Jump to content

Royal Ballet dancers in ROH opera productions


Recommended Posts

Verdi's Les Vêpres Siciliennes, which opens on 17 October, was due to have a 40-minute ballet sequence:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/news/turmoil-at-the-royal-opera-house-as-choreographer-pulls-out-of-giuseppe-verdis-les-vpres-siciliennes-8650306.html

Now we learnt that due to “artistically differing approaches to the project” between the opera director Stefan Herheim and Johan Kobborg the latter has left the production and a new choreographer has been brought in, working with freelance dancers. In their joint statement Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet and Kasper Holten, Director of Opera said:

“There will still be a strong element of dance in the production, however no longer featuring Artists from The Royal Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and students from The Royal Ballet School":

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_news.php?id=2448

If the differencies were between Herheim and Kobborg, why should dancers be replaced by those from outside the Company? Out of curiosity I would like to ask if there has been such a precedent in the past when RB’s own members were replaced in the ROH production by freelance dancers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If the differencies were between Herheim and Kobborg, why should dancers be replaced by those from outside the Company?"

 

I was asking myself the same question. As many others it woudl probably remain without an answer. :-(

 

The only thing i can think about is that Herheim doesn't want classical dancers in the production.

Edited by annamicro
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only thing i can think about is that Herheim doesn't want classical dancers in the production.

I'm not ready for the hip hop version.

 

The score for the ballet is beautiful, and I would have loved to see what Kobborg and the RB and Danish Ballet make of it.

Edited by Coated
Link to comment
Share on other sites

“We are delighted that choreographer Andre de Jong, who has previously worked with director Stefan Herheim on his production of Eugene Onegin in Amsterdam, is now the choreographer, working with freelance dancers.”

 

I guess the director has the final say.  De Jong's name was *not* the name I'd heard raised in this context - although I did think the one I'd heard was probably unlikely.  This isn't in any way related to the RO's recent production of Eugene Onegin, is it?  I seem to remember that caused some eyebrows to be raised because dancers were brought in from abroad.

 

Getting back to the original question, freelance dancers are almost invariably used for RO productions.  The only productions I can remember in recent years (decades?) to feature RB dancers were the Dido & Aeneas/Acis & Galatea double bill, The Tsarina's Slippers, and Prince Igor (the notorious occasion when David Bintley was supposed to be rechoreographing the Polovtsian Dances, but that was scuppered by industrial action by the dancers).  Plus The Merry Widow used to feature named dancers, I think.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only productions I can remember in recent years (decades?) to feature RB dancers were the Dido & Aeneas/Acis & Galatea double bill, The Tsarina's Slippers, and Prince Igor (the notorious occasion when David Bintley was supposed to be rechoreographing the Polovtsian Dances, but that was scuppered by industrial action by the dancers).  Plus The Merry Widow used to feature named dancers, I think.

 

 

I remember seeing Viviana Durante and Wayne Eagling in Die Fledermaus (Voices of Spring) but that was a long time ago - probably around 1989.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like Alison, I also understand that it is not nowadays the norm for RB dancers to be used in ROH opera productions.  Going back a long way,  from the 1950s to sometime in the 1970s (I think) the Opera had its own small ballet group of 12 Dancers, who were also used by the RB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not altogether surprised that Herheim and Kobborg have parted company. Herheim is very much the current favourite practitioner of "Regietheater", in which the director's "concept" is the overriding element in the production ahead of plot, period and libretto. He has directed a Parsifal in which the eponymous hero appears in a sailor suit and shoots a swan in the form of a small boy also in a sailor suit. If you search online you will find several pages about his ideas concerning the significance of Parsifal including many that probably never entered Wagner's head. There was also a Salome in which Hitler and Mussolini made an appearance and a Rosenkavalier which started with an attempted gang-rape of the Marschallin. His recent highly praised production of Eugene Onegin featured part of the action taking place in a glass box and various flash-back devices, one of which involved Onegin writing Tatiana's letter. The dances in that production choreographed by Andre de Jong were performed by a variety of Russian characters from across the centuries. I would imagine therefore that he is not a particular fan of "old fashioned" classical dance and that we shall be seeing something much more "Central European" in style. I guess that once again we will be getting one of those opera productions which no doubt the critics will find intellectually stimulating and challenging, but which will be greeted with a round of booing for the production team from certain sections of the audience. Come to think of it there exists a ready-made choreography for this music in the shape of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet "The Four Seasons" that could be re-costumed and inserted if all else failed.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

. Come to think of it there exists a ready-made choreography for this music in the shape of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet "The Four Seasons" that could be re-costumed and inserted if all else failed.

Mmmmm, I rather like that idea of the Blue Peter approach "Here's something we made earlier"!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure this is a great loss - it's good to let independent choreographers and freelance dancers get involved at the ROH via the opera side of the programme and in fact some of the more interesting dance creations I've seen in recent years have been part of operas - the ballet of the debauched nuns in this season's Robert le Diable was great.  Although I have enjoyed watching Kobborg as a dancer, I'm not sure (admittedly only on the evidence of his Giselle and Les Lutins) that he's a particularly original or interesting choreographer.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seldom found the the ballet sequences in ROH opera productions to have had much merit. In fact most of them IMHO are usually just about adequate and a number pretty dire. For me the ballet of debauched nuns in Robert le Diable, such a success in its original production, was here little more than a few zombies tottering around an overcrowded set which gave little room for dance, and the ballets in the recent production of Les Troyens were far and away its worst feature. And as for those barefoot tutu-clad "ballerinas" in Faust.....

 

Kobborg may not be a particularly original choreographer, but he has shown himself to be at least competent, which is more than can be said for some of those who have been let loose on the ROH operatic stage.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having seen a glass box idea recently in Donna Del Lago, I'm hoping the director doesn't employ that idea again, though it's funny how they ape one anothers ideas. I go to the opera to listen these days, a half way decent production is becoming a rarity.

 

When I started opera going the singers entered, stood centre stage and sang, a bit boring really, but the sets and costumes were often lavish and beautiful. Nowadays, the singers have to act their roles, giving the old operas a new dimension, but they are saddled with settings that play against the original concepts of the work, like the recent ghastly ROH Nabucco. I sometimes think operas would be more attractive and relevant if instead of using opera producers the intendents could simply pull someone at random off the street. They would probably do a better job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got totally confused about the glass boxes in Donna del Lago - thought I had it sussed for a while, but obviously not.

 

(Did anyone start a thread about the production in Not Dance?  I can't remember now).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah well, each to their own Wulff.  I thought the nuns "tottering" showed a very interesting and original use of movement in conjunction with the set design.  It fitted in with the general madness of that production in a way which a more traditional ballet would not.

 

And should competence be the measure for choreographers? I expect competence from my accountant and my optician, but would hope for something more interesting from the organisation with the one of the biggest (in fact isn't it THE biggest?) arts subsidy in the land

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...