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As a mother of 5 it sounds like pure torture at the thought of bringing one of my younger ones to a ballet.  Why do that to yourself?  Why do that to others?  All of the behavior you describe is normal.  The child was bored to shreds.  Shouldn't have been there.  

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7 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

Last night I broke a (personal) rule I thought I'd never, ever break -- I said something to a mom about her child's behavior. It was a mother who was letting her child do pretty much whatever she wanted to during the performance (repeatedly crinkle cellophane, take her shoes off and wave them in the air, wave the arms of her jacket back and forth, stand up and hang on the seat in front of her, among many other movements). The mom did little if anything. Of course this behavior reached its peak during the lark scene. I leaned forward and said, "Could you please keep your daughter under control? It's very distracting." I received a venomous look, and "I'm trying what I can." The thing is, she was doing nothing. Then she turned around again, looking furious, and said, "That was incredibly rude."  I don't mean to underestimate how hard it is to be a parent, but if your child can't sit through a performance, it's time to exit and respect the ticket-buyers sitting around you. I realize a ballet ticket may be cheaper than child care, but if you can afford to raise a child in Manhattan, you can afford to hire a babysitter and respect adults who go to evening entertainments. Or if not, you may simply have to sacrifice going out to the ballet. There was a baby or young child crying last week at Bayadere. Seriously? I can't imagine the baby was brought there to enjoy the performance. 

When we started taking my sister's granddaughter (and sometimes grandson) to the Colorado Ballet when they were 4 or 5, we always sat on the aisle, so we could make  a quick get-away if they were a problem (which they were not).  I thought the Met had a sound-proof room in the back for crying babies (at least, they pointed that out on one of their tours), so I'm surprised the ushers didn't get the crying baby out of there pronto. I remember a young girl at the State Theater literally filming the performance with her smartphone; another audience member first asked the mother to get her to stop, then grabbed the phone from her hand! Whatever it takes, I guess! I'm noticing a lot of people reading their Smartphones with their bright lights during performances lately. It never ends...

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Posted (edited)

Whatever the reasons may be for Copeland not appearing in Harlequinade, it appears Brandt was indeed subbed in quite late in the game and hadn’t prepared the role.

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Edited by fondoffouettes

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Yeah, I saw that. I wonder why they didn't train an understudy well ahead of time. Considering the choreography is hard and taxing on the feet, you'd think Ratmansky and ABT would have at least one understudy ready in case anyone had to withdraw (Especially when you think about how things went last year. Le Corsaire week anyone?). Good for Brandt.

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44 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Whatever the reasons may be for Copeland not appearing in Harlequinade, it appears Brandt was indeed subbed in quite late in the game and hadn’t prepared the role.

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What an MPV. 

Was wavering whether or not to attend a third show this week, but I really can't resist last-minute Skylar. No matter my frustrations with the production, Colombine's choreography is a dream.

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4 minutes ago, Inge said:

Colombine's choreography is a dream.

Indeed, it is. I would pay to see it a few more times this week, if only I could slip in and out of the auditorium for just those parts I wish to see (with maybe drinks at one of the Bouluds in between?).

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Just a quick note, having just gotten out of tonight’s show.... I loved it! I understand some will and some won’t, but I approached it from the historical standpoint and went in prepared. More later but the principals were fabulous. Trenary’s Columbine was a dream! She slayed the difficult choreography with a smile on her face. Her acting is equally as good. Shayer was a great Harlequin, as well.

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Does anyone think it has ticket selling staying power? I'm  not going to see it. I disliked S B and the  Golden  C so much that I decided to put the money to my NYCB subscription. I am curious to thoughts about  ABT having  a hit or not

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Speaking of audience behavior, I just got back from Harlequinade, and the two women in front of me were talking to each other during the entire thing.  And I mean every couple of minutes at best, often multiple comments in a minute.  I tried sshhing them, but they completely ignored me and kept on talking.  Is it just me?  Is talking during the ballet not that big a deal?  Anyone ever handled this successfully?  (It wasn't as distracting in the first act, so I didn't think to say anything at intermission.)  And a few seats down, there was a woman who kept waving at her child onstage and videotaped the grand finale.

At this point, I'm starting to think all children should be banned from performing in all ballets except Nutcracker because the audience seems to think that if kids are in a ballet, the rules go out the window.  (Only sort of joking.)

