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Miami's Program Four: In the Night, Concerto Barocco,Symphony in C


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#1 bart

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 09:34 AM

MCB's 4th program opens tonight at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (4 performances, March 13-15), followed by the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (March 27-29) and the Arsht Center in Miami (April 3-5)

It's another dream program ... for me, at least: fist-rate Robbisn (In the Night) and Balanchine (Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C).

Here's a Link to the company's website:
Program IV

Any thoughts about casting? I've been brooding over the 3 couples for In the Night:
-- dreamy and innocent: ____________ ?
-- a little grand, but unpredictable, too: ____________ ?
-- apassionato and just a little bit over the top: ___________ ?

What do you think? (I have a position open for Rolando Sarabia, but don't know whether he will be dancing.)

#2 Jack Reed

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:07 PM

(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) I don't have any ideas about casting, but here's some characterizations of the three sections, to compare with bart's.

In Repertory in Review: Forty Years of the New York City Ballet, on p. 265, Nancy Reynolds quotes Francisco Moncion, one of the original six dancers, as follows: "Of our part [the third], Jerry definitely said we were having an argument: 'It's one of those on again, off again affairs; they might get together, they come, they go.' The first section is a mood piece. It has birdlike gestures; it floats. The second section is a very elegant polonaise. Jerry has always used lots of lifts, even in the fifties."

While I'm at it, here's a little characterization from him of another ballet on tonight's program, from the same page, in a passage about a Croce interview of Robbins about In the Night in which she asked him whether he had any thought of conveying a continuous dramatic action behind the scenes, which Robbins denied: "If that effect is there, it's there because it's in the music... Think of the second movement of ... Symphony in C. Those girls who come on are certainly coming from somewhere.'"

See how all this looks to you.

#3 bart

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:02 PM

Looking forward to your reviews, Jack and vrs. Please -- EVERYONE who attends: sahre at last a few of your impressions.

While I'm at it, here's a little characterization from him of another ballet on tonight's program, from the same page, in a passage about a Croce interview of Robbins about In the Night in which she asked him whether he had any thought of conveying a continuous dramatic action behind the scenes, which Robbins denied: "If that effect is there, it's there because it's in the music... Think of the second movement of ... Symphony in C. Those girls who come on are certainly coming from somewhere.'"

This is a fascinating point, Jack. In some ballets I really do find myself imaging that the dancing continues once the dancers leave the stage. Or that their dancing began long before they appeared on stage. I will indeed be looking for this in Symphony in C. Thanks.

#4 vrsfanatic

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:51 PM

because it's in the music... Think of the second movement of ... Symphony in C. Those girls who come on are certainly coming from somewhere.'"


:rofl: Sometimes a few of those girls may have come off from 1st movement, taken a swig of water, a few deep breaths and lined right up again for 2nd movement! :( :wink:

bart, wish I could write a review, but it is just not in me. I am not able to say in writing what I enjoy and what I do not, but put me in the passenger seat of a car while someone else is driving (hum, or in my classroom) and I can talk one's ear off about how I feel about what we had just experienced! :wink:

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 07:33 PM

(hum, or in my classroom)

...oh yes, I know...especially there...he,he :(

#6 Jack Reed

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 08:04 PM

(from Fort Lauderdale, FL) Even in easy tempos, Concerto Barocco is a rich ballet, and Deanna Seay's lead was rich in dance virtues; Tricia Albertson was the second woman, and Rolando Serabia the porteur. (This afternoon I listened again to the 1932 Menuhin-Enesco-Monteux recording, the best I think I have ever heard, to which I've heard the ballet was choreographed; it's four minutes shorter than the recording MCB uses.) (But fast tempo is not the reason I prefer it; see below, Post #13.)

(A note in the program book tends to perpetuate the myth that one woman corresponds to the first violin, the other to the second; while there is a bit of this in the first movement, as though to get the viewer on track with this piece, whoever originated the idea seems to have fallen asleep by the end of that movement, for the two violins continue to play throughout the second movement, where only the "first" woman dances until very near the end.)

