Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×


Senior Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by MRR

  1. In response to Josette, it's believed by many people that Plisetskaya was incapable of performing 32 fouettes and opted to do piques instead. This is actually not correct. She could do fouettes and she could do 32. It was a personal choice of hers for this particular coda and interpretation (Swan Lake, Act III). I have to say that I've never seen a principal do a combination of fouette and pique for this, and my guess is that Copeland was "winding down", running out of steam, and was aware that she would not be able to complete them cleanly. This is really unfortunate. She is not Lopatkina nor is she Plisetskaya. I understand that she is a favorite and perhaps a role model. But, my opinion only is that she will need to perfect her technique and stamina and pull at least a nice clean set of single fouettes to continue to perform Swan Lake.

    Yes. I just watched two videos of Plisetskaya doing the 32 fouettes in Don Q, so clearly she was capable of them. The video of 1973 Black Swan where she does the pique manege instead of the fouettes, she was 48! But Maya was a unique dancer who had such magic that omitting the fouettes wouldn't have detracted much from her performance IMO.

  2. I'm beginning to wonder whether Iana Salenko isn't moving to the company full time.

    Yes, especially because she is dancing Sugar Plum, which I find unusual for a guest artist of a major company.

  3. I agree with everything MarzipanShepherdess said about Seo, although I didn't see last night's performance. On Wednesday I didn't come away thinking that I had just witnessed an earth-shattering performance or a dancer in the league of Obraztsova or Vishneva, but I found Seo's Juliet lyrical and dramatically convincing, except in the last scene. Her performance on Monday was lesser in many respects, but even that wasn't terrible. I was disappointed to miss Osipova, as I haven't seen her Juliet, but given that I have reservations to her dancing I wasn't overly disappointed about the switch or the performance.

    Beyond the physical fatigue, I couldn't imagine having to go out last night when the switch was announced the day of and people in the theater were still expecting Vishneva. Add to that the tepid response from the audience and people leaving at the intermissions....these were difficult circumstances for anybody to perform in.

  4. I did see Nunez in Ashton's Cinderella in 2011...a beautiful performance but not her best role. She was quite lovely in the first act but dumbed down the manege in the Ball variation--at least relative to what Alina Cojocaru performed on video. She performs infrequently in the U.S. and is better suited to Cinderella than Song of the Earth, which she is performing on the Royal's tour, so it would be worthwhile to see her. Personally I don't think you can go wrong with either Abrera or Nunez.

  5. How would Lane and and Gorak (or anyone else who hasn't been rehearsing for the role) be able to step in on one day's notice?

    Sorry, I didn't mean that they could, it's just frustrating when Lane would be very suited to Juliet and doesn't get cast. And I agree with everything Abatt said: I actually find it remarkable now that they didn't give Hee Seo that extra Giselle given that she took over all of Semionova's performances (and now Osipova's and Vishneva's R&Js, this week). I think she will be fine tonight, but I worry about her Swan Lakes next week on top of such a heavy season.

  6. Gomes I thought was very good on Wednesday but not his best. Age is starting to show, particularly in the extension of his arabesque and his leaps, and overall he paced himself throughout the performance to ensure that he made the big scenes count. Still, he is one of my favorite danseurs and that did not change after Wednesday's show: I would even say that relative to Stearns and especially Hammoudi, Gomes was the sturdiest technically. He still has wonderfully elongated and sustained pirouettes, beautiful light landings, and even when you thought he didn't have bravura left in him, he popped off a series of five double saut de basque in a row, executed with ease. Of course this is redundant but his partnering was superb: he gave Seo freedom to luxuriate in every step in both the balcony pas and the bedroom pas. His portrayal is a stronger Romeo, not one to be easily knocked down, and where he was tender with Juliet he was positively enraged in the fight with Tybalt that Tybalt stood NO chance. His grief in the tomb scene was so raw, just incredible. He is not the most suitable partner to Seo, even if separately he is a great Romeo and she is a great Juliet. She is lyrical and innocent where he is more mature, virile, and visceral, but they were wonderful together. Personally I would love to see Seo dance with Bolle, in this ballet.

