Tag Archive: Daniel Camargo

Only a Fairytale?

“Sleeping Beauty”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 25, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. J.Reilly and M.Simon, “Sleeping Beauty” by M.Haydée after M.Petipa, Stuttgart Ballet 2015 © Stuttgart BalletStuttgart closes this season in high spirits with several performances of Maria Haydée’s “Sleeping Beauty”. The company has every reason to be in good mood. Recently, quite some intricate issues were resolved: after years of debate about financing, the first sod for the new Cranko School building was cut a few days ago. It is scheduled to be ready for the 2018/19 season. Renovation of the Stuttgart Opera House is also pending and, though it is not yet clear where the interim stage will be located during the projected five years of construction, the management, backed by the company’s team spirit, radiates confidence. Also a tricky personnel matter – who should succeed artistic director Reid Anderson? – was solved shortly before the end of the season. (more…)

Four Re-encounters

“ALL Cranko!” (“Concerto for Flute and Harp”, “Holberg Pas de Deux”, “Opus 1”, “Initials R.B.M.E.”)
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
May 07, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, "Concerto for Flute and Harp" by J.Cranko, Stuttgart Ballet © Stuttgart Ballet 2015“ALL Cranko!”, Stuttgart Ballet’s new mixed bill, assembles four abstract ballets by John Cranko: the “Concerto for Flute and Harp”, premiered in 1966 and for more than a quarter of a century absent from stage, the “Holberg Pas de Deux” (1967), “Opus 1” (1965) and the repertory’s reliable asset “Initials R.B.M.E”, performed more than 230 times since its premiere in 1972.

Certainly many of the older Stuttgart balletomanes remember the original casts, the troupe’s signature dancers Marcia Haydée, Birgit Keil, Egon Madsen, Richard Cragun (1944 – 2012), later also Heinz Clauss (1935 – 2008). They are spoken of with great respect. Critical comparisons thus suggest itself. Would the ballets work with entirely new casts? (more…)

Re-exploring Stravinsky

“Stravinsky TODAY” (“Le Chant du Rossignol”,”L’Histoire du Soldat”, “The Firebird”)
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
March 21, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. D.Camargo, “Le Chant du Rossignol” by M.Goecke, Stuttgart Ballet © Stuttgart Ballet 2015Stuttgart Ballet’s new triple bill is an all-Stravinsky evening. Three choreographers – Marco Goecke, Demis Volpi and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – explored the exceptional composer’s music for their works. Two ballets are world premieres: Volpi’s “L’Histoire du Soldat” to Stravinsky’s suite from 1919 and Cherkaoui’s “The Firebird” to the Firebird-suite for orchestra, while Goecke presented a revision of his “Le Chant du Rossignol” originally created for the Leipzig Ballet in 2009.
Around a century ago Stravinsky’s unfamiliar, bold compositions set the ballet community abuzz. The scandal the Ballets Russes caused in Paris in 1913 with Nijinsky’s choreography of “Le Sacre du Printemps” has no equal. Stravinsky, Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes – an explosive, cross-fertilizing artistic collaboration. What impact has Stravinsky today? A question raised in the program book, which in the same breath mentions that using Stravinsky’s music already has a long tradition in Stuttgart: “The Soldier’s Tale” was Cranko’s first choreography in Cape Town in 1944. Ten additional ballets by Cranko set to Stravinsky followed, among them “The Firebird” (1964, a production for the Deutsche Oper Berlin) and “Le Chant du Rossignol” for Munich (1968). (more…)

