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Giselle Spring 2012


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#61 California

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:18 PM

The musical disaster occurred at the end of Act I during the chords where Giselle rushes in to separate Albrecht and Bathilde just before the mad scene. Someone didn't play or came in late. I have noticed that David LaMarche is quite the best conductor at ABT while Ormsby Wilkins is much less good. I think it was Wilkins last night.

As a long-time school band and orchestra player (although long ago), I don't blame the conductor for that kind of mistake. The musicians shouldn't be waiting for a cue from the conductor every time they start up a passage (unless it's after a long pause or break of some kind). Although conductors like to look at a section of musicians that's starting up, they're not actually telling them it's time to start. The musicians need to be counting and paying attention. It's all the more troubling, as they had performed Giselle seven times before last night, and the music is not difficult. We're not talking Stravinsky or Glass or a new piece here! I would blame the conductor for not getting the tempo right or not conducting good rehearsals, but not a mistaken entry by a musician.

#62 puppytreats

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:05 PM

Faux pas - thanks for this nice summary of 5/21, especially your description of the Act II lift problem. I don't recall ever seeing such an extreme problem with a lift. Were the boos directed at anyone in particular? Did you hear a musical catastrophe at the end of Act I, which I saw mentioned elsewhere on the Web? I just checked the New York Times and they haven't posted a review yet for this performance.

Do you have a link?

I don't think we're supposed to discuss other sites/blogs. Still nothing from the Times.


Can someone pm me?

#63 puppytreats

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:12 PM

Quick review of Monday night: Dvorovenko and Bolle.

Act II had another strong Myrtha from Simone Messmer. Christine Shevchenko and Zhong-Jing Fang were wonderful (particularly Fang) as Moyna and Zulma. Fang should be dancing Giselle somewhere if not ABT.


Fang's simple sigh broke my heart.

#64 Drew

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 01:44 PM

A few brief notes about Giselle. One thing that strikes me about Osipova is that she is getting better at every performance; I'm not talking about the fact that her Giselle this season was more moving than the (in my opinion quite brilliant and touching) one she danced a couple of seasons seasons back. I saw her in March in Chicago and again at the Met last week. The performance in Chicago was fantastic, but the Met performance was profounder and, to my eyes, more beautiful. It had fewer childlike moments in Act I--indeed Giselle seemed like the most intense girl in the village culminating in an at times wild mad scene--and more deeply connected to Albrecht throughout; I also thought that the dancing had more coloration in Act II and (pace Macaulay) she is indeed learning how to fill out an adagio phrase and, in particular, to shape and extend her upper body--in this case, with ghostly hints of a human love glimmering through her very supernatural dancing.

In Chicago she may have been occasionally more absolutely brilliant (as unlikely as that sounds); I thought some jumps were higher--her initial skips seemed to go about two feet in the air, while she seemed more under control during her entrance at the Met, similarly with some of the petite allegro in Act II--but that may simply have been the effect of the smaller stage in Chicago. In any case she was not more absolutely enthralling. So, as great as Chicago was, in New York she, together w. Hallberg, gave what I thought was an even better performance. (Am I tired of Giselle? I did not intend to see it in NY after seeing it three times in Chicago, but life dictated a trip to NY w. two more performances and I'm glad it did.)

indeed when Osipova does cover space on the Met's very large stage it can seem all the more unbelievable, as in Giselle's initiation scene, when she seemed in a single assemblé to cover something like half the Met stage from stage left to stage right. Just the sense of how large that stage is makes one sort of blink when she does it...except one does not want to miss anything.

Details changed from performance to performance as well (as happens w. all major ballerinas in my experience, though I rarely get to see their performances so close together). In Chicago when she hopped across the stage culminating in the turn she makes hopping on point, she lifted her hands above her head as she turned and mimed Giselle's love of dance as she did so. At the Met, during the hopping pirouette she gave a slight tilt of her body over her working leg and gestured playfully towards the working foot; since she was turning towards Albrecht at that moment, the whole thing seemed innocently flirtatious. Indeed watching her in Act I, I felt she perfectly captured a girl driven to dance even if it kills her. And the way she dances it appears as if it would kill anyone else. I consider myself lucky to be around to see her.

