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Everything posted by chiapuris

  1. The rest of the Festival program is now listed on the Mariinsky website: April 16 Ratmansky/Schedrin Anna Karenina 17th Romeo and Juliet 18th La Bayadere 19th Carmen Suite/Etudes/Apollo 20th Giselle 21st Swan Lake 23rd Young Choreographers evening 24th Sleeping Beauty 25th Gala concert No Raymonda, no reconstruction of either La Bayadere or Sleeping Beauty. Unless they add something on the 22nd.
  2. Met Opera HD broadcast of Carmen in the Encore series Feb. 3, 6:30 pm -Ann Arbor Mi. It was a treat to see Richard Eyres' production of Carmen with a monumental set and costumes designed by Rob Howell and the (Carmen) debut of 18 yr Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin. [i'm kidding…He's really 34]. The cast was top-drawer, led by Elina Garança, Roberto Alagna, Barbara Fritolli, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes replacing Mariusz Kwiecien as Escamillo on the day of the performance. (They called him at 10 am. the day of the performance, he told interviewer Renee Fleming; he thought that was fine: he got a good night's sleep NOT knowing.) Seeing the principals through camera close-ups that are nowhere available in even the best theatre seats is a wonderful privilege. To a person, these principals are fantastic actors creating realistic portraits and believable actions while at the same time singing as grandly as any humans can sing. In the tavern scene Ms Garanca continued singing while being lifted (in a horizontal position her back facing the floor) by four male dancers. The death scene with Carmen and Don Jose was emotionally wrenching in its physical intensity. Ms Fritolli's Micaela was touching and believable. I liked very much both Garanca and Alagna, equally for their voices and their characterizations. Mr Rhodes has a bright and clear voice. At 6 ft 5 in. he has a fine figure for Escamillo's outfit. Mr Eyres' production updates the scene by a hundred years, to the 1930s. His direction is free of gimmicks and conceptual innovations, the more so for the music and libretto of Bizet to breathe freely. Oh yes. Christopher Wheeldon presented two pre-curtain duets. The dancers were Maria Kowroski and Martin Harvey. The first duet after the overture concerned the motif of fate. It was very darkly lit and brief. but probably accomplished its purpose. I had expected more. The second duet, before the curtain of the 3rd act, is (Mr. Wheeldon explained to Renee Fleming at intermission) about the innocence of Carmen's and Don Jose's love. I lost him there.
  3. The Vikharev reconstruction of the 1890 Sleeping Beauty is back on the boards on Feb 19 at the Mariinsky Theatre, according to the Mariinsky website. I'm glad the production has not been 'retired', as some had predicted. The casting is no surprise: Alina Somova is listed as Aurora. But then Shklyarov is Desire and Daria Pavlenko is Lilac Fairy. The Bluebird pdd is Gumerova and Scherbakov. The Diamond Fairy Petushkova.
  4. I saw last night in Ann Arbor the 6:30 Encore showing of the Met's Der Rosenkavalier. What a splendid production! Besides the outstanding performances of Fleming and Graham, I very much enjoyed the Baron Ochs of Sigmundsson, country bumpkin- dimwitted 'blueblood' lecher and exploiter of 'those beneath him' and yet…displaying other qualities that counterbalance his fatuousness. There is a kind of nihilism about the human condition, both in the libretto of Hoffmansthal and the gorgeous lyricism of the Strauss score, esp in the second act where stage events counter the musical transcendence. Must read more about them (H H & R S).
  5. Russian Classical Ballet Theatre (aka Russian National Ballet Theatre, Artistic Director: Elena Radchenko) Performance in Detroit, Michigan at Music Hall, January 23, 2010 A small traveling troup of some thirteen dancers (counted at the final curtain call, when all of the evening's performing artists appeared), presented a performance in the beautiful and intimate venue of the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts of clean, unmannered technical artistry, smooth pacing, and heartfelt dancing. Not an easy thing to do when the program consists of ten excerpts, mostly pas de deux, one pas de trois, two pas de quatres (Anton Dolin's Pas de Quatre and a work of Vitaliy Zabelin -who danced in it- to a movement of a Tchaikovsky symphony) and a solo (yes, Fokine's The Dying Swan). Duets included Petipa's: Sleeping Beauty Act III, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Paquita, R. Zakharov's Cinderella Act III (Prokofiev), and Asaf Messerer's Melody set to Gluck's Elysian Fields. The trio was from Saint-Leon's The Little Humpbacked Horse to Pugni; it was an underwater scene: the womens' tutus had decorations of starfish. Medleys of this sort tend to lead to surfeit of affects, and eventually tedium. Not last night. When the program finished I wished it to go on. The dancing was generally of high quality, secure, and theatrically absorbing. The presentation had throughout impeccable timing; no long waits between numbers- the bane of stage managers.. The costumes looked elegant and fresh. I wish the management would help a few of the male dancers tone down their almost Kabuki- exaggerated make-up. The women looked lovely. I don't think I can report who danced what. Visual confirmation contradicted credits in the program. I am fairly sure that Marianna Chemalina partnered by Ruslan Mukhambetkaliev danced in Don Q and Paquita. And I may be possibly right in saying that Nadezhda Illarionova danced in Corsaire, Pas de Quatre, and The Dying Swan. For the rest I will simply list the names of the dancers in no particular order: Maria Klueva, Ekaterina Pankovskaya, Elena Aytuganova, Viktoria Krakhmaleva, Maria Barcova, Tatiana Muratova; Marat Abdrakhmanov, Alexander Daev, Dmitri Shchemelinin, Vitaliy Zabelin. The audience of the far-from-sold-out Music Hall received and applauded the performers with warmth and enthusiasm.
