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Colleen Boresta

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Everything posted by Colleen Boresta

  1. I also saw the June 9th matinee of "Don Quixote". As has often occurred, I agree with just about everything Drew had to say (and he always says it much better than I could.) Before this "Don Quixote" I too found Murphy to be a rather cold performer. But yesterday she really was adorable. (As Drew overhead the middle aged woman say.) She wasn't as much of a spitfire as I would have liked, but I think that will come in time. And her chemistry with Corella was great. Not to be picky, but I thought her balances in the third act pas de deux were a bit wobbly. But the rest of her dancing was first-rate, really exciting. And Corella, as Drew said, just gets better and better - his dancing, his acting, his charisma, everything was just perfect. Hernan Cornejo was really exciting as the lead Gypsy, and his sister, Erica (are they twins?) was also excellent. Anne Milewski was just wonderful skimming lightly across the stage as Amour. Carmen Corella was very good as Mercedes. She seems to share the family charisma. It was hard for me to take my eyes off her whenever she was on stage. And Carlos Molina was much improved as Espada, the Matador. I saw him in the part last year, and was rather disappointed by his big solo in Act II. Yesterday he danced it quite well. I think Gillian Murphy probably has a ways to go before she's at the level of Nina A. or Dvorovenko as Kitri. But she's still a very young dancer (how old is she anyway?) and I thought her performance was very impressive. She has amazing potential, and I think she'll be a principal dancer in a few years.
  2. I decided to start a new thread, and not put my ideas about "Onegin" on the same thead as "The Merry Widow". I don't want to get into the subject of whether or not "Onegin" is a serious ballet. I have no expertise on that subject. Basically, I just know what I like, and I was extremely moved by the "Onegin" performance I saw. (I was even crying at the end, a sure sign a ballet has really affected me.) I thought Cranko's choreography was good overall, and it was superb (IMO anyway) for the two duets between Onegin and Tatiana (Act I, scene II and Act III, scene II.) The Tchaikovsky music was arrangd well, not that I'm an expert on musical arrangment at all. I know it's not the the Tchaikovsky music used for the opera "Eugene Onegin", but since I've never seen that opera or heard the music that didn't affect me. The best thing about the ballet were the performances of Irina Dvorovenko as Tatiana and Gillaume Graffin as Onegin. I've known that Dvorovenko was a superb dancer, but I was overwhelmed by her acting in "Onegin". She gave a performance of raw power and emotion. In Dvorovenko's hands, Tatiana matured from an innocent girl hopelessly in love with a sophisicated nobleman into a young wife who stayed faithful to her husband and sent Onegin away when he finally realized he loved her. Through her superb acting, Dvorovenko made it clear how much Tatiana's dismissal of Onegin cost her. As wonderful as Dvorovenko was, I think Graffin was even better. His acting was so strong that it was always clear what Onegin was thinking. Through his gestures and especially through his facial expressions, Graffin showed us the bored and disdainful Onegin of Act I and the guilt-stricken nobleman who killed his best friend in a duel that friend forced upon him. As good as Graffin was in Acts I and II, his best acting was reserved for Act II. The way Onegin snuck longing looks at Tatiana and then turned away during the ballroom scene was very moving. The final scene was extremely powerful as danced by Dvorovenko and Graffin. Their acting was infused with both passion and desperation. Ethan Stiefel as Onegin's friend Lensky, and Ashley Tuttle as his fiancee, Olga, danced very well, especially in the first act. But their characters weren't nearly as fleshed out as those of Onegin and Tatiana. I think that has more to do with the choreography than the abilities of the dancers. I couldn't figure out why Olga would flirt with Onegin (during the Act II ball) when she saw how much it upset Lensky. And why would Lensky challenge Onegin to a duel over such a trivial matter? Was he just a hot-blooded extremely foolish young man? Or was there some other reason I didn't pick up on. Brian Reeder was okay as Prince Gremlin, the man Tatiana married. He was a good partner in the Act III ballroom scene. But to me he seemed too young for the part. And I didn't see much evidence that he cared deeply for Tatiana. All in all I thought it was a beautiful production of "Onegin". And I will long long remember the powerfully devastating performances of Irina Dvorovenko and Guillaume Graffin.
