ord7916

Swan Lake

78 posts in this topic

....but gotten off track in a wonderful way! With strongly held opinions that are still respectful and edify the conversation. I'll take this type of meandering through Swan Lake's history any and every day of the week!

Always happy to watch this kind of meandering -- I just wanted to make sure that someone who asked for help got what they needed.

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So let me swing us back to the advice that ord seeks. It might help us advise you if we knew a little about your tastes. Which ballets have you seen (by which companies) and which have you liked, which not? It will help us guide you.

I looked at NYCB's offerings for its Fall Season, and I cannot recommend highly enough the Balanchine Black and White program. It contains three acknowledged masterpieces. I don't think two of them -- The Four Temperaments and Symphony in Three Movements -- are inaccessible. (The other masterpiece is Duo Concertant.) Episodes is a little dense in some sections.

If you don't like leotard ballets or plotless ballets, then this is NOT for you. Yet. :wink:

And while it doesn't come around until the last week of Spring Season I urge you: Do not miss A Midsummer NIght's Dream. Sheer delight, wonderful choreography, costumes, story, the whole shebang!

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So let me swing us back to the advice that ord seeks. It might help us advise you if we knew a little about your tastes. Which ballets have you seen (by which companies) and which have you liked, which not? It will help us guide you.

I looked at NYCB's offerings for its Fall Season, and I cannot recommend highly enough the Balanchine Black and White program. It contains three acknowledged masterpieces. I don't think two of them -- The Four Temperaments and Symphony in Three Movements -- are inaccessible. (The other masterpiece is Duo Concertant.) Episodes is a little dense in some sections.

Another suggestion -- check Marcia Siegel's Shapes of Change for her analyses of Serenade and Four T's. It will make your viewing much richer.

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NYCB has put up a video with Mearns & Bouder discussing the role. So interesting to see two very different types of ballerina in the same role.

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I'm disappointed that Hyltin was not cast in SL. I skipped her last time & was hoping to catch her this season. Its a good lesson - buy your tickets when you can cause you never know when they'll be cast again!

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I'll be very brief with my question: Mearns or Bouder for this fall Swan Lake?

Thank you very much in advance!

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Mearns, without a doubt. But all of NYCB's Swan Lake performances are pretty close to sold out, so I hope you are able to get tickets!

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Mearns, without a doubt. But all of NYCB's Swan Lake performances are pretty close to sold out, so I hope you are able to get tickets!

I agree - Mearns. Teresa Reichlen is also doing O/O even though she wasn't in that video.

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[A]ll of NYCB's Swan Lake performances are pretty close to sold out...

It's always nice to hear about ballet sell-outs. Maybe the advance success of this run explains the willingness of the advertising people to indulge in an untypically ugly, 1/6-page ad in the NY Times today. (Arts and Leisure section, p. 2).

We see (shot from above) 2 lines of 6 and 5 swans. . Each swan stands on a single turned-out flat foot, never the best angle for a shot of a flat foot in point shoes, None of the feet is aimed in the same direction. The camera catches each swan's right arm as she executes her own personalized version of the bent-elbow-bent-wrist-splayed-fingers effect.

A very odd choice, though I guess someone decided to go for the feel of a back-stage shot and to skip the romantic illusion.

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See Mearns if you go. Second choice is Reichlin. I like Bouder in many things, but Odette is not a great role for her.

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Thank you, everybody - your help is greatly appreciated.

I will probably try to see if someone's selling extra tickets on Sept. 17.

Thanks again!

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I just got home from the opening night Swan Lake with Sara Mearns and Jared Angle. This is the second time that I have seen the Peter Martins NYCB Swan Lake. The first time I saw it was two years ago with Teresa Reichlen and Tyler Angle (who I will be seeing again this Friday night!) When I saw this production the first time, I definitely did not like it - I think I was so used to the ABT production. Tonight, I liked this production so much more, mostly because of our leading ballerina, but I will save her for the end.

The drabness of the sets bothered me the first time. Tonight - not so much. Same with the costumes - last time the fact that only Odette wore a tutu and the un-princely quality of Siegfried's costume bothered me. Tonight - I was okay with it. I was trying to describe the costumes of the court during Act III - Mary Queen of Scots meets the Mushroom People might be the best description.

The overall production was very good. One of the things that still bothers me about this version is the lightning fast pace of the music. And the orchestra takes away probably one of the most satisfying parts for the audience - that beautiful last beat of the Act II adagio when Odette drops down into Siegfried's body. Instead, just as we are getting close to that part, the orchestra jumps in with one of those Yadda da yadda da - hope you liked our show! I felt robbed without "the usual" end to the adagio.

Two errors I noticed - one poor swan collapsed to the floor on entrance - I felt so bad for her. The Dance for the 4 Small Swans got off to a rocky start, but finished fine.

The Act III dances were all great. The Pas de Quatre was done beautifully by Megan Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Abi Stafford, and Joaquin De Luz. I actually preferred the national dances in this version compared to the ABT version. My favorite was the Russian Dance by Rebecca Krohn and Amar Ramasar (yeah! - from the Bronx!!).

