domingo, 29 de junho de 2014

Nureyev Gala: June 28th 2014, Wiener Staatsoper

A Gala...

Usually an evening full of excitement, joy, expectations and even nervousness... and I was, sort of “travelling back" to the 80’s and to N.Y. and to the Met and to the ABT Galas… lovely, happy times in my life... filled with Baryshnikov, Makarova, Kirkland, La Fosse, Bissel, van Hamell...


Well, yesterday’s one was more than that… it was like a ceremony of happiness closing an extremely successful season for the Opera, for the Ballet, for the company, for Monsieur Legris!


Because of its mood of celebration I do not believe that Galas should be analysed, scrutinized, criticized…
well, at least I am not in the mood for that… I would just like to tell you about it from the point of view of one “average every day ballet goer” to another!

The whole “ceremony” took nearly 4 and a half hours and the audience had the chance; in fact, the honour to travel through many choreographic “worlds”, languages and eras; specially concerning style... very special, delicious!
The challenging programme, exquisitely chosen by Manuel Legris, was an unique, intelligent choice and combination of pieces which meant absolute delight and joy to the audiences (just beside me, two brazilian ladies, which in fact had no idea at all nor of ballet and neither of what the evening was going to bring us , were simply delighted, ecstatic of what they were witnessing… ). The precise conception of the evening reminded me somehow a good vitamin pill: yes, all the right ingredients, in the right measure! Perfect!

I would just like herewith to write down the programme and mention the brilliant dancers that gave wonderful performances (and many of them very intelligent "readings" of certain roles):

- Raymonda (Nureyev after Petipa)/ Valse fantastique: Liudmilla Konovalova, Robert Gabdullin, Alice Firenze & Nina Tonoli. Brilliant!


- Flower Feast in Genzano (Bournville): Ioanna Avraam & Dumitru Taran - simplicity combined with precise technique.


- Le Souffle de l’esprit (Jiri Bubenicek): Eno Peci & Masayu Kimoto. I wonder how Greig Matthews would have performed the third role…

- Swan Lake (Petipa)/ Black Swan pas de deux: with lovely Anna Tsygankova and Matthew Golding, guests at the Staasoper and with whom I had the chance to have a lovely talk during the Premiere party… Such normal, down-to-earth persons...


- Other Dances (Robbins): Kyoka Hashimoto & Deny Cherevychko, both simply filled with "Star-Quality"!


- Le Spectre de la Rose (Nureyev after Fokin): Ezster Ledán & Mihail Sosnosvschi - style...


- Labyrinth of Solitude (de Bana) : a « premiere » for the Staatsoper with Kirill Kourlaev, who simply « stole the show » from everyone and was the STAR of the evening…


- La Dame aux Camelias (Neumeier): with marvelous Isabelle Ciaravola & Friedemann Vogel ( Opera de Paris & Stuttgarter Ballet) as the second guest “couple”. Simply perfectly emotional!

- Paquita (Petipa): Anna Tsygankova and Matthew Golding as well as Natascha Mair, Nina Tonoli, Alice Firenze, Ioanna Avraam and Rui Tamai (who is going back to Japan after this season): a pure joy and celebration!

- Cinderella (Nureyev): Ketevan Papava. I wonder how Vladimir Shishov would have perfomed the role of the prince.

- Swan Lake (Nureyev): La Polonaise… his very own dreams becoming reality on stage. Amazing. Powerful! Wonderful!

- 5 Tangos (Hans van Manen): Denys Chrevychko (bringing down the house…)


- Die Fledermaus (Roland Petit): Ketevean Papava and Manuel Legris… Yes, simply an historical moment… Incredible! I am definitely proud to have witnessed this incredible moment...


And finishing the evening, a questionable but extremely appropriate choice… one can just understand that after "feeling" the whole conception of the programme.... yes, for sure...

