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ABT 2013 Sleeping Beauty at the Met


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#46 pherank

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:39 PM

It's been interesting reading everyone's comments. I was wondering how Kochetkova might fare thrown into the Lion's Den.  ;)  She's generally a brave dancer, and constantly looking for new opportunities and new challenges. But it sounds as if she was fairly tentative at least in Act I. I can't say I'm totally surprised by the feedback because Masha just does not have the kind of experience with "old war horse" ballets like Sleeping Beauty that the ABT principals are expected to have. I would have to agree that it is unlikely she has had the time to think through the Aurora character. Sometimes being game is just not enough. And I know her rehearsal time was quite short.

It's very interesting that she attempted little with the Rose Adagio, and I wonder if, as others have said, that the Russian trained ballerinas tend to drop the difficult bits in the Adagio. Was she still dancing it similar to this?

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=y8mudeY4jss

I see that choreography was by "Kevin McKenzie, Gelsey Kirkland, Michael Chernov" but I wonder who was leading the rehearsals for Kochetkova and Cornejo.

I'm so used to seeing Masha in neoclassical ballet and modern dance pieces (think Forsythe, McGregor, Paul Taylor) that I'm used to hearing how she eats up the space and really commands the stage, but obviously, before this audience, she faltered a bit. And sadly, she will get only one shot at it. Or maybe not sad, as it isn't necessarily her world. But I know she will want to improve each of her weaknesses - a defeat just makes her work like a demon.
 

I agree with mimsyb that all those full-length ballets at the Met contribute to the casting problems. And to fill such a big theater, those full-length warhorses seem to be a necessity with today's audiences. The two-week fall season, with nothing but mixed bills across the plaza in a smaller house, should help provide more opportunities for soloists and corps members. It will be a test case, as it were, to see if they can sell well. Let's hope they do.
 
Did someone mention that the ABT contract with the Met only runs through 2015? Perhaps that will be the opportunity to move to the you-know-who Theatre for a summer season once NYCB closes -- most of June, all of July. That's not ideal either, but it might be more realistic financially, especially if fund-raising woes continue. I suppose a March-April season would be a possibility, but not great either.

 
This echos my feeling that it is actually enervating for a company to become overly reliant on star vehicles. It's a problem at the big Russian companies and its a problem at the ABT. I can't say I really envy the current ABT repertory. In fact I would be really unhappy to have SFB and ABT swap programs.  ;)
But I'm not the sort to want to see Swan Lake each year with multiple casts. There's just too much more to explore...

#47 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 04:49 AM

 

From Pherank, above, on July 5 2013:

 

It's very interesting that she attempted little with the Rose Adagio, and I wonder if, as others have said, that the Russian trained ballerinas tend to drop the difficult bits in the Adagio. Was she still dancing it similar to this?

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=y8mudeY4jss

 



 

Personally, I'm just fine with a ballerina's opting to drop the whole arms en haut bit in the balances. There are still plenty of "difficult bits" left in the Rose Adagio -- not to mention the rest of the ballet -- to demonstrate her mettle. To me it's more important that Aurora, as a queen in the making, accepts each suitor's proffered hand with the requisite degree of charm, self-possession,  radiance, and musicality than that she somehow manages to get her hands up over her head and wreck the illusion of effortless grace in the process. When I think of the Auroras that have most moved me, it's not the balances I remember. 



#48 puppytreats

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:21 AM

Hee Seo's body does not seem to me to look like Ferri's or Kent's. Kent is very slight, willowy, and very thin.  Ferri is also extremely thin and slight, but with a curvier line.  Seo is broader, and more solid in physical appearance.   If you are talking about dance style, that may be a different thing.

 

I would not prefer to give up a meaningful work of art (e.g., "workhorses") so more people get a chance to dance (e.g., like "across the plaza".)   I don't think the emotional impact is the same.   



#49 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 08:48 AM

Hee Seo's body does not seem to me to look like Ferri's or Kent's. Kent is very slight, willowy, and very thin.  Ferri is also extremely thin and slight, but with a curvier line.  Seo is broader, and more solid in physical appearance.   If you are talking about dance style, that may be a different thing.

 

I would not prefer to give up a meaningful work of art (e.g., "workhorses") so more people get a chance to dance (e.g., like "across the plaza".)   I don't think the emotional impact is the same.   