    Gomes also drew out the necessary eroticism from Seo in the balcony pas, eroticism which went totally missing with Stearns on Monday. On Monday, she was sweet and lovely but I didn't get a sense that she had to be with Romeo. It wasn't life or death for her. Monday Seo gave a nice performance, not exceptional and certainly not very memorable, but the big difference Wednesday is that everything was bigger. She practically flew into those lifts toward the end of the balcony pas: she trusted Marcelo with her life in a way she hadn't with Cory, though Cory's partnering was actually great on the whole. Her extensions were more luxuriant, her acting even in the scenes without Marcelo just read better in the theater. Her Act 1 solo had a couple of pirouettes that didn't finish on top, but her upper body was luscious and she had great control over her plie. Her Act III scene with her parents and Paris is one of her best: she makes fully clear that she can never be with Paris, but you also sense that she is hiding something, and something very big. On Monday during the potion scene she did this awkward step where she sat by the bed and went onto pointe and back down; thankfully she dropped that Wednesday as even that lone moment robbed the scene of its full drama. Her backward bourrees were divine.

    On Wednesday she gave us the full characterization of Juliet without ever becoming hysterical. I would still like her to work on her death scene, not her silent "scream" which was very powerful but her actual death, which seemed too....pleasant? She looked more injured than dying, and her body was too far downstage on the tomb to properly "drape" off of it during her death. I also didn't get the sense, as tutu described with Obraztsova, that Seo's Juliet had a clear history and relationship to her Capulet family. But all in all, Wednesday was an exquisite performance, maybe spurred on quite a lot by Gomes. She receives a lot of criticism but her work in this ballet should be credited.

    I basically agree with the comments surrounding Simkin's and Salstein's Mercutios. Simkin's Mercutio is tricks, tricks, and more tricks, with charisma and a sort of childish arrogance. His brassy characterization makes him quite unlikeable: in spite of the big personality and all the goods technically, Simkin never becomes a Mercutio you could see anybody becoming friends with. Frankly you're sort of relieved when he dies. His campy and over-the-top death scene I actually liked: his sunken, rounded posture even in his "just kidding, I'm not dead" moment really made you believe in his pain. I found the death scene very affective, however showy it was, but his abrupt plopping onto the floor after such a drawn out, interminable death broke the mood (at least on Monday) and actually elicited laughter. Salstein's portrayal is certainly charismatic but far more likeable: he is as rebellious and devilish as Mercutio should be, but you see why Romeo and Benvolio are friends with his in the first place. His technique is inferior to Simkin's but overall his character was far more interesting.

    Roman Zhurbin was only one of the three Tybalts I saw who had real weight (the other two were Patrick Ogle and Thomas Forster). And a lot of people praise Forster but I just didn't get much from him: for example, even in the Act I scene where he discovers Romeo and Juliet together and pushes Romeo, he barely pushed Gomes relative to Zhurbin who almost sent Stearns into the wings. Zhurbin was a scary Tybalt, very intimidating and it was evident just how fiercely he was going to "protect" Juliet from any Montague in sight. Joseph Gorak as Benvolio has lines reminiscent of Anthony Dowell. I agree with all the praise about him but I wonder if he will have that dramatic impact for Romeo, especially in a debut. I do think his youthful quality will be very suited to the role though. Blaine Hoven I found miscast as Benvolio (Monday and Wednesday), and his turns in the men's trio were biffed--to both sides--on Monday though much better on Wednesday. Stella Abrera's Lady Capulet I also enjoyed....so imperious.

