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The Winter's Tale in NY

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Does anybody have any news re: casting?

What is the preferred cast in your opinion?

Thanks in advance!

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See this thread for the Lincoln Center information.

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/41053-lincoln-center-festival-2016-season-announced/

I did see some performances of The Winter's Tale in Toronto and DC and I advise you to wait until the casting announcements, because this makes a big difference.

Here is the review by Alastair Macaulay, and IMO this is the recommended cast worth watching. (Doronina/McKie/Lunkina) I agree with everything he says here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/arts/dance/review-dark-suspicions-in-jumps-and-gestures-in-the-winters-tale.html?_r=0

The other main cast (first cast in Toronto and DC) , Fischer/Stanczyk/Yu was so weak and devoid of dramatic quality. But I guess there might be more casts coming.

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See this thread for the Lincoln Center information.

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/41053-lincoln-center-festival-2016-season-announced/

I did see some performances of The Winter's Tale in Toronto and DC and I advise you to wait until the casting announcements, because this makes a big difference.

Here is the review by Alastair Macaulay, and IMO this is the recommended cast worth watching. (Doronina/McKie/Lunkina) I agree with everything he says here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/arts/dance/review-dark-suspicions-in-jumps-and-gestures-in-the-winters-tale.html?_r=0

The other main cast (first cast in Toronto and DC) , Fischer/Stanczyk/Yu was so weak and devoid of dramatic quality. But I guess there might be more casts coming.

Thank you, naomikage. I would prefer to see D/McK/L cast too, but who knows when they will be dancing. It's so unfair to keep the casting secret until the last minute :mad:

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As mentioned in the link to the Lincoln Center Festival, last time this company toured to NYC (and also Washington DC) the casting was announced 3 weeks prior to the tour. And their Giselle rum finishes on June 19th, so we can guess some time in late June or early July the cast is announced. It is very annoying and unfair that they announce this late each time indeed. This company is definitely not good in terms of marketing.

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The company's dancers are on a brief holiday right now. Rex Harrington mentioned its imminence while he was leading "class on stage" a week ago. I wouldn't expect definitive casting until the dancers are back in the studio about a week from now. Several leading dancers withdrew from performances in Toronto in June, but I'm sure the hope is they will be recovered by the time rehearsals resume.

I would expect opening night and one other performance to go to the first cast: Piotr Stanczyk (Leontes), Hannah Fischer (Hermione), Jillian Vanstone (Perdita), Naoya Ebe (Florizel), Xiao Nan Yu (Paulina) and Harrison James (Polixenes). All but Yu appeared in Giselle last week. There are two other casts, one led by Evan McKie and Jurgita Dronina, the other by McGee Maddox and Heather Ogden. A fourth cast led by Guillaume Côté and Sonia Rodriguez, which didn't dance during the initial run and was snowed out in Washington earlier this year, should finally get a chance to perform the ballet as well.

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Any news about the casting? If any of you have seen this production, is it worth the trip?

Casting has been posted: http://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2016-17-Season/Winters-Tale-Lincoln-Center-2016

The link is a bit problematic (though you can get to it by clicking through the NBC website), so here is the list:

Casting

Leontes

Piotr Stanczyk (July 28, 30 at 8:00 pm)

Evan McKie (July 29 at 8:00 pm)

Guillaume Côté* (July 30 at 2:00 pm)

McGee Maddox (July 31 at 2:00 pm)

Hermione

Hannah Fischer (July 28, 30 at 8:00 pm)

Jurgita Dronina (July 29 at 8:00 pm)

Sonia Rodriguez* (July 30 at 2:00 pm)

Heather Ogden (July 31 at 2:00 pm)

Perdita

Jillian Vanstone (July 28, 30 at 8:00 pm)

Elena Lobsanova (July 29 at 8:00 pm, 31 at 2:00 pm)

Rui Huang (July 30 at 2:00 pm)

Florizel

Naoya Ebe (July 28, 30 at 8:00 pm)

Francesco Gabriele Frola (July 29 at 8:00 pm, 31 at 2:00 pm)

Skylar Campbell (July 30 at 2:00 pm)

Polixenes

Harrison James (July 28, 30 at 8:00 pm)

Brendan Saye (July 29 at 8:00 pm, 31 at 2:00 pm)

Félix Paquet (July 30 at 2:00 pm)

Paulina

Xiao Nan Yu (July 28, 30 at 8:00 pm)

Svetlana Lunkina (July 29 at 8:00pm, 30 at 2:00 pm)

Tanya Howard (July 31 at 2:00 pm)

*Debut

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RUKen, thank you so much for going to the trouble of transcribing this. I hope to go--it sounds wonderful. I don't know any of the dancers, not being familiar with the company, but it's always refreshing to see a major company I have not seen before.

