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George Gershwin

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Guardian

July 11

Willard White on playing Othello: 'I broke down – I considered walking away'

GuardianThe opera singer played the jealous general opposite Imogen Stubbs and Ian McKellen in a 1989 RSC version. He remembers the play as a crushing experienceOver the years, people have asked me whether I’d ever sing Verdi’s Otello. But of course it’s a tenor role, and I’m a bass, so I just smiled. I’d thought about Shakespeare’s play, of course, but always assumed I was in the wrong genre. Then I was working with director Trevor Nunn on a production of Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne in 1987, and he suggested it. Part of me never expected it to happen. But then a few years later he came back, and introduced me to Ian McKellen, who was going to play Iago. I cancelled the operas I’d been planning to do and made time for this instead. Continue reading...

Guardian

July 10

Dowland: Lachrimae or Seven Tears CD review – exquisite subtlety

Phantasm, Elizabeth Kenny (lute) (Linn)“The most sensuously tuneful hour of music ever written”, is Phantasm director Laurence Dreyfus’s wittily provocative description of Dowland’s Lachrimae; you might expect it to be said of Puccini or Gershwin, but of Dowland in 1604? Yet it’s apt, because several of the lively dances that follow the sad pavans are versions of Dowland’s wonderful songs. Can She Excuse My Wrongs works better as The Earl of Essex Galliard, with its repeated notes and syncopated rhythms. At the heart of this disc are the seven variants of the utterly memorable Lachrimae theme, played by Phantasm with their expressive warmth and exquisite subtlety. Perhaps Elizabeth Kenny’s lute is underbalanced, but this is otherwise perfect. Continue reading...






Royal Opera House

May 6

10 of the best dance films

Dirty Dancing, The Red Shoes, Fred Astaire, Save the Last Dance, An American in Paris and The Black Swan © Wikipedia Friedrich Nietzsche wisely noted that, 'We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once'. Indeed Nietzsche would surely agree that the following dance films should be viewed by all fans of dancing, at least once. We’ve listed ten of the greatest, stretching back to the roots of the genre with the electric duo Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire , to films that feature iconic choreographers of the last century and the composers whose unforgettable music ensure these films last well into the next. Let us know if we missed your favourite by commenting below or tweet us @royaloperahouse . The Red Shoes (1948) Based loosely on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name, young ballerina Vicky is dangerously torn between love and her desire to dance. The 15-minute sequence known as the 'Ballet of the Red Shoes' used a corps de ballet of 53 dancers. The Red Shoes is one of the highest earning British films of all time. Billy Elliot (2000) ‘I've got this fire in my body. I'm just there. Flyin' like a bird. Like electricity,’ says Billy in his audition for The Royal Ballet School . Raised in Country Durham during the collapse of the mining industry, Billy loves to dance. From the makers of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill , this British tale about raw talent is said to be inspired by Royal Ballet dancer Philip Mosley . Read an interview with Philip about the true story behind the film . Save the Last Dance (2001) Julia Stiles is the classically trained ballet dancer who moves to Chicago after a family tragedy to discover hip-hop and love in her new neighbourhood. She also falls in love with a handsome, soon-to-be doctor played by Sean Patrick Thomas . The film went on to earn over $140 million worldwide and its stars were awarded the 'Best Kiss' at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards. An American in Paris (1951) American war veteran Jerry (played by Gene Kelly) is trying to make it as a painter in post-war Paris. Though he is taken under the wing of an influential heiress, he really loves Lise, a beautiful French girl played by Leslie Caron . Set to the unforgettable music of the Gershwin brothers , the final 17-minute dance sequence took a month to film – and cost $500,000. Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet Christopher Wheeldon recently won over Broadway with his stage adaptation of the film. His production makes its West End debut in 2017 . Center Stage (2000) Center Stage follows a year in the life of 12 very different dancers, including a young Zoë Saldana , studying at the American Ballet Academy. Will ballerina Jodie win a place at the prestigious New York City Ballet ? Or will she opt to join rebellious choreographer Nielson Cooper to start a contemporary dance company? Black Swan (2010) Darren Aronofsky won Best Film at the 2011 Oscars and Natalie Portman was crowned Best Actress for her performance as ballerina Nina Sayers, who becomes consumed by duplicitous roles in Tchaikovsky ’s classic Swan Lake . Dirty Dancing (1987) Jennifer Grey has the ‘time of her life’ when she falls in love with instructor Patrick Swayze and discovers dance. The 80’s cult classic features a stellar soundtrack and that unforgettable line, ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’. Replicate that lift with caution. Silver Linings Playbook (2012) David O’Russell ’s film based on the novel by Matthew Quick celebrates the reformative and healing power of dancing, featuring an all-star cast including Bradley Cooper , Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro . Step Up (2006) After breaking into a dance academy, rebel Tyler Gage, played by Channing Tatum , is forced to take part in community service. He soon falls for a ballet student (a role performed by Tatum's real-life future wife Jenna Dewan ) winning her over with his hip-hop dancing. The film created an avalanche of Step Up fans and four sequels since it was released ten years ago. West Side Story (1961) Iconic Romeo and Juliet adaptation West Side Story won an astonishing ten Academy Awards upon its release. The musical was conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins , who is often hailed as the greatest American choreographer of the 20th century. Robbins had a huge influence on the creation of American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet and his work is often performed by The Royal Ballet. Shall We Dance (1937) Jazz and classical ballet collide again in what became the seventh of 10 collaborations between iconic dance partners Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers . Choreographer George Balanchine is featured in the classic, his satirical ballet ‘Slaughter on Tenth Avenue’ appears at the close of the film. The Royal Ballet perform his work Jewels in April 2017. What's your favourite dance film? Let us know in the comments below.

George Gershwin
(1898 – 1937)

George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera, Porgy and Bess (1935). He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including more than a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin composed music for both Broadway and the classical concert hall, as well as popular songs that brought his work to an even wider public. His compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations. Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.



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