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Mazurka   
 

Natalia if you google:  google book Passion to Dance: The National Ballet of Canada and when it opens go to page

346, it speaks about the change to Santo Loquasto - basically to be free to reinterprete the ballet rather than be tied to the Stuttgard production.

also I read that the materials were v. fragile.

 

I am very curious how the two sets and costumes differ, although a scenery with birches always appeals to me..

I am especially curioous which costumes are more true to the period

 

 

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Well, I just got back from Vishneva/Gomes' "Onegin" and I'm feeling both crushed and exhilarated!

 

Sure, there are parts of the ballet that I find boring, and I could do without the whole second act if it weren't so integral to the story...but who cares?  I'm willing to sit through all of that, multiple times, just to have the chance to see Diana and Marcelo do what they do best--pour their hearts out onstage for all of us.  

 

Of course they make all the difficult partnering moves look effortless and smooth, but it's really their emotional connection that is so electrifying.  That Act III pas de deux was just killer!  Such intensity and passion!  I'm not sure that any other pair currently performing today (in the world!) can match their partnership.

 

I'm going to miss Diana for many reasons, but mostly for her ability to convey a story and drama even with a simple step.  Those bourrees in the first act were technically remarkable, but they also brilliantly conveyed how Tatiana is being swept away by her burgeouning feelings for Onegin.

 

Marcelo looked like he was starting to cry during the curtain calls.  Friday's show is going to be absolutely devastating.  Make sure to bring your kleenex!

 

BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!!

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I love both Vishneva and Gomes, but aspects of their partnership have become borderline maudlin in recent years. Too much of a good thing. I can still enjoy them in ballets like Romeo and Juliet and Giselle, but I don't think I can bear their gushing emotions in a sub-par ballet like Onegin

 

 

I never thought I'd forgo seeing Visheva in her farewell year, but her dancing has been so mannered over the past four or five seasons. She's like an overly ripe hothouse fruit in these ballet-dramas.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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12 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I never thought I'd forgo seeing Visheva in her farewell year, but her dancing has been so mannered over the past four or five seasons. She's like an overly ripe hothouse fruit in these ballet-dramas.

 

I will politely disagree.  To me, Diana and Marcelo always seem to LIVE the story onstage; it's not something that they've rehearsed to death; it's organic; it's in the moment.

 

But hey, different strokes for different folks!  

For what it's worth, I brought about 10 people to the performance tonight, and everyone loved it!!

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nana   
17 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I never thought I'd forgo seeing Visheva in her farewell year, but her dancing has been so mannered over the past four or five seasons. She's like an overly ripe hothouse fruit in these ballet-dramas.

 

I was a bit worried about that before I went to today's performance because I knew that some people talked about it and I didn't want to be disappointed. But I didn't find that she's mannered in the role (probably I would say she's a bit mannered when she did the final bows?). Actually I still loved her because she's natural and her acting is just so seamless. Of course, Gomes was wonderful as always. Sad that it's the last season at the MET to see them together. 

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Okay, that's good to hear, nana and Batsuchan. Some of my most amazing memories EVER are with these two (together and separate), so I don't mean to diss them. I've just found that it's become a bit of a Marcelo and Diana show in recent years, with curtain calls in which they look ready to conceive a child together.

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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I'm just back from the performance also and echo much of what Batsuchan said.  I thought Act III was killer.  I do have issues with the sets and costumes.  I thought the last act sets bordered on the garish; a little tasteless in my opinion.  I also don't like how the house is angled in Act I.  If I remember correctly, in the Rose production the house was straight across against the back of the stage.  I felt that worked so much better (for whatever reason).  

 

I thought both Vishneva and Gomes looked like they were going to breakdown at the curtain calls.  Definitely bring hankies if you go Friday.  

 

I am going Thursday for Ferri-Bolle.  I'm curious to see if they can bring it off.

 

Also, on the subject of Boylston: I now get the complaints about her arms.  Her hands were so floppy I almost wondered if her wrists were double-jointed.

Edited by Needlepoints
Fix typos

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Natalia   

Thanks to Mazurka & kbarber for insights on the design changes. Now I understand. It would have cost way too much to redo the Jurgen Rose production with the original fabrics. So modern audiences lose out. If one reads reviews of ONEGIN as presented in NY during the Stuttgart's landmark 1969 tour, they all laud the "sumptuous" costumes & sets..."operatic-scaled luxury." The designs were a huge part of the success of this ballet. Read Walter Terry et. al. 

