abatt

Swan Lake- Spring 2011

122 posts in this topic

, I think Macaulay got this one right. The choreography of the Act IV prelude was terrible--lots of aimless running around. And the lighting was so bad, in design, but also some in execution--at the Met!

Just came home from Thursday's Swan Lake, where Carreno retired. It's too bad that he retired with this production because, like others, I think it has so many problems and really suffers when compared to others productions, like those of the Mariinsky.

Act I started out fairly well. The corps looked to be in unison and the pas de trois, with Joaquin de Luz (on loan from NYCB) Yuriko and Sarah Lane was pretty good, although Sarah and Yuriko were rarely synchronized in their movements. De Luz has lost some of his brauvura technique since he danced with ABT but he made up for it with his amazing precision and speed. No need for the orchestra to slow down for his solo part; he just performed beautifully at full speed (I guess that what dancing Balanchine will do for you). I also have to give props to Susan Jaffe as the Queen Mother. I don't think I have ever seen a more regally danced Queen and her mime was absolutely outstanding! I really understood what was going on in the relationship with her son. Finally, I must note that I also heard what others have mentioned - the noisy marley floor. I assume it must be new or newly washed because it squeaked (VERY LOUDLY) when dancers pirouetted.

Then came Act II and things went downhill. To my mind, Julie Kent needs to retire while Carreno could last a few more years. Her Odette was, IMO, fairly awful. She couldn't hold a balance on pointe (fell out of every one, too), changed the choreography a bit to do single pirouettes instead of doubles, and bourred slowly. However, the worst was that because her back has become much more inflexible, she really couldn't deliver the goods dramatically, to express Odette's sorrow/concern at being trapped as a swan. To compound an already bad situation, the solo violinist was atrocious (often sharp and with lack of technique) and the orchestra kept slowing the music down to an unbelievably lethargic pace every time Julie danced solo. The corps was also a bit ragged (especially their arms). However, the cygnettes (Gemma Bond, Marian Butler, Misty Copeland and Maria Riccetto) and the big swans (Simone Messmer and Melanie Hamrick) were good and somewhat made up for the other deficiencies of the Act.

Act III brought welcome relief as Gillian Murphy came out as Odile and David Hallberg as Rothbart. I agree that Gillian is a harsh, not particularly seductive, Odile. But at least she can do the steps, balance, pull out some quadruple pirouettes (which she did) and otherwise perform the part, which is more than I can say for Julie Kent. When she started the fouettes, she did quadruple turns after each fouette. She ended up doing single fouettes without the turns and, as others have noted, traveled about halfway across the stage. Still, not bad. The highlight of the act, though, was David Hallberg, who was wonderful as Rothbart. Though he is not as evil or menacing as Gomes (who originated the part and is still my favorite in it) he did a wonderful job. The ethnic dances were pretty much standard (they are also truncated) with the exception of the Neopolitan. Craig Salstein and Joseph Phillips were technically and dramatically great there.

Act IV was its truncated, disappointing self, with the corps basically flitting across the stage. Lost are the beautiful formations of four swans and the section where Siegfried tries to discern who is Odette. And of course, back was Julie Kent. For that reason alone, I was rather glad for the brevity of the Act. However, Carreno did justice to his solo (and all the other solos he had) with outstanding pirouettes and jumps while not bravura by today's standards, were certainly nothing to be ashamed of. And I loved that, after Odette has jumped off the cliff, Carreno flung himself after her with special elan.

Then came the celebrations. First all the principal ballerinas (including Alesssandra Ferri) came out, then the principal men, then the entire company, including Kevin McKenzie, to bid Carreno adieu. Carreno even came out with his two teenage daughters. The crowd gave him a very long standing ovation (though not as lengthy as the one when Julio Bocca retired) and then finally the night concluded. Overall, it was an unsatisfying performance but a nice farewell for a great and much beloved dancer, Jose Carreno.

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So.... comments on tonight's performance?

I thought it was spectacular.

The cast was Odette - Julie Kent, Odile - Gillian Murphy, Siegfried Jose Manuel Carreño, Queen - Susan Jaffe, Wolfgang - Victor Barbee, Benno - Joaquin De Luz, von Rothbart - Isaac Stappas and David Hallberg, Pas de Trois - De Luz, Sarah Lane & Yuriko Kajiya.

