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 Post subject: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2003 3:45 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A man for all seasons
What's it like to be back at Covent Garden after a decade away? David Bintley tells our critic. By Debra Craine for The Times:


TEN YEARS AGO, it all went horribly wrong for David Bintley. There he was, resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet, following in the footsteps of such giants as Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan, and it just wasn’t working. He had had a run of flawed ballets, The Planets and Cyrano most famously, and it became obvious that the door was closing on his future at Covent Garden. And then it slammed shut. After eight years with the Royal Ballet, he was out.

Today the door has reopened, if only a crack, but wide enough to allow Bintley to return to his old company and give them a new ballet. It’s a one-acter called Les Saisons, it has music by Glazunov (the Raymonda man) and it has its world premiere at the Royal Opera House on May 21.

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<small>[ 19 February 2004, 02:54 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2003 5:42 pm 
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I'm delighted he is still working on Cyrano. Even though it wasn't quite right in Act III, I have very fond memories of it, with a lovely score, and heartbreaking performances by Collier and Jeffries


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 12:33 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The Independent.

Quote:
Three cheers at last for the Royal Ballet. Last night's programme contained three works by three of the company's own choreographers, all British and all good. They included the season's only creation, which is also David Bintley's first for Covent Garden in 10 years. Bintley likes making story ballets, but he also does some inventive all-dance pieces and this is one.

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And and interview with David Bintley.

Quote:
Maybe if he had entered the room in a tutu and tiara, David Bintley would have looked more like the ballet person he is. Instead, holding his briefcase, he might have been one of those repair-men who carry invoice-printing laptops as well as spanners. On closer inspection, though, the logo on his shirt spelt not Bosch, but Birmingham Royal Ballet - an endearingly proud advertisement for the company that he has directed for eight years.

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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 4:54 am 
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Bintley's new work is very "nice." There is nothing in it that can give offence. However I was left with an impression of the costumes more than of the choreography. It is not very often that one gets to see new tutus on stage - most new works do not invoke the need for real tutu - and at their newest, the layers of crisp tulle are stupendous, thanks to Charles Quiggin.

The choreography is very 'free.' This word has been used a great deal to describe how the chreography is less formalistic than Petipa's use of Glazunov's score. Bintely's choreography was so free as to be not too memorable. I need to see it again. John Percival makes a good point about the potential for this ballet if ther were more old-style ballerinas. It is hard to explain that term - it is more a feeling that the wintry solos lacked 'umph' and presence. Again, perhaps that is why the choreogrpahy was lacking. Jaimie Tapper as "L'Hiver" was certainly the closest and Isabel McMeekan, who had been give a prominent role as "L'Ete" with Jonathan Cope, looked very good too - a strong, grounded performance, worthy of a principal dancer.

The make-up was truly awful - garish stripes across the face and blue eyeshadow that would have looked over-the-top in the seventies.

Ashton's "Scenes de Ballet" looked like the real McCoy after "Les Saisons." It is the height of classicism and neo-classicsim all rolled into one. I enjoyed it the first time I saw it but that was as much as I felt. This time I appreciated it much more and it seemed that Alina Cojocaru had grown into the grande dame of the stage that is required of the principal figure. She was much more assured and sensually confident. The eye is drawn to Ed Watson throughtout the piece.

Certainly this piece becomes stronger each time you see it and in particular because of Bintley's piece coming directly before it, the contrast is striking. Bintley is trying to recapture an age but in so doing is not resonating with the present whereas Ashton 'was' the age and still resonates with the present.

<small>[ 23 May 2003, 08:10 AM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 11:42 pm 
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Review from The Telegraph.

Quote:
Hard not to feel sympathy for choreographer David Bintley, whose new ballet premiered on Wednesday night and found itself competing for attention with two of the acknowledged masterpieces of the European canon: Ashton's Scènes de Ballet and MacMillan's Song of the Earth. Although the former was created in 1948 and the latter in 1965, the pieces retain a conceptual tautness which makes most recently created ballets look dated by comparison.

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And from The Times.

