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26 minutes ago, chicagoballetomane said:

Dying to hear a recap of the opening of the Jewels festival - hopefully some one was there!

 

There are some reports in the POB forum's thread on the LC Fest Jewels.

 

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A brief first impression:

Emeralds:  A professional dancer friend who is a NYCB docent said to me (paraphrase):  My God, did you see how tshe (one of the principal ladies) used her arms and hands?  The way they move through space is as if the air has weight to it."  Some of the movements had beautifully synchronized movement and music; other not so much.

 

Rubies:  In addition to excellent performances by Reichlen, M Fairchild and the corps, Joaquin da Luz was practically channeling Edward Villella.  

 

Diamonds:  Some of the orchestral playing was outstanding, bringing out various sections and individual instruments.  Played rather slowly, which was probably to the Bolshoi's taste.  Olga Smirnova was as advertised, unbelievable.  She had said in an interview that the pas de deux was both beautiful in a cold way (like diamonds), and also rather sad.  It was exactly that.  She has a mystery about her that I have seen rarely, in old video, in a few others.

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Was there for opening night of the LC Jewels.  I was underwhelmed by the French, especially did not like Pujol's water nymph solo and her strange head movement affectations. As a whole the company did not dance with the musicality or cover nearly as much space as nycb.  I did very much like Myriam, who reminded me of Ashley Laracey. Her walking solo was the highlight of Emeralds.  And I thought all the men were great - super clean footwork and nice jumps.  Overall though, I prefer city ballet's interpretation (and Karinska's costumes). 

 

Nycb did themselves proud in Rubies.  Tess was fantastic as usual (those legs!) and Joaquin outdid himself.  How does he keep getting better as he gets older?!  Megan was fine- I think she was a little nervous/cautious, I've seen her dance the pdd better.  She did not attempt to hold the balances she normally does in the pdd (where Joaquin puts her on her leg and then does a pirouette sequence).  I thought I saw one of the corps girls slip and put her hand down at one point, but that was a minor mistake. 

 

But wow, the Bolshoi Diamonds blew me away. Worth the steeper pricing!  All their dancers look gorgeous - impossibly long necks, arms, legs, all super tall and graceful and with sky high extensions.  Diamonds just suits them to a tee. They are grandness personified!  And I was pleasantly surprised how musical (in a Balanchinean sense) they were.  I have never seen a more beautiful Diamonds, or a more moving pdd. Smirnova has no equal in the role.  She is effortlessly regal, arms just lovely, she and semyon made time stop. You could hear a pin drop, the audience was so spellbound.  At one point I thought I was going to break into sobs from the sheer beauty of it.  Semyon was wonderful in his solos, too.  Huge jumps and effortless technique. I've seen many great nycb Diamonds, but this Bolshoi one was truly a spiritual experience.  Feel lucky to have seen it!  

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Bolshoi blew me and Mr. Abatt away too.  Such grace, beauty and elegance from the corps on up to the leading dancers.  The Bolshoi dancers must have the longest limbs and necks in the business.  Pure JOY to watch.  Smirnova and Chudin in the pas were ethereal and breathtaking. 

 

Rubies was electrifying.  Megan F. is far from my favorite interpreter of the Rubies, but she was good enough. Reichlin and DeLuz have never been better.  Outstanding.

 

POB was disappointing in some ways.  As noted elsewhere, in the walking duet some of the staccato movement of the ballerina in the walking duet was left out. Why?!  Also agree with the post above about Pujol's overly affected head movements.  Also, I found the costumes for Emeralds to be poor.  The skirts seemed to have stripes of different shades of green (forest green, turquoise), but where was the EMERALD coloring?  Also, too much sparkle in the skirts.

 

Great to see so many friends there last night.  The crowd was jazzed for this special, extraordinary event. Thanks to the Festival for this outstanding presentation.

 

Edited by abatt

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Paris Opera's Emeralds was more satisfying than Royal's in the cinemacast or NYCB when I saw them three years ago, where Ashley Bouder almost turned the ballet into Swan Lake.  I do disagree with Balanchinette on Pujol. While, yes, she was a bit mannered for my taste, she had luscious port de bras--her hands particularly gorgeous--and she and Ganio were wonderfully responsive to one another.  She integrated her upper body into the iconic hand movements of the Violette solo to an extent that I had not seen before, and overall I found her performance more rich and detailed here than in the DVD version.  Ould-Braham was in stark contrast to Pujol, very stately and reserved.  The solo which can sometimes go on for ages was masterfully controlled in her hands, with Braham almost letting the music push her.  She had a slight problem during the running bourrees toward the end but otherwise gorgeous.  Ganio is the epitome of a cavalier with fantastic presence and line; my only quibble is that he should've traveled the diagonal lifts more.  Pas de trois was fine, not sensational.  Marc Moreau replaced Francois Alu and was a bit underwhelming though certainly far from the worst I have seen.  The diagonal of jumps was played at such a brisk tempo that he struggled to keep up, finishing the double tour with his weight back.  Of the pas de trois, I appreciated Sae Eun Park most for her serene presence, though Hannah O'Neill was lovely. 