Carreño's dancing was beautiful. He got a huge welcome on his entrance. I'll miss the control he has in his turns.

I won't be as harsh as Amour on Kent's performance. She had some lovely moments while Gillian Murphy had comparatively a multitude of lovely moments. She has the flexibility in her back that Kent lacks.

I still find it amusing that, in this production, Odile doesn't exit with Rothbart at the end of Act III. Where does she run off to? The kitchen?

It was nice to see De Luz dancing with ABT again. His Benno is superior to the soloists I've seen in the role lately (last year). (This is the only Swan Lake I'm seeing this season.)

Hallberg was amazing. Gomes and he own the role of Rothbart, and it was wonderful to see him.

The cygnets (Gemma Bond, Marian Butler, Misty Copeland, Maria Ricetto) were good. They even got their head movements together although I have yet to see a performance where they all seem to be using the same focal points.

The two swans were Simone Messmer and Melanie Hamrick.

The house appeared to be sold out. There was a lot of talking/shouting that I couldn't make out at the beginning of the 1st Act, followed by the requisite and repeated shushing from fellow audience members. Some of this, I think, had to do with people still being seating as the performance began.

Sadly, the women seated next to me and behind me felt compelled to sing along with the score at different points throughout the evening. The woman next to me whispered to her companion throughout the entire performance, used her phone to light up her program and checked her text messages too.

The orchestra has sounded better. There were a lot of clunkers tonight. The violin soloist had pitch problems in the 2nd act. Overall, his 3rd act solo was better, but it still wasn't at the level it should be.

The ovation at the end was very moving. Carreño turned and knelt to the company at what would have been the end of a regular evening's curtain call. Then they brought up the curtain on him alone. And then the company came out one by one to hug him and give him flowers. I didn't recognize everyone, but they included this evening's cast members, natch, De Luz and Jaffe, Xiomara Reyes, Paloma Herrera, Natalia Osipova, Julio Bocca, Marcelo Gomes, Maxim Beloserkovsky(?) and Cory Stearns. I'm not sure who the older man was, who hugged him before Kevin McKenzie.

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Carreno's performance last night was better than most of the performances he has given over the last 2 years. It was as if he turned back time. Last night he really did look like he could have danced several more years. He gave it his all, and it was a performance to remember. His chemistry w. Kent was riveting. His partnering was magnificent, and his technique was wonderful. Kent certainly has issues these days with holding her positions and balances. However, I thought that the depth of emotion she brought to the role more than made up for her technical lapses. When she and Carreno parted at the end of Act II, it almost brought tears to my eyes it was so moving. Her deportment is so beautifully elegant. Even though Dvorovenko and Herrera were superior Odettes in terms of technique earlier this week, those performances didn't have much emotional impact for me. Therefore, I felt Kent's performance was superior despite the obvious flaws in her technique. Murphy was so impressive as Odile, with amazing technical prowess (triple spins). Difficult choreography looks like child's play when she does it. How wonderful to see Susan Jaffe as the Queen Mother, reminding of all of the great performances that she and Jose performed on that stage. DeLuz has lost some of his technique, but it was wonderful to see him back on the MET stage. Sarah and Yuriko were much better in the peasant pas than earlier in the week.

Hallberg was very good as Purple Rothbart, but I cannot buy him as an evil character. Gomes is my gold standard as Purple Rothbart.

I didn't notice Osipova come out. What was she wearing? I saw Irina, Xiomara, Ferri, Jaffe and Paloma. I did not see Part or Wiles. It was great to see Bocca back to honor Jose as well. Steifel and Max B. were there too, even though they are not performing this season. I didn't see Herman. I don't think he was there. Hamrick (the future Mrs. Carreno) gave Jose a big hug and kiss (and flowers, I think) and then went to the back of the stage. Jose's daughters did not appear to interact with her at all on stage. I think the gray haired man who came out right before McKenzie was Barbee. Does anyone know?

Carreno gave many great, memorable performances on that stage which I will cherish in my memory. The first time I ever saw ABT was in the mid 90s. It was a Don Q. w. Susan Jaffe and Jose.

