Review Roundup: Alexei Ratmansky's OPERA

Alexei Ratmansky's new "Opera," which was created for La Scala Ballet and had its premiere last week. For more information, visit:

Let's see what the critics had to say:

Roslyn Sulcas of the New York Times says: It is also episodic and, like the work of Pina Bausch, full of little vignettes and absurdist episodes that are not only contained mini-narratives but are also allusions to larger dramas or psychological states. It sets itself up as grand spectacle, with a conventional hierarchy (corps de ballet, soloists), deployment of dancers (ensemble passages, pas de deux, solos) and use of costume and décor layered over the words of the songs, which the dancers seem to be representing. All the cues are in place for a story ballet, but you soon realize that it's not quite that. The effect is headily disorienting.

Judith Mackrell of the Guardian says: The rub is the choreography and staging, which were commissioned from Rudolf Nureyev back in 1966. At that time, Nureyev may have been ballet's greatest showman, but he was not an experienced choreographer, and here he made the classic novice mistake of throwing everything he could think of into the production, and more. Even though he left Petipa's highlights intact, they are sometimes barely visible in the surrounding choreographic clutter. A group of dancers crossing the stage rarely move in a straight line but wind through daisy-chains, spin off a few pirouettes and strike up a showy pose or two en route. At moments of dramatic climax, Nureyev upped the ante: Carabosse, having successfully poisoned Aurora, is not content to terrorise the court, but slaughters the princess's quartet of suitors for good measure. And most heavyhandedly of all, whenever Prince Desire is on stage, Nureyev (who danced the role in the original production) has him ungallantly hogging the spotlight.

Laura Cappelle of Financial Times writes: The choreography for both is tightly woven, and bubbles over with invention. The peasant-like community of Russian Seasons and the brisk, athletic whirlwind that is Concerto DSCH give us ballet as a life-affirming language, full of humour and pathos. You notice more details with each performance: a corps member jumping up and down with flexed feet in Concerto DSCH as everyone else carries on imperturbably; a gleeful passage for a soloist who jumps like a pinball between two partners.

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