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 Post subject: R.B. Seven Deadly Sins triple bill
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:03 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1742
Location: London UK
The Royal Ballet doesn’t seem to be having much luck with new ballets this year, after the crashingly boring Children of Adam, the new version of Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins that premiered last week hasn’t appealed much to the critics any more than it appealed to me. ... 10621.html

Will Tuckett has a lot of choreographic talent and I’ve admired his work in the past, but this was a work as deadly as the title. I really don’t understand why the RB didn’t simply revive the MacMillan version, which at least recognized that the piece is a political satire.

The story is basically about a bourgeois family using their daughter, Anna, as a meal ticket, encountering less than desirable examples of humanity on her path to financial security. MacMillan managed to blend humour and pathos in his treatment of a notoriously difficult score but Tuckett presents us with nothing more than a tale of sexual exploitation and he had lost me by the time Anna encountered her first sin of sloth in which a pimp appeared to be less than pleased by Anna’s passivity with a client. Don’t think that strikes me as particularly slothful actually, but all the sins experienced were about carnal couplings, so that when they got to lust, there was nothing new to show.

The two Annas were Martha Wainwright singing (almost completely inaudably) and Zenaida Yanovsky in black bra and suspender belt, dancing. Ms Yanovsky was required to open her legs wide apart everytime she was lifted and whenever she was on the bed. As she was lifted a great deal and also spent a lot of time on the bed it meant seeing more of the lady’s crotch than most people would be comfortable with. A small male corps performed some typically chorus boy type moves from musical comedy but there wasn’t much imagination to be seen throughout the work. Definitely a miss.

The hit of the evening was Pierrot Lunaire with Ivan Putrov, Deirdre Chapman and Carlos Acosta even better in their roles than last year. Perhaps Putrov still remains a little too much the classical dancer in this role, but he portrays this lonely underdog so well its unfair to quibble that it would suit a modern dancer better.

La Fin du Jour suffered from dreadful orchestral playing that all but killed this sensitive little work dead. Few of the dancers understood the inherent langour of the piece about the gilded youth living sybaritic lives in the brief interval between two world wars. The costumes of the two leading girls had been altered to rather garish shades and both their partners had difficulty in thowing and catching them horizontally: I don’t remember the original cast having problems with that. Perhaps if the music could just come together the dancing would improve.

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 7:46 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 140
Location: London
Triple Bill
Royal Ballet
Royal Opera House, London
Saturday 28 April 2007

As part of their season, the Royal Ballet presented another new work in this programme, alongside two revivals of works by Glen Tetley and Kenneth MacMillan.

Will Tuckett’s new ballet, Kurt Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins”, opened the evening and, leading the cast, Zenaida Yanowsky and Martha Wainwright as her singing “alter ego”, set off on a journey of discovery of lust and sexual abuse, which made the original title a bit misleading as, in fact, each song should be addressing a different Deadly Sin…

Though Tuckett has obviously put a lot of care in the production details, the truth is that choreographically he has produced the kind of work that sinks into oblivion once it has been seen. There is nothing new in the vocabulary or style he has chosen and, after ten minutes of seeing “sexual allusions”, I was about to start a campaign in order to find a choreographer who can come up with some movement for women that denotes sexuality and that is not a grand plie in second position!!!

The best part of the ballet was Wainwright’s singing… and that should say enough about the ballet itself... Pity that these Royal Ballet trained choreographers tend to lose themselves in expensive, very elaborate theatrical productions that have little choreographic substance.

Next in the programme came a revival of Glen Tetley’s “Pierrot Lunaire”. I saw the same cast that brought the ballet into the Royal Ballet’s repertoire last year – Ivan Putrov, Deirdre Chapman and Carlos Acosta- and suffice to say that, if anything, they were even better than last season. The piece still looks modern and the characterisation of the three main figures is still a joy to watch. For me, this piece really made the evening a worthwhile event.

The last ballet was Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s “La Fin du Jour”. I must say I had never seen the ballet before and I have to be grateful to Cassandra for her insights into the original, as these details and period subtleties were absent from the performance I saw and that had Natasha Oughtred, Sarah Lamb, Martin Harvey and Ricardo Cervera in the leading roles. The ballet looked simplistic and rather pointless and, having Robbins’s “In G Major” as a major choreographic reference did not help. The dancers looked at a loss in the period characterization and the only point that came across was that the costumes were great fun to watch and wear. Whether this performance made justice to the original I cannot tell, but if it did, I cannot say it is MacMillan at his greatest. If it did not, then more effort needs to be put in the revival of these pieces that used to make up the repertoire of the company years ago. The standards of the dance and the style displayed were far from being outstanding.

So overall a not very satisfying evening at the Royal Opera House on this occasion. It is good that the company is trying to create new work, but I feel they should really start looking out of their own ranks in order to do so. The success of "Chroma" points in this direction and there are more choreographers working at present that could continue the journey into the new century that the company started not so long ago.

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