In the Night was very beautifully danced, with special elegance by the second couple, Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerrra, and the music was well played, after a brittle start I thought, by Francisco Renno; but what bothered me years ago still bothers me about this ballet: I can't get what Robbins hears in this music. I don't see much correspondence between what I see and what I hear. There are spectacularly eye-catching moments onstage in places where the music flows on very quietly, for example, a slow sort of aerial somersault by one woman (Tricia Albertson, with Didier Bramaz, in the first couple, IIRC), another (Jeanette Delgado, with Renato Penteado, in the third couple) inverted in a lift with her ankles crossed and one leg quivering.

Symphony in C was led by Mary Carmen Catoya and Penteado, Kronenberg and Guerra, Jeanette Delgado with Alex Wong, and Patricia Delgado with Jeremy Cox. I thought it overall better than the one cast who danced in New York. This was quite a fine evening for performances to savor, even if the Robbins piece didn't completely involve me.

(There's a parallel discussion about Symphony in C's history going on in the Ballets & Choreographers forum: http://ballettalk.in...howtopic=15681)

Edited by Jack Reed, 15 March 2009 - 05:18 AM.


#7 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 05:19 AM

As regulars in this forum know, AD & CEO Edward Villella introduces the program before hand; I caught only the end of his remarks last evening partly because he now intends to speak at 7:00 PM and 1:00 PM for the 8:00 PM and 2:00 PM performances and I arrived later, so those attending who want to hear him, be warned.

I'll try to post his comments on the repertory when I get them, but meanwhile there was some news in the question session which followed:

MCB is planning a 25th Anniversary season "like you cannot believe". They like to have a full-length ballet for Program III, and are hoping to mount John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, to Prokofiev's music.

As for the 24th season, next year, noticing ballroom is "all over TV", they decided it would be a good time for Villella's full-evening The Neighborhood Ballroom. He also hopes to present Theme and Variations [the Balanchine ballet to the long, concluding movement of Tchaikovsky's Third Suite for Orchestra], if certain people recover from injury.

Next year's company looks to be reduced from 57 to 41 dancers, for various reasons including economic conditions, but the company will also extend to the best students in its associated school opportunities "to work with our professional company".

The company's reputation is growing to the point where "we can identify where we go if the fee is big enough", and tours to Chicago (in October) and Vail, Colorado are coming next season.

In answer to a question about different theatres, Villella said theatres differ in ease of relating with the audience, and their different stage sizes mean they differ in how "we relate to each other. We have to walk it, block it, expand or contract" the ballets a little. He held up one hand, representing four dancers, with his fingers close together and then opened them a little.

Will there be live music? "That costs $600,000; if you have $600,000, you can have anything you want."

#8 Helene

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 06:14 AM

This summer, Miami City Ballet will be in Vail for two performances:

1 August: Rep TBA

3 August: Up Close: Edward Villella with Miami City Ballet

This program is described as:

Hosted by festival director Damian Woetzel, this evening will feature full performances and excerpts of Villella's roles in works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, including The Prodigal Son, Rubies, Tarantella, Afternoon of a Faun, Dances at a Gathering and more.



#9 bart

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 07:35 AM

vrs, I know what you mean about the difference between writing and talking. As one who has heard you talk -- and benefitted from it -- maybe if you just pretend you're conversing and that someone else is taking dictation? :(

Anyhow, nothing says that everyone ought to write a full "review." Often, a few simple thoughts and reactions are the most helpful of all.

Jack: Thanks for starting off for us. You always give me things to look for when Fort L comes before West PB. I'm looking forward to seeing Seay, who has been underutilized recently. Her Dryad Queen made me realize I had missed her. And -- great news about Rolando Sarabia. I just wish he were performing more often, and in more kinds of roles.

