California

Swan Lake-Spring 2014

241 posts in this topic

ABT has back up performers for the lead roles waiting in the audience or backstage in the event the lead performers cannot continue. The show must go on. It is part of their assigned schedule from ABT. So Hee Seo did not coincidentally happen to be nearby and available to perform. It was part of her job as the understudy for O/O on Monday evening. She was very lucky that Gomes was her partner. In lesser hands the evening very well might have been a disaster.

The theory that Hallberg is replaced because he's too tired after his extra Giselle doesn't seem plausible. Why would they give the performance to Gomes, someone who just performed on Monday and is now - justifiably - even more tired than Hallberg.

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Thank you, abatt, for explaining how ABT manages covers; I'd wondered if they were stationed in the house if needed. Although I was very pleasantly surprised by how, overall, Hee managed on short notice, I must say that contra what someone else wrote above, her extended balance was more than a bit wobbly, hardly in the Cojocaru league of breathtaking balances. Nevertheless, nice try, Hee! And it's too bad she ran out of steam on the fouettes, but again, she is forgiven. Did you really hear the point at which she sprained her foot? I was in front row Fam. Circ., so heard nothing and was unable to tell anything happened--unlike the time two years ago when Hallberg did the ballroom Rothbart (and it was amazing--fascinatingly reptilian!), injured himself visibly, and was limping at the curtain call. I've read (here and elsewhere) about onstage accidents that incapacitate a dancer and force them to leave the stage, but thankfully I've never witnessed one. On the contrary, whenever someone has slipped and fallen, or done a little sit-down on his bum, I'm astonished at how INSTANTLY they pop back up and keep going. I guess that speaks to just how strong they are!

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Was anybody at the open rehearsal Monday afternoon? Bolle sent out a re-tweet that Bolle and Seo were substituting at the last minute in the Act II rehearsal for Hallberg and Semionova. That all happened, of course, before the Murphy injury Monday night. So, that opens up different possibilities -- e.g., that Hallberg just didn't feel ready for SL with Polina (or vice versa).

On a related matter: I don't know that these details have ever been made public, but how are big stars paid when they cancel a performance (like Cornejo last week) or add ones (like Gomes, several occasions this season)? I assume these are negotiated individually for the big names, but for Marcelo's sake, I hope he's getting major pay for each performance!

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I must say that contra what someone else wrote above, her extended balance was more than a bit wobbly, hardly in the Cojocaru league of breathtaking balances.

I have to disagree. The balance was, to my eyes, quite breathtaking, and quite long -- perhaps a bit wobbly, but not more than a bit.

Cojocaru is kind of a freak of nature when it comes to balances. I don't think we need to make that our standard!

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Cojocaru's oversized pointe shoes may make it easier for her to hold balances. I'm not sure.

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ABT has back up performers for the lead roles waiting in the audience or backstage in the event the lead performers cannot continue. The show must go on. It is part of their assigned schedule from ABT. So Hee Seo did not coincidentally happen to be nearby and available to perform. It was part of her job as the understudy for O/O on Monday evening. She was very lucky that Gomes was her partner. In lesser hands the evening very well might have been a disaster.

The theory that Hallberg is replaced because he's too tired after his extra Giselle doesn't seem plausible. Why would they give the performance to Gomes, someone who just performed on Monday and is now - justifiably - even more tired than Hallberg.

Of course ABT has back-up performers and Seo would have been in the theatre, but, she would not have been sitting backstage in full stage make-up for SL with her hair done and have been already warmed up ready to jump onstage.

Who knows the reason for the Hallberg replacement tomorrow night, but Gomes has already proved himself to be more capable than any other male dancer in the company so I can definitely see him able to dance another SL so soon but not Hallberg.

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One year Veronika Part was a "Big Swan" but had an issue (illness injury) during the performnace. She exited and suddenly a different Big Swan came out in full makeup and costume and finished her role. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the understudys have to sit backstage in costume and makeup at the ready.

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California wrote (quote function still not working for me): Was anyone at the open rehearsal Monday afternoon? Bolle sent out a re-tweet that Bolle and Seo were substituting at the last minute in the Act II rehearsal for Hallberg and Semionova. That all happened, of course, before the Murphy injury Monday night. So, that opens up different possibilities -- e.g., that Hallberg just didn't feel ready for SL with Polina (or vice versa).

I was at the dress rehearsal. The change was announced just before the curtain rose, with no explanation given.

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ABT has back up performers for the lead roles waiting in the audience or backstage in the event the lead performers cannot continue. The show must go on. It is part of their assigned schedule from ABT. So Hee Seo did not coincidentally happen to be nearby and available to perform. It was part of her job as the understudy for O/O on Monday evening. She was very lucky that Gomes was her partner. In lesser hands the evening very well might have been a disaster.

