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ABT 2013 Sleeping Beauty at the Met


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#1 pbl

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:04 AM

Hi Everyone-

 

I have tickets to see the final performance of the season, with Part, Gomes and Abrera. I am a beginner at appreciating ballet - just two years in, but enthusiastic. I would appreciate anything you have to share regarding ABT's production, things to look for an enjoy with the lead dancers' styles, and things you expect might be highlights of the night given the production, the company and the leads involved.

 

And of course I will read, with interest, comments upon earlier performances.

 

Best, Paris.



#2 puppytreats

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 06:22 AM

I want to see Veronica Part on Sat., but I want to see Herman Cornejo on Fri.  Mr. Puppytreats prefers that I go on Friday, but I think Veronica would be a beautiful Aurora, and Stella would be a wonderful fairy, and I have a front row ticket.  Is the part for Prince Desire very small in ABT's production?  If Herman has a small part, such as he did in "Corsaire", that could weigh in favor of seeing Veronica.



#3 aurora

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:06 AM

I want to see Veronica Part on Sat., but I want to see Herman Cornejo on Fri.  Mr. Puppytreats prefers that I go on Friday, but I think Veronica would be a beautiful Aurora, and Stella would be a wonderful fairy, and I have a front row ticket.  Is the part for Prince Desire very small in ABT's production?  If Herman has a small part, such as he did in "Corsaire", that could weigh in favor of seeing Veronica.

 

The part is smallish. This version tries to give it a bit more heft but I'd always choose my sb based on the female lead. Plus Part is dancing with Gomes, so not too shabby on the prince either  :)



#4 mimsyb

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:36 AM

 

I want to see Veronica Part on Sat., but I want to see Herman Cornejo on Fri.  Mr. Puppytreats prefers that I go on Friday, but I think Veronica would be a beautiful Aurora, and Stella would be a wonderful fairy, and I have a front row ticket.  Is the part for Prince Desire very small in ABT's production?  If Herman has a small part, such as he did in "Corsaire", that could weigh in favor of seeing Veronica.

 

The part is smallish. This version tries to give it a bit more heft but I'd always choose my sb based on the female lead. Plus Part is dancing with Gomes, so not too shabby on the prince either  smile.png

 

I'd also go with Part/Gomes.  Although the Kochetkova'Cornejo could also be interesting.  IMO, however,  this production has some real flaws.  Costumes and scenery tend to the grotesque at times. Dancers always seem to be cramped on the stage.  Story telling is diffused.  Carabosse is not scary.  The storybook characters have been reduced to the bare minimum. On and on. If this is your first viewing of this ballet, know there are superior versions out there.  Why ABT is clinging to this one is beyond me.



#5 bingham

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 07:42 AM

 

 

I want to see Veronica Part on Sat., but I want to see Herman Cornejo on Fri.  Mr. Puppytreats prefers that I go on Friday, but I think Veronica would be a beautiful Aurora, and Stella would be a wonderful fairy, and I have a front row ticket.  Is the part for Prince Desire very small in ABT's production?  If Herman has a small part, such as he did in "Corsaire", that could weigh in favor of seeing Veronica.

 

The part is smallish. This version tries to give it a bit more heft but I'd always choose my sb based on the female lead. Plus Part is dancing with Gomes, so not too shabby on the prince either  smile.png

 

I'd also go with Part/Gomes.  Although the Kochetkova'Cornejo could also be interesting.  IMO, however,  this production has some real flaws.  Costumes and scenery tend to the grotesque at times. Dancers always seem to be cramped on the stage.  Story telling is diffused.  Carabosse is not scary.  The storybook characters have been reduced to the bare minimum. On and on. If this is your first viewing of this ballet, know there are superior versions out there.  Why ABT is clinging to this one is beyond me.

 

It cost a fortune to produce it.



#6 vrsfanatic

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 03:02 PM

Does anyone know the Fairy casting. There will be a few corps de ballet dancers getting chances as Fairies. If anyone sees the performances could you please also include premieres with Fairies. Thanks.



#7 ABT Fan

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:30 PM

Please post some reviews of SB this wk. Sadly I will miss all of them. Would love to hear how Seo's debut goes tonight and how Lane does tomorrow. As well as all the supporting roles.

#8 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:15 PM

I attended tonight and was highly dissapointed.

 

I thought Seo was a total miscast, and lacked a lot of rehearsal time and maturity as Aurora, to say the least.

Act I was the worst by far. She looked very, very nervous. All the step were rushed, and many sections of the choreography simplified or poorly executed.

Once again (looks like I really have no luck with her) she had some big technical problems. Second round of balances in the Rose Adagio (when Aurora does the final attitude promenades), started badly, she was terrified to the point of not letting the first prince go for a while, face and tension in upper body were more than obvious, I really felt bad for her. The situation got progressively worst until the third prince arrived, during the promenade she lost the balance, went to the side and fell off point. Luckily she recovered and finished them.

