with McGee Maddox (Prince Siegfried), Xiao Nan Yu (Odette / Odile), Étienne Lavigne (Rothbart)
To my surprise the casting worked well. Xiao Nan Yu was an emotive and lovely Odette and an arresting Odile. McGee Maddox, a strapping boy, made for a sensitive certainly strong prince with his own ideas. He looked good and distinctive in the role. In this version of the storied ballet James Kudelka likes to scatter the swans around when he can and makes Rothbart a central figure.
City Council, in a motion that passed 37-5, asked the recalcitrant mayor to take a leave of absence. They are powerless! Councillors also voted in favour of a request to the integrity commissioner to study the mayor's conduct, and to recommend possible penalties and sanctions. The province, which has powers, is meanwhile doing nothing. Organizers of the impending Santa Claus parade asked the mayor not to march. Pride need not worry about that presence, thankfully. [13 November 2013] Finally Premier Kathleen Wynne, hitherto virtually silent, has cautiously indicated that the province might act to correct the chaotic situation at Toronto City Council. As reported by ctv news: Wynne said that if Toronto City Council were to indicate that it lacked the ability to function because of the ongoing scandal, the province would respond to a request to provide “new tools, depending on what that request may be. ... Events continue to move quickly and the things that we are hearing and seeing about Mayor Rob Ford are truly disturbing,” Wynne said. Wynne didn’t specify what exactly the province could do if Council asked it to step in. She did say if any action were to happen, “because of the extraordinary and unique nature of any intervention from the province, I would consult with the other party leaders to see if the Legislature could move unanimously if required.” [14 November 2013] While Council can't remove the mayor from office, it can move to reduce and severely restrict many of his civic functions. There are signs that may happen swiftly. On 15 November 2013 Council moved to reassign the mayor's right to designate and participate in committees, to hire and assign employees, and even to act in emergencies. The actions would devolve on the office of the deputy mayor. It is proposed as well to cut back on the budget of the mayor's office. While Council can not touch what may be viewed as the mayor's statutory role under the City of Toronto Act, 2006 (S.O. 2006, c. 11), the mayor is scarcely visible in wording of the legislation. In an annex, it states: The purpose of this Act is to create a framework of broad powers for the City which balances the interests of the Province and the City and which recognizes that the City must be able to do the following things in order to provide good government: 1. Determine what is in the public interest for the City. 2. Respond to the needs of the City. 3. Determine the appropriate structure for governing the City. The role of the mayor is seen more clearly in wording of the Municipal Act, 2001 (S.O. 2001, c. 25) — while the mayor's role is largely that of representation and to some extent leadership, the head of council has actually no more powers than any other councillors.
Mayor of Toronto lost most of his remaining powers to appoint and to set agendas. His office budget was cut back. Most functions have been transferred to the Deputy Mayor who has agreed to accept them. [18 November 2013]
I have been reading Ann Jones' remarkable They Were Soldiers (Chicago, 2013) — moving but unsentimental, no-nonsense reporting on the human cost of war in Afghanistan (and elsewhere in the world to-day) — not just the mounting numbers of casualties, but the meaning of death, injury, suicide, and lifelong trauma for the mostly youthful military and their families.
For the first time the National Gallery’s two paintings by Jan Vermeer, A Young Woman standing at a Virginal and A Young Woman seated at a Virginal are brought together with Vermeer’s Guitar Player, which is currently on exceptional loan from the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House.
Music was one of the most popular themes in Dutch painting, and carried many diverse associations. In portraits, a musical instrument or songbook might suggest the education or social position of the sitter; in scenes of everyday life, it might act as a metaphor for harmony, or a symbol of transience. The exhibition displays 17th-century virginals, guitars and lutes alongside the paintings to offer unique insights into the painters’ choice of instruments, and the difference between the real instruments and the way in which the painters chose to represent them. [National Gallery] Interviewed experts can be tiresome, but mainly the film focusses on the pictures themselves in this remarkable exhibition.
I run a pictorial web site at Tumblr focussed on danseurs. Where possible I indicate their current company affiliation. By now there are more than 2000 posts with about 550 followers. The site gets daily additions from numerous on-line sources. URL of the site is:
Bolshoi Ballet Балетная Труппа Большого Театра with Mikhail Lobukhin (Spartacus), Svetlana Zakharova (Aegina), and Vlad Lantratov (Crassus)
The ballet is a grandiose spectacle worthy of its historical subject — the remarkable but ultimately doomed revolt of slaves in Rome, 73-71 BCE, led by Thracian Spartacus. A notable Bolshoi landmark created in a time of Soviet turmoil, it remains a signature piece for the company, with principal roles invariably attributed to outstanding talent.
Vlad Lantratov was an astonishing Crassus and Mikhail Lobukhin a robust and suitably arousing Spartacus, both virtuoso artists, in this blockbuster piece dominated by male dance.
chor. Marius Petipa (1869, 1871), Aleksandr Gorsky (1900)
recension: Carlos Acosta (2013)
with Marianela Muñoz (Kitri) and Carlos Acosta (Basilio)
The new version of Don Quixote took some liberties with the music and staging, but the scenes were lively and well arranged without offending tradition, totally enhanced by superb and confident principals.
with Ekaterina Kondaurova (Odette - Odile), Timur Askerov (Prince Siegfried), and Xander Parish (prince's friend)
rebroadcast in 3D at Cineplex, 18 September 2013
Ekaterina Kondaurova was a marvel as Odette - Odile, remarkably expressing contrasting qualities of the principal character. Timur Askerov danced effectively, though an aristocratically restrained prince. Xander Parish was a delight to watch in this model performance.