Helene

Apollo/Carmina Burana

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The "Apollo/Carmina Burana" (Rep 5) program opens next Friday, 13 April, and continues with two performances on Saturday, 14 April (matinee and evening) and runs second weekend from Thursday, 19 April-Sunday, 22 April.

PNB has just emailed me the cast info for Week 1, and I put it in a spreadsheet, which can be downloaded:

Apollo and Carmina Burana Week 1.xlsx

Peter Boal said in the "Balanchine: Then and Now" lecture demonstration that there were four casts for "Apollo". The disappointing news, for me at least, is that only two casts will perform first weekend, while the casting for "Carmina Burana" is more distributed.

Here is the trailer:

The "Apollo" excerpts shows some of the opening (Russell staging) that we won't see in Boal's staging, and features Patricia Barker's Terpsichore and Stanko Milov's Apollo.

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I do miss Stanko Milov this season, and I will feel even more in April when there are no options to see him in Apollo. I hope he is doing well, and out of pain now with his injuries.

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I do miss Stanko Milov this season, and I will feel even more in April when there are no options to see him in Apollo. I hope he is doing well, and out of pain now with his injuries.

I agree -- I've missed his presence several times, and will miss it as well in Apollo.

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out of curiosity, I googled him to see if he is teaching anywhere, and found this:

http://www.stankomilov.com/teacher.htm

In the Spring of 2012 Stanko Milov will conclude his B.F.A. in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts.
Good for him!

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Cornish students present a series of concerts as part of their BFA curriculum, and Milov had work on that program this year, but alas, I wasn't able to get there.

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Milov did at least one work for PNB's Choreography Workshop when it still used company dancers -- now it uses Professional Division students -- a series of pas de deux to his own music, and another for "Out on a Limb" a program by the Seattle group Simple Measures, which presents music and dance in community centers and encourages audience participation. (Their motto is "Any closer, and you'd be licking varnish.) Milov's piece, for him and Julie Tobiason, was set to songs and movements by a range of composers, and had some of my all-time favorite pieces.

It would have been interesting to see what direction his work has taken since 2008.

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... the Seattle group Simple Measures, which presents music and dance in community centers and encourages audience participation. (Their motto is "Any closer, and you'd be licking varnish.)

And a fine motto it is.

Simple Measures did a collaboration with Seattle Dance Project, the ensemble founded by Julie Tobiason and Tim Lynch, centered around music by the Beatles -- the program had some weak spots, but musically it was a real treat to hear SM transcriptions of the Beatles score.

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This looks like a TV ad for Carmina, except it's probably too long to be one:

The male soloist is Christophe Maraval, whom I still miss terribly.

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Casting is up for Week 2 on the website:

http://www.pnb.org/S...Details-Casting

Here's the grid for comparison:

Apollo and Carmina Burana Weeks 1 and 2.xlsx

Please note that there's an extra, non-subscription performance on Saturday, 21 April at 2pm.

Major debuts in week 2 are

  • Postlewaite and Orza as Apollo.
  • Murphy as Terpsichore
  • O'Connor and Adomaitis as Calliope
  • Mullin as Polyhymnia
  • Lin-Yee in "In Taberna"

Imler reprises her Polyhymnia for the first time in week 2. I'm not sure if Porretta's performances in "In Taberna" are a debut, or if he performed the role in 2004.

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Casting is up for Week 2 on the website:

http://www.pnb.org/S...Details-Casting

Here's the grid for comparison:

Apollo and Carmina Burana Weeks 1 and 2.xlsx

Please note that there's an extra, non-subscription performance on Saturday, 21 April at 2pm.

Major debuts in week 2 are

  • Postlewaite and Orza as Apollo.
  • Murphy as Terpsichore
  • O'Connor and Adomaitis as Calliope
  • Mullin as Polyhymnia
  • Lin-Yee in "In Taberna"

Imler reprises her Polyhymnia for the first time in week 2. I'm not sure if Porretta's performances in "In Taberna" are a debut, or if he performed the role in 2004.

Well this changes my schedule for the second weekend.

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PNB has posted a lovely studio rehearsal/interview video of "Apollo" to YouTube. Seth Orza is interviewed, there are shots of Peter Boal coaching Orza and speaking about the ballet, with a little footage of his Polyhymnia, Carrie Imler, and Calliope, Leah O'Connor. There's also an excerpt of Laura Gilbreath's Terpsichore, at the end with her Apollo, Karel Cruz.

