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Sleeping Beauty


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#16 Ilya

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:15 PM

I'm curious---will Osipova's Aurora on Saturday be her first ever performance of the role? (I do not believe she has danced it at the Bolshoi---?) If so, does anybody know which ABT coach she is working with on this role?

#17 California

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:26 PM

I'm curious---will Osipova's Aurora on Saturday be her first ever performance of the role? (I do not believe she has danced it at the Bolshoi---?) If so, does anybody know which ABT coach she is working with on this role?


According to the ABT web site, this will be her first time ever in the role:
http://www.abt.org/i...asp?News_ID=309

According to the NY Times interview Friday morning, Kopalkova is coaching her:
http://www.nytimes.c...n...me&ref=arts

Also according to the ABT web site, July 10 will be her first time in R&J:
http://www.abt.org/i...asp?News_ID=313

#18 MakarovaFan

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 05:08 PM

I was at Performance I of Super Saturday. Alas, the only thing super about it, IMO, was the exquisite Alina Cojacaru.

She was luminous and lovely from the moment she appeared on the staircase. Alina has put a lot of thought into her interpretation of Aurora and she projects all the blessings bestowed on the Princess by her godmothers. I had tears streaming down my cheeks during the Rose Adagio. The sweet flirting with her suitors and genuine excitement at being moments away from her engagement, the loving bond with her parents and, of course, her dancing. She manages to make her almost knee touching her ear extension look like the most natural thing in the world -- not vulgar at all. Her balances went on and on. Next to Fonteyn and Kolpakova, it was the most gorgeous Rose Adagio I've ever seen. Alina also posesses beautiful phrasing which was on display in her main Act I solo.

Act II is my favorite portion of SB. The Pas de Trois with that gorgeous cello solo. Alina's presence was of one genuinely spirit-like -- rather like Giselle as a Willi. Again, her 180 extensions are natural, not stunt-like and tacked on, but an organic part of her seamlessly connecting steps.

The GPDD wasn't as special as expected. Carreno didn't look as sharp and energetic as he did as Basilio 2 weeks ago. His partnering was strong, with dramatic fishdives one after the other, and the chemistry was there. Carreno has been lucky this season, partnering Osipova's fireball of a Kitri and Alina in the space of 2 weeks. I'm happy for him even though as a dancer his sun is sadly setting.

The production itself is a mess. I agree with the comments about the Disneyesque look of everything, from the colors of the Fairies' costumes to the inexplicable "Creature from the Black Lagoon" shirts worn by the Fairies' cavaliers in the Prologue. And why was Aurora in a green streaked bridal tutu?

Also I was dumbfounded by the White Cat/Puss in Boots/Red Riding Hood/Wolf/Cinderella/Prince Charming ensemble. There were several awkward moments were the 6 of them just stood at the front of the stage looking at eachother with no choreography.

Sadly, I wasn't impressed by Abrera's Lilac Fairy. She was lyrical and pretty, but lacked the regal presence the Veronika Part brought to the role a few years ago. Joseph Phillips, unfortunately, doesn't have the lofty jumps or consistent leg beats for Bluebird.

Nonetheless, this afternoon belonged to Alina. She's a very special dancer and it was thrilling to see her perform live.

#19 vipa

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 05:34 PM

I saw Cojocaru this afternoon. I have been watching ballet since the 1970's and have to say that Cojocaru's Aurora was on a different plane from anyone I have ever seen. I can't describe what I felt and thought about her performance. It reminded me that great art cannot be translated adequately - like that old quote - "talking about love is like dancing about architecture." I can't put into words what I saw, maybe others can.

Other things about the performance - The production has a lot of problems but has eliminated some of the most egregious. Still - The entrance of the fairies (being carried on), the lack of clarity of the fairies bestowing gifts, the garland dance/entrance of the suitors, that spider web thing, the way the fairies keep popping up, the elimination of the character variations in the wedding act etc. I also dislike that blue bird ppd, with a brief interlude from Lilac Fairy, leads into the wedding pas. I've noted with a lesser Aurora than Cojocaru this can turn into dueling pas de deux. Not a good production, but I'd sit through it all again, and again to see Cojocaru.

