MCB Program II. Ballet Imperial, In the Night, Viscera
Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:51 AM
Posted 28 January 2012 - 09:05 AM
To be continued...
Posted 28 January 2012 - 11:50 AM
Posted 28 January 2012 - 10:07 PM
By the way, I met Cristian and his beautiful mother! Don't pass up a chance to meet him! Very nice and knowledgeable guy!
And I was leaving the meeting part for the end of my three part review, as the whipped cream of the cake, BB..!! Likewise, it was a pleasure to meet you too and your cute mom also. Looking forward to get together again for Les Trocks!
Posted 29 January 2012 - 05:39 AM
I need to think more about Jeanette Delgado in the first ballerina role (Sat. night). She has huge protential in this role and handled the technical demands like a dream. But the interpretation isn't there ... yet. (On the other hand, Delgado is thrilling and brilliant as the second woman.) "The smile" were distracting to me in the first half of the ballet. Delgado didn't seem to know what do do with her face, alternating a warm smile -- the kind of smile that seems to say, "I love this and I love you" -- with something more neutral. (Catoya, on the other hand, maintains a perfect regal smile, allowing it to warm and become personalized only towards the end of the ballet -- after her reunion with her prince.)
Here's something from Nancy Goldner's new book, More Balanchine Variations.
There's a point in the middle of the ballet when Catoya processes along a line of women. Each curtsies in turn. Catoya's smile is carefully in place -- warm in a gracious but slightly distant manner, and not directed to anyone in particular. Like a young Elizaabeth II at a public function. Catoya avoids direct eye contact. She's an icon, not a friend. When Delgado did this she nodded her head to certain dancers, varying her expression to fit the individual.
It is revealing to learn of Balanchine's instructions about deportment to the ... ballerina. "Don't look at them! Don't acknowledge them! You're royalty. Royalty doesn't have to bow to anyone. They bow to you and you ignore them," he exorted Merrill Ashley in 1974.
These are small details. Every since whe was a newcomer, weve watched Delgado grow so much in the great Balanchine roles. She will become memorable in this role. It will be fun to watch her grow.
I've seen Viscera three times, now. Unlike a lot of contemporary choreography, it rewards multiple viewings. There are details and depths that I couldn't appreciate at a single glance. Scarlett -- who created it it just two weeks -- seems to bubble over with ideas for individuals and ensembles.. The miracle is that these ideas actually cohere. And they develop. There's pattern, structure, development to make the creativity fascinating. Scarlett obviously adores ballet technique and rspects ballet tradition, which he is able to re-visualize it in striking ways. Several times, I found myself thinking: Why didn't anyone every think of THAT before.)
I really like the Lliebermann score, which the MCB orchestra and the pianist, Francisco Renno, played marvelously. It's rhythmicallyl complex, but as danceable as Stravinsky. At the first viewing, I thought the piece ended too abruptly -- certainly when compared to the thrilling finale Balanchine provided for Ballet Imperial. After a couple of more viewings -- and listenings -- I see that Liebermann and Scarlett actually build towards that ending It's appropriate. It IS a conclusion. The lead ballerina actually slumps forward. Suddenly, but not abitrarily. It works.
The first time I saw Viscera it was to a recording. The adagio pas de deux on the recording of Liebermann's 1st Piano Concerto was played noticeably faster than Miami's orchestra plays it. Gary Sheldon, the MCB conductor, mentioned at a pre--performance talk that, during the creation process, he had suggested to Scarlett that the pdd might be tried a bit slower. Scarlett liked the idea, and actually slowed it down even more as he worked on the piece. The ballerina is discovered standing alone in the middle of the stage as the ensemble from the first movement rushes off. (How did she get there? This afternoon I intend to look closely and find out.) The pdd enfolds seamlessly. Difficult lifts seem easy. "Character" is expressed subtly, not unlike what Robbins does it in Dances at a Gathering.
Jeniffer Kronenberg is exquisite and Guerra is a familiar partner who shows her very well. This afternoon, it will be Delgado and Yann Trividic: very different dancers. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with it and hoping for something revelatory.
News from Philip Neal's pre-performance talk last night: Liam Scarlett has been commissioned to do another work for MCB next season (possibly for Program II). It will be "bigger" -- a closer.
Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:16 AM
I find that Guerra has an aristocratic bearing simply when he walks and takes a bow which I like. Kronenberg is wonderful, and maybe it is because they are married it makes me read more chemistry in their interactions because I want to believe it makes a difference. Part of me wishes I didn't know it because I think it keeps me from being objective and keeps me from judging their on stage pairing the way I would other partners.
I am going today again. Kronenberg and Guerra dance together in Ballet Imperial. Delgado and Trividic are doing the pas de deux in Viscera.
I like Viscera and will see if I see new things I missed the first time.
Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:02 AM
Robbins little jewel of ballet was my mother's evening favorite! You can't go wrong with such dreamy music-(played by perfection by pianist Francisco Renno). She even told me that the dress belonging to the third couple's ballerina had reminded her her big sister's party dresses from the 50's! ;-). Anyway, the three pas de deux work looks to me as three different kinds of relationships between a man and a woman. The par in the first duet, danced by Tricia Albertson and Didier Bramaz, seem thrilled to be dancing with each other in this place, in this occasion and to this music-(Nocturne, Opus 27, No. 1). They're dressed in their best, the stars are shining and the night air is full of promise. You can almost sense a breeze that whips them around. Tricia Albertson, in Mazzo's role, was her usual reliable, self contained self, which here really worked for me. Bramaz is a bailarin that has been given roles I think a bit over his capabilities, both technical and dramatic. He didn't look to me as being in the same level as Miss Albertson, but again, I've seen the same problem with him while dancing with several other ballerinas.
The dancers in the second one were Jennifer Kronenberg and hubby Carlos Guerra. The Verdy/Martins roles couple is by the choreographer's choice more elegant, more mature; theirs is a long-standing love. Kronenberg and Guerra were beautifully reserved as their entered arm in arm, subtly capturing with their feet and manner the hint of a folk tune in the tranquil nocturne-(Nocturne Opus 55 No. 1, my favorite one from the ballet). Still, suddenly passion explodes and Guerra walks backward , holding Kronenberg offstage overhead in a surprising way the image is not conventionally "beautiful" but very hunting. I really liked this two in the role. Kronenberg has always looked to me more of an adagio ballerina, better suited for soft, romantic roles instead of technically demanding, fast footwork ones. The very fact that they're a real couple offstage always adds allure to their dancing.
PS-(Am I wrong or do I remember they entered during the last running from the stage left wing...?)
Then we had the third couple, the one that take us to their tumultuous story of ruptures ad reconciliations. McBride and Moncion's roles were danced by lovely Katia Carranza and long limbed, elegant Yann Trividic. The two of them came together, fly apart, leave the stage just to return helplessly to each other. "Can't live with you, but can't live without you" seems to be their mantra-(en ever present one to almost all of us mortals). What can you do about it..? Just get down on you knees and recognize your love, weakness and/or devotion for the other one, even if it takes touching his feet-(why does people nervously laugh to this climatic, emotional sequence...?!?! It makes me MAAAAAAAAAD listening to the irritatingm laughing, geez ). The music, Nocturne Opus 55, No. 2, is a storm itself.
This is my second run on this ballet. During the first one, a few years ago, I almost fall sleep, but now I really, REALLY enjoyed it.
Bart Birdsall...I CAN'T believe you were there. I don't have your cell phone-(dropped my other one full of numbers on the beach, and for some reason I thought you would be going just to the Saturday night performance. I will send you my number via PM, for which I'm planning to go see Les Trocks with my mom, who asked me if you're also going...she sends her best wishes, BTW ).
Posted 29 January 2012 - 01:40 PM
I wasn't sure I was going today and decided to go at last minute. I didn't have a ticket and figured I could get it last minute. Loved it second time also, but Kronenberg and Guerra were replaced by Albertson and Cerdeiro in Ballet Imperial. Carranza danced the solo role. Preferred the Friday night cast for Ballet Imperial.
Delgado was revelatory in the 3rd couple of "In the Night" for me today. Instead of seeming like a tantrum throwing woman she was a fiery woman. Also loved her in the pas de deux for Viscera today (she was the soloist on Friday). She's my favorite at MCB!
Posted 29 January 2012 - 01:47 PM
Delgado was revelatory in the 3rd couple of "In the Night" for me today. She's my favorite at MCB!
Welcome to MY club, BB! You've certainly got good taste...
Posted 29 January 2012 - 01:58 PM
Posted 29 January 2012 - 03:32 PM
I liked Viscera 2nd time better. It's not the best work I've ever seen but not bad.
Posted 29 January 2012 - 11:11 PM
Cristian, I liked Viscera 2nd time better. It's not the best work I've ever seen but not bad.
It is one of those works that gets easily catalogued in your "completely forgettable" mental folder...
And then, here're some fragments of MCB's "Ballet Imperial".
Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:11 AM
Some highlights for me ---
I've just read the NY Times review of the new Wheeldon work, Les Carillons, at NYCB. Here's the reviewer's conclusion:
The best measure of Mr. Wheeldon's value is how the company looks doing his work: very good.
I could say something about MCB and Scarlett:
An excellent measure of Mr. Scarlett's skill is how MCB looks doing his work: very good.
Jeanette Delgado in the lead was a phenomenon. But so were the corps. Both casts seemed to skim across the waves of Liebermann's fast 1st and 2nd movements, making complex and difficult choreography look spontaneous and inevitable.
Marvelous too was Sara Esty, taking over the Delgado role on Sunday. Esty, along with her twin sister Leigh-Ann, started at MCB as apprentices (I think), specializing in charming, perky soubrette roles. Each has developed into a much more complex artist. Sara had Delgado's intensity in this role, but projected a speed, steeliness and concentration -- almost a sense of menace at times -- that were all her own. I loved this interpretation and performance. As an aside, Sara Esty is one of those Balanchine dancers who uses movements of her head consistently and to great dramatic effect. Same with Leigh-Ann Esty.
