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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:16 am 
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In case anyone missed any days of Guillaume Cote's diary in the National Post here are the links to each of the five days:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

My favourite day was day 5...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:19 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
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Today I get to rehearse with a different Princess Aurora -- who also happens to be my girlfriend. Heather Ogden and I have been partnered together in many ballets such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, but our offstage relationship is quite recent. Tomorrow I will dance with her in her debut and we are both very excited about performing together.


Interesting... I wonder how Miss Ogden feels about the Gary Smith article concerning her Prince’s exploits off and on the stage? I should have guessed about the relationship with H.O. in the background.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:55 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Susan Walker talks to new NBoC Principal dancer, Zdenek Konvalina. He’s definitely excited to be part of the National’s history.

Quote:
A thirst for North American experience was satisfied when the Houston Ballet hired Konvalina as a principal dancer that same year. He danced there with distinction, receiving much critical praise for his beautiful lines: looking in a photograph as if his grand jeté could span an entire stage.

A sexual harassment suit Konvalina brought against the Houston company and its artistic director, Stanton Welch, is not up for discussion, but it seems likely that Konvalina would have moved on anyway, given his hunger for a challenge and exposure to the world's ballet cultures.

His reasons for coming to Canada are very clear. "Karen Kain," he says, with emphasis. "She is the connection to an era when ballet was at its best. I always thought of the National Ballet as this institution that had these glorious years with Nureyev and Erik Bruhn, and the other day I saw a movie of Celia Franca. It was amazing to see how much history the company has."

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 6:46 am 
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The first review of Song of the Earth and Symphony in C is from the Toronto Star

This is the part I liked:
Quote:
Rows of white-tutued women on point, plicking their way into rapidly transforming shapes are like arrangements of decorations on a cake. Heather Ogden performs the second movement's Adagio with a superb curve to her back and a weightless quality to her step.


I can't wait to see it tonight.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 9:12 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Gary Smith reviews the twin bill.

Quote:
Not everything is perfect in the National Ballet's current remount of the piece, but there's sufficient excitement here to suggest that given a few more cracks at the piece, the company will make it its own.

Guillaume Cote is stunning as the Messenger Of Death.


John Coulbourn also weighs in with his thoughts.

Quote:
A massive work for 50 dancers, this is Balanchine at his icy best, as he fills the stage with layer after layer of classical movement and geometric form until it finally creates a critical mass that is nothing short of breathtaking.

Led by Greta Hodgkinson and Aleksandar Antonijevic, the work in four movements also offers a fine showcase for Heather Ogden and Etienne Lavigne, and for Sonia Rodriguez and the ever-evolving Stanczyk.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 3:14 pm 
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Casting for The Nutcracker has been annouced! Details on HeatherHighlights

The opening matinee Sugar Plum Fairy and Peter/The Nutcracker are Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:14 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Unfortunately, Song of Earth was especially poignant for me when I viewed it. My parents are of German origin and thus I can understand German and speak it some. I was very disappointed in the opera singing of the tenor, Michael Colvin. First off, the orchestra drowned out his voice in the 1st Song. As of the rest of the ballet, I could barely understand him. The Mezzo-Soprano, Susan Platts, imbued her performance with emotion and sang in German well enough for me to follow along.

I liked the end where the Man takes the form of The Messaging of Death by sporting his mask. Though I much enjoyed the performance of the dancers, it was just too depressing and too long for me. I was very surprised Mrs. K selected Song of Earth on the same season as The Four Seasons, as both ballets have similar themes.

Symphony in C had the potential to be fantastic. Unfortunately, not everyone can dance as well as Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté. The Michael Crabb review was not available in the National Post on-line. According to Monsieur Crabb:
Quote:
“For those familiar with the poems (it would have been thoughtful had the NBC printed English translations in the house program)…”


Those who attended the Ballet Talk received Ballet Notes that contained the text in German and English. I will post my review of Sleeping Beauty if and when my Muse inspires me. I don’t get paid for this and hence I feel I don’t owe anybody anything. At least I attended the Ballet Talk.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:57 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I finally found some time to post my thoughts on the National’s ‘refurbished’ Sleeping Beauty. I attended Opening Night and missed a Sunday performance which I had purchased a ticket for. I was pleased with the performance. The costumes looked as Andre Rieu would say:
Quote:
“Fantastisch!”
The acoustics of the Four Seasons were also
Quote:
“Fantastisch!”
I truly felt like I had heard the glorious Tchaikovsky score for the very first time. As far as I’m concerned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is the true star of Sleeping Beauty.

As for my impression of the physical beauty of the 4 Seasons, the structure is very bland from the outside and could use a little sprucing up from the inside. The ceiling is screaming for a fresco of some sort.

Nureyev’s version overflows with far too many exclamation marks and look at me variations!!! There is no flow to the ballet. All the posing and pauses for applause, reduces the ballet to an athletic event like gymnastics. Also, there is far too much mime. I much prefer the Royal Ballet’s staging produced by Anthony Dowell. I made the mistake of viewing my DVD of this version staring Viviana Durante before seeing the National’s Sleeping Beauty and it really exposes the flaws with Nureyev’s version. It’s a little tighter and provides more dancing for the Lilac Fairy.

Linda Maybarduk was terrific in her return to the National as the Queen. There’s a delightful bit of theatrical magic as she appears to zoom around the stage without actually moving. Despite the wonderful performances by all the older character artists, I would prefer to see Sleeping Beauty redone to showcase dancing rather than mime.

Greta Hodgkinson was a technical monster but too often her performance came off like perfect execution of steps with little silent acting. The same could be said of Guillaume Côté. I enjoyed the show but for someone who has seen this version many, many times it doesn’t hold the same magical power it did for me when I saw it for the very first time. At least, I finally heard the music the way it should be heard for the very first time. Kudos to the NBoC orchestra and most of all, a big Bravo to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky!

Sadly my Muse could not inspire me to post my usual thousand plus word review.

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