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Found 14 results

  1. Paris Opera Ballet: Thanks, Bruce! I'm not sure what the geographic spread of these outside France is, but thought we should record it anyway.
  2. Melbourne: The Happy Prince - new Graeme Murphy - 19-26 March Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Wheeldon - 8-22 June LAC - Jean-Christophe Maillot - Les Ballets de Monte Carlo - 27 June-6 July Sylvia - Stanton Welch - 31 August-10 September The Nutcracker - Sir Peter Wright - 17-28 September Sydney: Verve - mixed bill of Stephen Baynes' Constant Variants, Alice Topp's Aurum, and Tim Harbour's Filigree and Shadow - 5-25 April The Happy Prince - 1-18 May Sylvia - 8-23 November The Nutcracker - 30 November-18 December Plus Alice in Brisbane 25 February-2 March and The Nutcracker in Adelaide 8-12 October. Plus Paris in July, and a mixed bill at the Joyce Theater in New York in late May, comprising Aurum, Unspoken Dialogues by Stephen Baynes, and a new Tim Harbour. Casting will be available on the company website approximately one week before each season opens. Allegedly. My brother and I have a joint subscription to Australian Ballet's Melbourne seasons. This means five nights over the period March-September. For 2017 it was $636 each for second-rank seats. For 2018 the exact same seats will cost us $812 each, which is $176 or (I think) a 27% increase. And for three of five shows we're further back than usual as they're removing the front two rows to accommodate a larger orchestra pit. Sadly all the cheaper seats are either way at the side (restricted view although they rarely admit it) or way up the back. Grrr 😡
  3. The Merry Widow is venerable in Australian Ballet terms. It was the first full length ballet comissioned by TAB in 1975, the gift ... it turned out to be the parting gift ... of Robert Helpman. (Helpman for me will always be the chivalrous, courteous and dignified Don Quixote of Nureyev's filmed production with TAB. Deluded, yes, but dignified. For me, no other Don Quixote comes near him.) But back to the Merry Widow. It's a glorious romp, Deceptively complex choreography (Ronald Hynd), sumptuously costumed, to great music (thank you John Lanchbery, who did a seamless job of rearranging Franz Lehar's music) and wonderfully danced. The night I attended, Hanna Glawari was danced by Kirsty Martin. Who? Oh, shame. Kirsty Martin turns out to be, not a principal dancer, but perhaps the principal dancer of TAB ten years ago. Retiring in 2011, she now teaches at the Australian Ballet's school, and came back for two performances of this ballet. Her return was facilitated by the fact that, although Marilyn Rowe was the first Hanna (and was repetiteur for the present production), Hanna's role was also designed with an aging Margot Fonteyn, who danced the role in the New York premiere in 1976, in mind. Together, seasoned principal Adam Bull and Martin gave us a couple by turns astonished, hurt, flirtatious and finally, recognizing their love. Leanne Stojmenov, as Valencienne and Andrew Killian, as Camille, were delightful, as was Colin Peasley as Valencienne's elderly husband. Colin first danced the husband's role at the premiere in 1975, and has danced it many many times since. Gives a whole new meaning to growing into a role. An amazing wealth of dance styles, from waltzes, polonaise, and mazurkas (why do mythical ballet kingdoms always get placed somewhere in eastern Europe? How about central Asia, for once? Great dances and no mazurkas) finishing with a great cancan (Chez Maximes) and a final delicious waltz which resolves everything and gives us a happy ending. I cannot tell a lie. I went along with no great expectations, and was completely won over. It may be fluff, but it's great fluff.
