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All Prokofiev Program


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#16 aurora

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:33 PM

I thought V. Part was outstanding, contrary to what the NYTimes review said.


He's made it very clear he doesn't care for her. I think one has to accept that as a given (as with other dancers at both ABT and NYCB).

#17 carbro

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:11 PM

Dneiper's a keeper!

I also preferred the Tuesday performance over Monday's. Why? Perhaps because I skipped ballets #1 and #2 and watched only Dneiper. The cumulative effect of Prodigal, Desir and then Dneiper was too bleak and heavy. It cried out for something light and fluffy. If they had to have an all-Prokofiev program (that is, if they had to have a themed program) why didn't they (whoever "they" are) open the program with Gala Performance? A little variety of mood is called for.

When you commission a ballet, you take a chance. A word on the commission later, but I assume that before acquiring rights to Desir, someone from ABT's artistic staff saw it. And what was that person's reaction?
  • The audience will love this!!!! :wub:
  • This will expand our dancers' range
  • Both of the above
  • This is adequate filler for a program
I would venture, not even the last.

I thought the Tuesday performance (with the multi-ethnic cast of Vishneva, Carreno, Hammoudi and Seo -- props to Ratmansky or McKenzie for that!) told the story more clearly. Vishneva emphasized her character's slutty and calculated personality. Herrera seemed sweet and somewhat passive in comparison.

I love the sets and how their rearrangement sets up a change of mood. I won't be seeing this again this week, but I do fervently hope to see it in ABT's near future. It deserves a long life.

The rose petals scattered all over the floor scared me. I expected lots of falling. They did not seem to present the same hazard as NYCB's Nutcracker Snowflakes. In fact, early in Tuesday's performance, Hammoudi collided into Vishneva who was pirouetting on pointe, and she stayed completely vertical.

A companion began grumbling at the conclusion of Monday's premiere. I don't know why, but I had to reply, "At the very least, you know this ballet was made by someone who understood craft is part of choreography. Be grateful for that much." I am, but I think it's much more.

Just to add that young corps dancer, Hee Seo, in her first big role of the season, held the stage as well as any of her castmates. I am even more eager than before to see her Sylph.

#18 Lawson

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 12:27 AM

Prokofiev is by far my biggest obsession in life, and I started jumping up and down when I heard that Ratmansky was going to be choreographing On the Dnieper. It's an absolutely amazing score, and I've never heard of its being performed in the concert hall, much less as a dance piece. But it's more introverted than any of his other ballets. It exudes a rural atmosphere akin to Stone Flower, but with more fusion of melody and modernism, more rhythmic vitality. It's not the kind of rhythm that calls attention to itself, but rather it's integral to the melody. It tends to come and go without a fuss.

I went into this a bit on a post I made to an online reviewer. Ratmansky's response to this score is so inside the understated rhythms, the folk-tinged ambience, and piquant harmonies, that it took my breath away on both nights. But this score, just like the choreography that's inevitably associated with it, is almost inaccessible in creating an introverted landscape. It never reaches out for you, but you also don't disturb it and float seamlessly back out of that world when it's over. Therefore, the choreography seemed purposefully understated, using a more traditional dance vocabulary, and to some extent, underdeveloping parts of the tale.

But then much of the time, the story can still come through in emotional terms. In Ratmansky's opening choreography, Sergei's restlessness, the fact that he's alone, helps explain why he, all of a sudden, gives up on his fiancee for this new woman, Olga: she has two legs. She's probably the first woman he's seen in five years of fighting. Simply, he sees her before he sees his fiancee, and Ratmansky's opening characterization of this restlessness helps to explain things without a lot of pretext.

As regards stage images, I particularly enjoyed the quarter-turn pivots with one arm raised that open and close the ballet; the "confetti" image with Olga and the fiancee; Natalia resting her head in a kind of prayer, and many others.

Oh boy, could I not agree less with Apollinaire Scherr in that this score is match. As I've listened to this piece, I've always wondered what so many of the numbers might look like on stage, and some of them just scream for choreography. It's the story that's thorny; the music would light up like kindling. That we haven't gotten Chout or Le Pas d'Acier into the international repertoire is a big tragedy for Western culture.

#19 miliosr

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:13 AM

So nice to read that Alex Hammoudi is getting this kind of opportunity . . .

#20 bingham

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:48 AM

I have not seen Desir but i vaguely remember Anna Kissellgoff giving it positive reviews and raving about the partnering.This was several years ago(NY premiere?) and i always wanted(desired) to see it.Everybody seems to hate it.Is it too oldfashioned or the choreographic taste is different now? Any comments?

