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NYCB, January 12 afternoon


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#1 Michael

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Posted 12 January 2002 - 05:41 PM

I just have to write about this. There were so many high points and I'll mention a few.

The 4 Temperaments:

No one needs to ask where Somogyi has gone, she's gone here to Sanguinic, along with Charles Askegaard. What a performance, there are no words I can think of which will convey how powerful, fascinating, and hypnotically in command of herself she was. She must have been saving herself up for this. It was worth the wait.

And Peter Boal's Melancholic was simply a masterpiece, a great piece of dancing by a great Ballerino in a great role. I would not have missed this for the world. I would stand in line to see it (as well as Somogyi) every time it was performed, even if I had to stand in back of the 4th ring to see it. I was weeping at the end, God only knows why.

Also I can't forget Dana Hanson and Robert Lyon in the first portion of the Theme. They were perfect, I held my breath.

The 4 Seasons:

I have to agree with everyone who has been praising this, I'm so glad I saw it today. This ballet has now been in repertory for 3 or 4 straight years, but I've never seen it better performed. No ballet with a Verdi score needs to excuse its existence. He is such a great theatrical composer. And his dance music is so interesting because there are so many, and such lovely modulations and variations in tempo between the extremes, faster adagios and slower, more lilting allegros, and emotional and melodic modulations between the two, than you see in most 19th Century romantic composers. He is one of the masters.

Mannhatnik is so right about Van Kipnis's Summer. Today I rediscovered, and felt again, what I'd felt two years ago and was waiting to feel again -- that Van Kipnis, along with Somogyi, she was the companies' next Ballerina. Somogyi is a good seguay to Van Kipnis because the two of them seemed joined at the hip for so long. They came out of SAB together. I remember them debuting in Appollo the same night. Two years ago, when Pascale was being cast in so many Ballerina roles (the gold costume in Robbins' In the Night, for instance) I would have said that she'd make principal even before Somogyi. Then Pascal got hurt just before the spring run of Sleeping Beauty, and Somogy danced everything that spring (since Weese was also hurt), and that continued the following fall (when Pascale was still hurt), and Somogyi made prncipal and Pascale seemed out of form or out of favor when she came back.

But what a stunning performance from her today. Summer is a killer role because of all the different speeds and kinds of dancing, as I said above. Not only is there a beautiful supported adagio (and this has always been one of Pascale's strengths), but also that long, moderately tempoed allegro when she is absolutely alone on stage for minutes. She took flight in this, phrasing her steps and taking the audience into her hands. Bravo. Phillip Neal was also very good and centered in this, although Pascale seemed to have a little trouble with his partnering in the adagios in the open floor. They have to find someone steady for her.

Also Rachel Rutherford was wonderful today in Summer. Whoever said in an interview last year that they love Rutherford's dancing because "it always seems to come from somewhere so deep inside her" hit the nail on the head. Mary Cargill asked last fall in an article who would be the next Nicole Hlinka, quietly maturing and then blossoming in the high summer of her career (my paraphrase, I think Mary said Indian Summer but that doesn't apply to Rutherford) -- today I think it's Rutherford.

Finally, I at last got to see Ansanelli's Fall. Eric you are right. And no tumbles today. I've always known what a fine dramatic ballerina she is, excelling at things as diverse as The Cage, Afternoon of a Faun, that absurd oratorio piece about the Russian peasant girl getting married, and role Chris Wheeldon made for her last spring gala (when she played the ingenue who gets the guy and the part) -- but I hadn't ever before seen her flirting with the audience in almost Dvororvenko-like fashion. Never fear, she stayed just on the right side of the line and it was her they were cheering for at the end.

Zakouski:

If I was a good Ballet Alert poster I would tack this onto another thread, because the Mozartiaphonia phenomenon was very much in evidence here. Zakouski was performed after a pause after the 4Ts. Well, the 4Ts was so powerful that I was weeping at the end. There is no way Zakouski can be appreciated after that emotional stage without a considerable space to breath. Hor D'Oevres come before the meal, not after.

Margaret Tracey was marvellous in this role, with which she will end her career in exactly a month, until she fell last in the latter part, and afer that she was understandably a bit tentative. I think she slipped in a puddle of Nikolaj Hubbe's sweat, actually, because just before he'd done a pirouette at precisely that place on the stage and the sweat just flew off of him in a bucketfull.

As for Hubbe, I've seen Tracey much better partnered in this by Millepied. I hope it will be him with her on February 12th. Nikolay seemed a little stiff above the waist today and more than a little mannered. Isn't the mark of the great Danish school, the Volkova influence, supposed to be that the dancer keeps moving, that the impules of the step flows through the arm and ends in the hand, and through the leg and ends in the foot, with melodic effect?

