Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:53 AM
Posted 16 June 2010 - 08:19 AM
I'll bite. I have been to both performances Monday and Tuesday night. This has been due to guilt that I have been concentrating on certain Russian ladies and not giving the home team a chance. The home team includes, btw, the Kiev-born and trained Irina Dvorovenko.
Any reports on SB ? Everybody must be waiting for the "Super Saturday".
The production is not offensive any more. Tony Walton's backdrops are rather ugly with sulfuric acid yellow skylines. Yes, there is a Disney effect to the castle sets but that isn't fatal. As we all know Holly Hynes has supplied several new and improved costumes - though I personally want the old Celtic Prince's costume with the purple plaid accented with purple maribou. I would be a smash in it in the Village Halloween parade. The text is pretty much total Petipa cum Sergeyev except for some extra jumping for Prince Desiré and his attendants and a little scene dansant for the guest fairy tale characters in Act III. This little interlude between Puss in Boots, White Cat, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and Cinderella and her Prince disappeared on Tuesday - they are still tinkering. The solo pas for these characters including the famous one for the two cats are gone. Only the Bluebirds are left. The Act III Silver, Gold and Diamond trio is reworked into a grand pas for the fairies with no male danseur. I think this works rather well but I am willing to be flamed by purists.
It isn't great but it doesn't get in the way of superb dancers which ABT supplied.
Gillian Murphy was a lovely Aurora on Monday. NYSusan compared her in an earlier appearance with Mary Lou Retton - perhaps some coaching with Irina Kolpakova has softened her bouncy athleticism. Gillian had very sharp footwork and secure balances. I am very much liking a softness in her arms and upper body epaulement with gives lyricism and depth to her virtuosity. Jose Manuel Carreno danced very well as her Prince - the role doesn't have a lot of sustained dancing so he could pace himself. In preparing for tours and finishing pirouettes one could see a look of intense concentration on his face willing his body to do what it once did effortlessly. But I could see no real gaffes and he was superb partner and romantic stage presence.
Veronika Part is one of nature's Lilac Fairies with her lush, expansive dancing. However, I noticed that she was rather carefully planting and preparing each step which made her dancing rather jerky and piecemeal. As Roslyn Sulcas mentioned in her NY Times review this lessened as the evening went on. BTW: the text for the Lilac Fairy solos changes in each version - this one had more pirouettes and classical virtuosity. In the Royal Ballet text and the Mariinsky 1890 version I saw Part dance over a decade ago, the Lilac Fairy has a much softer Romantic line with less demanding steps.
The fairies were excellent on Monday and Tuesday. Gemma Bond stood out on Tuesday for her Fairy of Charity (Miettes qui Tombent/Breadcrumb Fairy) with her sharp nuanced footwork and elegant style. I also liked Isabella Boylston on Monday. Kristi Boone was subtle and fiery as the Fairy of Temperment (Violante) on Tuesday night. I preferred Sarah Lane's Fairy of Joy (Canari qui Chante) on Tuesday to Yuriko Kajiya's - Kajiya would flicker her fingers one or twice and then stop. The secret to these hand flutters is that they are flutters of happiness and not spastic attacks - they should look effervescent.
Sarah Lane was also lovely as Princess Florine on Monday night with Daniil Simkin as her Bluebird - a role made for him. Simkin was superb but didn't obliterate memories of Herman Cornejo in the part. He seemed to lack a note of ardor or joy - the Bluebird in the Perrault story is an enchanted prince flying up to his imprisoned love who is locked in a tower. He is bringing a song of joy and hope to one who is trapped and lost. Charles Barker's conducting on Monday dragged in places and the horns just can't play in tune.
Tuesday night brought Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. I have been skipping them for the past year or so though I don't hate them. Irina whenever I see her dances well but always seems to have one big goof. I have come to the conclusion that I am a bad luck charm for her and when I am there I jinx her. Her Aurora was extremely stylish and thoroughly coached by Kolpakova. Very precise use of the arms and the hands. It was a lesson to all American ballerinas to see how a little flick of the wrist or flutter of the hands could add old-world finesse to the end of a pirouette or turn. Of course, there is something of the practiced coquette about Irina with her heart-shaped face and wide smile. Something rather calculated about her dancing too. Her goof came in the first series of balances where she started to sway on the third and had to drop off pointe and regain her arabesque. She did very well in the more difficult final series with the promenades. Irina also had a cape that came undone in her final tableau but her attentive husband refastened it for her.
Max is back from the looks of what I saw last night. His jetés kept pace with his companions at the beginning of the hunt scene and he nailed his assemblé turns. He is a born danseur noble but also acted better with more commitment and detail than Carreno. He expressed more Romantic angst and longing and really seemed to be searching for something. Kevin - use Max more.
