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I attended the May 27th matinee.  I wasn’t sure about what kind of performance soloist Sarah Lane would give, but she turned out to be one of the best Giselles I have ever seen.  Lane is a very young and in innocent peasant girl who is totally in love with Albrecht (whom she think is  a peasant named Loys).  She fully inhabits the role – her simplicity, her devotion to her mother, even her delicate constitution – all are perfect.  Everything about Lane’s characterization of Giselle is genuine. Her mad scene is heartbreakingly artless.   Lane’s acting is so heartfelt, I feel myself tearing up.  In Act II Lane’s Giselle stands out for her deep arabesques and whirlwind turns.  Lane’s willi is feather light, wafting ethereally across the stage.

 

Daniil Simkin’s Albrecht is an impulsive young man who really loves Giselle.  He’s pushed his real life so far in the background that he doesn’t think about his actual fiancée when he’s with Giselle.  Albrecht is so devastated by Giselle’s death that it is painful to watch.  Simkin’s Act II Albrecht stands out for his sky high leaps and his wonderful brisse voles.  His Albrecht, however, is a young man full of emotions – remorse, grief, and especially love. The most wonderful thing about this matinee, however, is that both Lane and Simkin become Giselle and Albrecht.  I don’t think I have ever seen a ‘Giselle’ where the main performers are so in tune with each other – both in their acting and their dancing.  Their side by side leaps performed in both Acts I and II are absolutely flawless.  Every small gesture of affection is so real and natural that the audience believes in their love for each other.

 

Christine Shevchenko is an intensely stony and forbidding Myrtha, queen of the willis, who impresses with her powerful, vengeful leaps.  The willis dance together in splendid tandem.  Craig Salstein is a very sympathetic Hilarion, who really cares about Giselle and wants to protect her from a man who is not what he is pretending to be.  When Hilarion is danced to death by the willis, Salstein show total exhaustion, both in body and in spirit. Blaine Hoven is a disappointment in the peasant pas de deux.  His leaps lack height and his turns lack speed.  Cassandra Trenary, however, shows off her light lovely leaps and her sparkling footwork.

 

I hope ABT keeps this glorious ‘Giselle’ in their repertoire.  The combination of magnificent music (by Adolphe Adam) and transcendent performances makes this ‘Giselle’ one that should last for a long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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cobweb   

HE'S BACK. Rarely have I been part of such a joyful and raucous ballet crowd as last night. I felt the same. I almost couldn't believe my eyes. He looks great! Count me happy. 

I enjoyed the whole performance. Murphy isn't entirely believable as a gullible village teenager, being so hearty, healthy, and seemingly sane, but I enjoyed her fresh-faced appeal, technical security, and partnership with Hallberg. I'm thankful they did whatever it took, taking her out of last week's assignments, to keep her healthy for this performance. 

Stella Abrera looked great also. I enjoy her marvelous liquid fluidity. And Skylar Brandt, subbing for Luciana Paris in the peasant pdd, was absolutely lovely, lithe, and charmingly natural and at ease. I'd add that Alexandra Basmagy was beautiful as Bathilde, with very clear mime.  

But mostly, I am thankful for the return of a healthy David Hallberg. 

Edited by cobweb

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abatt   

KarenAG, did you make it to Giselle?  How utterly frustrating to have a transportation disaster!

 

I saw both performances yesterday.  Lane brought tears to my eyes.  She was that good.  I agree with everyone above who thought she was perfectly suited to Giselle.  Also, she and Simkin worked so beautifully together.  He also gave a brilliant performance.  Please pair these two up again next year in everything!  Is it too much to hope for a Lane Simkin R&J next season?  

 

Unfortunately I was not moved by the evening performance.  Murphy seemed more like Kitri dancing Giselle.  She is a technical powerhouse, but she doesn't convey fragility or vulnerability.  I didn't mind the fast turns around the stage in Act I- it's supposed to convey her joy of dancing.  But why did she elect not to do the choreography in Act I where she rolls down off pointe on one foot while raising the other leg in arabesque?  I enjoyed seeing Hallberg again.  He looked magnificent. However, unlike Osipova who tended to bring out the best in David, I'm not sure that the partnership w. Murphy is a winner.  Stella was gorgeous as Myrta.

 

Perhaps at this stage Murphy is just too womanly and mature looking to be successful as a young, innocent waif named Giselle.

