DeborahB

Sleeping Beauty

75 posts in this topic

I saw the second performance this afternoon of the Peck - Garcia- Taylor cast. Tiler Peck's 2nd performance was even better than her first. Her phrasing this time was even better than the first time. Also, she held her balance in the Rose Adagio today for much longer than during her first performance. Janie Taylor improved considerably. She was much more attentive to her upper body movements and the use of her arms in a more expansive manner today. Huxley didn't make it for his second Bluebird. He was replaced by Ulbricht. The house was PACKED at the matinee.

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Katie Morgan tweeted this around 11pm. "Very happy. Much better than the first performance!"

Looking forward to hearing from reports here.

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Unlike the gent sitting a few seats away from me, I did not yell a loud "BRAVI" after the Garland Waltz, gather my coat and depart, before Katie Morgan even took her first steps as Aurora (although part of me understands that he would find that dance a satisfying evening's worth of ballet). Say what you will about this production (which I seem to like better than many others do), the fellow missed some very fine moments. I'd characterize Morgan's overall performance as cautious, but not tentative. Learning afterwards that she'd never even rehearsed the ballet in full does much to explain that. Still, it was obvious this is a natural Aurora, so her success in the role was no surprise to those of who've been watching her.

Which does not mean there were no surprises in this performance. Chase Finlay, as has been noted by prompter posters than I, was the name on everyone's lips as we left the theater. But also surprising (and I'm surprised no one's mentioned her so far) was our Carabosse -- Marika Anderson, filling the stage with her villainy. Who'd have guessed that this young, sweet-faced corps dancer who had never caught my attention before could chew the scenery like that? I expect that with time, she'll deliver her mime with finer articulation, but she was off to a brilliant start. And having Sara Mearns (replacing Rebecca Krohn) as her nemesis was a fortuitous accident, as the two, with their wide, Nordic faces, resemble each other a little.

Marika * Sara

I was disappointed -- well, not really disappointed, because my expectations were low, but unhappy -- with Savannah Lowery's Diamond. The supreme, classical refinement of her partner, Finlay, in the Jewels pd4 only emphasized her lack of same. Both Lauren King (a delightful Emerald) and Ashley Laracey (a dignified and delicate Ruby) are having a great season.

Among the Act I Fairies, Faye Arthurs had a very unfortunate moment. During the fairies' group adagio, she started to develop her right leg to the side. Then, seeming to sense that her neighbor's cavalier was too close, she withdrew her calf, dropping it about 8 inches, before resuming. A reflex, perhaps, but it ruined the moment for all 12 dancers. She should have let her toe graze his shoulder, if it had come to that.

Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette's Bluebird pdd was very fine. For sheer charm, I can't remember a better Florine, but I would have liked a stronger connection between the two.

Now, to today's final Sleeping Beauty. I was reminded of Martine van Hamel's comment that for her, the hardest part of Aurora was maintaining one's radiance throughout. Tiler Peck was downright incandescent through every moment, from her first, bounding entrance to her wedding-slash-coronation as the curtain fell. Nowhere in evidence was the brash, athletic soubrette we were introduced to earlier in her still-young career. This was a serene, commanding, mature ballerina in all respects, and beautifully matched (as Deborah noted) with Gonzalo Garcia.

Jenifer Ringer's Carabosse was great fun, a not-too-distant cousin of Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West. I loved the way she cast her spell with an angry expression, paused, then suppressed the eeeeevil laugh that started deep in her belly until she could no longer contain it.

Another special mention of Ashley Laracey, this time as the Fairy of Generosity.

Also to Gwyneth Muller as the Countess. We know why Prince Desire is unhappy; he's saddled with this needy, smothering control-freak, who is, to boot, a snob (as she turns her back to sneer at another member of the hunt). I don't know how much of the characterization is Muller's and how much Martins' but we instantly recognize her, and We. Don't. Like. Her.

And another note about the Garland thingy. There's nothing in it! Remove the temps levés and the balancés, and you have, maybe, 20 seconds of choreography (most of which is bourées, a few soutenu turns :dunno: ). It epitomizes simplicity and is all the more exciting for that. I was gobsmacked -- again.

I hope we don't have to wait four more years to see this, Peter Martins' finest product, again.

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Which does not mean there were no surprises in this performance. Chase Finlay, as has been noted by prompter posters than I, was the name on everyone's lips as we left the theater. But also surprising (and I'm surprised no one's mentioned her so far) was our Carabosse -- Marika Anderson, filling the stage with her villainy. Who'd have guessed that this young, sweet-faced corps dancer who had never caught my attention before could chew the scenery like that? I expect that with time, she'll deliver her mime with finer articulation, but she was off to a brilliant start. And having Sara Mearns (replacing Rebecca Krohn) as her nemesis was a fortuitous accident, as the two, with their wide, Nordic faces, resemble each other a little.