  3. I was very disappointed with DTH when I saw them perform at City Center in New York last September. I thought their dancing was weak, especially in "Creole Giselle Act II." (DTH only performed the second act of "Giselle" at City Center.) I decided after that performance not to see another DTH performance (at least until I've read on this site that they've improved radically). It's really such a shame because they were such a good company in the late 1970 and early 1980's.
  4. This is not a serious ballet, (what is the ballet equivalent of operetta?)but ABT's "The Merry Widow" is certainly a beautiful production. The costumes and scenery are breathtaking, Lehar's music is wonderful, and the dancing is first-rate. Saturday's matinee performance of "The Merry Widow" was especially memorable (IMO anyway). Irina Dvorovenko (replacing Alessandra Ferri) was dazzling, both in her dancing and her acting. Dvorovenko was scheduled to dance the part of the Baron's young wife, a role I feel she would be wrong for. Dvorovenko is too much a star to play any other part but that of Hannah Glawari (the Merry Widow herself). Julio Bocca was a very passionate Count Danilo. He was also quite funny, especially in his first act "drunk" scene. Ximora Reyes and Maxim Belotserkovsky were very good as the young Baroness and her lover. I've been a big fan of Belotserkovsky's for a few years, but this was first time I saw Reyes dance. I was very very impressed with her performance. She appeared to be to be very delicate, but her balletic technique was very strong. All in all it was a very entertaining afternoon at the ballet.
  5. Oh, I forgot to answer Manhattnik's questions about Nina A. being a better Odette/Odile than a Giselle. I only saw her in "Giselle" once, but I really didn't think it was her role. I thought Nina A. was much more effective in "Swan Lake", "Le Corsaire" and especially "Don Quixote". For one thing, I think Nina's a better dancer than an actress. And even more she's too strong, too powerful for "Giselle". She lacks that waif-like quality I think Giselle needs. I really couldn't buy Nina A's "Giselle" having a weak heart. It was the same problem I had with Cynthia Gregory's "Giselle" many years ago. (And Cynthia Gregory was a superby Swan Queen.)
  6. I saw the Saturday matinee of "Giselle" with Julie Kent and Jose Manuel Carreno. I find myself agreeing with the Washington D.C. talkers about what a great ballet it was. I've always been impressed with Julie Kent as a dancer, so her beautiful second act didn't surprise me. But I was amazed at how wondeful her acting was, especially in Act I. She was utterly convincing as a shy, innocent Giselle. When she found out that Albrecht had betrayed her, you could see her heart break right on stage. I've usually thought of Jose Manuel Carreno as a technically powerful dancer, and his Albrecht certainly did not disapoint me in this regard. His double assemble turns and cabrioles in the second act were very impressive. But I was pleasantly surprised at how well Carreno acted the part of Albrecht. In Act I he was a very young nobleman who really loved Giselle (or at least he thought he did), and he was devastated by her death. In the second act his sense of grief and loss showed clearly through his sensational dancing. Michele Wiles was a icy Myrtha with a regal manner and a great leap. Ethan Brown as always was very moving as the rough woodsman Hilarion. I was especially impressed by the clarity of his mime (a lost art today it seems). And I thought the corps in Act II was wonderful - as I did when I saw them last year in "La Bayadere".
