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April 17, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s CoppĂ©lia expertly executed at every level

Jack Yan/13.46


Royal New Zealand Ballet


Evan Li/Royal New Zealand Ballet

Top A publicity photograph from the Royal New Zealand Ballet for Coppélia, with Swanhilda, Franz and Coppélia. Above Kohei Iwamato as Franz and Lucy Green as Swanhilda from the premiÚre.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s CoppĂ©lia, which opened in Wellington on Thursday, is a lovingly designed and staged production that will suit family audiences.
   Set in a mountain village in Hungary, the RNZB’s production of CoppĂ©lia retains its well known storyline and period setting, with beautiful sets and costumes. The work of the late, award-winning designer Kristian Fredrikson is particularly poignant in the second act, inside Dr Coppelius’s house, where his seven very distinctive automatons, as well as CoppĂ©lia, rest. Two incomplete mannequins hung from the top. The third act, with the wedding scene, is another testament to Fredrikson’s design ability, evident through the villagers’ and Franz and Swanhilda’s wedding costumes. Jason Morphett’s lighting lifted the story, making it easy to follow—and it was the second act, too, with its moody atmosphere, where his work shone.
   Martin Vedel, ballet master on CoppĂ©lia, stayed true to the core of the story, with classical and folkloric dances playing out the plot. The energetic divertissements in the third act were perfectly performed. Vedel was, according to his notes, aware of the pre-modern, romantic period in which CoppĂ©lia was created, and sought to retain its beauty, but tightened up the storyline and more clearly portrayed Dr Coppelius—performed by Sir Jon Trimmer, who first danced it for the RNZB in 1964—as a social outcast.
   The 21st-century touches are, then, in the theatrics of the performance rather than the look and feel, although the limbless, faceless automaton, beautifully performed by Paul Mathews, could feel at home in science fiction to modern audiences.
   One cannot help but smile at the performances—after all, CoppĂ©lia is a happy, comedic ballet, and we noticed that the children on opening night enjoyed it as much as the adults. Lucy Green and Kohei Iwamoto were the well cast leads tonight, as Swanhilda and Franz respectively, dancing their roles expertly—and deservedly receiving standing ovations from some of the audience. Unsurprisingly, Sir Jon received similar acclaim, and Joseph Skelton as Zoltan, both in his emphatic solo and his dance with Katherine Grange as Ima, brought immediate reactions as well as loud applause at the end.
   Orchestra Wellington faithfully performed the LĂ©o Delibes score.
   After Wellington, CoppĂ©lia tours to to Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier, Rotorua, Takapuna, and Auckland, with the season ending on May 31 inclusive. Further information on dates and venues, as well as booking, can be found at the RNZB website.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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March 11, 2014

Jameson Irish Whiskey shows limited-edition bottle for St Patrick’s Day 2014

Lucire staff/10.22

In the spirit of St Patrick’s Day 2014, Jameson Irish Whiskey will release its fourth limited-edition design bottle, this time the work of illustrator Dermot Flynn.
   Flynn was inspired by the sights and sounds of Dublin, and his illustration features a pub, statues, monuments, and humorous Irish sayings.
   Jameson says the limited-edition bottle is a must-have for those who love Ireland and the Irish character. Says Kathryn Love, Jameson’s marketing manager in New Zealand, ‘In addition to its smooth, balanced taste, one of the things that whiskey fans around the world tell us they love about Jameson is its intrinsic Irish character. Jameson embodies the down-to-earth character of Dubliners so with this new limited edition, we wanted to bring that to life and celebrate the great city which inspired John Jameson to make his now iconic whiskey for the first time over 230 years ago.’
   The limited-edition bottle retails for NZ$64·99 from March 17, 2014 at selected outlets, while stocks last.

