It has beem argued that 16 y.o. young ladies are not capable of putting in a truly emotional performance. What do you think?
It has beem argued that 16 y.o. young ladies are not capable of putting in a truly emotional performance. What do you think?
....I think they do quite well and should be relegated to the Junior level until 18. Then they would stand a better chance, perhaps, of developing their skills on matured body parts that haven't been pounded and bruised while trying to catch up with the "ladies". Junior level for junior girls. Senior level for the ladies............42
You know me, Joe, I had to go with "cute."
I'm with you Mathman, and those kids have good tricks, too. But I can't imagine them back in 60s and 70s doing school figures.
Figure skating is an expensive sport and renting ice space for figures would be boring now when for the same money those kids can work on quads.
And they are cute.
if they were to make the ladies stay Junior until they are 18...as of right now, Canada would have umm...pretty much two senior ladies....
I think that it's fine to like the young skaters for what they do well, and that there's no reason to blame them for not being older than they are. Of course a sixteen year old has not yet (I hope) had to wallow very far through this tragic vale of tears called life. Young people may have a shallow view of suffering, love, death, etc. -- all the emotional biggies -- but hey, they know crushes and puppy love, they know sadness and disappointment, they know joy of a purity that us old folks can only envy, and I don't see why a youngster can't honestly portray on the ice the emotions that do bedevil the teenage years.
Take Michelle's Salome, for instance. To tell the truth, I didn't see any sex in it at all (thank goodness). Not like one does from a mature soprano down to her last veil in the Strauss opera. I saw only a marvellously talented skater showing her performing skills in a pretend storybook role. Similarly, I liked Sasha's Carmen last year, but she didn't make me want to jump her bones like mature stage Carmen's do. (Maybe teenaged boys have a different opinion about this.)
I have two recordings of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E flat performed by Wynton Marsalis. One was made when he was 20 (it won the grammy for best classical release that year, and he also won for best jazz ablum for Think of One).
The other was made when he was 30 (The London Concert).
Of course the 30 year old Marsalis played with a more mature tone, with more secure phrasing and greater attention to the relations between the movements etc., etc., etc. The earlier version was shrill in the upper register, contained a couple of outright sour notes, and, especially in the cadenza, seemed mostly designed simply to show how fast he could move his valves up and down.
Still, I liked the earlier performance better. There's just something about youth. It's that feeling of, "the world is my oyster and I gonna grab me the biggest pearl I can find," that we sacrifice in exchange for emotional depth as we get older.
So I say to the kids, come on, let's see what you got, there's plenty of time for all that other stuff.
Michelle's Salome was exceptional. It was more the essence of Salome and not the biblical tale. Of course, there will be the occasional 16 yo who will be able to carry a theme throughout their program, but most will be so concerned about their 3x3 combos (and higher) to really concentrate on the emotional impact of the music. At their best, I think the more bubbly the music the easier it is for them.
btw, many of the younger USA skaters will be in their 20s or close to them by 2006. Plenty of time to carve out better edges, flow, and interesting footwork. Let's see.
Also lets see what is going on right now in the Junior Ladies. The next Oly winner doesn't have to be from the USA.
"I think that it's fine to like the young skaters for what they do well, and that there's no reason to blame them for not being older than they are"
ITA, can not blame them for not older than they are. I think younger skaters should choose pieces that are age appropriate though. Remember how cute 13 y/o NNN was with her tiny pretty little one? Perfect for her age, OTOH if she tries Habanera from Carmen that will really be yuk!! It will be equally yuk if a 30 y/o Witt tries tiny pretty one. If young skater(s) trie(s) anything that is not age appropriate, (like 13 y/o dancers doing steaming hot Latin numbers) we don't blame them, but we have to question the wisdom of his or her coaches. We definitely don't have to like their numbers just because they are young and cute, and have balletic lines.
"Young people may have a shallow view of suffering, love, death, etc. -- all the emotional biggies -- but hey, they know crushes and puppy love, they know sadness and disappointment, they know joy of a purity that us old folks can only envy, and I don't see why a youngster can't honestly portray on the ice the emotions that do bedevil the teenage years"
Puppy love, and saddness experiences may not be enough to prepare a young skater for Tristan and Isolde, or Madame Butterfly. ( Still worry about AP using Madame Butterfly) I think there are alternatives that are good for the young skaters.