Delgado took over the pas de deux on Sunday, dancing with Yann Trividic. The difference in height was occasionally distracting, but this was a good pairing. (Is there any MCB woman who doesn't look just a bit better when dancing with Trividic?)
Delgado brings drama and emotion to the pas de deux. Jennifer Kronenberg, dancing with Carlos Guerra, brought serenity, thoughtfulness, and the simplicity of beautiful movement. I preferred Kronenberg's approach, which created emtions of its own when she slowly walked off alone at the end of the pdd. But Delgado is so fascinating to watch, that her own quite different approach worked very well two. It's a tribute to the choreography (and to the way MCB's orchestra, along with the pianist Francisco Renno) played the score that both interpretations seemed absolutely right.
2/3s of Viscera is about the corps. Both casts danced with precision, energy, and an eery sort of beauty. I love the British slang word "gobsmacked." I was thoroughly gobsmacked by the way the MCB corps danced (both casts).
A huge plus were Liam Scarlett's costumes: women's leotards cut high at the outer thigh and drawn in, corset-like, at the waist. Bare legs, revealing -- but not overemphasizing -- the dancers' long, lean muscles. Rich velvety shades of royal blue and plum, changing subtley as the dancers moved. Also: John Hall's lighting, which made every dancer stand out clearly, without losing the over-all effect of darkness punctuated by color.. . Performed against a rich plum colored background, this production is one of the msot beautiful in MCB's rep. I'd love to see how Scarletta nd Hall would handle a ballet like The Dream.
In the Night.
Highlights for me include Francisco Renno's rendering of the Chopin Nocturnes, and the amazing connection between dancers and pianist, even though he was playing from the pit and watching them on a computer screen.
This was staged for MCB by Maria Calegari. The second couple is my favorite part. Callie Manning (with Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez) had the majesty and complexity that I associate with this part. When is Callie Manning -- who dances principal parts so well -- going to be made Principal?
Kronenberg and Guerra gave a smooth, creamy performance as the Second couple. And Mary Carmen Catoya (with Reyneris Reyes) added overtones of imperial grandeur.
The third couple (the quarrelsome, love-hate pairing) is the most popular with the audience. Jeanette Delgado and Renato Penteado were the most dramatic, taking Jerome Robbins instructions to "act" about as far as one can go. Delgado especially wore her heart on her sleeve and shifted from rage to adoration and back with amazing intensity. Katia Carranza and Yann Trividic were more enigmatic, gentler. I prefer their interpretation, but both are effective.
I'm one of those who can't helping thinking of these three couples as stages in the marriage of a single partnership. This adds, for me anyway, depth and pathos to the fourth Nocturne, when the three couples meet and acknowledge each other in a manner strangely dreamlike when compared with the earlier dances. This fourth section always brings tears to my eyes.
Agree with everything Cristian has written about the original Paris cast. Catoya with Penteado, and Delgado as the second woman, escorted by Renan Cerdeiro and Didier Bramaz.
The Saturday evening cast was Jeanette Delgado with Reyneris Reyes, and a fleet, elegant Tricia Albertson as the second lead. It was a thrilling performance, quite different from the first cast's. Delgado and (especially) Reyes prjected far more drama than Cotoya/Penteado. It worked for Delgado, because everything was contained in such incredble Balanchine technique. That first movement variation was just as good as Catoya's, though different in effect.
Reyes made a great deal of the section in which the male principal seeks his lost lady, appealing for help from the corps women and dancing with them. I don't think I've ever seen this "acted" so overtly. Reyes comes across on stage as a "big" dancer, with stong, powerful legs. He had the entrechats, double cabrioles, and brises, but they were slower than Penteados, and heavier in effect, with more use of arms and shoulders to get elevation. Balanchine-as-done-by-the-Bolshoi, perhaps?
Not to forget the corps. They function as a kind of principal dancer. The level was very high. I especially loved the men, lined up and moving back and forth upstage, performing their intricate steps with verve and with an accuracy that would bring honor even to the male lead.
Miami's Opus One Orchestra.
There have been times since MCB got back it's orchestra that I've wondered whether live music is always the best alternative to a recording But there was no doubt about it this weekend. Gary Sheldon and the Opus One Orchestra played the the unfamiliar and difficult Liebermann score with drive and clarity. Same for the familiar Tchaikovsky. Connection between stage and pit was sensitive and close. The Liebermann is rhymically complex, but every beat -- every entrance, exit, and interaction -- went off without a hitch (that I could see, anyway). That's also the way MCB dances Stravinsky.
Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:43 AM
Miami's Opus One Orchestra.
Gary Sheldon and the Opus One Orchestra played the the unfamiliar and difficult Liebermann score with drive and clarity. Same for the familiar Tchaikovsky.
May I take the liberty here to aknowledge personal friends Mrs. Darla Carlton and husband for their patronage of the orchestra during the present season...?
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