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ABT 2013 Sleeping Beauty at the Met

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I found this on a Russian forum. Ivan Vasiliev and Isabella Boylston's Blue Bird PDD:

Awful.

Thank you Plisskin for posting this. Boylston looks fabulous! Vasiliev? Bent knees, feet not pointed, legs turned in. I don't understand. So what if he can jump as high as a skyscraper and turn like a tasmanian devil. He looks awful doing it. I would love to be a fly on the wall during his rehearsals. I wonder if KM and the rehearsal directors correct him for these persistent and unprofessional mistakes?

I completely agree with your comments about Vasiliev! Seeing that PDD is sad. That role should have been given to an up and coming Soloist or Corp member to help them grow. Not outsourced to a dancer whom can't even point his toes. I don't understand his casting or even being employed by the company in the first place. I don't understand at all.

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Boylston was the cat, and she wore a glum expression throughout. The bubble over her head would read: "I should be dancing Aurora or at least Florine. What the #$%! am I doing being cast as the Cat?

I know you're just putting words in her mouth for effect, abatt, but in case anyone takes this comment more seriously I feel compelled to say that Isabella Boylston would never, ever have such feelings. She graciously and gratefully accepts any and all roles bestowed upon her and truly loves to dance, no matter which role she has. There are few with such open hearts and true grace.

Edited to add: I just saw that vrsfanatic already addressed this comment. I responded before reading the rest of the thread. If anything, two who agree should prove the point!

Edited by Marga

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I watched the BlueBird pas, Isabella Boylston looks lovely, and all I can say about Ivan Vasiliev is that he missed his true calling: he could have been an Olympic Gold Medalist in Floor Exercise Gymnastics. I know he left the Bolshoi to avoid the typecasting, but now that he's reaching out, some of the roles (Bluebird) are not a good fit. I wonder if he would look better in comtemporary dance that doesn't require as much turn out, pointed toes, etc???

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Part gave a master class tonight on how to dance the Vision scene. She and Gomes were fantastic. Part was very confident and commanding throughout. Those balances no longer plague her. By the way, Boylston was a much better cat tonight than on Friday night. Time for bed. Hopefully will post more tomorrow.

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I watched the BlueBird pas, Isabella Boylston looks lovely, and all I can say about Ivan Vasiliev is that he missed his true calling: he could have been an Olympic Gold Medalist in Floor Exercise Gymnastics. I know he left the Bolshoi to avoid the typecasting, but now that he's reaching out, some of the roles (Bluebird) are not a good fit. I wonder if he would look better in comtemporary dance that doesn't require as much turn out, pointed toes, etc???

See, and I think he should join KISS! He and Gene Simmons could make a remarkable duo!

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Just got back home from the last performance of the season and what a performance it was.

Part does not dazzle but enchants and enthralls. Gomes was great, but she was out of this world.

I don't think I'll be able to survive the ABT withdrawal this year :)

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I will write more tomorrow, but just a quick note to say that tonight's Sleeping Beauty--the vision scene and wedding act, in particular--was one of the most wonderful ABT performances I've ever experienced. It's difficult to enumerate all of the small details that made tonight's performance so special, but I do keep replaying certain moments in my head. I won't soon forget the way Gomes lowered Veronika in slow motion after the final lift in the wedding pas de deux, everyone's eyes following her pointed feet until they finally made contact with the stage floor. And the way they hopped backwards together en arabesque, in perfect unison, in the same pas de deux was enthralling (Waelsung hit upon the perfect adjective for tonight's performance). And I keep remembering the way Part looked at her own hand and then regarded Gomes with a sense of tenderness as she placed her hand in his during the wedding pas de deux. I've never experienced an Aurora who seems more truly human--transforming herself from naive girl, to otherworldly, sylph-like phantom, to fully blossomed woman in love.

It was a triumphant night for Gomes and Part. I'm a fan of both of them and feel as if I know their dancing very well by now, but both managed to surprise me in the way they pushed beyond the already high level of artistry they have achieved in the past. I've never seen such richly embroidered characterizations delivered in such an unmannered, fresh manner. I felt as if I were experiencing the ballet with new eyes and becoming reacquainted with what makes Gomes and Part so special.

