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Romeo & Juliet--Spring 2013 MET season


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#31 angelica

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:45 AM

I think they should promote Scott, Gorak and Tamm to soloist.


I totally agree. And now I'm going to point out, before someone "calls" me on it, that we are off topic for this particular thread. I'm complicit in that as well, I realize, by prolonging it.

#32 Barbara

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:03 PM

I was hoping for a lot from Whiteside (and maybe still am, let's see how the season proceeds) - he has the height and the right look but....I saw him at the R&J rehearsal and he clearly has miles to go - it's his debut so I would definitely cut him some slack. However, he simply did not command the stage. I was hoping for more. I sincerely wish him the best tonight and will be interested in any comments from those in the audience. (Angelica, to stray a little more - how about Roddy Doble? He's tall and a very good actor. At least should be made soloist and try him in the principal roles. He might be a good purple Rothbart.)



#33 angelica

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 03:11 PM

I was hoping for a lot from Whiteside (and maybe still am, let's see how the season proceeds) - he has the height and the right look but....I saw him at the R&J rehearsal and he clearly has miles to go - it's his debut so I would definitely cut him some slack. However, he simply did not command the stage. I was hoping for more. I sincerely wish him the best tonight and will be interested in any comments from those in the audience. (Angelica, to stray a little more - how about Roddy Doble? He's tall and a very good actor. At least should be made soloist and try him in the principal roles. He might be a good purple Rothbart.)

 

Barbara, unfortunately I haven't paid enough attention to Roddy Doble on the few occasions when he had an opportunity to stand out from the corps. He was in the corps in the R&J performance I attended so he wasn't singled out, but now that you've mentioned him I'll look out for him in the casting for ballets to come. Having seen Whiteside as Basilio in Don Q, and in rehearsal for Corsaire, I must admit I no longer have any hopes for him. [sorry, I don't know why I screwed up the quote function]

 



#34 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 03:35 AM

I may be wrong, but wasn't Whiteside a principal dancer at the Boston Ballet which is a major company.  Shouldn't he have some experience dancing the classics?



#35 angelica

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 04:19 AM

Yes, and yes, Colleen. But I find him extremely unrefined, compared, for example, with the likes of the triumvirate of Hallberg, Matthews, and Gorak. Do go yourself and see what you think.



#36 aurora

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 04:48 AM

Yes, and yes, Colleen. But I find him extremely unrefined, compared, for example, with the likes of the triumvirate of Hallberg, Matthews, and Gorak. Do go yourself and see what you think.

 

It is true I've seen him (Whiteside) in roles where "refinement" is not necessarily a critical category (basilio in don q, slave in corsaire) but I wouldn't say this was my impression at all. I thought he was a very strong actor in Don Q. Very affectionate with Part and a good, strong, partner. They had much greater rapport than I've found her to have with Stearns traditionally (he was very much improved in Corsaire though so we'll see).

He wasn't knock your socks off as the slave, but was good and relatively elegant, even if this is not his best role

 

He was also excellent in the Hallberg part in the new Ratmansky.

 

Except that he is an "outsider" I'm not sure why there is a rush to dismiss him.

Based on talent/experience etc, I think he is certainly the most likely the next male principal (barring something dramatic). And rightly so, despite the fact there are several men in the corps, as well as a male soloist that I would like to see promoted as well.

Hopefully we will see some of the men promoted to soloist soon and they will be given further opportunities.

 

I apologize for contributing to the offtopic-ness.



#37 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 05:58 AM

I saw Whiteside as the slave Ali at the June 5th matinee of Le Corsaire.  I agree with Aurora that he was good, but I'm so used to thrilling performances of Ali at ABT that that's what I was looking forward.  I saw him in the new Ratmansky (the second piece - I think it's called something Chamber music) and he was good as well.  How was he as Romeo in last night's 'Romeo and Juliet'.  I know his dress rehearsal performance has been commented on, but I've found that often dancers hold back when they're doing a rehearsal, even a dress rehearsal.  They want to save their energy for the actual performance (which makes sense).



#38 its the mom

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 06:14 AM

As an avid Boston Ballet goer, can I just say that James Whiteside was a principal dancer for many reasons, but one was his outstanding versatility.  This is a virtue that is much needed at a company like Boston Ballet, where they dance not only classics, but a good amount of neo-classical and very contemporary work.  James was always chosen by Balanchine repetiteurs and contemporary choreographers.  (In my opinion, for whatever it's worth, he could be a principal dancer across the street because he looks great in Balanchine's works.)  So, he would definitely be a go-to person in those areas.  But, he has also performed in all of the classics.  In addition, while not as exciting as Simkin or Vasiliev, he is an outstanding partner and became a favorite partner to all of the principal and soloist women in the company.  He is a hard worker and does whatever is asked without being a "diva." He is devoted to whatever he is doing.  Also, because he is a friend to my dancing children and I have an inside "track," let me say that this season he has done whatever Kevin has asked of him.  So, he may not be as exciting as some of the others, he may not have the lines you want him to have, but he is a very strong and dependable addition to the company.  New York is lucky to have him.



