CriticalDance Forum

Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004
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Author:  ncgnet [ Thu May 06, 2004 5:26 am ]
Post subject:  Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

BB's Swan Lake opens next week, and articles are starting to appear. A brief casting comment from T.J. Medrek in the Boston Herald: Swan Lake’ meets ‘Sister, Sister’
Boston Ballet’s Lorna Feijoo and her sister, Lorena, a ballerina with San Francisco Ballet, will share the lead ballerina role in 'Swan Lake,' at the Wang Theatre on May 22 at 8 p.m. ....
And a longer article by Jeffrey Gantz in the Boston Phoenix: Flight plan - Mikko Nissinen does Swan Lake
If you want iron-clad artistic intention, try a Wagner opera." That’s Boston Ballet’s artistic director, Mikko Nissinen, speaking, and the work he’s describing is none other than the most revered of all ballets, Swan Lake, which is the final production (May 13 through 23) of the company’s 40th-anniversary season.

Author:  ncgnet [ Thu May 13, 2004 5:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

A preview article from Christine Temin of the Boston Globe: Tradition plays a large part in Boston Ballet’s new ‘Swan Lake’
.... Boston Ballet, the company [Nissinen] directs, premieres his version at the Wang [May 13], as the concluding program of the company’s 40th season. .... Those who have seen “Swan Lake” before will probably also feel on familiar turf with Nissinen’s production, which is firmly rooted in the Tchaikovsky score and the traditional scenario.

Author:  ncgnet [ Fri May 14, 2004 6:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

Two reviews from opening night:

Christine Temin in the Boston Globe: Boston Ballet’s ‘Swan Lake’ glistens
Other late 19th-century ballets are sweet, silly, or sad: Only “Swan Lake” is emotionally wrenching. The emotion can slip into histrionics, canceling itself out. Not in Boston Ballet’s “Swan,” though, newly, and for the most part brilliantly, restaged by company artistic director Mikko Nissinen.
Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald: ‘Swan’ waddles, then soars
There are two ways to proceed with a beloved classic like “Swan Lake.” It can exist as a subjective reinterpretation, or as a loving homage to Petipa and Ivanov’s 1895 original. Artistic director Mikko Nissinen has staged the latter for Boston Ballet, resulting in a captivating journey that still has a few awkward bumps in the road.

Author:  ncgnet [ Sun May 16, 2004 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

We saw Swan Lake last night with Lorna Feijoo as Odette/Odile, Nelson Madrigal as Siegfried, and Sabo Varga as Von Rothbart. What an extraordinary experience! Feijoo was amazing. She projected such a complete air of melancholy in Act II, and then in Act III just as I was thinking her Odile wasn't giving much away she flashed her eyes and the most evil grin at Siegfied - Gotcha! Her dancing in both parts was wonderful.

As stated in the print reviews the corps was beautiful. It was interesting to have a young and dashing Von Rothbart - it worked though it was hard to think of him as Odile's dad.

At the end there was a standing ovation that lasted longer than any I've experienced in Boston for a regular (not good-bye) performance. The audience couldn't stop clapping and didn't want to leave. WOW.

Larissa Ponomarenko received great reviews, and I've heard that Sarah Lamb was excellent. Haven't heard anything about Romi Beppu - her first was this afternoon.

Next Saturday we get to go again and see Feijoo again, this time with her sister Lorena in the Odile role. I wonder if she has bones in her arms, I don't think Lorna does....

In any case, if you can get to Boston I recommend this production.

Author:  Azlan [ Sun May 16, 2004 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

Wow, thanks for the description, BBalletFan. I think you will find that Lorena is quite a different dancer from Lorna, even though both have benefitted from Alonso's training. Lorena, who is the elder, has also been moulded by her more extensive experience dancing outside of Cuba.

This isn't too say Lorna's technique is inferior. Furthermore, there is an exuberance about her performances that is very charming.

