Jump to content

Ballets which have fallen by the wayside


Recommended Posts

I'm borrowing a posting from aileen in the Metamorphosis: Titian thread (http://www.balletcof...8276#entry18276) because I think it's worth following further:

 

I don't like being so negative about new work (not that my opinion matters anyway!) as we all complain when the RB doesn't commission new work. Frankly, a lot of older work is far from perfect. Some of the classics have a lot of padding and the peasant/courtier dances can be tedious. I've only been watching ballet for a few years and so I haven't seen that much, but I was really struck by the number of ballets that I hadn't heard of let alone seen when I looked at the display about Dame Monica Mason at the ROH. What has happened to all these ballets? Were they not that good, have they just gone out of fashion or has newer work displaced them in the schedules?

 

I'm trying desperately to remember what pictures were up in the amphi gallery: after all, it's not as if I haven't walked along there often enough!

 

Of what I do remember:

 

Helpmann's Hamlet: Dame Monica really wanted to revive this one, but recreating the sets would have been prohibitively expensive (if you've seen pictures, you'll know why - there's a nice one in the Coward Theatre on St. Martin's Lane) for what was only about a 12-minute ballet, I believe.

 

The Invitation: last shown in 1994 or thereabouts, and one I've had on my revival wishlist for about the last decade, but it doesn't seem to have been on that of the people who count ...

 

I think Rituals was there. Revived when the ROH reopened, but didn't do much for me then, I must say.

 

Isadora was revised (shortened) and performed a few years ago. If Las Hermanas was there, then the RB haven't performed it since the Dance Bites tours in the late 90s (although of course it's scheduled next season). I suspect part of the reason for that is that they didn't feel there was a suitable venue (I'm not convinced the ROH will be the right place for it, but we shall see). Ondine's been revived recently, as has Rite of Spring, of course. Was La Fête Étrange among them? If so, that was revived some years ago, but not felt to be successful (less than ideal casting in some respects may have contributed).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 67
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

There was one called something like Jabez and the Devil! Dame Monica was shown as a Polovsian(?) Girl, with Nureyev as a Polovsian(?) Boy in one photograph. I think that there was also an Adam and Eve themed ballet. There were other pretty way-out sounding ballets as well (it was the 60s!) There was a photograph of Les Biches with Wayne Eagling (which was of interest to me because of ENB's recent performance of Le Train Bleu). Did someone say on another thread that this had been performed fairly recently?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Polovtsian (hope I've spelled that right) Dances are part of Prince Igor, and only done when the Royal Opera puts it on. Last time around (early 90s, I think), David Bintley was supposed to be rechoreographing them, but that got hit by strike action, so they ended up performing the original choreography.

 

Les Biches has been performed fairly recently: early 2000's, I'd say. It's probably due for a revival in the not-too-distant future.

 

I've barely heard of J and the Devil!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On Monday I noticed a picture of Images of Love in the amphi gallery, that's one by Kenneth macMillan I would like to see, I remember Edward Watson dancing an extract at the Nureyev Gala.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, Images of Love and I'd love to see MacMillan's Four Seasons again also he once choreographed a ballet called Olympiad, it was one of the very few of his that I didn't see, so can't say if it was good or not, but the RB have missed a trick by not trying for a revival of it for 2012.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question is, how many of these ballets have fallen by the wayside because they weren't actually very good? MAB, if Olympiad was any good then I agree with you that this year would have been the year to revive it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd stick my oar in for Anastasia (I am a fan of the first two Acts) and van Manen's 4 Schumann Pieces - memories of Sir Anthony & Wayne Eagling.

 

Trouble is - a bit like Mr. Crisp's feelings on the recent round of Birthday Offerings - are they ever up to one's possibly rose tinted expectations?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re.MacMillan's 'Four Seasons', MAB, I had a video of - I think - the Spring and Autumn variations (to Rossini music) danced by the RB's Viviana Durante and Errol Pickford for a Canadian competition many years ago (1989/90?); sadly, I can't now find it. It was charning, a terrific example of inventive choreography matched by first-class dancing - in fact, Durante and Pickford won first prize! I've always wanted to see the whole work, but - unless I missed it - it has never been performed by the RB since that competition.

 

Has anyone here ever seen the whole work?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re Four Seasons, if I remember rightly Winter was a pas de trois (Donald McLeary), Spring a pas de quatre (with Collier, Eagling, Coleman & Ashmole), Summer a pas de deux (with Mason?) and Autumn another pas de trois where the two males were Dowell and Sleep. It did get a revival but the original set and costumes were dumped for something considered inferior, perhaps that dampened enthusiasm for the work.

