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MCB Program III. Giselle


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#46 Jack Reed

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:37 PM

Fascinating to read, Cristian! Keep going!

#47 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 03:50 PM

Fascinating to read, Cristian! Keep going!


May I...? GOOD!! Posted Image

#48 bart

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 05:50 AM

There are times when I think it is an advantage not to know too intimately the details of a complex ballet. Deconstruction can be useful. It can also create mental static and distraction.. When I focus on specific details I often find myself being pulled away from the larger emotional and dramatic arc of the piece. With story ballets, this can be a big mistake. My experience of last night's compelling performance (Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra; Jeanette Delgado as Myrthe; Reyneris Reyes as Hilarion) confirms this, for me at least.

Giselle's greatest triumph, it seems to me, is to tell it's story well. Details are crucial to this, of course. Most important to me, however, is maintaining the suspension of disbelief. You have to believe in the existence and unqiue value of Giselle -- her naivete, her madness, her place in the village community, her essential goodness, the centrality of "dance" in her life and even after her death. You have to believe in and come to care about Albrecht's journey through his turbulent and morally-challenging experiences. Kronenberg and Guerra made all of that work last night. For me, at least.. Each has grown enormously in these roles since the last time MCB performed the work. When the individual artist grows, so does the partnership.

The live orchestra was a huge advantage. Gary Sheldon's attentiveness to the dancers, communicated in the form of subtle variations in phrasing, tempo, dynamics, gave new life to the performances of just about everyone on stage. Much was different from a few years ago, but the gains in musical responsiveness were what impressed me the most.

Important, too, is the three-dimensionality and spontaneity of live performance. I'm not a believer in relying too much on dvds or YouTube clips. They help me to understand and to analyze. But watching them, even at the highest level, leaves a great deal out. At the Kravis Center last night I found myself thinking -- this may not be Paris, Havana, or St. Petersberg. But it's where I am now. It's what I have now. It's infinitely more than I could ever have expected when I moved to this place.

I own a number of Giselle dvds -- great performances from great companies. I revisited Fracci's, Makarova's, Ferri's, and Cojocaru's Giselles before to going to the Kravis last night. It was a fantastic exercise. But nothing I experienced sitting alone in front my computer screen came even close to what I saw and felt coming from the Kravis stage and pit last night. To see art being "made" -- illusion being created, risks being taken, ensemble being woven together ... NOW ... is what I love most about any performing art.

I'll wait until I've seen the Catoya/Reyes and Albertson/Cerdeiro casts to write more. (I have to miss Delgado/Penteado.) I hope to address the question of technique at that time, something I tend to see as being slightly different from questions of canonical versions and authentic texts.

In the meantime ... for those who are interested ... here's an old thread about the 1969 Boston Ballet Giselle, performed by Violette Verdy and one of her best partners and closest collaborators, Edward Villella. Revisiting this thread gave me some insights into how a version "adapted and staged" by Edward Villella could be so effective when performed by dancers better known for Balanchine, Robbins, Taylor and Tharp.

http://balletalert.i...-boston-ballet/

#49 Jack Reed

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:21 AM

(from Chicago, IL) Both of you, in your very different ways, are making me think I'm missing something! But, "life's like that," eh?

#50 Birdsall

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:26 AM

bart,
Sorry we couldn't talk last night! I had to go back out to my mother, but I wanted to put a face to the name! Great to sort of meet you. I agree that their acting was great! I thought Kronenberg's mad scene was much better than the last time MCB did Giselle. I do see what Cristian means though too. This happens in opera also...as the dramatic interpretation deepens the technical elements falter a bit. Guerra and Kronenberg make a gorgeous couple on stage and the fact they are actually married in real life makes the audience love them together. They are MCB's "Love Couple" which is what the opera world called Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna when they married and started singing together. Guerra has a regal bearing in everything he does, so he makes a good prince. Kronenberg is a beautiful woman and acted the role beautifully. I did think they seemed technically stronger last time, but this time they interpreted the roles better.
My favorites were Jeannette Delgado as Myrtha and Cerdeiro in the peasant pdd! Those two always impress me whatever they dance! Going back to see Delgado today as Giselle! She has shown she can be serious and dramatic. Her bourees were like floating on air! Wasn't sure she could be stern enough as Myrtha, but she was! Can't wait to see her range in the title role!

