DeborahB

Sleeping Beauty

75 posts in this topic

Ashley Bouder was a spectacular Aurora tonight. As soon as she appeared on the stage she livened up a rather sleepy first act.

The balances in the Rose Adagio (the Martins' version) were incredible -- especially the second set. She looked like she could have held each balance for days. It was also a treat to see Merrill Ashley back on the stage. Her Carabosse was juicily evil (and that's a complement).

Sara Mearns was lovely -- soft, supple and engaging -- as The Lilac Fairy. All the Fairy's were delightful, but Rebecca Krohn's Generosity was a standout.

Thank goodness the second act has more dancing in it. There were so many dancing highlights here that it's hard to know where to begin.

Stephen Hanna (who looked very polished!), Teresa Reichlen, Abi Stafford and Kathryn Morgan were stellar as the Jewels.

Sean Suozzi and Stephanie Zungre nearly stole the show as The White Cat and Puss in Boots.

Tiler Peck was brilliant in her Princess Florine solo, and Daniel Ulbricht caused audience gasps (the good kind) as The Bluebird.

I especially loved Antonio Carmena, Austin Laurent and Allen Pfieffer as the leaping and jumping Court Jesters.

The final pas de deux with Ashley and Andrew was simply gorgeous (Ashley's leg positions in the fish dive type lift were beautiful!).

I do plan on seeing two other Sleeping Beauty casts. I look forward to other SB reviews!

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I do plan on seeing two other Sleeping Beauty casts. I look forward to other SB reviews!

Thank you for your thoughts. I just want to add a few of mine.

Lauren King was a delight as the Fairy of Vivacity. She is a corps dancer whose glowing presence and joy have attracted me for the past couple of years. I'm glad she was given the opportunity to do this part. Her variation was very well done and her presence a delight.

I thought Tess Reichlin was a stand out in the Jewels but Morgan and Stafford were also good. I didn't care too much for Stephen Hanna. I think that he could do a lot more in terms of making good lines.

Sara Mearns is an ideal Lilac, but I wish the tempo of her solo variation was a bit slower, so that she could savor the movements more.

Tiler Peck made the Princess Florine variation (Blue Bird pas) more lively and interesting than I have ever seen it.

Ashley Bouder had many, many fine moments but for me was not a convincing Aurora (and I am a big Bouder fan). I'm not sure why I feel that way, so I have to ponder a bit.

Hope to read other opinions of this performance and others. As always I appreciate everyone here.

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I forgot to add that it was a true delight to see the recently retired (now working at SAB) Dena Abergel in the role of the Queen.

Dena's smile and gracious presence always light up a stage. Ask La Cour was the charming King. And speaking of Ask -- he seems to be stuck in a lot of character roles lately. With his height and good partnering skills, as well as his good form and technique, why isn't he dancing more with

tall ballerinas like Tess Reichlen, Kaitlyn Gilliland (who hasn't been featured enough this season), Savannah Lowery, and even Maria? (Charles Askegard is over 40 and seems to be dancing less these days). I also think that the excellent Justin Peck -- also tall and a very good partner -- needs to get out from behind the bar (LOL! I actually meant the bar in Fancy Free and not the ballet barre).

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I thought all of the performances last night were pretty wonderful. Bouder was a technical marvel. She also did a wonderful job in demonstrating different aspects of the character in the various acts. Mearns was a gorgeous Lilac Fairy. The flexibility of her upper body, in particular, stood out. Bluebird is a perfect role for Ulbricht. All of the smaller roles were well danced. The costumes in this production are among the most beautiful in the NYCB rep. This production highlights how awful the ABT version is in comparison. The audience looked pretty full, so I'm hoping the company makes lots of money from this run. I'm going back for many additional casts during the run.

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I have a couple of minor quibbles with NYCB's Sleeping Beauty but for the most part I think it's a beautiful production, and very well done.

