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 Post subject: Ballet conducters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 9:19 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<B>Why are ballet conductors so bad?</B><BR>Ballet music's poor image comes from the way it is conducted, says the ROH orchestra leader. He names names to Ismene Brown in the Daily Telegraph<P> <P>VASKO VASSILEV, the charismatic young leader of the Royal Opera House orchestra, thinks deeply, and then makes a very controversial statement. "I can't think of a boring ballet score," he says.<P> <BR>Vassilev: 'of course, there are second-rate ballet pieces. But how many Verdi operas are first-rate?' <BR>I have asked him to consider this question because the orchestra which two months ago was playing the sublime Parsifal conducted by Sir Simon Rattle - performances of such transcendent quality that they set music critics in a gibber of superlatives - is now playing, without much apparent enthusiasm, La Bayadere, a ballet composed by Ludwig Minkus, a Russian composer whom it is fashionable to scorn as the king of oompah and cheesy waltzes. Critics have praised the dancing, while skewering the show in the pit.<P><A HREF="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=%2Farts%2F2002%2F03%2F09%2Fbtisme09.xml" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet conducters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 9:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
What an interesting article!! We don't hear about or discuss the vital role of the conductor in the dance process nearly enough. <P>A symbiosis has to take place between the physicality of the dancer's musical sense and the experience and knowledge of the conductor's musical sense. One is based in physicality and one on hearing. And each must enter into the other's world. <P>The conductor truly fulfills the meaning of the word 'conduct' - a transmission - a connection - between the activity on the stage and the activity in the orchestra pit. Neither of which can see one another. Only the conductor sees both. <P>And the responsibility to preserve the delicate balance between guarding the intent of the composer, the needs of the dancer, and the possibilities of the musicians. <P>Actually, when I think about it, it's amazing that it happens at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet conducters
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2002 11:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: London
Reading this thread reminded me how much I cringed when the Kirov orchestra was conducted at the wrong speed for the "Firebird" in London two years ago. I love the opening crescendo before the curtain rises, but as the music started, I didn't recognise what was being played.<P>I once heard an anecdotal story about a ROH conductor told by one of the dancers at rehearsal that if he continued to conduct Don Q too fast, he would be forced to come up on the stage and dance, while the dancer would conduct the orchestra.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet conducters
PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2002 7:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Vasiliev is frank in his comments, but I know from speaking to a couple of ROH musicians that this verdict on Andrea Quinn is the general view from the orchestra, rightly or wrongly.<P>In the balance between the validity of the music and giving the dancers what they want I will go with the dancers every time. However, the best conductors will find a way through this problem. I was told in London last year that the SFB dancers were pleased with Paul Hoskins, who also conducts for the RB as well as being Music director of Rambert. He listens to what they want and enters into a dialogue with them. I was told of one evening when he felt that he was taking a piece too slowly and discussed with the dancers a slight speeding up for the next night. Hoskins was pleased with the effect that this slight acceleration had on the music and when he asked the dancers afterwards they said that because of the new life in the music, they had not been aware that it was any faster. <P>Communicate, communicate, communicate is the name of the game here. <P>On a different count I was disappointed that for Nacho Duato’s ‘Pos Vos Muero’ the RB went for canned music rather than getting in some early music specialists to perform the 16th C Spanish songs as Mark Morris did in a similar situation.<BR>


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