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La Bayadere


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#31 FauxPas

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:45 AM

Good as done, Colleen

La Bayadere: Monday May 26, 2014: Semionova, Shklyarov, Seo, Barbee

 

First of all, Polina Semionova, a technically proficient dancer who has at times failed to engage me as an interpreter, is a glorious Nikiya.  She actually combines the best qualities of both Vishneva and Part in this ballet.  She has the sinuous flexible back and fluid arms of Vishneva.  Her epaulement is simply ravishing and we know she has no problem with pointe work and multiple unsupported pirouettes and such.  Like Diana, Polina also gives a passionate, full-blooded dramatic interpretation to the role of Nikiya in the first act.  Like Part, Semionova has long limbs with high extensions, a strong jump and a sense of amplitude in her movements.  Like both Part and Vishneva she is a beautiful woman and is facially expressive in this role.

 

Vladimir Shklyarov had an eventful, accident prone debut in the first act.  He came on with a light bounding jump and very clear mime.  He is physically well-matched with Semionova and their first pas de deux went well.  Then came the Garden Betrothal Grand Pas...   He came on well but there was a section where the two sets of pas de quatre ballerinas in the pas d'action are bourreeing towards the wings and back and Solor has to cross from downstage right to center stage.  Shklyarov anticipated the cross and just ignored the ballerina in front of him and banged straight into her.  She nearly fell and he did fall but they both instantaneously righted themselves and went on.   I chalk this up to nerves and lack of onstage rehearsal (Shklyarov did dance the Shades scene in the dress rehearsal last Friday).  Then he launched into his solo which has feather light batterie and high arched jumps.  However, he had one bad landing nearly toppling forward.  The audience didn't care and gave him a huge hand.  In the "Shades" scene Shklyarov put the pedal to the metal to make up for his previous mishaps.  He was adding extra spins and his jeté has wonderful ballon.  However, he seemed to be off the music - he would do a bunch of bravura steps and then there would be extra music playing while he walked around or just stood there before doing his series of tours.  Marcelo and Whiteside both danced the steps right on the music with no gaps.  The last act went very well.  

 

Hee Seo who is a soft, not especially technically brilliant dancer had a very good showing as Gamzatti.  She has a beautiful stage face and was surprisingly steely in a delicate iron butterfly way.  In the Garden Scene she performed quite fine Italian fouettes and ended with a series of solid, unspectacular but clean single fouettes and finished without a mishap.  The last act was danced well - Makarova's solo for Gamzatti is quite congenial for many ballerinas.  The movements look good and seem very danceable.

 

The rest of the cast was the same as the opening night - Sarah Lane (excellent), Misty Copeland (nailed her solo unlike opening night where she fell off pointe) and Devon Teuscher were the Three Shades.  Victor Barbee was a tormented, imposing Brahmin.  Alexandre Hammoudi looked very picturesque with his jeweled feathered turban as the Rajah Dugamanta.  Craig Salstein did a wonderful clean fast rendition of the Golden Idol solo (done as a divertissement in the Second Act in the Russian versions).  

 

There were many extra curtain calls and Polina had an ardent fan who threw her three or four bouquets from the auditorium which Shklarov gallantly scooped up and presented to her.  For a Monday night it had a very gala tone and lots of enthusiasm.



#32 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:47 AM

Wonderful review Faux Pas.  Thank you for writing it so quickly.  I saw Hee Seo as Gamzatti in 2010.  It was one of her best roles.  Sorry to heart about Shklyarov's problems.  As you said I'm sure lack of rehearsal time and nerves had a lot to do with it. 



#33 Waelsung

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:06 AM

I was at the Monday night performance too and mostly concur with Faux Pas. Semionova was absolutely phenomenal and does indeed combine the best qualities of Vishneva and Part (whom I love dearly). Shklyarov obviously suffered from the lack of rehearsal time. The ballerina he collided with in Act I was Christine Shevchenko (a real standout in the corps, btw).

 

I loved Shklyarov sense of style and think that - with more rehearsal time and more experience with ABT productions - he could be a very valuable addition were he to perform here on the permanent basis. Especially considering how depleted the male part of the troupe currently is.



#34 Buddy

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:10 AM

Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi) will debut tonight in La Bayadère with Vadim Muntagirov and Hee Seo as Gamzatti. This could be a great chance for many New Yorkers to get a first look at this remarkable young artist and it could be a great performance overall.

 

http://www.abt.org/c...rtdate=5/1/2014

 

(thanks to Amelia at Balletco for this reminder)

 

Edited: Hee Seo portrays Gamzatti, not Myrta.



#35 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 05:23 AM

Living in Staten Island I can't get into Manhattan for tonight's La Bayadere.  But I have heard so many great things about Olga S.  I hoping those of you who attend tonight's evening performance will post about it.



#36 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:33 AM

Buddy..I think you had a "bad girl exchange"...("..Seo as Myrta"..) :-)

#37 Buddy

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 07:36 AM

Thanks, Cristian. No, it's indeed Hee Seo who will probably dance Gamzatti (and not Myrta). Vadim is doing Solor.