Despite great performances from just about everyone, Bouder was far and away the star of the night for me. As everyone has noted, the level of her technique is amazing but so is her mastery of upper body nuance, and her ability to really breathe life into the character and delineate the 3 different stages of Aurora's development. I remember when she made her debut in the role she actually fell off point early in the balances. No such nerves last night. If anything a few of the little "Bouderisms" were a trifle disconcerting if you're looking for a strictly classically correct Aurora. I'm talking about the way she turned and looked straight out to the audience with a huge smile on her face after nailing that first balance, or how she used her eyes to flirt rather shamelessly with her princes. But IMO she never pushed anything too far and the ways she chose to relate to her fellow dancers and audience fit well within her portrayal of Aurora. Besides, this isn't a Mariinsky Beauty, I think NYCB's has enough leeway for those types of personal, modern touches.

I agree with ABATT & DeborahB that Mearn's Lilac fairy was gorgeous, supple and engaging but I also agree with vipa who had reservations about her solo. I disliked her prologue solo but I attributed it to her phrasing rather than the tempo of the music. She seemed to really hit the top of those developpes hard rather than luxuriate in them and I'm not sure it was the speed of the music, to me it looked like a conscious decision on her part or that of her coaches. I think Scheller's Courage fairy may have been a victim of too fast a tempo. She is a dancer I really love but her Courage variation looked very rushed and awkward to me. My favorite of the prologue fairies was Hankes, who looked beautifully classical and expressive. Somehow she must have found a way to convince Karoui to compromise on the tempo for the Sincerity variation...

I still have several more casts ahead of me (not to mention the Mariinsky Beauty (Sergeyev version) in Feb and the Moscow Festival Ballet's Beauty in April!) but this cast has set the bar pretty high.

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Bouder's behavior in the Rose Adagio brought a conflicted response from me. One of her qualities that makes her so endearing to us is what I take to be her way of projecting, with no inhibitions or artifice, exactly what she feels at any given moment. But there are occasions when this rare gift undoes her, as here. Of course, she was thrilled to have given us such solid balances, but her smug grins were, let's say, de trop. Otherwise, she gave an exquisite performance. My favorite moment of hers was in the Birthday variation, the diagonal of rondes de jambes sautes, with her upstage leg tracing such full, little circles, her arms in the most delicate demi-seconde you can imagine. Sometimes, it's the quieter moments that make our throats catch.

I simply adored Mearns' Lilac, in both variations. In the Christening, she seemed to pause in mid-tombe, so if she didn't savor her developpes themselves, she certainly savored the completion of them. I fully believed that Sara Mearns, as her character, possessed supernatural powers :) . Carabosse never stood a chance. In fact, she did the near impossible -- she made Lilac's Act III Variation (Peter Martins' choreography) look downright beautiful!

During the Christening, a question came to mind: What's going to happen in the Vision, where we'll have two ballerinas, each of whose star power obliterates everyone else on stage? It was beautifully balanced, and no need to worry about our prince. Andrew Veyette held his own just fine!

I second vipa that Lauren King was the standout among the five prologue fairies.

Balanchine's Garland Waltz continues to look cramped. I remember when it premiered in the Tchaikovsky Festival, even with the dancers in a mishmash of other ballets' white costumes -- so thrilling! It deserves a modification of the set to let us see it in all its glory.

And yes, Deborah, I was so happy to see Dena Abergel's Queen. :thumbsup:

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I rarely attend to nyc ballet performances for reasons that are beyond the discussion on this topic.

However, I'd seen A. Bouder a few times in the past in short pieces, and always enjoyed her quite a lot, so when I found out that she was dancing SB on Wed 27, I run to LC and got a ticket for her show last night.

First, I have to say that I liked the production in general, a few minors here and there, but overall it is enjoyable and coherent. The company daced it pretty well, I disliked well more the guys (most of them) than the female dancers, but in general the level was ok, and better than I expected and seen other times.

Apart from this, I just totally adored Bouder performance.

Luckily, I was seated pretty close in orchestra so I had the chance to see her face and all the details really well.

