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ABT in Paris and London - February 2007

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The London casting is up on the ABT calendar website, but the Paris is not. It's good to see Stiefel listed for Black Swan and Fancy Free. Corella got the nod for the only London performance of Sinatra Suite. They've added Le Spectre de la Rose with Cornejo and Reyes. Part, Dvorovenko and Herrera will do La Bayadere, Act II. Side issue: I just realized that Dvorovenko is the only one who will be performing both Nikiya and Gamazatti during spring Met season. Is this going to be a Nikiya debut for her? Given what I saw of her toned down demeanor this past City Center season, I think she will be outstanding as Nikiya, particularly in the non-white act temple dance.

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I just realized that Dvorovenko is the only one who will be performing both Nikiya and Gamazatti during spring Met season. Is this going to be a Nikiya debut for her?

Didn't she dance a complete Nikiya in D.C. a few years ago? Or was it some other U.S. city?

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Funny, I was looking for the European casting yesterday, and it wasn't there! Thanks, Haglund's!

Here's London:

February 14, 7:30 PM

Symphonie Concertante

M. Wiles

V. Part

M. Beloserkovsky

Le Corsaire pas de deux

X. Reyes

J. Carreño

Swan Lake Act II pas de deux

J. Kent

M. Gomes

In the Upper Room

Company

February-15, 7:30 PM

La Bayadère Act II

I. Dvorovenko

M. Beloserkovsky

Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes

Company

Fancy Free

C. Salstein

S. Radetsky

M. Gomes

P. Herrera

J. Kent

February-16, 7:30 PM

Symphonie Concertante

J. Kent

P. Herrera

G. Saveliev

Swan Lake Act III pas de deux

G. Murphy

E. Stiefel

Le Spectre de la Rose

H. Cornejo

X. Reyes

The Green Table

D. Hallberg

February-17, 2:00 PM

La Bayadère Act II

V. Part

D. Hallberg

Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes

Company

Fancy Free

H. Cornejo

E. Stiefel

J. Carreño

S. Abrera

G. Murphy

February-17, 7:30 PM

Symphonie Concertante

S. Abrera

G. Murphy

D. Hallberg

Sinatra Suite

A. Corella

Le Corsaire Bedroom pas de deux

I. Dvorovenko

M. Beloserkovsky

The Green Table

I. Stappas

February-18, 2:00 PM

La Bayadère Act II

P. Herrera

A. Corella

Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes

Company

Fancy Free

H. Cornejo

E. Stiefel

J. Carreño

S. Abrera

G. Murphy

February-18, 7:30 PM

Symphonie Concertante

M. Wiles

V. Part

M. Beloserkovsky

Swan Lake Act III pas de deux

P. Herrera

A. Corella

Le Spectre de la Rose

H. Cornejo

X. Reyes

In the Upper Room

Company

Odd that they have the later casting up before the earlier run. Maybe it has to do with the needs of the staff in the different theaters.

For changes and updates (including Paris), check here, choosing February on the drop-down menu on the right.

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The London casting is up on the ABT calendar website, but the Paris is not. It's good to see Stiefel listed for Black Swan and Fancy Free. Corella got the nod for the only London performance of Sinatra Suite. They've added Le Spectre de la Rose with Cornejo and Reyes. Part, Dvorovenko and Herrera will do La Bayadere, Act II...

Thank goodness it sounds like Steifel is back and V.Part has recovered from the injury that sidelined her at the end of ABT's City Center season.

It's perfect that Sinatra Suite still only lists the man!

If the City Center casting is any indication then you can look forward to seeing either Misty Copeland or Sarah Lane in Sinatra Suite with Corella. Copeland was cast with him but was injured and replaced by Lane. Luciana Paris was cast with Gomes who was riveting in it - I look forward to hearing reports from London!

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Has anyone heard something about the Paris tour casting ? I cannot understand why it hasn't been posted on ABT's website while casting for the London season has been up for a month and even the MET season in June/July has preliminary casting. A shame, especially as I don't think it's sold out and people might want to get extra tickets when they see the casts.

