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Opening Night Gala and Don QuixoteABT Reviews, May 16-22, 2011


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#1 abatt

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 05:25 AM

My favorite part of the Gala was the Manon pdd w. Gomes and Vishneva. Those two dancers are explosive together. Such blazing romance! Murphy surprisingly played it a little safe in the Tchai pdd w. Hallberg. They were beautiful together. I thought Majiismo looked like a classroom exercise, not a ballet. I thought Hammoudi was very impressive in partnering Herrera in Swan Lake Act II pdd. It was a lovely performance. Did we really need to see the silly Splendid Isolation again this year, after having seen it at the ABT gala in 2008. (This is the one where Irina wears a huge skirt.) Yes, Irina has lovely arms and a beautiful back. However, this little pdd does not warrant repeated viewing. Less gimmick, more dancing please. The excerpts from Bright Stream were enjoyable, and I was especially impressed by I. Boylston. Wiles and Stearns were a total bore in the Black Swan pdd. This is usually a show stopper. Cojocaru was fine in Rose Adagio, but there was nothing remarkable or memorable about her performance. Kent did the Lady of the Cams. pdd with Stearns. It was a strange pairing that I hope will not be repeated in the future. The kids from JKO were fine, but why do we need to see students at a gala, and at gala prices? Usually Irina wins my vote hands down for best dress. However, I didn't think her dress was particularly flattering on her (Silver shiny bustier with long flowing black skirt.) Actually, I think I liked Paloma's dress the best. Part and Gomes did a lovely job w. Nutcracker pdd, but Gomes was clearly straining himself in the difficult lift. Veronica came off point, I believe.

#2 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:35 AM

I was there last night too.
I personally liked more the second part.

Part I
Gillian and David looked sharp and so clean on tchaik. Loved it !
Part/Gomes also danced very well. The pdd is pretty hard and they seemed very well connected too.
I also think that veronika fell off point at the end, but besides that she pulled off a great performance.
Much better than when I saw them at BAM in December.
Majisimo was ok, but the lighting was really awaful, very dark ! Nothing special about it.
I think they should have picked something more enjoyable. The Feijoos sister didnt get the chance to do much at all, a pity.

Part II

Vishneva/Gomes was my fav of the night, the chemistry between them is really amazing. What an artists !

As a long time admirer of Alina, I enjoyed her performance to the fullest as well.
She puts so many details on it. There was not scenography or anything to back up her performance, just the 4 princes (which I think were very nervous). Overall, it was not spectacular but very well danced, she is so refined and cute !

Herrera surprised me with a very beautiful pdd of swan lake (act II)
Loved to see Hammoudi given this opportunity. He looked great on stage and partnered her well (a few minor details, but nothing important). Again not my ultimate odette but a very high quality performance.

Irina's amazing arms, back and extensions helped a lot the piece she danced. Maxim did not look at his best.
I think that this Splendid Isolation III is a little different to what she did before (or I may be wrong ?)
Didnt she wear a black dress another time when they did S.I. II or I ?

Julie danced beautifully, but agree the partnership dod not look great
I also think the coreography is pretty weak, so there is not much more she could do here.

Wiles/stearns was by far the worst of the night.
I have enjoyed Michelle's technique before, and actually, I thought at some point that she had potential, if she could develop her artistry, soften her back/neck, etc.....Anyways, I dont really know what happened last night, but to me it was on the limit to be embarrasing, especially when you are dancing between these major stars.
Better not to go into details, I even felt bad for her.
Stearns didn not make things better, he looked tired at the end of his variation and run out of steam in his final turns..
Cory has beautiful lines and is elegant, but I dont think he has the technical level to pull off a great Basilio, at least as of today.
If he run out of steam in the pdd....I cant imagine in the full lenght..

and finally, kuddos to Boylston. She looked amazing in the Bright Stream.
I was very, very impressed, those jetes were to dye for...
Also, noticed big improvement in Simkim partnering skills.
He partnered Isabella very well.

Now, on to Don Q.
Cant wait for Sarabia/Simkim debuts and Alina/Semionova Kitris !

