Batsuchan

The Bright Stream - Spring 2011

43 posts in this topic

Go see this ballet!!

Seeing David Hallberg in a tutu and pointe shoes in a perfect sylph pose ALONE is worth the price of admission!

I can't remember the last time I've laughed so hard. I was crying!

EVERYONE had impeccable comic timing and looked like they were having a ball. I thought "The Bright Stream" brought out the very best of ABT--fantastic virtuoso dancing, incisive musicality, and fantastic acting down to the most minor characters. I've never seen Herrera and Murphy look so engaged! And Craig Salstein as the accordian player, and Roman Zhurbin as Gavrilych nearly stole the show.

I was only planning to see this twice, but now I think I'll try to catch as many performances as I can! What a blast!

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Go see this ballet!!

Seeing David Hallberg in a tutu and pointe shoes in a perfect sylph pose ALONE is worth the price of admission!

I can't remember the last time I've laughed so hard. I was crying!

EVERYONE had impeccable comic timing and looked like they were having a ball. I thought "The Bright Stream" brought out the very best of ABT--fantastic virtuoso dancing, incisive musicality, and fantastic acting down to the most minor characters. I've never seen Herrera and Murphy look so engaged! And Craig Salstein as the accordian player, and Roman Zhurbin as Gavrilych nearly stole the show.

I was only planning to see this twice, but now I think I'll try to catch as many performances as I can! What a blast!

AGREED! This was the best new ballet ABT has acquired in a long while. Tears were running down my cheeks I laughed so hard. Everyone was outstanding in this first cast. (I'm happily looking forward to seeing all the other casts on future nights) Hallberg should be awarded a "Giselle" next year! His pointe work was really amazing! But his acting just blew my socks off! Who knew this most sublime of classical performers had a such a wicked sense of humor? But really, everyone was a standout. And the choreography just gleamed with style, wit and a smartness seldom seen today. Hats off to Ratmansky, but kudos to all. Especially the dog! SEE THIS BALLET!!

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this is the one ballet that i REALLY wanted to see this year, granted there are some performances that i would love to attend, mostly for the casting/dancing by certain principals...but i would have gladly attended ANY showing of this ballet just the see the work and intricacies Ratmansky has incorporated. It's great to hear that you all have enjoyed the performances thus far and I can't wait to hear more!

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It was a very fun evening, and Hallberg stole the show. I completely agree that all the dancers looked like they were having a marvelous time. I must note that the balcony area looked like it was less than 50 percent sold. Not sure if this will be making a return engagement next year based on these stats.

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Ok, ok, I can't resist! I vowed not to spend another dollar this season and was sad to miss this event but you've all convinced me. Hallberg in pointe shoes and more Gomes - priceless. I've booked Monday evening.

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GO!! No, let me rephrase. RUN to see this ballet. It's spectacular and wonderful all around from principals to corps. I am going to rearrange my schedule to fit in more Bright Stream, if I haven't bought tickets for NYCB, the Cubans and the Danes, I'd have bought more tickets. I'd even consider flying to west coast to catch them but too bad Mariinsky will be in town. I pray ABT will bring back Bright Stream next season.

Yes, it is that good.

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I am going to rearrange my schedule to fit in more Bright Stream, if I haven't bought tickets for NYCB, the Cubans and the Danes, I'd have bought more tickets.

So many ballets this spring in NYC, so little time.

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GO!! No, let me rephrase. RUN to see this ballet. It's spectacular and wonderful all around from principals to corps. I am going to rearrange my schedule to fit in more Bright Stream, if I haven't bought tickets for NYCB, the Cubans and the Danes, I'd have bought more tickets. I'd even consider flying to west coast to catch them but too bad Mariinsky will be in town. I pray ABT will bring back Bright Stream next season.

Yes, it is that good.

Forget the Cubans! Wait for the Trocks! But see "Bright Stream". I think once the word gets out on this one, the seats will fill. This is just the BEST!

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timestamp='1307738879' post='286987']

I am going to rearrange my schedule to fit in more Bright Stream, if I haven't bought tickets for NYCB, the Cubans and the Danes, I'd have bought more tickets.

So many ballets this spring in NYC, so little time.

This has been a spectacular spring so far.I'm just getting over the wonderful Giselles but I have to keep moving. If you blink, you'll miss something!

