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Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013 , ora 10.29
La Bayadère

The Bucharest National Opera House has decided to take part in the Life is Beautiful! Festival with the ballet La Bayadère. It is a seasonal performance awarded with a few first appearances. The history of music acknowledges La Bayadère as one of the ballet performances that is a must in the repertoire of the great lyrical theatres that have a consistent ballet group with a high standard of performance. The play’s worldwide initial appearance took place at the Sankt Petersburg Imperial Ballet Theatre (February 1877), with the performance of the Imperial Ballet troupe, the original choreography drafted by Marius Petipa, that was the ensemble’s Premier maître de Ballet. The music belongs to Ludwig Minkus, Petipa’s main collaborator and the official composer for the Imperial Ballet Theatres. Unfortunately, this formal position does not enhance in any way the average quality of the music that is actually just some base for a tragic love story. On the other hand, the acting helped greatly with its advantages of a story development in an exotic and luxuriant setting, with the use of colorful and plush costumes and the use of tens of performers in impressive interplay moments that take place in fairytale like Indian palaces and temples.

In the recent Bucharest performance, Mihai Babushka signed the staging and choreographical arrangement (after Marius Petipa) with Adriana Urmuzescu’s stage scenery painting. The choreographer chose the shorter version of the ballet play leaving out the final act, Apotheosis. The reasons for this were the same ones that determined all the other theatres to give it up – the length of the play, the glamour of the wedding ceremony, the necessary scene technique that would allow the existence of an illusory storm that tears down the temple and everything “at a glance”. Regrettably, this cut affected the balance of the act in such a way that after the curtains dropped, the public was left confused for a few seconds not knowing if the performance was over or if it was just another intermission.

The performance on Sunday, November 10th, was entirely lacking the festive thrill and brilliance necessary for a festival night. The performance was accurate but without commitment, a simple, automatic development and nothing more. The conductor Iurie Florea’s baton instructions proved to be unknown, in many occasions, to the performers, managing to confuse them in interplay scenes with too fast a tempo. On the other hand, the solo instrumental sequences were beautiful.

I sincerely applauded Robert Enache for his debut as Solor. With a pleasant and elegant scenic and physical appearance, graceful acrobatic somersaults, high and confident, Robert Enache played the role of a handsome and incredible Indian prince, proving once again that he is a highly qualified performer.

I cheered enthusiastically for the Japanese performer, Yoshida Shuhei, playing for the first time the role of Fachir, for his implicative and compelling acting, agile play and especially for his spectacular technique readiness.

The cast of the performance was completed by Oana Popescu Babușka (Nikia), Mihaela Soare (Gamzatti), Tiberiu Almosnino (The Brahmin), Bogdan Plopeanu (the Bronze Swami), Mihai Babușka (Rajah), Virgil Ciocoiu (Solor’s Friend), Georgiana Stroe (The Maid), Rin Okuno, Sena Hidaka (D’Jampé), Akane Ichii, Maki Shirase, Megumi Koshi and Diana Tudor (Four Small Bayaderes), Camelia Soare, Raul Oprea (Tuba Soloists), Marina Minoiu, Bianca Stoicheciu, Sena Hidaka, Rin Okuno, David Mannara, Shohei Horiuchi/debut (Pas D’Action), Rin Okuno, Sena Hidaka, Lorena Negrea/debut (Three Shadows).

Tuesday, November 12
th, 2013

Mozart Steps





ACTORS: Veronica Arizancu, Florin Coșuleț, Ali Deac, Diana Fufezan, Raluca Iani, Adrian Matioc, Adrian Neacșu, Cătălin Pătru, Daniel Plier, Iulia Maria Popa, Vlad Robaș, Marius Turdeanu, Ema Vețean, Liviu Vlad, Anca Pitaru;

STUDENTS: Bacalu, Anton Balint, Cristina Blaga, Paul Bondane, Iulia Popa, Tudor Răileanu, Maria Soilică, Cristi Timbuș, Maria Tomoiagă, Ana-Maria Vereș.

I have always admired Gigi Căciuleanu’s leadership abilities, the way he manages to convince his co-workers that every gesture expressed on stage should have the meaning, commitment, dismay and strength of a last dying breath. This is where the incredible tension of his shows originates from, the almost sacrificial commitment of the performers that listen and follow his instructions blindly, like slaves. Each and every one of them gives everything they can and even more. I believe that it is every young actor’s dream to meet the choreographer Gigi Căciuleanu, at least once in his lifetime. All the people that succeeded in working together with the maestro agree that it was a unique experience which marked them strongly.

The choreographer and performer Gigi Căciuleanu often chooses to enact themed plays – one of the most recent examples would be “D’ale noastre” inspired by Caragiale. During his career, Gigi Căciuleanu has often worked side by side with actors. This is how the artist describes his undertaking: “When I am asked what kind of dance I perform I say that it is choreographical theatre. It is a form of theatre that uses the language of dance and the means of choreographical design.” And it is something that should not be confused with the moving theatre.

Mozart Steps is a choreographical theatre performance that was created for the Sibiu National Theatre. The performers are actors from the Romanian and German section of the theatre and students from the Acting Section of the “Lucian Blaga” University, in Sibiu. “For this purpose I decided that as a first working step I would have to change the ones I will work with, and they are not dancers by profession, turning them from simple actors into dancing actors. My goal is to not only put them on stage but rather to organize them, to make them dance. In the most beautiful sense of the word.” stated Gigi Căciuleanu. This time he has chosen for his dancing actors, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music in Hugues Curzon and Ahmed al Maghreby’s original and spectacular adaptation. It would not be for the first time that he takes up Mozart, if we keep in mind the Requiem performance carried out in Constanta together with the artists of the “Oleg Danowski” troupe.

Mozart’s music has experienced many adaptations through time; some were successful while others were completely barren (in spite of the genius material as a starting point). The Curzon/al Maghreby variant is certainly part of the first category. The respect towards the score is essential and the text work over could be compared to a work of art veiled with colours, rhythms and fabulous sonority, that not only keeps the beauty it embodies but it also enhances its expressivity.

Mozart in Egypt is also an international project initiated by two musicians that wanted to achieve a fusion between Mozart’s creation and the Egyptian music’s own sonority, rhythms and instruments. There have been two albums with this title so far: Mozart in Egypt 1 (1997) and 2 (2005). Their success was one of a kind. In 1998, another project called The Egyptian Mozart came to life after the team of two gained another member, the Algerian musician, Nasredine Dalil. Once again, Mozart’s music was shrouded by rich and original infusions of oriental rhythms and sonority. This recording had a huge success with the public, selling over 500.000 copies and was also awarded with two golden discs.

I have made many musical references in order to underline and highlight the amazing sound background that Gigi Căciuleanu chose for his latest choreographical theatre performance. I would even dare to claim that the music saved the show which in my opinion, in spite of the noticeable efforts of the performers, which I truly appreciate and applaud for their actual value, it still looked like a school play without any significant message or design. Choreography does not have any deep connections with music, being easily interpreted on any kind of audio background. This is my only explanation for the reason why many times I felt the need to close my eyes and just enjoy what the Austrian Mozart, the French Hugues Curzon and the Egyptian Ahmed al Maghreby managed to achieve together.

Cristina Sârbu
Translated by Roxana Țicămucă and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest