Monday, 30 April 2012

The Dream. ABT. 2004.

Watch The Dream Here:

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton, 
The American Ballet Theatre staged a new production of one of his best-loved dance pieces. 
Accompanied by music from Felix Mendelssohn, The Dream is a ballet interpretation of William Shakespeare's 
romantic fantasy A Midsummer Night's Dream which focus on the magical undercurrents of the Bard's work. 
A major critical success, this production of The Dream stars Ethan Stiefel, Alessandra Ferri, 
and Herman Cornejo from the ABE company. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide


     Herman Cornejo - Puck
      Carlos Molina - Lysander
  Stella Abrera - Hermia
     Alessandra Ferri - Titania
  Ethan Stiefel - Oberon
   Pierce Brosnan - Host
     Ethan Brown - Demetrius
             Julio Bragado-Young - Bottom
  Marian Butler - Helena

A Midsummer Nights Dream. PNB. 2010.

Watch The Performance Here:

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Cinderella. POB. 2008.

Watch Cinderella Part 1. Here:

Watch Cinderella Part 2. Here:

A sumptuous package.

Cinderella was started in 1940 after Prokofiev had developed a greater interest in ballets following
the success of Romeo and Juliet. He broke off work on it in 1942 to compose patriotic pieces and eventually
War and Peace. Cinderella was intended from the beginning to be a full-length classical piece and was finally
premiered, with Ulanova in the title role, in 1945. It immediately became a staple and quickly traveled to
other countries. In England, the character additions of Sir Frederick Ashton are legendary and have been adopted
almost everywhere.

The production here was created in 1986 by Rudolf Nureyev. He originally wanted to produce Cinderella in
classic 17th century style and rejected the idea of set designer Petrika Ionesco that the work be set
in Hollywood in the 1930s. However, Nureyev could not get this idea out of his mind and once the
two got started all of Nureyev’s love of the movies came into play. The Prince becomes a Movie Star,
the Fairy Godmother a Hollywood producer and Cinderella eventually wins both the Movie Star and a film contract.
In between there are many allusions to 1930s movies and even a couple of scenes shot to appear as if on screen.
Yet the basic story is intact and Nureyev was scrupulous in his use of Prokofiev’s music.

While the staging in this production is imaginative, I found that the darkness appropriate to Act I continued
inappropriately throughout the opera. However, the evocation of Hollywood in the Golden Age in Act II
was charming. The costumes were all by Hanae Morae and very good. Agnès Letestu was an alternately winsome
and glamorous Cinderella. Indeed she goes from one to the other almost instantaneously. Her evocations of
Hollywood figures are marvelous. Yet at the same time she can be quietly elegant. I found José Martinez
less stimulating as the Movie Star. Technically he was excellent, but he seemed to lack the spirit of a matinee idol. Laëtitia Pujol and Stephanie Romberg were by turns threatening and grotesque as the sisters, more grotesque than most. Stéphane Phavorin stood out as the wicked stepmother - truly a distinctive and varied performance. Finally, Wilfried Romoli excelled in the part of the Producer. He learned this role - more acting than dancing - from Nureyev himself and one’s eye is on him at all times. The corps de ballet is very good, especially in their Hollywood roles.

Aside from the usual synopsis and cast gallery this two-DVD package includes a film by Rainier Moritz
entitled Cinderella Goes Hollywood. This includes interviews with Ionescu, ballet director Brigitte Lefèvre
and all the principals. Both the motivation behind each performance and Nureyev’s choreography are thoroughly
explored. There is also an extensive booklet with notes by Rainier Moritz that adds further information.
In all a sumptuous package.

-- William Kreindler, MusicWeb Internation

Cinderella – Agnès Letestu
The Movie Star – José Martinez
The Sisters – Laëtitia Pujol, Stéphanie Romberg
The Mother – Stéphane Phavorin
The Producer – Wilfried Romoli

Paris National Opera Ballet
Paris National Opera Orchestra
Koen Kessels, conductor

Rudolf Nureyev, choreographer

Recorded live at the Palais Garnier, Paris, on 24, 26,and 28 April 2008.

Excelsior.Scala Ballet. 2002.

