public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:42 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 102 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:29 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:45 am
Posts: 99
Location: Toronto
I guess I'll find out on Saturday!

And yes, Onegin is very much adult. I really don't think it's a good one for the kids. Also, the Thursday matinee this week is baffling. I guess perhaps there were school trips or seniors' groups interested?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:20 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Michael Crabb and John Coulbourn review Don Q. J.C. pretty much summed it up for moi:

Quote:
“Watching the opening night performance of their latest revisiting of Don Quixote -- it opened a limited run Wednesday at the Four Seasons Centre -- one can't help but be impressed by the fact that somehow they manage to keep a ballet spinning a top for well over two hours on nothing but a teaspoon or two worth of storyline.”


I attended last night’s performance, which did not start well for me when I was hit with the news that Bridgett Zehr was pinch-dancing for one of my favs, Sonia Rodriguez. Of course, by the end of Don Q, Miss Zehr proved to be a wizzer spinning top and silent actress extraordinaire winning me over in the process. Still, I was very much looking forward to seeing Sonia as Kitri and was disappointed the National couldn’t bother to update casting on their website.

If trying to squeeze in 3 ballet programs in the span of 3 weeks caused injuries and thus the last minute casting changes, it gives one pause for serious thought. What will happen next year when they perform La Fille Mal Gardée, Sleeping Beauty, and the Seagull from Feb 29 to March 25?

If memory serves me correct, there were some subtle changes from the last time the National performed this more traditional version of Don Q, as there was less stage time for the old Don. The last time I saw it, he always bogged down the ballet, which is really just an excuse for some glorious spintastic dancing!

I do get the sense; the National is getting thinner talent wise in more ways than one and wonder if fans will eventually tire of the Pez Dispenser look? Shaila D'Onofrio, an apprentice, looked very promising last night always in character shining on stage in her role as one of the townswomen. I hope the National can find some more talent, as it would appear some retirements will be imminent if not after this season then certainly after next season.

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Last edited by Michael Goldbarth on Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Canada
Actually, the online casting has been updated. Zehr was listed as dancing last night as far back as Wednesday morning, so no surprise there.

The only question mark currently is the casting for tomorrow's matinee.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:18 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
My bad, just checked and you are correct. I was sure I checked yesterday or maybe I misread. Anyway, there were a few moans over the casting change, as Sonia Rodriguez does have a strong following.

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I found another review to post from Paul Citron confirming my memory is correct in that the choreography has been changed for the better.

Quote:
The work has been in the National’s repertoire since 1982. Fischer and Krasnova have taken that choreography (Nicolas Beriozoff, after Alexander Gorsky and Marius Petipa), and added in megadancing for the corps de ballets. In other words, the stage is always in motion.

Although the ballet is called Don Quixote, the idealistic Spanish knight (Tomas Schramek) and his thieving sidekick Sancho Panza (Christopher Stalzer) are just a sideline. The main roles are Kitri (Bridgett Zehr) and Basilio (Zdenek Konvalina).

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 145
Location: Oshawa, ON Canada
During the Ballet Talk last night Lindsay Fischer made some comments on his staging of the Ballet. One interesting anecdote - after he set Don Q's mime in the last scene (where he retells the story) he had a section of music left and didn't know what to do with it. He recalled when he got married his new mother-in-law cupped his face in her hands and said "I think you are a good boy but you better treat my daughter well!" And so he used that and when it happened on stage last night you could hear a few people laughing with recognition.

Another interesting note - when the Patron Council rep was making her closing remarks she mentioned Fischer's daughter who is in the National Ballet School - she said she's "magical" and we are all in for some special moments when she becomes a professional dancer. That's interesting. I must watch for her during the school's spring showcase.

I loved Zehr and Konvalina last night -they have such wonderful chemistry with each other and they looked like they were having a great time. I was very sorry to miss Sonia R (I changed my original ticket just to see her) but I enjoyed every moment they were together on stage.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Canada
National Ballet of Canada
“Don Quixote”
Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, ON
March 9, 2011

The National Ballet of Canada returned to the stage in the blaze of color and bravura that is “Don Quixote”. After more than a decade’s break - due to a brief, unsurprisingly unsuccessful jaunt with Balanchine’s quirky version - the company’s old Gorsky-choreography-era production was given a new life by Lindsay Fischer and Evelina Krasnova. And what a life! What balletic Don Quixote’s tend to lack in any sense of story, they make up in dance, character and color. This version is no exception.

