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Just now, Inge said:

Balanchine's Coppélia children's corps is wonderful. Harlequinade's excessive use of children is a little tiresome whether it's Balanchine or Ratmansky. 

I completely agree. I was delighted by the children's corps in his Coppélia when I saw it for the first time this season. And I never think that about children in ballet!

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Just now, fondoffouettes said:

It's so lively and exciting there -- not to mention beautifully tied to the music. And...it takes all of a minute? We don't have to watch children stomping and prancing for I don't know how long. It was awful.

I thought it was fantastic. And I generally get bored as hell at kids dancing in the ballet. So your mileage may vary.

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Posted (edited)

This whole ballet made me wish Ratmansky had looked at the notation and decided to choreograph his own version, inspired by Petipa. Is the source material really worthy of a literal reconstruction?

Edited by fondoffouettes

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

The Prince's mime takes all of 60 seconds.

How about Sleeping Beauty? A whole act almost of different fairy tales being re-told. As I said, it's just part of the Petipa ballet fabric. 

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1 minute ago, fondoffouettes said:

It's so lively and exciting there -- not to mention beautifully tied to the music. And...it takes all of a minute? We don't have to watch children stomping and prancing for I don't know how long. It was awful.

Yes, I think four separate pieces of music with different sets of characters, plus another ensemble piece to close it off. Too much.

Just now, canbelto said:

How about Sleeping Beauty? A whole act almost of different fairy tales being re-told. As I said, it's just part of the Petipa ballet fabric. 

Again, this seems very different to me. Each of those is distinct in character and steps from anything we've seen before. Some are a bit tiresome, it's true. But not all are tiresome in the same way. I just don't think one can compare Harlequinade with Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty as top-notch Petipa works. I think I get what you're trying to say, but as a theatrical experience — no, I disagree.

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2 minutes ago, Inge said:

Balanchine's Coppélia children's corps is wonderful. Harlequinade's excessive use of children is a little tiresome whether it's Balanchine or Ratmansky. 

And to be honest, even as adorable as the Waltz of the Hours is with those girls in pink, I much prefer to see it in a more elaborated, for-adults choreography-(as with the Bolshoi recon)

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, canbelto said:

How about Sleeping Beauty? A whole act almost of different fairy tales being re-told. As I said, it's just part of the Petipa ballet fabric. 

Stories retold in varied ways. This was big clusters of kids just doing repetitive dance moves -- all prancy, stompy moves over and over again, with very little variation in ports de bras.

And for the record, I loved the child dances in Balanchine's Coppelia.

I don't disagree it's part of the Petipa ballet fabric. I just wonder if this may have been one of his least-inspired attempts.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Thanks everyone for the detailed reviews! I will be seeing Brandt/Simkin and Lane/Cirio this week. Seems like Simkin is a good fit for this role with his dramatic acting style and big jumps.

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Just saw the lane/cirio abrera/Hallberg cast. 

TL;DR—charming but slight. Would not see it again. Audience reaction was tepid.

My partner compared this ballet to a cream puff—enjoyable but insubstantial, and not satiating. I left feeling underwhelmed. 

Abrera really stole the show, despite not having the “wow” choreography (those devilishly difficult hops on pointe that columbine does in both acts). She was just so sparkling, charming, and pitch-perfect, and all her interplay with Hallberg was great. I enjoyed him as Pierrot—he doesn’t have a lot to do dance-wise, but he was funny, especially playing off Stella. I thought their partnership had more spark than Cirio and Lane’s.

Cirio was very good in his mimes, but his lifts were unsteady and his solos didn’t quite have the oomph and bravura quality I was hoping to see. Because the ballet has so much mime and light dancing, you really want those solos to wow and Cirio’s just fell a bit short of the mark for me. 

Lane was cute and acquitted herself admirably with some VERY difficult choreography, but didn’t quite nail it like Stella did. Like with Cirio, I was left wanting a bit more.

audience response seemed pretty tepid. Lane’s hops didn’t get any applause, which surprised me, and there was just one front-of-curtain bow with light applause. People seemed very ready to be out of the theater—it’s a short ballet, but it feels longer than it is I as there are some sections like the kids’ dances in Act II that drag.

I left feeling that this was a ballet that must have been much more engaging to make then it is to watch. The whole history of the piece and learning about the reconstruction process was more interesting to me than the ultimate result. I don’t think this is a winner for ABT—I think the appeal is pretty limited to people who have a significant amount of interest in ballet history and in Ratmansky as a choreographer. I’m not a parent, but it didn’t seem child-friendly to me (it’s totally G-rated but I think most kids would be bored).

curious to hear more of what others thought! 

