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 Post subject: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 7:08 am 
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We have some more smiling faces for you as we check out the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, checking out the NBoC…as we spring into National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010 58 days late! Sorry….

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 8:45 am 
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At long last, casting has been posted for the mixed programme.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:58 pm 
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In the Toronto Star, Bruce DeMara writes a feature on NBoC dancers' foot maintenance.

Toronto Star


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:23 am 
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Quick first peek at the triple bill

Pur ti Muro

I really liked Elo's piece for the Royal Danish Ballet, and again here he shows off a nice touch for working from the music and blending classical with modern nuances. Yet, as in Denmark, Elo seems to take 30 minutes to do what could be done in 15. It's as if he is trying to cram several ballets worth of ideas into one piece, and it stumbles under the weight. The comparison of this ballet to the equally long Opus 19/The Dreamer makes the point clear - Robbins doesn't try to throw the whole phone book at you in thirty minutes, and creates a much stronger piece.
With five couples, the piece ranges from a humorous solo of dancer and his 'misbehaving' hand, to full cast movements. The music - Beethoven and Monteverdi - and the costumes - tutus and white tights n' tunics, are as stereotypically classical as one can get. However, while Elo grounds his movement palette firmly in the classical, he doesn't use tutus and tights as en excuse to move into the modern. The stand out was clearly Sonia Rodriguez, who flows seamlessly from classical to modern and back again. There's also a wonderful section of all, out joyous bravura for the men. I thought it was Keiichi Hirano in the stunning solo, but he appears to be second cast, so I will need to check back to find out who exactly was so impressive. There's a bunch of high flying, leg twisting turns and the pin-wheel fast as lightning turns across stage that are reminiscent of Puck's choreography in "The Dream". As a whole the piece felt under-rehearsed with at least two obviously falls off of pointe and one wince inducing slap of a foot on the stage. There's no doubt that Elo is a masterful talent, but he needs to be challenged to do more with less. I'd love to seem him get a chance to shave 10 minutes off this ballet.


Opus 19/The Dreamer

Opus 19/The Dreamer is one of Jerome Robbins mid to later ballets (1979), and reflects a Robbins who had lived, learned and experienced in both the Broadway and ballet worlds. Set to a sumptuous, wonderfully danceable score by Prokofiev (again with stunning solo playing by the outstanding Benjamin Bowman), it's a ballet of exploration for a lead couple and 6 couple corps de ballet. It reveals both Robbins' ability to focus on simple building blocks of classical ballet, and to layer in the grandeur, showmanship, folk danciness and even comedy when the music calls for it.

Ben Benson's costumes, tights and tight tops for the men, and leotards with simple skirts for the women, fill the stage with a range of just slightly varying deep blues, only the lead man's pure white standing out. He is perhaps a dreamer, but not a true part of the dream world. One can't help being reminded of Serenade, only here the man is central. The ballet was created for Mikhail Baryshnikov, and some would suggest that the ballet reflects Baryshnikov's brief tenure at the New York City Ballet; he was a star dancer in company that did not have stars, a relationship that was uneasy for all involved. Thus, perhaps one could say that he danced with the company, but not as a part of the company.

Some of the most beautiful moments are the most simple - 5 or 6 dancers raising their hands together gracefully upwards with a slight bow the arms; the corps in one long line, arms flowing in and out to create different sunburst patters. And the lone man, the dancers lined up behind him, stretching out into arabesque then slowly bringing his working leg around to second, then to the front, bending it as he does. It's a feat requiring extreme strength, and control, and any break in form is completely exposed.

I often think that strong choreography lends itself to strong performances, and the corps was as poised in this ballet as they were off-kilter in the first. Robbins' demands much of his dancers - from the almost ghost-like fluidity of the opening movement to the strong, driving folk like movements in the last - and the corps did not disappoint. Yet, it was Zdenek Konvalina and Sonia Rodriguez who drove the powerful performance. Konvalina was perhaps not as his absolute best, though as a much taller dancer performing a role created a for short, compact powerhouse, one can understand the occasional bobble. Especially since he must be rehearsing this ballet, West Side Story and Onegin all at once, all while creating a brand new ballet with Guillaume Cote. But Konvalina never wavers in partnering, nor in the fluidity of his dancing. And is matched by the ever-stunning Sonia Rodriguez. She seems to grow with every performance, lending a welcome maturity to the central female role. The man seems drawn to this woman from the moment she enters, but even though they end dancing together, there's no sense of finality.
It's fascinating to see this ballet again after so many years, as one can see how it relates to older and newer ballets of Robbins (and other). It's hard to believe that he wasn't influenced by Serenade or Cortege Hongrois, and there are elements reminiscent of Les Noces, Interplay and Piano Pieces, to name a few.


