NYCB Spring 2012 Season
Posted 22 May 2012 - 02:34 PM
Theatre Development Fund has tickets listed for four performances May 25-27 @$31.
Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:36 PM
Saw Liebslieder Waltzer on Sunday and again tonight. I love this piece. Maria Kowroski was beautiful both performances -- her beauty, her flow, her arabesque penchee, and her solemnity -- all so moving. Tiler Peck on Sunday was perfection in the lift into the horizontal position. Ashley Bouder, in the same role tonight, seemed a little too ready to bounce into a saucy grin and her usual brisk allegro. I'm not sure this is the right role for her, she needs to develop more a quality of inner life. But I loved her all the same. The brothers Angle danced tonight (Jared w/ Wendy Whelan, Tyler w/ Bouder). They are both so terrific -- wonderful partners, wonderful dancers, I love the gentle deference they give the women, while also retaining a manly presence of their own.
But did anyone else find the piano a little too quiet? I wish they could move it closer to the front of the stage. Also, since this is the (former) home of (the late) City Opera, and they have the capacity, what about showing the libretto above the stage? It adds a lot to understanding the ballet.
Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet tonight, first movement, I kept wondering, who is that soloist? I couldn't place her, but she was wonderful. After the show, I looked at my program: Emily Kitka. Add her to the list for promotion to soloist!
Second movement, Tiler Peck makes every second thrilling.
Fourth movement, Teresa Reichlen is wonderful and beautiful no matter what she does, but I can't help but feel her talents are better used elsewhere. Isn't this a good role for Ashley Bouder?
Posted 22 May 2012 - 08:10 PM
From Balanchine's Complete Stories of the Great Ballets: "Sometimes friends ask me why we do not print the words to all of these love songs in the program so that everyone will understand the original German. I always answer that the words really have nothing to do with the dances; to print them would suggest that the dances are illustrations and I never had that in mind."
Of course, Balanchine could have said that simply because he didn't want people to be distracted from the dancing on stage by looking down at their programs (or analogously, today, up at the supertitles). Indeed, Balanchine himself quotes the words of the last song in his mini-essay: "Now, Muses, enough! You try in vain to portray how misery and happiness alternate in a loving heart."
Posted 23 May 2012 - 04:39 AM
After intermission the magic began. I hadn't seen Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and was blown away! I told my partner afterward, "Now THAT is what Balanchine was famous for!" I absolutely loved the whole ballet and sat mesmerized. Tiler Peck and Ana Sophia Scheller were amazing as we're Teresa Reichlen and Amar Ramasar in the final gypsy dances.
The second ballet made it worth it. Plus, the blowing nose guy left after intermission!!!
Posted 23 May 2012 - 06:50 AM
Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:49 AM
Amar R. and Tess R. had terrific energy in Brahms-Schoenberg. What a great way to end the evening! Both dancers handled all the technical demands extremely well, too -- even though the height difference made some of the penchees a little iffy. Liked Tiler P. and Justin P. in the second movement -- they've improved since the last time I saw them do it, but they're still not as fuid as the Robert F. and Sterling H. combo (although no-one can beat Tiler P. at any kind of turns!). Ana Sophia Scheller was great in the third movement, and the corps in that movement were beautiful, too. Unfortunately, the first movement was disappointing. Emily K. was nowhere near as good as Megan LeCrone earlier this season -- Megan has much more presence and a bigger jump. Emily K. landed with a thud and her extensions were not as high. I found myself watching the corps men more than her. And Chase Finlay -- I just don't get why people are so blown away. He can't do one double tour (let alone the three that the man has in his solo), his partnering always seems rough, and he's always out of breath. (I didn't like his Apollo either, where he literally stumbled more than once). Aren't there better men in the corps who deserve a chance? If only NYCB had a fraction of the male embarrasment of riches that ABT has (where most of them are wasted, doing boring peasant dances in the corps, in terrible costumes, to boot!).
Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:57 AM
Theatre Development Fund has tickets listed for four performances May 25-27 @$31.
Thank you very much -- I would not have known about this and just purchased a 10 Dollar seat in the first ring for Sat afternoon.
To Colleen Boresta and Bart Birdsall: I am one of those who love Liebeslieder and attended two performances this season w. largely different casts last weekend. I enjoyed both performances greatly, but I attended w. someone who has seen it w. me three times altogether now (once a few years ago) and is always bored silly especially by the first part. He can't stand not seeing the dancers' bodies when they are in the ballgowns and complained to me rather hilariously (as I thought) that that part of the ballet was just "heads bobbing around"...This is someone who loves Symphony in C and when he saw Concerto Barocco (also a few years back) thought it was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen in his life! To make matters worse -- and this is something that I infer is not true of you -- he can't stand Lieder. You may well ask why he has sat through the ballet so many times. Let's just say I'm lucky because it is one of my favorite ballets of all time.