 

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I think the ballet success at the time is intertwined with how its very first consumers-(the Imperial family)- amused themselves in such sort of things like masquerades, balls and the like. This ballet feels very "aristocratic"-(something we won't ever come close to feel identified with)-and probably very comical in a turn of the century way. Our modern comedy today is much darker and elaborated. When all this elements of identification are no more, what we are left with is a curiosity, which might contain nice dancing sections. But not much else. 

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12 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Yes, I think four separate pieces of music with different sets of characters, plus another ensemble piece to close it off. Too much.

Again, this seems very different to me. Each of those is distinct in character and steps from anything we've seen before. Some are a bit tiresome, it's true. But not all are tiresome in the same way. I just don't think one can compare Harlequinade with Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty as top-notch Petipa works. I think I get what you're trying to say, but as a theatrical experience — no, I disagree.

I;m not saying the dances were top notch or even mid-tier Petipa. I agree that the choreography is not as compelling. I'm just saying if you're going to reconstruct the ballet you have to consider that this sort of "divertissement where the story is retold" is a ballet tradition that Petipa put into his ballets. 

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5 minutes ago, alexL said:

Thanks everyone for the detailed reviews! I will be seeing Brandt/Simkin and Lane/Cirio this week. Seems like Simkin is a good fit for this role with his dramatic acting style and big jumps.

Seeing it tonight, I actually thought I would have enjoyed it more with simkin! Aside from the lifts, it definitely plays to his strengths. 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, canbelto said:

 I'm just saying if you're going to reconstruct the ballet you have to consider that this sort of "divertissement where the story is retold" is a ballet tradition that Petipa put into his ballets. 

Of course. Which is basically to say, if you’re going to “reconstruct the ballet,” you have to reconstruct the structure of the ballet. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t Petipa. I just question whether this particular ballet was worth reconstructing in full. I’d love to have a Ratmansky-esque thoughtful reconstruction of excerpts in a theatrically effective one-act form.

Edited by nanushka

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40 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Oh...and on another matters, I get into the orchestra section very early, and right then and there are Villella and his wife seated quietly. So I pulled up a beautiful pic of him as Harlequin with McBride, and when passing by I put it right next to him and call his attention. I go.."here, Eddie...this is THE REAL DEAL!" He started laughing and Linda grabbed my phone and goes.."awwww" looking at the pic. I took the moment to thank him for having left such a great and strong ballet legacy in Miami-(he seemed moved by this). He did shake my hand and muttered a very honest "thank you". 

Then I left. By then people were literally jumping on him already-(and on Baryshnikov, who happened to be seated right at the other side of Villella).

 

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3 minutes ago, BrazilianBAllet said:

 

They also share a great deal of full head of hair!

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I;m not saying the dances were top notch or even mid-tier Petipa. I agree that the choreography is not as compelling. I'm just saying if you're going to reconstruct the ballet you have to consider that this sort of "divertissement where the story is retold" is a ballet tradition that Petipa put into his ballets. 

Right -- I think you miss out on the varied texture of a Petipa work if such sequences are cut. I guess I just feel that this ballet wasn't a great candidate for reconstruction, given its dramatic and choreographic shortcomings. But I still admire Ratmanksy for pursuing this sort of work. I'd be interested in seeing selections or a condensed version in the future. but I'm not interested in sitting through the full thing again. I can't help but wonder if the resources for this production could have been better used for replacing some of ABT's more musty warhorses with newer productions. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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34 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

I can't help but wonder if the resources for this production could have been better used for replacing some of ABT's more musty warhorses with newer productions. 

Raymonda

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Posted (edited)

I agree that the first cast was the best, at least Harlequin & Colombine. However, I preferred tonight’s Pierrot and Pierrette for their acting & chemistry. 

I love this ballet more than ever after the second viewing...and I also love the Balanchine version with the simpler-yet-sweet designs. I absolutely despise the various one-act condensed Soviet versions, which are basically Act I only...eschewing the entirety of Drigo’s second act music - no Polonaise, no kids divert, no Larks, no Berceuse solo for Colombine! Sacrilege.

Few here talk about the sheer beauty of Drigo’s score. Pure evocation of love and simplicity in sound. To me, the most perfect ballet score. (I wish that it would come out on CD.)

Finally, folks, please remember the special nature of Harlequinade’s creation - it was a private entertainment for the court, at the Hermitage palace. It was a short (but luxurious) ballet, not intended for the Mariinsky but such a hit that it was soon transferred to the larger stage. 

This is the 200th Birthday year of the great Petipa. How magnificent that we can, in 2018, experience this Royal Splendor with our own eyes and ears right here in the Good Ol’ USA. Bravo, Ratmansky, Drigo, Petipa...and ABT!

