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Suzanne Farrell Ballet tour reviews


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#16 socalgal

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 12:32 PM

I just got tickets for Suzanne Farrell at Royce Hall, UCLA for Saturday night...anyone else going? I am so busy but decided that I just could not miss it.....they are doing Chaconne and Mozartiana plus two more pieces. Haven't heard a word about the casting. Peter Boal was pictured in the paper with an article about Suzanne and this L.A. venue. It did not mention if he was dancing this weekend or not. Not too thrilled about the program... would have loved seeing her setting of Serenade, Apollo and even Waltz of the Flowers. I would assume this performance will have canned music..... :)

#17 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 04:01 PM

I'd double check on Chaconne. I think it has been pulled from some earlier performances.

#18 socalgal

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 05:55 PM

Thanks for the tip, Leigh! Your were absolutely correct....the program has changed since I last went to the UCLA web site listing. The ballets being danced are Divert., Variations for Orchestra, Tzigane and Apollo, or so it reads today! This is a great program. I am more upbeat about the long drive I must make to get to this theatre. :)

#19 Andre Yew

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 01:34 PM

I'll be there on Friday night. It would be wonderful if Peter Boal were dancing.

--Andre

#20 dirac

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 01:59 PM

We are getting Divert, Serenade, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Waltz of the Flowers in Berkeley, according to the current listing on the Cal Performances website.

#21 Guest_Angel2Be_*

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 01:40 AM

The performance at the Flint Center in California was cancelled. :unsure:

I assume this is because not enough tickets were sold? It is impossible to get a ballet audience in my area. The Kirov could come and they probably still wouldn't sell out. :dry:

#22 BW

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 04:11 PM

I'm sorry for you Angel2Be. :unsure:

You might want to read the article posted in today's links forum. I found it quite interesting - yes, much I'd heard or read before, but somehow this article got me to thinking a bit more about Ms. Farrell's past and present together. B)

#23 Farrell Fan

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 06:25 PM

Thanks for calling attention to this interview, BW -- I'd missed it in the links. It's a nice article. There's one slight correction I'd like to make. At the time of her farewell performance, Suzanne had had one hip replacement, not two.

#24 BW

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 07:37 PM

Well, I'm glad my post helped, FF. But I'm even happier to learn Ms. Farrell had only one hip replacement at that time!! :unsure:

#25 Andre Yew

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 10:45 PM

I saw the Friday, November 7 show at UCLA, and here are some quick impressions. It was the best Apollo I've ever seen, ironically Dionysian in its conception, with Peter Boal especially expressive, and what a magnificent dancer he is as well, technically and expressively. The three Muses were also great, and seemed to have equal stature, whereas other performances seem to emphasize Terpsichore. I'm not sure the extended version offers any more than the shortened version.

Variations for Orchestra is amazingly creepy and cool. What a unique and effective idea (I don't want to give away this ballet's cool twist). I hope this ballet is performed more often, though that may spoil its novelty.

The emotional drama brought out in all four pieces (Divertimento No. 15 and Tzigane were the other two) really amazed me --- the pieces were still fresh and can speak to us. Definitely go see this company if they're performing near you.

edit: typo

--Andre

Edited by Andre Yew, 09 November 2003 - 10:46 PM.


#26 Alexandra

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 10:59 AM

Thanks for posting that, Andre!

There's a review by Laura Bleiberg in the Orange County Register -- mixed, though kindly (that's how I read it, anyway).

Stylish L.A. debut shows room to grow

#27 Helene

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 07:57 PM

I traveled to Berkeley this weekend to see Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and was the only Seattlite in my hotel there to see the ballet, not to see Cal trounce the Huskies in the football game Saturday afternoon. It took seven hours to get to Zellerbach; unfortunately that made me half hour late to the opening ballet, Divertiment No. 15, one of my all time favorite ballets :wink: But I did get to see The Waltz of the Flowers, named "Tempo de Valse" on the program, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Serenade on Friday, and the whole program on Saturday.

