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ShakespeareThe Dream and the Tempest


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#16 Amour

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 07:59 PM

Obviously Herman as Puck stole the show - partly that is the nature of the role, and partly it is because Herman is one of the most spectacular dancers ever, anywhere.


I want to say that I watched The Dream DVD tonight (Tuesday) and Puck is NOT supposed to overshadow Oberon as Herman did to Cory last night. When Stiefel was Oberon, he was commanding and virtuosic and Herman was considerable toned down compared to him (and last night's performance). (I also saw them live, the night ABT premiered The Dream in 2002) I just think Cory (maybe even David) is not up to doing what the role of Oberon needs in terms of both acting and dancing.

#17 abatt

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:02 AM

I attended last night's performance.  Compared to Monday, ticket sales were poor, at least up in the balcony area.   I adore Gomes, and he certainly has the authority, the partnering skill and stage presence for Oberon.  However, this role requires a lot of quick changes in direction which, in my opinion, Stearns executed better and faster.  There was no comparison between Murphy's performance and Kent's.  Murphy is great in Ashton roles, and is at the peak of her technical powers.  Kent's performance was mostly fine, but the difference in quality between Monday and Tuesday evening was quite apparent.  I loved Simkin as Puck.  It suits him perfectly, and he has the spins, jumps and high elevation for the role.  I didn't stay for Tempest. 



#18 Golden Idol

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 07:07 AM

 

 

I'm not sure that a lesser dancer could steal the show in the role of puck.  Cornejo really outdid himself.  Comparing his performance to that on the dvd, his turns were faster last night, especially the chainé turns.   I agree that Murphy was really delightful. 

 

I think they should have performed the Tempest first and the Dream second.  I'd much rather end the evening with the Dream.  I wish they'd shorten their intermissions.  I think the intermission length has more to do with selling concessions than changing sets.  

Except performing "The Dream" first allows us (if we wish) to leave early!  It's something I've always hated about the Peter Martins ballets at NYCB.  He always places them in the middle of two superior works, so one either has to endure his ballet to get to the last one on the bill, or spend the time in the lobby and drink!   So, go see "The Dream", leave before the lengthy intermission and go home with beautiful thoughts!

 

That's what I did two nights in a row smile.png

 

Me too. The Tempest isn't terrible terrible, but I didn't think it was worth a second look. Lovely just to spend an hour with The Dream and head home. And, yes, over at NYCB I've been known to time the middle piece, go out for coffee or a drink, and return.



#19 canbelto

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 06:08 PM

I saw this afternoon's performance. I thought The Dream had a spectacular performance from Herman Cornejo. However Gillian looked a little more tentative than she usually does, and Cory Stearns is so frustrating. He has such a beautiful line and is a decent partner. However, he just doesn't project anything across the footlights. He doesn't have a stage face at all, and it's like seeing a completely blank slate onstage. Blaine Hoven was pretty funny as Bottom. I think Ashton's choreography is a little empty compared to Balanchine's. I always miss the flurry of SAB kids Balanchine so expertly used in his MSND, as well as the Titania/Bottom pas de deux. 

 

This was my first time seeing The Tempest. I think the piece works if you think of it like a mood piece, and not a straight adaptation of the play. I agree the music isn't really suited for dancing. More like a tone poem. However I did think that Ratmansky choreographs to the strengths of the company. For instance the lack of uniform training is less obvious when they dance a piece like The Tempest. He used Marcelo's amazing partnering skills to creative effects -- like him partnering Ariel and other men. I can't imagine a role more suited for Danil Simkin than Ariel. Ratmansky really capitalized on his androgynous, feline physique and dancing style. And the roles of Miranda and Ferdinand are the types that the primas at ABT won't dance, but they are great opportunities for the underutilized soloist/corps. I did think the storyline with Prospero's kinsmen was hard to follow and the piece does seem a little empty but Ratmansky does win brownie points for carefully considering the ABT dancers' individual strengths.



