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    Stuttgart/ Germany
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    MacMillan, Scarlett, Cranko, Bejart, Goecke, Scholz, McGregor, Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Bejart Ballet, Ballet Nice Mediterranee, Gauthier Dance, Paris Opera Ballet

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  1. It was in a mixture of both languages. Detrich and Rose spoke mostly in German. Vivien Arnold, Director of Communication with Stuttgart Ballet, interviewed Dowler and Agrest in English and translated their replies. The event - or part of it - was filmed. I hope it will be broadcast at some stage.
  2. A few more season announcements from France Théâtre Chaillot, Paris - http://www.theatre-chaillot.fr/fr/saison-2019-2020 Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon – https://www.opera-lyon.com/en/programmation/dance Maison de la Danse Lyon - http://www.maisondeladanse.com/programmation-2019-2020 Opéra national du Rhin, Strasbourg/ Mulhouse/ Colmar - https://www.operanationaldurhin.eu/fr/spectacles/saison-2019-2020/dance
  3. Fabulous insight event (“Ballet Talk”) this morning about the forthcoming premiere of Mayerling with Stuttgart Ballet. Tamas Detrich spoke about why he chose to add Mayerling to the repertoire in Stuttgart – he’d seen the work performed by the Stanislavsky Ballet and was “blown away” by it, thought that the dramatic narrative would work well in Stuttgart with its history of three-act story ballets by John Cranko, and had been looking to get Juergen Rose involved. Gerald Dowler talked about the creation of the work for the Royal Ballet in 1978 and its reception – in London and elsewhere - over time as well as about recurring focus areas in Kenneth MacMillan’s works. This was really useful to refresh my memory since I last saw Mayerling at the ROH but more importantly his description of MacMillan’s choreographic style made me think that I should really really really really go for a ticket for Mayerling as vivid images came to mind from a number of scenes throughout the ballet. I was probably sitting there with a permanent grin on my face throughout the event. Mikhail Agrest, guest conductor with Stuttgart Ballet, described Lanchbery’s choice of music by Franz Liszt for Mayerling - theatrical, romantic, sweeping, music with a Hungarian touch, and he referred to a piece that Franz Liszt had written for Empress Elisabeth. Juergen Rose gave a humorous account of how he needed convincing that he should take on the costume & set design for Mayerling and highlighted how instrumental Marcia Haydee was in ultimately achieving this. Equally entertaining was his description of the challenges that he encountered and the solutions that he identified with regards to the sourcing of the set as well as of the fabric for the costumes. So the carriage that they located in Styria is from the 1880s, and the furniture that they unearthed in an antiquity shop near Munich is from that time period, too. As for the costumes, he went with different colours for different roles so as to facilitate the identification of who is who within the ballet. The costume designs for the hunt scene in Act 3 have been inspired by pictures of Emperor Franz Joseph in lederhosen, and so some dancers wear lederhosen during that scene. Tamas Detrich confirmed that there’ll be further performances of Mayerling next season. There is also an insight event planned for the end of the current season which will deal specifically with Rose’s costumes. Rehearsal pictures on the company’s web site https://www.stuttgart-ballet.de/schedule/a-z/mayerling/
  4. The links section is one of the first things I check when I go online at around lunchtime, both on a weekday and at the weekend. Huge thanks and gratitude to all those who provide the links on a daily basis. Being abroad, I tend to access the links more selectively though (just as I contribute more selectively than I did in the past). The links that I do open tend to be those that relate to - new productions at the Royal Opera House - productions that I am lucky to see through a cinema screening - updates on topics that are of interest - sometimes it is just the title of the article makes me read an article Thinking of other reasons as to why I have opened fewer links more recently - there will have been a link here and there that I decided not to read as I knew from experience that I wouldn't be able to access the article anyway, or not without going through the newspaper's registration process - if a favourite dancer is injured and hence does not feature in a production, the chances of reading reviews for that production are lower if I am not seeing the production anyway - workload and other commitments In terms of comparing the deceasing number of views of the links section with the increasing number of members and identifying potential reasons for the decrease in views, it'd be useful to understand how the number of those members has developed that actively use the site, and whether analyses can be done based on the viewing patterns of active members (e.g., using a specific part of the forum or more than one)..
