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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:38 pm 
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I think the review of Lacarra was perfectly accurate, uncomfortable language or not. She is too thin, has been for a while, and it should be commented on in a way to shock, so maybe someone will take enough notice to do something about (someone like herself?).


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 5:20 pm 
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A note on the taping, from a friend: the design of the ballet was altered to accommodate the taping. The scrim in the prelude was removed as the camera couldn't shoot through it. The lighting was radically "enhanced" for TV. Cameras blocked the view for a few sections in the house.<P>And, oh, I almost forgot the celebrity watch: Oakland Ballet AD Karen Brown looked gorgeous as always.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited March 01, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 6:56 pm 
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Ah, a question. About the "racial casting" issue. Has Mr. Lubovitch been directly quoted as saying that this was the reason for the casting of Mr. Richardson, or ??????????? I havent' been following this aspect of it very closely.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited March 01, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 9:42 pm 
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Gee, Trina, I don't think Lubvitch has been quoted in this whole episode.<P>Does anyone else have any info?


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2002 10:38 pm 
Rachel Howard is the dance critic of a publication that is a newspaper in name only... really it's a free neighborhood pennysaver in disguise. Anyone who lives in SF knows that. Does that tell you something about the level of discourse that Rachel Howard brings to this. <P>I find it offensive that Lubovitch's choice of Richardson is second guessed and turned into "reverse discrimination". He created the role with Richardson in mind. This is the one chance to get the piece filmed. He wants the dancer who inspired him to be in the filmed version. Why is that so difficult to understand? I saw Richardson and I think he gave a powerful performance dispite the fact he's not a classical ballet dancer. Howard's "review" of Lacarra is not a review but a series of cheap shots. Unfortunately, Octavio Roca aside, we have a bunch of ninnies for dance critics in San Francisco. <P>And unlike others on this board, I don't respect Ulrich at all. I remember when the Chronicle of the 1960's and 70's had top flight critics like Alfred Frankenstein reviewing arts. Sadly, the paper's arts coverage mostly consists of t.v. reviews and wire stories. I won't miss Ulrich but I am concerned about who will replace him.<P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2002 12:12 am 
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As most of you know, I do enjoy the occasional potshots at critics and I do feel that SF Bay Area critics are a weird bunch.<P>However, I think it would serve this thread better if we focused on the topic instead of *******-sinking and turning this into a thread on critics. There are already several threads on critics and criticism. In fact, I just started one:<P><A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000366.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Mean Reviews?</B></A><P>Also, there is a fine line between passionate debate and insult. Let's be mindful of not crossing that line and of remaining courteous. Criticizing a specific bad characteristic based on personal observation of that specific characteristic is fine but undermining credibility by implying a broader lack of trustworthiness is frankly not very classy at all.<P>Finally, I believe that impressions and reviews must be read at face value, never mind the makeup of the paper. Thus far, I see all the reviews of this performance as valid and reflecting my own observations of the evening, even where they seem to contradict each other. The power of human observation is the strongest when there's more than one opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2002 8:31 am 
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Incidentally, Wed. was the preliminary taping. Saturday is the "real" taping.<P>Was Othello really created for a vehicle for Desmond Richardson? If it was why didn't they just do it at Alvin Ailey or Lubovitch's own company instead of at a couple of ballet companies? The story I heard was that the ballet was commisioned and then the search for an Othello was started because neither of the commissioning companies had a black principal male dancer. Then they imported Mr. Richardson. Don't get me wrong, I think that this has been the oppurtunity of a career for Mr. Richardson, but I don't think the ballet was originally comminsioned with him in mind.<P>Of course this could probably be a "chicken/egg" argument.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2002 9:18 am 
Azlan, sorry if I crossed over into being a crank, but I really think the Ulrich review was a cheap shot. This reviewer has a history of taking cheap shots at many dance companies in the Bay Area (while ignoring many others), and this has not served our dance scene well. I greatly prefer the dance critic for the San Jose Mercury.<P>And I really think these discussions about Richardson are unfair to him as an artist and to Lubovitch as the creator of this piece. I haven't seen Yuri in Othello. I'm sure he's excellent, he always is. But for me, and I only speak for myself, I am uncomfortable seeing performers in blackface unless it's to make a specific statement about race. If I were a director/cheographer, and I decided to produce Othello, I would want a black performer in that role too. Yes, I know ACT recently did A Christmas Carol with a black Scrooge and Yuan Yuan Tan is not Italian, but I prefer my Othellos black.<P>I hope the cast I saw on Wednesday is the same for the Saturday night taping. It was a wonderful performance. I think the only shortcoming was Goldenthal's score, which is a pastiche of Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Ives and a little Glass thrown in. While he's a skillful composer, I don't think he has an especially original voice.<P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2002 9:43 am 
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Thanks, RalphSF.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2002 12:04 pm 
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Hmm, I reread Rachel Howard's review of SFB's "Othello" in the SF Examiner, after receiving a couple of emails about the "concentration camp skinny arms" comment she made.<P>When I first read it, it struck me just right because that was exactly the way I felt. <I>Oh my god</I>, I thought, <I>she looks like she just came from a concentration camp.</I> And lo and behold others in the audience thought the same.<P>Then I thought, <I>well maybe it's a mean thing to say in public.</I> Hence the "Mean reviews?" thread I started in the Issues forum to explore this theme.<P>Now however I am thinking if this not an insult to Holocaust survivors. The term "concentration camp skinny" is used so much in popular language these days that the source of the phrase is no longer in the forefront of most people's minds. However while we can be excused for using it in everyday speech, writers perhaps need to be mindful of how they use this and other commonly used phrases.<P>But herein lies a dichotomy: what I enjoy about Howard's reviews is that she captures the spirit of the performances and the audiences -- she does that partly by using a style and language that most people can relate to. To me, in this particular case, "concentration camp skinny arms" is the only way to convey it succintly in a short phrase to evoke discomfort, alarm, unsightliness, fear, awkwardness etc. etc. Yet such a phrase may end up insulting people who have nothing to do with dance.<P>The English language is so rich yet so lacking.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited March 02, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2002 6:37 pm 
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Side note: <BR>As far as the Chronicle is concerned, I don't think anyone is replacing Ulrich. It appears that they are trying to mainstream everything, so I think Roca will be the ONLY dance critic there. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2002 8:00 am 
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Fortunately, he won't be the only critic in the area. Regardless of the quality of the papers they are published in (after all, not everyone can get published in the Chronicle), there are many other critics here.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2002 9:40 am 
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After reading this entire thread and the reviews I am wondering seriously why I bothered to buy extra tickets for the SFB when they are in OC in September. I had thought this ballet would be so interesting — and if the SFB was doing it it must be good right?<P>Ah, what have I done!? I wonder who will be in the lead roles on Friday Sept. 28? Maybe the lady with the skinny arms and funny facial expressions?


