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I also thought Ferri's Tatiana was very close to her Juliet in the first act.  I also felt like they should have cast a  more mature looking Olga, because Ferri looked like Lane's mother, rather than her sister.  Ferri definitely does not have the flexibility that Vishneva had.  Nor does she have impressive bourrees compared to Vishneva.  However, I did love her final act with Bolle.

 

I thought Bolle was perfectly cast.  He is supposed to be haughty and bored to tears.  His partnering in those very difficult lifts was impressive.  Also, I felt that he was able to convey Onegin's remorse very beautifully.

 

Simkin's partnering left a lot to be desired. I'm assuming it was his fault that Lane came off pointe during their pdd.  While he was a technical marvel during his solo, I felt no emotion during that solo.

 

As for Ferri, I was surprised she was able to do the minimal solo pointe work that is required of her during Act II.  I think she may have been more secure than Vishneva.   Her Act III with Gremin was masterful.  It set exactly the right tone of an adult relationship of contentment and respect, but without youthful passion.  I also noticed in the final scene Ferri was very stern with Bolle, in contrast w. Vishneva.  However, throughout the pdd you could slowly see her starting to fall for Onegin.  In fact, there was one lift during which her facial expression telegraphed that she had fallen passionately again for Onegin.  This progressive, subtle transformation during the pdd could only be accomplished by someone  with very astute acting skills like Ferri.  I found it more convincing than Vishneva's frenzied approach from the outset. 

Edited by abatt

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

I also noticed in the final scene Ferri was very stern with Bolle, in contrast w. Vishneva.  However, throughout the pdd you could slowly see her starting to fall for Onegin.  In fact, there was one lift during which her facial expression telegraphed that she had fallen passionately again for Onegin.  This progressive, subtle transformation during the pdd could only be accomplished by someone  with very astute acting skills like Ferri.  I found it more convincing than Vishneva's frenzied approach from the outset. 

 

I can't agree with you more, Abatt. Being cold at first made a lot of sense (she's seeing a man who insulted her and killed her sister's fiancee after all). I wasn't emotionally that intense when Vishneva started the last pas de deux in act 3 but it became a killer at the end. But for Ferri's, it was more powerful from the start (but less intense at the end). They interpreted the role differently, but I must say both are the real experts, and I enjoyed both. I liked Ferri's introverted act 1 too, but overall Vishneva was more strong in act 1. 

 

Bolle was excellent. He was more like a bad guy style who already experienced many women and was bored with an unexperienced peasant girl in the first act. But then it seemed like he became genuinely interested in Tatiana once he saw a beautiful and seemingly unachievable woman in act 3. It wasn't like regret over  His acting in act 2 (flirting with Olga) was very detailed so I was totally into the drama. His physique is just so exceptional that I ended up understanding why Olga was also into Onegin over Lensky once Onegin showed some interest. 

 

I thought Simkin's solo in 2nd act was emotional and dancing was great as always, but agree that he has a partnering issue so the couple wasn't as secure as Boylston-Hoven couple. And for Olga, I found Boylston more lovely than Lane. 

 

I'm curious about two young couples too and debating which one I would choose. I'd lean towards Hallberg though. Any thoughts?

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, nana said:

I'm curious about two young couples too and debating which one I would choose. I'd lean towards Hallberg though. Any thoughts?

 

I have no opinion about the younger couples, but I can say that I really enjoyed seeing Trenary & Gorak as Olga & Lensky at the dress rehearsal on Monday!  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them at the Sat matinee!

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I saw tonight's show, with Seo and Hallberg.  I left at the second intermission. No chemistry or passion between Hee and David.  Hallberg's solos were good, but the lifts were not impressive compared to what I've seen from Bolle and Gomes.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he simplified two of the lifts in the Act I bedroom scene.  Skylar Brandt was my favorite Olga so far. Cirior's Act I was very strong, but I did not like his Act II solo.  The phrasing was too staccato.  One movement never flowed into the next movement.

Edited by abatt

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4 hours ago, Batsuchan said:

 

I have no opinion about the younger couples, but I can say that I really enjoyed seeing Trenary & Gorak as Olga & Lensky at the dress rehearsal on Monday!  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them at the Sat matinee!

Wonderful to hear! Trenary & Gorak sound like a good match, and I do appreciate their respective technique and performance quality. Definitely also waiting to hear reports about Stella in the role...curious if anyone was at the Wednesday matinee?

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Having now seen all four casts, I was surprised at some of them. The weakest was Seo and Hallberg. Seo is pedestrian and uninspiring, as Abatt noted. He was just mean-looking in Act I - very difficult to see how Tatiana could fall for him at all. It also seems he didn't have a mustache in Act I, but had acquired one in III. With some searching on YouTube, it turns out he performed this in Russia with Smirnova and I wonder if their coaching made him such an unattractive character. Here's a clip.