I'm going to Bright Stream tomorrow for the matinee. I'm going to try to fit in the Danes somewhere next week.

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Don't miss the Cubans - it's a wonderful performance - go Saturday night

Dancer's choice is Sunday night -it will be great.

Geez - there'a 4 casts for Bright Stream -- who can you not want to see?

They'll do it next year for sure. I'm hoping he'll bring Flames of Paris next.

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This has been a spectacular spring so far.I'm just getting over the wonderful Giselles but I have to keep moving. If you blink, you'll miss something!

I'm going to Bright Stream tomorrow for the matinee. I'm going to try to fit in the Danes somewhere next week.

Agreed. I'm so excited by all of these reports about The Bright Stream. I'm going to the matinee tomorrow and seeing the Danes on Tuesday. I saw a great Don Q and, for me, best ever Giselle. The NYCB looked amazing this season. The 4 performance that I saw showed the depth of the company. My only disappointment this season has been the rep night at ABT.

Wouldn't it be nice to have unlimited funds for ballet tickets?

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I'll be at the matinee of Bright Stream tomorrow too. I've already got tickets for the RDB next weekend. (Gotta work during the week unfortunately so I can pay for my ballet tix.) Wish I could have seen lots more of course. Mother didn't want to come (she only comes to matinees anyways) because she says she only likes "sad ballets" :speechless-smiley-003: Lucky for her there are enough of those.

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I saw the matinee today and had a really wonderful time.

Mostly I enjoyed the ballet itself, I love the Shostakovich score. What a delightful effervescent collection of numbers and what a sense of humor Shostakovich had! OK, it's a bit garish and over the top but I think it it matches the farcical nature of the libretto

I also loved Ratmansky's staging of the piece it was fresh, funny and quick moving. Lovely to watch and all in all a lot of fun.

ABT pulled out the heavy guns for this performance, Ivan Vasiliev made what I think was his first appearance with ABT as Pyotr and he was very showy in his several variations. Osipova danced the ballerina with her trademark virtousity. Reyes danced Zina and more than held her own, although hers is the least showy part of the leading quartet. Simkin was just wonderful in the role of the ballet dancer, he's small and slight and rather androgynous looking so in his Sylph outfit one wasn't sure just what gender he was. But he was my favorite of the leads, his comic timing was just perfect and he danced the Sylph as a virtouso, the audience gasped at one of the multiple rotation pirouettes on pointe he did. If anyone stole the show, he did.

Among the smaller roles, almost all of which were very well done, I liked Craig Salstein as the accordian player the best. Very playful and with great flair. He made the small role very showy. Susan Jones was also good as the wishing-she-were-younger-dacha-dweller. She has evidently lost about 20 lbs but I still worried for her ankles when she went flitting around the stage on pointe. She was very funny without quite going over the top. Almost all the smaller roles were well done although the ensemble was just a bit ragged in spots.

I'm really hoping ABT brings this back next year, I'd love to see the piece again with one of the other casts. The house was decent but far from sold out. I'm hoping word of mouth does the trick. I may go back Monday night but I still hope they bring it back next year.

What a wonderful spring this has been in NYC, with a seemingly endless array of ballet treats of all kinds of different varieties.

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I was also at this afternoon's performance, and it was enough to lift my mood from miserable (pre-performance) to happy (post-performance). Really wonderful ensemble piece, and Shostakovich's score is just a delight from beginning to end. This is also the perfect ballet for a smaller company like the ABT. The corps de ballet, which often looks so ragged in Swan Lake or Giselle, looked great today. The whole company seemed happy to be dancing, and it was overall just a wonderful and entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

Ratmansky's choreography is one big reason to see this ballet. It's consistently funny, charming, and keeps the audience cheering. Farmers do cartwheels, dancers ride a bicycle while posed in arabesque, a man dances in a Sylph costume (and the diminutive Danil Simkin was weirdly convincing not just as a man-in-drag on pointe, but as an actual Sylph), and the role for the Ballerina gently parodies the famously muscular Bolshoi style. In other words, it's the perfect role for Natalia Osipova, who throws herself into the role with her usual gusto. Her amazing jump never ceases to astonish, and at one point she hurled herself in the air across the stage into Vasiliev's arms (echoes of Kitri), but she also made herself fit into this ensemble ballet. Her rapport with Reyes (Zina) was unexpectedly genuine, and Osipova when dancing with Reyes toned down some of her more extreme extensions and explosive power to fit Reyes' more low-key style. Reyes in turn seemed energized by Osipova's presence and danced with more gusto and less cutesiness than I've ever seen her. Susan Jones was also very funny as the Anxious-to-be-Younger-Than-She-Is Dacha Dweller. She earned well-deserved applause for pushing herself on pointe.

