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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 Vėjalis 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. Vėjalis and Tanigaito were convincing as young lovers in their pas de deux in the first act; Vėjalis’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 Vėjalis, 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

 


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.

 


Rachel Hunter headlines NZ Spirit Festival with exclusive workshop

Filed by Lucire staff/April 12, 2021/23.26


With the announcement of a “travel bubble” between Australia and New Zealand, the New Zealand Spirit Festival at the Kumeu Showgrounds has reported a surge of Australians booking to come to the wellness event, to be held April 22 to 25. Model, TV host and yoga practitioner Rachel Hunter headlines the event with a workshop on the first day.
   A powhiri will take place at 4 p.m. on April 22. There are wellness workshops, including one hosted by Dr Bruce H. Lipton, a trained cell biologist who is known for his work in bridging science and spirit.
   Hunter’s workshop will see her teaching breathing techniques, meditation and asanas. She studied meditation and yoga in India, the US, and the UK.
   The workshops take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the full days, across five workshop zones covering yoga, meditation, haka workshop for women, holotropic breath work, and more. After 7 p.m. attendees can expect to listen and dance to music, including New Zealand acts such as Tiki Tane, Maisey Rika, and NZ Spirit co-founder Franko Heke.
   The festival is drug- and alcohol-free, says Heke. ‘We have constant feedback about really big changes happening for people during the festival. It’s an opportunity to change a habit, improve your overall health and well-being and meet new friends within a community of like-minded and healthy people,’ he says. ‘You don’t have to be cool here, or worry about what you’re wearing. It’s about expressing your true self and discovering a little deeper who that person is through our diverse workshops.’
   The festival also brings together young and old, with preferential pricing for over 55s and for young people. There is also a fully programmed kids’ zone.
   A full workshop programme is available here, along with healers’ profiles. There are camping options, food tricks serving vegan and vegetarian food, and a market village. Ticket prices are NZ$239 for a four-day pass, with day passes ranging from NZ$139 to NZ$239. Teens’ price is NZ$169. A booking fee of NZ$5 applies.
   More can be found at nzspiritfestival.com.

 


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.

 


Dreaming of Saint-Tropez and Sardegna

Filed by Lucire staff/February 28, 2021/17.30




Above, from top: Airelle’s newly-renovated 103-room Château de la Messardière overlooks San Tropez from a wooded hilltop. The inside swimming pool at the spa. The outside terrace.

Like our faithful readers, Lucire’s luxury travel writers look forward to the imminent relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions as the warm summer months approach. It’s been a long eighteen months of self-isolation, with much time for self-reflection. We’ve asked ourselves what is really important, and reconsidered our priorities. In the future we will travel less, but travel better. Three exceptional new Mediterranean destinations call out to us.
   We’re big fans of La Bastide in Gordes, France, a much beloved five-star from the Airelles collection. We’ve reported previously on Val d’Isère’s Mademoiselle from the same group.
   Airelles has two fresh surprises for us. Château de la Messardière, a majestic five-star palace hotel perched atop a landscaped hill on the outskirts of Saint-Tropez has undergone extensive renovation over the last two years and is due to open for the summer season on July 1, 2021. The hotel reduced its room count to 103 rooms and suites, each with their own private terrace, created two signatures suites, and now includes exceptional dining and wellness options. Down on the shore, Pan Deï Palais, a historic boutique hotel with only ten guest rooms and two suites is also available for exclusive private hire. Decorated in honour of a famous love story between an Indian princess and a French army general, the Pan Deï Palais is more like an intimate and luxurious family home with all the exotic charms of an Indian palace. It’s home to Dolceva restaurant, one of St Tropez’s most sought-after dining spots. A hidden gem away from the crowds, Dolceva celebrates la dolce vita in a typically Mediterranean setting with chef Marco Garfanini reimagining transalpine classics. Both of these premium grade properties sit at the top end of the market in price, comfort, culinary and wellness offerings.
   The always-superlative Baglioni Group reimagines post-pandemic luxury with the brand new Baglioni Resort Sardinia in Puntaldìa, offered under the umbrella of the Leading Hotels of the World. Slated to open on June 1, 2021, the 76-suite property is set on Sardegna’s northeast coast, within the Tavolara marine reserve, near Lu Impostu, one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Includes fabulous views across the crystalline bay, spacious and modern rooms, large pool, sun terrace and a kids’ club. A new gourmet restaurant, Gusto by Claudio Sadler promises outstanding fruits of the sea. The 4 ha. private estate sweeping down to the ocean is a remarkable private address for your return to the comforts of discreet getaway destinations.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor




Above, from top: Airelles’ Pan Deï Palais is a discreet 10-suite palace set within the city limits of St-Tropez. It features Dolceva, a celebrated on-site fine dining gourmet restaurant.


Baglioni’s brand new Baglioni Resort Sardinia in Puntaldìa is set on a 4 ha. site fronting a pristine bay with fabulous views.

 


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