Imagine a young skater dressed in a pink costume, like she is going to attend a birthday party, skating to Um Bel Di, with lyrics (the music used in fatal attraction when Glenn Close fantasized about Mike Douglas). Butterfly was longing for Pinkerton's return, she fantasized 'ah some day when he returns I will flirt with him a little bit, we will make wild love'.
I don't think we can be blamed as audience for thinking the program is entirely in appropriate.
"I have two recordings of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E flat performed by Wynton Marsalis. One was made when he was 20 (it won the grammy for best classical release that year, and he also won for best jazz ablum for Think of One). The other was made when he was 30 (The London Concert).
I liked the earlier performance better. There's just something about youth. It's that feeling of, "the world is my oyster and I gonna grab me the biggest pearl I can find," that we sacrifice in exchange for emotional depth as we get older"
Musicians perform and record the same pieces over and over for decades. I have a feeling the 20 y/o Marsalis recording would not be his best or worst recording. Takako recorded Butterfly lovers violin concerto 7 times in 3 decades. Menuhin had a life long obssession with Beethoven's violin concerto since 9 y/o to late 70s. He first performed it at 12 with the Berlin Philharmonic, and his best performance was at his 30s. ( I do not have the 12 y/o recording, I speculate it was not as good as the later ones)
In the violin hierachy, Beethoven's v ct is the Mt Everest. Most teachers will put that as the top of the packing order. If you check the repertoire of some violinsts in their web page e.g. Chee Yun (in her late 20s), she is not even performing this piece in concert halls. Sarah Chang, child prodigy is performing it in concert halls, but has not made the step to commit to her first recording, and she is 20. Joshua Bell just recorded it for the first time, and he is 34. Hahn took the step to record it at 18, in 1998. (She did a good job, wonderful technique, IMO she still needs to digest this a bit more, but I respect her effort). It is not the most difficult piece to perform, for that they turn to Paganini, and Chang recorded her first piece of Paganin at 9. All these violinists have the talent to master the technique, but they have to gauge their own timing, and maturity before performing/ recording it. But if they choose to put this piece out in public, they will be judged on how well they deliver, don't get free passes just because they are young. I jumped onto the Hahn wagon after I bought her Beethoven cd, I am a fan, she has potential but that does not mean I pay her recording the same respect I have for Menuhin's legendary 1947 recording.
Returning back to topic, I believe there are pieces of music that require certain maturity from skaters. If they choose to skate to age inappropraite pieces, they will be judged by some audience for their inability to deliver.
BTW, Michelle's Salome was age appropriate, Salome was a teeage girl. The essence of Salome for me include and not limited to some budding teenage sexuality. Michelle delivered that in a very tasteful way.
Yes bring on the young cute ones with balletic lines, and find some age appropriate music and theme for them.
"Remember how cute 13 y/o NNN was with her tiny pretty little one?"
Do I remember! (I think it's "Little Bitty Pretty One," by the way). I saw it first in an exhibition way before the 1999 nationals exhibitions, where she made such a splash. I said at the time, "she's next" -- and I think she would have been if she hadn't been injured.
"Imagine a young skater dressed in a pink costume, like she is going to attend a birthday party, skating to Um Bel Di, with lyrics (the music used in fatal attraction when Glenn Close fantasized about Mike Douglas). Butterfly was longing for Pinkerton's return, she fantasized 'ah some day when he returns I will flirt with him a little bit, we will make wild love'.
"I don't think we can be blamed as audience for thinking the program is entirely inappropriate."
I so totally agree. Such a skater's coaches, not to mention her parents, should have their heads examined.
By the way, have you ever seen the real ending to Fatal Attraction? The movie that they released to the theaters completely dropped the "Madame Butterfly" idea and went with a conventional thriller ending. This made the use of the music in the first half of the film totally stupid and senseless. In the intended ending, Glenn Close kills herself in such a way as to put the blame on Michael Douglas. Once you know this, you can see any number of little details about how her plan was going to work.