I also felt this performance showed that the partnership w. Hallberg really benefits from their having more opportunities to dance together. The connection gets deeper and the dancing more beautiful seemingly at each outing. I write seemingly because of course I have only seen a few of their outings! Hallberg was splendid: His dancing was infused with tremendous feeling--I too noticed the mussed up hair in Act II (mentioned above in this thread) as if emblematic of the fact that he can now go darker and deeper with his dancing. The great beauty of that dancing and Hallberg's (now) altogether rather striking presence on stage suggest that Albrecht is a man who is finally almost as much apart from the world of the aristocrats as he is from the world of the peasants.

For the rest, Act I looked brighter and sharper from the rest of the company in Chicago; In Act II however the Corps de Ballet was just as beautiful and a true highlight of the performance. ABT could use a larger Corps de Ballet here (especially at the Met) and perhaps one day will be able to afford it! I always like Murphy's Queen of the Willis and she was excellent. I was not going to say anything re peasant pas de deux but since I was quite critical of Joseph Phillips' performance in Chicago on these boards, I will say he did a better job at this performance. But I always find ABT's peasant pas de deux sort of awkward looking and though that may be my response to the musical change from Adam, I rather think it may have to do with the staging and, in any case, not w. any particular dancer. (Yuriko Kajiya looked a bit brittle for my taste and did not overcome the problem I have w. the pas de deux. I have liked her in other roles.) [Edited to add: Ilya corrected me below: Kajiya/Phillips and Murphy danced at the Thursday night performance: I flipped the two in my mind when discussing the soloists; as he notes Copeland/Salstein and Abrera were dancing these roles at matinee with Osipova-Hallberg. Apologies to the dancers for boo boo.]

I also was very fortunate to see the Cojocaru and Corella performance. Her Act I in particular is growing and growing in my memory. The above is so very long, though, that I will try to write about it later.

#65 Goldfish17

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:12 PM

I attended two performances - with Cujacaru and Osipova.

It was a first time I saw Alina Cujacaru dance, and I loved, loved, loved her! Her 'failure to deliver' hops on point in Act I did not disappoint me at all - she was most innocent, delightful, fragile Giselle, deeply hurt and broken by Albreht's betrayal. Her mad scene scared me. For a split second I totally believed that she really gone mad...

The Act II was the best I ever saw in my life.. It is still stands before my eyes... She truly was a spirit, not a human.. And her Love was so strong that even Myrtha was powerless.. It was like I was watching it for the very first time, the story of Giselle unfolded like a book which you are reading for the first time.
Murphy was a spectacular Myrtha!
Corps-de-ballet - amazing!
Alina and Angel were very good together.

I was laughing when I read the advertising for Giselle in New Yorker: "...and for those who wants Giselle who can fly, Natalia Osipova will do the honors on Sat matinee". Posted Image

I love Natalia Osipova, I watch her whenever I have a chance - but Alina's Giselle was better, IMO.
For me there was no real tragedy in Osipova's Giselle. It was a pleasure to watch her dance, but the story was not that important..I am exaggerating now, but it was sort of like watching Balanchine's no-story choreography..

Why didn't she put her hair down during the mad scene? Why strange costume in Act I and Act II?

I saw her Giselle 3 years ago, and it made somehow much stronger impression on me..

As we were walking out of the theater on Saturday aftenoon, we saw Alastair Macauly, slowly walking across the Plaza, he seemed to be deep into his thoughts.. He was smiling

#66 Ilya

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:21 PM

For the rest, Act I looked brighter and sharper from the rest of the company in Chicago; In Act II however the Corps de Ballet was just as beautiful and a true highlight of the performance. ABT could use a larger Corps de Ballet here (especially at the Met) and perhaps one day will be able to afford it! I always like Murphy's Queen of the Willis and she was excellent. I was not going to say anything re peasant pas de deux but since I was quite critical of Joseph Phillips' performance in Chicago on these boards, I will say he did a better job at this performance. But I always find ABT's peasant pas de deux sort of awkward looking and though that may be my response to the musical change from Adam, I rather think it may have to do with the staging rather than any particular dancer. (Yuriko Kajiya looked a bit brittle for my taste and did not overcome the problem I have w. the pas de deux. I have liked her in other roles.)

