Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ratmansky's New-Old Giselle

Olga Smirnova and Artemy Belyakov
On Sunday, January 26 the Bolshoi Ballet had a cinemacast that was an Event for balletomanes -- it was the live transmission of Alexei Ratmansky's reconstruction of Giselle. Ratmansky has reconstructed Sleeping Beauty and Harlequinade for ABT and Swan Lake for Zurich Ballet. In each of those reconstructions he not only restored altered steps but he insisted on restoring a facsimile of 19th-century Imperial Ballet style. Low extensions, modest jumps, more expressive mime. For Giselle Ratmansky has as usual relied on the Stepanov notations for Petipa's productions for the Imperial Ballet, as well as choreographic sources from Henri Justament who documented a production of Giselle in 1860.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Even a Booer Can't Wake Up Bland, Efficient Met Traviata

La Traviata, photo @ Marty Sohl
A champagne flute was thrown across the stage. The soprano twirled defiantly. She glowered and smirked at the audience. Then she launched into "Sempre libera" and capped the aria with an interpolated E-flat. Curtain comes down. Audience is mildly appreciative, except for one guy, who booed loudly from the E-flat to the part where audience members make that mad dash to the restroom.

I was puzzled because there was nothing to boo about. In fact I couldn't imagine generating strong feelings either way about the Met's revival of La Traviata. The evening was from curtain to curtain blandly efficient. No one was really terrible, but there just wasn't anything interesting happening.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Slave Play: Can Love Overcome the Legacy of Slavery? SPOILERS; Little Women

Dustin and Gary in Slave Play, photo @ Matthew Murphy
There are only five days left to see Jeremy O. Harris's remarkable Slave Play. If you are anywhere in the NY metropolitan vicinity and have a free evening, drop all your plans. You might not "like" this play. It might make you mad, uncomfortable, confused, sometimes all at the same time. But you will not forget Slave Play. This is a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical experience. Note: I originally had tickets to see this in October, but an ankle injury left me housebound for much of that month. I'm so grateful I got to see this before it closed.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Megxit: Unhappy Operatic Princesses

Meghan, Harry and Baby Archie
This week a bombshell was dropped upon the British Royal Family: Harry and Meghan announced on their Instagram account that they intended to "step back as senior members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent." The also announced they'd be splitting their time between North America and England. Even the NYTimes has been covering this story with a breathless intensity. Because, really, why cover Australia going up in smoke and a possible war between the U.S. and Iran if there's juicy royal dish? Tidbits: Harry and Meghan apparently did not inform Queen Elizabeth of their plans. The latest NYTimes article: "Harry, Meghan and Britain: When Did the Fairy Tale Go Sour?" 

My only thought: could Meghan have been watching some opera? Because opera is filled with women who marry into royalty, realize that it isn't all that and a bag of chips and are so unhappy there's an entire opera about it. Let's examine some unhappy royal princesses and how their situation might or might not have parallels with Meghan:

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...