Author Archive: Ilona Landgraf

Oh Rudolf…

“Romeo and Juliet”
English National Ballet
Royal Festival Hall / Southbank Centre
London, Great Britain
August 02, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by R.Nureyev, English National Ballet © L.LiotardoEnglish National Ballet’s revival of Rudolf Nureyev’s “Romeo and Juliet” this August celebrated two birthdays at once. The 40th birthday of the ballet itself and the 90th birthday of the one who commissioned it, Dame Beryl Grey, the company’s President and former artistic director. The six performances given in early August at the Southbank Centre, London, included five castings for Romeo and four ballerinas in the role of Juliet. I saw Josua Hoffalt and Laurretta Summerscales as the star-crossed lovers. Hoffalt, étoile of Paris Opera Ballet, guested with English National Ballet for the first time. For Summerscales it was one of her last performances this year with her home company. She will take a sabbatical year with the Bavarian State Ballet in the next season.

“What makes Nureyev’s Romeo & Juliet so special” is explained on the company’s website: its faithfulness to Shakespeare’s text, its inventive use of cinematic techniques (such as anticipatory flashes and freezing to allow insight in the leading characters’ inner life), realistic fight scenes (stout brawls, men fencing with two swords each and knife fights) and that the “lead dancers must give their all.” Watching Hoffalt sail through his first solo in Verona’s marketplace I thought of what Nicolas Le Riche recently said about Nureyev’s choreography in an interview – that it is hard to perform because of the sheer abundance of steps. But apart from the lead dancers the corps also had much work to do.

However, I partly disagree with an additional asset advertised on the website: the “stunning sets and costumes” credited to Ezio Frigerio. The lavish costumes were gorgeous indeed, lowlifes were fittingly in rags, Capulet and Montague folk wore red and olive-green attire respectively and the Franciscans had plain habits. But the circus acrobats looked like a gymnastic club in idiosyncratic tricots. Further, the backdrops, especially Verona’s town square and the view from Juliet’s chamber window, could have been taken from an uninspired cardboard picture-book. Compared to the rich décor the production has at Paris Opera Ballet, English National Ballet’s sets looked meager, but presumably that’s due to touring requirements.
Lighting occasionally lacked subtlety. (I’ve never seen the sun rise as lightning-fast after Romeo and Juliet’s first night together as this time.) And the bar of upper spotlights visible from the front stalls plus the rolling noise of the curtain, when being opened and closed, seemed rustic and amateur.

2. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by R.Nureyev, English National Ballet © L.LiotardoNot explicitly mentioned, but a conspicuous feature in which Nureyev’s version responds to Shakespeare’s text, is its overt sexuality and coarse ribaldry. Young couples passionately made out in the corners and men groped women and even their own gender rudely right in the middle of the market square. Giving proof of one’s virility was common practice among the men and a kiss that Tybalt provocatively gave Romeo triggered the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt. Except for Count Paris, Verona’s young men were filled with testosterone and hardly able to govern the explosive mix of lust and aggression seething inside them.

Nureyev unfolded a wide spectrum of eroticism in which Romeo and Juliet’s romantic love and the coldness between Juliet’s parents, Lady and Lord Capulet, mark opposite points. Brimming life and death were lying closely side by side. Compared to John Cranko’s lovely Verona, Nureyev’s is darker – even the rattle of the swords sounded more portentous – and his narrative style more intense.

Nureyev also had a knack for showing psychological traits of the main characters and textures of relationships. Lord Capulet, for example, shook his daughter off like an annoying leech when she clung to his leg begging to be released from the marriage with Paris. But later, he was sensitive enough to keep Paris from kissing her hand. Differences in Romeo’s and Paris’s character were shown less subtly, but effectively. In the first act, Romeo was the only one of his group of friends who felt pity for a beggar and gave him a coin. The beggar, overwhelmed by this unexpected act of charity, dropped dead. In the third act, Paris, by contrast, arrogantly threw some money on the floor for the mandolin players whom he had engaged to greet his bride-to-be. Ironically, at this point, Juliet lay as though dead behind her bed’s curtain.
Revealingly at the ball, Juliet fell for Romeo even though his eyes were hidden by a mask. She knew intuitively and instantly that he was meant for her and vice versa. But when blindfolded for playing a game of blind men’s bluff shortly afterwards, all other ball guests were merely groping in the dark.

