domingo, 17 de julho de 2016

Liza: Sara Lee...

Liza, numa rica fase…

a maturidade já estava aí, batendo na porta, mas naquele momento único na vida de um artista:
ainda com a total força da juventude…

Esse momento dura muito pouco tempo numa carreira e é realmente uma honra poder presenciá-lo, seja no Ballet, no Teatro e, como aqui, num all-around talent como Liza foi…
Um momento singular!
Pena que poucos se dem conta dele e de como é breve…

E para quem não sabe:
Sara Lee é a marca dos piores doces que já comi na minha vida…
mesmo assim, seu valor é inestimável entre os bailarinos que nunca puderam se dar ao luxo de grandes comidas naturais e saudáveis enquento fazendo aula – e pagando por elas – em N.Y.

Sara Lee tirou muita barriga da fome… rsrsrsrs…
inclusive esta que os escreve agora…

Uma pena... problemas de Copyright com o vídeo acima. Para os que nao podem assistí-lo, aqui pelo menos a música...

domingo, 10 de julho de 2016

Rio de Janeiro: uma obra de Arte...

Não vou escrever muito para fazer interpretações sobre o passado.

Não vou me alongar em termos de “como era bom” ou que “lindo era”.

Só uma frase ressoa e ressoa dentro de mim e tenho que escreve-la:

"Quando o Rio de Janeiro ainda era um cartão-postal digno de se enviar para amigos…"

segunda-feira, 4 de julho de 2016

Celebrando - sempre - a genial Maggie Smith...

Todos nós fomos jovens um dia.

Mas nem todos nós terão a chance de envelhecer.

Muito menos desta forma tão especial, dinamica e cheia de humor que é a de Maggie…

Como Oscar Wilde tão sábiamente disse:

“The tragedy of old age is not about getting old, but staying young”.

Não deve ser nada fácil, Maggie!
Nada fácil!

sexta-feira, 1 de julho de 2016

Happy Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!

Parabéns pelos seus 100 anos, hoje!
E muito obrigado por esta magnífica carreira que tantos prazeres nos deu...
...e que tantas jóias cinematográficas criou!

Congratulations for your 100 years, today!
And many thanks fpr this magnificent career that gave us such delights...
...and that created so many cinematographic Jewels!

sexta-feira, 17 de junho de 2016

Wiener Staatsballet: "Marie Antoinette" revisited (Volksoper, June 16th, 2016)

I think I had seen Patrick de Bana’s “Marie Antoinette” for the last time in 2012… or was it 2011?

By the time this work “re-opened” at the Volksopera, I was on my way to South-America. But things happen in a way because they should happen that way – I still believe that… If I had been able to watch previous performances I might have lost this one that meant a great deal for me. Specially because of its young cast.

Many weeks ago, on my way to the Opera, I met Manuel Legris, by chance as he was walking out of the underground. It was raining and he was kind enough to offer me a place under his umbrella. He told me that Mr. de Bana was strongly reworking the piece. What can be more fascinating than an artist that keeps his work in constant motion, changing it if he feels that things could be made another way, better, more effectively, more emotionally? That is exactly what dancing is all about – MOTION. Constant motion. Not “framed” pictures that will never be able to move or change… Well, for weeks I have been “haunted” with curiosity and did not know exactly what to expect. With Monsieur Legris’ words, still sounding in my ears, I walked into the Volksoper yesterday. So many changes... even point work! He really did not exaggerate and I could not have been more delighted.

Natascha Mair & Kamil Pavelka / Copyright: Ashley Taylor

The Corps-de-Ballet was wonderfully rehearsed – perhaps with the exception of the beginning of the second act – which is musically very tricky. Strong personalities like Alexandru Tcacenco, Zsolt Török, Elena Bottaro, Anita Manolova, Suzann Oppermann, Alaia Rogers and Géraud Wielick among others.

