Links beyond this blog have been known to expire, sometimes rather quickly. I wish things weren't this way (but they are). I will do what I can to choose wisely (but don't say you weren't warned). Click away!
One of our favorite violinists, Hilary Hahn, has announced her Jordan Hall recital program for January 12 with pianist Valentina Lisitsa. You can find the program, along with other key items, like, say, ticket links, here.
The Bolshoi Theatre, site of the originalSwan Lake
Here are five facts I'll bet most of you didn't know about Swan Lake, culled from wikipedia's vaults. Maybe you can find a few more...
1. Though the Kirov's Swan Lake is the definitive version of the ballet -- and most ballet companies base their own productions on it -- it wasn't the first production. It was first presented as The Lake of the Swans in 1877 by Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet.
2. The production by the Kirov (then known as the Imperial Ballet) was originally set to debut in the fall of 1894 but was delayed several months due to the death of Czar Alexander III and the coronation of his son Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia.
4. Opus 20, the music usually heard in the ballet and attributed to Tchaikovsky, is not the composer's original score, but rather a revised score with many deletions and changes arranged by Riccardo Drigo, the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre's conductor at the time.
5. One of the more successful alternate versions of the dance is Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, which features a male dance corps as the swans.
Ann Marie McQueen, writing for the Ottawa Sun, was bowled over (though she wasn't surprised) by the Kirov's Swan Lake, at Ottawa's National Arts Center this weekend:
"The famed Kirov Ballet flitted into the National Arts Centre, all ethereal ballerinas and powerful, tautly muscled dancers, wowing a sold-out crowd at Southam Hall just the way everyone knew they would."
Pianist Leonid Hambro died on Monday at 83. Mr. Hambro had an illustrious career as a concert pianist, making over 100 recordings and performing with the likes of Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, and Isaac Stern and was conducted by Arturo Toscanini, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Leonard Bernstein, and Eugene Ormandy, among others. He was known for an astounding musical memory and great skill at improvising. So it's arguably both ironic and charming, that he was best known for a roughly ten-year stint playing the straight man to pianist/comedian Victor Borge. He left Borge in 1970 to join the faculty of Cal Arts.
"When a pair of latecomers took their seats after the second piece, he asked, "Where are you from?" When they said New York, Mr. Hambro said: "Isn't that funny? I'm from Los Angeles and I got here before you did."
And here's an anecdote about Victor Borge in Hambro's own words:
"'We came to a place where I played on three pianos, his piano, and my piano for the two-piano work, and then an offstage piano. And then one day we came to a place where my piano on the stage was very old, and the keys were very yellow, it was so old. So he had the microphone -- the audience could never hear me -- and I turned to him and I pointed to my keys, and I said, "My elephant smoked too much.'
He thought that was very funny, and he said, 'Can any of you in the balcony see Mr. Hambro's keys? Mr. Hambro just told me that his elephant smoked too much.' So he was willing to give credit."
Uliana Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev of The Kirov Ballet in Swan Lake
Laura Bleiberg, reviewing for the Orange County Register, was knocked out by the Kirov's Swan Lake, and principal Uliana Lopatkina in particular:
"Principal dancer Uliana Lopatkina inhabited the enchanted spirit of the swan queen Odette with a cool authority on Friday. She has crystallized not just the role, but every muscle twitch to its essence. Her arms rippled, her head flicked oh-so-delicately and she appeared, quite simply, to flow about the stage."
Lewis Segal reviewed Friday evening's Orange County opening performance of Swan Lake by the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra for the Los Angeles Times:
"Thirty-two swans moving as one, a Swan Queen of thrilling classical purity, an overfamiliar Tchaikovsky score made fresh and glowing: The Kirov Ballet certainly knows how to keep an audience happy and it did just that Friday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
In the company's first performance this season of the complete 'Swan Lake,' corps values remained stratospheric, Pavel Bubelnikov led the Kirov Orchestra to glory and Uliana Lopatkina made Odette not only a stellar projection of the corps' pristine style but also a living embodiment of the music. The way she magically softened during the White Swan duet proved highly imaginative, tracing Odette's growing trust, hope and love without any obvious acting ploys."
"'For many deaf people, music simply is not a part of their lives,' Saxton said, speaking by phone from her home in the Washington D.C. area. 'It takes a lot of courage and open-mindedness on the part of deaf people even to set foot in a concert hall.'
'But it has been a part of the mission of Sweet Honey in the Rock from the beginning to make its performances accessible and inclusive to all people,' she said. 'And there aren't many performers out there that have been willing to make the interpretation of their work for the deaf an integral part of what they do.'" Full story