  4. When I found out that TAB was presenting a new version of Spartacus in 2018, I was not amused. Just what ballet needs right now: another gendered production with strong men performing unbelievable leaps while their female counterparts twirl decoratively with or without tutus. I was wrong. Lucas Jervies, the choreographer, states firmly (and accurately) in an interesting article in the Guardian (I've put the web address below), that gender did not feature at all in the choreography. Rather, he was exploring ways of making the Roman experience accessible to a contemporary audience. I found the work profoundly disturbing, and given the terrible nature of the story, and its resonances with the contemporary world (making the world of Rome accessible to audiences today), that's not surprising. But I'm not sure if I liked it or not. Things I really liked: the relationship between Spartacus and his wife, Flavia - an equal, caring, passionate relationship. The chemistry between Kevin Jackson (Spartacus) and Robyn Hendricks (Flavia) was palpable, as seen in a couple of beautiful pdd, tender, gentle and yearning. This relationship was contrasted with that between Crassus, the Roman general (Ty King-Wall), a man with no redeeming features, and his wife Tertulia (Amy Harris, who was made a principal at the end of the show). A much more conventional relationship: dominant man, submissive wife. It was this contrast that for me constituted the axis of the work. The fight scenes: beautifully choreographed. The costumes and sets (Jerome Kaplan), simple, stark, stripped back. The lighting (Benjamine Cisterne), evocative. And finally, the symbol of (Roman) victorious power - a clenched fist with the first digit raised heavenward. Very obvious, but strangly compelling, and giving the dancers an immediately comprehensible oppositional gesture as they struck down the raised finger again and again. This symbol dominates the first scene, a victory parade of captured prisoners, lead by lines of red flags flouished in unison: all too reminiscent of Hitler's celebrations, not to mention rallies in the Cultural Revolution. Things I did not like: Act 2 was set in Crassus's villa. A little too Satyricon for me. I lie. It was far too Satyricon for me. I felt the fell hand of Hollywood in the potrayal, and for me the imperative of story-telling overwhelmed the demands of ballet. A pity also that the debauched excesses of some of the later emperors have come to characterise the whole Roman era, including that of the late republic. Thanks, Hollywood. On re-reading this, it looks as if the reasons for liking the ballet, and seeing it again, far outweigh the reasons for not liking it, and from the balletic point of view, that is true. But I found the parallels with today's world (which were lightly drawn and which were probably mainly in my head), were strong enough to leave me feeling profoundly uncomfortable. So I'm not sure whether I will see it again when it comes to Sydney. *http://www.theguardian.com/the-australian-ballet-reimagined/2018/jul/05/casting-off-the-shackles-of-traditional-ballet
  5. If anyone is interested in seeing live the Australian Ballet's production of Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow, it is part of their July 2019 appearance in Les Étés de la Danse at La Seine Musicale. Performance dates 10-13 July. From 3-6 July they will be performing David McAllister's production of The Sleeping Beauty.
  6. It was a privilege and a pleasure to witness David Hallberg's return to the stage last night at the Sydney Opera House. Franz in Coppelia is a role he had never danced before and he danced it with his customary generosity, expansiveness and warmth. His time at the Bolshoi shows in his presentation and in the development of his musicality and phrasing. Not ideal casting but no one cared. A wonderfully attentive but earnest partner for the delightful Swanilda of Amber Scott, he was only limited by the tiny stage - one leap and he is in the wings. Clearly the rehabilitation has been long but successful and we can only hope that he can return to his former roles at both ABT and Bolshoi. Some excellent work from the men and women of the corps de ballet showing a unanimity of style often lacking in more important companies. Bravo David Hallberg!
  7. The drought is finally over. (I thought long and hard about using 'drought' because we have a very non-metaphorical drought, possibly the worst ever, that is bankrupting farmers, killing lifestock and starving wildlife, but I couldn't think of an appropriate alternative). So my metaphorical drought is over ... no live ballet since the beginning of May and even then, I've had to come to Melbourne for Giselle. This was my first live Giselle; I've seen many performances on DVD DVD, but never a live performance. And what a performance it was. David Hallberg (now TAB resident guest artist) gave us an interesting Albrecht, initially an aristocratic adolescent who has never come across the idea that actions have consequences. He starts with only seduction in mind, (hardly the first adolescent with this attitude). We see his increasing fascination with Leannne Stojmenov's sunny and open Giselle. At first confused and shy, she rapidly regains her confidence and sense of fun. Albrecht however is still mentally about 15. When Giselle shows him the necklace Bathilde (Natash