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#1 Kaysta


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Posted 09 June 2014 - 11:13 AM

Anyone going tonight?


I'll be seeing the Seo matinee on Wednesday.  While i'm looking forward to it, I doubt anything will top Saturday.

#2 Amy Reusch

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 06:28 AM

I cannot, but I am very much looking forward to this recap of it coming on Thursday: http://thebarreflies.com/ Alexandra Ansanelli, Apollinaire Scher, Eliza Minden, Joel Lobenthal, Laura Javobs, Leigh Witchel & Robert Johnson

#3 Helene



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Posted 10 June 2014 - 06:58 PM

That looks like a good resource, but please remember, anyone who wants to discuss what critics are saying, please discuss in the "Writings on Ballet" forum.  The companies forums are for what you think about what you see.

#4 Batsuchan


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Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:25 PM

I attended Tuesday's performance with Kent/Gomes.


I first saw Ashton's "Cinderella" three years ago at the Royal Ballet, and I didn't like it then, and I may have liked it even less tonight.  However, I know I am probably in the minority here...


I have generally liked Ashton's other choreography--I really enjoyed "A month in the country," I like "The Dream" a lot, and I even liked the "Birthday Offering" ABT did a few years ago.  


However, his very fleet-footed, staccato style seemed completely at odds with much of Prokofiev's score, at least in my opinion.  I just did not understand his use of the music at all in several places.


The four fairy variations looked extremely awkward to me--not because the dancers were struggling (they did not look like they were about to fall off balance or anything like that), but because they seemed to be frantic, on purpose.  I usually am not bothered much by Boylston, but tonight her lack of control of her arms really bothered me.  I also didn't understand at all why the Fairy Autumn was pointing all over the place.April Giangeruso as the Fairy Winter seemed to fare the best, but that might just be because there were a few slower, lyrical steps in her variation.


I also did not like the Stars dance at the close of Act I, where the dancers bend up and down very sharply, in alternating patterns.  It's a very one-two beat pattern when the music is a waltz!!


For me, the only dancer who was able to make the dancing look quick-silver and fleet instead of frenetic was Stella Abrera, and it really made me wish SHE were dancing Cinderella!


Kent was okay.  As a character, she is perfect as Cinderella--she has that endearing sweetness that makes you want to root for her.  Her dancing lacked some of the extension and range that other dancers will probably have, but nothing looked labored until Act III, when she struggled a bit with the supported promenade and penche arabesque.


Gomes was his usual gallant self, but even he seemed a little challenged by the choreography and was lacking some of that polish I'm used to seeing from him.  


In Act II, the four cavaliers (Prince's friends) were totally out of synch, and this extended to their partnering of the fairies as well.

But I was most disappointed with the big pas de deux between the Prince and Cinderella.  Here Prokofiev has written a glorious, luscious, dreamy, slow waltz, but for 2/3rds of it, Ashton gives us these sharp movements, like when Cinderella is whipped from an arabesque on one side to the other.  I wanted floating-on-air--that lovely rise and fall of the waltz--and I didn't get it until the very end.  What a waste of a beautiful piece of music, in my opinion!


Act III made the most sense to me, musically, but it was a big snooze--no grand final p.d.d. like in "Sleeping Beauty" or "Don Quixote."


Not even the stepsisters could save this for me.  Tonight Kenneth Easter and Thomas Forster were absolutely fabulous with what they were given--but I really did not like what they were given.  The first 5 minutes were hilarious, and then I had had enough of their slapstick routine.  But, like I said, I thought they did an excellent job, I just didn't like the one-note characterizations.


I also didn't like the fact that Cinderella's father was so hapless.  I much prefer the versions with an evil stepmother.


So overall, I did not like "Cinderella" much at all, but I realize that I'm probably in the minority.  The people all around me seemed to think the ballet was "very pretty"!  But they certainly didn't stay for more than one curtain call.


I'm going again tomorrow night.  We'll see if Joey Gorak can save Cinderella for me!

#5 California


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Posted 10 June 2014 - 08:02 PM

I'm in the minority with Batsuchan. I saw both Monday and Tuesday nights and I think that's it for me and this ballet. Although Macaulay has been rapturous about the choreography, I grew weary of the constant finger stabbing by the seasons and stars, although some of their group formations were mildly interesting. Even with stellar leads (notably Gomes with Kent on Tuesday), they just don't have all that much interesting dancing.


Let me note how dramatically superb Gomes is -- his facial expressions are so spot on for each moment -- a great "dancer-actor," if that's the word (along with all his other much-appreciated talents).


I realize most loathe the Ben Stevenson version (which ABT did at some point in its history), but in many respects it does a  better job in capturing dramatic details that help the narrative work, even when the dancing doesn't. E.g., in Stevenson, the step mother is a major character, especially in Act I. Her presence explains why the hen-pecked father tolerates the step-sisters' antics. In Ashton, the stepmother is already dead, so you wonder why the father can't get control and protect his daughter. E.g., in the orange-sharing sequence in Act II, one of the step-sisters in Stevenson's version accepts an orange from Cinderella and does a double-take of recognition (you seem familiar...), but that's missing from Ashton. In the Act II ballroom, the stepsisters in Stevenson's version do their display mainly for the prince, so it makes sense that they are still delusional in Act III and think they have charmed him. Ashton has them performing for courtiers. Stevenson also adds a little surprise and pizzazz -- e.g., in Act I, a smoke "bomb" for magical transformation from beggar to fairy godmother, instead of just a darkened stage with a double disappearing.