#3 vipa

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 04:46 PM

A very negative review of the ABT Gala just appeared in the NYTimes. It was written by Roslyn Sulcas.

http://www.nytimes.c...son-review.html

I was expecting a review from Alastair Macaulay. I can't believe he wasn't there!

#4 richard53dog

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 05:32 PM

A very negative review of the ABT Gala just appeared in the NYTimes. It was written by Roslyn Sulcas.

http://www.nytimes.c...son-review.html

I was expecting a review from Alastair Macaulay. I can't believe he wasn't there!


Wow, the review was pretty negative, particularly the Majisimo thingie and the Splendid Isolation thing.

#5 atm711

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 03:56 AM

I would offer the same harsh criticism on Roslyn Sulcas that she brought down on the dancers. She was much too flippant and showed a glaring absence of any insight---"mopey duet" indeed. :mad:

#6 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 07:15 AM

I do agree with Sulcas about the endless pd2s at galas these days. A short pièce d’occasion by Ratmansky would be wonderful -- I would even sit through other gala pd2s for it :)

#7 miliosr

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 04:13 PM

A very negative review of the ABT Gala just appeared in the NYTimes. It was written by Roslyn Sulcas.

http://www.nytimes.c...son-review.html

I was expecting a review from Alastair Macaulay. I can't believe he wasn't there!

No doubt he was off viewing his true interest -- which is City Ballet.

Reviews like the Sulcas review get my back up because one gets the sense from it that she went in predisposed to hating it.

In happier news, New York Social Diary is on the case with party pictures:

http://www.newyorkso...om/node/1906387

Patrick McMullan's site also has thumbnails up (starting on p. 2):

http://www.patrickmc...site/index.aspx

(Poor Leeann Underwood -- being referred to as "Sue Ann". It's slander, I tell you!!!)

#8 bart

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 04:20 PM

Sulcas suggests that one reason for this kind of programming was

an internal politics issue of giving all the principal dancers a share of the stage, audiences a glimpse of their favorite dancers ...

Is this possible, or just one of those things critics like to say in order to appear to have Insider knowledge? Are ABT galas frequenly like this in recent years?

I've seen this kind of excerpt-based gala before, and find them almost always deadly as evenings, even when (as with the Curate's Egg) "parts of it are excellent."

I would have liked to see the Cuban work, Majismo, if only out of curiosity about the Cuban aesthetic in the 60s. I was surprised to see that a Miami City Ballet principal, Reyneris Reyes, was listed as one of the dancers in that piece. Reyes is new to the company after having been a principal at Boston and Royal Winnipeg. He hasn't danced much at MCB, at least when I've been in the audience. Come to think of it, Rolando Sarabia didn't dance all that much during his two seasons at MCB. Now both have guest spots at ABT.

#9 abatt

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 06:52 PM

I attended the Wed. matinee of Don Q. Simkin was thrilling. Yes, I guess he is a bit of a show off, but if you've got it, flaunt it. His jumps were high and his spins were fast and precise. Any place he could throw in an extra little jump or spin, he did so. He also partnered Yuriko well, except for one overhead lift in the final act that was a bit sloppy. I wasn't expecting much from Yuriko, as I think she is often miscast in bravura roles. She did a respectable job, but there were few fireworks. Her spins are slow and careful. Her best work, in my opinion, was in the second act with the Queen of the Dryads, where her lyricism could shine. She also held one of her balances for a very long time in the final act. Gemma Bond was Amour. She was leaden. Stella did Mercedes and Dryad Queen. Sbe was excellent. It's great to see her back in top form. Jared Matthews danced Espada, replacing Radetsky. The flower girls were Messmer and Pavam.

#10 Marga

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 07:09 PM

Sulcas:

Isabella Boylston showed both charm and virtuosity in the concluding “Bright Stream” excerpt


It was wonderful to read your posts also praising Isabella's performance. Wish I could have seen the gala, as always, but happy to read everyone's reactions to it here. I think I would have just loved the dancing, since I so seldom get to the ballet anymore, but your critical comments are interesting to ponder.

