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Manon


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#46 Natalia

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 10:42 AM

Went to Vishneva/Gomes' out-of-this-world Saturday matinee performance. Both over-the-top with passion and we lapped it up. I have nothing to add to the glorious reports above. This was one for the books.



#47 bingham

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 10:43 AM

As I didn't see the 2007 performances, I'm intrigued to read that this year's perfs use a "new" production and costumes. I see in the program they were borrowed from Houston. Can anyone tell me whose production was used in 2007? As for this year's, the sets were serviceable, nothing special, but the costumes were really quite beautiful. (And yes, I was at the Saturday matinee, and everything everyone has said is true: performance of a lifetime.)

          The sets and costumes of the 2007 production were designed but N  Georgiadis.



#48 Kaysta

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 11:11 AM

I can't stop thinking about the Saturday performance.  It still brings tears to my eyes, haha!

 

My favorite moment, that keeps replaying in my head, is in act 3, when Gomes picked up Vishneva into a backbend into his arms.  Her body was so completely limp (yet still made the most beautiful lines) and they started the pdd.

 

Just one of many moments that took my breath away.

 

On another note, don't know if this has been mentioned, but Misty Copeland autographed copies of her book that they are selling in the met opera shop.  Thought that was pretty cool, considering they didn't increase the price.



#49 Batsuchan

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:17 PM

On another note, don't know if this has been mentioned, but Misty Copeland autographed copies of her book that they are selling in the met opera shop.  Thought that was pretty cool, considering they didn't increase the price.

 

Interesting!  Before the show, the two girls standing behind me in line for the ladies' room mentioned that they chose the matinee because Misty was dancing in it, so I guess her popularity is selling tickets!  Of course I informed them that they were super lucky that they'd get to see Vishneva & Gomes, to which the lady in front of me said something like, "I worship Diana Vishneva!"  Can't say I disagree! :)

 

Given the dismal ticket sales for most of the shows, I wonder if they will bring back "Manon" next year.  In recent years ABT has been running these passion play ballets ("Lady of the Camellias," "Onegin") for two seasons back-to-back, presumably because they want to take advantage of having taught the corps a new ballet (that's my guess).  (Since "Manon" hasn't been run for 7 years, I'm guessing it was a new ballet for much of the corps.)  However, ABT will probably do R&J next year, and I'm guessing they won't want to do two MacMillan ballets the same season--unless a certain senior ballerina who still does well in these roles decides to retire...  Any thoughts?



#50 vipa

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:33 PM

I have mixed feeling about Misty Copeland.  If she brings in a new audience great, at the same time one hopes that the people she brings in get hooked and return even if she isn't dancing.  I don't know if that is the case.  Personally, I never go to the ballet for "passion play ballets"  not my thing which is why I go to see ABT so infrequently.



#51 canbelto

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:06 PM

I know MacMillan's widow is very vigilant about his ballets being performed intact but I always think the prostitutes' dancing (in every act) could be trimmed by a few minutes and no one would notice or care.



#52 Caesariatus

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:43 PM

So I had tickets to see Polina Semionova in Saturday night's performance of Manon, and I kept reading on Ballet Alert how amazing Diana Vishneva is in the role, and I thought, "Oh well, it's the luck of the draw when you buy tickets that far in advance."  As things turned out, I thought Semionova was absolutely amazing in the role.  I can't speak to Vishneva's performance, of course, not having seen it, but I have no regrets whatsoever that I was fortunate enough to see Semionova in the role.  It wasn't that she was technically impressive, although there was certainly no fault to be found there, as far as I could see.  It was rather that I have rarely seen a dancer who is as incredibly effective in expressing the emotions and the thoughts of the character through movement, especially in the Act I pas de deux and especially especially during Act II when she's dancing in between Des Grieux and G.M. (both alone and with the male corps).  Watching the latter was one of those transcendent times which made me fall in love with ballet.