 

 

Edited by abatt

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sz   

BRAVA to Sarah for a most moving, beautiful Giselle.  A performance I have not seen the likes of in years.  

 

Responding to the person who posted earlier here that Sarah must have had coaching for a long time and outside of ABT......That could not be further from the truth, speaking as a good friend to Sarah.  Giselle is one of Sarah's most loved roles and she has learned so much from watching others perform it, not from working on the role outside of ABT.  Life perhaps full of great love and loss has been her guide as well.

 

Bravo to Daniil too for his brilliant dancing and improvement both in partnering and acting.  I was very impressed with how much he has grown.

 

I fell deeply in love, and in tears, heart aching, during this wonderful performance.  So grateful to have experienced these amazing artists.

 

 

Edited by sz
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DeCoster   
15 hours ago, LadyBubbles said:

 

I believe she got 3, actually. Two big ones and a smaller one. It's not that unusual for ballerinas to get more than one bouquet on stage, although it doesn't happen that often anymore. All the big stars who guest with ABT usually get 2.

 

Ahh thanks.  I didn't notice 3!  I have been attending performances for 20 years, and I guess I never took much note of the flowers, except for the piles of bouquets at retirements.  Sarah Lane seemed surprised.  She was probably just really happy and overwhelmed after such a huge performance.

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KarenAG   
24 minutes ago, abatt said:

KarenAG, did you make it to Giselle?  How utterly frustrating to have a transportation disaster!

 

I saw both performances yesterday.  Lane brought tears to my eyes.  She was that good.  I agree with everyone above who thought she was perfectly suited to Giselle.  Also, she and Simkin worked so beautifully together.  He also gave a brilliant performance.  Please pair these two up again next year in everything!  Is it too much to hope for a Lane Simkin R&J next season?  

 

Unfortunately I was not moved by the evening performance.  Murphy seemed more like Kitri dancing Giselle.  She is a technical powerhouse, but she doesn't convey fragility or vulnerability.  I didn't mind the fast turns around the stage in Act I- it's supposed to convey her joy of dancing.  But why did she elect not to do the choreography in Act I where she rolls down off pointe on one foot while raising the other leg in arabesque?  I enjoyed seeing Hallberg again.  He looked magnificent. However, unlike Osipova who tended to bring out the best in David, I'm not sure that the partnership w. Murphy is a winner.  Stella was gorgeous as Myrta.

 

Perhaps at this stage Murphy is just too womanly and mature looking to be successful as a young, innocent waif named Giselle.

 

 

Greetings, Abatt, Kaysta, Drew and Everyone,

 

I am so happy so many of you (all of you, I think, from your posts!) really enjoyed Sarah Lane's performance.  It must have been one special performance.  I hope she will dance Giselle again next season and I do hope there is a promotion waiting for her.  It seems terribly unfair not to promote her to principal as I find her a truly lyrical and intelligent dancer, hard-working and also modest.    

 

Thank you so much for thinking of me re May 27, Day from Hell.  No, Abatt, I missed it entirely thanks to Greyhound/Trailways.  I'm still in shock that I missed this performance, esp. after reading all of your heartfelt and rapturous posts about Sarah's Giselle, and I was near tears most of the day yesterday.  The bus rolled in at 3:15 pm, exactly 3 hours late.  We broke down at 10:45 am between Exit 19 (Kingston) and Exit 18 (New Paltz) and the driver quickly assured us there were buses in Kingston.  Yet we didn't board a new bus until 1:30 pm!  I hoped I might catch Act 2 but really lost heart as we travelled into NJ to Ridgway - I just knew I couldn't get up to Lincoln Center from Port Authority in time for Act 2.  Forget myself, there were babies and children on that bus, some people had connecting travel schedules and we received nary an apology and no offer of recompense from Greyhound/Trailways.  I'm understanding about the breakdown; what I am angry about is how long it took to get another bus and their seemingly being ok with it.  Ghastly. But, it wasn't an accident, so I should count my blessings.  

 

Are any of you attending Stella's performance Tue night?   I'm sure that will be terrific, too.   

   

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Natalia   

KarenAG, so sorry to read what happened. I'm sure you'll have another chance to catch Sarah's Giselle in the future.