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2002 9:42 am 
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O.K. O.K. I think everyone is missing the point with "the concentration camp skinny" comment from Rachel Howard. My first response when I saw Lucia was to wince, cringe and just stare aghast at the stage. She IS concentration camp skinny. But what amazes me is that the SFB would allow her on stage. She is so difficult to look at that it detracts from what we should be looking at...the performance! It was so distracting and disturbing to see her, and all I found myself doing was wondering when she was going to break a limb. Her body is so thin and she looks so weak. I know I'm not a dancer, and so I'll probably be scolded for not knowing enough about ballet, but I have yet to see her do anything with any strength at all. She can't seem to stay on pointe very long, and when she pirouettes her leg is so overextended in the knee and foot that it looks like an "S." Yes, I'm being catty, but it's so disturbing to see her on stage that it takes away from the rest of the performance. And besides, I didn't think she had all that much dramatic sense for the role of Desdemona anyway.<p>[This message has been edited by ewayne (edited March 03, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet's "Othello" / PBS Contro
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2002 11:00 am 
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LaraH, I really don't know who will dance at OCPAC. However, I think the key to this "Othello" is not so much the characters of Othello and Desdemona but Iago, Emilia and perhaps Bianca.<P>The latter three characters are the ones that propel the story and the ballet (or rather dance as there is debate whether this should be called a ballet). All casts (past and present) I've seen in these three roles are well worth the price of admission.<P>The decision to include "Othello" this season is interesting and may have been influenced by its perceived warm reception in Paris.


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