In addition Nureyev gave each main figure a moment to hold center stage. Benvolio, who in other productions is often the least important character of the threesome of friends, had a moving pas de deux with Romeo in the third act. We also learned a bit about the amorous life of Juliet’s nurse.

The ten-thousand steps Nureyev equipped the roles with seemed an easy task for Hoffalt, who delivered the most intricate combinations with nonchalant fluidity and suppleness. Of all the young men, his Romeo was not only the most handsome and elegant, but bestowed with irresistible charisma. Well, to be correct, one person resisted Romeo’s advances, and fortunately so, Rosaline (Jeanette Kakareka). She was too haughty to recognize his nature. Hoffalt’s Romeo was able to assert himself among the other spunky, hot-headed guys, but basically he was made of more sensitive fabric. He was different from the others, not a naive dreamer but one entwined with his own emotions and very natural in expressing them.

3. L.Summerscales, “Romeo and Juliet” by R.Nureyev, English National Ballet © L.LiotardoSummerscales portrayed Juliet as a larksome, girlish young woman at the beginning who turned shy the moment she entered her family’s ball. But soon her Juliet felt flattered by Paris’s courtship and began to unbend. If she hadn’t encountered Romeo, all had quite likely ended in normal, though formal wedlock. But Cupid’s arrows hit Romeo and Juliet with accuracy. All at once, Juliet dropped her restraint and let herself go like an impetuous foal. She prolonged her balances as if they were the extension of her elation and, over and over, her palms clung to Romeo’s. And he? His happiness hormones must have skyrocketed given his many, many swift little jumps and turns. Completely lovestruck he didn’t notice in the slightest that behind his back Tybalt was about to slyly attack him with a dagger. Romeo’s faithful allies, Mercutio, Benvolio and some other young men, darted across the stage to protect him from disaster.
The two lovers’ first tête-à-tête in the Capulets’ garden brimmed with emotions. Swept away by passion, their pas de deux got rushed at times and partnering looked less polished. But could a secret rendezvous go ahead any differently when time is short?

That Nureyev, unlike Cranko, had Juliet learn on the spot that Romeo killed her cousin Tybalt and, despite that, adhered to her love to Romeo made one hauntingly aware of the drama she went through. One watched with consternation how her parents put her in the wedding dress for the marriage with Paris as though she were a manikin in a display. Like Juliet’s mind the music started to run the moment she was alone again. In John Neumeier’s version Juliet races to Friar Lawrence at this moment. But Nureyev’s Juliet moved less and less. Her steps got smaller and finally she knelt on the floor. Her inner turmoil spread to the audience and caused one to wriggle restlessly around on one’s seat. Hoffalt and Summerscales made one resonate with their characters until the end – Romeo and Juliet’s stiflingly sad death in the crypt.

In other roles, first Yonah Acosta seemed to have great fun as Mercutio. He made him an agile, audacious joker with a winsome humor, unafraid of anything and talented in aping others. That all bystanders deemed his dying as being just another joke at first, even applauding him, made the scene especially dramatic.
Benvolio (Laurent Liotardo) was a kind sidekick who always tried to defuse nascent trouble. After Juliet had taken the poison he brought the message of her (supposed) death to Romeo. Romeo ran away in shock. Benvolio’s utter despair about not being able to help his friend was terrible to watch.

4. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by R.Nureyev, English National Ballet © L.LiotardoWhatever was likable about Tybalt (Fabian Reimair) – and there must have been something, otherwise Juliet wouldn’t have bemoaned his death so whole-heartedly – it remained hidden. Reimair’s Tybalt was arrogant and conceited. He paraded like a cock but was too slow and clumsy to compete with the smart Romeo in a fight. The way Tybalt wiped his sleeves after having floored Mercutio, stuck in my mind. “What’s that bunch of Montagues and their friends to me?” he seemed to think.
In some productions Paris is a flashy dude with gelled hair. Instead, Nureyev characterized him as a perfectly mannered, reserved, socially adapted young man. Alas – a bloodless one and as a spouse presumably boring like a side table. Jinghao Zhang gave a fine role debut as Paris.

Stina Quagebeur depicted Lady Capulet as a rigid mother with a pale, pointed face. The overly exaggerated way she swung her leg at the ball, her chin held up like a queen, revealed how superior she felt due to her status. James Streeter as Lord Capulet behaved suavely towards Paris, but was unwaveringly rigid with his revolting daughter. Why didn’t he notice her tear-stained face after she had apparently complied to being married to Paris?

Juliet’s nurse (Amber Hunt), in some other productions depicted as a motherly chaperone, here was a sweetie, despite her chaste garb, who enjoyed herself with her suitor in a niche right next to Juliet’s chamber.
Friar Lawrence (Michael Coleman) was an old man with a good heart and mind while Father John (Daniele Silingardi), hardly visible behind his huge hood, was so watchful and on the ball that he prevented Juliet from stabbing herself. Coleman also doubled as Prince of Verona, whose passivity was incomprehensible given that his subjects were busily at each others throats.
The corps at first struggled with the fast paced dancing, but later warmed up considerably.

At the conductor’s podium of the English National Ballet Philharmonic was Gavin Sutherland. Apart from a few jarring tones of the flutes it gave an engaging rendition of Prokofiev’s score.

The only thing I’m surprised about when in the United Kingdom is that at many venues the audience is allowed to munch crisps, eat ice cream and drink various kinds of beverages during the performance. In many rows of the Royal Festival Hall plastic waste was left behind afterwards. Hopefully, this kind of consumption attitude won’t extend to the performances themselves.

 Links: Website of English National Ballet
Isaac Hernandez on dancing Romeo (video)
Jurgita Dronina and Alison McWhinney on dancing Juliet (video)
James Streeter on the role of Tybalt (video)
Nureyev’s “Romeo and Juliet”: Dancing in the Corps de Ballet (video)
Photos: 1. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by Rudolf Nureyev, English National Ballet
2. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by Rudolf Nureyev, English National Ballet
3. Laurrette Summerscales (Juliet), “Romeo and Juliet” by Rudolf Nureyev, English National Ballet
4. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by Rudolf Nureyev, English National Ballet
all photos © Laurent Liotardo
Editing: Laurence Smelser


A Conversation With Nicolas Le Riche

Ballet Summer School
Palucca School
Dresden, Germany

July 27, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

The corridors of Dresden’s Palucca School were buzzing with students waiting for their next class. While the school’s regular students enjoyed their holidays, young dancers participating in the annual Ballet Summer School were populating the campus for two weeks. Marina Antonova and Guy Albouy, organizers of the summer workshops since 2009 and ballet teachers themselves, have always lured a roster of renowned teachers to Dresden. This year Nicolas Le Riche came before heading to Stockholm where he takes over as artistic director of the Royal Swedish Ballet in mid-August. I met him at the Palucca School to talk about the time since his farewell from Paris Opera Ballet in 2014 and his plans for Stockholm.
Le Riche’s answers are in italics. (more…)

Impressive!

“Ballet Matinée”
John Cranko School
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 16, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Pernão and S.Pompignoli, “Alrededor No Hay Nada” by G.Montero, John Cranko School © Stuttgart Ballet Stuttgart’s John Cranko School has an excellent reputation in the ballet world. In a recent interview, Dutch National Ballet’s Marijn Rademaker talked about the excellent teachers in Stuttgart. I saw quite a few end of the year school performances, but this year’s matinée made me shake my head in disbelief. What outstanding talents has Tadeusz Matacz been training under his roof!

