Helene

Sleeping Beauty, Jan 31-Feb 2 and Feb 6-Feb 9

59 posts in this topic

First weekend casting is up on the website:

http://www.pnb.org/Season/13-14/SleepingBeauty/#Casting

Four performances first weekend, and all four Auroras and Florimunds get one. Peter Boal said there were four casts, and it looks like there's one Lilac, Florine/Bluebird, and Gold and Silver trio per cast:

  • Jan 31: Kaori Nakamura and Seth Orza/Laura Tisserand/Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths/Lindsi Dec, Jerome Tisserand, and Andrew Bartee
  • Feb 1 mat: Rachel Foster and Batkhurel Bold/Lindsi Dec/Liora Neuville and Eric Hipolito Jr./Angelica Generosa, Benjamin Griffiths, and Kyle Davis
  • Feb 1 eve: Lesley Rausch/Karel Cruz/Carrie Imler/Carli Samuelson and James Moore/Laura Tisserand, William Lin-Yee, and Joshua Grant
  • Feb 2 mat: Leta Biasucci/Jerome Tisserand/Sarah Ricard Orza/Jahna Frantziskonis and Ezra Thomson/Elizabeth Murphy, Eric Hipolito Jr., and Price Suddarth.

Maria Chapman and Otto Neubert play the Queen and King. Jonathan Porretta is Carabosse on Friday and Saturday nights and the Sunday matinee. Timothy Lynch is Carabosse for the Saturday matinee.

The fairies and divertissement casting isn't strictly split into four casts, and lots of opportunities have been spread around for corps members.

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Beauty has so many parts for up and coming people!

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The press release lists two Nakamura performances as Aurora: first weekend on Opening Night, Friday, 31 January, and second weekend, Saturday matinee -- 1pm starting time! -- 8 February.

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Casting is up for week 2:

Five performances first weekend; three casts get one, and one cast (Rausch/Cruz) gets two. Rachel Foster and Batkhurel Bold also dance the condensed "Eyes on Dance" performance at 11:30am on Friday, 7 February. The Auroras and the Florines keep their partners, but the casts are moved around, and only Rachel Foster dances with the same Lilac Fairy in the regular rep. (She dances with another Lilac for "Eyes on Dance."

There is also some new second-week casting: Amanda Clark and Kyle Davis dance Florine/Bluebird, Joshua Grant dances the Lilac Fairy Cavalier, and Chelsea Adomaitis joins William Lin-Yee and Joshua Grant in Gold and Silver.

Aurora and Flormund/Lilac Fairy/Florine and Bluebird/Gold and Silver (trio)

  • Thursday, 6 Feb: Lesley Rausch and Karel Cruz/Laura Gilbreath/Liora Neuville and Eric Hipolito Jr./Angelica Generosa, Benjamin Griffiths, and Kyle Davis
  • Friday, 7 Feb: Leta Biasucci and Jerome Tisserand/Laura Gilbreath/Amanda Clark and Kyle Davis/Chelsea Adomaitis, William Lin-Yee, and Joshua Grant
  • Saturday, 8 Feb matinee (1pm start!): Kaori Nakamura and Seth Orza/Carrie Imler and Joshua Grant/Carli Samuelson and James Moore/Elizabeth Murphy, Eric Hipolito Jr., and Price Suddarth. This is Kaori Nakamura's last performance of Aurora (at least in the full-length version).
  • Saturday, 8 Feb evening: Rachel Foster and Batkhurel Bold/Lindsi Dec/Amanda Clark and Kyle Davis/Laura Gilbreath, William Lin-Yee, and Joshua Grant
  • Sunday, 9 Feb matinee: Lesley Rausch and Karel Cruz/Sara Ricard Orza/Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths/Lindsi Dec, Jerome Tisserand, and Andrew Bartee

There is a 50% off promo for the Sunday, 9 February performance, the day the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl [Many Roman Numerals]:

Celebrate the Seahawks AND beautiful ballet with Artistic Director Peter Boal’s amazing ticket offer! 50% OFF tickets to The Sleeping Beauty on Super Boal Sunday, Feb 2 at 1:00!The performance is over at 4:00PM – so if you skedaddle home, you’ll still have time to see the Seahawks win!

