NYCB "Midsummer's ..." Wednesday 6/27
Posted 29 June 2001 - 04:53 PM
Thanks for debunking Barnes, Leigh.
[ 06-29-2001: Message edited by: Jack Reed ]
Posted 29 June 2001 - 08:40 PM
Posted 29 June 2001 - 11:34 PM
Just back from Friday night's performance...
Fiorato conducted, so it didn't end til after 10pm )
It was interesting seeing Millipied and Korbes as compared to the more-than-a-decade-older Woetzel and Whelan. I think that the younger dancers give the roles a slightly different dynamic (if that makes any sense). Tonight Titania and Oberon seemed more like quarreling lovers-younger and less experienced, as compared to Wednesday night's dignified married couple having a disagreement.
Millipied did a fine job, though he simplified some of the steps (most noticabley, at the end of Oberon's first act solos, only doing a single tour or whatever that move is called). I also thought some of the timing in the "arguement scene" was a tad off-Whelan and Woetzel were more convincing. Nonetheless, I am excited by Millipied's dancing (and looks ), and hope he sticks around at NYCB.
James Fayette did a great job as Titania's Cavalier-an excellent choice to help out a new Titania. You won't find a nicer and more solid dancer than Fayette. I wonder if this is why he danced the role last night with Korbes.
Adam Hendrickson made a delightful debut as Puck! I thought his mime was excellent, and his body is suited for the leaps and bounds. He also "flew" higher at end-on Wednesday Puck didn't appear to get very high. He seems to be following in the footsteps of Tom Gold, as does Daniel Ulbricht.
The rest of the dancers were fine, but not quite up to the level of Wednesday's cast (or energy). Whelan and Soto were solid in the Act 2 pas de deux, though the lovely ending was marred by a cell phone ringing (ARRRGHH...I swear that one rings during every performance...are people deaf....stupid....!!!!). Soto looks like he is carrying a bit more weight now, and not quite as quick, though still a wonderful partner. The costume does not flatter his build either.
Other good debuts included Stuart Capps as one of the two lovers (I can't remember which) and Alexandra Ansanelli as Helena. Jared Angle danced well, but seemed to being a having a bad wig day...I kept waiting for the whole thing to come off.
Also, the pivotal Act 1 scene in the fog didn't come off as well tonight. The dry ice fog appeared patchy, which detracted from the mysterious-foggy look, and the timing seemed not quite right. And Blascovich's Hippolyta wasn't as all out at Somogyi's.
OK....now I realize that the flower is supposed to be "deflowered" when Oberon waked up Titania. Oops...
One final question about a bit of plot. At the end of the pas de deux with Titania and her Cavalier, she and the Cavalier duck behind her "throne", presumabley to hide from Puck. However, they go behind the chair before Puck arrives, and do it rather casually, looking around carefully before going behind the chair. At first, I thought it seemed like they were ducking out of sight for a quick kiss...though I'm told it's merely to hide from Puck. Has anyone else interpreted it this way....?
Posted 01 July 2001 - 08:05 PM
One thing that has I'm recollecting clearly, after attending Tuesday and Wednesday night, was how well the kids performed and how well Gabrielle Whittle appeared to have coached them.
I like this ballet and what's wrong with Act II being almost totally a divertissement? First -- Clive Barnes to the contrary who cares -- it's not correct that the action is entirely complete after Act I. The wedding is still to come, ceremonious as that is. And even if Act II was nothing but an entertainment, how does that differ from Sleeping Beauty Final Act? Wedding and Dances, that's all.
[ 07-01-2001: Message edited by: Michael1 ]
Posted 02 July 2001 - 03:03 PM
Titania: Korbes was just beautiful. In rehearsal, Leland (who is fun to watch in her role as ballet mistress) was trying to get Korbes to move bigger and more dramatically. She wasn't quite there yet during rehearsal. But, then, that night, wow. She's one of those dancers who seem to make time slow down when I watch them-- they so carefully articulate the movement and push through the air. Gorgeous. Whelan still has more fun in the role, but Korbes has years to discover news things in the role.