The students’ performance of Leonid Lavrovsky’s “Classical Symphony” could have vied with proper companies. The boys jumped spick and span, landed from tour en l’airs nicely in sync and partnered smoothly. Short Motomi Kiyota of the 6th class was especially intriguing. He soared through the air as if it were his natural space of being. The girls dabbed the choreography onstage, defying weight and gravity and confidently tossed out fouettes. “Classical Symphony” left one with an elevated feeling.

They proved they can also excel in contemporary pieces in “Alrededor No Hay Nada”, new choreography by Goyo Montero, artistic director of the company of the State Theater Nuremberg. (more…)

“Anna Karenina” – Another Lesson By Neumeier

“Anna Karenina”
Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier
Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg, Germany
July 14, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Arii, M.Huguet, I.Urban, A.Laudere, L.Wang / G.Fuhrman and ensemble, “Anna Karenina” by J.Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet © S.Ballone Several choreographers have adapted Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “Anna Karenina” for the dance stage. Maya Plisetskaya choreographed the piece for the Bolshoi in 1972 and danced the title role; Alexei Ratmansky created several versions, his latest for the Maryinsky in 2010; Christian Spuck, artistic director of Ballet Zurich, premiered his version in 2014. Now John Neumeier has tackled the subject with Hamburg Ballet. It is a co-production with the Bolshoi Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada, but has been solely produced in Hamburg. (more…)

Young Choreographers of the Ballett am Rhein

“Young Moves”
Ballett am Rhein
Opera House Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf, Germany
July 09, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. C.Jaroszewski and A.Pinet, “No Destination” by W.S.Chan, Ballett am Rhein © G.Weigelt For the second time, Ballett am Rhein presented works by young choreographers. All six ballets of “Young Moves” were created by members of the company. Four of them – Wun Sze Chan, Boris Randzio, So-Yeon Kim and Michael Foster – already participated in last year’s event; Sonny Locsin and Chidozie Nzerem were novices. The program was shown three times during the first half of July. I saw the second show, an afternoon matinee. Maybe it was because of the gorgeous summer weather that many seats in the auditorium remained empty. Applause was, however, warm and intense. (more…)

Conversations with Marijn Rademaker and Jozef Varga

Dutch National Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Dutch National Opera & Ballet © L.KramerThe beautiful opera house and national ballet company are as welcoming and open as Amsterdam itself. During my last visit for the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s “Shostakovich Trilogy” in mid-June, I took the opportunity to talk with two principal dancers, Marijn Rademaker and Jozef Varga, about their career and their plans for the future.

Rademaker, a Dutchman, returned home in 2015 after many years with Stuttgart Ballet. We met in a cafe opposite the opera house a few hours before the premiere. Rademaker’s answers are in italics. (more…)

Drain of the Bavarian State Ballet Worse Than Thought

Bavarian State Ballet
Munich, Germany
July 12, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

Igor Zelensky © Wilfried HöslAccording to media reports one week ago, 18 out of a total of 69 dancers are leaving the Bavarian State Ballet at the end of this season. Names weren’t given. Yesterday the company’s press office emailed its newsletter. It contains messages of success – around 95% of seats were sold throughout the season and important pieces entered the repertoire – as well as announcements of promotions: Jonah Cook to principal, Alexander Omalchenko and Erik Murzagaliyev to first soloists, Dmitry Vyskubenko to demi soloist (Prisca Zeisel had become first soloist already in April); and that Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin will appear in Cranko’s “Shrew”.