  6. That would have to be Éthéry Pagava, whom I saw (in the fifties) in classes of Ana Ilic at Studio Wacker in Paris. She exhibited, what appeared to me, to be the ideal Platonic classical pirouette, done at whatever speed to chose to do it in. Slow, fast, no matter. Her lyrical style was ravishing. For me she stood as the epitome of the dancer's use of the body as a medium of aesthetic content. She was, at the time, a leading member of a pick-up company led by Milorad Miskovitch, preparing for a European tour. I saw a guest performance of the company with Pagava the following year at the German theatre where I had a contract, but nothing gave me the pleasure of seeing Pagava at close view in class.
  7. In the early sixties (I think) I happened to hear, from people who had studied with him in Paris, that Boris Kniasseff was teaching in Athens. During a trip there, after taking some time to track down where he was teaching, I took some classes from him, probably for less than two weeks. He was not teaching any floor barre at this time. The barre was long, complicated, and it seemed to me it would take a while to really learn. I don't even remember the centre exercises, the barre was so exhausting. His barre reminded me of Igor Schwezoff's barre: complex and extremely challenging. I was told his fifties Paris classes were similar.
  8. D Bull's observations were very interesting, in placing those observations within the context of her reading of contemporary social history.
  9. A. Vaganova mentions Shiryaev in the Supplement (Note 3) (transl. by Stanley Applebaum) of the 4th edition of Basic Principles of Classical Ballet (1969 Dover edition, transl. A. Chujoy) as follows: "In my time character classes were practically never given; the work was learned from assorted dance numbers. The exercises for character ballets were worked out in detail in the 1920s by Alexander Shiryaev, who systematized the movements of character ballets and thereby enormously facilitated work in this area." Moreover, in the Introduction to the Fourth Russian Edition, V. Chistyakova writes: "While Vaganova was still living, her associates at the Leningrad State Ballet School, Alexander Shiryaev , Alexander Bocharov and Andrei Lopukhov, worked out , for the first time in the history of balletic art, a method for character ballet, expounding it in the book Basic Principles of Character Ballet (published by "Iskusstvo", 1939)."
  10. Thank you Leonid for your posts. The fluency of her dancing in the video clips and the elegance of her lines in the Roger Wood photos tell us quite a lot about her artistry.
  11. Catherine, Can you give us the title of Lopukhov's article/book/essay, and, secondly, is the English translation your own?
  12. Congratulations to all the promoted dancers! I'm really particularly happy for Krysanova and Skvortsov.
  13. What I remember in a nutshell is that Dr Genne argued that the specific choreographies that resulted from Mr Balanchine's work with Ms Farrell were in a sense a collaborative effort of the capabilities offered by Suzanne Farrell's body inspiring the genius of George Balanchine. I include the website description of the interview sent to me by e-mail by Arts on Earth/Arts & Bodies: "Legendary ballerina Suzanne Farrell, founder and director of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, will discuss her art with U-M Professor of Dance and noted dance historian, Beth Genné. Ms. Farrell was the last and arguably greatest muse of revolutionary choreographer George Balanchine. Balanchine was inspired and challenged by Farrell’s extraordinary dance intelligence, her sensitivity to music, her passion for dance, and her ability to push established boundaries to try new and innovative ways of using the body. Working together, Farrell and Balanchine helped to create truly modern American ballets that are landmarks in the field and still inspire contemporary choreographers. Ms. Farrell also worked with one of modern European ballet's innovators, Maurice Béjart, who was equally but in different ways inspired by Ms. Farrell and her distinctive ways of moving. Illustrated by film clips from Ms. Farrell's career, the talk will focus on how the dancer uses her body in a creative collaboration with the choreographer to create new works, and to re-inhabit and revivify old ones. Offered in partnership with the University Musical Society." For more information, visit www.artsonearth.org <http://www.artsonearth.org>
  14. Yes, we did see the Andante with the five brief pas de deux. It's just hard to write about it without becoming prolix throwing around the words beauty and beautiful. I'll try to have Ms Genne refresh me tonight on her interview.
