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Vishneva @ ABT


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#1 Dale

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 04:50 AM

I am eager to read reviews of Vishneva's guest performance in Romeo and Juliet.

Vishneva was interviewed, through a translator, by Time Out New York's dance editor Gia Kourlas.

On guesting: "I've never danced this version. Psychologically, it is quite challenging to travel to another company -- not performing what you already know! Time is a problem...."

On too much travel: "I worry about my legs with all the travel -- this is living tissue! Nobody seems to care. You've got a headache, something hurts? Just go and dance."

On dancing Rubies: "That was the first time I had enountered Stravinsky's music. By the end of rehearsals, I felt that there were b ells chiming within me; I had the kind of visceral reaction that people have at rock concerts. I was so wound up that it must have come out in my performance. It's hard to explain, but often I feel that what comes through in a performance doesn't come from me, but through me -- from whatever is the cosmos or in the music."

Preferring psychological dramatic roles over Balanchine: "I discover more about myself. In life, I am like the characters. I am naive, I am open, and sometimes it's not so good to be that way. With Juliet, I learned that in the name of love you can stand up against outside forces and find strength."

#2 sneds

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:11 AM

Hi!
I thought Vishneva was wonderful-she's an attractive dancer with a wonderfully flexible back and polished technique. However I thought her performance was not matched by Malakhov. He just never seemed to have much connection with Vishneva, and never moved me-the performance didn't seem whole hearted and he looked very tired by the end. I would have liked to have seen her perform with another partner...maybe Marcelo Gomes?

Romeo is a role that can't just be acted-it has to be emoted with the whole body for it to be believable. Malakhov was certainly not just going through the motions, but he didn't have the energy or youthful feeling that Vishneva did, nor did he didn't look completely comfortable with the partnering, especially in the final "pas de deux".

Kate

#3 Dale

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:31 AM

Thank you Kate for your impressions. Who else was in the cast? I have to admit, I didn't go because I just can't stand that ballet :) I think it could have all my favorite dancers in it and I still wouldn't go. But I am overwhelmingly in the minority. Most people love it. I wish she could have performed in something else. She and Malakhov have struct up a bit of a partnership - first at the first Mariinsky Fest. in Giselle and now with Vishneva as a regular guest at Berlin, the company Malakhov runs. We haven't seen him too much this season at ABT.

#4 cargill

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:17 AM

Actually, I thought Malakhov was the one who was in the role, completely immersed in his character. Vishneva I thought danced through too much, if you know what I mean. Many times her gestures were just movements. When she woke up in the tomb, her first movement was a deep, acrobatic backbend, spectacular, but much less involving that the specific fear that some of the other Juliet's show. But Malakhov knew who he was and what he was doing every moment. Even his balcony scene was unusual--he was a bit gauche and awkward, which made a wonderful contrast to his opening scene. Vishneva was a hoyden from the word go.

#5 sneds

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 06:19 AM

Hi!
Joaquin De Luz was Mercutio- sparkling performance, though not with the same elevation as Herman Cornejo at the matinee. De Luz's acting is well though out-apparently he worked on the role with Gil Boggs (who I think was the original Mercutio in ABT's version). Also les scary than Tuesday night when he lost his balance taking off for a jump and ended up sliding/tumbling on the stage.

David Hallberg was fun as Benvolio. Hallberg has beautiful technique-he combines amazing height with very polished dancing and has the most gorgeous, flexible feet- though he's not a strong an actor as some of the other dancers in the role. However, he's only 20, so he's got plenty of time to develop his acting skills!

I was pleasantly surprised at how well Malakhov, DeLuz and Hallberg danced together and the pleasant, if not totally believable rapport between them. Still, it didn't have the natural feel that Corella, Lopez & Cornejo did in the matinee. During one of the crowd scenes in the second act, Mercutio, Benvolio and Romeo lean against eachother, and then Romeo, who is in the middle, backs off, letting the other two guys fall into eachother. At the matinee, Lopez and Corella changed the set up (and it wasn't clear whether Cornejo was in on the joke) and both moved, letting Cornejo nearly hit the floor before catching him. Whether pre-rehearsed or not, it looked totally natural and really funny.

Kate

#6 kiki

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 07:07 AM

I was there as well. I liked Vishneva, she sure has long limbs...especially those arms!!! I thought she was beautiful but I also agree with sneds about Malakhov. He is such a beautiful dancer that sometimes he is almost to beautiful and I wish he could be more strong and masculine. I did notice a few uncomfortable looking moments for him in the pas as well. I think he is a wonderful dancer but sometimes I don't really like him in the leading man roles. I did really enjoy David Hallberg's performance...I think in a few years he will make a nice Romeo himself!!! I also enjoyed Carmen Corella, Michele Wiles and Kristi Boone as the Three Harlots, they really seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. The only other criticism I can make was that I thought that Juliet's friends were looking a little ragged last night especially in the bedroom dance. I saw a different cast last week that was much cleaner. Oh well!! I was glad to have been able to be there!!

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 08:34 AM

For Malakhov fans, he's doing a book signing today. Details here

http://www.balletale...94002#post94002

#8 Siren

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 10:53 AM

The performance was lovely enough. Vishneva is very beautiful and I found her movements pleasing. I just wasn't moved by her. The same, but to a lesser degree, Malakhov, although I love him as a dancer.

