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Swan Lake, June 25-30, 2012


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#16 ksk04

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:46 PM

How cruel Marcelo was cast as the Purple Rothbart while Veronika was Odette...so close yet so far away! Posted Image She must do a lot of head scratching when casting gets posted as Bolle gets partnered up with Kent, Dvorovenko, and Herrera and Marcelo gets partnered with Diana (at least understandable as they at least have an established and magnetic partnership).

Glad to hear she is in top form regardless.

#17 abatt

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 01:03 PM

Bolle has not done any SL's at ABT since the 2009 one with Part. I guess he is not interested in doing it, and he can pick and choose what he wants to do. Bolle is, in my opinion, the only partner at ABT who is age appropriate for Kent at this stage.

#18 angelica

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:00 PM

I seem to have had a very different reaction to last night's Swan Lake. As a long time admirer of Veronika Part, I'd been awaiting last night's performance as the highlight of the season. But the moment Veronika jumped out on stage for the white act, I felt something was wrong. The fluidity of Bayadere and even Bright Stream seemed absent--to me she seemed more like a swan possessed (which, of course, she was), but possessed of something beyond sorrow and longing. I found her movements awkward, absent the eloquence for which she is so treasured and is unique to her dancing. In fact, she seemed almost manic--I was afraid she was going to have a seizure right then and there, as she mimed her story to Cory. Now, perhaps she had to try extra hard because of his blankness. "Don't you get it, dammit, Siegfried?" He's handsome, has a beautiful line, can lift, but he never fails to disappoint with his absence of fervor. I felt that Veronika's Odile was far better than her Odette. The only explanation I can come up with is that with all the foreign guest artists being praised for their over-the-top acting, perhaps she was coached to dance Odette this way, absent the lyricism and fluidity that was so present in Bayadere. And her mouth was open for all the drama in Act II--I wonder where she got that from....
The supporting cast couldn't have been better. The pas de trois in Act I was wonderful. So were the leading swans. But what happened to the waltz of the big swans in Act II? When did that get taken out? And I must say that I find the opening of the fourth act a travesty. Compare with the fourth act on the DVD of Ananiashvili dancing with the State Ballet of Perm. I suppose one could say this is a more contemporary SL, but I don't at all get those high-stepping swans and what all the running back and forth is supposed to suggest--perhaps they are distraught as to what will become of them? Can anyone explain this to me?

#19 Batsuchan

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:21 PM

Polina and David were absolutely gorgeous together tonight! They just look so perfect together--such lovely, long, uber-lean lines! Of course David's Siegfried wasn't impressed by all those other princesses--he needed someone as beautiful (and tall) as he!

Polina's technique is astounding--her absolute surety in her movements, no wobbles whatsoever, perfectly centered turns, triple fouettes, gorgeous extensions, they were all there! Perhaps Polina's greatest strength is her amazing and effortless balances--and she certainly milked every one she could (though sometimes this caused her to end up behind the phrase).

Her characterizations are equally unforced, totally natural, and yet quite effective--I feel like I can feel her emotion in her spine and back, and THAT is always something that I look for. She had lovely chemistry with David's Siegfried as Odette, and almost-simmering-over chemistry as Odette. In the second time that she raises her arm to halt Siegfried's approach, she held her palm out to him, and then seductively curled her fingers--what a tease! Even the way she pointed her leg out so that she could sit in the swan position seemed suggestive.

This was an excellent performance. Okay, perhaps the party scenes looked a bit messy, but the pas de trois was very nicely danced by Stella Abrera, Maria Riccetto, and Sascha Radetsky, and I thought the swans looked fantastic in Act II. Alex Hammoudi was a very striking and suave von Rothbart though probably not as technically spectacular as others.

My friends and I enjoyed this performance very much, but if I had to be 100% honest, Polina's performance last year with Marcelo was probably slightly more exciting for me. Not only was it Polina's debut in ABT's "Swan Lake," but David got injured so there was a last minute partner switch, and I was a little worried how it would turn out but confident that Marcelo would handle it, and then both of them totally exceeded my expectations!

I wish I could go to see Polina and David again on Friday, but I can't, so I will rely on your reports!