I also was very fortunate to see the Cojocaru and Corella performance. Her Act I in particular is growing and growing in my memory. The above is so very long, though, that I will try to write about it later.


Actually Murphy, Kajiya, and Phillips were all in the Cojocaru-Corella performance. These roles were danced by Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, and Craig Salstein, respectively, in the Osipova-Hallberg performance.

#67 Drew

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:36 PM


For the rest, Act I looked brighter and sharper from the rest of the company in Chicago; In Act II however the Corps de Ballet was just as beautiful and a true highlight of the performance. ABT could use a larger Corps de Ballet here (especially at the Met) and perhaps one day will be able to afford it! I always like Murphy's Queen of the Willis and she was excellent. I was not going to say anything re peasant pas de deux but since I was quite critical of Joseph Phillips' performance in Chicago on these boards, I will say he did a better job at this performance. But I always find ABT's peasant pas de deux sort of awkward looking and though that may be my response to the musical change from Adam, I rather think it may have to do with the staging rather than any particular dancer. (Yuriko Kajiya looked a bit brittle for my taste and did not overcome the problem I have w. the pas de deux. I have liked her in other roles.)

I also was very fortunate to see the Cojocaru and Corella performance. Her Act I in particular is growing and growing in my memory. The above is so very long, though, that I will try to write about it later.


Actually Murphy, Kajiya, and Phillips were all in the Cojocaru-Corella performance. These roles were danced by Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, and Craig Salstein, respectively, in the Osipova-Hallberg performance.


Oooh...huge apologies...especially to the dancers. I did not refer to a program and my memory jumbled/skipped regarding the soloists between the two performances when I was writing my post. If there are aging ballet dancers, then I guess there are also aging ballet fans. Thanks for correction.

I also forgot to mention Osipova's dark blue tutu. I have now seen her dance the role three times in three different colors: first time I saw her do the ballet I was plenty startled by her decision to wear all white in Act I which rather undermines the contrast with Act II; in Chicago my memory is that she was wearing pale blue -- which is the classic color for ABT's production. When she came out on Saturday wearing dark blue it completely took me out of the ballet for a minute (and not in a good way). I love her and I accept that THAT is the kind of dancer she is, but uh...not recommended. The hair up during the mad scene I did not mind at all, actually rather liked.

For myself when I saw Cojocaru on Thursday night I especially loved Act I. I do agree with others that the performance was danced as if she was injured or as if old injuries were catching up with her. Not at the very beginning--I don't think I have ever seen the sequence in which Albrecht and she dance with the peasant villagers look more graceful and harmonious--but later in the big solo and also Act II where she seemed to tire or slow at times. I was surprised as I remember her great technical assurance in Sleeping Beauty just last year. Still I don't think one could ask for a more tenderly sweet, emotionally fresh account of Act I. She also allowed a touch of gaucheness to enter her gestures as if to heighten one's awareness of how out of her depth Giselle is w. Albrecht. She stayed on stage for most or all of the peasant pas de deux and I very much enjoyed watching her reactions. At one point she twirled around in excitement at watching the others dance. She was lovely in Act II--very ghostly and unreal, though still tender and loving--but the performance for me fell a little short in intensity perhaps because it was (to my eyes) a little underpowered at times.

I thought Corella and she were well matched physically, and he danced with greater elegance and passion than when I saw him dance the role a few years back (with Vishneva). I know he is only retiring from ABT but given the vagaries of my dance going, likely this was my last time seeing him dance and it makes for a very nice memory. During curtain calls before the gold curtain he raised up Cojocaru in one final romantic lift. I don't think there can be two more charming dancers in the world.

(Since i got the names jumbled in earlier post I will refrain from comments on secondary dancers. But I thought it was a good performance overall.)