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so lovely to hear the Jose's farewell was everything it should have been. I definitely wish I could have been there, but seeing as I'm in the middle of a transcontinental move, being in NYC just wasn't going to work out.

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Did anyone see Wed. matinee? That was Wiles farewell performance with ABT.

I'm not sure who the older man was, who hugged him before Kevin McKenzie.

That's Victor Barbee. I also spotted Jacques d'Amboise in the audience.

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Carreno's performance last night was better than most of the performances he has given over the last 2 years. It was as if he turned back time. Last night he really did look like he could have danced several more years. He gave it his all, and it was a performance to remember. His chemistry w. Kent was riveting. His partnering was magnificent, and his technique was wonderful. Kent certainly has issues these days with holding her positions and balances. However, I thought that the depth of emotion she brought to the role more than made up for her technical lapses. When she and Carreno parted at the end of Act II, it almost brought tears to my eyes it was so moving. Her deportment is so beautifully elegant. Even though Dvorovenko and Herrera were superior Odettes in terms of technique earlier this week, those performances didn't have much emotional impact for me. Therefore, I felt Kent's performance was superior despite the obvious flaws in her technique. Murphy was so impressive as Odile, with amazing technical prowess (triple spins). Difficult choreography looks like child's play when she does it. How wonderful to see Susan Jaffe as the Queen Mother, reminding of all of the great performances that she and Jose performed on that stage. DeLuz has lost some of his technique, but it was wonderful to see him back on the MET stage. Sarah and Yuriko were much better in the peasant pas than earlier in the week.

Hallberg was very good as Purple Rothbart, but I cannot buy him as an evil character. Gomes is my gold standard as Purple Rothbart.

I didn't notice Osipova come out. What was she wearing? I saw Irina, Xiomara, Ferri, Jaffe and Paloma. I did not see Part or Wiles. It was great to see Bocca back to honor Jose as well. Steifel and Max B. were there too, even though they are not performing this season. I didn't see Herman. I don't think he was there. Hamrick (the future Mrs. Carreno) gave Jose a big hug and kiss (and flowers, I think) and then went to the back of the stage. Jose's daughters did not appear to interact with her at all on stage. I think the gray haired man who came out right before McKenzie was Barbee. Does anyone know?

Carreno gave many great, memorable performances on that stage which I will cherish in my memory. The first time I ever saw ABT was in the mid 90s. It was a Don Q. w. Susan Jaffe and Jose.

I would tend to be on the side of a spectacular farewell performance last night. Unlike some, I found Julie to be the most passionate and moving of all the Odettes I saw so far this season. (all but Michelle Wiles). Her vulnerability and softness in Seigfrieds' arms was heart wrenching. Her mime was wonderful and authentic. She told her story. "Here's how I got here". Unlike others, I find her arabesques to be absolutely right. Long before it became obligatory to hold those balances (especially in her entrance), it was correct to pique on "one" and recover to faille for the lovely arms and head movements. The music absolutely tells it to be so. She is so musical as to be an extension of the score, so I never know where the dancing begins and the music overlap. Few can master this. Ulanova was one. Not much more can be said of Jose and his extraordinary partnering skills. They were in absolute synch the entire time. I didn't let go of my breath until the final bourree off. I might add that Julie's soft , whispering battu into her slow final fouette before the final pose was breathtaking. And when she repeated that move in Act IV, now with the leg barely circling the fouette in a much lower mode, it spoke to her complete dejection and shattering of her love and hope for salvation. She has so many details in her interpretation that no one else manages. Brava!

Gillian, as others have reported, was beyond belief. Nothing technical stands in her way. But unlike some, I find her "gruffness" entirely appropriate. She's a villain, controlled and in cahoots with Rothbart. The fact that she comes across as so different from Odette and is still able to fool Seigfried speaks to his character also. It makes the change up all that more tragic. She doesn't need to have a relationship with Siegried. Her real relationship is with Rothbart, and here she succeeds, utterly. And I think the fact that Rothbart and Odile go in separate directions at the end is fine too. Surely they will meet up later to "divide the spoils", so to speak. Perhaps her other image is an owl, or a bat. Whatever, Rothbart has probably conjured her also and given her human form at his whim.

Jose was just so wonderful throughout, pulling out all the stops. His turns and even most of his jumps were age defying. But his partnering and stage manner stood out in every way. What a presence! He will be surely missed.

