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POB at the Kennedy Center, July 2012


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#1 Natalia

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:44 PM

[Admin note: moved from POB in NYC thread]

[size=5][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Revised Kennedy Center casting below. Dupont now has two performances (subsequent nights!). I'm thinking that they may have cut-out one performance? Both Pujol's and Letestu's shows now gone...but only Dupont is doubling her performances.[/font][/size]

[size=5][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]PRINCIPAL CASTING (subject to change) - as of June 6
Thu., July 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Aurélie Dupont (Giselle), Mathieu Ganio (Albrecht), Marie-Agnès Gillot (Myrtha), Vincent Chaillet (Hilarion), Charline Giezendanner, Fabien Revillon (Pas de deux des paysans)
Fri., July 6 at 1:30 p.m.
Dorothée Gilbert (Giselle), Josua Hoffalt (Albrecht), Eve Grinsztajn (Myrtha), Yann Saïz (Hilarion), Amandine Albisson, Daniel Stokes (Pas de deux des paysans)
Fri., July 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Aurélie Dupont (Giselle), Mathieu Ganio (Albrecht), Marie-Agnès Gillot (Myrtha), Christophe Duquenne (Hilarion), Héloïse Bourdon, Florimond Lorieux (Pas de deux des paysans)
Sat., July 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Clairemarie Osta (Giselle), Nicolas Le Riche (Albrecht), Nolwenn Daniel (Myrtha), Vincent Chaillet (Hilarion), Amandine Albisson, Daniel Stokes (Pas de deux des paysans)
Sat., July 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Isabelle Ciaravola (Giselle), Karl Paquette (Albrecht), Émilie Cozette (Myrtha), Audric Bezard (Hilarion), Charline Giezendanner, Fabien Revillon (Pas de deux des paysans)
Sun., July 8 at 1:30 p.m.
Dorothée Gilbert (Giselle), Stéphane Bullion (Albrecht), Marie-Agnès Gillot (Myrtha), Vincent Chaillet (Hilarion), Héloïse Bourdon, Florimond Lorieux (Pas de deux des paysans)
[/font][/size]

#2 SimonA

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 06:45 AM

[Admin note: moved from the POB in NYC thread.]

I attended last night's performance of Giselle with Dupont/Ganio & Gillot at the Kennedy Center,

In assessing Dupont's performance, I'm wrestling with the thoughts raised by this thread about the October 2009 POB Giselle. I'm finding myself fairly close to silvermash's view that Dupont, while technically exceptional, is dramatically less involving. Dupont is almost too impossibly glamorous to be believable as a peasant girl in Act I. Her Giselle seems to be a more modern, self-confident, and less bashful girl than the archetype.

I agree with Nanarina that Dupont's acting, in the mime passages, is very understated and subtle, but certainly there (I was lucky to have my binoculars, even sitting in the middle of the orchestra). But, for me, the larger issue was that she doesn't quite capture the character of Giselle in the quality of her dancing. Her dancing is so controlled, and so perfectly measured, that she misses something of the carefree, uninhibited, and spontaneous love of dance that lies at the heart of Giselle in Act I. Even her "collapse" consisted of perfectly executed pirouettes, followed by a fall, rather than movement with more dramatic verisimilitude.

Dupont's cool, technical perfection seemed better suited for Act II, which I felt was much more involving. Her dancing was undoubtedly beautiful and ever so musical, but it also felt at times more professional than ethereal. Ultimately, hers was a performance more impressive than moving.

Gillot's Myrtha, as everyone has said, is a marvel. Truly a breathtaking dancer.

Overall, this is a wonderful production. The corps danced with such beauty and uniformity -- never have I seen wills so beautiful and terrifying.

#3 SimonA

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:42 PM

Just some very brief thoughts after today's matinee (Gilbert/Hoffalt):

I guess I shouldn't take technical mastery for granted! Today's performance set in relief the great virtues of Dupont's dancing, which I probably underestimated in my previous post -- particularly her musicality, purity of line, and beauty of phrasing that all rests on an absolutely solid foundation of technical assurance.