#68 Batsuchan

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:03 PM

I’m rather late to the party given “La Bayadere” week is almost over, but I just wanted to add a few more comments about the Cojocaru/Corella and Vishneva/Gomes performances I saw.

As others have written, Cojocaru did make noticeable modifications to the choreography and looked a tad wobbly/tired in some sections. However, she is such a natural, guileless Giselle, that I couldn’t help but adore her. I thought that she and Corella looked very comfortable together, and they have the same kind of sweet, innocent star-power. In my opinion, these roles fit them more naturally than Manon and Des Grieux, and watching this performance only made me wish more that we could see the two of them paired in “Romeo & Juliet.”

As for Vishneva & Gomes, let me echo the praise from other posters. I thought it was a glorious and gorgeous performance—at least as good as the transcendent performance they gave at the end of the run last year (which I considered much better than the first one). I completely agree with abatt that Vishneva & Gomes make a superb partnership.

And it seems that Diana herself shares the sentiment. Check out her recent Facebook post (no login required to view):
http://www.facebook....252826048061382

My partner, he is one and only... Thank you Marcelo


How cute! (It does make me more sad that they won’t be able to perform together tonight!)

Just a few things that I wanted to highlight:
-Watching Vishneva move in Act II made me think of jellyfish gliding through water—so fluid and weightless. She and Gomes filled every moment of the musical phrase in the adagios—the way she slowly developpe’d her leg, or the way Gomes rotated her oh-so-slowly in that deep penchee arabesque were simply marvelous. Near the end of Act II, when Albrecht lifts her and moves Giselle across the stage, setting her down as she extends into a stretched arabesques—none of the pairs I’ve seen has done it more perfectly and beautifully than Vishneva and Gomes, who really give the impression of a mere wisp of tulle gently lifted and blown by the wind. And the big overhead lifts were remarkable for the way Gomes lowered her unbelievably slowly, with Vishneva keeping her body horizontal and at the very last second, dropping one leg down.

-In Act I, I was struck again by the small details Vishneva brings to her performance, and how she commands attention even when she is not supposed to be the center of attention. For example, when the village girls come in with baskets of grapes and Giselle introduces Albrecht to them and then dances, it was clear what was going on when Kent and Cojocaru did it. However, with Vishneva, I felt like I could almost “hear” the dialogue—with her gestures, she clearly seemed to say, “Look at this handsome man I’ve brought! Put your grapes down, let’s show him how we can dance!”
The other moment that I clearly noticed was when Giselle disappears during the peasant pas de deux. With Kent and Cojocaru, I didn’t actually see them leave the stage, but at some point I realized, “Oh, I guess she disappeared!” With Vishneva, however, she made as if she suddenly remembered something, whispered in her mother’s ear, and then left—so she caught my attention, and I actually saw her exit.

-Speaking of the peasant p.d.d., I thought Daniil and Sarah were great, with Sarah raising the level of her dancing to try to match Daniil’s big tricks. Often I feel like the peasant p.d.d. is a little wearisome—I’d rather watch Giselle and Albrecht—but in this performance it was a welcome diversion. They had some partnering problems on Tuesday, but I thought Saturday’s performance was much cleaner.

-Finally, a few words about Polina Semionova’s Myrtha. I am a big fan of her, but she seemed to struggle a bit with the choreography—she didn’t look as comfortable with it as I would expect, and her movements were a little jerky/stiff—or at least in contrast to Diana’s seemingly boneless wili. There were two things about her portrayal that struck me, however. First, when Giselle spreads her arms around Albrecht to protect him, I could really feel Myrtha’s shock at finding herself powerless against them. Second, when Myrtha dances with the corps of wilis and they are all doing that side-to-side arabesques thing, she was perfectly in unison with the corps, and I found this impressive since Veronika Part was not—she was just slightly (but perceptively) ahead of them. And of course, Polina’s feet are gorgeous—I could watch her bouree-ing across the stage forever!

All in all though, a fantastic performance! I was in a post-Giselle high for the past few days after that performance!


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