    Mandolin Dance was pretty much a disaster all three shows. On Monday guys were falling out of turns, off line, off unison, with different angles in the handstand cabrioles and an overall sense that nobody will remember this silly three-minute dance, so why dance it well? Where things seemed like they couldn't get worse, Tuesday the center boy forgot the first of the handstand cabrioles and adjusted his hat around that same point to ensure it wouldn't fall off. Wednesday was messy again, but I guess no huge disasters? Shocking that a company with a reputation as world class could perform as poorly as this, at any point in the ballet.

    Misty Copeland and Alexandre Hammoudi in the Tuesday R&J I commented about in a previous post and I'm curious as to everyone's thoughts about Misty when she dances with Gorak tomorrow. Again, I found her portrayal overwrought and overacted, with potentially good moments if her portrayal is stripped down. Hammoudi I'm curious as to why he is being pushed: beyond his gorgeous tall physique and beautiful lines, I don't see a lot else....

  7. I saw all the R&Js Monday-Wednesday (except Gillian's) and will write a more detailed review after I return home tomorrow. Just wanted to say that in spite of the criticism she gets in other roles, Hee Seo was a gorgeous, sensitive Juliet tonight. Unlike Monday where I found her lovely and very beautiful but not much more, tonight she was infinitely better--abandoned in both the pas de deux (thanks to Gomes surely) and far more visceral. Everything she did was bigger and read better in the MET than on Monday. Gomes was not as strong technically as in past years (notably a 2010 R&J I saw with him and Vishneva) but no one can argue his strength of partnering and detailed acting. His grief in the tomb scene was absolutely devastating.

    Stearns' Romeo on Monday I enjoyed and found greatly improved from years past. More of a softer portrayal than Gomes but I found his approach totally valid. He was excellent in his fight scene with Tybalt and he has a beautifully elongated line.

    Misty Copeland last night gave a creditable debut which suffered from overacting, especially in Act III. There were some good moments: her entrance was lovely, I liked her resistance of Paris in Act III, and she certainly had a gritty death scene, but her emotions frequently ran from A to Z with little in between. Hammoudi was very disappointing. He is tall and looks strong but is partnering is so effortful, there was little sense all night that he was over his legs, and his portrayal of Romeo was inert. Even from row F I couldn't feel anything.

  8. Sorry for the delay but my review of the Lamb/Golding performance:

    Don Quixote 6/13 Eve

    Don Quixote: Gary Avis

    Sancho Panza: Jonathan Howells

    Lorenzo: Alastair Marriot

    Kitri: Sarah Lamb (replacing Natalia Osipova)

    Basilio: Matthew Golding

    Gamache: Ryoichi Hirano

    Espada: Nehemiah Kish

    Mercedes: Itziar Mendizabal (replacing Claire Calvert)

    Kitri's Friends: Yazmine Naghdi, ??? (I'm guessing Akane Takada, as Yuhui Choe was listed with no substitute but did not perform)

