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Giselle - Spring 2014


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#16 MRR

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:03 PM

Perhaps I am being overly harsh--but this is what happens when you see a "performance for the ages" followed by one that is merely good.  I do wish ABT would pair Semionova with Bolle instead--or even with Shklyarov.  I think they have the potential for great chemistry, which I think would push Semionova to be more engaging.

 

I thought exactly this when I saw Semionova/Hallberg Swan Lake in 2012.  They are perhaps a good match in theory with their height and beautiful lines, but emotionally they are both introverted and don't really draw much from one another. 

 

I actually loved Semionova's Swan Lake with Gomes the year before, as did many on this forum.  But perhaps I was too bowled over by her incredibly strong technique to focus on her shortcomings, or Gomes worked his magic and was able to pull something out of her that no other danseur could.  I have only seen her in those two Swan Lakes, so I can't comment on her other performances, but I can't picture her as Giselle at all.



#17 onxmyxtoes

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:50 PM

 

Perhaps I am being overly harsh--but this is what happens when you see a "performance for the ages" followed by one that is merely good.  I do wish ABT would pair Semionova with Bolle instead--or even with Shklyarov.  I think they have the potential for great chemistry, which I think would push Semionova to be more engaging.

 

I thought exactly this when I saw Semionova/Hallberg Swan Lake in 2012.  They are perhaps a good match in theory with their height and beautiful lines, but emotionally they are both introverted and don't really draw much from one another. 

 

I actually loved Semionova's Swan Lake with Gomes the year before, as did many on this forum.  But perhaps I was too bowled over by her incredibly strong technique to focus on her shortcomings, or Gomes worked his magic and was able to pull something out of her that no other danseur could.  I have only seen her in those two Swan Lakes, so I can't comment on her other performances, but I can't picture her as Giselle at all.

 

This is why I think it's cruel to open the ballet week with a Vishneva/Gomes cast (i.e. Bayadere or one year Romeo, I believe).  It makes the rest of the performances seem lesser.

 

I also agree about the Seminova/Hallberg Swan Lake in 2012- I was underwhelmed.  Seminova is gorgeous technically, but I find her dancing to be bland and that she and Hallberg have no connection.  I don't really see the level of artistry that I expect from her. They're both beautiful, but I think they need someone with more internal fire as a partner.  



#18 Amour

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 12:23 AM

How odd that David did not do the entrechats six! I just happened to have been talking about that to a friend who saw the ABT rehearsal on Monday afternoon. Apparently, David rehearsed the entrechats. Maybe at the last minute he felt fatigued, so went with the brises. But how disappointing! I, too, feel that only the entrechats six communicate the "dance to death".

#19 California

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 03:22 AM

How odd that David did not do the entrechats six! I just happened to have been talking about that to a friend who saw the ABT rehearsal on Monday afternoon. Apparently, David rehearsed the entrechats. Maybe at the last minute he felt fatigued, so went with the brises. But how disappointing! I, too, feel that only the entrechats six communicate the "dance to death".

Let me comment on the entrechats vs. brises discussion here. I had a very interesting exchange last year with Alexei Tyukov (trained at Perm) at a luncheon/Q&A when Colorado Ballet did Giselle.  All three male principals there do the brises, and I was curious how they decide whether to do those or the entrechats. (Gil Boggs, the company director and former ABT principal, lets them decide which they do.) Alexei pointed out that the brises on the diagonal come straight at Myrtha and capture the dramatic point that Albrecht is under her spell. The entrechats are typically done facing the audience,  ignoring Myrtha and losing that dramatic point. Made a lot of sense to me.

 

The gold standard for the brises is Baryshnikov in the 1977 Live from Lincoln Center performance with Makarova (later released on VHS) -- fast, far off the floor, covering the stage, gasp-inducing. They look equally exhausting as the entrechats when well-done (as Alexei's definitely were). My memory is that American audiences had not seen the brises variation when Baryshnikov did those in the 70s. When I look at various recordings, Nureyev does the entrechats, but the Russian-trained dancers seem to do both versions. 

 

PS: I am so jealous of all of you who got to see the Vishneva-Gomes Giselle on Monday. As both are in their mid-30s, we have to wonder how many more years they'll be doing this ballet. I'll have to arrange my travel in 2015 to make sure I see this while they're both still in their prime! 



#20 abatt

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 05:11 AM

Count me with the crowd who thought Hallberg/Semionova was dramatically inert.  Semionova is a marvel of technique, but that just ain't enough in this ballet.  Hallberg danced beautifully, but he is not a good actor.  I liked Part's Myrta.  She's very good in this role. 

 

 

I was also disappointed that Hallberg didn't do the entrechats. By no means did Hallberg make Semionova appear weightless.  Perhaps that is the reason that tall ballerinas are usually not cast as Giselle.  If they are now starting to try out tall girls for Giselle, why not give a Giselle to Part.  Last night was definitely NOT a performance for the ages.



