California

ABT fall season 2014

98 posts in this topic

By the way, I was shocked that the ushers let in a large-ish group of latecomers in to *prime orchestra seats* during applause from the transition between the ending of one song (movement?) and the beginning of another at the Met last month. I think they should have waited for a scene change, at least. The twinkling of flashlights and shuffling of feet and gowns was quite distracting, especially from above.

I've never experienced this at the Met; I've always found them to be very strict there, not letting anyone in until intermission (which makes sense, because they have the theater where you can watch a live stream). But at the Koch, they let people come in and stand around on the edges of the rings, making noise and moving around very disruptively. When the ushers aren't watching, these people then inevitably go in to their seats, again very disruptively. I really wish the Koch would reconsider their policy and keep things as strict as the Met.

Oh goodness, I apologize. I am quite under the weather, on a variety of cold medicines, and subsequently in a bit of a haze/fog. I meant the Koch, as I was agreeing with all of you (I haven't been to the Met for some time). Mea Culpa! Yes, an usher or two even guided this group mid scene, whereas I took an acela train and changed at an UWS hair salon in order to be on time; I completely agree that certain rules should be more strictly enforced.

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Also, any recommendations on what is a must see? Not sure how many days I will be able to take off for a NYC trip (and am prioritizing seeing the Mikhailovsky perform there in Nov), so may only be able to attend one or two nights. I will do my proper research, but would appreciate some advice. I love drama, romance, elegance, excitement, pas de deux, Manon, Swan Lake (I love the Russians). I do not mind what many here may consider "vulgarity." Admittedly not a huge fan of rural villagers dancing together joyously. I could watch the second act of Giselle every night for the rest of my life (and cry every time), while the first act doesn't excite or enthrall me as much. I would like to try to include Raymonda, celebratory villager dances or not. Thanks!

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Casting has just been announced on the ABT website. What do you think?

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I'm surprised Kent isn't doing Lilac Garden, but happy to see that others will get a chance at roles in the ballet.

Also surprised that they are using Hererra for Raymonda, since this is her last season with the company.

Also, they provided casting for Thirteen Diversions when it played at the Met. Not happy that they now just list the cast as "company".

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I'm glad to see so many corps and young soloists getting good roles. Yes, it's a surprise Kent isn't doing Lilac Garden.

I don't know Raymonda and I know this will be McKenzie's take on it anyway. But, what is the choreography like? Technically demanding, lots of petit allegro, pure adagio? Seo and Murphy are the main casts and they couldn't dance more unalike or have different strengths/weaknesses (this isn't new I know - casting against abilities if this is the case here.)

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I don't know Raymonda and I know this will be McKenzie's take on it anyway. But, what is the choreography like? Technically demanding, lots of petit allegro, pure adagio? Seo and Murphy are the main casts and they couldn't dance more unalike or have different strengths/weaknesses (this isn't new I know - casting against abilities if this is the case here.)

If you search YouTube for - Raymonda divertissements abt - several things show up. I don't know if this has been altered over the years, though. Here's one clip:

Here's one with Cynthia Gregory, who (along with Martine van Hamel) seemed to fit the role best (which is why it seems a natural for Gillian Murphy).

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Thank you California. Turns out I DO know this ballet - just long lost in my memory bank I guess. Gregory's clip I remember quite well. Murphy will be great in this. But, Seo? *Sigh* Why does McKenzie keep casting her in ballets that are way over her head? You know who would also be wonderful in this? Abrera and Lane. *Sigh*.......again....

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ABT Fan, NYCB has a version of Raymonda (plotless). Actually, Balanchine uses different portions of the music in two different ballets - Raymonda Variations and Cortege Hongrois. I believe that both will be performed duirng the 2014-15 NYCB season. Those ballets are both worth checking out. Cortege has been out of the NYCB rep for a few years, and is finally back. Hoping that Mearns is once again cast as the ballerina lead.

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I saw Helene Alexopoulos dance Cortege many years ago and she was terrific. I'm glad that ballet is finally coming back.

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Interesting. Was Helene the classical lead or the Czardas lead? I think I recall seeing her in the Czardas, maybe with Woetzel.

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She was the Czardas lead. That kind of dancing had never been a big thrill for me until I saw her. She was amazing. So full of energy and passion.

