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 Post subject: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2002 5:30 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.dancing-times.co.uk/Pics/dancingtimes/200210/front200210.jpg" alt="" />

GONG - Mark Morris at the Royal Ballet
by Beth Genné for The Dancing Times

October 22 is the premiere of Mark Morris’ Gong at the Royal Ballet. Gong was originally created for American Ballet Theater in 2001 and its acquisition by the Royal Ballet is their first work by Morris. It is about time. He has already created works for most of the major ballet companies in the USA — from San Francisco to Boston. (ENB gets Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes next.) Gong combines Morris’ enduring fascination with the tradition of Franco-Russian ballet and the music and dance of Asia — here, specifically, the music of the Balinese gamelan orchestra and the dance that it often accompanies. Morris was fascinated with non-Western dance long before an interest in “multi-culturalism” and “world music” became fashionable.

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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 10:36 am 
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Location: UK
The updated cast is now on the RB website here.

I can't find the link but the Evening Standard's review today seemed quite favourable over Gong.


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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 6:04 pm 
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Hi Sylvia! Sadly the ES has changed its website format and reviews are now in a fee paying part of the site.


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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2002 6:06 pm 
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Mixed Bill
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian

Ross Stretton may have been ousted amidst dark rumours and with hugger mugger speed, but the director's parting gift to the company turns out to be one of the brightest programmes in its recent history. The highlight is GONG, an overdue acquisition from the choreographic imagination of Mark Morris - the first of his works danced by a major British troupe.
The ballet is set to Colin McPhee's 1936 score Tabuh-Tabuhan, whose mix of Asian styles and grand 20th century dissonance unleashes a cross cultural fantasy.

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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2002 3:39 am 
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Review in The Telegraph.

Quote:
Three modern ballets of idiosyncratic variety created in our own time by three top names in the world today: Christopher Wheeldon, the young classicist from New York, Mark Morris, the unorthodox musical charmer, and Mats Ek, the salty Swedish cartoonist of sex.

The pictures they conjure range from New York streets and Scottish isles to Indonesian escapism and a brief, rude encounter with Spanish good-time-gal Carmen. Every one is a winner, though Morris's Gong is as yet more a winner as a work than in performance, since this was its company premiere and the Royal Ballet traditionally takes a few months sniffing around a strange work before claiming it as its own.

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And in The Times.

Quote:
of the Royal Ballet’s 2002-03 season was not that the company now has a new director but that a major international choreographer was being added to its roster: Mark Morris. The inventive American dance-maker’s own company has appeared at the London Coliseum and Sadler’s Wells many times and Morris also worked with the Royal Opera a few seasons ago, but this is the first time his choreography has been performed by the Royal Ballet. It is cause for jubilation.
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<small>[ 10-24-2002, 05:44: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 10:04 am 
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Review in The Sunday Times.

Quote:
Suddenly I find myself missing Ross Stretton, and wondering whether it’s too late to get him back. If the recently dismissed artistic director of the Royal Ballet had foreseen his own downfall, he could not possibly have cocked a more self-vindicating snook at his critics than the opening programme in the company’s new season. By careful editing, it makes his tenure look like a golden age. The evening starts with Christopher Wheeldon’s specially commissioned Tryst, a rich and deeply strange work in which neoclassical dance strays unwarily into an eldritch, metamorphosing Celtic twilight. It ends with one of the more successful of last year’s acquisitions, Mats Ek’s Carmen, in which Sylvie Guillem’s splay-limbed sexual predator moves from man to man, sucking the essence from each.
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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 10:25 am 
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Review in the Observer.

Quote:
The Royal Ballet opened its new season with a triple bill of ballets that should never have been programmed together. The ill-assorted fare is a Stretton legacy, planned before his ejection. To his credit, he had secured a ballet by Mark Morris, a long sought-after prize. Gong (made for American Ballet Theatre) forms the centrepiece with Christopher Wheeldon's entrancing Tryst and Mats Ek's savagely grotesque Carmen. The three ballets cancel each other out.

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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2002 2:24 am 
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Review in the Independent.

Quote:
As dance-watchers hardly need reminding, the Royal Ballet shed its artistic director four weeks ago – under which circumstances it seemed right to allow the company a little sympathetic leeway as it scrambled together its first performance of the season.