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The Winter's Tale is quite a good, dramatic ballet, with lots of dancing in the 2nd act and intense,dark drama in the first and 3rd act.

There is a DVD available of this performed by the Royal Ballet and the recorded performance is brilliant, with great dancers Edward Watson, Lauren Cuthbertson, Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, Federico Bonneli , and this is worth a look too.

The music with some of them performed on stage would sound better in live performance.

Of course the most juiciest cast is the second performance (which got reviewed in the NYT by Macaulay) so I recommend all to see this one. The first cast was IMHO dull, except for the young lovers in the 2nd act Jillian Vanstone and Naoya Ebe who are lovely.

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I concur - the second cast is to die for. Lunkina alone is well worth the price of admission

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Got my tickets for July 29, 30 evening, and 31, and am looking forward to a few days in New York.

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Had hoped to see this - even bought tickets - but had to cancel plans for NY trip. Am eager to hear others' thoughts (though a little melancholy) -

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Excited to see Sunday's show. I had tickets for the Kennedy Center in January and then it was snowed out. Will let ya know how it goes. I really enjoyed San Francisco Ballet perform Wheeldon's Cinderella, this will be my second Wheeldon Full length.

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Excellent review by Poision Ivy!

Full review here:

http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2016/07/a-winters-tale-in-summer-festival.html

I was there too.

I didn't hate Chris' ballet, I just probably wouldn't want to see it again...haha! The first act seemed so promising....staged so well... Then, for me, it started dragging....This ballet could have been done in two acts if the second and third were shortened. I think the music was the biggest problem....quite repetitive. It worked well at times, but didn't throughout. And Chris isn't that great with groups of dancers. He's a good stager, but not a great choreographer.

Loved Evan McKie though he is no Ed Watson as Leontes....But Evan has a very special radiating beauty from the inside, out, that makes his madness in this role very fascinating. Also his huge beautiful lines, dancing.....amazing. Also loved Dronina as is wife, she's a warm, charming, stunning actress, as well as dancer. Perfectly cast in this ballet. Couldn't believe she was required to do six arabesque turns in a row (a la Bayadere minus the scarf)! This repeated in the third act in case you missed it in the second..... Seriously difficult choreography there....

Lunkina was generously gorgeous as the head of the household.

I was sitting in row B orchestra, prepared in advance that there would be many acting details I did not want to miss, so I saw every detail of all three principals' fine acting and dancing. Wow, especially Evan's.....

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I too was there on Friday. Sat in the Second Ring, center. My take on the ballet was a bit different than sz or canbelto's. From my perspective this was perhaps one of the most startling and innovative ballets I've seen in a long while. From start to finish, and with every element of stage craft, music and choreography, this ballet succeeded on every level. I loved the score. It was fresh and at times lush ; at others boisterous and fun. The on stage Banda in Act II was superb. Wheeldon's response to this score was spot on and only made it sound more wondrous. Some of his best choreography ever, especially when it came to story telling. For me, he seemed to have invented an entirely new language of dance. I mention first the corps dancing because there was a lot of it. Real dancing. So unlike many full lengths we see where the corps does little more than dress the stage. Act II was a non stop display of bravura from everyone. At times he had one group dancing stage right doing one thing while those on stage left were counter balancing and doing something else. Then two soloists would come out and bring all the threads together. Two of the most delicious love pas de deux were also performed here. I don't recall the music stopping ever. One element blended into the next, much like textural lines being spoken. There was never a point when the dancing stopped for applause and extra bows. Anyone who has ever visited a fair in Southern Italy, Spain or Portugal will understand what was on that stage. The corps dancers were superb, I might add. Fresh and gorgeous, they all looked happy to be there. Lobsanova and Gabriele-Frola as Perdita and Forizel had elements of the young Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell. She also had much of the beauty and specialness of Cojocuru. Just splendid together. And that magical tree in the center of the stage! Worth the price of admission alone!!. Act I is at the start very stark and linear. But as in the play, things turn very sinister. Here's where I think Wheeldon found a way into the text of the play. Jurgita Dronina as Hermione and the amazing Evan McKie as Leontes were both most splendid in their dancing and acting here. The violence of Act I, while, terrifying and brusque, was true to the plot and later in Act III where the two are finally re-united in a pas de deux of love and forgiveness was astonishing to watch. It had much of the ecstasy I feel when I watch the "balcony scene" in "R&J". And now we come to Lunkina as Paulina, the head of Hermione's household. No words. Simply no words. True artistry. The ability to completely embody a role was there, every inch of the way. Beyond technique, beyond her acting. Just a completeness rarely seen on stage, anywhere. All the dancing from everyone was simply wonderful, filled with details, small and large. One viewing could hardly give us the time to see it all. And of course, the production values here were beyond superlative. Bob Crowley and Natasha Katz outdid them selves on every level. And the visuals combined with Basil Twists miraculous silk effects were some of the best I've ever seen. It's a wonderment what can be done today for theatrical effect. The ship wreck alone makes me NEVER, EVER want to see the tacky ship wreck that is seen in ABT's "Corsaire". And for those of you wondering about Shakespeare's stage direction of "exit pursued by a bear", it's all there. Blink and you might miss it, but from where I was sitting I nearly fell out of my seat!! All in all, as a total piece of theater I felt it succeeded on every level. How I wish it were here for a longer visit. Hopefully, National Ballet will listen to the roar of the crowd at night's end and bring this one back and soon!!

