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Sir Peter Wright


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Yes, I thought it was brilliant - lots of wonderful archive footage including a lot I'd never seen before. Loved seeing Lynn Seymour in the TV class, and John Cranko choreographing, and Madgwick/Mukhamedov in the Birmingham Nutcracker, and Sibley and Dowell in the Awakening pas de deux - I'd love that to be restored! (Even if it makes Beauty even longer...). And I agree with PW about the cygnets - great dance, wrong context. I can see why it's so popular but I always find it slightly galling that it seems to get more applause than any other bit of that act! But there was so much in this documentary - as Janet says, worth seeing again.

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It was a balletomane's dream. A really intelligent retrospective with great clips and good interviews which really showed the life and respect Sir Peter engenders.

 

Loved his comment about Sylvie. i know it's in his book but it is fun to see what someone who is 90 can get away with saying.

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What an embarrassment of riches there are in those BBC archives. This was a dream of a documentary, made all the better by Sir Peter's entertaining and informative reminisces( so moving when he spoke about his wife, Sonia). I found many of the filmed clips were made all the more interesting having read more fully about their context in his autobiography. A lovely climax to the sequence of programmes this Christmas.

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Please may I say that any reservations I may have expressed about Darcey Bussell as an interviewer went out of the window when I saw the real 'her' being interviewed. She came over really well; spontaneous, natural and genuine.

Edited by Two Pigeons
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Please may I say that any reservations I may have expressed about Darcey Bussell as an interviewer went out of the window when I saw the real 'her' being interviewed. She came over really well; spontaneous, natural and genuine.

 

She's actually SO much better when she's allowed to say what she wants - the problem she has is when she's reading cue cards etc. Why not just let her speak for herself more often?!

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Sir Peter Wright ... and this wonderful documentary ... are a brilliant breath of fresh air.  

 

How I wish they would set up a site - even if you had to pay for access - (how happily one would do so) - with this glorious documentary - and a link to all the background films.  I would love to see that improvisional class a la Seymour ... the awakening PDD with Dowell and Sibley ... and that glorious Giselle rehearsal with Melissa Hayden ... who i only saw dance once but so cherish that memory.  

 

So admired his courage in speaking out about the current state of  'narrative' depiction and our defining need - at eternal heart it would seem - for clarity ... (not to mention patience :) ).  

 

What a wonderful and rare Xmas treat this was.  

 

Quite the best dance documentary for a long time in my memory.  

 

Bless BBC4.  

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Seconded all round- it was such a pleasure to watch a good documentary that didn't treat the audience like idiots. So full of the most tantalising footage. Also very heart-warming.

I was especially taken with what Sir Peter said about narrative ballets, so many  being far too complex and not trusting the dance to 'tell a story' and take the audience with the dance by giving key moments time and space to register. Good point.

I have never liked the way, in his BRB production,  Clara joins in in the Kingdom of the Sweets, but it was interesting to hear him and John Macfarlane explain why it is like that in their production. This kind of detailed focus on the real nitty gritty was so welcome. This film could have been 3 times as long and held my attention!

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" A really intelligent retrospective with great clips and good interviews" I could not agree more with that description of this documentary.It leaves me wondering how it got through the commissioning process and came to be made as it is so different in tone and content from the Margot "docunentary". The programme's travel budget was minimal and the audience was assumed to be intelligent. Did it get made by mistake? If the BBC can manage to commission a quality documentary like this then it should be able to ensure that it only commissions programmes on ballet related topics of comparable quality. 

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I have been chuckling as FLOSS's idea that this documentary was made by mistake. I do have another theory but I must confess it is only a minor one and should not be taken too seriously.

 

I have been made more and more aware how self-congratulatory and self-referencing the BBC is becoming. The programme on Darcey charted her progress as recorded by the BBC hence lots of in-house footage. One of Sir Peter's many incarnations was as a BBC director, hence more in-house footage.

 

Wouldn't it be great if we had Anthony Dowell, the BBC years - cue for repeat of 'All the Superlatives' and whatever is left of the Sleeping Beauty. They have a priceless treasure of old recordings. How about a series of Ballet and the part the BBC played in its development.

 

As FLOSS pointed out, no need for vast amounts of foreign travel, just intelligent interviews held in someone's house or a studio.

 

Oh well, we can all dream can't we.

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An excellent example of how to make a really interesting and intelligent programme about a fascinating subject. Sir Peter is clearly regarded with huge affection and the man himself is a delightful presence, witty, thoughtful and thoroughly engaging.

It was packed with well chosen footage, interviews and snippets of information about productions and people. As has been said, it also treated the audience as an intelligent life form. I got really involved and wished it could have gone on longer. So much better when people are just allowed to speak for themselves, particularly when what they have to say is so interesting.

I look forward to watching this programme again and reading Sir Peter's autobiography.

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I have been made more and more aware how self-congratulatory and self-referencing the BBC is becoming.

 

Undeserved! With all the cuts plus the competition from big money the BBC is fighting for its existence and increasingly is thrown back on its archives, not just with dance but right across the range. In response it is showing considerable imagination in creating interesting programmes out of its past recordings. I for one am delighted and hope we shall see the Corporation delving deeper and deeper into its archives across the whole range of the arts. Meanwhile this Xmas, in spite of all its problems the Corporation has produced a wide variety of first rate programmes covering all sections of its audience - including us - that I doubt any broadcasting network across the world for all their bucks can begin to match.

