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NYCB's April 2014 Kennedy Center-DC season


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#16 kfw

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:44 AM

 

... I'd prefer to see rare and demanding Balanchine - Ivesiana and Variations Pour une Porte et un Soupir, for example....

 

Remember the old admonition, "Be careful what you wish for!"  

 

Back in the day, Variations Pour une Porte et un Soupir, maybe the most uncompromising of Balanchine's surrealist efforts in my experience, drove the audience out.  Or the rat-a-tat Pierre Henry musique concrete soundtrack, played at volume over the theater PA system, did.  The audience trooped in for it after intermission as usual, but by the end of it, the main floor seats were pretty empty, mainly except for me (and, in the middle of another row not far away, a little girl) the handful of times I sat through it.

 

Shall I describe this rarity a little more?  In my day, it was only performed by its first cast, Karin von Aroldingen and John Clifford.  I don't say "danced," because she was nearly immobilized in the center of the stage by her costume, a very long black cape, the end of which was attached to the proscenium opening, all the way around, like one of the curtains.  Clifford, on the other hand, had all sorts of lively gymnastic moves, many on the floor, directed toward her place but never really engaging her or passing by her.   We decided he was the Sigh, she the Door; she never opened to him, and frankly, the ballet never really opened up to me, either.  But now, writing this so many years later, it occurs to me that maybe that was it!  An impenetrable ballet!  (Aha, Mr. B., you've done it again, although it sure took a while for me this time.)

 

Hah, thanks, Jack.That reminds me of the first time I saw the Cunningham company, in 1993. That company, or at least their music, was of course famous for driving people off, but this was an American Dance Festival audience, and you'd think it would have known what it was in for. Still, many people left. 

 

Now I really want to see Variations Pour une Porte et un Soupir. I've seen Farrell's stagings of The Unanswered Question, just not the whole ballet. 



#17 abatt

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:38 AM

No reports on last night's performance?



#18 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:14 AM

Ok, since you asked!

 

I saw Jewels on opening night. Not surprisingly, I do not agree with Sarah Kaufman's review. Overall it was a good performance -- and very refreshing after seeing several Jewels performed by European companies who simply don't get the ballet IMO.

 

Emeralds - Seeing Mearns dance right after Abi Stafford really emphasizes the incredible quality of movement that Mearns has. She floats the same way her tulle skirt floats. Abi Stafford has always seemed to be one of NYCB's more limited principals to me, but this is a good role for her. The pd3 looked very crisp. However (and this is where I disagree with Kaufman), I find Emeralds to be very dependent on the dancers. You need someone like Mearns, Jenny Ringer or Miranda Weese in order to make an impression. I suppose that it kind of what people who saw Violette Verdy dance it mean when they say the ballet has never been the same since she stopped performing it. The choreography of Rubies and Diamonds is stronger and can hold its own with less memorable dancers.

 

Rubies - Tess Reichlen kills Tall Girl. Honestly, poor Megan Fairchild having to share the stage with her! Reichlen is the one you watch. Gonzalo Garcia danced in place of Andy Veyette (injured?).

 

Diamonds - Kowroski had a lot of technical issues. It was like she hadn't been able to find her center when she was warming up and so she had a lot of little bobbles. She's lucky Tyler Angle is such a secure partner. She also looked out of shape (stamina-wise). Her turns got slower and slower, in the manege of pas de chats, the jumps got lower and lower, etc.That said, it was a very commanding performance from both of them.



#19 YouOverThere

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:29 PM

I attended the April 3 Mixed Repertory. I wouldn't have minded having missed this. I just wasn't impressed by the choreography in any of the works. Especially the last 2 works were, to my perception, disjointed. Peck's work was more like 7 4-minutes ballets than a coherent piece. My Chinese-born accomplice said that she got "The Year of the Ox" (the first movement) but not the others. But at least the music was interesting. Ratmansky's piece was, to me, just plain bizarre. There was some sort of story involving characters whose identities and relationships I could never figure out. "Awful" is not strong enough to describe the costumes. They looked like rejects from a 1950's sci-fi movie. The solos and pas de deux's (what's the plural?) were challenging but the rest of the choreography was pretty bland (or maybe it had meaning to someone who could figure out what this piece was about). A number of people left before it was over. I would have if I had come by myself.

 

The performance reinforced the impression of the NYCB that I got last year: a company with extremely talented dancers that is content just to dance well and has little to say. The good news is that I found out that I will still be in the area when the ABT comes to the Kennedy Center.



#20 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:18 AM

Soirée Musicale (Wheeldon/Barber)
Year of the Rabbit (Peck/Stevens)
Namouna, A Grand Divertissement (Ratmansky/Lalo)

 

I attended the opener of the Mixed Bill (April 2).  The only novelty for me was Year of the Rabbit, which I was very keen on seeing, after having read so much praise by the critics and NY fans. It did not disappoint. I totally loved the steps to Stevens' pleasant New Age music. Peck is a choreographer of fascinating invention, particularly the geometric shapes/compositions of his groupings. I adored how the corps ladies 'slide' horizontally across the floor numerous times, for example! Among the soloists, I was fascinated by Tiler Peck's explosive technique and Teresa Reichlen's sinewy style. All six soloists (3 men, 3 ladies) were superb. Choreographer Peck's art-deco-ish blue/white costumes greatly added to the work's total appeal. Quibble? LikeYouOverThere, I had a hard time 'getting' the supposed link with Chinese astrology!

 

I was predisposed to love the Wheeldon & Ratmansky works, having seen both several times in NY. Soiree has really jelled nicely since I first saw it a year ago. My only quibble is that I far preferred last fall's leading man (Catazaro?) over Chase Finlay as Lauren Lovette's partner in the central pas de deux.

