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Subject: "ARTHUR pt 1 " Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #730
Reading Topic #730
Phil Belfield

05-06-00, 03:54 PM (GMT)
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"ARTHUR pt 1 "
 
   I was quite shocked at the matinee of BRB's Arthur pt 1 on Saturday to see how sparsely attended the perfromance was. I know it was a glorious day and that perhaps their marketing wasn't up too much but it was so very empty that it felt a little sad (and not a bad show by any means - quite inventive and dramatic if a little narrative, rather than character-led at times). Was anyone there ??


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Shirley 05-06-00 1
     RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Phil Belfield 05-06-00 2
         RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Eugene 05-06-00 3
             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Bruce Wall 05-06-00 4
                 RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Pete 05-06-00 5
                     RE: ARTHUR pt 1 cf 06-06-00 6
                         RE: ARTHUR pt 1 eugene merrett 06-06-00 7
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 gerald dowler 06-06-00 8
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Bruce Madmin 06-06-00 9
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 cf 06-06-00 10
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Shirley 06-06-00 11
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Michael Llewellyn 07-06-00 12
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 Bruce Madmin 07-06-00 13
                             RE: ARTHUR pt 1 alison 07-06-00 14

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Shirley

05-06-00, 04:31 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #0
 
   Sorry wasn't there on Saturday but was on Friday night when it was also pretty empty. Heard all shows apart rom the triple bill have not sold well and the theatre has been quite empty!


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Phil Belfield

05-06-00, 05:10 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #1
 
   I am very surprised in many ways. Surely any company with the status and history of BRB premiering a new work in London would draw some sort of interested following. Is it because the reviews of the piece in Birmingham were mixed or is it something to do with the publicity (or lack of it)for the company and the season ? I just thought that a new full length ballet by an established international company/choreographer would attract some interest !!


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Eugene

05-06-00, 06:10 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #2
 
   How sad!

I remember the last time they were at the Royal Opera House they were packing them in!!


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Bruce Wall

05-06-00, 06:52 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #3
 
   I was there on Saturday at the mat. I thought the whole undertaking was entirely dispiriting. I noticed also that of those who were there a goodly number did not return after the interval. As the curtain came down, my empathy, I fear, began to turn in their favour. I'm pleased to hear that the triple bill is selling better. After the Giselle and the Arthur (can he really insist on doing 3 of these?) they are going to have to work double hard to restore at least my faith. It's willing, but not as fresh as it was at the beginning of last week.


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Pete

05-06-00, 09:52 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #4
 
   Also there for the matinee last Saturday, I thought the piece was an interesting if at times too dark interpretation. I know that the subject matter is hardly Carry-On but in particular the lighting immediately gave the ballet a dull monotone feel. I was however most impressed by the costume and set design, glaringly apart from Morgan's incestuous offspring which was more Roswellesque than grotesque and raised a few titters from the apparently diminishing audience.

I must admit that I did not notice the non-return of patrons after the 1st act (65 mins!) but we were near the front of the stalls. On the whole though I enjoyed Arthur Pt 1. The dancing & dramatic interpretation of the roles was excellent and it's a great pity that such a talented company as the BRB could only fill the house to around 10% capacity. Things can only get better....


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cf

06-06-00, 10:18 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #5
 
   'He decided that the ballet needed revitalising but his unconventional ideas were not appreciated and he was obliged to go to France to mount the new ballets which fired his imagination.'

'Odd to recall that Diaghilev had lost his shirt with a grandiose staging in London, which was meant to run for years and lasted three months.'

- taken from Jim Fowler's website on Diaghilev


It seems that history is repeating itself. The attacks by London critics on David Bintely (and the BRB company) cannot be described as 'constructive criticism'. Give him space....



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eugene merrett

06-06-00, 12:11 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #6
 
   Given that the poor box office returns will put Arthur part 2 in jeapady I think Bintley should rework Part 1 to make it more receptive to the critcs.

I have not seen it yet but I would say that the comment made that it has little dancing in it it a real turn off for me!


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gerald dowler

06-06-00, 03:31 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #7
 
   Monday night at the ROH was between 25%-35% sold. Very depressing.
Arthur was acceptable if you went looking for a dansical, but should be on at Drury Lane with coach parties. To call it a ballet is going too far: I was often bored and whiled away the passing hours looking for the next quotation or was it homage to other choreographers (de Valois, Fokine, Ashton, Macmillan etc..). Bintley has never been much liked in London and in fact has never had a success here. Bad press, appalling word of mouth, the fact that BRB are essentially strangers to London, that their repertoire is decidedly low-brow and that they were stupidly sold in the same booking period as the Kirov and the Royal all combined to make this season a flop. A great shame and one for whom certain individuals need to take responsibility....


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Bruce Madmin

06-06-00, 04:31 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #8
 
   >Monday night at the ROH was between
>25%-35% sold. Very depressing. Arthur
>was acceptable if you went looking
>for a dansical, but should be
>on at Drury Lane with coach
>parties.

