Friday, May 11, 2018

19.9.67 - Considering the ballet


Sydney 19.9.67
Well,
Peggy van Praagh
here is my first day overdue – and I’m still up in the air. Unless something comes up I should be starting home later this week, but ---- (Heh, heh, heh!) last night I went to Don Giovanni (see below) and met Gerald Krug there. (He’s now to be the Ballet Conductor - I think I told you, didn’t I?) He came over to me and said, Had I ever done any ballet work, and I said only local groups at home, and he said would I be interested, and I said, if there wasn’t any other work available it was certainly better than nothing (very hard to sound keen and not so keen in the same sentence!). Well, he said he was going to see Miss Van Praagh (she seems to run the Ballet) tomorrow (that is, today) and if they could be interesting, to say the least. For one thing I scarcely know any of the music, and it’s only about three and a bit weeks! Scream! But we’ll wait and see what happens.
needed me, would I be interested? So I said, yes, but that I couldn’t improvise or anything for them warming up etc; he seemed to think that that was a minor problem, and so he’s setting about it today. Well, that

I’m supposed to meet Robert Pikler today at lunch; I find he’s working at the Con, where I’ve already been (think I’ve told you), but it might be interesting (!) to see what happens when I go there with someone on the inside and don’t try and approach it from the outer as before.

Jim Sharman
Don Giovanni as produced in Aussie has been generally disliked in other towns, particularly Melbourne, I believe, and I find this hard to understand. The main cause of the trouble has been the set which consists of nothing but a chequerboard pattern not flat on the floor, but on an angle. [2018: raked, I presume.] It’s black and white, but with various lightings appears as several other colours throughout. With the exception of a couple of chairs (shaped like rooks) and a square table there is nothing else to dress the stage at all. The whole thing is surrounded by black drapes which people Jim Sharman, just 21, (and a friend of Glenda’s) and I think he’s done a very good job. The characters are all well defined (they’re all well written anyway) and we don’t have those funny little gaps that normally occur in opera production – I liked it!
vanish into as exits. I felt, however, that nothing else was needed; DG is a fairly lively show, and the actors did plenty of wandering around, so I don’t feel it got boring. (Last night was youth night – for those under 26) (and they really enjoyed it – even laughed when the poor old Father got killed!). The producer is

The costumes were fabulous. Not done in black and white (fortunately – that would have been a bit much!) but rather in a muted red, and various blazing whites, and blacks with large chunks of gold etc on them. All the characters at the beginning came down during the overture to the front of the stage, and donned these hats and crowns that the chorus men gave them. The procedure was reversed at the end. I like it!

No more news just now, I’ll see if I can’t put this in with the letter from yesterday which I haven’t posted yet.
Love, Mike.