost etc.


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Bruce Madmin

20-02-00, 08:59 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #19
 
   God spare us!

As I sat watching it on TV last night I kept thinking how poor it was to being there and seeing it all live - and then went back to reading the paper.

There is some benefit in making performances more widely available, but there is far less magic in it. Seeing one of the small touring Russian companies live is more enjoyable - to me - than seeing great dancers crammed onto the box with zippo atmosphere.


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jonathan

21-02-00, 07:10 AM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #20
 
   I agree, but access to live performances is dependant on you being near a theatre, mobile, healthy and affluent. I couldn't afford to go and see the Moscow whatever it was ballet in Wimbledon in January. In WIMBLEDON!

Eugene seems to have missed my point anyway - which we have a democratic right to see some live broadcasts considering how much of our money goes into the BBC and the ROH.


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Bruce Madmin

21-02-00, 08:19 AM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #21
 
   What really scares me is that if we don't watch it there will be a move away from live performance and onto syndicated TV and Web distribution.

While people will pay less (or they should), the numbers involved, before too long, will make it very attractive to companies. They can also say that they are offering open access as well and get a tick in the relevant arts council and government boxs. It's not the same, its not so good, and at all costs we must make sure that we don't loose live performances to the small box


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Eugene Merrett

21-02-00, 12:39 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #22
 
   But one advantage would be that would be more variety. Other companies in other countries could distribute their work more easily. It might encourage more diversity.

Anyhow we cannot stop modern progress. My view in life is that (broadly) all technoligical advancements are for the better.


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Stuart Sweeney

21-02-00, 03:18 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #22
 
   I don't see any prospect of Bruce's nightmare scenario of a move from live performance to televised and web slots. It is a difficult and taxing business to film dance moderately well, even with someone as good as Ross MacGibbon. Thus, such programmes will never replace live performance in my view.

What they can do is give the chance to see work that is rarely performed in ths country such as the forthcoming ABT 'Corsaire'. I really, really wish that there was a video commercially available of 'The Green Table'. In addition, when I stay in Germany with friends, I look forward to seing Stuttgart and other companies on the TV, which seems a much more frequent event there.

We may well see more filmed performances with the advent of new technology, but I see this as a good thing, given that it is so difficult to persuade newcomers to venture to see dance.

Turning back to the RB 'Coppelia', I enjoyed the 1st interval filler and felt that having a greater knowledge of the origins and developments of mechanical dolls added to my interest in Act II. However, the quiz was dire and I would have preferred a simple talking heads session with any of those assembled.

Benjamin, Acosta and Heydon did the Company proud and I preferred the sets to the perfectly decent ENB ones. After all, it is only a comic book story.


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Anneliese

21-02-00, 06:09 PM (GMT)
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25. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #18
 
   I thought he was portrayed as a welshman (remember Pricey from Please Sir?)


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Vera

21-02-00, 08:57 PM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #25
 
   Stuart, I hope you won't be disappointed about German TV and their coverage of the national companies. The last full-length ballet transmitted from Stuttgart was 'Giselle and the Wili', which was about 1994, and the only full-length ballet from Hamburg I can remember was Lady of the Camellias, which wasn't live and it was a couple of years before. On 'arte' we get sometimes performances from Paris or Milan. Most balletic performances on TV are documentaries or things we have seen times and again. In fact, I am very envious of the British TV audience for the number of performances you get.


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Carly Gillies

29-02-00, 12:14 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #26
 
   I thought the 1st interval filler - the historical bit about late 19th century interest in automata - was informative and diverting, even if extremely long winded.
Coppelia is, afterall, a part of Ballet's heritage, and a historical context is relevant. Indeed though it is an often charming ballet, parts of it are also rather silly, and I doubt all that posturing would bear critical scrutiny in a modern ballet. ( And at least no-one tried a psychological analysis of all that dodgy symbolism ! )
If we are to have televised live performances ( and I hope we have many more ) intervals will be part of it.
We could all have chosen to turn the tele off for 20 minutes, poured ourselves a drink, and queued outside our bathroom doors instead.


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alison

04-03-00, 02:49 PM (GMT)
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28. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #27
 
   A bit late, I realise, since I've been away, but here are some extra thoughts in brief:

I thought it looked rather better on TV than it did from my seat in the rear amphi;

A friend of mine, who doesn't usually watch ballet, turned it on, stayed tuned in, and absolutely loved it! A new convert, I hope.

I was rather worried about the quiz, firstly for Andrea Quinn's lack of knowledge of the subject, but more importantly because I felt it would appeal really only to those with a serious interest in ballet, and therefore risk *reinforcing* the "elitist" tag which I had hoped would be removed by a live transmission of such a populist work.


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Anneliese

04-03-00, 06:06 PM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Coppelia on TV"
In response to message #28
 
   Actually, re. Le Corsaire - what a load of rubbish! Makes Bayadere look like high art! But worth seeing for the men, anyway. Quite something, all of them - Corella's solos were, as the lovely Darcey would say, phenom, and the Russian - Malakov, was it? - was something else too! Julie Kent did the best fouettes I have ever seen anywhere. But the women did not impress me, on the whole - except Paloma Herrera, who I thought had a style that would work in the Royal. I don't know what it was about them - the style just didn't appeal, their technique was fine, but they weren't neat enough for me. Perhaps, like Eugene, I prefer short dancers!


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