- La Bayadère (Nureyev after Petipa): Anna Tsygankova, Liudmilla Konovalova (in the ungrateful and even sometimes unflattering role of Hamsatti), Vladimir Shishov & Marat Davletshin. Delightful!

After the performance and during the party given on stage Natascha Mair and Nina Tonoli were appointed “demi-soloists” and lovely, gifted Ioanna Avraam was made into a “soloist” – a position that she has been occupying for quite a time already. Well deserved.

After the “stage party” there was this “get together” at the Operngasse and friends made me go along with them.
Destiny played a funny trick on me and instead of sitting together with friends to whom I wanted to chat, I spent the most of the evening in a small “circle” of friends of Monsieur Legris (including one of my "idols", Isabelle Guérin/ Opera de Paris, whom I did not recognize; my fault, I fear!), getting to know him a bit better and enjoying a lot his wit, charm and intelligence.


So glad about this 2013/14 Season… looking forward to the next ones!

Well, what else can I say? (and I have said it many times): Merci, Monsieur Legris! (for the last seasons, for this fantastic one and for the upcoming ones!)


All pictures (except curtain call ones) © Wiener Staatsoper programme.

Nurejev Gala 2014 - On stage videos from DelbeauFilm on Vimeo.

sexta-feira, 20 de junho de 2014

Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (or are you beautiful because I love you?)


Sem dúvida, uma das mais lindas canções de Rogers and Hammerstein e composta especialmente para o musical de televisão „Cinderella“ (1957).


Quando foi “ao ar”, os U.S.A. literalmente pararam por uma hora e meia…
Todo o país teve a chance de ver "a mocinha” que, desde o ano interior, tornara-se a “rainha da Broadway” em “My fair Lady”: Julie Andrews…
Tudo isso adiconado ao fato de que o mundo ainda estava em tempos nos quais certos espetáculos eram feitos “ao vivo” e justamente por esse motivo não só produziam a impressão de uma estréia como ERAM, na realidade, uma verdadeira estréia!


Um detalhe sobre esta música: quando Rogers e Hammerstein a apresentaram pela primeira vez ao “cast” muitos olhos ficaram húmidos tal a emoção causada pelo texto e música…

Aqui Julie e seu “prince charming”, Jon Cypher, no show original que só foi revisto 47 anos depois de sua estréia, em 2004, quando o DVD desta produção foi lançado… óbviamente para minha grande alegria!

(Photo Copyright: Sony Entertainment)

(Prince):
Do I love you because you're beautiful?
or are you beautiful because I love you?
Am I making believe I see in you a girl too lovely to be really true?
Do I want you because you're wonderful?
or are you wonderful because I want you?
Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream?
or are you really as beautiful as you seem?



(Cinderella):
Am I making believe I see in you a man too perfect to be really true?
Do I want you because you're wonderful?
or are you wonderful because I want you?


(Both):
Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream?
or are you really as wonderful as you seem?

terça-feira, 17 de junho de 2014

Meistersignaturen (Vienna State Opera, June 16th 2014)

Meistersignaturen (Master Signatures) is an evening programme to cherish: the combination of four different ballets, with very different music, very different “languages” and very different conceptions is an interesting, pleasant, warming one and a VERY interesting one, too!


Here just a few words and thoughts to yesterday’s performance at the Opera.

- Le Souffle de L’esprit (Master: Jiri Bubenicek): the use of Bach’s music is one that gives the challenging choreography a sort of musicality (in its movements) that is very singular, very pleasant. Soloists and Corps de Ballet were in very good shape and precisely rehearsed. Denys Cherevychko was a bit uneasy and his movements did not flow naturally, as if he was having a sort of problem in translating Bubenicek’s language to his own body. I was wondering why; he has been dancing this piece since 2011... But any normal person may have a bad day, isn't it?
On the other hand, one of the most pleasant moments of the evening belonged to Dumitru Taran. Mr. Taran completely in his element. He absorbed the choreography in such a way that its “language” was completely natural to him, nearly becoming his own! Using an expression that used to be common in Portuguese in my youth: “Parecia que havia bebido azeite” (“It seemed that he had drunk oil” meaning the his movements were smooth, his flexibility immense, that he was "at home" doing what he was doing). Mr.Taran’s dance is an intelligent one. I like that!

