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Firebird and Concerto 488


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#1 dufay

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 05:12 AM

We saw the last ballets of the season- Concerto 488 and the new Firebird. We were disappointed. The highlight was hearing the beautiful Mozart piano concerto live- didn't care for the choreography by Lila York, altho the dancers did an excellent job. The men were highlighted in this piece, and appeared to rise to the occasion. I think the choreography tried to be too many things- Tharp, classical, whatever- and it was annoying.

The Firebird was the choregraphy by the Canadian James Kudelka. It was well danced, with Arantxa Ochoa the Firebird, but the emphasis was on spectacle rather than dance or characterization. The costumes were over the top- the women's panniers were truly the ugliest thing I have ever seen in a ballet. The looked like Penugonda's costume in Candide as she sings "Glitter and Be Gay".

Next year will be Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Looking forward to that.

#2 sarez

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 10:28 AM

Concerto 488: like Dufay said, the music was heavenly, and the high point of the piece. The choreography, though, wasn't very inventive and didn't really 'move' or say anything specific to me. The program stated that Lila York was a dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Compnay, then later became the Artistic Director of PNB Offstage, a program to develop and produce new choreography at PNB. Even though the dancers did wear ballet shoes, the movements also didn't strike me as particularly 'balletic', as most of the steps were turned in, etc.
The Firebird: The costumes were very, um, interesting. I remember reading somewhere that the costumes were supposed to look Mayan, or some other ancient South American civilization. Kastchei's costume and the Priestess' costume certainly did look South American, but most of the costumes didn't. The Princesses must have been very hard to partner because of their panniers, not to mention dancing by themselves. On a good note, the Firebird's tutu was beautiful, and the set was gorgeous!

As in Concerto, the dancers danced James Kudelka's choreography very well. But we didn't figure out who was who until the very end, and even now I'm still not sure what the purpose of some of the characters were. Except for Aranxta Ochoa (the Firebird) making her bird-like movements and Prince Ivan (James Ihde) carrying a bow, there was little or no characterization. An Old Reptile, an Older Beast (Jeffery Gribler!), a Jaguar, a General, Warthogs, Knights, Guards, a Sanke, and Lizards were virtually the same except for costumes. At the very end of the ballet, when Ivan and Vaislia were presumably getting married (?), a Priestess and a bunch of people in gold (princesses?) came onstage and stood there for about five minutes.

Overall, the actual dancing was wonderful. But if the PA Ballet wants to have a better known reputation, they need to dance ballets that make sense.

#3 fLexNpOinte

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 06:21 AM

Hello! :D I had the opportunity to see Concerto 488 and Firebird . I really enjoyed both, but then again I am partial because I really like the Pennsylvania Ballet. :) Like others have said, the music was very nice for Concerto 488 . Personally, I liked the choreography. It was unique and something different. It was not your typical "ballet". I thought it looked like a very difficult and demanding piece to perform! There were many intricate steps and movement patterns. The dancers were constantly dancing with only a brief solo or duet to catch their breath. The male lead looked particularly demanding. At one point, there were a series of fast, constant beats. All of the dancers I saw had beautiful stage presence and really captured the mood of the piece. I also liked how the choreography of Concerto 488 expressed a variety of emotions. I thought that the "theme" of the piece varied from viewer-to-viewer and depended on an individual's perspective. It was a very calming piece leading into a more "active" piece.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Firebird . The scenery and the costumes were breathtaking. However, most breathtaking of all was the dancer who portrayed the Firebird. I was very delighted to see Riolama as the Firebird. She put a lot of emotion into the part and was very "birdlike". I was very impressed with her portrayal and most certainly her astonishing technique. This ballet made me feel as if I was looking in on a secret, enchanted garden. The dancers seemed to really reach out to the audience and grasp their attention. I was very lucky to see both performances and I had a GREAT time! :D

#4 Doris R

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 07:08 PM

I really enjoyed Concerto 488. It was light and fun and lovely, and music was beautiful.

Firebird was an extravagant entertainment experience! I saw Arantxa as the Firebird both performances, and she always is a joy and pleasure to watch. The climax was something more out of a Vegas show than a ballet, and Hawley Rowe's costume as the priestess reminded me of Bob Macke Barbie! My brother-in-law doesn't enjoy "tutu and tiara" ballets and he really liked it. He said it was "G" rated until the Snake took the stage. But it was fun -- the audience seemed to love it, and they left the theater smiling. (My daughter thought they should take it on the road to Atlantic City.)

#5 Tessa

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Posted 30 June 2003 - 04:46 PM

Thought I'd add my two cents. The princess costumes in Firebird were phenomenally ugly- just about the worst ballet costumes I've ever seen. Also, the choreography was somewhat stilted and the stage ludicrously crowded, except when the entire cast was dancing in unison as the Firebird tried to exhaust them. But I still enjoyed Arantxa as the firebird, and I actually liked the bit with Hawley Rowe as the Priestess at the end- thought that was a good moment of stillness at the right time.

Concerto 488 was fine, but unremarkable. I thought it provided a nice contrast with Firebird, both in terms of the color palette as well as the vocabulary. I enjoyed seeing Heidi Cruz- don't think she's had too many featured roles lately, and she's fun to watch.

Also, though this may have already been reported, I read that soloists Valerie Amiss and Edward Cieslak had their baby a month or so ago- pretty sure it's a boy! :)

#6 Doris R

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Posted 30 July 2003 - 07:30 AM

:wub:
Valerie and Eddie did have a baby boy. All are doing well by my last report, and I've been told the baby is beautiful! (of course.)


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