Natalia

ABT Mixed Bill & Bayadere @ KennCen, DC

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The Kennedy Center website now indicates the full contents of the two Mixed Bill programs, each with different pas de deux (but no casts listed yet, although tix went on sale a month ago):

Mixed Repertory Program (Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.)

- see post #6 for latest details -

Mixed Repertory Program (Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.)

- see post #6 for latest details -

The winter run will continue with several performances of La Bayadere:

La Bayadère (Feb. 2–4 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 4 & 5 at 1:30 p.m.)

Choreography by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa

Music by Ludwig Minkus, specially arranged by John Lanchbery

KennCen web link: http://www.kennedy-c...ts/?event=BMBSD

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Thanks, Natalia! I'm glad they're bringing a triple bill as well as a full-length. I haven't seen "Thirteen Diversions," so I'm especially interested in that. (Glad to see most of the others too, of course!)

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Folks, the casting is posted on the ABT website for the February performances at Kennedy Center. I'm attending the Saturday Matinee on February 4th. Bought the tickets in the blind with a hopeful heart. Casting is promising for the performance I am attending; two of ABT's up and coming ladies, and a dynamic guest artist in the male lead. Faith prevails.

I'm sorry ABT did not cast one of their own as the male lead though. This is a shame; yet I'm pretty excited about the guest artist , he seems very interesting, and was in fact specifically wished for by another member in a previous threat. Pretty cool.

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Thanks for the heads up, theo. I'll copy over in a sec...and VOILA! --

- edited 12/16/11: see post #6 for latest castings on the two Mixed Bill nights -

VADIM MUNTAGIROV at the Saturday matinee of Bayadere! I wasn't planning to go to any Baya but now I'll buy a ticket for this matinee.

La Bayadère (Feb. 2–4 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 4 & 5 at 1:30 p.m.)

PRINCIPAL CASTING

Feb. 2 & 4 eve.: Part, Gomes, Abrera

Feb. 3 eve. & Feb. 5 mat.: Herrera, Stearns

Feb. 4 mat.: Seo, Muntagirov, Boylston

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Thank you for actually posting the casting Natalia. I was in a hurry when I wrote yesterday. I guess that's obvious by my use of the term "threat" in my last sentence, as opposed to "thread" as I had intended. I will try to make lemonade out of lemons though by saying that the casting for the Feb 4 matinee "threatens" to be fabulous!

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The Kennedy Center web has finalized the casting of the two mixed-bill programs in Jan/Feb. We now know which PDDs will be performed on which nights. The Swan Lake Act III pdd with Boylston/Simkin now moves to Wednesday. Don Q pdd w/ Reyes/Cornejo takes over its spot on the first night.

Mixed Repertory Program (Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.)

Black Tuesday

Casting: Company

Choreography by Paul Taylor

Music: Songs from the Great Depression

Manon (Act I Pas de Deux)

Casting: Kent, Gomes

Choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan

Music: Jules Massenet

Don Quixote (Act III Grand Pas de Deux)

Casting: Reyes, Cornejo

Choreography after Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky

Music by Ludwig Minkus

Thirteen Diversions

Casting: Riccetto / Radetsky; Seo / Stearns; Abrera / Tamm; Messmer / Hammoudi

Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon

Music by Benjamin Britten

Mixed Repertory Program (Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.)

Black Tuesday

Casting: Company

Choreography by Paul Taylor

Music: Songs from the Great Depression

Romeo and Juliet (Pas de Deux)

Casting: Reyes, Cornejo

Choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Swan Lake (Act III Pas de Deux)

Casting: Boylston, Simkin

Choreography by Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov)

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Thirteen Diversions

Casting: Lane / Matthews; Boylston / Gomes; Abrera / Tamm; Shevchenko / Hoven

Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon

Music by Benjamin Britten

The Bayadere casting remains the same, i.e., we still don't know who'll dance Gamzatti opposite Herrera and Stearns.

PRINCIPAL CASTING

Feb. 2 & 4 eve.: Part, Gomes, Abrera

Feb. 3 eve. & Feb. 5 mat.: Herrera, Stearns

Feb. 4 mat.: Seo, Muntagirov, Boylston

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Updated Bayadere casting from the KennCen web shows that Simone Messmer will dance Gamzatti in the two Herrera/Stearns performances:

La Bayadère (Feb. 2–4 at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 4 & 5 at 1:30 p.m.)