    Two Matadors: Nicol Edmonds, Fernando Montano

    Gypsy Couple: Olivia Cowley, Tomas Mock

    Queen of the Dryads: Fumi Kaneko

    Amour: Francesca Hayward

    Dulcinea: Nathalie Harrison

    Fandango Couple: Lara Turk, Eric Underwood

    Even when seeing two (or more) performances of the same ballet, it is unusual where one cast is--across the board--preferable in every respect to the other. Indeed, this didn't entirely happen with the Saturday Don Q--certainly it wasn't a bad performance, and there were even a couple dancers I strongly favored over their counterparts on Friday. However, on Saturday, the Royal Ballet--from principals to corps--danced one of those frustrating performances that got the job done: it was good, it was professional; and seemingly it had all the components to become great, but it never got there. Part of the reason for this is that Don Q, and Acosta's version in particular, demands so much interaction amongst all the characters that when there is a ho-hum set of soloists there is no spark for everyone else to respond.
    Sarah Lamb as Kitri replaced Natalia Osipova. A virtually sold out house with numerous Russians in attendance certainly had high expectations to see Osipova prior to her injury. Given Osipova's storied work in Don Q I was quite excited to see her, but I didn't mind Sarah Lamb as a replacement. From her entrance, however, it was clear that Sarah was not going to produce a performance in the league of Marianela's on Friday. Lamb does not possess the remarkable, luxuriant pirouette of Nunez, but more disappointing was her lack of amplitude and ballon in her jump, most noticeable in the Plisetskaya sissonnes with her front leg mere centimeters off the ground. She is so slight, wispy even, yet even in her opening saut de chat would struggle to get up in the air. Thus she often landed with a plopping thud, apparent in her quality of landing more so than the noise of her shoes. Lamb's Kitri was rebellious but not sensual, and certainly did not reveal a Spanish dancer who had men falling for her. As a result, Lamb's Kitri had this overgrown child quality somewhat resembling Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee, particularly during Kitri's avoidance of Gamache.
    Thankfully, the performance built in the second act. Lamb and Golding had more chemistry in the "Sunset" pas de deux (prior to the gypsies' dance) than they had in the first act; Sarah had a more rapturous quality here than at any other point in the ballet. Where Sarah undoubtedly peaked, however, was Dryads. Sarah always references her training with Mme. Legat in interviews as being integral to her career, and you could see that strong Russian influence in this scene. Sarah was regal, mysterious, with beautiful epaulement and a presence which stood out from everyone else onstage. Her characterization as Dulcinea was entirely detached from her qualities as Kitri, creating this aura of a vision who wasn't real. Her Act II variation showcased tremendous musicality: her phrasing was impeccable on the fondu rond de jambe sequence in the beginning, and her hops en pointe had no difficulty keeping up with the fast tempo. The pique turn manege got slightly behind the music at the beginning, the only detraction of what was otherwise an excellent variation which drew thunderous applause.

    Sarah was regal and stately in the wedding pas de deux, appropriate for the occasion except that she and Golding often seemed in two separate worlds, having little connection to one another. The pas de deux was executed conservatively without any attempted balances, and Lamb/Golding were definitely ill-served by Acosta's re-working of the adagio which includes some rather anti-climactic tour jete catches. Sarah had a couple fudged finishes on her turns in the variation, notably the pesky en dedans/en dehors switch and her double stepover to finish........she would actually complete the turn on balance but struggle to come off pointe with control. Her fouettes, executed rapidly, featured singles with a few doubles mixed in with arm variations, traveling a sizable distance downstage but staying centered and on the music.
    Some have questioned why the Royal Ballet needed to import Matthew Golding, and his obvious asset of partnering tall ballerinas was not even necessary on Saturday. But in my first viewing of him I was pleasantly surprised, if not extremely impressed. First thing's first, he is a big guy: very tall and strong with a broad, robust physique, making Marcelo Gomes look like a waif. Certainly his physical presence is imposing and difficult to miss onstage, but what is impressive is his control in pirouettes and agility in executing different steps in succession. His Grand pas variation featured a pirouette to an immediate double tour followed by a saut de basque to the knee, very unusual and well done. I sense that given his long lines he can take up space very well, but this wasn't in evidence Saturday given the cramped Kennedy Center stage and the extensive scenery in Acts I and III. Golding is innately charismatic and certainly handsome, but while I found he exceeded Acosta in terms of technique and (by a long shot) stamina, his characterization doesn't achieve that natural quality of Acosta's. Carlos just has to step out onstage and he is Basilio; Golding was charming but his presence becomes diminished from awkward mannerisms and casting his focus downward. As I've said, Lamb and Golding were not an ideal match, actually less suited temperamentally than they were physically. However, visually they were certainly nice together in the Grand pas and I'm curious as to how his performance would have evolved with Osipova.
    Itziar Mendizabal as Mercedes: I've seen this dancer in a few featured roles and have never gotten her. I don't know with all the talent out there that she was a necessary hire from the outside (as First Soloist, no less), but I did enjoy her Mercedes more than her past work. She has an innate fire and charisma in this role but without the dramatic detail of Laura Morera. Technically she was very solid in her solo with the attitude turns, and as I said in the previous review I love Mercedes' Act I dress, more so than Kitri's. Nehemiah Kish as Espada actually flattered Ryoichi Hirano's performance the night before, which I found bland in the first act but quite excellent in the third act solo (Hirano also appeared Saturday as Gamache and was excellent). Kish sort of disappeared throughout the entire ballet: there was little feel of a Matador and that strength Acosta wanted from the men in this production. His Act III solo lost steam toward the end with the alternating double tours, finishing well enough but with little impact.
    Dryads I consider one of the strongest aspects of the production, both in the beautiful set with the blooming flowers and the precision of the corps de ballet. Dryad Queen was danced by Fumi Kaneko, who was quite a lot warmer than Melissa Hamilton the night before, much more even-keeled technically though not as regal. She has lovely feet and certainly a presence which makes you want to see more from her. Her Italian fouettes became rocky around the 4th and 5th set, but impressively she pulled herself back on her leg for the final set, drawing applause. Francesca Hayward was an exception to tonight's inferior cast: her Cupid was bright and infectious without becoming saccharine.
    Akane Takada (at least I believe this was her, not listed in this program) and Yazmine Naghdi were bland as the flower girls, lacking the distinct (even if they were inbalanced) personas of Stix-Brunell and Choe and certainly the same quality of technique. From a technical standpoint, most notable was that Takada came to grief while executing the consecutive pique turns to the left during the duet in Act III.

