abatt

Onegin - 2013 Met Season

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No comments on Onegin? Is everyone holding out for the Vishneva-Gomes performance, which I expect will set the Met ablaze with passion?

I attended last night's performance. It took David Hallberg some time to find his groove, but fortunately he managed to find it by the middle of the ballet. Initially he seemed very bland. Also, in the scene where he enters Tatiana's bedroom (dream) through the mirror while she's writing her letter, his partnering of Seo seemed so careful that it destroyed the explosiveness and flow of that scene. Luckily, he perked up after the intermission. By the end he was on fire as he pleaded with Seo for foregiveness. It was a whirlwind of emotion. Seo was excellent throughout, and I thought she was much more belieivable this season (compared to last) in her transition from young silly girl to mature woman. Her extensions and the flexibility of her spine created a spectacular visual effect.

I really have not paid much attention to Gorak in the past, but I thought he did an excellent job as Lensky in his solos and his partnering of Yuriko.

By the way, attendance was sparse. It was like a ghost town up in the balcony and family circle area.

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Thank you for posting, Abatt! I, too, was awaiting word on Onegin. I'm not surprised that it took Hallberg some time to find his groove. He's been out for 10 months recuperating from a foot injury, so I wouldn't be surprised at some anxiety appearing back onstage again. Perhaps his care in partnering Seo has something to do with a shoulder injury some time ago. The last thing he (and we) need is for him to be injured again. Ballet is such an unforgiving art, with no room for a do-over. One false move and you're sidelined.

I saw Gorak as Lensky (was it last year or two years ago that ABT previously did Onegin?) and thought he was wonderful. I'm glad to see that you, and hopefully others, are noticing him too.

I can't wait for my Vishneva/Gomes performance on Monday night!

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Yes, Hallberg started cooly, but heated up as the evening went on. By Act III both were on fire! That actually worked for me; he as somewhat the distant and unattainable one. She can use some work on her un-supported piroettes, but all in all a gorgeous performance. And Jos. Gorak was outstanding. Surely there is a Romeo in his future? A nice shout out also to Roddy Doble as Gremin. He, too, just gets better and better and more versatile. A seemingly stronger and tighter production than last year's. The many nuances of Cranko's choreography, especially for the corps, seemed to come into sharper focus. Seeing Vishneva/Gomes on Friday and I'm sure it will also be special. Orchestra last night was sort of filled, but many were there on freebies. I was, as were several around me.

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I did a double day of "Onegin" on Wednesday. I will be out of town on Friday/Saturday so Vishneva/Gomes will wait until Monday and I will miss Dvorovenko's farewell. The matinee had the stronger pair of women, the evening performance had the better men. Definitely Irina was the star of the matinee performance. Her technique is still excellent - as Tatiana's Act II solo pas with its many pirouettes and changes in direction showed. As an actress she showed a firm command of the character and its many changes throughout with many striking details of characterization. If in her final scene with Onegin the passion seemed a little manufactured, that had to do with her Onegin, Corey Stearns. Corey is always improving and this was a very well-danced performance. His partnering in the Letter/Dream pas de deux in Act I in particular was very accomplished and secure. And this is after I nearly bit my nails off wondering if he was going to drop Irina in their "Dame aux Camellias" performances two seasons ago. But he is callow onstage and pairing him with a mature, accomplished ballerina like Dvorovenko (or Part) just shows his lack of maturity. He couldn't match her intensity and he lacked sexual allure seeming bland. He had been very well coached but the dramatic fire wasn't there. Gemma Bond stepped out of the corps to dance Olga and was lovely. Beautiful footwork. Compared with the boistrous Osipova last season, she is a gently cheerful English rose, not quite the giddy hoyden that the Russian star gave us. But it was a very well danced and lovely portrayal - more please. In fact how about some Lilac Fairies later this season? Or a Princess Florine or Dryad Queen in "Don Q" (not Amour - Gemma is too tall). Bond is definitely as strong if not stronger than several soloist women. Blaine Hoven has lost weight losing that thickness around the middle and upper thighs that plagued him recently and he is in good technical form. He listed a bit to one side during a pirouette turn in his first solo but from then on danced well. Vitali Krauchenka was a wonderful courtly, formal and convincingly old world aristocrat Prince Gremin. Anyway, Irina will have a triumph at her farewell on Saturday if she can match what she did on Wednesday afternoon.