#20 Ceeszi

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:27 AM

I agree with Batsuchan - fantastic performance last night with Polina and David. The swan corps was wonderful, but the corps in Act I and Act III were not - many noticeable bobbles and dancers who were obviously not in synch with each other. I am a little pressed for time right now, but I will write more later.



#21 abatt

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:43 AM

I thought Semionova's technique was excellent, but I was somehow not very moved by her Odette until the final act. She has the perfect body for this ballet - long limbs, a long neck. She is a beautiful and well proportioned dancer, and it is a pleasure to watch a dancer with so much technical security and skill. However, I wasn't feeling the tragedy of her story until the very end, when she seemed to take the acting up a notch or two. Hallberg was quite wonderful. Gorgeous line. Also, unlike Stearns, Hallberg knows how use his time on stage to convey bits of acting that tell us his conflicts. Semionova was totally "on" in the Black Swan section - triples, check. Tease- check. However, for a lot of the Black Swan act she had a plastered on smile that was the same plastered on smile I saw at Apollo. I have to agree w. Batsuchen that her performance of SL last year w. Gomes was more engaging than her performance w. Hallberg. Gomes is always so passionate that he elevates his partners to new heights - literally and figuratively. Is it any wonder that every lady in the company wants to be his partner?

Hamoudi started out well, but he really does not have the charisma for the role. Also, in the portion where he must balance on demi pointe he was shaky. I thought Stella looked a bit tired in the peasant pas de trois. She also came off pointe in Act I, but that may have been due to inept partnering by her husband.

The house was again packed. This ballet regularly sells out the house no matter who is performing. No wonder ABT keeps bringing it back every season.

#22 Barbara

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:27 AM

I felt so bad for Stella - she wouldn't have come off point if Sascha had arrived in time to assist her pirouettes. Before that happened I was finding myself quite impressed with his dancing (unlike in previous roles) but I think he was showing off his own turns and therefore took too long to get in place behind Stella. I hope he irons this out for Friday. I think of all the purple Rothbarts I've seen (of course not counting magificent Marcelo or Hallberg) Hammoudi has the most potential. He has the look definitely, but needs to work on the technique. I'll be interested to see how he develops.

#23 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:36 AM

I felt so bad for Stella - she wouldn't have come off point if Sascha had arrived in time to assist her pirouettes. Before that happened I was finding myself quite impressed with his dancing (unlike in previous roles) but I think he was showing off his own turns and therefore took too long to get in place behind Stella. I hope he irons this out for Friday. I think of all the purple Rothbarts I've seen (of course not counting magificent Marcelo or Hallberg) Hammoudi has the most potential. He has the look definitely, but needs to work on the technique. I'll be interested to see how he develops.


This was exactly the case. I was watching Sascha very closely. He was very focused on his pirouette and landing, and it almost seemed like he got caught up in the moment and forgot that he needed to go support Stella in her pirouette. You could actually see him lose composure and just booked it to the front of the stage, not very gracefully. All in all, though, I think he was a fantastic Benno! I thought Maria was great and will be sad to see her go after this season. Hopefully she comes back!

#24 Batsuchan

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:32 PM

This was exactly the case. I was watching Sascha very closely. He was very focused on his pirouette and landing, and it almost seemed like he got caught up in the moment and forgot that he needed to go support Stella in her pirouette. You could actually see him lose composure and just booked it to the front of the stage, not very gracefully. All in all, though, I think he was a fantastic Benno! I thought Maria was great and will be sad to see her go after this season. Hopefully she comes back!


I noticed that little mishap too! Forgetting to partner your wife--that's a big OOPS!!

I also thought that Maria was fantastic and just looked so happy dancing. She better come back next season or else I will be totally crushed!

***

Well, I had quite an exciting afternoon! You could feel the anticipation in the theater for Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin’s debut performance, and they totally delivered!

This was not a perfect performance—and I do think both have areas where they can improve—but it was technically accomplished, even spectacular at times, smooth (no partnering mishaps), and in the end, perhaps even more moving than Polina and David last night!

