MCB Program IPatineurs, Apollo and the rest..
Posted 19 October 2012 - 09:46 AM
LES PATINEURS (Ashton, Meyerbeer).
PIAZZOLLA CALDERA (Taylor, Piazzolla)
APOLLO (Balanchine, Stravinsky)
Why didn't they dance this Caldera thing at the end...?
Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:28 AM
You mean, so you can cut out and leave early, Cristian? Tsk, tsk.
More seriously, I'm afraid marketing is taking over from... artistic vision, or whatever you want to call it. There's some discussion along these lines in the "flash-mob" thread. It does look like an inversion of the formula, sometimes stated by Balanchine but unlikely to have originated with him, IMO, that you make a more successful mixed-bill program with an attractive opener, put the "difficult" item, if there is one, in the middle, so after that, people think, Well, let's see if the last one is as nice as the first one was, and they stay for the whole show.
I'll grant there's some show-biz wisdom in the formula, but I feel a mixed bill can also have its parts complement each other in a way that combines to an overall fine experience for the sensitive audience. For example, doesn't a ballet sometimes have an effect which is different, depending on what just preceded it? (Robert Gottlieb was a master of this for Balanchine in the 70's and early 80's.) Don't we usually admire the arrangement of numbers within a ballet? So, not also the arrangement of ballets within a program? I'm not sure this program does that, that it doesn't provide such an admirable arrangement, esthetically.
Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:11 PM
Yes, Sir...I could have beaten the traffick earlier. But Caldera stays, so Caldera will be so I can watch Apollo.
Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:28 PM
Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:43 PM
I don't have my programme with me, but I will try to relay on my less than perfect memory.
I'm very happy Villella decided to include this cute work in the program. I'm not familiar with the history of Ashton ballets in MCB, but I don't think his works are that known over here. I have seen this in Cuba, but I'm not too familiar with it either. It was one of those works Alonso usually revives along with some others,like de Mille's Three Virgins and a Devil, Tudor's Lilac Garden , Balanchine's T&V, Sylvia, Waltz Academy, Apollo and TPDD, Robbins' In the Night, Lichine's Graduation Ball and Dollar's Le Combat, which is from time to time and in between the big loads of Giselles, Beauties, Coppelias, Filles, Chopinianas, Quijotes and Pas de Quatres. That said, I did recall it while watching it yesterday, but many segments I found them to be as if it was a new work for me. About the work, well..of course, everyone is a skater in ''Les Patineurs,'' but not everyone is alike. Renato Panteado was the showoff bravura boy in blue.
Technically, this is without a doubt the most difficult role in the ballet, and Mr. Panteado carried off the butterfly leaps at the end with skill, and the famous turns a la seconde were smooth and quick. I think Mr. panteado is by now one of of MCB's finest dancers. He makes his impact through the quality of his movement, which is classically placed, but also sculptural in volume and dynamic. As one of the two girls in blue who join the showoff, young promising dancer Nathalia Arja-(whom I will always remember as a very capable Sugar Plum in her debut a while ago)-also sparkled with spirit. She was the one who performed the sequence of fouettes and she did it in a very secure, beautiful way. Kuddos for this young dancer. I want to see her more. The romantic pas de deux, which contrasts so sharply with the merrymaking, had a capable but sort of bland Carlos Guerra, partnering a lovely all white Mary Carmen Catoya. The sequence was very enjoyable, the dancers were lyrical, but I think they could had used more rehearsal. Maybe he's too used to dance only with his now pregnant wife Kronenberg..? In any case, what I find interesting about Les Patineurs is that it reminds me of those mid century, pre Castro Christmas postcards that were in my house from past, happier times, and which my grandmother kept. Many of them had those type of characters, happy boys and girls in snowy settings with XIX Century like costumes, and they used to have glitter all over.
As I grew up in a Christmas banned time and place, this reminders of the past were precious to me. Last night Les Patineurs had the ability to take me to those postcards and childhood times, and I became thus a little sentimental. Oh, silly me...! Then, from photos I've found online, it looks as if William Chappell's original sets and costumes were faithfully recreated to magical effect in the Miamian staging.
Another "familiar" work. And I said familiar with some partiality because this is the first time I see Balanchine's last version of the work. I was surprised at to how different the ballet looks in this staging. It was Apollo, but...the rocky props were gone, the muses headdresses were gone, as well as Apollo's golden sandals and Greek male tunic. Now I saw...three female dancers in white modern chiffon outfits and a male dancer in regular white tights dancing a sort of skeleton of what I know. Even the prop that Apollo uses to rest while looking at the muses has changed from a truncated classic column to..something, I'm not sure what was that-(a chair..?) . That without even going to the whole introduction of the ballet, along with all the rest of the characters, and the beautiful original finale. I don't know...defenders can argue forever when favoring this version, but I felt a sense of loss.
The rest is there, of course...the choreography keeps being as hypnotic as always, and the score is sublime-(may I say this is one of the few exceptions I make on my general dislike of Stravisnky..? Please, don't kill me...I DO like Apollo's score a lot).
My big bow in this review goes to Renan Cerdeiro, our last night's Apollo.
