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2017-2018 season

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I am thinking of making the trip from NYC to see a performance. I have never seen Pennsylvania Ballet before. Can anyone familiar with the company comment on this year's programming, and in particular Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. How are the productions, and would you recommend it? When does casting come out? Any guidance on seating would also be appreciated. 

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Plan to arrive an hour early -- they have a great pre-performance talk before every performance for ticket holders. Corella himself does some of them.

 

I saw their Don Q and Corsaire (several performances) in the last two years. It's a bit of a crap shoot with so many new principals and soloists. But it's worth the trip, especially if you can see several performances.

 

Seating suggestions:

  • Avoid the first several rows of orchestra - you'll have trouble seeing the feet
  • I like side orchestra, on the aisle, but only from about row 8 back
  • I also like their first tier - what they call parquet, but only in first couple of rows
  • Lots of pillar obstructions to watch for
  • Avoid sides of the tiers - partial views, as you get in traditional opera houses
  • I like to take a hard look at images on Google for Academy of Music seating, e.g.: academy-of-music-interior1-680uw.jpg

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Casting is usually out by now, so I'm disappointed that we don't know who is dancing when for Sleeping Beauty.   I'm assuming that Baca/Maslova will be opening night, as they are on all of the advertising materials.

 

It's hard to know what to expect with both Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, as they are new productions done by Corella for this year.  I enjoyed his Don Q and Le Corsaire, so I'm sure they'll be pretty good.  

 

Agree with the seating advice by California.  There are a lot of pillars obstructing views, but I think the site does a good job at limiting those seats.  Seats on the sides have pretty obstructed views (outside of the parterre boxes, which aren't so bad but are pretty expensive).  I think the balcony center seats right behind the boxes are also pretty good, so long as you stay center.

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California, thank you for the seating advice. I'd like to make the trip too to see Sleeping Beauty on the weekend. Although, their Sat eve times are different on the website (5pm) vs. the casting sheet (7pm). I guess I'll have to call them to confirm. I'd like to see that one to see Baca.

 

Their Aurora on their website looks an awful lot like Gillian Murphy (face and upper body only).

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41 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Although, their Sat eve times are different on the website (5pm) vs. the casting sheet (7pm). I guess I'll have to call them to confirm. I'd like to see that one to see Baca.

 

I got the two Saturday evening perf's switched up. Their first Sat eve (17th) is correctly listed in both places as 7pm, and the second Sat eve (21st, the one I think I can attend) is correctly listed as 5pm. 

Edited by ABT Fan

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Is the 10/21 performance really at 5? What an odd time. I was hoping it was a mistake. 

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2 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Is the 10/21 performance really at 5? What an odd time. I was hoping it was a mistake. 

 

Yep. I agree. Maybe to accommodate more families? And, turns out there's a big Harry Potter Festival happening in Philly that weekend, so a lot of hotels are either sold out or at $400+ night. So, I don't think this will happen for me. Too brutal to do it as a day-trip.

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Wow, I see you are right re hotel availability! It's slim pickings on airbnb too. Glad I found out before I bought tickets for the performance. Unfortunately, thanks to Harry Potter it looks like I will not be seeing this run of Sleeping Beauty. 

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Wish I could. I have NYCB tickets Oct 14 and 15, so that weekend is out. I will try for Swan Lake in the spring, and meanwhile I look forward to any reports of Sleeping Beauty. 

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I don't think I can make the first wknd work either. And, I'd only want to see Sat night to see Baca.

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Not a good sign -- I just got this e-mail for $20 off on opening night. I don't see any restrictions to subscribers or Friends so I'll paste it in below. I actually would enjoy this production (and would have enjoyed Washington Ballet's last weekend), but you can't get to everything and the Mariinsky next week was my choice for this month's travel:

==========================

 

See The Sleeping Beauty on Opening Night this Thursday and Save $20!

Enjoy this glorious world of enchantment, magic, tragedy and true love – where everyone really does live happily ever after. Tchaikovsky’s beautiful and familiar score will enhance your enjoyment of this classical ballet for all ages.  

 

Today and tomorrow only, use the button below or promo code BEAUTY20 for $20 off seats to the 10/12 performance.*
 

Experience this enchanting story told through the amazing artistry of Pennsylvania Ballet, with live music from the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra. 
 

Hurry, this is our one-and-only discount for Opening Night. 

The sale ends Tuesday at midnight!

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I suppose it's overly optimistic to imagine they could pitch Sleeping Beauty to some of the Harry Potter crowd.  Do people attend everything at the festival? Or might there be parents around looking for something to do? 

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1 hour ago, California said:

Not a good sign -- I just got this e-mail for $20 off on opening night. I don't see any restrictions to subscribers or Friends so I'll paste it in below. I actually would enjoy this production (and would have enjoyed Washington Ballet's last weekend), but you can't get to everything and the Mariinsky next week was my choice for this month's travel:

 

There are a ton of seats open in the orchestra and balcony. The Family Circle is pretty well sold, and the Ampitheatre is sold out. But, I agree, not great for opening night.

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On 10/9/2017 at 5:50 PM, ABT Fan said:

 

There are a ton of seats open in the orchestra and balcony. The Family Circle is pretty well sold, and the Ampitheatre is sold out. But, I agree, not great for opening night.

