Natalia

San Fco Ballet at Kennedy Center, DC - Nov. 2012

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Details are coming out about the upcoming tour of the San Fco Ballet to the Kennedy Center. It won't be just the Tomasson R&J; a mixed bill, to include a Wheeldon, is also on tap! Thank goodness...not just the 'safe route' of a full-length recognizable title.

http://www.kennedy-c...ts/?event=BNBSC

Mixed Repertory Program (Nov. 13 & 14)

Trio (Tomasson/Tchaikovsky)

RAkU (Possokhov/Eshima)

Number Nine (Wheeldon/Torke)

Romeo & Juliet (Nov. 15–18)

Choreography by Helgi Tomasson

Music by Sergei Prokofiev

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Ashton's Voices of Spring (a floaty pas de deux) is added to the mixed-bill performances at the Kennedy Center:

Mixed Repertory Program (Nov. 13 & 14) (Timing: 2 hours, 18 min.)

Trio (Tomasson/Tchaikovsky) (33 min., followed by a 20-min. intermission)

RAkU (Possokhov/Eshima) (37 min., followed by a 15-min. intermission)

Voices of Spring (Ashton/J. Strauss II) (5 min., followed by a 2-min. pause)

Number Nine (Wheeldon/Torke) (19 min.)

Source: http://www.kennedy-center.org/events/?event=BNBSC

Still no casting for this or the R&Js.

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More details - we now have casting, courtesy of the Sn Fco Ballet's web, if not yet the Kennedy Center:

http://www.sfballet....tickets/casting

Kochetkova dances both of the Voices of Spring PDDs with Joan Boada. Kochetkova/Boada also dance the opening-night and Saturday-matinee R&J. I see that young Diego Cruz -- who many of us admired at the City Center tour 3-4 years ago -- debuts as Benvolio at the Saturday matinee. Many point to Sarah Van Patten's Juliet (here, the Sunday matinee) as extra special!

Thanks to PeggyR for the 'heads-up' in a new thread. This thread was started last spring. Maybe the Mods would like to combine?

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It really should be pointed out that no one seeing the Kochetkova/Boada cast will be shortchanged (haven't seen Zahorian/Karapetyan, so can't comment on them). K/B are a marvelous couple, both good actors (MK is very,very good), youthful and believable in their roles and technically secure (they do some killer overhead lifts that the others skipped).

it's just that Van Patten is one of those performers - not confined to dancers - who can take a young girls hormonal upset and turn it into universal tragedy (with a little help from Shakespeare). She doesn't act a charaacter, she becomes the character. It's the quality made her Little Mermaid so utterly extraordinary. I'd say she's more of a 'dancer's dancer'; she won't please the 15-year-old teenage girls who appreciate only sky-high extensions and a lot of flash, so don't go looking for that.

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It really should be pointed out that no one seeing the Kochetkova/Boada cast will be shortchanged (haven't seen Zahorian/Karapetyan, so can't comment on them). K/B are a marvelous couple, both good actors (MK is very,very good), youthful and believable in their roles and technically secure (they do some killer overhead lifts that the others skipped).

it's just that Van Patten is one of those performers - not confined to dancers - who can take a young girls hormonal upset and turn it into universal tragedy (with a little help from Shakespeare). She doesn't act a charaacter, she becomes the character. It's the quality made her Little Mermaid so utterly extraordinary. I'd say she's more of a 'dancer's dancer'; she won't please the 15-year-old teenage girls who appreciate only sky-high extensions and a lot of flash, so don't go looking for that.

Interesting to note that Carlos Quenedit will be Romeo to Sarah Van Patten's Juliet. I don't think I've seen them dance together, so I hope anyone who sees them.will post about their performance.

So hard to pick my favorite from the casts. With the exception of Quenedit, I've seen all of them so I don't think anyone will be disappointed.

