2012 Spring Gala at the MetMonday, May 14 at 6:30pm
Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:48 AM
AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE’S 2012 SPRING GALA AT
METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE, MONDAY, MAY 14 AT 6:30 P.M.
SLOAN LINDEMANN BARNETT, NINA RENNERT DAVIDSON, JULIA KOCH,
KARIN LUTER AND MONICA G-S WAMBOLD TO CHAIR ANNUAL BENEFIT
HONORARY CHAIRS TO INCLUDE MRS. MICHELLE OBAMA,
CAROLINE KENNEDY AND BLAINE TRUMP
Gala Evening Sponsored by GRAFF and VALENTINO
American Ballet Theatre’s 2012 Spring season at the Metropolitan Opera
House opens Monday, May 14 with its annual Spring Gala benefit at 6:30pm.
Sponsored by GRAFF and VALENTINO, the evening will feature ABT’s renowned
Principal Dancers in preview performances from the eight-week season.
Mrs. Michelle Obama will serve as Honorary Chair, along with Caroline
Kennedy and Blaine Trump. Sloan Lindemann Barnett, Nina Rennert Davidson, Julia
Koch, Karin Luter and Monica G-S Wambold are Co-Chairs. Vice Chairs include
Henri Barguirdjian, Wendy Kahn, Robin Chemers Neustein and Nancy McCormick
Vella. Junior Co-Chairs of the evening are Sarah Arison and Josette Winograd.
A portion of the proceeds from the Spring Gala will support ABT’s education
and community outreach programs.
American Ballet Theatre’s Spring Gala performance will open with two
movements from Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions. Selections of
classical pas de deux from the season’s full-length ballets will feature ABT’s
renowned Principal Dancers, as well as Guest Artists including Alina Cojocaru,
Polina Semionova, Vadim Muntagirov and Ivan Vasiliev. Principal Dancer Angel
Corella, who will retire from ABT following the Spring season, will perform the pas
de deux from Act I of Manon, opposite Ms. Cojocaru. A performance by students of
the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT and the ABT Studio Company will
round out the evening.
A Gala dinner under the Tent at Lincoln Center will immediately follow the
performance. Gala benefit tickets priced at $1,500, $2,500, $3,500 and $5,000
include the performance and post-performance dinner. For Gala benefit ticket
information only, call American Ballet Theatre’s Special Events office at
212-477-3030, ext. 3311.
Performance-only tickets, beginning at $25, are available online, at the
Metropolitan Opera House box office or by calling 212-362-6000. For more
information, please visit ABT’s website at www.abt.org.
Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:31 AM
5/14 (Evening - 6:30 PM) 2012
Thirteen Diversions (excerpts) - Riccetto, Matthews, Seo, Davis, Abrera, Tamm, Messmer, Hammoudi
Le Corsaire (Odalisques) - Lane, Copeland, Boylston
La Bayadère (Act II pas de deux) - Semionova, Hallberg
Le Corsaire (Bedroom pas de deux) - Herrera, TBA
TBA - Part, Stearns
Swan Lake (Act II pas de deux) - Dvorovenko, Beloserkovsky
Students of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School
Romeo and Juliet (Balcony pas de deux) - Vishneva, Gomes
Swan Lake (Act III pas de deux) - Murphy, Muntagirov
Manon (Act I pas de deux) - Cojocaru, Corella
Don Quixote (Act III pas de deux) - Reyes, Cornejo
Onegin (Act I pas de deux) - Kent, Bolle
Flames of Paris (pas de deux) - Osipova, Vasiliev
Thirteen Diversions (finale) - Riccetto, Matthews, Seo, Davis, Abrera, Tamm, Messmer, Hammoudi
Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:39 AM
Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:00 PM
Vasiliev and Osipova performed the pdd from Ratmansky's Flames of Paris. Vasiliev tried to show off a bit too much at the start, and nearly fell over on a complex jump. One jerk in the audience (in the balcony) decided to boo Vasiliev loudly, as the rest of the audience applauded heartily. Osipova and Vasiliev were absolutely fantastic, except for Vasiliev's one error that I mentioned. Their jumps and spins were extraordinary.(I forgot to add that Osipova inserted jumps as she did her fouettes. UNREAL.) I hope that Flames is the next Ratmansky ballet that ABT brings us. I've seen it on DVD w. Osipova and Vasiliev and loved it.
Another extraordinary achievement was the R&J pdd done by Vishneva and Gomes. It was pure bliss. They were absolutely wonderful. The audience erupted with applause. If you don't already have tickets to their R& J, run (don't walk) to the box office.
Max B. made a rare appearance by partnering his wife Irina in the Act II pdd from Swan Lake. Max looked in shape. I have no idea why he doesn't dance anymore. Irina is a wonderful technician, and I admire her. But her performance didin't move me. Speaking of SL, Murphy and Muntagirov did the black swan pdd. Gillian pulled off some impressive spins. This was my first time seeing Muntagirov. I know he has a very impressive reputation, but his dancing last night seemed merely adequate.