I was not able to take my eyes off her during the whole night.

Marvelous, sharp and crystal clear technique, sublime upper body and port-de-bras, adorable expresiveness.

Its one of the few times I ve seen an Aurora using her dancing so fluently and as a perfect vehicle to tell us the story.

I cant say enough about her, still have that monster Rose Adagio with that beautiful smile in my head.

absolutely fantastic !

Have anybody seen her swan lake ?

of course I wont miss her performance in Jewels, which I assume she will dance.

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Carbro -- I understand why you felt the way you did about Ashley Bouder's Aurora. That said, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party. She also has 4 handsome princes pursuing her, and giving her gifts (the roses). Aurora/Ashely dances with each, shows them what she can do (the balances) and is full of joy, good feeling and even a bit of pride. Afterall, she's also dancing in front or her parents (the King and Queen) and the Court.

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Carbro -- I understand why you felt the way you did about Ashley Bouder's Aurora. That said, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party. She also has 4 handsome princes pursuing her, and giving her gifts (the roses). Aurora/Ashely dances with each, shows them what she can do (the balances) and is full of joy, good feeling and even a bit of pride. Afterall, she's also dancing in front or her parents (the King and Queen) and the Court.

I didn't see it, but this sounds much as how I would have perceived it, and what I'd even want to see sometimes, if the balances are that good (and they aren't that often, with the over-anxious arm letting us all know the fear we're not supposed to react to). The 'bit of pride' is a nice addition, if it's smug in this case, I'd tend to find that amusing and deliciously mischievous even. I only wish I'd seen it, though. It sounds like the best Aurora since Sizova.

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I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party.
I happily concede that "undoes" was too strong a word, chosen in haste. Your comment leads me to note that Bouder's characterization captured that in-betweenness of being 16 -- part girl, part woman -- perfectly.
Have anybody seen her swan lake ?

of course I wont miss her performance in Jewels, which I assume she will dance.

Yes. Go. Her Odile blazed, but more surprisingly, her Odette brought out fascinating aspects of the choreography no dancer has ever shown me before.

Bouder has danced both Emeralds and Rubies. I hope that, as in the past, she gets to do both this season. :thumbsup:

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Bouder's behavior in the Rose Adagio brought a conflicted response from me. One of her qualities that makes her so endearing to us is what I take to be her way of projecting, with no inhibitions or artifice, exactly what she feels at any given moment. But there are occasions when this rare gift undoes her, as here.

I thought that too Cabro, or rather you put it into words for me. Also for me, I'd rather see less preparation for the balances even if the balances are shorter. The promenade/balance section can be musical and build instead of trying to make each balance as long as it can be. It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, Bouder can.

Also - a real nitpick - the section where she takes the roses and does supported pirouettes that build. For this section Bouder did one turn on her own and was partnered for the rest. This is a lovely way to do supported turns. However one of the great things about the final pas is the way it mirrors the Rose Adage. In the pas she is supported by the prince in single, double, triple (multiple). Because Bouder never did the single in the Rose Adage there was no mirror. A minor thing, but I always think it a shame when little things get lost. Not a flaw in the dancing just a lesser choice made by whoever made that choice.

I don't want to leave the impression that I didn't like Bouder's performance. She had many, many moments that were beautiful and intensely musical. In fact, after reading all of your thoughtful comment, I'm going to try to see her again to view it another way. Thank you all.

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I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party.
I happily concede that "undoes" was too strong a word, chosen in haste. Your comment leads me to note that Bouder's characterization captured that in-betweenness of being 16 -- part girl, part woman -- perfectly.
Have anybody seen her swan lake ?

of course I wont miss her performance in Jewels, which I assume she will dance.

Yes. Go. Her Odile blazed, but more surprisingly, her Odette brought out fascinating aspects of the choreography no dancer has ever shown me before.