I found Jared Angle okay. He was a little on the bland side. And I am no expert in this area, but I wish he would have extended his leg a liitle more, especially when landing his jumps. He was a competent partner for Sara, but when she charged up the emotions, he did not repond on her level. I found Jared a little lackluster, yet in the same performance Da Luz, Ramasar, and Antonio Carmena (in the Neapolitan Dance) all really lit up the stage.

I found Sara Mearns so radiant. I saw her for the first time two years ago on a mixed Balnchine/Robbins night. Then, I saw her in Emeralds in Jewels and she made me cry. Tonight, I was waiting for what effect her dancing would have on me. I have to say, she is probably one of the most fascinating Odettes/Odiles I have ever seen. She made some interesting choices in her acting and mime. The Act II pas de deux was beautiful, except for the jarring ending and I was left during intermission trying to analyze her performance. Then, in Act III, she was an incredible Odile. You could actually see the change in personality through the way that she danced. (Just on a side note, I was thinking about one of the reviews of the ABT Swan Lake. When Odile is revealed as not being Odette, von Rothbart runs through the front door, Odile runs to the side. One person posted - where does she go? Does she run through the kitchen? - well Sara also went through the kitchen.) Then, her Act IV pas de deux was so heartbreaking. When she left Siegfried and disappeared slowly going backwards, with all the swans coming in front of her - I felt a tear go down my cheek.

Thank you Sara - brava! flowers.gifflowers.gifflowers.gif

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Yes, last night was a terrific beginning to the season. Sara Mearns was exquisite in every way. Truly a magnificent performance. Beautifully flexible spine, expressive arms, and facial expressions that allow you to read the entire story in her eyes. Sometimes I worry about her in the fouettes section of act III, but she nailed it. Jared is kind a blank for me too Ceeszi. He is a good and reliable partner, but I often feel like he is barely muddling through the technical demands of his solos. Ulbricht did a wonderful job as the Jester, but he didn't seem quite as over-the-top as he has in the past. Huxley was terrific as Benno, and Pollack and Pereira acquited themselves well in the pas de trois. The pas de quarre was performed to perfection. The four little swans were out of sync, expecially in the beginning of the variation. The orchestra's pace was too fast most of the time. The house looked sold out.

Still on a high from Mearns' brilliant performance.

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I also saw the performance last night and, as a novice-watcher of NYCB, I'm happy to have my reactions confirmed by both Ceeszi and Abatt. Highlights: Mearns (great from the start but got even better as the night went on), Ulbricht, Ramasar and the delightful Pas de Quatre; lowlight for me was definitely Prince Siegfried, who, though appropriately statuesque, lacked charisma of any sort. I kept wondering how amazing the performance might have been if Mearns had a partner of equal pizazz. But it's easy to be critical and I was very happy to have been there!

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I would love to see Mearns with Gomes. An ABT-NYCB mash up. Oh well, probably will never happen, but I can dream...

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I was also there last night and will write more if I have time later. But, I had a question about the apprentices. It was announced a month or so back that several, but not all, of last year's apprentices were given corps contracts. I kind of assumed that was bad news for the remaining apprentices and that they would not be moving forward with the company. However, last night I noticed that several of last year's apprentices are still dancing as apprentices, in addition to a whole new batch of apprentices from the recent SAB class. Is this usual practice? I think literally half the swans were apprentices. Somehow I had the idea there was a limit on how long you could be an apprentice, and surely some of these must be approaching the limit.

Otherwise, much the same reaction as others note. Mearns great; Angle a little bland but a great partner and I love his gracious presence. Whereas in the past I totally hated this production, to the point of never wanting to see it again, now I don't hate it quite as much! I was especially surprised to find myself enjoying the folk dances; they had more life and interest than usual. I loved the Spanish dance, especially Faye Arthurs and a very snappy, snazzy Sean Suozzi.

I have a ticket for tonight... a little unsure about Ashley Bouder in the role, but we'll see!

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I would love to see Mearns with Gomes. An ABT-NYCB mash up. Oh well, probably will never happen, but I can dream...

You took the words right out of my mouth - I was also thinking about a Sara-Marcelo pairing.

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Cobweb, I will be very interested to hear reports on Bouder's performance tonight. I read a recent interview with Bouder (forgot which publication) in which she stated that she was working to improve her Odette and, in general, wants to add adagio roles to her rep. (The gist of the interview is that Bouder feels she is typically cast in allegro parts, but she knows that she must work her way into other types of roles as she ages.)

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Cobweb, I don't know about this current group of apprentices specifically but, the typical apprentice contract at NYCB is for one year (union agreement). I know of one instance when the company dancers were asked to vote on extending the contracts of apprentices (to help with Nutcracker season and a large cast of Romeo and Juliet which followed) but, in that case, it was only a temporary extension of their apprentice contracts and they did not join the corps when the extension ended.

