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Stuttgart Ballet: The Taming of the Shrew, Sadler's Wells


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So, Stuttgart Ballet are putting on a very brief run of "The Taming of the Shrew" at Sadler's Wells this weekend.  I think it's probably the first time it's been seen in the UK since about 1990 when ENB danced it at the Coliseum.  Did anyone go, and what did you think?

 

(Oh, and a message from Sadler's Wells warns that the Northern Line at Angel will be out this weekend due to engineering works, so allow extra time to get there if you're going)

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I'll post more when I've got access to a bigger keyboard but I thought the performance last night was splendid. I had seen Filip Barankiewicz perform an excerpt (sorry I can't remember who with) at a gala in Birmingham some years ago and had wanted to see him again ever since. He was wonderful as Petruchio and Sue Jin Kang was brilliant as Kate. Anna Osadcenko was a delight as Bianca and Marijn Rademaker was brilliant as Lucentio.

 

Let's cut to the chase - I loved it!!

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(Oh, and a message from Sadler's Wells warns that the Northern Line at Angel will be out this weekend due to engineering works, so allow extra time to get there if you're going)

 

So heartily agree with Janet.  Cranko's wit is troweled with delight.  Barankiewicz was a particular delight ... as was the lovely pas de six.   

 

As to the Northern Line .... Not just Angel today .... but from Morden to East Finchley are not operative .... A tip from the Boy Scouts:  BE PREPARED!!!

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These Stuttgart men strip off at any opportunity, don't they! Twenty minutes in Petruchio had stripped down to his undies (well, his white footless tights)! I have to say that broad comedy, caricature and 'comic' dancing are not really my thing, but this was done very well. The two leads were perfectly cast and everyone acted their socks off. The ensemble dancing did not hold a lot of interest for me (and there were few minor roles of any note). The highlights for me were three fabulous pdds, two for Petruchio and Kate (the second was particularly spectacular) and a beautifully danced one for Lucentio and Bianca. I have really liked Rademaker this week and would love to see him again in something.

 

Janet, which pdd was danced at the gala in Birmingham?

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Yes I agree with you who thought that The Taming of the Shrew was great fun. We had just the Act 1 but here are some pictures you might like.

 

Stuttgart+Ballet+-+Taming+of+the+Shrew_j

 

 Lucentio - David Moore, Bianca - Elisa Badenes, Hortensio - Roman Novitzky and Gremio - Ozkan Ayik 

 

 

Stuttgart+Ballet+-+Taming+of+the+Shrew_j

 

Petruchio - Alexander Jones and Katherina - Alicia Amatriain 

 

Stuttgart+Ballet+-+Taming+of+the+Shrew_j

 

 Petruchio - Alexander Jones, Katherina - Alicia Amatriain and Father - Rolando D'Alesio 

 

More pictures of Stuttgart Ballet on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

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I was at the Saturday matinee of Taming with the cast in the fabulous photos by John Ross above and I absolutely loved it! I thought it was witty, funny and the choreography looked incredibly complex, especially the ppds for the main couples   - the last pdd for Katherina and Petruchio was breathtakingly exciting, especially the lifts, and really so joyous to watch that I cried (although this is supposed to be a comedy!!).

 

What fabulous dancers Stuggart Ballet has - I loved the 2 leading men who dazzled and shone, Alexander Jones (Petruchio) and David Moore (Lucentio). Both British and RBS graduates (ah, lucky Stuggart.....). And two equally dazzling leading ladies, Alicia Amatriain as Katherina and Elisa Badenes as Bianca. And great supporting cast as well, particularly the other 2 suitors , who were very funny indeed. Great orchestra as well, specially formed to accompany Stuggart here in London - the music is crucial to the comic flow of the piece.

 

For me, it was a real treat and privilege to see this wonderful company and dancers in London performing such a fabulous piece by Cranko. Yes, loved it!!!

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Best Panto I've ever seen.

 

I really enjoyed it whilst watching, though the re-education through food deprivation leaves a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

 

Alicia Amatriain was fabulous, and I love her complete lack of vanity and ability to pull the most amazingly atrocious faces. Having seen her in Fanfare LX as well where she is every inch a gorgeous dancer makes her performance even more impressive to me.

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Yes, best panto is about right! 

 

I had vivid memories of being "shaken AND stirred when I saw it in its second season in Stuttgart - but that was a  l o n g  time ago - whilst on Saturday it came over as a jolly romp with some (but not a great deal of) splendid dancing to some intriguingly pro to-Macmillanesque choreography.

 

Liked Barankiewicz and Sue Jin Kang greatly, and was not disappointed by the pas de six. The two unsuccessful suitors, though, were soooo camp that they were not really involving. I think they could take lessons from a couple of recent Gamaches that we've seen at the RB ....