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March 4, 2014

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Ethan Stiefel to leave September 1

Lucire staff/9.13


Bill Cooper

In a surprise announcement, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s artistic director, Ethan Stiefel, has said he will leave the company on September 1.
   Stiefel has been with the RNZB since 2011. Under his artistic leadership, the RNZB has enjoyed record-breaking seasons, including 38,000 tickets sold for the Vodafone season of Swan Lake in 2013. His production of Giselle, created in collaboration with Johan Kobborg, was the subject of a feature film. The company also toured China in its 60th anniversary year in 2013, and the US last month, receiving very positive reviews. Under Stiefel, the RNZB increased its number to 36 full-time members (up from 32), while the standards have also risen. During his tenure, Nigel Gaynor was appointed musical director.
   In a release, Stiefel said, ‘Since 2011, I have enjoyed growing alongside the RNZB, and I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live and work in New Zealand. Despite how rewarding the experience has been, it has proved difficult on a personal level to be so far away from family and friends. Furthermore, the distance has also made it challenging to explore other professional projects that have been presented to me, without taking too much time away from the company. For these reasons, I will be leaving the RNZB on September 1st. I cannot thank everyone in the organization enough for their support, and I look forward to seeing the company continue to evolve and achieve great things.’
   RNZB chair, Candis Craven, said, ‘Ethan has made an incredible contribution to the RNZB. It was his vision and energy that most impressed us when we interviewed him for the role in 2011 and he has delivered that in spades, and so much more.’
   Programming is in place through to the end of 2015, including two world premiĂšres.
   Stiefel’s last season will feature Allegro: Five Short Ballets, which opens in Auckland on July 30. Stiefel’s fiancĂ©e, Gillian Murphy, who is the RNZB’s principal guest artist, will dance in Allegro. The RNZB says it hopes to continue its association with her in the future.
   CoppĂ©lia, now in rehearsal, will premiĂšre in Wellington on April 17.
   A new artistic director is expected to be appointed by September 1.

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March 2, 2014

Award-winning writer Carolyn Enting dĂ©buts ïŹrst novel, The Medallion of Auratus

Lucire staff/19.30

Award-winning writer Carolyn Enting (left)—whose work has graced our pages—has published her first novel, a labour of love called The Medallion of Auratus, now available at Amazon.
   Years in the making, Enting’s children’s book takes the reader on an other-worldly journey, already acclaimed by Meg Matthews of the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art as ‘beautifully written and gloriously descriptive’ and ‘utterly engaging and believable’ by Weta’s Kate Jorgensen.
   â€˜Enting takes us on a riveting journey that’s a mixture of Jules Verne and a Greek hero myth. It’s an intelligent read loaded with classical references that come to life for young readers,’ says journalist Patrick Rose.
   Its main character, Sam Donnelly, and his best friend, Jackson Brown, discover a magical gold medallion on the beach during the summer holidays. The pair must return the medallion to the Golden Tower in Auratus, in another realm which they had thought existed only in legends, or this world will be ruled by the evil Sea Lord, Sceleratus.
   Enting’s first draft was written as a teenager. Now 43, she completed the novel during her annual leave breaks while working as a full-time journalist over the last decade. She is now associate editor of Mindfood.
   The 65,000-word adventure is targeted at the seven- to eleven-year-old group but Enting says it equally appeals to adults.
   She says that the fantasy element is a logical step from her fashion coverage over the last decade and a half. ‘A big part of world of fashion, in particular haute couture, is pure fantasy,’ she says.
   Enting intends the book to be the first of an Ocean Quest series.
   In November 2013, Enting received the Star Beauty Outstanding Contribution to Beauty Journalism (New Zealand) award at the Beautydirectory Star Awards in Sydney.

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February 28, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s triple treat in New York

Lola Saab/23.47


Evan Li

Above The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Gillian Murphy and Qi Huan.

