Jump to content


MCB Program III. Giselle


  • Please log in to reply
62 replies to this topic

#31 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

Thanks, Cristian, for your post. Giselle moves up to West Palm next weekend, and I'll be thinking about your comments as I watch the performances. Based on previous seasons, however, I agree with your general impressions. Am looking forward to seeing what the various casts make of the leads. Kronenberg, Catoya, and Albertson all have strengths, despite not being naturals in this kind of rep. I'm especially interested in looking at the way the corps handles (a) the unfamiliar creation of idealized peasant life in Act I and (b) the iconic Willi choreography of Act II.

Your posts on other threads have helped educate me about Giselle in its various versions, so I'll be bringing more to these performances than in previous years.

We all know this is an uncommon ballet for this company. It is not in their bones, and for many of our dancers it is like a new shiny costume that they get to play with for the first time. [ ... ] It takes time, MUCH time to make Giselle a company's own. It needs to be cherished, pass on, engraved on both the dancers AND the audience minds and hearts for it to be understood and loved.

The very fact that this is not "in the bones" can make it fascinating to watch. Some dancers seem to do a remarkable job of assimilating things that I know could not have been given much time during the preparation process. Others do not catch on so quickly. At this stage of my ballet-viewing, I am finding that I am developing a new philosophy: There is ALWAYS something worth watching when a good company dances a great work.

Thanks for your strong endorsement of MCB's version of Berthe's mime sequence, especially as performed by Callie Manning.

#32 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,285 posts

Posted 04 March 2012 - 05:09 PM

bart, I will be at the Friday Kronenberg and hope to get tickets at the door for Catoya. Maybe one of those performances we could meet briefly.
Bart Birdsall

#33 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:06 PM

bart and BB...I will write some more on the choreography and the dancers, but if anything, try to catch the Catoya/Reyes performance

#34 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 666 posts

Posted 05 March 2012 - 04:39 PM

Some sketchy impressions on MCB Giselle.

On the contrary, maybe at the age of our three Giselles-(Kronenberg, Albertson and Catoya)-this is a better understood subject, which is one of the reason that, on one side, I love to see mature dancers on this role. Sadly, on the other side, there's the inability to be technically proficient to execute Sppessivtzeva's diagonal, at least over here...


That diagonal is just not a part of MOST stagings. I don't know the MCB dancers and maybe you are right and they cant do it. I know it is very critical to you for a giselle. But for many people and many stagings it is not. I don't know if the omission of it is due to lack of technical proficiancy, and really I think it is a staging choice. You can hate that choice but i don't think its fair to chalk it up to lack of ability in the dancers. I'm sure ABT for ex. has had dancers who COULD do it. I KNOW that osipova could, but she doesn't.

#35 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,285 posts

Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:17 PM


Some sketchy impressions on MCB Giselle.

On the contrary, maybe at the age of our three Giselles-(Kronenberg, Albertson and Catoya)-this is a better understood subject, which is one of the reason that, on one side, I love to see mature dancers on this role. Sadly, on the other side, there's the inability to be technically proficient to execute Sppessivtzeva's diagonal, at least over here...


That diagonal is just not a part of MOST stagings. I don't know the MCB dancers and maybe you are right and they cant do it. I know it is very critical to you for a giselle. But for many people and many stagings it is not. I don't know if the omission of it is due to lack of technical proficiancy, and really I think it is a staging choice. You can hate that choice but i don't think its fair to chalk it up to lack of ability in the dancers. I'm sure ABT for ex. has had dancers who COULD do it. I KNOW that osipova could, but she doesn't.


Is that because you basically have to do what the particular director of the particular staging tells you to do? I am asking b/c I want to learn. Cristian told me that the diagonal is done in Cuba, but rarely anywhere else because it has been omitted so regularly.

If teachers are teaching dancers the choreography and teaching them the "usual" choreography it probably isn't a particular dancer's fault. I have no idea, but I assume that if a young dancer says that she wants to dance the Spessivtzeva version, a coach or teacher could hypothetically laugh in her face and say, "Who do you think you are wanting to dance that when the regular version is hard enough?"