 

By the way, Hee Seo danced Giselle at this year's Mariinsky Festival. After my complete deflation because of Olga Esina having to cancel out, having seen very little of Hee Seo before I was very pleasantly surprised with how beautifully she did. Her dancing was great and her sense of poetic drama was exceptional. Hopefully this will be equally apparent tonight. 

 

Added:

 

Eek ! Correction made to correction. Heo Seo will probably dance Gamzatti.  Am I starting to get it right.

 

Added Added:

 

With Hee Seo's depth of interpretation, Cristian, it could be a lot more than a "bad girl exchange." Like Simone Messmer did several years ago, this could be a Gamzatti of many sublime dimensions.



#38 abatt

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 07:40 AM

Myrta is from Giselle.  Hee Seo is dancing Gamzatti in Bayadere tonight. That was cubanmiamiboy's point.



#39 Buddy

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 08:05 AM

Thanks, abatt. And now would anyone like directions on how to get to Lincoln Center. First you go left or maybe it's right and then....



#40 Rosa

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 02:40 PM

Curious to know how Murphy and Nedak were last night. Did anyone see them?



#41 choriamb

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 11:07 PM

I attended the Wednesday 5/29 performance.

Smirnova's Nikiya justified all the praise:  it was technically pristine, dramatically well-thought, and seamless. Her epaulement, in particular, is gorgeous...and why hasn't anyone written about her great jump? She adjusted her projection and musicality a bit during the first act, gaining full focus when Muntagirov first came on stage--perhaps helped by seeing a familiar face.

Given that she shares so much of Vishneva's control and dramatic intelligence, it will be interesting to see if Smirnova acquires Vishneva's projection and exciting ability to discard a bit of her poise at times. To go too limp and accelerate too fast. (Excitement really only entered the game during a set of blazingly fast turns in her solo Shades variations.) But when you consider that Smirnova was dancing on one of the most intimidatingly huge stages in the world in a foreign country with a relatively new partner in an unfamiliar company's production and under four years of professional stage time...

Given what I had read, I was expecting Muntagirov to be a soulless technician. But I think he's more than that. Excellent technique and very solid partnering with simple, clear mime. In time, his Solor characterization may not become memorable, but it will at least be believable. Not everyone can be Gomes. [Pauses to pull out desk drawer. Briefly gazes misty-eyed at black-and-white press photo of a Brazilian dancer. Closes drawer.]

Seo executed Gamzatti's technical demands calmly, if not exuberantly. But I'm not in love with any of ABT's Gamzattis. Their interpretations--or maybe the artistic staff's--are just a grab bag of camp vamp, spoiled rich kid, and ordinary girl. It's dramatically better to just pitch the character as EITHER a flat villain OR an innocent unexpectly handed a love triangle. The one time when Seo went whole-heartedly villain, stalking toward Solor in his chamber after the Shades scene, things got interesting. (FWIW, I vote for "innocent princess":  Gamzatti tries to bribe Nikiya to forestall her father killing her, then is attacked with a knife for her pains. Also, it makes Solor seem less wimpy.)

Roman Zhurbin was a good High Brahmin. Arron Scott's Bronze Idol performance was clean and charged at times with real excitement:  good acceleration and phrasing. Devon Teuscher's technical command and musicality made watching the Second Shade a pleasure, for once.

The corps were turban-ridden and hard to differentiate, but Luciana Paris, Brittany DeGrofft, Cassandra Trenary, and one of warrior men looked special. (Aside:  I haven't seen Marian Butler and Leann Underwood this season. I hope they're back for Giselle.)



#42 mimsyb

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 04:31 AM

I attended the Wednesday 5/29 performance.

Smirnova's Nikiya justified all the praise:  it was technically pristine, dramatically well-thought, and seamless. Her epaulement, in particular, is gorgeous...and why hasn't anyone written about her great jump? She adjusted her projection and musicality a bit during the first act, gaining full focus when Muntagirov first came on stage--perhaps helped by seeing a familiar face.

Given that she shares so much of Vishneva's control and dramatic intelligence, it will be interesting to see if Smirnova acquires Vishneva's projection and exciting ability to discard a bit of her poise at times. To go too limp and accelerate too fast. (Excitement really only entered the game during a set of blazingly fast turns in her solo Shades variations.) But when you consider that Smirnova was dancing on one of the most intimidatingly huge stages in the world in a foreign country with a relatively new partner in an unfamiliar company's production and under four years of professional stage time...

Given what I had read, I was expecting Muntagirov to be a soulless technician. But I think he's more than that. Excellent technique and very solid partnering with simple, clear mime. In time, his Solor characterization may not become memorable, but it will at least be believable. Not everyone can be Gomes. [Pauses to pull out desk drawer. Briefly gazes misty-eyed at black-and-white press photo of a Brazilian dancer. Closes drawer.]