I had never seen Abrera in a significant role before. I loved her Lilac fairy. The moment she entered and did her small variation, I knew we were in good hands. Her main variation was beautiful. Her port de bras is so lovely, her line beautiful, and she brought a sweetness to her benevolence in the role. Principal dancer material IMO

Among the fairies Kajaya was a stand out, not only in her variation, but most particularly when dancing along side the other fairies. Her musicality, technique and line really stood out. Bystrova drove me crazy by being a little late with the music throughout her variation. A little like back singing.

Blue bird - Joseph Phillips was a disappointment. Maybe I have impossibly high standards (Bujones is my favorite memory of this role). Phillips has a high jump but he fell short. He only did maybe 4 entrechat at the end - ended early and I don't know why it couldn't have been better. Maria Riccetto did the as well as most. The most interesting woman in this pas in recent history, for me, has been across the plaza - Tiler Peck.

Carreno was fine. It seems to me that he is nearing the end of his career. Nothing was sloppy, his jumps and turns delivered, his partnering was terrific. No complaints. I wondered how much rehearsal time Carreno & Cojocaru had. The pulled off some pretty spectacular stuff.

Last comment - as a long time ballet goer, I've lost interest in certain ballets, and have avoided those ballets for years - I'd see Cojocaru in anything. Have her dance the phonebook - I'm there.

#20 canbelto

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 08:35 PM

I just came from back to back Sleeping Beauty's. I saw in the afternoon Alina Cojocaru/Jose Manuel Carreno/Stella Abrera, and in the evening Natalia Osipova/David Hallberg/Michele Wiles.

I think overall, the afternoon performance was stronger, mainly because of the incredibly radiant Aurora of Alina Cojocaru and the Lilac Fairy of Stella Abrera. Cojocaru is a pro at Aurora, and it shows -- the Rose Adagio had some shaking, but she soldiered on, and held her hands up triumphantly in 5th every time. This dancer's persona of girlish delicacy is blended with an incredibly strong technique. She can at times seem ethereal, and then thrill the audience with incredibly fast, snappy turns. Her airy jump, her delicate use of her arms, her ability to transition seamlessly between a sixteen year old girl, a fairy sprite, and finally a regal princess -- I just felt incredibly lucky to have seen it. The audience loved her too, judging by the rapturous ovations she got throughout the performance.

I'm so glad I saw Stella Abrera again -- what a lovely, lyrical dancer, and it's too bad her career seems to have gotten sidetracked by injuries. The afternoon fairy set of Gemma Bond, Simone Messmer, Maria Bystrova, Yuriko Kajiya and Luciana Paris in general was stronger than the evening fairy set. Jose Manuel Carreno gave a good, solid performance, but it was not as memorable as the performances of Cojocaru and Abrera.

In the evening, Natalia Osipova made her debut as Aurora. The house was sold out to the max. Alas, the performance was excellent, but I didn't feel that Osipova's Aurora was quite at the level of her Giselle and Kitri. And I wouldn't expect it to be -- this is after all her debut. But she was noticeably nervous. Her face during the Rose Adagio turned into a hard grimace, and she didn't hold her hands up in 5th in the first set of balances. She did in the final turns with the princes, but the effort showed, and she for once seemed workmanlike. She still had that incredible elevation and ability to hang in the air, but there was definitely a lot of caution in her performance. I think with time she will become a great Aurora, but she's not quite there yet. Her dancing perked up noticably when David Hallberg strode onstage. My friend noted that their partnership is a lot like Astaire and Rogers -- the classical purist with the whizbang phenom, and they have a great rapport. The fishdives in the Act 3 pdd were executed with a lovely snap.

Daniel Simkin predictably brought the house down as Bluebird but I find the choreography of the ABT to be very watered down during Act 3. It's funny how the NYCB can make a Sleeping Beauty that also is streamlined, yet somehow complete. The divertissements of Act 3 are given their due in the NYCB version.

Michele Wiles was a very disappointing Lilac Fairy. Somehow she gives the impression of dancing, but not moving. Everything is very careful, by the numbers, and she doesn't add much body to the Lilac Fairy's choreography. Her habit of holding her head and arms in this one stiff position doesn't help. I certainly hope she can find a way to make her performances right now more exciting.