#11 4mrdncr

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 07:27 PM


A very negative review of the ABT Gala just appeared in the NYTimes. It was written by Roslyn Sulcas.

http://www.nytimes.c...son-review.html

I was expecting a review from Alastair Macaulay. I can't believe he wasn't there!

No doubt he was off viewing his true interest -- which is City Ballet.

Reviews like the Sulcas review get my back up because one gets the sense from it that she went in predisposed to hating it.


Regarding Ms. Sulcas' predisposition(s), I thought so too. I was surprised she didn't expect a series of pdd's! Every gala I've ever been to does them, or other short excerpts from the season's rep, and I don't expect any different from ABT, except for an insertion of a "piece d'occasion". I saw Splendid Isolation at the last ABT gala I attended, and remember the white dress used for effect. (I believe it also got applause at first sight then as well.) After that, I didn't pay much attention but just listened to the Adagietto and thought Joffrey's "Round of Angels" was better. I also lamented the "recital" of students when I had paid to see professionals dance. Personally, I'm hoping Macauley is on the west coast viewing the sights and prepping for PNB's Giselle.

#12 christine174

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 08:14 PM

I'm with abatt!
Simkin is a pure pleasure to watch. He has a star quality and charisma. He just attracts the light on the stage. Added to that is the bravura, the flexibility, the elevation. He is so expansive and generous. Is it the port de bras, so open? Is he just really pulled up? Everything he does seems so open and transparent and giving. He's an acrobat with a beautiful beautiful classical form. Amazing. So expansive!!! I'm speechless.
Kajiya is a daner I admire, she did fine, and an amazing series of fouettes with variations and rotating spots. Perhaps someone else can describe it better than I. I like her, and I want to like her... but maybe it was just a tad beyond her capacity.
The corps de ballet was, to my eye, embarrassingly uneven and underrehearsed. Renata Pavam and Simone Messmer are both delightful dancers, and favorites of mine, but they were totally out of sync.
I thought Stella Abrera looked tired, and Gemma Bond too.
Interesting to be back in the ABT season. I've been a little tired of the rep for some time now. And I've realized that the remedy is just a hop skip and jump away, across the plaza!!!
I hope this isn't off topic. But there are several ABT principals I deliberately avoid, and now I'm encountering elsewhere a whole female principal cadre that is so beautiful and fresh... TR, MK, SM, SH, AB, TP, and the young ASS, who I feel I could never tire of...

#13 Marga

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 09:25 PM

And I've realized that the remedy is just a hop skip and jump away, across the plaza!!!
I hope this isn't off topic. But there are several ABT principals I deliberately avoid, and now I'm encountering elsewhere a whole female principal cadre that is so beautiful and fresh... TR, MK, SM, SH, AB, TP, and the young ASS, who I feel I could never tire of...

Thought I'd help those read between the lines who don't live in (or know) New York and highlight a couple of words in your post to make things clearer. I know who you mean by all your initialed dancers, but not everyone might.

As you wondered, New York City Ballet IS totally off the topic of this thread, yet a comparison between the 2 companies would make a very interesting topic of its own (in my opinion).

#14 christine174

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 10:06 PM

Thanks, Marga! I would love to see a discussion/comparison, too. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as many on BT, and I've been very focused on ABT for some years now, but my recent exposure to NYCB has really been eye-opening. Most amazing are the talent and beauty at the female principal level as compared to ABT, consistency of the corps, and the overall quality and intelligence of the rep. Moderators, does this belong on another thread?.

#15 Drew

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 11:17 PM

I've seen this kind of excerpt-based gala before, and find them almost always deadly as evenings, even when (as with the Curate's Egg) "parts of it are excellent."


Excerpt based galas are the ABT standard, but this was my thought exactly.

Still, I have to add that, on paper, I had thought this gala looked dull even for a gala. I'm tempted to add that that was evidently Macauley's thought too, but of course I don't know why he was not there. But it was certainly Sulcas's response in the theater.

It does seem as if everyone enjoyed Vishneva-Gomez in the Manon pas de deux.


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