Kronenberg and Guerra in the second section of In the Night sounds perfect. And what about Albertson and Didier Bramaz in part one? An unexpected pairing. Bramaz grows and grows and has become one of the most useful, if undersung, members of the company. Maybe he is what Albertson, who always seemed to lack an appropriate partner, needs.

I'll make sure to make all of Villella's talks when MCB comes here in two weeks. You often pick up interesting information in the difference between what he says at one performance and the next. He is especially garrulous and delightful on Saturday nights.

I'm actually looking forward to Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. I prefer it to the Macmillan. And it's better trying to put on another ballet like Don Q -- "after Petipa" set by "anonymous." Can't wait for Jeanette Delgado and .... (who for Romeo?) Any chance of their bringing in Marcia Haydee to set and coach it? I hope, I hope, I hope.

#10 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 08:13 PM

(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) It'll take me a while to type up my notes on Villella's introduction to this program, but meanwhile here's a little more news in response to questions before this afternoon's performance:

Next season, Program I will consist of Paul Taylor's Company B and Balanchine's Allegro Brillante,Tchaikovsky pas de deux, and Symphony in Three Movements; Program II, Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15,Valse Fantaisie "in the earlier version, which I think is better", Twyla Tharp's The Golden Section, and concluding with Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Program III will consist of Villella's The Neighborhood Ballroom, "which I will readdress"; and Program IV will consist of Dances at a Gathering and Balanchine's ballet to Gershwin's music, "Who Cares?"

We have casually thought about going back to New York. There is an invitation on the table. They have to raise monies, and we have to raise monies.

When we can afford an orchestra, we treat each venue equally.

Has there been any help from Obama's recovery plan? We've applied to the National Council for the Arts [the NEA?] for grants to extend dancers' contracts. We've shortened them four weeks, they're subsidizing the company.


It's late, but maybe I can offer some highlights of today's performances:

This afternoon I moved up to row Q from row U last night; could this have accounted for the increased vitality of the whole Barocco? It's so much a corps ballet, and most of the corps was new compared to Friday night.

The second pas de deux of In the Night was Mary Carmen Catoya with Jeremy Cox; not such a beautifully integrated pair as Kronenberg and Guerra last night, with Cox bringing it the somewhat stiff, "correct" persona of his Death figure in La Valse, but Catoya compensating with her easy assurance in showing clearly everything required without etching; her role just comes exactly into existence.

Deanna Seay's first movement of Symphony in C was richly superb, and Rolando Sarabia was everything she needed and more, although with a slight wild edge of his own sometimes; Jennifer Kronenberg's second movement (with Guerra) looked sometimes like a work in progress, which is not a bad thing, especially with someone of her demonstrated dance intelligence, and some of her downstage solo passages were an achieved delight.

This evening I thought Seay's lead in Barocco was immense; she was our true guide to the world of this marvelous ballet.

Catoya opened Symphony in C more expansivey than her possibly tense rendition in New York, and she was well acompanied by Renato Penteado, with his large clarity and finesse. Then came a very fine debut in the second movement by Patricia Delgado, again ably partnered by Rolando Sarabia; among other virtues of a realization that was all of a piece, Delgado managed not to make the "kissing her knee" bit look like a stunt, and the audience took it straight, as it was offered, in contrast to the inappropriate laugh Kronenberg's audience, an inferior one generally I felt, gave her at this point in the afternoon.

#11 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 08:13 PM

Somehow I posted the above post twice, but now I've deleted the duplicate.

#12 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 08:37 PM

Night is still young, but before I keep going, I want to second Jack's feelings on tonight's performance. Seay was glorious in Concerto Barocco. Stage presence, beautiful line...the right ballerina look...that's her. Sarabita...well...always the offering , attentive partner. They always make a great couple onstage. Mary Carmen Catoya was a delicate delicious porcelain figurine in the first Mov. of Symphony in C, Patricia Delgado, a first timer in 2nd, was at ease...the penchee couldn't haven more fluid. She danced with Sarabita. Jeanette Delgado...well...nothing I can say enough of my favorite cubanita. She and Wong were THE BOMB! Wong's ballon and jumps are amazing. The guy is going lighter and higher every time. I wonder if he's planning to break gravity rules. More stuff coming up tomorrow.