I long for the day when the ROH manages to attract coach parties - then at last it can lay claim to representing the nation, instead of just costing the nation. Coming out of the ROH to a sea of chaufer driven limos is one of the more depressing sights for the subsidised arts in the UK.

I certainly don't like Arthur - it is one of Bintley's worst. But overall I think Bintley and BRB often manages to make high art meaningful to the ordinary public in a way that has often defeated RB. The new Opera House certainly is a little more egalitarian, but I think it still has a fair way to go in attracting an audience that represents the nation in the way its funding does.


> To call it a
>ballet is going too far: I
>was often bored and whiled away
>the passing hours looking for the
>next quotation or was it homage
>to other choreographers (de Valois, Fokine,
>Ashton, Macmillan etc..). Bintley has
>never been much liked in London
>and in fact has never had
>a success here.

The BRB season prior to closure I think was a great success and many enjoyed the triple bill that was put on - Nutcracker Sweeties etc. Penquin Cafe is always remembered. And when he was working elswhere good things came.

Why he was effectively forced out out of RB I cannot comprehend - those who have created new works since cannot be said to have come anywhere near Bintley's overall contribution to British ballet


> Bad press,
>appalling word of mouth, the fact
>that BRB are essentially strangers to
>London, that their repertoire is decidedly
>low-brow

I don't think they are low-brow at all. They are trying a few new things though and that means that not everything is a success. But they have also done much to remember British ballet and Ashton in particular.


> and that they were stupidly
>sold in the same booking period
>as the Kirov and the Royal
>all combined to make this season
>a flop. A great shame
>and one for whom certain individuals
>need to take responsibility....



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cf

06-06-00, 04:32 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #8
 
   Ismene Brown 27 January 2000
'It's the North-South divide: Birmingham Royal Ballet and Northern Ballet Theatre, like crusaders for realism, have been relentlessly mounting the narrative challenge to the abstract hegemony of London with a torrent of full-lenghters.'

Is this public hanging necessary? - or is it the old 'NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE' as referred to by Ismenie. I don't like everything Bintley does, but I do go to see his work with an open mind.


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Shirley

06-06-00, 05:27 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #10
 
   I usually like Bintley's work but as I had not read the detailed programme notes before I couldn't understand most of it! I usually like the dance to tell the story or at least the gist of it instead of having to read up before I see it!

I don't think having the same people involved in the set, costume and music as Edward helped either.

I think Bintley needs to move on as he has more to offer than leather trousers and dark sets!


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Michael Llewellyn

07-06-00, 02:52 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #11
 
   I think the choice of rep was unwise, given that there are forthcoming RB Giselles with the best extant production and that Arthur was not well received at the Birmingham premiere by the critics - it isn't a LOndon problem, as he has a very loyal audience - myself included, who will never forget the triumphant and tremendous first nights of ballets like Hobson, Cyrano, Allegri Diversi, Tombeaux et al. I am glad to have seen Arthur .I think many of the smallish audience on Monday found it grim overall and too repetitive - just as well the set and lighting and the score are so good. If almost all the scenes were cut in half it would be much more exciting. The chief failure for me is that Bintley fails to generate enough interest in Arthur himself - very diferent from Edward - and this for me needs the most work if Part II is to come off. Maybe one 3 act evening would be better? I wish that BRB had brought the Ashton programmes - or at least the Pigeons programme to ROH instead of Giselle. Neither Ashton programme seems to have London dates - Sadlers Wells please note - I am certain they would sell out.


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Bruce Madmin

07-06-00, 08:30 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #12
 
   I don't think its a London problem either. And it would be nice to see the Ashton programmes too. They are touring them around the country in the autumn and I hope next spring they come to London. It would be nice to see BRB do seasons at Sadler's and the ROH - it would give them more flexibility on repertoire.


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alison

07-06-00, 01:07 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: ARTHUR pt 1 "
In response to message #13
 
   I have to admit, I too was thinking that if the Ashton programmes were on there was no way that the House would have been anything like so empty. I feel very disappointed generally with BRB that London doesn't get to see their most interesting programmes - we maybe get only 50% of their yearly output, and it's frequently the supposedly more "popular" stuff (with the exception of their Swan Lake, which hasn't been seen here for 10 years, and which I, for one, would actually appreciate seeing again rather than productions by various other companies). As others have said, I suspect people are saving their pennies for the Kirov (do I detect signs that the Royal's season is selling rather more slowly than might be expected as well?). I was very disappointed with the lack of actual *dance* in Arthur - with the exception of that nice solo for Arthur towards the end of Act One, and thought there was far too much cramming in of action and too little development of character throughout.

BTW, one of my friends went to the Saturday matinee and said that she saw people going in on tickets from the half-price booth in Leicester Square - I think this has to be a first for the ROH.


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