Latest Posts

Ill-chosen

“Notre-Dame de Paris”
Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Terme di Caracalla
Rome, Italy
August 03, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaThe Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is in the enviable position of being able to relocate their performances to impressive antique open-air venues during the warm months. While the 2021 summer performances took place at the Circus Maximus, this year the company returned to its traditional stage at the Baths of Caracalla. I watched the final performance of Roland Petit’s “Notre-Dame de Paris”, based on Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

The ballet tells the tale of the disabled Quasimodo (bell-ringer of Notre Dame in late medieval Paris), his master Claude Frollo (Notre Dame’s archdeacon), Esmeralda (a beautiful Romani woman), and Captain Phoebus (Esmeralda’s lover). In a departure from Tikhomirov & Burmeister’s take on the story for the Stanislavsky Ballet (their “La Esmeralda”), Petit stripped down the original plot to its nuts and bolts. Frollo, lusting obsessively after Esmeralda, orders Quasimodo to abduct her. 3. C.Cocino (Frollo) and M.Satriano (Quasimodo), “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma2. M.Satriano (Quasimodo) and ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaShe is saved by Phoebus and promptly falls in love with him. The jealous Frollo stabs Phoebus, lays the blame on Esmeralda, and ensures that she is sentenced to be hanged. Quasimodo, himself in love with Esmeralda, tries in vain to rescue her. Realizing Frollo’s malicious duplicity, Quasimodo strangles Frollo to death.

“Notre-Dame de Paris” debuted at the Paris Opera Ballet in 1967. Last September, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma added the ballet to its repertoire and premiered it at the Teatro Constanzi (Rome Opera House).
4. C.Cocino (Frollo) and ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma5. C.Cocino (Frollo), “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaOut of René Allio’s entire set design only the huge church bells, a few tavern tables, and a gallows were taken to the Caracalla. The setting was defined by large crosses and belfry ladders projected on the tall ruins on either side of the stage. Yves Saint-Laurent’s daringly colorful costumes bridged medieval robing and modern fashion. As there was no front curtain, the lighting was switched on and off to indicate scene changes or the end of the break. The air still carried the day’s heat; not a single cloud was on the horizon, and clittering cicadas chimed amongst the cinematic atmosphere of Maurice Jarre’s composition – a perfect locale!

7. S.Salvi (Esmeralda) and ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 6. S.Salvi (Esmeralda) and ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma Unfortunately, the ballet was not perfect. The first few minutes of the first scene’s Feast of Fools made it clear that this production was ill-chosen for this stage. It may have worked well in a medium-sized indoor stage supported by a complete décor, but surrounded by the monumental remnants of the Roman empire, it looked weak and at times ridiculous. The group scenes designed by Petit proved far too simple and repetitive; I was reminded of wooden jumping-jacks marching mechanically in sync. As I watched the dancers form simple geometries and static patterns, I wondered whether Petit had 8. S.Agró (Phoebus), “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 9. S.Agró (Phoebus) and S.Salvi (Esmeralda), “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Romaattempted to translate cubism into dance – and found that what might have been an interesting experiment was unsuitable for a two-act story ballet whose bare-bones narrative already dragged.

The solos, pas de deux, and group dances invented by Petit for the main characters varied in quality. A stooped posture, elevated right shoulder, and dangling left arm defined Quasimodo’s physicality (Michele Satriano). Esmeralda’s tender attention smoothened the clumsiness of his movements. Towards the end, Quasimodo threw her limp corpse over his shoulder again and again, as if attempting to whip himself.

11. Ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma10. Ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaEsmeralda (Susanna Salvi, who was promoted to étoile during the September run of “Notre-Dame de Paris”) evoked the spirit of Don Quixote’s Kitri but it was as if that spirit had been reduced to a flamelet. I remember Salvi’s dashing interpretation of the title role in Jiří Bubeníček’s “Carmen” – she can dance and she can act, but Petit’s choreography did very little to showcase her talents.