I imagine that it would take a superstar of ballet (someone like Osipova) to be willing to do the Spessivtzeva version. Otherwise the dancers are supposed to do as they are told. Am I correct in this assumption?

I know in opera a young singer could not come to James Levine and say, "I have prepared Mozart's arias with embellishments the way they were done in Mozart's time, and I want to sing them!" James Levine (who is actually out sick and may or may not return to conducting at the Met) would probably laugh in her face and want her to sing the Countess or Susanna without embellishments. Now someone with a lot of pull (star status) like Cecilia Bartoli was able to interpolate arias not normally done in Le Nozze, and the director was mad! But Bartoli filled the house back then, so she got her way and the director had to stage the alternate arias that he hated instead of the traditional arias. So these things can happen, but you need to be a star to demand to sing (or I assume dance) the "different" aria (or variation).

#36 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:20 PM

Some sketchy impressions on MCB Giselle. On the contrary, maybe at the age of our three Giselles-(Kronenberg, Albertson and Catoya)-this is a better understood subject, which is one of the reason that, on one side, I love to see mature dancers on this role. Sadly, on the other side, there's the inability to be technically proficient to execute Sppessivtzeva's diagonal, at least over here...

That diagonal is just not a part of MOST stagings. I don't know the MCB dancers and maybe you are right and they cant do it. I know it is very critical to you for a giselle. But for many people and many stagings it is not. I don't know if the omission of it is due to lack of technical proficiancy, and really I think it is a staging choice. You can hate that choice but i don't think its fair to chalk it up to lack of ability in the dancers. I'm sure ABT for ex. has had dancers who COULD do it. I KNOW that osipova could, but she doesn't.


I don't base my technique assesssment only on that diagonal, Aurora. From our three Giselles, two of them had lots of trouble on the double turns in attitude on the same variation. One of them fell off pointe, the other one didn't even try them. On the sautees on pointe one ballerina didn't even advance half of a meter on the floor...she just kept doing little jumps almost in the same place. The double pirouettes in passe were done in one leg each time by only one ballerina...the other two had to change legs. I have heard and read lots of critique on Alonso's 1980 Giselle with Vasiliev at the age of 60 and blind, but if anything, she could had taught those ballerinas 20 years her junior some lessons on how to do that variation. Some of this dancers can execute a beautiful La Valse, for example, but Giselle is already out of their league.

#37 aurora

aurora

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 666 posts

Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:28 AM

Is that because you basically have to do what the particular director of the particular staging tells you to do? I am asking b/c I want to learn. Cristian told me that the diagonal is done in Cuba, but rarely anywhere else because it has been omitted so regularly.


I think that is a very good question, with a range of possible answers depending on the situation. I'll take a crack at it, if other people haven't said what i mean to, when I have a few minutes free to give it the time it deserves (am running around with houseguest)

#38 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:51 AM


Is that because you basically have to do what the particular director of the particular staging tells you to do? I am asking b/c I want to learn. Cristian told me that the diagonal is done in Cuba, but rarely anywhere else because it has been omitted so regularly.


I think that is a very good question, with a range of possible answers depending on the situation. I'll take a crack at it, if other people haven't said what i mean to, when I have a few minutes free to give it the time it deserves (am running around with houseguest)


What I remember reading in Markova's "Giselle and I" is that when she danced the role at the Vic-Wells in the early 30's, staged by Sergueev after the notations, she was offered, by the stager, the choice to pick her variation from two notated versions. One of them I think I remember reading was Sppessivtzeva's-(was Pavlova's the other one...?). I also remember being surprised at finding out that S. had danced the role in Russia early enough so her particular way of dancing this variation was included in the famous collection-(we all know by now that the whole variation per se goes way back to Miss Bessone). From London/Markova, the Sppessivtzeva's way-(which is not only all about the diagonal, but some other different little touches, as I notice)-seems to have been spread out all over the West, including the US and Cuba, where Markova danced it. We all can see that Fracci still did it in her video with Bruhn-(a 1969 ABT production), but afterward it seems to have been substituted by Misha with what was being done in Russia by the time he deffected. By the time Makarova danced it with Misha in their 1977 video, the diagonal was already gone. I forgot to ask Miss Serrano about this when I met her, but if Fracci was still doing it, this is a sign that it was still part of the ABT production by the late 60's-(I don't think she imnported it it from Italy). Anyway...I believe the Sppessivtzeva's version has a twin brother in the Aurora's wedding Grand Pas, with better luck, for which the three Sppessivtzeva's grand fish dives are still kept all over the world-(not in Russia though...). Alongside the dissapearance of Sppessivtzeva's variation from the ABT's repertoire after the 60's were also other little choreographic jewels, like the Nutcracker Petipa's-(Ivanov?)-Grand Pas and Nijinska's after Gorsky's Fille mal Gardee. I have always wondered who was the mastermind behind this dissapearances.