I was surprised when the ushers let me in to see the end of Divertimento No. 15; I came in as the second-to-last pas de deux was ending. I did manage to see Shannon Parsley and Runqiao Du dance the final pas de deux. My general impression was the Zellerbach stage was much smaller than I remembered, and that the performance felt cramped and tight. However, since I was so crabby about my late plane, getting lost on the way from the Ashby BART station, etc., that I tried to get that out of my head and watch the performance of that ballet on Saturday with fresh eyes.

"Tempo de Valse" was performed in dresses that are cut and styled like the standard Serenade dresses, except with soft chiffon instead of several layers of tulle. The corps was in medium pink, the soloist flowers were in pale blue, and Dewdrop was in a very light pink, with her skirt cropped to mid-thigh. At first I thought, "Yay, gone are those awful Karinska Flower dresses and that corset for Dewdrop," yet while Dewdrop's costume was an improvement, what I missed was the volume of skirts for the corps and soloists, especially the way they expanded in the arabesques and went "poof," "poof," "poof," "poof" during the pas du chats.

Both Bonnie Pickard (Friday) and Shannon Parsley (Saturday) danced expansively as Dewdrop. They were similar in their lightness and precision, with long legs making very clear images without being sharp. I was happy to see that Farrell has chosen some big dancers -- tall, with wide, muscular backs, legs, and even breasts -- and they moved big. The corps and soloists filled up the stage. The soloists stood out a bit more in their blue costumes -- the Karinska lilac isn't that big a contrast to the Flowers' pink -- and I was aware for the first time that the soloists end up in the corners at several points. It was disconcerting to hear Nutcracker music when it was nearly 60 degrees outside, a true Southern Hemisphere Christmas experience.

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux followed. Peter Boal performed both nights, and except for a bit of showing off in some very high cabrioles, which knocked him a bit off line, he was strong and elegant throughout. On Friday he partnered Jennifer Fournier. From the start it looked like a bit of a struggle between them, and her performance looked to me like it got smaller in each section in which she was partnered. I don't think she smiled more than once or twice or looked up, eyes or body, to the Balcony. While I didn't think Fournier was doing anything mannered or particularly unusual, there was something missing, and it took me until Saturday to figure out what it was.

Serenade was danced by Chan Hon Goh as the Waltz Girl (with Alexander Ritter), Shannon Parsely in "Scherzo a la Russe," and Natalia Magniacaballi and Momchil Mladenov as the Dark Angel and Elegy Guy. I knew I was in for trouble when Goh started to act; I found it very jarring and put on. I wondered if I was seeing a different version from which I was used to, but Saturday's performance confirmed that I was seeing a distortion of the choreographic line. By contrast, Parsely's performance was a reprise of her Dewdrop: light and clear, with fine, sweeping energy in the first movements and suitable gravity in the Elegy. She reminded me of Kyra Nichols in the part. Natalia Magniacaballi danced with beautiful carriage and legs that never seem to stop stretching in arabesque, even when she was being turned at the thigh, and the way she expanded in all directions when the turning stopped was, in my experience, unsurpassed, without being mannered.

Saturday's performance of Divertimento No. 15 unfortunately confirmed my first impression on Friday, which is that half the dancers -- corps and principals -- tightened up from the waist up when performing it. One dancer who didn't was Alexander Ritter, who in the short role of the Theme gave the most fully shaped and musically danced performance of any of the men both nights; surprisingly I found his dancing more pleasing than Boal's. Ritter took up the right amount of space for each move and phrase, not only in this ballet, but in two performances of the first man in Senerade. Frances Katzen, who was quite lovely as one of the Flowers soloists, and Bonnie Pickard were hard to watch in the First and Second Variations because their upper bodies were so tight; I started to watch only legs. The same was true during their pas de deux. That changed when Cheryl Sladkin took the stage in the Third Variation. While she doesn't have the extension of the first two, she was the first soloist to be fully lifted from her waist and to dance from her sternum. What a difference it made, because while it looks like she takes tension in her lower arms, her arms motions flowed from her open chest and shoulders. Her legwork was very clear, and the steps and shapes really projected. She also drew my eye consistently in the Serenade ensemble.