12. S.Salvi (Esmeralda) and C.Cocino (Frollo), “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma13. M.Satriano (Quasimodo) and ensemble, “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di RomaA back-stabber in the truest sense of the word, Frollo (Claudio Cocino) worked diligently to hide his sinister intentions. His arms and legs cut precisely through the air, as if themselves demonstrations of rigid righteousness. His power to manipulate made him a commanding figure – and a disgustingly rotten cleric!
As Phoebus, Simone Agró was left to depict a shallow stereotype of a handsome savior.

The stage of the Caracalla requires a strong ballet that can compete with the power of the venue. Perhaps a full-blown “Spartacus” would be ideal.
14. M.Satriano (Quasimodo) and S.Salvi (Esmeralda), “Notre-Dame de Paris” by R.Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022 © F.Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma

Links: Website of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Trailer Notre-Dame de Paris”
Photos: 1. Ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
2. Michele Satriano (Quasimodo) and ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
3. Claudio Cocino (Frollo) and Michele Satriano (Quasimodo), Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
4. Claudio Cocino (Frollo) and ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
5. Claudio Cocino (Frollo), Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
6. Susanna Salvi (Esmeralda) and ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
7. Susanna Salvi (Esmeralda) and ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
8. Simone Agró (Phoebus), Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
9. Simone Agró (Phoebus) and Susanna Salvi (Esmeralda), Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
10. Ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
11. Ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
12. Susanna Salvi (Esmeralda) and Claudio Cocino (Frollo), Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
13. Michele Satriano (Quasimodo) and ensemble, Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
14. Michele Satriano (Quasimodo) and Susanna Salvi (Esmeralda), Notre-Dame de Paris” by Roland Petit, Ballet of the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma 2022
all photos © Fabrizio Sansoni / Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Editing: Jake Stepansky

Unwilling (but actually eager)

“The Taming of the Shrew”
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
July 23, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Tognoloni (Katherine) and F.Mariottini (Petruchio), “The Taming of the Shrew” by J.-C.Maillot, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo 2022 © A.BlangeroThe gender dynamics depicted by Shakespeare in “The Taming of the Shrew” render it one of his most controversial plays. Staging it risks setting off a litany of accusations. Some deem the comedy to be misogynistic, chauvinistic, and sexist. Nevertheless, Jean-Christophe Maillot found the guts to choreograph a new adaption for the Bolshoi Ballet in 2014 that has become hugely popular. In 2017, he modified it for his own company – Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Last weekend, the troupe performed the piece on tour in Ludwigsburg.

Following the lead of earlier choreographers of the work, Maillot omitted Shakespeare’s frame story (the drunken tinker Christopher Sly is fooled into experiencing a make-believe world). The frame story allows the central story (about Baptista’s struggle to marry his two daughters – the much-courted Bianca and the wayward Katherine) (more…)

Soft Wrapping – Crisp Core

“Soirée 3 Choréographes” (“Claude Pascal” / “Casi Casa” / “Back on Track 61”)
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
Salle des Princes, Grimaldi Forum
Monte Carlo, Monaco
July 16, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. L.Beyne (Marie-Claire), A.Reist (Pierre-Marie), A.Maksakov (Jean-Pascale), and G.Riou (Marie-Claude), “Claude Pascal” by J.Kylián, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo 2022 © A.BlangeroLes Ballet de Monte Carlo’s recent triple bill combines a new piece by the company’s artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot (“Back on Track 61”) with Jiří Kylián’s “Claude Pascal” (2002) and Mats Ek’s “Casi Casa” (2009).

“Claude Pascal” is a misleading title, as no one in Kylián’s black-and-white-hued piece is so named. There’s Marie-Claire (Lou Beyne), a grand dame with a Russian accent and a fan collection; the childish Marie-Claude (Gaëlle Riou), who plays rock n’ roll on her tennis racket; Jean-Pascale (Artjom Maksakov), wielding a walking cane and talking about hair loss and grief-stuffed pants (…); and the athletically-inclined Pierre-Marie (Adam Reist), who recites an excerpt from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” on the life expectancies of turtles, elephants, parrots, frogs, and fakirs. All four are time travelers from 1890(ish) – (more…)

Plays within Plays

“Made For Us III” (“The Last Coincidence” / “Nighttime Showtime”)
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
Play House
Nuremberg, Germany
July 01, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Cummings (Soldier), S.Vervaecke (Bride), O.Alonso (Magician), P.Lassere (Pierrot), and A.Fernández (Gentleman), “The Last Coincidence” by B.Arias, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © B.StößThe ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg recently premiered “Made For Us III” and, in so doing, resumed their project of commissioning ballets from external choreographers (a project originated in 2014). This year, pieces by Bryan Arias and Joseph Hernandez shared the stage.

