Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fine art on film

Having been named one of the 100 best small arts towns in America, it's no surprise that the people of Ketchikan like to experience art: music, plays, sculpture, dance, painting, craft.....if it's creative, bring it on. So we have a few new DVDs for the artist in all of us.
From the House of the Dead is an acclaimed video production of the last opera Czech composer Leoš Janáček wrote. Based on Dostoyevsky's Memoirs from the House of the Dead - a retelling of his own prison experiences - this is not a lighthearted musical à la Gilbert and Sullivan. Instead, it's a bleak study of the primitive character of mankind. Set within the confines of a gulag, this work manages to convey the way humans hold on to their societies and their hierarchies even in the most animalistic, degrading situations. An opera for opera buffs.
Choreography by Balanchine is a little more upbeat, but no less moving. The members of the New York City Ballet perform pieces from 6 different Balanchine ballets: 'Chaconne', 'Prodigal Son: a ballet in three scenes', 'Ballo della Regina', 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier', 'Elegie' and 'Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux'. Featuring the amazing talents of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Suzanne Farrell, Peter Martins, Karin von Aroldingen and Merrill Ashley, these dances are truly beautiful to watch. This DVD is a must for any family involved with Ketchikan Theater Ballet.
Arts and Myths is a series that examines the mythology, use and creation of works from various non-Western regions. A headdress from the Kayapo tribe of the Amazon, a fiddle from Mongolia, a weaver's tool from the Dogon clan, a pendant from the Maori, a reliquary from Gabon and an effigy from the Marquisas Islands are all presented in this DVD. This is a very interesting way to learn about different cultures and the ways in which traditional and contemporary beliefs intermingle.

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