The theory that Hallberg is replaced because he's too tired after his extra Giselle doesn't seem plausible. Why would they give the performance to Gomes, someone who just performed on Monday and is now - justifiably - even more tired than Hallberg.

Abatt, Does ABT have a third cast on their ballets who are rehearsed with the 1st and 2nd cast during the rehearsal period ? Someone who can take over if the 1st 2 casts can't perform.

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One year Veronika Part was a "Big Swan" but had an issue (illness injury) during the performnace. She exited and suddenly a different Big Swan came out in full makeup and costume and finished her role. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the understudys have to sit backstage in costume and makeup at the ready.

Are the "Big Swans" costumed differently than the other swans? Could it perhaps just have been one of the swan corps stepping in?

It seems impossible to imagine that there could be a whole slew of costumed and warmed-up understudies down to and including a "Big Swan" hanging out backstage during every performance. If there's a "Big Swan," that means there'd be not only a Siegfried, O/O and Rothbart, but also (presumably) a whole Pas de Trois ensemble and perhaps even others. Really?

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California wrote (quote function still not working for me): Was anyone at the open rehearsal Monday afternoon? Bolle sent out a re-tweet that Bolle and Seo were substituting at the last minute in the Act II rehearsal for Hallberg and Semionova. That all happened, of course, before the Murphy injury Monday night. So, that opens up different possibilities -- e.g., that Hallberg just didn't feel ready for SL with Polina (or vice versa).

I was at the dress rehearsal. The change was announced just before the curtain rose, with no explanation given.

Interesting. Semionova and Hallberg have done SL together before at least twice..

I don't think they have an understudy for the understudy. If the lead understudy were to get hurt, I think McKenzie would have to come out and tell some jokes for the remainder of the show.yucky.gif

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Big Swans are costumed the same as the rest of the corps. It could very well have been another corps dancer stepping in. Or the one understudy who was costumed in a corps costume who was ready to go (that seems more likely).

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If nanushka liked Hee's balance, I'm glad. I won't be there on Saturday evening (conflict w/Boston Ballet), but if she tries it again, after being properly warmed up, I hope she makes it, and with full strength. I think it may still be a work in progress, and if she can really master it, do it securely, it will make her Black Swan even more exciting. And, by the way, just as Caballe's famous pianissimos were the high water mark for that effect, I do think Cojocaru's balances are likewise. Perhaps not the "standard"--she's exceptional in this regard.

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I'm assuming McKenzie gets paid a royalty every time SL is performed at ABT because the program lists him as the choreographer, even though a lot of it is directly from Petipa. He's laughing all the way to the bank, while fantastic dancers leave the company because there is no money for promotions. .

It's an interesting conflict of interest. Can one make innovative artistic decisions for one's company if one is benefitting financially from the (perhaps mediocre) status quo?

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I think when the production is bad, they dump it as soon as possible (as soon as finances are available for a new production) it even if McKenzie is listed as the choreographer. Isn't McKenzie the choreographer of the ABT SB? They are dumping that for a new Ratmansky sB next season.

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It's an interesting conflict of interest. Can one make innovative artistic decisions for one's company if one is benefitting financially from the (perhaps mediocre) status quo?

Funny -- the first thing I thought of was NYCB and all those Martins ballets!

PS: I have a lot of trouble editing those quotes!

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I think when the production is bad, they dump it as soon as possible (as soon as finances are available for a new production) it even if McKenzie is listed as the choreographer. Isn't McKenzie the choreographer of the ABT SB? They are dumping that for a new Ratmansky sB next season.

I didn't mean to imply that the artistic side would never win out. Just that it's a perhaps innate tension, and one I'd never thought of before.

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I'm assuming McKenzie gets paid a royalty every time SL is performed at ABT because the program lists him as the choreographer, even though a lot of it is directly from Petipa. He's laughing all the way to the bank, while fantastic dancers leave the company because there is no money for promotions. .

It's an interesting conflict of interest. Can one make innovative artistic decisions for one's company if one is benefitting financially from the (perhaps mediocre) status quo?

Okay, but every ballet company has AD-created pieces, so it's not fair to point at McKenzie in particular on this. (And if you look at AD salaries, McKenzie makes a lot less total than many other ADs, including Martins, Tomassan, and Nissinen.) I'm not sure if one gets royalties on what are essentially public domain works.

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Okay, but every ballet company has AD-created pieces, so it's not fair to point at McKenzie in particular on this. (And if you look at AD salaries, McKenzie makes a lot less total than many other ADs, including Martins, Tomassan, and Nissinen.) I'm not sure if one gets royalties on what are essentially public domain works.

That's what I meant when I described it as "a perhaps innate tension." I never commented on McKenzie in particular. It's an interesting conflict of interest that seems particular to dance companies. (Opera companies, for instance, would not generally have ADs earning royalties on productions.)

I wonder if it's at all common for ADs to forgo royalties for performances at their home company during their tenure.