Most of the rest of the performance was of a higher caliber than on other nights. (IMO). The corps got it together, cynets and big swans looked great. And even the Act III dances had a higher energy than previously. Kudos to Susan Jaffe, looking very regal and sexy at the same time, so you could believe her momentary attraction to Rothbart. Like the other princesses, even she seems taken in by him. Given Hallberg's wonderful sinister manner and gorgeous lines and jumps, who wouldn't be taken in by him?

A big shout out to Joaquin! Nice to see you out of leotards for a change!

Altogether a great send off for Jose! The after glow continued into all the bows as others have mentioned. Great fun. Especially seeing Bocca do his little "rhumba" step on stage! The lady who I think others have identified as Ferri, I think was Vishneva, but I could be wrong . When she first came on stage with her back to us, I too thought Ferri, but when she turned around, I thought Vishneva. I friend who was at the party afterwards did not mention Ferri being there. Does anyone know for sure? Part came on all in black with VERY high heels! I didn't see Osipova either. I didn't see either Cornejo or Corella. But just seeing Jose's beautiful smile and honest gratitude at the bows was so worth the night.

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I didn't see Osipova either.

I admit I just saw dyed black hair and heard someone say that was Osipova, so I could very well be mistaken.

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Did anyone see Wed. matinee? That was Wiles farewell performance with ABT.

???? Wow, was that acknowledged anywhere by ABT? I can understand not making an announcement about a soloist's departure, but you'd think they'd release a statement, at least, for a principal.

Thanks for all the reports from Jose's farewell! Keep em coming.

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I didn't see Osipova either.

I admit I just saw dyed black hair and heard someone say that was Osipova, so I could very well be mistaken.

Yes, it was definitely Ferri--with her long black hair down and wearing this wine red shirt/dress. I saw her walk into the Grand Tier at intermission and recognized the outfit when she came out on stage later--otherwise I wouldn't have been able to tell. :sweatingbullets:

And I also think it was Victor Barbee who came out with Carreno's daughters (before McKenzie)--he went to stand by Julie, so that would be my guess.

I was kind of surprised not to see Corella there--but I guess since Cornejo was not there either, they are touring somewhere?

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Drew—thank you very much for your explanations! I think I would like to see Odette turn to her sister swans for comfort, and see Siegfried search for her. Having an intermission between Act III and Act IV would definitely provide enough time for costume and scene changes, but I’m not sure ABT would want to add another intermission (and I’m not sure *I* want another intermission). Hmm..

**

As for Thursday night’s performance, I agree with abatt and Roberto Dini. Julie Kent certainly had her technical flaws, but she had this suffering, tragic aura that roused my sympathy, and then she looked so in love with Carreno’s Siegfried that I was moved by her performance and could overlook the lapses in technique. In the NY Times interview with Polina Semionova that came out yesterday, Polina sayid that Julie Kent is her favorite dancer because when she performs, “it’s not overplaying, it’s not too little, and you will see it from the last row.” I think this description perfectly describes what I saw last night.

Carreno was in great form, as others have already described. I will sorely miss those multiple-revolution pirouettes with the leg fully extended. Wow.

I noticed that he wears a different costume from the other Siegfrieds in Act III. He wears all black, whereas Hallberg wore white tights and a blue velvet top. I guess it was up to him to choose? (Not that I mind either way.)

Hallberg was great as von Rothbart in Act III, though Gomes owns the role. I’m just happy I got to see my new favorite in the corps, Renata Pavam, repeat her tiny bourrees again as the Italian princess.

I enjoyed Murphy as Odile much more than on Tuesday—or perhaps I was mentally prepared for her bitchy Odile. This time she seemed energized by the occasion, however. She did some multiple-revolution pirouettes during the fouette section with her arms up in fifth position, garnering gasps from the crowd. She stopped ahead of the music again, and may have come off pointe once in the middle, but I appreciated that she took risks and went for it. It was thrilling.

At the end, it was great to see everyone come out and applaud Carreno. It was raining flowers throughout all the bows and curtain calls.

Bravo and thank you, Jose!

