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Kaysta

Don Quixote

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Angel Corella is choreographing/staging Don Quixote and it opens Thursday night with Mayara Pinero and Etienne Diaz as Kitri and Basilio.

Hope these links work!

Casting:

https://www.paballet.org/sites/default/files/general/DON%20QUIXOTE%20CASTING%20b.pdf

Website:

http://donq.paballet.org/

Story about the opening leads (who are actually a couple in real life!)

http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20160228_Love_and_trouble__Two_dancers__voyage_from_Cuba_to_Philly_st.html

I have tickets for opening night, and I'm thinking about adding on Saturday night if I can back to Philly from DC (NYCB) in time.

Actually, it runs 3/3 to 3/13, sorry about the typo in the heading

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I am not going to be able to sleep tonight after what I just saw. I had my mind blown by Mayara Pinero, Angel Corella and the rest of PA Ballet.

I know I haven't seen a lot of ballet compared to most of the folks on this board, but I know I saw something special tonight. Mayara Pinero killed it. I'm pretty sure she did quadruple fouettes. She also held what was probably the longest balances I've seen (outside of one horrible rose adagio that shall not be named, where the Aurora ignored her suitors so she could balance). And besides all of her technical viruosity, her chemistry with Diaz was off the charts. She embodied the role of Kitri, and it was thrilling to watch. Etienne Diaz was also quite good. Even though he may have had a few technical bobbles, when he is on the stage, you can't take your eyes off him. They did have a few issues with the one handed lifts (they completed them, but it looked a bit shaky), but other than that they were both stunning. If anyone has free time to get to Philly, please see Mayara Pinero and Etienne Diaz in these roles.

Other standouts: I love Lauren Fadeley. She was a stunning Mercedes. She is probably my favorite dancer at PAB, she just lights up the stage. Jermel Johnson was a strong Espada, and did well with the cape.

Oksana Maslova was Queen of the Dryads. Not sure where she trained, but she has a very Russian port de bras and beautiful lines. She had a minor issue with her italian fouettes, but she did complete them. Arian Molina Soca and Ana Calderon did gypsy solos and were very good.

Last but not least ,bravo to the entire corps, but especially the men of PAB. Very strong dancing!

Also, congrats to Angel Corella for the amazing staging, choreography, costumes, and scenery. It is a top tier production, and frankly, it's better than ABT's DQ. I wasn't sure I was too happy with all of his additions and worried that maybe my favorites were getting pushed aside, but the folks he has brought in are extremely talented and a boost to what was already a fantastic company. The entire company was very very strong tonight. In fact, I think I'm going to see more casts this weekend, and skip NYCB in DC.

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I saw opening night Thursday and also Friday night. I share Kaysta's enthusiasm, for the most part. A few more observations:

The opening night cast (Mayara Pinero and Etienne Diaz) were amazing. They are cast again Friday, March 11 and Sunday, March 13 at 2 and I wish I could see them again. She is currently only a soloist and he is in the corps. Her technique pushed the boundaries - higher, faster, crisper. Her balances were exceptionally long, although sometimes TOO long and wobbling a bit to hold them as long as possible. Most amazing from her: the 32 fouettes. I always count but wasn't prepared for the start: 5 or 6 pirouette turns on pointe. I've seen Gillian Murphy do that on Instagram, which made me wonder if Gaynor Mindens might be involved! The rest of the fouettes were solid - not much travelling, throwing in some doubles.

He also had a stunning bravura technique, although you could sometimes see the effort/strain to make things a little more sensational. Most impressive: he kept reminding me of a young Corella -- so much flare, style, joy in his dancing.

Notable throughout was the evidence of serious coaching of the soloists and corps. The matadors, e.g., seemed especially mindful of sharp, crisp arms and upper body positions - much more compelling than usual. The use of fans throughout by the women was distinctive, with little touches I haven't seen before.

The leads Friday night were Oksana Maslova (also a soloist) and Arian Molina Soca (a principal). I gather Soca was brought in from Cuba by Corella. Nice bravura technique, although not as sizzling as Diaz at the opening. Her fouettes were a problem - wobbly and travelling all over the place. She has an odd way of flaring her right foot on the turns that broke up the line in distracting ways. But mostly she has an exceptional extension and great dramatic flare. Worth seeing again.