  7. I also saw NYCB's Sunday matinee. I agree with everything Drew said, and I'm glad he wrote it so well. I love Balanchine's "The Four Temperments" more every time I see it, and this was an especially good performance. It was great to see Monique Meunier dancing so strongly, and I thought Charles Akegard and Jennie Somogyi danced the Sanguinic variation beautifully. (Although the height difference between Askegarda and Somogyi was a bit distracting at first. I guess he can't always dance with Korowski or Meunier.) I was a bit disappointed with Arthur Evans in the Phlegmatic section. He seemed to just be doing the steps, and not really getting into the ballet. Maybe he was just miscast. I also agree with Drew about the ballet "Tributary". It was a very pretty looking ballet, but there didn't seem to be much substance. The fact that it was sandwiched between ballets by Balanchine and Robbins also showed up the choreographic weaknesses of "Tributary" (IMO anyway). But I really loved the Mozart music. "The Four Seasons" was the highlight of my afternoon. I haven't seen this ballet in years, but I don't remember being as impressed by it in the past. Since I share Drew's well written opinions, I don't need to say much more. Everyone danced beautifully, but I was especially impressed with Millipied and Woetzel. I've seen many outstanding performances by Damian Woetzel, and this was truly one of the best. I also have never seen Woetzel (or anyone else for that matter) perform turns a la seconde the way Drew described. It was really exciting -it also looked rather dangerous which I guess added to the excitement. Millipied just keeps getting better all the time. And he was having so much fun with his part. It was great to see. I hope he'll be a principal dancer before too long. And I don't think I've ever seen Carrie Lee Riggins in a solo part before. Is she still in the corps? She's a very impressive dancer with a great light jump (as Drew mentioned). All in all it was a great afternoon at the ballet - NYCB at their finest!
  8. I saw "Dances at a Gathering" and "Stars and Stripes" at the February 24th matinee. The casts for both ballets were the same as those who performed at the February 25th matinee. There's no way I can top liebs' review of "Dances at a Gathering". She really put a fresh perspective on a ballet I've seen and loved many times. "Dances at a Gathering" is a truly beautiful ballet, and all the NYCB dancers gave lovely, lyrical performances. "Stars and Stripes" is another ballet I've seen many times. I was a bit disappointed with the quality (or lack of quality) of the female corps. Overall they seemed a bit off. At the beginning of the first campaign a dancer fell. And during the second campaign, one dancer was so removed from the rest of the group it was almost laughable. Jennifer Tinsley danced well as the leader of the Corcoran Cadets, and Ellen Bar was pretty good as the leader of the Rifle Regiment. The men's corps, led by the incomparable Tom Gold, was outstanding. Gold is a really exciting dancer - his leaps and especially his turns were just phenomenal. And as liebs has already stated, Gold does know how to milk the part for all its worth. I was very impressed by Monique Meunier and Charles Askegard in the pas de deux. It was great seeing Meunier dance again, and she gave a really strong performance. Her balances were wonderful, and her scissor leaps were first rate. But I've always been impressed by the power of Meunier's dancing so her performance didn't surprise me. Charles Askegard's performance did surprise. I'm so used to seeing Damian Woetzl in this part, and Askegard has never struck me as a dancer whose strength is pyrotechnics. But he was really great - displaying first-rate entrechats and thrilling turns a la seconde. And Askegard really caught the fun of the piece - infusing his performance with a sly wit and a twinkle in his eye. As well Meunier and Askegard have real chemistry together. The only diappointment of the afternoon was Peter Martins "Burleske" which was performed by Janie Taylor, Peter Boal, Darci Kistler, and Jared Angle. All danced well, but it was a really forgettable ballet (imo anyway). In her review of the premiere of "Buleske" (with the same cast I saw), Anna Kisselgoff of "The New York Times" called it bland. I think bland is the perfect word for "Burleske" and all the other Peter Martins' ballets I've seen. I can't think of one of Martins' works I've found memorable in any way. And it worries me that NYCB seems to be devoting more and more of its time to performing Martins' ballets. I don't ballet companies should be museums. New works are always necessary. It's just that I find Peter Martins to be a very mediocre choreographer.
  9. Thank God, I have a Masters' Degree in European History (and also taught social stuides for twenty years), and knowing full well how Edward II died, I didn't want to see it on stage. It's hard to believe that anyone knowing the history of Edward II would actually choose to create a ballet about it. The jazz program, though weak in spots, sounds a million percent better than "Edward II".
  10. Estelle, I also love the ballet "The Four Temperments", and I found a Hindemith cd which contains "The Four Temperments". (It also contains something called "Noblissima Visione".) The cd is on the Delos label, and the music is conducted by James De Preist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I got it last year at Tower Records on Broadway and about 3rd or 4th street in Manhattan. You can probably find it at many stores which sell cds. I think it's a very good version of "The Four Temperments", and have listened to it many times. I hope you're able to find it in England or France.