The press office was, however, economical with the names of the ones leaving. The newsletter’s second to the last paragraph contains only seven names:
First Soloist Matêj Urban (→ Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo)
Demi Soloists: Mai Kono (→ Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal), Adam Zvonaŕ (→ Czech National Ballet, Prague)
Corps de Ballet: Nicha Rodboon (→ Royal Ballet of Flanders, Antwerp), Radka Příhodová (→ Czech National Ballet, Prague), Robin Strona (→ Semperoper Ballet, Dresden) and Gianmarco Romano (→ Finish National Ballet, Helsinki). (more…)

Why Did the Bolshoi Cancel “Nureyev”?

Bolshoi Ballet
Moscow, Russia
July 10, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

Bolshoi Theatre © Damir YusupovSaturday’s news that the Bolshoi canceled “Nureyev” three days before the ballet’s premiere on Tuesday, July 11th, and instead plans to perform its well-trodden “Don Quixote”, came as a severe blow. The ballet traces the life of ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev, who had his early career with the Kirov Ballet (today’s Maryinsky), before defecting from the Soviet Union during a tour to Paris in 1961. Nureyev became an acclaimed superstar in the West. He died in 1993, due to the consequences of AIDS.

The artistic team for “Nureyev” consists of choreographer Yuri Possokhov (a former Bolshoi dancer now resident at San Francisco Ballet), stage director Kirill Serebrennikov, composer Ilya Demutsky, music director Anton Grishanin and costume designer Elena Zaytseva. Serebrennikov is also in charge of the set design. I write in present tense as the premiere hasn’t been entirely scrapped but was postponed to May 2018. (more…)

More Than a Quarter of the Company Leaves the Bavarian State Ballet

Bavarian State Ballet
Munich, Germany
July 07, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. I.Zelensky © W.HöslTwenty-nine dancers – around forty percent of the company – left the Bavarian State Ballet last summer when Igor Zelensky took over directorship in Munich. Now, after the first year under his guidance, another 18 of 69 dancers in total (26% of the company) are leaving.

Zelensky declined an interview on this matter, communicating through his press office that two days before going into the summer break he would have no time. A few days ago he drew up a balance on his first season with the German Press Agency (Deutsche Presseagentur dpa) though including some comments on the personnel changes within the company. Those were echoed in the German press (see links below). Zelensky said, “Some [dancers] leave, some I fired. I wanted more quality according to my taste – those are no bad dancers, but I have my vision of what I want to do in the future. […] It’s a huge drama, 18 of 69 are really many. It will take much time to bind all together anew.”* In an interview with the German Press Agency this spring Zelensky had envisioned a larger ensemble, four new productions per season and more than 74 performances. Where will he now draw the resources – the dancers – from? (more…)

Works By Four Young Choreographers in Munich

“Young Choreographers”
Bavarian State Ballet
Prinzregententheater / Prince Regent Theatre
Munich, Germany
July 02, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Mama, ich kann fliegen” by D.Klein, Bavarian State Ballet 2017 © W.Hösl After a break of more than a decade the Bavarian State Ballet revived its “Young Choreographers” evenings last weekend. Of the four up-and-coming choreographers who presented their works on three consecutive nights at Munich’s Prince Regent Theatre, German-born Dustin Klein was the only one from within the ranks of the company. He was joined by the Swiss Benoît Favre, a dancer from Ballet Zurich. and two Russian colleagues: Anton Pimonov from the Maryinsky Ballet and Andrey Kaydanovskiy from the Vienna State Ballet. (more…)

Just Dance?

“Shostakovich Trilogy”
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
June 17, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Shostakovich Trilogy” by A.Ratmansky, Dutch National Ballet 2017 © H.Gerritsen“Ted, I don’t know what you’re doing with the company,” Alexei Ratmansky said after the premiere of his “Shostakovich Trilogy” at Dutch National Ballet, “but they get better and better.” He was right to praise the dancers. Their dedication and attention to detail – and this piece is replete with details – made the evening a thorough success.