This is a very nice deal, especially for families.

This is the solo casting for both weekends:

Sleeping Beauty Solo Casting Wks 1-2 2014.xls

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Like Jayne, I am extremely excited to see Leta Biasuccci as Aurora (a PNB debut for sure, but has she perhaps danced it elsewhere?). She is one of the most exciting dancers I've seen in a long time. Her acting skills and passion will please us all I venture.

No one has mentioned this, but although I can completely see Leta as Aurora given her artistry and skills, it is quite a leap from the corps. Could it be that she was the understudy for a principal.......Carla perhaps?. In the past, Carla danced Aurora with Cruz, but given Biasucci's height (or lack of it wink1.gif) that pairing makes no sense. So maybe Cruz went to Rausch and Bold to Foster.

(OK....you're right....far too speculative!!)

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(OK....you're right....far too speculative!!)

But why are we here, except for speculation?

I don't think she (Biasucci) has danced the part before, unless it was in school at CPYB. Yes, she's a corps member as far as her contract is concerned, but she's been dancing above her paygrade for quite awhile. I know that promotions are always a dicey proposition, considering the budget, but I imagine that she'll get raised in the next set, whenever that happens.

When the company has done SB in the past, there's usually been someone making a big debut in it (I remember when Pantastico started in it, and Vinson the next time around) The last time they presented SB, Rausch debuted, at a Valentine's Day matinee, though she was a soloist at the time (if I remember correctly) and had danced big parts before.

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Korbes's injury was from the last rep of last season, and she spoke about it last fall in a long interview on the Ballet Initiative podcast. I'm sure when Boal scheduled "The Sleeping Beauty" last spring, Korbes was one of his choices for Aurora, but they wouldn't have started rehearsals last season, and Biasucci couldn't have been her understudy.

Biasucci joined PNB in 2011. In her second rep, she danced "Divertimento from 'Baiser de la fee'" and Little Red Riding Hood in the "Sleeping Beauty" Wedding Act in the "Love Stories" program (Nov 2011). Korbes was cast in "Afternoon of a Faun" and "Romeo et Juliette PDD," with Chapman, Ricard Orza, and Rausch dancing Aurora, but Korbes withdrew first from weekend one, and then, finally from week two, and missed the rep. If Biasucci understudied Aurora at the time, not a given with everything else she was doing, which might have included learning multiple corps roles from scratch in "Nutcracker"by then, she didn't dance it. I don't think PNB has understudies or fourth/fifth casts for specific Principals: if she were understudying Aurora, it would have been for all other casts, and often, the understudies/last casts for full-lengths, at least, are in separate partnerships.

I'm looking forward to seeing Rausch and Cruz together: they both have such long lines. With Chapman doing a run of Queens, and Ricard Orza dancing Lilac, the other Auroras are on the short side -- Nakamura, Foster, Biasucci -- and would look out-of-proportion with Cruz. I'm glad to see Rausch and Bold with other partners, too, because he tends to focus on partnering her and lose his own character, and I think he and Foster could have a great dynamic together, as well as having good proportions.

I don't know what would have happened had Chapman, a radiant Aurora in "Love Stories," and Korbes been able to do the role. If he had five casts, that would mean one cast with one performance, which is rare to assign to a Principal. I suspect there would have been four casts, with Biasucci an understudy in this round. She was given great opportunities up front her first season, but she also understudied a number of roles that year and ended up being featured in every, or almost every rep that year. She's been given wonderful opportunities since, but in some reps last season, hadn't been cast prominently. I'm glad she's being featured again.

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......she's been dancing above her paygrade for quite awhile.....

Absolutely....like from the very 1st second she stepped onto PNB's stage!!! smile.png

I don't think PNB has understudies or fourth/fifth casts for specific Principals: if she were understudying Aurora, it would have been for all other casts.....

Agreed. I didn't mean to imply that the understudy assignments were specific, but just that since Korbes has been hurt, perhaps this is what allowed Biasucci to dance Aurora (if indeed she had been an understudy).

I think he and Foster could have a great dynamic together, as well as having good proportions.