- Vaslaw (Master: John Neumeier): there are many different opinions about this work – many consider it boring, updated... I personally like it very much because of its great insight, its small details, its “mood”.
Mayasu Kimoto with his great stage presence, showed us once more his precise technique and appeal to the audience!
Also once more Dumitru Taran gave us a beautiful performance – in fact nearly without time to change between “Souffle” and “Vaslaw”.
Greig Matthews did his best out of a very ungrateful solo: very challenging and without that “certain” effect which keeps audiences concentrated. I wonder why Mr. Matthews is always getting such parts – like for example the prince’s solo on “Sleeping Beauty” (also another very difficult, ungrateful, impactless dance).
Ketevan Papava and Robert Gabdullin on top form! (I liked very much to hear, from a colleague of Miss Pavava, a refference made to her: “She is an artist”. And this articulated with great respect!)

- Alegro Brillante (Master: Balanchine): what a pleasure to watch Liudmila Konovalova in such a night like this. Precise, brilliant, musical, daring, effortless and so much in the Balanchine mood and style…
Robert Gabdulin, an attentive partner, also at ease with Mr. B’s vocabulary.
Natascha Mair and specially Suzan Oppermann (with Marat Davletshin) were “shining” on stage.

- Vier letzte Lieder (Master: Rudi van Dantzig): Just the presence of the sopran Olga Bezmertna on stage was reason enough to relax, “put your feet up” and enjoy this marvelous piece.
Kyoka Hashimoto/Mihail Sosnovschi, Ioanna Avraam/Mayasu Kimoto, Ketevan Papava/Kirill Kourlaev gave emotional performances.
The only uneven couple was Alice Firenze and Roman Lazik:
She, a real joy to watch in her vital, sensitive, substantial, strong performance and lovely, clean technique. He, (again) making suffering faces all the time (a very boring and very old-fashioned tendency - to turn dancing into suffer - that I had't experienced anymore in years) and very strangely made up. His Make-up was so "white" that it made his eyes "disappear". Normally Mr. Lazik is not an ugly man.

Perhaps the audience still remembered Shane Wuerthner in the “solo” role - the Angel of Death - and how he made it his own (he is still pictured on the programme’s cover).
Even so Eno Peci gave a fine performance because of the impact of his very strong stage presence that obviously appeal to many ballet-goers.

Not trying to quote the Marx Brother’s film, I must say:
One NIGHT at the Opera – another fine present for us from the “Legris’ era”!
It is GOOD to be an eye witness of all this...

terça-feira, 10 de junho de 2014

Flores e motivos florais...



Pensando hoje em tomar hoje uns "Florais de Bach" para fazer um bem à minha alma, derepente me dei conta de como as flores e os motivos florais SEMPRE foram um «Must» na mundo da moda, na história feminina… Pensem em todos os quadros nos quais damas sempre usavam flores... ou na roupa, na estamparia ou como um simples adorno...

E vejam aqui só alguns exemplos do século passado…

Todas "minhas modelos" belíssimas, abusando do direito de serem «chic»…

Por exemplo uma das mais lindas fotos de moda do século passado... Um "número" florido,


aqui mais chapéus...


e um simples detalhe de Dior,


Grace Kelly no seu famoso vestido de "Janela indiscreta" (Rear Window), que agora, depois do filme ter sido restaurado, passou a ter seu amarelo original... e as lindas flores...


e mais uma vez Grace Kelly no belíssimo "Dior" que usou para fazer sua primeira visita a Rainier,


Julie Andrews, uma "english rose herself"


...e para finalizar tao distinquida "lista", Audrey... abusando do direito de ser "chic"!

sexta-feira, 6 de junho de 2014

"Tango Amor" (Volksopera Vienna, June 4th 2014)


A very unusual evening at the Volksopera (Vienna).

