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#16 Batsuchan

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 08:14 PM

As FauxPas mentioned, any cast that followed Vishneva/Gomes would have a tough act to follow, and so it was tonight.

 

Semionova & Stearns put on a fine performance, but for me, they simply did not reach the dancing or emotional heights that last night's performance achieved.

 

In the first act, I found myself wishing that there was a stronger, taller dancer that could partner Semionova in this ballet.  Stearns handled the partnering quite admirably, but I felt that both had to hold back a bit in order to focus on the tricky partnering maneuvers.  Though nothing looked difficult or labored, it did not have that same effortless quality that both Kent/Bolle and Vishneva/Gomes achieved.  Even though Stearns is quite a good partner, Semionova is simply too tall to throw herself at him with wild abandon.  (She did seem to appreciate his efforts though--she gave him her entire bouquet during the bows, which was a very sweet gesture!)

 

That being said, maybe wild abandon is not her style.  Even dancing by herself--in the Act II solo, for example--she did not take the movements to the extreme and vamp it up to the same delicious degree that Vishneva did.  She is undeniably pretty and her long lines are lovely, but she doesn't DEMAND that you pay attention to her with her characterization the way Vishneva seems to do.

 

That being said, I did like both her and Stearns' characterizations of the roles.

 

On Monday, I found the qualities that make Bolle/Kent endearing as Romeo & Juliet make them rather unsympathetic in "Manon."  They seem sweet, youthful, innocent, but not too bright--which is perfectly fine for the lovestruck teens--but didn't work for Manon and Des Grieux.  To me, Kent's Manon seemed like she went from "oh look, he's so cute, let me to dance with him!" to "oh look, this old guy has lots of money!" without a single thought, while Bolle's Des Grieux was like, "she's so pretty, I'm just going to follow her around."  Because they both seemed kind of clueless, I couldn't really feel sorry for them in Act III.

 

Vishneva's Manon was a slave to her desires.  She craves love, she craves luxury.  She's aware that she treats Des Grieux badly, that what she's doing is wrong, but she simply can't stop herself.  Similarly, Gomes' Des Grieux knew very well that Manon mistreated him, that she's headed down a dangerous path, but she's just so damn irresistible that he also can't help himself either; he's drawn to her like a moth to a flame.  And they both suffer terribly for their actions in Act III--their final p.d.d. is a sucker punch.  And I found this arc of downward spiral, terrible suffering, and redemption through death to be very satisfying.

 

Today, Semionova's Manon was somewhere in the middle.  She's not a silly teenager; she is calm and calculating.  She regrets leaving Des Grieux, but she also knows what she wants--the finer things in life.  Stearns' Des Grieux was also between the two extremes, both blindly devoted to her in a youthful, puppy-dog kind of way, but also willing to chastise her for her cupidity.  Their suffering did not deliver a knockout, but it was dignified and sincere.

 

As for Reyes--I saw her in Act I and III in the dress rehearsal on Monday.  I think it's somewhat unfair to comment on rehearsals, but I didn't think she would be completely miscast in the role.  I will note that her petite size makes her look VERY child-like, which made the jailer rape scene especially disturbing to me, and made her appropriately weak/vulnerable looking for the rest of Act III.

 

**

 

One other note on the Lescauts and mistresses--James Whiteside was believable as Semionova's older brother, but Simkin was not really believable as Kent's brother, and Cornejo as Vishneva's brother was a stretch.  Also, at the end of Act I, Simkin tackling Bolle to the ground, and Cornejo doing the same to Gomes, was simply hilarious and not realistic to me.  Whiteside and Stearns seemed better matched.

 

Abrera/Simkin were surprisingly good in the drunken pas de deux in Act II--their size difference when she's on pointe was really funny.  Cornejo/Copeland were also stellar.  However, tonight, Part/Whiteside struggled a bit in that Whiteside had to seriously partner her, and it wasn't clear if they were having problems with the choreography or if they were being intentionally funny.

 

**

 

Anyway, can't wait to see Vishneva & Gomes again on Saturday!!