Most principals dancers were brilliant in their own ways and qualities.
That is sometimes a very underrated quality: the wisdom to give the right roles to the right performers.

Nikisha Fogo and Francesco Costa – respectively “The Shadows of Antoinette” and “The destiny” gave very strong performances of two extremely well-conceived characters. Perhaps choreographically seen, the strongest parts of the play. Miss Fogo, as I say, “always on fire” is one of our new, most promising talents in Vienna.

Nikisha Foho & Francesco Costa / Copyright: Ashley Taylor

Nina Tonoli, as Madame Elizabeth, surprised me once more. Her anguish while imprisoned was extremely well played – with the difficult task of having to emit sounds of fright and desperation, losing her mind. This fact gave us a glimpse of Miss Tonoli’s acting abilities, which until now had remained – at least for me – quite unknown. Her beautiful technique and poise must not be mentioned.

Nina Tonoli / Copyright: Ashley Taylor

Laura Nistor: after watching Miss Nistor in “Arepo”, last January, I thought “well, that is really another side of this gifted dancer”. Yesterday she surprised me once more (Sorry , if I am being repetitious with the use of the word “surprised” but that is exactly the way I feel. The way it was). Another side – an amalgam of her different gifts - emerged strongly with Mr. Bana’s “Maria Theresia”: a VERY strong character which Miss Nistor added to her versatility list. The use of her arms was amazing – she used this “language” as though she had grown-up as a contemporary dancer. And she did not. On top of it all: her poise… impressive, outstanding.

Laura Nistor / Copyright: Ashley Taylor

Jakob Feyferlik had the difficult task to play Louis XVI – a very difficult character to my way of thinking: a part that combines so many specific movement directions in such a complete intrinsic way. Not easy to portray. He gave us a marvelous portrait, with neither stereotypes nor clichés, using his outstanding technical qualities to his advantage and best effect. His costumes accentuated his physique – specially his long legs.

Jakob Feyferlik & Natascha Mair / Copyright: Ashley Taylor

Natascha Mair: I remember really noticing Miss Mair for the first time as “Amor” in D.Q. and this was not many years ago. On the other hand it seems like “ages ago” due to her extreme growth as an artist during the past few years. Apart from her technical gifts and skills – I will not waste time about her pirouettes, extension, developées , point work, balance etc. – Miss Mair possesses aacting talent which makes us feel and fight with her, right beside her. An impressive picture that was pasted in my mind yesterday: Antoinette’s despair, sitting in her cell while Madame Elizabeth “freaked out” (to put it mildly)- take a look at Nina Tonoli's picture above - Miss Mair is sitting in the background.
Her strength and frailty at the same time are a rare thing – her vulnerability and sadness towards the end of the piece, the way in which Antoinette “gives up” astonishing.
I consider Miss Mair a rising, bright new Star of the Opera. I am positive that we will hear very much from her in the future and that a brilliant career lays ahead of her.

Natascha Mair & Francesco Costa & Jakob Feyferlik / Copyright: Ashley Taylor

One thing became quite clear to me – a sort of certainness about a very subjective feeling, sense of continuity:
a new generation of dancers in the Staatsballet is not coming; it has arrived. IT IS THERE!

Patrick de Bana’s contribution to the dancing world is unique. His talent also singular. His jumps over emotional abysses are filled with an easiness, in such a way that makes us wonder how a choreographer has created such a deep and vast OWN language and dance vocabulary.

His “Antoinette” possesses something very rare in the dance world. It does not “tell a story” in the common, old-fashioned, ordinary way. It gives us instead psychological glimpses and aspects of the characters – specially of Antoinette – just like Stephan Zweig’s “Marie Antoinette - Bildnis eines mittleren Charakters” , a book not famous for its precise historical research but simply amazing in its psychological insights and analysis of this historic person. There is no better way to understand and feel...

