sexta-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2014

The 58th Opera Ball 2014 (Vienna)

The Opera Ball, the so called highest peak of Austrian society, has been turned since years into a very popular event. Everyone can afford to go there, everyone goes there, television and terrible Austrian presenters (ghastly Alfons Haider for example) bring it into your living-room.

Yesterday, a friend of mine called me from Bavaria saying “My God, I have never seen such bad taste and so much botox under a single roof!!!”. And you know what? She was right…
That chronic central European tasteless conviction (“more is more” instead of “less is more”) was more than ever present; not only on women’s gowns and hair styles but also on the proletarian ways of the gentlemen… Let’s face it: most of Central Europe does not have “chic”!

Of course there were also well dressed, chic, elegant people… but since a long time they do not represent the majority anymore.
But we are not here to talk about the event and its questionable public and tastes but about the Ballet…

The Opera Ball is a vast event on television made especially to a very broad audience and because of that the choreographic demands and challenges are not the same ones like the ones created to a ballet evening on stage.
Austrian TV audiences want to see either “dancers on their toes” or “jumping very high” or “turning very fast” (the simple prototypes of dancing to anyone who does not understand at all about dance).

Renato Zanella’s fresh choreography was surely no challenge to any of the dancers but even so it was refreshing, light, diverting… Like it should be for the Opera Ball!

The three “Étoile” couples, which gave us the first part of the show, were very fine even tough not homogenous at all… But I think that was maybe the point of the choreographer:

Vladimir Shishov (dancing with Nina Poláková) at ease, really enjoying himself, being a wonderful partner and once more showing us the class and elegance of a premier Danseur. This is something you cannot learn… either you have it or not.
And Mr. Shishov has it!

Dennys Cherevychko and Kyoka Hashimoto were not so at ease… They passed sort of a hectic impression to me – the choreography, this time, did not suit them so well, as if it had been taylor made for taller, bigger dancers. This can happen, Even so I do believe in Mr. Cherevychko’s brilliant future. He is a very gifted dancer.

Kyrill Kourlaev, who looked during a long while quite preoccupied and nervous, danced the third couple with Olga Esina. I criticized Miss Esina's aloofness, her Grace Kelly-of-the-ballet-ways on stage in the past…
This time she gave us a bright & vivacious variation of her performance, even adding an extra spoonful of joy and gayety to it.
Too Mary Poppins-alike to my taste. Also quite unnecessary to my way of thinking.
The effect was phoney.

I wonder when Miss Esina, another very gifted and extreme technical dancer, will find a middle course to express her feelings. She was indeed very lucky to be in Mr. Kourlaev’s company – he is a dancer made of flesh and blood but blessed with a soul that shows on stage.

TV’s cameras, as usual, were simply terrible. I wonder how ORF manages to give us, year after year, the same bad angles, takes and impressions.
The camera men forgot completely about the democratic placement of the dancers on “stage”.
There were three couples dancing… TV cameras gave us the impression that two couples were in the background and that the couple Esina/Kourlaev were the principals…

During the second part of the Ballet lovely Prisca Zeisel, Alice Firenze (such lines and how very photogenic!), Flavia Soares, Dagmar Kronberger, Davide Dato, Misha Sosnovschi, Dumitru Taran and Eno Peçi among many others that I could not really identify (a typical case of camera team’s work that lacks ballet knowledge completely) were a great team and did a great job.
There were neither half-soloists nor soloists nor corps-de-ballet on stage. Just a group of lovely people, working hard together, to give us fun and joy!

That made me think: The whole troupe… they all look more to me like a big team – not individuals. Of course there will be exceptions but on the whole, the impression is of a big, warm family. Much on the contrary to others companies where intrigue and gossiping are as enthusiastically (and longer) practiced as ballet-class & rehearsals…
Please do not import that from Paris too!

Some rehearsal pictures...

Funny (or akward) moments of the evening:

1) while the camera showed us the artists from the Opera Renato Zanella waved to the camera like a seven year old peasant boy waving to his mother on television.

2) After that the lady that was in Mr. Legris’ company, poked him to say something like “look TV cameras”. From that second on both stood as stiff as two marble statues like posing for a photograph.... Such gaucheness and lack of savoir-faire…

3) as the Ballet students went on stage, ORF’s moderation, Karl Hohenlohe, spoke of “Three generations meeting one another: Soloists, Corps-de-Ballet and Students”… Apart from the completely lack of logic in what he said, I ask you: should we make Mr. Hohenlohe aware that (like to a lady’s) it is quite impolite to talk about a dancer’s age?
Not funny: tasteless!

Here a very short video of the grehearsal on February 26th just a sort of preview! The Ballet as shown on TV will be soon online here.

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