 

Traveling just to see a ballet is always a gamble on so many fronts, such as missing flight connects, casting changes, bus or train delays (esp in winter). 

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angelica   

I totally agree with everyone who loved Sarah Lane's Giselle. The heartfelt applause she received from the audience made me think there were many attendees who believed, as I do, that Sarah's promotion to principal has been long overdue, and especially how long this performance has been eagerly awaited.

In particular, what struck me about Sarah is that she is a short dancer who dances TALL. Her almost 6-o'clock extensions seemed just right for her stature, rather than a standard crowd-pleasing gesture. Her leaps occurred as 180-degree splits high off the ground. As an innocent peasant girl, she was completely believable, and as a will (just try to type that with autocorrect!) she was as light as a feather. I had only one moment of anxiety, when Daniil Simkin, who was a more than adequate Albrecht overall, lifted her into the air and it seemed she had to adjust her position so as not to fall. When she did those barely supported grand jetes from downstage left to upstage right, getting higher and longer with each successive one, she barely touched the ground in between, giving the sensation that she was flying through the air, something I haven't seen the likes of since Ekaterina Maximova did them that way in 1965.

With Theme & Variations, Sleeping Beauty, Whipped Cream, and now Giselle under her belt, having given five-star performances of each of these, it would be fair, right, and a tremendous relief to those of us who support the company, if ABT were to finally give Sarah the recognition that she deserves. Are you listening, ABT?

KarenAG, I'm so sorry you missed this!

Edited by angelica
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angelica   

Yesterday I died and went to Ballet Heaven courtesy of ABT's double header of Giselle, both performances of which were long awaited and historical. Above I wrote about Sarah Lane. Here are some further thoughts:

Of course, Stella Abrera is, and was again last night, the quintessential Myrta, cold, fearless, and authoritative. One moment struck me as especially poignant: when Gillian was standing in front of David, shielding him from Myrta's power, Myrta, who had always relied on her switch of myrtle to exercise her will, suddenly realized that in the face of Giselle's love, it had lost all power. The subtle acting from Stella that conveyed this realization is worthy of mention.

Christine Shevchenko was also a commanding Myrta, and I would especially commend her tiny, rapid bourrees, as well as the many high-flying grand jetes in attitude that she did throughout the second act.

Both Hilarions, Craig Salstein and Thomas Forster, were excellent.

And I must not fail to mention Cassandra Trenary, Blaine Hoven, Skylar Brandt, and Joey Gorak for their show-stopping performances of the peasant pas de deux.

 

Gillian, too, was a lovely Giselle, but to my eyes did not quite reach the level of innocence in Act I, and lightness in Act II, that she did in the film with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Still, I was glad to see her and she deserved this opportunity.

 

Seeing David Hallberg back on the stage was something, I confess, I had not expected in the last two years. For me, the highlights of his performance were his confidence in lifting Gillian in Act II, which I gather comes from his now-stronger upper body, and the series of entrechats six he did towards the end of the ballet. I think he's still getting his "stage legs" and his "line" back, and that we will see many beautiful performances from him in the seasons to come. Welcome back, David!

Edited by angelica
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KarenAG   
5 hours ago, Natalia said:

KarenAG, so sorry to read what happened. I'm sure you'll have another chance to catch Sarah's Giselle in the future.

 

Traveling just to see a ballet is always a gamble on so many fronts, such as missing flight connects, casting changes, bus or train delays (esp in winter). 

Thank you, Natalia.  Yes, it is certainly a gamble.  I've had a couple of issues traveling 3 hours to NYC for ballets and other concerts, but I've never experienced anything like yesterday.     

 

5 hours ago, angelica said:

I totally agree with everyone who loved Sarah Lane's Giselle. The heartfelt applause she received from the audience made me think there were many attendees who believed, as I do, that Sarah's promotion to principal has been long overdue, and especially how long this performance has been eagerly awaited.

In particular, what struck me about Sarah is that she is a short dancer who dances TALL. Her almost 6-o'clock extensions seemed just right for her stature, rather than a standard crowd-pleasing gesture. Her leaps occurred as 180-degree splits high off the ground. As an innocent peasant girl, she was completely believable, and as a will (just try to type that with autocorrect!) she was as light as a feather. I had only one moment of anxiety, when Daniil Simkin, who was a more than adequate Albrecht overall, lifted her into the air and it seemed she had to adjust her position so as not to fall. When she did those barely supported grand jetes from downstage left to upstage right, getting higher and longer with each successive one, she barely touched the ground in between, giving the sensation that she was flying through the air, something I haven't seen the likes of since Ekaterina Maximova did them that way in 1965.