Despite the title, the Don himself is a minor character in the ballet, watching from the sidelines as the love story of Kitri and Basilio unfolds. Yet, Hazaros Surmeyan and Robert Stephen were anything but minor as the Don and his ever-thieving sidekick Sancho Panza. Surmeyan brought a tender pathos and humanity to the bumbling Don that helped to anchor the rest of the ballet in some sort of reality. The touching performance was a testament to Surmeyan’s skill as a character artist. Also surprisingly touching were the two young corps members who, in the prologue, portrayed the Don’s servants. In the start of the prologue, the two sneak in to “read” some of the Don’s books. Both the character skills of and the mime skills between the two were brilliant, and the resulting short sequence was completely entrancing!

This production’s strengths lie in the colorful costumes and imaginative, bustling choreography for the corps. The male corps, in particular, thrived on the opportunities offered by the Spanish-flavoured dances and the gypsy dances in the second act. They were high-flying, and impressively in synch in tricky spins and jumps.
Piotr Stanczyk was a relatively late replacement for the originally scheduled Guillaume Côté, but had the advantage of being the only dancer to have performed Basilio when the production was last performed. Stancyzk is more of an introspective dancer, so his is not the flashiest of Basilios, but he has wonderfully unfussy, clean technique and brilliant pirouettes. Hodgkinson, who was supposed to be paired with the 6ft+ Côté is probably a touch too tall for Stanczyk, but there was not a hint of hesitation in their partnering. Her balances were impressive, and the high one-handed Act I pas de deux lifts were absolutely rock solid. One second she’s on the stage, the next she’s up over his head, and you barely see either of them move!

However, in terms of spice and chemistry, it was Xiao Nan Yu’s Mercedes and Aleksandar Antonijevic’s Espada who really lit up the stage. Aside from a scary moment during his tavern table-top dance, Antonijevic was perfect as the strutting toreador, with Yu stunning in her vivid-green dress.

The production sags a bit in the long second act. Desmond Heeley’s gypsy costumes are a bit garish, especially the women’s wigs and the men’s overly baggy pants. The effect is more pirate than gypsy, and I actually thought the wonderfully atmospheric tavern set was supposed to be wharves or docks (hence the pirates). The Don’s dream is about as disconnected from the story as every male balletic dream scene, but who doesn’t like an excuse for some heavenly dancing and long lines of elegant ballerinas. If the production could use any tweaking, it’s in the final scene of Act II. The chaotic scene that ends with Kitri and Basilio successful thwarting of her marriage to the foppish Gamache can be a wonderful opportunity for dancers to show off their comedic chops. However, here it seemed overly rushed, with more hustle than humor. Still, one couldn’t help but be amused by Kevin Bowles’ Gamache, and Stanczyk’s not so subtly alive, dead Basilio.

If the second act occasionally sags, the third act storms along. There’s no better show of balletic bravura than the Act III pas de deux, and Stanczyk & Hodgkinson gave a capable rendition. He seems a most assured partner, and she full of stage presence, a perfect on-stage combination. And they were backed up a corps who showed none of the rust from Saturday’s Theme and Variations. With a dress or tights of every possible color onstage, we were left with vivid memories to get us through the sleety evening beyond the theatre walls!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Thank you for the colourful review of Don Q Kate. In other news, Michael Crabb discusses the Cuban defection on Canadian soil.

Quote:
Cuba is a communist state, ruled by an authoritarian government, but the “defection” — not a word they would use — of five Cuban dancers is hardly comparable with the June 1974 “leap to freedom” in Toronto of Soviet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov at the height of the Cold War. In today’s political environment, for all the megastar’s dancing chops, it would hardly ruffle a tutu. So why so much fuss over these Cubans?

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:54 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:45 am
Posts: 99
Location: Toronto
Took my parents to Don Q yesterday and we were all entranced! We've seen most of NBoC's full-length classics by now, and this is possibly our favourite. It was just a joy to behold all the dancing and colourful costumes. We enjoyed that there are so many opportunities for the soloists to shine in this production, along with the principals, of course.

When I saw McGee Maddox in Chroma, I said:

Quote:
I paid special attention to McGee Maddox, and I found him quite capable, but not overly impressive.


Well, I'm happy to say he completely won me over yesterday with terrific dancing, acting and partnering. He was utterly charming as Basilio. The fake death scene was hilarious, and he and Heather had lovely chemistry. My dad declared him "a star in the making."

Heather was wonderful as always. Seemed to struggle a bit with the balances in the third act (when she's en pointe and then lets go of McGee's hand), but as hard as they try, they can't be perfect every time, and her overall performance was fantastic. She's such a charismatic presence on stage.

Is there a more perfect matador than Patrick Lavoie? I say no! He fit the role to a T and Stephanie Hutchinson shone as his partner. They were a delight. Keiichi Hirano also stood out as the gypsy girl's lover.

I loved the choreography, especially the series of one-handed lifts/balances near the end of (I think?) the first act. I agree with Kate that the second act drags a bit. As lovely as the dream sequence is, it went on too long and feels a bit out of place. I would trim it by a few minutes. Tina Pereira was lovely in it, though. They all were.

