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Everything posted by California

  1. Copeland is also not cast in the Ratmansky Nutcracker at Segerstrom in December, although his choreography is not a great fit for her. https://www.abt.org/performances/the-nutcracker/ When the spring Met schedule comes out (soon, I hope!), perhaps we'll learn more - a retirement performance, perhaps?
  2. Having Albrecht enter first and go into his "house," followed by Hilarion's entrance, gives him time (dramatically) to change, even though he is wrapped completely in a cape on the first entrance.
  3. Fascinating history on that set. The 1977 version (as seen in Live at Lincoln Center) does have a very different set. Baryshnikov enters with his cape wrapped around him and only briefly leaves the sword in his house. No time for a real costume change in there. It's at 3:56.
  4. Does anybody have a program handy from their previous performances at the Met (spring 2019?). I wouldn't be surprised if they just used the same program note and didn't notice this change in the current production. Willard is carrying the cape, sword, and horn, isn't he? In the film, Baryshnikov enters Act I with his blue velvet top, knee-length pantaloons, cape, and matching hat with a feather. Then he disappears into the side house and re-emerges with the peasant costume. I suppose ABT could have duplicated that but were tempted to cut that corner and hope we wouldn't notice.
  5. Assuming it's the same costume I saw Wednesday and Thursday, Albrecht does consider that brown top to be a peasant outfit. That's clear when Bathilde re-enters and looks at his outfit scornfully. He gestures like he was hunting with bow and arrow as that explains it to her.
  6. So sorry I missed this one. Bell is one of my new favorites and I can't wait to see him at the Met next spring. He regularly joins Brandt's coaching sessions, for Black Swan and Manon, on her Instagram stories. ABT Instagram shows him working on the entrechats.
  7. Katherine Williams and Blaine Hoven are scheduled for the Saturday Peasant PdD
  8. I took a look at the film Dancers (1987) today to see what the sets and costumes looked like there, as those are the ones being used by ABT this week. Several things of note: They filmed in a small Italian opera house with a stage that seemed no bigger than the Koch. Both acts started with a scrim showing the set design in black and white. It lifts to reveal the same thing in color. Much earlier in this thread, somebody mentioned that the original production in Paris wanted to give the sense of being lifted off the page. They are very effective and I wonder why they weren't used. (cost, most likely) Baryshnikov managed six brises on one pass and five on the other, even on the small stage. But he starts way back in the corner almost out of sight, and the final one is compressed as he seems about to run into Myrtha. Giselle has a very elaborate grave with her name on a large cross. It's a platform that turns around to reveal her and later to take her away. But I imagine that would be expensive so we saw the substitute wooden cross brought by Hilarion from earlier ABT productions. They used some silly gimmicks with Giselle appearing on tree branches that lower and return. I don't mind that ABT left those out. Giselle's first act costume has a deep blue top. It's possible it's faded after 34 years or perhaps it was remade in that light color. Albrecht's first act costume is a white loose blouson top with those silly little pantaloon shorts the men in the corps wear. Very glad they changed that. The Willis corps numbered only 18, as at ABT, perhaps to accommodate the small stage. I had forgotten how cloying the plot is with Julie Kent, but I am grateful that we have a recording of this final performance by Baryshnikov of Giselle. He was 39 when that was filmed and it's amazing how extraordinary he still was.
  9. Cornejo posted a very touching note on Instagram, thanking us for getting vaccinated but also (in his comments) explaining the extreme care he is taking to avoid any chance of getting COVID despite his own vaccination: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVVxZqkJRb9/
  10. I don't disagree with any of the rave reviews of Skylar Brandt and Herman Cornejo. She is really one to watch. She posts extensively on her Instagram coaching sessions with Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. I assume they were in the audience. Did anyone see them? One welcome detail: no masks on dancers at this performance. Whew! I thought the timing/phrasing was a little odd in some of the partnering. E.g., right after Albrecht's solo, she appears and he "floats" her to the other side of the stage. It seemed rushed and way off the music. But that's haggling over details.
  11. I always think of him in the entrechats camp -- didn't realize he could do both. Here's a clip:
  12. And in case anybody has forgotten, they start at 18:56 in this clip. Baryshnikov does five the first time, six on the second. I think Stearns did three? It must be difficult on dancers when they know we have all seen The Gold Standard! (I think that was filmed on the Met Opera stage, as I remember, so he had a bit more space.)
  13. The little boys made no sense to me, although I'm not a good judge of ages for kids. Their health matters, but so does the health of the other dancers. Kids can be asymptomatic carriers, as I understand. I am stunned anybody exposed was put on stage, even with a mask.
