SFB Nutcracker 2009 Casts and Reviews
Posted 01 December 2009 - 12:00 PM
Nutcracker Opening Night
Tuesday, December 08, 2009, 7pm
Conductor: Martin West
Drosselmeyer: Damian Smith
Queen and King of the Snow: Sarah Van Patten, Pierre-François Vilanoba
Sugar Plum Fairy: Sofiane Sylve
Grand Pas de Deux: Yuan Yuan Tan, Rubén Martín Cintas
Here's the link.
Posted 03 December 2009 - 03:12 AM
I'm a long-time reader, 1st-time poster-so I apologize in advance for any newbie-related inadequacies. (I've already lost my reply twice as I was trying to open another window to reference in said reply!)
I'd like to share some exciting and SURPRISING (<tried to use italics but it didn't look right in here ) SFB Nutcracker casting. Are you ready for this one?; Former SFB Principal VADIM SOLOMAKHA is returning as a Guest Artist to dance Nutcracker Prince (with Sarah Van Patten in the Grand pdd!) in several perf's! Welcome back Vadim!!!
But that's not our only cause for celebration...3 of SFB's most beloved dancers that were very sorely missed last season (sidelined due to injuries as have already been discussed on this site): Welcome back to Principals Gennadi Nedvigin and Jaime Garcia Castilla, and Soloist Julianne Kepley!!!
Gennadi is making his comeback with his debut as King of the Snow to Maria Kochetkova's debut as his Snow Queen-and THAT is pairing I call a "must-see"! When Gennadi's on his game there's hardly a better technician anywhere. And we know that Maria can easily match him. Wow. They'll probably burn up the floor with that Russian bravura of theirs! Hope he "floats" her well...
Jaime and Julianne are both cast on Fri, Dec 11 2 PM. Jaime is Nutcracker Prince with the queen of epaulement Clara Blanco in the Grand pdd (whom Allan Ulrich wrote about last month in Dance Magazine here: http://www.dancemaga...e-Clara-Blanco) while Julianne reprises her Sugar Plum Fairy. I'm heartily welcoming her back even though she did briefly appear in last season's WSSS. This is her 1st real DANCING since the season before last. She was sidelined right before she was scheduled to dance in Julia Adam's "A rose by any other name..." for the New Works Festival. It's been a long time since we've seen her dance and I'm thrilled to see her as SPF and also cast in Snow with Anthony Spaulding on 12/13 at 2 PM.
Jaime-I missed him terribly. Imagine just being promoted to Principal and then not stepping foot on the WMOH stage for an entire season! I still remember his intensity in Eden Eden and am thrilled to see him on the cast list. Finally we get to see him as a Principal dancer!
More news (I know...1st time poster and this is a bit lengthy but all you hard-core SFB fans will appreciate this!):
Former SFB Principal Danseur and current Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokov is debuting as Drosselmeyer! Here's a tip: Wait till the Dec 13 7 PM perf and you can see him, Vadim as Nutcracker with Sarah, AND the 1st performance of our newest Principal Vitor Luiz as he debuts in Snow with Lorena Feijoo! And Frances Chung's SPF is one of the most endearing interpretations around, so it's quite a cast.
Taras Domitro fans can catch his debut as Nutcracker Prince (with Vanessa Zahorian in the Grand pdd) on 12/12 at 7 PM.
Keep checking the casting on their web site as things can and do change, but there's a whole lot of reasons to go and that's just the 1st week! Go team go!
Posted 03 December 2009 - 07:52 AM
Posted 10 December 2009 - 07:19 AM
Thursday, December 17, 2009, 7pm
Conductor: Donato Cabrera
Drosselmeyer: Val Caniparoli
Queen and King of the Snow: Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro
Sugar Plum Fairy: Maria Kochetkova
Grand Pas de Deux: Sofiane Sylve*, Casey Herd^
Saturday, December 19, 2009, 7pm
Conductor: Martin West
Drosselmeyer: Yuri Possokhov
Queen and King of the Snow: Frances Chung, Hansuke Yamamoto
Sugar Plum Fairy: Lorena Feijoo
Grand Pas de Deux: Sofiane Sylve, Casey Herd^
I thought he was with PNB, but I don't see him on the cast list (which is hard to read, the way it zips by ), so maybe I missed him.
Posted 10 December 2009 - 08:52 AM
Posted 13 December 2009 - 01:15 PM
But I do love the farewells on the chariot and white horses and their little half circle they make in the Waltz -- K&Q finely done by Hansuke Yamamoto and Frances Chung.
And in the Grand Pas Vanessa Zahorian and Taras Domitro seemed better individually than together -- whereas last year as King & Queen they were quite brilliant, all acute angles, like a draftman's quiver full of 30 60 90 triangles. Vanessa's account of her solos was lovely and full of interesting corners, and Taras is always all surprises -- like Gennadi Nedvigin, he's a very generous dancer -- he always gives more than you expect but you never know where the extra parts are going to be -- the little extra spring and extention where you think there can't possible be any more. His mime earlier, after his transformation into a prince, was light and very not too serious.