In Arias’s “The Last Coincidence”, two women and three men engage in a lively multi-language debate (or monologue?) on a bare, box-like stage. Huge papier-mâché masks enlarge their heads and make them into distinct characters: a braided, epauleted soldier (Mikhael Kinley), a magician wearing striped knickerbockers (Carlos Blanco), a female Pierrot (Stella Tozzi), and a bride (Kate Gee) in love with a disheveled and portly gentleman (Edward Nunes). When the spotlights are suddenly switched on and the group lines up for a revue dance routine, it becomes clear that we are watching a backstage rehearsal. (more…)

Inadequate

“The Sleeping Beauty”
State Ballet Berlin
Deutsche Oper
Berlin, Germany
June 24, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Ovsyanick (Princess Aurora) and ensemble, “The Sleeping Beauty” by M.Haydée after M.Petipa, State Ballet Berlin 2022 © Y.RevazovThis May, the State Ballet Berlin premiered Marcia Haydée’s version of “The Sleeping Beauty” after twice postponing the 2020 production – first due to a lack of preparation, and later due to the pandemic. At the time of the piece’s creation in 1987, Haydée had just taken over the reins of Stuttgart Ballet as its artistic director. “The Sleeping Beauty” was her choreographic debut and – aided by Jürgen Rose’s (aesthetically and financially) overwhelming set and costumes – was a grandiose success.

Since then, several other companies have tackled Haydée’s interpretation (currently: the Czech National Ballet and Les Grand Ballets Canadiens Montréal), but usually opt to use a more reasonably priced designer. So did the State Ballet Berlin when commissioning set and costumes from Jordi Roig. (more…)

“The Cherry on a Sundae”

“Harlequinade”
The Australian Ballet
Arts Center Melbourne / State Theatre
Melbourne, Australia
June 24, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. B.Bemet (Columbine), B.Chynoweth (Harlequin), and ensemble, “Harlequinade” by M.Petipa, additional choreography by A.Ratmansky; The Australian Ballet 2022 © J.Busby“The cherry on a sundae” – that’s what the Australian Ballet’s artistic director David Hallberg called “Harlequinade”, the latest (and this season’s last) addition to the company’s repertoire. “Harlequinade” – a popular Petipa-ballet in imperial Russia – premiered in 1900 in St. Petersburg, and was last performed in its original form at the end of the 1920s. Working from the notations and numerous other documents archived in the Nikolai Sergeyev collection at Harvard University, Alexei Ratmansky and his wife Tatiana reconstructed the choreography just as he has done with previous Petipa classics. American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and the Australian Ballet collaborated on the revival. Four years after its premiere at Costa Mesa, California, the two-act commedia dell’arte romp finally hit Melbourne’s stage. I saw the livestream presented on June 24th by Catherine Murphy and Hallberg. (more…)

Life Support

“common ground[s]” / “Le Sacre du printemps”
École des Sables / Pina Bausch Foundation / Sadler’s Wells
Forum Ludwigsburg
Ludwigsburg, Germany
June 17, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. G.Acogny and M.Airaudo, “common ground[s]” by M.Airaudo and G.Acogny, 2022, photo M.Vanden Abeele © Pina Bausch FoundationSince Pina Bausch’s death thirteen years ago, the Pina Bausch Foundation – chaired by Bausch’s son Salomon – has worked hard to keep her oeuvre alive. Some attempts were successful (I’m thinking of the Bavarian State Ballet’s “Für die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen”, for example), while others failed. In a recent project, the Foundation joined forces with the École des Sables, a dance training center in Senegal, and Sadler’s Wells. The result was a double bill comprised of the new pas de deux “common ground[s]” and Bausch’s 1975 work “Le Sacre du printemps” that premiered in Senegal before setting off for a tour through Europe. I saw the first of three total performances at the Ludwigsburg Castle Festival. (more…)