I actually rather like Hallberg's Onegin right from the beginning. It sort of gave him an opportunity to show us the dark side of his blond princes - the hauteur, comtempt for inferiors, self-regard and boredom that might lurk behind Albrecht's or Siegfried's princely facade. His dancing looked fine and I was watching his facial expressions through binoculars and he was always reacting in an interesting way. Hee Seo has a lovely natural unaffected smile and manner onstage and her Tatiana seemed very fresh and guileless but also a touch bland compared with Dvorovenko and Vishneva. Seo doesn't yet project the same level of dramatic detail or inner life as they can suggest. However, Seo can more easily evoke the physicality of a young teenage girl than more experienced ballerinas. She also is very light which made her seem like a feather during all the lifts in the pas de deuxs with Onegin in Act I and III. Joseph Gorak has wonderful feet and a beautiful jump, clean beats and gorgeous line - he was a sweet boyish Lensky. Again, how about some Bluebirds if he hasn't danced the role before at ABT? Benvolio in R&J too. Yuriko Kajiya is always very adept and rather colorless - same goes for her Olga. She did bring out the shapes of the choreography very accurately but lacked any real warmth. Roddy Doble was a very physically imposing, commanding but tender Prince Gremin. I think ABT goes a little overboard with the gray hair they put on Onegin in Act III - it is supposed to be 7 or 10 years later not 20 or 30.

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I went to the Kent - Bolle Onegin last night. The auditorium was once again mostly empty. Bolle's performance was much more vivid in terms of characterization and detail than Hallberg's. Gestures that were mere throwaways during Hallberg's performance became telling details when Bolle performed them. Kent is a wonderful actress, but her diminshed flexibility and technique were noticeable (especially if you have seen other casts perform the same role). Loved Sarah Lane. She was perfection. Give Sarah a Juliet, please!

Counting down the hours until the Gomes Vishneva show.

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Loved Sarah Lane. She was perfection. Give Sarah a Juliet, please!

Agree! I've felt for years that Lane would make a most lovely Juliet! How about Gorak as her Romeo?

Please post a review for the Gomes/Vishneva Onegin afterwards. :)

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I went to the Kent - Bolle Onegin last night. The auditorium was once again mostly empty.

Why doesn't ABT sell tickets through the TDF/half price booth? NYCB regularly does. Indeed, they have Saturday matinee 5/18 listed right now. With so many tourists in town, why not at least fill the hall and avoid embarrassment?

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One thing that the Philharmonic does is that it allows subscribers, once per season, to upgrade, at no charge, to better seats when available on the day of the performance. (They send you a pass, and you surrender the pass at the time of the upgrade.) Given the large numbers of empty seats at ABT, it would be nice if ABT showed its appreciation for its loyal subscribers in this manner too. I spend Lots more $$$$ at ABT than at the Philharmonic.

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I may be wrong about this, but I don't think it's ABT's decision not to have reduced price tickets. I think the decision belongs to whoever is running the Metropolitan Opera House. ABT only rents the MET. NYCB's situation at the David Koch Theatre is different. But if it is up to the Met, the question is why don't they allow half price or reduced price tickets. Isn't it better to get some ticket money rather than nothing?

I will be attending tomorrow's Onegin - the matinee with Hallberg and Polina S. (I have absolutely no idea how to spell her name.) I've only seen Onegin three times - once in the late 1980s the National Ballet of Canada brought the ballet to the Met during the summer (or the NY State Theater. I'm not sure which.) It was okay, but I don't even remember who danced the main roles so it wasn't too memorable. In 2001 I saw Dvorovenko and Graffin dance Onegin and in 2002 I saw Jaffe and Carlos Molinas. The two ABT performances I remember very well. I absolutely loved those two Onegins, especially the dream pas de deux at the end of Act I and the final pas de deux at the end of Act III. If I get a chance, I'lll post my thoughts about the May 18th matinee performance.

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Well, Diana and Marcelo just about killed it (and killed me!) in tonight's performance! The couple from California who were sitting next to me thought it was unbelievable.

James Whiteside was a dignified Prince Gremin; Isabella was a cute and perky Olga, and she seemed to have real chemistry with Jared Matthews as Lensky.

I'm seeing both shows tomorrow, so I'll elaborate more later!

But for now, a hearty bravo to Marcelo and Diana!!

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I may be wrong about this, but I don't think it's ABT's decision not to have reduced price tickets. I think the decision belongs to whoever is running the Metropolitan Opera House. ABT only rents the MET. NYCB's situation at the David Koch Theatre is different. But if it is up to the Met, the question is why don't they allow half price or reduced price tickets. Isn't it better to get some ticket money rather than nothing?