I thought Gilbert's Act I Giselle today was wonderful. Her acting was warmer and more animated, and she fits more of the traditional archetype of the character. Her dancing was fresh and lyrical, with a lovely sense of spontaneity. Dramatically, Act I was spellbinding, and the melodrama much more involving, than last night. That said, I did miss some of Dupont's technical perfection. E.g., in Act I, it looked like Gilbert briefly fell off point during the hops and performed her last few hops from less than full point. A minor but palpable distraction.

After a great Act I, I thought Act II was merely good, with Gilbert's dancing not quite as special. Did someone in a previous thread mention upper body tension? I sensed some of that, and along with some technical limitations (I wished for deeper penchees, higher jumps or more consistent height in jumps, etc.), that all contributed to an Act II performance that wasn't quite as riveting. That said, one image (among many great moments) will stay with me -- GIlbert's beautiful sense of weightlessness as she's lifted in the pas de deux. Aurélia Bellet's Myrtha wasn't on the same level as Gillot's, and the corps looked a bit less sharp this afternoon.

#4 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:59 PM

Wasn't that Aurélia Bellet as Myrtha? Whoever she was, she wasn't as commanding or imperious as Gillot, but I found her much more menacing. In her last exit before the wilis do the chugs across the stage, she looked out at the audience in arabesque and her look was absolutely bone chilling.

As for Gilbert, I wonder if she's not fully recovered from her injury in March? Normally she turns like a top, but she barely managed 1 1/2 revolutions in the attitude turns in the variation, when she usually goes for triples, and she fell off pointe during the hops, tried again, gave up and then ultimately just did the ballonnés as straight jumps. She also looked very wobbly in some of the penchées - definitely not what I normally expect from her in terms of technique.

I would like to mention Laura Hecquet as the second solo Wili on Thurs night and Héloïse Bourdon (not Eloïse as in the program) as the first solo Wili this afternoon for particularly beautiful performances (Hecquet's renversés!!). Charline Giezendanner & Fabien Révillion in the peasant pd2 on Thursday were also excellent.

#5 silvermash

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

Yes, this was Aurélia as Myrtha this afternoon...

#6 SimonA

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:48 PM

Wasn't that Aurélia Bellet as Myrtha?


Sorry, corrected above. Was looking at the casting in this thread rather than in the program.

I'd never seen Gilbert dance before. Recovery from injury makes sense and could explain what we saw.

#7 cantdance

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 08:43 PM

I am one of the supers for Giselle at the KC. There was much drama at todays matinee in the wings. After falling off pointe in the hops, as a true professional Dorothee gathered herself and came out for the mad scene. I was also able to watch Benjamin Pech rehearse parts of Bolero with his coach, even though they are not performing that here. All the POB dancers have been very friendly. I am having a great time trying to watch as much as they let me without getting in the way.

#8 Nanarina

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 06:16 AM

I am one of the supers for Giselle at the KC. There was much drama at todays matinee in the wings. Dorothee came running by crying after falling off pointe in the hops. But as a true professional she gathered herself and came out for the mad scene. She must have reinjured herself, because she was fine when I was watching her rehearse yesterday the same scene upstairs. I was also able to watch Benjamin Pech rehearse parts of Bolero with his coach, even though they are not performing that here. All the POB dancers have been very friendly. I am having a great time trying to watch as much as they let me without getting in the way.



I have also found them very pleasant and willing to c hat when I go to Paris.

#9 SimonA

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 01:20 PM

Osta and Le Riche showed some of their age this afternoon, but I thought Osta had some of the loveliest, most ethereal dancing in Act 2 that I've seen during this run. It felt like Le Riche was holding back until the Act 2 grand pas de deux. Those astounding double cabrioles-front seemed to come out of nowhere! It was almost like watching a different dancer, in terms of power, energy, height of jumps, etc. He earned the biggest ovation of the afternoon for his solo. Overall, a satisfying Giselle today.