  5. Here's another review on the upper part of the web page https://www.swr.de/swr2/kultur-info/saenger-matthias-klink-in-nixon-in-china-an-der-staatsoper-stuttgart/-/id=9597116/did=23817304/nid=9597116/sbsw99/index.html
  6. A fabulous evening albeit a long one, 3 ½ hours including intervals and prior to curtain calls. The applause was pretty long & loud already following curtain down at the end of acts 1 and 2, and it was tumultuous at the end, including what I think was some foot stamping. I left after the first ten minutes of ovations (for the soloists, the choir, the orchestra, the production team … everyone) as I needed to catch a train home, this being a Sunday evening before getting up for work on a Monday morning. I watch opera only from time to time and hadn’t seen Nixon in China previously. It was the link to historical events and equally the notion of creating images/ perceived reality through media that attracted me to this work, and the prospect of listening to music by John Adams was a bonus. In fact the motto of this year’s spring festival is “really real” in the sense of “what is real?” vs “what is (only) considered to be real?” Difficult to highlight a particular aspect, I rather think it came together as one, this is why I enjoyed it so much (spoiler alert … please stop reading here if you prefer to be surprised by what you’ll see on the 11th May :-) Fabulous soloists in their specific roles e.g., Michael Mayes (Nixon) with an incredible voice, loud, intense, depicting Nixon as someone from somewhere in the countryside, Matthias Klink’s (Mao) body language - walking in small steps, his upper body bent forward slightly. Powerful choir, in act 1 appearing & singing repeatedly in what would be the Stalls Circle and the Balcony at the ROH (I don’t know how they will capture this for the live stream) Loved the colour scheme of the costumes – black suits for Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, stunning dresses in black/blue respectively gold for Pat Nixon, a white suit for Mao, icy grey & silver for Chiang Ch’ing (her costume and her spikey headpiece alone inspired fear), shades of grey for Mao’s secretaries, the choir in grey and silver for the women and a little touch of gold for the men, the pioneers (if that’s the correct word?) in light grey, red for Chinese flags and what I think was meant to be Mao’s bible (of which there were lots of) A flexible stage design that allowed the seamless flow between scenes within each act. Nixon’s landing in China is shown through strips of light that are illuminated as if it was a runway, and Nixon is lowered down onto the stage from above. The metal structure that is used for the landing is transformed into a wall that is put together by pioneers and that shows a group of them exploring new ground/ territory (on the moon?). Wooden benches are used to portray gatherings in acts 1 and 3 (yet the banquet in act 1 scene 3 is done standing). The depiction of events in the ballet/opera created by Chiang Ch’ing in act 2 scene 2 is intensely grim, I wasn’t able to watch all of this. This is also where the layers of events in Adams’ work become intertwined as and when the Nixons and Henry Kissinger become involved in the piece (cf. what is real?). Act 3 has the orchestra pit removed (the music is now recorded I understand), and so the stage goes all the way to row 1, creating an incredible proximity between the audience and the performers on stage. The contrast in atmosphere to act 1 couldn’t be starker. Whereas act 1 is all about formality of interaction (which however doesn’t lead to much as Richard Nixon spends a lot of time thinking about the image that he’d create for the audience back home and Mao spends time talking about philosophy), act 2 shows Pat and Richard Nixon increasingly lost and with a deepening sense of unease, and now act 3 is all about looking back at one’s life and events therein, isolated, separated, disillusioned, all sense of achievement is gone. Chou En-lai’s words at the very end of the Opera summarise this atmosphere through the words “How much of what we did was good?” If you watch the livestream on 11th May (I hope it’ll be accessible from the UK), it’d be great to hear what you think about the production and the performance. If you have a chance to head to Stuttgart instead, tickets are still available for all forthcoming performances. Videos and pictures provided by Stuttgart Opera Teaser and pictures on the production page https://www.staatsoper-stuttgart.de/spielplan/a-z/nixon-in-china/ Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O00yP5V_yso A number of newspaper