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mussel

ABT 2017 Don Quixote

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mussel   

The spring season opens tonight with Don Quixote.  Looking forward to read all the reports.

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Kaysta   

Yay for the start of the ABT season!

 

I'm seeing two casts this week, the Shevchenko/Lendorf Wednesday matinee and the Boylston/Simkin matinee on Saturday.

 

I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts.

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abatt   

I saw the performance last night.  Murphy danced Kitri with crispness, sharp attack and vivacity.  She radiated joy throughout the theater.  Yes, she still does those triple fouettes with fan-waving arm variations in the wedding scene.  She also still  manages the Plisetskaya  kick is Act I beautifully.  Cory Stearns is no virtuoso, but he did well enough with his solo work, and was a good partner for Murphy.  Whiteside was hammy and fun as Espada.  Um, now we get to the weak link in the performance, Hee Seo.  She was fine as Mercedes.  However, she continues to falter as the Dryad Queen.  She managed the first 2 or three Italian fouettes, but then imploded by repeatedly coming off pointe.  This is not a new problem.  It's an embarrassment that a principal dancer at ABT is so technically inept.  If she can't do the role, split it up so that Seo only does Mercedes, and someone who can actually do the fouettes performs Dryad.  Teuscher and Trenary were the flower girls.  They were excellent.  McKenzie should have had Teuscher do Dryad.   Sarah Lane did Amour.  She was, as always, wonderful.  Cannot wait for her Giselle!  Gabe Stone Shayer was exciting as the lead pirate or whatever that role is called.  He did some very impressive work, with especially deep backbends.

 

Does McKenzie think the audience is too dumb to realize Hee Seo's  errors, or does he just shut his eyes to the problem?

 

Sad to report that the house looked at least half empty.

Edited by abatt

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3 hours ago, abatt said:

 However, she continues to falter as the Dryad Queen.  She managed the first 2 or three Italian fouettes, but then imploded by repeatedly coming off pointe.  This is not a new problem.  It's an embarrassment that a principal dancer at ABT is so technically inept.  If she can't do the role, split it up so that Seo only does Mercedes, and someone who can actually do the fouettes performs Dryad. 

Thanks for this report! I remember Copeland falling out of those Italian fouettes, too. I read somewhere that those are even more difficult than "regular" fouettes -- can a dancer/former dancer on the site confirm that?

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I have been told that they are very difficult, especially for those with hyperextension.  I suppose that is why both the above-named dancers might find them challenging.  

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They're fairly challenging, but 32 fouetté turns is much more difficult, in my experience. There's no excuse for a professional dancer, let alone an ABT principal, not to be able to perform either type of fouetté. If you can't do it, do something else or have someone else dance the role.

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nanushka   
53 minutes ago, chicagoballetomane said:

They're fairly challenging, but 32 fouetté turns is much more difficult, in my experience. There's no excuse for a professional dancer, let alone an ABT principal, not to be able to perform either type of fouetté. If you can't do it, do something else or have someone else dance the role.

 

And it's one thing for a dancer to have an area of general technical weakness that results in an occasional slip, but to keep putting the same dancer in the same role before paying audiences when it's well established that she cannot perform one of its most iconic steps (here I refer to the QofD's Italian fouettés...don't mean to relitigate old arguments!) seems to me quite objectionable.

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DeCoster   

I agree with chicagoballetomane on this one.  The diziness and problems with traveling are much less of a factor with the Italian fouettes.  Easier for me, anyway.  The challenge with the Italians is adjusting your weight: forward in attitude position and upright in the a la seconde.  I think having very flexible arches, which both Seo and Copeland have, can make your base less stable so you are more prone to falling off pointe.  (Also why I think Ferri and Part have had their struggles executing certain tricks)  But there are ways to stregnthen your ankles and overcome this.  Boylston, for instance, has hyperextension and very flexible feet, yet she doesn't have these problems (her more subtle difficulties are in her upper body).

 

Thanks for your review Abatt.  Good to hear about Shayer; he seems to relish any role assigned, and I hope he is cast when I go on Friday.

 

 

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ABT Fan   

Italian fouettés are definitely more difficult than regular fouettés. Regular ones are a continuous turn which is why I found them easier. Italian ones force you to stop and change direction, which is harder to coordinate without them looking laborious.

 

Edited: I see some of us disagree here, which is fine of course. But, based on my own experience I'd much rather do regular fouettés. However, I agree with those that say that a principal at ABT must be able to do both (and really well), otherwise have them do something else if they're going to continue to be cast in that part.

Edited by ABT Fan

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abatt   

I could have easily accepted laborious.  Repeatedly coming off pointe, however, is unacceptable.

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Josette   

For some dancers, the Italian fouettes are easy and they find a natural rhythm and swing around and balance without problem. Speaking from personal experience. 