I thought one of the most disappointing performances of the evening was the Onegin pdd w. Kent and Bolle. There was zero chemistry between them, in my opinion.
Corella and Cojocaru were very good together in the Manon pdd (bedroom scene). Corella executed the difficult lifts with ease, and Cojocaru danced gorgeously. Sigh. I'm going to miss Angel.
Veronika Part looked super thin in a pdd w. T. Forster titled Blue (by Susan Jaffe). It was a tedious, modern (pull me, stretch me) pdd, but the dancers did they best they could with it.
Reyes and Cornejo were charming in Don Q. wedding pdd. Cornejo did some wonderful jumps and spins. Reyes did some impresssive triple (or quadruple?) fouettes, although she was traveling all over the stage without control.
Hallberg looks better than I've ever seen him. He did a pdd w. Polina Semionova from Bayadere. His line, his stretch - totally amazing. The Bolshoi has done good by him. Semionova was fine but forgettable.
Herrera and Stearns did the Bedroom pdd from Corsaire. You could see all the effort and mechanics in Cory's lifts.
The kids from JKO school were lovely. One boy had a solo that demonstrated his strong technique. Don't know his name.
I didn't see much point to doing portions of Thirteen Diversions. It just looked disjointed.
Simkin did a solo to Jaques Brel music. The solo was choregraphed for him, and I've seen him perform it a various galas over the years. It takes full advantage of showing off his marvelous technical abilities and comedic talents.
I always consider the final bows an essential part of the evening to see what everyone is wearing. Once again, Irina stole the show. She looked INCREDIBLE in a gorgeous cobalt blue sequined dress with a plunging neck. Does anyone know the designer of the dress. Unfortunately, worst dressed goes to Vishneva, who looked like she was wearing pajamas. The outfit made her look frumpy.
Why did Caroline Kennedy trot her kid on stage? He had his hands in his pockets and looked down at the stage the whole time. He clearly did not want to be there. Ah, the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
I'm sure there must have been celebs there, but I couldn't identify any.
What did everyone else think.
Posted 15 May 2012 - 08:18 PM
As for Ivan Vasiliev, I think we may be dealing with kind of a male Somova. (Men look less offensive doing Somova type tricks) He has got incredible physical ability but goes for too much turning vulgar and unmusical. Now "Flames of Paris" can take this kind of "let me show you my whammies" approach. But he didn't "nearly fell over" - HE FELL OVER. He then in the best Jimmy Cagney/Mickey Rooney style went for the gold throwing in all the trick jumps, 180's and revoltades he could. The audience loved it but the booer was making a point. Vasiliev has zero sense of line, does not connect the steps and is not very musical. In this and in that solo he did for "Kings of Dance" he can get away with this kind of stomp around and then throw your big effects in the audience's face approach. But he is currently more of an acrobat/gymnast than a classical dancer. Hopefully he is not such a "superstar" that he won't take some coaching from Kevin or someone else who will give him some artistry, musicality, phrasing, class and elegance. Part of the problem is Vasiliev's build - he is kind of short and stocky with big thighs. The body is of a demi-caractere dancer. Vasiliev has the cocky manner of a young boxer and is very macho - definitely has the charisma. He is young and can learn.
The Simkin solo was also basically another "Let me show you my whammies" special. But Simkin gave it some humor and ironic playfulness as well as knocking out some amazing 180's and triples pirouettes. He also finishes his steps and can be elegant.
The JKO male student who stood out was a young Asian dancer who I believe was also praised in the studio performances. In a few years ABT will have a fine Bluebird and Golden Idol. The students looked well trained and several of the girls were good turners.
I was impressed by Vadim Muntagirov's bouyant jumps and finished turns. He does have a sense of line and can be the prince. Cojocaru and Corella were wonderful and had great chemistry in the "Manon" pas de deux. They are very well matched physically (several other ABT ballerinas have either been too big and tall for Angel - Gillian or Paloma - or too small - Xiomara) Alina had complementary long lines though she is petite. It made me even sadder that Angel is leaving the company. Marcelo and Diana were unforgettable as always. David Hallberg owned the stage as Solor and Polina Semionova has the right combination of pure classical control combined with Romantic softness for Nikiya in the Shades scene.
Posted 16 May 2012 - 12:10 AM
If it was "Les Bourgeois" by Ben van Cauwenbergh, this was not made for Daniil Simkin, but for his father Dimitrij Simkin in 2003 at Wiesbaden, Germany. It has been danced at many galas by many dancers in Europe since then.
Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:10 PM
By the way---I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that horrendous violin playing. (It was briefly mentioned in the NYT review.) ABT's orchestra is never anything to write home about. Actually, last season I thought they were improving a bit compared to their usual mediocre level. I always cringe at the invariably off-pitch violin solos in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and La Bayadere. But the violin solos during the gala---especially Swan Lake---were absolutely the worst I have ever experienced during my 20 years of attending ABT performances. It was truly bizarre.
Posted 16 May 2012 - 06:19 PM
I, for one, enjoyed this piece very much! Although there are lots of big tricks and a lot of mugging, I found Daniil charming, and I always found even the biggest jumps and turns to be cleanly executed and nicely landed.
Not so for Vasiliev. FauxPas, I agree with you 100% about Vasiliev (and almost everything else in your post!) I like that kind of go-for-broke gusto in my figure skaters, but not in my ballet dancers. A friend of mine thinks he missed his calling as a martial artist. I agree.
Diana and Marcelo in "Romeo & Juliet" were definitely the highlight for me. SWOON! (And thankfully Vishneva did not almost slip on the stairs, like she did at the 2009 gala.)
I agree with FauxPas about the Onegin p.d.d.--it definitely looked like they were trying to get through the movements instead of really feeling it, but perhaps a few more weeks of rehearsal will help.
Like abatt, I'm going to really miss Angel! But to me, he and Alina looked somewhat miscast in the Manon p.d.d. Alina seemed very child-like and innocent, more playful than seductive--which is not how I picture Manon. I did wish that they were cast together in a full-length R&J though. I think they both have an innocent sweetness that would work well in that ballet!
Hallberg and Semionova were gorgeous, and I actually really enjoyed Tom Forster & Veronika Part in the Blue pas de deux.
It was nice to see Cornejo onstage again, and I was really impressed by Reyes' tricks with the fans while doing her fouettes.
I thought Muntagirov was pretty good--I was much more impressed than I was with Sergei Polunin's performance of the same p.d.d. at the Makarova gala.
But that reminds me--the solo violinist was absolutely dreadful, in almost everything. It completely distracted me in Max and Irina's white swan p.d.d. and annoyed me in other pieces as well. I wish the violinist would practice before Swan Lake week, but I'm not going to get my hopes up...
Finally, totally agree with abatt. Irina looked smashing, while Diana--well, I think she just tries to look as outrageous as possible.
Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:06 AM
As much as I love Cojocaru, and she and A.C. were lovely in the Manon (they started off impetuous and built into ecstatic), you know what she lacks? Sexiness. When Vishneva danced that with Carreno (was it last year's gala or the year before?) she was volcanically sexy. At the end, when she tumbles elegantly to the floor and he moves in above and beside her, the eros is off the charts. That quality in Vishneva is what also makes her a voluptuous Black Swan, and she can even rein it in and transform the eros into blissed-out romance for the R&J pdd, as she absolutely did with Marcelo.
For me, the dud of the evening was Irina and Maxim, who looked like they were phoning in their performances--glacial expressions on their faces throughout. But she certainly looked glamorous in her evening gown. (As did Marcelo in his tuxedo jacket, and I love seeing him wear eyeglasses. I once saw him on the subway wearing glasses, and I almost passed out.)
One final comment: I was sitting in the Family Circle, and saw two corps members, Roman Zhurbin and Mikhail Ilyin, seated with their guests (one of whom, I think, was Joseph Carman). I wanted to go up to them and ask, Well, I know you're not in the gala, but is this where ABT seated you?--you're in the company, for goodness sake, couldn't they do better?
Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:56 PM
Even being totally jaded about the opera world I have never booed a singer (and a couple sounded horrible). I just left during intermission and went home. To me the crime doesn't fit the punishment. Someone trying to entertain me (even if failing) does not deserve booing, but that is just my opinion. I can't get up there and do what they are doing, so I am not going to boo. If I am not having a good time, I leave. There is no need to denigrate a person.
Of course, people have free choice and freedom to express themselves. I just hope these same people who boo stand up for important issues in the world when push comes to shove. I suspect they don't. They don't speak up when it is necessary to speak up about injustice in the world, but they feel free to tear down an artist who is giving his all. I find that frankly cowardly. I bet if the theater shined a light and the conductor and dancer motioned for the booer to come on stage and do the dance better he would curl up in a ball and cry.
Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:23 AM
I felt disappointed in the audience, for applauding only the party tricks. It seemed as if only fouettes garnered the audience's appreciation, leaving a lot of the artistry ignored. For example, I thought Julie demonstrated great artistry in a subtle, interior scene, but this did not move the audience.
To me, the highlights included Diana as a wonderful, girlish, energetic Juliet, Herman's joy and great form, David's beautiful jetes and hands, and Polina's amazing feet. (Of course, Roberto's tiny kisses on Julie...)
Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:08 PM
Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:44 AM
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