29 January, 2009

HK Ballet: Faye Leung released

HK Ballet: Faye Leung released

(Amendment Feb 15, 2009)

I again read from the newsgroup 3music.classical that Leung had been apologized to and offered the post of "guest" principal:

"...受 政 府 資 助 的 香 港 芭 蕾 舞 蹈 團 出 現 戲 劇 性 解 僱 事 件。 團 中 台 柱 、 高 級 首 席 舞 蹈 員 梁 菲 , 被 舞 蹈 團 解 僱 兩 星 期 後 ,事 件 迴 路 轉 , 梁 菲 表 示 前 晚 舞 蹈 團 行 政 總 監 徐 嘉 鳴 為 粗 魯 的 解 僱 手 法 向 她 道 歉 , 並 口 頭 邀 請 她 作 「 客 座 首 席 舞 蹈 員 」, 梁 菲 暫 時 未 決 定 是 否 接 受 ...上 海 出 生 的 梁 菲 , 96 年 從 上 海 來 港 加 入 芭 蕾 舞 蹈 團 , 由 普 通 群 舞 演 員 逐 步 晉 升 至 高 級 首 席 。 香 港 芭 蕾 舞 蹈 團 每 年 受 政 府 資 助 二 千 多 萬 , 首 席 舞 蹈 員 年 薪 40 至 60 萬 元 (摘自 蘋果日報 二月五日

But apparently all of this seems rather unofficial, and as noted in the thread, there was an article in Feb 8's Ming Pao critical of the HKB administration, and responsible officials have not stepped up to explain to the public.

(Original Post)
Today I was shocked when I read a post in the newsgroup 3music.classical:

“...Incident described in a forum:


Official press release:


I wonder if the firing and the resignation will affect their "All Bach"performances during the upcoming HKAF...."

Click here, and here, for her official site(s).

To me Faye Leung is without doubt THE classical ballet dancer in HK. Ever since I watched her as Juliet in 2007 I have become a hugh fan of hers. She is a STAR who can convey unbirdled joy and that rarest of qualities, PASSION. This is not only HK Ballet's loss, it's HK's loss.

Here is what I wrote at that time (posted in the same newsgroup then):


HK Ballet/HKPO/Prokofiev/Romeo and Juliet

Shatin Town Hall

I attended last night's performance at Shatin Town Hall, less for watching the ballet and more for the opportunity of hearing the complete score of Prokofiev, one of my favorites. Hence I was really stunned by how the whole thing came together.

Shatin’s more humble scale meant a more crowded stage, some compression in the visual lines and a little loss in grandeur, but the gain in intimacy proved more vital. Even from my upstairs seat it was obvious this is a stunning production.

This is from choreographer van Dantzig’s 1967 work, fully 40 years ago! Despite “old” influences of Graham and Balanchine, it speaks to us eloquently and did not seem dated. Most enchanting was the detailed, psychologically and musically considered choreography for Juliet, full of exquisite details and fabulously danced by Faye Leung, who looked absolutely the part. Her acting is on the same exalted level as her dancing, conveying the girlish Juliet’s every turn of thought. This is a gem worthwhile on any stage in the world. Unfortunately, her Romeo, Zhang Yao, was tentative and wooden. The rest of the cast is excellent.

I would think the set, costumes and lighting contributed just as much to the total experience. Van Dantzig’s contemporary van Schayk’s sets were simple yet functional, and I must give special mention to his costumes which utilize the full palette. Under the splendid lighting of Alice Kwong the eyes just could not take in all the details. The set pieces and stills in the back look like paintings from the time of Romeo and Juliet and totally appropriate.

I almost forgot to mention the music, for which I went in the first place! The HKPO in the pits, aided by the excellent acoustics of the hall, played splendidly and with class, and most importantly, con amore under the conductor Richard Bernas.

This is emphatically a total experience. In its ability to “sing” it beats most opera productions. It IS a wordless opera. Watching the ballet made me learn so much more about the music I thought I knew. The final act struck me as Tristan merged into Gotterdammerung, so Wagnerian in its sweep and complete in its totality. This is even more of a masterpiece than I had thought, the most flesh and blood of classical ballets. I heard a lot of sobbing in the audience and that’s proof enough of success. My hats off to everyone.

The same cast appeared in the 2:30 performance the next day, and they danced even better. The corps were more together. Romeo was much more in his elements. Juliet was largely the same. Lighting was even better! So they had worked hard!..."

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