 

Rubies was the same cast I saw of NYCB in 2014.  I have seen Reichlen's stage devouring Tall Girl about five times and I am constantly reminded that she has no equal in the role.  Especially after watching Melissa Hamilton in the ROH cinemacast who danced like a corps girl that just happened to be center stage, Reichlen's dancing actually overshadows the principal couple whenever she is onstage.  This is perhaps a rare cast where the Tall Girl is far more interesting and memorable than the principal ballerina, but with Reichlen's presence (and legs!) it would be almost impossible for anyone to match her.  It's not that Fairchild's Rubies is substandard, but I did see a stronger effort from her in 2014 and overall she is not that interesting a dancer.  Very competent and musical, but not unique.  Joaquin De Luz at 41(!) is still pretty hard to beat in the Villella role.  His Rubies is decidedly unballetic with audible stomping, turned in plie, a sort of Devil-may-care attitude, but in doing so brings out the very intention of the work with the technical chomps to match.  Those traveling jumps going from stage left the right practically accelerated into a tornado.  One of the corps girls slipped and nearly fell with both hands on the ground during the two lines of diagonals when Tall Girl is with the men.  Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky were front row center shouting and waving during the curtain calls when Fairchild and De Luz came out.

 

Diamonds: Olga was majestic and I think it will take a second time of seeing her (I go again Saturday) to fully comprehend and articulate her presence.  For 10 minutes during the pas de deux I could have sworn I was not in the Koch, but rather the Palace of the Czars, feasting in the decadence of The Ballerina.  It should be said that she was not perfect: she got very luxuriant in the bourrees at the end, so the pirouette ended late and Semyon had to scramble to kiss her hand in time.  Her solo in the scherzo was majestic, but she suffered a hiccup in the first of the supported pirouettes at the very end of the finale.  She does struggle to maintain her turnout in particular during developpe a la seconde.  But such quibbles were inconsequential in what was a masterful performance.  She began as a ballerina of Imperial Russia before slowly melting into a woman who was both vulnerable and regal.  She perfectly modulated the transition between her mysterious, cool aura in the pas de deux and the growing, triumphant jubilation she achieved by the finale, creating an arc even within a plotless ballet.  Make no mistake that this was not Diamonds, but rather a Russian Diamonds, where Smirnova transported you through every step.

 

Semyon Chudin was very fine technically and should be commended for performing so well after a recent injury.  As always, he has wonderful elevation and extension in the manege as well as a squeaky clean set of a la seconde turns pulling for a quadruple.  I sensed he was a touch cautious in the solos and will gain more confidence on Saturday.  He partnered Olga well, but more importantly the two created a relationship onstage that was more complex than just Danseur escorting Ballerina.  The Russian Soul from both was certainly evident.

 

Dancers from all three gems (including the corps) came out for bows after Diamonds.  This was followed by the three directors--Dupont, Martins, and Vaziev--coming out for a bow and turning to applaud the dancers.  Kevin McKenzie, Skylar Brandt, Paul Boos, Katrina Killian, Vanessa Zahorian, Davit Karapetyan, along with Irina and Max were among numerous luminaries in attendance for what was a sold out house.  Certainly this was one of the most satisfying performances I've seen in some time, and I look forward to seeing casts of all three gems in the upcoming shows (I attend Saturday where NYCB Rubies/Bolshoi Diamonds will repeat, and Sunday matinee where this cast of Paris Opera repeats).

 

Edited by MRR

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My thoughts are pretty much in line with most other posters. NYCB did a great job with Rubies, but we expect that so it wasn't surprising. Reichlen proved once again that she is the best Rubies Tall Girl in the world (Big Red is a close second, but still second). Fairchild was fine and I kept wondering how DeLuz could be so fabulous in the famously aerobically challenging Villela role. Isn't he around 40? Amazing.

 

I had the same problems with POB as everyone else. You don't come to the House of Balanchine and change the steps. Even though they performed the footwork, stripping it of its iconic (and original) staccato execution is unforgivable. And I agree that the costumes were lacking in contrast to the originals, which are so beautifully bejeweled. Still, I thought that their dancing was beautiful, though somewhat cold. Weird that their arms and epaulment were gorgeous but I still found them cold.

 

The Bolshoi's Diamonds was the HUGE success of the evening and totally worth the extravagant price of admission.  I'd seen Smirnova and Chudin perform the pas de deux at a gala, and I've seen the recordings but seeing the whole company in this was just mind blowing.

