Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:33 AM
I was at the matinee on Saturday so I saw the second cast. Many people have already described the choreography and its symbolism to great extent, so I’ll stick to the dancing for the most part.
Having seen the premiere of Symphony #9 last fall with the first cast, I can only compare casts with that section. I thought Part/Bolle were fabulous, no less than Part/Gomes from the fall. I have never seen Part/Bolle dance together before and I thought their partnership was seamless; they were really in touch with each other. Part was especially wonderful – she is a very full, luxurious dancer who coaxes every nuance out of a movement. I like the muted costumes better this time around; the white splotches didn’t bother me before, but with the added scenery and the busy choreography I think they would have been too much.
Though I thought Abrera, Radetsky and Matthews (especially Abrera) did a really good job, I preferred the first cast for their parts. Matthews isn’t the quicksilver that Cornejo is. Radetsky wasn’t playful and spontaneous like Salstein. Abrera wasn’t flirty and teasing like Messmer. With the first cast, these 3 parts stand in greater contrast with their style against the main couple who are more serious and contemplative; with the second cast, all 5 of them seemed to blend together, which I didn’t like as much. (Not sure what the choreographic intent was, so disclaimer here.)
I thought the added backdrop for Symphony #9 was “interesting” with its Russian motifs – if only I could have gotten a better look at it. I was sitting in row E in the orchestra and couldn’t make out some of the images that well (but didn’t want to take my eye off of the dancers too long either), so I can’t imagine how the rest of the theatre could see them.
As others have said, there’s a lot going on in this piece. I really need to see more viewings. As much as I love it though, I don’t understand the little touches of humor or whimsy injected here-and-there; they seem so random to me and I don’t understand the intent, and it seems like I should. What do others think about this? Despite that, Ratmansky’s pieces are truly something wonderful. It’s so rare to see the ABT corps really dance (and partner) like they do in his pieces, and what he has the corps doing while the principals are dancing is so intriguing.
I really loved Chamber Symphony, more than Piano Concerto #1 (which I did enjoy). This is the first time I’ve seen Whiteside dance live. He was powerful, elegant, a good partner and has a great stage presence. I think he’ll be promoted to principal within the year. This was the best I’ve ever seen Kajiya; she and Whiteside melted together and when he lifted her it was as if she was an extension of him. I could see them doing Romeo/Juliet together. Lane was lovely as usual. Seo was fine but honestly my eye was drawn to the others so much more.
In Piano Concerto #1, as others have said, Gillian Murphy was injured so Christine Shevchenko filled in. I gather Shevchenko was an understudy only as there was no 3rd cast, and that was reinforced by the very nice applause the dancers gave Schevchenko during the bows. I thought she was brilliant (though I was sad to hear about Murphy, I was super excited to hear Shevchenko would be filling in; have loved her for several seasons and hope she’ll be promoted soon). How wonderful it was to see her and Royal, 2 corps dancers, dance principal parts on the Met stage and give a fantastic performance! I’d never guess Shevchenko was a corps understudy – she and Royal looked very well rehearsed and were very much in sync with each other. Great technique and really solid, comfortable partnering.
Parts of the score really perplexed me, but when Royal and Schevchenko began their pas de deux, the music was so lovely. Reyes and Simkin are not the ideal couple; the experience level between them was noticeable and Simkin struggled through a few lifts (unfortunately, not a surprise). They did do the kiss Saturday afternoon (but, what’s the point of it?). What I found both troubling yet fascinating, were the few times Royal /Schevchenko and Reyes/Simkin were dancing the same choreography side by side and to see that the partnering was stronger and more secure with the corps couple than the principal couple!
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance though and hope ABT doesn’t put this ballet away for too many seasons.