 

The big surprise for me was the Wednesday matinee, Abrera and Stearns. From YouTube, it seems he performed this with Dvorenko, which might explain his strong portrayal. Hers was extraordinary. I never tear up at the ballet, but she got to me in the final PdD. He was an effective foil for her interpretation and their partnering seemed solid. Weak attendance, but this was not a good ballet for young children at a weekday matinee. I hope the Saturday matinee does better and would recommend it. 

 

Nobody beats Gomes-Vishneva for high-risk partnering and I can understand the over-the-top emotions from those two. And nobody beats her Act I bourees; Abrera and Seo were okay, but Ferri barely moved on those. Bolles and Gomes are such strong partners, those high-risk moves are glorious to watch. I worried with Hallberg and Seo, as they just didn't seem solid; I don't know how to explain that, other than lack of familiarity as partners and perhaps worry about injuries. 

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Thanks for the clip of Smirnova and Hallberg, California.

16 minutes ago, California said:

 

 I worried with Hallberg and Seo, as they just didn't seem solid; I don't know how to explain that, other than lack of familiarity as partners and perhaps worry about injuries. 

 

There shouldn't have been a lack of familiarity between Hee and Hallberg, since they have danced together many times over the years, including during the last run of Onegin.

 

The house was poorly sold last night.

 

Thanks for the report on Abrera.  I spoke to a friend who doesn't read or participate on this board who also mentioned that Abrera/Stearns was wonderful yesterday afternoon.  Looking forward to seeing it on Sat afternoon.

Edited by abatt

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

 

The house was poorly sold last night.

 

Yes - but not as weak as the matinee, which was by far the better performance. A young child was sitting with grandparents near me and they left after the first act. The whole dueling thing is maybe not a great ballet for young kids! 

 

Hard to explain why Hallberg and Seo were such a disappointment. I blame him for his stiff, ominous, nasty characterization as much as her flaccid one.

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Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder.  I was not disappointed with Hallberg's performance, especially when it came to the third act pas.  Each dancer portrays their character in a bit of a different way.  While many on this board love Marcelo's portrayal, I do not.  It is overboard for me.  I think as far as the characterization goes, Bolle wins.  I never go expecting Seo to knock my socks off in the acting department.  But I would rather see her than some of the others.  I was also impressed with Forster's partnering last night and look forward to more.  I love the connection that Brandt and Cirio have, and I think their partnership should definitely be developed.  

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On 6/18/2017 at 8:27 PM, canbelto said:

This ballet doesn't have that much actual dancing in it. You're best off grabbing one of the few Vishneva/Gomes tickets left, or Ferri/Bolle.

 

I have never been a fan of all this complex period pieces from literature being translated into dancing form. It looks to me that Oneguin, just as Anna Karenina or Manon, they all tend to be a long series of sequences focused on the ballerina running around dramatically in floating dark dresses and endless adagio pdd's. I even dislike R&J. I find them very boring.

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4 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

I have never been a fan of all this complex period pieces from literature being translated into dancing form. It looks to me that Oneguin, just as Anna Karenina or Manon, they all tend to be a long series of sequences focused on the ballerina running around dramatically in floating dark dresses and endless adagio pdd's. I even dislike R&J. I find them very boring.

I have to agree with you there.

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16 minutes ago, its the mom said:

I have to agree with you there.

 

And I think Petipa and Blanchine both agreed too. They were very particular about their "music dansante".

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20 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

I have never been a fan of all this complex period pieces from literature being translated into dancing form. It looks to me that Oneguin, just as Anna Karenina or Manon, they all tend to be a long series of sequences focused on the ballerina running around dramatically in floating dark dresses and endless adagio pdd's. I even dislike R&J. I find them very boring.

I feel the same why. That's why every year when ABT is at the Met I totally avoid certain weeks regardless of who is dancing.

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24 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

I have never been a fan of all this complex period pieces from literature being translated into dancing form. It looks to me that Oneguin, just as Anna Karenina or Manon, they all tend to be a long series of sequences focused on the ballerina running around dramatically in floating dark dresses and endless adagio pdd's. I even dislike R&J. I find them very boring.

 

This reminds me of the film The Turning Point when the aging ballerina Emma (Anne Bancroft) says regarding her upcoming performance in Anna Karenina: (I'm paraphrasing here) I'll be wearing a long dress covered head-to-toe emoting my a$$ off while the younger dancers will actually be dancing [in other ballets]....

 

...or something like that!

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16 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

 

This reminds me of the film The Turning Point when the aging ballerina Emma (Anne Bancroft) says regarding her upcoming performance in Anna Karenina: (I'm paraphrasing here) I'll be wearing a long dress covered head-to-toe emoting my a$$ off while the younger dancers will actually be dancing [in other ballets]....

 

...or something like that!

 

I just happen to believe in that dancing is tightly intertwined with rhythm, and all this ballets usually employ typical arrythmic scores that usually make for long and lethargic performances.

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1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

I have never been a fan of all this complex period pieces from literature being translated into dancing form. It looks to me that Onegin, just as Anna Karenina or Manon, they all tend to be a long series of sequences focused on the ballerina running around dramatically in floating dark dresses and endless adagio pdd's. I even dislike R&J. I find them very boring.

