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Sleeping Beauty


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#16 nysusan

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 11:20 AM

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.

#17 abatt

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 06:41 PM

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.

#18 DeborahB

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 05:46 AM

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.

#19 Michael

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 08:57 AM

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.

#20 Krystin

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:03 AM

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!

#21 canbelto

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 07:46 PM

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.

#22 carbro

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 08:22 PM

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, 31 January 2010 - 09:22 PM.


#23 papeetepatrick

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:03 PM

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.

#24 Helene

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:42 PM

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.

#25 DeborahB

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 06:02 AM

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.

#26 Michael

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:47 AM

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.


It seems to me that, with expanding the orchestra pit and moving it forward, there may also be a problem with the dancers at times being able to hear the orchestra distinctly on the stage - particularly when they are far up-stage. This is just a supposition based upon what I am seeing. Dancers are beginning variations markedly before the orchestra: the conductor seeming to take his cue from the dancers, and not the other way around. Now perhaps he's cueing them with his baton - but there are repeated out-of-sync moments, right at the beginning of passages. This is besides the lack of sonority that PappeePatrick remarks on.

MP

#27 papeetepatrick

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:28 PM

the conductor seeming to take his cue from the dancers, and not the other way around. Now perhaps he's cueing them with his baton - but there are repeated out-of-sync moments, right at the beginning of passages.


Ob yes, and that was perhaps my main point, the 'taking cues from the dancers'. One of the worst moments was all of the Carabosse, with music that sounded like a cartoon version, and no menace to speak of. I couldn't believe it, it was so reduced. But you are right about the out-of-sync moments, and I just didn't think it was the dancers' fault. And while I like Helene's descriptions both of what she heard here and in Seattle, which does point to much better results down the line, it's definitely more than just acoustical re-orientation. I'm going to report back after hearing Kaplow conduct next week, and see if I'm hearing some of the same problems.

#28 nysusan

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 08:12 PM

I was also there for Bouder Beauty #3 last night (her third, my second) and agree that both she and Mearns were even better than on opening night. Last night's fish dives were a bit tentative and there were a few other very minor missteps however Bouder toned down the facial expressions a bit while losing none of her characterization and artistic vision. She and Mearns both danced at the highest possible technical level while taking the audience with them deep into the story - a total triumph. The whole cast was great, although I do agree that the music was somewhat patchy. I put it down to the truncated score (you can't lose an hour out of a ballet without losing a good chunk of the score) but generally speaking I think this is a very successful production for NYCB. Certainly better than their R+J, Swan Lake or Double Feature. Way better!

#29 carbro

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:32 PM

... although I do agree that the music was somewhat patchy. I put it down to the truncated score ...

Truncation does nothing to explain why, in both performances I've attended so far, the melody line would be drowned out by the lower brass in the Garland Waltz or even by the little triangle in Bluebird. I keep hoping it's simply that the orchestra hasn't yet figured out its new acoustical environment. However, since neither was improved between Wednesday and Sunday nights, I am not hopeful that they are fully aware. Maybe the conductors should go out and sit in various places around the house on their nights off the podium and hear what we hear.

#30 abatt

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 08:06 PM

Tiler Peck was outstanding tonight as Aurora. Her phrasing and musicality were absolutely wonderful. She demonstrated the transition of her character over the course of the ballet very well. She was very elegant and lyrical in the wedding scene in particular. She didn't hold her balance a long time in the Rose Adagio the way Bouder did, but that didn't matter to me. Her technique throughout was very impressive. Gonzalo Garcia was a good partner, but he had a tendency to over-act to point of being a ham. He acquitted himself well in his solos, and the fish dives went very well. Janie Taylor was miscast as Lilac Fairy. Gina was a bit too campy as Carabosse. Erica P. easily executed all the technical demands of Florine, but I thought that she needed more lyrical flow in her movements. Bluebird (Huxley) acquitted himself well. I really enjoyed Gilliland as Diamond. Ask la Cour had some difficulty with his Gold variation. Onwards to the Morgan-Angle-Krohn debuts tomorrow!


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