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Swan LakeA week of swans


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#16 Ceeszi

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 06:32 AM

I attended the Saturday night performance. This is the first non-ABT production I have seen of Swan Lake. It was interesting to make the comparison between the two productions.

First, I did not like the scenery or the costumes. There was nothing palace-like about the sets in Act I and Act III and Siegfried's costume did not really make him stand out from the others as "The Prince". In Act II and IV, I questioned why only Odette was wearing a tutu. And believe it or not, I did miss Swamp Thing!

Now, Odette/Odile. Bear in mind, these have been the previous Odettes/Odiles that I have seen: Veronika Part, Diana Vishneva, Nina Ananiashvili, Irina Dvorovenko, and Polina Semenova. Obviously, Theresa Reichlen is the first American (and first non-Russian/Georgian/Ukrainian) I have seen in the part. Technically, she was outstanding. Her acting was okay. In some parts, she was emotional and in other parts she had a very blank look on her face. A lot of her moves, she did not finish off and part of that I think was due to the lightning-fast pace that the music was played at sometimes. I wish some of her positions and moves she would have held longer or finished off better.

Tyler Angle was good, but nothing outstanding. Like Reichlen, he was technically good, but seemed to be lacking in the acting and command of the stage. I did not really feel the chemistry between the two leads.

I enjoyed the character dances of the Third Act as well as the pas de quatre, which is left out of the ABT production. The whole corps was outstanding and so many times in perfect unison.

Overall. I am happy that I got the chance to see this production. I missed a lot of the drama of the ABT production.

#17 bart

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 10:13 AM

Thank you, Ceeszi. It's good to get the perspective of someone new to the NYCB version but familiar with ABT's .I love reading comparisons like that.

#18 kfw

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 03:52 PM

For those in need a glimpse of Sara Mearns in Swan Lake, check out Sunday Arts tomorrow on public television. (Channel 13 at noon in New York City). I saw a commercial today which previews tomorrow's episode, which focuses on NYCB and SAB. They will show clips of Mearns in Swan Lake, and they will interview her.

What a fine 15 minutes this turned out to be, with brief clips of Mearns in Diamonds and Vienna Waltzes, longer clips of her in Swan Lake, and lots of interview material. See it here at about the 9:35 mark. Martins and Macaulay speak as well.

#19 vipa

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 04:24 PM


For those in need a glimpse of Sara Mearns in Swan Lake, check out Sunday Arts tomorrow on public television. (Channel 13 at noon in New York City). I saw a commercial today which previews tomorrow's episode, which focuses on NYCB and SAB. They will show clips of Mearns in Swan Lake, and they will interview her.

What a fine 15 minutes this turned out to be, with brief clips of Mearns in Diamonds and Vienna Waltzes, longer clips of her in Swan Lake, and lots of interview material. See it here at about the 9:35 mark. Martins and Macaulay speak as well.


Thank you so much for posting!

#20 Ceeszi

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 06:56 PM

Sara Mearns made me cry in June during her solo in "Emeralds". She was so lovely!!!

#21 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:02 PM

I have seen Swan Lake live close to 40 times, but Iíve only seen Peter Martinsí version of the classic ballet once. I was so disappointed when I saw Martinsí production of Swan Lake in 1999 that I vowed to never see it again. This year, however, I decided to give New York City Balletís Swan Lake another chance.

New York City Balletís Swan Lake is better than what I remembered from 1999. There is, of course, the glorious Tchaikovsky score, which is played flawlessly by the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Unlike American Ballet Theatreís Swan Lake, Peter Martinsí version contains a more complete Act IV. The audience gets to see the depth of Odetteís grief over Siegfriedís betrayal. The ensemble dances for the children in Act I and the swans in Act II and IV fit Tchaikovskyís music perfectly.

There are, however, problems with New York City Balletís Swan Lake. Martinsí Act I contains very weak choreography. Except for the movements made for the children and the jester, it is devoid of any charm or life. Also the Act I pas de trois falls flat due not only to anemic choreography, but lackluster dancing as well.

Some choreography necessary to the storyline is missing from Martinsí Swan Lake. For example, when Odette first meets Siegfried, she fails to mime her story to him. If Siegfried lacks this information, then the rest of his actions make little dramatic sense. The ending of the ballet is not at all satisfying. Since the force of Odette and Siegfriedís love defeats von Rothbart, why is his spell over the Swan Queen not broken? Why arenít Odette and her swans returned to their human forms? As well, a Swan Lake which ends without uniting the two lovers (at least in the afterworld) seems hollow.

