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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Interesting that there’s no public rush for the May 31 performance of Giselle. Glad I happened to check the website to double check the performance schedule! Considering the rush seats are reserved for every performance in the side boxes, it strikes me as a bit unfair that fans who can’t afford full price tickets but who want to see Chan Hon Goh’s last performance are out of luck unless they want to sit up in the atmosphere. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose.


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 6:05 pm 
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It strikes me as a bit unfair that fans who can’t afford full price tickets but who want to see Chan Hon Goh’s last performance are out of luck unless they want to sit up in the atmosphere. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose.


Ohhh, stop your whining! All you need is a good set of opera glasses and the view will be just fine…. :lol:

Principal casting has been released for the Carmen mixed program.

Based on the casting, I see 2 future promotions. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Do they do standing room only seats? I remember seeing Susan Jaffe's last performance from a standing room only seat in the Met. Murder on the feet, but it was worth it that night.

I should point out, that as the press release indicates, the June 6th evening performance of the Carmen double bill is being considered the opening night and will be the one covered by the press. A bit odd, perhaps, but I remember a similar situation before with a company in the UK, and I suspect the company needs to do the matinee in order to complete the performance run in the allotted window of time between opera performances.

Kate


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 8:48 pm 
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I should point out, that as the press release indicates, the June 6th evening performance of the Carmen double bill is being considered the opening night and will be the one covered by the press. A bit odd, perhaps...


Excellent pointe and makes sense. Why not review the twinbill?

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 7:25 am 
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As far as I know, there isn't standing room. I'm going to go on the Saturday instead. It would be nice to see Chan Hon Goh's last show, but I haven't had a chance to see Guillaume Cote in the lead of a full-length ballet yet anyway. :)

Speaking of opera glasses, Michael, I've always wondered: what's the benefit over binoculars? Do they just look classier? Are they as strong?


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 7:06 pm 
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I’m no expert on the world of optics but I must assume opera glasses to be designed specifically to function best indoors with easy focus to best capture ballet and opera. I smuggle in the very fashionable Pentax FB-9 Lite opera glasses, which discreetly make their appearance just as the house lights go down-Lest any ballet prudes spot me with them! We had quite a heated debate right here on CD about this very subject back on November 20th of 2005!

* My best suggestion is to bring in the binoculars you have and test them out.

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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 6:17 am 
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I was at the dress rehearsal last night in Ring 4. ( note to self: stick with the rush tickets!) You will definitley need either the opera glasses or the binocular option if you are in Ring 5. I could not see Giselle's expressions at all. ( Bridgette in Act 1. ) Chan han Goh danced in Act 2, and she is so exquisite that I did not need to see facial expressions to see the emotions she was portraying.

I have a good seat in the front orchestra for Sunday, courtesy of a kind ballet mom who sadly could not attend. I am looking forward to it.


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 7:32 am 
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I had no idea opera glasses at the ballet was such a controversial topic! Very interesting reading, thank you, Michael.

Quote:
( note to self: stick with the rush tickets!)


Absolutely! It's worth lining up. That's great about the gifted orchestra seat, Milllie. Please report back on the Sunday performance. I'm sure it'll be a great one. :)


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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:12 pm 
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Some brief thoughts for tonight - I am enroute to the US, so there may be a delay in the full review.

It's been a long time since I've seen the full 'Giselle', and the National Ballet of Canada provided an elegant re-entry into the world of Willis. Chan Han Goh was lovely, with an upper body that is as expressive as they come. Not many ballerinas at this stage in there career can carry off the role of young, innocent girl, but Goh is well capable. She's delicate, yet tough, and possessed of exquisite technique. It was a shame though, with many stunning moments, that something in her lower body (hip? knee? foot?) seemed to be giving her trouble. At one point she seemed to be just barely covering up a limp, and a few times it was hard to tell whether she was fuzzing some of the choreography (This was my first viewing of this production, so am not familiar with exact details of the choreography).

Zdenek Konvalina partnered Goh like the golden treasure she has become to the NBoC. It's easy to see why he is garnering so many of the opening night leads - dazzling good looks, elegant lines, clean technique, emotive mime and supportive partnering. His jumps and beats may not be spectacular, but the technique is unfailingly neat and attuned to the music. However, his pirouettes are nothing less than stunning in their speed, centering and tidy endings. I would love to seem in the turning solos in "Etudes" (Did he do this role when the company did "Etudes"?)

In general, this a pleasing production, save Giselle's overly large house which makes the stage look crowded. I'm not fond of making the pas de deux into a pas de quatre (kudos to Keichi Hiraino for his performance here), as it seems to crowd the music and the constant switch between dancers kills the musical flow.