 

I never saw Olympiad so maybe it wasn't that good, but I would challenge some of the opinions of the time. In particular I remember a MacMillan ballet with a date for a title that was dedicated to Ninette de Valois and was danced at Sadlers Wells. It was largely condemned because the costumes had the same pointillist design as the set, making the dancers appear to merge into the back cloth. I remember the choreography being good though, a pity the designs weren't altered as it deserved to be reassessed.

 

Does any ballet fall by the wayside completely though? I thought the choreologists preserved everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to correct my posting above on MacMillan’s ‘Four Seasons’, the music was by Verdi, not by Rossini (my mistake). And the excerpt from the Erik Bruhn competition I recorded was actually an extract MacMillan had devised from his

1974 full-length work, which was admired by some:. ‘With much pruning….. The Four Seasons could become the kind of ‘defilé’ ballet that the repertory has long needed.’’ (Peter Williams).

 

I’d love to see the full-length work revived.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<<Re a MacMillan ballet with a date for a title that was dedicated to Ninette de Valois and was danced at Sadlers Wells. It was largely condemned because the costumes had the same pointillist design as the set, making the dancers appear to merge into the back cloth. I remember the choreography being good though, a pity the designs weren't altered as it deserved to be reassessed.>>

 

6.6.78 created for de Valois' 80th birthday, costumes by Ian Spurling, even more of a riot than those for Elite Syncopations.

 

That bill also included an early (first?) ballet by David Bintley. His early works have largely disappeared - because he considers them apprentice pieces. he told me here is always a gap bewteen audeinces' wish to see something again and a creator's desire to make something new.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jabez and the Devil had choreography by Alfred Rodrigues and premiered in 1961.The cast was Antoinette Sibley,Donald Macleary as Jabez and Alexander Grant as Mr Scratch, the devil. It lasted it's original 5 performances and has become synonymus with gold-plated disasters with those of us present at it's inception and demise.Falling by the wayside is too good for it.Trust me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jabez and the Devil had choreography by Alfred Rodrigues and premiered in 1961.The cast was Antoinette Sibley,Donald Macleary as Jabez and Alexander Grant as Mr Scratch, the devil. It lasted it's original 5 performances and has become synonymus with gold-plated disasters with those of us present at it's inception and demise.Falling by the wayside is too good for it.Trust me!

 

Being a 'gold plated disaster' didn't stop Isadora making a return though did it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would love to see a "Tribue to Madame" triple - Job/Checkmate/The Rake's Progress. Agree re Hamlet - would be great to see this, but shame if recreation of sets too expensive. Also, delightful pieces such as A Wedding Bouquet and Facade. Macmillan's Symphony (wonderful Shostakovich score) and definitely full length Anastasia - again wonderful Tchaikovsky music for first two Acts which contrast so well with third act Martinu score.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I loathed Rake's Progress when I saw BRB do it years ago and I loathed the Hogarth paintings when I saw them too! BRB have regularly revived Checkmate over the last few years; the more I have seen of it, the more I have admired it. It is still very pertinent in this unsettled age. BRB also revived Job the best part of 20 years ago. I remember both Michael O'Hare and David Yow being wonderful in the role of Death* (as was Robert Parker in a gala excerpt).

 

BRB also revived The Prospect Before Us about 10 years ago.

 

*Edited to say that I meant Satan's solo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Must be around forty years since they last did Job, though you sometimes see Satan's solo at Gala's etc. Very interesting work but I wonder if many people know this rather obscure biblical story today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Birmingham Royal Ballet did Job less than 40 years ago because I've seen them do it!

 

Are there any ballet's not done by the Royal Ballet that people would like to see revived? I remember LOVING ENB's performances of Etudes in the 1980s. I also very much enjoyed them doing L'Arlisienne and would like to see that back in the rep on a regular basis. Come to think of it - Song of a Wayfarer.

 

I would love David Bintley to revive Flowers of the Forest too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Etudes is one of my all time favourites too - I well remember the cast of Katherine Healy. and the two Patricks - Dupond and Armand - ENB did a little run of it a couple of years back but it didn't sell so dot dot dot Basically is it on Ms.Rojo's wish list? That will decide whether you see it again any time soon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...