Choreography by Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa

Music by Ludwig Minkus, specially arranged by John Lanchbery

Timing: Act I - 57 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act II - 37 min.; Intermission - 20 min.; Act III - 19 min.

PRINCIPAL CASTING

Feb. 2 & 4 eve.: Part, Gomes, Abrera

Feb. 3 eve. & Feb. 5 mat.: Herrera, Stearns, Messmer

Feb. 4 mat.: Seo, Muntagirov, Boylston

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I wish I could see that -- I think Messmer will be a splendid Gamzatti.

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Thank you so much for this news. I had been hoping so much!!!

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Bumping this up, as the run opens tonight with the first of two mixed-bill evenings, to be followed by four days of La Bayadere...including the company debut of Muntagirov at Saturday's matinee, Messmer's Gamzatti on Friday/Sunday, etc. I believe that Messmer has a featured role in Black Tuesday (although no names listed - just 'Company'), in addition to being listed for tonight's Thirteen Diversions.

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Quick thoughts from the Mixed Bill tonight: First time seeing Thirteen Diversions, which I enjoyed. Misty Copeland was particularly sensational in the passionate and emotionally fraught second duet with Cory Stearns. For me, the standouts in Black Tuesday were a graceful Jared Matthews in "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" and a winning Nicole Graniero in "(I Went Hunting) and the Big Bad Wolf was Dead." In the Swan Lake excerpt, I thought Isabella Boylston didn't so much act the role of Odile as treat the PDD as a succession of feats -- which I suppose it is. I thought Boylston's dancing was a little underpowered and careful (deliberately restrained?) until the coda, which excited in the expected ways. Gomes (filling in for Simkin) was admirable throughout. The Romeo and Juliet excerpt was the least interesting item to me.

Perhaps most thrilling, though, was seeing Natalia Makarova sitting in my row and telling her that she is my all-time favorite dancer.

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SimonA, I agree with almost everything that you wrote about last night (Wednesday's mixed bill; I missed Tuesday). Good to hear that Makarova is in town to supervise the staging/revival of her Bayadere, which opens tonight.

BLACK TUESDAY (Paul Taylor/canned '30s tunes)

This work seems to have settled beautifully on the company since DC witnessed its premiere over 10 years ago. In addition to the dancers cited by Simon, Kelley Boyd was a knock-out as the pregnant-but-chirpy stamping lady in "Sittin' on a Rubbish Can" and I loved the elegant airs and moves of Adrienne Schulte and Daniel Mantei in "There's No Depression in Love." Simone Messmer was absolutely gorgeous and acted with pathos as a manhandled hooker in "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." And what's not to love in the duo of Calvin Royal (hilarious top hat and shorts) and Luis Ribagorda, as they hoofed "Underneath the Arches"? My only complaint is that the lighting is just as dim and spotty as it was 11 years ago!

ROMEO & JULIET PDD (MacMillan/Prokofiev)

I was pleasantly surprised by Xiomara Reyes' luscious 'plastique' and Herman Cornejo's easy pirouettes and honest acting in this pdd. Reyes went a little 'over the top' in perky enthusiasm for my taste, though, as she hopped up and down the stairs & made goo-goo faces atop the balcony. She probably thought that Juliet is supposed to be played as a 10-year-old?

SWAN LAKE 'Black Swan' PDD (Petipa-McKenzie/Tchaikovsky)

'Over the top' most definitely worked for Marcelo Gomes, milking every glance at his Odile, Isabella Boylston, and sometimes even at the audience. I could not help but laugh out loud at times, Marcelo was so WILD with enthusiams for his Odile...and many sitting around me 'got it' too! At times, even Boylston seem to be crackingup whenever she glanced at his Face of Passion; I think that he was doing his best to help her, as she seemed to be a bit nervous to have received a switch of partners (from Simkin to Gomes) at the last minute.

