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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:18 am 
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Such Sweet Thunder
By Pat Ashworth for The Stage

This trilogy of works inspired by the life and music of Duke Ellington is danced by Birmingham Royal Ballet with a passion and exuberance that takes the breath away.

It is simply stunning. The American razzmatazz of Nutcracker Sweeties gives mischievous solos to so many of the principals, from Monica Zamora’s sultry and sinuous Sugar Rum Cherry to Jonathan Payn’s self-mocking Floreador and Michael Revie’s whirlwind Sailor.

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Concerto Barocco, Enigma Variations, Western Symphony
By Pat Ashworth for The Stage

Bach and Balanchine are made for each other in Concerto Barocco. This is ballet pure and simple, stripped of all excess and so studied and graceful as to be something of a masterclass.

Until the joyful allegro of the final movement, it is a solemn and awesome piece characterised by statuesque movement and delicate point work. The pairing of Tiit Helimets with Ambra Vallo and Asta Bazeviciute acts as a catalyst on the remaining eight dancers. Their approach to each one in turn sparks a chain reaction that threads and weaves the dancers into the rhythmic patterns and formations of the baroque music.

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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 5:46 am 
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Location: London
Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler’s Wells, 28/10/04
‘Such Sweet Thunder’ Triple Bill
The Nutcracker Sweeties (Bintley)
The Orpheus Suite (Bintley)
The Shakespeare Suite (Bintley)

BRB’s second programme at Sadler’s Wells this week was ‘Such Sweet Thunder’, company director David Bintley’s tribute to Duke Ellington. Bintley uses Ellington's music for the first and last ballets of the evening, The Nutcracker Sweeties and The Shakespeare Suite , while The Orpheus Suite , Bintley’s newest ballet, draws parallels between Ellington’s life and the Orpheus myth.

In The Orpheus Suite , Bintley takes the well known Orpheus story, and sets it in the 1930s, with the Orpheus character representing Ellington. The idea is that Ellington’s music was just as powerful as Orpheus’s, in that it had the ability to win over white audiences in 1930s America. This conceit isn’t developed at all as far as I can tell, but it provides the jazz age setting for the ballet. Bintley commissioned a new score from jazz composer Colin Towns for the ballet.

I found the work hugely enjoyable, if uneven, with some scenes being amazingly effective set pieces, and others rather nondescript and weak. The pas de deux for Orpheus and Eurydice were rather insipid while the ensemble work for the men was incredibly spectacular. That seemed to be the way with the score too, with exciting passages intermingled with some blandness. It may have been meant in a tongue in cheek way, but there were some terribly sentimental passages which sounded like they came straight off a soundtrack for a bad 1980s film.

The opening scene is a stunner, though, with rousing music introducing Apollo and the Argonauts, who all get a chance to show off their impressive techniques. I also loved the scenes in Hades, which were lit in red, giving a horribly seedy feeling to the proceedings. I thought as a whole, the ballet had the feel of a musical, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing, but it certainly provided some brilliant spectacle and entertainment.

Performances were also brilliant. Robert Parker blazed through the role of Orpheus, while Elisha Willis was a touching Eurydice. Iain Mackay was a slimy Aristaeus and the Furies played their sexy zombie roles effectively.

The programme opened with the endlessly perky The Nutcracker Sweeties , Bintley's rollicking interpretation of Ellington’s variations on pieces from The Nutcracker. A fun opener but the ballet lasts longer than Bintley’s invention and it dragged a bit at the end. It was fantastic though to see Monica Zamora oozing sex appeal as Sugar Rum Cherry and Nao Sakuma was a voluptuous Arabesque Cookie.

The Shakespeare Suite , a set of short scenes each depicting characters from Shakespeare, closed the evening. Last time I saw this I really enjoyed it but I think on this occasion it suffered from being programmed with ballets too similar in choreography and music - by the end of the night, big band music had lost its appeal somewhat and Bintley’s choreography seemed a bit repetitive. This just seemed like one ballet too far and whatever the logic of programming these ballets together, I think the evening would have benefited from something with a different feel being thrown in. However, Parker’s Hamlet was well worth seeing, and I also enjoyed Tyrone Singleton and Victoria Marr as Othello and Desdemona.


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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:27 am 
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BRB at Sadler's Wells

Birmingham Royal Ballet returned to its old home, Sadler’s Wells, last week, also celebrating Ashton, with a revival of his charming romantic ballet The Two Pigeons, to Messager’s luscious and lyrical music. Ashton created his inspired reworking of an old French ballet for this troupe in 1961, and they dance it with a special zest: they took it to New York for an Ashton festival this summer, with great success.

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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2004 11:39 am 
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Birmingham Royal Ballet - Two Pigeons/Western Symphony
A treat for London is the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s too-brief return to their former home, performing a double bill of works by two of the 20th century’s greatest choreographers. By Gavin roebuck for The Stage


Ashton’s Two Pigeons to Andre Messager’s music is about a girl and her fiance, who gets restless and leaves for a brief adventure with the gypsies before returning home. This simple romantic tale, more charming than emotionally engaging, is well performed by the company.

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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:03 am 
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Quote:
Touching affair of romance and spice

by ISMENE BROWN
the Daily Telegraph

Chi Cao, pale and anxious-looking, makes a poetic, unmacho Romeo, effective to start with, and dancing with a very attractive grace. But he and Lee Fisher's Tybalt were not the only players who seemed reluctant to fan much dramatic fire. This is theatre, damn it, not just a dance text.
more in the last part of the linked article


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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:03 am 
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Quote:
A ray of sunshine over Birmingham

by ISMENE BROWN
the Daily Telegraph

It is as if, after a long grey period, Bintley is putting colours back in. What happened, I ask him?