#2 Manhattnik

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Posted 12 January 2002 - 06:43 PM

Didn't see you at the (single) intermission, Michael. I'd taken my kids, and after wandering around a bit I showed my nine-year-old how I used to love to go out on the top balcony in the lobby and tug on the strands of beads that make up the curtain, and watch the "shock wave" ripple down to the bottom and back up again. And now he loves it too. Ah, the joys of fatherhood!

Anyway, it was certainly a great 4Ts. I must say that after having seen Bart Cook dance Melancholic for many years, I have a hard time seeing anyone else in the role, but Boal was certainly very fine. And Somogyi looked sensational with Askegard. I think it's safe to assume that the reason we're not seeing more of her has nothing to do with an injury. So what then? Evans was decent in Phlegmatic, but I think Kathleen Tracey was a bit overmatched by Choleric. A sweet dancer she is, but a powerhouse she's not. Give me Monique, who shines in this role.

Zakouski, well, if 4Ts didn't make me weep, I have no doubts Zakouski could've, although not, perhaps, for the same reasons that brought you to tears. I just find Zakouski boring and a waste of a lot of good talent and music. I am sorry Margaret Tracey isn't taking her last bow after dancing Baiser de la Fee, where she's lovely, and much better served than by Martins' cliches.

Anyway, of all the Four Seasons I've seen this season (and I've seen them all, God help me!), this was, for the most part, the finest. Riggins was much as last night, but Van Kipnis, in Spring, was, if anything, even better than last night. More joyous, grander, and more risk-taking. I thought those attitude turns into a pose in arabesque in her solo were just to die for. She just becomes more and more stunning. (And it's a good solo for Neal -- only one pirouette.) Rutherford was also even better than the night before. I can't add much to what you've said, and said so well. That she hasn't even been made a soloist yet is beyond my understanding. I thought, back when she was dancing so beautifully in Liebeslieder, that she was certain to be promoted. And that was two years ago. I just don't get it.

Ansanelli also looked even better. I loved how she and Millepied worked on those mutiliple supported pirouettes that would end with a bang, as she'd dramatically slam herself into an arabesque or attitude right on pounding conclusion of a phrase. And I loved the little "something extra" Ansanelli would toss into so many steps, like the dramatic big splits she'd make as she threw herself at the various corps men, demanding to be caught in mid-jete. And those triple fouettes! She even nailed that great exit she makes held aloft by the corps men, stretching her leg straight up and folding it back at just the deliciously right moment.

Yes, it certainly was a great afternoon. Regarding what you said about no ballet to Verdi needing to justify its existence, well, have you seen Peter Martins' latest yet?

#3 Calliope

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Posted 12 January 2002 - 07:07 PM

Ironically the quote about Rutherford, was Somogyi speaking of dancers she loved to watch during a NYCB seminar. I'll put my money on a promotion for her if not by winter's end, then spring.

I can't really add any more praise to the comments already said, but performances like today's only make the winter blues seem very far away

#4 Farrell Fan

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Posted 12 January 2002 - 08:03 PM

It's great how you guys post NYCB reviews in white heat immediately after the performances. It's a lot more fun than reading Kisselgoff, Dunning, or Anderson, believe me. I see many of the perforances you report on -- not this afternoon, but last night, for instance -- and I usually have nothing to add. You are knowledgeable and ENTHUSIASTIC. I love it. Particularly since your enthusiasms frequently coincide with mine. For example, in four decades, I've only bought two pairs of toe shoes at the Guild Gift Bar. The second pair was Rachel Rutherford's. So thanks.

[ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: Farrell Fan ]



#5 LEX

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Posted 12 January 2002 - 08:20 PM

Yes, thank you for the wonderful reviews. I have to live vicariously through these glorious descriptions, as I have never seen a performance whose calibre is that of NYCB. I often toy with the idea of moving to NY just for the pleasure of attending as many performances as I want, comparing and contrasting the casts like I see here. I live in Denver and attend the Colorado Ballet as much as possible and any other troupe that passes through with a weekend engagement. So keep the reviews coming and when I finally get to NY I can feel like I already know the dancers' characters and the repetoire!

#6 Michael

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Posted 12 January 2002 - 10:41 PM

I hadn't thought of Viva Verdi. Ayuh. Sorry I missed you Eric. I took my brownie and Tea out onto the plaza to soak up some mid-winter sun in front of the Metropolitan Opera House.

