Last night's gala was packed to the rafters. It seemed like a sell out. I liked the new costumes for T&V. They were elegant, with the principals in goldish yellow, the demis in peach and the corps in tangerine/orange. The bodice of the principal tutu had what looked like crystals or sequins. The men's jackets are military style (I thinks that's what it's called), also with a fair number of crystal sequins on the front. I was disturbed by the fact that Murphy's brand new tutu had a long loose thread hanging down the back, which was apparently cut off once she exited stage. As for the performance, it was good but not spectacular. There was nothing wrong with it, but it didn't crackle with excitement and energy. I think I prefer the NYCB less fussy performance style of this work.
I didn't enjoy Gomes' piece. It looked like a student work with repitition of aimless, pointless jumps for 8 (?) shirtless men. It didn't help that Gomes' work followed a Balanchine masterpiece.
I thought the Tempest was mostly successful. First, the costumes, makeup (for Simkin and Cornejo) scenic design and lighting were very well done. Some of the costumes was outrageously creative and strange. If the viewer was not familiar w. The Tempest going in, or neglected to study in depth thel synopsis, I'm afraid a lot of the drama would be totally lost and very difficult to follow. There are a lot of characters in this production, and it's not easy to follow what's going on from the choreography alone. There was a chorus and a mezzo soprano, but for the life of me I couldn't understand a single word of her singing. Maybe distribution of the text would help. The best and most daring choreography was performed by Simkin, who performed numerous flashy jumps and leaps while staying completely in character as Ariel. I thought most of the other choreography for Gomes, Lane, Gorak and the others was somewhat generic. This may be due in part to the music, which I think has limited dance potential. I thought Herman Cornejo got the short end of the stick. His choreography consisted of looking and moving like a Neanderthal Man. Most of the time he was on the floor, rather than airbound.
The Koch Theater promenade was designed to look like a scene out of the Tempest, but it was so overdone it was tacky. There were strobe lights (lightning), belching steam machines which were supposed to look list mist coming off the sea, and sound effects for thunder. In addition, there were gigantic paper mache structures all over the promenade meant to look like whirling tornadoes. The lighting was also very dim. A good idea run amuck.
ABT needs to have a better plan for moving people around during intermission and after the show. Various bathrooms were inexplicably closed. On the second ring, you were not permitted to walk from one end of the house to the other because there was lighting or sound equipment blocking the pathway from house left to house right. When the show was over, however, instead of allowing people to leave that ring via the nearest stairway on house left, the ushers forced people sitting on the left side to maneuver their way through all of the equipment and a blinding strobe light to use the staircase on house right. Easy potential for a major accident.
Celebs in attendance: Bebe Neuwirth, Sigournay Weaver, Star Jones, Peter Martins. I'm sure there are others I didn't notice. Wendy Whelan was there (no crutches). A. Ferri was also in attendance.