mussel

2014 Met Season

362 posts in this topic

I'm not sure what Mackenzie was thinking, but think of all of the kids taken to matinees for whom Part might become the definition of ballerina. I think they win.

I like that, Helene. Every cloud has a silver lining!

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I have a hard time imagining ABT doing Duo Concertant. Neoclassical ballet set to Igor Stravinsky is not part of their DNA. I'm actually pretty happy that the mixed bill is the same week as the Bolshoi Giselles in D.C. I will split my week so that I can see a few Giselles and return on Friday for the Vishneva Bayadere, most likely.

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I have a hard time imagining ABT doing Duo Concertant. Neoclassical ballet set to Igor Stravinsky is not part of their DNA. I'm actually pretty happy that the mixed bill is the same week as the Bolshoi Giselles in D.C. I will split my week so that I can see a few Giselles and return on Friday for the Vishneva Bayadere, most likely.

ABT performed Duo Concertant a few years ago in DC. Did any BAers see it?

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I see that Hallberg's name is missing from the first 3 weeks of the season. Any chance that he will appear w. the Bolshoi in Giselle in D.C. during during May?

correction: Hallberg's name is missing for the first 5 weeks of the season. His name doesn't pop up until his Giselle on June 17. Curious.

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The demons were definitely at the helm when the casting decisions were made. Boylston, rather than Abrera, who is the most deserving of the ABT dancers for the role, gets to dance Giselle? What were they thinking? Part gets the Wednesday matinee Swan Lake, whereas Seo gets the Saturday night performance with Bolle? Abrera doesn't even get a Cinderella? Adding insult to injury, Waelsung, I truly doubt that coincidence has given Part all matinees, but I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Houston Ballet dances a very classical rep. I think the writing is on the wall for Ms Abrera and if she wants to dance principal roles, she needs to make some phone calls to Houston Ballet, or another company that specializes in the classical rep.

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The demons were definitely at the helm when the casting decisions were made. Boylston, rather than Abrera, who is the most deserving of the ABT dancers for the role, gets to dance Giselle? What were they thinking? Part gets the Wednesday matinee Swan Lake, whereas Seo gets the Saturday night performance with Bolle? Abrera doesn't even get a Cinderella? Adding insult to injury, Waelsung, I truly doubt that coincidence has given Part all matinees, but I can't for the life of me figure out why.

Houston Ballet dances a very classical rep. I think the writing is on the wall for Ms Abrera and if she wants to dance principal roles, she needs to make some phone calls to Houston Ballet, or another company that specializes in the classical rep.

I can't speak for what Ms. Abrera wants or doesn't want to do, but I do know that it would be very sad for those of us who have followed her career over the years to see her leave ABT, where she deserves to be a principal dancer. She was cast in the Wednesday matinee of Giselle some years ago, but had to be replaced because of injury. So ABT did recognize her potential. Now she is back in top form, and has certainly proved her mettle and stamina by dancing Aurora (considered a far more difficult role technically than Giselle)10 times in 30 days with the Royal Ballet of New Zealand, so why doesn't she get a fair shot?

Every year I await the spring season brochure with great anticipation, but this year I am disappointed beyond measure.

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I see that Hallberg's name is missing from the first 3 weeks of the season. Any chance that he will appear w. the Bolshoi in Giselle in D.C. during during May?

correction: Hallberg's name is missing for the first 5 weeks of the season. His name doesn't pop up until his Giselle on June 17. Curious.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love David Hallberg, but can we even call him an ABT dancer any more? He's more like a guest, just performing every once in awhile. It's just another heavy hitting loss to ABT's principal roster without a satisfactory replacement to heal the wound.

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The demons were definitely at the helm when the casting decisions were made.

But from my perspective, there isn't a great deal to look forward to at this point in the upcoming season.

That's my feelings precisely - Since I don't do matinees, I am really hard-pressed to find at least one performance I really would like to attend. I know that eventually I'll probably give in and will see something but at this point I'm not looking forward to anything.

Very sad.

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Well, look at the bright side. If you go to fewer ABT shows, you will have more money available to attend the Bolshoi's performances this summer in New York, the Bolshoi Giselles at the Kennedy Center in May and/or the Mariinsky's Swan Lakes at the Kennedy Center in Jan.