I will be attending tomorrow's Onegin - the matinee with Hallberg and Polina S. (I have absolutely no idea how to spell her name.) I've only seen Onegin three times - once in the late 1980s the National Ballet of Canada brought the ballet to the Met during the summer (or the NY State Theater. I'm not sure which.) It was okay, but I don't even remember who danced the main roles so it wasn't too memorable. In 2001 I saw Dvorovenko and Graffin dance Onegin and in 2002 I saw Jaffe and Carlos Molinas. The two ABT performances I remember very well. I absolutely loved those two Onegins, especially the dream pas de deux at the end of Act I and the final pas de deux at the end of Act III. If I get a chance, I'lll post my thoughts about the May 18th matinee performance.

I was told once by the man who helped me at The Atrium 1/2 price kiosk that it was indeed the decision of ABT not to use the kiosk or to discount tickets, unlike NYCB. The Met had nothing to do with it.

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I was tonight there too, and once again, I was stunned by Marcelo and Diana.

No words can express the beauty of their dancing and the chemistry of this partnership.

I could only add that I noticed a more mature Diana, "less wild" maybe, she really delivered a performance for the ages.

Marcelo was his usual great, and his partnering was unmatched, the last pas de deux is still in my mind. Thanks !!!

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mimsyb thank you for clairifying the fact that it is ABT's decision not to sell discounted tickets. Again, the question is why? It doesn't make a lot of sense.

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mimsyb thank you for clairifying the fact that it is ABT's decision not to sell discounted tickets. Again, the question is why? It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Does ABT do a 1/2 price student/senior/military rush an hour before performance? Does NYCB? That's another great way to fill seats, get a little more $$, and open up the artform to people on very tight budgets, especially the young audiences that should be cultivated for the future of the artform.

Nobody has mentioned whether the house sold well for Vishneva-Gomes. That's the dream casting for balletomanes, but I wonder how many casual ballet goers or tourists knew that.

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Vishneva/Gomes were breathtaking. This is the best partnership since Ferri Bocca. Based on past experience, the Vishneva Gomes Monday night performance is likely to be even more thrilling.

The balcony was about 80 percent full.

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I agree, Vishneva and Gomes were wonderful, Vishneva especially. What a contrast with Kent's Tatiana ( the only 2 I saw). It was as if they were dancing completely different versions of the choreography. Many of the lifts that looked awkward with the Kent/Bolle pairing were seamless and utter expressions of desperation and passion with V/G.

On the other hand, Bolle was a very dashing and movie star handsome Onegin. His dancing was beautiful, and his acting was great. In this role I thought he was even better than Gomes, though of course the V/G chemistry and partnering is beyond compare.

I'm afraid I can't really warm to this ballet - not even with such stellar performances. I found the group choreography extremely boring and the story just didn't move me at all (unlike the opera). So I concentrated on watching the marvelous performances.

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mimsyb thank you for clairifying the fact that it is ABT's decision not to sell discounted tickets. Again, the question is why? It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Does ABT do a 1/2 price student/senior/military rush an hour before performance? Does NYCB? That's another great way to fill seats, get a little more $$, and open up the artform to people on very tight budgets, especially the young audiences that should be cultivated for the future of the artform.

Nobody has mentioned whether the house sold well for Vishneva-Gomes. That's the dream casting for balletomanes, but I wonder how many casual ballet goers or tourists knew that.

I can't speak to seniors or military, but ABT does do a student rush, and from what I remember, it's all day on performance day. I was at a conference in NYC last summer, and had no problem getting a student rush ticket to one of last year's Vishneva-Gomes "Onegin" performances at lunchtime. (I technically still had grad student status at the time). NYCB also does student rush, but their student rush process is actually more complicated-I think you have to register for it ahead of time.

I am a little surprised that ABT doesn't do more to sell some of its more lightly-sold performances. The Met is nearly impossible to sell out, and with the advent of internet marketing, I don't think it would be hard to do something with some of the weekday performances. I've seen performances at the TKTS booth from time to time, but it's really been a once in a blue moon offering. (Funds from the ticket booth goes to Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS, a worthy cause, but not the shows themselves).

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I am a little surprised that ABT doesn't do more to sell some of its more lightly-sold performances. The Met is nearly impossible to sell out, and with the advent of internet marketing, I don't think it would be hard to do something with some of the weekday performances. I've seen performances at the TKTS booth from time to time, but it's really been a once in a blue moon offering. (Funds from the ticket booth goes to Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS, a worthy cause, but not the shows themselves.