The tempo seemed a little slow to me in many passages. The set is gorgeous, with bougainvilleas all over adding to the authenticity. Two musicians on stage during the Act II gypsy scenes were an unusual touch, but the speakers were set much too high and they were a distraction from the orchestra in the pit. Maybe they'll get that fixed for the weekend performances.

Hate to bring this up but the Bolshoi Don Q is still unsurpassed in my mind -- I've seen it in two settings (Orange County and Lincoln Center) - such a big company, with such polished character dances and scenes from the gypsies and the tavern we don't seem to always see in US productions. Still, with their 200+ dancers, it would be hard to out-do them.

Empty seats both nights - maybe 80-90% sold. But the audience was quite enthusiastic and maybe it will sell with word of mouth and good reviews that have appeared so far.

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Glad you enjoyed it, California, and thanks for your review!

I wanted to see Soca (because I loved his gypsy solo), but I needed a break. I have tickets for both performances today and tomorrow (as I especially want to see Lillian DiPiazza).

I'm not sure anyone will be able to top the opening cast, though.

I've not seen the Bolshoi DQ, only ABT, Royal Ballet and Dutch National, and I definitely enjoyed this version the best.

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I saw yesterday's matinee performance with Ana Calderon and Craig Wasserman. Both were very good. I didn't realize Ana Calderon was with Zurich Ballet and Houston Ballet before coming to PAB. Explains why she already looks so polished on stage. Her Kitri was very good. She didn't have some of the technical wow moments as Pinero (though her fouettes were very good!), but she has great musicality and her acting was fantastic. I was watching her even when she wasn't the focal point, and she was always in character (and her characterization of Kitri was funny!). Plus, I thought her act 2 dulcinea was actually better than Pinero's, as she actually danced quite softer and wasn't as fiery like her Kitri.

Wasserman has the most beautiful pirouettes. He doesn't quite get the height of Diaz in his jumps, but he's more controlled. I agree with California in that Diaz is AMAZING, but sometimes he pushes too hard and you can tell he's trying to make the jumps/turns higher. Wasserman is very controlled, and is quite beautiful to watch. He handled the one arm lifts better than opening night as well.

I didn't mention her on Thursday, but Kathryn Manger (who is only an apprentice, and danced Amor for the matinee and Kitri for the evening performance) is a little fireball to watch. She's so tiny on stage, but she fills the stage. I thought her Amor was fantastic both times I've seen her.

I was supposed to go last night and today, but I think I'm DQ'd out for the week and am going to head to the Kennedy Center today instead. I may pick up tickets for the Friday performance to see if I can see Diaz and Pinero again, because as much as I enjoyed yesterday's matinee performance, I fear that I'll just keep comparing it to opening night when I was so wowed.

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I also saw the Saturday matinee, 3/5 with Ana Calderon and Craig Wasserman. She has a great stage presence and her characterization was delightful, but her technique didn't have much of a "wow" factor, with a few exceptions. The attempted Plisetskaya's were pale imitations, e.g. She is unable to balance even very briefly in anything. But the fouettes in Act III were solid, with several doubles thrown in. And those one-armed lifts at the end of Act I made up for a multitude of sins -- they went on forever, looked very solid. She is only in the corps and he is an apprentice. They have one more performance of the two-week run (Wednesday night) and this seemed like a try-out for future roles. The audience was about 60-70% at this matinee.

I felt a little sorry for long-time principals relegated to secondary roles, but it's a tough business. Jermel Johnson was a sizzling Espada on opening night and an impressive gypsy on Friday night. Francis Veyette was a disappointing Espada at the Saturday matinee and doesn't seem to have anything else to do during the run - a not-so-subtle signal that it's time to think about retiring or moving on?

These three are the only performances I'm able to see. If I could visit next weekend, I'd aim for Pineiro/Diaz on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Diaz was also a great gypsy Friday night, but that was a one-time opportunity.

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Completely agree about Francis Veyette, even though I feel guilty saying it. His Espada paled in comparison to Johnson's. Plus, with all of the young talent coming up the ranks, he might be nearing the end. He directs PAB II though, so that could keep him involved with the company. And his wife, Lauren Fadeley, is still at the top of her game technically.