#10 Natalia

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 01:48 PM

Friday night performance: Dupont/Ganio/Gillot

It was a performance of mixed results for me. In a nutshell, this stodgy production by P. Bart serves up the darkest and most bo-ring Act II on earth. Anyone who loves the soft poetry of the Petipa-Mariinsky version will wonder how this could be the same ballet. (The "after Petipa" listed on the programme is pure bunk.) I almost fell asleep during the Grand Pas des Wilis; I can thank Hilarion's 'death music' with Wilis rushing after him, to awaken me. (The Hilarion Death Scene was also the one well-lit moment in Act II.)

In general, I was taken aback by the huge changes in choreography for the corps of Wilis, compared to the Mariinsky 'Petipa-after-Perot/Coralli version so familiar to most balletomanes. For example, the Wilis did not even do the famous movement on the knees (the "swish") properly...instead seeming to scoop dirt with cupped hands and flipping it behind them. Familiar steps occur at different parts of the music, such as the formation of the Big Circle of Wilis running around Hilarion. The ladies of the corps, wearing identical jet-black pompadour wigs with Taglioni-like floral crowns, may have been in unison...but it was an off-putting chop-chop militaristic style devoid of Mariinsky/Russian poetry in the arms and backs. (Their feet are gorgeous, though.)

Aurelie Dupont was a technically solid Giselle, particularly in her Act I solo with buttery-smooth pirouettes and steady hops on pointe. However, interpretation was weak and there was, to me, zero chemistry with Matthieu Ganio. For his part, Ganio was THE solo star of the night, garnering huge applause and 'bravos' for his Act II solo and final sequence of 'endless entrechats' before the sun rose to save him. Gillot still impresses as Myrtha in spots, particularly the final diagonal of grands jetes at the end of the Pas des Wilis, but I couldn't get past the obvious weakening of her back in arabesques (with torso tilted forward...and not just for 19th-C effect). Kudos to Gillot for ending stronger than she began.

Besides Ganio, I loved the ultra-energetic and high-flying Peasant PDD couple, Heloise Bourdon and, especially, Axel Ibot, who reminds me so much of Emmanuel Thibault 15 years ago. I hope that Axel doesn't have to wait as long as Emmanuel to achieve 1re Danseur status...or what both men deserve: Etoile (Emmanuel for sure; Axel potentially).

In his review of the Chicago presentations of this produciton, Jack Reed was spot-on about the crappy dim lighting of Act II. I kept squinting to make-out faces. Does the POB not want audiences to see this? Where was the gorgeous blue light of Mariinsky, Bolshoi and most other versions?

'Nuff said. Probably the least-favorite Giselle I've ever seen, tempered by a few truly magical solo dancers. The first thing that I did when I got home was to play my DVD of the Mariinsky version, to recapture my love for this ballet.

#11 Nanarina

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:28 AM

I am one of the supers for Giselle at the KC. There was much drama at todays matinee in the wings. After falling off pointe in the hops, as a true professional Dorothee gathered herself and came out for the mad scene. I was also able to watch Benjamin Pech rehearse parts of Bolero with his coach, even though they are not performing that here. All the POB dancers have been very friendly. I am having a great time trying to watch as much as they let me without getting in the way.


Poor Dorothee, she has had quite a lot of problems recently with injury, it is sad, perhaps due to the pressures of such a big tour, she has come back too soon. Her husband Alessio Carbone is very caring and tries to help her get over it.

#12 Nanarina

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:47 AM

Friday night performance: Dupont/Ganio/Gillot

It was a performance of mixed results for me. In a nutshell, this stodgy production by P. Bart serves up the darkest and most bo-ring Act II on earth. Anyone who loves the soft poetry of the Petipa-Mariinsky version will wonder how this could be the same ballet. (The "after Petipa" listed on the programme is pure bunk.) I almost fell asleep during the Grand Pas des Wilis; I can thank Hilarion's 'death music' with Wilis rushing after him, to awaken me. (The Hilarion Death Scene was also the one well-lit moment in Act II.)