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Has anyone heard something about the Paris tour casting ? I cannot understand why it hasn't been posted on ABT's website

It is puzzling. The personal web site of Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky lists their scheduled performances in Paris. Perhaps additional information can gleaned from the personal sites of other ABT dancers.

http://irinamaxballet.com/schedule.aspx

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The Paris casting is up on the ABT website calendar. No surprises. However, I suspect there might be rioting in Paris as the result of Carreno's rumba-ing in Fancy Free on the first night and then cavorting in his Acteon costume on the second night. Those lucky Parisians.

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If ABT holds true to habit, there's no way to know which of (usually) two casts will be performing until you open your stagebill. Both ballets are ensemble works with large casts. Since I do not keep my programs, I'm afraid I can't reconstruct the casts I saw last fall. You should be able to find some references to who danced each during ABT's most recent City Center season here, here and here.

But you'll let us know who you see and how they do, right? :)

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Has someone an idea about In The Upper Room and Drink to Me... casting ? Thanks

For In the Upper Room, Irina Dvorovenko's site gives only the Sunday, Feb 11 date. IMO this is one of her greatest roles.

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Thank you, I will tell you who dance.

I just wonder if we'll have the chance to see Ethan Stiefel in one of them, as he will only appear in Fancy Free.

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Hey! Misty Copeland is now listed with Corella in Sinatra Suite for February 7 in Paris on the ABT web calendar. All other S.S. performances are still listed as just Corella.

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Hey! Misty Copeland is now listed with Corella in Sinatra Suite for February 7 in Paris on the ABT web calendar. All other S.S. performances are still listed as just Corella.

Ooh la la! Hopefully someone will see and report on this. Misty was scheduled to dance in SS during the City Center season but was replaced at the last minute due to injury (the dreaded white slip). I'll be very interested to hear about her debut

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SCHEDULE CHANGES?

ABT's website is showing an added performance of SS (Corella & ?) opening night in London. Does that mean he's still dancing SS on Saturday Feb.17 too, or was it changed to accomodate the gala in Madrid on the 16th with someone else to perform on the 17th? The whole thing is beginning to remind me of Rockwell's speculations in the NYTimes about marketing. (I will say though that Corella & Lane were VERY good the one and only time they performed it in NY last October, and it would be great to see Misty get her chance to dance it too.)

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I wonder whether any posters from France went to see the opening program at the Châtelet. What I've read so far on French discussion boards has been largely negative. In a nutshell, they write that the opening-night Bayadère was awful, its only redeeming feature being Stella Abrera, Dark Elegies was met with aesthetic incomprehension, and ABT should stick to works like Fancy Free.

Thanks to those French balletomanes who pointed out that ABT was included in the [February 6] Paris edition of France 3 news. In the report the company is rechristened American Dance Theatre, and Kevin McKenzie has been renamed Patrick. (One Irish saint's as good as another.) There's also a comment from Julio Bragado-Young, presumably the only French-speaking ABT dancer the reporter could find. Skip ahead to 17:49 into the broadcast.

jt.france3.fr

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Thanks for the link, volcanohunter.

I wonder if there will be some reviews of that opening night in the French press (unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer articles about ballet :-( )

I'd be careful about generalizing too much from what is written on one or two French discussion boards, as sometimes they mostly reflect the opinions and tastes of only a handful of people (and it can sometimes be amusing to see that one dancer which is almost unanimously admired on one board is criticized on another, and vice-versa...) But well, perhaps starting a program with the Shades Act from Bayadère was a bit risky, as it is a ballet which has been seen very often at the Paris Opera and so people are likely to draw comparisons. (By the way, "Dark Elegies" was danced by the POB in the 1980s and 1990s, and if I remember correctly it mostly got good reviews then, so the "aesthetic incomprehension" might also be a matter of individual tastes of the people who posted...)

I'm going to see programs 3, 4 and 5 in Paris this week-end (two on Saturday and one in Sunday, so I'm doing the trip from Lyon only to see it as there won't be time for anything else this week-end...) and if I'm not too lazy I'll try to post a report later.

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I agree with Estelle, French discussion boards only reflect what a handful of people think. For instance, read reviews here and you'll see that some people on the contrary really enjoyed the performances. And most of the people I spoke to liked it too, they only found Bayadère a bit disappointing.

I saw the first two nights and I really had a good time ; ABT is a great company !