 

And what about the servants in Act 2 - how very politically incorrect, and in fact quite cringeworthy, their transformation into people with various disabilities seemed. I'm afraid I had a complete good-humour failure at that point : surely we could have gone for sneezes and coughs, and maybe even some spots, rather than the contortions that we were shown??

 

Howvere, it was great to have seen the two programmes this week, and to be reminded of what a durable and inspiring company this is! (Full of Canadians, again, I note!)

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Simon, I didn't notice the bit about the servants being transformed into people with disabilities; I must have lost concentration at that point. The original subject matter is pretty hard to stomach in whatever form one sees it. The two reviews which I have read (are there no others?) have been pretty scathing. One includes a clip with Richard Cragun and Marcia Haydee in I think the fight pdd and there is something more delicate and nuanced about it which seems to have been lost in the interpretations by the dancers currently dancing the roles. I understand that Jason Reilly was injured and that he and his partner (I can't remember who it was) were replaced on Saturday evening and so non-one was able to see what this pairing was like in the roles.

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Naomi, there are two reviews out, one from Arts Desk and one from Londonist. I am also surprised that there are so few reviews. I don't know whether that's because the critics weren't there or because their reviews haven't yet been published. I think that Osipova's debut as a RB principal has overshadowed everything else, plus two of the Shrew performances clashed with the last two performances of the RB's Chroma/Seasons/Rite triple bill. There are also a fair number of people who never go to any ballet outside the ROH.

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The (rather more positive) classicalsource and bachtrack reviews, of two different casts, are now online. I think that the former was posted a couple of days ago but, despite searching for reviews several times over the past few days, I only found it today.

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Yes, best panto is about right! 

 

I had vivid memories of being "shaken AND stirred when I saw it in its second season in Stuttgart - but that was a  l o n g  time ago - whilst on Saturday it came over as a jolly romp with some (but not a great deal of) splendid dancing to some intriguingly pro to-Macmillanesque choreography.

 

Liked Barankiewicz and Sue Jin Kang greatly, and was not disappointed by the pas de six. The two unsuccessful suitors, though, were soooo camp that they were not really involving. I think they could take lessons from a couple of recent Gamaches that we've seen at the RB ....

 

And what about the servants in Act 2 - how very politically incorrect, and in fact quite cringeworthy, their transformation into people with various disabilities seemed. I'm afraid I had a complete good-humour failure at that point : surely we could have gone for sneezes and coughs, and maybe even some spots, rather than the contortions that we were shown??

 

Howvere, it was great to have seen the two programmes this week, and to be reminded of what a durable and inspiring company this is! (Full of Canadians, again, I note!)

 

And Poles too, if the names are anything to go by.  And the odd Brit :)

 

Now I actually have some time to put down some thoughts, I find myself largely agreeing with Jane's DanceTabs review.  I remembered it as a ballet I wasn't particularly enamoured with 20-odd years ago, and seeing it now in the 21st century I was aware of how dated parts of it seemed: having been to MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet the night before, which is a Shakespeare adaptation which doesn't really seem to have suffered the same fate, possibly made the difference all the clearer.  Obviously attitudes and sensibilities have changed a lot in the intervening years, yet I still found myself being a lot more uncomfortable with "Shrew" than, say, with the treatment of women as mere chattels as portrayed in R&J.  (And, Simon, I definitely remember the 1990s critics complaining about the tastelessness of the portrayal of the servants even back then).  I found the whole thing over-frenetic and, yes, panto-like, I suppose (I did rather feel as though I was being beaten about the head with an inflatable banana or something), and was conscious of a lack of dancing in Act I.  But what I felt the lack of most was any real depth of characterisation: I wanted, no, needed Shakespeare's words to shed light on what the characters were feeling, because the steps weren't doing it for me (*not* a problem I've ever had with Ashton's The Dream, for instance) - I had no idea whether Katherina was behaving the way she did simply because she was a bad-tempered old witch, or whether there was something else behind it, like an inferiority complex with regard to her prettier, seemingly better-behaved younger sister.  And I didn't feel the change in attitudes of both Katherina and Petruchio was particularly convincing, because it seemed too rushed - in Cinderella I can accept the balletic convention of reducing the trips to the ball to 1 instead of 3 as I think it is in the fairytale - but here I really felt that I needed more time spent on the growing relationship between the two of them for it to be believable rather than more of a sudden volte-face.  I don't think this is any reflection on the dancers, who were all very good, more on the structure of the ballet itself.

 

Either way, I hope the company will be back soon: I'd love to see more of them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Foteini was also at the rehearsal - here are a couple more pics:
 
11304967456_d8f0536c3a_z.jpg
Özkan Ayik (Gremio), Elisa Badenes (Bianca) in Taming of the Shrew (Stuttgart Ballet)
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

11304930765_93e21ae4ec_z.jpg
Angelina Zuccarini in Taming of the Shrew (Stuttgart Ballet)
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
See more...
Set from DanceTabs: Stuttgart Ballet - The Taming of the Shrew
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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