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ABT London Performances


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#1 Barbara

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:15 AM

Wondering if our UK posters saw any of the recent ABT performances or can report on how the company was received by the critics. Thanks in advance!

#2 golden_slave

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:44 AM

Wondering if our UK posters saw any of the recent ABT performances or can report on how the company was received by the critics. Thanks in advance!



I'm not from UK neither I have seen any of the performances, but I can at least link you some of the reviews :wink:

The Evening Standard

Balletnews

The Guardian

The Financial Times

The Arts Desk

The Independent

East London Advertiser

#3 Mashinka

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:31 AM

Generally speaking they were a bit harsh on Programme 1 but a little kinder to Programme 2. I saw both and pretty much enjoyed what I saw, but those critics that found fault with the instrumental playing on the first night have a valid point.

#4 Kyeong

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:07 AM

I've seen five, and think I've read almost all reviews about it. In short, the quality of the performance didn't reach the height of their lastest performance, The Bright Stream in Washington DC, and they received mixed reviews - I've found London critics do always respond quite differently to any performance, classical music or ballet, so different making me realize all reviews are in its nature very personal, and in this occasion also, they were divided for almost all issues, say, who was outshined in the T&V. That being said, they seemed to have agreed at least Lilac Garden of the second day, especially Julie Kent, was great, so was Tchaikovsky PdD of the second day (Herman Cornejo, I think, was another who did move and rock the critics and audiences alike), Duo Concertant of the first day was bad (but, I noticed Cory Stearns improved much from the last season, and he got a favorable review about his role in Lilac Garden. An audience member wrote he was also nice in Grand Pas Classique of the last performance which I didn't attend), and above all, they unanimously mentioned the music was terrible - one suspected in passing ABT seemed to want to save musician fee. Dancers looked a little tired, and I saw a few dancers including principals almost slip on the stage - it may be a common error, but, seeig such things several times during a short period made me think there being a problem with the stage or with the dancers' overall physical condition. Assuming that ABT strived to save the money for London tour as said, I thought a small part of 5 million which was used to creat the new Nutcracker could have been spent in this, for better music, better compositon of the programme, and better condition for dancers (though I know the money was donored specifically for the new project). I recall reading in one of the BT forum the operating expense of a ballet company is most important, and usually most poorly sponsored expense item. Londoners seemed to like Veronika Part a lot - she won a very long applause after the adagio from Alexei R's new Nutcracker, she was the only one, as far as I've seen, who received two bouquet of flowers after the performance, and I guess she must have contributed to making the Saturday evening performance sold out - it was the only sold-out performance.

[By mentioning the slipping, I meant to say I suspected there may have been a problem with overall arrangement of the tour, not to blame the individual dancer in any case. As far as I've seen them, they haven't done that so often, so I didn't think it linked with their technique. And, with ksk04's kind the explanation, now I learned it should go to the unfamiliar stage. ]

#5 Rock

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 10:22 AM

I don't understand the comment about falling. Falling down on the stage has nothing to do with the dancer's technique or level of fitness. They simply hit a slick spot or a portion of the stain on the shoe that has no resin or maybe they're being really gutsy, dancing big, traveling, and they simply slip. I remember a review once in the NY Times by Gia Kourlas about a different ballet company stating that a dancer fell during the performance which exposed a decline in the company's technique. I'm not aware of any anti-slip combinations taught. Can someone enlighten me?

#6 Rock

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 10:27 AM

I meant "satin" - on the pointe shoe...

#7 ksk04

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 11:53 AM

I've been reading the London reviews as they've been coming out...they seem fairly harsh especially since the critics usually play softball when reviewing the Royal.

The programming and casting (Herrera and Stearns in Duo Concertante...really??) on the first program was a misstep by ABT though (especially after the slaughtering they received last time around with Swan Lake with Wiles). I've never understood how they can program such a compelling mixed bill as program 2 and then so program something as flat as program 1.


The slipping was almost certainly the floor. If it was a problem with technique you'd see people falling out of positions, not sliding around. New stages take awhile to get used to and learn where the slippery spots are so you can moved around them.

#8 Barbara

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:22 PM

Thanks for the sleuthing, golden_slave!

#9 golden_slave

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for the sleuthing, golden_slave!



Don't mention it, actually I collected them all as I'm a big fan of ABT (expecially of David Hallberg) :lol:

#10 Barbara

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:35 AM

Count me in that club too!