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I agree... so much of Italian Foutees is a natural coordination and rhythm. They were always very easy for me (I actually think that might have to do with me playing around with it in the studio at age 11 before I knew it was supposed to be hard! So much in ballet is made more difficult by overthinking). I do think for most dancers Italian Fouettes are more difficult due to the change in balance on the supporting leg. I'm very hyperextended and that had little effect, although I was not blessed with incredibly high insteps. Generally, high insteps make pointe work more difficult due to lack of strength. You have to work very hard to develop strength and also to maintain it. 

 

That being said, I do find it troubling that there are continued reports of ABT ballerinas having such difficulties with this particular step. Not to mention to be continually cast in a role that requires them make zero sense. With the talent level in ABT, surely they have a few dancers who could dance the role beautifully in spite of not being a principal.  Are the dancers cast as Queen of the Dryads really a huge draw for those buying tickets? I wouldn't really think so and tend to think many would appreciate seeing up and coming talent in a debutant type role. Wasting resources seems to be a specialty of ABT

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Does anyone know if there was a casting change tonight? Veronika Part posted a picture on Instagram that's captioned "First performance. Met 2017," but she's not scheduled to dance anything until next week. She was always amazing as Mercedes/Queen of the Dryads, so I would rush for the chance to see her in that role again. I just can't tell whose headpiece from Act II she may be wearing.

 

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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mussel   

Tonight Mercedes and QoD were split roles with Paris as the former and Part as the latter.

 

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Natalia   
1 hour ago, mussel said:

Tonight Mercedes and QoD were split roles with Paris as the former and Part as the latter.

 

 

Interesting. And how was our Kitri in her debut...including the Coda of the PDD? I bet that the audience went wild for Mlle. Copeland and team. :thumbsup:

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nanushka   
6 hours ago, mussel said:

Tonight Mercedes and QoD were split roles with Paris as the former and Part as the latter.

 

 

Interesting. I wonder if that was always intended, and the calendar just didn't reflect it, or if that was a change. I'm so sorry to have missed Veronika's QofD!

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I went to the matinee with Shevchenko/Lendorf as the leads and Teuscher/Hoven as Mercedes/Espada.  Shevchenko was fantastic!!  Gorgeous extension, really nice balances and lovely adagio dancing in Act II, and fouettes to die for (complete with opening/closing the fan) in Act III.  I was also very impressed with her characterization.  In the past, she hasn't struck me as having the biggest personality, but she really sold the character of Kitri this afternoon and had some nice chemistry with Lendorf.

 

There were a few bobbles in the performance--some small partnering difficulties, and at the beginning of the Act III variation, she dropped her fan--but it some ways, it was more impressive than a perfect performance, because Shevchenko didn't let these little mishaps faze her at all.  If she was nervous, I couldn't tell.  As my friend said, it looked like she'd danced the role several times.

 

I will write more later, but I also want to mention that Teuscher made a killer Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads.  I have never been so relaxed while watching Italian fouettes; it looked like Teuscher could've easily done another set of eight.  Rachel Richardson was an extremely charming Amour, and Zhiyao Zhang was a spectacular lead gypsy.  I hope to see him dance Don Q one day!

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aurora   
1 hour ago, Batsuchan said:

I went to the matinee with Shevchenko/Lendorf as the leads and Teuscher/Hoven as Mercedes/Espada.  Shevchenko was fantastic!!  Gorgeous extension, really nice balances and lovely adagio dancing in Act II, and fouettes to die for (complete with opening/closing the fan) in Act III.  I was also very impressed with her characterization.  In the past, she hasn't struck me as having the biggest personality, but she really sold the character of Kitri this afternoon and had some nice chemistry with Lendorf.

 

There were a few bobbles in the performance--some small partnering difficulties, and at the beginning of the Act III variation, she dropped her fan--but it some ways, it was more impressive than a perfect performance, because Shevchenko didn't let these little mishaps faze her at all.  If she was nervous, I couldn't tell.  As my friend said, it looked like she'd danced the role several times.

 

I will write more later, but I also want to mention that Teuscher made a killer Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads.  I have never been so relaxed while watching Italian fouettes; it looked like Teuscher could've easily done another set of eight.  Rachel Richardson was an extremely charming Amour, and Zhiyao Zhang was a spectacular lead gypsy.  I hope to see him dance Don Q one day!

I agree on everything!

 

I'd just like to add that Rachel Richardson's shoes were ASTONISHINGLY quiet, which at the met opera house is no mean feat.

 

and that the fan drop preceded a totally fantastically danced solo--it was like "take that fan!" followed by a coda with doubles with fan above head...

 

Also, please get rid of the hair metal gypsy costumes ABT--I'm too busy laughing to watch!

 

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bingham   
4 hours ago, Batsuchan said:

I went to the matinee with Shevchenko/Lendorf as the leads and Teuscher/Hoven as Mercedes/Espada.  Shevchenko was fantastic!!  Gorgeous extension, really nice balances and lovely adagio dancing in Act II, and fouettes to die for (complete with opening/closing the fan) in Act III.  I was also very impressed with her characterization.  In the past, she hasn't struck me as having the biggest personality, but she really sold the character of Kitri this afternoon and had some nice chemistry with Lendorf.

