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Ballet Parmesan at NYCB

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#1 Farrell Fan

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Posted 05 January 2002 - 12:16 PM

Last night's NYCB program started with Christopher Wheeldon's leotard and lighting ballet, Polyphonia, to music by Ligeti. It's a beautiful piece and provides ample evidence why Wheeldon is the hope of the future for NYCB.

This was particularly clear after seeing the next item, Peter Martins's Quartet for Strings, to Verdi's String Quartet in E minor, arranged for String Orchestra by Yuli Turovsky. (Aside to NYCB Stagebill: the composer's first name is spelled Giuseppe.) This work had its premiere last September in Parma, Italy, where it was commissioned by the Verdi Festival. Last night was billed as its New York Premiere, although I had seen it during the last weekend of NYCB's season in Saratoga last July in what was called a "preview." There it was paired with Martins's "Viva Verdi," to Variations on La Traviata by Marc-Olivier Dupin. I enjoyed that more than the Quartet because the choreography was completely at odds with the sentiments of the melodies. I wouldn't have minded seeing that quirky piece -- a pas de deux for Darci Kistler and Charles Askegard -- again. The Quartet, by contrast, is set to a dull piece of music, and is totally in keeping with it. As in Saratoga, the cast consisted of Margaret Tracey, Yvonne Borree, Nikolaj Hubbe, Sebastien Marcovici, and Jennie Somogyi. There's some nice partnering involved and everybody looks good in Holly Hynes's green costumes. The applause was so tepid at the end, that it seemed doubtful there'd be enough for Martins to take a bow. He did anyway.

In Polyphonia, the wonderful dancing of Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto deserves mention. I also enjoyed the pas de deux for Alexandra Ansanelli and Craig Hall. The third item, Symphony in C, was the highlight of the night, of course. I saw the same cast as Thursday's, so well documented by earlier Ballet Alertniks. I have nothing to add to their comments other than applause.

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