I find the production at this point pretty unoffensive, but definitely one of the weaker productions among the major ballet companies of the world. The NYCB for instance has a much stronger production, and they're not even known for full-length evening classics. It's a strange phenomenon -- the ABT routinely has some of the best dancers of the world dancing in such weak productions.

#21 DanceActress

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:47 PM

I attended this afternoon's performance of Sleeping Beauty. Earlier posters have eloquently described Alina Cojocaru's performance, and I would just like to add that I will always treasure her Aurora. Her near perfect balances, lush phrasing, and gossamer lightness were truly amazing. She embodied the ideal of classicism and the character as well: she lit up the stage of the Met. Let's hope it's not another seven years before we see her with ABT again.

#22 canbelto

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:02 PM

I'd also add that I waited at the stage door to see Alina and to have her sign my Giselle dvd. It was worth the wait. The sweet humility she projects onstage are absolutely not an act -- she was so kind and patient with every last girl who wanted to have her picture taken with Alina. She must have been tired but that didn't stop her from endlessly signing programs and posing for pictures.

#23 Raylene

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:06 PM

I am an Alina devotee. It was thrilling to see her today in Sleeping Beauty. She was absolutely radiant and true to her character in every movement and gesture. Underlying her artistry was an incredibly strong technique. Her turns especially were secure, powerful with gorgeous placement. Alina lovingly shaped space with her delicate epaulment, expressive pointe work and exquisitely lyrical torso.

Stella Abrera was delightful and Jose Carreno appropriately gallant. Martine van Hamel added a welcome jolt of mature authority. Sad to say though, IMO, the production was leaden rather than magical. The staging was cramped and suffocating. Most everyone else seemed to be performing underwater. There was no energy, life or joy. But, unfortunately, there did seem to be an abundance of mediocre dancing.

#24 Amour

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 11:43 PM

I have to agree with canbelto. I thought that of the 3 roles Osipova has performed here, this was her weakest. She struggled during the Rose Adagio and,in general, her performance lacked the charm and lightness that I thought she would she would bring to it. David Hallberg, on the other hand was marvelous - a perfect prince; he was elegant, classical and technically superb. My favorite performances of the evening, however, were those of Daniil Simkin and Sarah Lane as the Bluebird couple. His elevation and her crispness were wonderful and the two of them did bring down the house.

I also agree about Michele Wiles being a very disappointing Lilac Fairly. I have never been a fan of her dancing and tonight I thought this was one of her worst performances. In all her years as a principal she has never lost the rigidity of her head and arms - there is no expressiveness at all. Even worse, I thought the attributes she formerly displayed in her lower body have deteriorated. Her jumps lacked elevation and strength and her extensions were low. She has little stage presence and projection and really no theatrical charisma. It seems a shame that she stays as a principal when there are so many other talented soloists (Lane, Riccetto and Kajiya, for example) waiting in the wings with small roles that don't adequately display their talents. ABT really needs some additional good principal ballerinas; maybe it's time for a little turnover, bringing up some of the younger dancers while they are still young, in their prime and can truly develop as artists.

Finally, I must say that this Disneyfied production of Sleeping Beauty is really lacking. So much of the ballet's original beautiful choreography has been either changed or entirely eliminated ( I especially miss the variations in the last act). It's a shame. Maybe some day ABT will return to the older version of the ballet.

#25 atm711

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 03:49 AM

There isn't too much I can add about Cojocaru's stellar performance...but her variation in Act 3 particularly enchanted me. Her fine English influence to detail was much in evidence. The port de bras is so important in this variation....I don't know if it is a fact or not, but an old Russian ballet teacher once told me that Aurora was telling a story with her arms---about how she was once small but now is grown. Carreno was a most attentive and warm-hearted Prince--she was fortunate to have him as a partner.

#26 Raylene

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 03:55 AM

Finally, I must say that this Disneyfied production of Sleeping Beauty is really lacking. So much of the ballet's original beautiful choreography has been either changed or entirely eliminated ( I especially miss the variations in the last act). It's a shame. Maybe some day ABT will return to the older version of the ballet.


