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Everything posted by Needlepoints

  1. Arron Scott is probably my favorite Mercutio ever, and I've seen a lot in the 45 years I've been going to the ballet. The Prokofiev score is glorious but Mercutio's death scene seems to go on and on and on and most dancers I've seen tended to milk the scene for all it was worth, going OTT trying to fill out the music. Scott on the other hand reined it in, giving a wonderfully restrained performance that reached the Dress Circle without descending into caricature as so many others have. I'm another fan who will miss Arron Scott.
  2. Josette, When Luis Ribagorda and Eric Tamm left ABT they went into selling real estate in New Jersey as a career. Whether either one did it for the whole time he was away from ABT I don’t know.
  3. I saw Fairchild and Garcia on Thursday night and I was reluctant to come here with my impressions, as I am a fan and not a ballet professional, but here goes: I saw no chemistry between the leads until the last 10-15 minutes of the performance. Fairchild was on robotic autopilot through the White Act; not once did I see a swan from her, never mind a swan queen. The Black Act was a slight improvement and then in the final lakeside scene all of a sudden the principals came to life. If only they had been like that for the whole performance. In 45 years of ballet-going in NYC this was the most boring, tedious Swan Lake I've ever seen. Harsh, I know, but that's honestly what I felt. Technique-wise I felt they were fine, but there was no there there as the saying goes. I am not a fan of impeccable technique if that is all there is; I want the technique to support the drama and bring the drama to life.
  4. I was quite startled by the moment when Albrecht put his finger to his lips and looked past Giselle directly at Bathilde, imploring her to keep quiet and not blow his cover. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
  5. Lauren King was the girl in blue in tonight’s Dances at a Gathering. (Which I thoroughly enjoyed.)
  6. Back to Bell and the availability to cover a part: is it not also an issue of who can partner whom? Some pairs are more suitable together than others, or should ABT just throw anyone who is available on stage.
  7. Keith Roberts came onto my radar screen when a few seasons ago he completely stole the first act of R&J as the Duke of Verona. He was powerful and dramatic; everyone else was anemic. I’ve had mad respect for his acting skills since then, and I knew his Carabosse would be great. It was.
  8. I went last night and tonight. My first Manon was at the Royal Ballet in 1980 with Jennifer Penney and Wayne Eagling, and I loved it. The first season ABT did it, I rushed to see it and was sorely disappointed. What had been fresh and interesting in London was stale in NY; I can’t even remember who danced. As a result I’ve skipped all the intervening times it’s been done by ABT, but I wanted to see Bolle one more time and I wanted to see Lane and Cornejo. Whiteside versus Hoven as Lescaut: Whiteside wins overwhelmingly, although Hoven was not bad. Hammoudi versus Zhurbin as the jailer: Hammoudi takes this one. Zhurbin was casual where Hammoudi radiated stage presence and authority. Otherwise, tonight takes it. Last night was boring and dragged on and on. Tonight flew by and Lane and Cornejo were terrific.
  9. I saw this cast, but I have no technical background so can’t say anything other than I enjoyed it. I thought both Teuscher and Williams were great. The bedroom pas at the end of Act 2 (Teuscher and Stearns) was gorgeous; it was my favorite between Brandt/Mack, Teuscher/Stearns, and Shevchenko/Mack.
  10. Insert in tonight’s program says Simkin is injured.
  11. I was also at tonight's performance, and I thought Brooklyn Mack was a little rough in the first act. I put it down to nerves, but by the second act he had settled in and as noted above, the pas de trois was off the charts. I would also like to put in a word for Blaine Hoven; I believe tonight was his first Lankendem and I thought his first act in particular was terrific. Hoven has been doing yeoman service for the last few years; of the three Pierrots in Harlequinade that I have seen (Hallberg, Hoven, Forster), Hoven was my absolute top in the role. If promotions are handed out and Forster gets one and Hoven doesn't, I will cry foul. I'm going back tomorrow for the matinee to see how Mack does as Ali and again the following night to see him partner Shevchenko. Friday night I'm cheating on ABT by going to Alvin Ailey.
  12. Stearns is another blander than bland for me. I'm sorry I missed Forster as Sergei, but I'm really pleased I saw Whiteside as Olga's fiance. That's another issue with ABT. Where is the cast where everyone is good and perfectly cast? Getting it half right isn't good enough these days.
  13. I was at the triple bill on Wednesday night. I went specifically to see On the Dnieper, as I loved it the one other time I saw it. The name of this company is American Ballet Theatre and one of my complaints is that the company forgets about the theatre part. I fell in love with ABT 45 years ago because of all the terrific 1-act pieces with storyline that they did at that time. (First time at ABT was Three Virgins and a Devil, two different pas de deus, and Les Patineurs. I was totally hooked.) I sat in the Grand Tier. The center sections were not completely filled and the side sections were empty. I have never seen the Met this empty for anything. The audience was receptive and enthusiastic though. Biggest revelation for me was how well James Whiteside is dancing this season. I've never been a fan, but his Harlequin last week was terrific and his turn as Olga's fiancee was outstanding this week. I'm now thinking of getting a ticket to Jane Eyre to see Whiteside's Rochester. I'm at last becoming a Whiteside fan. Unfortunately, I'm not so on the bandwagon for Forster this season. I thought his Pierrot was bland last week and I thought his turn in Seasons was bland also. After all the attitude and swagger he displayed as Espada in Don Q, I was hoping for more projection from him in other roles. I'm not seeing it at the moment. I enjoyed Seasons, but I did not like the costumes. The color scheme didn't work for me and the costumes just seemed a mixed bag of I don't know what. I also think Blaine Hoven is really coming into his own. He was topnotch in Songs of Bukovina and then held it together taking over for the injured Cornejo in Seasons.
