Sunday, June 12, 2016

Luke Jennings gives four out of five stars to the Northern Ballet Jane Eyre production in The Guardian:
The piece has been choreographed by Cathy Marston, whose sympathy for her source material is evident in clear plotting and a fluent movement language. Marston’s style is restrained, and rarely sensational. But because she builds her characters from the inside, the results are quietly enthralling.
Choreographically speaking, her approach is northern European rather than English. She has absorbed Mats Ek’s expressionism, which you see reflected in quirky duets and oblique exchanges, and the wry puritanism of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, delightfully evident in a classroom scene in which ranks of young women in shades of leaf-brown and moth-grey are learning lessons by rote.
In contrast to the movie soundtrack-style compositions overlaying the Royal Ballet’s recent Strapless and Frankenstein productions, Philip Feeney’s score is precisely in tune with Charlotte Brontë’s novel, with music by Schubert and the Mendelssohns (Felix and his sister Fanny) echoing its gothically inflected Romanticism.
Another review can be found in Express & Star:
Eight male dancers appear depicting Jane’s darkest fears; the demons in her subconscious. Within in this largely female dominated piece, their dexterity, technique and performance skills transport the audience into the deepest corners of their own mindset, leaving in its wake a somewhat uncomfortable sense of foreboding.
Similarly the female ensemble display precision in their stylised performance in the orphanage scene.
The ballet offers a new score by Philip Feeney and the exceptional Northern Ballet Sinfonia fills the theatre with waves of wonderful sound taking the audience on a journey through music alone.
The creative team offer a perfect representation of the novel,with atmospheric lighting effects, tiered scenery which gives the illusion of depth to the stage and the rolling moors, as well as superbly ravaged costumes in muted tones, which fit seamlessly into the turbulent, brooding mood of the piece. (Alison Norton)
The production is also listed on The Times critical list for the week. Another review can be read on Bum on a seat.

The News Shopper announces a concert for today by the Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble:
Church of the Ascension, Dartmouth Row, Greenwich, SE10 8AN
12 June, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
The Greenwich-based, husband-and-wife Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble performs an eclectic programme for piano 4 hands. This family friendly programme consists of Mozart’s Sonata K.381, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Faure’s Dolly Suite as well as their own arrangements of film music by John Williams (Jane Eyre, and Star Wars-Cantina Band), and Miklos Rozsa (Lydia Suite, and Exotic Suite). 
The Hindu celebrates Charlotte Brontë, 'first and foremost, a brilliant novelist':
The public perception of Charlotte has for long been that of the typical Victorian spinster, unassuming in looks and conventional in demeanour, thoughts and feelings. This image of the mousy, unhappy spinster — she married just a year before her death — was created partly by the perceived thematic conventionality of Jane Eyre and partly by the incompetent biography of hers written by E
lizabeth Gaskel, a writer who was quite unable to fathom the richness of Charlotte’s nature and genius. In a rebound, recent reappraisals of Charlotte’s life and personality have tended to paint a contrasting picture — that of a wildly passionate, though repressed, woman who was possibly bisexual and whose love for men, requited and otherwise, was shocking in its intensity.
This too is unfortunate because Charlotte, judged solely on the basis of her writings, richly deserves to be revered and remembered for her work. By harping on the unconventional intensities of her personal life, we perpetuate the mistake committed by earlier critics, that of emphasising her life and gender at the cost of her writerly genius. Moreover, the irony implicit in these contrary estimations of Charlotte’s life and personality is that by foregrounding her gender, critics of both camps do grave injustice to the fact that Charlotte, after Austen, proved that women could make fine writers and that women’s experience, authentically told, could form the subject matter of serious literature.
That brings one to another abiding theme in Charlotte Brontë studies — her similarity to or difference from her great predecessor Austen. While Charlotte herself was intolerant of such comparisons and openly critical of Austen’s perceived ‘coldness’, critics have often been at pains to find streaks of Austen in Charlotte. In fact, the latter was advised by G.H. Lewes to be less ‘sentimental’ and referred to Austen as the ideal. This tendency to perceive Charlotte in the light of Austen, arguably the first great woman novelist in English literature, is symptomatic not only of a critical failure to understand the distinctiveness of both authors, it also reflects the lamentable critical proclivity to lump together women’s writings as a separate sub-genre of literature, thereby denying women writers full citizenship in the republic of letters. It is difficult to conceive of two novelists more different from each other than Austen and Charlotte. (Read more) (Suparna Banerjee)
Some tweets from yesterday's Great Charlotte Debate in Haworth:
(Picture by @JuliaClarke)
Fittingly, El Blog Perdido de Laura (in Spanish) reviews VilletteThé, lectures et macarons (in French) posts about Agnes Grey.

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