David is a gorgeous, gorgeous dancer, and he has spectacular grand jetes, but he doesn’t crank out the big tricks like Daniil does. Sometimes Act I feels a little slow to me (are the swans here yet??), but every time Daniil had a chance to do a solo, it was like WOW! Those huge leaps, those turns like a top! Daniil is much more petite than David, but he also has very nice lines, thanks in part to his very flexible back, which gives him a lovely stretched arabesque. He used those slowly turning attitude arabesques to great effect in his "sad" solo--they seemed to perfectly express his desire for something more.

But outside of this solo, I wasn't quite sure what to make of Daniil's Siegfried in Act I. His expression almost seemed a little...smug? He did not strike me as particularly lonely/shy or bored of the court life, nor did he seem innately noble. I felt a little bit like I was seeing Coppelia’s Franz pretending to be a prince--but hopefully this will be something Daniil works through as he performs the role more.

Thankfully, Siegfried appeared to be in good company. Joseph Gorak was absolutely gorgeous as Benno (he is fast becoming one of my favorites), and he looked very well matched with Christine Shevchenko and Devon Teuscher in the p.d.t. Both of these girls are about the same height and build, and they made quite an attractive trio. The dancing was quite lovely too.

In Act II, Isabella Boylston really impressed me. She may not have Polina's long lines nor her mastery of the role yet, but she certainly has the technique and the beautiful feet! She had total command of the steps and some beautiful balances. She did a good job of telling Odette’s story, but I think she could develop more of Odette’s character—I didn’t really feel for her Odette like I sometimes do for others.

Nonetheless, she and Daniil delivered a beautiful White Swan pas de deux, though I admit that the chemistry was a bit lacking. Isabella’s backbends were very lovely, and I liked that Daniil let her start falling for a second before reaching to catch her. Indeed, Daniil handled the partnering just fine—even the overhead lifts—but I realize that he doesn’t have to do much: Isabella is so strong and well-balanced that she can basically partner herself! She didn’t need much help from him.

The swans looked lovely once again in Act II, and the cygnets were perfect. Oh, and I have to mention that the solo violinist has miraculously improved—or else they hired someone else for this week. I was totally preparing myself for some truly awful off-notes, but last night and today, the solos were almost pitch-perfect! THANK YOU!!

After Act II, I felt like the performance really took off. Isabella seemed more at home as the party girl Odile, and Daniil seemed to be genuinely bedazzled by her—and here I actually started to believe the chemistry. It seemed like they finally clicked, and when that happened, I felt like their dancing rose to another level in the Black Swan p.d.d. Daniil seemed invigorated by dancing with Odile and he really went for it in his variation—really spectacular jumps ended in a deep fifth position plie and those crazy like-a-top pirouettes. Isabella followed suit, speeding through her pique turns in the circle before coming back for a nice set of fouettes with several doubles thrown in. Daniil’s fouettes a la seconde were, of course, amazing, and by the end of the p.d.d. the crowd totally erupted. Bravo!

And then after those ecstatic highs of the p.d.d., the world came crashing down when Daniil’s Siegfried realized his mistake. He stumbled around, he fell to the floor--he looked totally, utterly devastated. No smug prince here anymore!

And this is what made Act IV unexpectedly moving—more so than last night, for me. Here Daniil’s boyish appearance actually heightened the tragedy—he looked so small, so vulnerable, and so devastated. And when Isabella’s Odette made it clear that there was no choice for her but death, he pleaded with her to stay with him, clinging to her with all his might. So when she dove off the cliff, he took off running after her and soared through the air as he jumped in after her. (People actually applauded when he jumped.)

And in the end, in the clouds, they just stood there holding each other as if to say, “We did it!”

Bravo!

**
I’m going back tomorrow for Angel’s farewell. That’s going to be an epic performance, I know!

#25 vrsfanatic

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:49 PM

Thank you so much for your review. Seems like it was a lovely first. Hopefully more dreams to come...Posted Image

#26 Balanchinomane

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 06:52 PM

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.

#27 vipa

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:59 PM

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.

#28 Natalia

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 03:13 AM

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.

#29 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 03:42 AM

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!

#30 abatt

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:17 AM

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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