The men were equally strong as the women. Ivan Vasiliev as Pyotr wowed the crowd with his barrel turns and lightning fast pirouettes and huge jumps, but he also made the character delightfully boyish and endearing. The fact that he's easy on the eyes helps. This Pyotr isn't so much an intentionally philandering husband as a misbehaving child. His pas de deux with a disguised Zina was a highlight. Danil Simkin as the Ballet Dancer in the second act has one of the funniest pieces of choreography, as he disguises himself as a Ballerina and dances a pas de deux with the Old Dacha Dweller (Clinton Luckett). Ratmansky has the Sylph parody parts of Giselle, Les Sylphides, and even Apollo (the famous "swimming" moment). Simkin danced on pointe with no notable strain, and as I mentioned earlier, his small frame and androgynous looks made him believable as a Ballerina. He even executed a nice double pirouette. Craig Salstein almost stole the show in the first act as an accordion player.

I could go on about the ballet, but the bottom line is: it's just so damned fun. So if you're in a bad mood because of a guy, work, an expired ATM card, anything, just go to Bright Stream, and your day will seem brighter.

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I could go on about the ballet, but the bottom line is: it's just so damned fun. So if you're in a bad mood because of a guy, work, an expired ATM card, anything, just go to Bright Stream, and your day will seem brighter.

I agree with the superlatives. Go see it if you can.

I just want to add that the story telling is amazingly clear. We know who each character is. They stay in character throughout through the choreography. The characters have conversations that we understand. For example, in the first act when Zina & the ballerina meet and realize the know each other we see them ask each other the normal things like "are you married" "do you have kids" etc. It's all so clear and focused.

The sound of laughter in the audience (particularly the kids) was wonderful!

I'd love to hear more impressions of various casts.

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I was able to see the opening and thought the ballet was terrific--very much agree with what has been said already--though I'm afraid the funniest moment of the evening for me occurred when the woman behind me explained to the two young (very well-behaved) children with her that the hammer and sickle looming over the stage stood for "hard work." Gee...I guess capitalism really CAN co-opt anything.

As for the ballet: completely delightful. A wonderful score, fantastic energy from everyone on stage, choreography and mime engaging at every moment. I would have very much liked to to see it again--and there were some details in the synopsis I did not quite 'see' on stage (especially regarding the young girl and lecherous accordion player). It would also be a real pleasure to compare casts in such a richly characterized work with so many wonderful roles. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards for me and I'm now back home (not New York).

The first Act is a lively festival of dances following on the arrival of visiting ballet dancers to a collective farm and including, if I'm not mistaken, a sort of mock battle of 'reds' and 'whites' culminating with the ballerina's circle of grande jetés around the stage as if she were the very symbol of the revolution. But everything in this ballet is done with a light touch and (something Canbelto alluded to) the irony seems as much at the expense of Soviet ballet as the Soviet Union. Though it's not a sour irony, rather a loving, laughing one.

The second act is almost all cross-dressing farce (including a barking dog) with adulterers and lechers being put in their place, but no-one getting (too badly) hurt. I found it laugh-out-loud funny with lots of great dancing--but I also rather suspect that with familiarity, the laughs would thin and one might even find some of it a little long. The ballet has a very short finale--with everyone massed together, different groupings alternately raising their arms against a backdrop transformed from images of rural agriculture into a grandiose modern cityscape. (The Soviets did collectivize the farms partly in the hope of getting more food to the cities though I'm guessing Ratmansky did not mean his allusion to operate on that level of policy detail...If the same transformation took place in the original Bright Stream in the 30's--well, maybe...)

Opening night received warm applause, but not as much of it as I expected. No front-of-curtain bows at all...I think a longer, more dance-spectacular grand finale would have made a difference, but I assume Ratmansky was following the score/libretto as it was originally set in the 30's--and also maintaining his lightness of touch. Earlier in the act, in the pas de deux for Zina disguised as the ballerina and her would-be cheating husband, the music reaches a grand climax and at that moment...he runs offstage for a minute; it turns out he is getting her a bouquet of flowers and she is left standing there. It's a characteristic playful/ironic detail playing against expectations and, in a way, the structure of the whole ballet follows suit.

