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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Canada
Greetings. Thanks for the comments about the performances in Australia. As a gentle reminder, we generally discuss holiday performances in our special holiday performance forum.

When it comes to ballet, there's not much choice but to put the orchestra in the pit. Firstly, it's usually the best place acoustically for the orchestra, but also it's the dancing people are coming to see, not the musicians so the orchestra needs to be where they aren't blocking the view (same as in an opera). Occasionally a solo instrumentalist or a small band may be on stage in ballet, but that requires a large stage and limits the space on the stage for the dancing - which is what is the priority in a ballet. If you want to focus on the music, that's what orchestra concerts are for...

Also, it's hardly fair to consider a ballet 'cheap' because the only accompaniment is a piano. If the score only calls for a piano, a piano is all you are going to get - and some of the most glorious ballets are performed to a solo piano. Examples include Jerome Robbins' "The Concert" and "Dances at a Gathering" and one of Ana Laerkesen's ballets for the Royal Danish Ballet. The latter two are set to Chopin piano music, music that is meant for piano and only piano. Other ballets performed to a solo instrument include some of Balanchine's works ("Other Dances" I think), Ulysses S. Dove's masterpiece "Red Angels".

For that matter, other than dress rehearsals, most ballets are rehearsed with only a piano version of the score. And even though the full orchestral version of "Etudes" is fabulous, I still adore seeing it rehearsed to a solo piano, especially since the music for Etudes was written originally as a teaching tool for people learning to play the piano. The fact that even without all the bells & whistles of the full orchestra, the music is still extremely powerful and connects completely with the choreography, makes it all the more marvelous.

In other cases, an orchestra can't be used because the music is electronic or synthesizer based and so not written to be playable by a live orchestra. And if it does come down to a solo piano or taped music, I'd take the piano any day.

Happy holidays to ya'll down under!

Kate


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:38 am 
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Location: Canada
Looking ahead to 2008, you are definitely in luck....

The Melbourne programs include both the very traditional - the Ballet Imperial program is all traditional tutu stuff and Swan Lake is sort of traditional, as well as some great neoclassical and modern stuff. One of the programs is a Jerome Robbins quad-bill which includes the 'The Concert', which I mentioned above as being performed to a solo piano, as well as 'A Suite of Dances', which is a solo accompanied by a solo cellist on the stage.

The Melbourne programs also include Manon and a triple bill of new works.

Kate


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:49 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Australia
ksneds wrote:
When it comes to ballet, there's not much choice but to put the orchestra in the pit. Firstly, it's usually the best place acoustically for the orchestra, but also it's the dancing people are coming to see, not the musicians so the orchestra needs to be where they aren't blocking the view (same as in an opera).

Understood!! I can remember dancing in a hall and just the piano and after all that practice and do that dance in front of an orchestra was so exhilarating as it makes ballet Worth the practice. :D

Quote:
Also, it's hardly fair to consider a ballet 'cheap' because the only accompaniment is a piano. If the score only calls for a piano, a piano is all you are going to get - and some of the most glorious ballets are performed to a solo piano. Examples include Jerome Robbins' "The Concert" and "Dances at a Gathering" and one of Ana Laerkesen's ballets for the Royal Danish Ballet. The latter two are set to Chopin piano music, music that is meant for piano and only piano. Other ballets performed to a solo instrument include some of Balanchine's works ("Other Dances" I think), Ulysses S. Dove's masterpiece "Red Angels".

These piano ballets are just like the dance hall where it's just you (the dancer) and the piano and there are plenty of them. :)
Quote:
In other cases, an orchestra can't be used because the music is electronic or synthesizer based and so not written to be playable by a live orchestra. And if it does come down to a solo piano or taped music, I'd take the piano any day.

Happy holidays to ya'll down under!

Kate


Thanks Kate, You know that the piano to me is the instrument that I would pick as it assimilates an orchestra better than any other means.
Happy Christmas Kate. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Canada
Happy Christmas to you!

If you can, do go and see the Jerome Robbins triple bill - those are amazing ballets and - if it's danced well - 'A Suite of Dances', which is done to solo cello is stunning. When it's performed to high standard, a relationship develops between the dancer and the cellist, which takes both the music and dancing to another level.

Here's to great dancing in the New Year, wherever you are!
Kate


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