I don't know about the TKTS booth, but the TDF site (which often sells discounted NYCB tickets) seems to say that the revenue is funneled back to the theaters:

Created in 1968 to help an ailing New York theatre industry, TDF now provides support to more than 900 plays and musicals and returning upwards of $2 billion in revenue to thousands of Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway music and dance productions.

http://www.tdf.org/TDF_ServicePage.aspx?id=85& do=v

And it does seem that ABT could use the $$. I just assume they fear that if people know they can get cheap tickets that way, they'll never buy at list price from the Met. But it's a trade-off, I would think, of getting people into the theater who would not otherwise attend.

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This is just to alert Ballet Alert members that some awesomely good seats have just been released by ABT for the Vishneva/Gomes Onegin on Monday night, including some in Center Orchestra and two in Row A Grand Tier. They're not discounted but they're available, and I would suggest that you snatch them up online (or at the box office if you're near there) asap if you'd like to see that performance.

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Thanks for posting this. I couldn't be there, but it looked as if Irina had a wonderful send off. Her daughter looks to be a charmer. Thanks to Irina for many wonderful years at ABT. Well done!

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Thanks for the videos. Noticed that Veronika Part and Diana Vishneva were onstage, usually two dancers who don't show up for farewells. Nice to see. The moment between Irina Kolpakova and Irina D. was sweet.

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Thank you for posting the videos of Irina's ABT farewell. I really wish that I could have gotten to NY to see her in Onegin.

This may be more appropriate in another conversation, but here is a lengthy and interesting interview with Irina, including some of her reasons for retirement:

http://www.timeout.com/newyork/dance/ballerina-irina-dvorovenko-talks-about-american-ballet-theatre-and-on-your-toes-1?intcid=leader

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Here are my thoughts on the May 18th matinee performance of 'Onegin".

John Cranko’s choreography for ‘Onegin’ thoroughly complements Tschaikovsky’s music. The story told on the stage is very clear to the audience. It doesn’t hurt to read the program notes before the ballet begins, but it is not needed for an understanding of the piece. All of Cranko’s choreograpy for Onegin is goregeous, but the two pas de deux for Tatiana and Onegin at the end of Acts I and III are beyond compare. The lifts and holds show the absolute beauty of ballet as an art form.

Since Pushkin’s long narrative poem is telescoped into a 90 minute work (not counting the two intermissions) certain events don’t make as much sense as they might. The audience does not get to see Onegin’s struggles in the years between the duel and Prince Gremin’s ball. Therefore, it is a bit hard to understand why Onegin has had a change of heart with regard to his feelings for Tatiana.

As Tatiana, Polina Semionova is a very believable young girl, with lovely extensions and a gorgeously pliable upper body. Semionova’s Tatiana is so completely in love with Onegin that her reaction when he rips up her her letter breaks my heart. Her transition from naïve young country girl to Prince Gremin’s adoring wife is beautifully seamless. Semionova’s raw pain and anguish as she rejects Onegin forever brings tears to my eyes.

David Hallberg was born to play Onegin. At the beginning of the ballet his acting is a bit understated, but it fits Onegin’s cold hauteur perfectly. No ABT dancer does the “I am superior to everyone in the world” aristocrat quite like Hallberg. Onegin’s character, however, begins to change when he kills his friend in a duel. During Prince Gremin’s Act III ball, Hallberg’s Onegin is a lost soul whose only hope lies in reclaiming Tatiana’s love. It is clear how the mighty have fallen as Onegin grovels before Tatiana in her boudoir, frantic to attain her. When she finally rejects him, Hallberg displays Onegin’s desperate emotional state with every inch of his face and body.

Yuriko Kajiya’s Olga stands out for her delicately lyrical dancing and beautiful use of her hands. Her character, however, is an enigma. This is my fourth performance of Cranko’s ‘Onegin’ and I still can’t understand why Olga continues to flirt with Onegin when she sees how much it hurts Lensky. Due to Joseph Gorak’s incredible portrayal I do understand Lensky. Gorak’s poet is a truly noble young man who has been hurt deeply by both his fiancée and best friend. He thrills the audience with his wonderfully light leaps and plush landings. Gorak’s line is so perfect that his solo before the duel becomes a powerful soliloquy. Roddy Doble is a caring and devoted Prince Gremin. The audience can plainly see why Tatiana cares for him so deeply.

What a beautifully emotional afternoon at the ballet. I only hope American Ballet Theatre keeps ‘Onegin’ in their repertoire for many years to come.

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