I didn't really appreciate La Bayadère, but I wasn't accustomed to Makarova's production and I found Paloma Herrera a bit miscast in this part.

I liked Dark Delegies very much ; it's a great ballet ! I found Tudor's choreography really interesting and so moving. And it was pretty well danced. Julie Kent is wonderful in this part, what a great dancer she is ! And Carlos Lopez was also very good.

The last but not the least, Fancy Free, I just loved it ! American people are so lucky to have the chance to often see such pieces. And what a cast ! Ethan Stiefel and Jose Manuel Carreno were especially amazing and Herman Cornejo, Gillian Murphy and Stella Abrera were very good too. I hadn't planned to go to Saturday's matinee, but I finally got a ticket just to see them again.

Yesterday night was I think even better ; each piece was really worth seeing.

First, Symphonie concertante, a very lovely Balanchine ballet (I'd like to see this kind of ballet more often in France...). Once again, Julie Kent stole the show, her dancing is just perfect. Paloma Herrera wasn't very convincing, especially comparing to Kent ; I wonder if she's really made to dance such pieces. In his very short part, Marcelo Gomes gave a great performance.

Jose Manuel Carreno and Xiomara Reyes were amazing in Diana and Acteon ; his dancing is very impressive. I liked Sinatra Suite a lot, both Angel Corella and Misty Copeland were charming and very well cast.

Finally, I loved The Green Table, this ballet is striking and so interesting ; it has great dancing too and was almost too short. And David Hallberg was so amazing ! He really was impressive in that part. But all the dancers were very good too, I found Jennifer Alexander especially heartrending.

It was therefore a really good performance and all the people I know (or even my neighbours) liked the show. I'm eager to see next performances.

And by the way, French audience is known to be cold and not the most enthusiastic of audience ; calm applauses are not a proof of disliking. Except Bayadère, I'd say that they really enjoy the show and the company.

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What was written on the French boards may seem harsh indeed, and it's always easier to criticize a company one is not familiar with (we're more forgiving with the dancers we love and have been watching for years, after all...). But that opening night Bayadère with Paloma Herrera and Angel Corella was most disappointing, and unexpectedly so, because I was really looking forward to discovering the company. The corps looked anxious and plain in a repertoire which asks for otherworldliness. Paloma Herrera looked ill-suited to Nikiya - there was no sense of the story, the style and, again, the required otherworldliness. Her expression was mostly bland and, if she can pull it off technically, she looked very stiff. Angel Corella, the only man, was perhaps the most rewarding individual on stage, and his dancing was very impressive.

The three Shades never managed to dance together when asked to. Stella Abrera stood out for her grace and musicality (as she did later in Fancy Free). I was expecting with great anticipation Veronika Part's performance, but was sadly disappointed ; is she still having trouble with her recent injury ? Her technique was nowhere near what it was during her Kirov years - even her turnout was awkward... I'll be seeing her in Symphonie Concertante on Friday, and hopefully she'll do better - jet lag might have had to do with all those mishaps anyway.

Dark Elegies was fine but I'm not a fan of this piece, although it was given a touching performance by Julie Kent, Jared Matthews and the other dancers.

Fancy Free fortunately ended the evening on a real high. ABT seems much more comfortable in this repertoire - it's not that it should stick to it, volcanohunter, on the contrary, but I found it much more rewarding to watch... José Manuel Carreno and Herman Cornejo in particular looked fantastic.

I'm going two more times, and I'll try to report back.

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Taking a chance, going to London for their weekend. Will report what I see.

Thanks for posting French links, I've been trying to google french reviews all week without any luck. (How I wish I had access to Nexis)

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A review has finally come our way... But from England, in The Independant : American Ballet Theatre, Theatre du Chatelet, Paris (thanks to Mme. Hermine who posted the link)

I think it pretty much sums up the disappointment of the opening night.

Since then, things have really improved though - the Murphy/Abrera/Hallberg/Stiefel cast gave us an electrifying, exhilarating performance of In the upper room. The Green Table looked very good yesterday, but Herman Cornejo totally stole the show in Le spectre de la rose. More later, if I have time ! :mad:

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Just a short note to say that I really enjoyed the three performances I saw (but not the rather awful sight lines of the Châtelet... :-( ) and that the audience reaction generally was positive (and very enthusiastic for some works, especially "Le spectre de la Rose", "Swan Lake" pas de deux and the final performance of "In the upper room"). I hope to be able to post some more detailed comments later, when I have time (and Azulynn, I'm looking forward to your review too- so it seems that we saw the same performance at least on Saturday 10 in the evening ?)