 

Namouna-A Grand Divertissement, to me, was performed a bit tentatively, compared with the extraordinary energy that I recall from having attended both the premiere season (2010?) and several performances last fall (2013). Perhaps having the KennCenter orchestra in the pit, instead of the home orchestra, contributed to the problems?  Perhaps the dancers had issues adjusting to slight differences in tempo? Speaking of the dancers - once again Krohn, Mearns, R. Fairchild, Ulbricht, the two 'girls in copper' were terrific. This was my first look at Maria Kowroski in the 'La Cigarette' solo and I found her a bit too mugging, i.e., she did not have the great timing of those I've seen earlier, Ashley and Jenifer. The big problem, for the KennCen crowd (compared to NY), was the overall length of the evening. Namouna is almost one-hr long. i never noticed the length in NYC...but I did in DC. Folks sitting arround me were squirming in their seats. One guy behind me even took to cracking his knuckles in time to the cymbals, which drove me nuts. I guess that Naumouna is TOO grand a divertissement for DC.



#21 abatt

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:31 AM

The knucle cracking comment made me laugh out loud.  Thanks for the humor. 

 

I agree Catazo was much better than Finlay in Soiree.  Catazaro has been missing in action for a while.   Maybe he's injured?  I hope not. He is a star in the making.

 

In fairness though, Finlay is returning to the stage after a long period of injury, so he may not yet be at his best.



#22 dirac

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 02:07 PM

I travel a fair bit and I try to attend the ballet where ever I can, and Jewels is overstaged right now, IMO. I assume companies like it because it's a full length Balanchine, and it probably sells well.
 

 

And a staging of "Jewels" often seems to serve as a company's warrant that it is now officially In the Big Time, or in some cases, officially Modern (even if it is forty plus years old) :).



#23 sandik

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 04:13 PM

 

I travel a fair bit and I try to attend the ballet where ever I can, and Jewels is overstaged right now, IMO. I assume companies like it because it's a full length Balanchine, and it probably sells well.
 

 

And a staging of "Jewels" often seems to serve as a company's warrant that it is now officially In the Big Time, or in some cases, officially Modern (even if it is forty plus years old) smile.png.

 

 

In the past, a company would present one of the big Petipa works (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty) to "prove it can" -- I agree that Jewels is fast becoming the 21st century version of that ballet.  I'm wondering what this means as far as our expectations of technical skills and general stylistic choices.



#24 Razor

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 05:26 PM

Catazaro appears to be injured & recovering, as per his Instagram.  Hopefully  he will return soon, he has great potential to rise and be cast into bigger parts.  Very interested in following his development.



#25 Eileen

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 02:59 PM

After cinnamonswirl's review of the first night of Jewels at the Kennedy Center, I am eagerly awaiting the alternative casting at the April 6 matinee. In reverse order: Can hardly wait to see Tess Reichlen in Diamonds, though it will be interesting to see her partnered by a corps member, Russell Janzen. I am not impressed by casting Megan Fairchild in Rubies or Savannah Lowery but would be happy to be proven wrong. I am eager to see Andrew Veyette, whom I spotted at an SAB Workshop years ago and knew he would be a leading danseur. His air of authority was evident even then. Emeralds has the same casting in major roles as April 1, and it will be interesting to compare my impressions to cinnamonswirl's. I am waiting, fingers crossed!



#26 kfw

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 09:43 PM

I am not impressed by casting Megan Fairchild in Rubies or Savannah Lowery but would be happy to be proven wrong. I am eager to see Andrew Veyette, whom I spotted at an SAB Workshop years ago and knew he would be a leading danseur.

 

Fairchild was fine, in my opinion, and Veyette was even better, except for his serious expression, which broke only during the chase scene. It's always a treat to see husband and wife dance together. Poor Lowery suffered in Reichlin's shadow, but then who wouldn't? In the evening, Mearns was all I'd dared to hope for in Diamonds, which is high praise indeed. During Emeralds in the matinee, she at first seemed rushed and not always in step with the music, but she settled in quickly and was her usual glorious self. Stafford was fine, but she's the girl next door, not the dreaming woman of the Verdy role. Peck had more perfume and imagination, in the evening, and Krohn was lovely as the second soloist.

 

There was some interesting curtain business today. There were no front-of-the-curtain bows for Emeralds in the matinee - the curtain opened as usual after the ensemble bows, but the applause died down quickly and no one appeared. There were only front-of-the-curtain and no corps bows for Diamonds - the curtain didn’t rise, and when Kowroski and Tyler Angle came out the first time they reached back as if to acknowledge the corps. For the evening performance, there was no red and gold curtain at all, only a black drop, and hence no front-of-the-curtain-bows. 



#27 maps

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:44 AM

I saw the matinee yesterday.  Where was The Mariinsky corps when Jewels needed them?  Laracey was one of the pas de trois in Emeralds-long beautiful lines and epaulment.   She would have been lovely in the main role opposite  Mearns. 

 

Fairchild/Veyette were great.  I would have been very happy if Reichlen was in all 3 as was done at a special  Kondaurova performance.   Applause, bravos, standing ovation were well deserved for Rubies principals. 

 

Do you think NYCB would benefit from holding open auditions?



#28 Razor

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:52 AM

Curious - not to throw off topic, but for those who've watched the current performances, see any potential 'promotables' for this year?

#29 maps

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:53 AM

Razor-Laracey plus a girl in the corps who looks similar to mearns facially but a smaller physique.   Blond. I have no idea who she was.  Wonderful musicality, arms, etc. 



#30 cobweb

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 09:16 AM

Maps - was she a super petite blonde, the shortest person on the stage? If yes, that would be Claire Von Enck.


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