In general, I was taken aback by the huge changes in choreography for the corps of Wilis, compared to the Mariinsky 'Petipa-after-Perot/Coralli version so familiar to most balletomanes. For example, the Wilis did not even do the famous movement on the knees (the "swish") properly...instead seeming to scoop dirt with cupped hands and flipping it behind them. Familiar steps occur at different parts of the music, such as the formation of the Big Circle of Wilis running around Hilarion. The ladies of the corps, wearing identical jet-black pompadour wigs with Taglioni-like floral crowns, may have been in unison...but it was an off-putting chop-chop militaristic style devoid of Mariinsky/Russian poetry in the arms and backs. (Their feet are gorgeous, though.)

Aurelie Dupont was a technically solid Giselle, particularly in her Act I solo with buttery-smooth pirouettes and steady hops on pointe. However, interpretation was weak and there was, to me, zero chemistry with Matthieu Ganio. For his part, Ganio was THE solo star of the night, garnering huge applause and 'bravos' for his Act II solo and final sequence of 'endless entrechats' before the sun rose to save him. Gillot still impresses as Myrtha in spots, particularly the final diagonal of grands jetes at the end of the Pas des Wilis, but I couldn't get past the obvious weakening of her back in arabesques (with torso tilted forward...and not just for 19th-C effect). Kudos to Gillot for ending stronger than she began.

Besides Ganio, I loved the ultra-energetic and high-flying Peasant PDD couple, Heloise Bourdon and, especially, Axel Ibot, who reminds me so much of Emmanuel Thibault 15 years ago. I hope that Axel doesn't have to wait as long as Emmanuel to achieve 1re Danseur status...or what both men deserve: Etoile (Emmanuel for sure; Axel potentially).

In his review of the Chicago presentations of this produciton, Jack Reed was spot-on about the crappy dim lighting of Act II. I kept squinting to make-out faces. Does the POB not want audiences to see this? Where was the gorgeous blue light of Mariinsky, Bolshoi and most other versions?

'Nuff said. Probably the least-favorite Giselle I've ever seen, tempered by a few truly magical solo dancers. The first thing that I did when I got home was to play my DVD of the Mariinsky version, to recapture my love for this ballet.






I am sorry to say that sometimes the lighting even in Paris is very dismal, so I am not very keen on their lighting design crew. I think I would also prefer the original versions you mention, Patrice Bart's choreography is somewhat disapointing. To appreciate this I watch my DVD of the Royal Ballet with Alina Cojocaru, it is equisite. If you want to see a special Myrtha, try and find a old clip of Monica Mason from the past.

#13 Natalia

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 04:14 AM

.....I would also prefer the original versions you mention, Patrice Bart's choreography is somewhat disapointing. To appreciate this I watch my DVD of the Royal Ballet with Alina Cojocaru, it is equisite. If you want to see a special Myrtha, try and find a old clip of Monica Mason from the past.


Indeed, Nanarina. Mason is one of the best Myrthas among the 200 or so Myrthas I've seen, live or on film. I also love Terekhova (Kirov), Pla (Cuba) and Van Hamel (ABT).

My problem with the current RB version is the drab and dark Act I of designer Peter Farmer, a problem that I have with many Farmer designs of Petipa ballets (and Peter Wright editions of choreography). But the Royal's Act II is infinitely better than the current POB, I agree. [Cojocaru, in the current RB DVD, is close to being the most perfect Giselle I've seen live and on film, taking both acts into account....Vishneva being a close 2nd...Kirkland and Obraztsova right up there, too. The Cojocaru/Kobborg guest performance during one of the earliest Mariinsky Int'l Ballet Festivals ranks as one of my Top Ten greatest evenings at the ballet! Imagine the Best Giselle dancing in the Best Production for one night only and I was there...ahhhhhh!!!]

