Première - Balanchine/Liang/Proietto - Nov 1st, 2016
Wiener Staatsballet November 1st, 2016: „Balanchine / Liang / Proietto“ – Premiére
The evening started in a very positive way:
Just before the performance started, there was a short conference in which Edwaard Liang and Daniel Proietto spoke not only about their works but also about their point of views on dance.Mr. Liang finished this short introduction with very beautiful and touching words about dancers and choreographers and dance:“We want to change things” as he mentioned how the beauty of art can change things within a human being…These could not have been more appropriate words to start an evening like this.
Excitement was in the air – I met some dear friends and we were in total rapport, feeling something in common: happiness and joy in being able to witness again something new. Yes, excitement. Pure excitement.
The programme opened with Balanchine’s “Simphony in C”.
As I normally say: “Mr. B. is Mr. B.”. A commentary which may not make sense first but I am always referring to his quick, tricky and unique style. Coming from times in which dancers from the ABT not even dared to think about dancing what their colleagues at the NYC Ballet were doing, "just across the road", I am still very impressed that so many companies around the world have included Balanchine’s works in their repertoire. And quite well, I must say. Vienna is no exception.
It is not easy, as we used to say, not to look like a wire-hanger while staying still on stage – especially in the second and last movements. Gala Jovanovic mastered this very tricky situation beautifully. Chapeau!
There were some “tempo problems”: especially during the lifts – the main soloists were slight out of synchronization with the “second couples” – but the music is so quick anyhow! Natascha Mair and Jakob Feyrerlik are a beautiful pair on stage: she very much “on Mr. B's style”, he, growing so fast as an artist. A joy to watch this from performance to performance.
Liudmila Konovalova and Vladimir Shishov, with the piece I consider the hardest in “Symphony”: very demanding but quite ungrateful. The sort of pas de deux which will not cause an standing ovation – except for connoisseurs. Both gave a wonderful portrait of what real artists are made of! Nina Tonoli, charming and Denys Cherevychko – jumping better than ever.
Last but not least: Alice Firenze – technically VERY exact and confident. Beautiful. A fine dancer.
Robert Gabdulin showing as usual a beautiful presence on stage.
Notable members of the corps de ballet – good to watch closely dancers like Franziska Wallner-Hollinek, Suzan Oppermann and to welcome back lovely Céline Janou Weder. This season is being quite difficult: injuries, pregnancies. “Chapeau” to the four very young girls – still at school – that jumped in!
Murmuration is a beautiful piece. Perhaps not for Ballet-only spectators. But a joy to watch…
Because of that the second intermission was extremely interesting: I followed many interesting discussions. Exactly what Mr. Liang had said before the performance, started happening within the spectators: choreographers, dancers want to change things.Many were taking a deep breath, trying either to understand or not to judge to hard or even willing to change their points of view. This “discussing” art in a sensible way, this exchange of opinions and ideas has a very good name in Portuguese and Spanish: “Tertúlias”.
Perhaps you know this name from somewhere :-)
These are gatherings of different persons with different opinions that discuss and philosophize about art aspects, respecting each other - even when they do no share the same opinion. I like that.
Even though at the very beginning I was not quite sure what to make out of it, this work conquered me and set me into a sort of dream. The dancers were surely chosen with much care and accuracy: Ioanna Avraam, Mr. Feyferlik, Miss Ledán, Miss Firenze, Leonardo Basílio (that, all of a sudden is giving a new reading of his own persona – very confident on stage!).
The main pas de deux (Nina Poláková and Roman Lazik) is – to my point of view a bit too long and repetitious. I would like to point that Mr. Lazik surprised me in a very positive way yesterday. A very good partner on whom his partners may really rely upon. Miss Poláková – always “fire and emotions” on stage. Especial distinction for Igor Milos and Zsolt Török in the “boys’ group”. Strong performances. Blanc – the piece that everyone was waiting for…
I was thrilled by its conceptual complexity. Apart from Daniel Proietto’s “relaunch” of a certain dance feeling (and way) that he considers somehow lost, there is much more to this piece. He said: Fokin’s “Les Sylphides” was an homage to “La Sylphide”. Therefore Blanc is an homage to the homage”.
Delicacy and, to quote Jane Austen, “sense and sensibility”.
Poetry… (I personally think that the use of the original English text would have been better – Mr. Rupp was sometime hard to understand… and let’s be honest: how many vistors from abroad do we have at the Opera that do not understand a single word of german ?). But the idea itself – to have “poetry” on stage, not only in the form of dancing, is beautiful. Some people say that the "poet" was not necessary - appart from the fact that we must respect his concept, we must admit that not every Opera House has such dancers as Miss Papava and Mr.Peçi.
The scenery and lights were prodigiously good.
Most of all I was impressed, at the very end – when the poet meets his muse, now in reality, now as the woman she is. As the “meadow’s set” appeared, or better said, as it was opened in front of us, I thought of some Hollywood magic from the 30’s… It reminded me, somehow, the colors of “The wizard of Oz” - <b>the flower fields in front of the Emerald City. As if the piece was telling us that reality is even more magical and colorrful than a dream... Beautiful!
In fact, if you think about the “negatives” (which in fact on the very day of the premiére had to be changed from a quartet into a trio) that could make sense. Lots of sense. The “negatives” – what a great metaphor, were danced exquisitely by Natascha Mair, Davide Dato and Masayu Kimoto. My only, not very favorable, comment is to the use of the “negative film” in the background:
As long as landscapes, woods in fact, were being shown it was all right. But the use of a man’s face (was this the poet?) was a little bit too much for me. It gave me the feeling that the mise-en-scène was trying to explain itself. Like saying: “See? The dancers are black and have white hair because they are “negatives”… “. Not really necessary. Good sense and understanding are a "Conditio Sinequanon" for Ballet-goers (Although I must admit that - from my seat - I could follow some reactions in the boxes and faces that made me quite sure that some people in the audience were not quite understanding what they were watching).
Ketevan Papava end Eno Peçi leaded the piece gracefully – both dancers are also extremely gifted in their acting skills – always portraying with a kaleidoscope of emotions the parts, roles they are involved with. Expressive, emotional, professional. Artists and stars of the first magnitude. My congratulations – not only to Mr. Proietto for this intelligent piece but to the whole company for such an evening. Great job!And once more to Mr. Legris for trying new things. New grounds, new challenges - and giving chances to a new generation of choreographers.
Copyright: Balázs Delbó / Wiener Staatsoper / Wiener Staatsballet