 

She was at her best in Act II, nothing spectacular, but no technical problems and she was way more musical and secure.

Fishing dives in Act III were ugly and super cautious. She would not lift her supporting leg off the floor until he had her completely secured, ( exactly as she did with Hallberg in the opening night gala. Back then I thought it may have been because of  David H recent injury). Her variations were ok, but behind the music many times, and again no joy, no happiness...

 

More than anything, to me, it was Seo going through the steps from beginning to end, sometimes terrified and some others less scared.

She totally lacked the stage presence, the royal and luxurious quality that Aurora demands, to make this ballet work.

 

Of course, it doesnt help the fact that the production is so horrendous and the set and costumes even worst...the more I see this the more I dislike it.

 

Muntagirov was ok, his technique is very good but  his acting department needs a lot of improving, cold cold cold....and there was zero chemistry/connection with Seo.

 

The best of the night to me were the fairies, especially Simon Mesmer and  Isabella B., Stella Abrera was also really wonderful as Lilac Fairy.......and J. Gorak's blue bird. He is not the super skilled technical dancer but his refinement and elegance is truly magnificent. 

 

overall i just left with a bad taste, first time in the season that I was sitting in the theater and couldn't wait for the night to come to an end.



#9 fondoffouettes

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:30 PM

I may write a more complete review at a later time, but just a quick note right now about Hee Seo's debut as Aurora. She got off to a rather shaky start (nerves, I suppose), as exhibited in a somewhat tense rather than joyful rose adagio. Her first set of balances was just fine--not held very long but they were still leagues better than, say, those of Julie Kent in the last few Sleeping Beauties she has delivered for ABT. However, the second set of Seo's balances were shaky and after the third one it was clear that something was going wrong and her leg was lacking the strength to keep her in position. As she was being rotated after the third balance, she started to tilt jarringly over to the side and then she fell completely off pointe. She was helped back up by her suitor and then managed to complete a very quick fourth balance. But Sleeping Beauty is more than the rose adagio, and she acquitted herself well in the rest of the Act I choreography. She only improved in the vision scene and then again in the wedding act. As mentioned by Classic Ballet, certain elements were approached in an extremely cautious manner. However, the quality of her movement and graceful upper body are at time reminiscent of both Stella Abrera and Veronika Part. I hope she can develop the role more fully and work on a more reliable technique. 

 

What can I say about Stella Abrera this evening? She could give a master class on how to dance the Lilac Fairy. I always enjoy her dancing, but this was some of the best I have ever seen from her. I remember now that years ago she used to sometimes seem a bit tense and taut in her upper body and face, but it's all so much softer now. She dances the Lilac Fairy in a way that is both authoritative yet gentle; you know she is going to ensure that everything turns out alright. 

 

I have seen Misty Copeland dance quite a lot but have never been a fan per se. However, she danced wonderfully as Princess Florine tonight--brava! Kudos to her for holding her leg extended quite high while she flapped her "wings." She was so on, and really elegant--it never looked like she was pushing. Joseph Gorak was his usual elegant self and brought grace rather than flash to the role of bluebird. As much as I love his dancing, I at times wish it were larger in scale (though I will take his gorgeous dancing over something flashier and vulgar any day).

 

Simone Messmer was wonderful as the pointing fairy. Isabella Boylston was great as the fairy of ferver but her eye makeup was ghastly. Was she going for a black swan look? Has Gillian been giving her makeup tips? I haven't at all been familiar with corps member Stephanie Williams, but she danced really well as the fairy of sincerity and stood out among the group. She dances a fairy variation that I always think looks awkward, but she made it look beautiful. I will look out for her again in the future.

 

Lastly, bravi to Aurora's attendants for looking fabulous in the birthday scene. A joy to watch. 



#10 California

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 05:11 AM

It's almost painful to read these reports of Seo's Rose Adagio. This is the Met, after all, not a school recital. Yes, there is more to SB than balances, but they are so iconic, you have to wonder if anybody at ABT had second thoughts about handing her this role. Or perhaps somebody should have looked at her trying them before giving her the role. Not every dancer is suited for every role. When Colorado Ballet did SB last year, all three principal women did a good job with Rose, one was fabulous (Maria Mosina), and nobody fell off pointe in the numerous performances I saw.

 

Adding to the bizarre evening others have described, you have to wonder what Stella Abrera was thinking as she did the Lilac Fairy. Ethan Stiefel liked her enough to give her SB a couple of years ago in New Zealand. With some help from Google, I found an old review that says Abrera has great technique, but the characterization could be improved. No mention of faltering balances:

 

http://www.nzherald....jectid=10770177

 

You just have to wonder why McKenzie took a chance on Seo, when they must have had early indicators about these problems, and Abrera was right there. At least Lane gets to do SB, but is it true she's had to wait five years for another shot at it?