West Side Story
The evening ended with Robbins' classic West Side Story Suite. Looking back through my old programs, I realized that I'd first seen the piece just two weeks after the world premiere, and almost exactly 15 years ago to the day (June 2, 1995 and June 4, 2010, both Fridays). It's a timeless piece, even with slightly problematic condensation of the full musical story, but despite the energetic performance, I wonder how well it works outside the United States.
It seems to be, based on the tonight's performance and what I've heard about recent performances at the Royal Danish Ballet, that the story doesn't have the same resonance to people who don't know West Side Story from the musical or the movie. Since the ballet cuts out much of the story, and in fact, changes the ending, the storyline can be confusing for novice audiences. Which is a shame because the story, which reflects the battle for identity between new immigrants and older immigrants who perceive themselves as the real Americans, speaks to issues that we still face today.

My perception is that in this production, judging from the amount of audience laughter - the ballet has lost some of it's hard edges. Certainly there are lighthearted moments, but West Side Story is a tragedy, just like Romeo & Juliet. The ending does provide some hope, but only after three teenagers lie dead on the street. So, if the audience is laughing a lot, then something is not quite right. It likely has much to do with the lack of familiarity with the story via the musical or movie, compounded by major cuts to the storyline for the ballet. However, Torontonian audiences may also not have the same understanding of the context of story and New York City as would New York audiences. The gangs and the fighting were real - this was the gritty, dirty, claustrophobic, rapidly changing New York of the late 1950s.

It's certainly not to take away from the dancers, who gave a solid performance. There were no debuts in the lead roles, but I suspect most of the corps is new to the ballet and still settling into the style. Especially in the Prologue and Something's Coming, while the dancing is stylized, the dancers have to throw themselves - sometimes literally - into the choreography to make it look real. Here the corps didn't look entirely comfortable with the steps, hesitating slightly where abandon is needed. Also, several of the corps guys were sloppy in the iconic one leg in high second 'pose' in that they bent their knees to get their working leg higher, destroying the lines. It's better to lower the leg than break the line.
Pitor Stanczyk is in looks, body type and power, ideal for Bernardo, but I did not feel the chemistry between him and Cote's Riff in the opening scenes. It's important that the bitter rivalry between them be palpable, because it sets up the violence to come. But even here there were, I believe a few titters of laughter. At NYCB, I remember seeing Jock Soto as Bernardo and Damian Woetzel as Riff confront each other, and the silent pause was so intense that it made the hairs on the back of your neck rise and there was not a noise in the entire NYS Theatre until the dancers broke the silence. It right away set up the tension which drives the story, and it's this tension that seemed lacking at NBoC. However, in the rumble, the fight scenes were spot on and the brought the gritty reality back to the ballet.

Zdenek Konvalina and Elena Lobsanova were excellent in the pure dance roles of Tony and Maria, lending a tender chemistry to the somewhat lost-in-the-shortened-shuffle leads. The real meaty roles in this version are for the demi-leads, who not only dance, but sing. Thought he's really much more the Tony type, there's no doubt that Guillaume Cote can sing and sing well. His performance of Cool stands out among those I've heard, his voice never showing the strain of the dancing that is interspersed between the singing. Stephanie Hutchinson had a little trouble with the higher notes, but recovered masterfully from a slip on her high heels and created a dynamic character. Jordana Daumec was a game Rosalia, though both she and Hutchinson might benefit from slightly better diction and remembering to sing up and out so the end of a phrase doesn't trail off. But I am always very impressed by the guts and performances of the dancers who come onstage and sing.
The leads were augmented by an enthusiastic, dynamic corps, who were energized in the Dance at the Gym, powerful in more than one way in the rumble and sang impressively in the finale. They looked thrilled to have a chance to 'let loose' (which may be a relative term as Robbins was known for being very exacting, and Jean-Pierre Frolich, who staged the ballet, is a brilliant, but demanding stager.). It's an intense ballet, and I suspect after a few performances, the dancers will get much more comfortable with the steps and raise the intensity a notch. Future audiences have much to look forward to.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:36 am 
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Thanks Kate, the paid critics from the various newspapers in Toronto also weigh in from the Star to the Post to the sun to the Globe.