An Asset

“Kunstkamer”
The Australian Ballet
Arts Center Melbourne / State Theatre
Melbourne, Australia
June 10, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

 1. Ensemble, “Kunstkamer” by S,León, P,Lightfoot, C,Pite, and M.Goecke; The Australian Ballet 2022 © J.BusbyAustralian audiences aren’t particularly familiar with the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT). Australian Ballet artistic director David Hallberg scored a coup by adding to their repertory “Kunstkamer” – a dance theater piece created in 2019 on the occasion of NDT’s 60th anniversary and as yet never danced by another company. (The Australian Ballet celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.) And Hallberg was not only able to import a collaboration between four of NDT’s defining choreographers (Paul Lightfoot and Sol León – until 2020 the company’s figureheads – as well as associate choreographers Crystal Pite and Marco Goecke), but also used this as a chance to interrupt his retirement from the stage and participate in the piece himself. Putting aside the director’s scepter to take on a role that was weird rather than flattering required courage – which Hallberg mustered. To me, it seems there was no better way to deepen his connection to the dancers. (more…)

Co-Evolution

“LAB-WORKS 2022” (“Children of the Night” / “Oh Captain” / “This Too Shall Pass” / “Die Nacht”)
State Ballet Berlin
Komische Oper
Berlin, Germany
June 09, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Children of the Night” by A.Abdukarimov, State Ballet Berlin 2022 © O.KollmannspergerFor many young dancers, it can be incredibly difficult to join a company right after ballet school. There have been many efforts to smooth this transition (for example, years ago the Dutch National Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, and Hamburg Ballet established junior troupes) – including last fall’s launch by the State Ballet Berlin of the ten-month ENHANCE Mentorship Program for graduates of the State Ballet School Berlin. The program provides individualized mentoring by dancers from different ranks of the ensemble (Soraya Bruno, Anneli Chasemore, Arshak Ghalumyan, Mehmet Yumak, Aurora Dickie, and others) and culminates in a final performance called “LAB_WORKS”. This series was introduced in 2019 to showcase choreographies created during the lockdown. This June, the company presented “LAB_WORKS 2022” – comprised of four new ballets by aspiring choreographers from within the company. Eleven program fellows and various members of the main company danced the four works. (more…)

Astonishing

“CREATIONS VII-IX” (“Self-deceit” / “Reflection/s” / “Ifima”)
Stuttgart Ballet
Play House of the State Theater Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany
May 29, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. H.Erikson, “Reflection/s” by R.Novitzky, Stuttgart Ballet 2022 © Stuttgart BalletStuttgart Ballet’s recent premiere – “CREATIONS VII-IX” – continues the CREATION series launched in 2019. I was waylaid by several highway traffic jams on my way to the theater and arrived five minutes late, missing the triple bill’s first piece: Vittoria Girelli’s “Self-deceit”. As such, I can only comment on Roman Novitzky’s “Reflection/s” and “Ifima” by the choreographer duo Louis Stiens and Shaked Heller.

“Reflection/s” marks Novitzky’s retirement from an almost two-decade-long career as a dancer. Born in Slovakia, he danced with their National Ballet before joining the Stuttgart Ballet in 2009. Six years later, he was promoted to principal and made his first steps as a choreographer. On top of dancing and choreographing, Novitzky also became one of Stuttgart Ballet’s photographers. He was always busy and – if I interpreted his program-note interview correctly – rarely relaxed. (more…)

To Be Trimmed

“Naharin / Clug / Montero”
Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg
State Theater
Nuremberg, Germany
May 14, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Submerge” by G.Montero, Ballet of the State Theater Nuremberg 2022 © J.VallinasThe new triple bill from the State Theater Nuremberg’s ballet company combines three established names: Edward Clug, Ohad Naharin, and the company’s artistic director Goyo Montero. Each contributed a piece from their collection.