    Frequently we forget about the ballet's title role in this production, and I didn't even mention Christopher Saunders' performance on Friday night which was noble but otherwise not interesting. But Gary Avis has to be given special credit for his work as Don Q: the character became warm, alive, and sympathetic in his hands. When he looked out into the lights of the Kennedy Center, you thought he was searching for Dulcinea. Just a masterful performance of what is often a forgettable role.

  9. My review of the Don Quixote 6/12 Eve

    Don Quixote: Christopher Saunders

    Sancho Panza: Philip Mosley

    Lorenzo: Gary Avis

    Kitri: Marianela Nunez

    Basilio: Carlos Acosta

    Gamache: Bennet Gartside

    Espada: Ryoichi Hirano

    Mercedes: Laura Morera

    Kitri's Friends: Yuhui Choe, Beatriz Stix-Brunell

    Two Matadors: Tristan Dyer, Valentino Zucchetti

    Gypsy Couple: Itziar Mendizabal, Thomas Whitehead

    Queen of the Dryads: Melissa Hamilton

    Amour: Meaghan Grace Hinkis

    Dulcinea: Kristen McNally

    Fandango Couple: Kristen McNally, Thomas Whitehead

    Many of you have commented on the various aspects of this production by Carlos Acosta, some of which I found much more successful than others. However, in terms of the cast, let's cut to the chase: Marianela Nunez. What a marvelous, dare I say luxuriant, Kitri she was. "Luxuriant" isn't the word you immediately think when it comes to Don Q, but her Kitri combined the best of both worlds: the classicism of the Royal Ballet with her innate Latina spitfire. Immediately from the first act, there was nothing vulgar about this Kitri. Both the first act variations were impeccable, the entrance especially so. Marianela's jumps don't fly to the rafters like Osipova's; nonetheless, they're high, suspended, and land like a feather. More impressively, her turns have this slow, undulating quality where she can apply no force and still garner multiple revolutions. Moreover, she has such lift on her standing leg that she can finish the turn and slowly roll through her feet coming off pointe, evoking shades of Cynthia Gregory. The Plisetskaya sissonnes in the second solo were superb, even if Marianela doesn't have a remarkable extension, and her diagonal of turns from fifth absolutely spot on.

