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nanushka

ABT 2017 Tchaikovsky Spectacular

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That is a lot of dancing, but Souvenir is mostly partner work, being lifted and moved around, although there is some dancing of the two ladies in parallel. A pretty languid, fluid dance. I saw it last night and found it intriguing. I'd like to see it again. More on my impressions of last night's program below.

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2 hours ago, Fleurfairy said:

Saturday has Cassandra Trenary dancing in the matinee and then twice in the evening. Can that be right? I don't know how intensive "Souvenir" is, but I do know Aurora's wedding pas de deux isn't a walk in the park.

We are not used to this at ABT, but it happens in other companies quite often, especially in smaller companies.  Dancers do more than one ballet in a rep evening all of the time.  

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Last night's program was my only chance to see ABT this spring. From my perspective it was a mixed bag. In order of performance, my comments:

 

Mozartiana: I have seen this once before, but enjoyed it especially this time because (1) David Hallberg is back(!) and (2) it introduced me to Christine Schevchenko. Yes, thankfully he is still David Hallberg, to me the world's best classical male dancer, so effortlessly graceful and ethereal, even if the jumps are not as high. His dancing is still ambrosia and his partnering impeccable. Lucky me. He and Shevchenko had good chemistry. I was very impressed with her polished performance--everything perfectly executed, fluid, beautiful port de bras and adagio positions, real joy in her dancing. She looks every inch a principal dancer. Arron Scott did a good job as Gigue, but his dancing was eclipsed by Hallberg and Schevchenko. The minuet ladies were all wonderful, especially Zhong-Jing Fang.

 

Nutcracker Pas: poor me, expecting to see Gillian Murphy, then having her replaced several days ago by Misty Copeland. The less said about this piece the better. The audience roar on her taking the stage was deafening, but I was expecting that. Her technique is awkward, her line less than pleasing. She seemed very aware of her fans and played to them, rather than expressing the character. Whiteside, after a busy, challenging season, seemed to be phoning it in, but even with less than his usual personality and pizzazz, he still excites the viewer. One lift was pretty awkward. On another, he did well to lift her into a standing position on his shoulder, a standard pairs skating move, which brought more screams from the crowd. I love the music but was glad when the piece was over.

 

Souvenir d'un lieu cher: I had not seen this before and found the choreography and execution intriguing and I would like to see it again to learn more about it. The two couples were wonderful. Stella and Marcelo brought real passion to their dance and they moved me. Sitting close in the orchestra I could see their expressive faces and was transformed by their connection. Real artistes! Sarah Lane and Alban Lendorf were the other couple, but frankly I couldn't take my eyes off Stella and Marcelo. Someone on this board complained of the dim lighting of this piece but up front it was not a problem. I do think next time the two ladies should be of a similar height to enhance when they dance together. 

 

After Effect: This was the expanded, full length version (I had seen a short version in 2013). As someone else here commented, it seemed muddled. Some of the non-balletic steps, the stepping out of ballet position when walking, the Man sitting with his back to the audience, didn't work for me. And yet, the tone and the angst of the piece were conveyed, and I felt the personal connection between choreographer and feeling he expressed. The choreography was hit or miss, with some exciting dancing, especially from the male version of the corps--so much energy. Two standout dancers were Cassandra Trenary and Jeffrey Cirio. So fluid and expressive, she conveyed the sorrow of a woman in unrequited love. I hope to see her in many more roles. Cirio is a passionate powerhouse, so invested in his character, he exuded joy and lit up the house. Wow! Unfortunately, I did not find Cory Stearns wholly satisfactory in this role. He did not seem to inhabit the character as I would have liked to see him. But thank you, Marcelo, for this piece. I hope to see more of your choreography.

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The house was packed last night.  Given that the program was substantially similar to the one on Wed evening (when the house was half empty), I can only attribute the ticket sales to Misty's presence. No matter what else you want to say about her, she sells tickets.  Her fans screamed and cheered when she came out on stage. It was like being at a rock concert. 