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re: Wiles, in what turned out to be last perf. w/ ABT, all the audience knew, if it stayed for curtain calls, was that McKenzie himself presented her w/the last of 3 bouquets she was given during the bows.

all that could be learned for the meaning of the bouquets, in asking around after the fact, was that indeed it was Wiles last perf. with ABT and that it was her wish that no special 'deal' be made of her final appearance, wishes that ABT chose to honor.

Stearns gave her what seemed a very heartfelt kiss in front of the curtain, even tho', apparently, he hadn't known, until, one presumes the bouquet presentations and the appearance by McKenzie, that it was her final perf.

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That's a shocker!! But then, she had very few performances scheduled this season and she has not been cast in any of the new big productions(except Dumbarton). Good luck with whatever her future plans would be. :clapping::bow:

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Sad news: David Hallberg just tweeted that he sprained his ankle last night, and won't be performing with Semionova tomorrow night. I'm crushed! I wonder who will replace him.

Full tweet (@DavidHallberg): "Sprained ankle from Von Rothbart in Carreno's farewell performance. Siegfried Sat. night canceled with Semionova. Bummed and in a boot."

Obviously, best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

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Full tweet (@DavidHallberg): "Sprained ankle from Von Rothbart in Carreno's farewell performance. Siegfried Sat. night canceled with Semionova. Bummed and in a boot."

Frankly, I'd rather see Hallberg, but you won't hear me complaining about the substitute: the website now lists Marcelo Gomes.

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Full tweet (@DavidHallberg): "Sprained ankle from Von Rothbart in Carreno's farewell performance. Siegfried Sat. night canceled with Semionova. Bummed and in a boot."

Frankly, I'd rather see Hallberg, but you won't hear me complaining about the substitute: the website now lists Marcelo Gomes.

Yes, and it lists Carreno as Gomes' replacement in the matinee!

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Hallberg is still listed for the 7/6 Beauty with Osipova. I really hope he's able to do it. It's his last scheduled performance of the Met season!

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re: Wiles, in what turned out to be last perf. w/ ABT, all the audience knew, if it stayed for curtain calls, was that McKenzie himself presented her w/the last of 3 bouquets she was given during the bows.

all that could be learned for the meaning of the bouquets, in asking around after the fact, was that indeed it was Wiles last perf. with ABT and that it was her wish that no special 'deal' be made of her final appearance, wishes that ABT chose to honor.

Stearns gave her what seemed a very heartfelt kiss in front of the curtain, even tho', apparently, he hadn't known, until, one presumes the bouquet presentations and the appearance by McKenzie, that it was her final perf.

Did anyone see the advertisement in last Sunday's NYT Magazine for First Republic Bank? It pictures Michele Wiles with her husband and the quote, seemingly attributed to both of them, reads "When my business was growing, I received an Eagle Loan from First Republic. Their quick turnaround was critical to my success." Under the quote both names are printed, James McCullough and Michele Wiles, along with their occupations. I was perplexed by this and reread it a few times last Sunday. I began to wonder if they're in business together now.

Here is a quote from the section about Michele Wiles in the Feb-March Pointe Online magazine, from an aricle about dancers married to non-dancers:

McCullough believes that their all-or-nothing vocations bring them closer. He says, “I’ve learned to love ballet almost as much as my own job.” Though it’s hard to put a finger on how, Wiles feels that her experiences with McCullough “translate to more expansive dancing.” She says that being a married to a non-dancer makes her world a bigger place. “James has exposed me to things I’d never experienced,” she says. “I come home and there are scientists in our living room! He’s opened my eyes.”

For the full article:

Married to Normal Folk

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Get well soon Mr. Hallberg. I've got tickets to The Bright Stream in Los Angeles on July 14th.

Btw, Might Ms. Wells be in the family way?

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Full tweet (@DavidHallberg): "Sprained ankle from Von Rothbart in Carreno's farewell performance. Siegfried Sat. night canceled with Semionova. Bummed and in a boot."

Frankly, I'd rather see Hallberg, but you won't hear me complaining about the substitute: the website now lists Marcelo Gomes.

Yes, and it lists Carreno as Gomes' replacement in the matinee!

Looks like Carreno is pulling a Ferri on the way out!

Seriously though, this highlights the pressing need to Kevin to get it together with his male dancers. Gomes has been unbreakable so far, but I don't think that's always going to be the case.