Author:  ncgnet [ Tue May 18, 2004 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

A review from Iris Fanger in the Patriot Ledger:

Boston Ballet’s new ‘Swan Lake’ a good fit
The Boston Ballet ends its 40th anniversary season with a new production of “Swan Lake” that fits solidly in the tradition of that most classic of 19th century works.....
Nissinen has succeeded in his goal of sharpening the familiar story, paring away any extraneous details, to focus on the plight of the Swan Queen

Author:  ncgnet [ Wed May 19, 2004 6:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

In the Boston Globe, Christine Temin reviews last Saturday night's performance: Couple are a perfect match for 'Swan Lake'
Saturday night's "Swan Lake" showed why Nissinen wanted to lure [Lorna Feijoo & Nelson Madrigal] here. Dancing the leading roles, the couple triumphed. Their complete trust in each other showed as Feijoo flew into Madrigal's arms from a breathtaking distance, without a smidgen of the hesitation she might've shown with a less familiar partner

Author:  ncgnet [ Thu May 20, 2004 6:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

From Jeffrey Gantz in the Boston Phoenix: Taking aim - Mikko Nissinen puts his mark on Swan Lake
.... Boston Ballet’s version is largely traditional, and it remains so in the current restaging. Company artistic director Mikko Nissinen has streamlined some aspects of the presentation .... it does a have a fresher, cleaner feel. Whether this new edition is an improvement, time will tell; for the moment, the ample strengths of Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake remain the performers, both on stage and in the pit.

Author:  ncgnet [ Thu May 20, 2004 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

And a feature from The Boston Channel:
Boston Ballet Performs Famed 'Swan Lake' - Ballet Is 'Crown Jewel' Of Classical Ballets

Author:  S. E. Arnold [ Tue May 25, 2004 3:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

Review: Swan Lake, Boston Ballet, May 15&16, 2004

“Does it matter,” questions poet Robinson Jeffers, “whether you hate your…self? At least/ Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can/ Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan.”

Or. Love Sarah Lamb or Larisa Ponomarenko or Lorna Feijoo or Romi Beppu as Odette/Odile and the thunder of the great Swan corps’s rolling feet in Mikko Nissinen’s meditation on Swan Lake.

Compelled by necessity to invest his vision of Swan Lake within the sets and costumes of an inherited production, the relationship between and characterizations of Siegfried and Rothbart, however, revealed Nissinen’s point of view. Although the melancholy suffered by his inherently merry Siegfried echoes the melancholy, character, and fate- to break a curse- of Wagner’s Senta, it is the numinous Rothbart that shapes Nissinen’s vision of Swan Lake into a retelling of Eden’s loss.

“I am suggesting,” said Nissenin about Siegfried’s confrontation with Rothbart in Act IV, “but I am not putting it in writing anywhere, that part of what takes place is the Princess own dark side. Yes, we have a fairytale with Rothbart and all of this, but there are two sides of an individual at the same time. There is a little bit of Rothbart in Siegfried and a little bit of Siegfried in Rothbart.”

Rothbart opens Act II, which followed Act I without pause, with a space consuming solo filled with bravado turning jumps. Costumed in black trousers and doublet figured with gold weaves, Rothbart might move amongst the 16th century population of the ballet barely noticed. Rothbart in spite of his supernatural powers appears quite human suggesting that the curse he enforces is the anxiety and guilt – the self-hatred Jeffers refers to- that signifies being human. In the case of the swans in Swan Lake, however, humans are cygne-fied, which means that the curse of anxiety and guilt is undone- at least temporarily. In the clouded history of Swan Lake’s literary source, it could be that the curse that changes a maiden to swan might have been reversed.