On to the ballet.  Overall, I thought it was charming.  Yes, the first act is very light on dance, and I'm glad I was warned to expect this.  But for me, the second act more than made up for it.  And I did actually like the children quite a lot here.  There weren't any very young ones, so they were actually dancing quite a bit, not just running around the stage.  And there were several with very lovely port de bras.

Trenary made one mistake at a key point - when she and Pierrette are supposed to balance using each other for support.  She never really got the balance at all, which was disappointing because I think the effect would have been lovely - two women supporting each other, instead of the woman being supported by a man.  And I couldn't tell what was going on with the hops on pointe in the second act - she was on demi pointe by the end of them, but maybe that is the choreography?  But her stage presence makes her a delight to watch.  Her dancing has such a joy to it.  It's also her smile and the way she exudes happiness that carries over to the audience.  It worked perfectly for the part.  I also thought Shayer was perfectly cast - he has a swagger to him that worked very well in the part.  

I thought Shevchenko was very strong technically, but seeing her dancing next to Trenary made it clear to me what I sometimes find lacking in her.  Her mannerisms, expressions and smiles feel artificial to me, as opposed to natural.  It's clear she is acting a part.  Blaine Hoven didn't really register much as a presence, but maybe that was just his part.  I did think Keith Roberts was very funny as the suitor, and I love when ballet shows how much humor there is when someone with perfect control of their body uses it to comedic effect.  That sort of physical humor is almost never seen anymore on tv and in the movies, and it's nice to be reminded of what an art it is.

I also loved the larks and agree - they must have spent all their time rehearsing this instead of Giselle and La Bayadere because they were so much better!

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3 minutes ago, vipa said:

Does anyone think it has ticket selling staying power? I'm  not going to see it. I disliked S B and the  Golden  C so much that I decided to put the money to my NYCB subscription. I am curious to thoughts about  ABT having  a hit or not

I hope it does.  I would happily see this again, but Golden Cockerel - not if you paid me.  Very different.  Sleeping Beauty - depends on what you hated about it because in some ways, they are similar.  I personally liked this more because it seemed less obviously a "period" ballet and more in line with today's aesthetics (and the costumes and sets were gorgeous.) 

I will say that I got my ticket on a flash sale, and there were quite a number of empty seats in my row, which isn't a great sign.  But that may have more to do with the lack of star power tonight, not the ballet itself.

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Golden Cockerel I hated. Harlequinade is a totally different ballet. I love it. It reminds me at times of a Fellini film (and I love Fellini films).

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I saw Tuesday’s cast and came away feeling “meh”. I agree very much that this ballet would be better presented in a smaller theater, even just across the plaza. I hope ABT does an exhibit of the costumes, as they really stole the show!

fondoffouettes I believe I was sitting right behind you when that incident happened. I was shocked at how rude she was, and so aggressively loud too!

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Posted (edited)

Getting back to last night, and the Trenary/ Shayer cast. As I mentioned I found the ballet delightful. Having gone in with the understanding of its historical context I appreciated the humor. The first act was fun and charming, and I found both Shayer and Trenary to be wonderful in their acting. Hoven was funny as well, and I imagine bringing his character to life would be extremely challenging. Shevchenko is lovely and I always find her to be a tremendous tactician.

Act 2 has a lot of dancing, more than expected given previous reviews. I found the children to be well rehearsed, and the first section was a delight. However, when they came back on and danced another whole section I felt it was too long and took away from what they did earlier. I would prefer to see Harlequin’s friends come back on or perhaps some variations at that point. As I said earlier Trenary was fantastic in act 2. She handled the extremely difficult choreography beautifully with a smile. I am not familiar with the choreography so I didn’t see any mistakes myself, I Just enjoyed the lovely dancing. Shayer was equally wonderful. This was great to see and he was certainly “on” last night. I thought Shevchenko was also beautiful in Act 2, her rock solid dancing is what I believe makes her a perfect Odette/Odile. 

The corps was lovely to watch. The larks especially appeared to float across the stage, an the visual was very appealing. This is one ballet I would love to see again.

Edited by clrtt

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Posted (edited)

I saw yesterday’s matinee with Simkin and Brandt.  I thought the ballet was very cute with the costumes and acting top notch.  As already mentioned, there is not a lot of dancing in the first act, but they made up for it in the second act.  The kids were cute, and danced well, but I thought they were used way too much.  We came to see ABT professionals, not the school. 