#11 golden_slave

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 11:47 AM

Count me in that club too!



:) Where are you from (if I may ask you), and did you get the chance to see ABT (and expecially Hallberg) a lot? I'm from Italy and I saw him performing Sylvia with Polina Semionova at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma last october... love at first sight (though I had already seen him in videos and appreciated him greatly). He will come back in may for a Béjart/Balanchine/Robbins mixed bill (he will be performing Tchai pas de deux, I guess). Just can't wait!

#12 Marga

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:26 PM

I've just read through all the reviews in post no.1 - thanks golden_slave! - and am flummoxed by the British critics' reactions. Such harsh, and in some reviews, almost scathing, criticism! It's as if we don't speak the same language. Talk about being on two sides of the pond! :)

From opposing opinions,

Judith Flanders recounts Company B at length: "...ABT has been performing for a couple of years now. It suits them wonderfully well, and they triumph in it...." to "Ballet News" starting the Company B review with "And then there was Company B. Why ?" and continuing to hate the costumes, and the American influence, which supposedly doesn't work for the London audience. (At least Misty Copeland and Sascha Radetsky were rightfully lauded.)

and

Jenny Gilbert: ..."The other treat of Programme I was Twyla Tharp's Junk Duet, so called not only because its fun score, by Donald Knaack, is generated from discarded household goods, but because its choreography recycles offhand, slutty moves as ballet..."

to downright nastiness,

Clement Crisp: "David Lang’s noxious score that clanks on like a faulty radiator" and "hideous, abbreviated black costuming" (EDHAO), and, "...The dreadful clatter of saucepans hit by a child" (Junk Duet)...

Considering the well-known source, I suppose these comments are banal to his readers. :)

Just as I was wondering, 'why don't the English like us?', Jenny Gilbert's review for 'The Independent' restored my faith. She calls both "EDHAO" and "Junk Duet" a "treat" and declared "Company B" the "best". Atta girl!

#13 Marga

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 02:26 PM

I've just read through all the reviews in post no.1 - thanks golden_slave! - and am flummoxed by the British critics' reactions. Such harsh, and in some reviews, almost scathing, criticism! It's as if we don't speak the same language. Talk about being on two sides of the pond! :)

From opposing opinions,

Judith Flanders recounts Company B at length: "...ABT has been performing for a couple of years now. It suits them wonderfully well, and they triumph in it...." to "Ballet News" starting the Company B review with "And then there was Company B. Why ?" and continuing to hate the costumes, and the American influence, which supposedly doesn't work for the London audience. (At least Misty Copeland and Sascha Radetsky were rightfully lauded.)

and

Jenny Gilbert: ..."The other treat of Programme I was Twyla Tharp's Junk Duet, so called not only because its fun score, by Donald Knaack, is generated from discarded household goods, but because its choreography recycles offhand, slutty moves as ballet..."

to downright nastiness,

Clement Crisp: "David Lang’s noxious score that clanks on like a faulty radiator" and "hideous, abbreviated black costuming" (EDHAO), and, "...The dreadful clatter of saucepans hit by a child" (Junk Duet)...

Considering the well-known source, I suppose these comments are banal to his readers. :)

Just as I was wondering, 'why don't the English like us?', Jenny Gilbert's review for 'The Independent' restored my faith. She calls both "EDHAO" and "Junk Duet" a "treat" and declared "Company B" the "best". Atta girl!

#14 Mashinka

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:51 AM

Critics are a different species from audiences as a whole, and I'm sure that the ABT dancers went home happy in the knowledge that if some of the critics were less than generous, those of us that paid for their seats were very enthusiastic indeed. On the first night of the second programme in particular the applause was exceptionally appreciative and in the Tchaikovsky pas de deux Herman Cornejo had the audience going wild. Some criticism was justified as I felt the first programme wasn't well balanced and I had issues with the standard of the instrumentalists, but there was a lot to admire.

#15 Barbara

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:05 PM

golden_slave, I'm in the suburbs of New York City so I do get to see ABT quite often. I'm very much looking forward to Hallberg's Swan Lake with Polina Semionova (have never seen her)during the ABT spring season at the Met. I know Mr. Hallberg is amassing many many fans from around the world as he continues to tour outside of the ABT home seasons. We who have been following him since his soloist days are very proud! He is a lovely young man and a serious artist who is always a pleasure to watch.


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