Back to the 'ugliness' of Act II in this production by P. Bart and the late E. Polyakov. The most disappointing aspect of this version, to anyone who knows any of the traditional 21st-C versions (based on the Petipa-Mariinsky's), is the Wilis corps group. I failed to mention in my report (above) the single most offensive -- and unintentionally funny -- segment: the boureeing departure of the Wilis at the very end, as the sun rises (although one can hardly tell the time of night with this dismal lighting). Here, the 24 Wilis split into two platoons of 12, each platoon forming a tight square...two big white boxes, if you will. The two boxes then face each other and retreat rather quickly into opposite wings, performing pas de bouree. The effect, against the black background and floor, is of two white Humbee vehicles backing up; the only thing missing was the "beep - beep - beep" ....WIDE LOAD BACKING UP!

#14 Nanarina

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:32 AM


.....I would also prefer the original versions you mention, Patrice Bart's choreography is somewhat disapointing. To appreciate this I watch my DVD of the Royal Ballet with Alina Cojocaru, it is equisite. If you want to see a special Myrtha, try and find a old clip of Monica Mason from the past.


Indeed, Nanarina. Mason is one of the best Myrthas among the 200 or so Myrthas I've seen, live or on film. I also love Terekhova (Kirov), Pla (Cuba) and Van Hamel (ABT).

My problem with the current RB version is the drab and dark Act I of designer Peter Farmer, a problem that I have with many Farmer designs of Petipa ballets (and Peter Wright editions of choreography). But the Royal's Act II is infinitely better than the current POB, I agree. [Cojocaru, in the current RB DVD, is close to being the most perfect Giselle I've seen live and on film, taking both acts into account....Vishneva being a close 2nd...Kirkland and Obraztsova right up there, too. The Cojocaru/Kobborg guest performance during one of the earliest Mariinsky Int'l Ballet Festivals ranks as one of my Top Ten greatest evenings at the ballet! Imagine the Best Giselle dancing in the Best Production for one night only and I was there...ahhhhhh!!!]

Back to the 'ugliness' of Act II in this production by P. Bart and the late E. Polyakov. The most disappointing aspect of this version, to anyone who knows any of the traditional 21st-C versions (based on the Petipa-Mariinsky's), is the Wilis corps group. I failed to mention in my report (above) the single most offensive -- and unintentionally funny -- segment: the boureeing departure of the Wilis at the very end, as the sun rises (although one can hardly tell the time of night with this dismal lighting). Here, the 24 Wilis split into two platoons of 12, each platoon forming a tight square...two big white boxes, if you will. The two boxes then face each other and retreat rather quickly into opposite wings, performing pas de bouree. The effect, against the black background and floor, is of two white Humbee vehicles backing up; the only thing missing was the "beep - beep - beep" ....WIDE LOAD BACKING UP!



Oh! lovely you have really made me laugh. I do have a wicked sense of humour which some times I have to curb at the ballet. As other members of the audience may not appreciate it. How wonderful to see that Marinnsky performance . When I was working at the ROH I helped out with the Bolshoi and then Kirov. My younger crushes were on Ayltinui Asl. Vasiev Ekaterina but I was so tongue tied in those and shy (yes ME) i could hardly speak to them, mind you it did not help that they spoke Russian. We used to give them sweets, and I can remember with horror some old bat in a uniform cutting some of the girls hair off for wig making.
I was quite happy with the Royal Ballet dancers and got to know them very well. Still have a dear friend from the company.

I agree with you about the dark scenery and terrible lighting at the POB, I do not think much of the lighting design team there, sometimes it is very hard to see. I also find the Garnier a nightmare as it is so dark inside, in the foyer and main building there are just tiny spot lights on the edge of the corridors, and the stairs at the side of the lift are pitch black, it is a wonder people have not fallen down. I always take a small torch with me now, too bad if they do not like it. Being particially sighted I have to be able to see okay.

#15 puppytreats

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 09:04 AM

You offer great relief to me, as I decided not to see the POB "Giselle" and worried if I had made the right decision. I did not want to ruin my image of a recent, perfect performance, or endure the pain and emotion of another "Giselle" at this time. I am looking forward to the two other programs in NY. I have been preparing by watching "La Danse" on pbs last week, and will rewatch "Etoiles" this week.


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