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5 minutes ago, angelica said:

Copeland and Whiteside danced Act II...

I wonder why Copeland danced with Whiteside, not Cornejo.

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35 minutes ago, angelica said:

We were sitting in the first row of the grand tier very far to the right for the dress rehearsal yesterday, and the sight lines were wonderful. No heads to worry about. A fraction of the stage was cut off, but nothing of consequence. You've got a great seat there.

Thank you angelica, great to hear that ūüėč

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Hello, 
Everyone.  I see some of you will be at Giselle 2 pm tomorrow.  So will I!!!  Should we meet up near 'Christian's Bar' (that's the Met bar, correct?). I have a seat in Row G - thought of changing it, after reading above, but they want $30 dollars to exchange!  Unbelievable.  I'll live with it. I do hope my sight view won't be impeded.  I'm very excited about my trip down and can't wait to see Sarah and Danil dance!   

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59 minutes ago, KarenAG said:

Hello, 
Everyone.  I see some of you will be at Giselle 2 pm tomorrow.  So will I!!!  Should we meet up near 'Christian's Bar' (that's the Met bar, correct?). I have a seat in Row G - thought of changing it, after reading above, but they want $30 dollars to exchange!  Unbelievable.  I'll live with it. I do hope my sight view won't be impeded.  I'm very excited about my trip down and can't wait to see Sarah and Danil dance!   

I'm so disappointed not to be able to see Sarah this year. She did one of the best Giselle performances I've ever seen last year. I'm counting on you all for reviews!

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1 hour ago, KarenAG said:

Hello, 
Everyone.  I see some of you will be at Giselle 2 pm tomorrow.  So will I!!!  Should we meet up near 'Christian's Bar' (that's the Met bar, correct?). I have a seat in Row G - thought of changing it, after reading above, but they want $30 dollars to exchange!  Unbelievable.  I'll live with it. I do hope my sight view won't be impeded.  I'm very excited about my trip down and can't wait to see Sarah and Danil dance!   

Karen, please make sure that your trains (Amtrak?) are running before you set out. Metro North had to cancel service at the northernmost ends of their lines tonight because of downed trees on the tracks. Don't want to scare you, but thought you should know.

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I am on a "Giselle" marathon this week thanks to the TDF offers.  

Opening night Monday May 14th:¬† I had seen Hee Seo in a matinee "Giselle" several years ago with Cory Stearns.¬† I remember being surprised how much I liked them but they both seemed very young and innocent and in "Giselle" that can be a very lovely thing.¬† Both danced very solidly but I especially liked Seo's freshness and her unaffected na√Įvet√©.¬†¬†

Like NYSusan I was going last night for the Albrecht, not the Giselle.  Seo was still very natural and unaffected in her acting and miming in Act I but it seemed somehow not fully engaged.  One never got a sense of life and death investment in her love for Albrecht, her love of dancing, etc.  The mad scene was sort of stunned dislocation from reality but never generated excitement or awe or pathos.  Dance-wise, Seo has nice lyrical attack, softly curved arms but she doesn't hold arabesques on pointe which are rather low.  She also doesn't have the most flexible back.  In the Act I Spessivtzeva solo, she managed the hops on pointe but they didn't travel.  In Act I, Seo was in general pleasant but unmemorable.

Bolle however was a pleasure from beginning to end.  Bolle has an encyclopedic command of every nuance of the role of Albrecht and he was a very strong partner for Seo.  I saw very little deterioration of technique and he had gorgeous line and control throughout.  Jumps had height and landed with the music and every step was executed cleanly and with finish.

The Act I Peasant Pas de Deux was danced by Joseph Gorak and Skyler Brandt.  Gorak seems to be the latest stranded soloist in ABT limbo.  He started out well with lovely line and feet but landed badly at the end of his first solo variation.  He seemed blandly boyish but tired and even ineffectual.  Gorak's technique seems to have declined repeating the same supporting roles over and over.  Skyler Brandt on the other hand was full of freshness with buoyant energy and attack.  She was also very delicate and elegant as well and looks like a future Giselle.  Thomas Forster's Hilarion sulked and brooded but also suggested real hurt under the anger.  He danced and mimed very well.  Susan Jones was a loving if stern Berthe.  Alexandra Basmagy was a very haughty condescending Bathilde with her nose in the air swishing her riding crop.