Here is my review from the debut of West Side back in the Fall of 2007. I passed the shoe this year in favour of doubling up on Onegin-A decision I may regret with the upcoming G20 Summit. The National will perform, as it is outside the world leader zone but Mirvish Productions cancelled their performances.

Quote:
I would like to preface my review by acknowledging to all an extreme prejudice towards Balanchine and Cranko as my preferred ballet creators. The season opener got off to a rather inauspicious start when a cell phone went off forcing Principal Conductor David Briskin to pause and recollect himself. Maybe the time has come for theatres in North America to start jamming cell phones, as they have in France. My preferred deterrent would be tracking down the offending cell phone abuser via satellite; whereupon, security would whisk them away to solitary confinement for 24 hours of Britney Spears at full blast-Just a thought. I know, the above is both inhumane and in very poor taste!

Jerome (real surname) Rabinowitz doesn’t do it for me. Glass Pieces was a bore. The music, courtesy of Philip Glass, did not inspire and the choreography belongs in a gym glass-Not on stage for a paying audience. To top it all off it was obvious from my view (Ring 3) that some dancers forgot their steps and/or timing. The set was a definite eyesore with the dancers showcased in front of what appeared to be a bland shower tile.

In the Night, featuring the music of Frédéric Chopin, was much more appetizing for my ballet palette. I do wish the choreography would have filled the stage a tad more.

As for the cherry bomb to top off this mixed program, I’ll rate West Side Story a Double Sensation. The dancers for the NBoC can certainly silent act and dance; Songbirds they are not. They should limit singing to the privacy of their shower. Call me Simon Cowell-There were several verses which required the plugging of ears as their pipes evoked memories most undesirable of a TTC subway car screeeeeeeeeeching to a halt! I’ve seen many a musical at the Stratford & Shaw Festival as well as various theatres in Toronto and thus feel I am qualified to judge who is a double, and who is a triple sensation.

Fortunately the singing of the professional tune carriers was much more desirable – especially the performance of Shaw Festival sensation, Jeff Madden. It all worked: the fight scenes exploded onto the stage, Guillaume Côté (QB of the Jets) and Piotr Stanczyk (QB of the Sharks) were suitably cool and tough, and Greta Hodgkinson plus the rest of the gals danced up a storm. That’s quite a compliment when you pause to imagine what My Fair Lady would have been like had Marni Nixon suddenly appeared to sing whiles Audrey Hepburn danced. I do believe everyone, including the musical players, were a tad too pumped up for the season opener. Yes, even the orchestra was pitchy. Indeed, sometimes less IS more.

No doubt the National will tour West Side Story out West and to the nation’s capital. I hope this isn’t the direction Mrs. K plans to take the National for the future. It barely qualifies as ballet, evokes too much Americana, and they really don’t have the pipes to indulge in Broadway musical fantasies. I had a good time entertainment wise and let’s leave it at that. Too bad the prince of cool, the late Steve McQueen, never stretched himself to be a Jet. In the meantime, get cool, stay loose, save yourself some bucks and beat it to an on-line store to buy the DVD version of West Side Story.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:30 pm 
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Paula Citron interviews choreographer Jorma Elo in The Globe and Mail.

The Globe and Mail


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:25 pm 
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I should point out that I adore 'West Side Story Suite" and NBoC performed it very well, singing included, albeit needing a few more performances to harden the edges and work a few choreographic kinks out. I can't imagine how tired the dancers are performing Robbins and rehearsing Onegin. Phew!

West Side Story is as much ballet as it is Broadway, and at least in the US, it's considered to be pretty iconic choreography. The Suite is excerpted and adapted from the same choreography that has won at least one Tony (West Side Story, and possibly Jerome Robbins Broadway) and part of an Oscar (the movie having won the best movie Oscar). Ballet companies today perform many pieces that are less ballet than West Side Story Suite, and Balanchine certainly did his share of Broadway choreography, some of which is still in the NYCB rep.

