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Australian Ballet: Sylvia


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I went to Sylvia twice. And if I'd written this review 10 days ago, it would have been considerably more negative than it is! Anyway, it's a sprawlling ballet. The Australian version was choreographed by Stanton Welsh, and he introduced two  more love stories, the first between the gods Artemis and Orion, the second between god and mortal (Eros and Psyche). Anyway, trying to keep all these Greeks separate was impossible, not only for me but for lots of the audience with whom I talked. So first time I had no idea what was going on. And while the individual dancers and the pdd were superb, really superb, I found the ensemble pieces (lots of military and militant nymphs) both ragged at times and always overwhelmimg. Also, on the first night, the lighting was adventurous and amazing, but tended to obscure the action. This was solved by the time of my second viewing. So second time around individuals and pdd still wonderful; ensemble pieces much less intrusive. Lighting much improved; and I finally had some idea of the various stories being enacted on stage, so overall a pleasant evening, which I would not have said originally.

Edited by jmb
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My brother and I saw this on our Subscription Night in Melbourne.

 

We had the cast of Benedicte Bemet (Sylvia), Chris Rodgers-Wilson (Shepherd), Dimity Azoury (Artemis), Nathan Brook (Orion), Jill Ogai (Psyche), Brett Chynoweth (Eros), and Andrew Killian (Evil Kidnapper River God), with Franco Leo (Old Shepherd).

 

Love to know which casts you saw @jmb!

 

The music was very well played and it's such a beautiful score, even my brother said he liked it (he doesn't really "do" classical music).

 

Having had the Good Luck to have been indoctrinated with Greek myths and legends by my dad (as was my brother), we had no trouble following any of the three plotlines, except for being bemused by the fact that they were all bunged in to one ballet! The delightful costumes and their colour-coding also made it easy to differentiate the stories. However we both spent both intervals explaining plot points to our (regular) neighbours!

 

Due to the larger stage and backstage areas in Melbourne, the sets were amazing, and there was plenty of room for the ensemble pieces. Ours was the third or fourth show of the run and the ensemble pieces looked good, but my goodness, Chynoweth! Wow wow wow. Seems as if Stanton Welch choreographed Eros specifically to show off all his (very) strong points and boy did it come off! Also Rodgers-Wilson was back on beautiful form as the Shepherd (something to please @Jan McNulty). For a female-centric ballet, I was disappointed in Bemet's Sylvia - I didn't feel the steely strength I wanted to, although the pdds with the Shepherd were romantic and drew us all in. The Generals, lead by Nicola Curry, felt fierce. Azoury's Artemis was the strong woman I wanted Sylvia to be. Ogai was terrific in her facial expressions and eyes, and beautifully romantic (she could hardly have been otherwise with Chynoweth as her partner) in her pdds. The Fauns were spot-on in the casting and obviously having great fun.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing it again this Friday...

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