#20 abatt

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:01 AM

I went to the Dream last night.  This was a terrific role debut for Whiteside.  His rapid footwork was very clear, and he managed the difficult choreography well.  I also liked his characterization, and he partnered Reyes skillfully.  I liked Xiomara's performance too. However, there was no chemistry between Whiteside and Reyes. In addition, this role requires a sensual ballerina, which Reyes is not.  I hate to say negative things about Salstein, but his performance lacked the bravura technique needed for the role.  Skipped the Tempest again.  Many, many empty seats at the Met.



#21 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 09:10 AM

I was at the July 2nd matinee.

‘The Dream’ is a jewel of a ballet with choreography by Frederick Ashton which exactly matches the music of Felix Mendelssohn. Ashton’s ‘The Dream’ is a condensed version of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’. ‘The Dream’, however, is set in the Victorian Age.

All the dancers in ‘The Dream’ are wonderful, but as usual a few standout. I have seen ABT’s 'The Dream' four times previously, but this is my first time seeing Herman Cornejo dance Puck live. As good as the other Pucks were, especially Daniil Simkin, no one fits the role like Cornejo. He soars into the air and hangs there suspended for what seems like an eternity. His multiple air turns are beyond exciting. Cornejo also exactly captures the humor in the character of Puck.

Cornejo’s chemistry with Cory Stearns’ Oberon is delightful to see. For me, the main partnership in ‘The Dream’ is not between Oberon and Titania but Oberon and Puck. As Oberon, Stearns reminds me of a young Anthony Dowell, the creator of the role. His extraordinary line and gorgeous placement make Stearns’ Oberon both noble and magical. Gillian Murphy’s Titania stands out for her sparkling footwork. The role of the Fairy Queen shows off Murphy’s magnificent lyricism. Blaine Hoven’s is a very funny Bottom with marvelous pointe work.

Seeing ABT perform ‘The Dream’ is such a special treat. I hope they continue to dance it for years.

Alexei Ratmanksy’s ‘The Tempest’, however is a ballet I hope never to see again. Wednesday’s matinee is my second viewing of the piece and it still makes little sense. Ratmansky’s ‘The Tempest’ is a waste of a lot of dance talent. Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside, Sarah Land and Joseph Gorak all dance very well, but I see no point to any of their steps and movements. The music, by Jean Sibelius, is atonal. My only thought throughout the whole ballet is the hope that it will end soon. Obviously not every great work of literature can be made into a ballet.

#22 mimsyb

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:47 PM

I was at the July 2nd matinee.

‘The Dream’ is a jewel of a ballet with choreography by Frederick Ashton which exactly matches the music of Felix Mendelssohn. Ashton’s ‘The Dream’ is a condensed version of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’. ‘The Dream’, however, is set in the Victorian Age.

All the dancers in ‘The Dream’ are wonderful, but as usual a few standout. I have seen ABT’s 'The Dream' four times previously, but this is my first time seeing Herman Cornejo dance Puck live. As good as the other Pucks were, especially Daniil Simkin, no one fits the role like Cornejo. He soars into the air and hangs there suspended for what seems like an eternity. His multiple air turns are beyond exciting. Cornejo also exactly captures the humor in the character of Puck.

Cornejo’s chemistry with Cory Stearns’ Oberon is delightful to see. For me, the main partnership in ‘The Dream’ is not between Oberon and Titania but Oberon and Puck. As Oberon, Stearns reminds me of a young Anthony Dowell, the creator of the role. His extraordinary line and gorgeous placement make Stearns’ Oberon both noble and magical. Gillian Murphy’s Titania stands out for her sparkling footwork. The role of the Fairy Queen shows off Murphy’s magnificent lyricism. Blaine Hoven’s is a very funny Bottom with marvelous pointe work.

Seeing ABT perform ‘The Dream’ is such a special treat. I hope they continue to dance it for years.

Alexei Ratmanksy’s ‘The Tempest’, however is a ballet I hope never to see again. Wednesday’s matinee is my second viewing of the piece and it still makes little sense. Ratmansky’s ‘The Tempest’ is a waste of a lot of dance talent. Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside, Sarah Land and Joseph Gorak all dance very well, but I see no point to any of their steps and movements. The music, by Jean Sibelius, is atonal. My only thought throughout the whole ballet is the hope that it will end soon. Obviously not every great work of literature can be made into a ballet.