I think the problem is two-fold. Firstly, I don't think the Canadian audience is very familiar with the story - whereas it's very well known in the US. And then the condensation of the story for the Suite doesn't make it easy for the novice viewer since it blurs some of the R& J parallels. Nor do audiences outside NY (or the US) have the same familiarity with NYC and with West Side Story.

Also, and I am admittedly biased to NYCB here, I think NYCB has a big advantage in that their original cast - many of whom were still performing the ballet when I saw it last in 2003 - learned it directly from Robbins. Even today there are still some dancers who worked with Robbins (Millepied, Ringer, etc) who perform in the ballet when it's in rep. I'm pretty sure none of the current NBoC dancers would ever have worked directly with Robbins, except perhaps some of the oldest principals, nor do they perform a regular diet of Robbins.

And I think that shows in the slightly softer edges - the tension I saw in NY just wasn't there. It didn't hugely affect the energy of the performance, but it made the ballet less of a tragedy and a bit too feel good. (Though the Suite is more feel good than the musical or movie which end with Tony's death). Didn't seem to bother the Four Seasons audience, but I was mourning a bit for the crackling tension of Soto and Woetzel. Who literally did silence the NYS Theatre audience completely - you could have heard a pin drop all the way up in the 5th ring - and keep them that silent for a good 4-8 seconds. And you need that tension to make it completely clear how deadly serious the gangs were, and thus why Tony and Maria's relationship was so taboo - and so doomed.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:19 am 
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Bridgett Zehr and Zdenek Konvalina made the cover of Dance Mag for June!

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:13 pm 
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The National Ballet of Canada Acquires a New Production Centre


June 16, 2010… The National Ballet of Canada today announced the acquisition of a new building to house the company’s production centre. The purchase and retrofitting of the new building was made possible with the generous support from the federal government with a $1.25 million grant from the Canada Cultural Spaces program of Heritage Canada and leadership gifts from Board Members Gretchen Ross and Jerry Lozinski.

Located at 155 Nantucket Boulevard in Scarborough, the new production centre will be named The Gretchen Ross Production Centre and the carpentry shop will be named after Joan and Jerry Lozinski.

“It is a terrific opportunity,” says Kevin Garland, Executive Director “for the National Ballet to make a capital investment in our production centre. The acquisition of a specialized building dedicated to production will secure the National Ballet’s future, providing stability and reducing expenses.”

“Our production centre is at the heart of our ability to build ballets of the highest calibre,” says Karen Kain, Artistic Director. “Our talented carpenters and scenic artists create the productions for which the National Ballet is esteemed in the cultural community here at home, across North America and around the word. The widely-recognized quality of the work means the National Ballet can engage the finest designers and choreographers in the world.”

Together, the grant and gifts cover just over 60% of the $4.4 million cost of purchasing and retrofitting The Gretchen Ross Production Centre. The National Ballet is launching a Building Ballet campaign to raise the remaining $1.65 million.

The Gretchen Ross Production Centre is a facility large enough for the National Ballet’s production requirements. The production centre creates and maintains all of the National Ballet’s sets and props. The large facility, at 59,000 square feet, is necessary for the scale and scope to build and maintain large productions such as the glorious new mid-19th century Onegin sets by Santo Loquasto. The production centre also houses the National Ballet’s welding and wood-working areas, scene painting studio and props studio. As well, the sets and costumes for over 90 productions in the National Ballet’s repertoire are stored at the production centre.

To donate to the Building Ballet campaign, visit http://national.ballet.ca/support/campa ... allet.aspx.

The National Ballet of Canada’s Summer Season continues with Onegin, which opens on Saturday, June 19, 2010 and runs until June 25.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:25 am 
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Onegin
National Ballet of Canada
19 June 2010 7:30pm
Four Seasons Centre

On a lovely summer's evening, the National Ballet of Canada concluded it's 2009-2010 season with a glorious performance of John Cranko's "Onegin". A few corps bobbles aside, it was a evening full of balletic hightlights. In his first full length lead role at NBoC, Jiri Jelinek brought to Onegin his experience in the role at the Stuttgart Ballet (the company on which the ballet was created 40 years ago). In the beginning he gives the role a rather youthful tinge, but allows the character to develop emotionally with a wonderful subtlety.

