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 Post subject: Boston Ballet Winter 2007
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:54 pm 
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From Terry Byrne in the Boston Globe:
Quote:
In step with Balanchine
Sandra Jennings shares the moves that make ‘Midsummer’ a classic

....
Boston Ballet opens its company debut of the full-length “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Feb. 8 at the Citi Wang Theatre. It’s the latest in a series of Balanchine ballets presented under company artistic director Mikko Nissinen. And for Jennings, teaching the dancers the choreographer’s acclaimed 1962 work is something of a homecoming.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:49 am 
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From Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe:
Quote:
Spirit makes this ‘Dream’ come true
....
Staged by Sandra Jennings, Boston Ballet’s first attempt at Balanchine’s classic is a winner, a gorgeous, spirited production given strong performances throughout the ranks, including the excellent orchestra led by Jonathan McPhee. Some of the characterizations are not the most sharply etched, but the storytelling unfolds less through mime than through expressive movement skillfully integrated into the flow of the choreography itself.

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 Post subject: Midsummer Production Elements
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:39 am 
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I am pleased to note that the Martin Pakledinaz sets and costumes (from Pacific Northwest Ballet) have earned positive mention in Boston. This was the first time Midsummer had been presented in anything but the Karinska designs since its premiere in 1962 and there was, at best, only faint praise surrounding the unveiling, which occurred during a Dance Critics Association meeting in Seattle.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:59 am 
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From Theodore Bale in the Boston Herald:
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Boston Ballet’s dull, uninspired “Dream” doesn’t give dance fans a midwinter break
....
Over the years, Boston Ballet has given thrilling performances of many of [Balanchines's ballets], so it was exciting news when the company decided to tackle a lengthier effort from Mr. B. His “Midsummer,” however, is dull and uninspired even when it’s proffered every so often at New York City Ballet, the company Balanchine founded and ran until his death in 1983.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:49 am 
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Location: Canada
Sounds like Mr. Bale has a personal issue with the ballet, and he could be a little more upfront with his facts. NYCB does the ballet EVERY year - and I would suggest that wouldn't be the case if it didn't continue to bring in audiences. I would suggest that perhaps if the ballet was dull, then it may have to with how it was staged, rehearsed and performed.

I think it brings up one of the tough issues of critiquing - just because you don't like something doesn't make it bad. Yet a review without feeling and personality can be quite dull and uninspiring. So you need to find the middle ground between personal opinions and reporting of the ballet so that people can make their own minds up on it...

Anyway, I'm curious as to the talk of the other set/costume designer. My memory of the video of the PNB Midsummer is that the sets and costumes are the same as at NYCB. I don't think the Balanchine Trust usually allows much leeway in costuming - I assume that costume requirements are part of the package that a company agrees to in the licensing process.

Kate


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:20 pm 
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Boston Ballet has a print newsletter, Sightlines, that it sends to subscribers several times a year with articles relevant to each program. The most recent issue has a two page article written by Sheryl Flatlow discussing and illustrating the costumes designed by Martin Pakledinaz in 1997 for PNB. It includes designs and his goals for the designs for the fairies and mortals, and especially for Titania, Oberon, Puck, Bottom, and the bug costumes for the children.

The article notes that the original costumes created by Karinska can still be seen at NYCB. I assume the Pakledinaz designs fit within whatever parameters the Balanchine Trust set out.

I've seen the NYCB production but doubt my memory is good enough to compare the two designs. Regardless of Bale's comments I'm looking forward to seeing MSND tonight.

As far as I can tell, Sightlines is not available online.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:21 am 
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Well, I looked it up and the video does have the non-Karinska costumes. Judging from the cover photo and photos I have from NYCB, it seems that Pakledinaz changes are fairly subtle. For instance, Bottom has the same head, but different trousers and socks/tights.

Incidentally, having found a link in my search for costume info, I didn't realize that PNB brought Midsummers to the Edinburgh Festival in 1998. What a wonderful ballet for that time of year and for Festival audiences. It would be fantastic to see a company bring it back again...

Kate


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:45 am 
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It would seem that Mr. Bale was taken by the Bruce Wells version and is reacting to its seeming replacement in the Boston Ballet repertoire by the Balanchine version. I think this is a fairly common reaction, so I take it with more than a grain of salt. (Yet another example of how interconnected the ballet world is: Bruce Wells is now a faculty member at the PNB School choreographs for the annual school recital.) The new sets and costumes were approved by the Balanchine Trust. Midsummer is among my favorites and I am very pleased that it is on the PNB schedule for 2007-08.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 7:42 am 
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I find myself sharing Bale's reaction to the Balanchine Midsummer. I admit in part it is because I enjoyed Bruce Wells' version so very much over the years. I remember seeing the initial designs and models for the costumes and sets. Seeing a longer version with extra music and different choreography is somehow disorienting. In fact, I'd had a similar reaction seeing the Balanchine version in Saratoga a few (?) years ago, but was hoping I could overcome it. Too bad.

It is ironic that Wells is at PNB and they won't have a chance to see his Midsummer. But I am glad he is well employed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:56 am 
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From Jeffrey Gantz in the Boston Phoenix:
Quote:
New moon
Boston Ballet tries to illumine Balanchine’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

....
Wells’s enjoyable version played to the company’s strengths: good technique and better acting. Balanchine’s genius is released through the precise execution of classic steps; you have to make them look simple even when they’re not.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:08 pm 
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Since I reported earlier that I didn't like the Balanchine Dream very much, I feel compelled to say I liked last night's performance very much. Maybe because the disorientation is fading. Maybe because of somewhat different casting (John Lam was excellent Oberon), maybe the dancing was better, maybe my own mood was better (on the town after days of being iced in). Whatever, I am glad to have seen it again and will look forward to the next time Boston presents it.

Next up for Boston Ballet: a modern rep program in two weeks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:18 pm 
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Bruce Wells is actually a faculty member at the PNB School, and I don't think has any official role with the company.

Kate


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:06 pm 
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I'm sorry I missed the program. I'm trying hard to squeeze in a weekend to catch the modern rep in March but will have to see how that fits in between trips to Phoenix and NYC.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:41 am 
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From Marcia Siegel in the Boston Phoenix:
Quote:
Dreaming and remembrance
Boston Ballet’s Midsummer ...

....
Current critical and popular opinion favors Frederick Ashton’s streamlined, one-act The Dream, but lately I appreciate the Balanchine version more and more. His expansive two-act celebration of Shakespeare provides an antidote to the hyperactive, flavorless contemporary ballets we see everywhere. It invokes all the resources of a great ballet company: virtuosity, ensemble, acting, comedy, and the ability to create a poetic image. I thought the Boston Ballet dancers met this challenge admirably.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 7:53 am 
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From Geoff Edgers in the Boston Globe:
Quote:
On the move with Jorma Elo
....
“Brake the Eyes” will receive its world premiere with Boston Ballet on Thursday as part of the company’s “New Visions” program ....

Last Wednesday, Elo gathered a couple of dozen Boston Ballet dancers together to work on “Brake the Eyes.” (The title is a play on words, from “break the ice.”) .... Once the dancers began to move, the results had all the hallmarks of Elo’s choreography: Traditional jumps and turns mixed with undulating hips, windmilling arms, and jerking, thrusting moves more likely to be seen in a modern dance piece.


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