Bouder has danced both Emeralds and Rubies. I hope that, as in the past, she gets to do both this season. :thumbsup:

I also had second thoughts about saying that she used her eyes to flirt rather shamelessly with her princes in the Rose Adagio. She didn't actually flirt shamelessly, she flirted kind of shyly in that forward/shy teenage way, making eyes at them and then blushing which is why I thought it fit with her characterization of Aurora (although I couldn't actually see her blush I could swear that I felt it).

Bouder is FABULOUS in Swan Lake. Although there are parts of Martins' production that I absolutely hate, I love his lakeside acts, and I find his final scene heartbreaking. Unfortunately I will be out of town during the SL run and the only performance I may be able to catch is the last one. But I will be in town for the whole run of Jewels and also hope to catch Bouder in both Emeralds and Rubies!

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Oh, how I wish I could have seen this!

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I love this description of Sara Mearns from Mary Cargill's review in DanceViewTimes:

"I have not seen a Lilac who seemed to wonder if, possibly, this Prince was the one, and the mimed questions (why are you sad, are you in love with anyone, would you like to see the most beautiful princess in the world) weren't just routine. I got the feeling that she had asked those questions before and been disappointed....There was a sense that Lilac had other kingdoms to run, that she hadn't spent the years just sitting under a bush waiting for her solo. "

I've often wondered how many attempts it took the Lilac Fairy to find Prince Right, and what the failed candidates had said to get themselves crossed off her list. And I was very impressed by Mearns when NYCB were last in London - I'd love to see her do this.

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No reports on the Fairchild/De Luz/Somogyi cast of Beauty? I saw the Hyltin/Stafford/Reichlin cast last night and while all 3 principals were fine, they were nowhere near the level of the first cast.

Hyltin has quick feet & beautiful line. She was up to all of the technical demands of the role (until the 3rd act fish dives) but she really didn't make much of an impact. She hit the Rose Adagio balances but didn't hold them for long, her phrasing in the Vision scene wasn't particularly beautiful, nor did she create a mysterious, evocative vision of Aurora. I liked her very much at the beginning of the last act and thought it would prove to be her best until those fish dives. She and Stafford completely blew the second one and he had a tough time holding on to her for that last posed one. Stafford's acting was ok but his solo wasn't very impressive and he didn't seem to have much stamina.

Reichlin was beautiful, her Lilac was very well danced and cut an authoritative figure but she really doesn't give you the type of continuous movement that starts somewhere deep in the back and radiates out through the upper body and arms so her Lilac didn't have the same breadth, graciousness or expansiveness as the best Lilacs have (i.e. Mearns, Part, Lopatkina, Kondaurova).

I particularly enjoyed Laracey's reading of the Generosity fairy, Krohn's Diamond and Scheller's Florine, though I thought Paradiso's Bluebird was very sloppy.

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I saw the Fairchild/DeLuz/Somogyi performance on Thurs. Fairchild has wonderful technique, but I didn't see any character development or differentiation among the three acts. In fact, there were times during the Vision scene when she started to smile as though she was still at her birthday party in Act I. DeLuz is always a virtuoso, and he was quite wonderful. The only big disappointment for me was Somogyi. She was fine, but not as good as either Mearns or Reichlin. She performed the role without much upper body expansiveness or flexibility. I loved Maria K's Carabosse.

I went back for another Bouder Beauty this afternoon, and all of the performances from top to bottom were even better than on Wednesday. By the way, before the show it was announced that Kathryn Morgan was being replaced by Alina Dronova. I hope it's a minor ailment, and that Morgan's upcoming debut as Aurora is not in jeopardy. If anyone goes to the Sun. evening performance, please report back re whether Morgan performs.

With regard to the poorly performed fish dives of the Stafford-Hyltin cast on Friday evening, I think Stafford was so disturbed about what happened during the fish dives that he simply lost his concentration during his solo, which immediately followed. Hyltin also seemed stunned, but she did not allow it to impact the rest of her performance.