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I agree with mimsyb about almost everything. I've been to Friday and Saturday mat so far (planning to go back tomorrow again)and the biggest reaction from the crowd came when "The Tree" was presented on stage. Just breathtaking.

Someone said that this ballet heavily depends on ensemble's chemistry and now I understand why. I felt that Friday's cast interacted with each other much better, especially during the dramatic trial scene.

Choreography wise, I thought that pas de deux were quite decent while solo dances could've been choreographed better (perhaps except King Leontes' solo in Act 1). Lunkina owned the role of Paulina but I wish I could've seen her dance more..She looked way too comfortable in this ballet and I felt that she had a lot more dance in her. I'd love to see Lobsanova in a classical role.

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I went to the matinee and I really enjoyed it. I thought the whole cast was fantastic.

Guillame Cote and Sonia Rodriguez were Leontes and Hermione. While Cote didn't quite reach the same level of craziness (especially in the eyes) as Watson, I still thought he gave a haunting performance. This was my first time seeing Rodriguez and she was beautiful. The program says it was her debut, which is surprising to me because I thought she gave a very nuanced performance.

Rui Huang and Skylar Campbell were Perdita and Florizel. Again, I thought they were both fantastic.

I'm not sure who the young shepardess who danced with Brother Clown was, but she has a very lovely stage presence. Every time she was on the stage, my eyes went to her.

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I'm so jealous of those who got to see Lobsanova. She is one of my favorites. I am still haunted by her Juliet last year.

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Agreeing with mimsyb re the projections and billowing silk curtains, special effects. I too thought of how Corsaire at ABT would greatly benefit from Basil Twists' designs. The sailing ship alone was so beautifully executed in this theater piece. I also loved how the bear and the statues were used. So well done. From a staging view, this is definitely one of Chris' best productions. Act One was especially clever and brilliant.

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I'm not sure who the young shepardess who danced with Brother Clown was, but she has a very lovely stage presence. Every time she was on the stage, my eyes went to her.

On Saturday afternoon it was Meghan Pugh with Jack Bertinshaw, and you're right, she always really sparkles on stage. On Friday evening it had been Tina Pereira with Robert Stephen, and on Saturday evening is was Jordana Daumec with Dylan Tedaldi.

Also, because of the apparent indisposition of Donald Thom, Harrison James was dancing the Steward of Polixenes' household whenever he wasn't dancing Polixenes himself.

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I am not sure which date (probably on Sunday) but Kota Sato was Brother Clown and Jenna Savella was the shepherdess on one particular date (photograph of them in the costumes on his facebook).

Sato also was in this role in the Toronto run and he was brilliant.

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On Saturday afternoon it was Meghan Pugh with Jack Bertinshaw, and you're right, she always really sparkles on stage. On Friday evening it had been Tina Pereira with Robert Stephen, and on Saturday evening is was Jordana Daumec with Dylan Tedaldi.

Also, because of the apparent indisposition of Donald Thom, Harrison James was dancing the Steward of Polixenes' household whenever he wasn't dancing Polixenes himself.

Thanks! Bertinshaw was also very good.

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I’ve been very slow to post my impressions of these performances, in part because I am still uncertain of what I think of the ballet as a whole. I am sympathetic to some of the arguments both of its admirers and its detractors. I understand those who admire how Wheeldon compressed the plot into a three-act ballet and also those who find has approach to the play facile; of those who love the gestural language he has developed, as well as those who can’t make heads or tails of it; of those who believe the choreography accurately depicts the violence of the story and also of those who point out that partnering a heavily pregnant woman is this way would be impossible. The ballet has a difficult structure, because while the first act is fairly long but dramatic, the second act feels longer because relatively little happens plot-wise, and it is primarily an extended divertissement, while third act feels more obligatory than satisfying, depending very much on the skill of the interpreters to make it affecting.

 

 

Previously I had seen only the filmed version of the ballet. In New York I watched two performances from the orchestra and one from the second ring, and it struck me that my own viewing choices were significantly different from the camera angles chosen for me by director Ross MacGibbon. Some people have noted that the lighting used to indicate the difference between the actual conversation between Hermione and Polixenes and what Leontes thinks he sees was insufficiently clear. I did think it was problematic on film, but I did not find it so in the theater. On the other hand, at my first performance I sat close to the stage but on an aisle, and from there I could not see the notorious bear.