It would be truly great and liven things up this season to see Taras and Maria Kochetkova and Sofiane Sylve in the alternate casts of Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Maria in the second aria and Sofiane in either, and Taras -- who had great ear for the psychology and astringency of the Bart Cook part in the Melancholic of the Ts-- in the first.
Posted 16 December 2009 - 03:51 PM
I applauded so loudly that the woman next to me asked if I had a daughter in the production.
Posted 16 December 2009 - 04:43 PM
It's always great to hear descriptions of SFB performances, especially the younger dancers. Your description of Kochetkova and Nedvigin made me swoon.
Posted 18 December 2009 - 01:22 PM
In the Grand Pas Thursday night Sofiane Sylve in held her leg out on a turn that probably made it more difficult but gave it a more zig zaggy figure, and she tucked her foot completely under her like a bird as she did a lateral jump as I hadn’t seen anyone do it before. Lorena Feijoo’s shock of recognition mime coming out of the mirror box was a great little moment -- and she went on to phrase her steps with full stops in a way that you could only liken not to dance but someone playing Bach on the piano, double fingering or something like that.
Her partner Vitor Luiz had a lovely and warm, at-ease sense of being on stage, and he filled in his mime of the battle with extended shading and nuances. (This part is always interesting and fun -- Taras, Gennadi, Viktor and Joan Boada have all been memorable in different ways here.) Yuri Possokhov was the first Drosselmeyer I’ve really followed all the way through -- flustered and skittish and coy, a bit cat like. Garen Scribner completely realizes the terribly difficult Chinese, snapping out all quadrants of the figures, and Django Allegretti was another great circus bear, more in the quick parts that the rolling ones that Matthew Stewart draws out.
Also on Thursday the guest conductor Donato Cabrera pulled out more voices from the orchestra -- at least it seemed -- and Tchaikovsky is always great when you hear him as a lumpy sum of eccentric parts, Mravinsky style, rather than as swelling waves.
Is anyone else going this year?
Posted 18 December 2009 - 07:32 PM
I'm going tomorrow afternoon (Snow: Zahorian/Domitro; SPF: Chung - she should be terrific; GPdD: Tan/Martin Cintas) and, if the weather stays dry, Sunday afternoon (Snow: Kepley/Spaulding - really looking forward to these two; I've never seen her at all and never seen the promising Spaulding in a classical role); SPF: Altman (happy to see her in anything although this doesn't strike me as a natural role for her statuesque elegance); GPdD: Zahorian/Domitro. Also possibly next Saturday although I may decide to venture over to Oakland and catch the Oakland Ballet's Carlos Carvajal Nut, which I've heard is pretty good.
Is anyone else going this year?
Thanks for the reports, Quiggin; you've really whet my appetite!
Posted 25 December 2009 - 02:07 PM
And we have had three beautiful versions of this this past week from Gennadi Nedvigin, Taras Domitro and Vitor Luiz who has just joined the company. (He also made a brilliant guest cameo in Russian one afternoon.) You can mistake Vitor for Taras at first, at first when his bowed, newly hatched head moves up to look out over the audience -- their curliness of hair and their coloring is similar -- but Vitor, with great ease and fullness, develops everything that lies within his Leonardo-like circumference, whereas Taras glances out beyond his sphere of restraint and then floats down on imaginary updrafts. Gennadi’s jumps look like he is slipping over the saddle of a horse, with a pause just beyond the summit. The mime of all three dancers is equally fine.
The other great moments in this Nutcracker, perhaps by default -- the last half is so spartan -- are 1) the presentation to and blessing of the King & Queen of the Snow, the loan of the chariot, the beautiful horses pawing the ground, and the obliteration of everything in a white-out of snow. 2) The extended mime narrative and reenactment of everything that has happened so far by the Nutcracker prince to the Sugar Plum Fairy, sword stroke by sword stroke, leap by leap, even the dance of liberation in miniature, some done parts lightly, some parts serious / mock serious. They’re like the scene Watteau painted of the inventory the pictures in his dealer’s shop and his patrons going over them one by one. 3) The Apotheosis with the carousel of the community of Clara’s dream (or delirium) moving around in little skip-steps of concentric circles. This is where the curtain falls in the original.
In addition to Maria Kochetkova with her elastic musical line, Sofiane Sylve with her free sculptural inventiveness, Lorena Feijoo with her great contrasts of large and small, and Yuri Possokhov’s mad improvisions, other pleasures of this run have come from Daniel Deivison-Oliveira in Chinese with pure and easy cartwheels over his delicately planted wrist, Lily Rogers in Arabian and Diego Cruz and the delightful Miriam Rowan in Spanish, Julianne Kepley as a Sugar Plum Fairy of great character and personality and the many snowflakes whose names and faces move much too fast to match.
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