What’s it like to be a swan? Only Odette and her fellow community of 24 swan/maidens can tell us. And although it is disappointing that Siegfried fails to ask her, it is nevertheless the uniqueness of Odette’s subjectivities, her differing self-hoods that make for this viewer the risk of her commitment to Siegfried’s pledge keen and more bitter than sweet. Unlike Wagner’s Dutch sea captain, for example, who aggressively seeks the curse breaking liberation of a lover’s commitment Odette hesitates. Given the evidence of her costume, her steady wing-like port de bras, and the wild petite allegro flourish in the coda that ends the Act II pas de deux her metamorphosis from swan to human seems incomplete. Odette’s want to fly from Siegfried hints that her swan sensibility shuns the compromise to the “bright power” of its “fierce consciousness.” Moreover, her dual subjectivities warn her that in the vacuum brought by the surrender of that power and consciousness to Siegfied’s claim of redeeming love that oppressive human feelings and acts such as those that require redemption will rush to replace them. Nevertheless, Odette falls…in love with Siegfried and the Eden of her guiltless swan world vanishes.

On the other hand, Swan Lake celebrates what its like to be human. Acts I and III cheer a young person’s coming of age and his nuptial activities, while Act II and IV reveal the awkwardness and impetuosity of new love and the desire to render that love transcendent. At the same time, however, Act III exposed the dark side of human experience. Praying upon those that would be happy the self-hate inherent in humans referred to by Jeffers and manifest in the mockeries of Rothbart and Odile, for example, easily tempt the euphoric, love blinded Prince into betraying his love. The confrontation between Seigfried and Rothbart in Act IV, however, redeemed that betrayal and showed that ideas of beauty as well as morality inform human action.

In the poetry of Jeffers Beauty is a force rather than a property of the physical world. And like acceleration and/or the nuclear force rather than size, color, and shape, for example, Beauty seems to mark both movement and a compulsion for coherence. In Swan Lake, for example, the restlessness inherent in the inverted chords at the beginning of the Overture both drive the ballet and identify its tonal center. Moreover, in Act IV, which at eighteen minutes was shorter than the intermission that preceded it, Siegfried rejects Rothbart the bringer of guilt not with arms or sadistic frenzy, but with Odette held above him in the pose of a swan in flight. As a swan and manifestation of Beauty as a natural force, Odette is beyond the reach of human guilt and so Rothbart’s power vanishes. In the human world of Swan Lake, the force of Beauty manifest in that lifted pose and the source of the ardor and commitment of Odette for Siegfried and visa versa spoiled Rothbart’s guilty power. Moreover, the force of Beauty delivered for the lovers the peace of transcendent love.

One was at least grateful if not quite in love with one’s eyes that could see and one’s mind that could hear the Boston Ballet production of Nissinen’s Swan Lake.

<small>[ 25 May 2004, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: S. E. Arnold ]</small>

Author:  ncgnet [ Thu May 27, 2004 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

A review by Debra Cash from the WBUR web site, Sister Act , focuses on the performance with Lorna Feijoo as Odette and Lorena Feijoo as Odile.

Author:  Azlan [ Thu May 27, 2004 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

Boy, that's drawing quite a bit of publicity, isn't it? Good for them!

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jun 14, 2004 12:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

Boston Ballet
Ballet Preview by S.E. Arnold for Ballet-Dance Magazine

The words ‘silly’ and ‘stupid’ often hissed scornfully at “Swan Lake." Yet, the work endures. And, gaseous claims, now measured as a truth as verifiable as the atomic weight of hydrogen, of the ballet’s original failure nevertheless flame in the heat of the evidence given by R. John Wiley in his book Tchaikovsky’s Ballets. “At a time,” writes Wiley, “when new ballets normally received no more than eighteen performances Swan Lake’s Moscow run of 41 and of three productions in six years, is proof of the ballet’s success and the interest it created.”

Indeed. As Stephen Cobbett Steinberg writes in “Why a Swan?”, “since its 1877 Moscow premiere, Swan Lake has been presented in at least 155 versions by 115 companies based in 25 different countries- a daunting record that few other nineteenth century dance classics can equal.”

click for more

Author:  LadyRosa [ Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

I personally like Ponomarenko's Odette/Odile the most. How sweet, how delicate she is as Odile. How solid and dazzling she is as Odile. :roll:

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Boston Ballet 'Swan Lake' 2004

Hello, LadyRosa, and welcome. What else did you like about the production?

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