 

 

The ballet’s biggest liability is the music. Joby Talbot’s score is not unattractive, but not especially memorable either. It was closer to the background soundscape of a film score rather than the structural foundation and impetus of the choreography.

 

 

Nevertheless, the ballet inspired some extraordinary performances from the dancers of the National Ballet of Canada, first of all from Evan McKie (July 29) as Leontes. He was perhaps the most convincing ballet monarch I had seen on stage, less twitchy and more technically accomplished than Edward Watson on film, and satisfyingly complex. However cruel his conduct may have been, however irrational and misguided his jealousy, it was clear that his behavior stemmed from a genuine sense of injury and pain. His despair over the deaths of his closest family members and profound remorse were palpably conveyed.

 

 

As Hermione, Jurgita Dronina (29) was equally extraordinary, fantastically expressive from her “labor pangs” in the prologue onward. Vital and witty in Act 1, terrified and uncomprehending at her husband’s unjustifiable accusations—a scene made quite terrifying by the large height discrepancy between Dronina and McKie—spellbinding in her regal dignity as Leontes’ officers come to arrest her, and plaintive but noble at her trial, never a pathetic victim. The final scene is terribly difficult to pull off, but Dronina was entirely successful, breathtaking in how she slowly and perfectly unfurled her emotions before McKie’s contrite Leontes.

 

 

Guillaume Côté (30m) as Leontes opted for the more wild-eyed and brutal approach, and while he was able to sustain it for some 40 minutes through the first act, I did begin to wish for greater dramatic complexity after a while. As Hermione, Sonia Rodriguez was very affecting in the first act, particularly heartbreaking in her trial scene. Her final scene was not yet as effective, but I was aware that it was a particularly tough nut to crack, and it was her first performance in the ballet. (When Côté’s Leontes begged her forgiveness, my own instinct was to tell Rodriguez to kick him in the shins.)

 

 

The Paulina of Svetlana Lunkina (29, 30m) was remarkable, singular. Her dancing was gorgeous, with particularly eloquent arms and hands. Initially quite sunny and great with kids, her character later had some of the most crucial plot turns to convey: the death of Mamillius, the swoon of Hermione and the recognition of Perdita, all of which Lunkina portrayed with piercing and gut-wrenching force. When she brought the infant Perdita to Leontes and his retinue refused to let her pass, she performed soutenu turns at such speed that she in effect blew right past them. At the conclusion of the trial scene she conveyed all the rage that Hermione would not, and in particular she really let Côté’s Leontes have it. But subsequently she continued to perform her duties stoically, quite literally holding up the devastated Leontes (a striking image, given her very slender build), despite the fact that she, too, lost a spouse in the course of the ballet. Especially moving was her depiction, with Peter Ottmann’s dignified Antigonus (29, 30m), of a mature and deeply caring marriage, in contrast with the unraveling union of Hermione and Leontes, and the blissful young infatuation of Perdita and Florizel. The final image of the ballet was quite striking. While she encouraged Leontes to get on with his life with his restored wife and daughter, Paulina continued to mourn for the irretrievably lost Mamillius.

 

 

Adjectives like radiant and luminous are overused, but as Perdita, Jillian Vanstone (30e), opposite a flawless Naoya Ebe as Florizel, she really did seem to shine from within. She performed Wheeldon’s choreography as though there were no greater joy or pleasure in the world. Elena Lobsanova (29) was lovely but more restrained, paired with an ardent Francesco Gabriele Frola. I was very happy to see Frola do well in this role, because I had been baffled by the performances I had seen him give up to that point. Perhaps because his character didn’t have to wear tights, perhaps because he felt freed from the exacting stylistic and technical requirements of playing a 19th-century ballet aristocrat, as Florizel he was high-flying, exciting and natural. Skylar Campbell (30m) had moments of great musical responsiveness in his performance.

 

 

As Polixenes, Harrison James (30e) was more straightforward than Brendan Saye (29) or Félix Paquet (30m), who aimed for greater drama. I’m not sure they succeeded entirely because they came across as too young for the role, but I particularly admired Paquet’s expressive upper body in his solo dancing. Jonathan Renna made a fine and sympathetic Shepherd, and the interpreters of Brother Clown were surprisingly different, ranging from a loosey-goosey Dylan Tedaldi (30e), to a crisp and brilliant Robert Stephen (29) to a more lyrical and easy-going Jack Bertinshaw (30m), paired opposite Meghan Pugh, with her 1,000-watt smile and personality.

 

 

The corps danced with great energy and a lot of bend in the upper body, which was very satisfying. I’m not sure I’m persuaded by the quasi-rusticity of Wheeldon’s Bohemia, but the dancers were entirely committed to the choreography throughout. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

Edited by volcanohunter

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