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MCB Program IIIDON QUIJOTE


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#16 cahill

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:04 PM

Any reviews from this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale? I was hoping to hear Jack Reed's thoughts.

#17 Jack Reed

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 08:09 AM

Maybe not, cahill. I'm sitting this one out. My thoughts are that, if I lived in south Florida, I might try one performance -- "happy, energetic, vital" I'm sure they are, as Cristian says -- but I react pretty strongly against Minkus's music, even in small doses, and what little else I've picked up about that "Don Q" is that it's basically a variety show which doesn't hang together very well. In other words, it's a weak draw for me, not enough to pull me from my other life here in the land of extreme weather and politics to match. (I expect to return to Florida for Program IV in mid-March.)

And I still remember more if I see less, although to a lesser extent than decades ago, when I was even more selective. I'm still buoyed up by memories of MCB's New York City Center run, and I want to continue to relish that.

#18 bart

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:47 PM

I'm with you on Minkus, Jack, and share a good deal of your feelings the classic Don Q. (Much prefer the Balanchine. If only it weren't saddled with that Nabakov score.)

Nevertheless, I'm signed on for 3 performances (out of 4) in West Palm. Following Cristian's wonderful reviews, I definitely want to see BOTH Catoya and Jeanette Delgado -- and want the chance to see Carlos Quendit, for the first time in a major role since he came to MCB. Jennifer Kronenberg's Mercedes is a bonus.

I'm also looking for improvements in the corps. They danced well last time around, but hadn't yet learned how to respond with conviction and vivacity to actions and dancing by others. In ballets like this, a corps that is totally engaged, even when not dancing themselves, can often be a key element determining whether or not YOU care about what is going on.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 12:58 PM

Any reviews from this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale?

Last Saturday I almost made it for the III Act at the night Performance, but at the end it didn't happen. (Would I had known that Delgado was doing it, I could have made an extra effort...). Verbatim from a friend who went: Kronemberg was given one performance, which he loved. Delgado the best...

#20 bart

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 08:42 PM

Just back from the West Palm opening: Catoya and Penteado. The feel of everyone's performance is so much freer and more confident than the last time they did Don Q, a couple of seasons ago. Everything -- from the fan work to the corps to the character dancing to the relationship between the two lovers -- is more alive.

In 2006, West Palm was the first time they'd ever done it in public. This time round, we were the last in a tour of 4 cities. What a difference!

I'll talk more about Catoya and Penteado when I've seen all casts. It's enough to say that they did a remarkable job and got a huge round of applause at the end.

Cristian, are you raising the hope that West Palm may get a chance to see Jennifer Kronenberg and (I assume) Carlos Guerra in the leads? Her Mercedes is still the sexiest, most glamourous and wittiest I could imagine. :) Guerra was a dashing Matador. Daniel Sarabia was electric as the Gypsy Leader. Jeanette Delgado, as the Lead Bridesmaid, was technically marvelous and full of joy.

The lack of a live orchestra had more than the usual drawbacks. There were some problems of timing -- especially in those big TA-DAH! moments at the end of phrases (usually bass drum and cymbals in Minkus). It makes me realize just how important the musical responsiveness of Conductor Francisco Renno and the Opus One orchestra had been.

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 08:51 PM

bart, what about "Reina de las Driadas"...?, Seay?...and Amor...?-(Albertson, I bet).

Cristian, are you raising the hope that West Palm may get a chance to see Jennifer Kronenberg and (I assume) Carlos Guerra in the leads?


Well, thanks to that habit of not announcing casting in advance I didn't get the info on time about Kronemberg's lead in Broward. :) -(Which I would have done something to be there. Now I KNOW that I have to maintain my older, more reliable sources ...definitely. But yes, you guys are supposed to get Jennifer. Let me know, ok..? :foot:

#22 bart

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 10:00 PM

bart, what about "Reina de las Driadas"...?, Seay?...and Amor...?-(Albertson, I bet).

Yes. And yes. Seay was lovely, quite serene and gentle -- more a sylph than a Queen. I liked Albertson, though I'd prefer someone smaller and faster in this role. I usually like more contrast among the women in this scene -- Kitri, Queen, Amor -- as they enter and depart like waves on a beach.

