review delayed because of real life demands, will try for Tuesday!
Sleeping Beauty, Jan 31-Feb 2 and Feb 6-Feb 9
Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:31 PM
review delayed because of real life demands, will try for Tuesday!
We'll be happy to see it whenever you get to it.
Posted 04 February 2014 - 05:07 PM
I ended up not going to the dress rehearsal or the Sunday matinee, so am interested to hear Jayne's review!
Posted 04 February 2014 - 06:23 PM
[Admin beanie on]
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]
Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:14 PM
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.
Posted 04 February 2014 - 11:50 PM
I thought it was interesting that I received a "Thanks for coming to "Sleeping Beauty" email, and here's a discount code for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," when there's another rep, "Director's Choice" in the middle. Peter Boal said in a Q&A after "Kylian + Pite" that the November rep was for the people who wouldn't see "Nutcracker.' Or "Sleeping Beauty," I guess, because there seems to be an assumption that if I liked "Sleeping Beauty," I wouldn't be interested in "TAKE FIVE...more or less," "Kiss," "Heart of Darkness," or the new Cerrudo. (Well, they'd be right about the Stroman.)
Posted 05 February 2014 - 12:21 AM
Oh my -- thanks for the video of Rausch. She certainly seems at home in this material, and has found the way she needs to dance it. Some very lovely details in arms and focus here!
Posted 05 February 2014 - 02:51 PM
This is a video from the last production in 2010, in which Nakamura, Korbes, and imler talk about the role of Aurora, and there's also footage of Mara Vinson.
Only Nakamura performed the role in the this run, but the footage of Imler shows part of why she's such a great Lilac Fairy.
Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:07 PM
It was nice to see a bit of Vinson -- I remember her debut as Aurora.
Posted 12 February 2014 - 11:59 AM
Saw the 2/8 evening performance with Rachel Foster as Aurora and Batkhurel Bold as Prince Florimund, which I really enjoyed. I think some people left early due to the snow, but it looked like seats were at least 80% filled. Here are my brief thoughts:
Prologue -- I thought Lindsi Dec's performance as the Lilac Fairy was good, but needed more presence. I didn't feel as much that she was "in charge." The fairies' solos were generally strong, but Emma Love Suddarth as the Fairy of Beauty looked a little stiff to me. I wonder why audiences usually laugh at the Fairy of Joy's solo? Timothy Lynch's Carabosse was well portrayed.
Act 1 -- Rachel Foster was lovely! She had no problems with the balances in the Rose Adagio -- I think there was one slightly quick hand change but she was capably partnered by Karel Cruz, William Lin-Yee, Jerome Tisserand and Joshua Grant. My only slight criticism of her was that I'm not sure I got the impression that Aurora had just turned 16 and was excited about her birthday.
Act 2 -- Ezra Thompson always seems to do well in character roles, including Gallison. Bold as Prince Florimund was consistent as always in partnering but I feel like we don't always see his character's emotions.
Act 3 -- the kids present enjoyed White Cat/Puss in Boots and Red Riding Hood/Wolf -- heard lots of giggles and laughter. Gold and Silver pas de trois -- Joshua Grant looked comfortable, while William Lin-Yee looked more restrained in his dancing. He had a few balance wobbles coming out of turns. Laura Tisserand's solo was well-executed (I wonder about some of the arm position changes in the ending turns -- seems hard to do cleanly?). Kyle Davis was outstanding as Bluebird -- nice clean jumps and elevation, Amanda Clark did well too. I enjoyed seeing this Foster/Bold pairing for the wedding pas de deux, and thought they complemented each other well.
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