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 Post subject: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:30 am 
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At long last, summer has arrived! Our 1st post of summer concerns Karen Kain honored with the Distinguished Artist Award presented by the International Society for the Performing Arts.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:16 am 
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Check out the lovely Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté posing outside the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and read up on what the new venue has done for ballet in Toronto. I do believe the writer is a little off with the below statement:

Quote:
The hall – which with 2,000 seats is much smaller than the cavernous Hummingbird at 3,200 – also means the ballet gives more performances over a longer season, from August to June.

“That’s unusual for professional dancers in North America to have that long a season, that they’re paid,” says Garland. “It’s good for them, it’s good for their conditioning, it’s good for their general quality of life.”


The NBoC season usually runs from November to June performance wise at the 4 Seasons. With touring you can include September and October…and I must assume the company starts prepping in late August.

I wish the National the best of luck attracting U.S. fans. They may find our ticket prices a tad too high.

Quote:
Garland has an eye on boosting the ballet’s profile in the U.S. About 2 per cent of the ballet’s audience is from the U.S. but Garland says she’s “very interested in increasing it.”

“We’re going to run a campaign for our fall season that will run in New York State as well as here,” says Garland.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:47 pm 
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I attended the last performance of the mixed program on Sunday.

Not exactly the note I wished to end the season with. Sigh. I had SO been looking forward to it, as I've enjoyed Upper Room so much in the past! Here are some brief reflections:

* Mozartiana: Enjoyed the music, and casting was good. Especially the lead roles - Ogden, Cote (if memory serves), and newly promoted Robert Stephen. Not that I am biased in ANY way. The kids from the school were lovely. Drawback: not the most exciting way to start a performance, especially so soon after "Alice."

* Piece for Greta (I forget the name). This would not ever have been something I would have expected to honour a principal dancer. More suiting to a star ballet school graduate. The dancing was fine in that it was I'm sure what the choreographer set, however for a principal of a major company - the bar/barre should have been higher. Also... noticed that flowers were given for the first piece, but in this piece flowers not given to either Greta or the pianist. What is that about? Clearly there is much I do not understand.

* Upper Room: Well, hmm. In this case I did see the first cast, but was wishing I'd seen the 2nd cast! I've seen the piece before, twice I think, not so long ago, and really enjoyed it. This time I saw at least two very awkward lifts (aka drops of women that were supposed to be lifts). I spent the rest of the piece on pins and needles, worried that another woman would be dropped. Therefore I can't say that I enjoyed it much, and I'm sure there are things I should have enjoyed but couldn't as I was so preoccupied with someone getting hurt. The women really do risk a lot in this piece - could sustain severe injuries if things aren't done properly. Perhaps it was because it was the last show - but still. I pay a lot for my ticket - had expected more. Not to mention that the women shouldn't be worried about the partnering skills of the men for this piece, once it's on stage.

NBOC - not the way to end a season for this subscriber.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:06 pm 
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I’m sorry to read you didn’t enjoy the mixed program Mom2. But, you know, you have no one to blame but yourself! If you had read Michael Goldbarth’s March 1 posting you could have ended your ballet season on a high and happy note! I thought the mixed fare was weak and hence decided to make a trade and I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s performance. :wink:

Quote:
Based on the colorful costumes alone, I just switched my June mixed season ticket to double up on Alice! I suspect seats will be gobbled up quickly and the National may even add a date or 2 or 3 or…..?

I agree with Kate, the National may be a little stretched here.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:09 pm 
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Oh mom2 your comments about “Other Dances” left me speechless! Perhaps, just perhaps senior professional-level students could manage the technical aspect of the choreography, but I cannot imagine they would have the least idea how to perform it to the artistic level of the originators of the piece (Baryshnikov and Markarova in their prime) or for the lucky few who recently saw Hodgkinson and Konvalina. Opening night I was on my feet cheering along with the rest of the audience. I felt very lucky to be there.

I’m glad I finally saw “In the Upper Room” as I missed it last time around. My God....the thing totally exhausted me....it’s relentless! How do they (the dancers I mean) get through it without collapsing completely before the end. Many, many years ago Martha Graham did a ballet called “Acrobats of the Gods” and that title was running through my mind as I watched this ballet. Acrobats indeed! I'd like to see how many professional athletes could keep up with them.

