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Swan Lake- Spring 2011


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#1 abatt

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:59 AM

In case anyone is interested, the casting for the Purple Rothbart role is as follows:

Monday June 27- Gomes
Tues June 28- Saviliev
Wed Matinee June 29 and Sat Mat July 2- Matthews
Wed Eve June 29 and Sat Eve July 2- Radetsky
Thurs June 30 - Hallberg
Fri July 1 Hammoudi


Also, Carreno is replacing Max B. as Siegfried on Monday June 27.

#2 ksk04

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:48 PM

Also, Carreno is replacing Max B. as Siegfried on Monday June 27.


This is the most shocking casting replacement ABT has made all season: a company member...replacing an injured company member?!? :smilie_mondieu:

#3 richard53dog

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 02:58 PM


Also, Carreno is replacing Max B. as Siegfried on Monday June 27.


This is the most shocking casting replacement ABT has made all season: a company member...replacing an injured company member?!? :smilie_mondieu:



Maybe Kevin couldn't find anyone to guest..... :FIREdevil:

#4 vipa

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:13 PM



Also, Carreno is replacing Max B. as Siegfried on Monday June 27.


This is the most shocking casting replacement ABT has made all season: a company member...replacing an injured company member?!? :smilie_mondieu:



Maybe Kevin couldn't find anyone to guest..... :FIREdevil:


Maybe because he is leaving ABT, Kevin forgot Carreno was a commpany member

#5 Batsuchan

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 06:40 PM

This is the most shocking casting replacement ABT has made all season: a company member...replacing an injured company member?!? :smilie_mondieu:


Ah, but let's not forget that Angel Corella did substitute for an injured Herman Cornejo in the 6/1 "Giselle" with Reyes. But then again, Corella is practically a guest artist at this point. :wallbash:

I was kinda looking forward to seeing Max and Irina together, but it will be nice to see Carreno one more time! And I am SOO looking forward to seeing Gomes' Rothbart!

#6 FauxPas

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:54 AM

I saw the opening night "Swan Lake" last night. BTW: the Met was practically sold out - I was in standing room and had trouble getting that! Lots of sections were sold out.

It was a good performance with many wonderful moments. First of all, José Manuel Carreno is still in very good form - stunning assemblé turns and spinning jumps. His expert partnering and focused acting held the evening together. Irina Dvorovenko did better as Odile than Odette in my opinion. She definitely is a very accomplished dancer but her effects are calculated. Her Odette had a certain controlled restraint which was good but also a kind of self-contained objective coldness that turned me off. Every step was clearly and precisely hit with nothing over the top added on for effect. Also, Irina was doing the big swan arms, not overdone and didn't do the "rippling water" effect on her exit.

But she barely looked at José during the pas de deux and seemed emotionally disconnected from him. Compare that with Makarova who turns the whole pas de deux into a "look at me...no don't...I need you...no I can't" dialogue of need vs. fear vs. attraction vs. despair vs. falling in love. Dvorovenko had little emotional arc suggesting that she had come to some kind of conclusion at the beginning rather than discovering and developing a relationship onstage. Well-done but a little bit self-absorbed Lopatkina Ice Queen.

Dvorovenko's Odile was more extroverted and interactive and sparkled with sensual allure and technical command. Irina and José pulled out the stops in the coda finale with stunning barrel turns, whiplash fouettés and turns a la seconde. The final act was more moving but again the abbreviated choreography with most of the swans just running across the stage to cover a scene change behind the "in one" drop was kinda lame. I really miss the bit where the swans are all huddled in groups of four and Siegfried has to search for Odette among them. How much time did we save and how much quality choreography did we lose? I always like the final pas de deux that McKenzie put into the Act IV though. Put that into the original Ivanov text and I won't mind Swamp Thing and the Purple Pimp.

As for the Purple Pimp that was Marcelo the Magnificent. Nuff said. He brought down the house in Act III with his Russian Dance solo. Pas de Trois in Act I was Simkin, Lane and Kajiya. They were fine though Daniil was having a bad night landing from jumps and finishing turns with his feet in position. In Act III he landed badly from a jeté and I kept wondering if he had injured his foot but he finished fine. The rest of his work was excellent. The ladies were lovely. Big swans were Stella Abrera and Hee Seo. Neapolitan Dance was excellently danced by Joseph Philips and Craig Salstein.