 

Also Hynd's Merry Widow. For me, unless the set & costume designs are truly spectacular, as they used to be in the original Onegin, I don't waste time & money on the mid-20th-C full-evening narrative ballets, no matter who's dancing. I'd rather see an evening of Balanchine "Blacks and Whites" danced by NYCB.

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I feel much the same way about many of these mid-century 'literary' ballets as Cubanmiamiboy and others have expressed above--in particular works by Cranko and Macmillan. (For some reason Neumeier's Dame Aux Camelias works for me;  I think I appreciate its greater self-consciousness.)

 

In fact, though I hesitate to admit this, all skillful performances of the acrobatic style romantic pas de deux one sees in this genre start looking much the same to me--no matter who is dancing. An absolutely exceptional dance-actress can break through the film of hazy, romantic acrobatics, but it's a rare thing. Haydee was unforgettable. 

 

Still, just reading ballet-goers on this site, I can feel the excitement of those who DO respond to these ballets. They (the ballets) have earned a place in the repertory even if, for my taste, I could wish it were a smaller one.

 

Edited by Drew

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2 hours ago, California said:

Hard to explain why Hallberg and Seo were such a disappointment. I blame him for his stiff, ominous, nasty characterization as much as her flaccid one.

 

I totally agree, California, alas. Brandt, and to a lesser extent Cirio, were the stars for me last night. When Brandt is dancing, I can't take my eyes off her.

 

And I'm always trying to track Kaho Ogawa among the corps. She's so distinctive it's not that difficult to do.

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It's these types of ballets that allow the "older dancers" to extend their careers.  They also provide vehicles for less classically adept younger dancers to potentially excel in lead roles.  Frankly, if ABT had to present 8 consecutive weeks of heavy duty classical ballet, they couldn't do it.  They would need many additional principal dancers. 

Edited by abatt

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Any bets on what will be next year's "Mid-20th-C Costume-Fluff" full-evening narrative ballet? I vote Merry Widow, which was created for almost-60 Margot Fonteyn. Imagine the possible guest artists. 

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23 minutes ago, abatt said:

It's these types of ballets that allow the "older dancers" to extend their careers.  They also provide vehicles for less classically adept younger dancers to potentially excel in lead roles.  Frankly, if ABT had to present 8 consecutive weeks of heavy duty classical ballet, they couldn't do it.  They would need many additional principal dancers. 

I see your point abatt and agree. On the other hand, it could be that if ABT dispensed with that kind of rep there would be more opportunities for younger dancers. You'd get more soloists in principal roles and more corp members in soloist roles. It could be great for dancer development.  Of course the AD has to consider what the ABT audience wants and/or is used to.

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I think if Vishneva wasn't leaving and Ferri wasn't returning (again), they wouldn't have scheduled Onegin. Instead it would have been another full-length dance-intensive ballet, not a "fluff" drama. And, the female soloists would have collapsed in exhaustion (or injury) from having to sub even more principal parts than they already did. It's certainly been exciting and inspiring to see so many debuts and last minute substitutions, but this year I was actually glad when this week came around because I think it gives a lot of dancers a much needed break (and injured dancers more time to heal) before charging through the last two weeks of the season.

Edited by ABT Fan

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18 minutes ago, abatt said:

 Frankly, if ABT had to present 8 consecutive weeks of heavy duty classical ballet, they couldn't do it.  They would need many additional principal dancers. 

 

5 minutes ago, vipa said:

I see your point abatt and agree. On the other hand, it could be that if ABT dispensed with that kind of rep there would be more opportunities for younger dancers. You'd get more soloists in principal roles and more corp members in soloist roles. It could be great for dancer development.  Of course the AD has to consider what the ABT audience wants and/or is used to.

 

Putting box office worries aside for a moment: ABT could easily add an additional mixed program to the Met season. For myself I'd be happy with ABT performing Ashton more often too--they have three of his full-length ballets in their rep. I haven't seen them dance Cinderella but have seen excellent performances of the other two with multiple casts.

 

I'm also not opposed to one or two guest artists from time to time. (Nothing in excess.)

 

I do realize ABT does not have the luxury of putting box office worries aside. And...uh...there is an audience for things I don't much like..

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I would LOVE to see an additional week of mixed rep, but I believe that doesn't sell well. However, given the apparent low attendance for say Golden Cockerel and some of the Onegin performances, what would be the difference?

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One of my favorite critics today (Robert Gottlieb) said in reviewing the ABT season a couple of years ago that he never attends Manon as he considers it too schmaltzy. I haven't seen him at Onegin and wonder if he shares the feelings some of you are expressing for avoiding it. I might note that Sara Mearns said on Instagram that she went to see Hallberg last night and I noticed Gillian Murphy at the Wednesday matinee (again, judging from Instagram, Abrera is one of her best friends). I don't think I've noticed Macaulay at any performances, although perhaps I overlooked him. Judging from what you see on YouTube, Onegin is very popular world wide and is regularly performed (Dutch National, Bolshoi, La Scala, San Francisco, Canada, Royal Ballet). 

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