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Le Corsaire - Spring 2012


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#1 Batsuchan

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:31 PM

I don't have much time, but just a quick note to say that tonight's performance was totally awesome (and I don't even like "Le Corsaire" that much)!

They certainly put on an all-star cast, and everyone seemed to be so excited to see Ethan Stiefel--and he looked fantastic!

Gillian was totally on, Marcelo was marvelous as always, Stella looked so happy and gorgeous as Gulnare, and it was lovely to see her dancing with her husband Sascha Radetsky (even if he was one of the "villains"). Craig Salstein is a fantastic character actor, and he was a delightfully evil Birbanto.

Sarah Lane, Adrienne Schulte and Isabella Boylston were the Odalisques. Is it just my imagination, or is Isabella dancing with even more authority now that she's got one SL behind her?

It will be so sad to see Ethan go, but at least we get to see him twice before he leaves!

#2 sphillips

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:49 PM

I hope a lot of people will report on Ethan Stiefel's last two performances with ABT. He's always been my favorite :) and it truly is the end of an era to see him retire.

#3 Dansuer85

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:57 PM

Just a quick note before I head to dream land... WOW was Ethan AMAZING! I think he looked better than I've seen him look in years! He literally made me gasp! So happy to have been there to see one of my favorite dancers, one last time!

(Everyone else was really good too.. but Ethan was......)

#4 abatt

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 05:02 AM

I was pleasantly surprised how good Ethan looked. I too thought he looked better than he has in years. He is trim, slim and fit. Everyone was excellent last night.

#5 angelica

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:52 PM

There were fireworks aplenty at the Metropolitan Opera House this afternoon when ABT presented a spectacular performance of Le Corsaire. I thought that Veronika, eloquent as always, was at the top of her game technically, executing double fouettes amongst other double turns, and that Cory seemed to thrive on the role of Conrad, which required him to swagger and strut rather than be soulful (which he wasn't at all in the role of Siegfried a week ago Monday when it was called for). Herman is always wonderful, although I would have preferred to see him as Ali. Although Vasiliev can jump and do tricks, he does not have classical proportions nor a classical line, and he could just as well have been a circus acrobat. The mood in the house was festive, and everyone seemed to be having a grand old time.

#6 abatt

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:25 PM

I've never seen a circus acrobat who can do what Vasiliev does. He does not have a beautiful classical line, but in the role of Ali that's not a significant issue. It's a problem if you are playing a prince. Vasiliev was thrilling. He gives 110 percent and the audience loved it. We are lucky to have him dancing at the Met. I, too, enjoyed this afternoon's performance.

#7 MRR

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:01 PM

I've never seen a circus acrobat who can do what Vasiliev does. He does not have a beautiful classical line, but in the role of Ali that's not a significant issue. It's a problem if you are playing a prince. Vasiliev was thrilling. He gives 110 percent and the audience loved it. We are lucky to have him dancing at the Met. I, too, enjoyed this afternoon's performance.


I agree. Don't me wrong, Vasiliev is not at all suited for some roles. He doesn't have a good classical line, but what he does bring to the table is this very raw and passionate persona coupled with tons of bravura. And, for me, in the role of Ali that bravura and passion is ideal.

#8 angelica

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:08 PM


I've never seen a circus acrobat who can do what Vasiliev does. He does not have a beautiful classical line, but in the role of Ali that's not a significant issue. It's a problem if you are playing a prince. Vasiliev was thrilling. He gives 110 percent and the audience loved it. We are lucky to have him dancing at the Met. I, too, enjoyed this afternoon's performance.


I agree. Don't me wrong, Vasiliev is not at all suited for some roles. He doesn't have a good classical line, but what he does bring to the table is this very raw and passionate persona coupled with tons of bravura. And, for me, in the role of Ali that bravura and passion is ideal.

Yes, but couple that with the classical lines of Cornejo, Corella, and Stiefel. Compare and contrast.

