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Giselle


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#1 BalletNut

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 10:03 PM

Casting is up for Giselle, which opened on the 19th. I'm glad Tan got opening night, I think it's a very good role for her. Looking forward to all of your reports! :angry2:

#2 BalletGirl

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 05:05 PM

OK, West Coasters!! Let's get the reviews on Giselle!! We never hear enough about SFB!! It's weird (well maybe its b/c I live on the East coast), but it seems like ballet is more East coast concentrated. Yet, we have great companies in the west: SFB, PNB, Oregon, etc. --it seems as though we don't hear as much news from the west coast companies. Any thoughts?

#3 Andre Yew

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 09:44 AM

Hmm, no responses yet. I saw the opening night performance, as well as the Sunday matinee the next day. High points: Tina LeBlanc and Gonzalo Garcia on Sunday danced very well and had great chemistry. Garcia wowed the crowd in Act II with a series on entrechat sixes that seemed to go on forever. The costumes (except for the peasant men's codpieces) and sets were wonderful. Hansuke Yamamoto was really impressive in the peasant pas de cinq with a very clean, precise technique, and really nice ballon. Sarah Van Patten was very nice as the 2nd lead Wili (the whirlpool/renverse Wili). The entry of the royal party was really quite an occasion, and very impressive.

Low points: the lighting was clumsy with spotlights that seemed lost, the corps needed more work, especially in Act II, where the Wili chug section kind of rippled along. The music was well-played, but the attacks seemed blunted. Yuan-Yuan Tan and Pierre-Francois Villanoba on opening night had no chemistry, and rather detached dancing. IMO, I don't think it's a good role for Tan.

The Sunday performance held together dramatically better than Saturday's, and there were some really touching moments.

edit: I forgot to mention that I really dislike the peasant pas de cinq. It's basically the pas de deux's choreography spread out over 2 boys and 3 girls. It reminded me of a social dance class where there aren't enough men, as there was usually 1 girl dancing by herself doing the same moves as the other girls are doing, except unsupported. The effect of the choreography is also diffused and diluted by this spreading out.

--Andre

#4 BalletNut

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 04:43 PM

Thanks for weighing in, Andre Yew. Anyone else go?

Tan does have chemistry issues sometimes, but I still think she's physically suited to the role, especially the second act. I wish I could have seen LeBlanc...

#5 Talespinner

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 11:22 PM

I have seen two different casts, and it was like night and day. As a Wednesday night subscriber, I saw Kristin Long in her first Giselle. Quite frankly, she was dreadful. I cannot imagine why she was cast in this role. She is so completely wrong for it. I was so disappointed in the performance that during intermission I went to the box office and got a ticket for Thursday night, when Yuna Yuan Tan was dancing. I just returned from that performance, and it was spectacular. I was not struck so much by the lack of chemisty between Tan and Vilanoba, as someone else mentioned. I think she has come a long way as an actress and did a very good job with the mime and such. But it was her dancing that made the evening memorable. Absolutely ethereal.

Long was partnered by Guenaddi Nedviguine. His dancing was much stronger than Vilanoba's, but Vilanoba was a better actor.

I hope to get a last-minute ticket to see Lorena Feijoo as Giselle. I've seen her dance the role twice before and thought it was the perfect role for her. I won't have a chance to see Tina LeBlanc, though I did enjoy her performance as Giselle two years ago. I would like to have seen Gonzolo Garcia, though. I've heard great things about his Albrecht.

#6 Helene

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 12:01 AM

I was so disappointed in the performance that during intermission I went to the box office and got a ticket for Thursday night, when Yuna Yuan Tan was dancing.  I just returned from that performance,  and it was spectacular. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wow, Talespinner, many people would have left at intermission and not come back for a season or two :)

I glad the second performance was worth it for you.

Welcome to Ballet Talk.

#7 BalletNut

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 12:34 AM

Yes, Talespinner, welcome to Ballet Talk, and what a wonderful first post. Perhaps you'd like to pop into the Welcome forum and introduce yourself there, where you will be Officially Greeted. :)

I look forward to hearing about Thursday's performance. :)

Editing to add: I actually think Long had danced Giselle before Wednesday, but it was your first time seeing her, anyway, right? :)

#8 balletdad

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 09:48 AM

I talked with a friend last night who had seen Kristen Long dance Giselle Wednesday and he thought she was sublime. He thought her mad scene was wonderful and her second act work quite excellent. Isn't is wonderful how different people can see the same performance so differently?

I have seen Tan, Feijoo so far and will see Tina LeBlanc tonight. I saw Tina in rehearsal for th first act last week. Her acting was so strong in the mad scens you wanted to rush on stage to console her (an urge that I, fortunately resisted). I am looking forward to seeing her tonight. I thought Yuan Yuan was fine in her performance. Her tecnique is supurb but I still think her acting has a ways to go. The acting was stronger in the second act. She is definately improving in that area. Lorena was a fasinating Giselle. This her her role, but you would expect that from someone trained by Alicia Alonso.

I saw Maffre as Myrtha one night and Elana Altman another. Muriel was, as expected, wonderfully brittle as the Queen. She is so strong in such roles. She truely floated across the stage in her initial entrances in a wonderfullly etherial way. It seemed her feet never moved, her hovered and floated on the breeze. I was impressed with the strength Altman brought to the role. She was not quite as cold and etherial as Muriel but I thought she was quite good. I am looking forward to seeing Katita Waldo dance the role tonight.

