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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

 


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.

 


Lancôme and Muséum national d’histoire naturelle to preserve endangered plant species

Filed by Lucire staff/April 22, 2021/12.29


F.-G. Grandin/MNHN; top photo by Agnès Iatzoura/MNHN

Lancôme has partnered with the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) with the aim of preserving endangered plant species, in a new conservation project.
   In a statement, its global brand president Françoise Lehmann said, ‘We are proud to participate in the conservation of endangered plant species like the Rose of France (Rosa gallica), as part of a global partnership with the National Museum of Natural History, whose international influence is recognized. The museum is a leading organization when it comes to research and expertise in the field of biodiversity protection and we are proud to take part in this important mission which meets France’s commitments for the Convention on Biological Diversity.
   â€˜Protecting biodiversity is major component of Lancôme’s sustainability programme [dubbed Caring Together for a Happier Tomorrow]. The brand is already spearheading this mission in Grasse and Valensole, in the south of France, where we are growing roses and other plant species in an organic and sustainable way across 25 acres of land.’
   The project is being implemented by the museum’s Conservatoire botanique national du Bassin parisien (the CBNBP, or the National Botanical Conservatory of the Paris Basin), which sees the reintroduction of endangered plant species. Seeds had been collected and banked earlier in the CBNBP’s regions and will be planted in experimental gardens.
   Among those species is Rosa gallica, which ties in with Lancôme’s own symbol, as well as Arnica montana, campanula cervicaria, inula hirta, ranunculus hederaceus and viscaria vulgaris.

 


Cardi B and Reebok launch full apparel collection for summer

Filed by Lucire staff/April 13, 2021/20.35



It was probably inevitable that Reebok would build on its collaboration with Cardi B after how quickly her collection sold out last October. That collection, with retro colours and motifs applied to the Reebok Club C sneaker, recalled the rapper’s own fashion choices, such as a bright red dress she wore to the Met Gala in 2019.
   Reebok has now announced its first apparel collection with Cardi B, called the Summertime Fine collection, releasing April 23 at 10 a.m. EDT. This time, the German-owned brand stresses that it was a full collaboration, with Cardi involved since the beginning of the design process, and trying on every piece herself.
   Rather than the ’80s vibe of the shoes, there’s a ’90s one this time, recalling Reebok’s own vintage styles and Cardi’s memories of summers on the Coney Island boardwalk. Colours are bright red and pastel purple, with cinched waists and mesh cutouts, designed to be fashionable both at the gym and on the street. Sizes range from 2XS to 4X. Matching footwear, in the shape of the Cardi B Club C, will also be available, in women’s and children’s sizes.
   â€˜I’m so proud to announce my first apparel line with Reebok. This collection gives every woman the product they need to feel sexy and confident; the waist-snatching tights and curve hugging silhouettes make every body look amazing,’ she said.









 


Labelhood kicks off Shanghai Fashion Week autumn–winter 2021–2 with hit live-streamed show

Filed by Lucire staff/April 7, 2021/21.34


Labelhood, China’s first fashion incubator combining design and brand management, has presented its first show at the Tank Shanghai complex, opening Shanghai Fashion Week’s autumn–winter 2021–2 Shanghai Fashion and Lifestyle Carnival.
   The show was hosted by beauty influencer Li Jiaqi, and streamed on his Taobao channel, which allowed audiences to purchase the items they saw in the show. On the show were Deepmoss’s Liu Xiaolu, 8on8’s Gong Li, and Yirantian’s Guo Yirantian. Labelhood selected 26 items from 13 brands, including Private Policy, the Flocks, and Motoguo, as well as established labels such as Uma Wang, Yirantian, and Deepmoss.
   Estimated views exceeded 10 million, according to Labelhood, with online sales also exceeding that number. There had been no need to discount, with brand development more the focus of the event.
   Labelhood, or Leihu to give its transliteration from Chinese, has run its services for 12 years, and collaborated with Li to get its independent brands in front of a larger audience.
   This season the incubator hosted 32 brands at its Labshowroom.
   Labelhood has four physical retail stores in Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou, and has branded spaces in Lane Crawford in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong. It also has a Tmall presence, and supported its designers to open there, including Tirantian, Shushu/Tong. Deepmoss and Motoguo. In addition, it has cooperative deals with over 100 retail channels, including SKP, Galeries Lafayette and Net-à-Porter.
   The incubator has successfully attracted younger buyers who favour independent designers.


 


Giselle, a Royal New Zealand Ballet favourite, returns for May–June 2021

Filed by Lucire staff/March 29, 2021/0.06


Giselle is back: the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s acclaimed ballet from 2012, which toured the world after its première in Wellington, and which became a 2013 feature film by Toa Fraser, will return in May and June 2021.
   Conceived by former RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel and choreographer–director Johan Kobborg, Giselle was praised by this magazine both at its début and its 2016 tour. We wrote in 2012: ‘it distinguishes itself through clever choreography … stunning costumes by Natalia Stewart, and Kendall Smith’s lighting (and lightning). Howard C. Jones’s scenic design gave Giselle a visual depth, using different shades to gain perspective, and making the production feel even grander …
   â€˜The high standards in these areas complemented the outstanding choreography and production by RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel and Royal Ballet principal dancer Johan Kobborg. Stiefel and Kobborg, both of whom have danced the role of Albrecht, have collaborated brilliantly …’
   Audiences will have a chance to experience it again in Wellington (May 12–15), Palmerston North (May 19), Napier (May 22–3), Auckland (May 27–9), Christchurch (June 4–5) and Dunedin (June 9). Hamish McKeich will conduct 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.
   RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker says, ‘We have reached into our vault of precious gems and great, beloved ballets, and can’t wait to be on stage again with Giselle. New Zealand audiences and dancers have shared an almost 70-year love affair with this ballet, which continues to enthrall us all with its elegance and timeless story.’

 


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