Martha Graham once said, ‘Dance is the hidden language of the soul.’ The famous American modern dancer and choreographer’s perspective of dance lives on, especially when watching immensely passionate dancers take centre stage. They rely on their bodies to tell a story, disregarding the use of words, to articulate a tale. Sir Jon Trimmer, a New Zealand ballet dancer, has expressed himself on stage since the age of 12. Numerous other talented ballerinas continue to convey their talent and flair for people to enjoy, capturing the mind, body and everlasting spirit.
   The Royal New Zealand Ballet came together in 1953 thanks to Royal Danish Ballet principal dancer, Paul Gnatt. After more than two decades, the Royal New Zealand Ballet came back to North America to provide viewers with a graceful treat. From Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, to Minneapolis and New York, they brought such elegance to the stage under Artistic Director, Ethan Stiefel. The bright lights glimmered on the Royal New Zealand Ballet at the Joyce Theater in Chelsea in New York City. February 12, 2014 marked its New York dĂ©but, presenting a brilliantly unforgettable evening with a three-part performance, providing everyone with their personal coup de cƓur. Each dancer shared a beautiful story with their powerful body movements, elegant hand gestures and expressive faces that induced smiles, curiosity and engagement from one spectator to the next. They demonstrated their aptitude in various ballet techniques without simply focusing on the classics. Dancers included Qi Huan, who joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2005, and Gillian Murphy, the guest principal dancer. They had both starred in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2012 production of Giselle, which was co-produced by Stiefel and Johan Kobborg, moving with nobility and charm.
   The first feature, entitled 28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini (2005), was choreographed by Benjamin Millepied with traditional ballet movements flowing to music by the famous pianist and composer, Johannes Brahms. The classic rhythm and serene atmosphere expressed a sense of tranquillity as the male and female dancers flowed to the tempo moving away from the simple pirouettes and ever-so tender plies, but setting the scene with sudden runs and swift leaps. The prospect brought a bit of the traditional steps into the 21st century, embracing classical dancing methods. Females wore luminous hues, adding a dab of colour reflected from the light that shone from the single chandelier, a solo feature focusing its radiant glow on every dancer’s stride.
   The next scene presented Of Days by New Zealand native Andrew Simmons, a choreographer, designer and former Royal New Zealand Ballet member. The piece, created in 2013, was flawless and stunning to watch. Silent interludes created spectacular tension, waiting for the next move to follow. Mirroring effects brought an extravagant image to the eye, as a result considerably flamboyant expressions came to life. Various international composers were on the playlist including Ludovico Einaudi, Olafur Arnalds and Dustin O’Halloran, expanding the options of music and allowing each personality to reveal their inner talents. Simmons’ work left spectators mesmerized.
   From Brahm’s classically traditional piano skills to percussionist Yim Hok-Man’s expressive Chinese drums pulsating through the speakers, there is a sudden transition as audience members are left to admire the dancers’ extraordinary skill in Banderillero. According to each gesture, dancers fight for their lives as a bullfighter would fight for his. The drums acted like a pounding heart frightened of the unknown outcome, expressing a sense of sheer excitement. Choreographed by Venezuelan choreographer, Javier de Frutos, the spectacular Spanish bullfight had the venue yearn for an encore as the dancers were given a well deserved standing ovation for their intense speed, incredible ability and impressive performance.
   The Royal New Zealand Ballet left audiences with an exceptionally marvellous treat. As they continue their international tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2015, New York anxiously waits for their return.—Lola Saab, Paris Editor

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February 14, 2014

Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, Chrissy Teigen share Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover, shot in the Cook Islands

Lucire staff/4.29

Three models share the cover honours for the 50th anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for 2014: Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, and Chrissy Teigen.
   The 2014 edition was revealed Thursday night on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit blog and dĂ©buted on national TV Thursday night in the US on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
   It is the first cover for all three models. Teigen has modelled for the special issue since 2010, and Agdal had her dĂ©but in 2012. It is Aldridge’s first year.
   The last time three models appeared on the cover was in 2006.
   The cover was shot by James Macari in the Cook Islands. The magazine itself will hit newsstands next week, in print and digital formats.
   Teigen also appears in Air New Zealand’s latest safety video, co-branded with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, which was also shot in the Cook Islands.
   Kate Upton had appeared on the cover over the previous two years.

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February 10, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, fall–winter 2014–15, day four videos