This was my first real live look at Boylston in a solo classical role. I'm still not quite feeling the enthusiasm of her fans, mainly because there's something curiously old fashioned in her port de bras, including a certain tension in the neck. Also, the way that she did her make-up and fixed her hair over her ears -- as well as her 'soft' port de bras -- made her seem like a throw-back to those 1950s and 60s ballerinas who used to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. [Crazy - but that's what I thought as I watched her dance solo...a Hayden and Serrano look about her...not really a bad thing but oddly old fashioned.] On the other hand, below the waist she could hold her own with any late-20th/early-21st-C Bolshoi ballerina, her legs and gorgeous pointes are so magnificent. Her major coup last night was the very long balance whilst in arabesque, in the adagio. WOW! On the other hand, she had major 'skids' as she attempted both of the double-pirouettes en attitude in the solo; also, her 30 fouettes in the coda were raggedy (whipping leg held very low), labored and travelled forward. But Marcelo kept encouraging her, pumping her with energy, via his crazy passionate faces and musical accents with hands! He really DID deserve a rose from Boylston's bouquet...but when she pulled one out to hand to him, the stem flopped in half like Myrtha's bouquet in Giselle (and everyone chuckled, not least of all Isabella Boylston herself, who got down on her knees in 'mock-apology' during curtain call. It was a classic blooper moment at the ballet!). Bravi!

THIRTEEN DIVERSIONS (Wheeldon/Britten)

The evening's only full classical ballet offering was a rather academic (not to say 'bland') exercise, set to one of the less-tuneful scores by Britten. The blandness continued with the grey and black costumes, and darkish lighting at most times. I was ready for the No-Doze halfway through; it's hard to believe that this is by the same choreographer who created earlier sublime works, such as my Wheeldon fave, Within the Golden Hour. As usual, the excellent dancers 'saved' the work, most notably the sprightly female duo of Sarah Lane and Christine Shevchenko (the latter with 'personality plus'!). I, too, admired the Copeland/Stearns pdd but...am I the only one who finds a woman's overly-muscular bare legs in pointe shoes as being contrary to the classical-ballet aesthetic? Tights were made for a reason. smile.png

The evening clocked-in at a little over two hours, counting two 20-minute intermissions; we began at 7:30 and ended about 9:35. Two-thirds of the program had orchestral accompaniment. Hmmm...not the most filling of mixed bills but a good one, nonetheless. My one outing to Bayadere will be Saturday's matinee with Seo/Muntagirov/Boylson. I look forward to others' reports on that and other Bayaderes.

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The Wash. Post's Sarah Kaufman reviewed the opening night, which BalletAlertniks seem to have missed:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/dance/american-ballet-theatre-presents-mixed-repertory-program/2012/02/01/gIQAAL51iQ_story.html

A couple of interesting insights noted by Kaufman:

1. Danil' Simkin was replaced by Jared Matthews in the big final solo in Black Tuesday ('Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?')..the same solo that Matthews danced so beautifully last night. As Simkin was also replaced in the Black Swan pdd last night, I wonder if this means that he is out for the KennCenter run? According to the playbill, he is slated to dance Bronze Idol at some of the Bayadere performances. Hopefully he is OK.

2. The 'costume malfunction' with the ruffle of Reyes' DON Q PDD tutu is eerily similar to what I described last December with Lauren Post trailing a ring of lace that came off the bottom of her Waltz of the Flowers costume. Not enough pins backstage? :)For the record, Reyes' tutu was fixed in time for the coda.

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I absolutely agree, the lighting for Black Tuesday is terrible! When the stage is all spotty like that, and the dancers are wearing dark costumes and black shoes, all you can really see is their faces, arms and the middle of the legs. It's a waste of good dancing because you can barely see what they're doing.

Thirteen Diversion is not diverting. Natalia, I would say bland! It's unoffensive and was very neatly executed, but it's also entirely unmemorable. The only striking thing about it is the lightning, I'm sorry to say.

I went on Tuesday, so I saw the Manon and Don Q pd2s. In DonQ, Cornejo was on fire, as usual. I've never seen Reyes dance before - she struck me as very bland and perfunctory but technically competent (for the fouettes she did doubles with her arm in fifth -- and opened the fan.) Also, her tutu was so cheap looking! No wonder it started to unravel. The girls who dance Kitri's solo at YAGP usually have more elegant, refined tutus.