Jelinek partnered the sublime Xiao Nan Yu smoothly, flowing through the intricate pas de deuxs with nary a hitch. If the dancing was technically flawless, the partnership is still new enough that there's still room for more freedom in the dancing. For instance, Yu and Jelinek hit the slide to slip life sequence spot on the musical surge, but the slip could have been done with a bit more abandon and amplitude. Yu was the most emotionally powerful of the lead dancers, and if she's perhaps no longer completely convincing as the naive teenager, she's breathtaking as the maturing and older Tatiana. There are few than can meld emotion and movement as well as she does in the final pas de deux.

Casting the real life couple of Guillaume Cote and Heather Ogden as the young Lensky and Olga is clever; as a pair they bring out the best in each other, and who better to play a soon to be married couple, than a soon to be married couple. In the bubbly first act pas deux, the couple placed nary a foot wrong, bringing a perfect giddy, easiness to the tricky choreography. It should be said though, that at 28, Cote seems now more suited for Onegin than Lensky, and he had a few minor wobbles in the first act. Yet, as in Swan Lake a couple months back, he seemed to come into his own in later solos - the final act 2 solo was a marvel. Perhaps as he leaves the technical wunderkind years behind, the body is taking a bit longer to recover and warm-up.

Perhaps as someone who did not see him during his performing years, the massive applause at Rex Harrington's entrance as Prince Gremin was a bit off-putting. Certainly Harrington brought an appropriate gravitas as Tatiana's eventual husband, elegantly partnering her in Act 3 (minus one subtly off balance moment in the first lift). Yet, such a fuss over a character who is portrayed as being fairly reserved and un-assuming seems contrary to the spirit of the story, and gives a false importance to Gremin.

From these stellar principals, down to the corps playing the peasants & party-goers, the quality of the dance was at a season's high. If only so much could be said for the highly touted new sets and costumes. Clearly, the relatively large expanse of the Four Season Centre's stage brings a different set of challenges in terms of presenting the ballet, as compared to the smaller stages found in Europe. However, Santo Loquasto's answer to the challenge suggested that leaving behind Jurgen Rose's stunning original designs was a significant mistake.

The major fault with the sets, combined with James F. Ingalls non-lighting, was the overly cluttered, repetitive sets and ill-suited colour palette. I wonder if Loquasto has fallen into the trap of creating a set and costumes that fulfill his own artistic fantasies, rather than being supporting elements that place the focus on the dance. A costume and set designer must sublimate hi/herself to the needs of the ballet - if someone wants a boost for their ego, ballet set design is not a good match.

Loquasto sets the first scene outside a rather Romanesque facade, which is possibly anachronistic and worse, stretches across much of stage right, taking away space from the dance. The concept might have worked, given the size of the stage, had the audience not been forced to look around and between the layers of birch trunks which stretched up in various places from floor to ceiling. (Many of which seemed to sprout between the facade stage right and other bits of pillared facade on stage left... huh?!).

The trees continued to plague the ballet during Tatiana's party (a garden party?) and obscuring much of the pivotal duel. This kind of repetition was also obvious with the facade, which turned into Tatiana's bedchamber windows and the sides of the Act 3 ballroom (?). Reuse of set components can be clever, but here is just seemed like a way to cut costs. The set for Tatiana's bedchamber seemed to be a hodgepodge of set bits, which took away from the power of the dream scene transformations and made one long for the beautiful simplicity of Rose's original designs.

The backdrops - at least what could be seen through the forest of birches - were of rather somber, darker colours. Loquasto also chose to replace many of Rose's plain, light-coloured costumes with deeply hued and/or patterned ones. This presented a significant issue in that the dancer's costumes often blended right into the background. Onegin's black first act outfit blended right into the background, as did Lensky's first and second act costumes, and worse, Tatiana's final act dress. The closeness in hues might have been somewhat tolerable, if Ingalls' lighting was at all passable. The spots were nearly non-existent, leaving one squinting to pick out the leads. It is startling that such basic design issues were not noticed during the creation of the production - should part of the designer's responsibility not be to watch at least the first costume & rehearsal in order to ensure that everything looks OK?!