Quote:
THE three choreographers showcased in the Royal Ballet’s new triple bill share one thing. Ashton, MacMillan and David Bintley were all, at one time or another, Covent Garden’s house choreographer. So it’s perhaps fitting that Bintley’s pretty-as-a-picture new ballet for the Royal Opera House should take some of its inspiration from them.
Ashton, especially, and MacMillan are the ghosts who haunt Les Saisons, which received its world premiere on Wednesday night. Bintley’s setting of Glazunov’s rarely performed score is filled with Royal Ballet references, even as it casts its mind back to 18th-century France, whose elegant style informs this dance for 28.

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And The Guardian.

Quote:
It's bad luck for David Bintley to be premiering his latest ballet in the company of such sublime works as MacMillan's Song of the Earth and Ashton's Scènes de Ballet. But it was his choice alone to saddle himself with the facile musical pastiche of Glazunov's Les Saisons as his score.
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<small>[ 23 May 2003, 01:48 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 3:18 am 
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What on earth has Judith Mackrell got against the Russian composer Alexander Glazunov?

Quote:
the facile musical pastiche of Glazunov's Les Saisons
In what way is the music of Les Saisons a pastiche? Written in 1900 I would have thought the music was very much of its time. Most commentators rate Glazunov's ballet scores as second only to Tchaikovsky's in quality when considering music produced in Russia for the Imperial Theatre and no one surely would argue as to the superiority of Glazunov's music over that of say Minkus or Pugni?

Ms Mackrell goes on to say...

Quote:
But the flaccid tunes and even more flaccid orchestration of Glazunov's score
Flaccid tunes? In what way flaccid? As I'm going to see this ballet for the first time tomorrow night I can't comment on the manner in which the Covent Garden orchestra may have played this music, but in the past I've thoroughly enjoyed those "flaccid tunes" when they have formed the score of Ashton's Birthday Offering. And "Flaccid orchestration"? Does Ms Mackrell consider his familiar orchestration of Les Sylphides flaccid too?

In fact Glazunov was regarded as a master of orchestration, the pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and much later the teacher of Shostakovitch, his works, though rarely performed in Britain, are a glorious example of the late romantic style and I find it very unfair for someone to denigrate his music in this fashion.


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 7:46 am 
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Cassandra you will find that Glazunov's score is good and performed with aplomb...enjoy.

However Ms Mackrell is spot on when she says:

Quote:
No one else could have made these works and almost anyone could have made Les Saisons. That is a pity because Bintley is a better choreographer than just anyone.


<small>[ 23 May 2003, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: Emma Pegler ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2003 3:06 am 
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Les Saisons - Covent Garden
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times


The Royal Ballet's new triple bill pays tribute to three generations of its choreographers: Ashton withScènes de ballet, MacMillan withSong of the Earth, and David Bintley with his new piece for the company, Les Saisons. This is a selection of sorbets, seasonally flavoured, using Glazunov's delicious and eponymous score, his last composition for the Imperial Ballet in Petersburg. It is musique dansante of luscious charm, and it was - like all the evening's music - well played under Barry Wordsworth's baton.

An all-white stage into which Peter J.Davison drops seasonal greeting-card panels. Pretty tutus for the women, from Charles Quiggin, which nod sweetly to the time of year, but curious tights for the bare-torsoed men with unflattering frills of fabric at the waist.

A palate-tickler, in sum, which begins with fetching variations for Frost, Ice, Hail and Snow, fetchingly done by Deirdre Chapman, Lauren Cuthbertson, Mara Galeazzi and Marianela Nuñez.

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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 12:23 am 
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Review from The Independent.

Quote:
Three cheers at last for the Royal Ballet. Last night's programme contained three works by three of the company's own choreographers, all British and all good. They included the season's only creation, which is also David Bintley's first for Covent Garden in 10 years. Bintley likes making story ballets, but he also does some inventive all-dance pieces and this is one.

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And from The Observer.

