its the mom

Boston Ballet's Ultimate Balanchine

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Reviews are posted in Links for people to read, and reading reviewers is good (or dirac wouldn't do all of that work), but what did you think of the program? (That's why we're here :wink:)

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Helene: I do appreciate all of dirac's work, but I thought I would start posting for Boston, since not too many people ever do post for them. I thought I might do the same for PA Ballet, since they are in my backyard. We hear so much about ABT and NYCB, that I thought it might be nice if someone would take it upon themselves to post for these smaller companies.

I would also gladly review the program myself, but I feel it would be somewhat self-serving since two of my children dance there and I have some other pretty definitive favorites. I can say generally that I thought opening night was a good one. I did feel that Four T's was a bit shaky with the standout (for me) being Nelson Madrigal in Sanguinic. This is not usually "his thing" and I applaud him for taking this on so well. Apollo heated things up a bit, but I won't comment on it, as one of my dk's was in it. I do think this cast was beautiful together (Pavel Gurevich, Lia Cirio, Rie Ichikawa and Whitney Jensen). Theme and Variations - believe it or not, I have never seen this live. Whoa. What a spectacle of a ballet. When the curtain went up, the audience really reacted with an audible sigh. All the dancers did a wonderful job. Kudos to James Whiteside and Misa Kuranaga who were beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the shows this weekend with the varying casts. What impresses me about Boston is their depth and their ability to do so many things so well, especially with the size of the company. After their Balanchine run, they enter into a two-week run of Kylian's Black and White, and then a five-week tour to Spain with two shows alternating - a Balanchine show (different from the one they are currently doing) and a contemporary program...

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Thanks for posting, it'sthemom. I appreciate that you are in a delicate position as regards to Boston and I appreciate your sensitivity to the linkage and other issues. I hope your post will encourage others to comment on Boston.

What impresses me about Boston is their depth and their ability to do so many things so well, especially with the size of the company. After their Balanchine run, they enter into a two-week run of Kylian's Black and White, and then a five-week tour to Spain with two shows alternating - a Balanchine show (different from the one they are currently doing) and a contemporary program...

I am grateful that Boston is putting on these works and doing such a creditable job. It's important to expose American audiences outside New York City to these classics in the best possible fashion, and it sounds like BB has done that.

On the whole, Balanchine is alive and well in Boston, Miami, Arizona, Seattle, Philadelphia, etc., etc., as well as in New York. Miami is more likely to combine Balanchine with Robbins, Taylor, and Tharp rather than the contemporary choreographers favored by Jorma Elo. I don't see Kylian making their way down here in the forseeable future, though I'd love to see MCB one of his pieces. Elo, Villella, Boal, Anderson, etc., each seems to have his own sense of what to put into the program blend.

The 5-week tour to Spain sounds exciting. Miami is also considering proposals for a European tour next season. The idea of exposing Europeans to American ballet warms my heart. Especially with new and recent choreography, Europe and the U.S. seem to be on different planets and not just a few thousand miles apart.

Did anyone else get to see a Boston performance of this program? Or do you have any thoughts about the company. We'd love to have a more active Boston Ballet forum on Ballet Talk.

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We have a pretty specific protocol for links and double-posting: if something is posted in Links, it can only be duplicated in a thread if there's a discussion about it, although we don't always catch duplicates. We know posting a series of published review links is proper on other sites, including those like Arts Journal which compiles links as well, but we've taken a different tack to ask members discuss the performances (or reviews :)) just as you just did, and I thank you for your description. (We have many members who have bookmarked the Links page and only read Links every day.)

Unfortunately, we don't have a big contingent from Boston and reviews are sparse, usually from New Yorkers who travel. Some of us outside NYC (:)) try to keep the flame going for companies in our neck of the woods -- Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Pacific Northwest Ballet -- and we hope to turn from Don Quixote into the Pied Piper. That's why it's really important to get impressions from Ballet Talkers and to know when a dancer performs a role that is atypical or makes a breakthrough or even when the performance is not so successful.

I think we all have favorites for different reasons, some of them having nothing to do with being onstage, for better or worse. Direct conflict-of-interest -- reviewing a family member or a family member's partner, ex-partner :FIREdevil:, or professional nemeses -- require disclosure of the relationship. Plus, no one is required to review everyone in a program, and if you know the lead dancer is constantly harassing the ballet mistress' dog or is a horrible person and don't want to give the dancer any props, you can ignore him or her. (I don't know any dancers, so when I leave someone out, it's usually age showing...)