In Act II, we started off strongly with Gillian Murphy's icy Myrtha skimming across the stage in tiny rapid bourrees.   Murphy looks to be starting out the season in fine form and like Bolle was in no way outshone by her younger self.  Footwork was strong and jumps were high.  Zhong-Jing Fang and Katherine Williams danced strongly as Moyna and Zulma.

Hee Seo began Act II excitingly showing some uncharacteristic bravura by spinning backwards like a whirling dervish and leaping offstage with abandon in Giselle's "awakening" dance.  Later on I was noticing that again her back is not very flexible and that her arabesque is low.  The sequence where Giselle revolves in arabesque and then drops into a deep arabesque penchée with her hands across her chest looked stiff.  In the opening adagio, her right side looked arthritic opening up in développé but the left side was more fluid.  However, her entrechats going backwards in the coda section were fine and the pas de deux in toto went very well with major thanks to Bolle.  Bolle's Albrecht solo was elegant and strong and his entrechats started low but got progressively higher with surprising stamina.  He ended them precisely with the music though in earlier performances he would do extras and force the conductor and orchestra to repeat some bars.  All in all, it was a very satisfying Giselle thanks to the ageless Albrecht of Roberto Bolle and Seo's lyrical second act.

Tuesday May 15th:  Misty Copeland has improved her acting in Act I but Act II showed that she really isn't a Giselle.  Misty came on from Giselle's cottage in Act I with a modest radiance and peasant girl verve that was pleasing.  This wasn't a very complicated interpretation - this Giselle was just happy and in love.  She smiled a lot but it is a lovely smile.  Copeland has said in interviews that she loves dancing with Herman Cornejo and they had excellent rapport.  When Misty is on flat feet she is a few inches shorter than Herman but on pointe she is a few inches taller - he can still promenade her and they look good together.  Only Maria Kochetkova really looked perfect dancing next to Herman but Sarah Lane probably is a good partner too.  However in the Spessivtzeva variation some problems arose for Misty.  Copeland executing pirouettes slipped and fell on the floor badly but pulled herself back up and resumed dancing.  Her hops on pointe began adequately but like Seo's didn't travel much and she ended them before the music.  However, her Mad Scene was rather impressive with lots of poignant details and dramatic flair - she was much more demented than Seo and rather wild at the end.  Cornejo was ardent with a certain Latin macho arrogance under the princely air.   Skyler Brandt again danced the peasant pas de deux but her partner this time was Arron Scott. Brandt was lovely as she was on Monday.  Scott began strongly and with more oomph than Gorak but then he fell over on a landing in his second solo variation and had to put his arm down to keep himself from spilling over on his side.  Alexei Agoudine was Hilarion and was fine as was Nancy Raffa as Berthe who really got into the grieving over Giselle's dead body.  Luis Ribagorda as Wilfred of course had little dancing (he was showing so much promise four years ago when he retired) but communicated deep concern over Albrecht's actions and welfare.

In Act II it was the Albrecht who ran away with the show.  Misty Copeland danced adequately but showed no real Romantic style in her port de bras and she didn't evoke the spectral supernatural quality of Giselle.  Her entrance was just a slow ambling walk up to the grave with no speed like she was spirited in from the afterlife.  She didn't capture the right port de bras - her Wili spirit arms seemed to be reaching out to something rather than hanging like mist in the air.   Copeland's arabesque is fairly low and again her back not flexible like the Russians.  Misty has no real jump and that really showed in Act II so her Giselle never flew over the ground.  Her adagio is really not that impressive and her Act II Wili seemed too corporeal and rather mundane.  Her posture looked too much like the same village girl in Act I.  She is really best at quick turns and piqués en tournant and the entrechats came off well.  Cornejo was superb.  I did notice that rather than bench Misty horizontally overhead in the opening Act II encounter he just lifted her overhead by the waist vertically and spun her around.  It actually looks quite lovely that way.  Cornejo's solo variation was classical perfection and he performed brisés volés that were impressively light and precise.  He performed a huge jeté on his exit with Giselle while Misty pretty much just ran offstage.  Devon Teuscher was an authoritative Myrta with excellent jumps.  The Wili lieutenants were Melanie Hamrick and an excellent April Giangeruso.  

Herman was heartbreaking as he wept over Giselle's grave and it was Albrecht who broke my heart, not Giselle, in Act II.

Will be back tomorrow afternoon for Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin!