Having followed contemporary choreographers and their work during the last 40 years, I have seen many good works but also many repetitious, boring, dusty pieces along the way that just reminded me – badly - of other pieces. That is why I am so impressed by Mr. Bana’s contribution. His choreography is filled with a new richness that reminds us three basic things about dancing: emotion, motion and magic. It was a real privilege to watch this revised/reworked/reshaped version of “Antoinette” – and with such a wonderful young cast that it turned out to be difficult for me to imagine other dancers dancing these parts.

Not to forget: the wonderful and “sensual” costumes by Agnès Letestu, which could only have been conceived by a dancer, the scenery by Marcelo Pacheco & Alberto Esteban and the “plasticity” of the staging strongly emphasized by the brilliant lighting of James Angot. All part of this marvelous creative group!

All in all: my humble, special THANKS for such an evening filled with talent, creativity and JOY in dancing.
The “things” that really matter and that make all the difference.

P.S. My special Thanks to Ashley Taylor for kindly letting me use his wonderful pictures.

quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2016

The hot Sardines: Bei mir bist Du schön...

Como, com o passar dos anos, não mudo muito este jeito de estar sempre descobrindo um coisa nova (bem, pelo menos para mim… ) como que descobrindo um inteiro novo mundo.

Tanto para aprender, ler, viver com cada uma destas descobertas…

Aqui mais um „new finding“ que está se transformando numa mania, numa imensa paixão…

The hot Sardines!

Photo Copyright: LeAnn Mueller

Um grupo de jazz Americano, formado em 2007 pela diretora artística, cantor e compositora "Miz" Elizabeth Bougerol assim como pelo director artístico, diretos, ator e pianist Evan Palazzo… genios!

Que repertório magnífico: das loucuras das Andrews Sisters (como aqui em “Bei mir bist Du schön”), da melancolia de baladas como "I can't give you anything but love" ao humor de "You feet's too big e da diversidade musical de "Honeysucke Rose"!. Divino!

Magnífico som . Delicioso na verdade e com arranjos mais do que inventivos e fantásticos…
Que prazer este encontro musical de tão alto nível – ainda por cima acompanhado de uma “entourage” de figurinos, visual, estilo…

We are VERY amused!

segunda-feira, 6 de junho de 2016

Our love is here to stay...

A última composição do fabuloso George Gershwin não poderia ter sido mais inspirada…

Our love is here to stay…

Ele deixou-a interminada quando partiu tão jovem deste mundo mas seu grande amigo e colaborador Oscar Levant terminou-a.

Um “hino” ao amor que consolidou-se nas últimas semanas dentro de mim.
Finalmente compreendi este texto ao mesmo tempo simples e extremamente rico!

Aqui Gene e minha querida, amada Leslie Caron num dos momentos de maior simplicidade do cinema musical… Fabulosos…

Its very clear, our love is here to stay
Not for a year, but forever and a day
The radio and the telephone,
And the movies that we know
May just be passing fancies
And in time may go

But, oh my dear
Our love is here to stay
Together we're going a long long way
In time the Rockies may crumble
Gibraltar may tumble
They're only made of clay
But our love is here to stay

...e para quem ainda tiver interesse: Bobby Short - inigualável!

sábado, 14 de maio de 2016

Say a prayer for me tonight...

Say a prayer for me tonight
I'll need every prayer that you can spare
To get me by

Say a prayer and while you're praying
Keep on saying
She's much too young to die

On to your Waterloo, whispers my heart
Pray I'll be Wellington, not Bonaparte

Oh, say a prayer for me this evening
Bow your head and please
Stay on your knees tonight

From "Gigi" (1958)
(Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner / Music: Frederick Loewe)

quinta-feira, 5 de maio de 2016

Wiener Staatsballet: Mayerling revisited. May 04th, 2016

Many people, who know me well, are aware that MacMillan’s Mayerling is not „my cup of tea“.