Montero re-worked his “Submerge” for Nuremberg – enlarging it from its original eleven dancers (from Zurich’s 2018 Junior Ballet) to a 19-strong ensemble. Barely discernable in the foggy gloom, they wait motionless at the rear of the stage, their eyes fixed on something in the distance. Together they walk forward, staring into the bright glow of the pit, at once an attraction and terror. Simultaneously, they step into the light, as if crossing into a moment of courage. For those in the audience who haven’t consulted the program booklet in advance, the next scene (in which the dancers undulate their limbs like gently floating seaweed) reveals the subject of this piece: deep-sea diving. A scuba diving course in 2018 served as Montero’s source of inspiration. (more…)

Wrongdoings

“The Seven Sins”
Gauthier Dance
Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Stuttgart, Germany
May 08, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Corrupt” by S.L.Cherkaoui, Gauthier Dance 2022 © J.BakThose who aren’t well-versed in the dos and don’ts of Christianity might find a visit to the Theaterhaus Stuttgart to be worthwhile. Their recent premiere – “The Seven Sins” – translates each of the capital vices into a short piece of dance by a different choreographer.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s “Corrupt” deals with the first capital sin: greed. Accompanied by an extensive pre-recorded lecture on the nature of greed, nine dancers squirm and writhe, sabotage and manipulate. We hear about the Buddhist way of freeing ourselves from greed; about greed’s connection to hate and ignorance; about the upsides and downsides of wanting something; and about the impact of money. At times, their arms stretch outwards, as if attempting to escape the self-made prison. Cash is their sacred cow; bundles of crumpled notes bulge from the pockets of their dark suits, decorating their arms like bracelets and being exchanged by the handful. (more…)

Magnificent!

“Raymonda”
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
May 06, 2022 (stream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. T.van Poucke, S.Velichko (Jean de Brienne), M.ten Kortenaar, and ensemble, “Raymonda” by R.Beaujean after M.Petipa, Dutch National Ballet 2022 © M.Haegeman A mid-January newsletter from the Dutch National Ballet did little to hide the company’s disappointment at having to postpone their premiere of “Raymonda” from mid-February to early April. At the time, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions made uncertain the possibility of re-opening the house at full-capacity, but artistic director Ted Brandsen wanted the production – the biggest of the season – to be seen by as many people as possible. So he chose to wait.

Brandsen’s patience paid off. I watched the online stream on May 6th (filmed on April 19th) and from the moment the new front curtain rose (itself a gorgeous art nouveau design), it was instantly clear that this “Raymonda” would be a marvel. (more…)

Haydn Makes it Possible

“Die Jahreszeiten” (“The Seasons”)
Vienna State Ballet
Vienna State Opera
Vienna, Austria
April 30, 2022 (livestream)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. D.Dato, H.-J.Kang, and M.Menha, “Die Jahreszeiten” by M.Schläpfer, Vienna State Ballet 2022 © Vienna State Ballet / A.TaylorThe third premiere of the Vienna State Ballet in this season – “Die Jahreszeiten” (“The Seasons”) – is entirely by Schläpfer. Past experience with his oeuvre made me skeptical of this new work, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The piece is set to Joseph Haydn’s 1801 oratorio “The Seasons” (which coincidentally also premiered in Vienna), for which Gottfried van Swieten penned lyrics based on extracts from a poem by James Thomson. Thomson’s verses describe the ordinary daily and seasonal life on the countryside: spring thaw and early field work, the lush countryside, harvest time, and a sudden thunderstorm, which cools down the sweltering summer heat. An autumnal hunt is followed by cheers for the new wine. Amidst winter gloom and the coziness of a warm cottage a fleeting romance blossoms. (more…)

Homage to Iván Nagy

“6th Iván Nagy International Ballet Gala”
Ballet of the Hungarian State Opera
Hungarian State Opera
Budapest, Hungary
April 23, 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2022 by Ilona Landgraf

1. T.Solymosi and O.Chernakova, Ballet of the Hungarian State Opera 2022 © A.Nagy / Hungarian State Opera Iván Nagy (1943 – 2014), a ballet dancer born and trained in Hungary, rose to stardom as a principal for the American Ballet Theatre in the 1970s. He later embarked on a second career as an artistic director – first at the Ballet de Santiago, and subsequently at the Cincinnati/New Orleans Ballet and the English National Ballet. In his final years, he returned to his homeland to support the ballet of the Hungarian State Opera as an artistic advisor. Since 2015, the company has paid tribute to him at a yearly international gala, which was canceled due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. (more…)