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.