Full house, lots of applause at the end.

#7 abatt

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 06:37 AM

Gomes as Purple Rothbart made the evening worth the price of admission. Irina is in a real bind these days. She is so used to dancing with her husband, but he is frequently injured. She seems to have little or no connection with the partners she is assigned as replacements for Max. I too felt her performance was too chilly. There was no chemistry w. Jose, and therefore the performance left me cold. She did the steps well enough (except that her Act II solo phrasing was too choppy and disconnected). However, there was no drama. Jose gave a fine performance, although it is much smaller in scale than in days gone by.

#8 mimsyb

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 10:30 AM

Gomes as Purple Rothbart made the evening worth the price of admission. Irina is in a real bind these days. She is so used to dancing with her husband, but he is frequently injured. She seems to have little or no connection with the partners she is assigned as replacements for Max. I too felt her performance was too chilly. There was no chemistry w. Jose, and therefore the performance left me cold. She did the steps well enough (except that her Act II solo phrasing was too choppy and disconnected). However, there was no drama. Jose gave a fine performance, although it is much smaller in scale than in days gone by.


Agreed, Abatt. Irina just couldn't get it together with Jose. (how hard is that?) She literally walked through the White Act, and her Black Swan was a bit over the top with no real interesting technique to make her alluring. She just gets the job done these days. Period. Jose looked wonderful. And even with his best dancing days behind him, still he brings a strong personality to the character and I can still admire his technique, however diminished. As for Gomes! Wowza! The whole stage came alive at his entrance and everyone seemed to be in another ballet at that point! Up to then, it was somewhat back to the same shaggy corps work from previous weeks. For me, the Pas de Trois lacked clarity and nuance. The three dancers all had a different idea where the count of "one" happens, thus the work looked blurred. And those overly long dresses on the ladies in the First Act make it difficult to see much of anything going on with the feet and legs. Little Swans was OK, if not totally together. Big swans, likewise with little amplitude to either Stella or Hee. Ballroom dances were OK, I guess, but after seeing so much of that style of dancing in "Coppelia" the week prior, it's beginning to look a bit like "So You Think You Can Czardas!" But Gomes made it worth the price! And I had had the same experience with no tickets available, so bought a Grand Tier standing room. But I was rewarded just before the curtain went up with the usher coming over to me and giving me the one un-occupied seat in the house! A no-show for Center Grand Tier! Now, how bad is that? Everything IS beautiful at the ballet!

#9 Batsuchan

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:29 PM

I totally agree with FauxPas, abatt and mimsyb regarding Gomes in Act III last night! It really felt like the performance came alive (finally!) when he burst onstage. In his very capable hands, the relatively minor role of Von Rothbart became a showstopper, and it was 100% believable that Odette (in the prelude) and the entire court in Act III would succumb to his charms. As abatt said, his performance alone was worth the price of admission.

I wish I could say the same for the rest of the performance. I was not feeling Dvorovenko’s Odette either. To me, she seems to be a very technically-capable dancer—she’s still got great extension and hit all the 180-degree penchee arabesques; her balances and turns were very secure; and she still has the flexibility in her back to pull off beautiful swan poses. However, her dancing lacked that silky, fluid quality and touch of etherealness that I look for. She hit all the poses and steps perfectly, but as abatt said, it felt a bit choppy and disconnected. Overall, her Odette gave me the impression of athletic prowess, rather than otherworldly grace.

As others have commented, her Odette did not have much chemistry with Carreno’s Prince either. She seemed very comfortable in Carreno’s hands; the partnering looked smooth, and they pulled off some overhead lifts were stunning, but I never believed they were in love.