  14. Corrrect. Stearns did the brises and they weren't very impressive. They don't work as well with tall dancers.
  15. With a little googling...the Koch stage is 56' wide and 54' deep. Met Opera is 103' wide and 80' deep. Seems odd-- Is the Met really TWICE as wide as Koch?? I was at the Wednesday performance and will just add that the Wilis seemd unusually good -- great unison and position compared to some performances from the past, especially in the famous "chugs." I was also at the afternoon Friends rehearsal. It's not appropriate to discuss performances, so I won't. But we saw brief sections rehearsed by Royal/Trenary (Act II), Boylston, Bell/Shevchenko (Act I). Is this the first-ever black Albrecht at ABT? I can't think of who an earlier one might have been. Kevin's opening comments said a "few" had chosen to mask for health reasons. It turned out to be Andrii Ishchuk (Hilarion) and one peasant girl. If someone has been exposed, I'm surprised they're on stage at all! At the rehearsal, maybe a third were masked, the rest not. But during discussion/notes afterwards from McKenzie and others, everybody was masked. Ushers in the first tier were very strict in coming around to tell people to wear their masks properly.
  16. I don't want to take this too far afield, but I would highly recommend Barbara Tuchmann's A Distant Mirror The Calamitous Fourteenth Century https://www.amazon.com/A-Distant-Mirror-audiobook/dp/B000EBGCL6/ She discusses the bubonic plague and the impact on class and society. Serfs who survived found themselves in a seller's market, able to demand better wages and working conditions, leading to the emergence of a more comfortable middle class. I'm reminded of that now as I hear of workers in entry-level jobs able to demand better wages and working conditions. PS. Bubonic plague is still around, especially in desert rodents, but now we know how to treat it. It was never wiped out entirely.
  17. LA Music Center Dance has announced a very limited offering for 2021-22: Hamburg Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Pacific Northwest -- commencing in March 2022. https://www.musiccenter.org/tickets/events-by-the-music-center/glorya-kaufman-dance/
  18. As we all need these shots to go to performances, we're not TOO far off topic! My sister felt awful the next day, but fine after that. We all feel it's a price worth paying to feel safer going out in public. And you know it's working if your body is responding. I was afraid I hadn't actually got the shot properly, but with some searching on credible medical sites (they exist!), I found out my response to the 0.5 dose was normal -- fatigue for a day, then fine.
  19. Only five weeks in the Met season. I hope they will announce soon. This is the first real information on programminng. Skylar and Aaron have been rehearsing Swan Lake and Manon in their coaching sessions on Instagram. I'd love to see the up-and-coming principals in Manon!
  20. I've been a pretty generous friend for many years and received nothing. But that could also be the US Mail which has noticeably deteriorated in the past year.
  21. I had the Moderna booster at 0.5 strength, which I see is often recommended now. Very tired the first day, but no other symptoms. My sister got the full 1.0 Moderna booster and had the same awful reactions she had to the earlier shots.
  22. The season has been on-line for quite some time, opening February 1: https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/2022-season/ I stumbled onto the fact that "choreograph your own" with seat selection is now available. It annoys me that no notice was sent to friends or past ticket buyers. https://www.sfballet.org/tickets/season-tickets/2022-choreograph-your-own/ Another annoyance: even though it lets you buy a three-program CYO subscription, it won't let you go back and get additional tickets on programs in your package. You're told to come back November 17 for single ticket sales. I just find that strange. Once you're bought a package, why can't you buy a few more of those programs? I'm logged into my account, so it knows I'm a Friend. Well, better than nothing.