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Not sure Raymonda is a big seller among all but insular ballet groupies. It is one thing to see Sergeyev at 38 dancing with Dudinskaya at 36 in filmed excerpts of the dream scene in Act I and the marriage divertissement which closes the ballet produced more than 65 years ago. It is quite another for general audiences to experience a tale of often slow moving medieval chivalry with a danseur who does not have too many appearances during the entire stage time to not that generally in the public domain Glazounov music. The excerpts and the full length ballet are more specialty pieces for a specific ballet audience.

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I just received a flyer in the mail. Isabella Boylston is not listed with the female principals, and there ia no picture of her. Why not?

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There is some additional casting info on the ABT website re the Fall performances, such as the women cast in Fancy Free and the casts for Thirteen Diversions.

Hallberg's replacement for Raymonda Variations is Hammoudi. mad.gif

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I think someone forgot to update the when they updated the calendar. I'm assuming it will be Hammoudi Maybe the same person who updates the calendar is also responsible for neglecting to put Boylston's name/photo in the promotional materials with the other principal dancers. I would hate to think that incompetence was so prevalent.

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Hallberg's replacement for Raymonda Variations is Hammoudi. mad.gif

Only for the 10/25 performance. For the 10/28 show, their site still says TBA with Murphy (unless that one just hasn't been been updated yet.)

http://abt.org/calendar.aspx?startdate=10/1/2014

The 10/28 performance info has been filled in. Hammoudi is cast w. Murphy in Raymonda. I think people at ABT read this board.

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Hallberg's replacement for Raymonda Variations is Hammoudi. mad.gif

Only for the 10/25 performance. For the 10/28 show, their site still says TBA with Murphy (unless that one just hasn't been been updated yet.)

http://abt.org/calendar.aspx?startdate=10/1/2014

The 10/28 performance info has been filled in. Hammoudi is cast w. Murphy in Raymonda. I think people at ABT read this board.

Oh well...

I was hopeful for a minute that someone else would have been given the chance (though for the Koch season, it would be slim pickings for this role.)

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I was at last night's gala. I thought the Ratmansky ballet for the students was wonderful. The manner in which he organized groups of dancers was very clever, and the more advanced students got to show off their skills.

After the new Ratmansky ballet, Moore and McKenzie each gave their usual speeches. McKenzie said that the 75th Anniversary would look back at ABT's past, but the gala represented a look into the future. He also mentioned that the Scarlett ballet had "humor". If Scarlett is the future of ballet, we're in big trouble.

Except for the last few minutes of the Scarlett ballet, which was a lovely pdd for Hee Seo and Gomes, the work ranged from tedious to offensive. I didn't think most the of the ballet was well constructed in terms of the choreography. The offenisve part were segments where James Whiteside had to grab Misty's boobs. The other offensive part had both Misty and Whiteside shaking their rear ends at the audience in a twerking kind of motion. What foolishness. This wasn't humor. This was juvenille. Also, why is every Scarlett ballet I've seen performed in near darkness. Is he afraid that light might force us to focus on the choreography? There were no curtain calls for the new Scarlett ballet.

I've always liked Thirteen Diversions, and the cast was mostly excellent. Murphy was one of the leads. Tamm was replaced by Forster as her partner, and there were some awkward partnering moments. Boylston and Stearns danced beautifully as the second lead couple.

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Also, why is every Scarlett ballet I've seen performed in near darkness.

I could barely see much of Acheron. At least there the darkness corresponded to the theme announced in the title. But in general I'm not crazy about ballets I can't see...

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I was there tonight. I really hope to read other impressions to compare notes, but here are mine. I thought it really a mixed bag. First thing - there were a lot of empty seats. I don't know why.

Raymonda Divertissements - IMO Hee Seo just doesn't have the amplitude, musicality and assurance to do this. It takes a ballerina that can do a lot with steps, port de bras and covering space. To me she doesn't own the stage and project enough to bring this off. Whiteside's variation was good. Copeland & Lane are a mismatched duo in the first variation, but it was pleasant enough. Skylar Brandt and especially Christina Shevchenco pulled off their variations well, but truthfully I'd love to see a little more musicality and phrasing.