Light years distant from the usual shows and operettas that are the trade mark of this theatre…


The story takes place in “La Boca” one “barrio” from Buenos Aires, very near the old port. I was once there. It still has sort of an European flavour due to the fact that many residents are of European descent – mostly Italian, Spanish, German, French, Arab and Basque. La Boca also carries the reputation of being one of the “birth places” of the real Tango (but there are so many theories… one even tells us the story that a dutch composer could not sell his material in Holland and could only find a music publisher in Buenos Aires willing to buy it… and this new “rhythm” was the one that was developed into “Tango”. Anyways… No one will really ever know... Fact is that "Tango" is a state of mind...).

The basic concept of this “play with music and dance” is a very nice, entertaining one… simple, straight forward, without affectations and high level ambitions. The use of lights, of a small tango orchestra together with the players on stage and the nearly non-existing sceneries gave me sometimes (Some may not understand that) a sort of Brecht-like feeling. Clever, good, intelligent!

Volksopera’s clarinetist Mr. Helmut Hödl is reponsible for the music: adapting old Tangos and composing new ones. His work has enough consistency to carry this 1,5 hours programme without boring us, much on the contrary.
Michael Masula and Daniel Ochoa (singing well in spanish!) caught our attention in their roles.


But Lola – in fact the central character of the play - was not quite so fortunate in its casting. Created in the old tradition of the Spanish-speaking temptresses in mad search of their own freedom (like “Carmen” and Marlene Dietrich’s “Concha Perez” from "The Devil is a woman", just to name a few) she lacked certain qualities that are more than essential to the character. Miss Çigdem Soyarslan does not possess that extra “dose” of sex-appeal required for the role, that "it"; apart from the fact that her physique, compared to the girls on stage, gave us the impression of plumpness and inertia. Unfortunately her pronunciation in German made it nearly impossible for the audience to understand her lines. That was the most disturbing element of her performance. The Lola "in my mind" has a deeper voice, more silk-like, in someway resembling "Libertad Lamarque" (an old argentinian singer that also sang many tangos before being expatriated by Evita Péron - but that is another story!) and less operetta-like.

But, to be very honest, “Tango Amor” just becomes really alive when the dancers are on stage – and Thank God they are very often in the spotlight! Miss Orlic’s choreography and her use of props were in fact a very welcome surprise turning the Ensemble into the real Star of the evening!

The use of a video to forward the story was the only point that I simply did not appreciate. A bit of creativity could have been used by director Monica Rusu in order not to have to use another vehicle to tell us story that is basically happening on stage. All of a sudden another language was being spoken.
Even if the video is a very good work, in itself, by Mr. Balázs Delbó, it is not suitable for the story-telling. That special intimacy, that “love affair” that is developed between the players and the audience during a performance, was all of a sudden lost… not to return…


Last but not least, I must correct one extreme mistake that is involved with this production. A mistake that was overlooked by the Heads of production…
You see, I believe that dancers are the ones that work more harder than anyone else in a theatre.
Therefore their work should be cherished, praised.

Arriving home after the performance last Wednesday I, all of a sudden realized, that in the evening Programme dancers were referred to as “Figuration” and not even mentioned.
It is simply unfair, indelicate;in fact an insult to call them "extras".

Making a long story short, I want to mention the names of the ones that gave so much Joy to the audience during this short performance and, by the way, got a huge (and very long) applause:

Josefine Tyler, Natalie Salazar, Rebecca Horner, Ekatarina Fitzka & Tainá Ferreira Luiz
and
Felipe Vieira, Martin Winter, Andres Garcia Torres, Samuel Colombet, Patrik Hullman, Lázló Benedek & Gleb Shilov.
A great Ensemble that did a great Job!

terça-feira, 3 de junho de 2014

Walter Spies: outro homem de talento e da paz destruído por outra absurda guerra...

