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Ballet Nacional de Cuba Kennedy Center May 29-June 3, 2018

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There is more detail on the dates now, as tickets went on sale to KC members yesterday:

 

Don Quixote (May 29 & 30)
(Minkus/Alonso after Petipa)
 
Giselle (May 31–June 3) 
(Adam/Alonso, based on Coralli and Perrot)

 

I bought tickets to the Saturday evening Giselle performance, and orchestra was already sold at 50% when I did - looks like lots of people are excited to come to this!

 

I've never seen the Ballet Nacional de Cuba perform, so I'm very much looking forward to it, even if that means lots of Giselle in one month after ABT's run!

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I love both of these productions.  The Don Q is huge fun!

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On 11/7/2017 at 6:05 AM, lacdescygnes said:

I've never seen the Ballet Nacional de Cuba perform, so I'm very much looking forward to it, even if that means lots of Giselle in one month after ABT's run!

 

It can be really exciting to compare performance within a production, or compare productions -- let us know what you see after such a deep dive in!

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Sorry to be Mr. Grumpy here but is this all they ever dance on tours? Whether it's DC, Paris, London, Russia, Spain, we see these two ballets, usually opening with Viengsay Valdes and the Cuban Danseur of the Moment (since they all seem to defect quickly, there's a new top classical guy on every tour). It's either these two full-length works or their classical potpourri, la Magia de la Danza. Why don't they tour with newer mixed bills or other full lengths in their rep, such as their unique takes on Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, which was seen once at City Center, about 20 years ago?

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If Vengsay Valdes is announced as leading the first Don Q in DC, I will definitely be there.  I'm waiting for casting.

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3 hours ago, CharlieH said:

Sorry to be Mr. Grumpy here but is this all they ever dance on tours? Whether it's DC, Paris, London, Russia, Spain, we see these two ballets, usually opening with Viengsay Valdes and the Cuban Danseur of the Moment (since they all seem to defect quickly, there's a new top classical guy on every tour). It's either these two full-length works or their classical potpourri, la Magia de la Danza. Why don't they tour with newer mixed bills or other full lengths in their rep, such as their unique takes on Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella, which was seen once at City Center, about 20 years ago?

They tour with the work that the presenter thinks will sell. 

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They have a very limited repertoire as is. Sort of frozen in time. If Mme. Alonso danced it, it's there. If not, it's not. I remember awhile ago they tried to tour Les Sylphides but was blocked by the Fokine estate.

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5 hours ago, canbelto said:

They have a very limited repertoire as is. Sort of frozen in time. If Mme. Alonso danced it, it's there. If not, it's not. I remember awhile ago they tried to tour Les Sylphides but was blocked by the Fokine estate.

I thought it was ABT who blocked their Sylphides because ABT had bought exclusive U.S. (or North American) rights to the ballet?

How  to balance repertory on these tours does seem a conundrum. In days of yore, the company did tour with some interesting mixed rep -- including Blood Wedding with Antonio Gades which was rather a highlight. Also something to feature the men--maybe Dolin's Variation for Four? Which is an older work.

(The last time I saw them was in 2001 for a mixed bill of excerpts/highlights from standard classics lovingly danced--Coppelia, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Don Q--and Valdes', who was unknown to me, balancing to end all balances with complete classical calm in the latter--but they also included another work  that Alonso herself had choreographed.  I just looked it up--it was Gottschalk Symphony. I don't think critics would line up to praise it--but I enjoyed it as a showcase for the dancers. Edited to add: perhaps this was the Magia de la Danza program CharlieH mentioned above...)

I am sure presenters are concerned about what people -- and not just ballet-fan-people -- will go to see.  And the choices seem to narrow more and more (News of Lincoln Center Festival's demise is not heartening on that front.) But, not having seen the National Ballet of Cuba in 16 years I would LOVE to see them in Giselle or Don Quixote and will eagerly await people's reactions.

Edited by Drew

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15 hours ago, canbelto said:

They have a very limited repertoire as is. Sort of frozen in time. If Mme. Alonso danced it, it's there. If not, it's not. I remember awhile ago they tried to tour Les Sylphides but was blocked by the Fokine estate.

Uh, not quite right. They have a rather extensive active rep:

http://www.balletcuba.cult.cu/repertorio/

No need to go with same-ol', same-ol', performed in ratty-tatty costumes and sets, unless they've been overhauled since the Spain tour that I attended a couple of years ago.

I'd love to once again see their iconic pieces by Alberto Mendez, the newer pieces by Quantz and J. Peck, their Magic Flute/Drigo recon. etc.

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Having never seen the company since I believe a Strauss "Cinderella" over 20 years ago at City Center(??), I am curious and would like to see the "Don Quixote" in DC at least for Viengsay Valdes.

On 11/15/2017 at 9:39 AM, abatt said:

This is confirmed now:  "Giselle" June 6 to 8.

https://spac.org/calendar/calendar-of-events/?view=list&gen=2

This is the casting from the Kennedy Center website:  http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BSBSJ

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRINCIPAL CASTING  (subject to change)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don Quixote

Kitri, the beautiful: Viengsay Valdés (5/29 evening), Grettel Morejón (5/30 evening)
Basilio, town barber: Dani Hernández (5/29 evening), Rafael Quenedit (5/30 evening)
Espada (Sword), bullfighter: Ariel Martínez (5/29 evening), Patricio Revé (5/30 evening)
Mercedes, his lover: Ginett Moncho (5/29 evening),  Claudia García (5/30 evening)
Queen of the Dryads: Claudia García (5/29 evening), Chavela Riera (5/30 evening)

Giselle

Giselle, young peasant girl: Sadaise Arencibia (5/31 evening), Viengsay Valdés (June 1 evening), Sadaise Arencibia (June 2 matinee), Grettel Morejón (June 2 evening), Viengsay Valdés (June 3 matinee)

