Don Quixote -- Spring 2013 MET Season
Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:55 AM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:06 AM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:46 AM
To digress ever so slightly. Rudeness (it seems to me) has become the norm, not the exception at some performances. All that whooping and hollering, giggling and snorting has become something to be expected these days when certain stars step onto the stage. And while I can agree to a point that "Don Q" is a"popcorn ballet", it is still part of the traditional canon of classical roles and needs to be addressed as such. Sometimes too much salt on popcorn can make it unappetizing and coating it in caramel brings to mind the circus. Cue the whooping and hollering!
I just read the New York Times review on Osipova and Vasiliev's Don Q. I agree with much of what Macauley said (which is rare for me), especially with regard to their technical abilities. I would like to respond to his negative points, however. Macauley says something about Osipova and Vailiev lacking refinement. We're talking about Don Q here, not Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty or Giselle. I was seated next to a girl in her teens or early 20s when I saw ABT's Onegin. She was extremely knowledgeable about ballet (which was great to see from the z generation or whatever they are called). She referred to ballets like Don Q or Le Corsaire as "popcorn" ballets, which I think it an absolutely perfect term for them. Also, Macauley said that Osipova did not connect with anyone in the cast besides Vasiliev. Again, I disagree. She connected with everyone that I could see - her father, Gamache, Espada and his toreadors. And she was just lovely with Roman Zhurbin's Quixote. (What a superb actor he is!) At the end of the ballet, when she kisses him on the cheek and sends him out in search of his Dulcinea, it was very moving. One last point (for now). I am very glad I was not sitting near Macauley. Those two ladies (and unfortunately I think we've all sat behind them or people just like them) sounded very rude.
Posted 27 May 2013 - 06:59 AM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:52 AM
The audience around me was on its very best behavior, which was a welcome contrast from the opening night gala when i-phone flashlights kept lighting up the whole place and two ladies kept arguing over who got to use the binoculars.
One thing that struck me was how much down time there is. Act I is 40 minutes, then a 20 minute + intermission, 30 minutes for Act II, another 20 minute intermission and Act III could not have been more than 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes of curtain calls with confetti. Admittedly, this was my first full length ballet. Is this typical?
Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:03 AM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:08 AM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:33 PM
It could be that "Month in the Country" is more of an "ensemble " work, even though it does have leads, etc. Hard to know. Sometimes (although I would doubt that this is the case with Ashton) a choreographer designs the bow and decides who/where/how a dancer bows. What about Tudor? (it seems so long since we've seen Tudor at ABT). I believe there are no front of curtain bows in say, "Pillar of Fire". And clearly works such as Tharp's "Upper Room" don't get front of curtain bows, even when Cornejo or Gillian are dancing. It could simply be the "mood" of a piece.
One more point I meant to make about the ABT audience. At the end of A Month in the Country the audience reaction was very subdued. And there was no in front of the curtain bows. How about those who saw the other performances of A Month in the Country. (I went on Wednesday afternoon) Was it the same. I found that quite upsetting. I love pyrotechics in ballet but it has to fit the ballet, the moment, etc, etc. At least the audience at Onegin was quite appreciaitive. (I attended the May 18th matinee performance. ) That's one good thing anyway.
Posted 27 May 2013 - 01:16 PM
Also, I don't think withholding sustained applause is a sign of bad manners. It's a sign that the audience was not captivated by what they just saw. The applause when each cast member came out was respectful for Month. The fact that they didn't keep on clapping to call the leads out for a curtain call meant that the perceived the ballet with lukewarm enthusiasm. Nothing wrong with that.
Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:53 PM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:01 PM
You can see it in Toronto Feb. 26- March 2 2014.
I didn't think the lack of before the curtains bows was a sign of bad manners. I was disappointed because I loved the ballet so much and I wanted Hallberg and Hee Seo to get more applause. This was only my second performance of A Month in the Country. I saw the Royal Ballet perform it at the Met in June of 1981 and I never forgot it. I have wanted to see a live performance of it again for over 30 years. I don't want to wait another 32 years to see it again (especially considering the fact that I'd be 91 if I were still around.)
Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:24 PM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:28 PM
Posted 27 May 2013 - 04:06 PM
I saw my first ‘Don Q’ in June of 1981. It starred ABT’s Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Barysnikov. It was a thrilling ballet, forever etched upon my mind’s eye. That performance set a very high standard for ‘Don Qs’. Since that time I have seen several incredible presentations of ABT’s ‘Don Quixote’. The Kitris I’ve seen have included Nina Aniashvilli, Paloma Herrera, Gillian Murphy, Xiomara Reyes and Polina Semionova. I’ve also seen fantastic Basilios including Julio Bocca, Angel Corella, Carlos Acosta, Jose Manuel Carreno and Herman Cornejo. As wonderful as all those Kitris and Basilios were, they pale in comparison to the performances of Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev on Saturday night. New York Times’ chief dance critic, Alastair Macaulay, put it best when he wrote in his review of the May 25th evening performance of ‘Don Quixote’ that “Jumps, turns, balances, splits – these two take them higher, faster, longer.”
Osipova has mind-boggling jumps where she seems to hang in the air longer than is humanly possible. Her turns are performed at whatever is faster than the speed of light. During the coda of the Act III pas de deux her fouettes are mainly doubles, whipped off at an incredibly fast pace. During the same pas de deux she holds her balances for the longest period of tme I have ever seen.
As Basilio, Ivan Vasiliev is technically the most accomplished male dancer I have ever experienced. I don’t even know what to call most of the movements he performs. His jumps are incredibly high, his air tours all seem to be multiples and he often executes 540 degree turns. He is also an extremely secure partner. In Act I as he lifts Osipova over his head with one hand he raises his left leg a bit. Watching Osipova and Vasiliev perform the roles of Kitri and Basilio in ‘Don Quixote’ is like watching a high wire act without a net. The audience knows, however, that they can not possibly fall. ‘Don Q’ is a ballet where such virtuoso technique is essential to the success of the production.
Osipova and Vasiliev are also masters of comic timing. Their chemistry is absolutely combustible. They are both so adorable that you want to take them home with you.
Other performers in the May 25th evening performance of ‘Don Q’ stand out as well. Alexandre Hammoudi is very impressive as the matador Espada. Misty Copeland’s Queen of the Dryads has some unfortunate problems with her Italian fouettes. Her jumps at the end of the dream sequence are very strong, but pale when compared to Osipova’s jumps. Yuriko Kajiya is a perfect Amour. The lyrical delicacy of her movements, her quicksilver footwork and lovely light leaps – all are quite wonderful.
Roman Zhurbin as Don Quixote and Roddy Dobble as Kitri’s father, Lorenzo, again show what superb actors they are. Alexei Agoudine is very funny as the foppish Gamache. He certainly knows how to take a pratfall.
The May 25th evening performance of ‘Don Quixote’ is the best ballet I have ever seen in my 30 plus years of attending shows at Lincoln Center. I only hope I am fortunate enough to see Osipova and Vasiliev perform in many more ballets.
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