#51 bart

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:15 AM

Kronenberg and Guerra are certainly marketed as a love couple. Until last night, I've not found them to be an ideal romantic partnership on stage. The illusion of love depends (I think) on some kind of artistic equivalency. Guerra's growth in this role since the last time out made me believe in all the love elements of the story and made Albrecht's fate as moving, in its own way, as Giselle's.

Agree entirely about Delgado's Myrthe. Astonishing as to detail and stage presence. You don't have to be tall and long-limbed to dance big. Those who keep thinking about Delgado in terms of her ability to express joy -- the critics of the 'Delgado smile' -- are missing something if they think that is ALL she can do.

This Myrthe didn't grim. More relevant, neither did she glower, grimace, or tighten her features to convey a Really Bad Mood, as some Myrthe's do. I can still see Delgado's head in profile, mouth stern but unstrained, eyes missing nothing, chin strong without being forced to jut outward, body standing downstage in a perfectly still B-plus pose. The best stage actresses don't have to keep "doing things" to draw your eye in their direction. We don't orget this Myrthe for an instant, even when she stands still.

I regret not being able to see what Delgado will do with the very different role of transparent, naive peasant girl, whose every Act I emotion seems to pass over her features like sun and shadow on the surface of a lake.

#52 Birdsall

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:03 AM

Agree entirely about Delgado's Myrthe. Astonishing as to detail and stage presence. You don't have to be tall and long-limbed to dance big. Those who keep thinking about Delgado in terms of her ability to express joy -- the critics of the 'Delgado smile' -- are missing something if they think that is ALL she can do.

This Myrthe didn't grim. More relevant, neither did she glower, grimace, or tighten her features to convey a Really Bad Mood, as some Myrthe's do. I can still see Delgado's head in profile, mouth stern but unstrained, eyes missing nothing, chin strong without being forced to jut outward, body standing downstage in a perfectly still B-plus pose. The best stage actresses don't have to keep "doing things" to draw your eye in their direction. We don't orget this Myrthe for an instant, even when she stands still.

I regret not being able to see what Delgado will do with the very different role of transparent, naive peasant girl, whose every Act I emotion seems to pass over her features like sun and shadow on the surface of a lake.



I agree. Never did I feel Delgado was acting. To me she lived the part, and her dancing was gorgeous! She was a top notch Myrtha! I am a fan of the beautiful Delgado smile, but I am also thrilled to see her range in portraying serious personalities as well. I am glad she'll be able to use her smile in Act 1 today!

#53 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:14 AM

From the second Delgado's Myrtha I also remember being striked by her makeup. She did some heavy, expressionist all white face, with her eyes features very black, her eye caves looking deeply sunken. She reminded me of those old Bela Lugosi movies! Very effective indeed...

#54 Birdsall

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:29 AM

From the second Delgado's Myrtha I also remember being striked by her makeup. She did some heavy, expressionist all white face, with her eyes features very black, her eye caves looking deeply sunken. She reminded me of those old Bela Lugosi movies! Very effective indeed...


It was hard to recognize her! I'm not sure she wants to be compared to Bela Lugosi, Cristian!!!!! LOL LOL LOL But I understand what you mean. You always make me laugh!

#55 Birdsall

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:10 PM

Just home from Delgado's debut in Giselle and loved her! She radiates youth and energy! Her acting is natural like she's just inhabiting the role instead of acting the role. She has so much charisma. Cristian can give a more technical analysis of her dancing, but I felt she excelled at jumps (grand jetes), foot work, and Port de bras. To me she created magic. She was a gorgeous young girl in love. I felt her mad scene still needs work, but it was great for a first time! She was also quite lyrical and spirit-like in the second act. I think it was an incredible first Giselle!!!!!!! She's already good! She will be GREAT with time!

#56 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:44 PM

Just home from Delgado's debut in Giselle and loved her! She radiates youth and energy! Her acting is natural like she's just inhabiting the role instead of acting the role. She has so much charisma. Cristian can give a more technical analysis of her dancing, but I felt she excelled at jumps (grand jetes), foot work, and Port de bras. To me she created magic. She was a gorgeous young girl in love. I felt her mad scene still needs work, but it was great for a first time! She was also quite lyrical and spirit-like in the second act. I think it was an incredible first Giselle!!!!!!! She's already good! She will be GREAT with time!


Agree with all you've said, BB. Beautifully danced, and joyful/dramatic when needed. Lovely.