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Report of San Francisco Ballet's Opening Night

Kennedy Center Opera House

Mixed Bill (Trio, RAkU, Voice of Spring, Number Nine)

November 13, 2012 - 7:30PM

The San Francisco Ballet -- the 3rd largest ballet troupe in the USA, as well as the first (since 1933) -- opened its week-long Kennedy Center run last night with a mostly-felicitous mixed bill of works. The mixed bill presented a variety of works, principally from the 2011 home season, plus an 'oldie goldie bonus' by Ashton.

Trio (Tomasson/Tchaikovsky)

The evening began on a high with Tomasson's Trio, set to Tchaikovsky's gloriously melodic 'Souvenir de Florence' string sextet. The 'trio' in the title surely refers to this being, in actuality, three disparate mini-ballets, each led by a different set of principals -- two sweeping neo-classicals sets sandwiching a menage-a-trois mini-drama. The first movement is in a constantly-swooshing 'ballroom' style. Vanessa Zahorian and Vitor Luiz were gorgeous as the Belle and Beau of the Ball, displaying ravising lines and gracious, easy-smiling manners, with an equally-spirited corps. Luiz, with his easy high leaps, was one of several male revelations of the night. Zahorian, among other traits, is perfection in any turning sort of move, thanks to beautifully straight deportment.

The 2nd movement - soft, passionale, intimate - afforded a window into an uneasy love triangle...perhaps an Anna Karenina distillation? (There were no programme notes on any of the evening's ballets.) Wow - now I truly understand all of the early kudos for Sarah Van Patten's emotional artistry - she was riveting in this. First dancing a romantic pdd with her tall blonde lover (elegant Tiit Helimets), she was 'reclaimed' by her master/husband -- my #1 guy-find of the night, Vito Mazzeo, tall-dark-gorgeous, powerful jumper and turner, ultra-smooth for one so tall...more on him in the last ballet! The remainder of this mini-drama movement saw Van Patten seamlessly move from man to man. Well, I'm only sorry that Van Patten will be dancing Juliet this weekend with neither of these men; either one would make an amazing Romeo. [Of course, this 'menage' story is topic du jour in DC these days....a lady behind us whispered 'Which one of them is Petraeus?' LOL!]

The 3rd movement of the ballet returned us to abstract neo-classicism, this time in the Slavic-folk-tinged manner. This final segment is led by a virtuoso couple, Frances Chung and Davit Karapetyan, backed by a full corps. I have somewhat mixed feelings about the casting on this one. Karapetyan - fantastic! He blends out-of-this-world virtuosity with charm. Chung? Not so, sorry. She is a 'can do lady'...but, to me, somewhat lacking in charm and the sassy, flirty beauty of a Masha Kochetkova, on whom (I am guessing) this segment of the ballet was created. It is pure Masha...but no Masha last night. Phooey! Still, a fine job by all.

RAkU (Possokhov/Eshima)

No wrong casting in this ballet - this was 100% tailor-made for the company prima ballerina who we saw last night, Yuan Yuan Tan. What a dancer - what an amazing ballet! Where to begin? This was TOTAL ART at its finest, from Japanese minimalist designs to music to perfect choreography to capture the heartbreaking story of a young Japanese beauty who (I am guessing - again, no notes given) loses her samurai lover in battle, having to live the rest of her life with an oppresive husband. She is about to stab herself with her lover's sword when it suddenly begins to snow, giving her peace and calm in her grief. I cannot imagine a dry eye in the house last night, Yuan Yuan Tan's gave us the performance of a lifetime. Her gorgeous technique and uber-flexible back were the least of it. Last night we hailed a true artist. Brava! In fact, the entire small cast -- including Damian Smith as the lover and Pascal Molat as the husband + a corps of 4 samurai-- deserves high praise.

Voices of Spring (Ashton/J. Strauss II)

It was nice to see Ashton - ANY Ashton - on the stage. It was great to see Maria Kochetkova's beauty, if only for 4 minutes, on the stage, ably partnered by Joan Boada. I am a great fan of this little gem, which Ashton created for feather-light Merle Park and Wayne Eagling back in the late-'70s, for a Fledermaus production at the ROH. Alas, nobody comes close to capturing the whipped-cream lightness and nonchalance of the original duo. This little pdd is full of tricks; Kochetkova/Boada made it look, as most do, like a list of tricks ('see this lift...now see the 'Detroiter' spin...'), whereas Park/Eagling just floated like feathers, making us notice the total work, rather than trick-after-trick. But we saw Ashton - ANY Ashton - and we saw Masha, however fleeting. Consider us lucky.

