Friday, November 9

Considering "Le Corsaire"

The plan to become appropriately cultured that I may someday, without trepidation, move among the types of people that attract trophy spouses is proceeding admirably well, even if timely considerations of them have been slow in coming (I sit down to write this nearly one and a half weeks after taking in the performance). To follow up my first and second operas, I finally made my first ballet. It has been a long time in coming. Never gave a thought to ballet before last fall when a bought of thinking along the lines of "Wouldn't that be cool?" prompted me to try for a Dance minor and take a class in ballet without ever before seeing a performance, much less go to a high school dance, whatever those might count for. Coming on a year since being not good enough to advance to the second ballet class, I finally took in my first professional performance.

To put it all out there, without any rising action to the climax, I enjoyed it. Despite some dragging when the girls give the sultan an extended show in the second act, it was big and flashy and wonderfully fun. The sheer athleticism of the ballerinas and danseurs was something else. The speed, the delicacy, the precision, the pirouettes. Gah. Not very much what I expected either. Okay, there was much prancing about en pointe and lifts and so on, the sorts of things anyone with the slightest of idea of ballet would reasonably expect, but I did not, however, expect pirates, slave girls and sword fights. But this works, especially after the operas. Following the plot through the emotion of the voice alone can be a tricky ordeal. Following it through body language is considerably easier, especially when it amounts to: girl who has taken the heart of the pirate captain is sold to the sultan. Girl is kidnapped by the pirate captain in return. Treachery leads to the girl's return to the sultan. Pirate captain stages a daring rescue. The good are rewarded and the wicked punished.

Besides the great milestone of being my first ballet, attendance of Le Corsaire was also notable for being my first time in the Staatsoper. The two operas previous were both presented in the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, which, by no means a poor place, really does come off looking like a community theater against the magnificence of the Staatsoper. Compare their locations. Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz is found on a round-about where several community grocery stores can be found. Staatsoper runs along Maximilian Straße where stores like Dolce & Gabanna and Louis Vuitton, the sorts of places with dedicated doormen to open the doors to customers and keep riff-raff like me out, are located. The Oper had multiple chandeliers, men to press the button of your floor in the elevator and audience members who, I am fairly certain, had their clotes personally tailored. Despite tucking my own shirt in, I somehow managed to still feel out of place. Maybe ironing it would have helped.

It goes without saying that I want to see another. There is some apprehension though. How much is left? There are only so many moves and so many combinations. Just how long can I expect to enjoy ballets until all there is left to look forward to is the particular carriage of the dancers and their ability to land with poise? My hope? Enough to keep me excited until I leave Munich and still wishing for more. Hear that the Russian National Ballet will be coming through.

1 comment:

Emmett said...

Ballet is interesting to me because of my interest in semiotics, the study of signs and how we interpret meanings from them. Ballet, of course, has meanings in the figures and motions of the dancers' bodies, in a way that cannot be quite articulated. I haven't really thought about it too much, as I'm usually more concerned with music and language as semiotic systems. Do keep me updated on what you find you like about ballet.