#39 angelica

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:48 AM

Well, perhaps I'm living in my own little corner of my own little world, but I go to the ballet to see beautiful classical lines. For me that's the starting point, upon which speed in a Balanchine work or drama in a Macmillan work are built. Petipa ballets are all about line. So although I may appreciate that a certain dancer has X and Y virtues (e.g., versatility, partnering ability), if the pure classical line is missing, my aesthetic appreciation is diminished.



#40 fondoffouettes

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 09:45 AM

 

Yes, and yes, Colleen. But I find him extremely unrefined, compared, for example, with the likes of the triumvirate of Hallberg, Matthews, and Gorak. Do go yourself and see what you think.

 

It is true I've seen him (Whiteside) in roles where "refinement" is not necessarily a critical category (basilio in don q, slave in corsaire) but I wouldn't say this was my impression at all. I thought he was a very strong actor in Don Q. Very affectionate with Part and a good, strong, partner. They had much greater rapport than I've found her to have with Stearns traditionally (he was very much improved in Corsaire though so we'll see).

He wasn't knock your socks off as the slave, but was good and relatively elegant, even if this is not his best role

 

He was also excellent in the Hallberg part in the new Ratmansky.

 

Except that he is an "outsider" I'm not sure why there is a rush to dismiss him.

Based on talent/experience etc, I think he is certainly the most likely the next male principal (barring something dramatic). And rightly so, despite the fact there are several men in the corps, as well as a male soloist that I would like to see promoted as well.

Hopefully we will see some of the men promoted to soloist soon and they will be given further opportunities.

 

I apologize for contributing to the offtopic-ness.

 

 

This season I've seen Whiteside in the Ratmansky piece, as Basilio in Don Q, and as Ali in Corsaire. The impression I got was that he is incredibly talented, and though he may require further refinement, he seemed like someone who could certainly rise to the level of an ABT principal. He managed to develop a real rapport with Veronika and support her during a debut in a role that couldn't have been more against type. I think it's important to remember that ABT hired him in as a soloist rather than a principal, considering him an artist still in need of development rather than one of their pre-packaged, imported stars. Considering all the roles that have been thrown at him this season and all the new partners he has had to dance with, I am inclined to think he is rising to the occasion. I think it's premature to write him off. It took several trials, false starts, and detours for Veronika to gain her footing at ABT and blossom into the gorgeous, confident dancer she is today. We could at least give Whiteside a season or two to settle into his new role with the company before making final judgments.

 

From a practical point of view, ABT needed a male dancer this season who could partner taller dancers, especially now that Semionova is in the mix and Hallberg appears less frequently than he used to. Kent will now only dance with Gomes or Bolle. Vishneva also seems to have a "Gomes clause" in her contract. Perhaps ABT felt that it was wise to hire someone who already had a lot of experience dancing principal roles rather than take a chance on one of the men still in the corps.

 

I agree that there are men in the corps who are deserving of promotions. Gorak continues to dance beautifully and my eye is always drawn to him.

 

As a side note, Jared Matthews has been dancing impeccably this season. He has always been a good dancer, but his dancing seems to have reached a new level of precision and impact that is quite noticeable. 



#41 angelica

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 10:01 AM

I'm glad that so many people on this forum like Whiteside because they will make up for the tickets I won't be buying when he is dancing. You all may be right, and I am being too quick in my judgment. But just for the record, Veronika had the "line" when she graduated from the Vaganova School. What took time for her to develop was stronger technique and greater self-confidence. Perhaps being in the midst of Hallberg and Stearns, both of whom have an exquisite "line," will help to refine Whiteside in that regard. I hope that is the case.



#42 angelica

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 10:04 AM

I totally agree about Matthews. His Lensky was magnificent as was his Mercutio. My eye is drawn to Gorak also.



#43 ABT Fan

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:12 PM

Getting back to Romeo & Juliet - did anyone see the performance last night?  How did Whiteside do?  I believe it was his debut as Romeo.

 

That performance was dedicated to Frederic Franklin.  Did they do anything special, say at the curtain call, to recognize him?  How I'm going to miss his Friar Lawrence.



#44 Batsuchan

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:40 PM

Here are my detailed thoughts on the three shows I've seen so far.

1) 6/10 - Vishneva & Gomes

I've seen at least a dozen performances of "Romeo & Juliet" at ABT now, and by far, Monday's was probably the most completely enjoyable performance I've seen. And I think it was probably the most beautiful, passionate, and moving performance I've seen Vishneva & Gomes give (and I've seen four of them).  (Either that or I'm just forgetting.)  I feel like the Vishneva/Gomes partnership gets stronger and stronger the more they dance together, so they just keep getting better and better.