As for Mozartiana, I’ve always admired this ballet....it mixes the serene and the fiendishly difficult in a neat ½ hr. or so. I’ve read about the ballet over the years and I know what the "experts" tell us Balanchine was trying to say - but I’ve always superimposed my own personal take on it. In my mind when the ballerina is posed in the group of young dancers, I
imagine him saying to them...”so you want to be ballet dancers do you little girls? Well, beware - just look what’s in store for you!” A dancer once told me it was one of the hardest roles to do...OK, I believe her!

By the way, Hodgkinson did a beautiful Dying Swan at the Gala on Tuesday night. It seemed to be over before it even started. Rodriguez was scheduled to dance excerpts from "Alice" but Ogden danced instead. Also she did not dance on June 23rd as scheduled-I hope she's not injured. There's a big season coming up and all the Principals will want to stay healthy!

Happy summer everyone....


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:31 am 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Happy weekend all.

Michael - I did know that I could have changed my ticket, but for me it would have meant Onegin instead of the mixed program, and I was really looking forward to the mixed - Upper Room especially - so I wouldn't have changed. I was lucky enough to see an excellent performance of Alice.

Noreen - I guess one could read my words to say that GH did no better than a student would have. This was not my intent. Perhaps it was because I saw the last performance and everyone was tired - I don't know. It would not have been my choice of piece for that occasion. I am no where near being an expert however. All I can say is that the piece didn't move me as I expected it to.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:25 am 
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Note: If you’re James Kudelka, do not read the below 2 ballet reviews of your recent show at ABT, skip down to Michael Goldbarth’s review from years gone by with the NBoC! Yikes, those American critics sure are a finicky lot! :shock:

The below was from thefastertimes:

Quote:
The final disappointment is the ballet’s bourgeois, un-spectacular resolution, in which Cinderella and her prince settle down to a domestic life by the hearth. This is a fairy-tale after all, a story about the triumph of true goodness over cruelty and neglect. But in the end Kudelka gives his heroine only an attentive husband (with his shirt-sleeves rolled up) and her own house to clean.


And this from the slower Times:

Quote:
James Kudelka manages something fairly remarkable in his version of “Cinderella,” which American Ballet Theater performed on Tuesday in the first of a seven-performance run at the Metropolitan Opera House. He succeeds in creating a fairy-tale ballet entirely devoid of charm, a “Cinderella” that is for neither children nor adults and that somehow misses nearly every theatrical moment in the familiar story.


Quote:
Kudelka’s Cinderella Extreme Makeover!

Dance Maestro James Kudelka almost choreographed the impossiblecamouflaging a Prokofiev musical score far too sardonic for a fairy tale ballet through innovative steps, stunning costumes, eye-opening lighting, and a down to earth set. This production of Cinderella was choreographed with wow and hearty guffaws galore! The ballet still cries out to be scored anew but this version is more than acceptable. This is a Cinderella that will tour Canadaand maybe just maybe the world!

Mr. K’s Creative Spirit must have been soaring during the ballet making process as his Muse magically transformed a previously clichéd Cinderella upside down and inside out! Goodbye henpecked hubby; Hello (flash!) Photo Journalist. Goodbye carriage; Look out for a pumpkin UFO descending from the heavens to whisk Cinderella to the ball! Goodbye horsy; See our prince travel ‘round the world via plane and speedboat searching for the seraph whose tootsies will slip into that glittering glass slipper! The background lighting simulating whooshing cerulean skies was absolutely breathtaking! Goodbye golden timekeepers; Hello Dancing Pumpkin Heads! Adios dusty old costumes; Go starry-eyed over jazzy art deco inspired duds! Ever present throughout the ballet is James Kudelka paying homage to Ralph Kramden, Archie Bunker, and Martin Crane in the rather rustic form of Cinderella’s antique chair. Despite the well preserved chair and delicious preserves from Cinderella’s garden, this Cinderella IS modernized. One trip to this Kudelkaized Cindertale and you’ll mothball your memories of Ben Stevenson’s and Sir Frederick Ashton’s antique creations right back into the fabled age of once upon a time—where they belong!

The National Ballet of Canada had been without its own Cinderella since 1973 when a fire destroyed most of the costumes. That version, choreographed by then Artistic Director Celia Franca, received mixed reviews in only 13 performances. From those ashes and cobwebbed, dusty history James Kudelka has restored Cinderella to modern times without sacrificing any of its fabled romantic past. The Keno twin brothers from the antique show Find! would be smiling and so will the National’s cash registers: Ka-Ching!

