The Ashton vs. Balanchine takes on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is an old, old argument. For me it hinges on central Pas de Deux, for Ashton between Oberon and Titania in the single act and for Balanchine between Titania and Bottom in Act I and the dancers in the Divertissement in Act II. Ashton's PDD is beautiful and sublime and everything else Macaulay describes physically, but I don't buy it from those characters, and think there's more psychological truth to the enchanted Titania/Bottom pairing. But his is hardly a heretical view, especially with ABT in town to counter the Balanchine juggernaut, to prefer the Ashton.
I do feel bad for the Boston Ballet dancers (just as I felt bad for PNB and its hometown audience when Roméo et Juliette was poorly received in New York). Macaulay at least praised them in his second review, although the scarcity of specifics suggests his heart was hardly in it.
There's no reason to feel bad for PNB or its hometown audience. Peter Boal knows what NY critics like, and he knows that, for the most part, what he wants audiences to see/what he likes is something different. He knows that it's one thing to present under Peter Boal & Co. and another under PNB. (If he didn't, bringing "Jardi Tancat" to Ballet Across America would have been a wake-up call.) He's said that he wants to expand the Seattle audience's notion of ballet.
Boal had his own experiment with European dance when he left NYCB to go to Ballet du Nord. He fell for Maillot's work because he sought out performances of more than the usual suspects. He likes a type of dance that generally gets slayed by NY critics. I don't remember that many times the NY audience has embraced it regardless of critical response, except for the huge ovations NDT got in the '80's tours to the Met.
It's unlikely that Macaulay would travel to Seattle to see the Forsythe program -- I don't think he'd travel across the country to see something he dislikes so strongly. I'm looking forward to it because it takes works from 1987 ("in the middle"), 1998 ("Vertiginous"), and the almost new "New Suite." I'm interested in comparing the works, especially since the only Forsythe I've seen that isn't to Thom Willems music is "Vertiginous" from the last Mariinsky tour to City Center. I don't think his response to the Schubert was particularly musical or that the structure of the music was especially conducive to the movement, but I loved the tutus, and Tereshkina was in it, and the music is why I really want to see "New Suite." The composers of "New Suite" were listed as Georg Friedrich Haendel, Luciano Berio, Gavin Bryars, Thom Willems, Johann Sebastian Bach on the Festival d'automne a Paris website and on the Berlin Semperoper website the music "consists of 'Haendel,' "Bach,' 'Berio,' 'Slingerland Pas de deux,' and 'New Sleep.'" I've never seen a work of his to smaller pieces by many composers. The PNB website lists only Handel and Berio, which I hope is either a placeholder or incomplete. One the one hand, I'm not sure how coherently the music will tie together, but, on the other hand, it's not like taking on the structure of a symphony.