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And I'm eager to read both Azulynn and Estelle!

Thanks in advance to both -- and any other who may have attended.

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I attended five performances : Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7, Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 (evening), and I really had a good time ; the last two were particularly good !

- Tuesday 6 : The first night was probably the less successful, especially La Bayadère, but even so I enjoyed both Dark Elegies and Fancy Free, two ballets I had never seen before. In Dark Elegies, I liked Michele Wiles, Julie Kent and Carlos Lopez, they were very moving and so true in their part. In Fancy Free, Herman Cornejo, Ethan Stiefel and Jose Manuel Carreno were great (and funny).

- Wednesday 7 : It was a very interesting show, The Green Table is a great ballet and David Hallberg was amazing in it. I liked the dancing and the contrast between politicians sequences and the war was really striking. I had read about this ballet before the show and couldn't really picture it ; it was great to see it at last. I liked Symphonie Concertante very much, although I found that Julie Kent (beautiful dancer) and Paloma Herrera (she lacked lyricism I thought) were badly-suited. In Diana and Acteon, Jose Manuel Carreno and Xiomara Reyes did a great job (both had a wonderful technique) and Sinatra Suite was lovely. Angel Corella displayed a lot of charm and Misty Copeland, which I understood danced the role for the first time, had a great presence on stage.

- Thursday 8 : La Bayadère was better that night. I'm not a big fan of Veronika Part's dancing, but she was rather good comparing to Paloma Herrera. The three shades (Lane, Kajiya and Riccetto) were also better ; I found Sarah Lane a lovely dancer. Mark Morris' Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes was a charming ballet [if someone is interested, the cast was : Bystrova, Stearns, Golladay, Tanatanit, Carmen Corella, Gomes, Wiles, Cornejo, Murphy, Stappas, Butler, Matthews]. I didn't know it and enjoyed the performance. I especially liked Michele Wiles, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo and Cory Stearns. Then once again Fancy Free ; I didn't grow tired of this ballet. The three sailors - Craig Salstein, Sascha Radetsky and Marcelo Gomes – were as good and interesting as the other cast and Julie Kent had great acting.

- Friday 9 : In Symphonie Concertante, the two leads, Michele Wiles and Veronika Part, were better matched and therefore I thought I liked the ballet even better. It was a pleasure to see Dark Elegies again. Kristi Boone was as moving as Michele Wiles, Sascha Radetsky seemed more involved than Jared Matthews and Carlos Lopez was as impressive as the first night. I missed Julie Kent in the pdd (although Melanie Hamrick was good too), but overall I thought it was a better performance than the first night. And then, In the Upper Room, what a ballet ! [Cast : Abrera, Murphy, Stiefel, Hoven, Stappas, Copeland, Butler, Kajiya, Salstein, Paris, Cornejo, Herrera, Hallberg]. It's such a feat and very, very impressing. Ethan Stiefel was awesome in it (great dancing, great presence and great acting too ; he made the show), as was Gilliam Murphy, who had that special way of moving, I loved it. David Hallberg and Paloma Herrera (I found she was at her best in that kind of ballet) were amazing too, as was in fact all the cast. The audience loved the show and there was a big standing ovation.

- Saturday 10 (evening) : It was nice to see Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes again [Cast : Boone, Stearns, Easter, Lane, Carmen Corella, Gomes, Herrera, Salstein, Riccetto, Stappas, Butler, Mathews]. Great performance from Herrera, Gomes, Stearns, Butler and Salstein. In Le Spectre de la rose, I found Herman Cornejo amazing ! I understand now why everybody's talking about him in this role. Black Swan Pdd was delightful : such virtuosity. Gillian Murphy was awesome (great fouettes !) and totally won the audience's admiration. And to finish, The Green Table. I saw new details in the ballet, which was definitely worth seeing. Isaac Stappas gave us a great rendition of the Death, but on the whole I perhaps preferred the first cast.

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