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.
I agree Vipa. "Lilac" should always be in the ABT rep. It is simply a superb example of dance drama and it would offer so many of the dancers an opportunity to do this type of work. Both the men and women would gain from learning and dancing this ballet. Last night was lovely. A few quibbles, but all in all a good rendering. (as an aside, I couldn't help wish that Carla Korbes had danced this role. To my knowledge she never has, but what a splendid Caroline she would have made). I enjoyed "Fancy Free" very much with the three guys just wonderful together. I especially liked Cory who had previously danced in "Lilac". What a contrast. Both women were fine with me. I missed Julio Brigado-Young's bar tender. A small role, I know, but he had just the right demeanor for it. The major misery of the evening was the "Raymonda". What a mess! No sense of style or spirit to the dancing. I agree that Sarah and Misty were ill matched. One couldn't help wonder if that was on purpose, given that both women are forever poised for promotion but...... Skylar is fine technically, but simply disappears on stage. With the horrible lighting this performance got, she was all but invisible. Would someone PLEASE show her how to put on make up? The four men were, as mentioned above, not in sync in any way. Not even stylistically. But that was true of the corps in general. Legs and arms all over the place. Lines not straight. On and on. The whole piece looked slap dash and thrown together. MAybe more rehearsal. Oiy! Seo and Whiteside totally forgettable. She's stiff and has no sense of elan or presence and his landings leave a great deal to be desired. Partnering was pretty rough. As mentioned above, the lighting was pretty bad and there was just a blue back drop for the most hideous costumes I've seen since "Sleeping Beauty". The corps looked like refugees from Hershey Theme PArk! Brown fur? Really? More oiy! Tutus overwhelmed the ladies and the men seemed to be in straight jackets. Doesn't anyone look from out front? Kolpakova got a bow at the end, but I wanted to throw tomatoes. Perhaps more rehearsal and a change of cast will bring this up to snuff. The best version out there is still from the "Trocks" who at least bring a sense of glamour and commitment to the work. Their epaulment is to die for. Last night looked like bored class work.