Edited by CharlieH

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I loved it.  I loved everything about it.  If I could see this ballet every night this week, I would, but I can't, so I'm only going again on Friday and I can't wait.  I cannot understand being bored by this.  It's wonderfully different from the Balanchine version.  There was so much going on, so much to watch, to see, to follow!  So much gorgeousness!  I didn't know where to look next!  Lane was wonderful, picking herself up after that flopperoo behind the parasol and executing all the intricate footwork, the hops on point, the arabesques; and Cirio, with his marvelous panache for character posturing and clear mime.  Lane doesn't have the same relationship with Cirio that she does with Cornejo or Simkin; this may be only the second or third time they've performed together in something like three (or more) years, and never for such an extended length of time, nor featuring intricate lifts.  They performed admirably, and at least they get a second show this week!  Abrera looked beautiful, but her role was so small, and Hallberg was adorable.  They barely seemed to break a sweat.  Once again, sadly, the audience appeared to be full of people who wished they were home, watching TV.  The people behind us were actually complaining at intermission about how boring they thought it was.  A world of beautiful, live fantasy on stage in front of you, and you're bored??!!   I don't understand why they would spend so much money to be bored in public, when they could stay home and be bored there.  For free.  There are too many people at ballets such as this, who show up, and look, but do not see.  Or think.  

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I doubt anyone paid for a ticket in order to be bored: I think they got there, and what they saw bored them.  And, from the comments of members here who have seen it and posted about it, they weren't alone.  And, there's a good chance they did see: they just didn't like what they saw, and they have no obligation to do so, or to think what anyone else does.

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Posted (edited)

Pierrette should loan her second act dress to Aurora for her wedding...😎

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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3 hours ago, Inge said:

Balanchine's Coppélia children's corps is wonderful. Harlequinade's excessive use of children is a little tiresome whether it's Balanchine or Ratmansky. 

Marius Petipa was a master of arranging children's ensembles. Use of children in ballet is ”excessive" only when they are poorly prepared, which happens, unfortunately, today in nearly all productions except those staged with students of the very best ballet schools. Second, participants of the 19-th century reconstructions often have a dim idea, and even less feeling, what they are actually enacting and how should they move around the stage. These is a mobile phone generation.

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Posted (edited)

Today, I’ll have one more look at Ratmansky’s spectacular  Harlequinade - the matinee...now to star Skylar Brandt - before taking the train back to DC. If I could stay to watch all other performances this week, I would. This production is my dream come true. Finally - FINALLY! - a Ratmansky recon of a Petipa ballet with truly grand sets & costumes (the Bolshoi Corsaire was mainly Burlaka’s recon, as others pointed out elsewhere). 

Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream is not a Petipa reconstruction BUT it is a ballet presented in the grand Petipaesque Imperial tradition. I’d stay for a week of that, too, if I could. So now ABT has two truly luxurious Ratmansky ballets that are “Fit for the Tsars”: Harlequinade and Whipped Cream.

 

Edited by CharlieH

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5 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Pierrette should loan her second act dress to Aurora for her wedding...😎

Yes, especially if we are talking about Aurora in the ABT Cheapo edition of SB. Next time that ABT presents SB, they should commission Robert Perdziola to design & oversee production of truly grand sets & costumes. 

 

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I would not say I loved this work, but I found it an extremely enjoyable night at the ballet.  I would say two is enough for me this week.  Generally speaking (and I know there are exceptions), I find that Ratmansky's first casts fare better.  They benefit from more closely working with him while he is setting the choreography and they tend to have more rehearsals.  Having said that, I actually really liked the sweetness of Cirio and Lane.  It was charming.  I felt their interpretation was less over the top, but I actually preferred it. Boylston is having an amazing season and she seems to just go from triumph to triumph.  She and Whiteside have a wonderful connection.  I have always loved James since his days in Boston, and this role was a good one for him, not requiring him to be the prince.  One complaint I do have is that I find his arch padding very distracting and I wish he would change that.  I preferred Murphy to Abrera in this one, which is unusual for me.  The role of Pierette is a much easier role than Columbine, so both Murphy and Abrera were able to shine.  The Columbine choreography is devilishly difficult, and both Boylston and Lane handled it well.  Not much to say about Hallberg other than what has been said.  It is always good to see him on stage, but I prefer seeing him dance, as most would probably agree.  I adored the children's sections.  It was fun to see the parents reacting to their children on stage, something I always relish at Nutcracker.  They were very well-rehearsed.  I sat very close to Misha the second evening, and he was clapping very enthusiastically for Cirio and Lane which was nice to see.  This is one of those ballets (like Nutcracker and Whipped Cream) I would see once a year and that would be enough.  

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