The only comment I heard as I left the theater was a rather resigned sounding "well, it's a farce" from an older women I infer was a subscriber. I can read that everyone commenting on this website (so far) loves the ballet and I did too, but I am very curious if the ballet has gotten a more resounding reception at other performances--and whether it really will be a hit. Please report.

The four principles I saw were Herrera, Murphy, Gomez and Halberg. For me the dance high-points of the evening came from Herrera and Gomez. I thought she was wonderful. So often criticized for a dull or disconnected upper body, she danced here with beautiful fluidity, lines radiating from tips of her head and fingertips through a supple torso and gorgeously arched feet. Murphy was excellent--engaging pantomime and authoritative dancing--but next to Herrera's supple, lyrical lines she looked a bit dry and colorless. When they danced in parallel on stage, my eye kept drifting to Herrera and, as a longtime Murphy fan, THAT is something I would never have anticipated.

Halberg hit what seemed to me a pitch perfect combination of goofy and gorgeous in his disguise as a Sylph tricking an old man--and I was delighted by the choreography's sometimes quite detailed parody of the elusive, romantic ballerina. For me, though, Gomez was the star of the show. He danced with such extraordinary warmth and musicality--the music seemed right inside of him at points--and in the pas de deux he lifted Herrera as if she were a feather-weight. It's really not partnering when it's done that well, just two people dancing. I have always liked Gomez but never been entirely in love with his dancing--this makes me an outlier I know; well, I am an outlier no more.

All of the secondary dancers were very good, but I will join others in singling out Salstein's accordion player--he really did almost steal the show. No mean trick when the show is this good. I could hope that the energy and engagement all the dancers brought to this ballet would spill over into their performances of the classics. But I rather suspect it won't. Still, what a pleasure.

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Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova were incredible at the matinee. I hope ABT can develop a permanent relationship w. Vasiliev.

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I totally agree with Abatt and those many other posters about Vasiliev and Osipova. I saw Osipova in Romeo and Juliet last year, but I had never seen Vasiliev until yesterday's matinee performance. I have seen many great male dancers in my 31 years of attending ballet performances, but I have never seen anyone as exciting as Ivan Vasiliev. He took my breath away and then some. I am still getting my thoughts together. When I do, I'll post more. I just want to add that this was the 15th time my husband and I treated our niece to the ballet, and what a fantastic ballet we picked! She just loved it. (Of course. How could anyone not love it?) I hope and prayer that The Bright Stream becomes a permanent part of ABT's repetoire, and that Osipova and Vasiliev dance for ABT on a regular basis.

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As already mentioned, I attended the June 11th matinee of The Bright Stream.

Alexei Ratmansky’s ballet is witty and blissfully exuberant. There are many innovative choreographic touches – like the “Slyph” riding in arabesque position on the back of the old Dacha Dweller’s bicycle, the tractor formation moving across the stage in front of the curtain, and everyone, including the Dacha Dwellers, performing cartwheels. The score by Dmiti Shostakovich is sparkling and imminently danceable.

The performers are uniformly outstanding, with regard to both dancing and acting. Guest artist, Ivan Vasiliev (from the Bolshoi Ballet), is Pyotr. In my 31 years of attending ballet performances I have never seen a dancer with as exciting a technique as Vasiliev’s. He whips off twists and turns in the air, as well as executing astounding 560 degree turns. Vasiliev also pulls off some very fast turns a la seconde where he throws in several jumps. As well, Vasiliev is an endearing actor who makes Pyotr seem more like a naughty little boy than a philandering husband.

As the Ballerina, Natalia Osipova (another guest artist from the Bolshoi), is flawless. In Act II, the steps which parody the acrobatic style of the Bolshoi Ballet fit Osipova perfectly. Her leaps, where she floats above the stage for what seems like an eternity, are a wonder. Osipova has a real flair for comedy and her chemistry with Xiomara Reyes’ Zina is lovely to see.

With his amazing multiple pirouettes and astounding pointe work, Daniil Simkin is almost too good as the Ballet Dancer in drag. I wonder if the role would be even funnier with a performer not quite so slight and delicate-looking.