#23 bart

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 06:30 AM

I checked the pdd from the Terekhova/Ruzimatov Kirov dvd -- just to compare.

I've referred to Catoya appearing tired by the end of the pdd. One reason may be the very fast tempi imposed on her by the recording. In the dvd, Terekhova is given much slower tempi for certain sections: a diagonal series of pique pirouettes comes to mind. I fast-fowarded that section and found that she was dancing -- in fast forward --not all that much faster than Catoya had to dance last nsight on stage, in the same section. :)

In general, the Kirov dvd plays around with tempo to assure maximum impact from the dancers. In slower sections it's S-L-O-W, which creates much greater drama.

I wonder where they get the recordings they play at performance's like MCB'? Does anyone at the company edit them? What role does tempo play in the choice of what they use?

P.S. Terekhova's fouettees are pretty much one/two/double/one/two/double all the way through. I admire Catoya for performing a more difficult sequence at what appears to be greated speed. They're not as incredibly fast as Ananiashvili's on the Perm video -- who is? But they're strong, clean, quick, and ... to be honest ... pleasantly surprising from a company which doesn't get to practice this kind of trick very often.

#24 Jack Reed

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 11:38 AM

I think ballet companies typically patch their discs together from different recordings -- sometimes there's no other reason I can think of for different sound quality in different numbers. Some may be thin and shrill, others in the same ballet will be smooth and sweet. Just as a music listener at home, I've been able to ameliorate the worst problems by fussing with the controls on my playback equipment, but this takes time, and in the ballet-company context, time is money, and...

As for tempos, though, I'm told by a reliable source that it's now possible to adjust the tempos of a recording without affecting the pitch. Aside from knowing my source for this, my lowly DVD player will play back at double speed without changing the pitch, as yours probably did, bart, when you were trying that comparison of Terekhova and Catoya, so I believe it. (Maybe for some, nothing here needs proof, but I'm such an old guy, I still tend to think in terms of analogue technology, which didn't make miracles like we can today.) The point of all of this is that if Catoya's tempos were adjustable (in principle), then MCB may have thought they were appropriate.

And since it was opening night, she wouldn't have been tired by a matinee, the only time I've seen her falter for an instant in an evening performance of Ballet Imperial. Maybe they just traveled up the coast that day. Maybe -- hey, you know what? I just remembered! These wonderful creatures, these dancers, they're only human! It's so easy to forget that...

BTW, I'm enjoying this discussion, without having to go to the trouble of traveling and putting up with Minkus! Yeah, I can imagine Kronenberg doing sexy. Warm sexy, I gather, not cool, dominant sexy, like her Siren in Prodigal?

#25 cahill

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 06:54 PM

Thank you all for your comments. Since I was unable to attend one of these performances I am enjoy reading your comments and the reviews from the papers!!

#26 bart

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:04 PM

I just got back from Catoya-Penteado #2. It was an almost perfect performance -- glowing, happy, confident throughout. No sign of tiredness (which in some dancers shows as clenched jaw and screwing up the forehead.) Balances were amazing; lifts and descents perfectly secure. Just about everyone on stage was in character and in tune with the story and music. The audience -- and Saturday night is the most sophisticated ballet audience down here, it seems to me -- went wild. (Well, for Palm Beach County it was "wild.")

Cahill, RE Mark Lynch's review: I saw the same performance and do not agree with him about Don Q and Sancho Panza, something which takes up almost half the review. Marc Spielberg's performance as a befuddled and rather sad Don Q had great subtlety, I thought. Alex Wong's Panza gave an amazing comic turn, but he also brought across the character's touching concern for the welfare of his bewildered master. Didier Bramaz's father could not have been better. My only criticisms concern Jeremy Cox, who made Gamache so air-headed and silly that he becaome inconsequential. It doesn't have to be that way.

I missed the Saturday matinee, so I'll see either Kronenberg or Delgado tomorrow. Will report on performances after that.

#27 bart

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:18 PM

Yeah, I can imagine Kronenberg doing sexy. Warm sexy, I gather, not cool, dominant sexy, like her Siren in Prodigal?

