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Season OpenerNureyev's Don Quixote


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#16 Paul Parish

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Posted 28 July 2003 - 09:04 AM

Yes , manhattnik -- Lorna Feijoo should be a FABULOUS Kitri.... I would make the trip from NYC to Boston t see her do it if I could.

Feijoo was a wonderful Giselle, and a wonderful Swanilda, which we saw her dance here with the Cuban ballet -- very different in each, and a marvellous dance-actress in both.

her sister, Lorena Feijoo, who is now a ballerina in SF, danced the best Kitri I think I'll ever see, really in the tradition of Plisetskaya and Terekhova, blazing with joy, in Helgi Tomasson's new production here - -which may be the best thing he's ever done. I realize these are lots of superlatives, but I've never seen such pure academic dancing given such idiomatic flair, made into such an emblem of personal consciousness.... She was a real heroine, and when Don QUixote put his lance at her service, everything made sense....

#17 koshka

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 10:57 AM

Can anyone point me to casting info for this weekend's performances?

Thanks.

#18 its the mom

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 12:20 PM

Koshka - I'm sorry, I have misplaced the cast list my daughter gave to me. However, I do know that Lorna and Yury are dancing this evening, Jose Manuel Carreno and Polly Ribiero tomorrow evening, and Larissa Ponomarenko and Nelson Madrigal at the Saturday matinee. I can't seem to remember the other shows. Hope that helps. By the way, my daughter says that each couple is wonderful. I asked her to choose a favorite and she couldn't because she said each has particular strengths. So, this crazy mom is seeing all three.

#19 koshka

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 12:43 PM

All the casts sound great, it's true. :-)

My tickets are for Sun afternoon, so I'm still eager for a preview of the casting.

BTW there is nothing crazy at all about seeing multiple casts.

#20 Paul Parish

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 11:17 PM

Koshka and all, I hope you will give us VERY thorough reports on the show(s).....

In SFB's version, Elizabeth Miner danced Cupid and was just perfect -- it's a lovely role, with an enchanting variation-- I think it always goes to a short dancer.

There are a lot of good roles in his ballet(Mercedes, Espada, the street dancer, just to start)

#21 its the mom

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 05:18 AM

Koshka - I just found out that at the Sunday matinee Larissa and Nelson will be dancing the leads. I am not qualified to give a blow by blow description of the ballet last night, but I must say I was very impressed. Lorna Feijoo was, to sum it up, absolutely unbelievable. She was the right blend of young girl in love with just the right touch of sass. Her dancing was gorgeous. Yury Yanowsky was a perfect partner. Notable performances were given by Barbora Kohoutkova as Queen of the Dryads - beautiful and clean technique; Sarah Lamb as the Street Dancer; and Nelson Madrigal as Espada. Actually, I thought the whole company danced very well and everyone seemed to really be "in tune" with one another. Again, I am not a qualified critic, just a dancer mom, but I was really impressed to see such an opening performance. I would love to hear what others have to say.

#22 koshka

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 05:47 AM

Many thanks for the casting info.
Might have to try to get a Sat eve ticket at HotTix just to see another cast--as before, they all seem so great. I'm betting that if Ponomarkenko and Madrigal are doing both the Sat and Sun matinees, there will be a different cast on Sat night.

I will try to take notes in the theater--that's the only way I'll have anything to report...

#23 its the mom

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:37 AM

Koshka - I just realized I made a mistake. Ribiero and Carreno will dance Sunday afternoon. Feijoo and Yanowsky dance Saturday evening. Ponamarenko and Madrigal are only doing one this weekend. If you can catch Feijoo, do so.

#24 4Ts

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 10:00 AM

To the contrary of all the newpaper reviewers and all the expectations of the previous posters, I must say this Don Quixote was underwhelming.

The good parts: Lorna Feijoo was wonderful - she must have nerves of steel or just not be bothered by the that which would scare the daylights out of normal people. She was funny, poised and technically impeccable. I would love to see her do other things. The soloists in the dream sequence were impressive as was the Street Dancer in the first act. These were places in the ballet where Nureyev left the Kirov's version alone for the most part.

The worst part (from which all the rest of the bad parts flow): Nureyev's choreography. Overladen with meaningless steps, body giggling, it was too much of a not-very-good thing. My 10 yr. old daughter counted 54 ronde de jambe en l'air in the first act before she gave up. I thought that maybe this style was fun for the dancers, but the dancers didn't look like they were having all that much fun. They looked busy, but not very invested. Maybe it was first night jitters. Maybe it was the sparse crowd (the Red Sox were playing the night game that was about to lose them the pennant). Yuri Yanowsky, who I think was fantastic as actor and dancer last season as Onegin and Romeo and Tybalt and the Prodigal Son - that was a great season!) partnered well, but seemed technically insecure in his solos and looked like he wished he were somewhere else.