One couldn't help but notice the female corps, particularly during the second act. There was hardly a body (spirit?) out of place in the entire act, the uniformity of the port de bras most pleasing to the eye. If one could find any fault, it was in the noisiness of some of the pointe shoes. Heather Odgen's Myrtha came across as a bit too much "ice maiden" rather than "vengeful ghost" for me, but her dancing was spot on. The initial bourree across the front of the stage (this is Myrtha I think) had a evenly paced exactness that made it mesmerizing.

I could have, however, done without the excess decorations in the Willis costumes. The glitter seemed out of place, and the fringe on the back of Myrtha's sleeves was distracting and just odd. The choreography and story here are so powerful, why the need for sparkles on what should be elegant, but simply outfitted spirits. It's a time for understatement so the dance can take centerstage.

All, in all, probably the most satisfying night of my still brief NBoC watching career!


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 7:11 am 
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Thanks for the review Kate. The Globe & Mail pays tribute to Chan Hon Goh…

Quote:
The 40-year-old ballerina is just as elegant offstage as on. Not just Lobsanova finds her approachable; colleagues say she is gracious to everyone through the ranks. Hard-working and disciplined in the studio, she is humble in her craft and generous with her praise, sending hand-written notes to other dancers. She is universally respected, always a diplomat and an island of calm before every performance. Says frequent dance partner Aleksandar Antonijevic: “In this crazy, hard-edged world, there is someone who has stayed a caring human being, and that's Chan.”


Susan Walker gives a glowing mini review of Giselle and Michael Crabb bids farewell to Chan Hon Goh.

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 6:46 am 
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Paula Citron reviews Giselle:

Quote:
One must also mention the brilliant work done by the corps de ballet, particularly the women as the Wilis, and once again, conductor David Briskin made one listen to the beloved Adolphe Adam score with fresh ears in his subtle yet dramatic reading of the score.

Giselle has always looked good on the National, and the company is giving a beautiful send-off to a beloved ballerina with this production.


The Toronto Sun also chimed in:

Quote:
Rather than age, Desmond Heeley's sets and costumes have instead acquired an air of precious and fragile beauty, somewhat in the spirit of Victorian greeting cards -- a perfect setting, as it turns out, for a timeless story and a corps of artists determined to make the most of it.

In addition to the superb pairing of Goh and Konvalina, this production also offers stand-out pairings in Jillian Vanstone and Keiichi Hirano and Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Etienne Lavigne, bolstered by individual work from Stanczyk, Victoria Bertram (as Giselle's mother), Heather Ogden as a truly chilling Queen of the Wilis and from the artists of the corps de ballet.


I was at the Thursday evening performance to see Guillaume Côté & Xiao Nan Yu, who both gave a very emotional performance whiles Heather Ogden seethed over with anger as the Queen of the Willis.

It’s always a pleasure to listen to the eloquent Michael Crabb host the Ballet Talk (accompanied by Karen Kain).

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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 7:52 am 
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I could have, however, done without the excess decorations in the Willis costumes.


So funny you should mention that, since at Saturday's matinee, the queen's wings fell off onto the stage (making a surprisingly loud sound!). Juri Hiraoka was making her debut in the role, so it's too bad she had a wardrobe malfunction on such an auspicious occasion. She's a member of the corps, I assume? I don't recognize her name. She did a very good job, I thought.

The wings fell off near the end of the Willis' extended sequence (before Albrecht comes to Giselle's grave), and Juri couldn't exactly break character and pick them up. The wings were stage left near the front, and when Guillaume Cote came out, he danced very close to them. Then when Xiao Nan Yu joined him, on one of her dancing passes she went right over to the wings and -- plink! -- kicked them off to the side of the stage on her way by. It was very artfully done. :D

I thought both Guillaume Cote and Xiao Nan Yu were exquisite. This was my first time seeing Giselle and I loved it. Overall, I though the second act was stronger and I was absolutely riveted.


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 8:45 am 
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Thanks for sharing Keria. Juri Hiraoka is a member of the corps. Sounds like this Giselle was quite an adventure.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Yes, Konvalina did do the turning part (with all the fouettes -- to BOTH sides) in Etudes if my memory serves me right. He was remarkable! Very steady and controlled.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:01 pm 
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Hmmm...

If I wasn't seeing things, something did fall off a costume or get dropped on stage during Act II on opening night - it was stage right just near the wings. Never did figure out what the item was, but it kept catching my eye. It didn't look large enough to be a set of willi-wings, but perhaps a single wing...

I hope that NBoC brings back Etudes in the next few years so I can experience Konvalina in the turning solo. I've been fortunate enough to see the ballet many times in rehearsal and performance in Denmark, and it holds special memories for me. Those fouettes are always especially impressive, especially when the male soloist and the four female demi-soloists are spot on. I remember watching Kenneth Greve do the solo when he was with the RDB - his turning ability was always doubly impressive given his 6ft 4in height. And I also saw either Jose Martinez or Jean-Guillame Bart in the role when the guested with RDB for the Landers Gala - I think it was Bart, though my memory is a bit foggy..


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