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ROYAL DANISH BALLET - NAPOLI - PARIS JAN 2012


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ROYAL DANISH BALLET - NAPOLI - PARIS JAN 2012

 

 

I was lucky to be able to attend the first two evenings of the Royal Danish Ballet’s short engagement in Paris performing the revamped Napoli.

 

There is a note in the programme that says that the religious aspects of the production have been taken away. Act 1 has been reset in the 1950s. The set looks very Italian with its backdrop of Mount Vesuvius and the bay of Naples and I really liked the girls’ costumes. Terresina’s Mum wants her to marry one of her chosen suitors (performed by the wonderful Thomas Lund and Morton Eggert - both fabulous actors). Terresina, of course, is in love with Gennaro. For me, this act is about setting the scene and we have much opportunity to see the Danish mime which is so clear but never over the top. The group dances are full of all the fast intricate steps and balon that I love about the Bournonville style. I thought the storm scene was very evocative leading to everyone thinking that Terresina has drowned.

 

Act 2 was a total surprise with completely new music and choreography. The recorded voices provided a very spooky atmosphere and I loved the start with Terresina floating down from above. Jean Lucien Massot was really quite intimidating as Golfo until he is bested by Gennaro who has come searching for his love.

 

Act 3 of Napoli is one of the most infectiously joyous sequences of dance you can ever see. Apart from the characters who stay in their 1950s guise, the costumes are back to the traditional. It was absolute bliss to watch. The company were quite simply brilliant.

 

We saw the same cast of Amy Watson and Alban Lendorf at both performances and I thought they were both terrific. In Act 3 Marcin Kupinski stood out for me, as did Charles Andersen in the tarantella. Of the ladies, on the first evening, Gudrun Bojesen was particularly gorgeous.

 

With the resetting of Acts 1 and 2 this production could almost be three different ballets but a suspension of belief gets around that!

 

On the first evening there was a guard of honour leading in to the theatre and the paparrazzi seemed to be out in force. It was particularly irritating when they came back into the auditorium during Act 3 and started taking photographs - no flash but the clicking was distracting. That minor irritation apart, I thoroughly enjoyed both performances.

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Janet, thank you for posting this - I had been hoping you would write something about your trip. You seem to have enjoyed it rather more than some of the French observers! Interesting that you saw Thomas Lund as one of the suitors - the first time he's done it, I think.

 

It must be hard for the company to look so cheerful when they have the threat of job losses hanging over them - the decisions will be announced next week. Let's hope there will be fewer than some rumours have suggested...

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I believe the dancers were handing out leaflets before the performance on Friday but we didn't see any. Yes it is amazing that they were able to give such a committed and joyous performance given the sword of Damocles hanging over them. Interesting too that two of Peter Schaufuss children are dancing with the company - what a balletic dynasty that is turning out to be.

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