#17 abatt

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 06:59 AM

I was at last night's Manon too.  (Sorry I missed you Batsuchan!)  I went in with low expectations.  It was a good performance, but not a great one.  First, although Stearns has been injured, he seemed fully recovered and didn't have any problem with executing the choreography.  Semionova was goregous, and her extensions of her super long limbs in this choreography was a pleasure.  There was not much chemistry between the leads, so this performance did not have the excitement or passion of the Vishneva-Gomes pairing.  Cory did a fine job with all the tricky lifts, and Polina is certainly a difficult assignment because of her size.  Whiteside was a much better bad guy than Cornejo, and he danced magnificently.  Part was miscast, I thought, or maybe just having an off night.

 

Tuesday night was well sold, but last night the house was a ghost town.  Very poor ticket sales.



#18 terrynyc

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:23 PM

I saw both the Opening Night with Kent/Bolle/Simkin/Abrera and the folloeing night with Vishneva/Gomes/Cornejo/Copeland. Both were amazing petformances - both were very moving. Bolle boasted a line that was astonishing. In his first afagio he cteated a sense of Time Suspended. Kent has an ability to just continue with her own inner life, gestures, etc. while Bolle and all the other men are lifting her and thtoeing her around - she just seems to be floating ad if nothing is happening. Vishneva brings more thratricality and thr the Pavanne, more sensuality. Gomez is always a model partner and impassioned hero. Simkin was excellent and Cornejo was certainly deluxe cadting ad the brother. It is nrarly impossible to say which is best. I have certain ahes fro both casts that I cannot forget.

#19 Amour

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 11:51 PM

I saw Manon with Vishneva and Gomes the other night as well. I hadn't seen the ballet since Alex Ferri (my idol) last performed it. I thought Diana and Marcelo were gorgeous together although I thought Diana was a bit too "alive" during the final scene (Ferri used to be rag doll limp). They have such great chemistry together. I thought Herman danced very well in his solo bits as Lescaut's but to me it looked like he was struggling a bit partnering Misty. All in all, though, a terrific performance.

#20 abatt

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:27 PM

I saw the Kent/Bolle cast last night.  Bolle hardly performs with ABT, so it was a rare treat to see this wonderful dancer.  He is, in my opinion, every bit as good as Marcelo in this ballet in terms of acting and technical achievement.  I enjoyed Kent's performance, although when compared to Semionova and Vishneva you can easily see her technical limitations these days, especially in the diminished flexibility of her back. 

 

Simkin and Stella were both terrific.   However, I think it was a bad idea to cast Simkin as Kent's brother. That was not the familial relationship that one thought of when seeing them together.  ABT should have used someone like Whiteside in this cast, who is at least a bit older looking. 

 

Once again, the Met was largely empty.  Ticket sales for this ballet have been dismal, except for the Vishneva cast.



#21 ord7916

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:41 PM

Sales were low for Don Q and better, but still low, for La Bayadere.  And yet the prices keep going up.   



#22 abatt

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:46 PM

Yes, ABT has gotten out of control with price increases.  There is a week night performance I was considering going to in early July.  They have raised the price in the balcony from $46 to $55, even though they have barely sold any seats in the balcony.  It seems that the price increases are not "dynamically" based on the number of tickets sold (ie, prices for popular shows increase).  It just seems like they raised all prices in certain sections irrespective of whether they are selling badly or well.  It's not that I cannot afford the extra few dollars, but it bothers me because I feel like I'm being nickeled and dimed by ABT.  

 

Added:  I ran into a friend last week who bought a standing room ticket, and he told me that they had raised those prices too.



#23 vipa

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:00 PM

Yes, ABT has gotten out of control with price increases.  There is a week night performance I was considering going to in early July.  They have raised the price in the balcony from $46 to $55, even though they have barely sold any seats in the balcony.  It seems that the price increases are not "dynamically" based on the number of tickets sold (ie, prices for popular shows increase).  It just seems like they raised all prices in certain sections irrespective of whether they are selling badly or well.  It's not that I cannot afford the extra few dollars, but it bothers me because I feel like I'm being nickeled and dimed by ABT.  

 

Added:  I ran into a friend last week who bought a standing room ticket, and he told me that they had raised those prices too.

It is also strange to me that they don't offer atrium discount tickets like NYCB, the Phil and even Act One now playing does.  Why not?



