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SFB 2014: Program 3


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#1 PeggyR

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 07:28 PM

Partial list of casts for Program 3.  Note Denis Matvienko guesting with Kochetkova in Kingdom of the Shades.  Any opinions about him?

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20—8PM—OPENING NIGHT

 

THE KINGDOM OF THE SHADES FROM LA BAYADERE, ACT II

Choreographer: Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa
Composer: Ludwig Minkus with orchestration by John Lanchbery
Conductor: Martin West

 

Yuan Yuan Tan, Davit Karapetyan*
Mathilde Froustey, Simone Messmer, Frances Chung*

 

INTERMISSION

 

GHOSTS

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: C.F. Kip Winger
Conductor: Martin West

 

Maria Kochetkova, Vitor Luiz
Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets, Shane Wuerthner

 

INTERMISSION

 

FIREBIRD

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Martin West

 

Kaschei: Pascal Molat
Firebird: Sarah Van Patten
Prince: Tiit Helimets
Princess: Sasha De Sola

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22—2PM

 

THE KINGDOM OF THE SHADES FROM LA BAYADERE, ACT II

Choreographer: Natalia Makarova after Petipa
Composer: Ludwig Minkus with orchestration by John Lanchbery
Conductor: Martin West

 

Frances Chung, Vitor Luiz
Mathilde Froustey, Dores Andre*, Sasha De Sola*

 

 INTERMISSION

 

 GHOSTS

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: C.F. Kip Winger
Conductor: Martin West

Maria Kochetkova, Vitor Luiz
Lorena Feijoo, Ruben Martin Cintas, Gaetano Amico

 

INTERMISSION

 

 FIREBIRD

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Martin West

 

Kaschei: Daniel Deivison-Oliveira

Firebird: Simone Messmer*
Prince: Ruben Martin Cintas
Princess: Dores Andre*

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22—8PM

 

THE KINGDOM OF THE SHADES FROM LA BAYADERE, ACT II

Choreographer: Natalia Makarova after Petipa
Composer: Ludwig Minkus with orchestration by John Lanchbery
Conductor: Martin West

 

Maria Kochetkova*, Denis Matvienko+
Mathilde Froustey, Simone Messmer, Frances Chung

 

 INTERMISSION

 

 GHOSTS

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: C.F. Kip Winger
Conductor: Martin West

 

Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith
Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets, Shane Wuerthner

 

INTERMISSION

 

 FIREBIRD

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Martin West

 

Kaschei: Pascal Molat
Firebird: Yuan Yuan Tan
Prince: Tiit Helimets
Princess: Sasha De Sola

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25—8PM

 

THE KINGDOM OF THE SHADES FROM LA BAYADERE, ACT II

Choreographer: Natalia Makarova after Petipa
Composer: Ludwig Minkus with orchestration by John Lanchbery
Conductor: Martin West

 

Maria Kochetkova, Denis Matvienko+
Mathilde Froustey, Simone Messmer, Frances Chung

 

 INTERMISSION

 

GHOSTS

Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: C.F. Kip Winger
Conductor: Martin West

 

Yuan Yuan Tan, Damian Smith
Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets, Shane Wuerthner

 

INTERMISSION

 

FIREBIRD

 

Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov
Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Conductor: Martin West

 

Kaschei: Pascal Molat
Firebird: Yuan Yuan Tan
Prince: Tiit Helimets
Princess: Sasha De Sola

 

In the event of injury or illness, casting is subject to change

*Denotes dancer premiere in ballet
+Guest artist

 


#2 pherank

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 07:54 PM

Simone Messmer gets her first 'principal' role, in The Firebird - very nice.



#3 PeggyR

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:04 PM

Simone Messmer gets her first 'principal' role, in The Firebird - very nice.

I'm seeing her at the  Saturday matinee.  Based on what I've seen so far, it seems like a good role for her.

 

Also looking forward to seeing Froustey as the first shade, but I'd interested to see her as Nikiya, too.



#4 pherank

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:11 PM

 

Simone Messmer gets her first 'principal' role, in The Firebird - very nice.

