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


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#16 abatt

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 05:45 AM

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...



It took a few minutes for me to figure out who "the young ASS" was. You might want to use her name rather than her initials. LOL.

#17 Ceeszi

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:59 AM

I was at the Gala on Monday evening and something has confused me. This is the fifth time that I have attended the Opening Night Gala. When I started going it was excerpts from what was being done during the Spring Season. I notice that the past two or three galas, it has been a free for all. Do you remember at last year's gala, Ospiova and Hallberg did the Act II Pas de Deux from Giselle, Well, there was no Giselle during last year's Spring season (although I was thrilled to see Osipova). This year, where was an excerpt from Don Quixote or Cinderella or Coppelia or one of the new ballets that is being done next week? I thought that this was the whole purpose of the Gala - to give us a preview of what is being done during the season.

I agree that the Manon Pas de Deux with Diana and Marcelo was the highlight, but Manon is not being done this season!!

I went yesterday afternoon to see Don Quixote and Simkin was thrilling. Yes, he is a dynamo, but I thought he proved what a good partner he could be. (Yes, I did notice the one botched lift during Act III, but everything else was great.) I found Kajiya enchanting and I tried very hard not to compare her with the last Kitri I saw (Ospipova). Kajiya was not a feisty spitfire, but she had many lovely moments, especially in the Enchanted Forest scene.

There must be something in the air with all the recent comments that have just been posted. I decided to make a day of it and go and see an evening show as well. I did not want to see Wiles and Stearns in Don Quixote after their weak Act III Swan Lake Pas de Deux on Monday evening, so I also crossed the Mason-Dixon line and took in a Balnchine/Robbins evening at NYCB. I know that this is off-topic, but I must say this - the unison of the NYCB corps puts ABT to shame. There was very little corps unison in Don Quixote yesterday. I still prefer ABT over NYCB, but I will post a review of what I saw in the NYCB forum.

#18 abatt

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:15 AM

Yes, the ABT corps looked very scrappy yesterday afternoon. The torreadors, especially, were badly out of unison.

#19 Helene

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:38 AM


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...



It took a few minutes for me to figure out who "the young ASS" was. You might want to use her name rather than her initials. LOL.


[ADMIN BEANIE ON]

Yes, comparing American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet is a new topic that would belong in "Aesthetic Issues", but we ask that if it is opened, the conversation remain civil, as the topic has the potential to go straight into the sewer.

Yes, please use names and not initials. Not all of us live in NYC ;) (Hard to believe, I know.) And please, please, please, please, please, use last names or full names. First names aren't helpful to a big chunk of our members/readers.

Context is fleeting; for example, during the Royal Ballet visit to NYC in the '80's, "that beautiful corps dancer Pippa" could have meant any one of eight Pippas. And to me, "Ashley" will always be Merrill Ashley, not Ashley Bouder, just as Barber's "Adagio for Strings" reminds many of FDR's funeral, not JFK's funeral.

[ADMIN BEANIE OFF]

#20 PeggyR

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 10:29 AM


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...



It took a few minutes for me to figure out who "the young ASS" was. You might want to use her name rather than her initials. LOL.

For those of us still trying to figure out who's who:

Reichlen, Teresa
Kowroski, Maria
Mearns, Sara
Hyltin, Sterling
Bouder, Ashley
Peck, Tiler
Scheller, Ana Sophia

#21 Michael

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 01:22 PM

The gala was pretty fun I actually thought - about what you'd expect - a crazy mix of things, from lovely moments (Vishneva, Cojocaru and the new Nutcracker pas too in my opinion), to circus atmosphere, and to ridiculous ones (Max Beleserkovsky and Irina Dvorovenko) with a rainbow of shades in between. A little too long for sure. (For those upset with Sulcas, a couple of years ago Macauley actually called their gala "Pig Slurry" if I remember it). In all, Monday was a pretty fair image of the range of contemporary ballet that you'll see nationwide, which has about the same mix of stuff if you were to weigh it by type, aim, etc., etc. at a random basis just by walking into shows here and there. Something for everybody, from the fans who want "art;" to those who want to see Max Beloserkofsky stripped to the waist. The gala crowd - which was half the spectacle, some nice gowns and tuxs and nice looking people in them - seemed to enjoy it and so did I. Particularly liked the kids, meaning ballet school teenagers in the back of the house, who were whooping it up. Am I developing low brow taste? Probably. Depends on my mood and the particular evening I think. I actually found it a relief for an evening from watching NYCB.

#22 carbro

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 02:15 PM

Cojocaru was fine in Rose Adagio, but there was nothing remarkable or memorable about her performance.

