Boston Ballet's Ultimate Balanchine
Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:27 AM
Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:45 AM
Posted 08 May 2010 - 08:53 AM
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...
Posted 08 May 2010 - 09:08 AM
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.
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...
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.
Posted 08 May 2010 - 09:19 AM
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 , 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...)
Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:32 PM
Posted 09 May 2010 - 06:01 PM
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.)
Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:55 AM
Posted 10 May 2010 - 04:03 AM
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.
Posted 10 May 2010 - 04:30 AM
On another note, I didn't know there were no longer general rush seats available. That's disappointing.
Posted 10 May 2010 - 05:09 AM
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.
Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:10 AM
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.
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