Vishnever didn't seem to change much of her expressions and her smile was the same for Paris, Tybalt, and Romeo. I also thought she "danced through" most of the choreography. The choreography really calls for a more earthy, natural acting approach. And I thought both Malakhov and Vishneva were "dancing out" to the audience and hardly looking at each other. Vishneva seemed to get more into in the bedroom pas but her style just didn't seem right.

Again , Malakhov is one of my favorites, even if he's not my favorite Romeo.

Nothing has come close to the partnership Ferri and Bocca displayed at his last Romeo on 5/31. 7 curtain calls and I'm still trying to recover from it. They danced "as one" the entire evening and even their solos were to each other. It transcended the dance. They set the bar for this production, IMHO.

Corella and Reyes were simply lovely in the afternoon performance. This will develop into something through the years, I think. Corella was just fantastic and Reyes was so natural. The sword fight between Romeo and Tybalt was the most passionate I've seen. It was so real, even Gennadi Saveliev looked surprised.

I liked both Herman Cornejo and de Luz in those roles. De Luz was a bit more animated and "jester-like", kind of like how Boggs used to be. I found both dancers very enjoyable.

#9 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 19 June 2003 - 10:33 AM

Diana Vishneva guested across the plaza in a single performance of Romeo and Juliet (6/11/03) with Vladimir Malakhov. Though I enjoyed her acting in the role, it's her body that sings. Her physicality is wild and fascinating, her arabesque fully energized. The untamed sweep of the leg as she moves seems to send vibrations across the stage; everything rises to an operatic pitch. It’s interesting to contrast her with Cojocaru’s performance as Nikiya a month prior. To me, Vishneva physically resembles Makarova even more than Cojocaru. (When I first saw Vishneva’s Giselle in ’99, I thought “That’s Makarova with dark hair”) They seem to have split aspects of her personality; Cojocaru got her meticulous preparation and her passions are cool and thought-through. A moment that remains with me from Makarova’s performances of nearly twenty years ago was her pas de deux with Paris in the third act. As Paris lifted her straight into the air, she remained quiet and still as if she was a little fragile doll he had complete control, yet no power over. She was completely isolated as the tragedy was sealed. At the same moment, Vishneva was despondent and collapsed softly as he lifted her. There was a more active sense of desperation; there’s no question that she's going to try something. Anything.

The more I see MacMillan’s ballet, the less dramatic sense it makes. The fights in Act I don't give one any sense of the underlying conflict and its roots; they're just street brawls punctuated with deaths for effect. The production needs better direction than it got in this staging, with an eye towards the larger picture rather than individual details. Each performer looks like they made choices that would be acceptable if they didn’t affect the other dancers. If Tybalt (Gennadi Saveliev) is going to act like stabbing of Mercutio is half an accident, then Romeo has to rethink how he kills Tybalt. If Lord Capulet is acted with a very interesting sympathy by Victor Barbee, that's legitimate, but it needs to be integrated into the production. I like his portrayal; rather than the usual brutality the father shows her in her bedchamber when she rejects Paris, his verges on a sort of compassionate horror. She’s doing something socially disastrous, and it seems more than anything else, he wants to know why. But one of the plot hinges is the fact that two adolescents are forced to make dangerous adult decisions with bad counsel. If it looks like Juliet could possibly turn to her father for assistance, it changes things. The corps de ballet looked as off in this as they looked together in La Bayadčre; both Juliet’s friends and the mandolin dancers were ragged. I liked Kirk Peterson as a little Henry VIII of an Escalus. Running the main ballet company in Berlin as well as maintaining his international career, Malakhov is now the servant of two masters. He can certainly dance or act, but his technique is no longer secure enough that he can dance and act at the same time. In his Act I variation at the ball, the diagonal series of turns are done for Juliet; he’s dancing for her. Turns have always been Malakhov’s bęte noire; he needed to concentrate on the steps to do them well. So instead of doing them for her, he did them correctly. I question the wisdom of casting Joaquin de Luz as Mercutio with David Hallberg as Benvolio. The three men’s heights make the Queen Mab trio in Act I a downward slope. De Luz danced well, but his Mercutio doesn’t have much under the brilliant skin of the steps. Combined with the unfocused drama of this setting and overdosing on harlots, by his death scene in Act II, I kept thinking of Oscar Wilde’s quote, “One must have a heart of stone to read of the death of Little Nell without laughing.”

#10 Mary J

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 09:07 AM

I attended Vishneva's performance, too, and while it had its moments, I was rarely moved. I thought Vishneva danced beautifully, but never connected emotionally with anyone on stage. Dramatically, I thought she was too bright, almost vivacious in the ball scene - it is supposed to be her first adult party, and she seemed too smile-y and sophisticated. I did not care at all for the backbend movement that marks her wakening in the tomb - the music at that point supports something much more subtle. I loved the desperation scene when she is trying to decide what to do once Romeo is gone and she is being forced to marry Paris. The whole range of her emotions showed in her face, and this can be a difficult scene since there is no choreography for such a long stretch of highly charged music. Frederic Franklin was Friar Laurence! He looks great for his age, although his acting was a little larger and more melodramatic than those around him. Perhaps my greatest complaint is that the music was played very badly indeed, which takes away much if not all of the emotional impact that this ballet has always had for me.

#11 Kristen

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 01:31 PM

I thought Vishneva to be one of the most ethereal dancers since Makarova. However, In this production she didn't seem to connect. I think it's difficult to fly in for a couple of days and achieve the same look of dancers who have truly formed a partnership. I absolutely despite Romeo and Juliet (HATE the music of Prokofiev), but went anyway, just to see Vishneva and considered it worth it.


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