Maria Riccetto as the Tuesday night Lilac Fairy danced the steps better and with more precision and attack than Part on Monday. But the audience didn't seem to care. I really was impressed with her controlled abandon and technical security but she didn't have the phrasing and stage presence to sell it. A superbly danced solo would finish with tepid applause.
The Tuesday Bluebird couple were a gorgeous Stella Abrera and Blaine Hoven. Hoven redeemed himself - he has lost the dorky haircut and the bulky overdeveloped upper body musculature that was weighting his dancing and making him ungainly. He was light and crisp as the Bluebird with razor sharp sissonnés and clean high jumps. Stella looked so elegant like a combination of Margot Fonteyn and Marianna Tcherkassky. She had a little skid on a final jump but it didn't matter. David LaMarche conducted beautifully on Tuesday and the whole show gelled just a little better.
Posted 16 June 2010 - 11:07 AM
Posted 16 June 2010 - 02:12 PM
I saw Monday afternoon's rehearsal. This is the second time I have seen this production--the first time was its premiere. At the time, my assessment was fairly favorable. I thought it would be a good crowd pleaser (unfortunately, we need those, too). However, after sitting through a three hour rehearsal the drawbacks were much in evidence. The stage looked cramped and the scenery does not have one ounce of elegance. ( I guess I think too much of the Kirov restoration which I was fortunate to see in 1999.) There were 3 ballerinas--Act 1 Part, Act 2 Dvorevenko (with Beloserkovsky), Act 2 Wilis (and Cory Stearns). Since there was no program I am pretty sure it was Abrera as the Lilac Fairy, although the woman behind me thought it was Riccetta. Carabosse, I think was Martine van Hamel. Dvorevenko is not one of my favorites, but in all fairness I have not seen too much of her. I see her mainly at rehearsals or on a mixed bill. I am still trying to figure out who I saw in Bluebird PDD---by a process of elimination I think I saw Phillips and Lane---I would love to be sure because she was one of the best Princess Florine's I have seen; she had the beautiful elegance of a classical ballerina---no cutesy little dancer here, which is way the role is usually performed far too often. Phillips has a lot of work cut out for him before this weekend's performance. But now for my joy in seeing Veronika Part coming down that cumbersome staircase. My favorite variation in all of ballet is Aurora's Act 1--which as you know, is danced after the Rose Adagio. It's lush slow movements were made for her---I don't know when I have seen a dancer more suited to this variation. And, yes, she survived the Rose Adagio--with only one quick grab of her suitor's hand. I will be seeing Cojocaru this weekend.
Boylston and Radetsky danced the Blue Bird Variation at Monday's rehearsal. I loved Sasha's head scarf. BlueBird the Pirate! By that time I was ready for a good chuckle. This ballet is still a big mess. Nothing can redeem it. Horrid,
Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:46 PM
Part and Gomes were both absolutely exquisite, the epitome of style and finesse. The Act II was especially enchanting.
I left the theater in a state of high that not a lot of mind-altering substances can help to achieve
Posted 17 June 2010 - 05:53 AM
Posted 17 June 2010 - 07:57 AM
I saw the Wednesday night performance and must say that I hated this ridiculous production a lot less than I did before.
Part and Gomes were both absolutely exquisite, the epitome of style and finesse. The Act II was especially enchanting.
I left the theater in a state of high that not a lot of mind-altering substances can help to achieve
I concur with Waelsung.
There are certainly things I dislike about the production, but all the changes have been for the better.
The costumes are generally improved. This does unfortunately, to my eyes, make the remaining cheesy ones stand out all the worse--the King and Queen especially (her costume isn't bad in its lines, but the fabric is just so gaudy!).
I am glad the fairy knights are gone from the vision. And especially that many variations were added back into the final act, I don't even mind them being given to the prologue fairies--it gives them something to do instead of introducing new characters and I thought it worked nicely.
Part and Gomes were fantastic. The vision sequence was especially exquisite, the only downside being loud children (argh).
Her Rose adagio, while not having the longest balances in history (Her balances got longer, longer and more secure as the night went on, with some truly jaw dropping ones later in the night), was secure and joyous, no nerves visible and her gracious acknowledgment of each suitor at each balance (both sets) was in character and lovely.
Abrera as Lilac--She danced well (a few, tiny bobbles but nothing significant) but I do not see her as having the authority this role demands. I did not for an instant believe she had the power to chase off or vanquish Nancy Raffa's Carabosse. She was sweet and lovely, but the role needs more I think, and I didn't see it.