Perhaps the biggest problem for all the versions is that the story is so silly (love at first sight and all), with an inscrutable score. It's interesting that so many have tried their hand at Cinderella, but no version really stands out as THE definitive take on it.

#6 Helene



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Posted 10 June 2014 - 08:22 PM

The best explained "Cinderella" I've seen is Rossini's "La Cenerentola."  The stepfather, Don Magnifico, is the evil one, because he stole Angelina's (Cinderella's) inheritance from her mother to fund himself and his two daughters by another wife, and he's forced Angelina to be a servant in the house, denies that Angelina is his daughter -- he claims she is dead -- and threatens her if she reveals her true parentage. This, of course, is easily explained in words, but in ballet, forget it. The Prince's tutor, Alidoro, shows up at Don Magnifico's castle dressed as a beggar, and while he's mistreated by the stepsisters, Angelina treats him kindly.  When he tells the Prince he's found someone worthy of marrying, the Prince switches places with his servant and falls in love with Angelina because he observes her as a person. 


Even in the ballet version, it's not simply love at first sight like it is for Romeo: it's the Prince's recognition of a woman of quality and virtue who is in stark contrast to the stepsisters and all of the other women who throw themselves into the Princess-for-Life sweepstakes and at him. 


The issue I find with ballet versions of "Cinderella" is that the music is darker than the story being told.  The Grimm is quite dark, but the score doesn't tie all that specifically to the story, and the most gruesome parts -- and the most sadistic -- aren't shown in the ballet, like how the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit into the shoe, and the blood filling their stockings gives them away.

#7 Amour


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Posted 10 June 2014 - 10:10 PM

Has anyonye seen the full Ratmansky version? I've seen bits of it (a solo for Cinderella) performed on Youtube by both Diana Vishneva and Genie Obratsova. It looks lovely from what I can see.

#8 Drew


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 12:51 AM

When I saw Ashton's version with the Royal I liked it very much, though with reservations about certain details/decisions. In certain sections, especially the fairy variations, one can see his full internalization and then transformative renewal of Sleeping Beauty. I wish I could see it again. I find the pas de deux for the Prince and Cinderella also very lovely (Cojocaru and Kobborg can be seen on Youtube and when she walks astride the air, she certainly seems to float--with a frisson of desire as well.)


But whatever one thinks of the Ashton choreography, if the Fairies & others are looking "frantic" in ABT's production. then they haven't mastered it.


Amour: Ratmansky's (which, like Ashton's I have only had the chance to see once) seemed uneven to me; it's also a decidedly non-traditional take on the fairy tale with some rather enigmatic details. (Ratmansky's version has been discussed here on a variety of Mariinsky threads and also in the context of the more recent version he did for the National Ballet of Australia). But in sections, I found it quite brilliant and very touching with especially attractive choreography for the leads.

#9 yudi


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:22 AM

Has anyonye seen the full Ratmansky version? I've seen bits of it (a solo for Cinderella) performed on Youtube by both Diana Vishneva and Genie Obratsova. It looks lovely from what I can see.


I saw a complete record of Ratmancky's Cinderella for Mariinsky on YouTube:
D. Vishneva as Cinderella,
Y. Kondaurova as Stepmother,
V. Shklyarov as Prince.
Vishneva & Kondaurova both are absolutely amazing! 
There is a close-up shot of Vishneva's face expression in Act I, vivid and moving. She is a such believable Cinderella.  
Kondaurova's Stepmother is gorgeous! She is so exciting & funny that she made me laughing from beging to the end.  

#10 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:32 AM

I'm going to see the Saturday matinee with Reyes and Gorak and I'll post after I see it. I just wanted to say that I only saw the Ashton Cinderella once live. That was in 2004 when the Royal Ballet came to Lincoln Center as part of the 100 years of Ashton's
birth celebration. I really enjoyed it, especially as compared with the Kudelka and
Stevenson versions of Cinderella I'd seen ABT dance. Tamara Rojo was Cinderella and she was wonderful. I forget who danced the Prince because the dancer was very forgettable. I felt, however, that the ugly Stepsisters, danced by Antony Dowell and Wayne Sleep stole the show. For a long time, the Ashton version of Cinderella was the only version I liked. That was until last fall when I saw the San Francisco Ballet dance Christopher
Wheeldon's Cinderella. I absolutely loved that.

#11 abatt


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 05:27 AM


For me, the only dancer who was able to make the dancing look quick-silver and fleet instead of frenetic was Stella Abrera, and it really made me wish SHE were dancing Cinderella!


From your lips to McKenzie's ears.  However, McKenzie appears to be deaf on the subject of Stella Abrera, unfortunately.

#12 FauxPas


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 06:14 AM

I love Ashton's choreography which I saw back in the early 90's with the Royal Ballet on tour with Darcey Bussell.  I then saw it twice in 2004 with the Royal Ballet as part of Lincoln Center's Ashton festival.  The casts included Cojocaru and Kobborg and later with Leanne Benjamin and Vyacheslav Samodurov.  I thought the ABT staging had a tired feeling to it.  The David Walker sets are a series of rather darkly painted flats that seem both oppressive and flimsy.  Like the "Manon" drops they look crudely painted with colors that have faded and turned dingy.  The Royal Ballet productions had more brilliant colors and more lavish set decoration and props - this looked utilitarian.  The costumes are lovely.


Julie Kent in the 1990's was wonderful in both "Sleeping Beauty" and in Ashton's "Symphonic Variations".  Kent has also done lovely work in Ashton's "The Dream" and "A Month in the Country".  (She did not do well as "Sylvia" and I never saw her in "Birthday Offering".)  Julie has a soft, elegantly classical line without showy flourishes that is very English - kind of an Antoinette Sibley quality.  Cinderella should be a perfect role for her and last night I thought it still worked for her beautifully despite one or two flaws.  I felt that in the ball room solo, Cinderella needs to alternate between legato and staccato phrasing and also speed up and slow down with the music.  Julie danced it all at the same speed with the same soft attack.  In the final pas de deux adagio there were some shaky moments where Marcelo was kind of carrying her through it - not a disaster but not the radiant apotheosis needed either.  Otherwise, her face is expressive and young looking and her personality very sympathetic.  Her footwork was very secure and she manages to go down the steps on pointe without looking down once or bobbling.  She had a star ballerina authority that carried everything before her.


Marcelo is also very much the star dancer and he just took over the stage on his entrance.  He has a fascinating combination of powerful muscularity and soft curved grace in his movements.  I loved Stella Abrera as the fairy Godmother.  I liked all the fairy solos - Sarah Lane as Spring, Boylston as Summer, Copeland as Autumn and especially April Giangeruso as Winter.  But their variations needed more specific phrasing and timing - Boylston needed to be more languid and Copeland needed to have some sort of intention behind her stabbing pointing gestures.  The corps needed to be sharper in many places.  Besides Julie (and to a lesser extent Marcelo and Stella), Ashton style hadn't been instilled in the soloists and corps.  (ABT never got the corps dances in "Sylvia" correctly - they looked like amateurs next to the Royal's corps in the video)  Thomas Forster was very funny as the bossy overbearing Stepsister (Bobby Helpmann's role) - he used his size to very good effect.  He played a mean girl who was not quite as sharp as she thought she was.  Kenneth Easter missed some of the pathos as the timid sheepish Stepsister (the Ashton role).  I think it did work well that both dancers were young - Forster was full of coltish overenthusiasm which backfired.  


I am seeing Xiomara and Joey Gorak tonight and Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg on Thursday.  We'll see what they bring to it.  

#13 Mazurka



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Posted 11 June 2014 - 08:01 AM

My impression of last night's performance is in tune with Basuchan, except I really did not like the very bland Kent interpretation nor dancing, and I thought the ugly sisters were relishing in the roles and brought much needed life to the performance.  I loved them.  The darkly ominous, almost wild and wonderful waltz was a disappointment - the choreography seems to sabotage Prokofiev's music and  made it so one dimensional.  I think Kent failed in the third act reprise of the waltz theme-as if she never lost herself in reverie. At the risk of being unkind, I think I will want to miss her future performances even if they are with Marcello - what a waste.


For the rest I thought that it was the corps de ballet who did not really feel this music, and since I am a newbie I do not know if it was the choreography

or the dancers.   It felt under-rehearsed.  It felt like going thru the motions.

I have no doubt that the Royal Ballet does credit to this choreography - seems that nuance is the key.

Some of the images were very beautiful - the dark starlit sky, the summer feries(?) in front of the gates. 


I also thought Ms. Giangieruso danced beautifully.  Ms. Copeland  was wonderful in Stravinsky with Tomm, she just does not rise to the same height in classical fare.

Going to see Gorak Reyes tonight - let's see what Xiomara's temperament does to this.  Looking forward to see Gorak.

#14 Kaysta


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 11:35 AM

I was suppose to go today, but got overwhelmed at work and couldn't leave.  I'm thinking about getting tickets for Thursday night or the matinee on Saturday.  Any ballet-alerters who live in NYC--is the 1 train safe at 10 pm for a single gal to get back to Penn Station on a thursday night?  I'd really like to see Murphy, I've never seen her live (only on the ABT Swan Lake video).

#15 rg


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Posted 11 June 2014 - 11:49 AM

the post-ABT downtown no. 1 train from 66th St. will likely be full of, among other NYers, patrons from the Met. 

there should be no problem w/ your commute other than a possibly congested subway car, filled w/ post-theater goers like you.

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