The abstract scenery by Per Kirkelby does little to embellish the drama of Swan Lake. Most of the costumes (also by Kirkelby) are garish and off putting.

In the dual role of Odette/Odile, Sterling Hyltin shows a good deal of promise. As the Swan Queen there is a lovely lyrical flow to Hyltinís dancing. Her birdlike arms as well as the gorgeous use of her hands convey Odetteís swan nature. However, her characterization of the Swan Queen needs more depth of feeling. I was not as moved by Hyltinís Odette as I have been by the performances of ballerinas such as Polina Semionova and Gillian Murphy. Hyltinís portrayal of the Swan Queen is strongest in Act IV. Her grief stricken white swan in this last act is heartbreakingly poignant.

Hyltinís Odile is ultimately a disappointment. She begins the black swan pas de deux in a gleefully evil mode, promising to seduce Siegfried so thoroughly that heíll forget Odette ever existed. Unfortunately, Hyltin falls short in the coda of the black swan pas de deux. She only does 7 or 8 fouettes, then finishes by doing a series of fast circular turns. By not completing the 32 fouettes, Hyltinís Odile does not ďseal the dealĒ (a phrase used by Gillian Murphy to describe her 2004 Odile taped at Kennedy Center) with regard to Siegfriedís seduction.

Jonathan Stafford is a believably tender Prince Siegfried. His dancing is academically correct, but lacks fire. More importantly, as compared to ABTís Siegfrieds such as Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg and Jose Manuel Carreno, Stafford fails to take command of the stage. His Prince is missing both authority and charisma.

Other dancers stand out as well. As the jester, Troy Schumacher is all boundless energy and incredible leaps and turns. In the pas de quatre in Act III, Chase Finlay dances with an easy and unforced elegance. Finlay executes beautiful air turns with clean soft landings and has a real command of the stage.

In spite of this balletís weaknesses, it was an enjoyable afternoon at the ballet. I only wish Peter Martinsí Swan Lake had as strong a production as his Sleeping Beauty.

#22 bart

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:20 PM

On the subtopic of the Channel 13 show:

Wow! I'm impressed by the piece ... and even more by Mearns, who commands your attention as a talking head almost as powerfully as she does when dancing. I love the atypical body type -- the solid torso, strong legs -- and by what she does with it. I'm also impressed by the way she speaks -- from the deep (adult rather than girlish) voice to her thoughtfulness and ability to reflect on what she wants to say. Martins says, in another context: "Dancers are very mature at an early age." Mearns is certainly an example of this. Those of you who have been around to watch her progress -- and have a chance to see where it goes on an almost daily basis -- are fortunate.

Two questions:

1) At her home school, she seems to have gone on point very early. In thinking of that astonishing childhood Odette. (The way she throws herself into the backward swoon :flowers:) Is this earlier than the norm?

2) It was interesting that, when she returned to take class at SAB, she joined a boy's class. Is there any significance to this, do you think? Or might it just have been a question of what was available at the time?

OFF TOPIC. I couldn't understand everything Macaulay said. For someone who writes so precisely and clearly, he slurs his words more than most.

#23 Ceeszi

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:30 AM

When I made my comparisons between ABT and Saturday night's NYCB version, I forgot to add that NYCB's solo violinist did not hit one screechy note during the Adagio. I don't know what was up with the ABT violinist during the Spring Season. The Opening Night Gala was embarrassing, the Dvorovenko/Carreno night was a little better (but still not good) and the Semenova/Gomes version was a little better than that.

The NYCB orchestra was flawless. I just objected to the fast pace that the conductor took during some parts of the music.

#24 Amy Reusch

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:42 PM

I sort of enjoyed Rothbart's "Go on, Get out of Town!" reaction to to Siegfried's earnest attempts to swear eternal love to Odile, but more the most part I was just dumbfounded by the whole production. It reminded me of when post modern Hollywood takes on a classic adventure legend and can't help poking fun at itself in the process. Truly the strangest production ever (although i never Vasiliev's Odile-less production).

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:59 PM

By not completing the 32 fouettes, Hyltinís Odile does not ďseal the dealĒ


Ah, I like that..! :lightbulb: I'll make sure I remember this phrase for future discussions on "Pas de Rigueur"..

Anyway...sorry for being :off topic: , so back to SL...


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