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Looks like the July 3rd performance didn't exactly bomb - no one gets booed or 'praised' with silence:

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I just saw the last performance of the season, really enjoyed it. Stella Abrera was sublime. Gomes' stage presence and form were incredible - being in row E, I could appreciate just how deeply he inhabited the role, emphasizing wonder at the vision, the sense of capture, the choice. In the final act, he just glowed - he really seems to enjoy himself out there. Veronika Part wasn't "inconsistent" - the tag she always seems to enjoy. But being up so close I noticed she grimaced briefly in a couple of the unsupported balances, and then once they were out of the way seemed to let go with her lyrical side, especially from the vision scene onwards. BTW, this was my first time seeing ABT SB, it seemed to me that the fairy tale characters' parts where shortened a lot - it that true? Also, I'm wondering which productions include this variation that I saw in the 1964 Kirov film:

- I would have loved to see Gomes dance this.

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like many productions nowadays, ABT's omits the suite of court dances from the hunt scene of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY.

the solo danced by Soloviev in K. Sergeyev's production, shown in the film clip above, is from that suite, and is, if mem. serves, the "Danse des baronesses" a.k.a. "Danse des baronnes" which is described in the balletmaster's plan of 1890 as "arrogantes et guindees."

TCHAIKOVSKY'S BALLETS by R.J.WIley quotes Skalkovsky on this part of the first production thus: "...very nicely produced old French dances, ending with a fanadole," and goes on to quote Korovyakov that "The most interesting number, which bears the stamp of the epoch, the knowledge and taste of the balletmaster, is the farandole [also cut in ABT's production, and many others] and the variations of the courtly women in Prince Desire's hunt."

if mem. further serves when Baryshnikov danced the prince in a former ABT staging of THE SLEEPING BEAUTY he too danced to this music, in a solo of his own? making, in the hunt scene in heeled slippers.

and, yes, ABT cuts all of the "caractere" divertissements in the final act, except what was first called the "Pas de quatre" for fairies of precious stones and metals, which it stages for the suite of fairy godmothers, led by Lilac, and the pas for "L'Oiseau bleu et la Princesse Florine."

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I just saw the last performance of the season, really enjoyed it. Stella Abrera was sublime.

Did Abrera do BlueBird at the matinee and Lilac Fairy in the evening? What a trooper!

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Abrerra danced Florine at the matinee opposite Radetsky.

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How was Abrera/Radetsky as BB? Didn't Copeland do BB in the evening? How was she?

Thanks to everyone for these great reviews.

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I can never get enough of Veronika Part. Seeing her last night in Sleeping Beauty was a reminder of the mysterious fact that although ballet has a distinct vocabulary of steps as well as rules for their execution, along with specific principles such as turnout and line, nevertheless ballet looks different on every body, especially when you enter the stratosphere of great ballerinas, to which Part belongs. No other ballerina moves like Veronika. No other ballerina has the precise physical proportions or the capability to split those long legs in the air so quickly and to such astonishing effect. Part's dancing was luminous last night, expansive, eloquent, inimitable. One aspect of her dancing that I noticed throughout the ballet is how precisely she adheres to the classical canon, executing steps with classical precision, never rushing her preparations, never muddying her beginnings and endings. Would that every ballerina had Mariinsky training sculpted into their bodies. Everything said by others above about Part I agree with totally and won't repeat it here. She is my very favorite dancer today.

As for Abrera, when she and Part are onstage together I feel as if we have the Royal Women of ABT, the two dancers who shine most brightly in the jeweled crown. Once again, a plea to promote Abera and give her the leading role in all the great ballets. We, the faithful, need to see more of her.

At times people on this list have referred to these great ballets as the old "warhorses" or "workhorses," both positively and negatively, but seeing a performance like last night's convinces me more than ever that without the great Petipa ballets we wouldn't see classical ballet pushed to its limits, making demands on dancers that cause the audience members to collectively hold their breath in awe and then burst into unbridled applause. I love the 20th and 21st century rep as well, but without the underpinning of the 19th century classics, and the training that they demand, we wouldn't have the purity of line that Part, Abrera, and other great dancers bring to their more contemporary roles.

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I was at the Sat matinee performance. The main draw for me was to see Alban Lendorf again. He had impressed me when the RDB toured here and I was not disappointed. He was absolutely charming and an ardent suitor for Xiomara. He has an astounding jump with true ballon and finishes his tours with a feather-light landing in perfect fifth. Physically he is a shorter dancer with muscular thighs but possessing all the refinement lacking in Vasiliev. He and Xiomara had a lovely chemistry together especially in the Grand pas - they completely sold me as a young couple in love! His partnering was secure, accomplishing the fish dives very well until the final one when she had a bit of trouble getting the second leg into position. The bit (don't know the name) where he throws her straight up and catches her with one arm as she comes down was breathtaking. He seems a self-effacing young man and he got a well deserved warm reception from the audience. Stella was radiant as Florine dancing with much more authority than the Lilac Fairy of Kajiya. Stella received the loudest applause after Sleeping Beauty and her Prince. I for one make a point of shouting especially long and loud for her in case KMc is in the house. I know this production has it's problems but I have to say I left the Met for my final performance of the season feeling it had ended on a high note. Now on to the fall season at the State Theatre!