I agree about ABT's rep.  Part of the reason I love ABT is because we (the audience) are able to watch multiple versions of the classics ("workhorses") each year.  I like that ABT's rep is different than NYCB's.  If they were to adopt the more variety program for their long Met season, why bother having 2 separate companies?

 

One more note about Kochetkova - I guess part of the reason I was dissatisfied by her performance is that I expected so much more from a "guest artist."  If McKenzie is going to spend extra money on a guest from another company, I want the guest to be exceptionally dazzling.  I didn't think Kochetkova delivered performances (I saw both of hers this season) that exceeded what some of ABT's soloists (i.e. Sarah Lane, Stella Abrera, or Simone Messmer) could have done if given the chance.  



#50 angelica

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 09:23 AM

Hee Seo's body does not seem to me to look like Ferri's or Kent's. Kent is very slight, willowy, and very thin.  Ferri is also extremely thin and slight, but with a curvier line.  Seo is broader, and more solid in physical appearance.   If you are talking about dance style, that may be a different thing.

 

I saw Hee Seo in a studio rehearsal of A Month in the Country with David Hallberg, and to me she seemed not only slight, willowy and very thin, but she made Julie Kent, who was in the room at the same time, look "wide," in comparison, if you can believe that! Maybe it has to do with having had children, I don't know. Years ago I saw Nina Ananiashvili dancing together with Maria Riccetto, and Ananiashvili looked "wide" in comparison to Riccetto.

 

Seo has a gorgeous line and an amazingly expressive port de bras, but she doesn't yet have the strength to carry a major Petipa ballet. It seems unconscionable to me that she was asked to debut in both Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty in the same season. Either of those ballets requires enormous preparation. Plus, she needs to work on strengthening her feet and ankles--but not on the Met stage.



#51 abatt

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 09:40 AM

I don't think it's unconscionable to expect a principal dancer to debut in SB and SL during the same season.  After all, Hee Seo does not perform lead roles in a number of the ballets that ABT presented this season, such as DonQ , Sylvia and Corsaire.  She already knew her roles in Eugene Onegin and R&J from prior seasons, so it does not seem like an unduly excessive burden.   The NY Post review of her SB was much kinder to her SB debut than a lot of the comments I've read here. 



#52 pherank

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 11:21 AM

 

I agree about ABT's rep.  Part of the reason I love ABT is because we (the audience) are able to watch multiple versions of the classics ("workhorses") each year.  I like that ABT's rep is different than NYCB's.  If they were to adopt the more variety program for their long Met season, why bother having 2 separate companies?


Hee Seo's body does not seem to me to look like Ferri's or Kent's. Kent is very slight, willowy, and very thin.  Ferri is also extremely thin and slight, but with a curvier line.  Seo is broader, and more solid in physical appearance.   If you are talking about dance style, that may be a different thing.

 

I would not prefer to give up a meaningful work of art (e.g., "workhorses") so more people get a chance to dance (e.g., like "across the plaza".)   I don't think the emotional impact is the same.   

 

One more note about Kochetkova - I guess part of the reason I was dissatisfied by her performance is that I expected so much more from a "guest artist."  If McKenzie is going to spend extra money on a guest from another company, I want the guest to be exceptionally dazzling.  I didn't think Kochetkova delivered performances (I saw both of hers this season) that exceeded what some of ABT's soloists (i.e. Sarah Lane, Stella Abrera, or Simone Messmer) could have done if given the chance.  

 

 

I have a feeeling that you represent the core audience of ABT pretty well. I'm glad that there IS an American company that is able to devote time and energies to the classic, traditional story ballets. Keeping tradition and history alive is a necessary part of this artform: someone's got to do it. And it's good to know that ABT is out there; I just happen to really enjoy mix-bill programs and seeing latest developments in the art as well. And as I mentioned before, I don't think the ABT model makes for a good learning and 'nurturing' environment for the general company - dancers trying to work their way up through the ranks seem to find it a more unforgiving and tempermental environment than they would see at a regional company. So there are pluses and minuses with this company model, for sure.

 

"If McKenzie is going to spend extra money on a guest from another company, I want the guest to be exceptionally dazzling.  I didn't think Kochetkova delivered performances (I saw both of hers this season) that exceeded what some of ABT's soloists (i.e. Sarah Lane, Stella Abrera, or Simone Messmer) could have done if given the chance."