Edited to add: I have to check the choreographic description of the variation in Beaumont's "The ballet called Giselle", but I'm almost sure it also describes the diagonal.

#39 brokenwing

brokenwing

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 73 posts

Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:43 PM

Casting alert! Jeanette Delgado and Penteado are performing the leads in Giselle on the Saturday matinee at Kravis this weekend. Other debuts this show include Sara Esty/Cerdeiro in Peasant Pas, corps members Christie Sciturro in Myrtha and Adriana Pierce in Berthe. Hope someone can make it and report on it!

#40 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:47 PM

brokenwing, thanks for that Saturday matinee casting. I'm sorry that it is the one performance I will not be attending. (I'm going for a long-anticipatead screening of the National Theater's Comedy of Errors, with Lennie Henry Posted Image) Would have loved to see Delgado's first season playing Giselle, not to mention Esty (always a delight) and Sciturro, who has definitely earned a crack at a truly great role. Good luck, Christie.

Casting for the other Kravis performances:

Friday night:
-- Giselle and Albrecht/ Kronenberg and Guerra
-- Hilarion/ Reyneris Reyes
-- Berthe/ Callie Manning
-- Peasant pdd/ Nathalia Arja and Kleber Rebello
-- Myrthe/ Jeanette Delgado

Saturday night:
-- Giselle and Albrecht/ Catoya and Reyes
-- Hilarion/ Didier Bramaz
-- Berthe/ Kronenberg
-- Peasant pdd/ Jennifer Lauren and Shimon Ito
-- Myrthe/ Callie Manning.

Sunday matinee
-- Giselle and Albrecht/ Albertson and Cedeiro
-- Hilarion/ Reyes
-- Berthe/ Manning
-- Peasant pdd/ Arja and Rebello
-- Myrthe/ Delgado

#41 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:04 PM

Casting alert! Jeanette Delgado and Penteado are performing the leads in Giselle on the Saturday matinee at Kravis this weekend.


I'm in...Posted Image

#42 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,285 posts

Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:47 PM

Casting alert! Jeanette Delgado and Penteado are performing the leads in Giselle on the Saturday matinee at Kravis this weekend. Other debuts this show include Sara Esty/Cerdeiro in Peasant Pas, corps members Christie Sciturro in Myrtha and Adriana Pierce in Berthe. Hope someone can make it and report on it!



HOORAY!!!!!! I have just changed my plans.....already have subscription tickets for Friday night, but I will go to the Saturday matinee then!!!! I will miss Catoya, but I love Jeanette Delgado and was hoping she would be Giselle!!!!

#43 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,285 posts

Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:48 PM

I wondered why casting was still not up on the MCB site this morning! I guess they were still deciding....

#44 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:23 PM

Please, allow me to quote myself here, so my review can have some continuation. Posted Image

Some sketchy impressions on MCB Giselle.

First of all, I must try to explain the general impression that this production had on me. Miamian Giselle feels to me like one of those shiny borrowed jewels the starlets get to wear on red carpets events. They get to be worn with pride and theres an effort to make them feel to the viewer's eye as if they belong to they user when in reality that's not the case. Giselle is a magnificent jewel of a ballet hard to be disliked by anyone. Starting with that, I must say that I'm happy I went to see this staging. Now, fact # 1. We all know this is an uncommon ballet for this company. It is not in their bones, and for much of the dancers it is like a new shiny costume that they get to play with for the first time. It takes time, MUCH time to make Giselle a company's own. It needs to be cherished, pass on, engraved on both the dancers AND the audience minds and hearts for it to be understood and loved. Otherwise it is just another XIX Century balletic curiosity, when in reality this is the most human of all ballets, for which it speaks of the ever present human stigma of helplessly loving someone who doesn't deserve that kind of love-(please, rise your hand if you haven't been thru it at some point of your life). Sad thing is, many of us choose to be bend over to such love and show irrational unconditionally, just as our ballet heroine, instead of getting our life straight, put all that baggage behind and choose to pick a deserving partner.

