Wednesday, February 8, 2012

90 years of National Ballet in Finland (pt. 3 with More Opinions)

Yesterday I made it through the first half of the marvellous Gala. This evening I'll try to deal with the rest :P You'll find the programme info here.

Second half started with a Bang, so to speak. Don Quijote, con brio! I haven't seen it (and will not be able to do so this season - dislike!!!), so everything was interesting. The fandango was full of Spanish attitude, the noble spirit with dignity. And Ziegler again. I'm not complaining ;) Petia Ilieva was quite fiery in this one, nice contrast to her Odette.

Petia Ilieva with Wilfried Jacobs. Photo by Sakari Viika.

The married couple, Salla and Jaakko Eerola, had their glorious moment as Kitri and Basilio. Precise work with perfect amount of romantic atmosphere, touch of virtuosity (the jumps and pirouettes, wow!)... It was all there. They got maybe the biggest applause of the evening (after Minus 7 and the end of gala). And you know what? They sure did deserve it.

Salla and Jaakko Eerola. Photo by Sakari Viika.

One piece that everyone was surely waiting for, was an excerpt of Anna Karenina. Why? Because it had our soon-to-retire prima ballerina Minna Tervamäki, with Jani Talo as Count Vronsky. The pas de deux was Passionate - and so short... It's a pity we can't see her in this role again, even if the work comes on stage some day. But I consider myself quite lucky to have seen even this tiny bit.

Minna Tervamäki and Jani Talo. Photo by Sakari Viika.

Walking Mad was also presented as an excerpt. And it was one of those contemporary pieces.... But Again it happened! I liked it - a Lot! Music was Bolero by Ravel, a hypnotic experience every time I listen to it. Also a quite long one... This coreography used a plank wall very inventively, it had hidden doors, it was moved around the stage, it "fell down" and next it was a boardwalk of some kind. Then a wall again. In the beginning the dancers (one woman, one and then more men) were almost slamming each other against the wall, with loud bangs. But it didn't seem violent, the movement always continued softer. Until it was on the edge again. I'm really happy that this one was on the tv-version too.

Johanna Nuutinen, Wilfried Jacobs and Johan Pakkanen (not from the gala). Photo by Sakari Viika.

Something I waited for and something I was a bit disappointead with. I could have danced all night. I knew that the soprano is a good singer - and yet we couldn't hear much of her voice. I noticed she had an ear plug thingie, but don't know if she had a mic. The song was from the musical (Pygmalion / My Fair Lady), so not your normal opera stuff. I could only hear some of the very highest notes. And felt very sorry for her at the same time, she did her best. The dancing part wasn't much, to my opinion. It was all nice and pretty, but very musical-ish. "Fine and dandy", could some say. The reason they had this number on the programme was as follows: our opera turned 100 last year, so they wanted to have something that mixed these two species together.

Ballet Pathétique's male solo was something I saw in June 2011, right here in my hometown. And the dancer was the same, Antti Keinänen. I knew he'd be awesome again - and so he was! :) Luckily the home audience got to see him also, and so can You (the tv version will be availabe untill February 28th all over the world HERE but the interviews only in Finnish). This ballet is from the "hands" (or should I say brains) of the amazing and fabulous Jorma Uotinen! I think he's one of the most gifted people in dance business I've ever seen. This solo combined elements from classical ballerina variations (e.g. Dying Swan - those arms and the back - you really should see it), humour and deeper thinking. I think A. Keinänen has embraced the mood as magnificently as one ever could. Watch it people! :) And yes, it's a modern piece.

You won't get much out of this photo of mine, but this is from the dying swan -part. The Hands. 

...and if you'll be hush-hush, I'll share this video that I just found. Exactly the bit from the gala! Hope it doesn't disappear right away. (The hands are somewhere round 1.50 or so.)

As some might remember, I saw Scheherazade last Autumn (-11). So I knew what was to come - beautiful and emotional dancing. Lovely music. The excerpt was from the end, when the main couple finally find each other.  Nothing surprising there, I just watched and enjoyed myself.

Wilfried Jacobs with Julie Gardette (not from the gala). Photo by Sakari Viika.

As Monsieur Greve and Madame Almi told us, the comedy bit of the evening was The Sofa. Hi-la-ri-ous!!! :D First a woman & man arguing, with some almost acrobatic moves (still dancing). Then the roles changed totally - this first man was in the woman's "shoes" and a transvestite-ish man was in his. And they did (almost) exactly the same moves as the first couple! :D And then they didn't put This on the tv version... Bo-hooooo... I would have wanted to see Everything again, though. Knowing our opera and their past ways of using social media (youtube, their own site, etc.), this tv programme was a Big thing. So I have to remind myself to be grateful. Yes. I am. 

Jaakko Eerola and Wilfried Jacobs (not from the gala). Photo by Sakari Viika.

The Grande Finale of the gala was from the Etudes. An excerpt, to which Mr Greve had made a small coreography for the ballet school kids to perform in the beginning. All of them got to be on stage and that's what they showed on tv of this last piece. Nothing more. Even though there were some pretty cool performances by Salla Eerola, Minna Tervamäki (unfortunately only a small bit from her), Jaakko Eerola, Michal Krcmár... I could only wonder how the dancers managed through it. I mean, they had already given so much of themselves to us and Still they had strength and pirouettes and everything to offer. I'm very proud that our dancers are this capable! :) And the choir dancers, they had been on stage almost all the time. Huge respect, I say. 

The kids, once more :) Photo by Sakari Viika.

So my opinions were quite positive, to put it short. But isn't that just good? :) Now I'll go to sleep and probably dream about dancing again, as I often do after blogging... :D


p.s. Found also this from youtube, straight from the gala... :) Might vanish soon, so watch it soon!

*** Good Night! ***

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