I'm seeing her at the  Saturday matinee.  Based on what I've seen so far, it seems like a good role for her.

 

Also looking forward to seeing Froustey as the first shade, but I'd interested to see her as Nikiya, too.

 

 

I'm going to be seeing the Tuesday night show with Denis Matvinko - I wanted to see Yuan Yuan as the Firebird, and Froustey in Bayadere. Should be fun.   ;)



#5 PeggyR

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:18 PM

 

 

Simone Messmer gets her first 'principal' role, in The Firebird - very nice.

I'm seeing her at the  Saturday matinee.  Based on what I've seen so far, it seems like a good role for her.

 

Also looking forward to seeing Froustey as the first shade, but I'd interested to see her as Nikiya, too.

 

 

I'm going to be seeing the Tuesday night show with Denis Matvinko - I wanted to see Yuan Yuan as the Firebird, and Froustey in Bayadere. Should be fun.   ;)

 

I'd like to hear what you think about Matvienko. It seems a little odd bringing in a guest artist when SFB is slightly top heavy with male principals.

 

Here's his bio from the Mariinsky website where he's listed as a 'guest soloist'. 



#6 pherank

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:59 PM

I'd like to hear what you think about Matvienko. It seems a little odd bringing in a guest artist when SFB is slightly top heavy with male principals.

 

I think Tomasson is just trying to find ways to keep things exciting, and get seats sold that would otherwise not fill up entirely. If they can get a number of these guest appearances happening throughout the season, I think it WILL boost sales. Cojocaru must have brought some additional people to her performances with Hamburg Ballet (I wasn't there myself).

 

I will try to write up my impressions once I've returned home...


 

 



#7 Josette

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 09:48 PM

Having seen Matvienko, it seems an odd decision (to me) to bring him and cast him over the SF male dancers. He's fine, but If there has to be a guest, why not Issac Hernandez, former SF soloist who joined the Dutch National Ballet 1 1/2 years ago and was just promoted principal? Hernandez has matured into a more musical dancer, has more height to his jumps, has better line, and is a more finished dancer than Matvienko. Oh well ....

#8 Terez

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 08:16 AM

I found the Matvienko to be a head-scratcher as well. It can't be good for morale among the male dancers. I've always felt sorry for the ABT soloists and principals who lose out to the constant guest artists. I thought the SFB dancers' AGMA contract prohibited that sort of thing, besides. 

 

I am delighted, however, to see Damian Smith paired up with YY for Ghosts on the Sat pm performance, which I'll be attending. I was afraid he might finish up this last year of his with my missing out each time. (I don't go frequently enough to catch multiple performances/programs - don't you hate it when one season, you seem to catch the same dancer over and over, and miss out on 1 or 2 over and over?!) The same goes for Mathilde Froustey; there's no guarantee she'll be around longer than this season. Have only seen her via YouTube, but I've heard great things. Crossing fingers that there's no 11th hour casting change.

 

Sure to be a great show, regardless. Pherank, I'll enjoy hearing your impressions back here, when you get the chance.



#9 PeggyR

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 08:45 AM

Program 3, February 22, 2 pm

 

Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadere (Makarova staging)

 

Negatives:  Too many wobbles and too many half-completed arabesques down the ramp; too many poorly maintained balances after the ramp; a Nikiya (Frances Chung) who, aside from missing the third pirouette with the scarf, danced with technical security but without delicacy or flavor.

 

Positives:  An ardent Solor (Vitor Luiz) who relied on clean, musical dancing instead of tricks, and three charming Shades (Froustey/André/de Sola).

 

It surprised me that the corps was so off-kilter.  I saw them in four Giselle performances at the beginning of the season and they very good.  But in the Shades scene there was no sense of breathing together, or of the corps as a coherent whole, and if the  corps can’t provide that, the ballet fails.