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How was Abrera/Radetsky as BB? Didn't Copeland do BB in the evening? How was she?

Thanks to everyone for these great reviews.

Abrera was wonderful as Florine. Radetsky did not partner her well. Agree with the praise of Lendorf. He was excellent, and I'm glad I had a chance to see him.

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How was Abrera/Radetsky as BB? Didn't Copeland do BB in the evening? How was she?

Thanks to everyone for these great reviews.

Abrera was wonderful as Florine. Radetsky did not partner her well. Agree with the praise of Lendorf. He was excellent, and I'm glad I had a chance to see him.

Interesting about Radetsky! You would think that by now they'd have it down pat! haha.

Also, did anyone notice if any of the dancers got special recognition for it being their last Met Season? I heard Simone got her own curtain call, but anyone else?

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I agree with and will not repeat the above comments about Veronica Part. I add that watching her, I kept thinking, "So this is what a Ballerina is." She has the ability to enchant and mesmerize. Her main skill is performing adagio, where she uses every part of her body to draw the viewer inside of the music, even when the playing of the music disappoints, as it did last night. This effect reminds me of a mobius form or the St. Louis arch. No one uses arms, hands, back, shoulders, head, legs, and feet to such effect at ABT. I don't really care that she tilts during her pirouettes, or makes one hold her breath until the spins finish. Every lift of her leg or arm makes her deficits worth enduring.

I wonder whether the conductor added an extra bar of music to let Veronica finish her last balance in the Rose Adagio. Does anyone familiar with the music know?

Is Carabosse supposed to be an immortal or was she sleeping, too? What power did Lilac have against her? How was she vanquished?

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I saw the Murphy/Whiteside performance. It was a solid performance. I agree that he should be made a principal. There were some beautiful moments, but it wasn't magical. The only fairy who impressed me was Simone Messmer. I would have loved to see Stella Abrera or Veronica Part as the Lilac Ferry. I did enjoy the character dances in the last act. Isabella Boylston and Sean Stewart as the Cat and Puss-in-Boots, Christine Shevchenko and Arron Scott as Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Nicola Curry and Sterling Baca as Prince Charming. I wish they had more to do. Joseph Gorak and Sarah Lane danced beautifully as Princess Florine and the Bluebird, but he seemed a bit shaky in some of the lifts. Isabella Boylston did not seem glum to me. In fact, she gave a lovely performance in a small role.

The costumes and the set are still ugly--especially in the wedding scene. I hate the fairy costumes. They should be beautiful, but they aren't.

I echo the sentiments up-thread that Stella Abrera and Sarah Lane should be promoted.

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Re: Carabosse, ABT's synopsis says "The prince's love and the Lilac Fairy's magic defeat the evil Carabosse."

in the original Petipa libretto, Carabosse is part of the last act's "Cortege des contes des fees," her entrance in her chariot w/ her attendant rats is noted, in order, just after that for the "The ogre and ogress" and before that of the "Good fairies of the prologue."

Vikharev's Kirov Ballet 'reconstruction' of the 1890 staging included Carabosse in the fairy-tales' cortege as well as in the final apotheosis tableau.

as has been pointed out however, these appearances for Carabosse in act 3 had to have been made originally by a dancer double, since Enrico Cecchetti, who portrayed Carabosse in the premiere staging, returned in the last act as the Blue Bird.

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I saw the Murphy/Whiteside performance. It was a solid performance. I agree that he should be made a principal. There were some beautiful moments, but it wasn't magical. The only fairy who impressed me was Simone Messmer. I would have loved to see Stella Abrera or Veronica Part as the Lilac Ferry. I did enjoy the character dances in the last act. Isabella Boylston and Sean Stewart as the Cat and Puss-in-Boots, Christine Shevchenko and Arron Scott as Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Nicola Curry and Sterling Baca as Prince Charming. I wish they had more to do. Joseph Gorak and Sarah Lane danced beautifully as Princess Florine and the Bluebird, but he seemed a bit shaky in some of the lifts. Isabella Boylston did not seem glum to me. In fact, she gave a lovely performance in a small role.

The costumes and the set are still ugly--especially in the wedding scene. I hate the fairy costumes. They should be beautiful, but they aren't.

I echo the sentiments up-thread that Stella Abrera and Sarah Lane should be promoted.