Yes, I agree.  The only thing I saw about the Tempest were the huge "boatloads" of money it obviously cost.  What a waste!



#23 abatt

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:53 PM

Don't know whether you saw the opening night of the Tempest at the Koch when it premiered  during the Fall of 2013.  If you did, you will recall that Julia Koch got to throw an elaborate gala party on the Promenade of the Koch Theater that had a Tempest theme - complete  with sound effect, smoke effects, lighting effects and giant paper mache designs of a tornado.  From that perspective it wasn't a waste for Julia and David Koch because they got to throw an exciting and elaborately designed party for their pals, and ABT gained from the tables sold at the gala.   Better he should put his money into valiant but failed ballet projects than use it for his political pursuits.  However, the Koch funds seems rather limitless for both types of pursuits.



#24 California

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:05 PM

I've been reading with some amusement the scathing comments about "The Tempest." I saw it twice last fall across the plaza in its premiere week, with both casts, and decided then and there that I was done with that ballet. What a waste of so many talented dancers, as others have noted. Was this co-produced with another company, so at least the (apparently) extravagant cost could be shared? Perhaps they could recycle that boat for another ballet. At least we know that Ratmansky (as with Balanchine and other notables) is not perfect. They all make mistakes. It's just too bad so much money apparently went down the drain.



#25 bingham

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:24 PM

I've been reading with some amusement the scathing comments about "The Tempest." I saw it twice last fall across the plaza in its premiere week, with both casts, and decided then and there that I was done with that ballet. What a waste of so many talented dancers, as others have noted. Was this co-produced with another company, so at least the (apparently) extravagant cost could be shared? Perhaps they could recycle that boat for another ballet. At least we know that Ratmansky (as with Balanchine and other notables) is not perfect. They all make mistakes. It's just too bad so much money apparently went down the drain.

 It seems that except for his trilogy last season, none of Alexei's short`ABT`` ballets has  been succcessful enough to last for more than a season.His ballets made in other companies seems   to have a longer run.



#26 abatt

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:32 PM

Seven Sonatas was brought back by ABT for one of the ABT fall seasons, and has also been taken on tour with ABT.  It's cheap to present on tour (very basic costumes, no scenery).  That's about it.  Firebird tanked.  Tempest was supposed to go to DC in April but got switched out for something else.  On the Dneiper came back once. 

 

Yes, it is odd that the Ratmansky ballets created at NYCB are among his most successful (Russian Seasons and DSCH).  Maybe he is better at  short abstract ballets than short story based ballets.



#27 California

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:48 PM

I loved Symphony No. 9 (the first of the trilogy) when it was presented by itself in fall 2012 at City Center, and I think it stands on its own. I hope they are not under performance restrictions that they have to present the entire trilogy or nothing at all. Bright Stream seems to have run its course -- it's the sort of ballet that's fun to see once or twice, but that's enough. Not enough serious dancing to want to go back again and again. I have a hunch his SB will do well, though, as he seems to have had success restaging classics for other companies.



#28 Mazurka

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:14 PM

I only wish I could have seen the Dream more than once this season - I would wish they include it in any of the short programs in the future.

Cornejo embodies Puckishness and his jumps and spins  are breathtaking,

I love Gillian in whatever she dances - I love her as O/O. I love her Titania even if her hair gets tangled!  Not only for the technical beauty but for the spunkiness and strength of character

there beneath the surface.  Yet it is a gentle pair they make with Cory.  She is the opposite of all the bland and the Disneyesque ballerinas.

 

I thought Adrienne Schulte characterization too strong - after all Ashton finds these human follies endearing.

 

Did not stay for Tempest.  The choice of music eludes me -  Met's Enchanted Island has great music but that would be a different ballet.



#29 vipa

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 06:05 PM

I'm very interested in reading these reviews.  Thank you all for posting.  I didn't by a ticket for this program because I couldn't bring myself to watch Tempest again, and couldn't bring myself to pay to see half a program.