Point of my story, also related to the Miamian dancers being: do our current youth REALLY believes in that kind of stoic suffering...? Are those dancers/kids prepared to UNDERSTAND the essence of such huge life decisions as to show such enormous amounts of forgiveness, as our heroine ghostly nemesis does...? I doubt it. On the contrary, maybe at the age of our three Giselles-(Kronenberg, Albertson and Catoya)-this is a better understood subject, which is one of the reason that, on one side, I love to see mature dancers on this role. Sadly, on the other side, there's the inability to be technically proficient to execute Sppessivtzeva's diagonal, at least over here...

SETS AND COSTUMES.

This is not OUR production. Scenery and props were borrowed by long time godmother of this ballet, ABT, and costumes belong to Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. Our Cinderella gets to wear her magic for a while, but we all know that the midnight will arrive at some point, and all will disappear into thin air, leaving the troupe back with its Balanchinean second skin. Another red carpet ephemeral moment. So, about ABT's scenery, I must say I never saw such luxurious sets for Giselle ever in my entire life. Giselle's cottage is now a three stories townhouse, and Albrecht castle is nicely seen in the distance. The Canadian costumes are beautiful also, with multicolored patterns for Act I-(lots of reds)-and lovely fluffy romantic skirts for Act II.

At fault: What is the hunting party doing in ballroom attires in the middle of the forest...?

CHOREOGRAPHY.

"Adapted and re-staged by Edward Villella" states the playbill. Did he had such exposure to the ballet during his dancing years to be able to do so...?

My own intuition and some knowledge on different versions tells me that MCB is a mitch match of several stagings. I SAW fragments of the Cuban AND the Russian Giselles, carbon copied, and I suspect that video played a huge role in here. There were winner moments. Like in the Cuban version, this Giselle contains the WHOLE Berthe's scene, with no musical cuts. The miming tries to compress everything...the story of the Willis who keep dancing in the forest coming to life at night from underneath to kill men because of their anger of having died before being wed, which could happen to Giselle if she insists on dancing despite her weak heart. Lots of info, but Miamian Berthe manages to say it all. Two thumbs up! (and two more for Miss Callie Manning, of the BEST Berthes I've ever seen.

To be continued...


