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Opening Night Dream


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#1 Michael

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Posted 25 June 2002 - 08:48 PM

A fine, enjoyable, fair and representative opening night of Dream tonight at NYCB, with Kistler and Boal as Titania and Oberon.

And Oh what a performance by Jenny Somogyi as Hypollita -- That is the one I went home thinking about, one for the ages really, on a complete other level than anything I've seen from her, I've never seen her not only so in control of herself but so dominant on the Stage. Even that costume with the speckled leggings and the orange cape seemed to suit her and her hyperextended legs. In Robert Lyon, as Theseus, I think they may finally have found a solid partner for her, He's just the right size and has the strength to handle her, and he also had just the right sense of how much room to give her and when to move in -- They seemed comfortable together and she seemed comfortable with him -- not something Somogyi always has been with her partners. I would like to see more of this pairing. This is a performance the memory of which can carry me over a long summer.

Jock Soto and Wendy Whelan were again superb in the Divertissement but in fact I enjoyed and appreciated Act II tonight perhaps more than ever before. It was in the first place a tighter overall performance than Act I, which had some opening night rustiness to it, but beyond that I admired the compactness of its structure and the unerring use of the small corps de ballet in the entire String Symphony passage.

Jennifer Ringer settled into a solid debut as Helena in Act I even if she may have played the role a little "Tragique" in the opening minutes.

#2 sneds

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 05:04 AM

Hi!
The first act ended up a bit rusty looking because the conductor (George Cleve, who I think is a guest), set a tempo that was too fast, even for NYCB. I thought Kistler & Askegard's PdD looked a bit rushed as a result, and Boal's pirouettes got fairly wild in his attempts to keep up with the tempo. (During the final rehearsal, Boal wasn't having any problems with the pirouettes).
Evans was a fabulous Puck-all mischievious energy. During the final bows he was chatting with the little girl who played Titania's page.
There were several corps changes in the second act-Hanna and Hall were missing, Jon Stafford was swiched to the Divertissment and Hendrickson and Carmena were dancing instead. I hope that these are just casting adjustments and not an indication of injury. Abi Stafford was also dancing in the corps, a bit unusual for a soloist, but nice to see that she appears uninjured after her problems last Friday in "Who Cares".
BTW, Kyra Nichols did the dress rehearsal yesterday and looked wonderful. I look foward to seeing her with Woetzel tonight.
Kate

#3 justafan

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 07:06 AM

I saw the performance as well -- and second the comments about Evans and Somogyi. Wonderful performances. I thought Kistler turned in a wonderful performance -- it really is a signature role for her.

But the standout of the evening for me was Whelan in the divertissement. Transporting. Indeed, a woman in my row repeatedly moaned during the pdd. Although it was slightly irritating, it was a small moan and it was sweet that someone was enjoying the dance with such passion!

#4 dancergal

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 07:53 AM

I was actually in the performance last night as one of Oberon's pages. Naturally my opinion varies a little from yours. Speaking of Albert Evans, I absolutely loved his performance! Three years ago when one of my friend's played the indian child, she was always talking about how nice he was to her. I didn't really get to see anything except for the scenes that we were in. In the pas de deux with Darci Kistler and Charles Askegard, we were backstage watching, and it was obvious that they were uncomfortable with the fast tempo, but I don't think it shoed too much as they performed.

#5 Manhattnik

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 01:15 PM

I had been looking forward so much to Midsummer, particularly Boal's Oberon, and was disappointed that Cleve's lickety-split conducting marred the first act so badly. It wasn't an awful performance -- far from it, but not as magical or as perfect as it should have been. I will just keep my fingers crossed for Thursday night.

So, Boal's acting was, as usual, comic and solid, although the Scherzo was a bit off (I don't blame him!). Kistler was lovely, but not at her very best, I think. Somogyi was, indeed sensational, as was Whelan. I think that second-act Divertissment pas de deux is one of the finest things Balanchine ever made, and it's also one of Whelan's finest roles. I remember the first time I saw her dance it, she completely took my breath away, and at that beautiful little teeter-totter balance at the very end, well, it just seemed like time stopped for an instant. And she was that good, again, last night.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Nichols tonight....

#6 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 01:44 PM

What they all said :P

My observations were pretty similar to those above, the tempo was fast, Somogyi and Whelan were both exemplary, and it was a joy to see Kistler. I smiled when Boal picked up the changeling. Like Evans, there was a gentleness in how he handled the child that reminded me he has children of his own. It really was a lovely evening.

#7 Mel Johnson

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 02:57 PM

There was one comment here about a good Theseus/Hippolyta pairing, and I couldn't help remembering that the originals in the roles were 5' 8" tall Francisco Moncion and the well-over-six-foot-on-pointe Gloria Govrin!;)

#8 Juliet

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 03:04 PM

We'll get to see a visual encore of this when Tom Gold does Oberon and Maria Kowrowski does Titania. (I know, I know, Balanchine liked this 'look," etc. etc. etc.) but I still think it is going to be Quite Something.