Edited by FauxPas
Need to mention Wilfred

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Well, following the advice of several forum members, I got my ticket for the Copeland/Cornejo/Abrera Giselle.

Some formum members encouraged me to say share my thoughts, so here we go, but before that I apologize for what maybe a poor translating into words of what I experienced, since my knowledge of English is limited, and even more limited is my knowledge of steps and many other specifics of ballet.

As a whole, I enjoyed the performance. Only my third time ever with ABT (the other two were when they toured to Buenos Aires ages ago). Really liked the scenery, especially the second act, the lighting and some of the costumes. Hated the John Lanchbery orchestral score, too much sweetener added, in my opinion. I much prefer the original version, maybe less rich, but sounds more authentic, especially for the second act, which seems to improve with a more spartan orchestral approach.

As you all know, since it has been discussed here in advance, Abrera was replaced by Devon Teuscher. I liked her, but despite a good stage presence, I think she looks sort of friendly, or maybe not unfriendly enough, I didn't really see her as this being who is sending men to death with no mercy. I think she has a really beautiful face, and that probably doesn't help for that, but I imagine Myrtha more "angular"

Loved Herman Cornejo from the beginning to the end. I wouldn't split his performance as a dancer and an actor, and I say this as a great compliment. I think he was great and I even liked better his Albrecht than his recent Conrad in Buenos Aires. Bravo.

Didn't really enjoy Copeland. I liked better her first act than the second. I "believed" her more her first act, included the final scene, than the second, in which I never was able to see the character. I just saw a dancer doing the steps. She had an unpleasant fall when making a pirouette during the first act variation and I found all of her arabesques stingy, or whatever is the proper English word opposite to generous (often below 90 degrees and staying nothing on her pointe).

Liked very much Skylar Brandt in the peasant pas de deux. Not that much her partner, Arron Scott, who had an bad landing in his variation as well.

Great performance of the female corps in the second act. I also thought that Giselle friends were great and (funny enough, since they don't have a heavy duty) the male corps was stunning.

Nothing else comes to my mind right now, but if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

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Just read Faux Pas post and definitely agree with her. Glad that she found better words to explain exactly what I felt, especially about Copeland (with that clear quality difference between her first and second act) and Cornejo.

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Eduardo, thanks for your excellent review!  I'm glad you were able to see the great Cornejo as Albrecht, giving one of his superb performances.  It's always worth the price of a ticket just to see him dance.  Because Misty Copeland is so famous, you can now tell people that you've seen her dance, and give an honest explanation of why you didn't enjoy her.  It's so important to view performances first-hand, for yourself, rather than rely on the opinions of others.  I'm also happy to hear you enjoyed the dancing of Skylar Brandt.  She is one of the most promising of the soloists, and we expect great things from her.  Hope you will be able to return soon to New York to experience more of our local ballet companies - next time, better weather, without a rainstorm!

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5 hours ago, eduardo said:

...and I found all of her arabesques stingy, or whatever is the proper English word opposite to generous (often below 90 degrees and staying nothing on her pointe).

That's exactly the right word, and I've never heard it used to describe an arabesque, but I love it. Thanks for your review, eduardo.

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42 minutes ago, nanushka said:

That's exactly the right word, and I've never heard it used to describe an arabesque, but I love it. Thanks for your review, eduardo.

I agree.  Stingy is a perfect word and I wish I had thought of it!  Mary

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Thank you for your nice comments! Agree with what laurel says about Brandt. My idea was that she has a lot of potential beyond what she could show in the peasant pas de deux. Secure technique, lovely smile and beautiful stage presence.

Perhaps not the right place to add this, but I was surprised at the limited number of female soloists in the company. Just three and of course Luciana Paris is not dancing since she just had her baby in Buenos Aires one week ago.

 

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6 hours ago, laurel said:

Hope you will be able to return soon to New York to experience more of our local ballet companies - next time, better weather, without a rainstorm!

Thank you so much, laurel. Actually, I visit NYC from time to time, but mostly in the Fall/Winter, so whenever possible, I head to the Koch Theatre to see as much Balanchine as possible.

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2 hours ago, cargill said:

I agree.  Stingy is a perfect word and I wish I had thought of it!  Mary

I would have had to be there to judge the arabesques, but I think the aesthetic of Giselle may call for arabesques with a slightly lower leg (I'm thinking of the ones she does when she's exiting the stage). And while she definitely strikes those iconic arabesque poses, there is a certain fleeting quality to them that befits the Romantic style and her sylph-like character. 