Kusan) has given her, we see his horrified recognition of the gift before he pushes the thought away. Giselle is here and her friends like him so nothing to worry about. Once his deception is revealed and Giselle goes mad with grief, we see his appauled recognition that this is the consequence of his actions, and that, in spite of his high state, he cannot rectify the situation. Act 2 opens with a fore-screen (sorry, I don't know the proper word) behind which is a terrified Hilarion (Andrew Killian). Unfortunately the moon on the fore-screen does not correspond to the moon on the backdrop, resulting in two moons in the sky. Well might Hillarion be terrified. But for me, given that I was focussed on Albrecht, rather than Giselle, the principle interest of Act 2 relates to whether, and how, Albrecht continues the moral dvelopment begun so catastrophically in Act 1. And here is my one niggle with the performance. I remember seeing a Youtube clip of Baryshnikov as Albrecht as he retreats, under Giselle's protection, to the sanctuary of the cross. As he does so, he looks at Giselle, a look mixing astonishment, relief and guilt in equal parts. Astute psychology. Of course in Act 2, Albrecht is primarily concerned with staying alive, there is little room for moral development, but Baryshnikov showed how to do it. I would have liked something similar this time. Finally, however, Albrecht is left bereft, and all too aware of his responsibility. Great performances, Hallberg and Stojmenov especially. I loved the lightness that Stojmenov brought to Act 2, floating or flying across the stage and hovering protectively over Hallberg even as she was forced to urge him again and again to get up. Love and anguish, and then relief as the bell sounds, rapidly replaced by grief as she takes what she knows is the final farewell. The final conundrum relates to Giselle. Can you imagine her emerging again from her grave to harry other young men to their deaths? I can't. I am not even sure she was a real willie in the first place. But that's for another performance.
  8. Murphy. The Murphy in question is Graeme Murphy, who, together with his wife and creative associate, Janet Vernon, is perhaps the most influential Australian choreographer of the last 50 years. This production is a celebration of those 50 years, 31 of which saw him leading what became the Sydney Dance Company and establishing its presence as an internationally respected contemporary dance company. No evening can pay adequate respect to all aspects of Murphy's career, so Murphy focuses on extracts (mainly) from works originally created on/for the SDC, together with his full length Firebird, created in 2009 for the Australian Ballet. Extracts from well-known narrative works, such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker -The Story of Clara, being part of the current repertoire, are not included. Of the five extracts, or rather four extracts and one full length ballet which made up the first part of the program, I most enjoyed Air and Other Invisible Forces, which showed influences, particularly in the positioning of hands and feet, from the classical dance traditions of Thailand and Cambodia. Also Sheherazade, a beautifully sensuous ballet showing Murphy's interest in integrating dance and music on stage. Mezzo Soprano Victoria Lambourne sang Ravel's score on stage. For me, Firebird was the standout of the evening. While Murphy remained faithful to the original arc of the narrative, the action was entirely reconceived. On a stage dominated by a huge broken egg, Kostchei, in the form of a snake, and wonderfully danced by Brett Chynoweth, emerges from another half shell. Lana Jones was an unforgettable firebird, fierce, afraid, avenging. The narrative unfolds as it did in Fokine's original, the Tsarevich liberating the Tsarevna and her companions with the help of the Firebird. Kostchei is not however, completely defated, and as all are celebrating their rebirth, he shoots out from the broken egg, offering the Tsarevna an apple. Murphy's signature moves, his use of interesting lifts and unusual (for ballet) combinations of dancers made the evening, for me as a comparatively new ballet-watcher, an unforgettable one.
  9. Something to look forward to, depending of course on which cinemas are taking part: three Australian Ballet productions will be broadcast to 500 cinemas worldwide in October. The ballets are Ratmansky's redesigned Cinderella, David McAllister's jaw-droppingly lavish Sleeping Beauty and Peggy van Praagh's much-loved Coppelia. http://www.screendaily.com/news/cinemalive-partners-with-australian-ballet-on-trilogy-of-productions/5104519.article I'd happily pay to see all of them! I was on the verge of booking to see Cinderella at the London Coliseum next month when fate decreed that I'll be moving house on the only day I could have gone...
  10. Well, for anyone just back from the AB cinema broadcasts, here's your chance to discuss it. I wondered how Sleeping Beauty was going to come in at 2 1/2 hours - significant cuts to Acts II and III is the answer. The credits rolled through so quickly that I couldn't spot who all the dancers were, and there were no casts sheets: can anyone tell me who were Bluebird and Florine? I can probably guess if I go and haul this summer's programme out. And I'm guessing the fairy of musicality would have been the canary one?
