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 Post subject: Do you have to Review Opening Night?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 1863
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I’m curious as to whether the obligatory Opening Night review is necessary? In Toronto I highly doubt it effects ticket sales. Most of the seats are held by subscribers. Sure, there are single ticket buyers but given the short run, why bother with Opening Night? I would rather see Michael Crabb review Heather Ogden & Guillaume Côté than Greta Hodgkinson & Aleksandar Antonijevic.

Given that Heather Ogden will be performing the lead role for 3 performances, I would think she merits the review. I want to read about someone new. Why rush out a review when there is no reason to? I’d like to see them save it for the Saturday paper. Any thoughts?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Interesting topic, Michael. Here in London, the press night for new ballet productions or revivals is almost always the first night. This can sometimes make for worse reviews than necessary, especially when scenery changes etc don't go smoothly. Tamara Rojo of the Royal Ballet once told a study day audience that she advises her friends to go to her third performance, as the first is almost a dress reheasal these days and it is only by the third that she feels really comfortable on-stage in anew role, especially as the ballet company get so little stage time.

Regarding other casts, the London critics do sometimes see more than one cast for the Royal Ballet and perhaps ENB and write an article discussing relative merits and demerits of various casts.

For some non-ballet productions that will be on for more than a few days, it can happen that the press night is not the first night. Two main reasons: clashes with other press nights or time to let the company get used to the new stage.

I agree with your general point that it can be very interesting to see some of the younger dancers tackle lead roles, as long as they have had enough rehearsal and stage time. You sometimes see fine dancers with tension in their shoulders - a sure sign that they have not had as much preparation time as they merit.

What are other people's experiences and views?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the feedback. Here in Toronto there is not enough interest in ballet to merit 2 reviews of the same ballet. I agree that a dancer’s performance improves the 2nd time around – especially with a new production.

Opening Night is way overrated.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: Birmingham Uni / UWM Milwaukee
Surely the whole point about reviewing the opening night is so that the review can be published the next day to give potential audience members the maximum possible number of nights avaliable if they should then decide to see the show? there's nothing more irritating than reading a very positive review of a show, deciding you'd like to see it, but then realising that it ended the night before. I realise that for shows that run for several weeks at a time it's not a problem but for shows that only perform for 2 or 3 nights at a particular location, it can be a problem.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Quote:
There’s nothing more irritating than reading a very positive review of a show, deciding you'd like to see it, but then realising that it ended the night before.


The NBoC would love for the above to be true. I’m sure there are some people who decide to see a ballet based only on a critic's view. My guess is this is a very low number in Toronto. I am willing to bet cold hard cash that 90% of ballet review readers are subscribers, employees of the NBoC, or related to the dancers. That leaves 10%. For me the review serves as a free advertisement for the NBoC and also gauges how the company is doing.

Alas, I highly doubt tradition will be broken. Sadly, I doubt many members of the NBoC or media read CD. Overall, the media coverage in Toronto is pathetic. Most of the writers have in my opinion lost their edge, juice, zeal, whatever you want to call it, they’re just showing up to work and punching a clock. :(

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