Manon, on the other hand ... what a dream! Kent was absolutely luminous and very capably supported by Gomes. I've never liked Manon, but now I think maybe I've just never seen the right cast. If Kent/Gomes are cast the next time the full ballet is performed, I am absolutely getting tickets.

In short - ABT's mixed bill = mixed bag.

I see Gomes subbed for Simkin on Wednesday. He (Gomes) is dancing a LOT. I hope he stays healthy.

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I saw Julie Kent (with Jose Manuel Carreno) dance the full length Manon during ABT's Met season. I think it was in 2008. She was really wonderful. I had seen it the year before with Reyes and Corella. Corella was good (as was Carreno with Kent) but Reyes was so miscast. She didn't have the sensual quality needed for the main role and Julie Kent had it in spades. I am sorry I never got to see Alessandra Ferri in Manon, but I just loved Kent as Manon.

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Just back from the Part/Gomes/Abrera Bayadere.

Part and Gomes were fantastic -- I always think they make a great pair, and that soft, gentle quality Part has really works as Nikiya. I was a bit worried how she'd do in the White Act, since her technique can be inconsistent, but it was all very smooth. Gomes was a top form, as per usual. He really is a terrific partner.

I was disappointed with Abrera. Very dry and brittle. Gamzatti can be an ice queen, but she still needs to sparkle (cf Platel or Alexandrova). Abrera didn't sparkle at all, and her face had one expression through the entire evening. I guess the difference is that Platel and Alexandrova (and Part too) have an innate nobility, where as Abrera was acting it.

Sarah Lane was a standout in the first Shade variation.

I thought the corps looked pretty good in the Shades scenes in terms of synchronization. A bit more wobbly in the arabesques that I was expecting, but the patterns looked pretty sharp.

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Your impressions match mine, cinnamonswirl. Boylston brought more personality to Gamzatti in the afternoon rehearsal, and it was a pleasant surprise to see Messmer rehearsing the role as well. As for Part and Gomes, they have never disappointed me. Simkin was sharp as the Bronze Idol.

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There was a program insert listing Craig Salstein as the Bronze Idol.

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There was a program insert listing Craig Salstein as the Bronze Idol.

Bad news that Simkin is out (injured?) but I'm so glad Salstein is still getting this role. He was (surprisingly?) good in it during the last run I saw in NY, maybe 2 years ago? I feel like he is often underutilized except in humorous parts.

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Back from the Herrera/Stearns/Messmer Bayadere.

Overall it was a good performance. It was beautiful to watch, but for me it didn't have the same emotional impact as Part/Gomes last night. Herrera seems better suited to Gamzatti to me, and her Nikiya was never quite enough -- not desperate enough in the confrontation with Gamzatti, not tragic enough in the solo before she dies, not quite ethereal enough in the Shades. And not helping matters, Stearns always screams all-American to me, in his looks and the physicality of his dancing. (Can someone please design a turban for him to wear during the Shades scene? With that curly hair he looks like a GQ or Ralph Lauren model who wandered out of an Indian-inspired photo shoot by accident.)

On the other hand, Messmer is much closer to my idea of Gamzatti. Elegant, imperial and very glamorous. (Perhaps Abrera needs to try Messmer's trick of wearing tons of glitter on her false eyelashes!) And commanding - that moment at the end of the second act when Gamzatti walks (or stalks, in this case) towards Solor and he steps backwards, backing away from her ... wow. It was also nice to see someone do really clean fouettés, opening devant each time, then whipping to à la seconde before going to retiré.

Joseph Phillips replaced Salstein as the Golden Idol (Salstein replaced Arron Scott as the Head Fakir) and was very impressive. Devon Teuscher gave a very elegant 2nd Shade variation.

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Cinnamonswirl, Can you please list the 3 shades in the performances that you have seen? thanks.

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The order of the Shades in the program is not the actual order of their variations. (Well, they are listed in the order the variations are usually danced, with the developpe variation last, but not in the order ABT is dancing them, with the developpé variation second.)