 

Ghosts (Wheeldon)

 

I haven’t seen that many Wheeldon ballets, but aside from Within the Golden Hour, the ones I have seen left me somewhat underwhelmed.  Ghosts still underwhelms, but this time I appreciated his response to the attractive music (C.F. Kip Winger), and Wheeldon’s sometimes striking images - prone bodies creating patterns that translate into interesting movement patterns.  

 

As usual, Sofiane Sylve left little room on stage for anyone else.  She’s such an enveloping performer, you can almost feel the air move when she moves.

 

Firebird (Possokhov)

 

I know a lot of people don’t like this version (the woman sitting next to me flounced out at the intermission before Firebird started assuring me she would never sit through ‘that mess’ again).  Being something of a mess myself, I rather like it.  

 

Possokhov’s take provides some comic moments (the in-place chase, Koschei’s affection for his egg), and he turns the Princess (Dores André, adorable as usual) into a diva who shoves her girlfriends to the floor when she doesn’t get her way, and the Prince (Rubén Martín Cintas, likable as usual) into a bit of a lady killer, both of them redeemed by their mutual affection.

 

The performances were all fine, with a standout turn by Daniel Deivison-Oliveira as Koschei.  Deivison-Oliveira has a wonderfully expressive upper body and he can act and he’s funny; he pretty much stole the show.

 

The main interest, of course, was Simone Messmer’s debut as the Firebird.  Her performance reinforced my initial impression of her dancing as plush and luxurious, with big, generous movements - not on the scale of Sylve, but she may get there.  Her upper body and long arms are very beautiful, and she threw off some gorgeous, on-a-dime fouettés: she’s definitely giving me an Odette/Odile vibe.  



#10 Jayne

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:50 AM

Program 3, February 22, 2 pm

 

Firebird (Possokhov)

 

I know a lot of people don’t like this version (the woman sitting next to me flounced out at the intermission before Firebird started assuring me she would never sit through ‘that mess’ again).  Being something of a mess myself, I rather like it.....

Thanks for the Sunday morning giggle.  I like Possokhov's Classical Symphony and wish PNB would bring more of his works to Seattle.



#11 sandik

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 02:08 PM

 

Program 3, February 22, 2 pm

 

Firebird (Possokhov)

 

I know a lot of people don’t like this version (the woman sitting next to me flounced out at the intermission before Firebird started assuring me she would never sit through ‘that mess’ again).  Being something of a mess myself, I rather like it.....

Thanks for the Sunday morning giggle.  I like Possokhov's Classical Symphony and wish PNB would bring more of his works to Seattle.

 

Me too.  Pretty much every version of Firebird I'm familiar with has some aspect that is subject to chaos -- I'm always interested in seeing how choreographers deal with the challenge.



#12 pherank

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:28 PM

I enjoyed reading PeggyR's commentary - I just saw two preformances of Program 3. Matvienko danced Tuesday night in La Bayadere (with Masha), and my first thought watching his performance, was, well of course! he actually KNOWS THIS BALLET. I'm not sure if Masha even danced in Bayadere back in her early Bolshoi days (and it wouldn't have been Nikiya). This was a start, but the company doesn't dance Bayadere as if it were in their blood (not a suprise). The Corps especially needs more time with this choreography (and I'm hoping the school uses the Shades entrance in their future classes). It was clear just how difficult the entrance of the shades is to a modern ballet company. Both nights it looked like Elizabeth Powell was the lead shade on the ramp. And above the waist, and in arabesque she looks lovely - great extension and port de bras. A natural sense for placement of the head, wrist and hand, elbows, everything. A powerful looking arabesque - but her balance leg was often visibly working hard, especially while on the ramp. And then she was followed by Corps dancers who didn't have her dramatic arabesque, and were wobbly as well, so we didn't get the sense of the Corps moving absolutely as one, in a serpentine ritual - as Peggy mentioned, it should be almost like breathing: the lungs moving in and out in an unwavering rhythm. It just doesn't work to allow Corps members to move in individual manners for this ballet - they've got to look the same, as cells in one large creature. At least this is the only time I've seen the SFB Corps look a bit out-of-wack: they are often fantastic in other demanding ballets.

