Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Coppelia (Program 5)19-27 March


  • Please log in to reply
19 replies to this topic

#16 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,407 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 04:53 PM

Isaac Hernandez’s last minute Franz was bright and open as his dancing, and his character was totally incapable of duplicity or deceit, so that when he steals the butterfly away from Swanilda and pins it to himself, the act seemed completely lacking in selfishness. At the last Saturday evening performance Taras Domitro took Franz to a new level of mischievousness and kept embellishing the role, even the stops and pauses had a pent up kinetic energy and time to them, a bit like Chaplin in the Mack Sennett days. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see Frances Chung and Vitor Luiz perform – or Joan Boada, whose delightful “Harlequinade” excerpt at a past gala will have serve as a stand-in in memory.

Did Hernandez replace Domitro who replaced Boada and dance with Zahorian in the last Saturday night performance? (i.e., am I sorry I flew out Saturday night?)

#17 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 658 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 05:41 PM




Isaac Hernandez’s last minute Franz was bright and open as his dancing, and his character was totally incapable of duplicity or deceit, so that when he steals the butterfly away from Swanilda and pins it to himself, the act seemed completely lacking in selfishness. At the last Saturday evening performance Taras Domitro took Franz to a new level of mischievousness and kept embellishing the role, even the stops and pauses had a pent up kinetic energy and time to them, a bit like Chaplin in the Mack Sennett days. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see Frances Chung and Vitor Luiz perform – or Joan Boada, whose delightful “Harlequinade” excerpt at a past gala will have serve as a stand-in in memory.

Did Hernandez replace Domitro who replaced Boada and dance with Zahorian in the last Saturday night performance? (i.e., am I sorry I flew out Saturday night?)


On Saturday night, Domitro replaced Boada.
On Thursday night, Hernandez replaced Boada.

PROGRAM 5 Evening
Thursday, March 24, 2011, 8:00 PM
COPPÉLIA
Choreography: Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine
Conductor: Martin West

Swanilda: Vanessa Zahorian
Franz: Isaac Hernández*
Dr. Coppelius: Ricardo Bustamante

+premiere in this production

#18 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,407 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 10:19 PM

Thank you, PeggyR.

#19 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 658 posts

Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:49 AM

I’m sorry I didn’t get to see Frances Chung and Vitor Luiz perform


I saw these two and they were wonderful. Luiz doesn’t have Domitro’s floating quality (Domitro doesn’t jump, he lifts, as if he’s being raptured), but Luiz is a solid technician and a very likable, slightly bewildered Franz – all these pretty girls, I mean, what’s a guy to do?

As to Chung – what can you say? Casting her as Swanhilda is a no-brainer but I was a little concerned about how well she would carry a whole ballet. Her Swanhilda is less theatrical than Zahorian’s, maybe a little less detailed, but Chung’s acting is easy and natural, and she’s very, very funny – a born comedienne. That brief moment when she imitates Coppelius was priceless. (I have to say that she is proving to be a lot more versatile than I had anticipated, and this season she’s been visibly more confident – as if she finally scaled up from soloist to principal. Chung genuinely commands the stage now.)

The biggest surprise to me, watching the matinee and evening performances on the same day, is how important Coppelius is to setting the overall tone of the performance. In the evening, Bustamante’s Dr. was almost comical, a dotty old professor ripe for being teased by the youngsters. Amusing, but you didn’t feel any pity for him.

Damian Smith, though, took the role, and so the ballet, to a whole other level of humanity. Smith has said in interviews that he wanted to make Coppelius into a sad, lonely old man, and that he does brilliantly. Smith’s Coppelius is physically and spiritually damaged and when he finds out the truth of Swanhilda’s trick, you don’t sense anger, but genuine grief, as if he’d been told of the death of his child (which he has been, in a way). It was an astonishing performance of genuine dramatic power.

A word for the production: it’s beautiful, although I’m still suffering from a slight case of ‘pink overload’. Great addition for the company.

#20 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,407 posts

Posted 03 April 2011 - 06:57 PM

As to Chung – what can you say? Casting her as Swanhilda is a no-brainer but I was a little concerned about how well she would carry a whole ballet. Her Swanhilda is less theatrical than Zahorian’s, maybe a little less detailed, but Chung’s acting is easy and natural, and she’s very, very funny – a born comedienne. That brief moment when she imitates Coppelius was priceless. (I have to say that she is proving to be a lot more versatile than I had anticipated, and this season she’s been visibly more confident – as if she finally scaled up from soloist to principal. Chung genuinely commands the stage now.)

I agree 100% that Chung is an excellent comedienne. Her timing was perfect. Her Act II was so fine, I wondered how she could top it, but she was lovely in Act III, still spunky, but transformed into a bride. What I think made her command the stage so well and carry a full length is that she never forced her formidable technique front and center. She maintained the characterization, and the technique was there to support her. Brava to her -- she was wonderful.