 

The corps and soloists were just perfection. As much as I love NYCB, I don't ever think I was ever so enthralled from start to finish. The corps were so perfectly synchronized, yet not robotic at all. I could not take my eyes off of the 4 female soloists whenever they were onstage. Except when Smirnova & Chudin were on stage. She is simply magical. Her technique is so strong, her epaulment and presentation so beautiful. Chudin surprised me. I'd never really taken note of him except as a strong partner with beautiful line. But last night in his solos he completely won me over. Soft, plush plies, tours ending effortlessly in perfect, tight 5th positions, pirouettes that ended EXACTLY on the music with perfect control - he didn't fudge a thing. This is the kind of male dancing we used to see regularly at ABT 5-10 years ago. I didn't realize how much I've missed it.

Edited by nysusan

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Does anyone remember who replaced Alena Kovaleva last night in Diamonds?  They announced it at the top of show but there was no slip of the program (same with Marc Moreau replacing Francois Alu in Emeralds).   I assume they are resting her for her NY debut as the principal ballerina on Saturday matinee. 

 

The quartet of women in Diamonds (especially Ana Turazashvili) were impeccable, as were the corps, except I wanted more sweep in the waltz.  I could hear Balanchine telling the ballerinas to bend more.  However, the corps and demi men were comparatively disappointing.  The demi men in the sequence of tour jetes had little elevation, and the finale with the synchronous pirouettes went haywire, though that is hardly ever well done. 

 

I'm glad everyone cleared up the lack of staccato changes in the arabesque during the Emeralds "walking" pas de deux.  I thought I had dosed off and missed it. 

Edited by MRR

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9 minutes ago, MRR said:

Does anyone remember who replaced Alena Kovaleva last night in Diamonds?

 

I believe it was Angelina Karkova (not sure about the last name but def heard Angelina). 

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27 minutes ago, balanchinette said:

 

I believe it was Angelina Karkova (not sure about the last name but def heard Angelina). 

Yes, Angelina Karpova.

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I loved canbelto's review!  Thank you.  So much detail and deep thought, experienced thought, went into this.  

 

I'll be seeing the Saturday matinee, and perhaps the evening too. Can't wait to see this great ballet with all the different tributes to its brilliance.   

 

Edited by sz

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Three quick things about the Friday night performance:


1 - I LOVED Dorothee Gilbert (and Baulac/Louvet did the staccato movement)

2- The Bolshoi doesn't have a clue about how to perform Rubies. As magnificent as their Diamonds was - that's how bad their Rubies was. Corps, tall girl, lead couple - none of them got it

3- Watching NYCB's Diamonds right after the Bolshoi's made me realize how far afield the Bolshoi has taken it. Yet the Bolshoi's is a magical alternate version. NYCB gave us the energy and attack that characterizes Mr B's choreography.

 

PS - There was no announcement but I thought I saw Ashley Hod as one of the Diamond soloists - perhaps replacing Laine Habony? They did announce a change in one of the Bolshoi's "four men" but I didn't catch the names

Edited by nysusan

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48 minutes ago, sz said:

I loved canbelto's review!  Thank you.  So much detail and deep thought, experienced thought, went into this.  

 

I'll be seeing the Saturday matinee, and perhaps the evening too. Can't wait to see this great ballet with all the different tributes to its brilliance.   

 

 

I agree. It was very thoughtful, and I learned a lot while reading it.

 

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Did they do the multi-company curtain call at the end last night as well, or was that only or opening night?

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26 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Did they do the multi-company curtain call at the end last night as well, or was that only or opening night?

 

Only opening night. 

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56 minutes ago, nysusan said:

Three quick things about the Friday night performance:


1 - I LOVED Dorothee Gilbert (and Baulac/Louvet did the staccato movement)

2- The Bolshoi doesn't have a clue about how to perform Rubies. As magnificent as their Diamonds was - that's how bad their Rubies was. Corps, tall girl, lead couple - none of them got it

3- Watching NYCB's Diamonds right after the Bolshoi's made me realize how far afield the Bolshoi has taken it. Yet the Bolshoi's is a magical alternate version. NYCB gave us the energy and attack that characterizes Mr B's choreography.

 

PS - There was no announcement but I thought I saw Ashley Hod as one of the Diamond soloists - perhaps replacing Laine Habony? They did announce a change in one of the Bolshoi's "four men" but I didn't catch the names

Yes, Hod was definitely a Diamonds soloist.   Habony was not there. 

 

Mearns' Diamonds interpretation is completely different from Smirnova's.  Smirnova is an aloof queen.  Mearns invests the pas with more romantic drama and interaction with her partner.  Both interpretations are fascinating.

 

Agree w. NYSusan that the Bolshoi was not impressive in Rubies.  It's like they were speaking a foreign language that they had learned through some Rosetta Stone tapes rather than through language immersion with native speakers.