With Theme & Variations, Sleeping Beauty, Whipped Cream, and now Giselle under her belt, having given five-star performances of each of these, it would be fair, right, and a tremendous relief to those of us who support the company, if ABT were to finally give Sarah the recognition that she deserves. Are you listening, ABT?

KarenAG, I'm so sorry you missed this!

Thank you, Angelica.  So am I.  However, it is indeed gratifying to hear all the lovely and positive comments on Sarah's performance, as well as the interesting posts about other Giselle's at ABT this season.  

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abatt   

So sorry you missed the performance, KarenAG.  Hopefully McKenzie will now give Lane the roles she has deserved for so many years, including more Giselle performances.  Based on her performances over the years, including her Giselle last night, she deserves to be promoted. I'm not holding my breath, though. 

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KarenAG   
10 minutes ago, abatt said:

So sorry you missed the performance, KarenAG.  Hopefully McKenzie will now give Lane the roles she has deserved for so many years, including more Giselle performances.  Based on her performances over the years, including her Giselle last night, she deserves to be promoted. I'm not holding my breath, though. 

Thank you, again, abatt.  Everyone has been so kind and it's very comforting to have this knowledgeable, intelligent and devoted ballet community, despite that I don't post much lately due to a very busy life right now.  Well, I've definitely spoken my piece about how I feel about Sarah Lane on this topic and I agree with you.          

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ABT Fan   

I was also at the matinee yesterday and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I agree with what so many others have already said. I was so excited to see Lane's debut and had high hopes but she far exceeded my expectations. I wasn't prepared for the emotional wallop and I have never felt so uncomfortable watching the mad scene before. Lane was so natural with everything she did, nothing looked contrived or even thought out. She made me believe I was watching an innocent in-love girl lose her mind. Her extensions were higher than ever, her turns were fast and effortless, her jumps light and airy, and her ports de bras and upper body are as beautiful as ever. To echo someone else above, hers are the best in the company. She is the most natural Giselle I have ever seen. 

 

Lane and Simkin are a great pairing and when they were blowing kisses at each other early in Act I they really looked like kids in love. Simkin's dancing was breathtaking. Good heavens....those leaps of his! His partnering has greatly improved but you could see the shakiness in a few of the overhead lifts and he couldn't get her high enough in a few others. But, no big errors and they have amazing chemistry. 

 

Shevchenko was a formidable Myrta, commanding with the confidence of a principal. She too was even better than I had anticipated. 

 

As as others have noted, I too have been hoping for a Lane R&J and after yesterday I can only imagine how heartbreaking she and Simkin would be together. 

 

I'm going to hold my breath and cross my fingers that Lane will now get the promotion she deserves. If it can happen for Abrera perhaps ABT will see the light a second time.

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It's been great reading everyone's reviews of the May 27th Giselles.  I always felt that Gillian Murphy would not make for a believable young peasant girl with a weak heart.  When I saw both Cynthia Gregory and Nina Aniashivelli in Giselle I felt the same way.  What about Isabella Boylston?  If anyone sees her performance in Giselle, please post about it.

 

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mimsyb   

I for one have never thought that Giselle needs to be a totally shy, innocent girl.  There are so many moments when she is in fact head strong, opinionated.  She teases and flirts with confidence, and certainly makes the bold decision to turn away Hilarion in favor of Albrecht.  While she is ultimately betrayed, still in Act II she has the courage and again the confidence to stand up to Myrta in her attempt to save Albrecht.  While she shows deference to Myrta, she understands that if ever there was a time to be bold, this would be it.  I thought Gillian's portrayal had all of those elements of strength and courage.  It's what made it stand out for me.  Her layering of the smallest details only added to her character.  Not since Ananishivili and Cojocuru have I felt such complete commitment to the role.  All three are very different in their portrayals, but that's what makes this role so much fun to watch.   And with the strength of Gillian's technique, I never once had to worry "would she make it"?  I could simply enjoy an immerse myself in her performance.  Bravo to all from last night!

