Natalia

Swan Lake, June 25-30, 2012

79 posts in this topic

I think the miraculous improvement in the solo violinist can be attributed

to Arturo Delmoni. I saw him in the orchestra pit.

It was a terrific performance - Isabella and Daniil can be very proud of

their debut. I hope they get more opportunities like this next year. They

are both very gifted.

Isabella's Odette was thoughtfully sad. She did not rush through any

passages. Her swan demeanor was birdlike but not overdone.

Gorak is so elegant and handsome - definite Prince material.

Sarah Lane was a cygnette and the Spanish Princess and really has

been outstanding all season long.

Oh, and if anyone still notices whose Siegfried stays for the party,

this one did.

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I think the miraculous improvement in the solo violinist can be attributed

to Arturo Delmoni. I saw him in the orchestra pit.

It was a terrific performance - Isabella and Daniil can be very proud of

their debut. I hope they get more opportunities like this next year. They

are both very gifted.

Isabella's Odette was thoughtfully sad. She did not rush through any

passages. Her swan demeanor was birdlike but not overdone.

Gorak is so elegant and handsome - definite Prince material.

Sarah Lane was a cygnette and the Spanish Princess and really has

been outstanding all season long.

Oh, and if anyone still notices whose Siegfried stays for the party,

this one did.

Sarah Lane is often outstanding, but seems to be a soloist that the AD has limited use for.

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Back to Washington, DC, after a long night on the road.

The Wednesday matinee proved to be a big triumph for both Isabella Boylston and Danil' Simkin. Honestly, there was magic in the air (as Batsuchan pointed out), and the magic continued until the final curtain calls to loud 'Bravi!' from a standing-o audience (almost all stood in Orchestra, I saw, and many of us in Dress Circle, too!).

Extraordinary solo dancing from both debutants. They offered both 'technique and plastique'...and even some emotion rarely seen in those essaying the leading roles for the first time. Yes, the partnered segments sometimes made me think that I was watching a Cougar seducing a Faun but, by Act IV, those feelings had been erased. Boylston has such a beauty (those legs and feet! port de bras! perfect overall proportions!) and facility; she is, potentially, an Odette/Odile for the ages! Her fouettes in the pdd coda were laced with doubles; her solo in the same pas was better than she danced with Gomes at the Washington, DC, mixed bill on Feb 1, as she took out the double-attitude pirouettes at the start of the solo, aiming for a lovely controlled single after each straight double-pirouette. Her balanced 1st-arabesques were breathtaking. I look forward to many, many more Swan Lakes from this beautiful ballerina.

Simkin was near-perfection in his solos and his sometimes-over-the-top acting ended up being quite touching at the end of the ballroom scene, as he crawled on his knees. The audience gasped as Simkin lifted Boylston in the high 'upside down' carries during the middle section of the White Swan adagio. Bravo!

The Act I (and Act III) Pas de Trois team was spot-on. Joseph Gorak is so elegant and smooth! The ladies (Shevchenko, then Teuscher) were crisp and sparkling in their solos. Shevchenko's solo with the high entrechats was particularly impressive this time around. Teuscher continues to impress and was technically sound and quite musical, except for a small off-axis moment at the end of her solo (series of chainees and pirouettes across stage-front...99.9% perfect). This was the best Pas de Trois group I've seen since Cornejo/Cornejo/Reyes at the filming in Kennedy Center that resulted in the DVD.

The Neapolitan Male Duo gave us a chance to admire the technical finesse of Grant de Long and Luis Ribagorda (substituting Hoven, as per slip n the playbill). The two 'Big Swans' in Act II were the stately Karen Uphoff and Kristy Boone (substituting for Nicola Curry, as per loudspeaker announcement). Among the four international fiancees at the ball, I was most impressed by Sarah Lane who, IMO, could eventually make the most perfect Odette-Odile for Simkin, given their diminutive sizes.

Kudos, too, to Jared Matthews as a slinky Purple Rothbart...although it is really hard to not think of only Marcelo Gomes in this role.

The corps of swans was quite lovely in Act II but a bit ragged in the final scene, especially during the transitional scene in front of the 'soft curtain' - e.g., each of the eight swans striking the final pose at a different time.