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Yes, last night was a terrific beginning to the season. Sara Mearns was exquisite in every way. Truly a magnificent performance. Beautifully flexible spine, expressive arms, and facial expressions that allow you to read the entire story in her eyes. Sometimes I worry about her in the fouettes section of act III, but she nailed it. Jared is kind a blank for me too Ceeszi. He is a good and reliable partner, but I often feel like he is barely muddling through the technical demands of his solos. Ulbricht did a wonderful job as the Jester, but he didn't seem quite as over-the-top as he has in the past. Huxley was terrific as Benno, and Pollack and Pereira acquited themselves well in the pas de trois. The pas de quarre was performed to perfection. The four little swans were out of sync, expecially in the beginning of the variation. The orchestra's pace was too fast most of the time. The house looked sold out.

Still on a high from Mearns' brilliant performance.

I agree with abatt in all but a few small ways. Mearns is a marvel in the role. I appreciated Jared's performance for his partnering. The kind of partnering that gives a woman a lot of freedom, but I agree he is bland and barely got through his solos - a let down after the excellent dancing of Ulbricht (jester) & DeLuz (pas de quatre). The four little swans were out of sync, but I'd bet money that it was an orchestral problem that threw them off. From the audience I couldn't hear the lead in (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &) that's played and sets the tempo before they start, and I don't think they heard it either, then the oboe made a weird entrance.

Loved Savannah Lowery in Neopolitan.

In both the pas de trois & pas de quatre I find the choreography someone inorganic, as if Martins wanted to do something different and difficult. That said the pas de Quatre couldn't have been danced better (DeLuz, A. Stafford, M. Fairchild, T. Peck). I fear it's the kind of thing that takes principal dancers to make iwork. I didn't care for Pereira in the pas de trois.

I really agree that the tempos were too fast in places. Mearns white solo was glorious, but could have been more so if she had had a little more time to luxuriate.

That said it was a fine evening. I won't be seeing SL again, so I can't wait to read about other casts. Thank you everyone for writing.

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The most interesting aspect of Martins' Swan Lake production is the psychological undertone of melancholy and a sort of nonspecific dread evoked by the orchestra (which played very well indeed on Wednesday night). The simplicity and lack of gaudiness of the costumes enhance this aspect as it leads our attention right to the music which is the underpinning of the whole experience. I thought Ashley Bouder was musically spot-on last night. Her swan-ness seemed to grow as the piece progressed.

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The four little swans were out of sync, but I'd bet money that it was an orchestral problem that threw them off. From the audience I couldn't hear the lead in (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &) that's played and sets the tempo before they start, and I don't think they heard it either, then the oboe made a weird entrance.

I just want to add that I definitely thought it was a problem in the orchestra. I was sitting pretty close (although off to the side) and the lead in was totally missed except for maybe one note. I think I had the same expression on my face as the dancers like "whoa wait!" But they pulled it together quickly and the rest of the variation was great.

This was my first time seeing NYCB's production and overall I really enjoyed it. I was worried Sara Mearns wouldn't live up to the incredible amount of hype surrounding her performance in this role but she absolutely did. I thought she was wonderful. I agree with everything that has been said about Jared Angle - I don't think his dancing was very good at all but as a partner, you could tell that he was very secure and that she felt very comfortable and was able to throw herself into the turns and lifts.

I always feel that the women of the corps struggle in more classical works. Their hands and arms - which look excellent and precise in Balanchine works - totally distract me from the rest of the movement and to me it looked like they didn't know exactly what to do with their upper bodies in this ballet.

But overall I was really glad to have seen this production - wish I could see it again this week but no such luck.

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I attended Wednesday night's performance, and I have to say that I am totally bewildered by Ashley Bouder's interpretation of Odette/Odile. Ashley, Ashley -- why?? Such a great dancer who is a joy to see in so many roles. Why this bizarre, jagged, affected interpretation? Where is the legato, the luxuriating movement, the soulfulness and sorrow of Odette? What is this totally maniacal grin as Odile? Why the staccato delivery, hitting the iconic poses and holding them like a rock, with no effort at softness or subtlety? Andrew Veyette looked like he was in another ballet altogether, trying to emote and connect with his swan, and gamely getting all the partnering done with his usual assurance, despite his swan being a caricature of the role. Ashley, this is just the opinion of one fan, and a lay person at that, with no connection to the professional ballet world, but for what it's worth, I urge you to ditch whatever coach dreamed up this interpretation, and rely on your own inner resources to connect with this great role in a way worthy of your talents. Sincerely, your fan, Cobweb.

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Thanks for your report Cobweb. I have to say that I hated Bouder's interpretation of SL during the last revival. It was the worst performance of Odette I had ever seen, anywhere. All the problems you mention above were the same issues I saw in her last attempt at the role. Based on what you say, it appears that despite her efforts to improve, it has not occurred. Choppy phrasing, blasting out the steps with no hint of musicality. So sad she is so wonderful in so many things, but not this balllet. I was actually pretty surprised that she was cast in the role again this year after the scathing NY Times review from her last performance in the role (where A. Macauley referred to her as a hornet!).

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