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Opening Night at the Met


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#1 Manhattnik

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Posted 13 May 2002 - 06:31 PM

Well, I'm a bit too worn out to offer more than a few brief comments:

Carlos Acosta -- oh my God! I never imagined anyone bringing down the house as CONRAD in the Corsaire "pas de Deux a Trois," as they call it now. Such elevation, such drama. I may have this a bit wrong, as it flashed by so quickly, but he seemed to finish a multiple-piroette combination by somehow flipping himself around in the air in a beatiful, arched-back "fish" position before landing to the knee. Just amazing. Countryman Carreno was at his best as the Slave (knowing competition when it arrives), and even Paloma Herrera (nice peacock feathers on the tutu) was sparkling -- I really liked the single/triple/single/triple fouettes. At least I think they were triples...

Amanda McKerrow -- she really is a fine Giselle, although as a friend put it, she's certainly had long enough to get it right! Not bad for a dancer who retired last year (or was it the year before?).

Julie Kent was lovely in the inevitable bedroom dance from Manon, but, please, can't we give this thing a rest? The curtain goes up on that bed and all I can think is how much I want to lie down on it and close my eyes....

The Dream Pas. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Stiefel looked appropriately other-worldly (did he ever do Oberon at NYCB, I wonder?), and Ferri was ravishing. Gorgeous costumes. There's some interesting imagery in this duet which I couldn't quite assimilate (I haven't seen this since 1976!), but I look forward to seeing it many times over the summer (I still hear that music and think "Where's Bottom?").

Walk this Way: Sheesh. I dunno if Susan Jaffe plans on giving her final performance in this tediously cute bit of nonsense, but I certainly felt my own life flashing before my eyes waiting for it to be over.

That "other" Corsaire Act II Pdd. You know, the one with the swoopy Soviet style overhead lifts which require Medora to slip out of her tutu into something more comfortable. Ananisashvili and Bocca were lovely, as I've come to expect. They're both pros and know how to milk this sort of thing just enough, but never too much (well, maybe only too much when it was really necessary -- if you can't be over-the-top when being held high above the stage with one's feet to the ceiling, when can one? I ask you!).

Tchaikovsky pas de Deux. Well, I'm sorry we didn't get the Max-and-Irina show for this one (Dvorovenko dancing Balanchine is an experience not to be missed -- I long for her Concerto Barocco), but Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes were really magnificent here. She's quite the turning fool, and knows when to crank up the virtuosity an appropriate number of notches. She made child's play of those trick inside and outside turns interspersed with fouettes in her solo. It made me wax nostalgic for those pre-Andrea Quinn days at NYCB, hearing the ABT trumpet soloist flub the bit that goes with the woman's solo. Ah, the memories it brought back! I do see what some folks say about Murphy and her Gaynor Minden's, though. She can turn like she's on casters, but there doesn't seem to be much softness or give to her arches. Maybe it's just my imagination.

4th Movement Symphony in C. Well, it much, much better than the wretched performances ABT gave us at City Center. The corps was trying, god Bless 'em, but their efforts seemed just a little pallid and, well, sloppy, especially when compared with the magnificent performances of this work the NYCB kids have been turning in lately. Michele Wiles has gotten even better leading this movement -- all sharpness and ease and sparkle.

There were other bits and pieces presented, but this is enough before I fall asleep.

#2 Dale

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Posted 13 May 2002 - 10:34 PM

Ah, Manhattnik, I'm glad you got here first. I know you love galas! :D

One of the best bits for me was Tchiakovsky pas de Deux with Murphy and Gomes. She lagged a bit in the fast parts but was so commanding and musical in everything else, as Gomes was. Without embelishing the solos in this work as some of his co-workers do, he was quite super. At NYCB, this piece sometimes gets very frenetic as the orchestra whirls out of control and the dancers sprint to keep up. But here, everything was at ease, yet the ending was exciting -- even the slight bobble on the second fish dive added to the thrill.

Another highlight was the Dream. I hadn't seen this ballet in awhile, and it took me a bit to stop feeling for the Balanchine choreography. In addition, I have not seen that much Ashton so I am not attuned to his brand of musical expression. However, I really enjoyed Stiefel (who did dance Oberon at NYCB, but was, in my opinion was overshadowed by Boal) and Ferri. It's a shame it didn't get as much applause as the big jumps and turns.

Reyes performed a variation from La Fille Mal Gardee. Despite owning the Australian Ballet performance, I've never seen the ballet so I don't know which variation, but it was pretty enough.

