21 November 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty
Спящая красавица
chor. Marius Petipa (1890)
recension: Yuri Grigorovich (2011)
Bolshoi Ballet
with Svetlana Zakharova (Princess Aurore) and David Hallberg (Prince Désiré), and Artyom Ovcharenko (Bluebird)

simulcast from Moscow, 20 November 2011

It was the first ballet premiere on the newly inaugurated renovated main stage of the historic State Academic Bolshoi Theatre. A most recent and authoritative revision by Yuri Grigorovich of the company’s iconic Sleeping Beauty / Спящая красавица, it was simulcast from Moscow with stars Svetlana Zakharova (Princess Aurore) and David Hallberg (Prince Désiré). The production was of course sumptuous with Svetlana Zakharova, a paragon of poise and beauty, earning thunderous applause for a matchless rose adagio. David Hallberg, slight of stature but strong, entered stage with superb leaps and youthful ardour as amorous prince. Artyom Ovcharenko’s light and elegant Bluebird variation was memorable in the second act.

18 November 2011

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet
chor. Alexei Ratmansky (2011)
National Ballet of Canada
with Guillaume Côté (Romeo), Elena Lobsanova (Juliet), Piotr Stanczyk (Mercutio), and Jiří Jelinek (Tybalt)

This new choreography is fully Renaissance in costuming and true to Shakespeare dramatically. Sets are often sombre and basic, making the dance all the more intense: lyrical scenes of young love, rollicking crowds in the town square, sinister ball of the Capulets, all to end tragically in the tomb. To-night’s performance (2011-11-19) with the first cast was polished, lively, and exciting. The principals fully expressed a range of emotion, from infatuation and love to frustration and despair. The choreographer ended on a quiet note of closure in an interpretation that felt fresh and incisive.

15 November 2011

Harvard befriends Facebook

>Mark Zuckerberg, class of 2006 (dropped out 2004), CEO of Facebook, revisited Harvard on 7 November 2011, meeting briefly with President Drew Faust, then faculty and students. He reportedly told students to find whatever it is that they’re passionate about and follow it, if they feel that it’s right: follow your heart, and things will fall into place. Obviously it worked for him.
[Harvard Gazette, November, 2011]

His personal fortune is currently in excess of $17 billion.

12 November 2011

Remembrance Day 2011

Governor General David Johnston, Ottawa, 11-11-11

Remembrance Day is not a national holiday in Canada though banks and government offices are closed. It is a commemoration of all the country’s war dead, and more generally of all who have served, or serve, in the armed forces, past and present. In Ottawa the event at the National War Memorial is organized, not too impressively, by the Royal Canadian Legion.

On 11-11-11 the Governor General brought dignity to the scene along with the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers, along with the year’s Silver Cross Mother. Various chaplains added more solemnity (and some atrocious French accents), a female trumpeter in blue uniform tried not to flub last post and reveille, while a minute of silence at 11 a.m. was ended by the boom of ceremonial cannon. A children’s choir cheerfully and bilingually sang the royal and national anthems accompanied by a miscellaneous military band. Token soldiers stood at attention, outnumbered by militia and busloads of cadets. RCMP and Royal Military College cadets in scarlet added some typical colour to a Canadian public occasion of minimal pomp and circumstance.
The day’s numbers felt a bit mystic: 11-11-11

09 November 2011

Irrepressible Elton

Love Lies Bleeding
chor. Jean Grand-Maître  (2010)
Alberta Ballet

As much a crowd pleasing musical as ballet, the piece is bright, dynamic, and at times wonderfully and appropriately homoerotic. Based on the life of Sir Elton John, it moves briskly through 14 of his songs from Bennie and the Jets to Saturday night’s alright for fighting. The staging is constantly inventive with projections and innumerable surprises, and almost more detail than can be immediately absorbed. The dance itself is strong, imaginative, and right in the fast moving sequences.