  15. October 9, 2009 -Power Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan Last night I saw the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in its first of two performances in Ann Arbor at the Power Center theatre in the University Musical Society series. As part of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet visit, I also observed a master class given by Ms Farrell on Oct 6 for the dance students at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, a town next to Ann Arbor. On Wed., Oct 7, the University of Michigan sponsored an interview of Ms Farrell by Dr Beth Genne, dance historian at UM. A highlight of the interview was the showing of a video clip of the opening night's dazzling performance of Suzanne Farrell's variation in Balanchine/Nabokov's Don Quixote (1965). Friday night's program consisted of the Pas d'Action from Divertimento No. 15 (1956), the Blues pdd from Clarinade (1964), Maurice Bejart's 'Scene d'Amour from Romeo and Juliet (Berlioz)(1966), and crowning the evening, the complete Agon ((1957). What a beautiful evening! Ms Farrell's coaching and mentoring seem as extraordinary and unique as the gifts she brought to her stage performances as a dancer. The Divertimento No. 15 excerpt had the most serene carriage of arms throughout that I ever remember seeing. While all the variations were technically secure, I particularly enjoyed the third variation of Sara Ivan, and, following, those of Natalia Magnicaballi and Violeta Angelova. The closing reverence was classicism incarnate. The Clarinade pas de deux offered a privileged glimpse into the Balanchine opus that no other company can offer. The same argument could be used for the Bejart excerpt-- unless one travels to Europe, one is unlikely to see Bejart's choreography in the US. A welcome glimpse it was. Agon was wonderful. The four men (Mladenov, Cook, Grosh, and Kaminski) were beautifully coached in the intricacies of the musical score and projected their individual person to boot. The pas de deux of Magnicaballi and Mladenov was purely danced, yet projected the mysteries of the score as an innocent yet searing sexuality. My particular favorite was the second pas de trois of Angelova, Grosh and Kaminsky. It doesn't get better than that. Bravi to Suzanne Farrell and all the dancers of her company. I look forward to tonight's performance.
  16. However, its Bluebird pas de deux, presented with its 20th century Soviet 'improvements' and its unmusical ending, set my teeth on edge.
  17. And I have my tickets for the two Ann Arbor performances.
  18. ABT 8 pm 26 June 2009 VERONIKA PART Swan Lake There's no way I could write a coherent review of the June 26 Swan Lake performance of Veronika Part, without repeating more or less the superlative comments made by earlier commentators: --"She really has the most beautiful lines in the whole world……" Post #51 sealings --"The audience went wild for Veronika Part….." Post # 52 christine174 --Veronika Part…"was amazing tonight"…..she made the production….emotional, moving and memorable……" Post #53 Goldfish17 --"…….endless limbs, expression and steady balances……" Post # 57 sjk --"…beauty, lines, and musicality….." Post # 58 Classic Ballet --"…….passionate Odette and dazzling Odile……" Post # 59 carbro. I concur with all of the above. It was a splendid performance by Ms. Part, one that more than validates her promotion to principal dancer; it also confirms her unique status among the leading dancers of the contemporary era. One who follows her own path towards the achievement of kinetic beauty/truth. After leaving the Met, in a discussion, over cheesecake on 7th Ave., about the performance among three of us (we all agreed that it was excellent and unique), the question was posed on how Part's performance compared to that of Dancer X- a performance all three of us had seen at the Mariinsky Festival in St Petersburg several years ago. I tried very hard to emphasize the wholeness of Ms. Part's performance that made it unique. My companion came up with a clearer explanation: if Dancer X were an actress, she might be considered a classical actress, that is, one who had received classical acting training; if Ms. Part were an actress, she might be considered a 'method' (Stanislavsky method) actress, that is, one who has traveled in a path beyond classical acting training. There are, in truth, so many dimensions in the effects of Veronika Part's dancing. She not only creates beautiful lines, she creates three-dimensional beautiful lines that incorporate within them the stage space, which she, but literally, makes you believe she inhabits. The resources she