Bliss and Grief of Love

“Onegin”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
January 10, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Amatriain and F.Vogel, “Onegin” by J.Cranko, Stuttgart Ballet © Stuttgart Ballet 2015John Cranko’s “Onegin” is not only in the repertory of companies all over the world but for nearly fifty years has been revived time after time by its company of origin, the Stuttgart Ballet. The piece’s charisma has not faded a bit. Jürgen Rose’s set and the costumes are still drop dead gorgeous. In short, “Onegin” is a pearl of the repertory and a darling of the audience. In Stuttgart ballet connoisseurs flock into the opera to compare various casts or to witness a role debut. Just recently principal dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet guesting in “Onegin” caused a great rush. Some days later the opera house was again packed as Friedemann Vogel, the company’s well-traveled premier dancer, danced for the first time as Onegin on his home stage. He had already made his role debut in Bangkok during the troupe’s tour to Asia last fall. Many times he had portrayed the emotional poet Lenski but, having watched the piece since childhood again and again, Vogel was very familiar with the role of Onegin. This time the other central characters were danced by Alicia Amatriain (Tatiana), Elisa Badenes (Olga), Daniel Camargo (Lenski) and Roland Havlica (Prince Gremin) – truly a dream cast!

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Old Friends

“Hommage à MacMillan”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
January 03, 2015

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2015 by Ilona Landgraf

1. S.J.Kang, “Requiem” by K.MacMillan, Stuttgart Ballet, © U.Beuttenmüller 2015Kenneth MacMillan (1929 -1992) would have celebrated his 85th birthday in December 2014. Stuttgart Ballet used this date as an opportunity to bring its close connection to the choreographer to mind. The double bill “Hommage à MacMillan” comprises “Song of the Earth” and “Requiem”, ballets with a special genesis and both created for the Stuttgart company. I saw the last performance of the first run. A second will take place in April.
In 1963 MacMillan had already created “Las Hermanas” for Stuttgart Ballet. Back then John Cranko had been at the helm of the company for two years. In 1965 the Royal Opera House refused to give MacMillan, who was its resident choreographer, permission to use Gustav Mahler’s “The Song of the Earth” for a new piece. Mahler’s music was considered untouchable, definitely not made for dancing. Besides no one had ever dared airing such an unreasonable idea. Fortunately times have changed. John Neumeier, for example, choreographed pieces to all of Mahler’s symphonies, except the 2nd and 8th symphony. Currently he is preparing a new work to “The Song of the Earth” for the Paris Opera Ballet. In any case MacMillan found the doors opened by Cranko in the mid 60s. Both had met as teenagers when studying at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School and became friends. Cranko was the one who encouraged MacMillan to start choreographing because the Scot, who was two years younger, was heavily afflicted by stage fright when performing. (more…)

A Big Yawn

“Leonce & Lena”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
October 11, 2014

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2014 by Ilona Landgraf

1. D.Camargo and E.Badenes, "Leonce and Lena" by C.Spuck, Stuttgart Ballet Stuttgart Ballet opened its season with a revival of the comedy “Leonce & Lena”, a ballet that Stuttgart’s former resident choreographer Christian Spuck originally created for the Aalto Ballet Essen in 2008. The piece is based on a short, eponymous comedy written by the German author George Büchner in 1836. It’s about the goofy King Peter of the Kingdom Popo aiming to marry his son Leonce, heir to the throne, to Princess Lena of the Kingdom Pipi. “Popo” and “Pipi” are German children’s language and mean “Buttock” and “Urine”. Leonce, being absolutely uninterested in reigning affairs, is unwilling to marry the unknown bride. Stricken by overwhelming boredom he buries his love for his mistress Rosetta, who departs sadly. On the brink of his bride’s arrival, Leonce absconds with his friend Valerio towards beautiful Italy. After half a day’s walk through “a dozen Principalities, half a dozen Grand Duchies and several Kingdoms” they rest at an inn. Princess Lena, for her part, likewise deeply disinclined to the marriage, runs up and away with her governess. As chance would have it, they also turn up at the inn. There, Leonce and Lena naturally fall in love not knowing each other’s real identity. Disguised as automatons the couple returns to King Peter’s court. Monarch Peter, despite lacking his son, is determined to strictly adhere to the original planned wedding. He marries the two automatons as a substitute. Finally Leonce and Lena reveal themselves and become aware of whom they got married to. Deceit, coincidence or providence? Meanwhile Valerio envisions paradise-like conditions in Popo and, above all, a lazy life in the future. (more…)

Formative Figures Bid Their Farewell

“Romeo and Juliet”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 19, 2014

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2014 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Amatriain, F.Barankiewicz, "Romeo and Juliet" by John Cranko, Stuttgart BalletStuttgart Ballet closed its season with a set of performances of John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Five different couples danced the star-crossed lovers. A remarkable number of these renditions were first rate. Again, the Stuttgart company upheld its high standard. For one of the lead pairs, more precisely for one Romeo, Shakespeare’s tragedy was a special event. Filip Barankiewicz bid his farewell to the stage last Saturday.

