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Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle revival has a fresh, youthful energy

Filed by Jack Yan/May 12, 2021/12.28





Stephen A’Court

Giselle has become one of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s signature productions since this version was conceived by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg in 2012, and each season—this is the third in New Zealand—brings with it a different energy, as well as newfound elements to enjoy. The cast changes this time bring with them a more youthful take, while the production values and design give Giselle a sense of depth and quality.
   Opening night’s Mayu Tanigaito, in the title role, is no stranger to Giselle, having taken the role in the 2016 season on occasion opposite Daniel Gaudiello, though that time Lucy Green and Qi Huan took the leads on opening night. Qi is still missed as one of the great ballerinos of the company, but in his place tonight, Laurynas VÄ—jalis has the required regal manner to carry out the role of Albrecht.
   Tanigaito is a seasoned dancer yet exudes a youthful quality as Giselle—a perfect casting—and her solo seeing her en pointe with a series of fouettés brought spontaneous applause from the audience at the Opera House in Wellington. VÄ—jalis and Tanigaito were convincing as young lovers in their pas de deux in the first act; VÄ—jalis’s solo is happy, upbeat and confident. It’s hats off to Paul Mathews who brought real energy to Hilarion, who is frustrated and hurt by Giselle’s love for Albrecht. Being a taller dancer than VÄ—jalis, and executing large moves on stage, you could feel Mathews’ Hilarion trying to demonstrate desperately his feelings for Giselle—and one would almost be forgiven for sympathizing with him, if his character hadn’t also brought out a knife at the first sign of feeling he had been jilted.
   We had seen Tanigaito perform the role of Myrtha, queen of the Wilis, in 2016, and it remains a role that has a dominant presence in Act II. Sara Garbowski’s solo at the start of the second act was a skilful and beautiful piece of classical ballet, and there is a beauty to the sight of the veiled Wilis, resplendent in tulle. It’s in this act that the principal roles really shine in this production: Hilarion is consumed by the forces of the Wilis and shows a vulnerable side, while Albrecht dances for his life more passionately than the assured aristocrat of the first act. This is a more touching, emotional act, performed successfully by the principal dancers.
   When you see the minor roles—such as the group of 12 Wilis—you realize that there is plenty of young talent in the company and its future seems assured.
   Special mention must be made once again to Howard C. Jones’s scenic design, and lighting design by Kendall Smith. Natalia Stewart’s costumes remain as exquisite as they did when we first viewed this ballet in 2012. Clytie Campbell, who herself had performed in Giselle in 2012, faithfully staged the revival with Stiefel and Kobborg’s supervision, as neither was able to travel to New Zealand.
   Hamish McKeich faultlessly conducted Adolphe Adam’s music, more than ably performed by Orchestra Wellington, who give the impression of a bigger score.
   After Wellington (May 12–15), Giselle heads to Palmerston North (May 19), Napier (May 22–3), Auckland (May 27–9), Christchurch (June 4–5) and Dunedin (June 9). Hamish McKeich conducts the Adolphe Adam score with Orchestra Wellington, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in those centres, with the Wellington recording used elsewhere. More details can be found here.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher





Stephen A’Court

 


How ethical are the clothes we buy today?

Filed by Lucire staff/May 7, 2021/12.23

Top photograph: Amanda Vick/Unsplash

Our garments speak volumes of our values and set the stage for the image we want to build of ourselves. We wear red to portray power. Black is our surefire way to exude sophistication. Silk is luxurious while denim is urban and rebellious. The clothes we put on every morning tell a story—but they also build our intricate relationship with the world.
   What might feel good on your skin might not lie so comfortably on your conscience. With sweatshops, underaged workers, toxic dyes, and seasonal collections rushing to the shelves, the restless beat of fast fashion has stirred many to take a different approach. We now have access to a wide selection of brands that are paving the road toward a better, cleaner, safer future.

Ethical stamps and labels
Fortunately for us, fashion aficionados, it’s relatively easy to come across labels that can be trusted today. However, you can also go beyond what you find online and research what your locally present brands are all about. Perhaps they can offer ethical certification to show just how committed they are to the cause, and what they are doing to make a difference.

Local shops for a greater impact

Becca McHaffie/Unsplash

Large-scale fashion brands often lack the transparency we need to know if they don’t have any sweatshops handling the manufacturing, or similarly unethical processes behind their public image. Small, local businesses are the ones that offer all that information openly—you can easily find their manufacturing facilities or design shops around the corner and talk to their employees.
   In eco-conscious regions like Australia, everything from casualwear to formalwear can be purchased in the same spirit. The selection of ethical women’s workwear in Australia is also on the rise, and many professional women are choosing the kind of attire that lasts for years on end. This philosophy combines the idea of timelessness and the spirit of local brands to support the development of ethical fashion.

Long-lasting, not seasonal
As alluring as it is to switch our wardrobes at the turn of every season, that is precisely what keeps the wheels of fast fashion turning. We can do better. Opting for timeless instead of trendy, and choosing durable pieces made of materials that can last for more than a couple of months should be one of the pillars of ethical shopping.
   Go for garments made of sustainable and durable fabrics like linen, hemp, and bamboo. Look for other alternatives that will keep your items wearable for a good, long while.

Brand transparency and reports

Mr Lee/Unsplash

Brands that turn to vague terminology and zero access to real data are the ones we should steer clear of. Fashion labels that are transparent in the kind of efforts they are making are the ones we can turn to for truly ethical dressing. Be it accessories the likes of Elvis & Kresse, or athleisure, you can easily find brands that share their impact with the public.

