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Lincoln Center: Reviews & Impressions


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#1 BalletNut

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 07:47 PM

Here is a thread where those of us seeing SFB at Lincoln Center can post about what we're seeing! :thanks:

#2 drb

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 08:06 PM

Gala, Tuesday July 25

Well, quite a company! And 76 dancers large: 19 principals, 11 soloists, 41 corps, 3 principal characters, 2 apprentices. The combined 30 at the top is more than at ABT. With all these dancers that are new to me, please forgive any misjudgments; it takes a season, not party bits in a gala, to form any fair opinions.
The evening began with some powerhouse choreography, not always the case overall.

1. Vertiginous Thrill, Forsythe/Schubert. Long/Waldo/Zahorian/Garcia/Nedviguine. They all showed great energy and enthusiasm for what they were doing. Star turns, but not just, clearly a company.
2. PdD from Dance House, Bintley/Shostakovich. Pipit-Suksun, Helimets, Hohenstein. The biggest Wow! for me of the gala, Nutnaree P-S is magic. Flexible mid back, and an incredibly strong lower back: she extends a leg, Tiit H lifts her by it to anywhere you can think of, and she never has to break her flowing spell. Using all her body in charismatic harmony. I have no idea what she can or cannot do re classical technique, but I'd buy a ticket to see her in anything.
3. PdD from Reflections, Mendelssohn/Possokhov. Maffre/Smith. Something about mirrors. Problem was the conductor was reflected in full, at dancer level, too distracting to follow the dancing.
4. Swan Lake PdT, Tomasson after Ivanov(it says, but is in a Petipa Act). Chung(a turner)/Viselli/Phillips. Corpsman Joseph Phillips very impressive. Very nice diagonal of double-into-single tours-en-l'air in his first variation, continuing impressively air-borne in the second.
5. Odette Adagio, (looks very Ivanov). Tan/Helimets. Yuan Yuan Tan seems very pure. Stunningly perfect right foot petits battements at the end, but not a sense of trembling. Helimets, as with P-S above, is a very princely partner. Watch out for prince-raiders from certain aging big companies...
6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada. This really grabbed the house. She has a skimming above the floor look to her dancing, her first variation thrilled the crowd. Both showing exemplary speed.
7. Concerto Grosso, Tomasson/Geminiani. Molat and Anderson/Garcia Castilla/Hohenstein/Yamamoto. While Molat especially pleased the audience, it did seem to go on...

Second half.
8. Chaconne, Tomasson/Handel. LeBlanc/Karapetyan. Tina skimmed across the stage again, beautifully.
9. c-# Waltz from Chopinianna, Fokine/Chopin. Smolen/Martin. I don't like Fokine and generally avoid Les Sylphides, even back in Baryshnikov's era. This was wonderful. Her epaulement was notable. But I can't say there was anything technically special. Yet the pair created some sort of magic. Chemistry, I guess. Whatever, for me the goose-bumper of the evening. Beauty, restraint, intense emotion.
10. Purple from Terra Firma, Kudelka/Torke. Long/Possokov. I don't know. Just too logical, like the composer. Still, appreciate Possokov's unretiring for us, and look forward to seeing him this weekend.
11. PdD from Fifth Season, Tomasson/Jenkins. Tan/Smith. Nicely danced.
12. No Other, Caniparoli/Rogers. van Patten/Vilanoba. Looked right on this stage, where Mr. B's Who Cares? so often has appeared. This really sang, delightfully danced by both. There's something flowingly emotional about Sarah van Patten, without emoting or seeming to even change expression. She joins Nutnaree and Molly as my three favorites of the evening.
13. Don Q PdD, Petipa/Minkus. Feijoo/Boada. A bit of ABT-ness. Star power fun. Lorena made about 45 rotations during the "32", and Joan delivered charismatically.
14. Brubeck Solo, Lubovitch/Brubeck. Garcia. A star turn, but not, it would seem, a very interesting vehicle.
15. 3rd Movement, Glass Pieces, Robbins/Glass. Finally a chance to see a good chunk of the company. Very attractive, intense dancers. Bravi!

