ABT Giselle 4/13
Posted 14 April 2001 - 09:33 AM
I know there will be a lot written here today about this performance, and lots of full descriptions of the entire performance. While there were a couple of things I could pick on, they were minor, IMO, and overall it was a very special night. Julie Kent and Josť Manuel Carreno were magnificent, and for me they made Giselle what it should be and rarely achieves. And they made ABT look like the company it can be. The musical phrasing, especially in the second act, was sublime, and the coaching for this production was the best I have seen in a very long time. The audience was on it's feet for this one, and it was highly deserved!!!
Posted 14 April 2001 - 11:01 AM
The difference between this Giselle and the "is anyone minding the store?" performances of the first program are mindboggling. This was well staged, well directed, well coached. There were some mishaps (a shaky peasant pas de deux, quite possibly because of a last-minute replacement), a myrtle branch that wouldn't break (perhaps it, too, was in awe?), and there were times when I thought the corps was a bit rag-taggled, and certainly not the Kirov. But the outlines of the production are there and two very fine dancers got deluxe support from the whole company. (Meaning, it didn't look like stars had been parachuted in for the night.)
Kent's acting in the mad scene was the finest I've ever seen (I go back only to 1976 in this ballet). One could quibble that it was too realistic for a romantic ballet, but taken on its own terms, this was real acting. Her dancing in the second act was beautifully light and, more important for me, beautifully detailed. Carreno was as close to perfect as one can get, and his Cuban-Soviet schooling showed in every movement. Gillian Murphy was Myrthe -- still a fledgling, but the dancing was beautiful.
I do have one complaint. This is what ballet should look like, this is the level of professionalism ballet companies should be, in contemporary terms, "producing." Every night, not just on the odd Good Friday.
p.s. It occurred to me that these first two posts don't leave very much room for disagreement, but please don't feel constrained if you DO disagree. The two men behind me laughed all the way through -- they obviously thought it very old-fashioned. My main point is that U thought the level of the performance was what it should be. My instincts are that the other three performances this weekend--Tuttle and Corella this afternoon, Jaffe and Stiefel tonight, and McKerrow and Belosertkovsky tomorrow afternoon--will be different, of course, but meet the same standard
[ 04-14-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]
Posted 14 April 2001 - 11:51 AM
I don't mean to squelch disagreement, but I have to say I agree almost fully with Ms. Leigh and Alexandra. The evening was absolutely magical for me. Very glad to see Carreno was very "on" last night . Just a few things, and these might have been just where I was sitting:
Didn't quite like Murphy as Myrtha. No presence. Also, not much of a jump.
I don't think some audience members realized that Giselle was supposed to be going insane, since a few people laughed during the mad scene.
The corps in Act II made a great deal of noise with its shoes. I know it's possible for the corps to be silent, because I've attended performances where the only sound the corps (not ABT, though) made was that of wind as it ran by.
Finally, I no longer think Julie Kent is bland. She has all my respect as a great, beautiful artist.
[ 04-14-2001: Message edited by: CygneDanois ]
Posted 14 April 2001 - 12:30 PM
With the recent Kirov "Giselles" in mind I would be interested to hear how the principals were dressed and everything. Was it traditional, with respect for period and style, or was it a 'modernized' looking Giselle?
As when it comes to laughing members of the audience, we had some here recently at a performance of the Royal Ballet of Flanders during Myrtha's entrance. A few people started laughing, saying: "Wow, a ghost!"
Good to hear that the Kirov corps is still considered as the reference point, Alexandra.
Posted 14 April 2001 - 04:00 PM
Marc, it's a very traditional production. Soft and pretty -- Giselle in pale blue, her "friends" (six of them) in raspberry-to-apricot. The peasant men are overdressed, IMO: they look like they all flunked out of Squire school or, as a friend of mine said, "this must be a very good harvest." Huge castle in the background (the sets are from the film "Dancers.") HUGE. Hard to imagine a Silesian Count living in it, but.... Giselle's Mother does the "you dance, you die" mime scene, the Albrechts, so far at least, have been of the sincerely in love variety. The hunting party is substantial -- and very well staged, I think. They mill around instead of standing and gawking, and there's the feel of a country fair. There are two hunting dogs, and two little boys on the wine keg (Lucia Chase would love it)
I missed several chains in the ABT-Giselle production story, so others may be able to fill in here far better than I, but this basically looks, dramatically and mostly choreographically, like the old David Blair production (which was based on the 1960s Royal Ballet production which is supposedly based on the Stepanov Notebooks). Some of the corps dances in the first act are different -- the boys don't throw baskets of grapes at each other; darn -- and the peasant pas de deux is an amalgam. I think the adagio and first woman's solo were changed, by Baryshnikov, to be what he had known from the Kirov; the rest is the older version. Nobody's quite made it through peasant pas yet, but there have been some nice moments and they've two more performances to go.
Posted 14 April 2001 - 04:03 PM
Posted 14 April 2001 - 05:27 PM
Posted 15 April 2001 - 12:57 PM
Posted 15 April 2001 - 01:16 PM
[ 04-15-2001: Message edited by: samba38 ]
[ 04-15-2001: Message edited by: samba38 ]
Posted 15 April 2001 - 04:30 PM
[ 04-15-2001: Message edited by: Nikiya ]
Posted 15 April 2001 - 05:57 PM
Posted 16 April 2001 - 01:36 AM
I always liked her; in her last season here she was an excellent Florine. Dancers like her gave the company some profile (shame there aren't more like that). Anyway, good to hear she was able to join ABT. Give her some time; the jump between the RB of Flanders and ABT is rather wide as you will understand ... ;)
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