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Ditto to what Helene says about links -- I follow the local coverage since I'm a critic, and send the links to dirac so she can post them to the Links section. I'm curious about Boston B, but don't always have the time to read every section here, so if it's not in the Links section I won't always see it.

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Well since I live in Massachusetts, I used to see quite a lot of BB, but in the last couple years, it's actually been cheaper or the same price for me to travel twice as long, and go to NYC to see City Ballet or ABT! I'm sorry, but BB does not have rush or same-day discount tickets anymore unless you are a student or senior (and Srs. only get it on Saturday mats), and I'm neither now, so tickets are double what they are in NY. At NYCB I can get 4th Ring, or standing room at the Met and save $, so the travel expense evens out. However, I did go to the performance today --Sunday matinee--because I hadn't seen T&V live in 4-5 years, and I wanted to compare BB's 4T's to NYCB's which I saw last weekend. I REALLY wanted to see this BB program, and luckily no traffic jams or red lights impeded my progress from one end of the state to the other.

THE FOUR TEMPERMENTS

I thought BB, did a very credible job with "4 Temperments". The attack may not have been as sharp as City Ballet's, but it was technically cleaner than the performance I saw in NY--(except for one ankle bobble by Ms. Jensen in the Theme beginning, but she was able to continue and dance in T&V later so I'm hoping it was ok.) Both Cirio dancers were very good--Jeffrey Cirio in Melancholic, and especially Lia Cirio in Choleric; finally someone who not only got the steps right but the body language and understanding of phrasing too. I thought one quartet of women--sorry can't remember which variation (1 or 2?)--weren't in sync as much so the "crispness" of the choreography was kind of smudged, but otherwise the whole work was very well done. (PS. Until I went to see NYCB do this last week, I hadn't seen it in 25yrs, so I'm really glad that I actually remembered quite a lot of the choreography, and of course the music.)

APOLLO (Y. Yanowsky, M. Hough, R. Ichikawa, M. Kuranaga)

Boston Ballet does the version without the 'prologue--birth scene etc.', so I guess it's Mr.B's later revised version. (I thought BB used to do it, because I seem to remember seeing them do it before I saw ABT do it. But maybe I'm confused?) This ballet, which I've seen many more times by several different companies really struck me for a reason that had nothing to do with the dancing and choreography--it was body type. The BB dancers (at least at this matinee) were much more petite and compact, which made the choreography look totally different in its execution. In my mind's eye I kept seeing the longer lines, limbs, and more experience, of Suzanne Farrell and Julie Kent, so I had to keep reminding myself to watch the BB performance "holistically" and not as much individually; so I didn't keep seeing it 'in miniature'. (I certainly do NOT mean that in any derogatory way, the dancers were fine, just looked different--which is probably a good thing.) But overall I did think the phrasing and even extensions, hip rotations, and pointed or flexed feet weren't as 'sharp' as City Ballet and ABT do it. It's hard to describe, but overall the dancers seemed 'softer' in motion; not as 'pointed' in the phrasing; kind of blurred through the steps. It was clean technically, but not 'bright'.

THEME & VARIATIONS (Erica Cornejo, Nelson Madrigal)

Of all the costume color variations I've seen for this, I thought BB's were exquisite, subtle, sparkling without being distracting, and exemplifying that 'imperial age' that still exists in our fantasies or ancient memories.

Oh, I was SO very happy to see Erica Cornejo! I've missed most of her performances this year: wrong timing, or unable to attend for business or $ reasons (see above). What a joy to see her sleek, tight footwork, airy jumps, and expressiveness in upper body. She shone in this like a bright crystal, spinning through it fleet and fluent.

Nelson Madrigal was okay, but seemed rather tired to me. (Sorry not sure if it was simple weariness, age, or any past injuries or performance issues?) For a Cuban, I missed those strong perfect pirouettes I'm used to see his compatriots do (eg. Acosta, Carreno et.al.) and he drifted quite a lot in the double tours/pirouettes in his solo. I kind of wanted to see the younger BB dancers I saw do 4T's try it. (Sorry to Mr. Madrigal if it was just a bad day. I don't usually have any problems watching him.) Like most of what I saw today, his T&V was clean, but not brilliant.