The corps, to me again, looked uncommitted, particularly in the first act. In the second and third act there was more "story" to tell and the choreography for them was less in the way.

The music was "improved" by John Lanchbery, which in this case meant taking pleasant, simple ballet-tune stuff and overloading the orchestration and juicing up the harmony to the point where the rhythmic impulse was almost gone. So, then he added more percussion.

It's only my opinion, but if Nureyev didn't kill this ballet, he gravely injured it. I can understand that the artistic staff of the ballet didn't want to do the same old Don Q yet again. But this version didn't do the trick for me.

Edited by 4Ts, 18 October 2003 - 05:54 PM.


#25 jbtlse

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 11:38 AM

I haven't seen it yet--I'm going Saturday afternoon.

I was a bit disappointed I must admit that BB decided to resurrect this version (although I understand why given its historical significance to the company). When I was in London the summer of 2002 the RB did Nureyev's Don Q choreography to very disapponting reviews--I didn't bother seeing it (choosing Coppelia instead).

#26 bbfan

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 01:27 PM

We saw Don Quixote last night, and had the pleasure of seeing many of the new dancers in the company. Lorna Feijoo danced Kitri/Dulcinea. WOW! She has the fasted feet Iíve seen in a long time, and was rock steady on pointe. Yury Yanowsky as Basilio was more relaxed and in character than Iíve noticed in the past. I think she brought out the best in him. He made some wonderful leaps and turns. We enjoyed many of the other dancers Ė Sarah Lamb as the Street Dancer, Nelson Madrigal as Espada, and Barbora Kohoutkova as the Queen of the Dryads. But Feijoo was the best. Overall I thought the company looked really good, the corps in tune, and while we may miss some of our old favorites Iím looking forward to getting to know the new dancers and their talents.

Iím not a big fan of most story ballets. I havenít really liked Don Q in the past and wasnít especially looking forward to another one, but aside from the snoozer first scene found it really enjoyable. Itís the first time Iíve really been caught up in it - a happy surprise. In addition to the fine dancing and music, I found the sets and costumes appealing. The gypsy blacks and reds and oranges are fitting for a New England autumnÖ.

Next weekend is the rep program, will be interesting to see that too. Then more Don Q.

I'm not sure of the casting for the second round of Don Q - Gelfand has her farewell appearances on the Thursday and Saturday nights. But if you have a chance to see Feijoo - go for it!

#27 Swanilda

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 03:59 PM

What roles are the BBII dancers doing?

#28 its the mom

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 05:16 PM

I had the chance to see two more shows this weekend after the opener. I really loved Polly Ribiero and Jose together. She is a spitfire. I also saw Larissa Ponomarenko and Nelson Madrigal. I loved them all, but I have to say I fell in love with both Larissa and Nelson. I am a new member of the Boston Ballet audience, so all of those Boston Ballet goers will think it trite. But she(Larissa) is gorgeous and she is probably at the top of my list of favorite ballerinas. Nelson was adorable and his feet are "to die for." I think the company has a lot of depth - lots of really wonderful dancers. I was pleasantly surprised.

As for BBII, they danced the parts of gypsies, market women, driads, fandango, and women of Barcelona. I believe there were two girls in BBII who got to dance Bridesmaids. The boys did gypsies, fishermen, fandango and some of the acting parts.

I felt the company danced well together. My daughter said that it was a wonderful first experience dancing with a professional company. Everyone was supportive and caring.

So, I say congratulations to all of them. I am looking forward to the rest of the year.

#29 Juliet

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 06:25 PM

Swanilda, BBII dancers are doing everything. Wherever they need a body.

I attended performances all weekend.
I dislike Don Q to begin with, dislike this choreography even more, but had a great time!!!!

Why? Is this Salsa in Beantown? No, it was the dancers.

By Saturday night, everyone was energised (magically, since they'd just done a matinee) and it maded for a rousing evening.

The choreography is cluttered, very difficult to dance (as in, it kills you) and yet somehow this company of dancers with disparate backgrounds showed that they could deliver a performance of first rank: character dancing, classical dancing, acting and above all: vigor and demonstrated commitment to an art form that could use a shot in the arm right now.

The theatre was nearly full on Friday night, houses were very good for the rest of the weekend as well and---surprise!!--it was not just old people, ballet students, or women. I was astounded. And they were enthusiastic!!


This is a refurbished production and not as cloyingly baroque as much of Georgiadis' work. The colours were the rich sunset tones (hurrrah! no more brown-kerchiefed peasants) of Barcelona, deep and vibrant. No one looked poor, despite the gypsy wagons lining the marketplace, and the fandango costumes of black and red were spectacular. (The men had the most dashing cavalier-type hats I have ever seen, with red bandannas on underneath and the women had black lace dresses withj red underlayers and flounces which will rank up there with everyones' Favourite Costume.) Lighting was superb, by Pierre Lavoie, a Canadian who has gotten it right. He knows how to light for dance, and this show should be seen for that alone----it was very, very good...atmospheric, dramatic (stunning skies) and a wonderful surrounding for all the activity on stage. It was not just backdrops--one could feel the coldness in the night air, the heat of the day dissipating in the sunsets---and with this choreography there is a lot of heat!