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I saw the Fairchild/DeLuz/Somogyi performance on Thurs. Fairchild has wonderful technique, but I didn't see any character development or differentiation among the three acts. In fact, there were times during the Vision scene when she started to smile as though she was still at her birthday party in Act I. DeLuz is always a virtuoso, and he was quite wonderful. The only big disappointment for me was Somogyi. She was fine, but not as good as either Mearns or Reichlin. She performed the role without much upper body expansiveness or flexibility. I loved Maria K's Carabosse.

I went back for another Bouder Beauty this afternoon, and all of the performances from top to bottom were even better than on Wednesday. By the way, before the show it was announced that Kathryn Morgan was being replaced by Alina Dronova. I hope it's a minor ailment, and that Morgan's upcoming debut as Aurora is not in jeopardy. If anyone goes to the Sun. evening performance, please report back re whether Morgan performs.

With regard to the poorly performed fish dives of the Stafford-Hyltin cast on Friday evening, I think Stafford was so disturbed about what happened during the fish dives that he simply lost his concentration during his solo, which immediately followed. Hyltin also seemed stunned, but she did not allow it to impact the rest of her performance.

Although I am going this afternoon, I just noticed that

two hours ago Kathryn Morgan posted something on both FB and Twitter that said, "Wow-- only 5 days to go until Aurora."

That's a good sign.

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If there's one criticism I would make of all the ballerinas who are dancing the title role, it's to stop acting particularly with their facial expressions. Or at the very least to tone them way, way down. If you look a the old Fonteyn film, she stays relatively neutral or at least relatively even - always dignified and tasteful. There are a few basic expressions; a few expressive moments; and the transitions between them are not long-distance (phsyiognomically speaking - if that's a word). The progress of Aurora from Princess/Ingenue to Crowned Queen is built into the steps; it's in the choreography and should be danced, not "expressed" so much in the face and in little Junior High school flirtatious mannerisms in Act I. "Oh Mom and Dad aren't I so happy. They're like so cute!"). We don't need to see City Ballet's ballerinas channeling Julie Kent, Aurora as the prettiest girl at the Senior Prom.

Fonteyn's Rose Adagio is immortal. But in the 50 to 60 years since then, this pas d'action has often degenerated to vulgar shtick; without the most toned down handling, it can look like a cheap ice skating stunt. Everyone's best scene this week has been The Vision: both because they keep it simple -- although maybe even here they are all a bit too mournful in their expressions and make too much eye contact with the Prince (some would argue that any eye contact at all here is inappropriate), but also because Peter's blocking for this act is the best of everything in this production.

I wonder whether or why people think -- apart from the thrill of seeing favorite dancers tackle this iconic role -- this company should be doing this? Surely the ballet world had enough Sleeping Beauties without seeing one by a company which doesn't do things like this very well in the first place.

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Morgan's Twitter page just updated to say she is resting her foot for Aurora...probably a good thing. I can't imagine dancing a full length ballet with a bum foot!

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I went to tonight's performance and agreed that Bouder's Aurora was an unqualified success. If she danced in a company that was known for its Sleeping Beauty, like, say, The Royal Ballet, I have no doubt Bouder's Aurora would quickly be labelled "classic" and "legendary." What I love about Bouder's Aurora is that she doesn't seem to try to overthink anything. Every step -- all those little jumps, the long-held balances, the double pirouettes, seemed to emanate from an impulsive and bubbly personality. Her Rose Adagio was amazing -- each balance in the final series seemed to be held for an eternity. In the Vision Scene she seemed to be a sprite, literally dashing on and offstage in a whirl. In the Wedding pas de deux my only quibble was that there were a few awkward moments with the fish dives. But this was a star performance, and I;m glad I saw it.