What did you think of Wasserman, California?

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I forgot to mention Wasserman. Nice, controlled stage presence and carriage. He doesn't yet have the flash and the extra "wow" factor in his technique, but that will come. Very, very attentive partner. And anybody who can pull off those one-armed lifts as they did has a future. (Sorry I keep mentioning "tricks" but in a ballet like this they are a partial bench mark for their technique.)

One detail: I had the feeling the crowd and set made the men especially feel cramped in their circular menage (not sure of the right terminology). They too often seemed to be holding back a tad because of the stage available to them.

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Caroline and Kaysta, Francis Veyette has announced his retirement as a dancer with The Pennsylvania Ballet. On Pennsylvania Ballet 2's facebook page someone reposted his retirement announcement which I believe was originally posted on his Facebook page. There is a nice letter from him with thank-yous etc. He will remain AD of Pa. Ballet 2 and focus on that. I believe the post was around Jan. 18th.

(This is my first time posting on this site, although I have been reading for a while. Forgive me if this is in the wrong place, or I am breaking any rules. Feel free to move it, or remove it.)

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Caroline and Kaysta, Francis Veyette has announced his retirement as a dancer with The Pennsylvania Ballet. On Pennsylvania Ballet 2's facebook page someone reposted his retirement announcement which I believe was originally posted on his Facebook page. There is a nice letter from him with thank-yous etc. He will remain AD of Pa. Ballet 2 and focus on that. I believe the post was around Jan. 18th.

(This is my first time posting on this site, although I have been reading for a while. Forgive me if this is in the wrong place, or I am breaking any rules. Feel free to move it, or remove it.)

Thanks for letting us know. I have greatly enjoyed his performances in the past! And even though this performance wasn't as technically awesome as Jermel's, it is fun watching him dance with his wife. He has given a lot to PAB over the years, and I'm happy to hear he is staying on to help with the future generation.

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Thanks for letting us know. I have greatly enjoyed his performances in the past! And even though this performance wasn't as technically awesome as Jermel's, it is fun watching him dance with his wife. He has given a lot to PAB over the years, and I'm happy to hear he is staying on to help with the future generation.

He is an AMAZING teacher. My daughter got the chance to work with him at the School of PA Ballet's SI last summer, and I was incredibly impressed with the class I observed. I am glad that he is staying on in that capacity because he is a truly gifted teacher.

Back on topic, I saw Saturday night's performance with Kathryn Manger and Peter Weil (both apprentices) as Kitri and Basilio. I haven't seen nearly as many performances of Don Q as the rest of you, so I don't feel qualified to comment in detail on the choreography, but I did see ABT's version a few years ago and go to the ballet frequently.

Bottom line - they were both terrific! They were technically solid, their energy was amazing and they were completely charming. Every time they were on stage the energy of whole show was brought up. His jumps were huge, and her fouettes were strong and brought the house down! If this is the future of PA Ballet, the direction of the company is extremely exciting!

The show in general was good, but James Ihde was extremely disappointing as Espada. He was just so stiff! He did not seem to have the least bit of fun with it.

I wish I could go back again next weekend, but I don't think that is in the cards. I'm glad to see my local company (and by extension, my daughter's ballet school :)) get such good press!

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Back on topic, I saw Saturday night's performance with Kathryn Manger and Peter Weil (both apprentices) as Kitri and Basilio. I haven't seen nearly as many performances of Don Q as the rest of you, so I don't feel qualified to comment in detail on the choreography, but I did see ABT's version a few years ago and go to the ballet frequently.

Bottom line - they were both terrific! They were technically solid, their energy was amazing and they were completely charming. Every time they were on stage the energy of whole show was brought up. His jumps were huge, and her fouettes were strong and brought the house down! If this is the future of PA Ballet, the direction of the company is extremely exciting!

Don't feel that you have to apologize for your experience -- there are all kinds of people on this website, with varying levels of skill or expertise. What counts for you is that you can say what you think, and explain what you mean. Glad that you saw a show that made you happy!

