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ABT Opening Night GalaTheme & Variations, The Tempest, Aftereffect (New Gomes)


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#1 abatt

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:32 AM

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.



#2 Natalia

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:37 AM

Great report, abatt! Thanks so much. I am truly looking forward to seeing The Tempest later on in the run.



#3 Golden Idol

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:31 AM

May I hop on to Abatt's report with a few reactions of my own. I guess I'm a little more forgiving of the "tempest" decor on the mezzanine. Yes, it was silly, but I was mildly amused by it, and after all I'm not one of the richies that ate dinner apres la danse amidst all that wacky decor. I didn't have any problems with wending my way around obstructions, but perhaps I was just lucky. I'm less forgiving of the ballet The Tempest, which I found admirable but not really likable. Yes, Simkin was the showiest element of it, and he filled Ariel's choreography to the max, but the music is so dull, and from start to finish the adaptation of the narrative was emotionally dry and uninvolving. And oh yes, poor Cornejo seemed wasted. I don't look forward to seeing it again next summer on the Shakespearean program. One other thing: didn't the production team learn from Firebird not to use again that glassy black flooring that squeaks against the dancers' slippers? Clearly (and audibly) they did not. I do disagree with Abatt about Marcelo's piece. I don't have a clue what the name "Aftereffects" could signify, but I did enjoy it--I liked the nonstop energy and the athleticism of it, and its only lapse in common sense occurred when the men lie on their backs and wiggle their arms in the air: what's that about? I (thankfully) didn't see Sascha's eagle tattoo on his biceps--was it successfully covered over with makeup or has he been able to have it removed? I have little to add to Abatt's comments on Theme and Variations, though Gillian looked marvellous and Whiteside's partnering was very gallant, and I spotted that loose thread, too! And one of Gillian's spangles popped off her costume at one point! Now, this one I do look forward to seeing again at the final matinee perf, when Whiteside will partner Paloma, and when I'll happily get to see Guillaume Cote again, in A Month in the Country.



#4 kfw

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:33 AM

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.

 

Big color photos, kitschy sculpture, funky furniture . . . that promenade sure gets abused. I wish people would leave elegance alone. 

 

Thanks for the gala review.



#5 rg

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:34 AM

f.y.i.

TEMPEST-theme gala set up, theater promenade, Oct. 30, 2013

 

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#6 abatt

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:40 PM

Here are some photos from Women's Wear Daily of the red carpet scene.

 

http://www.wwd.com/e...ll-gala-7259412



#7 Rose1186

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 12:52 PM

I agree that Tempest wasn't very successful in telling the story or making me feel anything about what was happening.  However, I liked the actual choreography for all of the characters (I always enjoy his choreography), I thought the costumes were fun and elaborate and I thought the dancing was all really spectacular.  I thought that Sarah Lane was perfection and looked like a total star - it really did make me want to see her do Juliet in a major way.  It was so wonderful to see Marcelo do this choreography - it suited him wonderfully and really showed how much more he is capable of in addition to being the finest partner and Romeo, prince, etc.  A lot of people have said that they felt that Herman was wasted in the role of Caliban, but I actually thought it was fantastic. It was a type of role we've never seen him do and he did it brilliantly.  When he was dancing (vs the movement on the floor), it did show how talented he is and how special he is - everything is so effortless - his turns were perfect and his jumps were beyond.  While Danil, is incredibly talented, I feel like with him you can see the effort and the hard work behind each of the steps - when Herman dances, it feels like that is his natural state and that he never has to think or work to execute.

 

I am looking forward to seeing it again.  

 

I don't have too much to add about Theme & Variations or Aftereffect.  Gillian is incredibly competent and was very pretty in this role, but I wasn't excited by her.  James Whiteside was... fine.  He stumbled through some of his turns but seemed to partner Gillian very well (although she seems to need very little support since she is so strong!).  I thought the soloists were very good.  It was wonderful to see the men featured in Aftereffect - they all danced wonderfully.  It would be wonderful if there was another opportunity to show this piece - I'm sure they could benefit from more rehearsal time and some tweaking.   



#8 abatt

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:02 PM

Well, since Herman didn't have too much actual dancing to do as Caliban, at least we can hope that his role in Tempest won't preclude Herman from returning to one of his greatest roles, Puck, during the Spring Season, when Tempest and Dream are on the same program.



#9 Helene

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:23 PM

f.y.i.

TEMPEST-theme gala set up, theater promenade, Oct. 30, 2013

 

Maybe it was like Casa Mila in Barcelona:  yikes in the photos, but you have to be there.



#10 Helene

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:32 PM

Please discuss any professional reviews in the "Writings about Ballet" forum.



#11 fondoffouettes

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 08:45 PM

Well, since Herman didn't have too much actual dancing to do as Caliban, at least we can hope that his role in Tempest won't preclude Herman from returning to one of his greatest roles, Puck, during the Spring Season, when Tempest and Dream are on the same program.

I really hope so, too! I feel as if Cornejo joins Ferri as Juliet or Gomes as Purple Rothbart in "owning" a role when it comes to Puck. But what about Simkin? I hope The Tempest doesn't preclude him from dancing Puck. I've never seen him in the role but imagine his technique and impish qualities would work very well. 




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