Luiz' Franz was quite full of himself, both in mime and the flair with which he danced his solos, and I think this Franz thought himself smarter than he actually was and quite the ladies' man. The flair won out over line and form at times, but his Franz had a lot of spirit.

I also saw Maria Kochetkova and Gennai Nedvigin on Friday night. Kochetkova's characterization was prettier on the surface than Chung's -- I kept thinking of Jacques d'Amboise's characterization of his mother, a tiny woman who could do almost anything, and, what she couldn't, she didn't hesitate to ask for, in her portrayal. She heard so much more than any other dancer I've seen do this role. In her "Wheat" solo, for example, it was as if she was turning over every grain -- responding to every musical grain -- to get an assurance of Franz's love. It was an intricate and immediate response to the music, and she danced through the phrases, never stopping on the beat. The same musicality made her dancing in Act III exquisite. From where I was sitting in the Dress Circle, her mime was crystal clear and convincing.

Franz has less than Swanhilde/Coppelia to dance and mime, but, Nedvigin's mime, too, was clear as a bell, and he, too, connected the dance phrases in a sensitive and articulate way. His form was just lovely -- arabesques landings at 90 degrees extending horizontally, with no upward free-leg bounce -- and his turning jumps in attitude light an airy. As a character, he was sweet but dumb: Kochetkova's Swanhilda will tie him in a bow for the rest of his life, and he'll thank her for it.

Damian Smith, though, took the role, and so the ballet, to a whole other level of humanity. Smith has said in interviews that he wanted to make Coppelius into a sad, lonely old man, and that he does brilliantly. Smith’s Coppelius is physically and spiritually damaged and when he finds out the truth of Swanhilda’s trick, you don’t sense anger, but genuine grief, as if he’d been told of the death of his child (which he has been, in a way). It was an astonishing performance of genuine dramatic power.

Smith's Dr. Coppelius, which I saw in both performances, was the heart of the ballet. You could feel the zest and lust and greed and ego and desire that was still in him. If he had a motto, it would have been "Youth is wasted on the young." He did none of the mincing or rocking movements that you see in portrayals of older people: he practically lunged when he walked, railing against the frailties of his age. There was a moment in Act II when I wondered if he would think to just take Franz's legs and try to give them to himself rather than Coppelia, yet he's the only Dr. Coppelius I can remember who emphasized the hesitation, the "The instructions say to do WHAT?", when the next step in the recipe is to take Franz's heart. At the end of the Act, when he threw himself at Coppelia's feet, there was a ghost of Albrecht there. When he took the money in Act III, it rang more as if he had really lost it and was accepting a dowry rather than compensation for a broken toy.

There are so many moving parts in this ballet, it's hard to know where to begin! The corps was superb, dancing the long Mazurka and Czardas with style and energy. How do they get so many tall, tall men in San Francisco? Though none seemed as tall as instructor Jeff Lyons, who towered over the village in his warm, kindly portrayal of the Mayor. Among Coppelia's friends, the two that struck me most were the bold, expressive Dores Andre (both performances), also a standout as a Jesterette, and the bright, clear Koto Ishihara.

In the variations, the kids in "Waltz of the Golden Hours" were sharper and more finished -- less like applause machines -- than their counterparts in Seattle, and, as a result, there was a sense of layering and development: these kids would grow into that who would grow into the next age, and so on. Jennifer Stahl looked oddly stiff and uncomfortable leading them, as if she was a guest lead. Courtney Elizabeth in the matinee looked like the embodiment of what they aspire to, part of an organic whole. Charlene Cohen was a lovely and gracious Dawn, dancing with a joyful lightness. Sofiane Sylve danced Prayer; her feet were lovely, but she danced the variation as if she were a dowager. By contrast Dana Genshaft danced with a beautifully expressive upper body, and arching back, she was beseeching in prayer. Both Clara Blanco and Nicole Ciapponi were quick, light, sprightly Spinners, just what the role calls for. Both sets of Jesterettes danced beautifully together.

Every time I see Discord and War, I think of "Springtime for Hitler". It's just too odd. Jennifer Stahl was a knockout in it: leggy, elegant, and glamorous. There was a whiff of Tanaquil LeClercq in the air. Her partner, Garen Scribner, was bold, dynamic, and simply brilliant. In the other performance, Sarah Van Patten was cool and detached, while Daniel Deivison danced around her with elegance and dash.

It was a short trip, but I am so glad I was able to go to San Francisco at the last minute for this. I hope this production is a keeper. It's so much more relaxed for children without all of the holiday expectations and sugar overload that often comes with "The Nutcracker". There was a young girl, maybe 6, diagonally in front of me who sat with her bear and her rabbit on her lap, complete rapt. The only time I noticed she moved was when she swayed her invisible fan during Coppelia's Spanish dance.

(Unsolicited advice to parents in the audience: when your kids ask you what happens in the next act, read the synopsis. Don't try to remember another production you saw when you were eight or make things up. It really confuses the kids, and sometimes they want clarification in the middle of the performance, when what happens onstage isn't what you told them.)


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):