 

I say well done to the BBC and on the same note well done Darcey Bussell who also comes in for far too much undeserved stick!      

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Undeserved! With all the cuts plus the competition from big money the BBC is fighting for its existence and increasingly is thrown back on its archives, not just with dance but right across the range. In response it is showing considerable imagination in creating interesting programmes out of its past recordings. I for one am delighted and hope we shall see the Corporation delving deeper and deeper into its archives across the whole range of the arts. Meanwhile this Xmas, in spite of all its problems the Corporation has produced a wide variety of first rate programmes covering all sections of its audience - including us - that I doubt any broadcasting network across the world for all their bucks can begin to match.

 

I say well done to the BBC and on the same note well done Darcey Bussell who also comes in for far too much undeserved stick!      

 

Well said David

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So it follows we must all get in touch with the BBC to register our thoughts.

 

I certainly intend to.  I loved this programme.  It would have been so easy to have a lot of talking heads, going on about how he changed their lives, or a few "personalities" saying how much they enjoy taking their children/mother/great aunt to see the Nutcracker once a year.  Instead, Sir Peter was a wonderful interviewee, and the marvellous snippets of dance were made even more splendid because he was commentating on them.  

 

I think the BBC has put on some good programmes about ballet this year, and this one was the icing on my Christmas cake.

 

P.S. Darcey Bussell has always been a charming and delightful interviewee.  

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Great program - so much so that I endured watching it on iPlayer in one minute bursts of internet availability, and will watch again when I am on a decent connection..  Darcey is so much more informative and engaging as an interview subject than as a presenter - I'd like to see more of her in that capacity as she has a wealth of insight to be extracted.  I'd have paid good money for a shot of Sylvie Guillem reacting to Sir Peter's Giselle anecdote...

 

Tiny niggle with the narrator at one point; as on some other BBC broadcasts she pronounces Osipova "ah-SEE-pava".  It jars, and I double checked on Youtube where Natalia introduces herself in an Ardani interview in Russian  - "menya zavoot OSS-i-POva Natalia".  Time was when the Beeb was more punctilious about checking foreign names.

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Well I may be incorrect as am only just learning Russian so don't know all the exceptions to rules .....and names can be tricky in any language .....but the first way you have written above Quintus is the more correct usually.

Often the letter O unless it's accentuated is pronounced more like an "Ah" in Russian and the accent would be on the "Si" part of her name.

Perhaps she was so used to hearing it mispronounced in the UK that she decided to go with it!

When she was first on the scene her name was pronounced with the accent on "Os and the "POV" but later found this to be incorrect.

 

But perhaps there are some Russians on the Forum who could enlighten!!

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LinMM, yes I know, I have basic Russian too.  Where the accent is placed on individuals' names is very variable, which is why I went to the motherlode - i.e. listening to Osipova pronouncing her own name, in an interview conducted fully in Russian and hence untainted by pandering to foreigners habits etc.  Her stress is relatively even between the ос and the по but definitely deemphasises the и.  The initial o is sufficiently stressed to clearly retain its character as an o rather than an a

 

Here she is introducing herself, about 15 seconds in..  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB4dYG3v1qU

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With regard to Sir Peter Wright's Swan Lake for the Swedish Royal Ballet, I may be imagining this as it was a few years ago. I am sure I recall this ballet being on tv one Christmas, introduced by Deborah Bull and starring Natalie Nordquist, who was then very young as mentioned by Miss Bull. She is only 37 now I believe.

Anyway, I am sure Natalia Markarova had something to do with the choreography in this version, but I can find no reference to it now and the dvd is currently unavailable.

I remember it being a particularly good production, with much more being made of Prince Seigfried's role in events, plus the dancing by the corp was stunningly good in the final scene, with the score used to maximum effect.

Did I imagine Markarova's involvement? I would be most grateful if someone could help me out with this one!

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With regard to Sir Peter Wright's Swan Lake for the Swedish Royal Ballet, I may be imagining this as it was a few years ago. I am sure I recall this ballet being on tv one Christmas, introduced by Deborah Bull and starring Natalie Nordquist, who was then very young as mentioned by Miss Bull. She is only 37 now I believe.

Anyway, I am sure Natalia Markarova had something to do with the choreography in this version, but I can find no reference to it now and the dvd is currently unavailable.

I remember it being a particularly good production, with much more being made of Prince Seigfried's role in events, plus the dancing by the corp was stunningly good in the final scene, with the score used to maximum effect.

Did I imagine Markarova's involvement? I would be most grateful if someone could help me out with this one!

 

It is still available - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swan-Lake-DVD-NTSC-Tchaikovsky/dp/B00007M5JZ/ref=sr_1_20?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1482954295&sr=1-20&keywords=Swan+Lake

 

You are right - it is a very good production. In my view one of the best currently out there along with the Royal Ballet's version. It was on telly and I distinctly remember recording it.

 

Janet was right - it was Galiina Samsova who helped with this production, not Natalia Makarova

Edited by CHazell2
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