#9 abatt

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:30 PM

Vasiliev was also a flawless partner for Part, one of the tallest women in the company. That's more than I can say for Cory Stearns, who looked like he was straining to lift her.

#10 griffie

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:26 PM

Herman was amazing this afternoon as the slave trader. Flair, character, astounding jumps, simply spectacular. What a star. He had to take two bows after his solo before the show could go on. Veronika did a lovely job the whole way through, technically secure, and I agree she did beautifully on the long fouette sequence. I'd not seen Vasiliev before, but in his brief seconds of introduction in the first act I thought he he had more charisma than Cory Stearns did the entire performance. I'm not sure why this is, Cory is tall, handsome, nice long legs and feet and dances well enough, but to me he is always a little bland. I've seen him a few times now and still don't get why he came up the ranks so quickly; I've heard it suggested his height probably was factor for the taller ballerinas, and he is pretty good. But when he was dancing alongside Veronika Part and Ivan Vasiliev it looked like they were in another league from him altogether. He may yet grow into a stronger stage presence - he's still young.

Also there was a sequence of lifts where Veronika twisted from a backbend into a penchee sort of thing in the lift, repeated three times, and every time Cory looked awkward. I'm not sure what the trouble was there, but Vasiliev who is not nearly as big as Cory made the partnering look effortless. I felt Veronika responded to Ivan and their pas de deux was off-the-charts with energy.

The three odalisques were Shevchenko, Hamricke and Boone, nicely done. Is Shevchenko the smaller one with the very pointed feet? If that'sthe right one both she and Melanie Hamricke had wonderful but distinctly different-looking traveling brises in their solos. Schevchenko covered huge distance across the stage while Hamricke had gorgeously crossed beats. I like Hamricke's clarity and attack. Riccetto was likeable as Gulnare; she's a solid dancer and I think she shines in roles where she gets to act a bit, as here.

And Vasiliev's athletic abilities were awe-inspiring. In his harem pants I couldn't see his line all that well so if he lacks at all there, it wasn't visible and his jumps were crazy. He also had charisma to burn and a certain Nureyev-like animal magnetism. Great stuff and the crowd loved him. I couldn't help but wonder if Cornejo's exceptional performance earlier on was spurred on by Vasiliev's bravura; if he felt inspired by the competition we all benefited!

The little, very little, dancers in the dream sequence were adorable. None of them looked any older than 6 and not only did they do their jobs well but they melted hearts all over the house. AAwwwwwww.

#11 choriamb

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:34 PM

[size=4][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I saw the Monday performance as well. The three leads all gave accomplished performances--and Ali's ridiculous headdress apparently aspired to become a pair of sunglasses, so Ethan performed some of those flawless turns blindly. For me, though, Stella, Craig Salstein, and Kristi Boone were what really elevated the evening: it was so lovely to see both lead and secondary lead roles performed on an equally high level.

As everyone else has said, Craig Salstein's mime was notably good: it was not just realistic, but kinetically exciting, too. A spectacular sense of timing, a full-body attack, and Birbanto's dance variation received the same treatment.

It's hard to imagine a better lead pirate woman than Kristi Boone. For commanding, voluptuous grandeur, look elsewhere. But for sparkling, unaffected gamine charm, no one in the company can touch her. The pirate character dances led by Boone and Salstein were among the few I've seen that never felt overlong. (I hope she escaped that shipwreck.)

Stella gave the performance of the evening, though. It's rare to see an American-trained dancer with a truly seamless line--where the mime is completely integrated into the movement, each action completely enchained with the one before it. I haven't seen a line this good married to full-blown technical command on the Met stage since the Kirov was here last summer (Vishneva's performances this spring excepted). She was beside three of the finest artists of their respective generations and, to my mind, gave the most refined performance of all. Such integrity.

(And speaking of lovely lines, does anyone know where Marian Butler is? I've missed seeing her in the corps this season.)