One thing I meant to mention which was really touching -- Behind me was sitting some little girl who must have been at most 3 and 1/2 years old. Well, at the end of The 4 Seasons, when the Seasons Personified in Tableau Vivants come out and summon all of the dancers onto the stage for the finale, and they all come out and start to dance in unison, the kid jumps up into the aisle behind me, beyond her parent's restraint, and just says says "WOW" really loud. I loved that kid. She said it all. What a perfect tribute to the ballet that it could make her feel that. It was just my reaction.

Also, regarding Ansanelli, I'll repeat and paraphrase what a friend said to me yesterday - that the final dash to Principal Dancer in this company seems usually to be steeplechase. They throw you out there night after night in everything and if you can make it over all the hurdles and obstacles and just finish the race more or less standing on your feet you get promoted afterwards. That's the stage Alexandra seems to be at now and I was so happy to see her today. She's just really attacking, isn't she?

[ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: Michael1 ]



#7 bobsey

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 08:04 AM

I, too, thought it was a great afternoon, and after reading Michael1 and Manhattnik's splendid reviews, I now know I was right.

#8 Farrell Fan

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 11:23 AM

Wonderful to hear about the little kid hollering "Wow!" People of all ages should have such reactions.

A minor point about a minor ballet: We haven't seen "Viva Verdi" at the State Theater yet, although it's due soon. The clinker to which you and Manhattnik refer is called Quartet for Strings. Viva Verdi makes use of themes from La Traviata, by Marc-Olivier Dupin in much the same way Vittorio Rieti used themes from Bellini's opera for Sonnambula. There's a nice violin solo. During the last week of the Saratoga season, the two ballets, Viva Verdi and Quartet for Strings, were performed together at a "preview." I liked Viva Verdi considerably more than the Quartet, which I didn't like at all -- there or here. However campy,the choreography was a lot more interesting, as performed by Darci and Charles Askegard. Ashley Bouder, Glenn Keenan, and Lindy Mandradjieff completed the cast. I have no idea why Martins separated the two, because the Quartet is certainly not viable on its own.

[ January 13, 2002: Message edited by: Farrell Fan ]



#9 Lillian

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 02:18 PM

None of these reviews mention Carla Korbes? Is she injured?

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 02:26 PM

I don't know, Lillian, but I had to break in and say HAPPY NEW YEAR. Good to see you here again smile.gif

#11 Manhattnik

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 05:31 PM

I believe Korbes has been out for quite awhile with an injury. I don't think she danced at all during Nutcracker, either.

#12 Calliope

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 06:01 PM

She is however, the latest Levin Award winner to be honored at the Company's Annual Luncheon

#13 Paul Parish

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 12:49 AM

So that's what appened to Lindy Mandradjieff!!
What a fine dancer; she shone in the corps here, and got a lot of soloist parts. Was she just on for hte Saratoga season, or is she with NYCB now?

By the way, just for selfish reasons, How's Arch Higgins doing? He came out of Sally Streets's studio (as did Kyra Nichols, but that was before i started taking class there).

[ March 23, 2002, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: Paul Parish ]

#14 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 01:02 AM

Paul, you have got to be systematically working your way through a year's worth of topics! biggrin.gif

Mandradjieff is in the corps de ballet of NYCB. Higgins is a soloist, but has been out all season because of an injury.

#15 Paul Parish

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 01:51 AM

Leigh, you are very kind to suggest that it looks like i'm doing this systematically. Nope, I've just jumped in, and it's so exciting to be in contact with the impressions of people writing in the heat of hte performance, I'm kind of just wolfing it all down....

Arch Higgins was a pipe-cleaner skinny kid at the studio when I started taking classes as an adult beginner. He was already full of dreams of dancing, reminded me at that stage of what Anthony Dowell must have been like--

I was taking Janet Carole's afternoon class with them, and one day twisted my right knee. To give myself something to do while I was recovering I came up with a scenario and music and sets for a recital-piece for them that Janet choreographed, a 2-act version of Andersen's Snow Queen featuring him as Kai (the boy who gets the magic splinter in his eye) to Schumann's Album fur die Jugend, pieced out with larger piano music, spooky and wonderful. Arch was brilliant; it was a great experience for me.

So I'm very attached to him..... when they were here, he danced a lot in Martins' new work, made it come off, and had a tiny part in "the Concert," the guy who sold the ballerina the hat -- which he did as if he were Stephen Frye. His takes on her choices were priceless, he rolled his eyes discreetly, at one part it looked like he had a plum in his mouth....... It was a small part, and he KEPT it small, but I was... well, all I can say is, I may be partial, but what usually happens if it's a friend of mine and it's not stage-worthy, I'm embarrassed. Arch did not embarrass me.... And I like him very much in Agon; his timing and imagery seem absolutely right.


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