In fact I have a huge problem with its language, which I do not consider as a ballet one. Let me try to explain this: the story-telling line is extremely confusing, so filled-up with characters (25 “main characters”) that it is impossible to understand the whole work unless you have a full command of this mad chapter in Austrian history or keep reading the programme during intermissions. This is neither ballet language nor dance material - this is the kind of of stuff that cinema and theatre are made of – and as the educated lady sitting next to me put it quite wisely: “I am all confused”.

Please note that this commentary has absolute nothing to do with the choreography itself, which has Kenneth MacMillan’s distinct signature. Many moments are overwhelming like the humiliating pas de deux of the wedding night,like Mizzi Caspar’s variation with the four Officials, like Bratfisch’s attempts to entertain both Rudolph and Mary and like the last pas de deux before Rudolph kills Mary: that anguish, madness and despair “in the air” are sometimes too much to bear.

Some points in the narrative are just too “cliché like” and the strong action in the backside of the inn during the first scene of the second act distracts the attention of the audience. But is a narrative, conception problem which has absolute nothing to do with the dance itself.

Yesterday’s performance offered us once more many memorable moments. It is quite impossible to mention and comment every single member of the cast and I will try to be brief.

I cannot start this without mentioning the ones that are seldom mentioned: the magnificent, steadfast members of the corps de Ballet. Dancers that have joined the company already some years ago like Céline Janou Weder, Igor Milos, Jaimy van Overeem and Franziska Wallner-Hollinek but also some that have not been in the company for long like Suzan Oppermann, Alaia Rogers, Géraud Wielick, Tristan Ridel and Zsolt Török, just to name a few. By the way: such a joy to be able to witness once more lovely, gifted Gloria Maass again on stage as Baroness Helene Vetsera.

Tonoli/Lasik. Copyright Wiener Staatsoper.

Nina Tonoli, in the small role of Louise, Stephanie’s sister, gave us rich moments filled with those enchanting lines (lovely arms!) and strong precision that she possesses. A funny coincidence: such a coincidence to have a Belgian princess played by such a charming Belgian Dancer.

Stephanie, a character not much mentioned in history due to its pathetic “short passage” through the Austrian court, was beautifully performed by Natascha Mair. Miss Mair keeps surprising me anew. Her development as a dancer and an artist has been obvious to everyone during the last two seasons – and so quick. As a young dancer Miss Mair has a rare quality among her generation: she is also an actress. Her technique is clean, well formed, strong. The paleness that she brought to this role is heart-breaking. The final Scene of the first act, the wedding Night, was a real display for her vulnerability and frailty in this role. One of the highlights of the evening!

Davide Dato’s Bratfisch is a joy. Mr. Dato, one the best dancers from the company, has turned into a public’s darling and has an immense following. A star with a low-profile, he combines a marvelous technique (his jumps are more and more amazing with the pass of time, in perfect unison with his en dehors, very well accentuated and that also when he is “en l’air”), interpretation gifts with the eagerness of a hard worker.
A man of discipline.
I admire that.

Papava/Lasik. Copyright Wiener Staastsoper.

Marie Larisch, one of the most dishonorable characters in Austrian history (which in fact was sent away from the court after the Mayerling scandal) was bravely played by Ketevan Papava. One of the most expressive dancers in the company and, I think, the most versatile one (I remember her in this same Ballet playing the emotional complicated role of Elizabeth), a dancer with imagination and visions. Intelligent. Unfortunately Miss Papava has to wear that terrible red wig for the role, that makes her look more like “Orphan Annie” than a woman of extreme beauty like Marie Larisch was (and just like Miss Papava also is!).

The four officials were dynamically played by Alexis Forabosco, Marcin Dempc, Mayasu kimoto and Alexandru Tcacenco, all four of them dancers that fall in that beautiful category called steadfastness: loyal and constant.

Liudmila Konovalova, giving her debút in the role of Mizzi Caspar, danced the most interesting dance part of the evening.