To: whom may it might concern...

NO BOUQUET OF FLOWERS FOR A YOUNG DEBUTANTE IN GISELLE..?!?!

[size=4]SHAMEFUL!!![/size] Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

So here are mine, Miss Delgado! Posted Image Posted Image (No more for there're only 5 emoticons allowed per post...)

#57 Birdsall

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 04:22 PM

It was shocking not to give flowers to Delgado! A debut as Giselle is a major thing for a dancer, I would think!!!!

#58 Birdsall

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:51 AM

Any report on the Catoya Giselle at the Kravis? I wanted to see that one too, and Cristian says she was the best out of all the Giselles he saw. I just could not go to two in one day and ignore my parents while visiting them! LOL And I did not want to miss Delgado's Giselle, but Cristian says Catoya is more experienced and technically proficient and the best out of all the ones he saw.

#59 bart

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:42 AM

Jennifer Kronenberg and Mary Carmen Catoya were admirable Giselles, but in quite different ways.

I saw Catoya and Reyes Saturday night. While Kronenberg's Giselle was the more moving and complex, especially in Act II. Catoya's stood out for clarity and beauty of technique.

I don't mean this to downplay Catoya's acting abilities. Catoya, a principal since 1999, came across as one of the "youngest" (Act I) Giselle's I've ever seen, and one of the least mannered.. Her's was a more more spontaneous, original Giselle than Kronenberg's, with a hint of recklessness. Sometimes Giselle's innocence can be overplayed. This Giselle had a brain and a sense of humor as well as an almost contemporary (in the best sense of the term) grasp of what it is to be a young girl in love. Her mad scene projected undertones of anger, not just pain and fear. She seemed to resent and to be fighting against her impending madness, which made her collapse at the end especially interesting.

Reyes was a strong Albrecht, but more conventional than his partner. (For real drama, I preferred his powerful Hilarion the night before.)

Catoya's technical purity was the high point of Act II. Kronenberg's Act II made me feel deeply for the character. Catoya's made me appreciate how beautiful the choreography is. One difference may have been that I moved to a seat further back (Grand Tier first row) Act II. The stage pictures were stunning, but elements of detail and individuality was inevitably lost.

Callie Manning's Myrthe is a real beauty, even when observed from a distance. She's also an Ice Maiden, upper body completely still during her fast but almost invisible pas de bourrees, no matter what the direction. The jumps were powerful though changes in upper body while in midair seemed effortless. The balances were secure and were held for dramatic effect.

Reyes did a fine job in a slightly old-fashioned manner and handled most of the technical challenges (jumps, lifts) quite well. There was something strange about those iconic brises voles -- his bending of the spine, a large gap between the two feet. Didier Bramaz's Hilarian was elegant but perhaps a tad over-subtle for tthe drama.

The corps -- a number of whom are from the school -- was impressive. These young dancers moved with remarkable synchronicity and with a real Romantic shaping, as though they had been dancing this kind of choreography for years. The effect was hypnotic, although they were not helped by the big scenery, which hemmed them in and deprived them of space upstage and to the sides. Those hops in arabesque alongee were beautifully done and would have looked better if given more space to move.
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I wouldn't have missed either these casts for the world. Vive la difference.

P.S. Regarding the Saturday matinee performance, which I missed. A good friend, a woman who has seen many Giselles beginning with Markova's in the mid 1940s, mentioned that Delgado's performance was "very promising .... technically strong .... she will be a very good Giselle in five years." My friend was enthusiastic about Renato Penteado's Albrecht. Penteado is the company's best classical dancer, but one who can also act and move in a variety of styles. He was interviewed by conductor Gary Sheldon before the Friday night performance and was delightful. (I also learned that he is married to MCB's senior Ballet Mistress, former NYCB dancer Roma Sosenko.)

#60 Birdsall

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 03:33 PM

Penteado did get better and better as the performance progressed. Delgado tired at times, but she probably hasn't learned to pace herself, but I think she was a natural as Giselle as far as the acting went. Her dancing was very good too. She will be a great Giselle if she gets a chance to dance it more and more. She's not perfect but such an exciting talent! She had a lot of nightmares to deal with in her debut like the flower not wanting to be plucked, Bathilde not being where she expected when she danced backwards intending to bump into her, etc. She probably thought, "Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong!" yet she managed it all like a pro!


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