Number Nine (Wheeldon/Torke 'Ash')

Non-stop-energy and a relentlessly-pounding score for the full 16-minute work. Sorry, not vintage Wheeldon; for 'vintage,' see Within the Golden Hour (created for this troupe 5 yrs ago)...or DGV (at RB or NYCB)...or Les Carillons (recent NYCB). Nothing is offensive or 'bad' in Number Nine; it's just that nothing is particularly memorable. A chance to put eight principal/soloists (4 couples) on the stage to allow them to show-off their skills. And show-off they all did: Chung/Deivison (orange), Zahorian/Nedviguin (yellow), Van Patten/Quenedit (green) were all fine but I particularly loved Sofiane Sylve and 'my guy' Vito Mazzeo as the purple couple who, at one point, stood front-stage-center and 'conducted' the music as the 8 extraordinary corps men literally flew across the stage...guys garbed in questionable 'short-short unitards' in day-glo yellow. A bright moment in a mostly-repetitive and dull ballet. Still, the entire cast greatly deserved their standing-o at the end of the night.

Oh, did I mention Vito Mazzeo??? smile.png

- Natalia Nabatova, Washington, DC

p.s. Mazzeo dances Romeo on the 16th, opposite Yuan Yuan Tan. This may be the R&J to attend...one of several 'the's' to attend, that is.

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Oh, did I mention Vito Mazzeo??? smile.png

- Natalia Nabatova, Washington, DC

p.s. Mazzeo dances Romeo on the 16th, opposite Yuan Yuan Tan. This may be the R&J to attend...one of several 'the's' to attend, that is.

rofl.GIF

You should see him in Don Q, not as the lead but the second male lead (the name escapes me, but the one who dances with Mercedes) in his black, slashed-to-the-waist costume -- you could sort of sense the audience hyperventilating en masse.

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Natalia, Thanks for the lovely report!

Just FYI -- the house was papered last night, and will be again tonight. A shame tickets aren't selling well.

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Simon, from 2nd Tier, where I sat, the Orchestra & Box Tier seemed to be 100% full. Hence, the final ovation was huge, from the noise down below. However, both 1st and 2nd Tier were 'half full' each, at best. Mixed bills consisting of new and/or unknown ballets never sell out . The Mariinsky's 'Diaghilev Triple Bill' last January sold well because it was Diaghilev & the Mariinsky!

PeggyR, that sounds like the role of Espada the Toreador. I can imagine how great Vito would be in that. A new kind of Veto/Vito Power has come to DC!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRHA0IbR3n4

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The remainder of this mini-drama movement saw Van Patten seamlessly move from man to man. Well, I'm only sorry that Van Patten will be dancing Juliet this weekend with neither of these men; either one would make an amazing Romeo. [Of course, this 'menage' story is topic du jour in DC these days....a lady behind us whispered 'Which one of them is Petraeus?' LOL!]

rofl.GIF

Glad you enjoyed van Patten, Natalia! Thanks for the report.

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Yuan Yuan Tan's gave us the performance of a lifetime. Her gorgeous technique and uber-flexible back were the least of it. Last night we hailed a true artist. Brava! In fact, the entire small cast -- including Damian Smith as the lover and Pascal Molat as the husband + a corps of 4 samurai-- deserves high praise.

What an excellent overview of the performances! Thank you Natalia. I do think that this is a particularly strong generation of dancers, perhaps the best that SF Ballet has ever had. So definitely worth the effort to see them on tour.

I seem to have the same luck with Masha - I end up seeing her in supporting roles rather than primary roles, and it's frustrating. ;)

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Thank you, pherank. I'm sorry that something came up and I wasn't able to attend any of the Romeo & Juliets. It seems that none among us could attend. I hope that it all went well.

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