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Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream


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#1 its the mom

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 03:02 PM

Having been to the first three performances of this ballet and having read Theodore Bale's review, I must post out of respect for this company. This is a must-see for the Boston community. I don't know what Bale was watching, but I felt the company was at their best. All three casts were stunning. Sandra Jennings did a SUPERB job in staging this ballet and bringing out the best in each dancer. All three Titanias - Lorna Fejoo, Karine Seneca and Tai Jimenez brought a different dimension to the role. Gloria Govrin was able to coach the three girls who played Hippolyta, which was evident in their dancing. There were three different sets of lovers, again all bringing something wonderful and unique to the parts. The children were well-rehearsed and adorable. The audience reactions have been outstanding. The absolute high point for me was Larissa Ponomarenko in the second act pas de deux on opening night. But what is so wonderful is that Nissinen is creating a company with depth, with soloists, second soloists and corps members able to dance big roles.

What a privilege to have Balanchine's choreography of this story, and I salute Mikko Nissinen and Sandra Jennings for their great work.

#2 Helene

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 03:45 PM

Thank you for your review, its the mom. I wish I could have seen Larissa Ponomarenko's performance in my all-time favorite pas de deux.

Bale starts with the premise that A Midsummer Night's Dream is a bad ballet, and, in that light, the rest of the review isn't surprising.

#3 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 10 February 2007 - 07:25 PM

I'm here to see it, but I can't read Bale's review (I'm reviewing myself and I don't read anyone else's until I've written) but hey, it looked pretty decent to me. I'll see two casts. I did think the second act divert could be more resonantly danced than the cast I saw, but Oberon had excellent batterie and good line. I've been friends with Jimenez for more than 20 years (wow!), so I have a certain bias there.

It's interesting to see the Paklendaiz designs when I'm so familiar with the Karinska/Walker ones. In some ways they're a good deal better, in others more frou frou.

#4 Globetrotter

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 03:55 PM

I'll have to agree with its the mom about Boston Ballet's Midsummer Night's Dream. I'd never seen it before, so had no incoming bias about the ballet. And I hadn''t seen Boston Ballet yet this season, so didn't know what to expect there either. That said, I enjoyed my Saturday evening very much.

First off, I was impressed by the size of the audience - a few scattered single seats in the Orchestra and fairly full balconies - not a full house, but a very promising turnout on a cold February night (I'd say Mikko is doing a better job with the ballet than Danny Ainge is doing with the Celtics).

I saw Lorna Feijoo as Titania and she was great. Not as dramatic on the stage as her sister, but every bit the dancer - and I though even stronger. Kathleen Breen Combes, Tai Jimenez, Pavel Guerevich and Yury Yanowsky were the lovers. The dancing was good but their acting was very good. It reminded me of the level of mime more typically seen in Europe.

Gabor Kapin did an excellent job as Bottom - his acting while wearing a donky's head was inspired. The biggest delight of the evening was Joel Prouty as puck. His performance reminded me of Jim Sofranko (of San Francisco Ballet). Both have tons of technique they to use to benefit the choreography rather than show off.

Larissa Ponomarenko and Roman Rykine were excellent in the Act II Pas de Deux. With all of the showmanship of Act I it was refreshing to see Act II start with 10 minutes of fabulous classical ballet. It felt to me as though Mr Balanchine had inserted the classical Pas into a comic ballet the way a choreographer might insert comic relief into a serious ballet.

I need to mention the children, who are an important part of the ballet. I thought children in a ballet means the type of marching and mugging I see in most Nutcrackers, but these kids really danced! And they were VERY good. If these kids stay with Boston Ballet, we'll be seeing something special in about 5 years.

#5 Alley1258

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 05:59 AM

Its the mom, I also agree! I thought Bale's review was unwarranted and short-sighted. I loved seeing Boston Ballet do this. Even if it was not perfect and may still need some refinement in certain areas - which of course is necessary to point out when reviewing, it was still a treat to see here in our city and I applaud it. I thought it was a great step forward for the company.

I attended Saturday night's performance, and will be attending again this Thursday to see a different cast.
I not only loved seeing the children so involved on stage with the ballet, but there were also many in the audience who were thoroughly involved - laughing at the right bits, applauding. It was great.

#6 silvery_stars

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 04:40 PM

I'm gonna see it this weekend and I'm so excited! I'm glad to know it's looking good. And I'm REALLY glad that the acting is good. I'm forever on the hunt for good acting within a ballet performance, because it's hard to find and it adds so much to the show.

Three cheers for Mikko, for making Boston a ballet force to be reckoned with!


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