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On 6/24/2017 at 9:20 PM, Mazurka said:

Thank you California and Abbat for your earlier posts on Stearns/ Abrera. - I would have missed this memorable performance without them...

 

Mr. McKenzie look no further - your Onegin cast is here, just needs a fraction of the marketing done for the Fluffed cream;  amazingly the house was not sold out this PM!

 

The 5 dancers, Abrera, Stearns, Trenary, Gorak, Hammoudi slipped into their characters seamlessly - the dancing was uniformly splendid throughout, any faults seemed minor when faced with such uniform excellence.

 

Cory portrays Onegin extremely well - elegant self assurance, jaded beyond words at the tender age of twenty-something, when not studiously indifferent, vaguely amused as when he takes a look at Tatiana's book.  He courts Olga with both mischief and a delicious maliciousness - as he impetuously  shatters Lensky's naive belief in his uncomplicated love.  Could he be jealous of such pure happiness? lovely jumps, elegant lines.  Cassandra was eagerly complicit their  dance together  was outstanding.  

 

Great chemistry with Stella in the mirror PDD,  a budding passion  which  finds its complement and culmination in the tormented final.  

 

Stella's Tatiana is masterful - she is Tatiana.  A wonderful moment when the torn letter slips through her fingers.  The scene where she and Onegin exit to the opposite sides of the scene at the end of Act 1, was truly poignant.  The final PDD from the start is a struggle not to succumb to her love for Onegin.   it was extremely touching and brought tears to my eyes. I found it appealing that she does not give back the letter to Oniegin as if it was revenge  as it sometimes is portrayed. 

I think Onegin requires freshness, and this cast has it in spades. 

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I am at the airport now and can take a moment to reflect on the performances I was able to attend this trip. Mazurka, I agree that this was a wonderful, heart-rending performance of Onegin! Opening Act 1 Trenary was fresh and exuberant, Olga from the first moment. I felt it took a while for Abrera to settle in but I then saw the character coming to life. Stearns was appropriately aloof combined with meanness... and Gorak seemed to come to life each time he came in contact with Trenary. And the duel scene! My heart was totally broken right along with Olga! Trenary's characterization was so gripping that I was still crying when the lights came up for intermission. The rest of the ballet continued to draw me in until the final, heart breaking scene. This is the first time to see Onegin so I don't have another cast to compare it to, but I had a totally satisfying afternoon of ballet.

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On 6/26/2017 at 5:22 PM, miliosr said:

Bringing in Veyette to replace an injured Cory Stearns in Theme was every bit as controversial in its way as the decision to turn American Ballet Theatre into Ardani Ballet Theatre was. Stearns went down weeks before Theme was set to go on. By bringing in Veyette when there was plenty of time to cast and rehearse a ranking soloist (i.e. Jared Mathews), McKenzie was, in effect, saying to his male soloists and corps members that he had no confidence in them. Lo and behold, It was right around this time that Mathews announced he was leaving for Houston Ballet. I can't prove the two events were connected as Mathews' decision to leave may have already been in the works when the Theme decision was made. But I absolutely believe that said decision must have confirmed for Mathews that he was making the right decision. (And then, to add insult to injury, McKenzie gave him that token Giselle w/ Reyes when he had one ballet slipper out the door.)

 

The guest star business is a tricky one because it can have all sorts of consequences independent of how good the incoming guest may be.

I only see ABT several times per year, and I did not know about Stearns/Veyette in Theme at ABT until I read this post.  I just wanted to note here that, after Jared Matthews arrived at Houston Ballet, he was still passed over in Ballo della Regina .  Two different artistic directors (McKenzie at ABT and Welch at Houston Ballet) might have a similar view on Matthews in Balanchine.

 

I saw two different casts of Onegin at ABT last week; I wonder whether Matthews would ever be given Onegin if Houston Ballet were to revive it, of if he had stayed with ABT.  I know he is becoming a mature dancer, but I am not sure if he would grow out of Lensky-type roles into Onegin-type roles.  So far in Houston, he has been passed over for Des Grieux, Prospero, and Oberon.  Maybe I am discounting him too much for his boyish good looks.  

Edited by Texan

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Here's an account of Vishneva's farewell performance from a Russian website (you'll need to use GoogleTranslate to read it, but there are some nice photos):

http://www.balletinsider.com/archive/history/7658

 

This part was particularly interesting--slightly mangled translation from GoogleTranslate:

Quote

Diana dropped a phrase that in its plans for new projects in the United States, and ABT dancers she would soon bring to your festival Context. ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie at a reception in honor of Diana said he would propose to her role as a guest ballerina in the future.

 

So I guess we may see some ABT dancers in her "Context" festival, and we may see Vishneva back on the stage as a guest at some point in the future.  My guess is that if ABT brings back "Manon" in 2 or 3 years, she'd definitely return...

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