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Swan Lake: July 1-9Reviews and Comments


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#16 nysusan

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 07:43 PM

I had a great time watching the 4th of July fireworks tonght. If anyone opted for Swan Lake instead please share any of your impressions of the Part/Gomes cast... Please!

#17 drb

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 07:46 PM

I'm too biased to give a review of tonight's (4 July) Swan Lake, since Part is my favorite O/O since Makarova. But for starters: The explosion of Terror when Odette first sees Siegfried. Part's second Odette variation was a great improvement over last summer's. She seemed to exude confidence right from beginning as Odile. Tech errors, a few, still, but fewer.
Special kudos to Bystrova/Krauchenka, new to me, in the Spanish. Would like to see them (single or together--they have a pleasing rapport and fit) in something substantial.

Edited by drb, 04 July 2005 - 07:47 PM.


#18 Ceeszi

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 05:00 AM

I went to the performance last night (July 4th) and drb - I see what you mean. I thought Veronika Part was tremendous! I was really looking forward to her performance after having seen her dance one of the Odalisques in "Le Corsaire" and also based on what people have written about her on this board.

There were a couple of off moments in last night's "Swan Lake". One of the ladies in the Act I pas de trois slipped once and then had to put her hand down to keep herself from falling at the end. Another of the ladies in the corps went down just before Act I ended. I felt that the audience really was not "into it" until Act II came and Part came on stage.

Marcelo Gomes was a perfect Prince Sigfried - very regal, majestic, and you could feel the agony and pain that he was going through. His Act II pas de deux with Part was absolutely radiant. In Act III, he and Part had one or two minor technical glitches, but nothing to disrupt the mood that they were creating together.

Veronika Part - :D - where do I begin? Her Odette was lovely - very heartbreaking and vulnerable. I could understand why Prince Sigfried would fall head over heels for her and especially because Veronika Part is so gorgeous. But everything came together perfectly in Act II - her extensions, her musicality, the way she seemed to melt into Gomes' body, her portrayal of a trapped woman, etc.

Now - here is something that I noticed. Her Odile was very flashy and commanding, but she put in a few Odette-like nuances, which makes it better to understand why Sigfried would think it was Odette. Someone commented on this board that if Odette and Odile are played by the ballerina too differently, then how could Sigfried think they could possibly be the same woman. Part managed to make the confusion seem more understandable.

Veronika Part made one or two minor technical errors in Act III, but nothing that ruined her performance. She is a beautiful dancer and I think that she is headed for greatness.

The corps de ballet was on for all the swan parts and the two lead swans were danced beautifully by Kristi Boone and Adrienne Schulte. There was one dancer who really caught my eye during the night - Zhong-Jing Fang. Besides being a stunning looking woman, she carried herself so beautifully on stage. Jesus Pastor as the human Von Rothbart was good, but I saw the part danced better by (ironically!!) Gomes himself on the PBS television show.

But it was a really good night and Tchaikovsky's music is so eternal - no wonder this is such a classic!

#19 nysusan

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 06:37 AM

drb & Ceeszi - thanks so much for the reports! I'm going to see the same cast on Thursday but it seems so far away...

#20 drb

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 07:07 PM

The Swan is back in ABT's Lake! A great triumph tonight by Diana Vishneva. Not at all like the hyper modern Mariinsky/Kirov swans we saw in NYC during their last visit, much more a swan in the style that Makarova brought us 35 years ago. WOW!
Can't wait to read more rational posts.

#21 nysusan

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 07:56 PM

Anyone who is waiting for rational will have to wait for someone other than me. Tonight Vishneva gave me back Swan Lake, in fact she almost overcame the limitations of the staging. She danced it for real, completely in the moment and beautifully modulated. Her Odette was frightened, mistrustful, hopelessly trapped & yet at the same time meltingly hopeful. At times her adagio was exquisitely slow but then in the coda when she does those passe's she was so fast & wild & abandoned - like at that very moment she had just finally allowed herself to see the possibility of freedom and was both exhilarated & terrified by it. She has gorgeous long arms & legs but did not go for the neoclassical line and hyper extentions she is capable of (except in act 3, where that belongs!). She was absolutely beautiful in every pose, but the poses were never static. Each beautifully outstretched arm reached itís zenith & then crumbled in. Her Odile was truly von Rothbarts daughter -gleefully malevolent as if ripping Sigfriedís heart out was the most fun she could imagine. Yet enough mimicking of Odette at the right moment to make his confusion believable. Canít say enough about her. Saveliev replaced Beloserkovsky and did fine. Cornejo,Kajiya and Reyes did their usual great job in the pas de trois, Sascha Radetsky wasn't bad as the purple von R but Gomes is a tough act to follow. Special mention to Jared Matthews as the swamp thing - he actually brought a lot of authority to the role.