Mizzi Caspar & the officials - Rehearsal Wiener Staatsoper - 2016

Also one that combines extreme technical efforts with lots of trust on her partners – such strong, steady partners like, for example Mr. Forabosco, a very masculine dancer, as one of the officials, proved once more to be. Miss Konovalova, also a dancer in constant technical and artistry development, showed us once more why she earns the denomination of being captivating – a rare quality with audiences – while she is endearing. After a long, hard season (that even included a performance in a London Gala with Matt Golding), she is in top form and in full command of her gifted body and talents.

I keep thinking that Miss Konovalova is the only dancer I know that I can imagine as Myrtha and as Giselle as well…
Fabulous performance!

Mr. Lasik, as usual a very predictable dancer, ran the gamut of emotion from A to B (like Dorothy Parker once said about Katherine Hepburn).
Technically very good (but a bit too thin at the moment) he looked uncomfortable and tired in the role of Rudolph.

Tsymbal/Lasik.Copyright Wiener Staatsoper.

Miss Tsymbal’s Mary Vetsera was a again surprise for me. Even more subtle than in the past. Her looks (which reminded me incredibly of Gelsey Kirkland in her prime), with slightly lighter hair, were so charming, captivating – you could not take the eyes of her every time she went on stage. Technically, her clever use of the floor must be mentioned. Her feet and legs seem to be caressing the stage floor very carefully, in order to give her the energy to rise to the air: light, nearly fairy-like.

She offered us a very emotional performance and her last scene (which I have mentioned at the beginning of this critic) moved us nearly to tears. This hard piece of choreography, MacMillan’s at his very best, is the perfect frame for lovely Miss Tsymbal.
She is the company's best Mary Vetsera. It is her role. No question about that.

A very pleasant evening. Even though, as have said before, “Mayerling” is not “my cup of tea”!

Both Videos: Copyright Delbeau Films - Balázs Delbo

terça-feira, 3 de maio de 2016

Liebestod ("mild und leise") - a maravilhosa Birgit Nilsson: inesquecível...

Talvez meu maior privilégio em assistir um grande talento tenha sido a sortuda possibilidade de presenciar um dos últimos espetáculos de Birgit Nilsson em 1981…
ela se retirou das cenas em 1982…
Isto, apesar de ter feito um come-back em 1992, aos 74 anos, cantando (imaginem) Brünnhilde no „Covent Garden“ - as „boas línguas” contam que Birgit até morrer poderia ter cantado nos palcos, tamanho seu dote vocal e talento, quase até sua morte, com 87 anos, em 2005.

Incrível de se acreditar.
Ela, parecia, nao querer mais mostrar seu rosto envelhecido ao mundo, apesar da voz...


Uma mulher de extremo humor, ela era dona de sarcasmo e conhecia um segredo incrível, um dos mais difíceis… ela sabia rir de si mesma, Vale a pena pesquisar esta personalidade fascinante.
Sua auto-biografia é uma delícia de se ler. Ri muito... sim, ri muito COM este soprano lírico trágico!

Uma mulher de grande personalidade, que deixou no seu testamento o pedido para que sua morte fosse comunicada à imprensa sómente duas semanas depois de seu enterro – que aconteceu no seio e na paz da família.

Aqui sua “Liebestod”, o final de “Tristan und Isolde” de Wagner, com seu imcomparável ultimo "sussurro" (sua última nota) quando nos conta de “Unbewusst, höchste LUST” ("inconscientemente, o maior PRAZER") se referindo à sua, bem próxima, morte…
Nunca voltei ouvir esta última nota desta forma… nunca havia ouvido-a assim antes... um sussurro repleto de vulnerabilidade (depois de 5 horas cantando, note-se) e magnífico em sua expressao.

Obrigado, Birgit! Sim!

Esta postagem vai para a minha amiga Adélia de presente, pois sei que a prezará!