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Actually two of the worst falls I've seen were with Tiler Peck, master of control. One was at the end of the Dewdrop variation. She tried for an extra pirouette, didn't quite make it, and fell. Another was at the start of Aurora's entrance. She bounded onstage and before the first pas de chat fell flat on her butt. Freak falls can happen to anyone. 

As for Giselle's variation, you know how we said last year that ABT's ballerinas needed coaching on fouettes? Well I think they need coaching on traveling in the diagonal for Giselle's variations because of the three I saw last year (Murphy, Abrera, and Lane) only Lane didn't have a blooper during that variation.

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22 hours ago, nysusan said:

DO NOT DO IT! I was in orch E-1 last night and the average height woman who was sitting in front of me was blocking my view all night. She kept bobbing her head back and forth (to see over the guy sitting in front of her) and I kept having to do the same.

I rarely sit in the orchestra but when I do I always sit in the aisle seat of an outside section cause that usually gives you and unimpeded view, and even if the person directly in front of you is tall, they generally only block the very edge of the stage. Not at the Met - the head in front of me was blocking the center of the stage.

I think this is less of a problem further back, but I would avoid that seat in the first 10 rows. 

Don't know why you say this. Inner aisle end row seats, at row g or other rows, are good.   Much open space to see or maneuver.   Outer aisle ( end of row) , even row a , have stage cut off.

heads a problem anywhere except row a, of any section, and sometimes still  then, if at end of row.

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My source on the ground tells me that Catherine Hurlin (with Gabe Shayer) is dancing the peasant PDD this afternoon. So wish I could be there, for this and so many other reasons!

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

My source on the ground tells me that Catherine Hurlin (with Gabe Shayer) is dancing the peasant PDD this afternoon. So wish I could be there, for this and so many other reasons!

Glad she's getting the opportunity! She's lovely. And Gabe is fabulous of course.

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I’m so glad she is getting these opportunities.  It is especially gratifying to see someone who joined the JKO school at a relatively young age doing well in the company. 

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Posted (edited)

Lane just performed the most extraordinary mad scene I’ve ever seen, perhaps even more chilling and naturalistic than last year. Fantastic hops on pointe in her variation. Simkin was his superb self and matched Lane’s intensity. They were lighter than air when they danced together.

Hurlin was exquisite, though the partnering with Shayer looked awkward (the supported pirouettes were clumsy). Shayer was great in his variations.

Shout out to Isadora Loyola as an intense and glamorous Bathilde.

Audience response is muted. This cast deserved an evening. 

More to come later.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

My source on the ground tells me that Catherine Hurlin (with Gabe Shayer) is dancing the peasant PDD this afternoon. So wish I could be there, for this and so many other reasons!

Yes she and Gabe and they were terrific!

Act I, Lane - incredible, heartbreaking, stunning. Wow!

More later.....

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40 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Audience response is muted. This cast deserved an evening. 

It is so infuriating that they have been slotted in matinees the past two years.

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Muted in general but us diehards stayed and demanded and got a second much-deserved curtain call. 

Extraordinary performance. Will write more later when I get home.

Lastly, as I was just picking up my coat, next to the counter is a large TV screen where Hallberg appeared on stage in costume marking a few things. I was prepared to stand there watching as long as possible but then it cut out very quickly. Darn.

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Posted (edited)

I was at today's matinee. I thought Lane had a truly spectacular first act, both technically and artistically. Her madness scene was brutal, and her Act 1 variation very impressive. There is an elegance, an expansiveness in her dancing that is absolutely magnificent, the way she finishes every phrase is remarkable and so tasteful ! C. Hurlin danced peasant pdd and she stood out too, pristine clear technique, clean, refined and musical....I was much less impressed by her partner though. 

Act 2, however, felt a bit underwhelming for me. Lane was still technically very, very strong, with some brilliant moments. However, I was very bothered with the little use of head/neck and also by her arms position throughout the entire act 2, very little 19th century romantic lithography in her poses. She looked way too earthy for me, with a lot of tension in her upper body as well.  Some jumps looked heavy. The partnering was ok, but did not look amazing either, and certainly that didn't help her at all. It was a good second act though, but I was expecting more, I do believe she is a work in progress in this role, there is plenty of potential for a pretty spectacular Giselle in the near future, once she matures the character better.