  11. I have seen "Giselle" about 21 times life, and I have been lucky enough to see some really wonderful Giselles (and Albrechts too, but that's another thread). Most of the Giselles I've seen were ABT ballerinas, and the really perfect ones (to me) were Marianna Tcherkassky, Alessandra Ferri, and Ashley Tuttle. In 1981 I saw a French ballerina, Dominque Khalfouni dance "Giselle" as a guest artist with ABT. (Her Albrecht was Barysnikov.) Khalfouni was a truly wonderful Giselle. Svetlana Lunkina of the Bolshoi has just been added to my list of perfect Giselles. I always loved Cynthia Harvey as a dancer, but the only time I ever saw her dance "Giselle" her Albrecht was Ross Stretton. They didn't seem to have a great rapport (to say nothing of chemistry), so I can't think of Harvey as a great Giselle.
  12. Program: "Concerto Barocco" (Balanchine/Bach); "Valse Fantasie" (Balanchine/Glinka); "The Waltz Project" (Martins/various composers); and "Vienna Waltzes" (Balanchine/Johann Strauss, Franz Lehar, Richard Strauss). "Concerto Barocco" and "Valse Fantasie" have already been reviewed (and quite well) by E Johnson. With regard to "Concerto Barocco" I just want to add that Wendy Whelan gets better every time I see her. I think she's definitely NYCB's best ballerina right now. And I was really disappointed by Yvonne Borree in "Valse Fantasie". I've seen her much better in other performances. She was really off in the January 9th performance of "Valse Fantasie." Where she should have been dancing with light, whirling steps (as mentioned in E Johnson's review,) she was stiff and didn't seem to finish anything she started. I was impressed by Millepied though. I think he shows a lot of promise. "The Waltz Project" is one of Peter Martins' more interesting ballets. At first I wasn't too impressed, but the more I watched it, the better I liked it. There didn't seem to be any theme to this ballet, just dancers waltzing to comtemporary piano music. These waltzes were very well danced by Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard, Deanna McBreaty and James Fayette, Jennie Somogyi and Albert Evans, and Helene Alexopoulos and Philip Neal. The highlight of the afternoon for me was Balanchine's "Vienna Waltzes" (one of my favorite ballets), a series of sumptuous waltzes (and one polka) set to music by Johann Strauss, Franz Lehar, and Richard Strauss. Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard danced well in the "Tales from the Vienna Woods" section. Margaret Tracey was very light and buoyant in the "Voices of Spring" section, but I was a bit disappointed in her partner, Nikolaj Hubbe. I'm used to seeing Damian Woetzel dance to "Voices of Spring", and Hubbe's leaps were much lower than Woetzel's. I did read that ever since Hubbe was injured a couple of years ago, he can no longer jump the way he once did. That being the case, perhaps it would be better if he weren't cast in ballet roles which make his diminished powers so obvious. Kathleen Tracey and Kipling Houston were very funny in "The Explosions Polka" section. Helene Alexopoulos was an alluring lady of mystery in the Silver and Gold waltz from "The Merry Widow", but Nilas Martins was undistinguished as the gentleman from her past. As a matter of fact I have never seen anyone do justice to this role since Peter Martins stopped dancing it in the early 1980's. The last section - set to Richard Strauss' waltz from "The Rosenkavlier" was beautifully danced, and the costumes and scenery were gorgeous. I felt, however, that Darci Kistler was not up to the leading role in this section. In my opinion, this is a grand ballerina role - one performed wonderfully by Suzanne Farrell, Stephanie Saland and Kyra Nicholas. They were all great ballerinas who, with just the wave of an arm, could convey a whole world of meaning. And as one of my friends (who was at the same performance) mentioned Kistler's dancing has been too guarded ever since she was injured for the second time. It seems that she's so worried about reinjuring herself that she no longer takes any risks. But, all in all, it was a good afternoon at the ballet. It was nice seeing the orchestra back and they played very well.
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