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National Ballet of Canada - 'The Merry Widow'

by Michael Goldbarth

November 2001 -- The Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto

My review runs much along those in the local papers. The corps de ballet looked a little ragged. Not many in the seats noticed (of those who showed up). There were many subscribers who stayed home. For those who did show they were treated to gorgeous Greta Hodgkinson as Hanna and the very radiant Stacey Shiori Minagawa as Valencienne. Look for Minagawa to be promoted to principal by season’s end.
That Greta is one fast dresser! There’s a scene where she has to change in 3 minutes or so for her dream sequence as a peasant girl in love with Danilo, now a Count

William Marrié very much looked the part of a Count but still needs some work on his dancing. There were several times when he looked a little tentative and stumbled noticeably twice during Saturday’s performance. As usual there were many new faces and of course many dancers who are no longer with the National Ballet of Canada. Most were aware that Jennifer Fournier, James O’Connor and Joanna Levy would no longer be dancing for the company. I was more than a little surprised not to see the lovely Andrea Burridge (with the Company since ‘93) and the promising Christopher Body (‘94) not in the yearbook.

By the way, the 50th anniversary yearbook is a must buy for a mere $10: Very beautiful! The list of missing faces includes Bei-Di Sheng, Jeremy Naismith, Matjash Mrozewski, André Hamelin, Kevin Law and Hansuke Yamamoto. One face I was surprised to see in the anniversary yearbook was that of one Kimberly Glasco! Bravo sneaked her in an advertisement on page 2! Curiously, every Footnotes videocassette on sale in the Hummingbird lobby had a price sticker affixed smack dab on Glasco’s face!

I wonder if the National saw the irony leading the season off with “The Merry Widow”? It’s a ballet about a country with a falling dollar (Canada and the National Ballet of Canada) looking for a rich benefactor. The Company is paying for concentrating too much of their efforts turning their pockets inside out begging for money from ballet patrons and big corporations. The audience is aging noticeably. They desperately need to attract younger fans!!!

Edited by Staff.

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