Monday, April 06, 2015

Watching Matthew Bourne in rehearsal...

Zizi Strallen rehearsing as Lana. Photo: (c) Micha Theiner
I trekked off to Three Mills Studios the other week to watch Matthew Bourne's company rehearsing the long-awaited revival of The Car Man and depict him in action... the resulting piece is in The Independent today, here.

By the way, part of the score for this roller-coaster Carmen adaptation are based on the Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin’s reworking for strings and percussion of highlights from the original, augmented with further arrangements by Terry Davies. Shchedrin made his version originally for his wife, Maya Plisetskaya, at the Bolshoi in the sixties; she was keen to dance the role of Carmen. Apparently she asked Shostakovich first, but the great Dmitri demurred. And Bourne says that he asked Shchedrin if he'd be interested in expanding the original. "He said something like 'Couldn't you play it backwards?', so I guess he wasn't," he remarks. Expanding the score was his first project with Terry Davies, he adds, and happily they have been working together ever since.

Shchedrin might well feel that he has had quite enough of Carmen: so quirky, fresh, convincing and useful is this suite that it has been taken up by ballet companies the world over. Carlos Acosta is planning a new version too. 

Last year was all about Manon; this year it's Carmen. I've just written an article about a fascinating play sparked by the idea of a singer who seems doomed to play Carmen over and over and over and over again. Should be out soon.