 

A valid criticism given ABT's approach - you should be able to 'expect' 1st-rate performances from the principlas (though things do go wrong). I'm sorry that Kochetkova didn't deliver for you in this environment. It's going to be REALLY interesting to see just how well Messmer matches Kochetkova on Masha's home turf. I think Messmer will be a good fit at SFB, but you never know what will happen with personal chemistries. And then there's the city life - How will Messmer take to SF in general?



#53 Plisskin

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 03:19 PM

I found this on a Russian forum. Ivan Vasiliev and Isabella Boylston's Blue Bird PDD:

 

Awful.



#54 nysusan

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

 

I would not prefer to give up a meaningful work of art (e.g., "workhorses") so more people get a chance to dance (e.g., like "across the plaza".)   I don't think the emotional impact is the same.   

Amen to that! I would be so sad if ABT stopped doing the Petipa /Ivanov cannon during their summer seasons. I feel privileged to live in a city where we have both ABT & NYCB, it would be absolutely unthinkable to envision New York without a company that presents the great classics each and every year - and I don't mean NYCB's Balanchineized/Martinized versions. London has the RB, Paris has the POB, Moscow the Bolshoi and St. Petersburg the divine Mariinsky. Could I wish that ABT did better versions of the classics? Absolutely, but even McKenzie's Disneyfied stagings are better than nothing at all.
 

Its bad enough that we sometimes have to go a couple of years without Giselle and Bayadere, I wish ABT would do them and Swan Lake each year and then alternate Beauty and Raymonda (please please please Raymonda!!!!) along with the Ashton, McMillan and other full lengths. The 2 rep programs they've been doing at the Met the last few years rounds it out nicely, but the Met isn't the place for a rep heavy season. Story ballets are the heart & soul of ABT - its the "T" part and that's what their audience wants.  I guess its lucky for me that the taste of the 3,000 or so people who flock to the Met for 6 weeks every summer coincide with mine. I know that if ABT decided to give us only 2 or 3 full lengths each season I'd drop my subscriptions in a NY minute.

Meanwhile, I've been to 3 Sleeping Beauties so far. Hererra and Gomes were wonderful, he is just great in everything he does and this is my favorite role for her when it comes to the classics. Her technique is strong, her legs are beautiful, her balances were great and she was a lovely, demure, charming princess.

Lane & Simkin really wowed me, especially Lane. Like everyone else who posted about her performance I was totally captivated. Its kind of amazing to me how she has grown in the role after performing it once 5 years ago with no coaching in the intervening years. This time she really had it all. Beautiful, crystalline technique, lovely, long, secure balances and that je ne sais quoi that separates a ballerina from just another talented dancer. Her dancing had breath and beauty, her phrasing and musicality could rival Cojocaru's and her acting was pitch perfect. My only quibble was with the fish dives - they seemed pretty conservative, but who could blame her?

Watching Kochetkova and Cornejo was a very frustrating experience. Yes, he is an amazing dancer but Desire is such a small role, this is really Aurora's ballet and I found Kochetkova to be no more than adequate. Her technique was strong, she made no mistakes but she did nothing really right, either. Honestly, if she has so little experience dancing the classics why bring her here in the first place? The answer is clear - because they needed a partner for Cornejo and truth be told, even Lane & Reyes are a bit tall for him. She is not the answer, her Swan Lake was not great but at least she caught the basic essence of Odette/Odile. In Sleeping Beauty she really showed no feel for Petipa, the style or the musicality. And since she never danced with the Russian companies why should she do the Russian style Rose Adagio balances? The Royal & ENB both bring the arms en couronne in the 2nd set of balances, and aren't those the companies she danced with before SFB?  Certainly, anyone who saw Hererra & Lane hold beautiful, confident, radiant balances while interacting charmingly with the suitors had to be disappointed in her performance. And it wasn't just the Rose Adagio, she really didn't bring much nuance to her acting or dancing in the whole first act. There was no "perfume". She was better in the next 2 acts but still nothing to write home about.

My Lilac Fairies were Part, Abrera and Kajiya. Part & Abrera were great, Part was was magical & majestic, you just knew that she had everything under control. Abrera was beautiful with gorgeous line and lovely technique. Both radiated grace and authority. Kajiya's dancing was fine but simply did not command the stage. She is really a light, romantic type of dancer with a tendency towards small scale movement. Not a good choice for Lilac. I wish they had given Hee Seo more Lilac  performances, I think it would be a great role for her and I'm sorry I won't be able to see her only performance tonight.

