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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet - Program 7: Sylvia
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 8:31 am 
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Casting is out for Sylvia -- which I saw last night -- Pascal Molat was quite delightful, I have to say!


Quote:
Sylvia Opening Night
Friday, April 21, 2006 8 pm
SYLVIA
Conductor: Martin West

Sylvia: Elizabeth Miner
Aminta: Pascal Molat
Orion: Pierre-François Vilanoba
Diana: Muriel Maffre
Eros: Jaime Garcia Castilla

Sylvia Evening
Saturday, April 22, 2006 8 pm
SYLVIA
Conductor: Martin West

Sylvia: Yuan Yuan Tan
Aminta: Gonzalo Garcia
Orion: Yuri Possokhov
Diana: Muriel Maffre
Eros: James Sofranko

Sylvia Evening
Thursday, April 27, 2006 8 pm
SYLVIA
Conductor: Gary Sheldon

Sylvia: Vanessa Zahorian
Aminta: Guennadi Nedviguine
Orion: Damian Smith
Diana: Katita Waldo*
Eros: Garrett Anderson

* Designates premiere in a role.
Casting subject to change.



Also note that because of the Farewell Gala for retiring SFB dancers Yuri Possokhov, Stephen Legate and Peter Brandenhoff (Amanda Schull and Megan Low are also retiring this season) scheduled for May 5, one of the Sylvia dates is now going to have the following program -- and it will be a subscriber only performance:


Quote:
Jerome Robbins' In the Night
Hans van Manen's Solo
Balcony pas de deux from Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet
Motoko Hirayama's Revelation
"My Funny Valentine" from Lar Lubovitch's "...smile with my heart"
"Summer" from Christopher Wheeldon's Quaternary


I have also had it confirmed that SFB Principal Muriel Maffre will not retire this season -- so a BIG WHEW for all of her fans out there! Can we hope they'll do the Forsythe again now next season?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:49 pm 
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I went last night also. Even though I was warned, I had read such great reviews from last year that I talked not only my husband but also 2 friends into going.

Was this ballet? I kept thinking that I was watching all of the worst stuff I was made to dance in Operas all in one ballet.

Act 1 - wished I had the 2nd Martini at dinner

Act 2 - kept thinking Monty Python, or Marty Feldman as Igor

Act 3 - was thankful that Muriel Maffre (favorite of mine and husband) was doing Diana so would not have to hear it from husband on long ride home.

Morris has a very small BALLET vocabulary. I saw all 7 to 10 steps for 2 plus hours. Boring!!!! The lead ballerina should pay more attention to her feet. Even when thrown over a shoulder like laundry the feet need to be held in a position.

The sets were lovely, and the colors a dream, the rest for me was a nightmare.

This choreography is hmmm ....how to say "the Emperor's new chothes"
The next time I see the name Mark Morris, I will save my money.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:27 pm 
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In today's San Francisco Chronicle from Rachel Howard:


Quote:
San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson will have a huge national hit on his hands when the company takes "Sylvia" to New York this summer.



Sylvia!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:09 pm 
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We're great Morris fans, but were so disappointed with "Sylvia" last year that we were tempted to leave after the first act. (The only time we've ever done that is the Paris ballet's "Corsaire," where the truly scary partnering sent us out.) Yuan Yuan Tan was a fabulous Diana, so it was worth our staying. We gave our tickets away for this year's performance.

The acts don't hold together well. My complaint was less about the infrequent use of ballet than the absence of any dancing for long stretches, notably in the earlier part. I reminded myself that Act One refers to the historical use of tableaus as a way of tolerating it. Still, parts of the entire ballet had steps that reminded me of intermediate class dance recitals. We also couldn't understand the large rock in the cemter of the stage in the pirate scene, for it clearly impeded movement and made us uncomfortable watching the men deal with it for fear they would fall or get injured.

I was surprised by the Chronicle writer's high praise. It will indeed be interesting to see how NY critics and balletomanes respond.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:07 pm 
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Whew! Thanks for your thoughts on Sylvia fluteboo. I am happy it was not only us who was let down by this, I had high hopes too.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:32 pm 
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Lucy wrote:
Morris has a very small BALLET vocabulary.

That was my reaction (I saw it last time, didn't go this year)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:03 pm 
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Very witty comments, Lucy. I have to agree with you. To better prepare unsuspecting balletomanes influenced by the hype, I've referred to "Sylvia" as ballet-lite. To give Morris some credit, the music and subject matter are itself pretty light in themselves, so I don't know how much a true ballet choreographer could have done anyway.