Amen to Abrera & Lane as principals. One thing about comments about Boylston, Copeland etc. in lesser roles. While I agree that the soloists are not given enough opportunities and often do roles that up and coming corps members could/should do I wanted to say one thing. Dancers many times find it fun to do a role like Puss-in-Boots. It's not difficult, it's fun, you get to be a character - you are onstage without having to worry about this or that challenging step.

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I would like to add a more complete description of the exhilarating performance on Friday night. First, kudos to ABT's marketing team for finding a way to fill the house during the last week of the season and also over the July 4th weekend. I've attended half-full Corsaires and Swan Lakes over past July 4th weekends, so it was great to see a packed and highly responsive crowd filling the house on Saturday evening. I guess Sleeping Beauty is the answer.

Stella was again lovely as the Lilac Fairy. She was less technically secure in the series of unsupported pirouettes in the prologue, but somehow her presence, miming, and upper body seemed even more expressive than earlier this week. Since the dramatic text of ABT's Sleeping Beauty is so muddled, it takes quite a ballerina to pull off the role of Lilac Fairy and help the story to make sense. Stella does a beautiful job of making the Lilac Fairy seem as if she is orchestrating the plot with command and calmness.

The fairies at Friday's performance were excellent. Christine Shevchencko danced the happiness fairy very securely, though I sometimes like when that fairy seems a bit more hyperactive. After catching her very impressive last-minute performance in the Ratmansky piece (substituting for Gillian Murphy), I hope we will have the opportunity to see more of her in the future. Kristi Boone is, as always, a perfect fit for the very intense fairy (I believe the fairy of valor?). However, when she is cast in these sort of intense, athletic roles, it becomes harder and harder to imagine her dancing anything softer or more lyrical. Simone Messmer's pointing fairy variation was outstounding--the best I've ever seen it danced. She was brimming with energy all night. Gemma Bond and Katherine Williams were both lovely and danced with great delicacy in the two slow fairy variations, which can so often look awkward.

Aurora's birthday scene was lovely, but Part's performance really only got better from there. I sensed some odd issues of coordination between the pit and the dancers in this scene, though later in the evening they seemed to be perfectly supportive of Part.

I wonder whether the conductor added an extra bar of music to let Veronica finish her last balance in the Rose Adagio. Does anyone familiar with the music know?

I wish I could answer puppytreats' question definitively, but it did feel as if the final round of balances was longer than it ever has been before. I think they were just playing the music incredibly slow. I'm not always a fan of such tempo adjustments, but it was breathtaking to see the suitors rotate Part so slowly and to see her hold that arabesque, perfectly still, for such a long period of time. All of her balances were fine, but she didn't attempt to hold them for extended periods of time as she has done in the past. Yet, during the sequence in which she receives a rose from each suitor and raises her leg sky-high, she emphasized her ability to balance in that pose after the support of the partner was released.

From the moment Part pricked her hand on the spindle through the vision scene, I felt as if I could have been watching a performance of Giselle. As others have said, Part truly is a master of adagio, and in this act and the final one, the orchestra played at a tempo that allowed her to luxuriate in each detail of the music. Poses or details that seemed barely articulated in Tuesday's performance were here finely etched. To get back to the issue of balances--Part seemed to hold one forever in that strangely beautiful moment when, her back facing the stage, the Lilac Fairy and the prince support her in an arabesque and then release her hands.

The wedding act was, I believe, the strongest one ever delivered together by Part and Gomes. By the end of the act it felt as if their dancing was brimming over with energy. It has been noted that supported pirouettes can be an issue for Part and her partners, but the last set executed by Gomes and Part (the ones that travel across the stage), were performed rapidly, flawlessly, and with great panache. So too, Part's rapid-fire series of pirouettes around the stage at the end of the pas de deux was performed with greater speed and security than I've ever seen. It was thrilling to experience two great dancers give everything they have, and then some. I have enjoyed seeing other dancers, particularly Stearns, partner Part so well, but this performance made me realize how much I miss the special chemistry she has with Gomes. He performs the lifts so effortlessly and allows her to pose perfectly in the air (which is something that can become distorted with other partners).

I dream of another Part/Gomes Swan Lake, especially now that both of them are clearly at the height of their artistic powers...

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Gentle reminder:

Please do not post professional reviews in the company forums. These forums are here for our members to discuss what they've seen. If you like to discuss a published review from a mainstream publication or ballet professional's blog, please do so in the "Writings on Ballet" forum. A simple link to a professional review belongs in Links.

Also, please limit quotes to 250 words from full-length articles, so that we are not in copyright violation.

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