 

The amphitheater and parts of the family circle have extremely limited views and most of it is not even made available for sale, so it's not sold out.  I sat in the amphitheater once for Nutcracker and you can't see the stage.  I haven't seen it opened up in years (though maybe they still open it for Nutcracker).  Much of the family circle is obstructed by pillars, so only select seats are available for purchase.

Edited by Kaysta

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3 hours ago, Kaysta said:

 

The amphitheater and parts of the family circle have extremely limited views and most of it is not even made available for sale, so it's not sold out.  I sat in the amphitheater once for Nutcracker and you can't see the stage.  I haven't seen it opened up in years (though maybe they still open it for Nutcracker).  Much of the family circle is obstructed by pillars, so only select seats are available for purchase.

 

Thanks for pointing that out, because those sections do not look unavailable to me. Guess I'm not seeing something.

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13 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

 

Thanks for pointing that out, because those sections do not look unavailable to me. Guess I'm not seeing something.

When you click on the links for tickets you see availability for the amphitheater?  I don't see any available tickets.  I go to all of PAB performances in the Academy of Music, I haven't seen anyone sitting there in years.  Family circle has some seats open, but many of the grayed out seats are obstructed views and aren't sold.  It's confusing for sure.

Edited by Kaysta
clarify comments

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I'm interested in recommendations for a single performance of SB. I've been away for two years and with all the turnover have no idea which performance to pick. Thank you! 

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I went to last night's performance.  I was a little nervous, because while I have mostly loved Oksana Maslova, she has struck me as more of lyrical-type dancer, with gorgeous fluid movement and port de bras.  I wasn't sure if she was up for one of Petipa's most demanding classical roles, and I worried if she could handle the balances in the Rose Adagio.

 

I'm happy to say I was wrong!  She was lovely.  While she didn't hold the longest balances in the Rose Adagio and was pretty quick to grab her partner's hand with only a quick modest elevation of her arms en courrone (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I don't want to see a Tamara Rojo thing going on at PAB), she still sailed through it quite well.  I was nervous for her, but I didn't need to be.  She was lovely.   She does have a habit of overextension, which if you dislike that, it might take away from her performance.  I thought her musicality was fantastic, with her steps accenting the music beautifully during her solo variations.  Her characterization was exactly as I expect Aurora to be, sweet and girly in the first act, more mature in the second and third acts.   Overall, a very strong performance!

 

I also thought Baca was great.  Sometimes I feel like he gets a bit over excited and might try to overdo his jumps and turns, which can lead to unclean landings.  While there may have been a bit of that, I thought he was quite enjoyable to watch.  He handled most of the lifts well and seems to be a very strong partner.  The fish dives looked a little less smooth than I've seen done by others (notably Marcelo Gomes, but who can compare to Marcelo!), but he did accomplish them using only one hand.  His solo variation was absolutely outstanding.  And he really does play the part of the noble prince quite well.

 

I was a wee bit disappointed in Torriesi's Lilac Fairy in the prologue, though I thought she was fine in the later acts.  I think it comes down to style of dancing/port de bras for me.  Maslova is so very Russian on stage (though she trained at Kiev) and has such beautiful arms and supple back, so Torriente (unfairly) looks less polished next to her, in my opinion.  

 

The production itself was pretty good, though very long.  The third act included precious stones, Florine/Bluebird, White Cat/Puss n Boots, Little Red Riding Hood/Wolf, and then the pas de deux.  Oh, and the garland waltz was absolutely stunning.  Very well done (so much better than Ratmansky's ABT garland waltz, that looks too crowded on stage).  I've seen Ratmansky's production so much that it was strange to go back to a more modern production.  While I appreciate Ratmansky's, I enjoyed seeing more modern point work and modern variations.

 

I would like to go back to see Pineiro, but she's performing tonight and I have too much work to do.  So I have to decide if I want to see DiPiazza on Sunday.  I won't be able to catch any other performances next week, as it's Marinsky Bayadere weekend.  If anyone catches any additional casts, please let us know how it goes.

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Well, looking at the seat availability I guess this isn't a surprise. It's unfortunate though.

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Another article in what seems like a concerted push to undo all the bad publicity of the past few years:

http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/10/14/pennsylvania-ballet-angel-corella-drama/

This caught my eye:

"The board likes what it’s seeing so far. It has extended Corella’s contract into the 2021-’22 season. Ticket revenue for last season was up 15 percent over 2013-’14. There’s been a 33 percent increase in contributed revenue from the board since Corella arrived. Individual giving is up 42 percent, not including the board gifts. A New York Friends of Pennsylvania Ballet has formed, and the numbers are rising for the Ballet’s Young Friends contingent."
 
Percentage increases don't necessarily give you the full picture. If ticket sales and individual/board giving had atrophied to low levels, then double digit percentage increases may look impressive but aren't indicative of the organization's financial health, especially if costs have also increased.

 

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This whole “NY friends of PA Ballet” is ridiculous.  Apparently NYers get advanced notice of casting, before those of us who live in and regularly support the company.  

I think I’m done with PAB.

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