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Barbara   
7 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

 

Okay, that's good to hear, nana and Batsuchan. Some of my most amazing memories EVER are with these two (together and separate), so I don't mean to diss them. I've just found that it's become a bit of a Marcelo and Diana show in recent years, with curtain calls in which they look ready to conceive a child together.

 

I have to agree, fondoffouettes. The dancing is beautiful and heart wrenching but I could forgo the curtain calls histrionics.

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clrtt   

I am looking very much forward to this ballet, having never seen it. However, I have chosen this year to attend and support the upcoming soloists.... Trenary, Brandt, Teuscher, and so on. I am going to see the Saturday matinee more so to see Trenary than anyone else, and I am staying over to see her in Whipped Cream Tuesday night. 

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abatt   

The last act is, indeed, the killer.  That last ten minutes or so made it worth the trip.  I didn't stay for the curtain calls last night.  That final scene was so expertly done it sent chills down my spine.  Lots and lots of boring filler, though, for the rest of the evening.   Also a big shout out for Blaine Hoven.  He did a terrific job as Lensky.

 

One quibble was the way Vishneva handled the ballroom scene in Act III w. Prince Gremin (Zhurbin).  She looked stoic and somber, even before she set eyes on Onegin.  She is supposed to look like she is at least content.  I understand that she is duty bound to Gremin, but if she looks so unhappy during their scene together her decision in the last act to reject Onegin makes less sense. Zhurbin got the facial expressions and acting just right. Vishneva's last scene with Zhurbin was much better- in the bedroom.

 

Edited by abatt

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I had never seen this ballet, but wanted to see the four killer casts, especially as several are close to retirement. I was concerned about comments here that there wasn't much dancing, so I was pleasantly surprised at the Monday opening. Lots of interesting things for the ensemble, e.g., in Act I those running jetes for couples on the diagonal at top speed and some tricks for the corps men when they entered in Act I. And the partnering choreography was extraordinary - imaginative without being gimmicky. Of course, Gomes-Vishneva did it so expertly that it was glorious to watch and I'll be interested in seeing what the other principals do with it. I like that Cranko would repeat interesting partnering ideas three or four times so you could get a good look at it. (I'm remembering Balanchine's "rule of three" for something innovative -- they won't believe what they saw the first time, they'll get it the second, and savor it the third.) 

 

Never having seen the original productions, I wasn't disappointed by sets and costumes, although the costumes seemed rather peasant-like, even in the ballroom scene. The various scrims used to change scenes were clever and worked smoothly. Gomes and Vishneva were extremely emotional during the curtain calls, but that's so understandable given their long, glorious partnership. I did hear a lot of Russian being spoken in the audience. The house seemed sold out, but it's not possible to know how many of those were from the "rush." 

 

I never understood the whole dueling-with-pistols thing and just googled it. Seems it was an upper-class phenomenon in Europe where refusing to duel when challenged showed you were unmanly and weak. Hints that the winner somehow was the better person, for not getting killed. Apparently thousands of people died in duels in Europe and it was practiced to a lesser extent in colonial United States. What a ridiculous cultural practice!

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abatt   
24 minutes ago, California said:

I Apparently thousands of people died in duels in Europe and it was practiced to a lesser extent in colonial United States. What a ridiculous cultural practice!

Alexander Hamilton was killed by Burr in a gun duel. 

Edited by abatt

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2 minutes ago, abatt said:

Alexander Hamilton was killed by Burr in a gun duel. 

Yes - as I said - what a ridiculous cultural practice! Is this a test of how fast they can shoot their gun? or how good their gun is? If they want to test accomplishment, swords or fist fights would seem better, but maybe they thought that was too lower-class. 

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ABT Fan   
18 minutes ago, California said:

Yes - as I said - what a ridiculous cultural practice! Is this a test of how fast they can shoot their gun? or how good their gun is? If they want to test accomplishment, swords or fist fights would seem better, but maybe they thought that was too lower-class. 

 

A test of not only how fast, but how accurate their aim was. Though a lot of guns in those days (especially rifles), compared to today's, did not have a high accuracy rate. 

 

Using fists was definitely lower-class - you had to get your hands dirty! Same with swords to a lesser degree.

 

By using guns you could maintain distance while praying that your opponent (and his gun) had a worse aim than you.

Edited by ABT Fan

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'Gun' is a rather generic term for what Lensky and Onegin would have been using.  They would have used dueling pistols, especially made in pairs, so that opponents started off on an equal basis weapon-wise.

