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Giselle 2011


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#46 puppytreats

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:03 AM

I attended Wednesday's matinee and it was magical. Once I get my thoughts together (either later today or tomorrow) I'll post a detailed review. I don't know how many entrechats David Hallberg danced, but they seemed to go on forever.

On other note, a playdate between Mr. B and Mr. Puppytreats is an inspired idea. Seriously, I don't know if my husband would be annoyed that I've been posting about him. But he never reads Ballet Talk, so I don't have to worry about that.


Everything you said about him was positive! It doesn't sound like you are in trouble :>

#47 angelica

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:28 AM

The Wednesday matinee was a performance to remember. Hee Seo was a lovely Giselle. Because I was sitting in the Grand Tier rather than the Orchestra, it was difficult for me to see anyone's facial expressions, but I thought that Seo's dancing in Act II was especially lovely, particularly in the second half of the act, when she seemed to dance increasingly weightlessly. The phrase in which David carried her diagonally across the stage in arabesque where she barely grazed the floor in between each one is etched into my brain. I'm eager to see her up close and as she develops the role in subsequent years.
To me personally, the afternoon belonged to Stella Abrera, who gave a breathtaking performance as Myrtha. Imperious and implacable, she soared into the air, truly embodying the essence of the character. At the high point when she emerges from behind the corps in grand jetes, everyone around me gasped at her speed, height, and fierceness. I hope that next year she will dance the title role. The Peasant PdD with Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin was the best I've seen this season.

#48 abatt

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:39 AM

I have to agree wtih the favorable comments regarding Hee Seo's debut as Giselle. She was lovely and lyrical. Hallberg and Abrera were also splendid. There were once again some partnering issues in the peasant pas between Simkin and Lane, but their indvidual performances were excellent.

#49 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 08:24 AM

At the June 1st matinee, ABT’s young soloist, Hee Seo, made her debut as Giselle. It was a magical performance. Hee is a very natural young peasant girl, completely in love with Albrecht (Loys). She fully inhabits the role – her innocence, her devotion to her mother, even her delicate constitution – all are perfect. Everything about Hee’s portrayl of Giselle is real. Her mad scene is heartbreakingly simple. Not able to accept Albrecht’s deception, she becomes a child again. Hee’s acting is so heartfelt, I felt myself tearing up. In Act II, Hee’s Giselle stands out for her deep arabesques and whirlwind turns. Hee’s willi is feather light, wafting ethereally across the stage.


David Hallberg’s Albecht is an impulsive young man who really loves Giselle. He’s pushed his real life so far in the background that he doesn’t think about it or his real fiancée when he’s with Giselle. Albrecht is so devastated by Giselle’s death it’s painful to watch.

Hallberg’s Act II Albrecht shows off his impeccable line and noble refinement. His Albrecht, however, is a noble full of emotion – love, remorse and especially grief. When Albrecht is being pursued by the willis, Hallberg’s every step is awe-inspiring. The elevation of his leaps, his perfect double assemble air turns and especially his entrechats where he soars into the air and hangs suspended there – all are spellbinding. One of the many memorable things about Hee’s and Hallberg’s Giselle is how in sync their dancing styles are – especially the side by side jumps performed in both Acts I and II. Their chemistry is joyous in the first act, and ethereal, even spiritual in Act II.

The ending for the June 1st matinee of Giselle is a little different from what I’ve seen in past ABT productions. Instead of showering Albrecht with lilies, Giselle drops one single flower as she returns to the grave. Albrecht breathes in the scent of the lily, feeling his oneness with Giselle for a final time. Then he slowly walks away from her grave. At this point, the tears are streaming down my face.

Stella Abrera is intensely cold and forbidding as Myrta, queen of the willis. She dances the part with great authority and control. Abrera’s leaps, however, lack the height and vengefulness of Gillian Murphy’s Myrta. As good as Abrera is, I think she’s a more natural fit as Giselle. The willis dance together in splendid tandem.

Jared Mathews is a very sympathetic Hilarion. This is the best performance I’ve ever seen from Matthews. Both his acting and dancing are full of passion. When Hilarion is danced to death by the willis, Matthews really lets go and shows total exhaustion, both in body and spirit.

As Berthe, Nancy Raffa is a real mother, not just a corps member made up to look older. Raffa’s Berthe is loving and devoted to Giselle. She naturally worries about her naïve young daughter with the weak heart. Daniil Simkin and Sarah Lane perform a lovely and exciting peasant pas de deux. Simkin especially stands out for his soaring leaps and incredible ballon.

I hope American Ballet Theatre keeps this glorious Giselle in their repertoire. The combination of magnificent music (by Adolphe Adam) and transcendent performances make this Giselle one that should last for a long, long time.

#50 annamicro

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 09:49 AM

"....to show the music to me" - I so agree. She shapes the music so that it becomes a true partner in the dance. I mean this almost literally - as in a vibrant, physical presence that embraces Cojocaru.


