cubanmiamiboy

MCB Program I

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Starting tomorrow at the Arsht Center...

Why didn't they scheduled "Polyphonia" the last...? mad.gif

Anyhow...I'll be there and back to report. tiphat.gif

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PROGRAM I: FIRST VENTURES
October 18 - November 17
Miami, Fort Lauderdale & West Palm Beach, FL

Miami City Ballet's season opener features the company premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's breakthrough contemporary work, Polyphonia, along with two entrancing Balanchine ballets - Serenade, his first masterpiece created in America, and Ballo della Regina, hailed by The New York Times as a "bounding test of technique and endurance."

Ballo Della Regina (Balanchine/Verdi)
Polyphonia (Wheeldon/Ligeti) - Company Premiere
Serenade (Balanchine/Tchaikovsky)

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They know many would leave after the Balanchine! You know that! LOL

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I actually think that Serenade makes a great closer. It's such a powerful piece that it can overwhelm the remaining items on the program (even two that are as good as this).

Also - looking forward to hearing about it. I desperately wish I could go.

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...

Why didn't they scheduled "Polyphonia" the last...? mad.gif

...

Maybe somebody in charge of that was in the grips of that rule that says, put the "difficult" item in the middle, after an attractive, accessible opener, and they'll stay to see what the last one is like.

I actually think that Serenade makes a great closer.

...

Agreed. Especially the way it lifts off into eternity, if you want to see it that way, at the end. On the other hand, not a bad opener, either, depending on what you've got to close with; it shows ordinary movement becoming stylized and beautiful, with intimations early on - hunh? she's late? - that "there's something funny here", "something's coming" that's not just beautiful. We're set up, and we're knocked over, and we're transported. A beginning for a life - not merely an evening - of watching ballet - this is what it's all about.

IIRC, MCB opened with as vital performance of Serenade as I can remember a few years ago, and on short notice too, when they had a rash of injuries among the principal men. But given these three ballets, their order isn't so bad, IMHO; little Ballo as a closer?.

With luck, I'll see the program in Fort Lauderdale. (You have my sympathy, Swanilda8.)

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Jack, do you remember, didn't Suzanne Farrell Ballet close with Serenade during their Kennedy Center run in 2004? It seems more like an opening ballet to me, but I'd take it anywhere I could get it!

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I think it is safe to guess they wanted the better known, most beautiful ballet as a safe closer so people-(like me)-doesn't make a quick exit trying to avoid the modern experiment of choice-(Polyphonia in this case).

Anyhow...I know I will be excited just thinking of "what's coming up next" during Wheeldon's...

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Aha...so Albertson and Arja are the choices for "Ballo..", just as I had noticed during the rehearsal I witnessed. Such a waste not to had the Delgado sisters do this...

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Jack, do you remember, didn't Suzanne Farrell Ballet close with Serenade during their Kennedy Center run in 2004? It seems more like an opening ballet to me, but I'd take it anywhere I could get it!

No, I don't remember that, but according to a post by Alexandra, they planned to close a Tchaikovsky program with it in December 2003, but I can't find posts about, and don't remember, a 2004 season. I do remember a considerable desert we fans of that troupe had to cross before we got another season around that time...

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Jack, do you remember, didn't Suzanne Farrell Ballet close with Serenade during their Kennedy Center run in 2004? It seems more like an opening ballet to me, but I'd take it anywhere I could get it!

No, I don't remember that, but according to a post by Alexandra, they planned to close a Tchaikovsky program with it in December 2003, but I can't find posts about, and don't remember, a 2004 season. I do remember a considerable desert we fans of that troupe had to cross before we got another season around that time...

That's the program I was thinking of.

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It looks like I may make it to Miami tonight after all...touch and go with work situation & airline. On a wing and a prayer.



BALLO is more upbeat and 'traditional,' which makes for good closers. POLYPHONIA will be the 'intellectual' piece...usually the middle work. SERENADE is, I think, a great starter - especially season starter - with the opening 'school moves' from the corps. Let's start at the very beginning... not that my thoughts matter one iota, as BALLO will begin the show in Miami & SERENADE will end. smile.png


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Aha...so Albertson and Arja are the choices for "Ballo..", just as I had noticed during the rehearsal I witnessed. Such a waste not to had the Delgado sisters do this...

I looked through the casting and noticed both Delgado sisters were missing all together :(. Let's hope that whatever is ailing them or causing their absence ends quickly!