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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2002 4:18 am 
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Get it on, bang a gong
By John Perciaval for The Independent (Ithink we can be confident that he is not responsible for the headline).

At last, the Royal Ballet has jumped on Mark Morris's enticing bandwagon, making it the fourth British company to do so. Gong, which opens the new season, doesn't have the sublimity of Morris's three big dance productions for English National Opera, but will surely prove more durable than his pieces for London Contemporary Dance or the Royal Opera. It is colourful, tuneful and – for this company – packed with unusual dance.

Gong was created last year for American Ballet Theatre. The music, which is always fundamental to a Morris ballet, is Colin McPhee's Tabuh-Tabuhan, a toccata for orchestra and two pianos composed in 1936 under the inspiration of Balinese gamelan. It could do with more inspired conducting, like the rest of the programme, but the score is unusual, attractive and rewarding; lively in rhythm, rich in texture.

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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2002 6:08 am 
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I haven’t been to a Royal Ballet production for what seems like ages (but probably isn’t very long at all) and had forgotten just how good it can be. Article upon article has been written about Christopher Wheeldon’s “Tryst” and Mats Ek’s “Carmen” so I will not wax lyrical, but rather give a brief overview of the thoughts that came to me while I was sitting in the auditorium – the ones from the gut.

“Tryst” is good on the whole and brilliant in parts. It is clear why so much has been written about it. There is a lot to get one’s teeth into. Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope have been a fed a brilliant pas de deux and it will inevitably always be ‘their’ piece. Lighting, costume, stage design and dance are perfectly integrated in “Tryst” but James MacMillan’s music is annoyingly brash and brassy – literally too heavy on the brass section of the orchestra. The lighting fascinates because as the piece winds down the dancers dance in half-light so that it appears to be their shadow, their silhouette, that you see rather than them. First soloist Jane Burn really stood out for me. She is certainly one to watch – lithe, full of energy and very lyrical.

“Gong” is delightfully camp and diverting. It would not bother me if I never saw it again but it showed off certain of the dancers who would not normally be singled out for so much special attention - mostly amongst the men: the women looked somewhat superfluous and underutilised. For example, I could not take my eyes off Ed Watson. Setting aside the fact that he had been condemned to wear a frog-green lycra all-in-one, he was a joy to behold. His enthusiasm, precision, energy and sheer ‘watchability’ amaze me every time. He just dances. One stops noticing the choreography and it becomes impossible to break it down into constituent steps. The preparation for a difficult pirouette is undetectable. The movement just flows. Other dancers execute their steps faultlessly and even elegantly, if not brilliantly. But they’re not dancing.

There are clever gimmicks in “Gong” such as couples dancing without music and dancers’ shadows projected on to the back of the stage. People around me thought that unaccompanied dance was an amazingly original idea. (They should, of course, get out more.) But, as I said, I would not willingly sit through the piece again.

“Carmen” is a wonderful piece of drama. Critics have broken down and denigrated the individual movements while celebrating individual performances. This is a mistake. The piece has to be considered as a whole. Mats Ek really has produced something lasting and highly watchable. (I do not think this about all of his work, that’s for sure.) Tamara Rojo is a wonderful Carmen for more reasons than being Spanish. My Spanish companions thought she out-acted Sylvie Guillem by acting less and just ‘being’ Carmen. It amused me no end to see the angelic Rojo turned into a seductive and wanton figure rummaging under her blood red skirts to produce an already smoking cigar which is then placed into pursed lips. The Spaniards went wild about the piece and they are quite good judges of the incarnations of their national heroine/anti-heroine.


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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2002 8:59 pm 
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I agree about Rojos' Carmen, and I thought Thomas Whitehead was terrific as Don Jose


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 Post subject: Re: RB Triple Bill - Gong/Tryst/Carmen
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2002 7:03 am 
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Gong
By Jann Parry in The Observer

The Royal Ballet could do with more attitude in its triple bill, which introduced Mark Morris's Gong into the repertoire. It receives a curiously muted response, though the second cast look more at home in it than the Bussell-led opening ensemble. Gong subverts ballet's hierarchy of soloists and corps while seeming to observe it. The big brass have big tutus, the small girls wear minis; everyone has important earrings, though the men have downsized theirs after the first cast knocked themselves off-balance.

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<small>[ 11-10-2002, 08:03: Message edited by: PressUK ]</small>


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