I'm disappointed now that they're bringing back Onegin next week instead of doing the two-week run of Don Q Would have gone to see it again next weekend! (Not that I didn't love O when I saw it last spring, but Don Q was just such a fun and frothy delight.)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:53 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Canada
Glad to hear you had a great time. And what a wonderful opportunity for Maddox to get an extra performance of Don Quixote! Sounds like deserves a spot on the March 2011 iron-dancer list!

A question for the NBoC-philes out there. I was flipping through the 2011-2012 booklet, and was looking at the list of former artistic directors. During the early seventies there was a period when the directorship went from Celia Franca, to both Franca and David Haber to Haber alone and then to Franca alone. Does anyone know the story behind these flip-flops?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Hi Kate, it’s complicated....David Haber was handpicked to replace Celia Franca by Celia Franca...and she thought it best they share AD responsibilities to ease him into the position. Many members of the board were not happy with Franca making this appointment without their full input and thus this was destined to fail-Especially since Haber had more of an administrative background rather than dance. Many thought he was just a puppet for Franca. When Betty Oliphant resigned from the NBoC and the board failed to approve of one of Haber’s ballets, he resigned after the board asked him to leave, and Franca took over.

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:37 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 290
Location: Ontario, Canada
I attended Sunday's DonQ. Dancing the leads were SR and PS, not BZ and ZK as posted in the programme.

I enjoyed the performance, but can't say that it's the best thing I've seen the company do. I always appreciate ballet with a bit of humour thrown in, and this DonQ fit the bill. Not sure that the intention was for me to find humour in the costumes, but that I did. They are hideous, save for Kitri and Basilio in Act 3. (Gamache however was so over the top that it was comical, which is likely what the designer had in mind). I never would have imagined James Leja as Gamache, but there he was. Back to the costumes - besides the garish colours I noticed that the capes in Act 1 were...shall we say skimpy? I have seen better capes and a better performance with the capes from a student production. The woman sitting next to me noted that the capes seemed awfully small....she compared them to diapers!

SR was lovely as Kitri, as I expected. PS did not disappoint either.


p.s. Am having trouble signing in to criticaldance from computers other than my desktop.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
The NBoC redesigned their website. I’m sure Kate will like it-Especially the large face shots of the dancers!

_________________
The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Canada
Interesting website redo! I always thought NBoC had a great site to begin with, compared to most other companies. The new one is quite nice as well - always like the simpler sites!

Triple Bill casting is up, and Kate is very happy because she gets to see just about the whole company before moving west. And the ballet gods have delivered up Zdenek Konvalina in Apollo!!!

Mom2 - the programs must be have been printed well before the performances, as the printed casting was well out of date even on opening night. The online casting lists have been spot on though, which is great!! Given that casting does change, I'm surprised that NBoC doesn't either have separate casting lists that are tucked into the programs closer to performance time or use the dreaded white-slips in the program to note changes.

As NYC ballet goer, the little white replacement slips become a dreaded (or sometimes not so dreaded!) fact of life. That said, I think NYCB - at least - has a lot more contractual obligation in terms of listing casting and announcing replacements.

I do wish NBoC would find some system so they could list the casting in the program more completely. It's very frustrating to watch a performance, but not be able to credit a dancer in a review because the program only lists x dancer or y dancer. It's not just for corps roles - the either-or listings are often for soloist roles as well. I try to learn faces, but it's not always easy when they're in costume/masks or it's a new ballet. The press office is usually very helpful, but they shouldn't have to spend time ID'ing dancers for the press or noting myriad casting changes.

I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to prefer the European system of having a free or very cheap (50 cent) sheet with casting & basic info, then having a nicer, full colour program for each production up for sale for $5-10. Most of the current programs are just ads anyway, and by selling programs it makes it more affordable to include nice color photos and articles on the production itself. And the casting sheet can be printed much closer to performance time so it's more accurate and more complete.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada – Winter 2010
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:34 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:45 am
Posts: 99
Location: Toronto
Kate, I hope you'll still get a chance to come to TO to see the ballet once in a while? :)

One thing I wish the programs had was a picture and bio for all the dancers, not just the principals and soloists. But I know that would be a lot of pages. I just love being able to put names with faces and learning more about where dancers are from, etc. Are all the dancers included in the yearbooks? I've never bought one before, but perhaps I should.

Re: the little white slips, I travel to NYC a couple of time of years for Broadway shows, and it's the worst when you're specifically going to see a certain performer. I'm always holding my breath until I can look at the understudy board or shake open my program! Of course the understudies are almost always wonderful, but when you really want to see someone specific, it can be disappointing. But such is life with live performances.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 102 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group