  23. Colorado Ballet opened its 2021-22 season this weekend with four performances of Giselle, which had originally been planned for fall 2020. Like so much else now, they are experiencing major transitions in their personnel. I have already noted the unexpected (and much lamented) departure of principal Francisco Estevez last spring. I also note the surprise absence from the roster of Simon Cowell, a promising young African-American corps member. I have no idea what their future plans are. With the retirement last year of Chandra Kuykendall, they now have only three principals (Dana Benton, Yosvani Ramos, and Asuka Sasakai, who is on maternity leave). Giselle thus became a great opportunity for four soloists, three newly hired, to make their mark in principal roles and I am optimistic they will prove worthwhile. Production: When the company last performed Giselle in 2013, they rented sets and costumes from ABT. For this season, they came from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and were quite impressive. I did find the Wilis’ tutus unsettling, though I’m probably over-thinking this. Their skirts are a dirty gray, darker near the waist. As young women jilted at the altar, they are buried in their white wedding dresses. Do they get dirty climbing in and out of their graves every night? A little too much realism for my taste! At least Giselle was in a pure white, unadorned dress, as they try to recruit her to their ranks. EDITED TO ADD: I understand that Queen Victoria introduced the tradition of the white wedding dress in 1840, one year before Giselle. I don't know what the customs were in Paris at that time. But even if the white Wilis' tutus are merely evocations of the spirit world and not wedding dresses, the explanation for the dirty gray could be the same, viz., that they are climbing out of their graves every night. https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1840-queen-victorias-wedding-dress/ https://www.pbt.org/the-company/artistic/repertoire/giselle/I I saw all three pairs of principals this first weekend, debuts with this company for all. (As Artistic Director Gil Boggs explained on opening night, they learned the roles on Zoom last spring.) Dana Benton and Yosvani Ramos are company veterans. Ramos has performed this ballet with other companies and brought the maturity of interpretation and poise he reliably delivers. He is 42 and in excellent physical condition, despite several injuries and surgeries, well-documented on his social media in recent years. They skipped the tabletop lift that is so thrilling in Act II and instead did a vertical lift. But as Ratmansky noted in interviews after his reconstruction in early 2020, the tabletop wasn’t in the original. The vertical lift is familiar from many performances at the Bolshoi and elsewhere. Sarah Tryon (who has been with the company since 2015) and Jonnathan Ramirez (one of the newcomers) offered a more youthful presence, well-coached in dramatic details. They did a version of the overhead lift that was not quite horizontal with the floor, but impressive anyway. Jennifer Grace and Mario Labrador (both newcomers to the company) were the most thrilling to my eye. Although both were born in the US, they trained at the Bolshoi Academy and Labrador performed with the Mikhailovsky for several years before returning to the US. I was stunned at the authenticity of his compelling dramatic presence throughout, which never seemed phony or artificially overwrought. Their tabletop was not horizontal and seemed awkward on the exit, the only complaint I had about their partnering. Grace's interpretation was lovely, but not with the same gravitas as her partner. Admittedly, I probably pay too much attention to some iconic moments, like the hops on pointe in Act I for Giselle. Grace was the only Giselle to do them and she travelled a fair distance. Benton and Tryon used a substitution that Kuykendall used in the past, a repeated releve to pointe on one foot with the other leg in front in attitude. Well, okay, and most probably didn’t notice the difference, but disappointing. Brises or entrechats? All three men did the brises on the diagonal so familiar from Baryshnikov’s legendary performances. Labrador was best at gobbling up the stage at high speed and seeming to run out of space. All the men in 2013 also did the brises, which I prefer, if done well. Albrecht is under Myrtha’s command at that point. The entrechats that so many men do require him to turn away from her toward the audience, breaking the spell. Hilarion: Three soloists long with the company took turns with this role (Christopher Moulton, Liam Hogan, and Nicolas Pelletier). None commanded the stage with their presence, despite quite acceptable technique in the demanding choreography. Runs off stage sometimes looked more like jogging through Central Park and stage walks were too often pedestrian strolls. Myrtha: All three brought a powerful, ominous presence to the role. Grace actually performed this twice over the weekend, despite also doing Giselle on Saturday night, something you see in smaller regional companies. Alexandra Wilson is a corps member who has been with the company since 2019. Melissa Zoebisch is a demi-soloist with the company since 2014. The two I'll be most eager to see again later in the season are Labrador and Sasaki, when she returns. The orchestra always does a fine job for this company. None of the performances was sold out, but attendance seemed quite acceptable. The company follows the policies of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (proof of vaccination and inside masking) and people seemed agreeable, although I did see a predictable flurry of complaints on Facebook. The performing arts could not survive another year of lock-down and I’m quite happy to play by these rules to help them get back to the stage. They plan four more performances of Giselle next weekend. This company has always been very stingy on advance casting announcements for reasons I've never understood, but perhaps they are loosening up a tad. This weekend they have announced casting for next weekend. Benton-Ramos are scheduled for Saturday evening 10/16, Grace-Labrador for Friday 10/15 and Sunday 10/17, with Tryon-Ramirez Saturday matinee 10/16. EDITED TO ADD: I wrote this Sunday morning and just got back from the Sunday matinee. Benton was injured this morning and Tryon was the substitute, dancing with Ramos. She was fortunate to have such a seasoned partner and it went very smoothly. They used the vertical lift that he does with Benton. I have no idea if Benton will be able to dance next weekend. Ramos is very active on social media, especially Instagram, so we might learn more there. This company uses an on-line program option. Do others? It's nice to see before getting to the theater. They do still distribute print programs when you arrive. Here's the link: https://issuu.com/pubhouse/docs/cb_fall_wrap_21_giselle_prog?promo=3959
  24. I make absolutely NO claim to expertise in this area, but with a little googling (women artists non-western) interesting sites turn up, e.g.: https://theculturetrip.com/asia/articles/10-non-western-contemporary-artists-you-should-know/
  25. My 1969 edition of Janson includes a 10-page "Postscript: the Meeting of West and East." The book title should have been The History of Western Art by Men.
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