Withering Glance: 'Giselle' marks reopening of Northrop Auditorium

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 14, 2014 - 3:18 PM

Paloma Herrera, playing Giselle and Jared Matthews playing Count Albrecht leapt through the air during the first act of "Giselle" at t the newly remodeled Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: A classical ballet with a live orchestra followed by the full-dress U of M marching band. For you, the evening must have seemed as if Christmas and Bernadette Peters’ birthday had magically merged and occurred on April 4.


RN: You neglected to include the inaugural performance for Northrop Auditorium’s euphoria-inducing remake. But yes, it was quite the night. The Twins’ World Series victories were tee-ball tournaments by comparison.


CP: The new Slimfast Auditorium does appear to offer better everything — seats, sight lines, acoustics — to approximately 2,000 fewer people than could sit in the old Northrop.


RN: Based on that single performance, Northrop has gone from the worst to maybe the best ballet venue I’ve ever seen — and that’s saying something. You know those baseball fans who whittle down their vacation stash visiting every major-league ballpark? I’m that way with dance theaters and opera houses.


CP: Your assertion is a bold provocation that no doubt will be debated by fellow obsessives. Don’t get used to the live orchestra, however, as you may not see it again there for dance for years.


RN: A guy can dream, can’t he? But I fear you are correct.


CP: I think the renovation’s star is the new inner lobby. The grand but cold outer lobby, with its tall coffered ceiling and chandeliers, is pretty much unchanged. The dig-and-be-dug place is the cream-and-butter-colored lobby between there and the hall, much bigger now and with new balcony overlooks and promenades.


RN: I was soaking up the hall’s superb acoustics, the newfound proximity to the stage and the participatory way the audience sees one another across those three horseshoe-shaped balconies. Also the proscenium arch, restored to its former glory.


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