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From Peter Boal's email to Friends:

- Aside from three injured dancers, every member of the Company will perform in Carmina Burana.

- Soprano soloist Christina Siemens has recently performed Carmina with the Seattle Symphony. You will recognize Christina as she is our PNB rehearsal pianist during the day (and The Voice by night!). She also sings with Doug Fullington’s Tudor Choir.

- Christina does not like the shoes she has to wear. See attached jpg.

- The Wheel of Fortune designed by Ming Cho Lee for Carmina, with its riggings, weighs in excess of 2000 pounds.

- With 15 dancers debuting roles in four casts of Apollo, only Carrie Imler returns to the role she performed in 2004.

- The stool on which Apollo sits is only 14” high. We have a higher one for Karel.

- I retired from the New York City Ballet with Apollo in 2005. In my dressing room before the performance were my wife, three kids and a caregiver. On the loudspeaker came the words, “Peter Boal to the stage for Apollo,” but the audience had to wait for another minute. Sarah Boal had just graduated from diapers and was proving her newfound abilities in my potty. The next words I heard where, “I want Daddy to clean me up.” The rapid descent from god to man had begun! (Can’t read that in the press!)

Enjoy the performances and if you’re there on Friday, wear pink to honor Alexis!

Also attached were cast lists in .pdf format, and they list the entire cast:

Rep 5 performance casting week 1.pdf

Rep 5 performance casting week 2.pdf

post-3390-0-75555400-1334274025_thumb.jp

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I was at the lecture and dress rehearsal this evening -- Emil de Cou and Christina Siemens were the guests at the lecture, and were very cordial. de Cou in particular had lots of great anecdotes (apparently one of his early inspirations was a re-release of Disney's "Fantasia") but I was particularly interested in what he had to say about the relationship between Stravinsky's score for Apollo and the Orff Carmina. He framed them as two different musical responses to WWI -- Stravinsky turning away from his primitivist work with Rite of Spring and Orff celebrating an invented Germanic heritage with Carmina.

The dress rehearsal isn't for review, but I will say that it was great fun to watch three of the four Apollos mark the opening solo together.

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What a joy to see Lucien Postlewaite and Leslie Rausch as the crucial "Cour D'Amour" pair in opening night's Carmina Burana. I swear I witnessed the two of them "fall in love" right in front of our eyes. The musicality they both display so well is superb. It felt particularly poignant given how infrequently we see them paired and given that Postlewaite is soon to leave the company. Indeed, I've just re-arranged my week-2 schedule to see this pairing again!

The "muse trio" of Ricard, Chapman, and Rausch in my beloved Apollo was also a highlight. At times they danced as one.....so appropriate at particular moments in this famous ballet.

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Some miscellaneous thoughts

It’s far enough along into the spring that it’s still daylight when we come into the theater, and when the lobby doors into the auditorium are open, you can see pools of daylight on the front curtain.

Apollo

Batkhurel Bold takes this role very seriously -- his is not a playful Apollo. His work with the lute is very controlled and smooth, especially as he cartwheels it down to the ground. His relationship to the Muses is equally careful -- all the notes are there, but he hasn’t decided yet which ones he likes the best. The moments of disequilibrium (stumbles and falls) are polished -- they’re not accidents. I wonder what he would look like in the full-length version, where these moments of weakness are an echo of the wobbly newborn.

All three of his Muses (Maria Chapman as Calliope, Lesley Rausch as Polyhymnia and Sarah Ricard Orza as Terpsichore) are very clean, almost dry in their approach. They are all making debuts in these roles, and right now they seem to be performing what they’ve learned, but not what they might have discovered. With some extra time, they could certainly get to that point -- they’re all confident in their parts, but not yet adventurous.

The horse imagery is really clear in this production, both casts have that sense of animal drive as the Muses almost drag Apollo across the stage, while he digs in his heels to control them. And Bold makes the strong-man moments really read -- it made me think about Balanchine’s experiences in cabaret theater, almost like a music hall number.