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Did anyone see the advertisement in last Sunday's NYT Magazine for First Republic Bank? It pictures Michele Wiles with her husband and the quote, seemingly attributed to both of them, reads "When my business was growing, I received an Eagle Loan from First Republic. Their quick turnaround was critical to my success." Under the quote both names are printed, James McCullough and Michele Wiles, along with their occupations. I was perplexed by this and reread it a few times last Sunday. I began to wonder if they're in business together now.

Married to Normal Folk

I saw the ad you're referring to. Wiles looks really strange in the photo. She is wearing a black cape that totally hides her figure.

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I will be crushed if Halberg does not dance in Sleeping Beauty (I'm coming up to NY for that performance), crushed because I wish to see him, but also because I was disappointed that after his remarkable performances with Osipova last year, this Sleeping Beauty was the only performance they were scheduled for in New York this year. A remarkable partnership is nothing to waste, and last year's performance of Romeo and Juliet suggested they belong in just that category. Of course, as dancers with different companies they do not have many opportunities to develop their on-stage relationship--I hope they don't miss out on this one.

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Oh my!!! This is shocking!! :jawdrop: I was *so* looking forward to seeing Semionova and Hallberg together in "Swan Lake," because they looked so gorgeous together in "Don Quixote"! That being said, I'm not too disappointed, because I was most interested in seeing Semionova's Odette/Odile, and Marcelo is always the most selfless, supportive partner, so I'm sure he'll try to give her everything she needs. (Plus I'll get to see Marcelo's Siegfried, which somehow I managed not to buy a ticket for this year!)

Seriously though--McKenzie needs to do something about his roster of men. They've been dropping like flies this season!

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McKenzie needs to do something about his roster period. Looking at the list of principals, it's absurd. Maxim, Roberto, Angel and Ethan never or hardly ever dance; Diana only danced a few times this year; Jose and Michele are leaving. That leaves a total of ten reliable principals: 4 men and 6 women. Between these numbers and the corps' work this season, this is starting to seem like a non-company. It's very upsetting.

Veronika and Cory looked great last night, by the way. Not a superb performance (theirs last year was fantastic), but solid and beautiful. More later, perhaps.

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I saw the Part-Stearns performance on Friday evening. Stearns is improving every season. However, he still has quite a bit of work to do. He started out strong in Act I. I thought he did a fine job in his solo late in Act I. Yes, he could improve his line somewhat, but overall his Act I was strong. His partnering of Veronika is not as strong as it should be. When he was supporting her in her spins, she was frequently tilted. That's a partnering issue that needs to improvement and correction. Part gave a good performance, but not a great performance. I think this may have been due, in part, to the lack of chemistry between Part and Stearns. It also may be due to the problem that she does not have complete confidence in Stearns as a partner. I used to love the way Part used her "Russian Back" so expressively. However, Part's Russian Back was not in evidence much last night, in my opinion. I was happy that she did her fouettes in Act III cleanly and without incident. These used to give her trouble, but she seems to have conquered those demons. My facorite Part SL was several years ago with Roberto Bolle. It seems like we will not be seeing that partnership again.

Hammoudi has some problems in his debut as Purple Rothbart. He wasn't menacing. He just looked like a guy who was trying to get through a new role. He botched an overhead lift of Fang. He held her awkwardly in front of him to try and cover the mistake as best he could. In the section where he is supposed to hold an arabesque on demi point, he could barely sustain the position for more than a few seconds before he lowered his leg. To his credit, he executed the rest of the choreography well.

Jared Mathews did very well as Benno.

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Did anyone see the advertisement in last Sunday's NYT Magazine for First Republic Bank? It pictures Michele Wiles with her husband and the quote, seemingly attributed to both of them, reads "When my business was growing, I received an Eagle Loan from First Republic. Their quick turnaround was critical to my success." Under the quote both names are printed, James McCullough and Michele Wiles, along with their occupations. I was perplexed by this and reread it a few times last Sunday. I began to wonder if they're in business together now.

Married to Normal Folk

I saw the ad you're referring to. Wiles looks really strange in the photo. She is wearing a black cape that totally hides her figure.

You can see the ad here:

Our Town NY Archives

It's in the June 23, 2011 edition, p. 7.

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