The orchestra was good except for some off-time rough spots during the adagio of the Act I Pas de Trois, causing the dancers to have to adjust steps.

All in all, this was one of the most exciting and rewarding performances of Swan Lake that I've seen in my 45 years of ballet-going. Really. It was electric and full of hope for the future of ABT and ballet, in general.

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Don't have time for a few review, but wanted to say that I was much more impressed by last night's performance (Marcelo and Gillian) than Tuesday evening's performance (David and Polina). That's not to say that I did not thoroughly enjoy David/Polina- I left the theatre sated, joyful, and energized. It was a truly beautiful performance, but I felt slightly removed from the two of them (which is surprising because David IS one of my favorite dancers). I think their performance triumphed in being the most aesthetic- both of their lines! But, I felt some lacking in the emotional department; it almost felt like they were guest artists dancing with some other company.

These thoughts were confirmed after I watched the performance by Marcelo and Gillian. The two of them were electric and emotionally engaging. I felt a greater sense of "company" when I watched them- the corps de ballet in all the acts looked better, too! Marcelo and Gillian seemed to recognize the audience, almost to the point of breaking the "fourth wall." But this swooped me up and made the performance much more intimate. At intermission, I heard some commentary that Polina was more of a story teller than Gillian. I completely disagree. Polina's miming felt murky and unclear; while Gillian's miming was so exact that I picked up more elements of the story that I hadn't in prior years.

I'm looking forward to tonight's farewell to Angel Corella. There will be no shortage of emotion!

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OnxMyxToes, I completely agree with you about the Gomes/Muphy performance. It was electrifying. I had no emotional investment whatsoever in the Hallberg-Semionova performance. It was academically beautiful but emotionally empty. In contrast, last night was thrilling in every way. Murphy's mime was completely clear. The pliancy of her spine was gorgeous. She was completely adept at conveying the story, and at delivering the technical goods with ease. This was the best SL I've seen from her. Oh, and did I mention that not only did she do triples in the Black Swan section, but she added flapping swan arm embellishments while she was spinning. Gomes is always phenomenal. Personally, I couldn't care less that his line isn't as beautiful as Hallberg's. He brings so much to every performance. The details were just amazing, and the end was heartbreaking. His Olympic dive off the cliff capped an unbelievably brilliant performance.

Sascha was Purple Rothbart. Like most of the guys who do this role, he has trouble balancing on demi pointe and shakes. (Marcelo did this perfectly on Monday night). Also, Sascha looked like he could barely lift the tiny princesses. If you can't lift Fang with ease, who can you lift?

The audience started to applaud spontanteously during the 4 Little Cygnet variation. I've never seen that happen.

I left last night's performance completely elated. It had everthing that seemed to be lacking during Monday and Tuesday nights.

I'm happy to read about the success of Simkin and Boylston. Natalia mentions that Sarah Lane would be a great partner for Simkin in SL. Sarah has actually danced the lead with Angel Corella at Barcelona Ballet in Spani. Unlikely that McKenzie will ever give her this role, so we may all have to take a group trip to Spain.

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I should have mentioned earlier a Very Special Moment in yesterday's matinee: Danil' Simkin's ultra-high-and-far flying leap into the lake at the end. This is an Olympic year, so I can only think that Simkin was gunning for a spot on the Ukrainian platform-diving team. wink1.gif He began with a run from the backstage-audience-left corner of the platform, then catapulted himself about 10 feet up and straight out, whilst in a long/horizontal (not so curved) slightly-arched pose. For a moment, I thought that the guy was supported by wires and about to fly into the opposite wing! Audience ooooed and ahhhhed. I've seen some great leaps from various Prince Siegfrieds but never anything quite like this (distance traveled).

