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Kathleen O'Connell

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Everything posted by Kathleen O'Connell

  1. For World Opera Day, Bard's Fisher Center is offering a video-on-demand stream of its production of Ernest Chausson's King Arthur on a pay-what-you-want basis (including $0) from 10/25/2021- 11/01/2021. I haven't watched this one yet, but Bard's opera productions are usually very good and typically explore less well known corners of the repertoire WORLD OPERA DAY: KING ARTHUR by Ernest Chausson The American Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Leon Botstein Directed by Louisa Proske
  2. I think it's fair for a critic to comment on a dancer's physique if it's made clear why it's relevant to the performance. Simply saying that a dancer looked "out of shape" or whatever the euphemism du jour is isn't enough, imo. It's incumbent on the critic to say why it matters. Was the dancer's line so materially affected that it defeated their artistry or the choreographer's intent? Were they unable to move in a way that was ideally free and expressive? Etc. Otherwise it comes off as someone patrolling the boundaries of permissible body types rather than artistry.
  3. This struck me as a weird omission because that bit of (necessary!) exposition is detailed in the very plot synopsis that ABT puts in the program: "Count Albrecht arrives with his squire and enters the cottage opposite Giselle's. He emerges dressed as a peasant, submits his disguise tho the squire's inspection, and dismissed him." Hilarion's breaking in to Albrecht's cottage makes no sense if we haven't first seen Albrecht hide his sword and fancy clothes there.
  4. This was the rare ABT run of a ballet where I actually wished I could have seen all the casts, with the possible exception of Seo / Stearns. I definitely wanted to see each and every debut. For the first time in a long time, there's a cohort of dancers at ABT who I want to watch while their careers develop rather than simply watching the finished product. (This is harder to do at ABT than NYCB simply because of the nature of ABT's repertory and casting choices: you get a Giselle, and you get a Giselle, and you get a Giselle ... everybody gets one Giselle a season.)
  5. I suspect that the degree to which one found Trenary's debut satisfying depends on whether or not one found her dramatic interpretation persuasive. I found more than persuasive: I was moved by it. And, I appreciated how far inside the role Trenary appeared to be; to my eyes at least she was doing more than executing the steps with a dollop of acting on top. Hadshe been visibly struggling with the choreography, or had she been less musical, I would likely have been much less taken with the performance. I didn't mind her falling off pointe during her hops any more than I minded Cojocaru falling out of some turns during an otherwise radiant performance as Aurora. (Also: I am no more invested in those hops than I am in Odile's fouettés or Aurora's balances. They could be replaced with any other step that fit the music and the dramatic moment, and I'd be fine with it.) PS - I think it's fine to weigh the various aspects of a performance differently or to prefer different interpretations of a role. That's why it's a good thing that ABT could present us with six credible Giselles.
  6. No time for a full report, alas, because Cassandra Trenary's and Calvin Royal's debuts this afternoon as Giselle and Albrecht certainly deserve one. Trenary especially took full possession of the role: had I not known it was her debut, I never would have guessed that it was. She's clearly put a lot of thought into her mad scene, but it looked unmannered and natural: theater without theatrics. She's also put her imagination to work on differentiating her act 1 village Giselle from her act 2 spectral—and I'd be hard pressed to say which one I like more. One more thing to note: Trenary is the kind of stage animal ABT hasn't really seen since Marcelo Gomes. Brava!
  7. Yes, exactly. Who is the audience for comments about a dancer's weight? It's not as if the dancers aren't themselves acutely aware of what their bodies look like. "Huh. I had no idea I look fat!" said no ballerina ever after reading a review that commented on her weight. Ditto the AD; if they think the dancer looks fine and values their artistry, I sure as heck hope they have the confidence in their judgment to brush aside someone carping about a dancer's weight. As for the audience: well, I think we can be led to let our taste regarding body type evolve. When Sara Mearns first came to prominence, there was some grumbling among the critics regarding her weight / body type. Today she can lay claim to being one of the company's brightest stars: I'd say the audience cast a pretty deciding vote about what they value in a ballerina, and it's not whether she's five pounds on the other side of an impossible ideal. An aside: For related reasons I have always been irked by how often Maria Kowroski's dancing was reduced to the beauty of her legs.
  8. No, it's not. The 103 foot width specified for the Met includes the wing space. The proscenium openings for the two stages are comparable: 56 feet wide by 30 feet tall for the Koch and 54 feet wide by 54 feet tall for the Met. The Met stage is deeper than the Koch stage: the Met stage is 80 feet deep from the curtain line to the rear wall; the Koch's stage depth is 54 feet at the center of the stage.
  9. One big problem with the tacked on fees is that they aren't proportional to the base ticket price, so they're effectively like a regressive tax. They make up a MUCH greater proportion of the least expensive tickets than they do of the most expensive tickets. They add an additional 50% to the price of a $29 ticket, but only an additional 7.5% to the price of a $200 ticket. Those less-expensive tickets should function as an attractive way to introduce new audience members to the art form and as a way to reward loyal fans who don't have a lot of disposable income but do have a love for the company and the art form. Effectively doubling the ticket price is no way to reward either their curiosity or their loyalty.
  10. I certainly hope the world (not just the US) gets Covid-19 and its variants under sufficient control to make that a reality. I have so enjoyed my cold and flu-free 2020 and 2021 that I'm seriously considering masking up every winter. And, like Gloria Gaynor, I will survive by continuing my hand-hygiene drill.