That's exactly what I was thinking when I was trying to find a silver lining to this cloud, Abatt. Let's hope the Bolshoy and Mariinsky castings don't disappoint.beg.gif

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I have a hard time imagining ABT doing Duo Concertant. Neoclassical ballet set to Igor Stravinsky is not part of their DNA. I'm actually pretty happy that the mixed bill is the same week as the Bolshoi Giselles in D.C. I will split my week so that I can see a few Giselles and return on Friday for the Vishneva Bayadere, most likely.

ABT performed Duo Concertant a few years ago in DC. Did any BAers see it?

Spring 2011 mixed bill at the Kennedy Center. Staged by Ben Huys. I saw first-cast Riccetto & Hallberg and recall that it was mostly a disappointment, compared to NYCB and Farrell Ballet renditions. Maybe it was a matter of 1st-night jitters or they were under-reheared?

I have no desire to travel to DC for the Grigorovich Giselle. Of all the ballets in the Bolshoi rep...ugh. DC wins Wonka's Golden TIcket. I'll save my cash for Isabella's debut in the superior ABT version.

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How is the Bolshoi's version different from most other Giselles? I've never seen it. Also, I like to go to the Bolshoi performances to see the dancers, and tend to be less focused on the production values.

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I see that Hallberg's name is missing from the first 3 weeks of the season. Any chance that he will appear w. the Bolshoi in Giselle in D.C. during during May?

correction: Hallberg's name is missing for the first 5 weeks of the season. His name doesn't pop up until his Giselle on June 17. Curious.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love David Hallberg, but can we even call him an ABT dancer any more? He's more like a guest, just performing every once in awhile. It's just another heavy hitting loss to ABT's principal roster without a satisfactory replacement to heal the wound.

I'm a huge Hallberg admirer and am disappointed with how infrequently he performs w/ ABT in NY anymore. I understand and respect his Bolshoi obligations, but selfishly cannot live off of seeing him perform once/year in NY. Hopefully, he'll fill in some of the TBA's on the Met schedule (I would think at least one Manon).

I agree it's odd that Part is scheduled for so many matinees; I'd love to see her in SL, but taking the day off for that isn't realistic.

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Roberto Bolle danced 10 times last spring, and is only scheduled for 4 shows in June, nothing in May. I wonder how that affects the gala.

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How is the Bolshoi's version different from most other Giselles? I've never seen it. Also, I like to go to the Bolshoi performances to see the dancers, and tend to be less focused on the production values.

Many of the dances are re-ordered in sequence, invariably to the detriment of the drama. But nearly all of the bits are still there, except the mime, of course. Your approach of going in order to see the dancers is absolutely the correct one. But it might still be a good idea to watch the production in advance on video, just to get the shocks behind you. Otherwise you may find yourself so distracted by the irrationalities of the staging that you won’t be able to enjoy the performances fully.

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How is the Bolshoi's version different from most other Giselles? I've never seen it. Also, I like to go to the Bolshoi performances to see the dancers, and tend to be less focused on the production values.

I find most all of Grig's staging of the Petipa (or Petipa-after-Romantics) classics to be 'big and cold.' Perhaps it is because they are expanded to the huge Bolshoi dimensions or maybe because they were tailored to show off Grig's late wife, the (to me) aloof/cold Besmertnova. Even when danced by naturally warmer ballerinas, such as Semenyaka, I found the tiny bits of mime to be cold. For me, it's the general mechanical and cold manner of the Bolshoi-Grig classics that turns me off; less so the production values. The autumnal Act I set is actually quite nice....but those HUGE ultra-puffy and long tutus are horrid, IMO.

Just think of the terrible Nutcracker with all those candelabri...or Grig's other ballets with candelabri or other pole-like objects, being used to form mechanical 'pictures' and such. Think Spartak or the horrendous DonQ that was, thank goodness, replaced by Fadeyechev's Don Q in the late '90s. This Giselle has dumb candelabri-like formations, too (although not candelabri, of course).

Robots on a big stage. Minimal warmth & 'heart.' Soviet ice.

I'll take the Mariinsky's version, which Kolpakova and others keep alive, somewhat, at ABT, any day!

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How is the Bolshoi's version different from most other Giselles? I've never seen it. Also, I like to go to the Bolshoi performances to see the dancers, and tend to be less focused on the production values.

You might want to look at a recent DVD by the Bolshoi of Giselle, credited to Grigorovich (recorded in 2011, released in 2012) with Svetlana Lunkina and Dmitry Gudanov:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0072A4I2W/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The most annoying changes are to iconic choreography. E.g., the tabletop lifts in Lilies PdD are replaced with two unimpressive vertical lifts.