That being said, Dvorovenko seemed fully in her element as Odile. (Or maybe it was that Gomes’ magnetic performance galvanized the rest of the cast.) Here the powering-through-the-elements style worked well, and I think playing the femme fatale fits Dvorovenko more naturally. At one point in her variation, Dvorovenko did one of those turns where her right leg is in attitude and she’s arching backwards—and she did it so slowly that it was magical. In the fouettes, she started with a double pirouette and then pulled of nearly 32 singles that stayed in one place—to great effect. Carreno responded with some truly jaw-dropping fouettes with the free leg fully extended—with MULTIPLE revolutions. Wow, simply wow. Act III was definitely a highlight for me.

Act IV was okay for me. Mostly, I was impressed by the power of Tchaikovsky’s score. I’ve heard it tons of times before, and I wasn’t buying the love story last night, but I couldn’t help but feel moved by the music. What a genius.

Speaking of which, thank you to the solo violinist. I’m not sure if it’s the same person who played in the Opening night gala, but if it is, thank you, thank you for practicing. I was wincing during all the off-key notes in the gala (same thing happened at the Cuban ballet too!), but last night the violin solo was pretty much in tune (if somewhat awkwardly played).

**
A few other notes:

I thought the corps looked only okay in Act I—definitely looked like they could use some more rehearsal. However, the swan scene looked fantastic to me. I was sitting right off the left aisle, so I had a fairly central view, and I thought they looked great.

I didn’t notice the problems with Simkin’s jumps and turns that FauxPas saw—in fact, to me, his pirouettes looked much more centered and well-finished than the ones he did in “Coppelia” last Monday, when he had to cheat the endings. And his jumps are so nice and airy. The trio was not perfectly synchronized, but Kajiya and Lane looked much more comfortable being partnered by Simkin than I remember. I used to worry anytime Simkin had to lift a girl, but now he looks more secure.

In Von Rothbart’s dance with the four princesses, Renata Pavam stood out for me—she always seems to catch my eye—and her tiny bourrees toward Von Rothbart were magical. It really looked like he was reeling her in with an invisible string.

Finally—a small complaint. What was up with the squeaky floor? I don’t think I’ve ever heard the marley squeak that much before. It totally ruined the effect of the Prince’s reverie in Act I. I hope they powder it or do something before tonight’s show!

#10 christine174

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 07:16 PM

Completely full house tonight. It looked sold out. Great! But wouldn't it have been more strategic to do SL earlier in the season? I'm assuming the sellout was because of the movie. Many of these people may be new balletgoers. If they enjoy SL, they may want to see other ballets, and at this point there's only Sleeping Beauty left. Doing SL earlier in the season would have captured these new balletgoers sooner, and given them more chances to experience more ballet.
As I think about it, I realized that Don Q often starts the season, followed by a rep program, and that Swan Lake (and R&J, the many years they've done it) typically end the season. Is there some rationale for that particular order?
The corps looked particularly bad. They were so off that sometimes it looked like crazy modern choreography and timing. When two girls are supposed to grand jete together, and one is in the air while the other has yet to get off the ground, that's really jarring. Wait -- it was worse than that. One had completed the jete while the other had yet to get off the ground. That happened at least twice.
Despite that, it's a great story, great music, and great principal dancing. DON'T GO TO NEW ZEALAND, GILLIAN!!!
And let me put in a word of appreciation for Renata Pavam, who did the pas de trois. Such a lovely dancer, carrying (almost) the load of a soloist for years without ever getting the promotion. So light and sparkling and musical, with a smile big enough to light up the whole auditorium. As with Anne Milewski, I sure will miss her when she retires!