Was the fall during the pirouette a full-on "dancer down" situation -- a face plant or fall on the butt? I've seen so many mistakes in turns over the year, but have never seen one precipitate a fall. Most falls I've seen have come at seemingly random moments when the dancer isn't doing something particularly challenging, but simply loses his/her footing. 

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29 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I would have had to be there to judge the arabesques, but I think the aesthetic of Giselle may call for arabesques with a slightly lower leg (I'm thinking of the ones she does when she's exiting the stage). And while she definitely strikes those iconic arabesque poses, there is a certain fleeting quality to them that befits the Romantic style and her sylph-like character. 

Was the fall during the pirouette a full-on "dancer down" situation -- a face plant or fall on the butt? I've seen so many mistakes in turns over the year, but have never seen one precipitate a fall. Most falls I've seen have come at seemingly random moments when the dancer isn't doing something particularly challenging, but simply loses his/her footing. 

Sorry if I wasn't clear--I didn't see the performance and wasn't talking about it specifically.  I just meant that I thought the word stingy to descripe a less than perfect arabesque was a wonderful description.  Mary

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30 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Was the fall during the pirouette a full-on "dancer down" situation -- a face plant or fall on the butt? I've seen so many mistakes in turns over the year, but have never seen one precipitate a fall. Most falls I've seen have come at seemingly random moments when the dancer isn't doing something particularly challenging, but simply loses his/her footing. 

Full fall on the butt on the floor.  Dancers I have seen slip and fall include Ashley Bouder, Irina Dvorovenko, Monique Meunier and likely others.  A few Russians with the Maryinsky in "Serenade" some years ago on tour.  It can happen to the biggest star and best technician.  

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14 minutes ago, cargill said:

Sorry if I wasn't clear--I didn't see the performance and wasn't talking about it specifically.  I just meant that I thought the word stingy to descripe a less than perfect arabesque was a wonderful description.  Mary

Yes, same here, exactly.

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Hello all and thanks for your always wonderful reports! I only bought one ticket for this Giselle run, and you probably will right guess which one-(ūüėé), cause I really dont feel inspired enough this year by any other performance-(with the exception perhaps of Bolle's). I might still pop in tonight if I am enough rested-(to be honest...I haven't even check the calendar for the leads). It would be wonderful to see you all there anyhow!ūüėć. I will be hanging at Christian's bar, next to the Chagall. See you there!ūü§ó

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Faux pas , doesn't he always start low and then pump up? I counted 32to34 and only once have I seen more and I've seen his Giselle dozens of times. The two press lifts were stronger than before, too.  And he wasn't exhausted in the fall scene as usual.  The strength was greater but less emotion.  The music was off, though.

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24 minutes ago, Vs1 said:

Faux pas , doesn't he always start low and then pump up? I counted 32to34 and only once have I seen more and I've seen his Giselle dozens of times. The two press lifts were stronger than before, too.  And he wasn't exhausted in the fall scene as usual.  The strength was greater but less emotion.  The music was off, though.

At the farewell of Paloma Herrera in "Giselle" three or four seasons ago, Bolle went over 40 entrechats and the orchestra and conductor had to vamp extra bars of the music to cover them.  (They worked it out beforehand I would think...)  It was mentioned in the NY Times review.  I wouldn't be surprised if Bolle usually starts low and then gradually gets higher in the entrechats - it makes dramatic sense that way.  I haven't seen as many Bolle "Giselle" performances as I would wish to because he has usually been paired with ballerinas I don't like or don't like as Giselle.

Edited by FauxPas

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Faux pas we all must make sacrifices sometimes . Lol. Less than half of his partners merit his services or my money.

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2 hours ago, cargill said:

Sorry if I wasn't clear--I didn't see the performance and wasn't talking about it specifically.  I just meant that I thought the word stingy to descripe a less than perfect arabesque was a wonderful description.  Mary

Ah, sorry ‚ÄĒ I meant it as¬†more of a response to the eye-witness reports, but I¬†just quoted the last person who had talked about the arabesques.¬†

I completely agree with what others have said that a dancer should not be judged by mishaps onstage. I was just curious about the nature of the fall since I’ve never seen a turn go awry in that way. I’ve seen plenty of falling off pointe, stumbling out of the turn, wonky finishes, etc.

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