Thursday: Sarah Lane, Yuriko Kajiya, Maria Riccetto

Friday: Christine Shevchenko, Misty Copeland, Devon Teuscher

Looking forward in the program, the Thursday cast is also scheduled for the weekend matinées, and for Saturday evening: Shevchenko, Copeland, Leann Underwood.

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Quick thoughts about today's matinee (Sat) with Seo, Muntagirov and Boylston. It was an enjoyable performance. The audience truly appreciaed Montagirov, and I was among them. He’s a guest artist, and you could kind of tell that he hasn’t quite mixed in yet; but he had a lovely charm about him, and you just couldn’t help but love him. I thought he looked a bit like Stiefel from a distance. I hope he dances more with this company. I think he and ABT are a good fit.

The ladies were also lovely. I think Hee is a lovely Nikia in the making. I enjoyed her performance, but I feel like there's more in her. It seems like she could almost be on the verge of letting go, but hasn’t quite yet. She got better and better as the performance progressed.

I think Isabella is a great Gamzatti. She was a bit unsteady in the first act, and eventually fell and appeared to be visibly injured. I was sitting in the 4th row a bit to the left and could clearly see her limping as soon as she got up from her fall, and as she continued off stage. It was hard to watch. I thought.....”Oh... they will have to replace her”. But no, she came back like a trouper and did very well for the rest of the performance, in my opinion. It was almost as if the fall was her signal to relax and let loose. The audience seemed to appreciate her "Moxie" in taking a fall, and coming back without once losing the regal "Gamzatti" persona. Brava!

I was with my husband today. He’s been pretty good about accompanying me in the past few years. When Isabella fell and the first act came to a close, I don’t think he knew what to make of it all. I whispered in his ear, “the best is yet to come”. I’ll tell you what, when the curtain rose and the shade came out, he was memorized. I thought the corpse did an admirable job, and so did he!

Let us not forget the lovely, lovely soloists. Today, for me, Sarah Lane stood out among them all.

I’m interested to hear what other people thought.

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Didn't want to forget: Roddy Doble was a fun High Brahmin. He was replacing Roman Zhurbin. The audience appreciated him, as did I.

The real reason I had to add to my previous post though, was because I could not let it alone without mentioning Aaron Scott as the Bronze Idol. "Silk Explosion" is what comes to mind. He was explosive, yet smooth as silk; graceful, strong and....oh so shiny!

happy.png

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Quick thoughts about today's matinee (Sat) with Seo, Muntagirov and Boylston. It was an enjoyable performance. The audience truly appreciaed Montagirov, and I was among them. He’s a guest artist, and you could kind of tell that he hasn’t quite mixed in yet; but he had a lovely charm about him, and you just couldn’t help but love him. I thought he looked a bit like Stiefel from a distance. I hope he dances more with this company. I think he and ABT are a good fit.

The ladies were also lovely. I think Hee is a lovely Nikia in the making. I enjoyed her performance, but I feel like there's more in her. It seems like she could almost be on the verge of letting go, but hasn’t quite yet. She got better and better as the performance progressed.

I think Isabella is a great Gamzatti. She was a bit unsteady in the first act, and eventually fell and appeared to be visibly injured. I was sitting in the 4th row a bit to the left and could clearly see her limping as soon as she got up from her fall, and as she continued off stage. It was hard to watch. I thought.....”Oh... they will have to replace her”. But no, she came back like a trouper and did very well for the rest of the performance, in my opinion. It was almost as if the fall was her signal to relax and let loose. The audience seemed to appreciate her "Moxie" in taking a fall, and coming back without once losing the regal "Gamzatti" persona. Brava!

I was with my husband today. He’s been pretty good about accompanying me in the past few years. When Isabella fell and the first act came to a close, I don’t think he knew what to make of it all. I whispered in his ear, “the best is yet to come”. I’ll tell you what, when the curtain rose and the shade came out, he was memorized. I thought the corpse did an admirable job, and so did he!

Let us not forget the lovely, lovely soloists. Today, for me, Sarah Lane stood out among them all.

I’m interested to hear what other people thought.

Of course I meant "corps" not 'corpse" Bedtime for Bonzo.

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