I find Martins' production to be unobjectionable but unmagical at the same time. it's amazing how much of Tchaikovsky's music he fits into such a streamlined production, but there was little time to luxuriate in Tchaikovsky's magical score. With the lack of intermissions the scene change department was in overdrive and it was sort of zip zip zip moving right along ... Thankfully individual performances made the evening special. Andrew Veyette's Prince was dashing, elegant, although not exactly spectacular. Daniel Ullbricht's Bluebird was one special moment -- wonderful entrechats, had the audience clapping loudly. Sara Mearns' elegant, spacious way of moving made her Lilac Fairy another memorable performance. However I thought her variations were not as well-choreographed as the variations in many other productions of SB. Tiler Peck's Florine was one disappointment -- i thought the phrasing was too vague and broad and the mime between Florine and Bluebird not well-articulated.

But overall I'd say that of Martins' full-length ballets this is by far his greatest success.

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I was there, too. I probably have been unfairly hard on Bouder in the past (see post #6, e.g.), but that's because my expectations are so high. Tonight's performance was an unqualified artistic triumph. For all my high expections, I never imagined that Bouder would deliver a credible characterization of one of those other-worldlies, like the Sylph, Giselle's Wili, or the Vision of Aurora. Tonight, she transcended the material realm and became intangible spirit. Quite a feat for someone who's usually so emphatically down-to-earth! And, not to mention, she had just finished another full Aurora about 26 hours earlier!

Her smiles in the Rose Adagio balances were perfectly appropriate, more gracious than self-satisfied.

I agree with canbelto when she writes

I went to tonight's performance and agreed that Bouder's Aurora was an unqualified success. If she danced in a company that was known for its Sleeping Beauty, like, say, The Royal Ballet, I have no doubt Bouder's Aurora would quickly be labelled "classic" and "legendary."
"Great" by any standard. Brava :clapping::flowers:

I liked Tiler's phrasing as Florine. Fluttery, little feet.

Edited by carbro

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But overall I'd say that of Martins' full-length ballets this is by far his greatest success.

I think it's even extremely good, and could be truly thrilling just as it is. I was startled I thought this, as it's the only Martins work I've ever even liked. While i can't see the things that the most knowledgeable and purists see, and do love the Petipa, I think this is a fine piece.

The problem with making this a thrilling performance is the SOUND--and it's not just acoustical problems that make you think you're hearing a chamber orchestra and start thinking of Faure, because sometimes it would even soar. But only the Wedding Scene was sustained throughout, to my mind. In this, even the orchestra sounded rich and bonded to the choreography and dancers. And the Rose Adagio also sounded marvelous, it was as if the conductor's energy to pull something out of the orchestra was determined by the 'best parts' onstage. The opening music had no fullness to it, no passion, it was small-sounding. The dancers were uniformly neat and good, with one possible bit of sloppiness in some corps work very briefly. The sound of the orchestra just often didn't have any energy. Ashley was sublime in the Rose Adagio, but the prima ballerina is not really supposed to provide the conductor with inspiration he hasn't had up until her appearance. Or so it seemed.

I had noticed when Karoui conducts 'Nutcracker', that it's the small, more childlike charming pieces, like 'Miniature Overture' that he does perfectly, and there were moments like that in the divertissments here. I recall the way he made the orchestra speed through the Waltz, and i was seeing Mearns as Dewdrop--I wouldn't have ever recognized her as the same dancer, tonight dancing the Lilac Fairy, and always lovely.

But it was Bouder that was the wonder, as everyone says. The balances were perfect, and indeed very long. I like only Sizova's slightly better, because the arm movement was a little more leisurely and elaborate still. I also was not quite as struck by her entrance as I'd expected to be, but as time went one she was superb in every way. The last variation at the end was incredible, it was so musical and full of delight.