  14. I went, but I don't feel qualified to comment on the performances. I will say that I loved the sets and costumes very much; I also thought the orchestra played magnificently. Tsvirko was indeed Basil and I liked him a lot. I have no idea who danced the Gypsy King, Amor or Queen of the Dryads since they were not listed in the cast list, which I thought was a big oversight. I also found it hard to tell Mercedes from the Street Dancer. I don't know any of the dancers so I don't know if there was any doubling up of roles. I also went to the Gala on Nov 4, and yes, it did have a lot of political speechmaking, but since Nov 4 is a national day of mourning in Hungary I found it perfectly understandable. The problem with that evening was not the speeches, but the fact that gala evenings of snippets just don't work in general. A touch of this, a little of that, etc, all taken out of context; it makes for an evening of unsatisfying hors d'oeuvres but not a full meal. Both nights were heavily sold: I sat in the 2nd Ring both times and I saw very few empty seats. The horseshoe sides of the rings were quite full also; what I could see of the Orchestra looked full. For the record: I received an e-mail directly from the Koch Theater about the cancellations, as one of my tickets was affected. The stated reason, if I recall correctly, had to do with the sets, the staging and an increased need for rehearsal time.
  15. One thing management has been doing to ease crowding is to make announcements about the garage level entrance. The line has been much longer than usual down there, but it moves very quickly. There are benches to sit on, bathrooms outside the house that are always open, and it's much easier to get an uncrowded elevator at that level. I always go in down there.
  16. I also saw the Weds. matinee, but it was my first time seeing the piece, and I was in the back of the Dress Circle without benefit of opera glasses. From my vantage point the individual performance stood out less, but I loved the production; I was one of the audience members laughing her head off. The big visual effects (like the nurses with their YUGE hypodermic needles) really stood out. I think Balanchinomane has nailed it with his/her review. I loved it, just loved it; I found it a refreshing, fun change from yet another stale Nutcracker. Some poor boy was crying his eyes out outside on one of the benches afterwards. I couldn't figure our what the problem was until I finally heard him cry to his mother "it's over." This is a big hit with kids and there were a lot of them there on Wednesday and all well-behaved, no rustling in seats and making noise. I think this piece really captivates children. I did hear two woman outside complaining afterwards; there verdict was "aside from the leaps at the end (Simkin) there was nothing special there. What a disappointment!" Simkin continues to amaze me this season; he has really come into his own. A special shoutout to whoever was in the costume of the animal, with the long neck, in white with red polka dots. In the last scene the rest of the creatures were just standing there but this character was bouncing around, really in the spirit of the piece. My eye kept going to that character instead of all the others.
  17. 'Gun' is a rather generic term for what Lensky and Onegin would have been using. They would have used dueling pistols, especially made in pairs, so that opponents started off on an equal basis weapon-wise.
  18. I'm just back from the performance also and echo much of what Batsuchan said. I thought Act III was killer. I do have issues with the sets and costumes. I thought the last act sets bordered on the garish; a little tasteless in my opinion. I also don't like how the house is angled in Act I. If I remember correctly, in the Rose production the house was straight across against the back of the stage. I felt that worked so much better (for whatever reason). I thought both Vishneva and Gomes looked like they were going to breakdown at the curtain calls. Definitely bring hankies if you go Friday. I am going Thursday for Ferri-Bolle. I'm curious to see if they can bring it off. Also, on the subject of Boylston: I now get the complaints about her arms. Her hands were so floppy I almost wondered if her wrists were double-jointed.
  19. I don't remember the Jurgen Rose costumes or much of the sets. The one set I do remember is the first act and I really prefer the Rose set to the current design. The layout of the original set just suited the choreography better in my opinion. I'm seeing Onegin tonight and again on Thursday; if anything else occurs to me I'll let you know.
  20. Joining in the conversation for the first time, if I may, since I started following this site several years ago. It's interesting what strikes us and what we remember about a performance. I too went to the Semionova-Gomes Swan Lake, and for me it was one of the most dispiriting, disheartening experiences ever. Even Gomes couldn't save the evening for me. Semionova's Odile was technically astounding but the character came across as a vapid teenager with a stupid grin on her face. There was no temptress and no prince with an IQ over 5 should have been deceived. Bland does not begin to describe it. All the technique in the world does not work for me if it does not advance the story.
  21. I just wanted to say Hello and how happy I am to have discovered this board. I am strictly a fan, with no technical background. I just enjoy going to the ballet and reading about what's on the mind of everyone else.
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