There were loads of kids and school groups in the audience, so maybe this is a good introduction to ballet. 

All of the leads were great.  Simkin was fabulous, funny, buoyant in his jumps, and he partnered Brandt well.  Brandt was adorable, danced exquisitely, and her hops on pointe were terrific.  It’s difficult to believe she learned the ballet on such short notice.   Hee Seo danced well and Hammoudi was very funny.   I would like to see him in some other funny character roles, such as Gamache.   

I’m looking forward to our second cast of Shayer, Trenary, Shevchenko and Hoven.  

Edited by NinaFan

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I saw the Wed night cast of Trenary, Shayer, Shevchenko and Hoven. I found the ballet absolutely charming and am looking forward to seeing it again on Friday night. Trenary and Shayer were both great, and the "Hunt of the Lark" divertissement was brilliant. For me, while I enjoyed the whole ballet, that scene alone was worth the price of admission.

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2 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

I saw yesterday’s matinee with Simkin and Brandt.  I thought the ballet was very cute with the costumes and acting top notch.  As already mentioned, there is not a lot of dancing in the first act, but they made up for it in the second act.   The kids were cute, but I thought they were used way too much.  We came to see ABT professionals, not the school.  There were loads of kids and school groups, so maybe this is a good introduction to ballet.   

Hmm I think it's also a ballet that ABT can actually handle. For instance is La Bayadere a greater ballet? Yes, but the ABT corps struggle in La Bayadere to the extent that it almost makes it not worth doing. The smaller corps, shorter ballet, more rehearsal time with Ratmansky, makes Harlequinade something ABT can handle.

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13 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Hmm I think it's also a ballet that ABT can actually handle. For instance is La Bayadere a greater ballet? Yes, but the ABT corps struggle in La Bayadere to the extent that it almost makes it not worth doing. The smaller corps, shorter ballet, more rehearsal time with Ratmansky, makes Harlequinade something ABT can handle.

The problem, especially this Met season, is that the company was presenting two new ballets which took up a tremendous amount of rehearsal time.  Both choreographers were working up until near performance time on their ballets.  This eats into the rehearsal times for other ballets.  Additionally, ABT, in my opinion, has far too many lay-off periods.  The company is laid off for the whole month of November after the Koch season.  They come back for a very short rehearsal period for Nutcracker, and then have another several week lay-off.  After every tour (or almost every tour), there is another lay-off week.  Those weeks could be valuable in beginning to rehearse some of the warhorse ballets.  The schedule as it is puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the dancers.  Right now, they are rehearsing Romeo & Juliet during the day and then performing Harlequinade in the evenings.  It is nearly impossible to perfect something like the Shades scene under those conditions. 

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I'd say Brandt and Simkin did a very good job of making most of the limited rehearsal time(Just one minor note: Brandt has the habit of opening her mouth during the pas. It was particularly noticeable today and I do hope she fixes it in future) I didn't see any major partnering mistakes or mishaps in the solo variations. 

Simkin brought the house down with his jumpy variation in the 2nd Act. The matinee audiences showed lukewarm responses with tepid clapping until Simkin's solos(up to this point the biggest audience reaction came during the "death"of Harlequin which generated some genuine laughs). Brandt received moderate applause after her well executed solo(those hops made my feet hurt while watching. I wish I had the guts to shout bravos...) With Simkin I had no problem following his mime. His dramatic (and sometimes over the top) style of acting really worked well in this ballet. To me the most difficult part of the Harlequin's solo is the fact that he can't exit the stage after the taxing solo. Instead of bending down and have some air, he has too sit down on the stage left and maintain his posture throughout the Columbine solo.(think about the pas de deuxs in Bournonville's ballets) As everyone has mentioned the costumes are gorgeous. I'll be sitting closer on Friday so that I can observe them better. 

