Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stravinsky & Ravel at the Egg

Fantastic National Ballet of China triple-bill tonight: Stravinsky's Firebird and Rite of Springand Ravel's Bolero - and with full orchestra. It's 100 years ago this month that the 'scandalous' Rite of Spring was premiered in Paris. Nowadays it draws polite applause rather than boos and fisticuffs, but it still sounds fresh and modern. Great choreography. Firebird was based on Maurice Bejart's 1970 version, Bolero by Fei Bo (with the dancers playing out old age) and Rite by the German-trained Nin Peng Wang. 
What does a Chinese audience think of these iconic early 20th century western works? Difficult to know really. On the one hand, the opera hall at the NCPA looks just like any western stage - perhaps better, and everyone is doubtless highly educated and internationally-minded. But a large contingent still clap between movements (or even during them), drop iPads, and cough & fidget excessively. That aside, it was a privilege to be there.  

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