Agreed! I saw Saturday evening's performance, and Anderson's Carabosse was truly, terrifically demented -- not purely evil so much as off her meds and dangerously deranged. Reichlen (Lilac Fairy), Gilliland (the Queen) and LaCour (the King) -- all very tall and regal -- looked like Borzois startled by a Jack Russell terrier on fire and in for the kill. It was over the top in exactly the right way, and I loved it. I've enjoyed watching Anderson in the corps the past few seasons -- I hope the company gives her more to do soon.

Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette's Bluebird pdd was very fine. For sheer charm, I can't remember a better Florine

Fairchild was a delightful Florine - musical, swift and precise without any brittleness at all, and sweet without being cloying. My husband's comment during the curtain: "She's got it all going on."

Someone dropped a garland towards the end of the waltz, but a couple of quick-thinking little ballerinas deftly got the thing up off the stage and into the right pair of hands like real pros. :dunno: Well done!

All in all, a fine night at Koch Theater!

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I went Friday night, perfromance seemed rushed. Only one intermission. Music felt a little too quick. Where was the variation where the Fairies hold hands and develope front and then develope back?

The bass in the State Theater is subdued, while the treble notes are sharp and brilliant.

Carabosse acted but did not dance, Why didn't the soldiers come forward to protect the Newborn Princess?

Act I courtiers and royal costumes looked awful. Bland colors.

Pastel drawings between acts were OK, Finale reminded me of St.Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

Sets were good, easily understood. ABTs "spider web" did not make any sense, even now.

Nobody did a triple pirouette or really wow'ed me.

The discount booth across the street, behind the Hotel Empire is really nice.

I like the ABT version much better, better sets and costumes.

House was close to full, in these difficult times Classical pieces always do well.

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I have enjoyed reading all of these reviews--thanks to everyone who has posted. I agreee that this production of Sleeping Beauty is one of Martins' more successful projects and I actually think that of all the inineteenth-century classics Sleeping Beauty makes the most sense for this company to take on--especially as I have always understood that Balanchine wished to stage it or at least contemplated staging it though in at least one interview he seemed to think it would be impossible to reproduce the thrill of the Maryinsky of his youth. And he did, in fact, stage a Garland Waltz for the Tchaikovsky festival. (I should add that Nutcracker is a special and, in my mind, separate case.)

I am very interested to hear (pleased...sort of) that the houses sold well. (Only "sort of" because I'm not crazy about the idea of a more full-length story-ballet oriented NYCB.) Presumably the reason for this ABT-esque season during the time of year NYCB does not have actual ABT competition was to generate box office. So far, it sounds as if the plan has worked. Though I'm glad the company will go in another direction in the spring when ABT is dancing at the Met. What's amazing is that I can totally picture Bouder, Peck, and Morgan being just as good as everyone says -- and debuts after all are not crowning achievements, just important steps on a journey. Of course it's important that the standard be high enough for a world class company even in a debut and it sounds as if Peck and Morgan surpassed that easily.

I guess I'm a bit of an outlier on the Rose Adagio -- I think the emphasis on the balances is way overblown. Great if people can do it--and I'm not too high-minded to get a shiver up my spine and applaud wildly etc. if it's done spectacularly but having the ballet hinge on that? The best overall performances of Sleeping Beauty I ever saw were by the Kirov (Maryinsky) in the Sergeyev production. I saw three casts: the first ballerina Assylmuratova (whom at least one critic and two audience members compared to Fonteyn in my hearing) barely made a stab at balancing at all just taking her hand from one partner and immediately handing it over to another with nary a pause. The second, Terekhova, made a slight stab at it; only the youngest, Leznina made anything like an attempt (pretty good as I recall) at a full blown "balancing" Aurora. Now, admitedly, Leznina's performance was my favorite, but because of her crystalline line and gorgeous attitude en arriere, not because of her balances. Loved Terekhova too; not sure why, but I was not as in love with Assylmuratova as others were; but it was certainly NOT her failure to balance.

