on 1 August 2010
Two Stravinsky Ballets that do not wear too well in the 21st century, being very typical of the 80s..
The original version of PULCINELLA was choreographed by Massine with designs by Picasso in 1920. Like the original, Richard Alston's greatly-admired version of the complicated love-story has a Neapolitan setting and is based on traditional Commedia dell'Arte characters. To be honest though this version introduces complications of its own and Alston's characteristic movement vocabulary isn't always happily married to the music.
It is very much a product of the 80s Rambert company which can look dated now.
"... costumes are simple and to the point...the set, designed here by Howard Hodgkin, creates a colourful backdrop, which enhances without complicating, and the dancers are suitably lithe and athletic" THE INDEPENDENT.
Pulcinella: Christopher Carney, Pimpinella: Amanda Britton. Rambert Dance Company. Della Jones Soprano Julian Pike Tenor Martin Nelson Bass, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Brian Wright.
British choreographer Ashley Page, used the suite from Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat for his ballet, SOLDAT - the traditional folk tale of the soldier and the devil in a battle of wits for the soldier's soul but the plot is abstracted into little more than some symbolic tableaux and the choreography is un-engaging. The costumes and set by Bruce Maclean are bold and clunkily abstract too, the Devil's body-stocking is embarrassing.
Altogether I would rather have a production of the full drama with Ramuz's words.
"A fluent and theatrically striking work" THE SUNDAY TIMES "An immediate pleasure comes from the unity between dance, music and design, which speak with the same clear voice" THE SUNDAY TIMES.
The Devil: Gary Lambert, The Soldier: Glenn Wilkinson, The Princess: Amanda Britton. Rambert Dance Company with The Mercury Ensemble, Conductor Roger Heaton.