#22 drb

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 08:17 PM

Thank you nysusan, you said what I saw, so its rational enough for me! I can't stand Swamp Thing, but second your comment on Mr. Matthews making something significant out of it. But as for the production, the tragedy that Vishneva delivered so brilliantly in Act 3 needs all the more the real choreography of Act 4: it killed the momentum she'd created to go right to Frog Pond, with the corps plotsed on their lillipads, save when they hopped aimlessly elsewhere.

#23 zerbinetta

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:47 AM

Ceeszi, it was Simone Messmer in the pas de trois Monday night who slid slightly in her variation & then again when she finished. It seemed to my eye to be a matter of not enough resin on her shoes. Other than that, she did extremely well, especially up against that pairing made in heaven of Wiles & hallberg.

The corps girl at the end of Act I is supposed to fall down. The peasants are getting rowdy now that the nobility has left the scene.

Pastor did a credible impression of Gomes as Rothbart but needs to come up with his own interpretation. Radetsky on Tuesday was pallid, did not hold the stage as he needs to. Gomes is the Machiavellian Rothbart & Acosta the Mephistophelean Rothbart but there are other ways to play this role if a dancer has imagination.

I'm seeing Part/Gomes again (oh, joy!) Thursday so will wait to remark on the Mon performance.

Tuesday's Swan pairing of Vishneva & Saveliev was all the more impressive since they had 1) 2-1/2 days rehearsal only!; 2) had never danced together before & 3) Vishneva had never done a Swan at ABT (or at the Kirov either, I was told; can this be true?) & Saveliev has not done the role in 4 years. Not that there weren't occasional hitches but very few of them, under the circumstances. Saveliev is a truly wonderful partner & clearly sacrificed himself for his ballerina.

She was worth it! It would be unfair to compare her Act II to Part's & I won't. they're totally different ballerinas. Vishneva's was very birdlike & sculptural. Her III did remind me of Makarova, especially the glittering Natasha eyes & icily seductive portrayal of Odile.

We also were treated to replacements as Benno & The Girls in the terrific forms of Cornejo, Reyes & Kajiya.

Fang got demoted tonight, from Hungarian Princess to one of the retinue. She was lovely, as always.

#24 PAmom

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 03:38 AM

Thanks so much for sharing about Vishneva & Saveliev, zerbinetta. I so wish I could make it to see these but I won't be making it to any more performances this season. I look forward to reading what you have to say about Monday and Thursday.

#25 drb

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 04:39 AM

Re: "Vishneva had never done a Swan at ABT (or at the Kirov either, I was told; can this be true?)"
Yes, they always told her she was not suited for the part. Her friend Vladimir Malakhov gave her the chance at his Berlin Company. Perhaps this is why her performance is not "corrupted" by the Mariinsky's modern hyper extensions.

#26 FauxPas

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 06:23 AM

First of all there were many changes on Tuesday night - Saveliev replacing Belotserkovsky as Siegfried, Cornejo replacing Saveliev as Benno, Kakija and Reyes replacing Riccetto and Liceica in the PdT, Parkinson replacing Meunier as the Queen Mother, Marian Butler replacing Misty Copeland as the Hungarian Princess and Arron Scott replacing Carlos Lopez in the Neapolitan duo.

Saveliev I respect for his professionalism and adaptability. He knew what the traditions were and was credible and supportive of his partner. He had a few shaky landings and some jerky phrasing in the first act solos (all new to him since it is McKenzie choreography) but did much better in the canonical and familiar Act II and Act III choreography. He wasn't as strong a presence as Vishneva and his acting was a touch wooden. Since he was thrown in at the last minute I give him great credit. The audience was warm to him at the end. I like Saveliev better in flashy character roles and prefer Malakhov, Belotserkovsky and Carreno as the danseur noble Princes but he kept to a good standard.

I was impressed by the flexible upper body phrasing that Vishneva brought to Odette as early as her appearance in the Prologue staged behind the scrim show curtain during the overture. Her arms were those of a big swan - broad soaring wings and she did wing movements with her arms and not rippling waves at her exit at the end of Act II. Her arabesques were deep and gorgeous and her face expressive of pain and desolation. This kind of creamy legato phrasing was not as natural to her as to someone like Part. But her characterization was impressively detailed as was her sharp and glittering footwork. I wasn't as moved as I have been by other Odettes in the past but this was a major artist at work with impressive results.

The Odile is a better fit for Vishneva's attack and physicality and she didn't disappoint but she seemed a little girlish to me - not enough hauteur or mystery. She has a tendency towards brittleness in these big parts that doesn't show up in "Rubies" or "Don Quixote". Her fouettes were very fast, high and tight with just a few doubles but ran out of steam a little at the end (no bobbles).

