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2012 Spring Gala at the Met

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ABT's release:

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.

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Opening Night Gala

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

http://www.abt.org/p...sp?Event_ID=752

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This is the first time that I have missed the Gala in six years - swamped with work. I would appreciate any information and reviews.

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Hi Ceeszi. Here are some highs and lows from last night.

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.

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Julie Kent and Roberto Bolle did some beautiful things but looked like they needed one more rehearsal. I would go see them in this ballet - Kent looked in good form and radiated youthful romanticism. Bolle's sex appeal made his dream Onegin powerful and sensual. They just need to dance it a few more times to get it in sync - Cranko has a lot of quick change partnering and changes in direction that didn't come together.

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.

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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.

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.

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In my view, the Flames of Paris pdd requires Osipova and Vasiliev's take-no-prisoners approach (after all, those revolutionaries didn't take many prisoners, did they?) I found it dramatically compelling. And it took real guts for Vasiliev to not even take it down a single notch after a fall at the beginning of his variation. As to his sense of line, perhaps I don't fully understand what this means since I'm not a ballet professional; however, to my non-professional eye, his assembles looked truly incredible and made him seem both much taller and more streamlined than some other dancers who might be taller or more classically proportioned.

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.

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Fosca, you are right--the WSJ article on the gala has a quote from Daniil, who mentioned that he inherited the piece from his father.

http://online.wsj.co...3723637952.html

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.

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All the points made about Vasiliev are spot-on, and with his chunky thighs and rear end I don't think wearing white tights does him any favors. Still, if you know his style, you know what to expect from his performances, and he can be exciting; I'm looking forward to seeing his Solor. Although I felt the person who booed him was just being crass, I admit I was tempted to shout out, "Appalling solo violinist!" because the off-pitch notes kept coming and coming throughout the evening and there is no excuse for such poor playing.

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?

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I don't really know if I could boo a performer while he/she is giving his/her all. Vasiliev gives it his all, although I can see how someone might consider it a bit much or hammy. I personally love it. To me he seems like he's taking chances and thrilling us. I think he's trying to show us a good time. Some may not like the results, but I don't think it deserves boos.

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.

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I disagree with Golden Idol about Maxim. He was one of the most protective and princely Siegfried's I have seen. He was authoritative, yet deferential, at the same time, a perfect escort for his supermodel wife.

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...)

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Thank you miliosr. What's with that "eyebrow" dress? speechless-smiley-003.gif

No pictures of the dancers, alas.

Well, one dancer. Zhong-Jing Fang looks gorgeous here, not that she ever looked otherwise.

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Must a gala always be a circus? Is there another way to do it?

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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.
I immediately thought of Elvis Stojko when I read your comments.

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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.
I immediately thought of Elvis Stojko when I read your comments.

Well...yes...but I still recommend people give him a chance in a real (as opposed to gala) performance. I've never seen him in the classics and have no idea what he will be like-- though I hope to find out next week. And he's obviously no David Hallberg nor is meant to be. But as Spartacus I have seen him give an emotionally as well as physically powerful -- and controlled -- performance.

As you know, he's very Bolshoi, but I think he's a major talent. And given how young he is, he may just need some seasoning...

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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.
I immediately thought of Elvis Stojko when I read your comments.

Well...yes...but I still recommend people give him a chance in a real (as opposed to gala) performance. I've never seen him in the classics and have no idea what he will be like-- though I hope to find out next week. And he's obviously no David Hallberg nor is meant to be. But as Spartacus I have seen him give an emotionally as well as physically powerful -- and controlled -- performance.

As you know, he's very Bolshoi, but I think he's a major talent. And given how young he is, he may just need some seasoning...

I also thought his Spartacus was riveting, and also loved him with the Bolshoi in Don Q. It will be interesting to see what his Solor is like.

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Ditto. Loved Vasliev in D.C. in Spartacus a few years ago.

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I saw Vasiliev's Golden Idol in Berkeley in 2009, and it was terrific.

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I found a bootleg of his Spartacus and found it jaw dropping. I think it was the DC one.

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Puppytreats wrote: "I disagree with Golden Idol about Maxim. He was one of the most protective and princely Siegfried's I have seen. He was authoritative, yet deferential, at the same time, a perfect escort for his supermodel wife."

I will happily agree to disagree. Maxim has never been a fave of mine, so you see where I'm coming from. But didn't you think he looked somewhat glassy-eyed? Watching him through my binocs I wondered if he'd had some cosmetic work done on his face and that's why it was so immobile. And I'm not so sure that being an escort to a supermodel wife is what Swan Lake calls for.

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GI: I am still laughing at your comment. Perhaps what I wrote came out a bit compressed, combining on- and off-stage observations, in my starstruck awe. I sat almost in front of Max and Irina at the Guillem show in March. He looked a bit thin and compact, but not glassy-eyed. I could not see his eyes from where I was sitting at the gala, which was all the way to the left. Irina is so beautiful and glamorous, as discussions about her glittery gown hint at, but I do not think that description applies to her swan portrayal. I think Max's deferential behavior and love for his wife seeps into his performance, though. I can understand many interpretations of a prince, including a combination of deference and regal authority, which I believe Max displayed onstage.

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