#3 Helene

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 09:58 PM

I'm so happy that Smolen impressed, especially since she just joined SFB. I am going to try to arrange a trip when I can see her, Helimets, and Pipit-Suksun, three dancers I haven't yet seen. No one is allowed to steal away Helimets until I can arrange that :wub:

#4 sz

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 09:15 AM

>>1. Vertiginous Thrill, Forsythe/Schubert. Long/Waldo/Zahorian/Garcia/Nedviguine.

Best part of the evening for me. Most interesting of dancing / choreography/costumes. Definitely high energy! The ladies were not the most feminine, but were very strong technically... The ballet certainly was a strikingly good opener.

>>6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada.

Shocking to see that Helgi Tomasson did not address this ballet as *his* choreography, after Balanchine's (non-existent), as Tomasson noted in the program for the Swan Lake pas de trois (as being Thomasson's after Lev Ivanov). This Harlequinade was not the Balanchine choreography I remember, and I kept wondering how the NYCB trust/company might respond seeing this. Peter Martins among others, NYCB, were in attendance last night. I did not care for Tomasson's version of Harlequinade one bit; all technique, no charm.

>>13. Don Q PdD, Petipa/Minkus. Feijoo/Boada. A bit of ABT-ness. Star power fun.

I think Lorena did very well last night, but she was not at her best.


Overall, the men were the most intense, the most interesting dancers in the company. And although all of the dancers, male and female, were enthusiastic, I did not care for most of the choreography or the costumes presented.

#5 Dale

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 09:21 AM

>>6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada.

Shocking to see that Helgi Tomasson did not address this ballet as *his* choreography, after Balanchine's (non-existent), as Tomasson noted in the program for the Swan Lake pas de trois (as being Thomasson's after Lev Ivanov). This Harlequinade was not at all Balanchine's choreography, and I kept wondering how the NYCB trust/company might respond seeing this. Peter Martins among others, NYCB, were in attendance last night. I did not care for Tomasson's version of Harlequinade one bit; all technique, no charm.



I was confused too, sz. But then I looked in the program - it's not the McBride/Villella pas de deux, but the Eglevsky/Tallchief one, that Balanchine had choreographed before doing the complete ballet.

#6 sz

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 09:50 AM

>>6. Harlequinade PdD, Balanchine/Drigo. LeBlanc/Boada.

I was confused too, sz. But then I looked in the program - it's not the McBride/Villella pas de deux, but the Eglevsky/Tallchief one, that Balanchine had choreographed before doing the complete ballet.


Oh yes, I just re-read the program. But the Tallchief/Eglevsky version has so little of Balanchine's charm, wit, genius. Balanchine evolved SOOO much since 1950!!! Now I'm really confused(!!!).... Why would Tomasson choose the oldest version (the less lovely, less romantic, less crowd pleasing version) instead of the more recent one that we have all adored for years??!! I'm still shocked...

#7 Dale

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 09:54 AM

I think it's interesting to see the different versions. When I was watching it, I was thinking - this isn't the one I know. This is sort of goofy, too. I do love the 60s ballet, but I think this version probably suits LeBlanc better.

#8 rg

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 11:58 AM

re: HARLEQUINADE PAS DE DEUX - 1952, no. 290 in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE
i was quite interested to see this 'rarity'; i have no idea when it was last done, certainly not in my neck o'the woods in my balletgoing time. (i note the entry in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE isn't exactly correct, b/c it lists the music's coming from Act I, when i think i heard the finale for act 2 as the pas de deux's conclusion.)
still, tomasson likely wanted to do a HARELQUINADE ballet that was self-contained and arranged as such by balanchine himself.
i'm happy to have seen this and to know what balanchine's first choreographic thoughts in the US were for this russian favorite. (as in the case of the alt. version of VALSE FANTANSIE, i'm glad to have a chance to see another early variant on differently familiar, later ballet.)
as i saw this perf. by leblanc and boada this version of russian world of harlequin and columbine is as different from the one came later from balanchine's hand, as his first cast - tallchief and eglevsky - was from his later cast with mcbride and villella.
i'd love to see it again.
p.s. i'm hoping to post an old NYCB publicity still of eglvesky on ballet history, etc.

#9 sz

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 12:48 PM

re: HARLEQUINADE PAS DE DEUX - 1952, no. 290 in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE
p.s. i'm hoping to post an old NYCB publicity still of eglvesky on ballet history, etc.