Edited to add: ITA with Abatt about Gomes' also-amazing dive off the platform, which I saw a couple of years ago in DC, when he partnered Part. Gomes jumped higher and had a shorter 'flight' but a deeply curved arch, as I recall. Simkin's is flatter and straight out...way out!

p.s. I see that Curtain Calls have been posted on YouTube. No, that's not me with 'big mouth' yelling 'Bravoooooo!!!!', although I did cheer from my spot in Dress Circle. This was the atmosphere:

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I attended Tuesday evening and the Wednesday matinee. I briefly wrote about the problem with the corps in Act I and Act III on Tuesday night. The Wednesday matinee was overall a much better performance. The Act I pas de trois was probably the best that I have seen in years with Gorak, Shevchenko, and Teuscher. The corps dancing in Act I and Act III was much tighter than Tuesday evening. The swans were wonderful in both performances, but I must agree that they were way off in Act IV at the matinee.

I do not know Miss Boylston at all, but I felt so proud of her. She was extraordinary. She is only going to get better in this role and I found her enchanting as both Odette and Odile. I loved Polina, but I found Isabella to be much more emotionally satisfying overall.

The friend that I usually attend ballet with has always said that Daniil is never going to be a leading man because of his stature - that he is a trickster and that is it. Well, yesterday's performance really put that argument to rest. Daniil partnered Isabella beautifully and his lifts were so secure. And unlike Hallberg, he milked everything out of every pose and gesture, especially in Act I, which I agree can get pretty dull after the pas de trois.

I am so happy that I attended both performances. I was expecting greatness from Polina and David and I got it. I did not know what to expect from Isabella and Daniil and I was blown away.

Only one complaint from yesterday's matinee - SCHOOL IS OUT. The two young ladies next to me (I am guessing they were somewhere between 10 and 13) talked during all of Act I. When Act II started I politely asked them if they could talk when the ballet was over. And how about the guy who sneezed in the Act III pas de trois just as the music stopped and Isabella hit that beautiful pose? That got many of the youngsters giggling.

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I forgot to add - awesome dive from Daniil at the end!!!!

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..... And how about the guy who sneezed in the Act III pas de trois just as the music stopped and Isabella hit that beautiful pose? That got many of the youngsters giggling.

OMG, Ceeszi, I had almost forgotten that thunderous 'trumpet sneeze'! You must have been sitting close to me because is seemed to come from behind me - Dress Circle. The timing of the sneeze was odd: exactly during the second of silence (pause) in the music between the Entree and the Adagio of the Black Swan PDD.

The same guy had earlier made some other loud 'gurgling' (throad clearing) sound during Odette's solo in Act II.

If I were in Russia and not in NYC at the Met, I'd be thinking: It's almost as if he had chosen these spots to disrupt the program. Russian clacques have been known to try to sabotage the performances of rival ballerinas. The same guys who are 'paid off' to yell 'bravo' to certain ballerinas can do the reverse to sabotage their rivals...but that is Russia, not New York, so I will trust that the fellow in Dress Circle simply let-out a huge sneeze and made gurgling sounds at the wrong times, by pure concidence. Also, I recognized the voice as belonging to the same man who had been yelling 'Bravo!' for Simkin at every turn in Act I, sometimes even after a few seconds of dancing; in other words, this was a huge fan and unlikely to want to purposely ruin the magic. He probably got a sore throat by Act II for having yelled so much in Act I!

Glad that we agreed on so much, Ceeszi. It was a winner. smile.png

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Am I to assume that Polina is the most technically competent ballerina at ABT right now...? Should I jump on a plane to go see her...?

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..... And how about the guy who sneezed in the Act III pas de trois just as the music stopped and Isabella hit that beautiful pose? That got many of the youngsters giggling.

OMG, Ceeszi, I had almost forgotten that thunderous 'trumpet sneeze'! You must have been sitting close to me because is seemed to come from behind me - Dress Circle. The timing of the sneeze was odd: exactly during the second of silence (pause) in the music between the Entree and the Adagio of the Black Swan PDD.

The same guy had earlier made some other loud 'gurgling' (throad clearing) sound during Odette's solo in Act II.

If I were in Russia and not in NYC at the Met, I'd be thinking: It's almost as if he had chosen these spots to disrupt the program. Russian clacques have been known to try to sabotage the performances of rival ballerinas. The same guys who are 'paid off' to yell 'bravo' to certain ballerinas can do the reverse to sabotage their rivals...but that is Russia, not New York, so I will trust that the fellow in Dress Circle simply let-out a huge sneeze and made gurgling sounds at the wrong times, by pure concidence. Also, I recognized the voice as belonging to the same man who had been yelling 'Bravo!' for Simkin at every turn in Act I, sometimes even after a few seconds of dancing; in other words, this was a huge fan and unlikely to want to purposely ruin the magic. He probably got a sore throat by Act II for having yelled so much in Act I!