#21 silvermash

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 05:13 AM

 

How odd that David did not do the entrechats six! I just happened to have been talking about that to a friend who saw the ABT rehearsal on Monday afternoon. Apparently, David rehearsed the entrechats. Maybe at the last minute he felt fatigued, so went with the brises. But how disappointing! I, too, feel that only the entrechats six communicate the "dance to death".

Let me comment on the entrechats vs. brises discussion here. I had a very interesting exchange last year with Alexei Tyukov (trained at Perm) at a luncheon/Q&A when Colorado Ballet did Giselle.  All three male principals there do the brises, and I was curious how they decide whether to do those or the entrechats. (Gil Boggs, the company director and former ABT principal, lets them decide which they do.) Alexei pointed out that the brises on the diagonal come straight at Myrtha and capture the dramatic point that Albrecht is under her spell. The entrechats are typically done facing the audience,  ignoring Myrtha and losing that dramatic point. Made a lot of sense to me.

 

The gold standard for the brises is Baryshnikov in the 1977 Live from Lincoln Center performance with Makarova (later released on VHS) -- fast, far off the floor, covering the stage, gasp-inducing. They look equally exhausting as the entrechats when well-done (as Alexei's definitely were). My memory is that American audiences had not seen the brises variation when Baryshnikov did those in the 70s. When I look at various recordings, Nureyev does the entrechats, but the Russian-trained dancers seem to do both versions. 

 

 

 

I had the same information and discussion with a couple of Paris Opera Ballet dancers (both Albrechts and Myrthas) and the lost of interaction in the story when performing the entrechats.  So I had the impression from the last run of Giselle here that those who are more into storytelling are for the brisés, especially to connect with Myrtha. And indeed, I find that it may change how Myrtha reacts on stage facing Albrecht, so all and all, I prefer the brisés or a small serie of entrechats and a couple of sauts de basque (the kneeling on the floor facing Myrtha here is just great with the eye connection...)



#22 abatt

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 05:24 AM

I'm for the brises when someone can do them well.  Corella used to do a marvelous job with the brises. 



#23 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 05:41 AM

I haven't seen Semionova and Hallberg in Swan though I will this year so I don't know about their chemistry in that. In 2011 I saw Gomes and Semionova in Swan Lake. They had wonderful chemistry but I don't think there's any ballerina Gomes does not have chemistry with. I saw Semionova and Hallberg in Onegin last year and thought they had real chemistry. Also Hallberg had beautiful chemistry with both Osipova in Giselle in 2012 and Seo in Giselle in 2011.

#24 ord7916

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 06:07 AM

Interesting to hear other reviews.  This was my first Giselle, first Semionova and first Hallberg, so I have nothing to compare it to.  But I did feel that something was missing from Hallberg's performance.  There is a video of Bolle doing the entrechats, so I was waiting for that as well, and as noted above, it never happened.   



#25 FauxPas

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 06:11 AM

I did not go on Tuesday night but a couple of observations.  Though Hallberg is tall he does not seem to have the upper body strength that Marcelo has.  He is usually better partnering shorter or more compact ballerinas.  (They tried him out once with Veronika Part in a "Swan Lake" but only once - I thought it was a wonderful performance but they never danced it again together).

 

I think another issue with the brisé volés vs. entrechats six is the height and build of the Albrecht.  A shorter, more compact Albrecht with shorter legs might prefer the brisés while I have noticed that the entrechats look better on taller danseur noble types like Hallberg and Gomes.  (Abatt told me that in the Bolshoi "Giselle" she saw in DC with Zakharova and Hallberg, Hallberg performed the brisés and they were not impressive.)  Baryshnikov did the brisés back when and Bujones did the entrechats - both are on video.  (I only saw Bujones live in a "Giselle" with Marianna Tcherkassky in his last seasons with ABT).  

 

I have had similar reactions to Semionova in the past - great technique but nothing unique to communicate about her part.  But this year's Nikiya in "Bayadere" really changed my mind.  She may not be a memorable Giselle but she is great as Nikiya.  Also I am bothered by the fact that ABT management seems to be favoring Semionova giving her preferential roles, evenings, partners, promotion while burying Veronika Part (dumping her into matinees, not giving her major new roles, etc.).  

 

Also I totally agree with "onxmyxtoes" that a Vishneva/Gomes opening night really can make the other season castings superfluous.  The "Manon" really only seemed special and worthwhile with them (and Semionova was really rather wonderful in it and Cory was very convincing as Des Grieux....).  I have high hopes for Cojocaru/Cornejo in "Giselle" on Saturday though!



#26 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 08:15 AM

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.

#27 abatt

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 08:24 AM

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.



#28 ord7916

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 08:42 AM


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.   



#29 c-green

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:35 AM

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.



#30 abatt

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:46 AM

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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