  11. Yes, but the vast majority are, although they garner fewer headlines. Less than 3% of United Airlines' 67,000 employees sought an exemption from the company's vaccine mandate. Only about 2% of New York State's 515,800 hospital workers chose not to comply with the state's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The exception is generally deemed more newsworthy than the rule when it comes to headlines and ledes.
  12. They should have chosen better programming after a 2 month hiatus. ABT has some real treasures in its repertory; they could have celebrated their return to the stage by showcasing some of their best jewels. (Pillar of Fire is one of them, of course.)
  13. Sure you can. The state of Mississippi requires all children entering Mississippi schools from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade to receive the following vaccines: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP) Polio (IPV) Hepatitis B Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Chickenpox (Varicella) (Mississippi Dept. of Health) A doctor may request a medical exemption if vaccination would endanger a child's health, but there are no exemptions for religious or personal beliefs.
  14. Sigh. He almost gets it. "You may well want to see fewer of the showier lifts in today’s dance repertory: I’m among those who’ve written that there’s been too much manipulation of women in dance, especially (but not only) in ballet. But plenty of twenty-first-century choreographers have been using them. Is it really time for the twenty-first-century ballerina to start gaining a few pounds?" Well, if "plenty of twenty-first-century choreographers" are making dances that require super-thin ballerinas, that clearly means that ballerinas are therefore obliged to starve themselves. Or, choreographers could make dances that celebrate all kinds of bodies.
  15. OK - I've removed my comment here and will repost it to the new thread.
  16. That's not the first time that's happened! I've seen a couple of "debuts" that weren't and spent more than a few minutes trying to sort out whether or not my recollection of having seen that very dancer in that very role before was a false memory. 😬
  17. It was LaFreniere's debut—Danchig-Waring has danced the male lead in Chaconne a number of times. I've seen him with both Mearns and Reichlen, and he was indeed excellent. You can see a few clips of him and Reichlen in one of NYCB's "Anatomy of a Dance" videos here: https://vimeo.com/250349793. I'm seeing LaFreniere and Danching-Waring in Chaconne tonight, and I'm looking forward it—I'm delighted that LaFreniere is back from a far-too-long absence and taking on a major role.
  18. You're not missing anything! For some inscrutable reason, the powers-that-be have decided to move the links to the Fall, Winter, and Spring season calendars from the main Season & Tickets page to the Subscription Packages page where no one can find them. 🤷‍♀️ It's nice that each program in each season has its own page, but clicking through each one in turn is no way to get an overview of the season. Another alternative: go to the repertory section and click on the ballet that you want to see. If it's been programmed for a current or future season, the performance dates will be listed there. For example, here's the page for Chaconne, which shows no performances listed for after the Fall 2021 Season. But here's the page for Rubies, which shows performances for both the Winter and Spring 2022 Seasons.
  19. Bouder looked a little out of shape on Tuesday evening, but otherwise seemed to be taking the role in stride and danced with her usual verve. I didn't notice any on-stage mishaps, but who knows what might have gone awry to keep her from coming back for the finale and sidelining her for the rest of the season.
  20. A couple of very quick notes on last night's performance of the "Innovators & Icons" program (Andrea Miller's sky to hold, Sidra Bell's Suspended Animation, and Balanchine's Western Symphony) : 1) I liked Miller's sky to hold just fine, but I liked the music a lot more—so much so that I fired up my music streaming service of choice and searched for Lido Pimienta's music as soon as I got home, and I'm glad I did. (I'm listening to her album Miss Colombia while I type ...) Sebastian Villarini Velez replaced Taylor Stanley. 2) I loved Bell's Suspended Animation. I want to see it again, but alas it hasn't been programed for either the Winter or Spring 2022 Seasons. Kudos to the costume shop for pulling off John Rogers' gloriously over-the-top creations. Also, Peter Walker was rocking a beard and a man bun and I am here for it. It totally worked with Rogers' demented hot pink version of a tri-corn hat. 3) I think Laine Habony stepped in for Ashley Bouder for the finale of Western Symphony? (It sure looked like her during the curtain calls ...) I hope nothing is amiss.
  21. So far only Abi Stafford has actually retired. Lauren Lovette and Ask LaCour retire on Saturday (10/9/21). Maria Kowroski retires on 10/17/21. Gonzalo Garcia doesn't retire until February 27, 2022. Amar Ramasar doesn't retire until May 29, 2022. (Per Faye Arthurs' recent review of NYCB's Fall Season opening night, soloist Lauren King will also retire shortly. Perhaps other soloists are retiring as well, but I don't think anything has been announced.) It could be that the company has chosen to time the promotions to correspond with the retirements, either because it wants to or because it needs to.
  22. NYCB's own New York Choreographic Institute (now under the direction of Adrian Danchig-Waring) certainly appears to be making an effort to provide young women choreographers an opportunity to hone their craft. The NYCI now makes videos of at least some of its fellows' creating available for viewing on its website. This offering from NYCI's Fall 2020 Martha's Vineyard Residency features choreography by Claire Kretzschmar and Eliza Blutt, for example. (There work by Preston Chamblee as well.) I was particularly taken with Kretzschmar's Rachmaninoff Suite for an ensemble of five dancers (Emilie Gerrity, Russell Janzen, Miriam Miller, Gretchen Smith, and Andres Zuniga.) I hope she gets a chance to make more ballets—I'd certainly show up to see another effort. I wish NYCB had the wherewithal to give its NYCI fellows (or whatever they're called) an opportunity to present a staged work in a smaller, less high-stakes venue than its main stage. Here the link to the Fall 2020 Martha's Vineyard Residency videos.
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