“Shostakovich Trilogy” is the sixth piece by Ratmansky to enter the company’s repertoire and, next to “Don Quichotte”, is the second full-evening one. (more…)

Searching for the Soul

“Corpus” (“disTANZ” / “Lady with a Fan”)
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
June 10, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. F.Dell'Aria, J.Fraser, E.Wisenberg and D.Slavkovský, “disTANZ” by F.Portugal, Ballet Zurich 2017 © G.BatardonHow does the soul get into the dance? What relationship does the soul have to the body? Such were the questions, Filipe Portugal and Douglas Lee, the two choreographers of “Corpus” tried to explore in their new works. The double bill premiered at the end of May. Portugal, principal of the company, has been choreographing several years now for his Zurich colleagues as well as for Zurich’s Junior Ballet. “disTANZ”, his most recent creation, was the first on the program. Like Portugal, Lee, a Berlin-based choreographer with British roots, is familiar with the company as well. “Lady with a Fan” is his third creation for Ballet Zurich. Both Portugal and Lee choreographed group pieces. (more…)

Substance versus Effects

“Quintett” (Triple Bill: “rituals from another when” / “Kammerballett” / “Quintett”)
Ballet Zurich
Opernhaus Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
June 09, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble and Junior Ballet Zurich, “rituals from another when” by J.Godani, Ballet Zurich 2017 © C.QuezadaUnlike its title suggests, “Quintett”, Zurich Ballet’s mixed bill which premiered in February this year, is made of not five but three pieces. William Forsythe’s “Quintett”, rarely performed choreography from 1993, lent the evening its caption. The other two ballets were “rituals from another when,” a new creation for Zurich Ballet by Jacopo Godani, and Hans van Manen’s “Kammerballett.” All three pieces were danced to recorded music. (more…)

Changes

“Don Quixote”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
June 03, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Badenes, A.Soares da Silva and ensemble, “Don Quixote” by M.Guerra, Stuttgart Ballet 2017 © Stuttgart BalletStuttgart Ballet is facing a time of great change. Just recently, artistic director Reid Anderson announced that the company will part at the end of this season with Demis Volpi, who had been its resident choreographer since 2013. Whether the contract of Marco Goecke, the company’s second in-house-choreographer, will be extended beyond summer 2018 (after which Tamas Detrich will take the reins from Anderson) is still the subject of rumors. What is certain, though, is that this season will be the last for an icon of Stuttgart Ballet. After more than seventy years as dancer, choreologist, coach, ballet master and linchpin for the company, 89-year-old Georgette Tsinguirides will retire in July. (more…)

A Masterpiece?

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Bavarian State Ballet
National Theater
Munich, Germany
May 26, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. K.Ryshkova, “A Midsummer Night's Dream” by J.Neumeier, Bavarian State Ballet 2017 © W.Hösl Balmy nights that follow days of 86°F are ideal to get one in a dreamy midsummer night’s mood. It was just the right time for reviving John Neumeier’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s iconic comedy, as danced by the Bavarian State Ballet this May. The amorous entanglements Shakespeare invented in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are confusingly intricate and very juicy. Theseus, the duke of Athens, is about to marry Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. Oberon, king of the fairies, and Titania, his queen, have come to the forests surrounding Athens to attend the wedding. A bit short of domestic bliss, their quarrels cause great trouble among the four lovers of the human world, Lysander & Hermia and Demetrius & Helena. Chaos intensifies because of Puck, Oberon’s shrewd and knavish sprite. A group of incompetent, amateur actors, preparing to entertain the royal wedding with “Pyramus and Thisbe” adds to the overall confusion.

Neumeier streamlined the knotty story by dropping side characters and subplots and allocating distinct music to the three lifeworlds. Felix Mendelssohn’s compositions for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (and other pieces by him) accompany the events at court. The mechanicals rehearse and perform to barrel organ music. Oberon, Titania and their fairies live inside György Ligeti’s electronic soundscapes. The Mendelssohn was played live by the Bavarian State Orchestra under the baton of Michael Schmidtsdorff; of Ligeti, we heard a recorded version. James Lyttle, one of the mechanicals, played the barrel organ. (more…)