    If there was a weakness in Marianela's performance, it came during Dryads, where her bubbly, enthusiastic demeanor from the first act essentially remained the same. It was as if there was no differentiation between Kitri and Dulcinea: I prefer more of a mysterious aura here, particularly in this performance as Marianela's Dulcinea clashed with Melissa Hamilton's imperious Queen of the Dryads. Her solo was very fine, although her phrasing in that fondu, rond de jambe to arabesque step she repeats was uneven, executed with a different timing each instance. Technically once again there were no obstacles for her: the hops en pointe sailed across the stage and the manege of pique turns were unexpectedly brisk. I say "unexpectedly" because in the past Marianela has struggled with speed, notably in a performance of Ashton's Cinderella I saw. However, she took the pique manege very fast as well as the pas de cheval diagonal in the Grand pas, and generally she has become more adept at handling different tempi.

    In spite of all her great dancing and admirable qualities in the first two acts, Marianela well and truly peaked in the third act with a superb performance in the pas de deux. It was quickly apparent that due to Carlos's lagging stamina, she had to run the show, and did she ever. Her joy and charisma were infectious and reached past the top of the balcony. Her attitude balances were not Tamara Rojo quality but nonetheless very commendable, with each balance growing successively longer than the previous. The variation featured an attitude turn which was supposed to be a 1 1/2 turn but ended up to everyone's surprise as a 2 1/2, drawing gasps from the audience. The pas de cheval diagonal was wonderfully sharp, and her fouettes featured sets of single, single, triple, before continuing with straight singles, all very well controlled and with minimal traveling downstage. However, one never got the sense that all the technical goods were at the expense of the character: the charm, wit, and fire of Kitri: it was all there. Her interactions with the flower girls and Mercedes were so natural and you could tell her enjoyment dancing with Carlos, even hugging him at the conclusion of the pas de deux.

    Alas, Carlos Acosta as Basilio has lost much of the technical bravado of years past, most evident in the pas de deux where his stamina failed him, particularly at the start of the coda. Not all was lost, however: it is obvious how much he connects with this ballet and role. Where Acosta has struggled with dramatic portrayals in the past, there is absolutely no stretch in believing Acosta as Basilio and his love for Kitri. Certainly, his masculinity and Cuban training still fit this ballet like a glove. The Cuban school is of course renowned for their proteges' pirouetttes, and Acosta is no exception: he can still pull in for five or six pirouettes at the end of an a la seconde series, and just when you think the turn will end or go off balance, he'll crank out one more and sustain it. It was obvious how much he was pacing himself throughout the ballet: the shape and length of his legs and feet are almost entirely gone, and he was barely articulating the steps during the in-betweens so he could save himself for the variations. Arguably his performance peaked during the first act solo, where he still had some firepower. The grand pas variation was executed dutifully but he appeared very tired, and his cabrioles during the coda were enormously effortful. Not much more to say here, but I do remember watching Carlos in the early 2000's dance Don Q pas, and in his prime that was a spectacular Don Q by any standard.

    In terms of the other characters: Laura Morera was very feisty and spirited Mercedes, a brash contrast to Marianela's sunniness. Acosta gives her some difficult choreography in the Act I solo, with double attitude pirouettes to a tour jete, to both sides, and Morera executed the sequence to the left perfectly and had just a slight hesitation to the right. Laura has never been that dancer with the perfect body or prodigious technique, and indeed she has a very strained line in arabesque, but she was game here. Her dress in the first act was gorgeous. Ryoichi Hirano as Espada certainly looked great, he has a tremendously lean, elongated physique, and his hair was slicked back within an inch of its life, but otherwise he was affectless in the first act. His third act solo was a bit better, with more charisma and an impressive array of steps including a sequence of double tours alternating both directions.