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Drew   

 

Quote

 

I never understood the whole dueling-with-pistols thing and just googled it. Seems it was an upper-class phenomenon in Europe where refusing to duel when challenged showed you were unmanly and weak. Hints that the winner somehow was the better person, for not getting killed. Apparently thousands of people died in duels in Europe and it was practiced to a lesser extent in colonial United States. 

 

Pushkin himself was killed in a duel when he was thirty-six.

 

Edited by Drew

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Sal   

I was there last night for Vishneva and Gomes' performance and it was incredible. I'm a recent transplant to New York from California so I've never seen either of them dance before. I am quite familiar with the ballet having seen San Francisco Ballet perform it several times and as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is one of my favorites. It felt to me like every molecule in Vishneva's body portrayed the character. I was in the orchestra section but far enough away that I couldn't see her facial expressions, but it didn't matter because she told the whole story with her body. I thought she portrayed Tatiana as a kind of a serious-minded, nerdy, bookworm who experiences feelings of infatuation for the first time and doesn't know what to do with them. Her portrayal was unflagging -- regardless of what she was doing, dancing or just standing still -- her character came across. It was masterful. Gomes was such an ardent partner and played Onegin with such coldness early on and then such passion at the end. Never before have I seen the final pas de deux performed with such abandon yet technical excellence. Vishneva and Gomes made it look so organic and real -- there was no hesitation before launching into the most difficult sequences, nor could one see the "set up" for what was coming next -- it all just flowed, which is incredibly difficult to pull off. 

I also thought the rest of the cast was terrific, especially Blaine Hoven. His technique was beautiful and he cuts such a tall handsome figure. He and Isabella Boylston made a  great pair.

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7 hours ago, Sal said:

I was there last night for Vishneva and Gomes' performance and it was incredible. I'm a recent transplant to New York from California so I've never seen either of them dance before. I am quite familiar with the ballet having seen San Francisco Ballet perform it several times and as I mentioned in an earlier post, it is one of my favorites. It felt to me like every molecule in Vishneva's body portrayed the character. I was in the orchestra section but far enough away that I couldn't see her facial expressions, but it didn't matter because she told the whole story with her body. I thought she portrayed Tatiana as a kind of a serious-minded, nerdy, bookworm who experiences feelings of infatuation for the first time and doesn't know what to do with them. Her portrayal was unflagging -- regardless of what she was doing, dancing or just standing still -- her character came across. It was masterful. Gomes was such an ardent partner and played Onegin with such coldness early on and then such passion at the end. Never before have I seen the final pas de deux performed with such abandon yet technical excellence. Vishneva and Gomes made it look so organic and real -- there was no hesitation before launching into the most difficult sequences, nor could one see the "set up" for what was coming next -- it all just flowed, which is incredibly difficult to pull off. 

 

 

Thank you, Sal, for describing so well what I felt last night!  I wholeheartedly agree with your descriptions of Vishneva and Gomes!

 

Well, I'm going to be brutally honest and say that for me, Ferri/Bolle lacked the magic that I felt last night.  Perhaps if I had not seen Vishneva/Gomes, I'd have felt more moved by tonight's show, but alas, that was not the case. Yes, of course, Ferri is 54, so she can't throw herself at Bolle with the same force and abandon that Vishneva can, but it was also her characterization that weakened the story for me.  

 

First, I felt like her Act I Tatiana read too much like her Juliet.  She reacted sort of skittishly to meeting Onegin the same way Juliet reacts to meeting Paris, and it was not so obvious to me that she had fallen madly in love with him.  On the whole, she seemed rather calm prior to the bedroom scene.  In contrast, meeting Onegin was a life-shattering event for Vishneva's Tatiana.  But this also has to do with how she played the proceeding scenes.  Other Tatianas (Ferri included) seem to fade into the background when they are not the center of attention (like when Olga and Lensky do their pas de deux), but Vishneva was constantly in motion.  She lingered dreamily by the trees in the back before she sat on the bench to read, and even when she was sitting and reading, she'd look up from time to time wistfully, and it was very clear that she was lost in some romantic daydream.  But that's why meeting Onegin was momentous--here was the romantic hero like the ones in her books, he was the one she had been dreaming about!

 

In Act III, Ferri did look considerably happier with her husband in their pas de deux than Vishneva did, but what I found really interesting was that Ferri's Tatiana was dismissive of Onegin from the very beginning.  At the start of the pas de deux when Onegin is on the ground and grabs Tatiana's hand, she seemed positively annoyed with him.  