 

I thought Shevchenko and Hallberg both performed Mozartiana much better on Thursday night than on Wednesday night.  However, neither one is up to the standards set at NYCB. 

 

I liked the new Ratmansky work a bit more on second viewing with the same cast, but this is not top drawer Ratmansky.

 

Seeing Misty perform Nutcracker on Thursday only 24 hours after seeing Hee Seo's brilliant performance on Wed, I felt like I was watching a student workshop performance on Thursday.  The difference in skill, attack, breadth and characterization was very apparent.

 

I skipped AfterEffect. 

Edited by abatt

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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

 

 

I thought Shevchenko and Hallberg both performed Mozartiana much better on Thursday night than on Wednesday night.  However, neither one is up to the standards set at NYCB. 

 

 

I don't think I'm repeating information posted here (apologies if I am! I'm not feeling up to re-reading all the pages of comments right now), but the improvement in Shevchenko's performance is quite likely due to the fact that Weds night was her debut in the role. Glad to hear thurs was even better!

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3 hours ago, Fleurfairy said:

Saturday has Cassandra Trenary dancing in the matinee and then twice in the evening. Can that be right? I don't know how intensive "Souvenir" is, but I do know Aurora's wedding pas de deux isn't a walk in the park.

 

Maybe this is management's way of letting her know that she'll soon be named a Principal? :blink:

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26 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

Maybe this is management's way of letting her know that she'll soon be named a Principal? :blink:

My close friend actually have guessed that Trenary might get promoted ahead of Lane(gasp!). I'm hoping for Lane, Trenary and Shevchenko (considering how she saved abt multiple times this year. It doesn't make sense to not promote her after all the princioal workloads she pulled with last minute notice) but that's just my wish. 

 

And it seems line I got 2 of them right!! Congrats to Lane, Shevchenko and Teauscher!!!

Edited by alexL

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21 minutes ago, alexL said:

My close friend actually have guessed that Trenary might get promoted ahead of Lane(gasp!). I'm hoping for Lane, Trenary and Shevchenko (considering how she saved abt multiple times this year. It doesn't make sense to not promote her after all the princioal workloads she pulled with last minute notice) but that's just my wish. 

 

And it seems line I got 2 of them right!! Congrats to Lane, Shevchenko and Teauscher!!!

I think Trenary's time will come. I wasn't surprised she didn't get promote this time because, aside from Sleeping Beauty, she hasn't carried that many full lengths yet. 

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2 minutes ago, vipa said:

I think Trenary's time will come. I wasn't surprised she didn't get promote this time because, aside from Sleeping Beauty, she hasn't carried that many full lengths yet. 

 

Agreed. It would have seemed premature to me. The fact that she was given Aurora (Act III) again this year is a recognition of her excellent performance in the role last June. And she gave a superb performance as Princess Praline. I think she is still very much on their radar.

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Lendorf was breathtaking tonight in Aurora's wedding.   I don't think I've seen the male solo variation done as well by anyone at ABT in the past.  Such clean, precise, fast movement, with every single step fully articulated.  He was a marvel.  Oh, and he doesn't cheat on the fish dives by using both arms to get the girl into position. He does it the old fashioned way, with his left arm only.  

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13 minutes ago, abatt said:

Lendorf was breathtaking tonight in Aurora's wedding.   I don't think I've seen the male solo variation done as well by anyone at ABT in the past.  Such clean, precise, fast movement, with every single step fully articulated.  He was a marvel.  Oh, and he doesn't cheat on the fish dives by using both arms to get the girl into position. He does it the old fashioned way, with his left arm only.  

100 percent agreed! I knew he would be great in this version but wow. Not a single fudged beat. He is the best prince in ABT's SB without a doubt. The fishdives were excecuted perfectly and both Boylston and Lendorf looked picturesque in their posture. He surely doesn't forget to point his gorgeous feet in every position! 