Oh, for me this was the outstanding highlight of a better-than-usual ABT gala. She did not bang us over the head with balances, but instead emphasized the flow and phrasing -- the dance qualities -- of the choreography. In addition, she brought some characterization to this Rose Adagio. As Aurora makes her diagonal of pique arabesque, penchee before each prince, she greets the first prince, then the second, then pauses for a moment at the third before greeting the fourth. In the next phrase, the princes separate and she runs to that most intriguing third prince for the shoulder lift. Usually, which prince lifts Aurora seems arbitrary, but Cojocaru explained to us that there's a reason. He's charmed her the most.

I agree that Splendid Isolation does not merit repeated viewing. However, someone paid a fortune for that costume/set, so I guess they feel they have to amortize it.

As a salute to Jose Carreno, Majisimo was better in concept than execution. It did give Carreno an opportunity to shine as a solo dancer, among the ensemble and as a partner. His energy, polish and charisma never failed. Herrera also stood out.

Paloma's White Swan pas was letter-perfect, but left me more admiring than affected, because it seemed skin-deep.

I am not a fan of MacMillan, but I have to admit that the heated passion that Vishneva and Gomes generated, in what for me was the second highlight, made me want to run out and buy a ticket to see them in the full Manon. Alas! It is not in this year's rep. :(

I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpts from Bright Stream and wish its run did not coincide with the Royal Danish Ballet's visit to Washington and New York. Figuring that Bright Stream scored such a hit at its premiere at Kennedy Center and likelihod to do the same here, it is sure to return next year. The Danes are not, so I have prioritized them.

#23 Marga

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 02:50 PM

...And to me, "Ashley" will always be Merrill Ashley, not Ashley Bouder, just as Barber's "Adagio for Strings" reminds many of FDR's funeral, not JFK's funeral.

Please indulge this slightly off-topic reply. Helene, your examples reminded me of a class I watched from the doorway at 'Steps on Broadway' several years ago. Some young dancers joining me in the doorway were all abuzz at seeing a principal dancer in the class and one pointed her out to the others, "that's Kent over there!"

Now, to me, Kent can only mean Allegra Kent, and she was indeed in the class, right near the door in her usual spot. But the young danseur pointed right past her into the far reaches of the studio, at Julie Kent, whom I hadn't even noticed!

#24 California

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 03:13 PM

And to me, "Ashley" will always be Merrill Ashley, not Ashley Bouder, just as Barber's "Adagio for Strings" reminds many of FDR's funeral, not JFK's funeral.


With apologies for going off-topic, but this is such an interesting point about context, history, and life experiences, and how it shapes what we experience in the arts. For many aging baby-boomers (like me), Barber's Adagio is most closely associated with Platoon (1986). Although our generation also saw the JFK funeral on TV, that was long before the days of VCRs, and the excerpts we see now are typically of other things, especially the haunting drum cadence. For my parents (the WWII "greatest generation"), I understand that a new recording of the orchestration had been distributed to radio stations just before FDR died and they played it ceaselessly -- that's what shaped the memory and the association with FDR, not the funeral alone. It was also used for The Elephant Man (1980) and Princess Grace's funeral (1982), but I don't know that anybody has a strong association with those.

Along those lines, there will always be one and only one "Misha" for me, although I keep hearing the name for others.

#25 Roberto Dini

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 04:34 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.

If she finds galas so distasteful, perhaps she should not attend them. They are, after all, generally fundraising events.

#26 Batsuchan

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:12 PM

Well, I just came back from a spitfire performance of "Don Quixote," courtesy of Xiomara Reyes and guest artist Ronaldo Sarabia! :clapping:

They looked absolutely perfectly cast as Kitri and Basilio, and they had fantastic chemistry together. I think Kitri is a natural fit for Reyes' personality, and Sarabia looked/seemed like a natural Basilio, and they both nailed the cocksure, flirty, feisty attitude.

And what turns! Reyes has been on fire--first, those lightning chaines at the gala in "Majisimo," and then some equally rapid coupe turns (?) in a circle and some impressive fouettes! Sarabia also pulled off some amazing turns where he slid his free leg down to increase the speed. (And of course there was also Daniil Simkin as the gypsy putting on his usual fireworks.)

One trick Reyes/Sarabia did that I don't think I've seen before was this 1-hand supported pirouette--in the final pas de deux, Sarabia would take his right hand off and support Reyes in the pirouettes only with his left hand. That was really impressive!

Stella Abrera was a gorgeous Mercedes and seemed full of energy herself, and she seemed to have good chemistry with Jared Matthews as Espada. Yuriko Kajiya was a fun, bouncy Amour.