Cory Stearns danced Des Grieux.  He was fine, if a little unsteady at times.  James Whiteside and Veronika Part were also fine as Lescaut and his Mistress.

Lescaut's drunk dance worked well; I literally laughed out loud at one point.

There were a lot of empty seats.  If I had to guess I'd say the Met was 80% full.

The sets and costumes were OK, except that I thought Manon's and Lescaut's Mistress's costumes in the second act were too similar.

I understand that final bows are always in the last costume, but I thought it was a shame that whoever dances Manon has to take her final bows in her one-foot-in-the-grave costume and makeup.

So, anyway, Polina Semionova is now one of my favorite dancers.  Discovering her was especially wonderful since when I went to the Met Saturday night I was expecting just a nice evening and not one of my best ballet experiences yet, which is what I got instead, thanks to Ms. Semionova.
 



#53 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 05:42 AM

I was also at the Saturday matinee and it was just as magical as everyone has posted.

MacMillan’s ‘Manon’ only works if the dancers become the characters, especially the dancers performing the roles of Manon and Des Grieux. This is definitely the case when Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes take on the roles Saturday afternoon. Their acting is so real, so natural. At the start of the ballet Manon is a young girl who has grown up both poor and ashamed of her poverty. She soon, however, reveals her attraction to all things money can buy. Vishneva’s dancing shows clearly how Manon is transformed for an innocent girl to a seductive courtesan. She also reveals how Manon is trapped between her love for Des Grieux and her love of luxury. In Act III Vishneva’s Manon is a broken woman who is redeemed by De Grieux’s devotion. This allows Manon to die in peace.

Gomes’ DesGrieux is a naïve young student whose life takes a dark turn when he falls for the young courtesan. Through both his dancing and acting, Gomes displays Des Grieux’s joyous love for Manon in Act I. When Manon leaves him for G.M., Gomes’ pain is heartbreaking. He will do anything to win Manon back, including cheating at cards. (Among 18th century gentlemen murder was excused. Cheating at cards was not.) At the end of the ballet, when Manon dies in his arms, Gomes’ Des Grieux’s despair is so palpable that the tears are running down my cheeks.

As fantastic as Vishneva and Gomes are separately, together they set the Metropolitan Opera House alight. They are such a perfect twosome that their images from ’Manon’ are forever engraved in my mind’s eye. Their passion even continues in the bows where Vishneva is honored for her ten years of dancing with American Ballet Theatre.

Other performers stand out too. Herman Cornejo is a wonderfully sleazy Lescaut. His dancing is thrilling with Cornejo performing lightning quick turns and pas chats, where Cornejo springs into the air like a cat. He is very funny in the Act II soiree as an obviously drunk Lescaut’s dancing is both bravura and off-center. He is even funnier when he dances with his mistress who is performed by Misty Copeland. It must be difficult for such a great dancer to perform so badly.

Copeland’s mistress is wonderfully done. Both her dancing and her acting are first-rate. Victor Barbee’s characterization of Monsieur G.M. is a powerful one. As the Louisiana jailer Roman Zhurbin adds another rich portrayal to his already vast arsenal. All the characters in the ballet are extremely memorable – from courtesans and gentlemen to the beggars in the courtyard. ABT’s production of ‘Manon’ is a fantastic one which I hope they dance for years to come.

#54 Barbara

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 05:54 AM

I'd be happy with two MacMillan's in one season, but I'm a sucker for the "passion play ballets".



#55 abatt

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 06:23 AM

I only recall them doing two MacMillans during a single season around the time that Ferri retired.  The only two ballets that remained in her rep at that point were R&J and Manon.

 

I was also at the Sat. evening performance, and it was less than 50% full in the balcony.  The performance was a real let down compared to the afternoon.  



#56 Tapfan

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:35 AM

I have mixed feeling about Misty Copeland.  If she brings in a new audience great, at the same time one hopes that the people she brings in get hooked and return even if she isn't dancing.  I don't know if that is the case.