The fourth act kind of fizzled for me... maybe it is the choreography but I didn't feel any catharsis or release. I think that an established rapport between the Prince and Odette is crucial here and that is where this pairing (understandably) fell short. I miss the touch where the Swans are huddled in groups of four on the floor and the Prince lifts them up looking for Odette. But I do appreciate the one intermission, so I guess you have to lose something since that staging can't be done in front of the shifting forest scrim. A lot of people said that Monday with Part was more moving (I am going on Thursday). I enjoyed many aspects of the evening immensely but I didn't feel it jelled into a moving whole at the end.

#27 nysusan

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 07:04 AM

The fourth act kind of fizzled for me... maybe it is the choreography but I didn't feel any catharsis or release.  I think that an established rapport between the Prince and Odette is crucial here and that is where this pairing (understandably) fell short.  I miss the touch where the Swans are huddled in groups of four on the floor and the Prince lifts them up looking for Odette.  But I do appreciate the one intermission, so I guess you have to lose something since that staging can't be done in front of the shifting forest scrim.  A lot of people said that Monday with Part was more moving (I am going on Thursday).  I enjoyed many aspects of the evening immensely but I didn't feel it jelled into a moving whole at the end.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Thank you nysusan, you said what I saw, so its rational enough for me!  I can't stand Swamp Thing, but second your comment on Mr. Matthews making something significant out of it.  But as for the production, the tragedy that Vishneva delivered so brilliantly in Act 3 needs all the more the real choreography of  Act 4: it killed the momentum she'd created to go right to Frog Pond, with the corps plotsed on their lillipads, save when they hopped aimlessly elsewhere.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's my biggest problem with this staging - there is no catharsis or release in act 4. I don't think that had anything to do with the dancers, I feel that way whenever I watch this staging. I could live with all the other flaws, but no matter how touching and tragic acts 2 & 3 are all the momentum is killed in this 4th act. I don't think any ballerina can really overcome that, but I never stop hoping that one will. We'll see what Part can do on Thursday.

#28 FauxPas

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 07:30 AM

I don't know if this merits a separate thread but what "Swan Lake" 4th acts have you seen that really worked for you? I remember really liking the fourth act that Antony Dowell did for the Royal Ballet production that toured to NYC ten years ago. I think someone told me it was staged from the Sergeyev notations and was the original Ivanov choreography.

Someone told me that the best fourth act they ever saw was one that Nureyev did for the Berlin Ballet with Cynthia Gregory as Odette.

Of course then there is the whole question of tragic ending vs. happy ending, does Siegfried die and Odette live?, does Odette jump first or do they jump in the lake together? do Siegfried and Von Rothbart fight it out and the whole ripped off wing writhing on the floor bit or does Von Rothbart just observe? Does Siegfried kill Von Rothbart? Does Von Rothbart kill Siegfried? Do the swans kill Von Rothbart? does Wolfgang come back and kill Von Rothbart? Does Von Rothbart live on stripped of his powers? This act changes the most from production to production.

Back to ABT, Sascha Radetsky did some of the best dancing I have seen him do as the Handsome Von Rothbart but he reads very young and a little callow on stage. Marcelo has more maturity and weight onstage.

[Edited by Helene: I've opened up a new thread to discuss Swan Lake Act IV, which can be found here.]

Edited by Helene, 06 July 2005 - 07:41 AM.


#29 Condor

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 11:31 AM

I absoutly agree with everyones comments about how absoutely beautiful Vishneva was is last nights Swan Lake. However, it is extremely sad that she blew the end of her "Black Swan" variation and the end of her fouettes, which I totally blame the concuctor's eratic tempos on. :wink:

#30 drb

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 08:33 PM

Thursday night's Swan Lake. First, Bravo! to Marcello Gomes. I hope someone can do justice in describing his turns after Odile's "32". All in all a terrific Black Swan PDD.
V. Part's Odette was less (but still) terrified on first sight of Siegfried than she was on Monday. Quicker to respond to him, she seemed to find her inner self and human body, long 'dead' inside the hopeless swan. By the Adagio she had a profound glow of spiritual and physical ecstasy. It may be cheating, but we know how this will all turn out. The ecstasy of the Odette/Odile Adagio somehow will make their sorrowful end bearable. They'll always have Adagio. But, of course, there's the matter of lack of sorrow in this production's Act 4 (a topic in itself, quite literally on BalletTalk!). Once this pair took stage in Act 4, I felt they realised the profound sorrow that is often found wanting. After just one year of Part/Gomes Lakes, I think it can be safely said that this is the beginning of a beautiful partnership.


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