The toreadors were especially sloppy, in my opinion, but other than that, I thought the corps generally looked fine.

All in all, loads of fun!

***
As for the gala, I wholeheartedly agree that Vishneva/Gomes in "Manon" were the highlight for me. The audience seemed to agree, starting their applause before the final notes sounded and erupting into the loudest ovation of the night. I cannot wait to see them in "Giselle" and especially in "Lady of the Camellias." I know the critics hate it, but it's soo enjoyable, particularly with Vishneva/Gomes. Like an piece of blackout cake, or something--no nutritional value whatsoever, but soo delicious! :P My guilty pleasure for sure!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, both of the "Swan Lake" pdd's were somewhat unbearable for me because of the terrible violin playing! I hope they find a new soloist (or that the current one practices a lot) before "Swan Lake" week, because all the off-pitch notes and squeaks totally prevented me from enjoying the White swan pdd. I'm not too sure even a great violin solo would have saved the Black swan pdd, though--it looked labored and had none of the usual excitement/fun for me.

This gala may not have been quite as impressive as other ones I've been to, but I'm certainly curious to see "The Bright Stream"!

#27 4mrdncr

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:44 PM


And to me, "Ashley" will always be Merrill Ashley, not Ashley Bouder, just as Barber's "Adagio for Strings" reminds many of FDR's funeral, not JFK's funeral.


With apologies for going off-topic, but this is such an interesting point about context, history, and life experiences, and how it shapes what we experience in the arts. For many aging baby-boomers (like me), Barber's Adagio is most closely associated with Platoon (1986). Although our generation also saw the JFK funeral on TV, that was long before the days of VCRs, and the excerpts we see now are typically of other things, especially the haunting drum cadence. For my parents (the WWII "greatest generation"), I understand that a new recording of the orchestration had been distributed to radio stations just before FDR died and they played it ceaselessly -- that's what shaped the memory and the association with FDR, not the funeral alone. It was also used for The Elephant Man (1980) and Princess Grace's funeral (1982), but I don't know that anybody has a strong association with those.

Along those lines, there will always be one and only one "Misha" for me, although I keep hearing the name for others.


The first time I remember the Barber Adagio in a film, was as a student at USC. Then in "The Elephant Man". By the time of "Platoon" its use had almost become a cliche. (This is not a comment on that film, or the music itself, which I actually like very much.)

#28 carbro

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:09 PM

Continuing Posted Image for a moment, my enduring association of the Barber Adagio, a detail of the Kennedy funeral that I do not remember, is 9/11 and the days thereafter, where it played endlessly, endlessly on the radio.

Back to the business of this thread, thanks, Batsuchan, for your comments about the Reyes-Sarabia Don Q. :thumbsup:

#29 spinning2night

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:35 PM

so happy to hear that all the Don Q's this week so far have been great. Glad to hear the Yuriko and Daniil's debuts were as expected and it's quite promising to hear that Daniil's partnering has improved. I definitely wish I could have been there tonight for Reyes and Sarabia. I'm personally not the biggest fan of Reyes as she just hasn't impressed me, but I've always wondered what would happend if she was in the right role at the right time with the right partner, and it seems as though tonight was it!

regarding the Gala, I'm really sad to hear that Michelle's plateau has continued...a part of me suspects that her promotion may have happened too quickly and was more of a result of a need rather than completely based on merit...since then, I've really wondered if ABT was the right company for her, and perhaps that is contributing to her struggles as well.

#30 abatt

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 05:06 AM

Sarabia was very impressive. He has excellent stage presence and can spin like a top. He was also a very fine partner. As noted above by Batsuchen, Sarabia was able to support Reyes' spins with one hand - something that Bocca used to do with Nina. Sarabia was a real pleasure. Reyes danced well, but she will never be my favorite Kitri. She doesn't have the flexibility that she did when she was younger. She decided to pull out all the stops was in the coda of the final act, where she did triple (or quadruple) turns while changing her arm positions with the fan. Simkin was the lead gypsy dancer, and he threatened to upstage Sarabia with ultra flexible and high jumps and super speedy spins. Yuriko was a delight as Amour. Abrera and Mathhews were Mercedes/Dryad Queen and Espada. (Will we be seeing a Gomes Espada this season? I hope so.) The flower girls were Ricetto and Copeland. They danced well. (Has Ricetto lightened her hair, or was it the stage lighting?) Counting down the hours now for the Cojocaru-Carreno Don Q tonight. It's going to be a full out Don Q weekend for me, as I'm seeing both shows on Saturday too.


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