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I think when the production is bad, they dump it as soon as possible (as soon as finances are available for a new production) it even if McKenzie is listed as the choreographer. Isn't McKenzie the choreographer of the ABT SB? They are dumping that for a new Ratmansky sB next season.

No Gelsey Kirkland and her husband (Michael Chernov?) have full responsibility for ABT's current SB. Apparently, Kevin has hated from the get go (me,too). Very happy to see Ratmansky will do the new one.

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I think when the production is bad, they dump it as soon as possible (as soon as finances are available for a new production) it even if McKenzie is listed as the choreographer. Isn't McKenzie the choreographer of the ABT SB? They are dumping that for a new Ratmansky sB next season.

No Gelsey Kirkland and her husband (Michael Chernov?) have full responsibility for ABT's current SB. Apparently, Kevin has hated from the get go (me,too). Very happy to see Ratmansky will do the new one.

The ABT and Met Opera websites credit Mckenzie along with Kirkland and Chernov: on the Met website: "Choreography: Kevin McKenzie, Gelsey Kirkland, Michael Chernov" and, better, on the ABT website (better because it says "staged" and names Petipa): "Staged by: Kevin McKenzie, Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov, after Marius Petipa."

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Wow, all sorts of casting drama! Compared to seasons past, this year has been relatively injury-free (at least on the principal level), until this week!

I am hoping Semionova can bring some more personality now that she'll be paired with Gomes, but I do really love Hallberg as the Prince. Gomes just seems WAYY too warm and charming to be the shy, lonely Prince. Personally, though, I really would have liked to see Semionova with Bolle instead. They looked so good together and performed so well together last year in "Sylvia," at least to me!

As for last night's show--I pretty much agree with everything said here. It was an unexpectedly exciting show!

In Act II, Murphy was a little too powerful and intense for my tastes. As others have mentioned, she doesn't seem to know how to really luxuriate in the adagio. And her arms/back are not as graceful/refined as other (mostly Russian) ballerinas I've seen. But perhaps this was because she was having an off night, which ultimately led to the unfortunate injury. Hopefully she makes a speedy recovery!

As for Hee Seo--wow! I have to admit, up until last night, I thought of her as beautiful and lyrical, but technically unreliable (like when she fell out of the Italian fouettes in Don Q), and often boring, boring, boring. Given these low expectations, she really impressed me! The adagio of the Black Swan p.d.d. was absolutely thrilling. Never had I ever imagined that Seo could hold a balance like that (I even saw the corps members murmuring amongst each other like they couldn't believe it either)! And moreover, I never thought she would be able to able to pull off the flirty vixen character, but she did it!

Yes, her solo was pretty weak, and she was huffing and puffing to get through those fouettes, but she totally engaged me character-wise as both Odile and Odette. After seeing her last night, I am tempted to see her dance on Sat night with Bolle.

As for Gomes, all season I have been feeling like he is at a point at his career (he is almost 35 now, after all) where he is trying to play it smart, as in conserve energy when he can and hold back a little bit here so that he can go full-out later. Of course, he is always a most-attentive partner and a great actor, but instead of, say, throwing in an extra turn or an extra jump, he'll hold the arabesques; instead of a triple turn, he might do a double, but open his arms beautifully at the finish. However, when he's feeling inspired and in the moment (like when he's dancing with Vishneva), then he can't help but dance with 110% all the time!

With Murphy, I felt like he was playing it smart, but when Seo came on and they had such an exciting start to the p.d.d., you could totally tell that he was super excited and was inspired to give extra.

So bravo, bravo, bravo to Marcelo the MVP!!

As for the other characters--I liked Matthews as Von Rothbart, and as usual, I absolutely loved Gorak. Yes, he flubbed part of the mini pas de trois at the beginning of Act III, but I think everyone was a little nervous/agitated because of the cast change.

Also, Lane seems to be dancing better than ever! I really feel like she and Gorak have formed a lovely stage partnership. In seasons past, I've liked her, but not enough to want to go out and buy a ticket to see her as the lead. However, now I would happily pay to see her and Gorak cast in anything! (Hello, Kevin, did you hear that??)

Finally--kudos to the solo violinist. The playing wasn't effortless, but at least it was in tune, unlike seasons past where I involuntarily cringed with every off note!

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Re Monday night:

The four cygnettes were the best I think I've seen at ABT--even their heads were together. I loved Gorak, Lane and Kajiya, and I agree that Matthews is dancing better than ever. He seemed to delight in dancing Rothbart, which was fun to see.

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By the way, I spotted James Whiteside immediately after Monday's performance. Perhaps he was the cover for Marcelo Gomes in Monday night's performance?

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I saw Semionova and Gomes dance Swan Lake in 2011.(Hallberg was supposed to dance but he was injured.) Both were fantastic separately and even better together. I have a ticket for the Saturday matine of Swan Lake. I wonder if it will still be Semionova and Hallberg dancing that performance.

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