(I also had very strong memories of AC doing T&V, and the dble tours etc. he did in class which are visible in my doc trailer.)

I thought the BB corps was good, in the first variations, and better at the end. The bourees, during the all-female enlace action were a little loud; I know we all need hard pointe shoes for this one, but it was a little distracting over the flutes. However, it was great watching Erica's control in arabesque and penche during this variation.

Very glad I could make this BB performance. I'll try to catch the Kylian, but now BB's schedule is getting rather tight with the NY season.

PS to bart: The 2010 tour to Spain will be the SECOND time Boston Ballet has toured there. They had so successful a tour--their first overseas in very many years--they are returning this year. ( I wonder if all the former ABT dancers in BB, will try to see their former colleagues in CBCL while they are there? Or vice versa.)

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Just as a note, Boston Ballet's first tour to Spain was in 1991. At least 2 of the ballets on that tour were Giselle and Allegro Brillante.

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Boston Ballet latest visit to Spain was in 2007. In Catalonia they performed in Peralada La Sylphide, and "Classic Balanchine" with Serenade, Who cares? & The four temperaments. This year Peralada offers us the Miami Classical Ballet :)

Boston Ballet will this time be in Barcelona at the Coliseum. A pity as the stage is not very large. According to Boston Ballet web page:

Boston Ballet’s 2010 Spain tour begins on June 4 when more than 60 dancers, artistic, production, wardrobe, music and additional staff depart from Boston. The tour opens with six performances, June 8-13, at Barcelona’s Teatro Coliseum where the Company will perform a special kick-off program featuring George Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina, Helen Pickett’s Tsukiyo, Sabrina Matthews’ ein von viel, and Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes.

http://www.bostonballet.org/Press_Releases...SPAIN_TOUR.html

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4mrdncr: I think by Sunday you were seeing the effects of the company doing this program, together with an aggressive contemporary program and a Spain tour just a few days later. With several key principal dancers not dancing right now, there is a lot of pressure on just several soloist and principal dancers. T&V was definitely at its "most tired" during yesterday's performance, and the energy in Apollo seemed gone, too. Not sure what happened with Madrigal in T&V, but that tours/pirouette sequence was giving everyone trouble this weekend, with James Whiteside being the most successful.

On another note, I didn't know there were no longer general rush seats available. That's disappointing.

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The 2010 tour to Spain will be the SECOND time Boston Ballet has toured there. They had so successful a tour--their first overseas in very many years--they are returning this year. ( I wonder if all the former ABT dancers in BB, will try to see their former colleagues in CBCL while they are there? Or vice versa.)

So this year will be their third trip.

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APOLLO (Y. Yanowsky, M. Hough, R. Ichikawa, M. Kuranaga)

Boston Ballet does the version without the 'prologue--birth scene etc.', so I guess it's Mr.B's later revised version. (I thought BB used to do it, because I seem to remember seeing them do it before I saw ABT do it. But maybe I'm confused?)

No 4mrdncr you are not confused! Boston Ballet has done Apollo over it's 50 years a number of times with and without the prologue. The last time it was presented before this current time was in 1993 and it was done with the prologue. There were several casts most notably Fernando Bujones and Patrick Armand. A minor but interesting note as well was that Maria Arnillias (Mr. Bujones' wife) was a handmaiden in that prologue. Boston Ballet also danced Apollo with Rudolph Nureyev back in the late 60's in Mexico City and again as guests in Madison, WI.

Mme. Hermine is correct that this will be the third tour for BB to Spain. The tour in 1991, included Giselle and a mixed bill of Balanchine's "Allegro Brilliante", Mark Morris' "Morte Subite", and Lander's "Etudes". On that tour were Fernando Bujones, Trinidad Sevillano, and Patrick Armand, all favorites with the Spanish fans.

Hmmmm....... why is it the current BB staff seems to be so unaware of the companies history. :FIREdevil:

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the company also participated in the 8th annual biarritz dance festival in france, in 1998.

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Just back from the last performance in Barcelona. Like it very much, despite of not being a fan of contemporary dance.

With Ballo della Regina, I saw my first live Balanchine and I was not dissapointed. Those dancers are in the same class that the POB. Pity they did not perform Rubies here.

The other Wow! choreography for me was Brake the Eyes with music by Mozart.

If the Cirio brothers are son and daughter of "its the mom", I think she can be very proud of them: Jeffrey was protagonist in Ballo, and Lia in Tsukiyo. Liked them very much.