I've always thought that Cojocaru has a unique way to paint the music and to give it different colours, making often clearer meanings hidden inside it: she is not dancing on it but using it to make her dancing a complete art form.
Yesterday evening Alina danced a sublime Manon in London (her first show with Johan Kobborg after the engagement and maybe it added something...NYC missed an opportunity, we gained it! :) ), and in her review of that formidable show Judith Flanders writes

"a musicality so intense that it just flows through her that raises her above everyone else. ... Sometimes she allows her steps to drift behind the music, and appears to be driven by it; sometimes she is slightly in advance, and appears to be driving it. But it is never anything but the core of her dancing."

http://www.theartsde...allet&Itemid=27

After having been envious for a couple of weeks, I'm now looking forward the second Manon on Saturday :yahoo:

#51 atm711

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 10:33 AM

did any one attend the matinee? I'd love to hear how Hee Seo was in her debut as Giselle (although if her twitter is any indication, she had the time of her life!)



I would say she is a work in progress. She certainly has the expertise for the role but the depth of her love for Albrecht is not shown convincingly in either Act 1 or 2. Albrecht's indiscretion in Act 1 seemed more 'ho-hum'---in Act 2 the depth of her love for Albrecht did not appear strong enough to confront Myrtha. With these reservations. I did like her performance and hope she has the opportunity to grow in the role. Nothing much to add about the magnificent Mr. Hallberg---he joins the company of the other great ABT Albrechts---Eglevsky, Youskevitch, Bruhn and Baryshnikov.

Danil Simkin in peasant pdd practically walked off with Act 1 honors----In Act 2 I never saw a more beautifully danced Zulma. Yuriko Kajiya raised the variation to 'ballerina-dom'. At the end of her Myrtha solo Stella Abrera has a breathtaking series of grand jetes---spectacular.

#52 Raylene

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:39 PM


"....to show the music to me" - I so agree. She shapes the music so that it becomes a true partner in the dance. I mean this almost literally - as in a vibrant, physical presence that embraces Cojocaru.


I've always thought that Cojocaru has a unique way to paint the music and to give it different colours, making often clearer meanings hidden inside it: she is not dancing on it but using it to make her dancing a complete art form.
Yesterday evening Alina danced a sublime Manon in London (her first show with Johan Kobborg after the engagement and maybe it added something...NYC missed an opportunity, we gained it! :) ), and in her review of that formidable show Judith Flanders writes

"a musicality so intense that it just flows through her that raises her above everyone else. ... Sometimes she allows her steps to drift behind the music, and appears to be driven by it; sometimes she is slightly in advance, and appears to be driving it. But it is never anything but the core of her dancing."

http://www.theartsde...allet&Itemid=27

After having been envious for a couple of weeks, I'm now looking forward the second Manon on Saturday :yahoo:



#53 Raylene

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:43 PM

Sorry, was just trying to say thank you for the previous post. Wonderful to read.

#54 spinning2night

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 03:13 PM

thanks for all the reviews of the matinee yesterday. It sounds like Hee did a good job and that everyone else brought their A-game too!

This run of Giselle (minus Murphy's injury) is turning out to be quite a treat for us ABT fans (especially those of you who are in NYC and have been able to attend)

#55 Batsuchan

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:27 PM

I HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY OBLITERATED.

I have to be honest here. At last Friday's Vishneva/Gomes performance, I thought the dancing was absolutely gorgeous and musical, there were so many beautiful images burned into my head, and the Vishneva/Gomes chemistry was, as always, a delight. However, I didn't get the emotional satisfaction that I was hoping for. In the Herrera/Bolle dress rehearsal that afternoon, I had been driven to near-tears, completely unexpectedly, but that first Vishneva/Gomes performance left me strangely dry-eyed.

Not so tonight!!

I think the main difference was the tempo. Tonight's tempo was noticeably slower than last Friday, and much, much slower than last night. I think this enhanced the gravity of the story, and it also allowed Vishneva to luxuriate even more in every languid movement; she just seemed to hang in the air. They had so much time for the lifts, and in the first one where Albrecht lifts her straight up, it seemed she stayed there for an eternity. And the second set of lifts where she is moved slowly in an arc over his head unfolded so slowly that she seemed even more ethereal, even more ghostly. Pure magic. It reminded me a lot of the Vishneva/Gomes 2009 White Swan pas de deux that was sooo slow and amazing that I was scared to breathe, lest I break the spell.

Oh, and I retract my lament about Vishneva's waning technical skills. Perhaps she just needed a few days rest, or a new pair of toe shoes or something, but today those whirling attitude turns in Giselle's wili initiation were back to lightning speed, and the slower tempo really allowed her to show fantastic height in her entrechat quatre. And with the slower tempo, she made every balance long enough for a snapshot. In Giselle's Act I variation, The hops on pointe were almost ridiculous, they were done at such a slow tempo, and yet so steadily, with full port de bras almost from the very start.

