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Everything posted by sidwich

  1. I attended the Sunday performance as well, and I guess my initial impression was "work in progress." Overall, the sets and costumes are gorgeous, and the Ashton choreography is very worth seeing. I will say that although the preview talk explained that Act II was choreographed in the "style of Ashton" (as opposed to Acts I and III which are Ashton), to me, Act II still felt like it was from a different ballet than Acts I and III. I adore Michelle Wiles, but I didn't feel it was her best performance. She still seemed to be feeling her way through the ballet, although I will say that the plot of "Sylvia" gives "Corsaire" a run for its money which probably doesn't help. I lived in NY for many years and one of the things I living there and going to the ballet regularly was being able to see the young dancers progress through the company. I had the great pleasure of watching Gillian Murphy and Michelle Wiles go from apprentice to corp, and then soloist and principle. I moved to LA a few of years ago, so I missed that experience with David Hallberg. Although I still followed his progress secondhand through reports, so it was a bit jarring to see him not as the young dancer in the corp that I remember but as a principle dancer and the lead in a full-length story ballet. But enough about that... as Memo said, Hallberg is clearly a star-in-the-making, tall, blonde, strong and dazzling. The one thing that struck me is that it was almost too much for the part of the poor shepherd. It was like Apollo came down, and did one of his masquerading as a poor shepherd numbers to seduce the young nymph. Generally, the corp work was lovely, and I particularly enjoyed Misty Copeland and partner (I don't have the program in front of me) as the goats. If I had the opportunity, I'd love to see Wiles and Hallberg perform this again after they have a few more performances under their belts.
  2. I'll be at the Wiles/Hallberg performance of "Sylvia" on Sunday. I've so been looking forward to it!
  3. I had the pleasure of seeing Bocca's last performance as Romeo in R&J a couple of years ago, and it was quite an emotional experience, deeply moving (for me at least) as an audience member. If anywhere near NY during Manon, I will surely try to be there for his last performance with ABT.
  4. Since nobody else has commented on any of ABT's performances of "Giselle" over the weekend, I'll just say a few words. Braving the traffic after work on Friday, I was able to buy a ticket to ABT's performance of "Gisellle" with Julie Kent. I know that there's very anyone could have done with the ad campaign, but it was still somewhat disconcerting seeing Alessandra Ferri's face plastered everywhere with her being out with the injury. I had never seen Julie Kent in "Giselle" and the last time I had seen Jose Manuel Carreno as Albrecht was a number of years ago now when he performed with the guesting Viviana Durante. Since my ballet training stopped somewhere around the imitating the hippos in "Fantasia" stage, I'll mostly leave it that I thought the performances were technically strong and I enjoyed their interpretations of the characters. I do really adore how Julie Kent performs with her eyes, and Jose Manuel Carreno is such a "prince." It's hard to imagine how the peasants believed he could be another peasant. The peasant pas de deux was performed by Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes, and the parts seemed signifcantly stronger than the whole. Cornejo flew and his turns were as clean and neat as always, and Reyes was ... Reyes, but the partnering was awkward and sloppy, and it really marred the overall impression. Veronika Part as Myrta with Stella Abrera and Michelle Wiles. This is actually the first time I'd seen Part perform a principal role. I'd seen mainly Gillian Murphy and Michelle Wiles perform Myrta in the last few years, and the time Part took in the performance was quite an enjoyable contrast to Murphy's attack-attack-attack approach and Wiles' very classical purity (not that I don't enjoy Gillian Murphy or Michelle Wiles either.) That's it. Still nice to see ABT in LA at all.
  5. How would you compare the this season to the last MET Season? Were you more or less pleased? How do the MET seasons compare to the City Center seasons for you? I though the programming was very conservative, and heavy toward full-length story ballets. Really could have done without all those performances of "Swan Lake" and R&J. I only got to one performance at City Center fall, but I think that as a whole, I enjoyed it than almost anything on the schedule this spring. What ballet looked in the best shape to you? I thought they pretty much all had strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps Don Q... What ballet looked in the weakest shape? Ugh. The "modern" pieces this spring were awful. "Hereafter" and "Artemis" in a dead heat. I probably would have walked out of "Artemis" but was looking forward to the Leaves pdd and "The Dream." Your favorite dancer of the season (subcategories - your favorite "old reliable" and your favorite newcomer) Not favorite (I enjoyed many of the dancers), but I especially enjoyed Joaquin de Luz's exuberance this spring. Who was the most improved dancer? David Hallberg. I was really impressed with his growth. Who was the season's MVP? (The dancer they just couldn't have done without) Herman Cornejo and Michele Wiles. They both seemed to pop up everywhere, and they were champs. Who did you miss the most? Well, I'm *going* to miss Julio Bocca with Alessandra Ferri in R&J. The last performance was very emotional and special.