Yes, warm sexy. Tonight's Mercedes was Patricia Delgado. Her take on the character was a faster, brighter in tone, and slightly devilish. Really good dancing, though.

#28 cahill

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 09:49 AM

Bart

Thanks for the comment on Alex Wong's Panza. I have so enjoyed his dancing and thought he would have done a great job in this role. IMO he is one of those dancers that is hard to take your eyes off when he is on stage, no matter what role.

#29 bart

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:36 PM

Sunday matainee: Jennier Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra in the leads, with Carlos Quenedit as Espada ((Guerra's other role) and Deanna Seay as Mercedes (Kronenberg's other role).

I was hoping to see Jeanette Delgado, but the surprise chance to see Kronenberg again more than made up for my disappointment. Her's is a wonderful Kitri, though possibly too smart, seductive, and charismatic character to make the character really plausible. All three principals have technique to make Kitri work. Catoya and Delgado have the speed and the precision; Kronenberg has the charisma and sex appeal. Take your pick: there are only winners in this group.

Guerra's attractive and winning Basilio has improved since the first run a few years ago. He is more confident in jumps, stronger in partnering, and has become quite a good comic actor. His training is Cuban, but in Camaguey, not with Alonso. The years with MCB have helped him gain strength, and speed, and have give greater authority and "weight" to his dancing.

I finally got to see Carlos Quenedit in a significant role: Espada. Quenedit is a former principal of Ballet Nacional de Cuba (before his defection 2 seasons ago) and has recently been promoted to soloist You can see a bit of Cuban Espada on YouTube.

Quenedit's thighs and calves are powerful. He's good looking, though his face lacks vivacity. His lift in jumps is amazing; his landings, soft and soundless. He brought to Espada an Old World flavor which I associate with Alonso's training.

Unfortunately, Quenedit is -- at this stage of his career -- far from being an interesting stage performer, even in a role he must know by heart. Jumping, running and generic arm-waving will take you only so far. Eventually you have link the steps and gestures into some kind of style. You have to play your part in the story with conviction and spontaneity. You have to give the appearance of paying attention to and caring about the other dancers around you. You can't just switch off the energy when you're not in the spotlight.

Quenedit isn't there yet. I hope that Villella makes sure this young man gets the assistance he needs to develop and expand, stylistically, what is clearly a serious natural talent.

I've already mentioned some of my favorite performances. Here are a few more.

-- Jennifer Lauren's Amor: quick, pert, witty, eye-catching. A member of the corps, Lauren held her own in the Dream scene with two principals, Catoya and Albertson.

-- Daniel Sarabia's Gypsy King. Sarabia has a devilish beard and an aquiline nose. His dancing has the Cuban weight and power, with a speed and attack that I associate with MCB's Balanchine emphasis. The partnership with Patricia Delgado was passionate and compelling. I hope they will continue to dance together.

-- Twins Leigh-Ann and Sara Esty, dancing together as the lead Flower Girls and in a variety of roles, including a delightful Amor for Sara. They bring joy to anyting they do. They pay attention to the small details, too: epaulement, the placement of feet, etc. Individually and side-by-side, they are a class act. They've grown tremendously since joining the comany as Student Apprenatices only 3 seasons ago.

--- The MCB corps, and the soloists who joined them from time to time: I am getting to know most of these young dancers by name, and I'd like to have the space to say something about almost everyone. Let's just say that they have learned to speak the vernacular language of this ballet: its movement style, its company comaradery, its high spirits.

-- Santo Loquasto's costumes, from ABT. Village girls, toreodors, gypsies, tutu'd spirits: everything worked well for dancing and blended harmoniously. The costumes for the Dream Scene were among the most beautiful I've ever seen.

#30 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 10:22 PM

. The costumes for the Dream Scene were among the most beautiful I've ever seen.

True, true. I got to manipulate one of the Driadas tutus post performance, and the embroidery and design were exquisite. The tones were very flora/Forrest/autumn inspired, with leaves and everything...the works. Usually I was used to see the white semi-romantic Driadas of Alonso's production, which were very pretty with their pearls and white gowns, but I couldn't tell that this were spirits living in trees. These looked more like Sylphs. Villella's Driadas costumes were very nice designed.


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