 

In Mozartiana Cirio was the best out of all three principals. So much more anticipation and musicality compared to Simkin who just did the steps. Do Boston ballet perform Balanchine often? I've been impressed by both Cirio and Whiteside so far.

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Boston does a good amount of neoclassical and contemporary works.  If you read their bios, and I don't think the list is complete for either of them, you can see a good bit of Balanchine works:

 

Cirio:  "His repertory includes roles in George Balanchine’s Theme and VariationsHarlequinadeBallo della ReginaSymphony in Three Movements, Melancholic in The Four Temperaments, the Third Movement in Symphony in C, Franz in CoppéliaTarantella and Diamonds and Rubies pas de deux in Jewels."  I also remember him doing A Midsummer Night's Dream, both Puck and Oberon.  

 

Whiteside:  "Whiteside's repertoire with Boston Ballet included Principal roles in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations, Coppélia, Ballo della Regina, Rubies, The Four Temperaments(Sanguinic), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Who Cares?, Serenade, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Symphony in 3 and La Valse;"

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I attended Thursday night and Saturday matinee, both programs with Mozartiana, AfterEffect, Nutcracker pdd, and Souvenir de whatever. After seeing Mozartiana twice in just a few days, I love it more than ever. At the complete other end of the memorability spectrum, Souvenir was totally forgettable (despite its title!), so much so that when I saw it on Saturday I could barely remember anything about it even though I saw it two days prior. AfterEffect is more interesting and memorable, but overly busy. Gomes could have benefited from an editor, weeding out extraneous details (and dancers), and focusing his ideas. I'm not crazy about the Ratmansky Nutcracker, but Gomes and Seo were lovely. They did not attempt the torch lift as written, though - she merely stopped in front of him, and then he picked her up into the lift. Whiteside and Copeland did not have the grace and polish of Gomes and Seo. 

 

I thought Shevchenko was very promising in Mozartiana, much better than I expected after reviews from her earlier performance. She is definitely carrying herself like a principal. I thought Hallberg, however, looked out of his element, stamina-wise. He was ragged at times. It looked like he needs a lot more conditioning. 

 

I was favorably impressed with Tyler Maloney, as one of the principals in Souvenir. I've never noticed him before, but he more than held his own as one of only four people on the stage, and dancing alongside the august Hallberg. 

 

After the Saturday matinee, I did something I never do, which is go hang out at the stage door. Veronika was a long time in coming out, and meanwhile other dancers came out. Calvin Royal was mobbed by well wishers, and he was obviously very pleased. Devon Teuscher also graciously signed a bunch of autographs and posed for selfies. It was fun!

Edited by cobweb

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I attended both of yesterday's "Tchaikovsky Spectcular" performances. My main wish in planning this last ballet trip of the season was the chance to finally see Nijinska's dances for Sleeping Beauty. We were promised two of these 1921 interpolations: Chinese (Porcelain Princesses & Mandarin trio) and the celebrated Three Ivans. Uh...we got one - Chinese (an adorable piece in which the Mandarin flirts with the princesses by "puffing" them with his parasol). Imagine my disappointment when, instead of the Nijinska Ivans, we got Ninette de Valois' 1940s version for the Royal Ballet, which all can already see on video.

 

Sorry but....What the crap? Did the money run out for Ratmansky's reconstruction-time fee? Was a trip to the Library of Congress in DC to review Nijinska's copious notes and sketches -- which I saw last month and even posted on my FB, in anticipation of this trip -- not budgeted? And why clothe the Ivans in the costumes from Ratmansky's Nut? I was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see Bakst's outfits with the satin gold-sleeved tunics and big blue pantaloons w/ red boots in motion!

 

Has ABT explained this major change to what it had publicized for Aurora's Wedding?