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Stumbling around the MCB web site, looking for a little description or something that might help me have a little warm-up for Polyphonia (but not finding anything so far), I ran across Behind the Ballet, a free pre-performance event - different at different times - to run at Arsht. Anybody going? The latter two, with Merrill Ashley or Jason Fowler, look particularly interesting.

But up the coast, nothing? I've been wondering whether Lopez would take over Villella's custom of introducing the program.

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Stumbling around the MCB web site, looking for a little description or something that might help me have a little warm-up for Polyphonia (but not finding anything so far), I ran across Behind the Ballet, a free pre-performance event - different at different times - to run at Arsht. Anybody going? The latter two, with Merrill Ashley or Jason Fowler, look particularly interesting.

But up the coast, nothing? I've been wondering whether Lopez would take over Villella's custom of introducing the program.

DJ, cocktails, dancers in costume...wow...sound like fun! I wish I would had checked this before to make arrangements to be there on time, but my companions tonight are already set up to go with me at a later time...sad.png

I would had gladly posed for red carpet flash flash for sure!! happy.png

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Thanks, cubanmiamiboy...and it was great to have met your lovely mom too! smile.png

Whew, that was probably the quickest trip I've taken but definitely one of the most satisfying. Cubanmiamiboy already knows that I had major issues with the dancing of the female lead (Ms Arja) in Ballo, who changed/watered down many steps to help her get through the piece. I find it really hard to believe that Merrill Ashley approved this; such sloppiness cannot be blamed just on opening-night jitters. Nathalia Arja is a pretty dancer, blessed with the ideal physique of ultra-long and willowy limbs, in relation to a tiny torso but...this part requires steel pointes, not sponge pointes (for starters). This ballerina role requires a strong, straight back...not tipping the torso forward, making a rounded 'C' shape by sticking out the ribs, in every arabesque. Limp wrists in port de bras....etc, etc. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Everything that I write henceforth is uphill...

pause - pause - pause...deep breathing...

I arrived at the Arsht Center, straight from the airport, about an hour before curtain. Those Miamians sure know how to put on a party and dress to the nines -- it was Friday Night Prom amid the coconut palm trees! The entryway to the theater had been turned into an outdoor nightclub, with live DJ, cocktail tables, special lights, etc. All beautiful young gals in Miami seemed to be there, wearing size-0 prom dresses, some cut like tutus. All I can say is: I'm glad to have traveled in high heels and not the usual sneakers.

So on to the show:

Ballo - beautiful, beautiful staging by Ms Ashley. We already know that the MCB corps de ballet is one of the world's best in Balanchine, but they truly outdid themselves here in Ballo, as well as in Serenade. Bravi! The leading man, Renan Cerdeiro, was phenomenal, with a huge jump and very musical. The four demi-solo ladies were commendable but I especially loved the steely footwork of the first (Zoe Zien) and the bouyant jetes of the third (Nicole Stalker).

Polyphonia - A powerful work to Ligeti solo-piano pieces, this is considered one of the greatest ballets of the 21st C (so far!). One of the reasons why I made this trip was precisely to see this, as I'd previously seen only the other two of Wheeldon's 'Ligeti Trilogy' works, Morphoses & Continuum. To me, it is definitely the strongest of the three Wheeldon-Ligetis, in its composition -- how the 10 pieces flow from one to the other -- and due to the beautiful innovative shapes made on the 8 dancers (4 male-female couples). All 8 dancers were fantastic...including Ms Arja, who was fine in the more 'freeform' demands made by Wheeldon, compared to Balanchine. The other dancers also deserve mention: Tricia Albertson (who dances the two most mysterious pdds, with Reyneris Reyes), Jennifer Kronenberg (extraordinary in her solo within Part VI), Sara Esty, Renan Cerdeiro, Mr. Reyes, Renato Penteado and Kleber Rebello.

Serenade - Now I totally understand why this work was programmed last, even though it is 'softer' than the zippy Ballo. The corps was breathtaking. Sheer perfection, in delivery and nuances. I have rarely seen this ballet so magnificently performed. And those soloists - WOW to Jennifer Kronenberg. I've never quite understood the 'full story' behind this ballet but, whatever the story, Kronenberg's leading character had me in tears well before the famous death ending. This is a great artist - true ballerina. And the other soloists were just as swell: Sara Esty, Emily Bromberg, Carlos M. Guerra (as Kronenberg's partner) and blonde 'angel' Chase Swatosh.

So I came for Polyphonia but had Serenade in my heart as I exited the Arsht Center, with a huge full Moon Over Miami. Yes, it was full...how ideal is that?