Quote:
David Bintley's Les Saisons for the Royal Ballet is the kind of work Newson would label as Pretty Meaningless. It's a bonne bouche to prepare audiences for something meatier - in this triple bill, Ashton's Scènes de Ballet and MacMillan's Song of the Earth . Les Saisons marks Bintley's return, 10 years on, to the company where he was once heir apparent as resident choreographer. In an ideal comeback, he'd prove he was now in the same league as his predecessors.

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<small>[ 25 May 2003, 02:25 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 12:44 am 
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The critics were unanimous in their opinions of the Triple Bill.


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 4:40 am 
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Snowflakes, poppies, manic smiling - it's tutu much
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent

Royal Ballet mixed bills stamped "Made in Britain" have been as rare as hen's teeth in recent years. And you don't have to be a xenophobe to see why that's not right. Now that the regime change is beginning to kick in, though, the outlook is shifting. Not that the Royal has suddenly turned up a stash of stunning new choreographic talent - we're still talking familiar names. But an evening of work by Ashton, MacMillan and David Bintley would at least appear to offer some continuity in the progress of "the English style". In theory, anyway.

What's disconcerting about this latest mixed package is that while the old Ashton and MacMillan works have a challenging edge, the big new piece - David Bintley's Les Saisons - is extravagantly retro.

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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 5:24 pm 
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This was a very fine programme, with a superb revival of Song of the Earth, very movingly danced by both casts. It amazed me that there were so many empty seats at the four performances we attended, but on thinking about it, the RB marketing was minimal. There were a few small adverts in black and white, with a rehearsal photo of Les Saisons. Why weren't there colour ads promoting Song of the Earth as the main work, a modern classic - or they could have used photos of Scenes, with some of the glowing reviews from earlier in the year. Truly pathetic support for the dancers, and excessive reliance on the "regular" audience.

Les Saisons has great charm, and although it is not as substantial as its great companions on the programme, I think it should at least stay in the rep. I have a theory that it is really another of Bintleys' tributes to Ashton - conscious or not. Ashton was after all very fond of the music. Hearing the variations used in Birthday Offering danced by the Royal Ballet in this new context was slightly odd. None was as good as Ashton, but they were very effectively done. Best I thought was the variation created by the very promising Lauren Cuthbertson, to the music Ashton used for Beriosova's solo.

There were several moments where I saw bits of Ashton. The pas de quatre for the Winter Fairy and three cavaliers contained several echos of Cinderellas Ballroom entrance en pointe. The Spring Couple parade hand in hand just like Daphnis and Chloe in their final entry - the moment in the old production where Chloe had put on the red jacket. The Spring female had several of Ashtons favourite filigree steps. The Summer couple finished their pas de deux in a pose very like the end of the final pas de deux in Fille, while their various entrees were reminiscent of Birthday Offering.

Wonder if anyone else thought the same?


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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 12:33 am 
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Review from The Sunday Times.

Quote:
David Bintley’s first creation for the Royal Ballet in 10 years, Les Saisons, takes a fresh look at old fashions. Its lushly melodious score by Glazunov, full of gorgeously dancey tunes, was written for a ballet by Petipa in 1900, and Bintley has followed the composer’s original scenario for a classical piece on the cycle of the seasons, but discarded the naiads, zephyrs and fauns.
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 Post subject: Re: RB's "Seasons" Triple Bill 2003
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:25 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London, United Kingdom
May 21—29, 2003

Reviewed by Allan Ulrich for Dance Magazine online

The Royal Ballet advertised David Bintley’s Les Saisons as the company’s contemporary creation of the 2002—03 season, but "contemporary" stretched the point a bit; the most forward-looking of England’s leading classicists has spurned the steamy narratives he has favored in the past for an elegantly appointed forty-five-minute romp through Petipa territory. The music, one of Alexander Glazunov’s finest ballet scores, served for one of Petipa’s final Maryinsky commissions, a tribute to reigning assoluta Mathilda Kschessinskaya; it summoned from Bintley a four-part abstraction that generally hewed to the composer’s original libretto and sought formal rigor by bringing on its pack of soloists for farewell turns at the end.

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