Lilac Garden - I'm one who thinks this should always be in the ABT rep. I was with someone who rarely sees dance and she was riveted by the stop action moment and what followed. I thought Devon Teucher a good Carolin but didn't care for Part as the mistress. The main reason is that I never saw the "stop action" moments from her that suspend time. Martine Van Hamel was amazing in this way. Also some of the lifts didn't gel. There is one lift where she is almost parallel to the floor which became a move-though instead of a heart stopping moment. It's funny because my usual criticism of Russian dancers is that they seem to me to be too position oriented.

Fancy Free - Loved Gomes & Cornejo. Stearns didn't make much of his solo. Julie Kent was a disappointment in the pas, but maybe I'm too used to seeing Tiler Peck across the plaza.

I'm going again next week. I hope ticket sales improve.

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I,too, thought the Raymonda was incredibly dull. No one really had the right Hungarian character manner and Hee didn't seem regal enough. The worst, though, was the variation for the 4 male demis. They were sloppy, not at all in unison and the beats and tours ranged from ok to bad. Very disappointing.

I was also disappointed in Fancy Free. Every season ABT does it, it loses more detail and seems blander. I much prefer the way NYCB dances it. I have to disagree with Vipa in that I thought Julie Kent (whose dancing I always hate) was one of the best on stage. She had the right attitude, even if she seemed a bit stiff. At this point, Julie is the only ABT dancer who worked with Robbins and knows how the piece should be danced. As for Stella (who I usually like) she must have been having an off day because she seemed very stiff and wooden.

There were loads of empty seats (virtually all of row Q in the orchestra). Also, compared to NYCB programs, this was quite short - 3 pieces none of which was even 1/2 hour. I'm glad I didn't spend much money on the seats.

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What a shame that Part is not dancing Raymonda this fall. There are brief snippets on YouTube and the role seems to suit her perfectly. From the descriptions of what Seo was lacking, it sounds like someone like Part is just what's needed. As so often lately, a waste of true talent with a weaker dancer put on instead.

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I was there last night too. Tons of empty seats in the first and second rings.

A pleasure to see Raymonda excerpts after such a long absence from the rep, but not the greatest performance. The UN-FAB FOUR men were completely out of sync. The women soloists performed well. James Whiteside did a terrific job. Hee Seo's back was too stiff. Part would have been a great choice for this role. Another day, another casting mystery at ABT.

Enjoyed Lilac very much, although Teucher lacked charismatic presence, especially in comparison to Part. Too bad Kent didn't do the Caroline lead role. It was one of her best.

No complaints about Fancy Free. Especially loved Gomes and Cornejo.

Lane and Forster will be the second cast for the Scarlett work tonight. Poor Sarah will have her boobs grabbed, and then they will have to twerk for us. At any other workplace a boob grab would be cause for a sexual harassment suit. At ABT I guess the goal is to pander to the lowest common denominator.

Jerome Robbins got it exactly right in Fancy Free, where the sailor gently places his arm across the women's chest area, and she then lowers his arm. That's subtle humor. Liam Scarlett's version of the boob grab is not subtle and not funny. Just disgusting.

A little surprised that the NY Times decided to compare the Scarlett work to the masterpiece Dances at a Gathering. Apples and oranges. Scarlett is not remotely in the same league as Robbins.

Edit to add: The only consolation is that unlike opening night, when there were tons of children in the audience to see their siblings in Ratmansky's student ballet, at least tonight the audience will hopefully be primarily adult. Did McKenzie think it was a great idea to show a ballet at a gala with tons of little kids in attendance, in which a woman has her breasts grabbed and shaken by her partner. Use some common sense.

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I was also disappointed in Fancy Free. Every season ABT does it, it loses more detail and seems blander. I much prefer the way NYCB dances it. I have to disagree with Vipa in that I thought Julie Kent (whose dancing I always hate) was one of the best on stage. She had the right attitude, even if she seemed a bit stiff. At this point, Julie is the only ABT dancer who worked with Robbins and knows how the piece should be danced. As for Stella (who I usually like) she must have been having an off day because she seemed very stiff and wooden.

This is interesting, since it's almost the opposite of my experience with those two production in the late 70s, early 80s. ABT danced characters, and NYCB danced steps.

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