 

There were a few bobbles in the performance--some small partnering difficulties, and at the beginning of the Act III variation, she dropped her fan--but it some ways, it was more impressive than a perfect performance, because Shevchenko didn't let these little mishaps faze her at all.  If she was nervous, I couldn't tell.  As my friend said, it looked like she'd danced the role several times.

 

I will write more later, but I also want to mention that Teuscher made a killer Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads.  I have never been so relaxed while watching Italian fouettes; it looked like Teuscher could've easily done another set of eight.  Rachel Richardson was an extremely charming Amour, and Zhiyao Zhang was a spectacular lead gypsy.  I hope to see him dance Don Q one day!

 Thanks for the report of today's matinee. Wish i could have seen it. Regarding Z Zhang, i'm sure, you meant his dancing of Basilio instead of Don Q in the future.

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abatt   

I was also at the matinee yesterday, and agree with all the comments above praising Shevshenko, Teuscher,  Zhang and Richardson.   I will also add that Blaine Hoven looked superb as Espada.  I was slightly disappointed in Lendorf.  He did nothing wrong, but his performance lacked verve. Also some of the partnering was a bit rough.  Oh, and Ms. Hamrick has returned to the stage. She was a flower girl. Welcome back.

 

I also went to the evening performance.   Amazing performances from Simkin and Boylston.  This may be Simkin's best role.  He pulled out all  of the virtuoso tricks in his tool box.  Boytlson was also stellar.  Stella and Hammoudi were excellent in their supporting roles as Mercedes/Dryad and Espada.  Stella had no trouble whatsoever with her Italian fouettes.  And Skylar Brandt was a spectacular Amour.

 

 

Edited by abatt

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Natalia   
54 minutes ago, abatt said:

I was also at the matinee yesterday, and agree with all the comments above prasing Shevshenko, Teuscher,  Zhang and Richardson.   I will also add that Blaine Hoven looked superb as Espada.  I was slightly disappointed in Lendorf.  He did nothing wrong, but his performance lacked verve. Also some of the partnering was a bit rough.  Oh, and Ms. Hamrick has returned to the stage. She was a flower girl. Welcome back.

 

I also went to the evening performance.   Amazing performances from Simkin and Boylston.  This may be Simkin's best role.  He pulled out all  of the virtuoso tricks in his tool box.  Boytlson was also stellar.  Stella and Hammoudi were excellent in their supporting roles as Mercedes/Dryad and Espada.  Stella had no trouble whatsoever with her Italian fouettes.  And Skylar Brandt was a spectacular Amour.

 

 

 

Thanks so much for these reports, everyone. ABT seems to be in grand form, early into the season. May it continue.  It's great that Simkin's Basil has been professionally filmed, thanks to the Japanese commercial DVD from a few years ago, with Kajija as Kitri and, I think, Part as Dryad Queen.

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NinaFan   
1 hour ago, abatt said:

I was also at the matinee yesterday, and agree with all the comments above prasing Shevshenko, Teuscher,  Zhang and Richardson.   I will also add that Blaine Hoven looked superb as Espada.  I was slightly disappointed in Lendorf.  He did nothing wrong, but his performance lacked verve. Also some of the partnering was a bit rough.  Oh, and Ms. Hamrick has returned to the stage. She was a flower girl. Welcome back.

 

 

I agree with everything everyone has said about Wednesday’s matinee.  Shevchenko just blew me away!  Starting with those stunning back kicks in the first act down to her spectacular fouettes!  Whew!  I am also in agreement about Lendorf.   He was fine, with great panache, but not as exciting as I would have liked.  I expected more fireworks in his solos.   Unfortunately there were lots of empty seats.  Irina and Max were in the audience as well as Julio Bragado-Young. 

 

We never miss a Boylston/Simkin Don Q, but we couldn’t stay for last night.  I can’t wait to see them on Saturday!!!!!! 

Edited by NinaFan

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I was a the evening performance last night (Simkin/Boylston).  IMO, I was disappointed with the odd pairing.  I found there seems to be a lack of connection between Isabella and Daniil.  I would like to see Daniil to be more giving and caring to his partner instead of just focusing on his jumps and tricks.

 

Stella was beautiful as Mercedes/QofD.  She was fully in character the entire ballet and her Italian fouettés was executed nicely.  Hammoudi looked handsome last night as Espada and was a strong partner to Stella.  Felicia.  However, his solo part seems to lack energy.  Felicia.  IMO, I want more from those rond verse in the 3rd act

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2 hours ago, NinaFan said:

 

I agree with everything everyone has said about Wednesday’s matinee.  Shevchenko just blew me away!  Starting with those stunning back kicks in the first act down to her spectacular fouettes!  Whew! 

 

I've been very interested in the praise for Shevchenko and wish I were in NYC to see this. Others have noted Ratmansky's talent for identifying potential and he seems to have picked out another winner four years ago. She was a replacement for Gillian Murphy in second cast in 2013 in Piano Concerto #1 in his Trilogy (presumably a decision made by Ratmansky).

 

Scroll down and you can see Acocella's praise for her: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/ratmansky-and-shostakovich-together-again

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