Regarding the Odalisques, a query: do they usually coordinate their dramatic responses (i.e., are all three unremittingly unhappy or have they, pragmatically, decided to smile for the nice gentlemen)? The contrast of Sarah Lane's consistently unhappy face with Adrienne Schulte's equally consistent smile made the former look overwrought and the latter clueless (Isabella Boylston's interpretation was pitched in-between, but I didn't quite follow it). And I hate that this distracted me, because Lane's musicality and Boylston's daring gave their variations some lovely moments.[/font][/size]

#12 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 04:43 AM

The ticket sales for Corsaire have been scary!! There are far too many orchestra seats available for the upcoming shows to feel good. I wonder why this is, especially because there is a DVD version of ABT performing the ballet. It seems like the general ballet-watching public should be familiar with the ballet and willing to go.

#13 aurora

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:00 AM

The ticket sales for Corsaire have been scary!! There are far too many orchestra seats available for the upcoming shows to feel good. I wonder why this is, especially because there is a DVD version of ABT performing the ballet. It seems like the general ballet-watching public should be familiar with the ballet and willing to go.


Yesterday matinee had some empty seats up in family circle, but the rest was quite full.
A LOT of people are out of town this weekend, which would likely explain it.

#14 fondoffouettes

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:17 AM

Also there was a sequence of lifts where Veronika twisted from a backbend into a penchee sort of thing in the lift, repeated three times, and every time Cory looked awkward. I'm not sure what the trouble was there, but Vasiliev who is not nearly as big as Cory made the partnering look effortless. I felt Veronika responded to Ivan and their pas de deux was off-the-charts with energy.


There was a priceless moment in yesterday's performance when Vasiliev, while traversing the stage with Veronika held high in a lift, went up onto one leg with his foot en demi-pointe, held the position for a moment, and then proceeded across the stage before letting Veronika down. I know all of us Part fans always hope she'll have a secure partner, but it was an unexpected thrill to see her with a partner who was not only secure but made such risky, bravura element look effortless.

That said, Ali does far less partnering than Conrad, so it's perhaps a little unfair to compare their partnering abilites (though it's certainly accurate to say that Cory does not project nearly so much stage presence as Veronika and Vasiliev). As griffie states above, Cory made some of the lifts look awkward, but I was pleased to see that he and Veronika did not alter the "standard" ABT choreography for the bedroom pas de deux, as I recall Wiles and Hallberg did a couple years ago. Seeing Veronika release one of her arms from Cory's shoulder as she was held in a crescent moon-shaped position above his head was a sight to behold. She did not attempt to position herself perpendicularly to the stage floor, as Kent does in the DVD, but this was probably a smart decision.

Veronika's fouette sequence was one of a handful of jaw-dropping moments during the performance. I've never seen her do them faster or more crisply, and while not traveling very much. She delivered doubles throughout, timed to the music, with one last double at the end. So many times when ballerinas try to end with a double or triple they have too much or too little momentum, ending in an unattractive position. But Veronika ended them perfectly and with a true sense of panache.

What can I say about Cornejo? He has been a pure joy to watch in every role I have ever seen him in. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in every male role Corsaire as to offer.

Joseph Phillips was fantastic as the villainous pirate. I’ve never seen him dance better, and he more than held his own against the technical fireworks of Cornejo and Vasiliev.

I never thought I’d enjoy all that goofy Pasha nonsense, but Julio Bragado-Young was far and away the funniest I’ve ever seen. I loved the moment when Veronika was unveiled in Act I and he fell backwards to the sound of the harp.

The orchestra was truly in the swashbuckling spirit yesterday, with several of its members wearing eye patches, and some wearing gold hoop earrings and bandanas.

#15 angelica

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:21 AM

I couldn't help but wonder if Cornejo's exceptional performance earlier on was spurred on by Vasiliev's bravura; if he felt inspired by the competition we all benefited!


Herman has been extraordinary since Day 1. He is great, great, great, and needs no one else to inspire his stellar performances.


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