Pollyanna Ribiero is new to me--I have only seen her a couple of times--and she was quite surprising. I don't know why I expected her to be feisty and a spitfire (unless it was because she was dancing Kitri), but I found myself constantly admiring her line and thinking that I would like to see her dance Odette. She was a no-nonsense, take no prisoners sort of character, but the fact that she was dancing with Jose Manuel Carreno should soften anyone up.....
They are both very expansive dancers, well-matched in the way they carve out airspace for themselves. Carreno carved out some extra spaces for himself in the choreography, but it was not noticeable for the most part and he is such an elegant and engaging dancer that much is forgiven. Alright, I admit that I loved the kiss on the neck during the wedding pdd --(and he did it so well, you know!)...--but the credit for that goes to Nureyev, not Carreno.
He definitely wins the 'mas macho' contest for the weekend, although Yury Yanovsky wins the most-gorgeous-man-on-stage award.

I am again reminded of emploi .....Barbara Kohoutkova (whom I had seen before and like very much) was a very lackluster Mercedes but a STUNNING Queen of the Dryads. Ponomarenko (with newly and very attractive red hair) is beautiful in anything, but excelled in her Dryad role, and Sarah Lamb surprised me with the vibrancy of her Mercedes. Mercedes is much less a role in this production, but she did a very, very good job--especially with her carriage--shoulders and head are so important and I am happy to see that there is good coaching in Boston.

Speaking of coaching, the Dryads were superb. Every night. This was never a part of this ballet which I enjoyed (but you know it's Russian and so we have to have a vision scene of some ilk) but it was my favourite bit. The women were together, the variations were lovely (and Misa Kuranaga will go down in my personal history as the best Amour I have ever see. She was not coy, or arch, or cutiepie--how rare is that?) I thought Ribiero was superb in her Dryad guise, although she certainly did not disappoint as Kitri.

Lorna Feijoo did not disappoint anyone in anything. All the hype is deserved. The woman balances for days, acts up a storm, knows how to use those castanets and fan, can fouette enough even for you die-hards (we are talking triples and doubles, folks, all perfectly placed and strongly executed, thank you very much.) She is lovely. She is interesting to me because she's a little bit edgy: her lunges are a little stressful, her acting is not
predictable, she knows how to interact with a man onstage, and she projects a very strong persona. An interesting woman, rather than a caricature of a daughter fighting for her happiness.

Yury Yanowsky was not as bravura as Carreno, but he was beautiful in that killer choreography and that is a significant achievement in this ballet. I see him as Alfredo Germont or Siegfried---think Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights and you have it--with his lovely line and romantic mien.

I still don't like this ballet particularly, Nureyev over-embellished the choreography, John Lanchbery gummed up the musical order, and yet it was a wonderful vehicle to show off a company that is still finding its sea legs. The dancers were all very good--none of the unevenness one sees in several "major" American companies and I look forward to seeing future work which will show off individuals, rather than just massed dancing.

The company is doing Mozartiana, Stars & Stripes, and a new piece by David Dawson for 5 dancers, next weekend. It should prove an interesting counterpoint to Don Q, to say the least. I look forward to hearing other's opinions.......

#30 koshka

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Posted 20 October 2003 - 05:45 AM

I went Sat night (Feijoo/Yanovsky) and Sun afternoon (Ribiero/Carreno). Sat night I was in the center/rear orchestra and Sun I was in my preferred front-row seat.

In my opinion, Feijoo has nothing on Ribiero. They both looked great technically, but I thought Ribiero had more "spark" or energy. Even at the coda at the very end, she looked as if she was ready to start all over again. But it could've been my superior (for my taste) seat on Sunday or the fact that I've been a huge Ribiero fan since her first year in the corps at BB.

Other: I thought the mens and women's corps were both beautifully coached. It brought back memories of the then-pathbreaking Kirov-Boston Swan Lake of about 10 years ago.

Costumes: I liked the costumes and sets, though at times I felt like maybe it would've been nice to see a bit more strong, clear reds and blacks rather than more muted oranges and browns.

Minor notes:
I thought the music was too fast at times, but perhaps I am just accustomed to the slightly different tempo on my CD.

The front person on the horse was quite a ham--the horse did quite a bit of amusing pawing of the ground and wagging of the head.

I found Ponomarenko's new red hair distracting, but it is always a delight to see her perform in any color hair.

By contrast, it was refreshing to see few or no shaggy-haired men. It is kind of gross and unkempt when the men have long hair swinging and sweaty.


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