Sunday, March 22, 2009

On going to the ballet

Yesterday we ventured into the city to go to the ballet. It wa a stinking hot day. What I am noticing about Melbourne weather is that it goes from one extreme to another in the space of just days.

We started off the day with a visit to a few of our favourite bookshops.....Reader's Feast, Hill of Content, and The Paperback Bookshop. I was very restrained and didn't buy anything, though I added to my 'to read' list. DH was not so stoic, he succumbed to a Penguin Book of Classical Myths. I understand, however, that he has had his eye on it for a while.

We lunched at Noodle Kingdom which does just beautiful noodle soups. Afterwards we wandered over to Pelligrini's - that Melbournian institution - for a granita. So good!

Then it was down to the state theatre after that to watch the Australian ballet perform Firebird and other Legends. This production is the ballet's annual tribute to the works of the Ballet Russes. You can see pictures from the production here.

The first ballet was 'Les Sylphides'. I love Chopin's music and this ballet is so soothing to the spririt. The fluidity of the ballet dancers truly belied the techinical complexity of Fokine's coreography.

We have a painting of scene from Les Sylphides on the wall. My Grandma painted it. Last year we had one of our friend's from church over. In her late teens she danced with the Dresden ballet in Germany. She was looking at our painting and said "oh, is that Les Sylphides". We had to check the back of it to find out, as I had never thought to look before. And she was correct, she knew the coreography so well she could tell just by looking!

Next was Petrouchka. Again, coreography by Mikhael Fokine. This was a complete contrast to Les Sylphides as the set, costumes and coreography are bright and colourful. I was particularly taken with the portrayal of the Moor, which at our performance was danced by Luke Ingham. I have been inspired to make a quilt based on the colour's of the Moor's compartment. The set used a colour combination I had never thought of as 'going' but it really worked - red, deep purple, lilac, green and dark blue.

Finally, Firebird was performed. This time Graeme Murphy had reworked the story and coreography. I don't know the traditional coreography so I can't comment on the contrast, but I enjoyed it very much. The chorus - the enslaved - danced in shells in the first act and the dancing of the firebird by Reiko Hombo was just superb.

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