#11 fondoffouettes

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:39 AM

It's almost painful to read these reports of Seo's Rose Adagio. This is the Met, after all, not a school recital. Yes, there is more to SB than balances, but they are so iconic, you have to wonder if anybody at ABT had second thoughts about handing her this role. Or perhaps somebody should have looked at her trying them before giving her the role. Not every dancer is suited for every role. When Colorado Ballet did SB last year, all three principal women did a good job with Rose, one was fabulous (Maria Mosina), and nobody fell off pointe in the numerous performances I saw.

 

Adding to the bizarre evening others have described, you have to wonder what Stella Abrera was thinking as she did the Lilac Fairy. Ethan Stiefel liked her enough to give her SB a couple of years ago in New Zealand. With some help from Google, I found an old review that says Abrera has great technique, but the characterization could be improved. No mention of faltering balances:

 

http://www.nzherald....jectid=10770177

 

You just have to wonder why McKenzie took a chance on Seo, when they must have had early indicators about these problems, and Abrera was right there. At least Lane gets to do SB, but is it true she's had to wait five years for another shot at it?

Yes, I think it's possible that balances in general might be a problem spot for her. After the issues in the Rose Adagio, I thought she might try to emphasize the other balances that occur throughout the ballet, most notably the striking echo of the Rose Adagio pose that occurs during the wedding pas de deux. However, these were held for as little time as possible, so I guess they might just be outside of her comfort zone. 

 

I had exactly the same though as California as I was watching last night--what must Stella be thinking as she observes all of this? Her performance last night was radiant and secure. I couldn't keep my eyes off of the beautiful shapes she created with her arms. 

 

Yes, it is sadly true that Sarah Lane has had to wait five years to dance Sleeping Beauty again at the Met. I was there for her debut and she danced beautifully. The Rose Adagio was approached with a sense of youthful enthusiasm, complete with secure balances held for a nice length of time. I remember the rapturous applause that greeted her after she had completed that sequence. Temperamentally, she seemed perfect for Aurora and managed to present an evolved persona throughout the three acts. I remember she had a few bobbles with some of the turns in the birthday act (I think she went for triples when she probably should have gone for doubles), but that is just a minor point. It was really a triumphant debut and I can only imagine how she would have built upon her interpretation in subsequent performances. Her comments in the recent Huffington Post interview are interesting, though--after not dancing a role for five years, it essentially feels like she is starting from scratch. How can an artist develop when opportunities are so few and far between?

 

I'm not ready to write off Hee Seo in the role of Aurora. She's clearly more a lyrical dancer rather than a technical powerhouse, but you never know where she could go from here (just look at the progress Cory Stearns has made in the past year). And I hate to bring up ancient history, but Veronika Part's development as Aurora got off to quite a shaky start. However, her balances are now actually something she emphasizes in all the classical roles she dances, and they are a beautiful sight to behold.  Sarah Lane's debut certainly was much stronger than Seo's, and much more full of joy rather than anxiety. I'm glad she is getting to dance the role again and I only wish I could play hooky from work to go see her. 



#12 California

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:05 AM

"I think it's possible that balances in general might be a problem spot for her." I just had to chuckle when I read that. Casting Seo in a role famous for the balances is like somebody at ABT thinking: "Gee, she'd be a great black swan, but she can't do a fouette to save her life. Perhaps nobody will notice!"

 

I wonder if Seo will have to wait five years before getting another shot at SB. I also wonder if the balances for the rest of the week will be super-extraordinary, as everybody surely knows about this episode by now. The other principals will want to show how great they are in that sequence -- sort of like the escalating competition in embellishments to the fouettes in SL and Don Q. Those of you fortunate enough to attend SB for the rest of the week will have to let us know.



#13 atm711

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:05 AM

Unfortunately, I think it's more than 'Aurora' for Hee Seo....I saw her debut in Giselle, and also followed up with her performance on the following year and found it lacking....a case of too much, too soon. I would love to be in McKenzie's head when he is making these decisions........

#14 ABT Fan

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 08:07 AM

How unfortunate to hear that Seo didn't do well at all. Many said her SL was terrific (despite her fouettes) so I was hopeful her Beauty would be too. I thought her Met season looked too ambitious. Would love to know what the female soloists are thinking!

#15 mimsyb

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:42 AM

How unfortunate to hear that Seo didn't do well at all. Many said her SL was terrific (despite her fouettes) so I was hopeful her Beauty would be too. I thought her Met season looked too ambitious. Would love to know what the female soloists are thinking!

Well, Simone Messmer is leaving.




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