I find Liebeslieder much more adult than say the Balanchine Schumann ballet with which it is somewhat cognate and which I also like and admire. . . The relationships seem more nuanced and I find the lack of concern with the sufferings of male genius (comforted by various women) more adult. Of course this could partly be the difference between Schumann and Brahms. Anyway, I believe in the reality of the people in Liebeslieder because the choreography reveals each of their relationships to be so complex and varied. It's not just a contrast between the different couples but within each couple the moods and exchanges vary so much.
I saw two casts and thought the (mostly) more experienced cast of Whelan, Kowroski, Bouder, and Taylor gave a slightly richer performance overall -- one that, cliche as it sounds, brought tears to my eyes. Whelan does not have the full freedom of movement she once did (or that Sterling Hyltin has in the same role) but brings a sense of interior depths to her role that always moves me deeply. In her first solo, her gesture of reaching forward with her arm (first traveling downstage, later upstage) has a yearning quality; she knows how to dance as if the audience were not there. Bouder in a debut at first had difficulty convincing me that she belonged in the world of nineteenth-century ballrooms and gardens--but then her dancing simply won me over to her imaginative world! She danced the role fearlessly and showed all the passion and bite that can indeed can lie underneath a nineteenth-century woman as choreographed by Balanchine...loved the performance. Taylor brings a winsome mystery to everything she does--at first I thought I might prefer her if she were more precise in her movements, but when I compared her to Megan Fairchild's debut, I realized how much would be missing without her slightly strange theatrical quality. (Fairchild has the neatness, but can't yet quite convey the sense of personality--I should say the depths of being--the roles in this ballet require.) Kowroski was beautiful in both casts and perhaps even better the second night I saw her...actually fresher and more spontaneous though perhaps my eye was simply more attuned to what she was doing.
The cast of debuts (Peck, Hyltin, Fairchild, w. Kowroski filling in for Mearns who was supposed to make her debut) seemed to me lighter in emotional texture in part because Hyltin "performed" too much in the first part and where Whelan's gestures were yearning she seemed to pose. In part two I thought she was better and one appreciated the greater freedom of movement she has as well. She also had a slight costume malfunction (lace strap/sleeve fell down) in the final pas de deux; she tried to fix it but then wisely realized that would just keep interfering with the choreography. From there on in, she danced with grace and aplomb and actually seemed more intensely "inside" the world of the ballet than in the first part. So I ended up quite liking her performance. A real highlight in this cast was Taylor Peck (same role Bouder danced) who is able to combine a sense freedom and (in her case subdued) passion with just a touch of elegant opacity. There is more to this person than appears...And like Bouder she simply dances the part fearlessly. Moreover these are both dancers who are so secure you never fear for them. Very glad I got to see both.
The men in both casts were very good I thought and added greatly to layering of the ballet. How charming to learn that Marcovici and Taylor are now engaged. But I will single out Chase Finlay in Sat night's cast partnering Megan Fairchild. I had seen him for the first time Friday night in the first movement of Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and, having heard so much about him, was a little non-plussed as he seemed tentative and only danced well in bits...then I read that he was not only coming back from injury but had been out for nearly a year...in which case, good for him and welcome back. BUT in Liebeslieder on Sat night (where of course he does not have to dance any exposed classical solos) I was very impressed with how fully and entirely he entered into the world of the ballet. Wonderful--especially for a young, less experienced dancer.
Sat night's performance of Liebeslieder (the Hyltin, Peck etc. cast) was followed by a fine (though not flawless) Symphony in C. Abi Stafford danced the first movement and I would like to mention how much she seems to me to have grown as a dancer in the last few years. She does not dance on the large scale of some of the company's other dancers but she now infuses her dancing with a quiet warmth and graciousness that is very appealing. As already mentioned above, Kowroski (who had just danced Liebeslieder) had some shaky moments at the beginning of the adagio and I would add that she is not quite as supple and pliant in the role as she once was, but past the first shaky moments she gave a beautiful account of each wondrously unfolding phrase.