  6. I was at Bocca's last performance (I can't remember the date now), and it was quite magical. I have seen Ferri and Bocca in R&J before as well as Cranko's "Taming of the Shrew," so in some sense I knew what to expect. The acting and very palpable chemistry were as much in evidence as ever. I don't know what it is but Ferri somehow manages to completely channel Juliet for me. The pas de deux were as memorable as ever. I can see why Bocca is retiring from the role however. As I said I saw Ferri and Bocca perform R&J a few years ago, and, at least I could see that Bocca is having a more difficult time with the changes in direction, especially evident when dancing side by side by Joaquin de Luz. And the lifts were not quite secure and they're not staying up quite as long. At least they looked that way to me. There were many, many, *many* curtain calls for the cast as a whole, and of course for Bocca in particular. It was a really lovely, warm feeling at the Met that night. You could tell that much of the audience had happy memories and they wanted to share the love.
  7. Thank you so much! I missed the opening night this year due to work reasons, and I was so glad to see a review this morning!
  8. Yes, I got a multi-region DVD player expressly to watch DVDs from Europe (am I sad or what?) And I agree that SAMPO works pretty well.
  9. It is very possible to get a multi-region dvd player if you look around.
  10. I don't know what Kennedy Center seating is like, but personally i don't like to sit near the stage toward the side. Actually, for dance I don't generally like be too near the stage period. I don't really feel like I get a good perspective, and depending on the set up, it can be really hard to see the feet. As far as the Kent vs. Ferri thing, I'm not a dance expert at all and I haven't seen Julie Kent in R&J, but I have seen Ferri in it, and I think it's really one of her signature roles, and I think it is very worth it to see her dance it with Julio Bocca. It's a really beautiful partnership. I'm lucky enough to live only a few blocks from Lincoln Center so a lot of the time I go to ABT at the Met just whenever I have time, whatever is on and whoever is cast. That's one of the combinations of piece and cast that I really tell people I think is worth making a point to see.
  11. Yes, "Midnight" is a great movie. I think Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett did the screenplay, and it shows. There are some seriously priceless lines in it, and you really can't beat John Barrymore, even when he was really down in the dumps. "On the Twentieth Century," anyone? Claudette was a really wonderful actress. I've always kind of wondered what "All About Eve" would have been like if she'd done it instead of Bette Davis (she was the first choice). The versatility of some of the great actresses was really something. One of my favorite screwballs is still "Theodora Goes Wild" with Irene Dunne (get your mind out of the gutter). Can be hard to find, but it still shows up from time to time. There are so many wonderful lesser known ones, "Love Crazy" with William Powell and Myrna Loy, "Remember the Night" with Barbara Stanwyck, so many great ones with Jean Arthur... Sigh.
  12. I couldn't agree more with your review Colleen. I enjoyed the piece overall very much (but I almost always enjoy the ballet ), but for most of the first act, I kept watching Belotserkovsky, and thinking, "Is he really the pirate in charge?" Very wishy-washy for Conrad. Too bad since it was my first exposure to him. Enjoyed Carreno a lot, and thought he brought a different flavor to Lankendem than Malakhov. Was especially impressed with the one-handed overhead lifts he did with Gillian Murphy. Spectacular. Still missed the super-deep plies of Malakhov, but still a very fun performance. I didn't think Ali was particularly Gomes part, although I enjoyed watching him dance (hadn't seen a lot of him so far). But I'm spoiled. Gomes was my fourth ABT Ali, after Stiefel, Corella and Carreno (in that order). Definitely made a note to go see him in other things. (Count me in on the "Cornejo for Ali" vote). Great afternoon was had by all though. (A friend invited me to go with her family, including her very young nieces and nephews. After paging through the synopsis (which cracked her up), she turned to her sister and asked, "Do they know what this is about?" :eek: )
  13. Hmmm. I have to say I really only started to enjoy watching Julie Kent about recently. Perhaps it was just a question of seeing her so often (really, she *does* seem to be cast in just about everything, and she seems to cover a lot of roles when other people are injured or otherwise withdraw), that I didn't really appreciate her so much. Pretty much whether I intended to see her or not, I would see her multiple times in a season. But about a year ago, I really started seeing a number of excellent performances from Julie Kent, and I enjoy seeing her a lot now. Seeing her almost back to back with Alessandra Ferri last week in Onegin was fascinating; both turned in wonderful performances, but quite different. Speaking of "Onegin," really only started to appreciate Robert Hill with this season. Really hope to see him some more before he retires, because the performance in "Onegin" was special. Finally, kind of liked Paloma Herrera for a while, then did my best to avoid her on the schedule, now enjoying some of her dancing again.
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