 

Makarova sat on the aisle of the row I was in on Tuesday night, but she left after Bayadere - perhaps to scold someone.  ;)

 

Davit Karapetyn was easily as good as Matvienko the 2nd night (I guess he had to stand up for the SFB men!). Great performance, that one. And Froustey dancing in trio with Chung and Messmer (Sola and Messmer on Wednesday night) was everything I could ask for.

 

I have to get off the hotel computer  ;)   but I'll just add for now that the Firebird was quite enjoyable, and not at all a "mess" to my eye  - I found it structurally easy to follow. Possokhov is not a 'deep' choreographer, but he does know how to entertain his audience. More on these things later...



#13 sandik

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:44 PM

In Franklin Stevens "Dance as Life" he talks about ABT when Makarova first set the Shades scene on them, and there were many wobbles. 



#14 Josette

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:46 PM

I was the second corps Shade when dancing for the National Ballet of Canada. On the ramp - and in some theatres you have a double ramp (this means you climb a sort of ladder off stage and wait on a dark platform before you get into place for your first arabesque) - you have a bright light shining right in your range of vision when facing into the wings and it is hard not to be blinded by that light surrounded by the dark stage and wings.  If you get spots in your eyes, you will be have a rough time seeing anything.  All the rehearsing in the rehearsal room and on stage without that lighting cannot help you deal with that stark light in your eyes surrounded by black everywhere else. The whole entrance of arabesques going into the beautiful adagio by the corps requires an adagio technique which is not stressed in class or other ballets.  It is a beautiful ballet to dance, and hard and on the legs and breath for the corps because of the sustained control of the adagio followed by the following waltz where the three soloists come on stage. I am flying into SF to see tomorrow night's show. 



#15 pherank

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:47 PM

In Franklin Stevens "Dance as Life" he talks about ABT when Makarova first set the Shades scene on them, and there were many wobbles. 

 

It's a start, that's what we can say. The audience was very appreciative both nights - I wouldn't say it was unsuccessful at all. The soloist parts were all well danced. One thing though: I was expecting the ballet to begin with Solor smoking his opium pipe on the divan, but SFB/Makarova simply begin with the shades coming down the ramp. To me that provides little context for what we are about to see.

 

OK, so regarding Possokhov's The Firebird, I could stand to see better choreography for the Firebird character: more avian/alien in characterization, and less of a 'love interest' (failed) for Ivan. There are comedic bits which are mostly successful (depending on the mimetic talents of the dancer) and punctuate the action well. Sarah Van Patten was an effective Firebird (no suprise there) on Tuesday night, but she isn't given enough to do, imo. Jennifer Stahl danced the part on Wednesday night and was close in capability to Van Patten, though I think VP is a more poignant character dancer, and more exotic (which comes in handy here) in her characterisations. I should mention that the audience gave Stahl very warm applause that night. Grace Shibley from Oregon Ballet danced the "Princess" role that same night, and I have to say she is a keeper. I enjoyed her interpretation even more than Sasha De Sola's from the previous night. I don't remember details, only that she had a certain unique, arresting quality to her movements, something like Messmer's.

 

Christoper Wheeldon's Ghosts was also on the program, and I had the usual confused reaction to this Wheeldon ballet: some beautiful moments mixed together with mostly odd, unlovely explorative movements and I'm left wondering what was intended by it all. And yet another 'sculpture' suspended above the stage (because they just needed a post modern 3 masted schooner shipwreck thingy in that place). And the sculpture is moved in-between 'acts' to signal a new section of the ballet. Just 'cause. And I've seen that in a couple other Wheeldon ballets and just wondered what that really added. Sofiane Sylve and Yuan Yuan Tan were both exquisite on their night. And Feijoo and Kochetkova were both strong as well. The SFB dancers plainly love doing Wheeldon ballets, and that certainly makes a difference to the presentation, but I still run hot and cold with Wheeldon's choreography (in the same piece). And what did any of it have to do with Ghosts? Very, very little.




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