#21 DeCoster

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:10 AM

I have not seen Desir but i vaguely remember Anna Kissellgoff giving it positive reviews and raving about the partnering.This was several years ago(NY premiere?) and i always wanted(desired) to see it.Everybody seems to hate it.Is it too oldfashioned or the choreographic taste is different now? Any comments?


I enjoyed Desir greatly last night, especially Xiomara Reyes and Roman Zhurbin. They had a wonderful energy together, so youthful and exuberant. I've never enjoyed Reyes so much. I did not find the piece cliche or old fashioned in the least, but perhaps poorly rehearsed. Especially in the group sections, I noticed that Reyes and Ricetto danced with so much breath and movement in their torsos (more of a modern dance approach, I guess), whereas the rest of the woman didn't allow themselves those contractions and releases and maintained more of a traditional ballet posture. I felt that Ricetto and Reyes really threw themselves into this performance with abandon, and the audience was appreciative. The partnering was astounding though . . . jaw dropping really.

I want to write about Dnieper and Prodigal, but will wait until I see another cast on Saturday from up high. (I got tickets through the 18-29 thing and could not believe that they gave me Orchestra row G. Yet despite my delight at these fancy seats, throughout the performance I was kind of wishing I was back up in the dress circle. I felt I was missing things and not getting a full view of the staging and formations. However, it was nice to observe facial expressions and see the dancers up close. Hee Seo and Diana Vishneva are just so incredibly beautiful.)

#22 Roberto Dini

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 10:35 AM

The cumulative effect of Prodigal, Desir and then Dneiper was too bleak and heavy. It cried out for something light and fluffy.

That's interesting because I see Désir as an enjoyable, light piece. I don't see it as bleak and heavy at all.

#23 FauxPas

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:55 AM

The lighting is dark for all three ballets - large sections of "On the Dnieper", "Prodigal Son" and "Desir" are set at night.

I wonder if Kudelka set "Desir" for ABT? I remember being blown away by "Cruel World" when it was new but then there was a badly rehearsed revival a few years later with Marianna Tcherkassky and Katheen Moore replaced by much less striking dancers and the corps was a mess. The piece looked really uneven where it had been stunning at its original premiere. "Desir" I bet would look better on a smaller stage with less famous dancers who had been rehearsed by Kudelka.

I also suspect that "On the Dnieper" looks very different from upstairs than downstairs.

#24 sealings

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:51 PM

just back from the matinee. veronika p was lovely lovely. how tall is she? her legs go on forever. i thought the staging of dnieper was messy, all the fences and trees and confetti moving all over the place... and so many dancers in each scene. a girl in the corps wiped out at the beginning. herrera was sweet but i'd like to see vishneva in this ballet from what others have said because it did feel like natalia's story.

i really liked desir. the partnering was beautiful!! boylston/stearns were great. did not like wiles in prodigal son. i bought tickets for today to see dvorovenko in this role. maybe wiles is just not my thing. she also slipped off cornejo's head in the pdd; her feet slid off his knees and he tried to hold her up by her ankles.

#25 abatt

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:59 PM

i . maybe wiles is just not my thing. she also slipped off cornejo's head in the pdd; her feet slid off his knees and he tried to hold her up by her ankles.



Wiles also had difficulty with that portion of the ballet on Monday night. She didn't slip off his head on Mon., but she could not position her legs properly and Cornejo had to grab her right leg to try and get it into the correct position. That was just one of the numerous minor mishaps in Monday evening's Prodigal.

#26 carbro

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 02:18 PM

The lighting is dark for all three ballets - large sections of "On the Dnieper", "Prodigal Son" and "Desir" are set at night.

Dark lighting and very little (if any?) major-key music. Even the waltzes are minor.

I also suspect that "On the Dnieper" looks very different from upstairs than downstairs.

I also suspect you're right. :) I saw both from the back row of the Grand Tier. Where were you seated?

#27 sz

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:31 PM

Wow! Daniil Simkin's debut in Prodigal Son was absolutely amazing (Wed eve). He's such a fine actor, a beautiful young man, physically, as well as a fantastic dancer technically. He'll need a little time to get used to the orchestra for this ballet -- to better connect to the music in his opening solo, but that's a minor detail/correction compared to all he brought of himself to Prodigal. Just wonderful.... Irina D. was a terrific Siren too -- just perfect for the part in her current tip-top shape and commanding presence. I will definitely see the next Prodigal with these two on Friday.