  11. Wasn't sure at all that I would like the new direction story wise, aside from the clunky prologue, very much enjoyed and worth a visit. Music reworked in places to fit the new story of a princess bride losing her husband to his other love, black swan solo music brought forward to the first act to show her demise into madness, music from the lake making its first entrance at the end of act 1 as she is taken away to the sanitorium. Pas de trois incredibly emotive - bringing to life the realisation that there were 3 people in the marriage. Beautiful costumes, flowed in sync with the dancing and wedding dress of billowing fabric negotiated incredibly well by the dancers. Swan costumes looked feathery soft and light. Incredible costumes, wedding dress of billowing fabric - negotiated incredibly well by the dancers. Magical swan scene, beautiful staging, raised 'lake' at one point gave the impression that the swans had taken to the air. Faultless corps de ballet as both white swans and black swans in act 4. Amber Scott gave Odette elegance as well as emotional highs and lows with every movement. Didn't really understand the audience going wild for Adam Bull's performance - more so because male choreography overall was a little underwhelming.
  12. I meant to post this one some time ago, but then it got lost in my inbox, and I've only just retrieved it, so apologies for being so late: The Australian Ballet 13 - 23 July 2016 The Australian Ballet, Asia Pacific’s pre-eminent ballet company, makes a welcome return to the UK to perform Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella at the London Coliseum in July 2016. Shanghai Season - Thunder Storm Thunderstorm 11 - 14 August 2016 Thunderstorm is an award-winning modern opera about family, society and corruption in Old Shanghai. Zhou Puyuan is the head of a wealthy, successful and seemingly happy Shanghai household. But a storm is gathering… Shanghai Season - Echoes of Eternity Echoes of Eternity 17 - 21 August 2016 The Song of Everlasting Regret is a legendary poem in the canon of Chinese literature, a favourite from the 8th-century Tang dynasty. This year, it will be brought to life by the world-renowned Shanghai Ballet. Eifman Ballet – Up & Down 6 - 10 December 2016 Eifman Ballet returns to the London Coliseum this December with the UK premiere of Artistic Director Boris Eifman’s awe-inspiring ballet Up & Down featuring the invigorating music of George Gershwin, Franz Schubert and Alban Berg. Plus we already know about this from other sources: English National Ballet - The-Nutcracker The Nutcracker 17 December 2016 - 7 January 2017 Over 100 dancers and musicians bring The Nutcracker to life with exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious score played live. English National Ballet - Giselle Giselle 11 - 22 January 2017 Giselle is a haunting story of innocence and betrayal, a timeless tale about the redemptive power of love. (courtesy of Ticketmaster)
  13. I don't think that this has been mentioned elsewhere: Australian Ballet will be bringing Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake and Ratmansky's Cinderella to the Coliseum in July 2016.
  14. GLOBAL FIRST: FIVE WORLD-CLASS BALLET COMPANIES, ONE DAY OF LIVE STREAMING ON WEDNESDAY 1 OCTOBER www.roh.org.uk/worldballetday Australian Ballet | Bolshoi Ballet | The Royal Ballet | The National Ballet of Canada | San Francisco Ballet The first ever World Ballet Day will see an unprecedented collaboration between five of the world’s leading ballet companies. This online event will take place on Wednesday 1 October when each of the companies will stream live behind the scenes action from their rehearsal studios. Starting at the beginning of the dancers’ day, each of the five ballet companies – Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and San Francisco Ballet – will take the lead for a four hour period streaming live from their headquarters starting with the Australian Ballet in Melbourne. The live link then passes across time zones and cultures from Melbourne to Moscow to London to Toronto to San Francisco. The live streaming will take viewers on a journey into the rarely seen backstage lives of ballet dancers. This unusual access will throw a spot light on the differences in style between the five companies as they follow a very similar routine but approach choreography and performance in the ways that have made them unique on the world stage. Starting with morning class to warm up the body with different exercises, moving on to rehearsals for their upcoming performances the day will be a celebration of dance; the athleticism and unparalleled dedication of all those involved in creating a world-class ballet company. Viewers will be able to engage and interact with dancers, choreographers and coaches who live and breathe ballet every day of their working lives, asking questions throughout the day as well as having the opportunity to contribute by submitting a film of themselves doing a pirouette wherever they are in the world. These will be edited into a film celebrating the worldwide appeal of dance. The day’s streaming will be repeated on YouTube in full so that viewers around the world can catch up on any parts of the day they missed. Edited highlights will then be made available for further viewing. World Ballet Day is a development from Royal Ballet Live which