To me, what helped make this performance the best I've seen was the strength of the supporting cast.  Craig Salstein is by far my favorite Mercutio.  He absolutely nailed the comic moments and danced with such panache even though the steps seemed slightly taxing for him.  His performance of Mercutio's death scene was masterful.  He was such a clown for most of the ballet that his despair when he realizes he's dying was truly heartbreaking.

I also enjoyed seeing Daniil Simkin as Benvolio.  He seemed perfectly cast as the bratty teenager who goes around the ball interrupting the couples.  And the three boys-Gomes, Salstein and Simkin-seemed like they were having a great time together.

Sascha Radetsky was a wonderfully boorish and vicious Tybalt.  He was clearly drunk and itching for a fight in Act II, and his duel with Gomes' Romeo was particularly thrilling-it truly looked like they were fighting; it did not look staged.  And after Romeo stabbed him and he fell to the ground, he leapt up and lunged at Romeo with incredible force.  His death was brutal.

And what a treat to have the gorgeous Stella Abrera as Lady Capulet!  Her agony upon seeing Tybalt's dead body was palpable, and her dance of despair perfectly evoked Prokofiev's intense score.

As for our leads:  Personally, I did not notice anything wrong with Marcelo's dancing.  But perhaps it was that he simply seemed subdued compared to Vishneva's gale-force Juliet.  In past seasons I had worried that perhaps she was starting to lose some of her spectacular technique and flexibility, but last night she seemed to be dancing more freely than ever!

Where do I begin?  The incredible pliancy of her spine, the quicksilver bourrees across the stage that make it look like her feet have a mind of their own, the way she can simply whip her leg up to her ear and around-not simply to hit the 180 degree mark, but to create a magnificent arc through the air.  The way she'd balance on pointe and slowly developpe the other leg, presenting the foot so beautifully.  The reckless abandon, the sense of spontaneity, the sheer beauty of her movement.  And the incredible sense of freedom and weightlessness-I didn't fully realize how much this impressed me until I saw Semionova on Tuesday, who was certainly beautiful but felt so much more earthbound and corporeal.

I felt that Vishneva's Act I Juliet was the most convincingly girlish I've seen from her.  There is something about her character that always strikes me as mature/knowing, and perhaps the very self-possessed and luscious quality of her dancing generally makes it hard for me to believe her as an innocent, slightly awkward teenager. This time, however, she was able to transform her natural tendency to overflow with emotion into an expression of youthful exuberance and excitement.

I will admit that her Act III Juliet tends to veer a little into the "Mad Giselle" territory for me, with all the flailing of limbs and messed-up hair, but she certainly clearly conveys Juliet's agony and desperation.  In some respects, the almost-crazed way in which she clings to Romeo and pleads with her parents fits the story-clearly this Juliet is crazy enough to kill herself out of love!

I also loved the way she performed the final dance with Paris (Grant DeLong).  I've never seen another ballerina look so deflated and depressed as Vishneva does here. The contrast between her fluid, lighter-than-air dancing in Act I and her stiff, lifeless body in Act III was particularly striking.  It was like she wasn't even trying to move, and poor Paris had to do all the work to manipulate her body.

At the end of the ballet-I agree with onxmyxtoes-Vishneva's final gesture was so moving.  And the image of her arching her back over the side of the bed was simply stunning. Reyes and Semionova had only their upper back over the side of the bed, but Vishneva arched from the middle/lower back, producing an exceptionally gorgeous curve.

Of course, the passionate Gomes was the perfect partner for Vishneva, allowing her to soar freely and seemingly weightlessly.  What an unbelievably beautiful and thrilling balcony scene!  And in the final crypt scene, Romeo throwing around Juliet's body was particularly heartwrenching-what a complete contrast from that silky, soaring beauty in the balcony scene and the limp bag of bones in Act III!  The image of an anguished Gomes slowly dragging Vishneva on the ground by the arm-it seems so wrong!!-is seared in my mind.

I agree with others that the audience seemed surprisingly subdued-but then again, I think we were all a bit spellbound at the end of Act I and emotionally exhausted at the end of Act III.  Bravo!

2) 6/11 - Semionova & Hallberg

One of my first thoughts after the show on Tuesday is that Joey Gorak deserves to be Romeo!  I personally thought his dancing was even finer than Hallberg's-it's just so effortless for him.  Every time he did a grand jete I gasped.  Even though his legs are not as long as Hallberg, the way that they explode away from center and hold the extended position (with those beautiful feet) is really striking to me!  If he can polish his partnering skills, I think he would make a wonderful Romeo!

Aside from Gorak, I thought most of Tuesday's cast paled in comparison to Monday's.  Had I not seen Monday's show, I probably would've thought Tuesday's was great, but in comparison to Monday it was only good.