No-one wants to see Aurora looking frightened, shaking, and stumbling about in the Rose Adagio (alas, very much what Sarah Lamb offered with the Royal at Kennedy Center--from interviews I assume it was a case of bad nerves dancing in front of her old teachers and not a typical performance). Of course, Cojocaru's exquisite poise and wonderful balances, also with the Royal in D.C., was a thrill. But I would never make balances such an important touchstone for this ballet. (I remember wishing Cynthia Gregory would quit trying to balance so long, as she kept rocking back and forth while holding the balances in a peformance of ABT's old Messel revival production. ) Moreover, the rose adagio itself is a lot more than balances--if anything, my touchstone is the moment when the ballerina rushes downstage and just bourrees while while making sweeping port de bras, the music swelling climactically about her. It's crucial that SHE (and not the music) is in command of the stage--as if the music were swelling out of her, not drowning her!

Anyway, I wish I were with all of you seeing these performances--balances, imbalances, and all!

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Caught the Sat. night performance with Morgan and Angle. Morgan was pretty good, but she seemed a little rushed at times in the Rose Adagio, especially in the section of unsupported penchees across the stage, stopping at each prince. She barely sketched these, even though they are a beautiful moment in the adagio (Cojacaru does some heart-stopping ones in the clip that's available on youtube). Her first series of balances were strong, but she fell off pointe once in the second (promenade) balances. I thought she was at her strongest in the third Act (her vision scene could have used more amplitude, especially in the grand battements to the side coming downstage -- Ashley Bouder did those wonderfully, I was so moved during her vision scene.) Tyler Angle was also very good, no sign of the technical problems other posters had mentioned from his debut performance. The Fairies in Act 1 were especially good, and Tess Reichlen was a special treat (subbed in for Rebecca Krohn) -- I preferred her Lilac to Sara Mearns' -- Tess has amplitude to spare! In the divertissements, Danny Ulbricht was incredible as one of the Jesters, mouth-dropping leaps and exits, and lots of fun to watch.

The horns had a rough night of it, you'd think after so many performances they would get better, not worse?

Looking forward to regular rep in the spring!

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Drew, I completely agree about the part in the rose adagio when she is downstage and bourrees! It's my favorite part and it's so touching!

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It was a real thrill to see the Friday and Saturday night performances. They were the only ones I could get to, and they were worth the wait. Both Sterling Hyltin and Kathryn Morgan were beautiful, Hyltin's ams were outstandingly graceful, and she was very fluid and musical. Sometimes I feel her smile is a bit frozen and distorted, so it is disconcerting.

Personally, I prefer Morgan. I felt more warmth from her as a character. To select one spot to compare them, although they both interacted with their suitors, Morgan seemed to look at each one and react like, "Wow, isn't he gorgeous!," or, "I think he likes me!" just like a 16 year old.

I am not familiar enough with the ballet to be able to compare the fine points of the Rose Adagio, and while I realized that Morgan did slip (slowly and carefully it seemed) from her balance once, her line, grace, poise and quiet command totally won me over.

Her acting conveyed more depth of feeling in general. One specific moment, one of my favorites (and I still remember Judith Fugate in this) is when she pricks her finger. I could practically read her thoughts as the pain returned after she had reassured her friends and parents that all was OK.

Both Jonathan Stafford and Tyler Angle are beautiful dancers, but I felt that Angle was far more involved as an actor. When he has told all his friends to leave, and is pacing around the stage, he seemed to be talking to himself about how he felt, and how he didn't understand why he was so unhappy. After he saw Aurora in the vision, and he knelt before the Lilac Fairy to plead with her to let him meet and marry Aurora, Angle was totally convincing. After the awakening, in the Grand Pdd Morgan and Angle seemed to really be in love. Their phrasing was totally in synch, and very different from Hyltin and Stafford's.

The orchestra was very untogether both nights. The abysmal horns on Friday night have already been mentioned. The tempo on Friday night was way too rushed (C. Otranto conducting). On Saturday night (Karoui) the tempo was better, and in the finale and coda of the last act, the phrasing was nearly lyrical, but maybe that was because of what Angle and Morgan were doing on the music.

I was sorry that Rebecca Krohn was out, but Teresa Reichlen impressed me both nights with her round, lyrical arms and her extreme lightness. Marika Anderson was amazing! I am glad to see that others enjoyed her as well. And Chase Finlay! Where did he come from? He was perfect as gold. Savannah Lowery replaced Rebecca Krohn as Diamond on Saturday night, so I saw her both nights. I felt that she was dancing in a totally different style, and have always found her too heavy in her landings.

I second (or third) everyone's praise for Sean Suozzi, Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette and Daniel Ulbricht (who fell backwards off the "pyramid" on Friday night. That smarts!), and as usual loved the two cats and Little Red... (etc) on both nights.

