The Wellesley Cinema’s series of ‘Live’ transmissions continues on Tuesday 5 May with the screening of the Royal Ballet’s production of ‘La Fille Mal Gardee’ at 7.15.
Frederick Ashton’s final full-length ballet, inspired by his love for the Suffolk countryside, tells the story of Lise, the only daughter of Simone, a widow and owner of a prosperous farm. Lisa loves Colas, a young farmer but Simone has far more ambitious plans, and has determined Lise should marry Alain, the son of a wealthy landowner. Alain seems as uninterested in marrying Lise as Lise is Alain. Simone initially takes the hard line but eventually gives Lise and Colas her blessing.
Mark Monahan, The Telegraph’s Dance Critic, said, “On paper La Fille Mal Gardée could come across as the most ordinary full-length work in The Royal Ballet’s repertory. It contains no myth, magic or moonlight. It does not concern itself with the actions of noble, exotic or glamorous families. Although the couple’s caresses are mildly illicit, there is not so much as a flicker of infidelity. And every character makes it to the end not only very much alive, but even more serenely happy than they were at the start – hardly high drama, it would seem.
But how misleading ‘paper’ can be – for there is nothing remotely ordinary about Ashton’s Fille. Set to John Lanchbery’s effervescent reworking of Ferdinand Herold’s 1828 score, this giddily optimistic romantic comedy is as close to perfection as it is possible to be. It was an instant triumph on its creation in 1960, and, more than fifty years on, continues to inspire a unique and universal affection.”
On 19 May ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ from the English National Opera will be screened at 7.30.
Renowned film maker and director Mike Leigh is directing this production, his first venture into opera and the first time in half a century that he has directed anything that isn’t focused on his own scripts or born of a long-gestating process. This much-loved opera of ‘sentimental pirates, blundering policeman, absurd adventures and improbable paradoxes’ opens in London on 9th May.
San Francisco Opera’s recorded production of ‘Show Boat’ will be screened on 24 May at 4pm.
A classic of American musical theater, this tale of life on the Mississippi from the 1880s to the 1920s is both a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of the bitter legacy of racism. Director Francesca Zambello’s production has been called “a triumph—a stylish, fast-paced and colorful show that had the capacity audience on its feet, cheering loud and long” (Chicago Classical Review). The Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II score, which includes such classic songs as “Ol’ Man River,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” “Make Believe” and “You Are Love,” sounds “glorious under the authoritative baton of music-theater maestro John DeMain” (Chicago Tribune). “No one should miss it” (Chicago Sun-Times).
The National Theatre’s recorded production of George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Man and Superman’ follows on 28 May at 7pm.
The production stars Ralph Fiennes in the role of John Tanner, a celebrated radical thinker and rich bachelor who is chosen as the unlikely guardian of the alluring heiress, Ann. Despite the love of a poet, she decides to marry and tame this dazzling revolutionary.
Tanner, appalled by the whiff of domesticity, is tipped off by his chauffeur and flees to Spain, where he is captured by bandits and meets The Devil. An extraordinary dream-debate, heaven versus hell, ensues. Following in hot pursuit, Ann is there when Tanner awakes, as fierce in her certainty as he is in his.
Fiennes leads a cast in a production that critics have applauded. Dominic Cavendish, writing in The Telegraph, said, “It’s Fiennes’s night – and it’s one of triumphant vigour and versatility. The danger is that Tanner will turn into a priggish, conceited bore but the actor maximises the twinkling, good-humoured charisma of the man, while letting you appreciate his volatile mixture of self-certainty, cynicism and borderline hysteria.
Has he ever been more in command on stage? When he and Indira Varma’s attractive, poised and coolly appraising Ann do finally let love conquer all, somewhat in the sheepish manner of Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado, the evening, blessed with galvanised performances across the board from a tireless ensemble, achieves a matching Shakespearean warmth that is as delightful as it is surprising. Super, man.”