articles (providing the links to google translate would be too long for all of these, so I am just linking to the articles themselves) An interview with Michael Mayes & Matthias Klink a few days before the premiere https://www.stuttgarter-nachrichten.de/inhalt.matthias-klink-und-michael-mayes-in-der-staatsoper-stuttgart-o-gott-wo-bin-ich.66980ce4-6ded-47d2-ad64-45d06aeb6e07.html To get a range of opinions, a few reviews that have been published already and that are not behind a paywall https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/oper-nixon-in-china-in-stuttgart-intellektuell-spannend-und.1013.de.html?dram:article_id=445707 https://onlinemerker.com/stuttgart-staatsoper-nixon-in-china-von-john-adams-premiere/ https://www.stuttgarter-nachrichten.de/inhalt.nachtkritik-nixon-in-china-an-der-staatsoper-stuttgart-john-adams-minimal-oper-in-stuttgart-bejubelt.738ce81c-8051-401d-b627-a58b2b0f4813.html https://www.br.de/nachrichten/kultur/nixon-in-china-in-stuttgart,RMzk0dO
  7. He was outstanding in every school performance that I've seen him in since I moved here in 2016, and he was superb in the role of Tadzio in Death in Venice, too. I found his performance of Chroma at the PdL had the perfect mix of angularity and bendiness, and that made me think of the Royal Ballet, too.
  8. Oh, thank you, Vanartus & Jan :-) I take notes during intervals (which sometimes attracts strange looks by those sitting near me ;-) and use pictures in previews and reviews to jog my memory when I write these up. I am pretty sure, however, that I am missing out on lots of details (I also tried taking notes in the dark but these just weren't sufficiently legible) , and I am often at a loss as to how to describe the more modern wriggly movements. Maybe one day ... As for Mayerling, I'll be at the Insight Event on 12 May but haven't made up my mind yet as to whether I'll go and see a performance, too. I saw all three performances of the Watson/ Galeazzi cast in 2013 plus the cinema relay in 2009 (Jan - that was at the Odeon at Liverpool One, so maybe we happened to be in the same place for this one?), and I sometimes wonder whether I am ready (yet) to see this work with any other cast. I'll give this some more thought. @ Vanartus, I'll be at a number of performances, both at the Theaterhaus and the Opera House, in the first three weeks of July, so in the event that you decide to head to Stuttgart also before 28th July and would like to meet up, feel free to send me a PM. Would be great to catch up again.
  9. This mixed programme premiered last Thursday, inspired by the 100th anniversaries of both the creation of the Bauhaus and the events surrounding the adoption of the Weimar Constitution. Katarzyna Kozielska’s piece IT.Floppy.Rabbit draws on designs created by artists at the Bauhaus. The lamp designed by Wilhelm Wagenfeld is depicted through a white, semi-translucent lamp shade with a dancer in shiny black as lampstand underneath who does lots of bourrees. A dancer crawls along the floor, moving towards the lamp (a metaphor for searching and finding the iconic design?). A PDD makes use a Bauhaus design for a cloth, the performing couple is linked by the fabric, making for intriguing choreography. A video shows a figure from Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet being drawn. Other than the initial solo, lots of PDD and dancing in groups, with female dancers on pointe. Costumes and hairstyles are inspired by those at the time, too – bobs for the female dancers and identical tight tops & shiny shorts which are tight at the waist and pretty wide at the legs. The music is rhythmic, pulsating a well as soft with strings and percussion. The piece ends with lots of small lamps lit behind a semi-transparent screen (an indication that the Bauhaus has been fully established & the designs have been made widely available?). The introductory talk explained that Edward Clug got inspired for his work Patterns in 3/4 by paintings created at the Bauhaus. The work is design oriented and playful. Tall light grey movable structures that look like the mirror image of the letter “L” illustrate what I think are the bottom right hand corners of window frames (a plant is put on one of them later on). Lots of arm swinging in front of the body in combination with (quarter) turns each. A dancer moves one of those small red push birds that are designed to help toddlers learn to walk across the stage. Heads bob along the lower part of the window frames. Dancers wear identical black pants and white shirts with a red line along the spine, female dancers in ballet flats this time. The music in three-four time (hence the title of the work) incudes Steve Reich’s Tokyo/ Vermont Counterpoint (so that was a good dose of music by Steve Reich at the weekend, I don’t hope it’ll be before long that I’ll have that pleasure again). If the first two pieces referred to the Bauhaus, Revolt by Nanine Linning took its inspiration from the tumultuous times surrounding the adoption of the Weimar Constitution. The choreography portrays how protest movements, based on the right to free speech, arise and develop, starting with the activities of individuals who then carry others with them (while still others initially walk past without paying attention) to form groups that then increase in size. Movements just as the music pulsating, moving forward, combative. Again the same costumes for female and male dancers, in shades of blue, with face masks towards the end, and no shoes this time. I found this programme convincing in a number of ways - based on historical events, the link to another art form, the clear and straightforward stage designs, the identical costumes for female and male dancers, the fact that most of the choreography doesn't reflect the dancer's positions in the company, and that there lots of members of the corps on stage. So the programme was really interesting, and it was also positively life affirming. Thinking about the works that I had seen – in Stuttgart and elsewhere – over the previous months, I had started to wonder where the sparkle had gone. This programme has shown that it is still there and very much a matter of choreographic styles and musical choices. Fingers crossed for tickets for performances of this programme towards the end of this season. Link to pictures https://www.swr.de/swr2/kultur-info/ballett-abend-aufbruch-in-stuttgart-ueber-100-jahre-bauhaus-und-weimarer-verfassung/-/id=9597116/did=23750942/nid=9597116/1hhyjbj/index.html Link to extracts from the three works https://www.swr.de/kunscht/ballett-aufbruch/-/id=12539036/did=23431918/nid=12539036/30wbqs/index.html
  10. Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris - https://2020.theatrechampselysees.fr/la-saison/danse-1 Theatre Chatelet in Paris - https://www.chatelet.com/saison/saison-19-20/spectacles/ Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse – https://www.theatreducapitole.fr/web/guest/ballets-19-20
  11. Two fascinating events with Stuttgart Opera last weekend as part of the Opera's current Spring Festival, a “Long Night of Minimal Music” on Saturday evening, and an Insight Event on Sunday morning into the forthcoming Stuttgart premiere of John Adams’ Nixon in China. Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music kicked off the Long Night of Minimal Music. This wasn’t a sound that I’d choose to listen to on the radio but it was mesmerising to watch. Five microphones were hanging down from a structure and were moving above amplifiers on the floor, initially all with the same backwards/ forwards movement, and yet they all developed different movement patterns, until all movements came to a halt directly above the amplifiers. The tone emitted through each of the combinations of amplifiers and microphones changed along with the various movement patterns, and so a melody of eerie sounds arose, shifted and finally converged into a single note, akin to the tone emitted by TV stations at night after the programme had finished when I was younger. I was spellbound. Steve Reich’s Piano Phase was given as video screening with extracts from Fase by Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker. The changes in movements of two female dancers – arm swinging, simple turns, and simple steps – followed the changes in phases in Reich’s work. Whereas the two dancers started in synchronous mode next to each other, after a while, one of them increased the speed of her movements just ever so slightly, and after a few more repetitions, her movements were now the exact mirror image of that of her colleague. After a while, they went back into parallel mode, … and so on. Wow, this will have involved endless counting and superb concentration and stamina by the two dancers. Plus the music was great, too. Ryoanji by John Cage was created by drawing lines along small stones that had been placed on paper in random fashion. The lines drawn became the notes that four singers would sing. These were standing, walking and sitting in the midst of the audience. Thus observing the performers also merged into observing the reactions of other members of the audience, including some listening with their eyes closed, some smiling. Workers Union by Louis Andriessen and In C by Terry Riley represented the “Classics” amongst minimal music (that's how the programme booklet called it). I really enjoyed these two works, I found them quite cinematic, and the rhythms reminded me of trains running or working machinery. There was lots and lots of enthusiastic applause for the performers of these two works. Back to Steve Reich with Mallet Quartet, displaying different moods, from calming and melodious to pulsating. The final piece that I attended was White Man Sleeps by Kevin Volans, at times resembling courtly dances, and playing with expectations as to when the piece might end as the composition included pauses and passages where the music was barely audible, before it then continued for another while. Again lots of enthusiastic applause for the performers of these two works. I absolutely loved the programme and hope there’ll be more minimal music in Stuttgart in forthcoming seasons. I guess the constant lookout for patterns, loops and phases influenced the way I was listening to the works, it felt pretty intense and involved … and very good. The programme went on thereafter & until 2 am on Sunday morning, yet I left at this point as I was keen to attend the Insight Event on Sunday morning for John Adam’s Nixon in China which will have its Stuttgart premiere this coming Sunday. A superb event, giving a good insight into the structure and key themes of the work, the main roles and the music, plus it included three solos performed live. The performers all sang and acted full out, as if they were on stage rather than in an introductory talk in a foyer of the Opera House, but the one that really hit me with its supreme intensity was Gan-ya Ben-gur Akselrod’s performance of a solo for Mao’s wife. The very moment she stepped onto a small pedestal (where those debating the work were sitting so the audience could see them more easily), her body language, her facial expression, everything was completely and utterly transformed within just that split second, and she simply was the person she plays in Adam’s work. It was only when tears were running down my face when I realised how much her performance moved me. Wow, I can’t wait until the opening night on Sunday. NB The performance of Nixon in China on 11 May will be livestreamed – see https://www.staatsoper-stuttgart.de/service/live/ for more details & other livestreams this season, and google translate https://translate.google.de/translate?hl=&sl=de&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.staatsoper-stuttgart.de%2Fservice%2Flive%2F&sandbox=1
  12. Congrats & very happy, this is what I had been hoping for. Much looking forward to seeing him on stage soon.
  13. Roman Novitzky, Principal Dancer with Stuttgart Ballet and choreographer, is also a photographer. An exhibition with pictures of the company in rehearsal and on stage has just opened in Stuttgart. The exhibition runs until 11 April. https://vhs-stuttgart.de/programm/kurssuche/kurs/Ausstellung-Der-Tanzende-Blick/nr/191-01655A/bereich/details/, via google translate https://translate.google.de/translate?hl=&sl=de&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fvhs-stuttgart.de%2Fprogramm%2Fkurssuche%2Fkurs%2FAusstellung-Der-Tanzende-Blick%2Fnr%2F191-01655A%2Fbereich%2Fdetails%2F&sandbox=1 (NB the English title of the book is “The dancing view” not “The dancing look” as stated in google translate).
  14. Yuli has just been released here (described as "inspired by" the life of Carlos Acosta and his autobiography). I saw it yesterday and found it very personal and profoundly moving. I hadn’t read Carlos Acosta’s autobiography or even followed him much during his career and so wasn’t quite prepared for how much the film has affected me. Wow just wow and huge respect to him for being so open as well as to those involved in creating the film for capturing not only his story but also life and events in Cuba at the time.
  15. I've got IE11 on my laptop and Samsung IE on my phone. Both had bookmarks set to "events" to avoid the home page that the ROH introduced a few months ago. This worked as expected until ... a couple of weeks ago, the events page on my phone switched to the new layout even though there were no changes to the set up of my phone at the time. I called myself lucky as at least my laptop still displayed the previous layout until ... just this morning, this also showed the new layout - again, without there being any changes to the set up of my laptop. So thank you, Richard, for mentioning the links in your posts above, I've now changed the bookmark on both devices to show the productions page, and it works
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