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p.s. - Before the show, the Mayor of Miami stepped before the curtain to proclaim October 18 'Lourdes Lopez Day' henceforth throughout the city. Ms. Lopez seemed truly surprised as she stepped up to get her proclamation.

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I am very surprised. Arja usually comes off as a spitfire powerhouse sort of in the Osipova mold. At least that has been my impression.

I will see this program in West Palm in November. I wonder if casting will be different.

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I think if you're a little mystified at the end of Serenade, if you don't understand the 'full story', then you've got it.

The ballet is strewn with surprises and mysteries, maybe beginning with the class formation combined with the raised hands, certainly with the girl who comes in late - it happened at the first rehearsal, but by the second one the perfect world of ballet could have been established, but no - and later the little accident of the girl falling - a tragedy in the world of ballet, a dancer falls down - is transformed into a beautiful tableau (like you might see in a sculpture museum, right?).

And the end, death and transfiguration? If you like. Mr. B. liked a little ambiguity, but at the end it does look like the girl who takes a fall, has her adventure with her Eros or Cupid, and is abandoned, meets her larger fate - looks up at the mother-figure, if you like (Karin von Aroldingen would sometimes wear a terrified expression here for a moment) - and goes on high, like another sculpture, of Victory, this one.

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I had a pleasant night. Ballo is sort of new to me since I had only seen it once, many years ago in Cuba. As I had said before, it was staged by Ashley too, and only one performance was given, with only one ballerina chosen for the role: Lorna Feijoo. As I had also said, I remember Ashley famously declaring after watching the performance that if she ought to choose one dancer to be the bearer of the role after her, that would be Miss Feijoo. I don't remember too much of it, to be honest...everything being a fuzzy memory of a very fast, quick, brilliant allegro for the ballerina. Funny enough, aside from that my biggest memory of it was the rampant fall that Feijoo took onstage during a little running segment, after which she quickly got up and danced even better. I also think that this was the only time a Balanchine role originator-(aside from Alonso with T&V)-has staged a work in Havana.

So then...I was seated in the third tier center-(I usually prefer orchestra, due to my poor vision, but I really wanted to see the evolutions of Serenade from up there).

Nathalia Arja is still a very young dancer, and she's still in the Corps. I really don't understand why isn't Jeanette Delgado or Mary Carmen Catoya dancing this. Evidently, just as Natasha says, this role needs one very technical ballerina. I don't have too much to add to this, for which I don't have that much of a point of comparison. I don't know the choreography to the point of detecting mishaps, but one thing I know. The performance didn't thrill me as much as that one I saw those many years ago.

Cerdeiro is still a work in progress in my book. He's l not yet in the page I like my male dancers to be...a la Carlos Acosta, Marcelo Gomes, Jose Manue Carreno, Roberto Bolle etc. He's technically attractive, given, but I still don't see rapport with his ballerinas. His onstage love stories-(even imaginary ones as in Ballo)-are still not very credible. He needs to GROW...to look less of a boy onstage. He performed nicely though.

While looking at the choreo, I kept thinking-(and don't kill me for this, please...)- "This ballet would had looked opulent in tutus..."

Serenade was just mesmerizing. What a wonderful piece. Balanchine couldn't go wrong with it. The magnificent music, the dreamy atmosphere, the beautiful costumes..everything is just perfect. I always think of it as the sophisticated younger sister of "Chopiniana"...happy.png

My mom looked at me at one point and whispered..."But that's not the order of the music!" tongue.png

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My mom looked at me at one point and whispered..."But that's not the order of the music!" tongue.png

Think of all the people who learn the music by seeing the ballet, and then wrinkle their foreheads when they hear it in the original order.

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BTW...I was hesitating abut bringing this issue, but I can't resist...Carlos Guerra in Serenade looked square...VERY out of shape.

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I was thinking the same, cubanmiamiboy! Well, at least Guerra's role is mainly that of a partner, with little solo-bravura dancing. Hence, he performed ok but he looked a bit out of place.

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I think next time I see Ballo-(probably during the Fort Lauderdale run)-I'll try to see it from orchestra center very near the stage. I think all this fast allegro work of the ballerina can get lost from too much distance-(and more if 1-one doesn't know the choreo very well and 2-if one's vision is sort of poor like mine. For instance...I could not luxuriate very well in that fast series of hops on pointe...so I feel like I lost much of the variation's charm.

Serenade, on the other side, is a WINNER from upstairs.

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