Walter Spies, filho de alemães, nasceu em Moscou em 1925.

Ele cresceu em meios intelectuais e dedicado às Artes e já menino ele demontrava grande talento e apreciação à Natureza, música, dança e pintura. Falando diversas línguas o mundo era o óbvio “Salão” de Walter. Estudando em Dresden durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial conheceu artistas como Kokoschka, Chagall e Paul Klee.
Seus primeiros quadros foram apresentados em 1919 e foram muito bem recebidos.


Para “fugir” da barulhenta e suja Berlin ele se afastava assíduamente para a tranquila ilha de Sylt no Mar do Norte mas isto até decidir se afastar completamente da Europa: em 1923 ele embarcou para Java e acabou a primeira parte de sua “jornada” em Yogyakarta. Com um descomunal talento para línguas ele logo aprendeu Malay e Javanes. O sultão de Yogyakarta o convidou para conduzir sua orquestra… Ele mudou-se para o Keraton, o palácio do sultanato de Yogyakarta, e passou a transcrever música “gamelan” (tradicional), pela qual se havia apaixonado, para o papel.


Quando visitou Bali em 1925, ilha que “amou à primeira vista”, ele recebeu um convite do rei de Ubud para mudar-se para Bali permanentemente. Lá criou um centro intelectual dedicado à pintura de Bali (A sociedade Pita Maha). Spies iria muito influenciar os “tradicionais” pintores de Bali. Até hoje Ubud é conhecido como “O” centro cultural de Bali – Eu tive o prazer de estar lá há poucas semanas atrás…


Em 1926 cineastas alemães fizeram documentários sobre a Arte balinesa. O sucesso destes documentaries foi tão grande que muitos artistas foram atraídos para Bali. Personalidades como Cole Porter, Noël Coward, Vicky Baum, Margaret Mead e Charles Chaplin se hospedaram em Bali sendo ciceroneados por Walter Spies …

Mas as autoridades balinesas estavam já “controlando” a vida de Spies… não agradava nada à polícia de Denpasar a forma do estilo de vida “liberal” de todos estes artistas que "iam e vinham". Spies começou a se recolher, deixando (em suas próprias palavras) “de ser guia” para convidados (O grande magneto para todos estes artistas do Oeste não era realmente a arte balinesa porém a fascinante personalidade de Walter).


Mesmo assim ele foi preso em Dezembro de 1938 para só ser libertado em Setembro de 1939. Motivo: „comportamento indecente e imoral“ (por ele abertamente se reconhecer homossexual).


Quando durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial a Alemanha invadiu a Holanda, todos os alemães em Bali (que era um protetorado holandes) inclusive Walter Spies foram presos pelo governo das “Índias holandesas” e enviados para campos de prisioneiros em Sumatra.

Depois de algum tempo, já em 1942, foram removidos e levados ao navio “Van Ihmhoff” para serem levados ao Ceilão como prisioneiros (atualmente Sri Lanka) – no primeiro dia de viagem o navio foi bombardeado pelos japoneses.
Todos os tripulantes holandeses salvaram-se nos botes salva-vidas… Não deixaram porém de danificar os restantes botes para que os alemães nao pudessem se salvar (A maioria ainda estava presa, atrás de grades, na parte inferior do Navio).

Assim, desta forma brutal e cruel, Walter Spies deixou este mundo, um homem das artes, da sensibilidade, da paz… vítima do absurdo de outra absurda Guerra e da falta de sentido das perseguiçoes „em nome da moral“ por causa de ua escolha sexual. Seu trabalho é raro e muito valorizado. Se espelha nos seus quadros a vida rural, simples porém cheia dos mistérios de Bali – lugar onde a esotérica, os demonios e os Deuses que nos habitam fazem parte da vida cotidiana de todos…

Visitei o Bungalow de Walter em Ubud… e desde este dia ando estudando seu trabalho... Que personalidade fascinante!