D. Simkin continues to be his same technical wonder, amazing really, those turns !. He has improved his partnering skills substantially, although there is still quite some work to be done before he can take it to the next level (Corella, Gomes, Bolle, Bocca, Carreno, just to mention a few). He didn't do the entrechat-six, but the cabrioles, I rather see the former.This is just my personal taste. 

The crow was muted, and that was also quite negative, I really think Lane deserved a much stronger reaction from the audience. It was as if the audience was not involved at all, no matter what they would do. Simkin managed to get some more enthusiasm at times, but still it was way less than what he deserved. 

I know Lane has a great troupe of fans here. I think she did great but in my opinion still far from quite a few great Giselles that we have had in the past.

Edited by Classic_Ballet

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Posted (edited)

I agree with most of Classic Ballet’s assessment. I thought Act I was near-perfect and Lane’s acting was exceptional, not to mention her lovely dancing. I sat much closer than last year and was really able to appreciate the great range of emotions and nuanced expressions. Her mad scene is gut-wrenching — it has an apparent spontaneity and naturalistic quality about it that makes it truly heartbreaking. I haven’t enjoyed a mad scene so much since Vishneva’s very earliest ABT appearances, before she became so mannered and over the top.

Act II was very good but somehow lacking...it’s hard to put my finger on what exactly it was, but perhaps Classic Ballet is right about some of the stylistic issues. Simkin has really grown tremendously as an actor and partner. The only real glitch I noticed was that the first overhead lift in the first pas de deux was cut short and Lane was brought down almost immediately. The second one was great, though. I appreciated that they didn’t do the variant where the man rotates as he holds her aloft; that just always feels gimmicky to me, and less beautiful than the woman simply being held aloft, completely still.

Simkin’s variation in the grand pas was one of the most spectacular ones I’ve ever seen. It ranks up there with Shklyarov and the Baryshnikov video.

I actually prefer the cabrioles but no one has done them in an exciting fashion since Corella. I guess I’d prefer the current ABT men to the entrechats six since they can do them well and make it a real moment.

I think Shevchenko is a great Myrtha in the making and I loved her characterization — perfectly imperious with just the right degree of iciness. She did have some trouble in her introduction, where she rotates in an arabesque while flat-footed. Both times there was quite a bit of shakiness/jerkiness. Another time when she had to do a flat-footed arabesque, she was also a tad shaky, so I wonder if something may have been up with her foot.

After the Wilis hop across the stage, there is the part where Myrtha comes out and leaps around the stage, but only some of the leaps ever seem well-timed with the music. I’ve never seen an ABT Myrtha hit the jumps on the music. Is it supposed to be that way or what’s up? I’ll check the Van Hamel video when I get home to see how she handles it.

Moyna and Zulma were kind of nonentities.

And yes, the die-hards aside, the audience was really dead. I truly think this can have a major impact on the performance, as it gives the performers such little energy to feed off of.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Overall, Lane/Simkin/Shevchenko gave a magnificent performance this afternoon despite a few issues.

Lane and Simkin are two very young lovers, so perfectly matched here (and, why oh why are they not doing R&J???). Simkin plays Albrecht not like a cad but as a very young man bound by duty to marry Bathilde who could not help falling in love with Giselle. He naively doesn't think about how this could all end. Simkin's technique was in full force - beautifully controlled pirouettes, incredible jumps. Very fine acting and good partnering though he had a few problems.

Lane's first act was exquisite. So natural, sweet, innocent. Her hops on pointe were miraculous; she traveled all the way across the stage like it was nothing, all while maintaining her lovely port de bras and light upper body. The woman sitting behind me gasped and said "wow!" - just what I was thinking. Then Lane cut loose in a blazing series of pique turns. Her mad scene was just as disturbing as it was last year. Lane, I believe, goes into another realm here. It's like nothing I've never seen. 