I too like the Foster/Bold pairing. She is so expressive, and he rather stoic. The "dynamic", as you so aptly put it, will be interesting.

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Ran across this very nice little video of Nakamura discussing her pointe shoes -- we see a lot of her modifications of the shoes. Like many dancers, it looks like she carries around a nice toolkit!

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New to this forum (have attended PNB performances for about 5 years or so) with a question for those who have gone to the Thursday dress rehearsals -- typically which cast will dance? I'm on the fence about going since it's longer and I have to be at work early on Friday.

I have tickets to see Foster/Bold on the 2nd Saturday evening, but am debating also going this Sunday to see Leta Biasucci (and 50% off!).

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I can't answer your question about Thursday dresses in general, but go to see Leta Biasucci and Jerome Tisserand this Sunday. The Super Bowl doesn't start until 3:30pm Pacific Time, and by the time the ballet is out, ~ 4pm, all of the sports fans will be holed up in bars or parties at their friends, and the streets should be quiet and safe for a get-away.

And welcome to Ballet Alert!

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Heads up from sandik -- we're between Saturday performances:

If you are in the theayer, make sure you pick up a copy of Sheila Dietrich's essay in the lobby. She's got an exhibit about Kaori Nakamura, and the essay goes with it. Sadly, it's not available online.

There's also a two-page spread about Nakamura in the "Sleeping Beauty" program, including photos and quotes from colleagues, choreographers, and staff.

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After seeing two casts, I'm in an advanced stage of verklemptitude. Rachel Fosteer and Batkhurel Bold are a wonderful pairing. They are cats for the student performance next Friday at 11:30am. The kids who see it, many of them seeing ballet for the first time, couldn't be in better hands. They also perform the ballet next Saturday night at 7:30pm.

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Lesley Rausch was just stunning tonight with Karel Cruz and Carrie Imler's spectacular Lilac Fairy.

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I saw the Sunday Matinee and then walked to Racha and watched the Superbowl in a bar with a friend. I have good things to say about Leta Biasucci:

she was good in Rose Adagio, but had one small foot-down halfway through the first set of balances, due to a wonky partnering balance with the 2nd cavalier (name escapes me at the moment). She was better in the Vision scene, and she was Excellent in the wedding scene.

Jerome Tisserand really deserves to be a Principal, I'll expand on my opinion tomorrow.

Unfortunately I have to be at work at 6am (it's 10:18pm now), I'm downing a Sleep Aid to get me through the night. Cars are still honking horns, fireworks going off, and general rebel yells throughout Lower Queen Anne to celebrate the Seahawks' superbowl win. Fortunately I think everyone will be worse for wear on Monday at work, so I won't be the only one.

So the full write up will come Monday night when I get home!

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Jerome Tisserand really deserves to be a Principal, I'll expand on my opinion tomorrow.

Of course there are many other factors that go into promotions other than skill and artistry (no quibble that he has those two under his belt). Just to mention one, that can easily affect company morale, is "time in grade". Jerome has been soloist not even 2 years (he was promoted in 2012). In contrast, his wife Laura was soloist for almost 5 years, and Lindsi Dec was soloist for 6 years.

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There's no one formula. Under Russell and Stowell, dancers were brought in from other companies as Soloists and promoted to Principal within a year or two: Stanton, Gibson, Nadeau, Nakamura, Wevers, Maraval, for example. Seth Orza, Karel Cruz and Carrie Imler made it from Soloist to Principal in two seasons, Korbes in one, (Cruz and Imler spent more years in the corps before their promotion to Soloist than Orza.)

Elizabeth Murphy and Leta Biasucci came into PNB the same time. Both have been featured. After yesterday, Biasucci has carried two full length ballets; I don't remember what other corps woman has done the same in the last 20 years at least. (I don't think Imler did, because Barker and Derieux were featured a lot at the time. Pantastico? She was a Soloist after being in the corps for three years. I'm not sure if she had enough time.) Murphy was promoted to Soloist; Biasucci was not. After yesterday afternoon, Jerome Tisserand had performed the leads in "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty," "Romeo et Juliette," and "Coppelia," That would mean Principal status in many of the world's ballet companies.