was a nine-hour live streaming via YouTube and The Guardian website in March 2012. This unique event achieved 200,000 views of the live stream and repeat broadcast and a total of 2.5 million views of YouTube Royal Ballet Live material to date. It is, however, the first time that four of the five ballet companies are taking the cameras backstage to reveal the sweat and determination of these talented dancers. In another first, this collaboration is the first time that YouTube has streamed live more than nine hours of content. Full details of the unique day’s activities will be available in due course. Highlights from The Royal Ballet will include Principals Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli rehearsing for their performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s masterpiece ballet Manon which opens at Covent Garden on Friday 26 September and is screened live into cinemas across the world on Thursday 16 October. --- ENDS--- NOTES TO EDITORS: Bolshoi Ballet Bolshoi Ballet is a magic word for many ballet lovers all around the world. It is the largest company in the world consisting of 220 dancers, most of who have graduated from the Moscow Academy of Classic Ballet - one of the oldest and most prominent ballet schools in Russia. The Bolshoi is renowned for its unique style which combines true virtuosity with incredible stage presence. It has an illustrious heritage with dancers such as Galina Ulanova, Vladimir Vassiliev and Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maximova and Nikolay Fadeechev, Natalia Bessmertnova, Maris Liepa, Liudmila Semeniaka and Irek Mukhamedov playing a vital role in its history and position on the world stage. For more the 30 years Yury Grigorovitch was a powerful leader of the Bolshoi ballet company. As a repertory company, each year Giselle, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Don Quixote and La Bayadère are performed alongside new work, keeping a fine balance between the historic legacy and new creations. Aleksey Ratmansky has created works including Bright stream, Bolt, Flames of Paris and Lost illusions. Under the leadership of Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet now has among its stars Svetlana Zakharova, David Hallberg, Maria Alexandrova, Semion Chudin, Olga Smirnova, Michail Lobukhin, Evgenia Obraztsova. In its 239th Season, the Bolshoi will perform two world premieres, Hamlet with music by Shostakovich and choreography by Radu Poklitaru, and a new ballet based on the Lermontov novel Hero of our time choreographed by Yury Posokhov and directed by Kirill Serebrianikov, with a new score commissioned from Ilya Demutski. The Royal Ballet Based at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The Royal Ballet is Great Britain’s most prestigious ballet company and one of the great classical ballet companies of the world. Led by Director Kevin O’Hare, the Company has a wide-ranging repertory that showcases the great 19th century classics alongside heritage works including those of its two great 20th century choreographers Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. In addition, The Royal Ballet performs new works by Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, two of the foremost international choreographers of today. The Royal Ballet continues to create and encourage new choreography and appointed Liam Scarlett as Royal Ballet Artist in Residence in 2012. The National Ballet of CanadaOne of the top international ballet companies, The National Ballet of Canada was founded in 1951 by Celia Franca. A company of 70 dancers with its own orchestra, the National Ballet has been led by Artistic Director Karen Kain, one of the greatest ballerinas of her generation, since 2005. Renowned for its diverse repertoire, the company performs traditional full-length classics, embraces contemporary work and encourages the creation of new ballets as well as the development of Canadian choreographers. The company’s repertoire includes works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Rudolf Nureyev, Glen Tetley, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Jiří Kylián, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Crystal Pite and Aszure Barton. The National Ballet has toured in Canada, the US and internationally with recent appearances at Sadler’s Wells in London, England, The Music Center in Los Angeles and Lincoln Centre's David H. Koch Theater in New York City. San Francisco Ballet As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the pre-eminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. In 2012, SF Ballet’s ambitious tour schedule included London and Washington, D.C., plus first-time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho. In October 2013, the Company performed at New York’s David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where The New York Times declared SF Ballet “a national treasure.” In July 2014, the Company toured to Paris as part of Les Etés de la Danse Festival, marking the 10th anniversary of its inaugural engagement with the festival. At Théâtre du Châtelet, SF Ballet presented over 20 works by 15 choreographers over a gala evening and 17 performances. 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of Helgi Tomasson’s tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet.
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