The true genius of James Kudelka is his ability to use every member of his company (from senior character actors to corps de ballet dancers to soloists to principals) and make them ALL shine! Victoria Bertram played the part of a bathtub gin swilling shnockered step mother to such pickled perfection, I was genuinely worried she might be pulled over for drinking and driving home after her spirited show stopping Gloria Swanson/Norma Desmond like performance! NBoC pointe shoe mistress Lorna Geddes glowed as she magically poofed from the cinders of the fireplace to save Cinderella from her stepsister slavery and thus the Prince from his slavery to the upper crust of hoity-toityville. Veteran character actor Hazaros Surmeyan played the part of a celeb photo journalist with too much integrity to be a Paparazzi picture stealer but not too much integrity not to steal a few scenes! Despite his best efforts, he never did get a snapshot of Prince Charming with his Cinderella. It’s impossible not to LOL at out-of-stepsisters Stephanie Hutchison and Lise-Marie Jourdain going totally gaga as they throw themselves head-over-heels in lust at the handsome Prince Charming (Patrick Lavoie). As for Heather Ogden’s performance as Cinderella, she danced barefoot, she danced with one pointe show, she danced with two pointe shoes, she danced her socks and pointe shoes off!

Yes, this is a brand new 150% improved Cinderella! She can cook, she can garden, she can keep house better than Martha Stewart, and of course, she can DANCE!

I played hooky from work to see the Thursday matinée performance, and needless to say, I along with the rest of the audience gave this production a standing ‘O’ leaving with a smile a mile wide! It was that good! Now, if only Kudelka could raise the funds to rewrite the score? Perhaps, Cinderella will be scored anew with a gelling of jazz á la Michel Legrand with classical music. One role I would like to see resurrected was that of the court jester, which would provide Philip Lau and Daisuke Ohno a chance to show off their high flying ballet moves. Next go around; don’t be surprised if Cinderella’s out-of-step-sisters also get a Swan like makeover including botox injections and leg wax! Although the lighting kept everyone’s eyes glued to the action on stage, I would love to see Act 2 end by spotlighting the Swarovski glass slipper in the middle of the stage.

This was a Formula One paced Cinderella with few opportunities for needless interruptions by applause. I always thought it best to show appreciation at the end of an act. The ending was perfect, finding heaven in the comfort of Cinderella’s garden, Prince Charming rests his head in the lap of Cinderella. No doubt, there would be a very long line up to spend eternity in wedlock with the lovely Heather Ogden. Once Kudelka and his dancers work out the kinks with more opportunities to dance this Jazzed up Cinderella, it will get even better! If I haven’t already made myself 150% clear, I highly recommend you step out of once upon a time and see this modern down-to-earth Cinderella!

Dancers: 18/20. Choreography: 18/20. Ballet Magic: 18/20. Costumes, Sets & Lighting: 19/20. Story: 8/10. Music: 7/10. Rating: 88/100.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:22 am 
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I don't bother to read the US reviews of Cinderella any longer - the 1st time was enough! I love the ballet. our critics love the ballet, our audiences (with a few exceptions) love the ballet - and that's enough for me.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:27 pm 
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Here is the news release about all the $$$$'s Alice earned for the Company. Line-ups at 3:00am for Ballet tickets?!! I thought that only happened for rock stars...

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Breaks Box Office Record
June 28, 2011… The National Ballet of Canada today announced that Christopher
Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the highest grossing main season
production in the company’s history. A total of 27,180 people attended 13 performances for
an overall capacity of 98% and $2,236,849 in box office revenue.
A co-production with The Royal Ballet (UK), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was
enthusiastically embraced by Toronto audiences with standing ovations at every
performance. The production completely sold out with many people turned away at the box
office. For the last weekend patrons started lining up for rush and standing room tickets at
3:30 in the morning!
Critics also hailed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
“A monumental achievement… the best dance adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved
children’s classic on the planet.” The Globe and Mail, 2011
“ Spectacular dance entertainment that’s sure to delight.”
The Toronto Star, 2011
“You’ve never seen Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland told quite like this.”
Toronto Sun, 2011
“Wheeldon blows the roof off convention… the result is an over-the-top, highly entertaining
production, unlike anything Toronto audiences have ever seen.”
The National Post, 2011
“This Alice is a sophisticated ballet, born aloft by thrilling dancing that will tug you out of your
theatre seat into a world of wonder.” The Hamilton Spectator, 2011
“An exhilarating spectacle that combines the “wow” factor of a hit Broadway show with
stagecraft wizardry that would be the envy of Robert Lepage... A landmark theatrical event
not to be missed.” Maclean’s Magazine, 2011
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland closed The National Ballet of Canada’s 2010/11 season.
The company celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011/12. The season launches on
November 16, 2011 with the world premiere of a new production of Romeo and Juliet by
the acclaimed Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:02 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
In the July 2 edition of the Toronto Star, Michael Crabb writes about Bridgett Zehr and Zdenek Konvalina leaving for English National Ballet in London.