#11 mimsyb

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:05 PM

Completely full house tonight. It looked sold out. Great! But wouldn't it have been more strategic to do SL earlier in the season? I'm assuming the sellout was because of the movie. Many of these people may be new balletgoers. If they enjoy SL, they may want to see other ballets, and at this point there's only Sleeping Beauty left. Doing SL earlier in the season would have captured these new balletgoers sooner, and given them more chances to experience more ballet.
As I think about it, I realized that Don Q often starts the season, followed by a rep program, and that Swan Lake (and R&J, the many years they've done it) typically end the season. Is there some rationale for that particular order?
The corps looked particularly bad. They were so off that sometimes it looked like crazy modern choreography and timing. When two girls are supposed to grand jete together, and one is in the air while the other has yet to get off the ground, that's really jarring. Wait -- it was worse than that. One had completed the jete while the other had yet to get off the ground. That happened at least twice.
Despite that, it's a great story, great music, and great principal dancing. DON'T GO TO NEW ZEALAND, GILLIAN!!!
And let me put in a word of appreciation for Renata Pavam, who did the pas de trois. Such a lovely dancer, carrying (almost) the load of a soloist for years without ever getting the promotion. So light and sparkling and musical, with a smile big enough to light up the whole auditorium. As with Anne Milewski, I sure will miss her when she retires!

Is Renata retiring? Hope not!! She is one of the most reliable of all the corps, who as mentioned, has been dancing nearly a soloist load for a few years without the promotion. Can't figure that one out. Her technique is more consistently assured than either Sarah Lane or even Yuriko. Her piroettes are magic and she's one of the few corps ladies who can do a decent entre chat six. And her stage presence in everything she does is a stand out. A wonderful dancer in many styles. A true asset to ABT. It would be so nice to see her get that promotion!
SL tonight was a totally different story than last night. Gillian just gets better and better (especially her white act), and her Black Swan is pure force of nature! David superb, especially in his acting which gets only better. And oh, those feet! Everything about this performance said "special". Except for Gennadi as "purple Rothbart" who looked like he became injured mid solo in Act III. He seemed to stop dancing and also looked to be limping a bit when he walked. Hopefully, it's not serious. But aside from that, the performance was a triumph!

One thing. what's with the curtains? Last night the red divider curtain wouldn't open properly and tonight the traveler wouldn't move either for the bows. A small blemish.

#12 Slant

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:28 PM

The corps looked particularly bad. They were so off that sometimes it looked like crazy modern choreography and timing. When two girls are supposed to grand jete together, and one is in the air while the other has yet to get off the ground, that's really jarring. Wait -- it was worse than that. One had completed the jete while the other had yet to get off the ground. That happened at least twice.


I agree. The performance of the corps was very poor tonight, and on most occasions undependable. This to me is a defining difference between City Ballet and ABT - the quality of the corps.

I hear Joaquin de Luz will be performing in Thursday's SL for Jose's retirement. Very neat!

#13 christine174

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 09:10 PM

I also wondered what happened to Gennadi Saveliev and if he became injured during the performance. Hope it's not serious.

#14 Batsuchan

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 03:17 PM

As mimsyb wrote, Tuesday night’s performance with Murphy/Hallberg was a great improvement over Monday night’s show. Although Gillian usually strikes me as an athletic, powerful dancer, she was beautiful as Odette, and had the fluidity and vulnerability that I found lacking in Dvorovenko’s portrayal. It helped, of course, that she had the naturally-noble Hallberg as her partner, and they had lovely chemistry together.

At the start of the Odette variation, I noticed that Murphy didn’t do the small beats (tiny rond de jambe or petite battement?) going into the developpe, or rather that they were not very well-defined compared to other Odettes I have seen. However, in the diagonal of en dedans and en dehors pique turns (not sure what they’re really called), she pulled off some effortless, perfectly-centered quads and some hyperspeed chaine turns that were jawdropping. I was also really impressed near the end of this scene, when von Rothbart is on the rocks, trying to draw her away from Sigfried, and it really looked like she was straining against some magical, magnetic pull.

In Act III, her Odile was more strong and imperious rather than dangerously seductive, but Hallberg’s Prince was smitten all the same. Murphy pulled off ridiculous fouettes—after the first quad, I accidentally blurted out, “Oh my god!”—but she did end slightly before the music.

On the whole, however, I think I may have enjoyed Monday’s Act III more. It felt like Gomes threw down the gauntlet with his electrifying von Rothbart performance, and to answer the call, it felt like Dvorovenko and Carreno stepped up their game and really went for it. Wow! On Tuesday, however, Savaliev simply paled in comparison in Gomes. Actually, from my perspective, it was awful. Perhaps, as others have commented, he’s dealing with an injury, but to me, it looked like he had forgotten half the steps and was trying to find his place in the music—such was the lack of command and precision. He certainly didn’t ignite the performance, and although Murphy and Hallberg danced very well, Act III never reached the same level of excitement for me.