But when they showed it to pilot audiences, the reaction wasn't so great so they changed the ending.
"(Hahn) has potential but that does not mean I pay her recording the same respect I have for Menuhin's legendary 1947 recording."
All right! All right! I'm going out TOMORROW and get the Menuhin-Furtwangler Beethoven. Then I'll know.
"BTW, Michelle's Salome was age appropriate, Salome was a teeage girl. The essence of Salome for me include and not limited to some budding teenage sexuality. Michelle delivered that in a very tasteful way."
Well, as I just now mentioned on the "essence" thread in the main folder, there is nothing at all "tasteful" about the story of Salome. But, yeah, some of these classical heroines are young girls. I think that Salome was supposed to be 15. Juliet was 14, as was Romeo, if I remember correctly. (I blame Friar Lawrence, who, as an adult, should have put the Kibosh on the whole affair.)
Snow White, on the other hand, was seven when the magic mirror proclaimed her the fairest of the land. After she ate the poisoned apple she slept for seven years before the Prince found her, during which time she didn't age. So when she married the Prince she was technically 14, but looked 7.
There is nothing at all "tasteful" about the story of Salome. A "literal" interpretation would have Michelle skating around with John the Baptist's head on a platter. (Mathman)
If you watch the national and GPF version of Salome, Michelle finished the program by extending her left arm and hand as if to receive a platter, went for the axel, and transferred the platter from L to R hand and offered that to Herodias. The story of Salome was not beautiful, whether you think it is about a murderous Herodias trying to shut up John, or a story of a little teenage girl at the wake of her budding sexuality being the victim and pawn in this ugly game, the essence of the story is not pretty. I am glad Michelle was willing to portray the ugly part of this story.
Irina's Tosca was not engaging at all. That headache moment she had was totally out of whack. I think she was trying to say, why? Why? (Joe)
Tosca too was not a pretty story and Tosca herself though a beautiful opera singer was also a schemer and killer. I think Irina's headache, or hair tearing out moment represent the ugliness side of this story. Whether she is convincing or not is very subjective. She did not convince Joe, but I think irina as Tosca is as convincing as Cohen's Carmen. I think at least Irina was willing to try some not as pretty moves to present Tosca. Unfortunately most operas are full of the non pretty side of life. In terms of literal or essence, Carmen's death / murder is not pretty. Is a skater willing to sacrifice the visual beauty of balletic lines to present it to us? I see that older skaters are more willing to take the risk. Michelle's Salome was an exception.
Michelle, too, at least for me, was not sexy enough for Sheherazade, but then she didn't attempt to interpret the music literally, so I preferred it over the other competitors. (Joe)
It is very subjective. To me Rimsky Korsakov's musical fairy tale of Sheherazade is for children and the young at heart. (I do not know the ballet). Many children will find R-Korsakov's Sheherazade, and Rossini's William Tell overture etc as fun and adventurous, I think even some adults do not expect sexiness out of the R-K score.
I have been thinking a lot about TRV. What was the story about? IMO, it is about a violin, (the best and perfect masterpiece from Cremona), and its violinists, owners journey through time. The essence of this story is about the whole range of human emotions and experiences, the beautiful, pleasant, ugly and wicked. There was the tender lullaby from Anna, the hope of Nicolo for his son, the happy anticipation of Kaspar and Poussan. Cruelty dealt Anna, and Nicolo with death of their hope. Kaspar and Poussan's dreams were crushed when Kaspar died in the audition. There was some comic relief with Lord Pope who managed to maintain the full vibrato, perfect bow stroke in the middle of hmmm..., call that the sexy part of the story. The Cultural Revolution was very wicked, and cruel.
There were a lot of criticisms about this program, the music was weird, the costume looked like it was designed by Victoria's Secret, and the besti squat was ugly. To me, MK as an artist was willing to take risks with TRV. The weird music became the vehicle for her to showcase this artistic masterpiece. The Victoria's secret costume represented the comic sexy side of the story. She was willing to incorporate an "ugly move" for the overall art of this program. In addition some of the lines and angles were not balletic, no baby ballerina praises from Button for sure.