On Monday night, Gomes/Salstein/Simkin seemed like the three class clowns who are the most popular guys in town, while Hallberg/Matthews/Gorak seemed like the pretty rich boys who aren't particularly bright or amusing, but are popular because they are taller, better-looking, and more privileged than everyone else.

Matthews danced fine, but he lacks the sharp comic timing that Salstein naturally possesses. To me, personally, his Mercutio seemed kind of like a happy-go-lucky, ditzy guy who thinks he's very funny, rather than a clever, witty comedian. As a result, I found his death scene to be less moving-he didn't make the most of the music-and Kristi Boone was also less extravagant in her grief compared to Stella Abrera.

Patrick Ogle's Tybalt seemed almost mild-mannered compared to Radetsky's menacing Tybalt.

As for Hallberg-initially I was slightly put off by his characterization.  I might be overly critical here, but like Matthews, he struck me as being kind of empty-headed in the opening scene, whereas I like to feel that there is something more going on behind the pretty face-Romeo dreaming of the unknown which he seeks.  However, once Hallberg's Romeo met Juliet, he acquired the gravitas I was looking for.  He seemed genuinely infatuated with her, and then more serious/mature in Act II.

However, his partnering definitely left something to be desired.  As abatt mentioned, it looked like he was really struggling with some of the lifts, which took away from some of the magic of the balcony scene.  In Act III, however, his struggles with lifting Semionova actually magnified the gut-wrenching quality of this scene, since he genuinely looked like he was suffering.

I like Semionova quite a bit, and I thought her more subtle interpretation was fine.  I felt it was really Hallberg who was preventing her from being a very expressive and passionate Juliet.  If she had a stronger partner, I think she could dance with more abandon.

3) 6/12 - Reyes & Cornejo

I have to admit that I considered skipping this show initially, since Monday's show was so great and Tuesday's paled in comparison.  I was worried that Wednesday's casts would not fare so well either, but I was pleasantly surprised!  I thought Reyes & Cornejo delivered a lovely, heartfelt and very moving performance.  Certainly, it was not as thrilling or mind-blowing as Monday night, but it was definitely enjoyable.

I think Cornejo brings an innate nobleness to Romeo, which I liked, and Reyes was convincingly girlish as Juliet.  They have good chemistry together, or at least they are very comfortable together, so their scenes together were quite satisfying.

I also quite liked Arron Scott's Mercutio.  He's not quite as hammy as Salstein, but definitely funny.  And I actually found myself almost tearing up when he died at the end of Act II.

I also really appreciated Alexei Agoudine as the Prince/Friar on Wednesday night.  This is a very minor role, but it does make a difference to the overall ballet.  Clinton Luckett was not particularly imposing as the Prince or convincing as the Friar, but I thought Agoudine did good job.

All in all, it was a solid performance.

 

Three down, two more to go!!



#45 Roberto Dini

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 10:07 PM

I saw the Tuesday performance with Hallberg and Semionova and the Thursday performance with Whiteside and Herrera.  I agree with most of what's been said above.  I expected more from Semionova and was a little disappointed.  I was surprised at how pedestrian her bourées seemed.  I love the step that Juliet does throughout the evening when she moves away from Paris, where she relevés in parallel and the bourées in parallel away from Paris.  It was a let down each time she did it.  I also didn't feel the stakes were high enough for Semionova in the bedroom pas de deux and the scene with Paris before her suicide.  I didn't get, "This is life or death" from her.

 

Otherwise, the standout of the evening was Gorak.  My eye was constantly drawn to him whenever he was dancing.  He was wonderful, and I hope to see more of him.

 

I went to Thursday's performance because I had enjoyed Whiteside in the Ratmansky symphony.  I found Whiteside and Herrara's performance much more enjoyable than Semionova and Hallberg.  Herrera's performance had the passion that was missing from Semionova's.  Yes, Whiteside's focus could have been stronger in the purely acting moments, such as when he enters the Capulet's party, but that is quibbling and is certainly something he can fix. Perhaps, Hallberg's dancing was more polished in comparison, but Whiteside certainly held his own.  He definitely has more presence and confidence than Cory Stearns had when he was first put into principal roles.  Stearns always reminded me of a deer in headlights.  Thankfully, those days are long gone.  I loved Stearns in Onegin with Dvorovenko, but I digress.

 

Back to Thursday's performance, Luis Ribagorda made a strong impression as Benvolio on Thursday, and I loved Stella Abrera as Lady Capulet.  She is amazing.  I can never get enough of her.  I think she and Sascha Radetsky set a very high bar in their portrayals of Lady Capulet and Tybalt, a bar from which I measure all other performances of those roles.  I should add Susan Jones as the Nurse to the list of performances by which others should be measured..




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