ABT's dancers perform the fairy variations very well and its such a relief to see their versions after having seen NYCB's earlier this year.  Especially the "Valor" variation (also known as the finger variation). With NYCB I could swear I was watching the Anger Fairy.  Here both Misty Copeland and Devon Teuscher gave us all the strength and determination inherent in the steps without stabbing their fingers like daggers.  Sincerity and Charity are my two favorites and they were both beautifully done. Katherine Williams & Melanie Hamrick did Sincerity and Gemma Bond did all 3 performance of Charity that I saw (she subbed for Leann Underwood in one). Kristi Boone and Yuriko Kajiya did Ferver and Luciana Paris and Christine Shevchenko did Joy.

Despite the many flaws of ABT's production there is much to love in the performances - so many wonderful roles for so many talented dancers.



#55 vipa

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 06:32 PM

My question is - Will KM do anything with Sarah Lane?  I wasn't able to see her performance this year.  The one I saw 5 years ago was flawed but way beyond good, and certainly worth nurturing.  Given her age (late 20's) and length of time with the company it's now or never.  



#56 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:45 PM

 

Its bad enough that we sometimes have to go a couple of years without Giselle and Bayadere,

 

 

Ha...just a couple of years...? Oh wow, you lucky NY'rs...

 

 

I saw the performance with Herrera and Gomes replacing Stearns.  I brought along my friend, who was exposed to his very first SB live.  I LOVED Paloma in the role.  I actually saw her Aurora some years ago when ABT brought this production to Miami, and I must say I liked her way more now than back then.  Her Rose Adagio was magnificent.  No bubbling balances, but instead very centered, strong and just wonderful.  She placed her hands up there en couronne, and didn't seem to be in a rush to hold the suitor's hand right away, just as many ballerinas do.  I'm probably one of the few that believes that a ballerina ought to be in control of the signature technical challenges of a given ballet, and otherwise she should not be performing it..  Aurora is a demanding role.  The ballerina dances a lot, and Herrera really conquered the hard technical passages.  I didn't think I was going to like her that much. 

Gomes was just as wonderful.  He partnered Herrera to perfection, and he's just a pleasure to watch.  Handsome, elegant, with such noble carriage and so engaged in the whole atmosphere of the story.  He and Herrera looked very believable together-(something that doesn't happen all the time). 

Part was very beautiful as Lilac-(I had seen her in the role also years ago, and I remembered her more insecure...but not this time).  I particularly enjoyed the Vision Scene, with its message of untangible  love conquering.  

Misty Copeland danced Violante.  There's a physical detail in Copeland that bothers me-(I've seen her a couple of times onstage).  She has hyper curved lower legs, and I noticed that the effect during chainee turns is weird.  Because her legs don't create a straight line, when together they separate from the knees down, and then the chainee turns loose very much its magic, which is largely based in placing both feet as close as possible while executing the steps.  In general she danced fine, but I don't think she is Principal material.

Was it me or this I noticed Vasiliev somehow heavy during his Bluebird solos and coda...? I keep saying I think he's gaining some weight.  I also didn't find him particularly engaging this time.  His Orion was better.

 

I don't have too much complains about scenery and costumes.  One thing I would had liked is that they had not erased that much the characters divertissements.  At least they could had leave the cats. 

 

I must say this will stay as one of my all time favorite SB.



#57 nysusan

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 05:43 AM

Woo Hoo!!! Misty Copeland just tweeted that she will be dancing Florine tonight:

 

https://twitter.com/mistyonpointe

 

Can't wait!!!!



#58 kbarber

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:23 AM

 

  At least they could had leave the cats. 

 

 

There is no pussycat pdd in ABT's Beauty???????



#59 ABT Fan

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:27 AM

I swear I saw the Puss N Boots pas in their SB years ago. Very short dance but cute. Did they take it out??

#60 ABT Fan

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:31 AM

My question is - Will KM do anything with Sarah Lane?  I wasn't able to see her performance this year.  The one I saw 5 years ago was flawed but way beyond good, and certainly worth nurturing.  Given her age (late 20's) and length of time with the company it's now or never.  


I think many of us are wondering this same thing. I've seen Lane dance regularly over the years and she never disappoints me. Always secure, gorgeous technique, continues to grow, never any big problems. I hope she isn't left to wallow as a soloist forever. She'd also make a very lovely Juliet.


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