Seo executed Gamzatti's technical demands calmly, if not exuberantly. But I'm not in love with any of ABT's Gamzattis. Their interpretations--or maybe the artistic staff's--are just a grab bag of camp vamp, spoiled rich kid, and ordinary girl. It's dramatically better to just pitch the character as EITHER a flat villain OR an innocent unexpectly handed a love triangle. The one time when Seo went whole-heartedly villain, stalking toward Solor in his chamber after the Shades scene, things got interesting. (FWIW, I vote for "innocent princess":  Gamzatti tries to bribe Nikiya to forestall her father killing her, then is attacked with a knife for her pains. Also, it makes Solor seem less wimpy.)

Roman Zhurbin was a good High Brahmin. Arron Scott's Bronze Idol performance was clean and charged at times with real excitement:  good acceleration and phrasing. Devon Teuscher's technical command and musicality made watching the Second Shade a pleasure, for once.

The corps were turban-ridden and hard to differentiate, but Luciana Paris, Brittany DeGrofft, Cassandra Trenary, and one of warrior men looked special. (Aside:  I haven't seen Marian Butler and Leann Underwood this season. I hope they're back for Giselle.)

Well, I guess we see different things on any given night.  While I would agree with you about Muntagirov (fine, not exceptional) in every aspect, I thought Smirnova and her performance was DOA.  I never once felt any connection between her and Solar, either as a human or as a Shade.  She never looked at him, acknowledged him, and seemingly didn't even know he was there.  And he was most clearly there, in every respect.  Technically secure and his acting and fine looks all served him well.  She on the other hand, while technically OK, had a small list of "what's going on here"?  While her extensions are fine (she's Russian; they all have great extensions.  It's how they're trained), her shoulders and especially her neck showed a great amount of tension and stiffness.  Her musical phrasing was astonishingly off; sometimes early by several beats (wait, wait), or often late even. If one is early in the music one better be doing something very interesting out there!  Her port de bras came not out of any idea of story telling, but rather the idea that "here I do this arm, there I do that one".  Nothing ever extended beyond the fingers.  (and sometimes didn't even reach down to them!).  The steps were all "done", but unlike say, Cojocaru who uses the "steps" to convey longing, anguish, joy, confusion, love, you name it, here the steps were merely steps.  Little connective tissue .  (here again is where both Cojocaru and Vishneva excel.).  I found Smirnova cold, uninteresting.  I didn't believe her story for a minute.  Her feet also were a problem for me.  Not especially pretty, she didn't even attempt to articulate any of the foot work, almost as if she didn't want anyone to notice her not so pretty feet.  Cojocaru is also known for perhaps not the most perfect feet, but she in contrast doesn't run from that fact, but embraces it all and uses her feet to extend her character.  Never have I held my breath so much as when she rolls through her foot into that gorgeous arabesque in the last scene of Act I.  This alone tells of her anguish over Solar and her circumstance.  She can break my heart with that one move!   My heart stayed most certainly intact from last evening's performance, alas.   On another note, while the corps was a tad erratic, Devon Teuscher's second Shade variation was quite pleasing.  As was Skylar Brandt as the first Shade variation.  I always like Yuriko, very secure.  I have always wished she could learn and concur her battu work more cleanly and clearly.  Maybe someone in Houston can show her how it's done.  (but then few of ABT's women really can do an exceptional entrechachat, or six with the possible exception of Stella and Nicole Graniero).  So, last night I saw something very different than many in the audience, although I did hear a few grumbles around me.  When one starts looking at the old guys playing the Temple "staff", then something is clearly not right.

On to Tereshkina!



#43 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 04:39 AM

Interesting to read such different views on the same performance.  That's one of the things that makes this site so good.  Also, I just wanted to add, choriamb that I think Stella Abrera's portrayal of Gamzatti is a particularly good one.  I agree with you with regard to Hee Seo and the spoiled rich girl characterization.  But Abrera goes way beyond that (in my opinion anyway).



#44 Mirseng1

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:15 AM

I would second mimsyb's opinion about lack of connection between Smirnova and Muntagirov in yesterday's performance.  They were rather detached and did not convey the passion of their love story.  Both demonstrated clean, sold technique but no real spark.  Surprisingly, Hee Seo - not the strongest dancer! - was able to convey her Gamzatti's feelings better than Smirnova, with all her undeniable prowess. 

 

P. S.  Vishneva and Semionova are Nikyas for ages.....



#45 abatt

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:30 AM

I was there last night too.  I thought Smirnova's dancing was lovely and technically assured, but her portrayal was dramatically somewhat inert.  I can't really blame her for lack of chmeistry for Muntigirov.  When you have two dancers who barely know one another and have never danced together, how can you expect the kind of relationship that sizzles, like a Vishneva/Gomes pairing?  Muntigirov was much, much better than the last time I saw him at ABT two years ago.  This was not a Bayadere for the ages, but it was certainly at least very good.  Considering that Smirnova is only 22 years old, I would say she has immense talent and promise.  I would happily see her again at the Met or elsewhere.




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