    In terms of the flower girls, I preferred Beatriz Stix-Brunell to Yuhui Choe, though I felt each ballerina should have channeled more of the other's qualities. Perhaps due to the staging, Beatriz was such an extroverted, overly rebellious flower girl where Choe at times seemed straight out of Sleeping Beauty. Physically they are ideally matched, and their synchronicity in the third act was impressive, but their personas clashed. In both dancers I see a lot of potential though: Choe is so lovely (exactly the problem for this type of role, but wonderful for lyrical roles), and Beatriz oozes sensuality that strongly suggests a future Kitri.

    I will comment on other aspects of this production once I see tonight's performance, but one aspect I especially liked was the opening of Dryads, with the green forest-like scrim opening to unveil the corps girls and Dryad Queen standing proudly in B-plus with mist waving around the stage. Melissa Hamilton is leaving next season (I believe just temporarily?) for Dresden Semperoper Ballett, a company to which she is suited. In almost equal measure, she has gorgeous and very awkward moments. I don't know her height but she is tall, or at least seems tall, for Royal Ballet standards, and facially she resembles Sarah Lamb. She has a gorgeous line of the leg with beautiful, bulging insteps, and her posture is very proud and regal which makes her ideal for Dryad Queen. I had high hopes for her performance based on her opening with the corps, but the variation revealed insecurities in her technique. What became notable immediately was the lack of depth in her plie, the awkward stance she takes from pirouettes from fifth, when heavy tension pouring into the left arm and wrist, and the protruding of her ribs and lift of her shoulders during arabesque. Her Italian fouettes were a teensy bit out of control, but well done (this version has her complete six sets instead of eight).

    Meaghan Grace Hinkis as Cupid was as charming and effervescent as the role demands: her footwork was light and quick. Quite the opposite of Hamilton, however, her physique is stocky and she lacks stretch through the backs of the legs and down to the ends of her feet. Not to say that her performance wasn't enjoyable to watch, but I don't know if I see the major roles in her future.

    Back again tonight for Lamb (replacing Osipova) and Golding, with Claire Calvert as Mercedes and Nehemiah Kish as Espada.

  10. They're listing no intermission between Acts II & III of SB, although there were two intermissions during the May run.

    Wish they'd do it with just the one, using the Act III opening march music (which was cut, and which I love) for the scene change between Acts II & III. But the total time listed seems to suggest they'll still do two intermissions.

    Was the information regarding the one intermission for SB taken from the old production? Because that had only one intermission and the third act was listed at 20 minutes, which would make sense with the old version considering the diverts outside of Bluebird and Jewels were cut. Interestingly the total length of the production is listed at 2 hours 53 minutes but the total running time when you add together the acts and the one intermission is two hours ten minutes, which, I assume again was the length of the old production.

  11. Actually I found Gillian very passionate in her SL with Marcelo in 2012, and in the past I haven't been much a fan of hers but that was a terrific performance. Veronika I have seen dance in SL twice, Bayadere, Le Corsaire, and Sleeping Beauty (Lilac Fairy) and unlike many on this forum I have never really "gotten" her. And I love long-limbed, and especially Vaganova trained ballerinas, but somehow I haven't felt the passion in her dancing that many others have responded to. Perhaps it is because she gets paired so routinely with Stearns and Whiteside when of course she would be best served with a Bolle or Gomes. The most I have connected with her dancing was her SL with Bolle in 2009: they had the makings of a great partnership but I don't think they have performed SL together since.

  12. Murphy isn't an adequate O/O? Why, because she's not Russian?

    Murphy's O/O in 2012 was an excellent performance, streets ahead of her O/O in the DVD with Corella (which was not bad but not particularly distinguished, especially Odette). Even if she doesn't have tremendous lines or the "Russian back," her O/O were engaging and alive and she found her perfect partner in Marcelo Gomes. I can't speak for any of her other Swan Lakes, but that one was impressive and I would recommend her SL in June.

  13. In defense of Maria K., I saw her Diamonds last year that Canbelto was referring to and I thought her fall was a due to a slippery part of the stage as opposed to a technical fault. For those who weren't there, she fell in the scherzo on the saute, pas de chat, soutenu sequence which she could probably do in her sleep. Of course it didn't help that her fall occurred during a solo on center stage, and she took awhile to regroup, but overall I found her performance technically much stronger than her Diamonds I saw in 2008.