I'm not sure what Momchil Mladevov's particular draw is: he has very long legs that seem separated from his relatively short torse, his legs seemed a little gangly, like a newborn colt, and he didn't point his feet. His Fifth Variation looked blurred to me. Dancing the Sixth Variation and the lead was Jennifer Fournier. She looked happiest and most expansive when dancing this solo, but seemed to clam up again when being partnered in the centerpiece pas de deux.

I skipped over the Fourth Variation woman deliberately, because April Ball entered and blew me away. She's one of the bigger woman in the company, and she ate up the stage. It was like an infusion of energy from another planet, and, yet, there wasn't a movement she did that looked out of place or proportion or strained. It was as if she there was a magnifying glass in front of her. When she was partnered by Ritter in brief passages in the last movement, it was a match made in heaven, because the were so perfectly modulated and in tune.

Chan Hon Goh danced the Saturday performance of Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. I was dreading it a bit, expecting more acting. It wasn't as bad as I expected, although I felt she marred it again with an occasional mannerism. For example, one of my favorite moments in the opening partnered turns down to one knee, repeated, where, usually, the woman looks up with open shoulders. Goh looked down and gave what seemed to be a little bow to her partner. In general she seemed more preoccupied with him than I'm used to in Balanchine ballets. But, on the whole, she seemed happy to be dancing, and was lighter and quicker than Fournier had been on Friday.

Serenade was danced beautifully by all the principals. I think that Parsley swapped roles and danced the Waltz Girl, and that Bonnie Pickard did the Scherzo a la Russe, but I could be mistaken. Both were quite lovely. And it may be shallow, but I love it in the Elegy when their hair is loose, and there's a blonde, redhead, and brunette.

In some of the reviews there's been criticism of the corps. I found the corps to be pretty disciplined. What I didn't expect was that the pairings of corps in the Menuet in Divertimento No. 15 would be so far off; at least two of the pairs were dancing to different tempos. But that was an anomaly. I finally realized what it was about the Company that made some performances, like Fournier's and Goh's, not fit: Farrell has chosen a group of dancers who ride the wave of the music, and when that happens, the ballets look so right. The dancers in the Company dance as if they need to dance, and even after a long tour, there was life and little fatigue, even in the warhorse, Serenade.

#28 bertrande

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 03:14 AM

It seems that April Ball has been garnering very positive reviews for her performances with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet. To all those who know the hierarchy of this 'ad-hoc' ballet company, does being a soloist with the company mean she only dances soloist roles and no principal ones? From the repertoire and reviews, it seems as if the hierarchy is very strictly adhered to and soloists do not perform in the corps de ballet; neither do they perform the leads in the 'bigger' ballets. Is there any truth in that? I must admit I was more than a little surprised when I saw that Ball had accepted a position as a soloist with the company after having been a popular and well-received principal with Boston Ballet.

#29 Helene

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 08:42 AM

From the repertoire and reviews, it seems as if the hierarchy is very strictly adhered to and soloists do not perform in the corps de ballet; neither do they perform the leads in the 'bigger' ballets. Is there any truth in that?

If this is true, then Divertimento No. 15 has to be an exception, because it requires five principal female parts. Since the original choreography was for Kent, Hayden, Adams, LeClercq (Fourth Variation), and Wilde, those are formidable footsteps in which to follow. (I'm not counting Caracole, because the [/I]Choreography by George Balanchine[I] catalogue said the choreography for it was forgotten, and Divertimento was created anew.)

Looking at the repertoire for this season's tour, only Divertimento (5) and Serenade (3) have more than one female principal, and only Chaconne has extended soloist work. Has anyone seen Program C, the "Balanchine Couple" program? If so, what was the casting like in that program?

#30 Farrell Fan

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 09:37 AM

"The Balanchine Couple" program wasn't done on the tour. It's scheduled for the Kennedy Center during the first week in December.


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