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cargill   

I didn't see the Pacific Northwest Ballet version that tried to go back to the original French sources, unfortunately, but Doug Fullington has said that the original first act Giselle was quite spunky, not the one-foot-in-the-grave Gorey cartoon we sometimes see.  (My words, not his!)

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abatt   
14 hours ago, Colleen Boresta said:

It's been great reading everyone's reviews of the May 27th Giselles.  I always felt that Gillian Murphy would not make for a believable young peasant girl with a weak heart.  When I saw both Cynthia Gregory and Nina Aniashivelli in Giselle I felt the same way.  What about Isabella Boylston?  If anyone sees her performance in Giselle, please post about it.

 

I never saw Gregory.  However I used to love seeing Nina's Giselle because of the high level of detail, the great dancing, and terrific acting. Even though Nina was not waif like, she overcame that through the brilliance of her performance.  On other hand, Paloma, who was also no waif, never was a believable or transporting Giselle in my opinion.

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NinaFan   

I just wanted to add one more Brava/Bravo for Lane/Simkin’s Giselle.  I agree with all comments on here.

 

I never cry at Giselle, however I found myself crying twice at the performance.  Not because of the drama, but because Sarah was so breathtakingly gorgeous.  Having watched her for years, I felt like an old friend was finally able to show us just how well deserving she was of the role!  It was a NY debut that she should have been given years ago.  I expected a very good performance, but I didn't expect anything quite so beautiful.   They both acted and danced the roles with absolute perfection.  Their Giselle was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and that is saying a lot, as I've seen Osipova, Ananishvili, Guillem, Ferri, Vishneva and more dance Giselle quite magnificently.  Lane and Simkin were met with a standing ovation which was well deserved. Like others on here, I would love to see them paired together in R&J.  

 

Here’s hoping that Sarah finally gets that long overdue promotion to principal!

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Just saw Giselle with James and Bella aka The Cindies (as they refer to themselves).  This is my second Giselle for the week, I watched Saturday with Gillian/David.  

Something odd happened tonight, Bella and James did not do a curtain bow tonight.  Does any body know the reason behind this?

I have been to more than 100  ABT performances felicia and I have never not have a curtain bow after the show. 

 

 

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aurora   
37 minutes ago, hyacinthhippo said:

Just saw Giselle with James and Bella aka The Cindies (as they refer to themselves).  This is my second Giselle for the week, I watched Saturday with Gillian/David.  

Something odd happened tonight, Bella and James did not do a curtain bow tonight.  Does any body know the reason behind this?

I have been to more than 100  ABT performances felicia and I have never not have a curtain bow after the show. 

 

 

I wondered if she was injured? She didn't come get the conductor, he did. Which was also highly unusual.

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nana   

There was no curtain bow for Shevchenko's second Don quixote either. I also wondered why then. 

I saw the performance today and I enjoyed it. I liked Isabella Boylston's acting because it was very natural and out of her (compared to Murphy's...). She was lovely and joyful lady in the first act and mad scene was also convincing. Her giselle signature posture in act 2 was beautiful. Jumps were not the best, but I was mostly happy with her giselle. I thought that maybe if Giselle is made as a movie, Isabella Boylston would be a good candidate for the role. She was theatrical and her movement was always along with the stories and natural. James Whiteside showed nice entrechat six, but I didn't feel much from his Albrecht. 

 

Edited by nana

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lmspear   

I always thought that the decision to have a curtain bow was made by either the stage manager or a company representative based on the amount of applause.  Of course the audience wouldn't be privy to factors like a dancer's condition or if there was a chance that the stagehands might have to be paid overtime per their union rules.  I remember performances from the dance boom years when the curtain calls could go on for ages.

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aurora   
6 minutes ago, lmspear said:

I always thought that the decision to have a curtain bow was made by either the stage manager or a company representative based on the amount of applause.  Of course the audience wouldn't be privy to factors like a dancer's condition or if there was a chance that the stagehands might have to be paid overtime per their union rules.  I remember performances from the dance boom years when the curtain calls could go on for ages.

agreed. but it wasn't terribly late, and the applause was enthusiastic and the house not empty. It seemed surprising when there weren't any given the circumstances

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Sorry to hear about Boylston's injury. Wishing her a speedy recovery. She's the third principal getting injured and it's only week 3. I hope everyone can get through the rest of the season injury free.

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