ABT at Auditorium Theatre Chicago, March 22-25
Posted 25 March 2012 - 04:10 PM
Posted 25 March 2012 - 04:15 PM
Posted 25 March 2012 - 04:43 PM
Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:36 AM
Goldstar and maybe Groupon were selling deeply discounted tickets for the Friday evening show with Reyes and Cornejo. I'm guessing that between the affordability there and the massive starpower of the Sat. Evening show, the other shows, including Kent's, were more sparsely attended. Saturday was more or less a full house, with quite a diverse audience. Always good to see. There were, of course, many recognisable dancers (posture and physique are always dead giveaways), but not as many small children as I feared. The audience did seem to get a bit restless during Act 2, but nothing really offensive. My friend seated elsewhere said she saw a woman in front of her checking text messages though. During Act 2 no less!
I would like very much to hear about the Reyes/Cornejo show...the tickets were such a good deal, but it seems no one on BA saw it!
I hope it was just an off night for Phillips. His solo issues aside, Lane seemed more and more tentative every set of pirouettes...and I can't blame her. Maybe iffy partnering wouldn't stand out so much 'normally', but to put such an imbalanced pair next to Hallberg and Osipova was a mistake.
And yes, Boylston! Very nice, although I had trouble looking at anything but Part. And (unrelated) the Borzoi in Act 1 were gorgeous, haha. The red and white one seemed a more energetic performer, giving a few excited little spins while his handler stood still. Very cute.
Also, Osipova simply removed the necklace rather than ripping it off and sending beads everywhere as Giselle tends to. What about the other Giselles in this run? Was it a safety issue?
One last note before I end my rambling: the lady I spoke with agreed on how strange and frustrating it was that POB is bringing Giselle to Chicago in June! In her words,"Someone must not have checked...". Indeed.
Posted 26 March 2012 - 12:39 PM
Well, it only took them about 20 seconds to realize that having a big promotional stripe over the screen might...um...obscure the dancers.
In fact I saw Reyes and Cornejo on Friday--downstairs I did not think the house was too bad. I saw him often when he was an extraordinary soloist--no matter who the principal was, one opened the program, saw Cornejo's name in whatever secondary role and thought FANTASTIC and he always came through with pretty much the best dancing of the evening. But I have not seen him at all as a principal dancer (now my ballet going is more limited by opportunities/funds to travel). I bought tickets to see him last year with Cojocaru and he then was injured...so, I was delighted to have the chance to see him dance Albrecht and very pleased with how commanding, elegant, and charming he was. His dancing continues to be a model of classical excellence though perhaps he is not quite as airborne as he used to be. And he is wonderfully alive--stretched out and vital in every inch of his body while always dancing with classical purity. If it were physically possible to make oneself taller by sheer carriage of the body, he would surely do so.
The performance overall was highlighted, too, by the corps de ballet. But otherwise, not a great evening. Reyes' Giselle is very sweet and gentle and she gave an affecting and believable account of the mad-scene though low key, even low energy--more very, very sad than genuinely mad. Her dancing however was weaker than it needed to be for much of the ballet. In the big Act I solo, with the exception of decently done pique turns at the end, she flubbed, underdanced, or simplified pretty much every phrase. I am not a stickler (if someone falls off pointe during the hops I don't like it, but I can overlook it), but the whole solo was off. Call it an off night--probably--but her dancing in Act II was not terribly impressive either. She does not have beautiful feet and evidently does not use any sort of artificial arch enhancement (kudos to that I guess), but the lines during Giselle's jumps in Act II looked positively unfinished; at one or two points her feet seemed almost floppy. I had rather thought Giselle might be a good role for her, but I don't think so now, unless Friday evening was indeed anomalous. It seems a shame the company can't find/promote a better partner for Cornejo--I had thought Lane was in the running for "petite" principal--the sheer quality of his dancing is a real pleasure; imagine if he had a comparable partner.
I should say though that I liked Messmer's very Vampiric quality as Queen of the Wilis on Friday night; she had some trouble getting a really secure footing in her arabesques--but seriously severe looking and powerful otherwise. Not the majestic beauty of Part, but no-one you would want to run into in the middle of a dark forest either...Friday night the whole opening Act II Wili sequence she led was a highlight of the evening.
A dancer I have criticized before but who also very much impressed me on Friday was Jared Matthews in the peasant pas de deux. His first solo was ... well ...good(ish) soloist work, but after that, he really took off: explosive but tightly landed jumps and the kind of presentation that suggests he can indeed be more than a soloist. Very happy to see this, hope it was more than a "good" night!
I also saw Herrera/Stearns. He certainly looked stronger than the last outing I saw him dancing in a principal role (in Dame aux Camelias--where the partnering seemed way beyond his capacity and effectively undermined Dvorovenko's otherwise very fine performance). Given his male model good looks, I also thought he made a good choice in playing Albrecht as more of a cool seducer than ardent lover--though I have to admit that given Stearns rather cool affect on stage generally I'm not 100 percent certain it was a choice, but I think so and quite effective. He also handled himself well in Act II, conveying Albrecht's remorse effectively and dancing well if not spectacularly. After Friday night, I could not help appreciating Herrera's sheer ability to dance all the steps and I think she is in fact a very fine dancer with a likeable stage persona (loved her in Bright Stream last spring); it sounds odd to say this of a Giselle, but she notably put a kind of effective "weight" into her arm movements in Act II that gave them a sort of ghostly sensuality that I rather liked. But I don't think she is a great Giselle and this was not overall a memorable performance. Also,the ensemble at the matinee in Act I--notably the grouping of Giselle's friends was decidedly weaker than at the evening performance, not as sharply unified nor as strong individually.
I sound fussy--I am a bit; perhaps if I were not travelling (food poisoning this time too!), staying in hotels, etc. to see these performances, I would be less so. (Edited to add: probably not.)
Posted 26 March 2012 - 01:35 PM
Just a note to say I'm enjoying these reports. Great thread.
Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:20 PM
Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:03 PM
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