Wish I could have seen more performances..... it is SUCH a beautiful and satisfying production. And they all live happily ever after!

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I'll add that I saw Ashley's first performance and Katie's debut- and loved them both. I got to see Sara Mearns both nights as well- sad that Rebecca Krohn was out- but LOVE Sara's Lilac Fairy. I think I enjoyed Tyler as the prince more, but I was also sitting closer, so it could be that I just saw more face? Chase Findlay blew my mind as Gold! I have to say that in all of both casts, my only real dissapointment was Savannah Lowrey. I just don't "get" her in this company- she really stands out and not in a good way. I really don't enjoy watching her in anything remotely classical, especially next to lovely dancers like Ashley Laracey and Lauren King as Ruby and Emerald. My friend who is totally new to NYCB also said to me- "who's that? she doesn't fit in". She's a very athletic and accomplished dancer, but I just don't enjoy her performances.

Wish I could have seen Hyltin- I'm a big fan of her dancing.

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I went Friday night, perfromance seemed rushed. Only one intermission. Music felt a little too quick. Where was the variation where the Fairies hold hands and develope front and then develope back?

The bass in the State Theater is subdued, while the treble notes are sharp and brilliant.

Carabosse acted but did not dance, Why didn't the soldiers come forward to protect the Newborn Princess?

Act I courtiers and royal costumes looked awful. Bland colors.

Pastel drawings between acts were OK, Finale reminded me of St.Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

Sets were good, easily understood. ABTs "spider web" did not make any sense, even now.

Nobody did a triple pirouette or really wow'ed me.

The discount booth across the street, behind the Hotel Empire is really nice.

I like the ABT version much better, better sets and costumes.

House was close to full, in these difficult times Classical pieces always do well.

Hi MJ,

There is always only one intermission in Beauty (NYCB's version). Also Carabosse never dances (in this version). I actually really liked the costumes and colors of the costume. I'm not a fan (at all) of ABT's (athough I do like ABT) version However, I loved the Kirov's (I saw it last year in London).

NYCB's is a streamline version of Beauty. I didn't see one child (and there were many! How great!)who was antsy. Even I -- who is not a fan of story ballets -- went to 4 different Beaties (I love to see the cast changes). I think this run was an unqualified success. Still, I'm looking forward to the reg. rep tonight. But then it's Swan Lake -- I'm seeing 4 casts of that too (it's fun to compare).

I find it surprising that no one "wowed" you. There was so much great dancing in Beauty. Then again, a triple pirouette (did you see Danny Ulbricht? He can do that and more. Ditto Antonio Carmena and a couple of others) isn't "it" for me.

Thank you for your viewpoint! I love reading what other people think of various productions and ballets.

Deborah

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Additional NYT Review

This review is more about the overarching themes of The Sleeping Beauty.

I think Alistair McCawley might have the coolest job at the NYT, despite the recession. Think about it - he flys around the country and the world to review dance. 2 weeks ago he was in San Francisco to review Swan Lake, then to NY and Seattle for The Sleeping Beauty.

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Additional NYT Review

This review is more about the overarching themes of The Sleeping Beauty.

I think Alistair McCawley might have the coolest job at the NYT, despite the recession. Think about it - he flys around the country and the world to review dance. 2 weeks ago he was in San Francisco to review Swan Lake, then to NY and Seattle for The Sleeping Beauty.

Thanks so much for the link. Wouldn't it have been nice to see some more photographs?

I agrree with you about the job, (it might even be one of the best in this country) but his name is spelled: ALASTAIR MACAULAY.

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I'll add that I saw Ashley's first performance and Katie's debut- and loved them both. I got to see Sara Mearns both nights as well- sad that Rebecca Krohn was out- but LOVE Sara's Lilac Fairy. I think I enjoyed Tyler as the prince more, but I was also sitting closer, so it could be that I just saw more face? Chase Findlay blew my mind as Gold! I have to say that in all of both casts, my only real dissapointment was Savannah Lowrey. I just don't "get" her in this company- she really stands out and not in a good way. I really don't enjoy watching her in anything remotely classical, especially next to lovely dancers like Ashley Laracey and Lauren King as Ruby and Emerald. My friend who is totally new to NYCB also said to me- "who's that? she doesn't fit in". She's a very athletic and accomplished dancer, but I just don't enjoy her performances.

Wish I could have seen Hyltin- I'm a big fan of her dancing.

With all due respect, Singer... there are those of us who LOVE Savannah. She was fantastic in "Cortege" last night. Not only is she strong,

technically accomplished, fast, musical and enthusiastic -- but her love of dancing permeates each performance. She certainly does fit in. She also received a huge ovation last night too.