Lovely, for which even not being the classic image many of us have of the blond god a la Baryshnikov or Martins-(Cerdeiro is racially mixed)-he easily conveyed beautifully the royalty and demeanor of the young deity better than many other's I've seen in the past. His youthfulness and elegance makes him right for the role, even more if one considers that Balanchine’s god is not the conventional Apollonian raw type-(particularly after the cuts, which suppresses the rougher sides of the baby god). Hence, what we see here when the curtains go up is the well posed, elegant Apollo, already in control of his surroundings. He is a young dancer, but his Apollo showed great dignity and artistic maturity. He was at his most exciting in an early quartet with his three muses, when his new energies sent him sailing through the air in leaps around them. His muses were the Delgado sisters-(Polyhymnia and Terpsichore) and veteran Tricia Albertson as Calliope. They complemented very nicely the whole picture...there were no technical faults, although there's not too much that can go wrong technically here. The care on this work needs to be put in different points, but as Balanchine himself decided to make such a huge twist in the whole conception, then whatever I can perceive as a "mistake" cold be just an "artistic vision", so I won't go as far as to question this. I'm not qualified to do so. If anything...what I perceived was a sense of the work, steps and atmosphere being more expansive...there was more legato as what I remember from Alonso's version...the movements were slower...more contemplative. But this, again, could be my imagination. My mother, for whom this was a first, told me that the the dancers and their poses reminded her of Art Deco figurines.
As a general idea, I must say...there are two different Apollos, and now I've seen both. Lucky me, right..?.
Finally, it looks as if someone decided to help me beat the traffic in advance. La Caldera was placed third.
Tonight I thought about repeating, but Yo Yo Ma was across the plaza with Schumann Concerto in A Minor and I coudln't resist the temptation...
Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:51 AM
Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:09 PM
Cristian, did Lopez talk to the audience before the performance? If so, what did you think?
Posted 21 October 2012 - 06:07 PM
Yes, bart. An elegant all fierce deep red, high heeled Lopez made her entrance and delivered a very nice speech, in which she referred to her journey here as a trip "coming back home". Lopez is a classical example of the Cuban community here...an emigre herself who lived in Miami during her early years in the States before making it to NYC and Balanchine. She said that she could barely recognize Miami with the huge Arsht Center-(the second largest opera house in the country after the MET) and the New World Center and Tylson Thomas and all the cultural affairs happening. She said that she wanted to contribute, to give back to the city, and that she feels in debt to do so. Before her there were words also by the new Board president-(or so I think that's his title)-in which he first acknowledged Villella as the one person who made everything possible-(applause). To be honest, I was always under the impression that Villella was going to be present at least for a final formal good bye, but obviously he either left the city already or decided to cut off for good with his past 25 years. I found the whole thing pretty strange, and sad...just to think that the originator of ballet in Miami wasn't given a proper ceremony of appreciation for whatever reasons was very...Miamian.
Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:30 PM
That without even going to the whole introduction of the ballet, along with all the rest of the characters, and the beautiful original finale. I don't know...defenders can argue forever when favoring this version, but I felt a sense of loss.
La Caldera was placed third.
You mean... The "birth" scene, and the final ascent... Not given? That is a loss, another weakness in the program. (I think there are stronger Ashton ballets than Les Patineurs, although I don't know how they would suit MCB. But putting Piazzolla Caldera last strengthens the shape of it, I suppose.)
Posted 26 October 2012 - 11:40 PM
Some more thoughts on Les Patineurs.
Who said that Les Patineurs was an easy ballet...? Yeah, right...just ask The Boy in Blue-(a wonderful Renato Panteado again). Not only is LP a cute wintry fantasy, but it is also a very demanding piece, technically speaking. Lots of tour jetes, lots of pirouettes a la seconde-(for the boy in blue specially). I mean, he even finishes the whole affair while executing a super fast series of them while the curtain is coming down...a segment that could had made envious the best of Alis or Basilios. Were the choreographers of the past more into the showing of tricks-(specially turns)-than those of today..? I think of Graduation Ball, and now LP, and there's always a moment where someone shows ample series of fouettes or pirouettes. Nathalia Arja was again in control of her beautiful fuettes sequence tonight. I was also thinking on my way back how important could had been Ashton's input and vision on the sports technique back when he translated his ideas into ballet choreography, and how changed could had been the ballet would he had access to the development ice skating has had in 70 years. If anything, I think the sports has changed way more than the art form. And finally, yes...the lovely sets and costumes. This is me...I confess my weakness for elaborated fantasies onstage...I'm not a child of the black and white/leotard period. Good for Ashton, and good for Villella for including this little gem in this season, and so exposing the dancers to a different, and lovely, ballet time's language.
Some more thoughts on Apollo
There was a lady seating next to me that told me that the last time she had seen the ballet Peter Martins had danced the lead, so I was very interested of what she had to say after it was done. When asked she said that she remembered the ballet in a more constricted way...she even used the word "robotic", compared to what she had seen tonight. Maybe there was something on her assessment. I will repeat myself on the idea that I found way more legaaaaato and slooooowing of the movements and sequences than what I remember from Alonso's version, which was not "robotic' per se, but certainly somewhat faster in rhythm and concept. I don't know...my neighbor said that she loved the "intimate, more human" accents of what she saw tonight here, and I kept thinking on the whole length of the choreography, obviously now shorter than what I originally knew. If anything, I know that now I had more time concentrating in the muses' variations, and Apollo's new first appearance looks also more...emotional, I'd say. Contrary to what is usually the case I guess with Balanchine, Apollo spoke to me in a more soulful way than Alonso's Apollon Musagete. Maybe the wonderful dancing of Cerdeiro, the Delgado sisters and Albertson made a real difference, but the ballet has gained, in my eyes, a new hypnotic quality. Let's see if I can get to the idea...This Apollo is like a kaleidoscope....the movements around the stage of this four dancers is like when one starts controlling and making the formations of the artifact different by turning it slower, the tiny crystals inside still changing just as if we do it fast, but now with the holder having more time and paying more attention at the endless reflections inside and hence getting more entranced...
Then I left.
Posted 28 October 2012 - 02:46 PM
Posted 28 October 2012 - 07:42 PM
So that piece of review will be on you and bart then..!
Posted 29 October 2012 - 03:44 PM
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