Many promotions at PNB have been delayed because of money.

There's no one formula.

Barry Kerollis just posted a great entry on his blog, "Life of a Freelance Dancer" that, I think, address some of the smoke signals:

http://lifeofafreelancedancer.blogspot.com/2014/02/emotional-training-in-ballet.html

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I don't know how I missed this video about the "Rose Adagio," featuring Leta Biasucci in a stage rehearsal and Lesley Rausch in a studio rehearsal and both speaking about the piece:

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Very sweet to see this video today, after spending the weekend immersed in Sleeping Beauty!

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review delayed because of real life demands, will try for Tuesday!

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review delayed because of real life demands, will try for Tuesday!

We'll be happy to see it whenever you get to it.

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I ended up not going to the dress rehearsal or the Sunday matinee, so am interested to hear Jayne's review!

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[Admin beanie on]

Some housekeeping:

The company forums are for members to describe what we see. Professional reviews are linked in the daily Links threads, and if there are discussion points around them, the place to discuss them is in the "Writings on Ballet" forum.

[Admin beanie off]

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For mixed rep programs, PNB cheap seats are $28 / each. But for Sleeping Beauty, the cheap seats re $38 / seat, so I guess they expect it to sell well. SB on Superbowl Sunday matinee tickets are 50% off. For $19 I was seated in the 2nd balcony, 10 minutes before the start time of 1:00pm.

I opened my program and discovered that all the promoted artists are already listed in their appropriate new homes (Principals, Soloists, etc). So the promotions must have been planned, and the announcement on Friday must have been a formality for the dancers. The program includes a very interesting historical essay about the 1890's SB at Mariinsky, written by Doug Fullerton and with several excellent photographs, including the original scenery mock up as painted by Matvei Shishkov of Versailles. The costumes are also interesting, and very very fluffy. When I think of the Mariinsky revival costumes (Sergei Vikharev), the main tutus still have a top layer of opaque material, but the pictures show just embroidered tull, so this was a surprise to me.

Lots of Russian was spoken today in the cheap seats, and plenty of kids. In my rough estimate, the theatre was 80% full (the side boxes were not open) and the kids were vocal in a cute way this time. Lots of clapping and "yays" for tricks, even clapping in time to the music! The music was played at a medium pace, and I noticed that each time I sit up high, I think the music sounds under powered. But when I sit at orchestra level, it sounds just fine. So I think it's just acoustics at McCaw Hall, rather than the PNBO. I didn't hear any false notes, but I "heard" more brass this time. I think the strings and woodwinds get all the emotional bright spots, but I was trying to really listen to the music this time, so I heard more details. The orchestra all had blue/green "12" signs on their music stands, and before ACT III the audience clapped for the orchestra, so the orchestra waved their "12" signs back at them. (12 stands for the 12th man in football, i.e. the fans in the stands who yell and disrupt the opponent's play calls).

I've discussed my views on this versions costumes (Gold Lame everywhere! But not a drop of subtlety to drink) so I won't bother with a re-run. I do love the hunt scene costumes and wish I could rent the Countess' costume for Halloween.

The Prologue began with a curtain that was specially illuminated half blue and half green (for the Seahawks). Then it was on to the usual fluff in the prologue, I really enjoyed Sarah Ricard Orza as the Lilac Fairy, but she is so delicate that some authority was missing. I guess I prefer a tall dancer in this role. Of the other fairies, I enjoyed most Amanda Clark as Fairy of PUrity and Elle Macy as Fairy of Generosity. Jonathan Porretta had a lot of fun with the Carabosse role, and in this version, he flies in and out on a wire, rather than arriving in a carriage with rats as his guards. It works, and the kids ate it up. The Guards were actually very good in their pantomime and I am pleased to see that PNB has made Catalabutte (played by Kiyon Gaines) into a forgetful comic and even supercilious character, but not necessarily a stereotypical homosexual fop. The corps looked a little sloppy in the prologue as Lilac Fairy Attendants. They weren't up to their Swan Lake precision from last year.