"Money," he replies. "We lost such a lot in the extended closure of Hippodrome that I was ordered to lessen up on the triple bills. Now the deficit is gone, so we can take more risks."
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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:27 am 
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Birmingham Royal Ballet
By Donald Hutera for The Times


THE latest triple bill from Birmingham Royal Ballet came wrapped in a plain-spoken appeal for funds. In order to keep commissioning work, the artistic director David Bintley has concocted a scheme whereby he hopes 1,000 members of the public will donate £150 each annually. Aside from the satisfaction of supporting new work, these putative financial angels will be invited to specific company rehearsals. In a pre-show speech on Wednesday, Bintley revealed that BRB is already nearly halfway to realising his minimum £150,000 goal.

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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:33 am 
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Quote:
The prodigal returns

by ISMENE BROWN
the Daily Telegraph

Where did such a choreographic natural go? Well, he runs a graphic design company and sometimes gets asked to create a work for a ballet school. Let's hope this time round Hindle gets his break. Bintley has launched a big push for new choreography, and began by asking Hindle to choreograph the entire Vivaldi work, to sit in the daunting company of George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp.
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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 5:50 am 
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Few would argue that this is a "Golden Age" for ballet choreography and, thus, it is great to hear of a hit from a relative newcomer, Oliver Hindle.

Here is some more information about him from the BRB website:

Oliver Hindle, choreography, trained with Sue Robinson then The Royal Ballet School before joining BRB in 1987. He created his first professional choreography, Sacred Symphony, for BRB in 1991. Oliver went on to create numerous works for both mixed bills and the company choreographic performances. 'Summer' from The Four Seasons was created for the 1998 choreographic performance, and has led to his current commission from BRB to complete this work. In 1999 Oliver left the company to pursue a career as a freelance choreographer. He also trained in graphic design and now runs his own design company in tandem with the choreography. Oliver has also choreographed for BCMG on a number of occasions, most notably The Soldiers Tale for the BBC Proms in 1996, and a revival of his choreography Le Renard, requested by Sir Simon Rattle for his final performance with BCMG. Oliver has created works for a number of vocational dance schools and their graduate touring companies as well as pieces for various concerts and events. His choreography has been performed at The Royal Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall, Tate Modern, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, The Linbury Studio Theatre and on television.

And here is the link to the details of this successful triple bill:

http://www.brb.org.uk/masque/index.htm?act=production&urn=2652


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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:44 am 
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Quote:
Save the last dance for me

by ZOE ANDERSON
the Independent

In 1998, four BRB dancers worked on Vivaldi's score, taking a season each. Hindle's "Summer" was the most praised, and he has come back to do the other three. He casts the dancers as athletes in seasonal sports: tennis; swimming; gymnastics; skating.
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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:10 am 
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The Four Seasons/Prodigal Son/The Upper Room
By Pat Ashworth for The Stage

What a magnificent triple bill from BRB. There are some exquisite moments in Hind’s fresh and teasing choreography for the Four Seasons, expressed in the crouching and stretching of tennis playing, the balance and control of the diving board, the seamless sequencing of gymnastics movement and the intensity of speed skating. Summer is perhaps the most stunning and expressive of the four, the fluent movement simulating the presence of water in every concentrated stroke.

Then comes Prodigal Son, danced with passion by Robert Parker. The son’s humiliation is a spectator sport in the place where he fetches up.

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BRB does the triple with flair
By David Dougill for The Sunday Times

At Birmingham Hippodrome, David Bintley has launched a director’s appeal for funds to keep up Birmingham Royal Ballet’s record in creating new work, and supporters have been handing him their cheques. The latest triple bill (in Plymouth this week) did include a premiere: The Four Seasons (to Vivaldi) by Oliver Hindle.

He is adept at elegant, lively and musical dances, and his theme is a novel one: sport. Spring is a tennis match rendered as neoclassical ballet.

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 Post subject: Re: Birmingham Royal Ballet: 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:14 am 
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Romeo and Juliet
By Pat Ashworth for The Stage

The arrogance and self-importance of the Capulet court are paramount in this production and demonstrate just what Romeo and Juliet are up against. This is a society that closes ranks against outsiders, something most evident in the formality of the ballroom scene, where watchful ladies adopt stylised poses that are almost a warning in themselves. The arches and colonnades of the set are as crowded with figures at times as a Veronese canvas, another indicator of a relationship conducted in the public eye.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:45 am 
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Quote:
Scottish Opera chief executive latest figure to stand down
by TIM CORNWELL for the Scotsman

SCOTTISH Opera’s chief executive is stepping down, the third top management figure to leave the company in a year.

Christopher Barron is leaving to become chief executive of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. He moves to his new job in October.

published: April 20, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:35 am 
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Southwest Tour 2005
By Debra Craine for The Times


FOR its spring tour, Birmingham Royal Ballet has split into two, one half of the company touring the northeast, the other touring the southwest. For the mixed bill on offer in the southwest, the artistic director David Bintley has programmed something old, something new, and something so rarely performed that it might as well be new.

The something new is Bintley’s Les Petits Riens, which uses the music Mozart wrote for Noverre in 1778, here played by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Bintley created Petits Riens for the Royal Ballet School in 1991 and reworked it for his own company this year.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 4:19 am 
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Quote:
Birmingham Royal Ballet
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

The blunter lines of John Cranko's Brouillards (1970) suit them better and they have fun with its riddling humour.

published: April 22, 2005
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