Posts Tagged ‘Sadlers Wells’

ABT (Programme 1) Sadlers Wells 3 February

February 7, 2011


Warming up for Everything doesn't happen at once

First of all we had Seven Sonatas by Alexei Ratmansky to piano sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.  I enjoyed the classical simplicity and restraint of the choreography and found it all very Russian; my companion thought the pianist was awful.  Then we had Junk Duet, loud and energetic and American, which we both approved of.  After a Pause there followed Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, where I didn’t like the music (dull); the choreography (so bloody fussy); or the dancers (she was just the wrong shape for a dancer).  Joanne added that the violinist and (different) pianist were no good either.

Occasion of many very silly jokes that we thoroughly enjoyed

Finally, after a lot of on-stage warm-up, we got Everything doesn’t happen at once by Benjamin Millepied to music by David Lang played by a band of six instrumentalists with a conductor.  And it was OK, things happened and kept us interested, though it was the same kind of thing as Fearful Symmetries at Covent Garden some years ago, just not nearly as good in any respect.

So, a good evening for the Royal Ballet at least by contrast!

We love you Royal Ballet, oh yes we do
We love you Royal Ballet, oh yes we do
Royal Ballet–we love you!

Iphigenie auf Tauris Sadlers Wells 31 October

November 3, 2010


The useful sheet of A4 we got with the completely uninformative programme described this both as ‘An opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck’ and ‘A dance-opera by Pina Bausch’.  And indeed singers sang from the ends of the second circle near the stage while dancers danced on it and players played in front of it.

The plot was perhaps rather complex to convey in surtitle-less German singing, and the explanation of Iphigenie dreaming both that Clytaemnestra killed Agamemnon (which has happened) and Iphigenie herself killing Orestes (which doesn’t happen) didn’t really help matters.

The dance involved quite a lot of dancers holding their arms in poses reminiscent of ancient pictures of dancing and also Thoas madly slapping himself on the arms.

At the interval, my companion asked why Orestes didn’t just say who he was (or sing or dance who he was perhaps) and let us go home an hour earlier.  I suggested various reasons, while skirting round the obvious one that recognition scenes were something that Euripides did quite well really (for a total bungler).

Towards the end, a young girl slowly strewed the kitchen table on which Orestes was to be sacrificed with flowers, and then a ladder was brought on, which procedure led to the people sitting behind us corpsing totally (though they certainly tried hard to suppress it).

I think my problem here was that there was just too much plot going on that was hard to understand…

Euridice (Peri/Oliver) and Iphigenie auf Tauris (Gluck/Bausch)

June 1, 2010

Picture of Eurydice being led by Orpheus

British Youth Opera are putting on a Euridice at the Peacock Theatre on Wednesday 8 September and Saturday 11 September.  They describe it thus:

Based on the Orpheus myth that fascinated
renaissance artists and musicians, Euridice
weaves the translucent 16th-century vocal
writing of the first ever opera composer, Jacopo
Peri, into a distinctively modern opera by
Stephen Oliver.

Marking the 60th anniversary of Oliver’s birth,
this new semi-staged production is performed
with a cast of eighteen singers and an on stage
ensemble of eight players, creating an enthralling
piece of theatre combining old with new, ideally
suited to a cast of young singers.

Apparently Peri’s Euridice was premiered in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, on 6 October 1600…

Picture of Iphigenia among the Taurians

Meanwhile (in fact, rather later) Sadlers Wells is offering Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch–Iphigenie auf Tauris on 27, 28, 30 and 31 October.  As far as I can make out, this is the opera by Gluck, except that the singers are stationed at the sides of the stage, leaving it clear for the dancers; details here.

Tread Softly/Carnival of the Animals/Comedy of Change Ballet Rambert Sadlers Wells 6 November

November 8, 2009


The evening started with ‘Tread Softly’, in fact tread softly on Mahler’s arrangement of the ‘Death and the Maiden’ quartet.


Picture from

I don’t know what choreography would add to such music, but this wasn’t it–it was all rather over-literal doubling of what the music did (with some suggestive thrusting), on a bare stage and with the dancers in what appeared to be rehearsal costumes.  And one of the girls softly trod on three of the blokes lined up for her.

Then it was ‘Carnival of the Animals’.


Picture from

The choreography did have some cutting edge this time, and there were jokes in both the choreography and the music, but they didn’t really coincide and the (rather better I thought) ones in the music went begging.  I daydreamed about my tea quite extensively.

And finally we had ‘Comedy of Change’, an allegedly Darwinian piece with a bespoke score by Julian Anderson and black-and-white clad dancers emerging from chrysalis-style things at the beginning.


Picture from

There was good coordination between the music and action, but what it was all about I couldn’t make out.  They made a cocoon out of aluminium foil and squashed it flat at the end…The pieces were arranged in order of decreasing running time (strangely enough), so we were let out earlier than I had feared.  And I would have had plenty of time to make my tea if I’d not forgotten about my trains being rearranged.