I've also loved Somogyi as Hippolyta--she isn't large, but she certainly dances like an Amazon. To see her flying and whirling with those hounds of hers is spectacular.
(Gotta love those doggie heads---every girl's favourite experience.:rolleyes: )

#9 Michael

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Posted 26 June 2002 - 07:06 PM

I've seen Somogyi do that role for several years now but last night was a new plateau for her in my eyes, a quantum leap to an entirely different orbit. When she came on it was like a jolt of energy for the entire production, which had up to that point been bouncing happily along at an entirely different level. She was like a whirlwind sweeping the stage -- and she knew it and was just in command of it all, production and Audience -- which is something I've never seen from her before. She simply took over the stage and come to think of it that's something I rarely see from any dancer.

#10 foryourinfo

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 08:35 AM

Did anyone see any of the other performances of Midsummer?
I will try and catch Kyra on Sat mat. I heard she was great on Wednesday night. She is truley amazing.

#11 Manhattnik

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 08:54 AM

I've caught every Dream so far. I'm taking a break and going to Giselle tonight.

We've had three wonderful Titanias: Kistler, Nichols and Kowroski. Kistler's has been pretty much well-described here. I know Nichols isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I thought she was sublime Wednesday night -- so much subtleness and delicacy I've never seen from any other dancer. The revelation was Kowroski; I saw her Titania last year and it was adequate, but she's gotten much more secure technically, and I think she's finding herself as a comic actress; her duet with Bottom was a marvel of timing and joyful silliness. (Nichols plays this very, very straight, also to powerful effect.) Kowroski seems to be finding herself both as an actress and dancer lately, and it's a joy to behold.

Damian was wonderful as Oberon Wednesday, as he can be when he's onstage with his mind as well as body, and Andrea Quinn's conducting last night allowed Boal to shine, as he should, in the Scherzo. I am more and more touched by Boal's acting, even in the Scherzo. With other dancers it's usually a collection of very, very hard, bravura steps. With Boal, I see Oberon cavorting with the butterflies, and blown about by the wind (I just love that little bent-over, backward-skipping diagonal).

Of the Hippolytas, Somogyi deserves all the praise she's been given (oh, but how I miss Meunier here!), but Pascal van Kipnes was also sensational, I thought. Last night Aesha Ash was strong (nice solid fouettes), but not quite as magical as her predecessors.

Ringer was magical in the Divertissment Wednesday night, although as far as I'm concerned, Whelan owns this role (I used to say the only problem with having Whelan dance Titania is that she wouldn't then be dancing the divertissment).

#12 sneds

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 09:05 AM

Hi!
I've seen all three nights so far. Kyra was excellent on Wednesday, though age has definately limited her stretch and technical skills. No matter, she still has the regal bearing and elegance that the role of Titania requires. She did seem a handful for Fayette in the pas de deux-the timing was off in her leap into his arms, and he was very obviously straining. On Thursday, Kowroski, with her stunnning extension ,was a youthful, but elegant Titania -more than a handful for Boal's Oberon.
Korbes made a good debut as Helena on Wednesday, though I think she'll improve with more maturity and experience. Stuart Capps made a fabulous debut as Bottom. The pas de deux with Kowroski was especially endearing, I'm sure in part because they are a couple off the stage as well. He tended to hold his arms a bit stiffly, but other than that he managed the dancing and characterization with the huge donkey head admirabley well.
It was wonderful to see Jared Angle back on stage last night. Hopefully he won't have any future setbacks, and I can't wait to see him dance again next season.
None of the other Hippolytas came close to Somogyi. Van Kipnis is an elegant dancer, but lacks the oomph. Ash, in her debut, seemed to be trying too hard, and instead of the needed sheer power and energy, her dancing looked forced and effortful.

Jenifer Ringer was stunning in her debut as the pas de deux. Askegard was a solid partner, and appeared to be giving her some cues. With more experience in the role, Ringer should relax and her dancing become even fluid. However, as Askegard, if anything, is a bit tall for her, I'd love see to her dance with Fayette. That would truely be a pas de deux to watch! Yvonne Borree was technically competent on Thursday night, but her very visible trembling during the majority of the pas de deux detracted from the overall impression of the dancing.

Gold is fine Puck, but Hendrickson is fabulous. He's only done the role a handful of times, but is a bundle of youthful, mischevous energy. Hendrickson is the most athletic Puck and is wonderful comic actor, getting many laughs for his antics.

The corps and kids were excellent. Antonio Carmena continues to stand out in the corps, and I hope he gets the opportunity to display his talent in the coming seasons.
Kate

#13 Michael

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Posted 29 June 2002 - 05:44 AM

I thought Nichols extremely out of shape. If she intends to dance another season, that's got to be job number one for her. And Woetzel is neither the actor that Boal is, nor is he a particularly clean dancer and that Scherzo IMO requires that. In ten years of watching Damien I'm not sure I can remember him ever actually closing a Fifth Position.

#14 dancergal

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Posted 29 June 2002 - 06:51 AM

I half agree with what Michael said about Kyra Nichols. She did a great job as Titania, but I remember seeing her first penche with her knee a tad bit bent. I didn't watch the rest but seeing that tiny bent knee surprised me. I wasn't expecting it from her.


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