Quote:
“Such is the case among the devoted followers of principal dancers Bridgett Zehr and Zdenek Konvalina, who have quit the National Ballet of Canada to take equivalent positions in London with English National Ballet.


Curiously, the NBoC still has Zehr and Konvalina listed as principals, even though the enclosed press release states they will be guest artists next season.

Quote:
“Mr. Konvalina and Ms. Zehr will continue to perform with the National Ballet throughout the 2011/12 season and will join English National Ballet as Principal Dancers.”
:roll:

We’ll just have to wait and see just how much time they will have to guest next season. My guess is we’ll see them dance in R&J, The Seagull, and Sleeping Beauty...and that would be the best you could hope for. :(

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:34 am 
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James Kudelka has returned to the National Ballet of Canada....to present The Man In Black (Johnny Cash) for the National’s tour out West September 15 to October 4. BTW: Black is Mr. K’s favourite color!

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:26 pm 
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Finally! It's great to see a younger dancer getting a shot at a big role. I don't mind the casting of Cote - he's young enough not to see 'old' in the role and I think it works better when you have a Romeo with solid partnering experience. Otherwise the choreography tends to be scary rather than breathtaking.



Romeo and Juliet Opens on November 16
Elena Lobsanova and Guillaume Côté

September 7, 2011… Karen Kain, Artistic Director of The National Ballet of Canada, today announced that First Soloist Elena Lobsanova and Principal Dancer Guillaume Côté will perform the title roles in the world premiere of internationally celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet. The National Ballet of Canada begins celebrations for the 60th anniversary season with Romeo and Juliet, which opens on November 16, 2011 and runs to November 27, 2011 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada.

Hailed by the New York Times as “the most in-demand ballet choreographer in the world”, Mr. Ratmansky is currently Artist-in-Residence and Artistic Advisor at American Ballet Theatre and the former Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet. The National Ballet audiences were first introduced to Mr. Ratmansky earlier this year with his stunningly beautiful piece, Russian Seasons. His unique aesthetic, steeped in the Russian school but open to contemporary sources, is ideal for a new interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Ratmansky has been in Toronto since July creating the work on the company.

Featuring Prokofiev’s extraordinary score, the new production is designed by the Tony Award-winning Richard Hudson, who collaborated with Mr. Ratmansky on his new Nutcracker for American Ballet Theatre and is best known for his design for The Lion King, and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, internationally acclaimed for her work in theatre, dance and opera.

Additional casting to be announced.


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:06 pm 
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From the photos and video posted on the company site (both linked from http://national.ballet.ca/performances/ ... ___Juliet/), we should be able to take some guesses at alternate casting, too.

It looks like Sonia Rodriguez, Heather Ogden, Chelsy Meiss and maybe Greta Hodgkinson are other Juliets. Ogden is partnered with McGee Maddox, perhaps Brendan Saye is with Meiss, and it looks like Aleksandar Antonijevic is in there too -- maybe with Greta?

I'm also guessing that Jiri Jelinek and James Leja are cast as Tybalt and Mercutio (or vise versa), based on the pre-sword-fight choreography shown in the video.


Being relatively new here, I also have a question. Is it convention to categorize the threads by calendar season rather than company season? Or, in other words, is the rule to keep this thread until September 23 because that's the autumnal equinox, whether we are talking about summer or fall productions? I'm just curious. Thanks.

Also, the tour starts next week, so things should pick up here soon!


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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:59 am 
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Yikes Kate! Opening Night casting has been announced for the new Ratmansky R&J and it will not be Mr. Guillaume Côté & Mrs. Heather Côté but Mr. Guillaume Côté & Elena Lobsanova? Michael Goldbarth will henceforth volunteer to partner Heather Ogden as her Romeo; even though, he has 2 left feet!

In other news, I received my season tickets for 2011/2012 and Karen Kain will talk up the National’s 60th Anniversary with Michael Crabb in the Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library Oct 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free but you must reserve a seat and it is not guaranteed.

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 Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada - Summer 2011
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:56 pm 
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Location: Canada
Greetings

There is not set rule about threads. I actually prefer to go by company season so we don't split up conversations on the same subject. To be honest, cough, cough, I was just too lazy to start another thread. If we want, I can break of these posts and start a thread for the 'Fall' (i.e. pre Nutcracker) season.

Kate


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