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 Post subject: 'The New World' by the Royal Ballet
PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2000 10:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Image <P>Sylvie Guillem and Alistair Marriott in Robbins' 'The Concert'. Photo by Dee Conway<P><BR>Some quick words about the latest Royal Ballet offering, 'The New World', with Balanchine's 'Serenade', Robbins' 'The Concert' and a new work by RB dancer William Tuckett, based on 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller. <P>A number of people have disliked 'The Crucible' with its garish sets and over the top dramatics. However, I enjoyed the work and found that it held my attention. When I looked in the programme and saw that it was 51 minutes, I was surprised that it was as long as that. The music is a compendium of short pieces by Charles Ives, who I find a fascinating composer and I thought that Tuckett used the music well in creating the dark atmosphere of obsession and intolerance. But Ives is never going to be everybody's favourite with his spiky modernity way ahead of his time.<P>Steadman's expressionistic and sometimes cartoon based sets and costumes captured the sinister side of religious obsession and I found them imaginative. Overall the work reminded me of the style of 'The Green Table'. I loved the sheets of perspex with abstract designs that drifted skywards at the end of the piece.<P>The Thursday cast, with Zenaida Yanowsky standing in for Christina McDermott, was very strong with Jonathan Cope playing the bewildered central male figure in a naturalistic fashion and Johan Kobborg and Yohei Sasaki getting some fast and furious steps to perform as two Reverands which they executed with great aplomb. Yanowsky and Tapper as the wife and the maid also danced very well. <P>The opening 2 minutes or so, performed behind a screen, were a mistake in my view, as it was almost impossible to see what was happening. In general, a read of the story outline beforehand was essential to understand the plot . Some would say that the story should be clear from what happens on stage. But is a first time viewing of 'The Nutcracker' clear if you haven't read about the story beforehand? <P>Overall, 'The Crucible' is a bold and risky enterprise that delivers a powerful message with interesting dance, but could do with a bit of tightening in the final section, as well getting that screen up sooner at the start. It received warmer applause than for 'Serenade' (mind you the Thursday ROH crowd were even more passive then usual, throughout the evening). I look forward to seeing it again. My 82 year old Mum also enjoyed it. however, it's only fair to say that the London Press and many fans hated the work. <P>'Serenade' is a lovely, elegant homage to the beauty of women and I enjoyed the RB performance. Yanowsky was the most successful of the three leads, but overall the leads didn;t quite take it into the stratosphere. However I thought that the corps did very well. <P>'The Concert' was jolly good fun and, intriguingly, was often more slapstick than the Trocks. Luke Heydon, a Soloist who gets a lot of major character roles these days, was great as the man with the cigar - he should be a Principal Character Artist soon, surely? And it was good to see Sylvie Guillem enjoying herself so much. <P>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 14, 2000).]<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 25, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: 'The New World' by the Royal Ballet
PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2000 9:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17499
Location: SF Bay Area
A 51-minute piece! Come to think of it, that does seem long. Does anyone know what the typical length of a piece is for a non-full length ballet? Is there a standard, so to speak?

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