Vadim Solomakha danced Albrect to with Feijoo. When he gets into a part he really puts all of himself out on the stage. And he was there this night. His characteization was ever bit as strong as his dancing. He seemed to really be pushing himself to greater and greater heights and when he collapsed on Giselles grave at the the end It seemed a truely wounded soul. He was wonderful. I am looking to Garcia in that role tonight with LeBlanc's Giselle.

#9 Talespinner

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 01:00 PM

I talked with a friend last night who had seen Kristen Long dance Giselle Wednesday and he thought she was sublime.  He thought her mad scene was wonderful and her second act work quite excellent.  Isn't is wonderful how different people can see the same performance so differently?

=====

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. I still think Kristin Long was all wrong for the part, and so did most of the people sitting around me. The man seated in front of me (I'm in the 4th row) said he was going to fire off a letter to Helgi begging him never to use her for Giselle ever again. I will admit that her mad scene was well done. But up until that moment, she made me cringe.

She was slightly better in the second act, but overall there was a heaviness to her movements that struck a wrong chord for me. She also missed her footing twice and had to be caught quickly by her partner, and her balance was off-center in several variations. I just don't think she was up to the role.

That same evening Vanessa Zahorian played Myrtha. I was sceptical, since she is so tiny and I always think of Myrtha as stately and grand. But she was surprisingly good. She had a boatload of "wicked" makeup on that made her look very different. Seeing Muriel Maffre the next night, though, was a pleasure. This role was made for her.

#10 Quiggin

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 12:33 AM

I enjoyed tonight's (Friday's) Giselle and agree with Andre Yew on many of his points. I liked Tina LeBlanc more in the second act than the first. She was a bit too coy in the first and when she jumped and beat--or whisked--her feet, they ran across each other too quickly. Garcia's strengths seem to be the natural and at once unnatural unexpected extra extension he has in his cabrioles (or jete battus--unsure of my vocabulary), something of the same effect of the extra punch that Melissa Hayden has, at least in videos. GG always holds his arms firmly but gracefully across which gives a nice contrast to the movements of his feet and make them appear as if suspended from above, and when his hands are higher it's as if there held by strings at his wrists. Other members of the company seem to have too much of a bending, willowy carriage of their arms, which is not as architecturally interesting to me. I did like the dancing of the members of the pas de cinq--Vanessa Zahorian, Francis Chung, and Sarah Van Patten, and I liked Elizabeth Miner a lot as a Solo Wili. She seemed to dance just a touch behind the beat, which made the finishes of her moves have a satisfying fullness to them.

On another note, it's always a thrill to be arriving at the old War Memorial Opera House at the last minute in the crush to pick up tickets and to overhear people in line exchanging, or to participate in, heated thoughts on ballet. Last week the woman behind me was from Denmark, here to see what Helgi was up to, and this evening the woman in her place--with her two San Francisco neices--was from New York and a NYCB regular, and talking with her was like speaking a foreign language you haven't spoken for years and yet remembering all the words and constructions. Our ballet Latin included: who in New York had just been mysteriously promoted and who had significantly been not, who was tall and who was short, what the real reason O. was retiring was, and that P. had really gone too far this time; who did Rubies well and that Emeralds been a real disappointment this season. (SF is far too polite for this kind of talk and nothing ever really gets beyond the first stages here.) And in the auditorium the woman next to me had seen Nureyev as Albrecht in the first Giselle she saw years ago in Italy and he had signed her program, and the young dancers in front of me giggled and nudged each other and gossiped with their fingers as the performances went on, and afterwards showed great signs of having been overwhelmed and at the same time amused by what they had seen. It's always great fun.

#11 carbro

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 12:39 AM

While I enjoyed your review, Quiggin, your slice of life was priceless -- wonderful. Many thanks for that!

#12 Brioche

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 12:27 PM

when she jumped and beat--or whisked--her feet, they ran across each other too quickly.


I wish my students had that "problem." :wink:

#13 BalletNut

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 05:39 PM

That same evening Vanessa Zahorian played Myrtha.  I was sceptical, since she is so tiny and I always think of Myrtha as stately and grand.  But she was surprisingly good.  She had a boatload of "wicked" makeup on that made her look very different.  Seeing Muriel Maffre the next night, though, was a pleasure.  This role was made for her.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Not having seen Zahorian as Myrtha, I'm having a hard time picturing her in it. Actually, she'd probably be an interesting Giselle. But I'm not sure size has everything to do with it; it wouldn't be a problem at all if Giselle was LeBlanc. I think it's Zahorian's personality that I'm having trouble picturing as Myrtha. She's always struck me as a very "sweet" dancer, and Myrtha isn't sweet. But, she does certainly have the technique, and "wicked makeup" can make a lot of things possible. :thumbsup:

#14 dirac

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 02:08 PM

I saw Zahorian as Myrtha and felt the same way. She's a very warm, sweet personality and although she acted and danced the part well I still kept expecting her to transform suddenly into a Good Fairy, beam happily at Albrecht, and wave him off into the woods.

I also took in Long's Giselle in Saturday's matinee. I fear I must second Talespinner. Long just isn't up to Giselle. I'm sorry.

Was sorry to miss LeBlanc this time around, although I agree she can overdo the sweet guileless smile. I have fond memories of her and Roman Rykine in this.

#15 bart

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 05:09 PM

Thanks, Quiggin, for your evocation of the thrill of being in a great theater for a major performance. I am not familiar with any of the San Francisco dancers but I now feel I know the world for which they dance.


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