  14. But I see different qualities required in Solor in La Bayadere, so I understand that role might be too demanding if you want to show the audience the very best of yourself. I think Solor is much more difficult than Bourne's Swan, as this is a classical Petipa ballet and you have to have strict perfection as a classical dancer and in Bourne you don't have to be that strict, that is not a classical ballet anyway. (I love that work and have seen it more than 50 times)

    Especially the Chabukiani variation in the Kingdom of the Shades coda needs perfection with that double assembles and bravura.

    I agree that classical ballet requires particular kinds of strength, very different from what might be demanded in a work by Matthew Bourne--and even when it comes to classical roles, one might choose to retire one and not another. When Gomes danced Bayadere a couple of seasons ago, he already danced a version of the Shades scene variation/coda without the double assembles. I don't think it made him a lesser Solor: actually (and I wrote this at the time) I preferred that approach to poorly done double assembles.

    Last year when I saw him in Bayadere he replaced the assembles with double saut de basques, which I wouldn't consider much easier except that he "only" did five double saut de basques in comparison to the six (or more) double assembles some Solors do. But even though he was technically conservative in some places, Marcelo was one of the most intense, expressive Solors I've ever seen and it was a first rate performance.

  15. Interesting thoughts from everyone. When I made my earlier comment, I wasn't meaning to say that I found Part to be one of the all-time great Giselles based on these clips. She isn't, and, in fact, I don't know if I even "see" a Giselle here. But I saw the clips of her during the entrance and mad scene and was surprised at how much I enjoyed her, especially since I could never picture her in this role. She seemed radiant in the opening scene and had some very interesting nuances in the mad scene. Considering she is making a debut in a role not suited to her and dancing with a very bland partner, I thought she performed very well.

    Though I'm just now seeing the Spessivtseva clip, and she looks oddly tense (is that the word?) throughout the whole variation, not just the turns. I agree with Volcanohunter about the slow tempo, but could a ballerina of Part's height really handle much faster? As I mentioned before, I have seen Part in supposedly a lot of her best roles and am never much moved by her work (I'm definitely in a small minority on this forum). Her Shades scene in this year's Bayadere was perhaps the first time I "got" her--she was serenity personified--but then I thought her first act was dramatically inert in comparison to Vishneva's.

  16. I'm typically not a great big fan of Part: I do enjoy her work, but I just don't seem to be moved nearly to the extent as several on this forum. And I've seen her in some of her best roles: O/O (twice), Nikiya, Lilac Fairy. However, I love her in these Giselle clips, and oddly appreciate her more here than in some of her "typecast" roles. I don't know if I believe her as a frail peasant, given how tall and beautiful she is, but she conveys the sensitivity of the role so well and she has tremendous mime, as fondoffouettes said. Her mad scene is dramatic detailed and not overdone. A standout moment during the mad scene was when Giselle begins laughing after Hilarion takes the sword. The way she ran backwards as she laughed almost made it look like there was this invisible gust of wind shooting her upstage. It was really spooky and not a moment I usually take note of in the mad scene.

  17. These days Copeland is just a PR machine. She has neither the lyrical softness required for Odette nor the technical fireworks for Odile. I hate to judge her before she has even danced the role, but there are certainly dancers more deserving of a Wednesday matinee SL. Can Copeland's appearance in SL be considered a breakthrough achievement for African-American dancers even though she has had to repeatedly sell, sell, sell her story of triumph over adversity and portray herself as THE only black female dancer who has ever accomplished anything in classical ballet? I think it's unfortunate because I'd really love to see a black dancer rise through the ranks of ABT on merit alone rather than heavy-handed marketing. Talent should speak for itself.

    Great post. My thoughts exactly.

  • Create New...