Act II was glorious, though I agree that a few of Lane's jumps were low. She seemed tired or fatigued in a few places. I did not see that last year so I view that as a temporary negative. Lane's backwards spins at the beginning were at lightening speed. Her lightness and "wili-ness" was gorgeous and her port de bras as beautiful as always. This Giselle vividly demonstrated her complete forgiveness and undying love for the man who betrayed her. In the pas when Lane has to appear to float on a breeze, Simkin lifted her well but he didn't pull away from her once she was in arabesque which diminished the effect. In the first overhead press when Lane is horizontal, Lane was visibly wobbling in the air and she had to put her hand down on his shoulder before he quickly and pre-maturely brought her down. The second lift went better but was still not secure. (When she did her second Giselle last year with Cornejo, these lifts were rock solid.)  Simkin did the brises which were clean and precise, but his legs and upper body didn't have the necessary forward reach to convey Myrta's pull on him. Other than that, his solos were breathtaking.

Shevchenko was a commanding and evil Myrta. She is so strong and authoritative, despite a few bobbles on her opening arabesques. I think this will become one of her signature roles (I saw her debut last year which was just as powerful) and I suspect her O/O debut, in particular her Black Swan, will be fierce. She is also a good actress and her dismay and displeasure over Giselle's offerings and protection of Albrecht read beautifully. Rachel Richardson and Lauren Post (who was a last minute replacement for Trenary) were the lieutenants. They were well matched and danced well, though Post's legs didn't come together during the series of cabrioles.

As noted earlier, Hurlin and Shayer did the peasant pas. Hurlin looked a bit nervous (I believe this was a role debut) but her technique was solid and she is so lovely. She didn't have the command or secureness like Brandt or Trenary, but how could she at this point? Shayer was solid with those big, gorgeous jumps of his. In the past, I've noticed that he tends to do weird things with his face like mugging or just odd expressions, but I finally saw none of that today. He had a wonderful open face and smile throughout. I really hope to see both of them promoted at the end of the Met season.

Alexei Agoudine debuted as Hilarion, and his acting was very good. He's been in the corps for a long time and has remained in the background, except for acting roles. His dancing was ok, but the second act really needed someone with better technique.

Isadora Loyola was a regal Bathilde and I always enjoy seeing Roman Zhurbin (Prince of Courland) in anything. Lastly, Luis Ribagorda was back on the Met stage after 4 years as Wilfed. He is a fine actor with a strong presence and I'll bet he enjoyed sharing the stage again with his wife, our glorious Giselle.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Lane's backwards spins at the beginning were at lightening speed. 

Shevchenko was a commanding and evil Myrta. She is so strong and authoritative, despite a few bobbles on her opening arabesques. I think this will become one of her signature roles (I saw her debut last year which was just as powerful) and I suspect her O/O debut, in particular her Black Swan, will be fierce. She is also a good actress and her dismay and displeasure over Giselle's offerings and protection of Albrecht read beautifully. Rachel Richardson and Lauren Post (who was a last minute replacement for Trenary) were the lieutenants. They were well matched and danced well, though Post's legs didn't come together during the series of cabrioles.

4

Yes! i forgot to mention that, but her backward spins were super fast and looked almost out of control (in a good way). I don't remember them being quite so spectacular last year. 

I agree completely about Shevchenko -- it seems like a perfect role for her. Oh, and her butterfly-soft bourrees at the beginning were just lovely. I wish ABT would reinstate the second series of them so we could have experienced them twice! I was also impressed by her ports de bras, which sometimes had almost a liquid quality. 

And this is the part I reference above, where current ABT Myrthas always seem to get way beyond the music (that's not the case here with Van Hamel, though she's a hair late on the jump at 7:00). I don't think it's the dancers' fault; I don't see how Shevchenko could have pushed herself to dance any more quickly to stay on the music. 

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Thank you for that clip. I agree, and I think the music is just too fast today to stay on top of it. Speaking of music, I forgot to mention that in the second act the horns had some difficulty keeping it together. At one point, it sounded like one of the musicians either fell asleep or forgot what he/she was playing; they dropped out when they shouldn't have and then seemed to rush to get back on track, which sounded awkward to say the least.

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Thanks for the reports. I had work and no way I could make it. But about Lane ... I think she's a great dancer but she can be inconsistent. I've seen her do a great Rose Adagio and I've also seen her do one where she immediately fell off pointe and was rattled for the rest of the performance. Last year I remember her Giselle jumps were fine although I think overall she is a par terre dancer. Great at fast footwork and tricky pirouettes. Big flying jumps I don;t think are her specialty. 