All in all, a very interesting experience. If any Spaniards read this, don't wait to buy your tickets!

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Thanks, Sunday, for reporting. I especially appreciate your tribute to Balanchine, but I'm glad that their contemporary work also came across well. And the dancers.

The program balance is something that is becoming typical of a number of important American companies -- some Balanchine, some contemporary, maybe something from the classics. This kind of mix may not be so common in Spain, especially on the same program.

What did you think about the balancing of the pieces on the program? How did the audience respond?

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Some of us in New York would love to hear more about Erica Cornejo's work. By any chance, Sunday, did she have the lead in Ballo? It would seem a great vehicle for her.

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Thanks, Sunday, for reporting. I especially appreciate your tribute to Balanchine, but I'm glad that their contemporary work also came across well. And the dancers.

The program balance is something that is becoming typical of a number of important American companies -- some Balanchine, some contemporary, maybe something from the classics. This kind of mix may not be so common in Spain, especially on the same program.

What did you think about the balancing of the pieces on the program? How did the audience respond?

I got the impression that the longer acts - Ballo della Regina, Brake the Wheels - got more applause.

Last summer we got a Russian Stars Gala with Ivan Vassiliev, Maria Alexandrova, Farukh Rusimatov, Irina Pirren, etc. also with a mixed repertoire, from Suite Paquita to Tchaikovski PDD* to Bakhti. The audience appreciated all. But Ivan Vassiliev, as the monster he is, claimed a standing ovation in his DQ PDD with Alexandrova.

The unusual thing in Spain is to able to attend Classical or good Neoclassical ballet. There is fair amount of Modern dance. If you are worried by the performance of Miami City Ballet in Peralada, don't. The severe economic crisis we are enduring could result in less tickets sold, however.

Some of us in New York would love to hear more about Erica Cornejo's work. By any chance, Sunday, did she have the lead in Ballo? It would seem a great vehicle for her.

Sorry, no. Ms. Cornejo did not appear in the performance I saw. The lead in Ballo was a superb Misa Kuranaga who got a couple of curtain calls. She and Jeffrey Ciro demonstrated a awesome synchronization on their jumps together.

* Well, that really was my first Balanchine, I realize. However, B in ensemble is not the same as B in a PDD.

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carbro - Erica is dancing the lead in Ballo along side Jaime Diaz. Misa Kuranaga does it the most - alternating with Jeffrey Cirio and James Whiteside. The Barcelona shows were a mix of the two shows they will be doing throughout the rest of Spain. In most cities, they will be performing one Ultimate Balanchine (Ballo, Four T's and Rubies) and one Made in Boston (Elo's Plan to B, Pickett's Tsukiyo, Plotnikov's Rhyme, Matthews' ein von viel, and Elo's Brake the Eyes). As for Erica, besides the lead in Ballo, she also dances in Rhyme and Sanguinic in Four T's.

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Nelson Madrigal was okay, but seemed rather tired to me. (Sorry not sure if it was simple weariness, age, or any past injuries or performance issues?) For a Cuban, I missed those strong perfect pirouettes I'm used to see his compatriots do (eg. Acosta, Carreno et.al.) and he drifted quite a lot in the double tours/pirouettes in his solo.

That's exactly how I recall Nelson's dancing back in Havana...okay but not brilliant.

Is his wife-(Feijoo)-absent from this program...?

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cubanmiamiboy - In answer to your question about Lorna, she is not taking part in the tour, as she is expecting a baby! She looks fabulous, I might add.

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Barcelona’s shows have been amazing and have got very good reviews. After Peralada’s, with La Sylphide and a complete Balanchine program, maybe some people was waiting for more classical ballets, as classics are nearly absent in Catalonia and there is a large amount of ballet lovers eager to enjoy them, but this programme has been a good choice to show the variety of the repertoire and the fabulous skills of the BB troupe able to tackle with so many different registers at its top.

I attended the first performance as I had to fly to Oviedo to attend the two shows of Swan Lake by Corella Ballet, but as Sunday reports, I can say that the first day also Ballo della Regina and Brake the Eyes were the ones that got the greatest applauses, Melissa Hough was really great at this last.

There are lovely pictures of the Barcelona’s performances at the Boston Globe!

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As for Erica, besides the lead in Ballo, she also dances in Rhyme and Sanguinic in Four T's.
Thank you, itm!

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