The English: Are they Human ? (G.J. Renier, first published 1931).
Well, the English may not be, but .... was Nureyev?
Can't say that I quite share Mlle. Aurélie's enthusiasm for this particular Broken Nut.
The major point is that the production itself has been falling apart for some years now, while the corps de ballet following that G..... M Concours is so tired, that they can hardly stand on their own two legs, let alone on one in arabesque.
The incoherency and general silliness of Nureyev's libretto and discombobulated choreography, grind down one's nerves, as the performances wear on, and on, and on.
Although one must bow deeply to the twenty-three year old Froustey's incredible professionalism, mastery of every trick up Nureyev's rather greasy hat, and a technique - in the leg - of unusual brilliance, there is nevertheless rigor mortis in the upper body, that, if allowed to go forward thus, will become most unappealing. I cannot help but find her stage manner rather cold, and vis à vis her partner, slightly autistic, but perhaps that is but a failing due to extreme youth.
In final pas de deux, Mlle. Froustey's chosen mode was that of "TRIUMPH" , flashing a stern and conquering glance into the public, and in the leg, as I say, her work was virtually flawless. A most striking contrast with the tender humanity, the "Sehnsucht" quality of Ould-Braham a week earlier. I shall have no further opportunity to say this, so I shall it now: a film was made a fortnight ago of this ballet, with Ould-Braham as Clara. Not the other gentleman, but Thibault, should have been filmed with her. A most serious mistake in artistic judgment has been made by Management here, and one that future generations, who will eagerly seek out any trace left by a pair who - under other circumstances and in another age - might have become legendary, will have cause to regret.
Returning to Josua Hoffalt as last night's Drosselmeyer/Prince, and who has a Tough Nut to Crack in the most literal sense with so ungrateful a role, studded with variations of unmitigated ugliness and the most taxing double-work. Hoffalt is a loveable fellow, and consequently, one would like to find "star quality" in one so amiable.
Hoffalt is a very musical artist, really, the which fact, during the pas de deux, often had one following him rather more attentively than Froustey, despite the latter's being far the more polished and confident dancer. The lad is nevertheless somewhat under the weather: having been out for some months injured, his physical condition is not quite up to the terrible demands of a role that has stymied more than one étoile.
Why must we impose this kind of choreography on our lot? Why not buy in some decent productions, and let these wonderful dancers get the hell down onto the stage, and simply DANCE, for heaven's sake?
Not to speak of the fact that throughout the performance all manner of untoward musical incidents erupted, including a "Chinese" dance (choreography: hideous, chaps hopscotching, perhaps something to do with Rudi's private life ?), totally off the music from start to finish, and children capering round on stage in Act I, oblivous to the conductor in the pit.
As for the Arabian "dance", give me the Crazy Horse Saloon any time, and even Grinsztajn's lovely face could not save this one.
And Fritz. Fritz! Does Management really find it credible to put up M. Isoart, a fine dancer, actually, but nearly forty years of age and father to young children himself, as the fourteen-year old Fritz, alongside a tiny, doll-like Luisa now in her twentieth year, Mlle. Giezendanner?
On to the technicians ! We might wish to examine whether there may not be short-staffing (certainly wages are low enough!): ear-splitting bangs and crashes have oft been heard backstage in "Paquita" and "Casse-Noisette", stage-props have cracked or failed to work, and during the women's Concours on the Thursday, there was a false fire alarm went off, smack in the middle of Karine Villagrassa's "Emeralds" variation.
Anyway, back to the Broken Nut.
The simultaneous run of "Paquita" and "Casse Noisette" has been an unpretty business in this fair year of 2007. With over half our étoiles and premiers danseurs out - ill, injured, over-age, or simply not allowed to dance - one of the world's five major theatres has proven itself incapable, or unwilling, of putting up a single cast in either ballet that truly holds the boards.
Boards or no boards, the author of these lines is never, as a rule, bored, but the threshhold has now well and truly been crossed.
Last edited by KANTER on Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:47 am, edited 2 times in total.