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Thank you all for your reviews of the Lane/Simkin Giselle. Last year I saw Lane/Cornejo and thought is was amazing. Unfortunately for Lane, she is in her prime right now (IMO) but got one Giselle this season, and a Wed. matinee at that. She was a great Giselle last year in the performance I saw. For those who see her as a great Giselle in the making, how is that going to happen? One show a year!! 

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Isabelle Boylston gave a great performance tonight. She did a compelling mad scene, her diagonal on the variation was brilliant, as was whatever she did when Giselle first encounters the willis (sorry I don't know the technical terms, they sort of looked like fouettes to me, but not exactly)  The willis scenes were terrific.  I have previously seen Hallberg and Cornejo as Albrecht and, sadly, neither did the entrechats six. Whiteside did and they were fine. I counted 26.  Are there supposed to be 32?  He partnered well.  Was it believable that they are madly in love? Not exactly.  But still a good performance.  Loads of empty seats tonight, but lots of cheers from the audience.   

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I was at the Lane/Simkin matinee today, and I thought Lane was really lovely, and I particularly appreciated how in sync with the music both she and Simkin were.  For example, I feel like most of the time I've seen the tour jetes (I think that was the step), one person is jumping and landing slightly before the other, and it just looks sloppy to me.  This time, they were both jumping and landing in arabesque at the same time, and I found it so much more beautiful to see them in harmony with each other and the music.  I felt like throughout she was really paying attention to what the music was saying and expressing it in her movements.  Unfortunately, I thought this was in contrast to Shevchenko today.  Maybe it is that the music is just too fast, but it still bothered me.  And some of it didn't seem to be the music.  It was a little thing, but when Giselle first makes her entrance, Lane was walking forward in time with the music, and it seemed like Shevchenko was just walking backwards, not necessarily paying attention to the music.  I felt the same about Gabe Stone Shayer too - he was going through the steps, but they weren't connected to the music.  Whereas with Simkin and Lane, what I was seeing and what I was hearing made sense together and enhanced each other.  I was so happy they got their second curtain call - they totally deserved it!  And I hope they realize that there was a sizeable group who really appreciated their performance, even if the overall audience felt dead.  If I were guessing, I'd say it felt like at least 20% of the audience, and maybe more, kept clapping and calling "bravo" and stayed in place for several  minutes until they came out again.  The audience insisted on it, even if it clearly wasn't planned.

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A Wednesday matinee, nonstop rain, many empty seats at the Met, an audience that did not know when to applaud, and didn't seem to care about applauding, either . . .  Multiple elements combined to prevent today's Lane-Simkin Giselle from reaching the top-drawer level of last year.  That breathless, edge-of-the-seat astonishment which was palpable at Lane's debut performance was missing today.  And while a rainy day can put a damper on anything, an electric performance on stage should be able jolt a sleepy, apathetic audience utterly awake.  Even during Lane's stunning Act I performance, response from the audience was so muted, it was as if they were home watching TV.  I was greatly relieved to hear, finally, some applause coming from other parts of the theater.  Both Lane and Simkin gave deeper, more complex emotional performances than last year in Act I, making Giselle's mad scene more climactic and frightening.  Unfortunately, with Act II, Lane's energy seemed diminished.

Did anyone else notice Lane nearly lost her balance with the first of her two long, penchee arabesques?  She moved so very slowly, held on, and kept going, but that was the first indication to me that something was no longer the same.  Then there was Simkin's trouble with the lifts - after all these years, he's still having trouble with lifts!  I also noticed Lane's odd head and neck movements, but it struck me that this was part of her performance, as if she were experimenting with character nuance.  Her Act II Giselle was far less of a blank-faced ghost than last year.  Maybe that's not the usual classical interpretation, but Christine Shevchenko's Myrta was also very vividly emotional, a far cry from last year's much milder performance.  Her astonishment at her inability to separate Albrecht and Giselle, her triumphant pleasure at forcing Albrecht to continue dancing - it was great to see how much she has grown into the role.  Gabe Stone Shayer in the peasant pas de deux was a real revelation for me.  His wonderful, classical lines, with movement stretching through his limbs completely, all the way out to hands and feet, his supreme musicality - this was the first time I've seen him dance this way.  He landed his jumps perfectly.  With the music.  Perfectly.  His only problem seemed to be the big toothy grin which never left his face.  He and Catherine Hurlin danced very well together, but it seemed an odd pairing - on pointe, she is at least two inches taller than he is.  But both appear to be well on the way to much better things.