I don't remember reading the reviews from the premiere -- I had assumed they were all honest but then again you can't be so sure with SF critics, with SF Magazine in particular being notoriously friendly with Morris. For most critics, SF Ballet can do no wrong...

This work is likely a feast for the eyes for fans who like theatricality but is somewhat of an anti-climax for ballet or modern dance people unfortunately. Morris has produced some compelling works -- this is not one of them.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:12 am 
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A review from Stephanie Von Buchau


S.F. Ballet does well by Mark Morris


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:29 am 
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"given that the music and subject matter are itself pretty light in themselves.." ouch, Azlan, try some subject verb agreement next time.

But, what disturbs me about your post is not the tortured grammar, but the arrogance of the content.

Please help me to understand how a mythological figure, Sylvia, who has influenced two thousand years of literature, painting, music, opera seria and buffa, sculpture and dance might be considered "light"? How is it that an artistic genre, that of the pastoral tradition, defined in the writings of Virgil and Ovid, elaborated upon both in this ballet and in its literary provenance, "Aminta" by Italian writer Tasso's 16th century work, be considered "light"? How might the Roman mythological figure, Rea Silvia, the vestal virgin mother of Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome be considered "light"? How might an entire ARCHETYPE, that of the virgin huntress as protectress of all that is natural and unconstrained in love be considered "light"? The "Sylvan tradition" as a literary idiom has exerted an influence on Spenser, Milton, Shakespeare, the ballet blanc of the 19th century, not to mention the priestess as virgin traditions of the world's great religions from Catholicism to the Druids. This is light, Azlan?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:14 pm 
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Sylvia may be no lightweight mythologically and in the literary tradition - but she's like cotton candy in the scenario that the Delibes ballet is constructed around. The plot and the ordering of the musical scenes doesn't allow for much story or character development: stuff just happens. And suddenly Sylvia is deep in love after only a single arrow? Morris doesn't add too much to that basic ordering either. This is what is meant by "ballet light", I believe. One can't expect an entire literary tradition to automatically land on stage if little effort has been made to reference it in the ballet scenario.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:17 pm 
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Any thoughts in comparing the Morris Sylvia to the Ashton Sylvia? The Ashton will be making a Southern California appearance next week with ABT, and its been on television in the UK as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:27 pm 
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The one arrow, whose singularity is its expressive content, is that of Eros/Cupid. The immediate, irrevocable force of "love at first sight" is represented in this concentration of power. Therefore, the repetition of such an event would run counter to its symbolic reference.

As regards Delibes composition for "Sylvia", isn't it Impressionistic? I may be incorrect, but isn't he a late 19th century composer known for his avante-garde inclusion of Impressionism and leitmotif in his material?

As such, its value lies as much in what is suggested as what is presented. Therefore, the "impression" of Sylvia is sketched, not her complete, solid character. The elements absent from the composition are to be filled in by the audience; hence, the beauty of Impressionism...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:10 pm 
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shallot wrote:
"given that the music and subject matter are itself pretty light in themselves.." ouch, Azlan, try some subject verb agreement next time.
To me, that looks merely like hasty editing without proofreading (neglecting to delete "itself" after changing the sentence so that the subject is plural and the verb agrees with it).


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Quote:
As regards Delibes composition for "Sylvia", isn't it Impressionistic? I may be incorrect, but isn't he a late 19th century composer known for his avante-garde inclusion of Impressionism and leitmotif in his material?


I would hardly call Delibes' ballet music impressionistic - more the bridge between the ballet music of Adam/Minkus and Tchaikovsky. Impressionistic is more Debussy and Ravel.

And I think you're reading far too much into Sylvia the ballet. What was left unsaid in Sylvia was what was neglected by its creators: this is a light story ballet based on mythological themes, and it does have narrative deficiences. Plenty of other narrative work has succeeded in areas that Sylvia fails as a story ballet. What makes this ballet enjoyable is the tunefulness of the score, and at least in Ashton's case, some true choreographic gems.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:05 pm 
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I'm not sure why lightness in ballet is necessarily bad. Ashton's La Fille Mal Garde is light stuff, but also one of the great story ballets.

Delibes's music is pretty light stuff, too, considering what else was being composed around him, but there's nothing wrong with that: Balanchine and Tchaikovsky were great admirers of his music.

--Andre


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