The fabrics and dyes in use
Sustainable processing and manufacturing are two major aspects of ethical brands. Microplastics in synthetic fibres tend to cause irreparable damage to the marine world and the entire planet. As for the toxic dyes so frequently used, they also cause immense damage to water even in urban areas where that same water should be safe for drink and the local ecosystems.
   Some brands are looking for ways to recycle and repurpose for the sake of ethics. Like Coco Veve from Britain and Horizon Athletic from Australia, many are making way for smarter choices in fabric selection, for us to make better choices in how we dress.
   Ethical brands don’t hide behind vague terminology such as ‘responsible’ or ‘clean’. They showcase the impact of their work in data, reports, and employee reviews, and they make sure you can access it all in a matter of clicks.
   The idea that ethical clothing is costly should be dismantled right away—it all depends on the price you’re willing to pay for the health of your family, yourself, the people participating in the making of your clothing, and the natural world. Is the extra couple of dollars really going to offset your budget as much as toxic dyes and unfair labour can devastate our economies and the planet for the long haul? The choice is, ultimately, yours to make.—Peter Minkoff

Peter Minkoff is a fashion and lifestyle editor at Trend Privé magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

 


Richter immersion with Baur au Lac Zürich

Filed by Lucire staff/April 29, 2021/1.31




This summer there will be no better place than Zürich to view over 140 works of art by Gerhard Richter, widely considered to be one of Germany’s most important contemporary visual artists. Many works have not been seen in public for decades. An exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich focuses on a genre central to his oeuvre: landscape, with over 80 paintings as well as drawings, prints, photo collages, overpainted photographs and artist’s books. This is one of Europe’s must-see shows for 2021.
   Baur au Lac, one of our favourite hotels in the world, has crafted an Artful Vibes by Gerhard Richter package, celebrating Richter’s exhibition, but it is available only until July 25, 2021. The exceptional package includes one night in a junior suite with breakfast, admission to the exhibition, private transfer to and from Kunsthaus Zürich in Baur au Lac’s Bentley Flying Spur, a SFr. 100 food and beverage voucher redeemable at one of the hotel’s three restaurants, welcome amenity, and complimentary minibar. Package price starts at SFr. 1,140 per night. A private tour of the exhibition can be added for a supplement of SFr. 220.
   Baur au Lac, with its 119 rooms and remarkable suites, lives in a dreamlike landscaped park in a beautifully maintained heritage building located on the edge of Lake Zürich. It’s one of the most legendary and historic five-star hotels in the world, and home to the two-Michelin-starred Pavillon restaurant. A stay taken in tandem with the Richter show would be a brilliant reintroduction to next world of luxury travel. Highly recommended.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

 


Linda Gair pays tribute to famous artists in Auckland exhibition, Homage

Filed by Lucire staff/April 26, 2021/5.25


Artist Linda Gair—sister of make-up artist Joanne, whose work appears regularly in Lucire—is having an exhibition, Homage, from April 29 at the Railway Street Gallery, at 8 Railway Street, Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand.
   Gair herself has been an art teacher and educator since she turned 50, but has been a lifelong artist. Her works in this latest exhibition are tributes to artists we all know and love—Kahlo, Matisse, Picasso, Rivera, McCahon, Louise Henderson—appearing on a collected piece of plywood, or a bowling ball, or some other found item. These are not replicas, but a postmodern commentary on art and masterpieces, bringing them into three dimensions complete with distortions.
   The official opening takes place on Saturday, May 1, from 12 to 3 p.m., while Gair herself will give a talk on May 8 at 1 p.m., with insights into a number of the pieces and the artists she chose to pay homage to. The exhibition runs till the 18th. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 


SMoss’s Great Again charts the course of the Trump presidency

Filed by Lucire staff/April 11, 2021/2.08





Lucire travel editor Stanley Moss, writing as SMoss, has put together a limited edition volume documenting the presidency of Donald J. Trump, available in both a hardcover collectors’ edition and a smaller paperback.
   Entitled Great Again, the book begins with a cover showing a worn ‘Make America Great Again’ cap discarded on the pavement. Inside are images from the 45th presidency, including press coverage, artwork, memes and other cultural artefacts from the four-year period.
   The large-format version measures 30 cm square and retails for €102, with the price going up to €120 after April 15. The price includes international shipping. Its smaller counterpart measures 20 cm square, and is available at €51 (€60 after April 15).
   They are privately printed in Italy. Both are individually numbered hand-signed by the author.
   They are available only by special order through emailing the author at info@diganzi.com, and will not be made available on Amazon. There are some videos showing the books and their contents at the official page, www.secondguesspress.com/greatagain-book.


 


Time Oak Hotel & Suites in Dubai offers Ramadan specials, including authentic Iftar

Filed by Lucire staff/April 4, 2021/22.13


The Time Oak Hotel & Suites at Barsha Heights, Dubai, are running a Ramadan special, with both food and accommodation specials.
   At the Pranzo and Al Bal restaurants, start with dates and fresh fruit juices, then hot and cold mezzeh and assorted soups and salads from the salad bar.
   For the main course, lamb ouzi with oriental rice, mixed grills, including beef, chicken and seafood, and pasta dishes.
   For dessert, dried fruits, traditional Arabic desserts, and Um Ali and French pastries.
   The chef will host a live cooking station with specials including kunafa and koshari, served from a Ramadan cart, and an action food station with saj, pizza and homemade breads. In addition, Al Bal will feature a live mint tea service and sahlab drinks’ station.
   Prices begin at Dhs.139 for the buffet, to Dhs.165 for buffet and shisha. These are available from sunset to 9 p.m. There is a 30 per cent discount for bookings made before April 13, 2021.
   There is also a Ramadan Iftar family meal for four to six at Dhs.299, available daily.
   For Ramadan, suites are priced at Dhs.259 for single occupancy and Dhs.319 for double for those who wish to get away. Find out more at www.timehotels.ae.

 


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