Oh, how I would have loved seeing a bit of Andre Eglevsky dancing this role, though I cannot begin to picture Tallchief -- fitting to the sweet, flirty music!! A very nice picture of Eglevsky that you posted! He was a favorite teacher/coach of mine, years ago. I fondly think of him often while watching some ballets.

Anyway... back to SFBallet.... I wasn't a bit surprised to learn that Joan Boada, the Harlequin of last night's, is originally from Cuba.

#10 Brioche

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 05:52 PM

Is Marina Eglevsy credited for staging this pas?

#11 Dale

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 07:33 PM

Is Marina Eglevsy credited for staging this pas?


Yes.

#12 drb

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 10:01 PM

Sylvia, Wednesday July 26

Another full house for SFB at the State Theater (at least as seen from the 2nd Ring). The NYC Opera orchestra, under SFB Music Director Martin West, again distinguished itself (take note, ABT Orchestra, it is possible for horns and brass to play in humid weather).

A year after Mark Morris created his version of the ballet, Sir Fred Ashton's Sylvia appeared as if from nowhere at ABT and The Royal, and surely looked far better than what one expected from the history books. Perhaps such a master's "C" work would be graded an "A" in today's choreographic world.

Certainly for me Morris's Act 1 was a huge disappointment compared to Ashton's beginning. It looked very cluttered (stage size or Balanchine's house aesthetic?). Although with (finally...) the arrival of Sylvia (Yuan Yuan Tan) and her eight nymph friends the scene began to have a sense of place. It was the brilliant swing section, with its echo of Fragonard's Balancoire: not so much the famous voyeuristic "Swing" in which a gentleman is given a view, but more the earlier painting that may be seen here http://www.english.u...liams/swing.jpg
So one might see a post-Watteau sensibility at play in this Act. It looks French.
It is very difficult to say much about individual interpretations based on one viewing. But Tan does seem to project as an authentic, space-filling ballerina. I also liked the horse-like gait given the ballerina while running. I mean this positively, the proud high-chested gait of a thorobred. At first look, I don't buy Morris's Eros/disguised version, as compared to Ashton's take. Yet it does give him added scope for choreographic invention, and much for dancer Jaime Garcia Castilla to revel in. And he surely did impress.
Aminta (Gonzalo Garcia) and Orion (Yuri Possokov) would come into their own later.

In Act 2, after being too contemporarily thuggish as the Act 1 abductor, Orion became more developed. Much of this Act looked as if Morris were playing with the Balanchine of Prodigal Son, as if imagining how Mr. B. might choreograph the scene in which Orion and his goons (so like the creeps in PS) have Sylvia in their cave. Mr. Possokov clearly did us a favor by unretiring for this mini season. He was intense, powerful and riviting. Somehow he brought dimension to this basically vile character, we could be interested in him. Oddly, we had to leave "France" to get to wine. Now obviously, wine is also a big deal in Northern California. Vintners must have enjoyed Mr. Morris's notion that wine was created spontaneously by stomping on grapes: instant fermentation. Yet it did get the guys drunk. But what looked as if it were going to be a stunning scene change may not have worked right. Will have to see it again. Still really missing Ashton.

Act 3. Classical ballet! A white classical (ancient--statues of four gods) set, beautiful symmetries, in perfect harmony with a very diamantine presentation of the balerina. A wonderfully classical, inventive PdD for Sylvia Tan and Aminta Garcia. So many stunning images for Sylvia (perfectly described with luxuriating detail in the 2004 Dance View Times article by Paul Parish). Garcia's variation after the adagio was both classical and exciting. A brilliant curly-cue kind of finish (I would assume Morris's) to multiple pirouettes. Repeated. Hopefully someone can decribe this more technically. But it not only was a virtuosic detail, it added emotional fullness through gesture, made the variation more than just a variation.

{edited addition when more awake--11:15 AM Thursday Muriel Maffre must be mentioned for her Diana, played as a more dimensional character perhaps than we see in Ashton's version. She came on with an intimidating expressive power and relishing it. But when her youthful indiscretion was revealed she quickly enjoyed the release she received from her own stringent bonds. Her participation in Sylvia's wedding-by-sharing-an-arrow, a brilliant aesthetic stroke by Morris, showed her liberation was to be extended to others as well. One imagines that after the ballet was over there were to be changes in Nymphville.}

So, a great Act 3. Enough to go again. When Act 3 began the white + symmetries followed by the presention of the ballerina and very classical choreography brought diamonds to mind. Act 1, had a certain French perfume. And so Balanchine touches in Act 2 began to suggest a certain parallel to Mr. B's Jewels. Which goes from French to American (i.e., Mr. B.) to Imperial Russia. During my first 15 or so years of Jewels, Diamonds was my favorite. I know the other two are better. But Diamonds then was Farrell. When you've got D-flawless... And I think that Morris's diamond-faceted final act makes his Sylvia a keeper.

