Magazine article Dance Magazine

Sarasota Ballet

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Sarasota Ballet

Article excerpt

SARASOTA BALLET

JANUARY 15-17, 1999 VAN WEZEL PERFORMING ARTS HALL SARASOTA, FLORIDA

Audiences everywhere are demanding full-evening ballets. But full-evening ballets are almost as rare as a hen's tooth in a cockfight. Unlike our sister art, opera, ballet has no limitless reserve of classics. So what can be done? The answer sounds as simple as the question--find a suitable theme, preferably one with name recognition, and then either commission a new score or pick existing music to match. After that, all you have to do is get the choreography and the production, which could prove the easier part of the equation.

Sarasota Ballet is one of Florida's two major ballet companies--the other being Edward Villella's Miami City Ballet; and it is directed by Robert de Warren, an alumnus of Britain's Royal Ballet and for many years in charge of ballet at La Scala in Milan. Aware that he is under constant pressure to provide new material, de Warren has recently come up with a ballet version of Madame Butterfly.

An astute choice, for the story is almost as familiar as Romeo and Juliet, while de Warren is an experienced choreographer with large-scale opera-house experience. So far so good. His next choices proved less secure. Unconvincingly, he relocated the Belasco/Puccini story to Hawaii immediately before Pearl Harbor. (The Vietnam War update devised by the Broadway musical Miss Saigon proved smarter.)

But the story is only half the battle--then there is the music. …

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