Watch Excelsior Here:

One of the more unusual stage works of the 19th century, Excelsior tells of great scientific
breakthroughs such as the steam engine, the Suez canal and the telegraph.
Despite its seemingly dreary subject matter it was a huge success when first performed in 1881,
and enjoyed a run of 103 performances during that year alone.

This production from 2002 at the Teatro alla Scala brings a riot of colour to Manzotti's work.
With 100 dancers on stage at a time, references to the golden MGM film era and Busby Berkeley-style dancing,
it is guaranteed to intrigue and charm!

Recorded live from the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan, 2002.

Light – Marta Romagna
Obscurantism – Riccardo Massimi
Civilisation – Isabel Seabra
Slave – Roberto Bolle
Thunderbolt – Raffaella Benaglia
Indian – Elisabetta Armiato

The Sleeping Beauty. Bolshoi Ballet. 2011.

Watch The Sleeping Beauty Here:

Based on the well known fairy tale, with a sumptuous score by
Tchaikovsky, the Sleeping Beauty is one of the world's best loved ballets. 
At the christening of princess Aurora, the evil fairy Carabosse throws 
a terrible curse upon her and predicts that she will prick her finger 
and die on her sixteenth birthday. Fortunately, the Lilac Fairy lessens 
the curse: Aurora will be plunged into a deep sleep for a hundred years 
but will be awakened by a prince's kiss. The fateful birthday arrives 
and the king and queen urge the beautiful princess to choose a husband. 
Having forgotten about diabolical Carabosse, they do not notice that, 
disguised as an old woman, Carabosse is approaching Aurora...

Starring Svetlana Zakharova & David Hallberg. Libretto by Ivan
Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa based on fairy tales by Charles Perrault.

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa
New Choreographic Version: Yuri Grigorovich
Designer: Ezio Frigerio
Music Director: Vassily Sinaisky
Orchestra: Symphonic Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre

Recorded live in November 20th, 2011

The Prince Of The Pagodas. RB. 1990.

Watch the performance here:

Sir Kenneth MacMillan's glorious version of "The Prince Of The Pagodas" provides a fascinating
and magnificent spectacle of classical dance on the grandest scale. Benjamin Britten's exotic score,
inspired by the sounds of the Gamelan, is the only one that he created for ballet.
This production by The Royal Ballet, filmed at Covent Garden in 1990, stars Darcey Bussell
in dazzling form as Princess Rose and Jonathan Cope as the Prince.

Manon. RB. 2008.

Watch Part 1. Here:

Watch Part 2. Here:

In this Royal Ballet production, costumes, scenery and lighting feast the eye. 
MacMillan’s genius shines everywhere, in his acute observation of character and 
traits transformed so sharply into dance. Take the evolution of the relationship 
of Manon and Des Griex. As they meet they are young and rather naïve and innocent. 
In Act 1 their dancing together, with tender ‘travelling lifts’ has the freshness 
and exhilaration of new-found love. In the next scene in their love nest, the 
intimacy and ecstasy of their dance movements leaves no doubt that they are now 
consummated lovers blissfully aware of each other’s bodies. After Des Grieux leaves, 
and her brother Lescaut and her rich admirer, G.M., come to entice her away with 
jewels and furs, the mood and movements descend to degradation as Manon abandons 
love for riches. In this amazing pas de trois, Tamara Rojo’s figures here are so 
elastic and snake-like sinuous, that one would imagine she is made of india-rubber. 
In the end Manon’s rapaciousness catches up with her and she descends through remorse 
to ruin when she is deported as a prostitute and a thief to the New World. Her final 
dance with Des Grieux with whom she has run off into the Louisiana swamps after his 
victorious duel, graphically declares her weakness and despair in Rojo’s heavier 
mournful movements. 

Cast List:
Carlos Acosta (Des Grieux)
Tamara Rojo (Manon)
José Martin (Lescaut)
Christopher Saunders (Monsieur G.M.)
Laura Morera (Lescaut’s Mistress)
Genesia Rosato (Madame)
Thomas Whitehead (The Gaoler)
Paul Kay (Beggar Chief)
Philip Mosley (Old Gentleman)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor: Martin Yates
Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan

Swan Lake. Bolshoi Ballet. 2011.

Watch Part 1. Here:

Watch Part 2. Here:

La Bayadere. POB. 2012.

Watch Part 1. Here:

Watch Part 2. Here:

Watch Part 3. Here: