Batsuchan

Giselle - Spring 2014

107 posts in this topic

I also wonder why Hallberg did not do the entrechat sixes. When I saw him as Albrecht in 2011 and 2012 they were really outstanding. Maybe Hallberg is not used to doing the Bolshoi Giselle. I read MacAuley's review of Hallberg in the Bolshoi's Giselle at Kennedy Center a month or so ago. MacAuley seemed to feel that Hallberg did not do the entrechat sixes because the Bolshoi's Albrecht does not do them.

On another subject I love Gomes and Vishneva but I don't think they are the only good

dancers at ABT. Well, all right Gomes and Vishneva are magnificent, especially

together, but I thought Veronika Part and James Whiteside were fantastic in La Bayadere

I thought Reyes and Gorak were just lovely in Cinderella and Simkin and Boylston were

very good in Don Q. Gomes and Vishneva obviously cannot dance every performance of

every ballet so other dancers need to dance as well. I hope others besides me feel

that there are wonderful ABT dancers besides Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes.

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I think this was Semionova's ABT debut as Giselle, but that she has danced the role elsewhere. During a priior run of Giselle, ABT cast Semionova as Myrta, but she was not effetive in that role. I should note that the house was well sold last night, but not a sell out. I think all of the attention in the media showered on Hallberg has resulted in increased ticket sales for his performances.

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On another subject I love Gomes and Vishneva but I don't think they are the only good

dancers at ABT. Well, all right Gomes and Vishneva are magnificent, especially

together, but I thought Veronika Part and James Whiteside were fantastic in La Bayadere

I thought Reyes and Gorak were just lovely in Cinderella and Simkin and Boylston were

very good in Don Q. Gomes and Vishneva obviously cannot dance every performance of

every ballet so other dancers need to dance as well. I hope others besides me feel

that there are wonderful ABT dancers besides Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes.

Agreed. I also had the privilege of seeing the Part / Whiteside Bayadere and the Reyes / Gorak Cinderella.

They are definitely a lot of good dancers, but they are underused. Part gets the smaller roles or relegated to matinées, Simkin seems to get little attention and I wish there were more chances to see Cornejo. Instead, we get the guest artists or the "principles" like Vasiliev and Bolle who might as well be guest artists.

Incidentally, for anyone who was looking to go, the prices for Coppelia just went down this morning. Didn't think that prices ever went down.

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I think nobody says only Vishneva/Gomes are good dancers.

Acctually, they have outstanding artistries and they are great dancers in the whole world, not only in ABT. They are in another lebel.

However, this fact does not deny that others are good dancers.

It is very important that ABT give more opportunities to other good dancers.

It is also important not to make the worldwide great dancers overwork and exhaust their talent.

For example, Gomes is allrounder - he can dance most main roles wonderfully. But that is abused by ABT like a workhorse.

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Prices went down for Coppelia? Maybe they are getting the hint at ABT that they need to re-think their (over)pricing schemes.

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They should have been doing this weeks ago. All season I've seen swaths of empty seats in each section, even for the big-deal events like Vishneva's 10th anniversary gala.

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I must be the odd one out, because I went to Tuesday night and thought both David and Polina did a wonderful job. I was disappointed that David didn't do the entrechats sixes, but other than that, thought he was stellar. He definitely moves a lot faster than he used to, which seems to be a Bolshoi influence. Polina was a great actress and very gracious to David and the other dancers onstage in how she acknowledged and interacted with them. A very modest, shy Giselle with intense feelings. Polina also has a great ballon and was wonderfully light in her jumps, especially for being so tall.

Kudos also to Leann Underwood for one of the most complete portrayals of Bathilde I've ever seen; Bathilde had genuine character last night. You could see her thoughts so clearly, and everything she did had a reason. Leann's Bathilde was not a "nice girl" as many people tend to portray, but not unkind either. She clearly knew her place in the world, which was above everyone else in the village. She could be gracious, but it was as a "lady of the manor." And she wasn't going to put up with Albrecht's nonsense!

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I thought Underwood was too mean. When Polina went to grasp Underwood's hand after Underwood gave her the necklace, Underwood pulled her hand away so fast that you would think poor Giselle had kooties.

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Haha, I distinctly remember that moment because I liked it so much! She did a little headshake that I read as "That's unnecessary, dear." A little patronizing perhaps, but not too mean, especially coming on the heels of giving Giselle the necklace, which was one large arc to me.

Glad there are multiple casts since different artists speak to different audiences! :)

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ABT has a tradition of Bathilde pulling her hand back and going "icky". It is now a bit less obvious now--a few years ago, she practically wiped her hand in disgust. I like a softer Bathilde (after all, in the original, Giselle tells Albrecht to go back to her, and she and Albrecht walk off together. Bathilde had come into the forest looking for him.) In the old Royal Ballet version that I saw, Bathilde tells Giselle that she too is engaged when she gives her the necklace, and that moment was always so sad. I also don't really like the way ABT has Bathilde give Albrecht a filthy look and then flounce out when she finds out about Giselle, since she would be humiliated and heartbroken, not just "Oh, there you go again, you rake, I'm off to find another husband."

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In the old Royal Ballet version that I saw, Bathilde tells Giselle that she too is engaged when she gives her the necklace, and that moment was always so sad.

I feel like I've seen this part at ABT too, though I don't recall it being there on Monday night. Perhaps I'm just thinking of other non-ABT productions I've seen, live or on video. In any case, I really like when this exchange is included.

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I'm in the Canbelto/Batsuchan/abatt camp with regard to the Semionova/Hallberg Giselle - though they both danced beautifully there was no emotional engagement.


I can understand that this perception may have been influenced a bit by comparison to the Vishneva/Gomes performance that came right before it - but then over the years I remember seeing Cojocaru & Vishneva in Giselle one after the other (maybe even on the same day) and still thinking both were great performances. Ditto with Ferri & Vishneva and going way back I don't recall thinking any less of a Makarova/Nagy Giselle because it I saw it right after a Kirkland/Baryshnikov Giselle. Those were all great performances, the Semionova/Hallberg Giselle simply wasn't particularly good, much less great.


There were some really beautiful dance moments in Semionova's performance that have already been discussed here but one thing that struck be about her interpretation was that I didn't see any dramatic through line to her performance. Most great Giselles perform the steps in a way that gives you some indication throughout act 1 of a character trait that makes her vulnerable - she's extremely naive or extremely sheltered or trusting, she wears her heart on her sleeve or there's a wildness to her. Sure Semionova's Giselle started off shy but she seemed so sunny, wholesome & well adjusted that despite a very good mad scene I just didn't believe Albrecht's betrayal could demolish her.


And I agree with the posters who didn't see much difference in her temperament or plastique in the1st and 2nd act - there was no growth, no development and you didn't in any way get the sense that one was flesh and the other spirit. Of course I'm sure it didn't help that Hallberg really couldn't make the lifts look effortless (and I really missed the press lift!). I've really been trying to love Semionova but I just don't see much beyond technique in her performances.


Regarding Hallberg's omission of the entrechats - I wasn't necessarily expecting them. My first Albrechts (Bruhn & Nureyev) both did the entrechats and when Baryshnikov came on the scene he was the first Albrecht I'd ever seen do the brises. They were stunning the way he did them and it seemed like after that everyone started doing the brises. Then at some point maybe 10 years ago I started seeing the entrechats again. Now it seems like each Albrecht has the option to choose whichever he prefers. I like them both, but I do agree that Hallberg's brises weren't very dramatic.

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Went to the matinee today.

I know some folks have some differing opinions on Isabella Boylston, but being a ballet newbie, I can't critique technique, only the way the dancing makes me feel, and I adored her Giselle. (I also liked her Kitri). She did a good job contrasting the two different styles between Act 1 and 2 and she had great chemistry with Whiteside.

Whiteside has really grown on me since Don Quixote. I wasn't as impressed with his lifts in DQ but he did two beautiful boat lifts that didn't wobble at all. And I had to look up entrechats six to see what it was ( and someone else who was there, correct me if I'm wrong) but I'm pretty sure he did them.

Lastly, I hope Devon Teuscher gets promoted to soloist. Every time I see her, she is amazing.

My only complaint for the day was how rude the audience was today. They were clapping during weird times, coughing and hacking up a storm, and playing with their cellphones ( I was in the grand tier and could see the lights shining in the orchestra, while the ballet was going on!). Worst audience ever.

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I remember two years ago there was an an afternoon performance with Osipova/Hallberg, and an evening performance with Vishneva/Gomes. Both of them blew me away, even though they were very different interpretations. One didn't make me appreciate the other less.

I feel like Semionova is a dancer a company needs to have: she has solid technique, is pretty reliable, and doesn't seem to be picky about roles. A sort of house ballerina type, if you will. However she never in my experience does anything extra with the steps. For instance in the great adagio in Symphony in C she moved from one step to another with a metronomic carefulness. Her facial expression tends to be rather neutral -- she neither looks very happy nor very sad. Just kind of there. Maybe some coaching and rehearsal time and focusing on fewer roles would help her develop beyond being the kind of jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none dancer.

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I think that because Kevin has, in large part, failed to develop ABT's ballerinas (Sarah, Stella, Misty) there aren't enough good principal women in the company. As a result, ballerinas like Semionova dance roles (i.e. Giselle) to which, IMO, they are totally unsuited. She is tall, big boned and not very emotive. Hardly a dancer who should be dancing a role of a fragile peasant girl or an ethereal spirit.

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I remember two years ago there was an an afternoon performance with Osipova/Hallberg, and an evening performance with Vishneva/Gomes. Both of them blew me away, even though they were very different interpretations. One didn't make me appreciate the other less.

That's what I was remembering - not Vishneva/Gomes and Cojocaru/Kobberg but Osipova/Hallberg and Vishneva/Gomes on the same day. Each completely different and both absolutely amazing. And I remember that the emotional connection between Hallberg & Osipova was extremely intense - so I guess he and Semionova are not the best pairing. Kind of the way he and Wiles just didn't jell in their early days as principals.

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I remember two years ago there was an an afternoon performance with Osipova/Hallberg, and an evening performance with Vishneva/Gomes. Both of them blew me away, even though they were very different interpretations. One didn't make me appreciate the other less.

I feel like Semionova is a dancer a company needs to have: she has solid technique, is pretty reliable, and doesn't seem to be picky about roles. A sort of house ballerina type, if you will. However she never in my experience does anything extra with the steps. For instance in the great adagio in Symphony in C she moved from one step to another with a metronomic carefulness. Her facial expression tends to be rather neutral -- she neither looks very happy nor very sad. Just kind of there. Maybe some coaching and rehearsal time and focusing on fewer roles would help her develop beyond being the kind of jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none dancer.

Canbelto that is so well stated. I didn't see her Giselle but did see her Symphony in C and you expressed perfectly the idea of a "house ballerina type." It is true that a company needs a dancer like that, but like some others I wish KM had been more committed to developing company talent and giving them opportunities (I don't have to get into Stella, and I believe Lane is also a victim of this and it's not just these two).

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Here are some thoughts on tonight's performance with Kent/Bolle.

1) Bolle did the entrechat six, hooray! They were quite lovely since he has beautiful, long legs, but he also seemed to be running out of steam by the end (as is appropriate in the story). He actually gestured toward Myrta with his arms while he was jumping--so that kept the drama going.

As for the brise vs entrechat discussion--I am actually fine with either; I saw Corella do the brises in his final Giselle, and they were stunning. I guess my complaint about last night really stemmed from the fact that a) I was really looking forward to Hallberg's entrechat sixes and b) his brises were NOT impressive NOR dramatic.

Overall, Bolle did a wonderful job--great dancing, great acting, and great partnering. To me, he's not quite as musical as Gomes, but his dancing was beautiful.

I almost felt bad for Giselle when he first entered because he was so impeccably good-looking--clearly he was too gorgeous to be anything but a playboy!

2) If you've never seen Giselle before, then you probably would've thought Kent's dancing was pretty great. She knows her limits, so she takes care to limit her movements so that what she can execute is done effortlessly and with polish. This sometimes means omitting difficult steps altogether. In her Act I variation, she didn't even bother trying the penche arabesques. She looked visibly nervous before the hops on pointe (which turned out fine), but that was the only time that her dancing looked labored.

In Act II, the tempi was fast again, saving her from having to hold the balances, and she changed the phrasing so that she could spend more time doing the port de bras and less time holding the developpes and arabesques.

She has lost the flexibility required to do big, 180-degree split leaps (grand jetes), so at the end of the p.d.d., the big lifts where Giselle typically splits her legs were replaced with more of the "bunny hops." However, the press lifts early on were beautiful, though without the jaw-droppingly slow descent that we saw with Vishneva/Gomes.

Of course, like I said earlier, if you didn't know what you were missing, you probably would've thought she was lovely. I have always liked Kent's characterization of Giselle. She's quite believably girlish, and very winsome, and I always find myself kind of rooting for her. And she and Bolle have great chemistry together. So tonight's performance was definitely emotionally satisfying for me, even if it didn't approach the transcendent heights of Monday's show.

3) Tonight Abrera was Myrta and that was quite a treat. I said it last week and I'll say it again--I wish SHE were the lead, not the secondary character! I also enjoyed Christine Shevchenko and Zhong-jing Fang as the secondary wilis (I can never remember their names).

4) On Monday, I was so gobsmacked by Vishneva/Gomes that I didn't properly gush about Gorak & Lane's peasant p.d.d., so I'll do so now. Gorak had a little trouble with the double tour sequence but was still lovely to watch, while I felt like I've never seen Lane dance better than she did tonight. We've talked a lot on this thread about "giving extra," and today, I felt like Lane was feeling very inspired and really going for it. Her triple pirouettes were perfection, and she held one balance extra long. She looked so happy to be dancing with Gorak (and he with her)--such a contrast to the nearly-disastrous outings I've seen with her and Simkin. Their p.d.d. tonight made me very sad that I'll have to miss their Coppelia.

5) Radetsky was supposed to be Hilarion but was replaced by Patrick Ogle. I hear he's injured. I hope it's not serious!

**

On a side note, I will say that tonight's show really made me wish Bolle had been paired with Semionova instead. I think she would've been much more engaging--and probably freer in her dancing--if she had danced with him. Maybe someday...

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I saw Stella Abrera as Myrtha in 2011 and 2012. She's scheduled to dance Myrtha on Saturday evening

and I am looking forward to her performance. I still wish I could see her dance Giselle at least once.I think she would be tremendous. I think it was back in 2008 that she was scheduled to dance Giselle

with Hallberg. She got injured and never got a chance to dance Giselle again which I will never be

able to understand.

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She got injured and never got a chance to dance Giselle again which I will never be

able to understand.

Yes, it's unfortunate that Semionova's second Giselle this week (the only repeat performance of the week) couldn't have been given to Stella. Veronika Part also dances Giselle now -- might she ever get the chance to bring this role to ABT?

Re: Batsuchan's comment #4 above, Gorak is scheduled to dance Coppelia with Yuriko Kajiya, not Sarah Lane (though I'd love to see the latter pairing in that ballet!).

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I went into last night's Giselle with very low expectatons for Kent. I bought the ticket to see Bolle and Abrera. Kent's changes of the standard choreography in Act I had me worried that this was gong to be a bad night. However, I'm happy to report that her Act II was very satisfying. As noted above, her willowy arm movements made up for the deficiencies in her arabesque and her footwork. The orchestra slowed down the tempo to a crawl at certain points for Kent The emotional connection between Bolle and Kent made this a very satisfying performance dramatically. Bolle was thrilling in every way - wonderful actor, excellent dancer, marvelous partner. He is a huge asset to ABT. All the lifts that were etiher omitted or watered down by Hallberg were performed to perfection by Bolle. He made Kent look weightless. I had trouble focusing on Abrera during her solo because the people in the row behind me decided to have a conversation at full volume (not a whisper) in a foreign language at that moment. RUDE.

As noted above, Gorak had a problem in the peasant pas, but most of it was beautifully done. Lane and Gorak make a good couple.

The balcony was poorly sold. I guess Bolle is a bigger draw in Europe than the US..

I wanted to also mention that although I was disappointed with Semionova's Giselle, I think she has done excellent work in other ballets. She has done wonderfully as Kitri, Nikiya, Sylvia, and other roles

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I think I already mentioned that Semionova was wonderful in Onegin and Swan Lake (with Gomes in Swan

Lake). Abatt reminded me that she was a very good Kitri though she doesn't seem to fit Kitri

physically like Osipova or Reyes. I also thought she was good in the second section of Symphony in C.

All right maybe she's not quite up to the level of NYCB ballets in the role like Koroswksi, Mearns and Reichlen. But then who is? Semionova was much better than Susan Jaffe when she danced the role years

ago. Jaffe so obviously could not keep up with the other ballerinas in the last section of Symphony

that it was hard to watch. Anyway I think Semionova is a wonderful ballerina. From what I read,

however, she's probably not a good Giselle. I think I'd have problems believing that Semionova's

Giselle had heart troubles. I had problems with Cynthia Gregory as Giselle because she just seemed too

healthy and strong. The same was true of Nina Aniashivili when I saw her dance Giselle in the late

90's.

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I think I already mentioned that Semionova was wonderful in Onegin and Swan Lake (with Gomes in Swan

Lake). Abatt reminded me that she was a very good Kitri though she doesn't seem to fit Kitri

physically like Osipova or Reyes. I also thought she was good in the second section of Symphony in C.

All right maybe she's not quite up to the level of NYCB ballets in the role like Koroswksi, Mearns and Reichlen. But then who is? Semionova was much better than Susan Jaffe when she danced the role years

ago. Jaffe so obviously could not keep up with the other ballerinas in the last section of Symphony

that it was hard to watch. Anyway I think Semionova is a wonderful ballerina. From what I read,

however, she's probably not a good Giselle. I think I'd have problems believing that Semionova's

Giselle had heart troubles. I had problems with Cynthia Gregory as Giselle because she just seemed too

healthy and strong. The same was true of Nina Aniashivili when I saw her dance Giselle in the late

90's.

Or Martine Van Hamel in the mid-70's

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She got injured and never got a chance to dance Giselle again which I will never be

able to understand.

Yes, it's unfortunate that Semionova's second Giselle this week (the only repeat performance of the week) couldn't have been given to Stella. Veronika Part also dances Giselle now -- might she ever get the chance to bring this role

Semionova doesn't repeat Giselle, but she does get two Swan Lakes.

I agree with Abatt and Colleen that Semionova is wonderful in the right role. I've seen her do beautiful work as O/O. Personally I don't think she is suited to Juliet or Giselle and would need a Bolle or Gomes to partner her if she essays them again.

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I've also seen Semionova do wonderful work in SL with Gomes and also with Hallberg. Her body type (very long limbs) is well suited to O/O.

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