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4 hours ago, its the mom said:

The problem, especially this Met season, is that the company was presenting two new ballets which took up a tremendous amount of rehearsal time.  Both choreographers were working up until near performance time on their ballets.  This eats into the rehearsal times for other ballets.  Additionally, ABT, in my opinion, has far too many lay-off periods.  The company is laid off for the whole month of November after the Koch season.  They come back for a very short rehearsal period for Nutcracker, and then have another several week lay-off.  After every tour (or almost every tour), there is another lay-off week.  Those weeks could be valuable in beginning to rehearse some of the warhorse ballets.  The schedule as it is puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the dancers.  Right now, they are rehearsing Romeo & Juliet during the day and then performing Harlequinade in the evenings.  It is nearly impossible to perfect something like the Shades scene under those conditions. 

It seems that the lack of enough rehearsals , coaching and understudies for the principal roles are the main problems that are always affecting the Met season. Surely, the ABT board of directors are aware of these problems. It is not fair to the dancers and the paying audience to be treated this way.

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3 hours ago, bingham said:

It seems that the lack of enough rehearsals , coaching and understudies for the principal roles are the main problems that are always affecting the Met season. Surely, the ABT board of directors are aware of these problems. It is not fair to the dancers and the paying audience to be treated this way.

Rehearsal periods are extremely expensive. From social media it's apparent that some principals go outside of the company to be coached. I presume they pay out of pocket. The lay off problem is connected to the lack of performance opportunity issue. If they had longer tours they'd have more performances and more rehearsal time. It seems the economics do not support it.

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All in all, I strongly believe this is a ballet that won't have a strong impact for generations to come, both for audiences and for dancers. Reconstruction of the Imperial Petipa legacy is the "it" thing right now, and I agree it is a wonderful thing. We're getting to know full scores...opulent costume designs that had all but disappeared after the Soviets...and even better, combinations of steps and whole dancing pas and sequences that have been carefully re crafted to give us a wider idea of the work of the French master. But...I also believe modern audiences response to the surviving pre-reconstructions classics has much to do with the dramatic weight that they all somehow carry. Many moons later we still debate over characterizations of Giselle, Odette, Raymonda and Swannilda-(even being Coppelia a light ballet). Even the most dramatically weakest of them all-(Raymonda and Corsaire)- have quite a bit or story for us to ruminate and discuss. There's really nothing in Harlequinade. Only some combinations of allegro steps-(wonderful ones)- opulent costumes and a bubbly score, which can never be seated next to Tchaikovsky, Delibes or even Glazunov. I am happy I made it for this premiere, but I wouldn't arrange to travel in the future to see a whole run of it again.

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39 minutes ago, vipa said:

Rehearsal periods are extremely expensive. From social media it's apparent that some principals go outside of the company to be coached. I presume they pay out of pocket. The lay off problem is connected to the lack of performance opportunity issue. If they had longer tours they'd have more performances and more rehearsal time. It seems the economics do not support it.

I know that NYCB have several seasons during the year but do they have frequent layoffs like ABT?

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4 hours ago, bingham said:

It seems that the lack of enough rehearsals , coaching and understudies for the principal roles are the main problems that are always affecting the Met season. Surely, the ABT board of directors are aware of these problems. It is not fair to the dancers and the paying audience to be treated this way.

Why is that the case though? Isn't the Met season their only "main season" in the entire year? One would expect them to be fully prepared.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

All in all, I strongly believe this is a ballet that won't have a strong impact for generations to come, both for audiences and for dancers. Reconstruction of the Imperial Petipa legacy is the "it" thing right now, and I agree it is a wonderful thing. ...... I am happy I made it for this premiere, but I wouldn't arrange to travel in the future to see a whole run of it again.

I agree with a lot of what you wrote, Cubanmiamiboy. However, this ballet, in either the Petipa or Balanchine version - brings joy to my heart because it is brimming with beauty 101%...beautiful music, beautiful designs, beautiful simple story of love...and who needs more “characterization” that that zany, loveable Harlequin! All three who I saw - Whiteside, Cirio & Simkin - had it in spades, yet in different tones. 

To me, the message of joy & beauty in this “little” 80-minute ballet trumps all of the McGregors, Abrahams, and Millepieds put together.

Harlequinade is the perfect antidote to our troubled society of drugs, sick mores, guns and hatred. Mr. B knew. Ratmansky knows.

p.s. I feel very fortunate to have witnessed three presentations of extraordinary beauty and positivity in the past five days: NYCB’s Coppelia and the Balanchine B&W triple bill (Barocco, Agon, Four Ts), in addition to the ABT Harlequinades. All depression busters. The stars  aligned! 

Edited by CharlieH

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