That being said, their Act IV was significantly more emotionally satisfying for me. I’m wondering if this has something to do with Hallberg, because the two performances I’ve seen with him have both been on the more satisfying side. I have noticed that there are two ways that ballerinas play Odette in Act IV. In the first route, which Dvorovenko chose, Odette is upset, almost angry, when Siegfried returns, and it seems like she is rejecting him when she keeps pulling away and finally jumps off the cliff. I find this to be very unsatisfying because then there’s an abrupt reversal from a lovers’ spat to them being happy in heaven, like, “No, I never want to see you again!” to “Hooray, we’re united at last!” In the second route, however, Odette is more sad than upset; she doesn’t feel betrayed because she never truly believed Siegfried could save her. Under this interpretation, Odette and Siegfried seem to commiserate over their star-crossed fate, before choosing death as their salvation. I’m beginning to think that Hallberg lends himself to the latter interpretation, because he just looks so broken, so devastated by his mistake that there is no point in chastising him further; Odette can only join him in his misery.

As much as I love and worship Marcelo Gomes, I think Hallberg may be my favorite as Prince Siegfried. He’s so naturally noble, and he has a quiet pathos about him, and a vulnerability and innocence that work perfectly for Siegfried, in my opinion. I cannot wait to see him and Semionova on Saturday and all those lovely, long lines!

**

A few other notes:

First, let me echo christine174 and mimsyb in the praise of Renata Pavam! I mentioned in my earlier post that she caught my eye on Monday night (as she does in every performance), and it was such a delight to see her in the pas de trios on Tuesday. She definitely has the fluidity and lightness that I adore; her pirouettes seemed to float, her tiny bourrees skimmed the surface of the stage, and the use of her arms was magical. She’s petite, yet she carries the motion through the tips of her fingers and toes in a way that magnifies her presence. While watching her last night, I thought, I would love to see her in Act II of “Giselle.” She would be the very picture of ethereal grace! I certainly hope she continues to dance with ABT for many years to come, and hopefully in a more prominent position!

Also, let me give a shout-out to Roman Zhurbin, who danced the Spanish dance on Monday and was the lead man in the Czardas on Tuesday night. I’ve become so used to seeing him playing older, often comical men (Kitri’s father, Dr. Coppelius, Gavrilych in “The Bright Stream”) that I sometimes forget what a fine dancer he can be.

@ christine174 – you make a good point about potentially doing “Swan Lake” earlier in the season to entice new ballet-goers to see more performances later in the season. I was under the impression that “Swan Lake” is later in the season since it’s popular among families and kids are out of school by then…? If that’s the case, why not split it into two runs? Since “Swan Lake” is selling like hotcakes, perhaps they could do 4 or 5 performances earlier in the season, followed by another 4 later in the season. Just a thought.

#15 nanushka

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 04:56 PM

The barely existent beats at the beginning of the Odette variation were just one example of how lacking in musicality Gillian's performance was last night. I was quite disappointed, as I've noticed that in recent years she has in fact become a more musical and emotional dancer. (I recall a superb performance of The Dream last year, as well as an Other Dances with Hallberg.) Alas, much of last night looked like the Gillian of years past. The black swan variation in particular was the performance more of an athlete than a dancer. Despite some hearty bravas, the audience response seemed to reflect this: at an earlier point, the applause died down more quickly than usual, and more quickly than she expected, leaving her to take an embarrassing second bow to which the audience then had to respond. Even the fouettes seemed far from her best; personally, I did not count a quad but only 2 or 3 triples, and she travelled across nearly half the stage. Also several years ago she had added some rather astonishing swan arms to her fouettes, but these too were gone. Her characterization in Act III consisted of much awkward jerking, particularly when David crossed their arms across her chest, and when she raised her arm to prevent his approach. The impression I got was of a harsh, gruff Odile -- not nearly seductive enough.


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