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Lady of the Camellias - Spring 2010


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#16 Ceeszi

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:53 PM

Well, my hands have just about recovered from clapping them numb. Vishneva and Gomes were phenomenal again. Thank you for spilling your souls out on the stage for all of us to see. Bravo, bravo, BRAVO!!!!!



I am physically and emotionally drained. It took a little while for me to warm up to this ballet, but it was a real emotional experience and yes - Diana and Marcelo were absolutely fantastic!

#17 abatt

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:12 AM

Vishneva and Gomes were electrifying. I wish this had been taped.

#18 DanceActress

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:23 AM

Vishneva and Gomes were electrifying. I wish this had been taped.


I second that! What a performance. I loved Veronika Part's Manon as well- venal, passionate, and then dying quite beautifully.

#19 bart

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 11:32 AM

It's wonderful to read these comments. MORE, please.

I haven't seen the ABT performances. But I did see the video of Neumeier's version once long ago. (I prefer Val Caniparoli's version, with its clearer story-telling.)

I wonder how well, in your opinions, the inclusion of the ghost figures of Manon and Des Grieux work in this ballet. Greskovic, in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal, writes:

.As audience members take their seats, the house curtain is already raised. The setting is an auction; a placard announces the sale as taking place on March 16, 1847. Program notes to the ballet's prologue and three acts are printed in a mix of italics and Roman type to help the audience grasp what is happening onstage. Notes in italics describe the auction; Roman type explains when the ballet's action moves back in time to depict the life of Marguerite, whose early death led to the sale.

[ ... ] If anything other than the program's synopsis puts across the choreographer's intended narrative complications—all, for good measure, intermingled with ghostly appearances by characters from Prévost's 1731 "Manon Lescaut," a novel mentioned in Dumas's narrative—it's the individual performers' abilities to act rather than to dance.

Is all of this clear on stage without having read the program? Is it effective?

It has been fascinating to read everyone's comments on the different casts. Greskovic talks about two of the casts in relation to specific qualities of Neumeier's choreography. Those who like Vishneva best -- and hers seems to be a peformance not to be missed -- might be interested in the following:

The first cast included the longtime ABT ballerina Julie Kent as Marguerite and the large-scale and inherently warm Roberto Bolle as Armand. Ms. Kent portrayed the classiest of courtesans, never reaching for clichés of pert haughtiness and always working to smooth out the knotty arrangements of Mr. Neumeier's dancemaking. Mr. Bolle kept his dignity, too, losing it somewhat only when the choreography's quirks asked for nearly spasmatic moves meant to indicate particularly tortured emotions.

In another cast, Diana Vishneva gave an almost wildly vivid portrayal of Marguerite, revealing a persona and manners of electrifying individuality. She entered into the often stabbing, stuttering and frenetic body language favored by Mr. Neumeier with gusto, managing in the process to reveal the ungainliness of the choreography. As her Armand, an almost relentlessly impassioned Marcelo Gomes suggested nothing so much as puppy love.line:



#20 RUKen

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 11:52 AM

I wonder how well, in your opinions, the inclusion of the ghost figures of Manon and Des Grieux work in this ballet. Greskovic, in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal, writes:

.As audience members take their seats, the house curtain is already raised. The setting is an auction; a placard announces the sale as taking place on March 16, 1847. Program notes to the ballet's prologue and three acts are printed in a mix of italics and Roman type to help the audience grasp what is happening onstage. Notes in italics describe the auction; Roman type explains when the ballet's action moves back in time to depict the life of Marguerite, whose early death led to the sale.

Is all of this clear on stage, without the program? Is it effective dramatically? In dance terms?


My wife and I attended a dress rehearsal on May 25th, and they did not hand out any programs, not even in the abbreviated format that they had used for previous dress rehearsals that we had attended. We also had not read a synopsis of the ballet before going, though we knew the basic outline of the story from having been supernumeraries in a production of La Traviata. To answer your question--we didn't understand the story within a story being told by Manon and Des Grieux. We just saw them as ballet dancers performing for the other characters on stage. Even without that level of understanding, we were able to follow the story of the two main characters (and the father), and the shifts from the time of the auction to the memories of the love affair, and we enjoyed the ballet (though we thought that Armand was reading Marguerite's diary at the end, rather than Manon).

#21 abatt

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:00 PM

we thought that Armand was reading Marguerite's diary at the end, rather than Manon).


I thought that too, especially since at the end of the ballet Marguerite is struggling to write in her diary. It doesn't make any sense to highlight her writing in the diary unless it is linked back somehow to Armand reading it. The libretto has many confusing aspects, but I knew the story of La Traviata well enough that I was able to follow the story.

#22 DanceActress

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:26 PM

we thought that Armand was reading Marguerite's diary at the end, rather than Manon).


I thought that too, especially since at the end of the ballet Marguerite is struggling to write in her diary. It doesn't make any sense to highlight her writing in the diary unless it is linked back somehow to Armand reading it. The libretto has many confusing aspects, but I knew the story of La Traviata well enough that I was able to follow the story.


Isn't Armand reading Marguerite's diary at the end? Nanine presents a book to him in a very solemn manner as the final scene begins: the audience sees the scene through Marguerite's eyes whil Armand is reading it.

Doesn't Armand read "Manon Lescaut" during the ball montage in Act I?

I'm familiar with the Dumas and Prevost novels, so following Neumeier's setting of the story wasn't that difficult. My friend, however, had trouble distinguishing between Prudence and Olympe and wondered who Gaston was (or that guy with the riding crop).

#23 bingham

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:42 PM

It would make more sense for Armand to be reading the diary that was given to him by Nanina instead of Manon Lescaut.