Off off topic, Mathman, Menuhin and Furtwangler recorded the Beethoven twice, first time in Berlin. That was considered legendary due to the music making and the post WWII music politics. The second time was a few years later during the Lucerne festival, both were wonderful recordings. Warning, there is some minimal statics, you will not find modern day recording technology. BTW, if you want to buy the Bell cd and give me a review that will be real nice too.
Eltamina -- That was an astonishingly insightful post. Thank you.
Eltamina - Your interest and knowledge of music is second to none in this Forum. I nominate you to be the unofficial spokeswoman(?) of Music Expert.
Off Topic: I remember once discussing rhythm with an AfroAmerican who claimed Europeans and Asians don't have rhythm. When I mentioned Beethoven, I expected a 'well, maybe him'. What I got was that classical music has nothing to do with rhythm. IMO, Beethoven exudes rhythm. There are, of course, many Afro Americans who are quite knowledgable in serious music. This was just to give an example of non-knowledge, and to show how some people hold on to folk beliefs that just are generalities and not true.
On Topic: As to playing a specific dramatic character in a skating routine is, for me: l. don't be cute; 2. know who you are supposed to be; 3. give something to it that the originators didn't; 4. careful not to make it a spoof. and of course,
don't do any character from a lengthy story in 4-1/2 minutes. Better still, and quite rewarding is just being yourself.
Depends on what you mean by "emotional performance." I think the most important thing for a skater at any age is to show their "joy for skating." This really comes through when they are relaxed and are in tune with their performance. Of course, maturity and experiece adds to the skaters ability to relate to the music and to the audience. Skaters learn these mechanics as they grow.
I keep reading over and over by a number of posters that "16yo Michelle's 'Salomé' was the exception." Exception to what? It was exceptional in that they took a lovely young 16yo with good jumping abilities and very poor grace and dramatic movement interpretive abilities, gunked her face up with make-up, put her in a Vegas-glitz unflattering costume, and had her try to execute choreography that made her look like "a stiff and uncoordinated little lamb who had lost her way."
The judges were fooled by the extraordinary change in Michelle from '95 (little kid in ponytail) to her '96 SP performance of "Romanza" (choreography and style within her comfort zone) and the preference for "Salomé's" drama vs. Lu Chen's more choreographically complex but abstract "Rachmaninoff" program (plus Chen's SP was choreographically weak, relatively speaking, and the costume with the leaves over her breasts that looked like a pair of hands didn't help). Michelle's "Salomé" is the most overrated, overmarked ladies singles LP in modern skating history.
ITA agree with Mathman that Eltamina is the "musicologist extradordinaire of GS," but as PT Barnum quotes have been used often lately, let me add, "You can fool some of the people all of the tme (eg, "Salomé"), all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Once the judges were fooled, most US figure skating fans went "Emperor's New Clothes" with Michelle and "Salomé" out of desperation for a US champion skater who was cute, nice, and didn't diss Mickey Mouse when she didn't think she was being recorded (talk about whining, I think Nancy Kerrigan took that crown in '94 and nobody since has come close).
Michelle had no emotion to invest in "Salomé." The movement transitions were weak, the spins and skating slow, and most of the time she looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights until after she hit the last triple and the ending position--the jumps were good, or at least consistent, except for the 3/3. Any "emotional expression" in "Salomé" is in the head of the watcher who saw one or two moments of "angst" in Michelle's face and went wild with "YES! SHE IS OUR SAVIOR!" "Romanza": Within her style and range; Michelle looking good. "Salomé": Reminded me of of Charles Foster Kane's mistress in "Citizen Kane" being forced to sing opera. I love the shot where she is "singing" her debut and the camera pans up about eight stories to two techies on the catwalk. One looks at the other and the other simple pinches his nose in the classic "PU" gesture.
Really, Really Mean Ol' Rgirl
Oksana's performance (esp. Swan Lake) at 16 (and 15 for that matter at Worlds) was extraordinary, way beyond her years. Of course as we all know now, Oksana had, in fact, suffered greatly in her young life so perhaps it isn't all that surprising that she was able to translate that into her skating.
Looking back at Michelle's "Salome" in contrast, it had nowhere near the emotional depth of what Oksana did at 15-16.