Oberon: On Sat. night I think Woetzel gave an uncharacteristically *off* performance. I still can't quite put my finger on what was wrong, but there wasn't that usual energy and polish. The audience seemed to notice, too, as he got no applause as he left stage each time during the scherzo (unlike Boal and Millipied). Boal is always a joy to watch, though I must admit I have enjoyed his performances in other ballets these last two seasons much more than his Oberon. He can have rigidity in his upper body sometimes, and here it came out too much for my tastes. Of course, Millipied can also seem less of a pure classical dancer at times, too. But, it didn't seem to both me here. He really went for broke on Sunday with a clear interpretation of the role-- his Oberon was a spoiled, fiesty king.
Puck- Even now the image of Evans sword-fighting with glee and mischievousness (he jogs, tilting his head from side to side, with a huge smile on his face) makes me laugh. It is hard for me to watch anyone else in the role, as he IS Puck to me.
I did, however, enjoy Hendrickson in rehearsal (I didn't see her perfs).
Bottom- I just loved Ritter. He also fully inhabits his role.
The lovers-- I can't even articulate how horrid I thought K. Tracey was. I have never thought her that graceful a dancers, but whatever grace she had she lost in an effort to be dramatic. Helena is difficult role to do, as it calls for big, rougher movements than that of Hermia, but Abergel in perf and Ansanelli in rehearsal both seemed to balance grace with drama. Rutherford was her usual gorgeous, graceful self as Hermia-- in the 2nd act, I really felt like I was at her wedding, she was so joyous. I am a van Kipnis fan, provided it's the right role. I still see her as more Hippolyta than Hermia-- She still did a nice job as Hermia, but she seems too strong to me. I don't pick up the vulnerable vibe from her, though I think of Hermia in that way. I tend to pay less attention to the men, as they also have less of a dance role. In his role here, too, I loved Ritter. And, also Higgins.
Hippolyta: I only so Blascovich in a short reheasal, so don't want to comment. As for Somogyi, well, wow. The power in that body just never ceases to amaze me. That she can be a forceful Amazon in one ballet, and a soft ballerina in another (say, Brahm-S Quartet) just floors me.
Butterfly: I'm prejudiced here as I saw Taylor and Bouder, of whom I have polar opposite opinions. I can say that Taylor was fine in the role, still too fluttery and not enough beauty (more moth-like than butterfly?). In her debut, Bouder had trouble with her attitude turns, but she had a better handle on it on Sat eve. Both Taylor and Bouder are extremely high jumpers-- you'd think Bouder was using a trampoline. I think Taylor's fail to impress me as much for the same reason her dancing, as whole, doesn't impress me-- her grand jete seems like a step to getting to the next step. Bouder's has power (she reminds me of Somogyi a lot) and seems suspended in air. Taylor is also quite introverted-- it still seems like it's all about getting through some sort of test, as opposed to expressing oneself and enjoying the moment-- which, two other butterflies do quite well, though they don't have the jumping height--- Edge and Walker (both whom I saw in reheasal). Watching them, Butterfly is not so much about the flying as joy and beauty (Bouder's has joy and beauty, too).
Titania's Cavalier-- On a show-must-go-on note, Korbes' curly hair piece fell off during her pas de deux on Sunday. A little later, Fayette gracefully scooped it up and, as he ran near the wings, threw it off. A true cavalier. On dancing notes, both her and Angle were, as usual, gallant partners to their mistresses.
Divertissement: I have not always enjoyed Weese in romantic adagio's (e.g., Mercurial...), but she was stunning here. Like Korbes as Titania, time slowed down here, too-- I couldn't take my eyes away). What I would give to see Ringer and Hubbe do this role!