Changes in the production design are puzzling and/or annoying, e.g.:

*The peasant women in Act I are dressed in gauzy long dresses in autumnal colors; perhaps they are supposed to anticipate the tutus of the Wilis, but they don't look like peasants.

*The peasant men appear late in Act I, after the royal party has come and gone. Earlier, when it was just women, they were carrying baskets of grapes. Are women the only ones who collected grapes in that era?

*The Peasant PdD comes late in Act I and is performed for the entertainment of the other peasants, not the royal party, which has long since departed.

*Hilarion enters in Act II empty-handed and wanders around like a drunk. No homemade cross, no flowers.

*Hilarion is "frightened" by white lights going off and on in the forest. No Wilis anywhere.

*Albrecht enters carrying a large bouquet of white roses. Roses? Yes, that's very clear in the photographs in the accompanying brochure. Lilies are used in the rest of the act. Is this supposed to show that roses are more "royal" than lilies? I don't get it.

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I have to admit that I am feeling a bit distressed about the spring casting. A few thoughts...

So many "principals" have essentially become guest artists in terms of the frequency of their appearances. David Hallberg and Matvienko (a guest artist) are each taking on only three roles this spring, though Hallberg has more performances. Neither appears in the fall season, on tour, or at BAM, yet Hallberg is still labeled a principal. I love his dancing, but this must be discouraging to corps members and soloists looking for opportunities. Personally, I feel that Vishneva, Hallberg, Vasiliev, and possibly Bolle should be relabeled as "guests artists." More importantly, I wish Hallberg would come back as a more full-time dancer at ABT, though he has suggested the coaching he receives abroad has been invaluable. How wonderful would it be to see him in Les Sylphides? I remember seeing him in his soloist days in Theme and Variations and would love to see him take up that role again, too.

I've long been on the fence about all the guest artists that are invited to dance in the spring season. I have wonderful memories of seeing Vishneva in her first couple years at ABT, when her dancing was a bit less mannered. Her Manons and Giselles were incredible. Likewise, I'll never forget seeing Osipova soar across the stage in her first ABT Giselle. And her Coppelia with Simkin was adorable! (I say all this as someone who is not a huge devotee.) I'd hate to give up the opportunity of seeing such talent from abroad. However, I think the problem is that there are currently far too many guest artists and guest artists masquerading as principals. They simply crowd out the full-time company members. How else could Veronika Part end up with matinees for all three of her leading roles? When I first started going to ABT about a decade ago, you would maybe see one or two guests artists, and principals like Ferri, Corella, and Ananiashvili would truly dance for the whole spring season, even if they didn't necessarily appear in every overseas tour or fall season.

When I first saw many TBAs on the schedule, I thought perhaps these spots were being reserved for soloists or junior principals who may be offered the opportunity to learn the roles. However, I'm now convinced that TBA = Osipova or Cojocaru, if either wishes to dance the role.

These issues with ABT are often described as "homegrown talent" versus pre-packaged superstars from abroad or from other companies. That is one way of looking at it, but this Met's spring season made me realize it's more an issue of who is committed to ABT as a true company dancer versus the overabundance of guest dancers. Some people might gripe when dancers like Semionova or Whiteside are "imported" to ABT, but I respect their commitment to the company as full-time dancers. They changed their employers just like anyone else would.

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I have to admit that I am feeling a bit distressed about the spring casting. A few thoughts...

Personally, I feel that Vishneva, Hallberg, Vasiliev, and possibly Bolle should be relabeled as "guests artists."

I find these circumstances frustrating too, but in their favor I note that Vishneva and Bolle are appearing w. ABT on tour in Japan in 2014 in Manon. Vasiliev is on the Japan tour too, but his role seems to be pretty minor (two short pas w. Osipova). Notably, Hallberg is not appearing with ABT in Japan.

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I have to admit that I am feeling a bit distressed about the spring casting. A few thoughts...

Personally, I feel that Vishneva, Hallberg, Vasiliev, and possibly Bolle should be relabeled as "guests artists."

I find these circumstances frustrating too, but in their favor I note that Vishneva and Bolle are appearing w. ABT on tour in Japan in 2014 in Manon. Vasiliev is on the Japan tour too, but his role seems to be pretty minor (two short pas w. Osipova). Notably, Hallberg is not appearing with ABT in Japan.