Lucire staff/9.46

After day four at the New York Fashion Week fall–winter 2014–15 collections, we have videos from David Tlale, Katya Zol, Lela Rose, Custo Barcelona, Parkchoonmoo, Georgine, Vivienne Tam, DKNY and Meskita. Today (day five), we’ll follow Mathieu Mirano, Caroline Herrera, Noon by Noor, Angel Sanchez, Dennis Basso, Milly by Michelle Smith, Katya Leonovichii and Reem Acra, which you can catch on our live player beginning at 9 a.m. EST.
   This was the day of brighter colours and more upbeat moods, if days one through three were about black and grey. Then again, this was also the day of Custo Barcelona, whose shows—ever since we began covering them for the fall 1999 season—have been happy affairs, along with Betsey Johnson’s. In Custo’s case, it has been Custo Dalmau’s willingness to inject colour and vibrancy into each collection without proceedings becoming stale, and fall 2014 is no exception. There were more furs and layering returned in a big way, which points to greater volumes coming into play for the season.
   But Lela Rose and Meskita were happy to depart from black, too, with gold, magenta and silks for the former, and Alessandra Meskita went away from earthy tones for more royal blues, burgundies, pinks and icy whites. Katya Zol also made good use of icy shades, as well as some seemingly comfortable leather trousers, while her models had a single line of gold down the centre of their faces. Parkchoonmoo was all about boldness, enjoyable geometric prints and glitter—and did so in refined fashion. Prints were also the order of the day at Czar by Cesar Galindo. Georgine went for luxury, with furs and silks, along with a helping of prints; and South African-born David Tlale, too, delivered elegant, refined and flowing looks with silk and gold ornamentation lifting his designs further.
   Vivienne Tam, meanwhile, derived her digital print design from inspiration from cave murals in Dunhuang, China. The prints were exquisite and detailed, and Tam managed to bring elements of her Chinese culture into the collection in a way that has cross-cultural appeal.
   The colour accolade, however, falls not with Custo on day four, surprisingly, but Diane von Furstenberg, with reds and cobalt blues lifting black and gold geometric prints as the designer also celebrated the 40th anniversary of her wrap dress. Her collection, cheekily entitled Bohemian Wrapsody, is about ‘A glamorous vagabond, she is on the run with her dreams and color.’ And that’s definitely, in the words of our Anna Deans, a wrap.

David Tlale

Katya Zol

Lela Rose

Custo Barcelona

Parkchoonmoo

Georgine

Vivienne Tam

DKNY

Meskita

Czar by Cesar Galindo

At the Pavilion

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February 8, 2014

Sponsored video: behind the scenes of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit–Air New Zealand safety video

Lucire staff/14.08

A Lucire special promotion


Air New Zealand, a member of the Star Alliance network, has already received a bit of press for its latest safety video, starring four current Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models, and veteran Christie Brinkley, who was put on the map thanks to the annual, iconic magazine special. But what happened behind the scenes of Safety in Paradise?
   For years, the airline has come up with some memorable safety videos, including one with air crew wearing nothing but body paint, another with fitness supremo Richard Simmons, a much talked-about Hobbit-themed video with Sir Peter Jackson and J. R. R. Tolkien’s descendants, and a puzzling animated one that made less thematic sense with Ed ‘Al Bundy’ O’Neill and actress and Lucire feature alumna Melanie Lynskey.
   The shoot for the latest safety video took place in the Cook Islands, a New Zealand territory and an idyllic, beautiful holiday location covered by Air New Zealand on its Auckland–Rarotonga and LAX–Rarotonga routes. Models Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes star in it, featuring on location, while the script called for a Brinkley’s involvement from a luxury home in Hollywood, California.
   All models are from the US with the exception of Gomes, who hails from Australia. She is the only Aussie to appear in four consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, and famously appeared in body paint, by New Zealander (and another Lucire feature subject) Joanne Gair, in 2010.
   Former Miss South Pacific Joyana Meyer also appears in the video.
   The video will be officially released on February 12, coinciding with the global celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. It will be rolled out across the Air New Zealand fleet at the end of the month.
   The airline worked with the magazine, which reaches 70 million people.
   Air New Zealand has had a shot in the arm lately thanks to a new CEO, Christopher Luxon, whose former experience lay in branding for a multinational.
   Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s head of global brand development said, ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has a massive worldwide television, online and print campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary and we’re incredibly excited to feature in that activity. The magazine alone has more than 61 million readers annually and the safety video shoot with Air New Zealand will feature in the special anniversary edition. This is money can’t buy global attention focused on a key destination and our airline.’
   At Lucire, the announcement of the cover girl in February is usually a high spot for web traffic, adding to the views from the autumn–winter fashion circuit.
   And it’s not just Air New Zealand that’s happy with the result. MJ Day, the editor of the Swimsuit Issue, called Safety in Paradise ‘a raucous safety video in the true spirit of SI Swimsuit and our Kiwi friends.’


Article sponsored by Air New Zealand




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