Balanchine always loved dancers like Savannah. The great thing about NYCB is that if you aren't crazy about a certain dancer, you can

check casting and plan accordingly.

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And with all due respect Deborah- I do check the casting and try to plan accordingly, but Savannah is cast very often with dancers I am very fond of. I'm simply expressing an opinon. Wonderful to hear that the audience loved her performance in Cortege so much.

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Well, as I mentioned, I'm not fond of her style either, but I enjoyed an interview with her in TIMEOUT NEW YORK. (I tried to provide a link, but couldn't do it on either my iPod or laptop -- they're both having problems.)

I acknowledge all that Deborah says about Savannah's enthusiasm and technique, but her landings make me very uncomfortable, and I also feel that to me she didn't match the aesthetic of "Sleeping Beauty." For example, she seemed (to me!) altogether too uncontrolled as "Diamond."

There are other interviews in the DANCE section of the online version of TIMEOUT. Hope you enjoy them!

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Here's the direct link to Savannah's interview on TONY.

I agree with Singer and ViolinConcerto, but in the interview, Savannah discusses the problem that most bothers me -- the tightness in her shoulders. This makes me hopeful that, with hard work, she may eventually improve. I have no way of knowing whether it is just an ingrained habit or the result of inadequate core strength, but at least she's aware of the problem.

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Laura Gilbreath at PNB, who is very tall, spoke in a Q&A about her tendency to stoop over, and how she's worked very hard to open up her shoulders. She's succeeded.

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Cabro, thanks for that link- I look forward to reading the interview. I also agree about her talent and joy for dancing- and I also agree about her Diamond. I would love to see her in in strictly athletic roles that do not involve tutus.

To each his own!

ETA: loved the interview and the one with Tiler Peck as well. Thanks!

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Here's the direct link to Savannah's interview on TONY.

I agree with Singer and ViolinConcerto, but in the interview, Savannah discusses the problem that most bothers me -- the tightness in her shoulders. This makes me hopeful that, with hard work, she may eventually improve. I have no way of knowing whether it is just an ingrained habit or the result of inadequate core strength, but at least she's aware of the problem.

I so enjoyed this interview when I read it. Savannah has a great sense of humor! I loved her comments about her "big" feet (I have size 9's myself). Wouldn't the NYCB ballerinas benefit from watching Sara Means (gorgeous upper body).? However, I do adore Savannah and look forward to all of her roles (although I understand why some BT-ers aren't as smitten as your truly).

Thanks for your opinions everyone! I love reading them!

On another note -- and as a longtime publicist -- I'm so happy that NYCB is getting press (and not just reviews). For a few years we never saw stories.

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I saw three casts: the first ballerina Assylmuratova (whom at least one critic and two audience members compared to Fonteyn in my hearing) barely made a stab at balancing at all just taking her hand from one partner and immediately handing it over to another with nary a pause.

That's weird because there are some videos (both commercial and one uploaded by ketinoa of youtube) of Asylmuratova doing the Rose Adagio and she holds the balances for fairly long.

Anyway I love the reviews by everyone of this two-week run. I only saw Bouder but it seems as if this might be Peter Martins' best full-length work.

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Robert Greskovic's piece is far more than a review of The Sleeping Beauty. It addresses the season itself, from programming to performance.

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I'm glad to hear Beauty was a success for NYCB. The stories of folding Ballet companies and other arts organizations has been disturbing.

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I saw three casts: the first ballerina Assylmuratova (whom at least one critic and two audience members compared to Fonteyn in my hearing) barely made a stab at balancing at all just taking her hand from one partner and immediately handing it over to another with nary a pause.

That's weird because there are some videos (both commercial and one uploaded by ketinoa of youtube) of Asylmuratova doing the Rose Adagio and she holds the balances for fairly long.

I will have to check out those videos--thanks for telling me about them. I think it is, perhaps, not so weird that what I saw in the theater was different because live performances vary so much and performances also vary over the course of a dancer's career. (Kirkland's video Clara is charming but not close to her best in the theater.)

Still, knowing that Asylmuratova also or even often did the balances in a more extended fashion really would not particularly change my view that their significance can get overblown. The rose adagio is a whole and the whole matters--bobbling all over the place in the balances can ruin it, but (in my opinion) downplaying the balancing in the context of a beautifully controlled and danced whole, need not. And the latter is what characterized the Asylmuratova and Terekhova performances I had the chance to see. I have also seen performances where the ballerina had dreamy balances and they were, indeed, dreamy--I'm not against them for sure!

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