I agree--it is nice to see them traveling with the company! One other (obvious) issue with ABT's many guest artists has been their unreliability. Cojocaru never materialized last year...Bolle reneged on his obligations to ABT mid-season "due to illness" so he could dance a nude Giselle in Italy...just to name a couple. It mirrors the backstage dramas of the opera world.

I can't think of one instance in which Part has pulled out of a performance, and she has in fact filled in for Vishneva in Bayadere. Yet, she's saddled with matinees. And Herrera, a senior principal, is cast in a Wednesday matinee Bayadere when the evening performance is still TBD. Certainly seniority should bring some benefits? It doesn't pay to be among the old company standbys anymore...

I try to avoid being negative about ABT's guest stars, since I enjoy the artistry they can bring to the company, but I'm starting to feel like enough is enough already. I'm still very excited for the spring season (as I always will be), but I just don't feel as if I'm following a cohesive company any longer...

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follow the money: Osipova sells tickets at premium prices. And the donors love the Russian ballerinas.

Part does not, and we'll never know if Abrera could.

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follow the money: Osipova sells tickets at premium prices. And the donors love the Russian ballerinas.

Part does not, and we'll never know if Abrera could.

I believe - correct me if I'm wrong - that maria kochetkova is a guest artist at ABT. I saw her Swan Lake (because I had a ticket for Cojocaru) and it was good but IMO not exceptional. Why is she a guest artist? I can't imagine that her name will sell tickets. Maybe her Russian name? If that is the case all the soloists should just add ova to their names.

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So Veronika Part is not Russian? Or should she change her last name to Partovskaya? It's interesting how Part is considered exquisite by only hardcore balletomanes and not the general public. Odd.

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follow the money: Osipova sells tickets at premium prices. And the donors love the Russian ballerinas.

Part does not, and we'll never know if Abrera could.

I believe - correct me if I'm wrong - that maria kochetkova is a guest artist at ABT. I saw her Swan Lake (because I had a ticket for Cojocaru) and it was good but IMO not exceptional. Why is she a guest artist? I can't imagine that her name will sell tickets. Maybe her Russian name? If that is the case all the soloists should just add ova to their names.

Yes, Maria Kochetkova is a guest artist. She replaced Alina Cojocaru at the Met's SB with Cornejo last summer. They needed a small enough dancer for Cornejo and Lane and Reyes (his usual partners) were already in SB on other days. I guess ABT liked that pairing enough to bring her back again next year. My feeling is that ABT wanted a seasoned principal to pair w/ Cornejo (and are perhaps looking forward = Reyes is about 10 years older than Cornejo and may be nearing retirement, so are shopping for a replacement now; and perhaps they know they will never promote Lane). I believe Lane should be promoted to principal as she has truly proved herself and she and Cornejo are a very good match. That's my take.

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I was actually a little surprised that Maria Kochetkova didn't get more assignments at ABT for 2014. I thought her SL and SB were fine, but not special or memorable. She may be more in her element in soubrette roles like Kitri, so I'm looking forward to seeing her w. Cornejo in Don Q.

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follow the money: Osipova sells tickets at premium prices. And the donors love the Russian ballerinas.

Part does not, and we'll never know if Abrera could.

Jayne - I think you are absolutely right. From a practical standpoint, these guest artists help to fund the company through very high ticket sales. I suspect, as well, that you are correct about the donors. This made me recall an article in the NYT in which uber-wealthy balletomane Patsy Tarr was quoted as saying: "The American Ballet Theater spring season is always incredible because they import these fabulous Russian ballerinas. I just go alone, sit in my seat and leave when I feel like it." (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/nyregion/coffee-and-ballet-for-patsy-tarr-philanthropist.html). It's funny she says "imported"--a word often used to cast a negative light on the guest artist situation. I'm not sure if she even supports ABT, but her quote is telling.

It's no different in the museum world, for example; every blockbuster exhibition with a slew of international loans allows an institution to also put on shows with less broad appeal, but perhaps ones that are of greater interest to specialists in a certain field.

If an Osipova/Vasiliev Don Q can help to fund performances that appeal to a smaller sect of "hardcore balletomanes," then perhaps its not such a bad deal after all. I suppose I just wish ABT could strike a better balance between performances that appeal to the broader public and ones that foster artistic development for the core company members.

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