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Don't feel that you have to apologize for your experience -- there are all kinds of people on this website, with varying levels of skill or expertise. What counts for you is that you can say what you think, and explain what you mean. Glad that you saw a show that made you happy!

Agree with sandik! Please post, I appreciate having others who love PAB come and chat.

I have no technical knowledge either, just love to watch! I was actually thinking about getting tickets for Manger/Weil on Wednesday night, because I think it's awesome that two apprentices are given such a great opportunity. Plus, after seeing Manger dance Amor, I can tell she is fantastic.

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I have no technical knowledge either, just love to watch! I was actually thinking about getting tickets for Manger/Weil on Wednesday night, because I think it's awesome that two apprentices are given such a great opportunity. Plus, after seeing Manger dance Amor, I can tell she is fantastic.

I would recommend it, and would be very interested in your thoughts if you do go!

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Tonight was the cast of the young 'uns!

Kitri--Kathryn Manger -apprentice

Basilio-- Peter Weil -apprentice

Mercedes-- Marjorie Feiring - apprentice

Espada-- Harrison Monaco -2nd year corps member

One of the things I'm loving about Corella's casting, is that he hasn't gone down the ABT/Kevin McKenzie casting policy of not giving the younger dancers a shot at dancing leading roles and gaining experience. And I can say one thing for sure, PAB's future is bright! Again tonight, the corps was so very crisp and clean. And I can see a difference in the corps men of PAB especially, who have been impressive during this run of DQ.

Now onto our young leads. First of all, it was nice seeing an actual young couple play Kitri and Basilio (they actually looked the right age to be teenagers in love). Both danced well, and had moments where they sparkled on stage. There were a few minor partnering bobbles, most noticeable in the supported turns, but from where I was sitting, the lifts looked great. And the two of them had great chemistry together. Weil looks impressive, with nice controlled turns and beautiful jumps. He has very long legs and strong shoulders, so he just looks impressive on stage. I think he has quite a future ahead of him, and I look forward to watching his growth as he gets more experience.. Manger also did a fine job, though not as technically impressive as Pinero. She didn't hold her balances for more than a second, but handled 32 single fouettes with only a bit of traveling. Her solos were stunning though, and she has a lovely grand jete.

Other notes: Diaz did the gypsy solo and I love him more every time I see him. I think he has become my new favorite male dancer at PAB. His dancing is full of electricity, and when he's on the stage, I literally can't look at anyone else. I am so excited to watch his career develop! Marjorie Feiring was a wonderful Mercedes. She appears to be very technically strong, and will also only get better with experience. Oksana Maslova was Queen of the Dryads again. I feel the same way about her that I felt on opening night. Beautiful Russian lines and upper body; a bit shaky with the italian fouettes. I'd love to see what her Act 2 Giselle looks like.

This was my last DQ of the run, as I'm traveling to the west coast for work on Saturday. Pretty bummed that I can't see Diaz and Pinero again, because as much as I enjoyed the last two casts I've seen, their performance is burned into my memory.

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The show was energetic and fun. I had a chance to see Mayara Pineiro and Etienne Diaz, Kathryn Manger and Peter Weil and Ana Calderon and Craig Wasserman. All three of those lead couples were fantastic. I loved the dream scene as well. It was beautiful, and I saw Kathryn and Ana play Cupid. They were a joy. My daughter saw Laura Bowman as Cupid and loved her in the role. I saw Laura as a flower girl and thought she was fantastic as well. As a matter of fact, I thought the flower girls were excellent every cast I saw. The guys were great too. Loved them in the gypsy dance. All the lead characters and those in the corps were entertaining from beginning to end. . The kids were a fun addition as well. Each time I saw the show (five times) I was amused by some new things, as there was so much going on stage. It was quite comical and the acting was fantastic..Bravo to Angel Corella and the cast of Don Q!

Just the opinion of someone who enjoys watching ballet so I won't try to get all technical about it. Also I have to agree with Kaysta, I saw ABT's Don Q I guess it was a couple of years ago, (But, I don't know for sure, time flies when your old..anyway) I loved it but I found this version much more entertaining. Maybe it was the more intimate venue that allowed me to appreciate the acting more or maybe it was just better character acting, I really can't say but when I was discussing it with my daughter she said the same thing.

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