Monthly Archive: February 2016

Coveted, Discredited and Executed: Mata Hari – a National Celebrity

“Mata Hari”
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, Netherlands
February 13, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Tsygankova and ensemble, “Mata Hari” by T.Brandsen, Dutch National Ballet © M.HaegemanDutch National Ballet’s YouTube trailer for its new ballet “Mata Hari” reveals two pythons leisurely encircling a ballerina. No need to worry though, no reptiles appear on stage, and there is no snake dance either. Besides that wouldn’t have been appropriate anyway because Mata Hari, whose performances as bayadère during the Belle Époque in Paris made a great stir, was never a snake charmer but rather a charmer of men.

Ted Brandsen, artistic director of the Dutch company, has traced the life of the famous Dutchwoman in his recently premiered story ballet. Mata Hari was born in 1876 as Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. Her parents separated when she was fourteen. Her mother died one year later; her father married again, but Margaretha was brought up by relatives. (more…)

“Swan Lake” – Purged and Restored

“Swan Lake”
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
February 06, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. V.Kapitonova and ensemble, “Swan Lake” by M.Petipa and L.Ivanov with additional choreography by A.Ratmansky, Ballet Zurich Germany’s ballet world can count itself lucky. Alexei Ratmansky works regularly within reachable distance. We had the chance to see his own choreography – “Namouna” in Berlin and “Tanzsuite” at the Semperoper Dresden – and his reconstructions of Marius Petipa’s masterpieces: “Paquita” at the Bavarian State Ballet, followed by “The Sleeping Beauty” at La Scala, Milan. Now the best known ballet of all, “Swan Lake”, has just premiered with Zurich Ballet. It is a coproduction with La Scala where it will be on the schedule from late June onwards.
By chance, one can see swans and seagulls floating on Lake Zurich from the opera house’s balcony. Could there be a better Place for the famous swan story? (more…)

Bridging the Established and the New: Resident Choreographers – Anderson’s Jubilee Menu No. 2

“Forsythe / Goecke / Scholz”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
January 29, 2016

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2016 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Morita, R.Robinson, H.-J.Kang, C.Allen, A.Zuccarini, A.Soares da Silva and M.Kacerova, “The Second Detail” by W.Forsythe, Stuttgart Ballet For his twentieth anniversary as artistic director of Stuttgart Ballet, Reid Anderson picked works by his favorite choreographers. In October an evening with pieces by Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen and John Cranko premiered. Now, in the second new program, the company proves its versatility by yet again indulging in different styles. The triple bill combines ballets by William Forsythe, Marco Goecke and Uwe Scholz (1958 – 2004). All were or, in the case of Marco Goecke, are resident choreographers of the company. And they were all fledgelings of Stuttgart’s Noverre Society, whose Noverre evenings serve as a springboard for young choreographic talents. (more…)