Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mostly Mozart’s Magic Flute Mostly Magical

Pamina and Papageno, photo @ Michael Daniel

One of the few things operaphiles can agree upon is that the Met is a terrible venue for Mozart. The size swallows up the intimacy and charm of Mozart’s music. The Magic Flute has had a really rough go of it in recent years as it is almost always presented in the shortened English version. Julie Taymor’s production is colorful but vapid. Therefore opera lovers owe it to themselves to go to the smaller David K@&! Theater to see the Mostly Mozart Festival’s presentation of Barrie Kosky’s mostly magical production of The Magic Flute. The smaller theater works wonders -- I was up in the front row of the fourth ring but felt closer to the singers than I often do in the orchestra of the Met.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Marius Petipa Biography; The Royal Danes and Mark Morris

Petipa, Petipa, Petipa. His name has become almost synonymous with classical ballet. The French ballet master spent over 60 years in Russia, first as a dancer and then of course as a ballet master. During that time he created, partially choreographed or revised so many of the full-length classics that still make up the backbone of ballet repertoire: Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, La Bayadere, Don Quixote. It's his versions of Giselle and Coppélia that audiences are familiar with today. Yet until now there hasn't been a comprehensive biography of the man's life. (It's an odd gap but there isn't a comprehensive biography of George Balanchine either.) Now, thanks to Nadine Meisner's exhaustively researched biography, we finally know can understand Petipa the man AND are given a priceless snapshot into pre-Revolution Imperial Ballet.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty Closes Out ABT's Spring Season

Sarah Lane as Aurora, photo @ Rosalie O'Connor
ABT's spring season ended with a week of Ratmansky's new/old Sleeping Beauty. I attended two performances. The Cassandra Trenay/Joseph Gorak/Stella Abrera performance I reviewed for bachtrack here. The other cast I saw (Sarah Lane/Herman Cornejo/Christine Shevchenko) were stellar although Ratmansky's insistence on recreating what he thinks is Imperial Ballet style gives the whole ballet a very staid, mumsy feel.

Balanchine's Nutcracker pops up ... everywhere

It's December 2020 and the world is going through a furious, deadly second wave of the covid pandemic. Most performances have been cance...