Indeed watching the whole performance I was reminded of seeing the Maryinsky dance Symphony in C last summer: no surprise that I much prefer NYCB! The corps was bright and energetic--Bouder and De Luz exuberant in the 3rd movement though she had a couple of little bobbles. Pereira looked out of her depths in the fourth movement (I don't know if this was a debut?)...But what a ballet...It's like a splendid work of (dance) architecture.
Martins' Mes Oiseaux on the same program looked as if it might be an interesting novelty and I rather liked the costumes, but it came to seem less interesting to me as it progressed with the exception of the rather ingenious male solo for Taylor Stanley. (On Friday's Program Liebeslieder was followed by a slightly uneven performance of Brahms Schoenberg Quartet. Some wonderful passages of dancing; some less so.)
Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:09 AM
Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer are also often performed by choruses, both professional and amateur, so it may be that your neighbor learned them that way -- that's how I first came to know them.
I'm a huge Liebeslieder fan; I love it even when the singers and dancers aren't up to par. But it took a while for me to figure out how to watch the women in their heeled slippers and ballgowns, and now I think the first half is really my favorite.
I thought Saturday evening's cast (M. Fairchild & Chase Finlay, S. Hyltin & R. Fairchild, M. Kowroski & J. Stafford, T. Peck & J. Peck) showed great potential, especially considering the number of debuts (five), the fact that J. Peck and J. Stafford are still very new to their roles (Stafford had only debuted the night before), and that, with the exception of Kowroski and Stafford, none of the dancers had ever performed the ballet together before. It's a shame they only got a to do a couple of performances before the work gets put back in mothballs -- I don't see it on the schedule for next year, alas ...
Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:22 AM
Drew, I cried every single time I watched Whelan and Hübbe dance the final duet (the one that begins with "Nein, Geliebter").
Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:21 AM
Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:30 AM
I saw him too -- it took a moment for me to recognize him in his civvies ... and I was too shy to tell him how much I missed seeing him dance Liebeslieder (and Apollo and so many other things). Robert Fairchild was very, very good, but even he couldn't erase my memories of Hübbe in that final duet.
Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:13 PM
To Colleen Boresta and Bart Birdsall I just want to say that I saw Liebeslider a couple of times many years ago and found it boring. I was sitting in the 4th ring both times. I recently saw a movie that had a clip of Violette Verdy coaching 2 Paris Opera dancers in it. She was describing such beautiful details, nuances and musical phrasings that I decided to give Liebs one more try. This time I sat really close - row D orchestra - and I loved it. I decided that either it's something of a chamber work that I need to see close up or Violette Verdy gave me a hint about how to watch it when she coached. So at this point I totally relate those who find it boring and those who love it.
Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:17 PM
Wow! And Drew also says he got a row A-1st ring ticket for $10. I would have guessed they'd be selling far side/back seats at that price. You'll both have to report back on the new work!
Posted 26 May 2012 - 05:09 PM
It is a work that I hadn't planned to go see. The $10 price was too hard to resist. I had a good time, and am glad I saw it. I won't go to see it again.
Kudos to the performers. In part 1 I particularly enjoyed Megan Fairchild (hilarious in the "ugly stepsister" role - the one who can't dance), Savanah Lowery (The evil step mother) and most of all Robert Fairchild (serving the function of prince Charming).
Part 2 Joachin De Luz, Amar Ramasar, Veyette, Jonathan Stafford were all perfect, charming and engaging in their roles. The ladies who were proposed to in Central Park were also good characters. I could go into each one, but I won't.
The piece IMO - Stroman is great in musical theater and it showed. She is best when doing bits and showing specifics of character, but is not a ballet choreographer. In The Blue Necklace (part 1) the pas de deux that she did with Megan Fairchild (to show she can't dance) and Robert Fairchild (a convincing Matinee Idol) was very funny and worked. The pas with Hyltin and Robert Fairchild which was supposed to show both that she could dance and the romantic possibilities between them was not so good. It just went on, and on and ended. Nice dancing but nothing inventive, distinctive or memorable.
Makin Whoppee showed the same. In the beginning, when the De Luz character was disappointed that the girl (T. Peck) left in impatience before he could propose he did a solo. My thought was OK you have Joaquin De Luz to play with and this is all you came up with. On the other hand the chase scenes with the multitude of brides (both male & females in wedding dresses) were chasing De Luz worked. Pure, classic musical theatre
I'd be interested in anyone else's impressions. Also, I'm glad the the NYCB dancers had a chance to do this. It must be fun and broadening. If De Luz was still at ABT he'd be either stuck at the soloist level doing peasant pas or be a principle doing leads a few times a week.
Posted 27 May 2012 - 06:35 AM
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