Glad that we agreed on so much, Ceeszi. It was a winner. smile.png

"Conspiracy Theory" - now that is a good ballet to write.

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Am I to assume that Polina is the most technically competent ballerina at ABT right now...? Should I jump on a plane to go see her...?

don't knock the home team. For technical competence I'd say Gillian Murphy is pretty stellar (it isn't her only virtue but...)

I'll also hazard a mention for Paloma Herrera, who may not always be what one wants in romantic or even classical roles, but never has technical issues!

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Am I to assume that Polina is the most technically competent ballerina at ABT right now...? Should I jump on a plane to go see her...?

don't knock the home team. For technical competence I'd say Gillian Murphy is pretty stellar (it isn't her only virtue but...)

I'll also hazard a mention for Paloma Herrera, who may not always be what one wants in romantic or even classical roles, but never has technical issues!

Actually I've seen Herrera have technical problems but if you want a sure thing, the closed you'll get at ABT is Gillian Murphy. Agreed that it isn't Murphy's only virtue.

I have to admit I'm more of a NYCB fan.

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Am I to assume that Polina is the most technically competent ballerina at ABT right now...? Should I jump on a plane to go see her...?

Cubanmiamiboy, have you looked at any you tube clips of Semionova to get a better idea of what you think. Semionova is now part of the ABT "home team", so you will be able to see her next season.

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It's the end of an era. Corella and Herrera performed with great emotional depth tonight. Neither dancer has the same level of technique as when they first burst on to the ABT scene, but they certainly gave it their all. The audience gave Corella a memorable, roaring send off. In return, he tossed off one of his trademark superfast spins. He will be missed.

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Am I to assume that Polina is the most technically competent ballerina at ABT right now...? Should I jump on a plane to go see her...?

Well - on Tuesday evening, I just had this feeling that Polina was not going to miss technically. She was so on. In all my years of going to ABT, my favorite Odette/Odile has been Diana Vishneva. The excitement for me is that her Odette is beautiful, but her Odile is wild - technically she may be on or she may not be on. But Diana gives her all emotionally - it is a shame that she has not done Swan Lake in New York since 2010. Polina was so secure technically, but emotionally and artistically, she is still developing

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"Conspiracy Theory" - now that is a good ballet to write.

Puppytreats, only in Russia. This was NYC, so I have no doubt that this poor guy had a sore throat and a booming voice.

Thanks for the reports on Angel Corella's Farewell last night. I'm sorry to have missed it!

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My review from the Corella Farewell performance on June 28, 2012. (please note that this post is written first thing in the morning without edits!)

First of all, I am having trouble digesting the fact that the events of last night actually took place. The evening was truly sensational and emotional for all who were present.

Somehow, I was very lucky and ended up sitting in (what has been named on this board) the best seat of the house, Orchestra K 117. Thus, I had the ideal view to see the full picture, yet be able to really see the emotion on the dancers, but most importantly, Corella's face.