After studying at the State Ballet School of his home country Poland and, later, with Marika Besobrasova in Monte Carlo, Barankiewicz joined Stuttgart Ballet in 1996. It was at the time when Reid Anderson had assumed the directorship and was assembling a rejuvenated company. Barankiewicz quickly rose through the ranks. In 2002 he was promoted to first soloist. Blessed with irrepressible high spirits, a captivating stage presence and especially a virtuoso talent for jumps – Japanese fans call him ‘Mr Jump’ – the charming Pole brought down the house on many an occasion. One connoisseur thought he was unforgettable in the “The Flames of Paris” duo. No question but that Barankiewicz was world-class! One of his most striking characteristics, however, is his courtesy. A gentleman, he has been highly regarded by his colleagues and – after eighteen years with Stuttgart Ballet – is a shining example for the ensemble’s younger generation. Barankiewicz will certainly be missed. (more…)

Stuttgart Ballet’s Front Line Dancers

Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart, Germany
March 2014

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2014 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Alexander Jones and Alicia Amatriain, The Taming of the Shrew, Stuttgart Ballet, photo Stuttgart Ballet“Stuttgart Ballet” – the name conjures memories. The company became famous overnight in 1969 as ‘The Stuttgart Ballet Miracle’ following its visit to New York’s ‘Met’ (The Metropolitan Opera House). Luminous ballet stars like Marcia Haydée, Richard Cragun, Ray Barra, Egon Madsen, Vladimir Klos and Birgit Keil shaped the company. At the heart of things was John Cranko. The late director’s imprint remains present to this day on the walls of Stuttgart’s Opera House but above all on the minds and hearts of everyone. Since 1996, Reid Anderson has been at the helm of Germany’s flagship ballet troupe, which flourishes still today at the forefront of the dance world. Who are the dancers shaping Stuttgart Ballet now? Here are a few medallion portraits.

Alicia Amatriain, a Spaniard, currently is Stuttgart’s most versatile ballerina. In her prime technically, the thirty-three year old’s extensive repertory encompasses the most diverse of characters. The multifaceted Amatriain always immerses herself deeply in a role’s psychology, be it that of the hilarious Katharina (in Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew) or the innocent Desdemona (in John Neumeier’s Othello). Amatriain intensifies dramatic atmospheres and stirs spectators’ emotions. Not only classic characters but modern women belong to Amatriain’s territory. She has relished working on new creations with many a choreographer (Marco Goecke, Demis Volpi, Christian Spuck and Douglas Lee among them). (more…)

Who’s as Big?

“Made in Germany”
Stuttgart Ballet
Stuttgart Schauspielhaus
Stuttgart, Germany
October 10, 2013

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2013 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Constantine Allen in Fancy Goods by Marco Goecke, Stuttgart Ballet 2013, photo Stuttgart BalletOnce upon a time the label “Made in Germany” conveyed craftsmanship and reliability. Innovation, novelty and experimentation weren’t features associated with this phrase in any primary way. Now, Stuttgart Ballet has proven the opposite. “Made in Germany” is the ever so self-confident title of the company’s new ballet program which premiered earlier this month. A mixed bill of twelve little pieces, specially created for the dancers of Stuttgart Ballet by nine choreographers, it serves as nibbles for various tastes. In addition to these miniatures, a vast number of works have been made for the company since Reid Anderson’s directorship began in 1996: more than eighty, seven of them program-filling story ballets. Where else can one find such fertile creativity alongside the careful guardianship of tradition?

Crucial for spotting new choreographic talent is Stuttgart’s Noverre Society. Founded during Cranko’s era, it annually gives as yet unknown choreographers the opportunity to show their creations to an audience. For six of the current evening’s choreographers the Noverre presentations were the doorway to the big stages for which they have subsequently been making work. (more…)