While Bluebird and Florine received much applause and started out decently, they were kind of a mess starting from their solos. Radetsky got some good height but his lines were ugly and he looked like he was gutting his way through it. Boyleston started off her variation nicely (though I thought her arm positions were a bit careless, which matters in that variation) but then had a little difficulty and the coda was sloppy. I was left with the impression this could be a good role for her (she just had some difficulties, it was her debut in the role I believe?). I did not think it an attractive part for him however.
I would be interested in hearing other's opinions however, as from the roar of the crowd, I was not in the majority on this ;) I don't mean to sound harsh!
In any case, the night belonged to Part and Gomes, and they were fantastic. She may not be everyone's ideal of Aurora, but she developed the character through all the acts and was really a dream!!
Posted 17 June 2010 - 10:46 AM
I too feel that the production is much improved--the toned down costumes, added variations, etc.--but the sets and backdrops looked as drab as ever. They are crudely daubed and uninspired (think high school play). Why are there sunnyside-up eggs growing on the castle walls? I don't think sets need to be realistic, naturalistic, or highly detailed, but they should at least evoke some sort of atmosphere and these ones evoke very little at all. It's remarkable that in a city filled with artistic, creative people, we are given something so glaringly ugly and thoughtless. The most interesting scenery comes in the last act, which seems to evoke stagecraft of eighteenth-century French theatre (the frothy clouds and gilded rays of light, the trompe-l'oeil curtains, the simple mechanical door which opens and closes in the back to reveal the characters). I think this works very well with the stylized and courtly dancing in this act.
Despite problems with the production, I was fully captivated by Veronika. I saw her in the production premier a couple years ago, but last night she appeared so much more at ease, luxuriating in every beautiful phrase of Tchaikovsky's score. While her balances were not sustained for very long in the Rose Adagio, they were very secure (no wobbling or leaning from side to side), and her last two were held significantly longer, which produced a nice effect. As aurora notes, her balances in the third act were quite stunning. What was perhaps most touching was how overjoyed she looked to be dancing with each suitor, how much she seemed to be enjoying the scent of the roses as she collected them. She always seems to make these sorts of details look poignant--never stagey. Her leaps throughout the rest of the act were impressive as usual. She was truly in her element in the Vision scene and handled the tricky technical elements very well. What was perhaps most beautiful was the pose that she strikes several times throughout the act when she stand still, with one hand above her head and other hand below, framing her face.
I was surprised that the third act was perhaps the most impressive of all. I've never thought anyone could live up to the grandeur of the music for the pas de deux, but Marcelo and Veronika surely did. And they did so through the sheer beauty and dynamism of their gestures, expression, and self-assured dancing. Their partnering was perfect (none of those glitches that sometimes crop up), and they both seemed to be casting loving glances at one another throughout, which really helps in a ballet that is sometimes romantically unconvincing.
To see Veronika dancing with so much confidence and freedom, her face aglow, was truly a wonder to behold!
Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:10 AM
I am still on a high, this is one of the best nights for Veronika since she came to ABT.
One of the best all arounds Auroras i have ever seen, and Marcelo was just magnificent.
Rose Adagio was great, not the longest balances ever, but good enough to pass them successfully and secure.
The rest of Aurora variation in Act I was just a dream, this ballet really needs long lines, beauty and lyricism..... its made for her, Brava !
Vision Scene was Majestic, the music here is so beautiful, i enjoyed every single movement in details, her head, arms, shoulders, i ate it all !
it was like millimetric and mathematic perfection.
whoever coached her here, OMG, what a job !
Grand pdd, probably my favorite.
Fishing Dives were literally to be recorded, perfectly positioned, her endless legs pointing straight to the sky.
Marcelo was obviously responsible for this perfection as well !
Her variation will stay in my mind for ever, her foot work was sharp, clean and crystalline as I have never seen, and the upper body expression was literally to die for.
....and the Beauty, ...yes, the beauty, I am in Tony Mendez team now, She is the Sleeping Beauty !
No doubt when you look at the stage that her monster stage presence quickly tells you who is the Princess in the group
I also loved Abrera lilac Fairy, it was very very delicate, Abrera is really soft and lyric as well.
Only problem is that close to Part, she looses a lot in the stage presence department, but I still did love her performance.
Blue bird pdd was kind of dissapointing.
I loved Radestky Bird-Like movements, even when jumping, but the problem is that he doesnt have the fireworks needed to shine in this part as
for example, Cornejo and Simkim. Boylston was ok, she got messy a couple of times, but not that bad, clean foot work in general.... in the first pdd they danced together
they fell so much behind the music, that it ended up with him lifting her without music at all, very odd, def not pretty. She has talent but this was not my fav pair whatsoever.
The rest of the Fairies / Cast was good too (not my fav Caraqbosse, but it wasnt bad either).