The curtain calls were particularly interesting and endearing. They began with the normal set of bows, with the swan on stage and then the soloists taking their bows. Once Angel and Paloma came on stage, the entire theatre was roaring. Paloma presented her bouquets of flowered at Angel's feet. Angel was a bit bashful and tried to play off the bows like any other performance- putting to focus on the ballerina. The curtain went down, and opened to Angel alone on the stage, and again the audience went wild for him. There was bountiful cheering, stomping, clapping; the whole house was one their feet in appreciation. (should also note that many people sitting in the back of the orchestra moved to the front to get a closer view). After Angel accepted the applause, Paloma brought him a bouquet. This began the series of flower presentations starting with Gillian Murphy, then Julie Kent and her 2 children, followed by Xiomara, then Irina. Subsequently, the male principals brought wreaths for Angel, first Maxim, then Cory (who tried to put it around his neck), then David (who tried to throw it at Angel like a frisbee). Next was Marcelo and then Herman (who shared 2 long hugs with Angel). The surprise "guest" male principals were Ethan Stiefel and then Jose Carreno! However the biggest surprise, and most touching, was when Carmen Corella came on stage. This was when Angel seemed to break down emotionally a bit, as he shared a very very lengthy hug with her and seemed to not want to let go. Some other guests to the stage (presenting flowers) were Victor Barbee, Irina K., the conductor (forgot whom!), Clinton Luckett,Nancy Raffa, and of course Kevin. Then the whole company came on stage and threw roses at Mr. Corella. The audience kept clapping throughout the whole time, and finally confetti was shot into the air. Angel looked so bashful- like he couldn't comprehend the immense support he was receiving. He kept shrugging his shoulders like a little boy. Finally, he did not know what else to do except do an impressively fast set of a la second turns ending in multiple pirouettes. After what seemed like an endless amount of applause, it seemed like Angel signaled for the curtain to close. Then the out of the curtain calls began- the soloists came out again, but then it was all about Angel. People in general were not leaving. Leaving the theatre meant accepting that Angel would not be dancing there anymore. Angel came out for about 6 solo curtain calls. The last one was after about 5 minutes of fanatics (including myself) not leaving and creating a joint clap encouraging him to come out one last time. He was very very gracious, and jokingly told us to go home by waving us out the theatre. Sadly, we had to let him go and truly say goodbye to his performances at the Met.

PERFORMANCE REVIEW:

Pre-performance, the theatre was buzzing with anticipation for the show to begin. When Angel stepped on stage the reception was so enthusiastic- I don't think anyone wanted to stop clapping. This was the first of many moments that I got teary-eyed, and I couldn't take my eyes off him for the rest of the night I noticed during the maypole dance that he looked very pensive and was looking down a lot. When he finally looked up, I could see him taking it all in. He realized the magnitude of this performance and needed to take in one of his last looks of the met opera house. His solos were very good and he looked joyous on the stage.

Act II: The white swan pas was so emotional. You could feel the energy right before it started. The two of them performed beautifully. Odette's sorrow and Siegfriend's compassion felt so real- and probably because it was real for Paloma and Angel. Watching Angel's eyes and his subtle head movements reminded me why he is such a lovely partner. He stayed completely entranced by Odette the whole time.

Act III: Everyone wanted the ethnic dances to be over! (they were done well. but everyone wanted to watch the black swan pas!) Oh one thing to note is that Angel changed into black tights for Act III. He hadn't done that in the past, and it made me realize that he isn't the same dancer he was 10 years ago.

Once the pas began, no one in the audience dared to take a breath. It looked like the two of them were smiling like teenagers. It was slightly out of character, but beautiful at the same time. Angel's solo was fantastic. He had some really nice turns, clean tours and his boyish passion that everyone loves. Once he finished his solo, the audience roared again. And he let them. He looked out into the audience and stood there in appreciation for all of their love. This was the point when I (and many others) began sobbing. This bow was luxuriously long, but not long enough. There was an awkward pause between Paloma's solo and Angel's- she took a long time to bow and there was about 5 seconds of silence between the time she was off the stage and Angel got back on. But when he got back on, he exploded. He flew threw the air with his grande jetes and ended with a beautiful series of pirouettes. Paloma did her fouettes and actually got precariously close to being completely off balance However, Angel's a la second turns were unbelievably fast and clean. The audience went wild. The end of the pas was so dramatic. It was like Angel's complete surrender to Paloma's Odile.

Act IV: was very somber and emotional, aligning well to the feeling of the evening. Something that was a bit disappointing was how Odette and Siegfried died. Paloma chose to stand at the edge and fall into the ocean, and Angel opted for the same type of death. I guess I was expecting a more dramatic end, perhaps one last jump to the death.

OTHER NOTES:

I actually was not thrilled with the supporting cast of last night. I think Monday's and Tuesday's were better.