But I was expeecting her to be great. I was much more surprised to find that I think this could be a real piece of major distinction, but then maybe I don't really know. I just think it's good, while I do not like much about his 'R PLUS J'. The beginning of the Processional (is that what it's called) of the Wedding has such gorgeous costumes, they reminded me a bit of Liebeslieder, and the whole scene would go from this glinting elegance to funny divertissments that were like Nutcracker's. And as I said, the orchestra sounded marvelous here even. The whole piece could be really great if there could be more attention paid to getting the music expanded into a big imperial sound. I just remember now that at the Kirov in 2008, even when the pianist in ballet Imperial had some difficulty with some of the passage work that day, well, that happens, but the orchestra never sounded worn out. And this one proved it didn't have to be either, because of the times it didn't. But most of the first act made you feel sorry for the dancers, because sparks of energy in the conductor and therefore the orchestra, would have made many scenes magical. There was one point early on in which I had the impression of watching a big D.W. Griffith silent movie, with the spectaculat sets and the tinny orchestra sound reminded me of those old piano bangings for silent films. Also sometimes reminded me of those old Hollywood orchestras in things like 'The Broadway Melody'or 'Hollywood Revue of 1929'. It could be that I got used to the 'reduced scope and superlean size' that Martins sometimss has, but somehow everything worked in the Wedding, and that was a beautiful piece tonight.

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From what I heard a couple of weeks ago at "A Midsummer Night's Dream", the orchestra hasn't found its way yet in the new acoustics.

When Benaroya Hall opened in Seattle, the orchestra was so used to "yelling" and not at all used to hearing themselves from performing in the pre-renoed Opera House that they overplayed until they figured out the right balance and relearned their feedback loop. (This was even more pronounced in the smaller recital hall than in the main auditorium.) I would suspect the same for the NYCB orchestra.

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No reports on the Fairchild/De Luz/Somogyi cast of Beauty? I saw the Hyltin/Stafford/Reichlin cast last night and while all 3 principals were fine, they were nowhere near the level of the first cast.

Hyltin has quick feet & beautiful line. She was up to all of the technical demands of the role (until the 3rd act fish dives) but she really didn't make much of an impact. She hit the Rose Adagio balances but didn't hold them for long, her phrasing in the Vision scene wasn't particularly beautiful, nor did she create a mysterious, evocative vision of Aurora. I liked her very much at the beginning of the last act and thought it would prove to be her best until those fish dives. She and Stafford completely blew the second one and he had a tough time holding on to her for that last posed one. Stafford's acting was ok but his solo wasn't very impressive and he didn't seem to have much stamina.

Reichlin was beautiful, her Lilac was very well danced and cut an authoritative figure but she really doesn't give you the type of continuous movement that starts somewhere deep in the back and radiates out through the upper body and arms so her Lilac didn't have the same breadth, graciousness or expansiveness as the best Lilacs have (i.e. Mearns, Part, Lopatkina, Kondaurova).

I particularly enjoyed Laracey's reading of the Generosity fairy, Krohn's Diamond and Scheller's Florine, though I thought Paradiso's Bluebird was very sloppy.

Overall, I agree with Susan's comments about this cast of SB. I am glad to report that the fish dives went well yesterday afternoon. That said, they were much more cautious than the Bouder/Veyette (opening night) dives. Jonathan Stafford's solo was excellent; I didn't notice any diminishing of energy, even in the last solo and pas de deux. I thought Sterling's Aurora was charming although she made a couple of small mistakes in her solos (she covered for them well). I can't honestly comment about Tess Reichlen's Lilac because I'm an unabashed fan; I thought she was gorgeous (although I loved Sara Mearns' Lilac just as much). I also thought Tess had a nice repoire with Stafford/Desire.

I really liked Rebecca Krohn's Diamond. It's so good to see her cast in more ballets (even if they have to be story ballets) this season. Perhaps Vincent Paradiso was nervous on his first night because his Bluebird was clean and well

articulated.

Still, I didn't come away "wow-ed" as I did on Wed. night. It was more of a "that was a pleasant afternoon" kind of feeling.

I must comment on the house. It is so encouraging to see such a packed house for these Sleeping Beauties.

And many of these people seem to be new to the ballet (you can tell because they always start applauding at the wrong

part. I like their enthusiasm!). I am looking forward to the spring rep (bye bye story ballets!), but I'm glad the NYCB

is getting some much needed revenue from this programming.

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