Overall, the production is chock full of outstanding dancing, but the new designs are a major step backwards. An expensive mistake, but I think there needs to be an extensive overhaul of the designs, if not an attempt to rent, buy, borrow or rebuild a version of the originals.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:21 am 
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Thanks for the detailed review Kate. I highly doubt the National will spend any extra $ on the set design. They’re stuck with it now and no doubt we’ll see this version for the next 20 years. It appears Santo Loquasto was so focused in the details, we can’t see the ballet for the trees! Sorry but I just couldn’t resist! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:46 am 
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:o)

I was thinking along the same lines, but couldn't remember the exact phrase... so perfectly put!

It's a shame because he wasn't so far off in some of his designs - with the fairly large stage, one can use more on stage sets, rather than just scrims. But the combination of the very poor lighting and the bad color combinations really did the designs in.

Loquasto is hardly the only the one to fall in this trap. For one, there seems to be depressing and increasing damaging trends towards dimmer lighting. I want to SEE the dancers, not peer at them through the gloom. Low lighting is certainly appropriate in some circumstances, but not nearly so often as we now are cursed with it.

More importantly, I'm starting to wonder whether the rush to get productions done and done cheaply, means that choroegraphers, designers, artistic directors etc. are no longer taking the time to sit in the theater during rehearsal and actually look at the designs, the costumes, the lighting and make sure it all works. I really wonder whether these uber-designers are given a few set sketches, then return their designs and never come back to see them in the flesh. And the companies are bound by contract (and economic limitations) to keep the designs, so they have fw options if the designs don't turn out to work well onstage.

I could have lived with the first act sets, if there were many fewer trees, and random bits of building stage left were removed. Frankly, the didn't serve any purpose in the later scenes that couldn't have been solved by another set piece or drop that was lowered for those scenes. And, most importantly, the palettes for the costumes and sets were adjusted to be more contrasting.

I had the most problems with Tatiana's bedroom, because it was too vast and too patchwork. My notes on seeing the RDB production suggested that the original designs were very lacey, but that gave it an appropriately feeling of a being just a bit suffocating, just as the feeling that the life of a proper Russian upper class girl was a bit suffocating for the freer thinking Tatiana. Rose's designs for that set are a lot less literally, but create a more intimate, and less distracting setting for pas de deuxs. Vast spaces are great for big corps pieces, but a pas de deux can get lost in a huge space.

I would also have preferred keeping more of the set elements from this scene in the final scene, because my impression is that Cranko has carefully designed the two major Tatiana-Onegin pas de deuxs with common elements and themes. In replacing the mirror from her childhood bedroom with a doorway in the last scene, some of connection between Onegin appearing in the dream scene and in reality is lost. Rose's designs, by contract, use a less defined square opening which serves as both mirror and door, so that Onegin appears from the same entryway in both scenes.

I didn't quite get putting Tatiana's birthday in a rather outdoor setting, but it's possible and the framework rooftop was quite nice and I adored the bunches of pink roses which decorated the scene. I was just sick of the darn trees and the same old building pieces which kept re-appearing.
I had few issues with the ballroom scene in Act 3 - in fact, there may some improvements on the original. Perhaps because I saw the original designs on a much smaller stage, I did sometimes think that the full company scenes seemed a bit sparse. It did however, allow one to appreciate the choreography rather than worry about the potential for collisions between couples!

Again, I adored the dancing - truly first class. My impression is that, being broadly general and not necessarily specific to all dancers, the NBoC dancers are more technically proficient than the Danes, but the Danes are better at telling the story. So the ballet has a slightly different feel depending on the company that dances it, with both strong in their unique ways.


As a note, what was really missing from the program was some background to the ballet and the book. Nowhere in the program was there any information about Pushkin, his poem. For instance, nowhere are we ever given any indication as to the time period of the story (other than roughly via the costumes) or about the story behind the ballet. The sole historical note devotes a few sentences to the book & Pushkin, and multiple paragraphs to the history of the ballet production. Pushkin's story is very much about a time period, and so it's shame to provide so little framework or background for the audience (especially since most people don't read Pushkin unless they take Russian literature courses in university). Perhaps they could have replaced on of the stories on next fall's ballets (we'll get to hear plenty about Wheeldon's new ballet since it be premiered in London well before it's seen here), and added in a brief story providing background on Pushkin and Onegin.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Spring 2010
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:46 am 
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Paula Citron in the Globe & Mail also loves the dancing, but has the same thoughts about the dismal sets & lighting:


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/art ... le1610832/


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