 

 

 

 

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 I've reread both the October 2016 press release and the June 16 2017 release. The latter clearly states it will add Three Ivans with choreography by Nanette de Valois and that it will add the Porcelain Trio with choreography by Bronislava

Nijinska. The earlier release doesn't say that but neither does it actually claim it will use  Nijinska's actual choreo for Three Ivan's. It says it will "add ThePorcelain Trio and Three Ivans, divertissements originally choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska."

Edited by Olga
Typo

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On 6/24/2017 at 9:43 AM, nanushka said:

I see on the Met website it says the following:

 

"Aurora’s Wedding from Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, including Bronislava Nijinska’s dances of The Three Ivans and Porcelain Trio"

 

 

The website did say the above, though. That seems to state that both of Nijinska's actual dances would be performed.

 

[edited, sorry]

Edited by nanushka

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10 minutes ago, Olga said:

 The earlier release doesn't say that but neither does it actually claim it will use  Nijinska's actual choreo for Three Ivan's. It says it will "add ThePorcelain Trio and Three Ivans, divertissements originally choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska."

 

Doesnt it, though?

 

Edited to add:

I see what you mean: they could be "originally choreographed by Nijinska" and later by someone else. That seems like odd phrasing, though, if that's what they really wanted to express.

Edited by nanushka

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Well, the first release may not be all that clear but yes I think it was saying those two diverts were originally choreographed by Nijinska. Note the comma. It credits Nijinska with creating those diverts. It left open the question of what precise choreo would be used. By June, the press release answers that extremely clearly. My guess, and it is a guess, is that Ratmansky concluded he didn't have enough info to do Nijinska's choreo. 

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10 minutes ago, Olga said:

Well, the first release may not be all that clear but yes I think it was saying those two diverts were originally choreographed by Nijinska. Note the comma. It credits Nijinska with creating those diverts. It left open the question of what precise choreo would be used. By June, the press release answers that extremely clearly. My guess, and it is a guess, is that Ratmansky concluded he didn't have enough info to do Nijinska's choreo. 

 

Ah, yes, I see what you mean. That definitely could make sense of the two press releases. The Met website statement seems a bit more deceptive, then.

 

Edited to add:

Or perhaps they'd given that copy to the Met some time ago and they just forgot to update it once the shift from N. to deV. was made.

Edited by nanushka

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The Met's language is more

problematic, I agree. I don't know the details of who there is writing what.  I've observed some sloppiness in ABTs playbills. One night it said three Pauses and one Intermission but were two intermissions and two pauses. Personally I don't read the descriptions on the Met website very much. The press releases look very carefully written, at least on this subject. 

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2 minutes ago, Olga said:

One night it said three Pauses and one Intermission but were two intermissions and two pauses.

 

Yes this resulted in some audience confusion on Wednesday! At least by Friday they'd added a correction to the insert.

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10 hours ago, nanushka said:

 

The website did say the above, though. That seems to state that both of Nijinska's actual dances would be performed.

 

[edited, sorry]

 

Absolutely. Stop B.S.ing us, People connected with ABT! 

 

Quote from the third paragraph on page 8 of the current (ABT 2017 Met season)  Playbill article by Mario R. Mercado titled A Tchaikovsky Spectacular:

 

"This season, Ratmansky's staging of the third act, Aurora's Wedding, includes divertissements by Bronislava Nijinska created for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes 1921 production of The Sleeping Princess. The Nijinska dances comprise the Porcelain Trio, for two women dancers and one man, and the Three Ivans."

 

This is above and beyond what was written in the various versions of the Spring 2017 Met Season Brochures that were mailed to my home...on which I based my decision to travel to NY to see this particular production - bus & hotel costs + performance tix...especially to see these two Nijinska nuggets. I also spent a full day at the Library of Congress examining the Nijinska Collection's materials on these dances, as well as examining a numbered copy of the precious folio with full-color plates of Bakst's designs...much more vivid costumes than the ABT production, overall!

 

p.s. As you can see, Aurora's Wedding - especially seeing the two (2) promised Nijinska pieceswas the main reason for this trip, not Veronika Part. 

 

 

 

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