I so agree with Amour. IMO, much of this production's new choreography borders on the hideous. It is totally lacking in any grace, transcendency, craftsmanship or narrative coherence. At times it appeared extraordinarily unflattering, especially the lifts, from my vantage point in the orchestra.

I know this is harsh but we are talking about Sleeping Beauty. There is a reason that companies perform the classics and it is not simply to sell tickets. This ballet has a beloved and starry provenance. Fortunately, the legacy of Sleeping Beauty came to glowing life through Alina's superb classicism and nuanced characterization. And if you are going to the trouble and expense of mounting a new, traditional production of Sleeping Beauty, it defies logic to turn it into a cartoon. Costumes should be well designed so they don't obscure the dancer's line and weigh them down. The color palette should not be garish to the point of distraction. The staging should be expansive so the dancers can breath. There is a sense of majesty and wonder about Sleeping Beauty. But yesterday, the only wonder was Alina.

#27 bart

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 06:57 AM

I saw this production several years ago and agree entirely with most of the criticisms of the design, look, blocking, and treatment of many of the characters.

Presumably there are those who do like the aesthetic, with its cartoonish image of the fairy tale world. I'm referring to those who designed it, chose it, and applaud it.

Sometimes I find it interesting to try to enter into the mentality of those whose decisions and taste completely baffle me. What were the designers trying for? What DO some people like about the visuals of this production? Is it possible to surmise? Or is it just better to leave things as they are and respond with a :)

#28 DanceActress

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 07:43 AM

Judging from the number of children attending yesterday's matinee, perhaps that's the demographic ABT was targeting with this production. It would explain the Disney fairy princess aspect of the sets and costumes. My friend said the fairies' costumes made her think of Skittles. Children can appreciate grandeur and history though. When I saw the Paris Opera Ballet's grand Louis XIV/XV- inspired production, the children in the audience didn't seem lost or over-awed.

On another note, besides the glorious Alina, I loved Stella Abrera's gracious Lilac Fairy. More principal roles for her, please!

#29 abatt

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 07:48 AM

I was fortunate enough to see both Beauty performances yesterday. Cojocaru was lyrical, refined and aabsolutely gorgeous. I wish we could see her more often here. The only other Beauty I've seen before who was equally gorgeous was Diana Vishneva (at ABT and at the Kirov's engagement in D.C. in Feb.) Her musicality and phrasing were peerless. The only lapse was some wobble on the last balance of the Rose Adagio. Carreno was a fine partner for her, and he knows how to act the role. However, he omitted portions of the choreography in order to accomodate his declining technical ability. I enjoyed Stella's Lilac Fairy. She is not as tall as Part, but I nevertheless thought she was commanding and performed the role well. In terms of Lilac Fairies in general, I don't think any of the ABT women are on par with Sara Mearns at NYCB or Kondourova (Big Red) at the Kirov, both of whom I had the privilege of seeing in Feb 2010 in the Lilac role. What a stellar, memorable performance from Cojocaru.

Osipova was wonderful, especially considering this was her debut. However, as noted above in the other posts, she still has some work to do in this role. Hallberg was wonderful. He has the best legs and feet in the biz. I disliked Wiles' stiff Lilac. Lane and Simkin were outstanding in Bluebird.

ABout the production, while it has improved since its initial run, it is still a disaster in many respects.I tune out during idiotic spindle dance, and also when the Prince is caught in the spider's web. What a waste of valuable stage time. Please put back the precious metal dances in the Wedding Act, and get rid of the dull choreography for the fairies during the wedding.

On to Swan Lake...

#30 bingham

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 08:34 AM

I saw this production several years ago and agree entirely with most of the criticisms of the design, look, blocking, and treatment of many of the characters.

Presumably there are those who do like the aesthetic, with its cartoonish image of the fairy tale world. I'm referring to those who designed it, chose it, and applaud it.

Sometimes I find it interesting to try to enter into the mentality of those whose decisions and taste completely baffle me. What were the designers trying for? What DO some people like about the visuals of this production? Is it possible to surmise? Or is it just better to leave things as they are and respond with a :)

Is it too harsh to say that there are really no good American stage( ballet) designers at present. I wish ABT would be able to get E Frigerio or L Spinatelli to design one of their future productions. Maybe they are too expensive?


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