Let me first clarify that whatever comparison I'm making it is against my Alma Mater on this subject, the Dolin/Alonso staging of the Cuban version. which also has the hand of Mary Skeaping on -(like the whole Fugue of the Willis scene).
Keeping on with the choreographic subject, the Miamain staging has its winning moments, like the whole Myrtha's introductory scenes/variations. I'm not familiar with the current version of ABT, but the '77 production has some cuts during Van Hammel's first presentation of the Queen of the Wills onstage. As a non such fortunate moment we have the Fugue des Willis, which is heavily cut-(being such an spectacular/iconic moment of the ballet, both musically and choreographically , i can't understand why). Zulma and Moyna's variations are also dramatically eased down, and their choreography suffers from lack of legato and grandeur. If you blink your eyes, they're gone from stage without any acknowledgment from the audience. I remember theirs used to be a moment to wait for, for which it was usually done by those ballerinas on the verge of becoming Principals . The music used to be slow, and the choreography would allow them to luxuriate in posing and stillness. Also, I noticed that here they were left just left a tiny little space to dance their variations, for which the Willis corps was almost occupying all the stage...very separated from the wings. Moyna lost her extravagant penchee. Now she does a simple arabesque after the renversee.
The Peasant PDD male variation was beautifully executed by Kleber Rebello. His tours en l'air are textbook perfect, although I must say that the orchestra director was too condescending by allowing too much extra time for him to finish all that turning on the air before signaling the last accord to be in pace with his landing, resulting in some awkward silent moments. The female variation is very grey over here. About this pas, I should say I still don't get used to it. The Cuban version converts it into a grand Pas de Dix, with some spectacular moments on the guys jumping over the girls heads, and basically using much of the same choreography. Thing is, Alonso always said that this PDD looked to awkward in the middle of this story. i mean, the guy's variation has way more bravura moments than all Albrecht's combined dancing! Even my neophyte companion asked me who this two characters were, given the choreographic importance they're given. Here I agree that this couple is sort of anti climatic. We all know by now that the Pas was included right before the very first performance of the ballet for Nathalie Fitzjames as a personal request, so it is obvious that it kind of diminishes the choreographic supremacy of the main couple.
I just realized I'm going back and forth in between the two acts.. Posted Image (forgive me about it).
Let's see...another nice touch from Act I is the little story created around the wine. When Bathilde's father is tasting the wine that timid Giselle offers, and signal that it is good, all the girls and boys seem relieved and very happy, making comments about it. This is a nice link and reminder to the timeframe of the story, the harvest.
I have spoke at large already about Giselle's Pas Seul poor general rendition. Only Mary Carmen Catoya was able to make a good impression on me, being the only ballerina to attempt some of the few standards difficulties left in this staging. As for the rest of the females in this variation, I saw off balance AND off pointe accidents. I was quite sad to see such an exposed moment being butchered down and changed.
The Fugue des Willis lacks drama. The movements are not explosive enough and too languid. They didn't look like killing entities at all. They were more like multiplied Sylphs from Scotch Symphony. Albrecht here has Misha's diagonal of brises for Act II before Myrtha. All three bailarines-(Cerdeiro, Reyes and Guerra)-did them, although it was Reyes who perform them best. A welcoming musical moment was the inclusion of the original fast paced final of the ballet, with its grand symphonic cadenza, vs. the Pavlova-created slow version. Very nice, for which it took me back to the Cuban version again, which uses it.

To be continued...Posted Image

#45 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,214 posts

Posted 08 March 2012 - 01:56 PM

As I said earlier, the ABT's borrowed sets are luxurious, but...what's that big tree doing in the middle of the forest for Act II...?! It takes out lots of dancing space.

THE DANCERS.

Miss Mary Carmen Catoya was definitely the best Giselle of the three castings I saw, and the one who successfully was up to the choreographic challenges. In a minor scale, Miss Tricia Albertson, and finally, Miss Jennifer Kronenberg, who opted for the delete or mask of some of the difficult steps-(particularly during Giselle's Pas Seul). Among the Albrechts, it was handsome Reyneris Reyes who brought best the necessary dual romantic/masculine touch along with decent technique to the story, followed by Renan Cerdeiro, who was amazing, considering his young age and that this was his debut in the role. I really need to step back from my pre-assessment of him, for which it was really more than what I expected. Carlos Guerra is already sort of along the lines of his wife. The pairing of Reyes and Catoya was very successfully. He did some wonderful overhead lifts in Act II to Catoya, where she stood horizontally as if floating. As I already said, the highlight of the Peasant PDD was Kleber Rebello, who was best paired with Miss Arja, rather than Albertson in a second casting. Rebello and Miss Nathalia Arja are both very young, and they probably understand each other better-(they're both Brazilian). The Corps was beautiful. The Esty sisters-(Miss Sara and Miss Leigh-Ann)- were great as Zulma and Moyna. I wish that that choreography could had been a little "more" than what it was, for which both dancers are up to the challenge. Miss Zoe Zien always stand up among the other girls. She always look very elegant and placid onstage. Miss Callie Manning was amazing as Berthe, and her Myrtha was quite satisfying too-(she's a better demi-character dancer I think). THE Myrtha of my Miami running was definitely Miss Jeanette Delgado, who gave us a taste of those type of "liquid" bourres that we all admired in Fonteyn's Cinderella video. At one point she came out from the wings via some devilishly high grand jetes, eating the stage like there was no tomorrow! Posted Image . A special mention to the De Courland party's best exponents: Yann Trividic and Miss Suzanne Limbrunner, who looked very royal without being affected.

To be continued...


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):