#13 Jack Reed

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:15 AM

(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) Thanks to Christian for mentioning Jeanette D. and Alex W. Yes, he does just spring right up there -- suddenly he's at altitude, and hangs there an instant, too. I'm sure wires from overhead are not involved -- I've seen this in other kinds of theatre, and the people go up more gradually... (Just kidding.) Quite spectacular. Completely appropriate to this ballet? I can always quibble. Diana and Acteon, though, for sure!

Neither of us mentioned In the Night, which for me was a reprise by Friday night's cast.

Oh, and I may have given the impression (in Post #6) that I like the 1932 Menuhin recording of the Bach because it's fast. No, no! It's because it makes the architecture of the music so clear! Yes, even though the sound is not quite so clear as it can be today. Companies which use recordings might consider this one -- They can now adjust the tempos without affecting the pitch, I understand, speaking of today's technology.

#14 vrsfanatic

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:23 PM

A report only...

An interesting program indeed, although I cannot say I actually got In The Night. A bit too quirky for my taste. :( The dancing for the most part was good however, I had difficulty with bad line of the lower leg in two of the ladies. With pointe shoes, this stiffness is difficult to accept. Sometimes it could be faulty technique but often it is not enough time or knowledge with coaching. Not being very familiar with the dancers, I cannot say which was the case, but none the less, it was bothersome. R. Sarabia was a beautiful partner, filling the stage with his very expressive back and lightness. While he floated, others seemed to just exist in the space.

While Barocco was lovely, the corps was a bit rough and the soloists were lacking in expressivity. Not a moving performance for me.

Symphony in C was a magnificent display for the talented and well schooled men of Miami City Ballet. Overall the corps was fine, but not particularly moving. They did their jobs. :dry: The female soloists were fine, Kronenburg, in 2nd movement being the stand out. A big flub in 3rd movement by T. Albertson. From the mezzanine it was a little jarring. Again, I had difficulty with the lack of strength and expressivity in her/the back. I did enjoyed A. Wong in the 3rd movement. His lightness and movement quality reminded me of Bill Martin-Viscount in the same role years ago (not at NYCB). Unfortunately Wong and Albertson were not a good pairing. Their very different schooling and movement quality is visible. Where 3rd movement is generally smooth and light, they seemed to fight each other through the entire movement. 4th movement was enjoyable.

Perhaps it was the theatre, but when sitting in the mezzanine it was difficult to hear the music in all three ballets. Barocco and Symphony in C were recordings but In the Night was a piano solo by Francisco Renno'. Having sat in different areas in this theatre, the mezzanine is my least favorite for this reason. :(

It was great to meet Jack Reed and cubanmiamiboy! I wish there had been more time. :wink: Looking forward to next season. :)

#15 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 06:12 PM

Likewise V.!!! :dry:
I agree with your perception on the uneven quality of the Albertson/Wong duo on S in C 3th Mov. Yesterday his ballerina was Jeanette Delgado...quite a wiser choice. Albertson seems to fade away more and more each time...what a shame. Kronemberg was good in the 2nd Mov., but I liked Patricia better on it. I also missed Catoya on First Mov., even Seay being lovely too. Oh well...just a matter of tuning up my little knowledge on this ballet...(today was my third time ever, and I'm still getting to "know it" more and more, see...? :wink: ). Yes, Sarabita is still the old school charming guy, even being Wong now the jumper of the troupe. V., I wish you could have seen S. back in 1999/2000 when he had recently joined Alonso's Company. (sigh). I really miss the greatest turner I've ever seen in my entire life.
"In the Night" was cute, but I'm not crazy about it.


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