The novelty of seeing a black woman dancing prominent ballet roles may draw in some new audience members, but it's the quality and entertainment value of those productions that will keep them coming back. 

 

In this, black audiences are no different than any other people.



#57 FauxPas

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 08:29 AM

ABT experimented with the full-length "Anastasia" over fifteen years ago when MacMillan specialist/muses Viviana Durante and Alessandra Ferri were both dancing with the company (Durante was a guest when that was unusual for ABT).  It was not a success.  ABT has wisely passed on mounting "Mayerling" (done by the Royal Ballet on tour in NYC - I saw it 20 years ago with Mukhamedov.  It works better on video than live).  They also blessedly have ignored "Winter Dreams" and "The Prince of the Pagodas".  I don't know "Isadora" - it might make a nice vehicle for Diana or Julie if it is done in the one-act reduction.  Please don't ask me about "The Judas Tree".  Do not go there...

 

I heard good things about "The Invitation" where Lynn Seymour gave a shattering dance theater performance.  "Song of the Earth" "Requiem" and "Concerto" sound interesting.  Then of course we have the other long skirt "passion play" ballets by Cranko, Ashton, Neumeier and lesser lights.



#58 Drew

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 09:26 AM

 

 

I heard good things about "The Invitation" where Lynn Seymour gave a shattering dance theater performance.  "Song of the Earth" "Requiem" and "Concerto" sound interesting.  Then of course we have the other long skirt "passion play" ballets by Cranko, Ashton, Neumeier and lesser lights.

 

Interesting suggestions -- though I would put Ashton in a completely different category than the other choreographers you mention, and am always happy to see ABT mount Ashton ballets. I actually rather admire Dame aux Camelias, but for the most part -- like Vipa above -- I am not an admirer of the Cranko-Macmillan nexus of full length story ballets. If I lived in NY, then I might come to see a Vishneva Manon or Onegin (and the performances she has given this season do sound thrilling), but I have only once ever opted for a trip that was organized around one of these ballets (a weekend with both Vishneva and Osipova in Romeo and Juliet supplemented by Liebeslieder Walzer  at NYCB).  Cranko's full lengths I find even duller than Macmillan's.

 

Still, I do take Macmillan seriously, and returning to Faux Pas's suggestions, I would rather see Song of the Earth or Requiem than Manon or Romeo and Juliet--they belong to very different genres. I remember Concerto as much lesser. I have also always been curious about the Invitation (another narrative ballet in a historical setting, though not full length), but always assumed it was not revivable--certainly to revive it one would need a very substantial dance-actress...

 

If ABT wants a new full length story ballet of the full-length "passion" variety, I would be very interested in seeing Ratmansky's Lost Illusions, but I would probably prefer they would acquire one of the one act works he has been creating for other companies that would work well at Met (perhaps Psyche which he created for POB) and include it in an additional "repertory" program during the Met season.

 

All that said, it has been very enjoyable reading about these performances of Manon. Thanks to everyone for posting.



#59 FauxPas

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 09:50 AM

I heard good things about "The Invitation" where Lynn Seymour gave a shattering dance theater performance.  

 

 I have also always been curious about the Invitation (another narrative ballet in a historical setting, though not full length), but always assumed it was not revivable--certainly to revive it one would need a very substantial dance-actress...

 

According to this website the "Invitation" choreography was notated in Benesh notation and there is some film of it.  Lynn Seymour is alive and could coach it.  You need a ballerina with a combination of innocence and emotional ferocity - Natalia Osipova?  Cojocaru?

 

http://www.kennethma...invitation.html



#60 Mazurka

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 10:27 AM

I wonder if anyone has seen Rolland Petit's Proust - Skips Between Heartbeats,

since the book is from an age of passion I am curious about this ballet and the films on

youtube are interesting.




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