The ballet world is one, big, open door for Daniil....

#28 4mrdncr

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:57 PM

I wish I could have seen Herman, but I had a very limited schedule in NYC, so only saw Tuesday's performance of the triple bill. Just a few quick impressions...

PRODIGAL SON:
I had an odd reaction to this; similar to that after seeing Allegro Brillante in London two years ago:
When I've seen Angel Corella do Balanchine, (except oddly enough in T&V), it's like watching something usually fluid and free enclosed in a box. The impetus and precision are there, but the underlying details are slightly at odds with the choreographic interpretation; almost "constricted". It was immediately obvious to me watching him with Ansanelli in London: Like the difference between a 90 degree angle (AA) and a sine wave (AC). This is absolutely not a comment on his overall technique or acting of the part which had many smart details and nuance. Just MHO.

Kristi Boone from most comments I heard was a big improvement on Michele Wiles performance of the night before. She was assured and slinky, commanding and seductive, with a long line and extension, and some neat interplay with her partner (which I wish I could remember whether or not was part of the original choreography). She obviously had rehearsal time enough so that no major partnering difficulties appeared, and all the iconic poses were caught. My only complaint was the phrasing was a little quick in spots. Brava Ms. Boone, I wish I could see it again, AND the other casts.

DESIR:
Was what I expected. I agree with most posters here and with some of Macauley's criticisms too--the lifts do get a bit frenetic (and repetitive), but the dancing was fine. The central pdd was beautiful and more subtle--though I too kept thinking of other choreography to its Cinderella music, and I also liked Xiomara Reyes and Roman Zhurbin's abandon in their final pdd. The rest was interesting in parts, and pleasant enough to watch--you could always listen to the music if you were too bored. It will probably look good at City Center. I wasn't overly thrilled, I wasn't bored; like I said, it was pleasant enough, and light after Prodigal Son.

ON THE DNIEPER.
Okay all Russian/Ukranian et.al. speakers, how do you pronounce it? I heard a lot of mangled versions last night during the intermission. (I thought "Neeper" but may be way off.)

My first reaction viewing the opening solo (other than yeah, I finally get to see Jose Manuel Carreno dance after that unchoreographed Piece d'Occasion at the gala) was a technical one: GIVE HIM A KICKER/RIM LIGHT/BACKLIGHT please! His military green costume blended perfectly into the busy (and murky) background, and from Dress Circle it was hard to watch his so controlled strong technique get swallowed up in the scenery. Unfortunately, the lighting was dim throughout the piece--Was this a deliberate low-key choice; an effort to "grey" the tone to blend with the sets/costuming? (No warm sunshine for this plot/story.)

I did like the scenery, and its portability, but I did think a few too many trees were placed so that the dance felt constricted slightly and made me worry about blocking. I believe the corps dancers themselves acted as stagehands shifting it. But for me, it was very evident that the scenery's placement was a commentary on the action itself: now narrow and constricting, now overshadowing, now open and free.

I was concerned by the excessive petals, snow, confetti onstage--especially after the slip I saw in PS, and then heard afterwards was a problem that had occurred repeatedly on the same spot with other dancers--but at least then I understood why the order of performance was changed so Dnieper was last: intermission would have been interminable if they had had to clean the stage before the next work could proceed.

The cast was excellent. Vishneva of course owned the show. But Hee Sao held her own very strongly in a more passive role. Her technique and poignancy was excellent and made me wish I too could see her sylph. Alexander Hamoudi had the height and presence to make his role felt both for those onstage and off, and danced the quick and intricate choreography well. In essentially non-dancing roles, I tried to watch the details of the acting and mime sequences of the various parents (with many memories of Susan Jones abilities in my head). I also enjoyed (finally!) the classical details embedded in the choreography. A rejoicing for all concerned.

Sorry I will miss the other performances, do keep the posts coming!

#29 Barbara

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 03:59 AM

4mrdncer, re pronunciation: I thought Neeper too but heard a radio host pronounce it Ne eh per. I would think radio hosts know how to correctly pronounce words but I've found this not be so on more than one occasion. Await the native speakers to weigh in.

#30 rg

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 04:50 AM

as i've been told in and around ABT, there are two ways to pronounce this name:

d-NYEH-per (which is reportedly more Russian)
or
d-NEE-per (which is more Ukrainian)

the 'D' is slipped over but not totally silent - which as far as i know in this pattern of most phonetic languages, i.e. there are no completely silent letters.


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