Albrecht, Duke of Silesia: Raúl Abreu (5/31 evening), Patricio Revé (June 1 evening), Raúl Abreu (June 2 matinee), Rafael Quenedit (June 2 evening), Dani Hernández (June 3 matinee)

Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis: Ginett Moncho (5/31 evening), Claudia García (June 1 evening), Ely Regina (June 2 matinee), Ginett Moncho (June 2 evening), Claudia García (June 3 matinee)
 

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Posted (edited)

I'll pass. Valdes is 40 already, so I don't know how much more energy she might have left to pull a Kitri at this stage of her career. Their production of Giselle is quite old, a mid century staging by Dolin/Alonso that did substitute a wonderful reconstruction by Mary Skeaping-(which included the rare Fugue of the Willis). If anything, go to see some charming details that are otherwise nowhere else to be found , like the original fast music ending finale-( instead of the arranged-for-Pavlova melancholic one used by ABT, and imported by Baryshnikov)-, or the 1920's Spessivtseva diagonal at the end of Giselle's Pas Seul in act I, inherited from Markova/Alonso. Expect also some cuts in the music, specially at the end of Giselle's initiation scene in act I,-(which you can see follows the pattern if this section in Markova's old film). I'm sure many will think of this production outdated, and will find some port de bras and other technical particularities somewhat old fashioned, but it'll be a good comparison point between what's left of the production that reached the West via Spessivtseva and Markova vs. the usual take that we all know , which basically cones from the mid century Soviet Union productions via Nureyev, Baryshnikov and Makarova after their defections . Another thing...will they use the Kennedy orchestra...? They might not have the money to do so, and if so...canned music could be. Not very appealing.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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No Anette Delgado?

She is one of my favourite Giselles ever and she was sublime in Paris last summer.

 

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So I just looked it up. Valdes is 42, and that's extreme to American standards of ballet-( and even more for a Kitri).

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On the plus side, my ticket states clearly "with the Kennedy Center orchestra". So no canned music!

My Giselle will be Grettel Morejón. Has anyone seen her perform this role?

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Some things you should expect if seeing Giselle's staging, from the top of my head.

-This production has its roots in three different productions: the Romanoff/Balanchine 1946 staging for BT in NYC , the Dolin 1948 staging for Ballet Alicia Alonso in Havana and the 1953 Mary Skeaping staging, also for ballet Alicia Alonso. All three versions were premiered by Alonso and Youskevitch.

-There are musical cuts and/or differences from the standard versions we know. And here are some of them.

- Albrecht's entrance is not set to the triumphant music we are used to.  In the Cuban version it is set to the main sweet, arpeggiated leitmotif we hear in the overture. The triumphant music is heard when Albrecht comes out of the cottage after having a change of clothes-(another difference with ABT's, which has Albrecht already dressed as Loys right since his entrance).

-The Peasant pas de deux is instead a "ballabile for Giselle's friends". I believe four couples plus two female soloists.

-Giselle's Pas Seul finishes with the famous Spessivtzeva's diagonal of pirouettes, instead of the circle of piques usually seen. This diagonal was danced in ABT up until Baryshnikov. I don't know of any other company who keeps it today, besides CNB.

-Giselle's Initiation scene in Act II has a double pirouette in attitude on pointe right after the Grand Pirouettes. For this reason, expect the Grand Pirouettes to be executed slower than what you are used to. This section is also cut shorter than ABT's.

- Myrtha's choreography is different in certain sections.  And her arabesques penchees are way slower and deeper.  Cuban Myrtha takes her sweet time with her arabesques.  You might find some of the tempi extremely slow.

- The series of entrechats for Giselle are done in a devilishly fast way, mimicked after Alonso's, which were just like that.  If the ballerina is not very good at such footwork, they might look almost non existent to the eye.

- The music for the finale, right after Giselle has bid her final farewell to Albrecht is not the very slow ABT-(or the Russians)- have.  At some point I recall reading here that the slow ending had been a change for a staging with Pavlova- ( I think it was Mel Johnson).  Instead the ending is here the allegedly original...a very fast, quick music section, which has Albrecht running all over the stage to then collapse over Giselle's grave.

- Stylistically, you might find this staging old fashioned, and I suppose the poses will look rather stiff and outdated to some.  You won't see amplitude, but rather constriction.  Many tilted torsos and necks, and a Chopiniana-like formation for the willis instead of the double line on each side of the stage.

 

 

 

 

 

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What does Albrecht wear before he changes to Loy's 

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9 hours ago, Vs1 said:

What does Albrecht wear before he changes to Loy's 

He comes with his noble attire of cape and hat. The cape is wrapped around so you can't see what's underneath, but the idea is that he comes as Albrecht and emerges out of the cottage in a different attire and disguised as Loys.

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But he always enters with cape ( no hat)

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I did see an Alonso Giselle yesterday and she was the only one who blew kIsses, another difference

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On 5/21/2018 at 11:27 PM, mussel said:

Anyone know whether live orchestra or canned music will be used in Saratoga?

I've heard it will be recorded music. A shame. 

SPAC is begging people to buy tickets. "Limited time only" discounts keep reappearing. 

Meanwhile NYCB is cut to one week. And no press whatsoever. 

 

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16 hours ago, rkoretzky said:

I've heard it will be recorded music. A shame. 

SPAC is begging people to buy tickets. "Limited time only" discounts keep reappearing. 

Meanwhile NYCB is cut to one week. And no press whatsoever. 

 

The lack of press is not necessarily the fault of the presenter.  While they might buy display advertising, the rest of the attention in print is the decision of editors, many of whom feel that arts coverage is not going to draw readership.

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