Xiomara Reyes is a very sweet Zina, but she is outshone by her co-stars, especially Osipova and Vasiliev. As the Anxious-to-Be-Younger-Than-She-Is Dacha Dweller, Susan Jones threatens to steal the show every time she appears. Seeing her dart across the stage on pointe is a sight not to be missed. Craig Salstein serves up a mean tango as the swaggering Accordion Player. Maria Riccetto is an adorable schoolgirl. She stays in character even during the curtain calls as she claps her hands and mouths “For me?” when she is given her bouquet of flowers. Issac Stappas is a hysterically funny dog with a truly frightening bark.

My only quibble with The Bright Stream is that it ends too suddenly. A final pas de deux between Zina and Pyotr is needed to show they are really on the road to happiness. And a razzle dazzle solo for each of the principal characters would conclude the ballet on an even higher note.

That being said, The Bright Stream is the best new ballet I’ve seen in years. It is a perfect blend of witty, innovative choreography, sprightly music and superb performances. It deserves to stay in American Ballet Theatre’s repertoire for a long time.

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I've enjoyed reading all of the reports. I am curious if the New York edition of ABT's Bright Stream had the 'plain beige' sets that we got in Washington, DC, last January or if they used the multi-colored, more elaborate Bolshoi sets/costumes. I was very disappointed with the 'plain beige' after having seen the colorful Bolshoi edition (Boris Messerer designs), which the Bolshoi had toured to NYC 4-5 summers ago. I'm surprised that nobody compared the two versions, making me wonder if ABT has added some color to what we saw in DC 4 months ago.

Other than the designs seen in DC, I loved this production and couldn't agree more with the various reports! :thumbsup:

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Thanks to all for these fascinating reviews and comments. Several reviewers here, plus Macaulay's review in the NYTimes today, mention how much they enjoyed the music, and I love to hear that, at least, since we on the West Coast probably won't get to see the ballet any time soon.

I've searched everywhere (i.e., iTunes and Amazon, which constitute 'everywhere' these days, I suppose) and can't find it. Bright Sheng, but no Bright Stream. Does anyone know if there is a recording available?

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Thanks to all for these fascinating reviews and comments. Several reviewers here, plus Macaulay's review in the NYTimes today, mention how much they enjoyed the music, and I love to hear that, at least, since we on the West Coast probably won't get to see the ballet any time soon.

I've searched everywhere (i.e., iTunes and Amazon, which constitute 'everywhere' these days, I suppose) and can't find it. Bright Sheng, but no Bright Stream. Does anyone know if there is a recording available?

Peggy, I'm not a 100% certain on this , but I think the title is also known as "Limpid Stream" and there are some recordings of that.

Someone who speaks Russian (or knows music better than I do!) may be able to confirm this. It's possible the translation/transliteration has some variables to it.

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Thanks to all for these fascinating reviews and comments. Several reviewers here, plus Macaulay's review in the NYTimes today, mention how much they enjoyed the music, and I love to hear that, at least, since we on the West Coast probably won't get to see the ballet any time soon.

I've searched everywhere (i.e., iTunes and Amazon, which constitute 'everywhere' these days, I suppose) and can't find it. Bright Sheng, but no Bright Stream. Does anyone know if there is a recording available?

ABT is taking the production to Los Angeles in July right after the MET season.

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Thanks to all for these fascinating reviews and comments. Several reviewers here, plus Macaulay's review in the NYTimes today, mention how much they enjoyed the music, and I love to hear that, at least, since we on the West Coast probably won't get to see the ballet any time soon.

I've searched everywhere (i.e., iTunes and Amazon, which constitute 'everywhere' these days, I suppose) and can't find it. Bright Sheng, but no Bright Stream. Does anyone know if there is a recording available?

Peggy, I'm not a 100% certain on this , but I think the title is also known as "Limpid Stream" and there are some recordings of that.

Someone who speaks Russian (or knows music better than I do!) may be able to confirm this. It's possible the translation/transliteration has some variables to it.

The work (Op 39) is know as both "the Bright Stream" and "The Limpid Stream." There's a recording of it on the Chandos label with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky conducting The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. (It's available on Amazon as both a CD and a download.)

The Russian title is Светлый Ручей (Svetlyi Ruchyei) -- Светлый is usually translated as "bright" but can also mean "clear" or "light (in color)."

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