In addition, MAJOR props to the audience members upstairs and in the rear orchestra, who kept applauding and cheering for at least two minutes after Lane and Simkin's front-of-curtain call ended, forcing the stage manager to bring them back out for a second call.  Whatever problems each experienced during the ballet, they deserved every second of that cheering, and the look of gratitude and happiness on Lane's face was worth it.  The performance remained a remarkable display of their technical skills and ever-growing dramatic ability, and another wonderful Wednesday matinee for me.  I hope Simkin will return next spring as a "guest artist" in order to continue his Giselle partnership with Lane.

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9 hours ago, vipa said:

Thank you all for your reviews of the Lane/Simkin Giselle. Last year I saw Lane/Cornejo and thought is was amazing. Unfortunately for Lane, she is in her prime right now (IMO) but got one Giselle this season, and a Wed. matinee at that. She was a great Giselle last year in the performance I saw. For those who see her as a great Giselle in the making, how is that going to happen? One show a year!! 

Agree and I still think she would do better at another company where she could get the performance experience she deserves at this point. What company, I don't know. I think she would have done very well at SFB. I know her dream was to be a principal at ABT but now that that dream is realized, she isn't really dancing any more often than she did as a soloist. Maybe less often actually. It's a shame for her and for the audience who loves to see her.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Fleurfairy said:

Agree and I still think she would do better at another company where she could get the performance experience she deserves at this point. What company, I don't know. I think she would have done very well at SFB. I know her dream was to be a principal at ABT but now that that dream is realized, she isn't really dancing any more often than she did as a soloist. Maybe less often actually. It's a shame for her and for the audience who loves to see her.

I’m not sure this is a situation unique to Lane, though. In interviews, I’ve heard principals say it’s a big adjustment to simply not be onstage as much as a soloist or corps member. This can, of course, be extreme at ABT, where each principal may only be assigned one O/O, Nikiya, etc., per run. At least ABT seems to have a pretty robust touring schedule again, which provides some additional performance opportunities. 

While I was disappointed to see that Lane wasn’t cast as O/O and, especially, Juliet, I still think this is still a big season for her. She’s adding thee major Petipa roles to her rep.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Did anybody see last night Boylston's Giselle...? I was there, and even if having been a last minute decision, I am happy I saw it. She was VERY refreshing in the role, both technically and dramatically. I always say that  want I look beyond all qualities of a given performance is the capacity of the artists to entertain their audiences. A boring performance goes in the bottom line for me. Last night Boylston and Whiteside, even if they are not Osipova and Polunin, delivered a very clear, honest and interesting show. Boylston's technical side shone during Act I Past Seul-( covering an ample section of the stage with her sautees on pointe) and her very fast deliverance of the grand pirouettes during Giselle's Initiation scene in act I. One of the things I would say it's obvious is the clear rapport she and Whiteside have. The look very comfortable with each other, and so their interaction is very credible. Teuscher's Myrtha is still a work in progress. She needs to work toward a more regal, less flamboyant portrayal. Many mannered at times, and very short time taken to enjoy and show those elongated arabesques which are Myrtha's signature. I had the impression that Teuscher's wanted to show speed more than anything velse, but in the process Myrtha was a bit lost.

And talking about mannered....there is Blaine Hoven in the Peasant Pas, who never looked relaxed with those uber grinning gestures, and clearly out of breath by the end.  Katherine Williams looked tense as well, visibly concentrated in getting those pirouettes right.

And boy, oh boy...Lanchbery's fantasy really went over board with some orchestration passages, particularly in said Peasant Pas.

Anybody going tonight..? Who's dancing...?

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Posted (edited)

It looks like Boylston has ditched the streaky blond highlights with prominent dark roots. What an improvement! She looks lovely here. (If you view it on Instagram, there is a second pic where you can really see her now fully dark hair.)

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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6 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

It looks like Boylston has ditched the streaky blond highlights with prominent dark roots. What an improvement! She looks lovely here.

Oh TG! I agree. Such an improvement, and yes, she looks great.

(I really couldn't deal with the bun being a completely different color from the rest of her hair when she had it up, especially in classical ballets.)

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