Actually, I was very surprised by Paloma's technical decline. I was not surprised that Angel was not able to dance the way he had in the Swan Lake DVD because he hasn't been performing full time for many years. Paloma's performance seemed far from effortless and she made noticeable technical adaptions. One was in Odette's solo, when she did the double ronde de jambe into a side extension, she opted to stay on flat for the 2 ronde de jambes instead of being on pointe. It also seemed like her side extensions were much lower than they used to be. Her balances were still very lovely and impressive.

Gennadi replaced Blaine Hoven for Benno, and I didn't think it was a good match. He and Angel had no rapport, and it seems like he was almost telephoning the performance. Hee Seo did the jumping variation in the pas de trois and was my favorite (compared to Stella and Simone). Hee really can jump. Melanie Hamrick was underwhelming. Her performance was colorless and she makes this really offputting expression whenever she turns.

Jared Matthews was the most technically adept von Rothbart that I saw this week (compared to Sascha and Alex H.) His sissones were really impressive and he looked solid overall. He definitely took an almost comedic approach to the role, which I'm not sure I liked. However, I was very impressed by him! His boots ripped in the middle of his variation, and I was so distracted and worried that they would cause problems for him. (they were no longer thigh-high, but knee-highs!)

Maria Riccetto, Nicole Graniero, Sarah Lane and Yuriko did the 4 swans. It was very nicely done. I think Maria and Yuriko are too tall for the others though. Also, Yuriko's upper body looked so stiff when she was doing swan arms. She stood out from the rest of the 31 swans.

Christine Shevchenko and Devon Teuscher were competent Big Swans. They're still young and will have time to grow in that role.

Simone Messmer was great in Czards.

Spanish dance was great (however if anyone gets to watch Tom Forester in that role, he is the best!)

Neapolitan was fantastic. Grant deLong and Luis were perfectly synced and each of them had very beautiful and high in number turns. They were reminiscent of young Angel in their energy.

That's pretty much all I have time for right now. I apologize that this was not beautifully written and that it is very long.

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Forget reading my review about the bows. It's on youtube:

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Wow, onxmyxtoes, you've made my day with your detail-filled report of every moment of the special night. Bravo!

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I have been very interested and touched by the reports of Corella's ABT farewell performance.

I actually rather like the sound of his less sensational suicide leap...which is the way I have seen it done in the (more distant) past. I have also seen more recent performances of Mckenzie's production in which both Hallberg and especially Gomez performed sensational suicide-leaps. Though I rather enjoyed them for their visceral excitement and the images they created (Hallberg plunged head down seemingly--Gomez flew up w. arched back before descending), I felt they sort of broke the emotional spell of the moment with showiness, esp. the latter.

I am not an anti-showiness fan by any means, but at this exact moment when the music and drama are at a climax it seems to me to border on a false note. Certainly, at the performances I attended, when people started applauding at that moment (esp strongly for Gomez' high-flying leap) I found it jarring. It also creates a bit of an unbalance with Odette's suicide (ballerinas don't -- and shouldn't -- leap to their death quite that way)...at a moment when the two should be united.

I'm not inclined to make a definitive judgment about this, but certainly I don't at all mind the sound of what I infer is Corella's subtler approach.

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I expected more people from the past to show up at Angel's farewell. Why wasn't Susan Jaffe there? We know she's in town because she played the Queen Mother on Wed evening. No Ferri. No Nina. No Vishneva.

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Forget reading my review about the bows. It's on youtube:

wow, thank you for the link, its really great !

I loved how emotional were Xiomara and Paloma, I think they both were in tears, it was cute to see them hug on the side looking at him, very sweet.

and your report was full of lovely details, i sensed the emotions too, thanks !

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I join the others: thank you, onxmyxtoes.

Leigh Witchell, on Facebook, has posted a fine description of the evening -- with more emphasis on the curtain call than on the performance -- that did not make it into the New York Post. I'm not sure how to link to individual Facebook posts, but below is the link to Leigh's page. The post we are talking about was dated just an hour ago. His Post interview with Corella is also on Facebook.

https://www.facebook...nceleighwitchel

"Short Takes. Swan Lake. ABT. June 28."

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I expected more people from the past to show up at Angel's farewell. Why wasn't Susan Jaffe there? We know she's in town because she played the Queen Mother on Wed evening. No Ferri. No Nina. No Vishneva.

Not just people from the past -- where was Part?

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