 

I also thought Gilbert was wonderful.  She deeply arched her back, which is exactly what was missing on opening night from the first cast.  Also, Gilbert did not have the odd head movement affectations that we saw on opening night. The walking pdd was also better than opening night, but still not memorable.  Home team NYCB does it better.

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I will run far away from any additional opportunity to see the Bolshoi attempt Rubies. I can't think of a single positive comment. 

 

 

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When this festival was announced I had the impression that we would see the three companies in the sections that highlight the unique features of their style. Even though many companies do all three movements (and well!) there's no doubt in my mind that Mr. B was aiming to display three diverse styles that were integral to his own development and the concept of three companies doing their "own" movement was intriguing. 

 

Bought tickets for Friday night before casting and program were announced. I've gone back to early press releases and verified that the flip on rubies and diamonds was always part of the plan. I missed the memo on that, otherwise I would have chosen a different performance. So disappointed to miss the Bolshoi take on diamonds. Mearns, Angle et al were superb, but I wanted that chance to see the Russian movement done by the Russian company. 

 

As as I said above, rubies was just dreadful. 

 

Dorothee Gilbert's first solo was breathtaking. A highlight. 

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28 minutes ago, rkoretzky said:

When this festival was announced I had the impression that we would see the three companies in the sections that highlight the unique features of their style. Even though many companies do all three movements (and well!) there's no doubt in my mind that Mr. B was aiming to display three diverse styles that were integral to his own development and the concept of three companies doing their "own" movement was intriguing. 

 

Bought tickets for Friday night before casting and program were announced. I've gone back to early press releases and verified that the flip on rubies and diamonds was always part of the plan. I missed the memo on that, otherwise I would have chosen a different performance. So disappointed to miss the Bolshoi take on diamonds. Mearns, Angle et al were superb, but I wanted that chance to see the Russian movement done by the Russian company. 

 

As as I said above, rubies was just dreadful. 

 

Dorothee Gilbert's first solo was breathtaking. A highlight. 

 

If you still want to see the opening night cast I think standing room tickets are available.

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I was resigned to skipping this, as it seemed gimmicky and of course the price. But after reading these reviews I decided I had to see Smirnova. So I dashed to the box office this morning for standing room. It's quite a distance but the price is right. Looking forward!!

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1 hour ago, rkoretzky said:

I will run far away from any additional opportunity to see the Bolshoi attempt Rubies. I can't think of a single positive comment. 

 

 

I also felt the Bolshoi missed the mark on Rubies.  So forced and "in your face" and not in a good way.  They lacked musical punch.  A pretty tepid showing.  And those costumes!  OMG!  They looked like old curtain material from a long ago circus show.   No one here is going to make me forget the great Tess Reichlen any time soon.   But oh, the wonderment of Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle in Diamonds!  Can anything come closer to heaven than these two?  I've seen Sara dance this before, but never with such  luster and inner sole.  It was as if she spoke a whole other language, but was gracious enough to share with us her translation.   She seemed from a whole other world.  And please.  If there is ANY doubt out there about the sheer inventiveness, the imagination and the musicality of this great choreographer, it can be totally put to rest.  Every choreographer working today needs to study and study hard about how it all works.  Free of the clutter.  Empty of all false artifice.  No kitchen sinks in sight!   Pure dance, revealed in the most musical and magical of fashion.  I bow down to Mr. B. and humbly so.

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

 

If you still want to see the opening night cast I think standing room tickets are available.

 

4 minutes ago, mimsyb said:

I also felt the Bolshoi missed the mark on Rubies.  So forced and "in your face" and not in a good way.  They lacked musical punch.  A pretty tepid showing.  And those costumes!  OMG!  They looked like old curtain material from a long ago circus show.   No one here is going to make me forget the great Tess Reichlen any time soon.   But oh, the wonderment of Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle in Diamonds!  Can anything come closer to heaven than these two?  I've seen Sara dance this before, but never with such  luster and inner sole.  It was as if she spoke a whole other language, but was gracious enough to share with us her translation.   She seemed from a whole other world.  And please.  If there is ANY doubt out there about the sheer inventiveness, the imagination and the musicality of this great choreographer, it can be totally put to rest.  Every choreographer working today needs to study and study hard about how it all works.  Free of the clutter.  Empty of all false artifice.  No kitchen sinks in sight!   Pure dance, revealed in the most musical and magical of fashion.  I bow down to Mr. B. and humbly so.

 

Yes absolutely. This is a work of genius. It's a master class in how to program a ballet performance. Certain Contemporary  ADs unmentioned now have no idea how to structure a program. Tasteful appetizer, hearty main course, delicious dessert. There it is. 

 

An entire ballet based on a simple walking step. 

 

Thank you canbelto for the suggestion for the matinee. Unfortunately I have a prior commitment or I wouldn't miss this chance. My daughter is going for SR and has promised a full report. 

 

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