#13 Paul Parish

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for your reports. We're all agog to hear how you like it.

Yes Marina Eglevsky, (Andre Eglevsky's daughter) is a widely-respected teacher in the Bay Area; she is I believe her father's heir, and she set this version of the ballet (which Balanchine left to Eglevsky) for SFB.
Interestingly, she set Mr B's Sylvia pas de deux (which was also made on her father) on the Bolshoi for their Balanchine centennial celebration. You all might want to think about the relationship of this unfamiliar Harlequinade pdd to the Sylvia one you all know so well.

Re Morris's Sylvia, DrB and all of you, you've gotta go back to see Guennadi Nedviguine's Aminta, the purest classical dancing, he looks like Carlo Blasis. Also, you'll recognize the curlicue thing you mention in the finale, as something that's part of Aminta's material from the beginning. It's a renversee, a movement that "pours forth" - -like from the horn of plenty. Aminta ends his first-act turns in attitude, tipping hte attitude forward, in his first entrance, when he's declaring his love for Sylvia, and the renversee in effect shows us his heart is overflowing...... so in the last act, when his gazillion pirouettes end in a renversee and he tips forward and then recovers and leaps around himself -- what IS it he does? that solo should be set for ballet competitions, it's so hard and so exuberant and APPROPRIATE to that moment in the ballet

#14 Michael

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 03:36 AM

On Wed. night, I thought Yuan Tan very impressive. Lovely feet, beautiful beautiful line, deep positions, and dramatically alive.

Act II of the Ballet is the best. Morris had an original idea there and worked in his own idiom and Yuan Tan and Possokhov were most interesting. The final tableau was quite uplifting.

As for the rest: Morris is not a ballet choreographer of great skill by training or experience. He is a great choreographer in his own material but ballet isn't his metier. His ballet here, the enchainements and staging is rudimentary and thin and at times amateurish. A big mistake was to cut the stage to such shallow depth. The processionals in Act III had no punch. The material for the fauns and satyrs at the opening, likewise. There were few variations so no comment on that. But the pas in Act III was student level with a few pyrotechnical tricks thrown in. What I thought of the Gay Svengali Eros I can't say.

This will and has sold tickets because it's Morris doing Sylvia. It should not have been done. Do Act II as a short piece.

MP

#15 richard53dog

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 06:52 AM

Thursday night Sylvia


This is really such a difficult piece to pull off. I love the score but it's saddled with a difficult libretto. During Act 1 last night I was thinking this plot is so complicated, it's like one of those operas that have plots that are almost impossible to explain . Then during the intermission I read Morris' comment in the program that said roughly the same thing.


Morris tried to set all the parts of Act 1 but it came off awkward and cluttered.
Sylvia and her Nymphs came clomping in after the orgy scene with the satyrs; their choreography was successful is showing that these were powerful women but visually not that interesting to me. I did like the Sorcerer/Eros number a lot.

Act 2? More than a little cartoonish. Sylvia stomps out the bad guys. Eros appears to get Sylvia out of the cave.

I agree with Michael's comments on the shallow set compromising the third act, which I otherwise greatly enjoyed. For me it made the piece worthwhile.
Paul Parish described the complexity of Aminta's choreography very nicely, in general I liked the big pdd a whole lot. Also, I enjoyed the Pirate/Eros stuff. The plot is resolved in a very campy way; Eros reminds Diana of her past very vividly!

I saw Miner as Sylvia, Molat as Aminta, and Vilanoba as Orion with a special mention to Sofranko as Eros.
I thought Miner was a bit rough in Act 1 but did very well in Act 3. I was taken with Morat and Sofranko, too.

I was happy to see this, after seeing the Ashton last year with ABT. Two different takes at this complicated piece. But what a beauty of a score.

Richard


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