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  1. Thanks for all of the reports! Marston appears to be the “full-length, audience-pleasing choreographer” of the moment. I look forward to seeing my first full-length Marston ballet at ABT...soon!
  2. Thanks for the fascinating clip of 1987. Funny thing...I don’t recall having seen the very last sequence (ending in hug) at the Sarasota performances. I *do* recall the sequence of lift-throws in which the woman turns in the air. Gomes, throwing Hulland, was far more impressive. Of course, that was actual performance. Maybe Schaufuss was stronger in actual performance.
  3. The problem was not dancing talents or acting ability. Hard to state without being unkind. The story demands that the Fonteyn character possess certain classic features. Not that Makarova wasn’t beautiful in her own unique way.
  4. One more interesting tidbit from my viewings in Sarasota: Yes, there is a “Fred Step” segment in APPARITIONS. It’s danced by the female lead during her solo in the ballroom. As the troupe’s Marketing head explained to me, Sir Fred added this for Makarova, in the 1987 version. So Dame Margot never danced this particular Fred Step...only Makarova and the two Sarasota ballerinas.
  5. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head: the need for extraordinary personalities - plus the right physiques & “aura” - in the two leading roles. Now back in my home, I’m thinking, “What if anybody BUT Marcelo would’ve danced the Poet? I cannot imagine. (Marcelo danced all three performances, subbing for the indisposed Ricardo Graziano at the matinee.) Just thinking...who else is such an enormous charismatic personality, a bit older but still with stellar technique (fleet Ashtonian footwork, quick double tours alternating in direction, expert partnering, etc.)? Maybe Carlos Acosta...a couple of years ago? Who else could do it now? For the Fonteyn role, Hulland certainly brought the glamourous look, pliant back, etc. & 2nd cast Danielle Brown was lovely but...I’m hoping to someday see someone who looks and moves like Fonteyn in the role. Having just seen the Washington Ballet’s amazing Katherine Barkman as Aurora in SB...with her raven hair, porcelain skin, Fonteyn proportions and, especially, use of her EYES just like Fonteyn...excuse me for dreaming a bit.
  6. Fonty, it’s definitely well worth the trip. Let’s see if APPARITIONS will be programmed for the 2019/20 season...either in the US or the UK. This is too substantial and important a production to be shelved. In my report, I failed to mention a vital contribution to its success: the excellent sound of the Sarasota Orchestra in the pit, conducted by Ormsby Wilkins. They truly did justice to the Liszt-Jacob score, as arranged by Lambert. Also, kudos to Doug Nicholson of BRB, who oversaw the team that brought to life the gorgeous Beaton designs. Bravo tutti! My only complaint - and I realize that I am overly sensitive on this: the order of the double bill. Ending the night with the rousing (bombastic?) STARS & STRIPES somewhat stole the thunder from what (to me) should have been the standout ballet, APPARITIONS. But how can S&S be anything but a closer? I get it. That’s why, on the 3rd and final show on Saturday night, I walked out at intermission...to truly savour every step & note of APPARITIONS. No “Yankee Doodle” to eclipse the sublimity of the Ashton.
  7. Darlex, I was in Sarasota & started a thread to discuss the recon.
  8. I feel as if I've gone to Ballet Heaven and back, having just witnessed the revival of Sir Frederick Ashton's legendary 1936 ballet APPARITIONS, performed by the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, USA! A.D. Iain Webb, chief repetiteur Margaret Barbieri and the entire troupe have truly outdone themselves this time, breathing life into a ballet last seen in the late 1980s. For this eager balletomane, persistence has paid off. After having booked airline, hotel and theatre tickets for a weekend in April 2017, then being told that the production was cancelled to allow more time for proper preparation...APPARITIONS was back on two years later, for March 8-9, 2019. This fascinating romantic, neo-gothic work, depicts a tormented poet, seeking "L'Amour Supreme" in a drug-induced series of dreams, first to a bright ballrooms where hussars partner ladies in billowing pastel gowns, then to a desolate plain populated by a perky female corps of Belfry Spirits (think Stars from Ashton's Cinderella, with black/white romantic tutus and spiky white wigs), then a red Hades-like cave in which the Poet is tormented by a crimson-caped devilish crew. After the nightmares, our Poet stabs himself to death, whereby he is lifted by purple-clad monks, with his Amour Supreme leading the mourners. In the end, the Poet's lifted figure forms the top of a pyramid, surrounded by a very Nijinska-like grouping. Of course, Nijinska was very much an early inspiration for Ashton. So many echoes of Nijinska in this work! Guest artist Marcelo Gomes *is* The Poet - the role originated by Robert Helpman. What a role it is - on stage almost every moment of the 45-minute work - not only acting and partnering but dancing all-out (pirouettes in both directions, quick leaps, darting arabesques). This is a real tour de force, precisely for someone of Gomes' personality and abilities. His first cast Woman in a Ballgown (the Fonteyn role) was the icily glamorous blonde company prima Victoria Hulland. The corps has many opportunities to shine - the ballroom scene, the aforementioned Belfry Spirits, the devilish crowd in the cave - and shine they did. Kudos to Ashton repetiteur Grant Coyle for staging the work, with assistance from Ms Barbieri and several others. Ms. Jane Prichard of the Victoria and Albert Museum lent invaluable assistance with materials from the various editions of the ballet (1946 Sadlers Wells, 1949 ROH and 1987 London Festival Ballet, among others). Design and costume staff from the Birmingham Royal Ballet played a big part in making this production happen, so I would not be surprised if (fingers crossed!) England may eventually see it on its shores. It will definitely be worth the long wait. Finally, may I add - how very fitting that this revival was dedicated to the first "L'Amour Supreme" Dame Margot Fonteyn, whose 100th birthday anniversary is being celebrated this year. I've no doubt that Dame Margot is smiling from Ballet Heaven!
  9. I am so happy to read this news. Congratulations, Carlos! That said, I am sighing with relief that Iain Webb will remain in Sarasota. (Yippee, Skippy! Sorry!)
  10. Many of FLOSS’ Ashton wishes have been recently performed in the US, incl JAZZ CALENDAR (Sarasota, spring 2015) and CAPRIOL SUITE (NY Th. Ballet, 2016). In addition to APPARITIONS (March 2019), Sarasota is about to premiere its reconstruction of VARII CAPRICCI to the Walton score (late Jan 2019). https://www.sarasotaballet.org/events/2018-2019-season
  11. This link, via ARTE’s YouTube channel, is not geoblocked:
  12. Thanks for this. I’ll make a point of seeing ABT in Jane Eyre next spring.
  13. Belated reaction to having seen the cinemacast here in the US, in midsummer, which was the same performance as on television in the UK a few days ago. Divine cast, especially Vadim (line, technique, emotion), with a slew of great Soloists! Wonderful energy & precision from the corps. I can understand how everyone is so happy to finally have a new and more traditionally-designed production of SL. Scarlett’s staging is mostly felicitous. My only critique: I was a fan of R.J. Wiley’s historical touches to the old Dowell production, such as the incorporation of child swans in the 2nd scene, so I’m sad to have lost these...BUT those bits can now be enjoyed in Ratmanski’s reconstruction for Zurich (soon to Miami), so no tears need be shed.
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