#24 abatt

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:45 PM

Isn't Armand reading Marguerite's diary at the end? Nanine presents a book to him in a very solemn manner as the final scene begins: the audience sees the scene through Marguerite's eyes whil Armand is reading it.

Doesn't Armand read "Manon Lescaut" during the ball montage in Act I?



That's exactly what I thought. The only time he is reading Manon Lescaut is during the ballroom scene in Act I. He is presented with the diary at the beginning of Act I during the auction scene, and he is reading the diary in the final scenes of Act III. I don't have a playbill wtih me to see how ABT described it in the synopsis. It would have helped if they used very different looking books for the diary and the Manon Lescaut book so that the audience could distingusih the two books.

#25 bingham

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 01:57 PM

Vishneva and Gomes were electrifying. I wish this had been taped.

Hoping ABT will revived Onegin for them next season. :o

#26 volcanohunter

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:41 PM

Armand is definitely reading Marguerite's diary at the end.

Armand has now reached the end of his narrative to which his father, much moved, has listened. They part. When Armand is alone Nanina brings him Marguerite's diary. Armand starts to read it and learns of her deep and sincere love and of the rapid disintegration of her health. Reading, he seems to accompany her on her last visit to the theatre to see Manon Lescaut. In the ballet, Manon impoverished dies of exhaustion in the arms of her faithful lover Des Grieux, who had followed her into exile.

Ill and despairing, Marguerite must leave the theatre, but the ballet's characters appear in her feverish dreams. She longs to see Armand one last time but dies alone and in poverty. Armand silently closes her diary.

http://www.hamburgba...ameliendame.htm

#27 sealings

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:42 PM

from the ABT playbill:

Armand has reached the end of his story. He will never see Marguerite again. Deeply moved, his father leaves as Nanina returns and gives Marguerite's diary to Armand.

Reading, Armand seems to accompany Marguerite on her last visit to the theatre. She sees again a scene from the ballet Manon Lescaut in which Manon, impoverished like herself, dies in the arms of her faithful lover Des Grieux.

Ill and despairing, Marguerite leaves the theatre, but the characters from the ballet follow her into a feverish dream. As the phantom lovers blend with her own memories, her identification with Manon seems complete. Deserted and longing for Armand, Marguerite confides her last thoughts to the diary, which she gives to Nanina for Armand.

Marguerite dies alone.

Armand silently closes her diary.



i hope i'm allowed to post this... otherwise mods feel free to delete. ;)

#28 ksk04

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:59 PM

I hope they tour with this! You guys are making it sound even more enticing than I already thought it was.

#29 Batsuchan

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:42 PM

I hope they tour with this! You guys are making it sound even more enticing than I already thought it was.


Ah, but if they tour with it, it probably won't be with Vishneva, and I think that would be a real shame!

I found this on Marcelo Gomes' twitter from yesterday morning (if I'm not allowed to post this, please delete!):
"cant wait to dance armand in lady of the camellias tonight with the very inspiring diana vishneva.last chance to see the ballet at the met"
http://twitter.com/marcelogomes47

Indeed, judging from the very warm embraces during the bows, it seemed that Vishneva & Gomes very much enjoyed dancing together last night!

When I saw them in the 5/26 matinee, I didn't think they had held anything back--but last night I felt like they really pushed every movement to the limit (and then some). Especially Vishneva--she really made the role her own, in my opinion.

***

As for the question about the diary/book--it was clear to me that Armand was reading Marguerite's diary at the end. From what I could see, it was dark blue/green and rather slim, whereas the book that Armand was reading at the end of Act I was red and thick. I assumed that it was a reference to the gilded copy of MANON LESCAUT that Armand gives to Marguerite in the original story, but there's no actual reference in the synopsis.

Once I found out that ABT was doing "Lady of the Camellias" last year, I read Provost's MANON LESCAUT, and Dumas, fils' Camille and saw the Greta Garbo movie, so I was very familiar with the story. Even so, before I watched the ballet the first time, I felt rather confused reading the synopsis! But the ballet played out much more straightforwardly than I had feared. The costumes and the garish white makeup definitely marked Manon/Des Grieux as being otherworldly doubles to the main leads.

***

Ahh, I have been listening to Chopin all day, trying to recapture the wonderful sensation of last night's ballet. Somehow I feel like the rest of the season won't be quite as satisfying...

I agree with abatt--I wish this had been taped too! I would gladly buy a DVD!!

ETA I just looked at Diana Vishneva's Facebook page, and she mentioned that ABT will be doing "Lady of the Camellias" again next year!
http://www.facebook....va/416638053237
If this turns out to be true, then HOORAY!

#30 christine174

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 12:21 PM

I was there Friday night for Gomes and Vishneva. My expectations were low, to say the least, since I usually dislike ballets that involve more acting than dancing, and the "official" reviews I'd read (from the Links page) were less than enticing. I agree with everyone who said the first act is a snooze; I literally dozed off, and thought about leaving at intermission. I'm very glad I didn't! It got much, much more involving. The plot is convoluted (it definitely helped that I know the opera well), but I thought the tie-in with Manon Lescaut was interesting and inventive. I got very absorbed in it. My sense is the success of this ballet depends heavily on the dancers. I didn't see the other casts, I'd guess this one was best. Vishneva was passionate, of course. But I can't say enough in praise of Marcelo Gomes. His acting was so nuanced that I could see him having an acting career after his dancing days are over. When he first appeared to pay homage to Marguerite he looked earnest and unformed. I never would have thought Marcelo Gomes could look dorky, but that he did is a testament to his acting skills. In the last act he was so passionate I thought the stage might erupt in flames. The whole scene where he's off on the side reading her diary, he conveyed so much shifting emotion, coming from deep inside, that he was gripping even when not moving. That's an actor!


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