Act I (where the real action starts). As noted in this thread, Leta Biasucci peers from behind a column at her parents before entering the ballroom (a la Evelyn Hart). From the very get-go, you pay attention to Ms Biasucci's feet. I don't think her arch is any better or worse than any other ballerina's, but my goodness she has legibility in her feet. I couldn't take my eyes off of them. Every Petipa step is executed with clarity, speed and placement. She looks light on stage, but very strong. I don't think her physique is similar to Alina Cojucaru, but the clarity of her feet remind me of Ms Cojucaru. Thankfully she doesn't over-do the extensions, I thought they looked very classical in height and I wanted to say "good for you, Leta! Don't be a Mariinsky Show Pony!"

On the first introduction balances, she completed them, but her hand was held aloft for a mere second. I never paid attention before, but in this version, when Aurora accepts the 4 roses, she spins (once, twice, thrice, then a fourth time) with the same (first) partner. In this case it was Seth Orza. I assume it is easier from a partnering standpoint for the dancers. On the final balances, the horns really slowed down, the second turn (or was it the third?) went very wonky and she began to tilt off her leg. She completed the turn but then had to hop down and then back up. But from there on out it went fine, and she relaxed her hand from Charles McCall's and finished with grace. She didn't get the bravos that accompany a perfect Rose Adagio, but the kids sure loved her. Despite the hop, I thought it was otherwise a successful Act I, and I was happy she didn't overact the part.

Act II is the vision and awakening. Now I've criticized Laura Tisserand before, but she was exceptionally good as the Countess, which is a physical role requiring good comedic skills and physical timing to portray a diffident aristocrat. I wish I could play that role, actors always say the villains are the most fun to portray and Ms Tisserand surely looked like she was having fun on stage.

The scene opens with the Prince walking onto the stage with his aristocratic friends, so there is no "grand entrance" like the Bolshoi version. But I felt Jerome Tisserand looked and danced like the star of the stage. He really has the princely bearing down, and his ballon sets him apart from other men in the company. Normally I don't get too excited about the Vision scene, but, I have to mention the clarity of Leta Biasucci's feet, and how clear the Petipa steps looked. The corps returned to form in the Vision scene and the audience was enthralled. As Swanhilda8 noted in "Diamonds", I just wanted to shout "Bravo Tchaikovsky!" because the music brings it all together.

By Act III I am usually a bit fatigued and the divertissements usually bore me. Fortunately for me, this is not the Bolshoi version, which goes on forever in this Act. While the kids loved Puss & Boots, and Red Riding Hood & Wolf, the Gold & Silver ppt with Elizabeth Murphy, ERic Hipolito and Price Suddarth was exceptionally beautifully danced. I thought the Bluebird ppd was ok, but lacking in ballon and speed.

The wedding ppd was beautifully danced by Ms Biasucci and Mr Tisserand. Her feet were beautiful, his partnering was strong yet effortless. The show ended with a seated audience clapping, but plenty of bravos for the leads. Ms Biasucci received flowers and gave one to her partner.

....And then everyone rushed out of the theatre to go watch the game. I walked up the street to Racha (a Thai restaurant) to eat appetizers at the bar and watch the game. I missed Renee Fleming singing the national anthem (saw it on YouTube later) but saw the entire game, and a great half time show with the very entertaining Bruno Mars & band. The Thai / Vietnamese staff watched the game at a board room adjacent to the bar, and while they spoke their native languages during the game, they all chanted "SEA.....HAWKS" with the rest of us. Fans in every language have the same emotional connections.

Petipa really was a genius. The steps are glorious and it is such a pleasure to see them. But I really feel that PNB is a Balanchine company, and they "try on" Romantic and Classical ballet. The fast allegro work looks amazing, but the corps looks so careful in the adagio steps, and I kept waiting for them to break out and start "flying" in some fleet Balanchine or David Dawson steps and set the world on fire. I've had my fill of story ballet for a few months. I think I am craving some Balanchine and look forward to the June Encore program, where we'll hopefully see plenty of it before Kauri Nakamura retires. But in the meantime, PNB has a mixed rep in March, and a Balanchine Story Ballet (Midsummer) later this spring.

I will comment on my opinions about promotions in the other thread, based on what I saw on Sunday.

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