It's as if Balanchine knew with this pas de deux and Nutcracker that so many different dancers were going to perform it that all had to look good in it, no matter their style or look. Where am I going with this? Well, as much as I was nearly heartbroken that I wouldn't get to see my beloved Kistler yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised by Borree's performance. The choreography wins out here- I was able to see beyond her... style... and glean some enjoyment from seeing one of the most beautiful pas de deuxes (is that the plural) ever made. On another crazy performance note, Martins fell-- and it wasn't one of those landing on one knee and touching the stage with a hand to keep balance slight falls. This was a trying to recover unsuccesfully and landing on one's tushy type. The hair falling and tushy landing seemed to make perfect bookends to the performance.
On a general note about the ballet-- every year when I see the schedule, I always seem to lament that I'd be missing out on other repertory for a week of MND. Then, I see it, again, and am reminded what a piece of genius it is. I, who dread full-length ballets, love this one. Balanchine tells the story WITH DANCE, very little walking around, and with great drama and humor. No matter how many times I see it, I cannot help but laugh when Bottom looks up at the audience, while holding Titania. Or the 4-in-a-row brush-offs that the lovers give to the unrequited ones.
And, I agree that the 2nd act is no more an add-on than Sleeping Beauty. In the 2nd act, we do get performances by the three wedding couples, and a journey back to the forest at the end. The divertissement pas de deux has a magical, unearthly quality to it, fitting perfectly into the theme of the night.
I so wish Balanchine had created more full-length story ballets-- I might actually see more of them. There seems to be an irony here in that Balanchine, who is known for his plotless leotard ballets, created my favorite full-length ballets (Nutcracker and MND). Well, whatever genre he chose, he inhabited fully as reflected in his ballets.
Alas, five more months until I see NYCB again!!! Where are my Balanchine videos?....
Posted 02 July 2001 - 05:32 PM
Titania: Kistler, but Korbes is beautiful!
Oberon: Boal, always
Puck: Evans, nobody like him
Divert: Whelan, Soto
Butterfly: Taylor, whose fast feet were perfect for Quinn's conducting!
the lovers: Ansanelli, Rutherford, Marcovici, Angle (different casts)
Posted 02 July 2001 - 06:53 PM
Woetzel must have been off on Saturday, because I noticed the exact opposite thing about the applause during the week. On Wednesday, Woetzel got applause every time he left the stage (and sometimes when he entered), but on Friday Millipied received no applause at all.
Posted 02 July 2001 - 07:38 PM
Posted 05 July 2001 - 07:49 AM
De gustibus non disputandum est, I enjoyed Kathleen Tracey's performance of Helena very much on Tuesday night. I thought her rendition of the part had good clarity and detail, and that she presented a good, long, flowing line in the costume (with its high bodice and floor length skirt). She has always had a lovely flow into arabesque and that also came through nicely in this part, in the passages where she arabesques and kisses demetrius repeatedly, then runs forward and does it again.
She did not make me forget Riolama Lorenzo in this role, all the same. Rio was great Helena. Probably I'll never see as good.
And I loved Pascale van Kipnis's Hermia. Of the two female lovers, this is the ballerina role and Pascale is very ballerina. I agree she would make a wonderful Titania. I'm thinking the reason she's been scarce this year is still the after effect of last year's injury. It may have been more severe than I thought. Just speculation. But I'd love an explanation for why she's been so little cast which was rational.
I thought Jennie Somogyi had problems handling the bow in both performances I saw. (Dancing with props must be quite an arcane skill, it deserves a thread all its own). She has often remarked how she
has problems with her arms, or had them
in her training, that they'd tend to be all over the place, and the bow accented this. I've seen this performed on other occasions when the bow is held aloft in the pirouettes forming a very beautiful line.
I loved the force of Jennie's fouettes, though, and how very high she had her working leg -- I've never seen fouettes done with the working leg so lifted. Even more, I loved her in the Second Act wedding pdd, and the march forward that precedes it. Her turn out is so beautiful in that pace forward, and the final 180 degree extension at the end of the pdd, with one hand almost
on her hip and her body gracefully effaced just a little bit, and with the other arm extended high, was just breathtaking. I'll remember that for a long time.
Still, I wonder why Meunier didn't dance. I note she's still cast in a few things in Saratoga.
It's funny how performances age and gain savour in recollection. These two have a great perfume a week later.
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