In the second cast I saw, Karel Cruz seems to be further along in the process of making this role his own -- he’s making choices about accents and phrasing, and most importantly, how he relates to the Muses. The opening tableau is truly lovely. He’s always been really tall, but when he first came to PNB he was just a little diffident, as if he regretted his height. Muscularly, he seems to have been doing upper body work -- he’s filled out, especially in the shoulders -- but it’s the sense of poise and elegance that just knocks you over. He may still have a lot to learn, but he is a god from the start. And this seems to give him a sense of freedom, to strum his lute, to really look around as he moves through the space, to over-reach and stumble and then to catch himself up again. In one phrase toward the beginning of the work, as he twists and turns the lute it seems like the double ended oar of a kayak and he was shooting a rapid. And once the Muses arrive he really is almost a cowboy, pulling back on the reins or urging them forward with the same circling arm as the opening phrases, only now it’s all about the giddy-up.

Kylee Kitchens as Calliope has some lovely reverb in her torso as she rolls through her spine, like an echo of her initial gut-clenching movement. And there’s a moment in her solo where she twitches side to side that I think might be a foreshadowing of Melancholic’s twinges in 4Ts. Lindsi Dec eats up space as Polyhymnia, which isn’t a surprise. There’s a moment at the beginning of her solo where she stands still with her prop and just smiles -- she seemed like the good student about to recite her lessons. She had some trouble with the turns (keeping the finger to her lips means that she can’t use that arm to help with the rotation) but she didn’t get flustered, and made a good end with the outburst. Gilbreath’s opening phrase as Terpsichore, pawing the ground and swiveling, had a great rhythm to it, and the sequence where she peers under her arm as she turns was a nice foreshadowing of a similar moment in the duet. There are some other lovely physical moments, but the part that was most impressive was the relationship with Apollo -- throughout the solo she was making choices about how she related to him, when she looked at him, when she looked away. It was clear that this was a test, and she wanted to know how she was doing.

The duet had more really interesting timing choices. At the very top, Gilbreath held her first develope for what seemed like an extra beat before stepping over Cruz into the promenade -- it was almost confrontational. The role of teacher and student shifted back and forth several times -- Cruz almost scrambled to get his knees up, hoping she might perch there, but then later he was calling the shots while she was following his lead -- it was great to watch the changes.

(I’m glad I’m going to see two more performances this weekend, one each of Lucien Postlewaite and Seth Orza)

There’s been a lot of discussion here on Ballet Alert and elsewhere about the different versions of Apollo, and I don’t want to rehash things, but I still feel that this later version, without the birth or the apotheosis on the stairs, is dramatically weaker than the earlier version that the company used to perform. I know this is Balanchine’s ballet, and if he wanted to take all that material out, it’s his prerogative, but I can still prefer one over the other...

Carmina Burana

This is one of Stowell’s most popular works, and it’s easy to see why -- it’s a score almost everyone knows, rhythmic and tuneful, with big folk dance references. Between the set and the on-stage choir, the stage picture is full even if there are no dancers on stage. Ming Cho Lee’s golden Wheel of Fate is a little like the chandelier in productions of Phantom of the Opera, you’d have to be dead not to notice that it ‘means something.’ And for all that the lyrics are in Latin, most of us can still hear the opening “O Fortuna” and get a sense of what it’s about. The peasant costumes with headbands for the men make it look just a little bit like a production of Hair, and the springtime and love elements fit into that reference as well. We don’t need the specifics of the tavern scene to know that it’s all about the sex. And if we weren’t sure by then, the corps of couples in nude unitards would clear up any lingering questions.

Stowell makes really good use of folk/ethnic dance elements -- there’s plenty of contra dance phrases as well as long series of Thread the Needle that might have come straight from the Playford manuscripts. Kyle Davis, Benjamin Griffiths and Eric Hipolito are great in the men’s trio early on, Liora Reshef and Leta Biasucci are quite lovely in the corps sections, James Moore and Kaori Nakamura were very playful as the lead couple in Primo Vere -- he was substituting for Jonathan Porretta, who bruised his toe, but near as I could tell he did a chunk of his regular role as well. But there could have been ten times more than the three substitutions I knew about for this performance -- there are just that many people on stage. Rausch was channeling her inner Patricia Barker in the Cour d’Amour -- pale and elegant. She was partnered with Postlewaite -- right now we’d all come to watch him change his dance shoes as he prepares to leave the company at the end of the season, so watching him in anything is fraught. Carrie Imler looks almost too healthy to be the Harlot in the tavern scenes, but she shimmied her shoulders and shook her butt with relish. And at the ending tableau, she’s hoisted up on top of all her partners while Rausch and Postlewaite are twined around each other.

Q/A

Rausch was the guest on Friday night. Boal mentioned the 800 pound gorilla topic, that Postlewaite was leaving at the end of the season, and judging from the response, there were a number of people who hadn’t yet heard that. So when one of the first questions from the audience was “how do you deal with unexpected changes?” Boal didn’t really have a pat answer. He acknowledged that the company is thin in soloist and principal men, and mentioned that we’d be seeing some corps men get more than the usual roles. He mentioned Jerome Tisserand, Davis, Moore and Andrew Bartee -- did not mention Griffiths in this context. Rausch said that there was a powerful bond between the women who danced the Muses that evening (Friday) and that she and Bold were both cast in the 3rd movement of Kiyon Gaines’s upcoming new work.

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Many thanks, sandik!

PNB just announced on Facebook that there is a 50% discount on tickets to this Saturday matinee performance of "Apollo" and "Carmina Burana" in celebration of the NEXT 50 kickoff at Seattle Center. (That's 21 April, 2pm). It's a non-subscription performance, which usually means there are more great seats from which to choose.

https://www.pnb.org/...tm_medium=email

Seth Orza makes his debut as Apollo and Leah O'Connor as Calliope in this performance.

Some casting changes due to Jonathan Porretta's injury:

  • Tonight (Thursday): James Moore dances In Taberna
  • Saturday Matinee: James Moore dances In Taberna; Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths lead Primo Vere
  • Sunday Matinee: James Moore leads Primo Vere with Kaori Nakamura

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I stumbled across this advertisement, and it reminded me of Apollo...

post-3390-0-90357600-1334877721_thumb.jp

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If there's anyway you can, get to PNB this afternoon and see Seth Orza's Apollo with a splendid cast of muses. Lucien Postlewaite also dances Course d'Amours this afternoon.

Also get a ticket for everyone you know for Season's Encore, where Postlewaite will dance his Apollo.

Both of them were spectacular, among the best short-version Apollos I've seen.

There wasn't a lot if Balanchine this season, but we've seen some definitive performances. performances.

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If there's any way you can, get to PNB this afternoon and see Seth Orza's Apollo with a splendid cast of muses. Lucien Postlewaite also dances Cour d'Amours this afternoon.

Also get a ticket for everyone you know for Season's Encore, where Postlewaite will dance his Apollo.

Both of them were spectacular, among the best short-version Apollos I've seen.

There wasn't a lot if Balanchine this season, but we've seen some definitive performances.

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I just came back.

OMG, is Helene correct!! What fortuitous serendipity this cast was. The PdD in Apollo btwn Seth Orza and his wife Sara Ricard (aka Suzanne Farrell) combined together, as commanded by Stravinsky in this segment of indescribably beautiful music, surpassed many of my previous high water marks. It was sublime.

But the PdD in Carmina in the "Cour D'Amour" (The Court of Love) section danced by Lucien Postlewaite and Leslie Rausch is my new high water mark. Absolutely spectacular. They danced as if they were in some magical bubble of love and respect. They both have such mind-blowing musicality and artistic creativity. This time....they did all of that, but together....in the same space, and in the same time. What a perfect "last performance" for Lucien. Farewell, my Apollo.

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I just came back.

OMG, is Helene correct!! What fortuitous serendipity this cast was. The PdD in Apollo btwn Seth Orza and his wife Sara Ricard (aka Suzanne Farrell) combined together, as commanded by Stravinsky in this segment of indescribably beautiful music, surpassed many of my previous high water marks. It was sublime.

Sigh. Watching the rehearsal footage Helene posted earlier made me wish I could hop on a plane to catch Seth Orza's Apollo. (And can I just say that Peter Boal -- dressed in street clothes and holding only an imaginary instrument -- still looks gorgeous lifting his lyre heavenwards.) I'm especially pleased that Sarah Ricard's career has taken off at PNB. She was always one of my big favorites in the NYCB corps, and I was sad to see them both leave NY. Selfishly sad -- it's hard to begrudge a move that's brought them the opportunities they deserve.

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Men are still at a premium, especially tall ones who can partner, but she is proving to be the best gift that came with Seth Orza.

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My comment "Sara Ricard (aka Suzanne Farrell)" was not lightly said.

I can't watch Sara (which I could do all day long), especially in the Terpsichore role, without Suzanne Ferrell coming to mind. Sara is a superbly lyrical dancer with a grace, style, suppleness, and understanding of the character behind the dance, that all of us in Seattle are grateful to NYC for sending our way.

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