I suspected that Vishneva might play Giselle a little differently today, and I was right. Today's Giselle was noticeably more frail and ill. She was still happy and sweet, but she clutched at her neck and her heart more, as if more aware that the exertion, or the emotion, was overwhelming her. From early on, another world seem to grasp at her. She changed the phrasing in her variation to highlight the balances, given the slower tempo, and definitely changed the arms in the hops on pointe. But it was only in her mad scene where I really thought, "is she just making it up as she goes along? Does just come on stage and then do whatever she feels like doing?" There were some things in the mad scene that were the same--she still ran from one side of the stage to the other as if hearing imaginary noises; she still came to the front of the stage and peered out into our world. But she did so many other things that seemed unfamiliar that I really wondered if she had rehearsed this or was just pouring out exactly what she felt at that moment. I was blown away. (This is why I have to see her every time she dances, even in the same role.)

The connection between Vishneva/Gomes was there last Friday, but today it was indescribable. Perhaps with the slower tempo they had the time they needed to really breathe with the music and let the emotion sink in. Or perhaps they just needed one more go at it.

I felt it, and I think you could tell they felt it too when they took their bows--so much admiration and affection for each other. And while last time, I was a bit put off by Vishneva's very dramatic bows--a little too much like the prima donna acknowledging her adoring subjects--today she looked almost humbled by the experience, and grateful to the participants and the audience. Bravo!

Speaking of which, the house was absolutely packed to the brim today! And yet the audience seemed notably quieter than last Friday, applauding and cheering far less, or at least I thought so since the technical marvels seemed so much greater today. But judging from the huge roar of the crowd and immediate standing ovation, I'm guessing that it was really that everyone was too awed, or too scared to emit a sound mid-performance, lest they break the illusion.

Thank you, thank you, Diana and Marcelo for a devastating (and thus wonderful!) experience! And thanks again for the corps for being absolutely stunning! What a glorious end to a wonderful week of Giselles! :clapping:

#56 4mrdncr

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:41 PM

So of course I went to see ABT's "Giselle" at the MET Wednesday evening, though would have liked to see the matinee too. I had rushed, and because of that, forgot many things and had to rush around more when I got to a hot/muggy (but thankfully dry) NYC.
(More on the ballet later, except to say I saw a noted change in interpretation from previous perfs, and in some of the choreography--though from recent BT posts this week concerning others in performance, it seems to be the new ABT standard. And the AC/XR pairing as usual was magical.)
It was also nice to see friends and acquaintances who had flown in especially for this performance. And that night, the weather cooled, cleared, Lincoln Center's construction seemed almost done, and the city lovely. All was well with the world...or so I thought.

Then I got home to Springfield, MA. And found out otherwise. My house is intact, and my 80hrs of HD footage (thank all dance & weather gods) but the next streets over from me are shocking. All I could think on that long long bus ride home from NYC was...Ballet, and a certain dancer, and "Giselle" that night saved my soul.

In years past, when the blizzards were bad, I used to think, "Somewhere in the world it is warm, the sun is shining, and flowers are blooming." Now I think, "Somewhere in the world, the lights go down, the dancers appear, and for a time, all's right with our souls, our lives, and the world." Thank you ABT. Thank you Angel & Xiomara. Thank you all who love ballet.

With wishes for the safety and health of all who have suffered in these terrible storms/weather patterns.
--4mrdncr

#57 vipa

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 06:29 PM

If anyone saw Dvorovenko and Koberg I'd be curious about it. There was one brief post. Anyone have anything to add?

#58 christine174

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 07:36 PM

After 6 or so Giselle's, it all starts to blend together but I can add a few impressions. I had no plans to see Dvorovenko & Beloserkovsky, but I was enticed to buy a ticket by the opportunity to see Kobborg, who I'd never seen before. As mentioned, the chemistry with Dvorovenko wasn't sizzling, but nonetheless I found it a quite satisfying performance. Kobborg was very virile and charismatic and impressive technique-wise. He conveyed an authentic caddish princely high-born hauteur (if that's not both redundant and an oxymoron) better than anyone other than IMHO Angel Corella on Wednesday nite (although take out the caddish part for Corella, who is always a charmer and a sweetheart). Dvorovenko is someone I often think I don't like but then she surprises me by delivering an affecting performance, and this was one of those times. She is a real asset to ABT.

#59 christine174

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 08:02 PM

And as I think about it further I'd just add what a pleasure it was to see the great performer Angel Corella on wed nite. I would be so sorry to think his time at ABT is up. Hope he and ABT can work out a few more years!

#60 christine174

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 08:30 PM

... But could anyone explain for me what Macaulay means by a "full toned dancer" as in Vishneva being more "full toned" than Cojocaru?


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