#24 Batsuchan

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:41 PM

 

Yes, ABT has gotten out of control with price increases.  There is a week night performance I was considering going to in early July.  They have raised the price in the balcony from $46 to $55, even though they have barely sold any seats in the balcony.  It seems that the price increases are not "dynamically" based on the number of tickets sold (ie, prices for popular shows increase).  It just seems like they raised all prices in certain sections irrespective of whether they are selling badly or well.  It's not that I cannot afford the extra few dollars, but it bothers me because I feel like I'm being nickeled and dimed by ABT.  

 

Added:  I ran into a friend last week who bought a standing room ticket, and he told me that they had raised those prices too.

It is also strange to me that they don't offer atrium discount tickets like NYCB, the Phil and even Act One now playing does.  Why not?

 

 

If I'm not mistaken, I believe that it is the policy of the Met Opera House not to offer atrium tickets, not ABT's...

 

I wonder if perhaps they have raised the ticket price so dramatically to make up for the lost revenue from the poorly-sold weeks...? 



#25 fondoffouettes

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:53 PM

At NYCB, you can get decent seats for $25 in the orchestra section (to the extreme right or left side). At ABT, similar seats--with even poorer views--go for $109. ABT also blocked out many dates for its 18-29 club subscription because it would rather have empty seats than sell tickets to young ballet-goers. It looks like ticket sales have been shockingly bad this season. I just checked the Hallberg/Murphy Cinderellas, and the orchestra section looks at least 50% unsold for their two evening performances. Most evening performances at ABT are about as well sold as a Monday night Sylvia. 



#26 nanushka

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:18 AM

 

I wonder if perhaps they have raised the ticket price so dramatically to make up for the lost revenue from the poorly-sold weeks...? 

 

 

 

If so, that's a brilliant strategy!



#27 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:25 AM

I have a quick question.  Does anyone know if ABT offered discount tickets at the atrium when they were at the David Koch Theatre last November.  If they didn't, then maybe it's ABT policy as well as the Met's.



#28 ABT Fan

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:48 AM

I'm going to the matinee today. If anyone else is and wants to meet up at intermission, send me a message.

#29 Kaysta

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:33 PM

Went to the matinee...will post more tomorrow but it was amazing.

After seeing La Bayadere, I said the shades was going to be the highlight of the met season for me. I was so very wrong. Vishneva and Gomes were on a whole different level. I balled my eyes out I was so moved. I'm sure the folks sitting next to me thought I was crazy.

#30 Batsuchan

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 08:21 PM

Went to the matinee...will post more tomorrow but it was amazing.

After seeing La Bayadere, I said the shades was going to be the highlight of the met season for me. I was so very wrong. Vishneva and Gomes were on a whole different level. I balled my eyes out I was so moved. I'm sure the folks sitting next to me thought I was crazy.

 

You're not the only one!  Both of my friends were also in tears!  smile.png

 

I personally find that go-for-broke, no-holds-barred passion that Vishneva/Gomes displayed absolutely exhilarating.  They left everything out on the stage, and at the end, when the curtain went up, Vishneva just leaned against Gomes like she really was dying!  Incredible!

 

It occurs to me that Vishneva and Gomes have killed me on 4 of the past 5 June 7ths.  It's a special day for them!  There was "Lady of the Camellias" on 6/7/10 and 6/7/11, "Onegin" on 6/7/12, and then today!

 

During the first curtain call, the curtain opened and the entire cast was on stage to congratulate Vishneva on her 10th anniversary.  First Gomes gave her flowers, then Irina Kolpakova (whom Diana lifted off the ground when she hugged her!), then Kevin McKenzie, then a little boy who I think is Vishneva's nephew.  Gomes kept sending her to the front of the stage to bow again, and the second time she jogged backwards to rejoin him, she almost fell over the flowers in the center of the stage!  It was such an endearing moment!

 

There was one more curtain call after this, but then people just wouldn't stop clapping.  One man kept yelling "Bravo" over and over and they were forced to come out one more time.  Gomes picked up Vishneva and put her on his shoulder--she wasn't expecting that and it was so cute!

 

What a day!  Thank you, so, so much, Vishneva & Gomes!  It has been such an utter privilege to see the two of you not just dance, but LIVE, the story of "Manon" onstage!

 

To many more years of Vishneva & Gomes!!




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