 

In contrast, from the start of the bedroom scene,  Vishneva's Tatiana was in complete emotional turmoil.  She desperately clung to her husband and begged him not to leave her lest she give in to her desire for Onegin.  And when Onegin grabbed her hand, she was not annoyed; she was desperate: she seemed to be straining with every muscle in her body not to give in to him.  And there was real violence in their movements--Gomes really grabbed her hand with force when she tried to walk away.  

 

Ferri and Bolle did eventually work up to an anguished state, but it just didn't reach that larger-than-life level that Vishneva/Gomes seem to reach--at least not for me.  And that's what I like to see in "Onegin."

 

As for the rest of the dancers: I liked Lane and Simkin separately as Olga and Lensky, but they had some problems with the tricky supported pirouettes in their Act I p.d.d.; Lane had to come off pointe once, and the second one definitely looked labored.

 

One quibble about the corps: tonight when the girls did the supported grand jetes down the diagonal, they were completely out of synch and it looked very messy.

 

And one last word about the costumes: one of my friends who came last night and was sitting in the back of the orchestra complained that Tatiana's red dress in Act III blended in too much with the red background at the ball, and she had trouble seeing her. She also felt that it was sometimes hard to see Tatiana/Onegin in their dark costumes in the final bedroom scene.  

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ord7916   

I was on the way home from work today and decided on the spur of the moment to go tonight.  Reluctantly, I must admit this was my first ABT of the season, my first ever Onegin, my first ever Ferri and my first ever Bolle. 

 

Without any previous versions to compare it to, I really enjoyed it.  I'd agree that the second act is a let down, but the first was good and that final scene was amazing.  Bolle was the highlight for me,  And having come to ballet too late to see  Angel Corella, Jose Carreno, Ethan Steifel or Julio Bocca, I at least got to see Alessandra Ferri.   She looked sad the whole time, but I suppose that it fitting.

 

I liked Sarah and Daniil and am a big James Whiteside fan, even if he had little to do.  The corp was in splendid form in the intense company scene in act one. Some may quibble about the staging and scenery, but the former was unusually creative and the latter a big step up from some of the cheap stuff often on display.

 

This was a nice diversion from tonight's unfortunate election news in Georgia.

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Mazurka   

Tonight sadly the whole was not greater than the sum of the parts...

Lane and Simkin were very nice but I wished for more lovebird connection.  Simkin's solo before the duel was the emotional highlight for me ...  Sarah was convincing and suitably charming,  a lively foil to the introspective Tatiana.

 Bolle seems miscast as Onegin.  Neither wordly, nor blase, not really a dandy and at times borederline rude where he should be portraying boredom, enui or condescention.  I actually preferred when he danced with Sarah, as I did not feel real emotion with Tatiana 

The vignettes in front of the transparent screens were lovely as were the dances although the claustrophobic  scenery cuts the amount of stage space and sometimes makes it feel cramped when the corps dances.  The falling leaves throughout the duet scene were a particularly beautiful element of the scenography

 

I am very curious after this performance how the two young casts will do.  

 

Edited by Mazurka

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Mazurka   

Just read your post ord7916 and I could not help but laugh. .  Beauty is in the eye...  I agree with you about Whiteside.  When he entered he had a presence and stature which made me wonder why would Tatiana pay attention at all to Oniegin...

 

since Ferri's lifts were beautifull I suspect Bolle's partnering was flawless but I feel ambivalent about her dancing.  In all a disappointing evening. 

Edited by Mazurka

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These comments are interesting to me because I never really liked Cranko's Onegin before, but I loved it tonight. I always miss the music from the opera: the letter scene, Lensky's aria, the dance music, etc.

 

I thought both Bolle and Ferri were on fire tonight. I thought Ferri's Tatiana was nothing like her Juliet.  I haven't seen Vishneva and Gomes yet. I'm seeing them on Friday.  Might write more later, but I just got home and need to get to sleep so that I can get up bright and early tomorrow.

 

Just a sample of the missing music--Here's Fritz Wunderlich singing Lensky's Aria in German. I think he's one of the best Lenskys even though he didn't sing the part in Russian. 

 

 

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Drew   

  :offtopic:Thank you for posting Fritz Wunderlich. He is my favorite tenor.  Every time I listen to him I can hardly believe how beautiful his voice is.

Edited by Drew

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Mazurka   
8 hours ago, Batsuchan said:

"In Act III, Ferri did look considerably happier with her husband in their pas de deux "

 

There is a touching moment of tenderness as she approaches her husband in Ferri's portrayal.  All those romantic books translate into a nobility of spirit and I like to think that it is not just duty but the nobility that makes it impossible for  Tatiana to succumb to Onegin and betray her husband. 

Edited by Mazurka

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