#30 Drew

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:44 PM

 

I've been reading with some amusement the scathing comments about "The Tempest." I saw it twice last fall across the plaza in its premiere week, with both casts, and decided then and there that I was done with that ballet. What a waste of so many talented dancers, as others have noted. Was this co-produced with another company, so at least the (apparently) extravagant cost could be shared? Perhaps they could recycle that boat for another ballet. At least we know that Ratmansky (as with Balanchine and other notables) is not perfect. They all make mistakes. It's just too bad so much money apparently went down the drain.

 It seems that except for his trilogy last season, none of Alexei's short`ABT`` ballets has  been succcessful enough to last for more than a season.His ballets made in other companies seems   to have a longer run.

 

 

I loved Symphony No. 9 (the first of the trilogy) when it was presented by itself in fall 2012 at City Center, and I think it stands on its own. I hope they are not under performance restrictions that they have to present the entire trilogy or nothing at all. Bright Stream seems to have run its course -- it's the sort of ballet that's fun to see once or twice, but that's enough. Not enough serious dancing to want to go back again and again. I have a hunch his SB will do well, though, as he seems to have had success restaging classics for other companies.

Ratmanksy's NYCB ballets have certainly been very successful. I'm not myself a total convert to Concerto DSCH, but I found Russian Seasons lovely and think Namouna is one of the most wonderful new ballets in memory! But I wouldn't be so quick to write off Ratmansky's ABT creations.

 

I recently saw Seven Sonatas with the Atlanta Ballet and on them (admitedly a very different company, dancing on a smaller stage) thought it looked a very fine ballet. Subtle, but substantive. Atlanta Ballet is repeating it next season and I plan to go. I do not attend all Atlanta Ballet programs by any means.  I note that it was created on a strange non-ballet stage--Avery Fisher--and that may perhaps account for the fact that there has been no attempt to transfer it to the Met. It might look good at the Koch theater.

 

Bright Stream always seemed like an odd choice for ABT: its history, its themes, its approach all have a real, if troubled, home at the Bolshoi where it was created. (Hearing a Mom tactfully explain to her -- very well behaved -- young daughters that the hammer and sickle above the stage stood for "hard work" did make me laugh.....ruefully. I say nothing about what the Koch brothers might have thought.) 

 

Still ABT gave some excellent performances in the ballet -- both classical and character parts -- and as the heroine Herrera gave what I should think was one of her best recent performances. I would not mind seeing it again and would love to see it at least once with the Bolshoi. But I agree that, in addition to being a less than ideal fit with ABT, it may just not have enough substantive choreography to hold up over repeated viewings.

 

I have only seen the Piano Concerto no I from the Shoshtakovich trilogy, as it was presented at the Koch in the Fall as a separate ballet. I saw three performances with two different casts and loved every one of them. I won't say "masterpiece" because time will have to tell. But new ballet of substance? In my eyes, absolutely. It had tension; it had tenderness; it had wit; it was musical and it was splendidly danced by dancers both more and less experienced. The whole trilogy has already also been performed by SFB as well.  I would love to see one of the major Russian companies take it on...but this work premiered at and thus belongs to ABT which is no small thing.

 

I'm on record as having mostly loved the Ratmansky Firebird (about which opinion was divided) and liked aspects of The Tempest (about which opinion has been largely negative), but these works did also feature ABT dancers in new and exciting ways eg Messmer in Firebird, Lane and Gorak in Tempest.  (From what i read, On the Dnieper, did something similar for Hallberg.)

 

When I see Ratmansky's ballets I feel that ballet is alive as an art profoundly in touch with its past, while still offering new creative visions to the future. Would it be great if we had a list of more "slam dunk" Ratmansky ballets done specifically for ABT? Well, sure. And he seems to maintain a superhuman schedule of staging and choreography around the world that occasionally makes one wonder if he does not 'spread himself too thin.' But let's just say he appears very driven, and I for one am delighted he is working with ABT on a regular basis. It gives them a calling card as a serious artistic enterprise that they would otherwise, in my opinion, be decidedly lacking.

 

The Tempest? Let's say I'm wrong and it's simply an unsalvageable disaster. At any rate it's not "meh" (a word that is one of the internet's best contributions to critical vocabulary)--it's trying to do something serious.




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