Malakhov's dancing in the Olga/Lensky pas de deux with Tuttle almost made me want to see the ballet this season.

Ditto on Manhattnik's thoughts on the Corsaire excerpts, Giselle and Manon. But because I was finding doing the Manon pas de deux again tiresome, I actually liked Walk This Way. Why can't anybody choreograph some new gala fare?

Symphony in C looked ragged and nobody seemed to be able to keep up at the end. And, yes, NYCB has been awesome in this ballet this season.

#3 Guest_raven_boy_*

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Posted 14 May 2002 - 04:31 AM

ABT's performance last night reminded me of why I am a dancer. It was the best ABT performance I have ever been to (I did see them City Center this past winter and a couple of performances a year prior to that).

Les Corsaire "Trois" was awesome with Acosta and Carreņo. They had this great spice of competition between them. Herrera looked great and I have never technically better. This was my favorite piece of the evening.

La Fille Mal Garde, Giselle and the "Tchai Pas" were other highlights for me.

A big thank you to my friend Becky who invited me to experience this exciting evening with her! Now I can take this inspired energy back to my own classes and rehearsals.:D

#4 Manhattnik

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Posted 14 May 2002 - 06:28 AM

One thing I really liked about seeing Acosta and Carreno together (talk about South-of-the-Border casting, with Herrera!) was how you could see that they came from the same school, not so much in their technique, but in their port de bras, and the gallant way they both used this to present Herrera, particularly when each wasn't partnering her.

They'd each make subtle and beautiful gestures with an arm towards Herrera, gently redirecting a viewer's gaze back to her, as if to say, "The true star is over there!" Of course, both Conrad and Ali (one imagines) are awe-struck by Medora's great beauty, but too often men forget that "partnering" doesn't stop when one's hands leave the ballerina.

#5 Dale

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Posted 14 May 2002 - 06:37 AM

Manhattnik, I like what you've just posted. One of the reasons I've always loved watching Igor Zelensky was the beautiful way he had of presenting his ballerina when he wasn't touching her, the way he would align his arms and head to compliment hers when they were standing side-by-side. Peter Martins did this as well and it creates great harmony on stage.

Herrera showed her appreciation as well with one of her better showings that I've seen and during the curtain calls, when she indicating each partner individually.

#6 ShesnoFonteynsMom

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Posted 14 May 2002 - 06:07 PM

I agree about the Acosta/Carreno/Herreera pdda3: oh my god doesn't describe it--the balcony was hooting and yelling--I almost embarrased myself. What a good time. And it was quite a competition.

McKerrow was fine in Giselle, but I found her face disconcerting;
death doesn't excuse deadpan.

I thoroughly enjoyed Gillian Murphy and the smile on her face as she bobbled was sheer delight--I can forgive her arches.

I don't have such a negative opinion on Symphony In C. True the
pointe work wasn't quite up to 'speed' but I enjoyed seeing port de bras that wasn't so stick-straight.

(An aside: sometimes I really appreciate Andrea Quinn & sometimes I feel she is racing for the win at Churchill Downs)

#7 Manhattnik

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Posted 15 May 2002 - 05:40 AM

About Quinn, I meant to post something about this in the NYCB area, but she's not always conducting at breakneck speed. In last Sunday's Mozartiana Quinn actually had parts of Whelan's solos moving a bit more slowly than I'm used to. It really seemed to me that Quinn and Whelan were almost at one -- clearly Quinn was paying careful attention to how Whelan was phrasing things (not always the order of things at NYCB). I was very impressed.

And, regardless of what one thinks of Quinn's tempi, I think it's incontrovertible that the NYCB orchestra has been playing better: witness the those "traditional" horn flubs in Tchai Pas which seem to have become history.

#8 ShesnoFonteynsMom

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Posted 15 May 2002 - 07:10 AM

Yes, there is a big improvement---perhaps Ms. Quinn has shamed them into showing up for all the rehearsals.

#9 Kristen

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Posted 16 May 2002 - 01:07 PM

Manhattnik did a great job of summing up the Gala. Acosta was UNBELIEVABLE, though my heart lies with Carreno.

Hated "Walk this way" - what crap.

Loved Robert Hill - a dancer I haven't paid much attention to.

For the first time, really appreciated Gillian Murphy. Generally I find her so remote she might as well be dancing inside a glass bubble. She and Gomes were magnificent. I also saw the Tchaikovsky PDD at NYCB on Saturday afternoon with Woetzel and Somoygi - also terrific.

All in all, one of the best galas I've seen in years.:D


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