The production has been fixed for the good, huge difference to the premiere.
Still some things may need to be changed, so, slowly, season by season, we are getting there.
i still hate the jumping competition at the begining of the vision Scene, so out of context to me, awaful !
and i am not a big fan of Carabosse being an allien coming from the sky (actually, hate it) and the customes of her troupe (how awful this cockroaches-like customes)
some other customes are ugly too, but again, the production overall looks much better and last night proved that when danced with delight and perfection is very much enjoyable !
Bravo Marcelo and Veronika, now i am cant wait for that gorgeous SL on Monday
Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:15 AM
......The production has been fixed for the good, huge difference to the premiere. .....
So is Burger King gone for good?
Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:27 AM
Some more critical notes on Part. She was very lovely. I was sitting in Dress Circle with good binoculars. Her balances in the Rose Adagio were good. One or two were short but usually she held the last one. However, about halfway through the adagio I saw a look of panic hit her face. It was the point where the final set of balances with the promenades were coming up and the music was getting more ecstatic. You could see Part freeze up. Then she got to the last set and though one balance was short and she grabbed the next prince's hand quickly she held the last one a very long time.
On the other hand, her Rose Adagio was in general more successful than Dvorovenko's on Tuesday but that freezing up and panic diminished the effect. Dvorovenko recovered completely after losing the balance and coming off pointe.
However, Part has finally figured out how to dance the solo with the violin obbligato that follows the Rose Adagio. She looked lost in this solo back in 2007 sketching the steps and unable to get in sync musically. But last night she was radiant and lush phrasing each step exactly on the beat. She figured out how to work the leg beats and hops with her long legs. Her leaps at the end of Act I were exuberant. Part's delirium after pricking her finger was the most dramatic of any of the ballerinas so far - the work of a natural tragedienne.
After the intermission, everything was smooth sailing and all was right with the world - the Vision Scene was a romantic dream come to life and the third act pas de deux was commanding and elegant. Part as the Act II vision was hauntingly melancholic and lost. Gomes had commitment, passion, technique and supportive partnering to burn as her Prince. Part seemed to calm down and expand in his capable arms.
Shout out to Maria Bystrova in the first Fairy variation - she is a real Petipa ballerina. Bigger roles please and soon, Myrta and Lilac Fairy and Gamzatti would fit her perfectly.
Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:42 AM
What was perhaps most touching was how overjoyed she looked to be dancing with each suitor, how much she seemed to be enjoying the scent of the roses as she collected them. She always seems to make these sorts of details look poignant--never stagey.
Fondoffouettes' comment reminds me of one other thing I meant to comment on (well there may be more thing, but I found this very poignant)...
I am not sure if it is the choreography as it now stands (there are so many changes), or if this was Part's own touch, but I loved what she did with the roses. Often the second batch of roses are brought over to the side by Aurora and sort of flung at the feet of the royal couple. While this can read as a moment of youthful exuberance it also does not seem very in keeping with a Princess (thanks for the roses, I'll throw them on the floor now!). Part curtseyed deeply as she dropped them reverently. It was a different effect and much more moving I felt...also more in keeping with the character and the moment. It was beautiful.
Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:06 PM
Aurora, you have described the effect precisely! I've often seen it done that way. I'm glad that Part had a stronger sense of appropriate, respectful court etiquette.
Often the second batch of roses are brought over to the side by Aurora and sort of flung at the feet of the royal couple. While this can read as a moment of youthful exuberance it also does not seem very in keeping with a Princess (thanks for the roses, I'll throw them on the floor now!)
Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:49 PM
Posted 17 June 2010 - 01:49 PM
I thought Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes are in the top of their field
right now; both gave performances full of rare virtues and excellence.
At the same time, I feel that the three-act Sleeping Beauty of ABT is, in terms of costumes and sets, a grim state of affairs. And I say that having seen the 'shower curtains' and the 'feather boas' of the pristine production.
Veronika Part, in my view, got progressively more interesting in delineating the qualities of Aurora, topping the performance with a show of exuberance for life in the grand pas de deux with an unsurpassed style of purity and classicism.
Abrera, as others have already pointed out, showed poise and sweetness as the Lilac Fairy but lacked a sense of authority to battle and oppose the willfulness of Nancy Raffa's Carabosse.
The Bluebird pdd was well-applauded, as aurora has pointed out. While I have no complaints about the dancers, I do have complaints with the artistic direction which chooses to make the Bluebird as unmusical as that of the Mariinsky Theatre.
The fairies, doing service both in the Prologue and the 3rd act, were well-drilled;
none, to me, showed a spark of spontaneity or musical acuity that made them stand out. Which doesn't mean the sparks weren't really there.
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