uses do not stop with the languages of Ivanov/Petipa, Tchaikovsky, but continue with resources within herself. I somewhat dissent from the earlier comments about Roberto Bolle's dancing. I found his interpretation of the prince perfectly adequate with the gifts he displayed, not needing any gifts, I, or others, may have wanted him to display. Physically he is a match for the beauty of Ms. Part. Together they make indeed a handsome couple. His double-work and lifts were excellent. His acting skills are fairly elementary, but not wrong-headed. The dancing in his variations is clean, straightforward, without virtuosic flourishes and what's wrong with that? The pas de trois of Riccetto, Abrera and Blaine Hoven (substituting for Jared Matthews) was elegant. The Neapolitan dance of Joseph Phillips and Craig Salstein was spectacular. The four foreign princesses in the third act were altogether refined. The corps work in the lakeside scenes lacked a texture of synchronicity either in arms or legs or just in the pulse and coordination of breath. They were, however, much improved by Friday over Monday's Swan Lake dress rehearsal (which featured Bolle in act I, Murphy/Corella in act II, and Part/Bolle in acts III and IV). I think even the production looked better with Part/Bolle. The audience's reception at the end of the performance let the performers know that they had seen something special. Many curtain calls and many flowers. [Edited to add substituted dancer's name]
  19. Veronika Part shone like a bright star tonight. Both the 2nd act and 3rd act pas de deux with Bolle were exemplary. The lifts were simply beautiful. More later, when I get back to Michigan.
  20. carbro, anyone who can write about Le Clercq (as has Barry Katz): "…..a long-limbed grace, …musicality, and a certain comic, witty streak that lept off the stage to engage audiences…" has written something right and true. I remember her as such in Metamorphoses.
  21. NYCB 3 pm 21 June 2009 Midsummer's Night Dream Titania Teresa Reichlen Oberon Andrew Veyette Puck Troy Shumacher (for Sean Suozzi) Helena Dena Abergel Demetrius Ask la Cour Hermia Sterling Hyltin Lysander Robert Fairchild Hippolyta Savannah Lowery Theseus Jason Fowler Titania's cavalier Justin Peck Bottom Henry Seth Butterfly Brittany Pollack Divertissement Act II Jenifer Ringer/Jared Angle Teresa Reichlen truly glowed as Titania, her movements flowing into elegant extensions, her body stretching into arabesques of golden lines. That should be enough of purple prose to get my meaning: I really liked her dancing; unmannered, musical and full. Her cavalier, Justin Peck, provided her impeccable support. Andrew Veyette's Oberon cut a fine figure, and danced his various sequences with authority, although he left out each time one of the two developpes, in the sequence moving diagonally back. Troy Shumacher (substituting for the listed Sean Suozzi) danced a gentle, more lyrical Puck, harkening back to earlier interpretations of the role. The couples of Athenian lovers were wonderfully drawn, one and all. Sterling Hyltin was outstanding as Hermia throughout; she made of her solo variation an extremely moving dance study. Ask la Cour, with his athletic grace, created a vivid portrait of Demetrius. Other brilliant soloists were the Hippolyta of Savannah Lowery and the Butterfly of Brittany Pollack. Jennifer Ringer and Jared Angle shone brightly in the demanding divertissement of Act II. Ms Ringer, with her open manner and solid technique, together with Mr Angle navigated the choppy waters of the supported adagio with such finesse and nonchalance that made sense of the ecstatic, liquid, final pose of the dance. Maurice Kaplan conducted with authority.
  22. NYCB 8 pm 20 June 2009 A Midsummer's Night Dream Titania Maria Kowroski Oberon Antonio Carmena Puck Adam Hendrickson Helena Faye Arthurs Hermia Abi Stafford Lysander Andrew Fayette Demetrius Arch Higgins Hippolyta Ana Sophia Scheller Theseus Henry Seth Titania's Cavalier Jason Fowler Bottom Adrian Danchig-Waring Butterfly Alina Dronova Divertissement Yvone Borree/Sebastien Marcovici Conductor Faycal Karoui Soprano Erin Morley Mezzo-Soprano Allison Tupay Earlier this week I had a chance to watch two working rehearsals of MND with different casts preparing for their upcoming performances. Thus, before this performance I saw Kistler's and Reichlen's Titania, Jennifer Ringer/Philip Neal and Jamie Taylor/Tyler Angle in the Act II divertissement, Hyltin/Fairchild and Abergel/la Cour as well as Krohn/Ramasar and Somogui/J Stafford as the pairs of lovers, and so on. The rehearsals were a nice kind of preparation for the performance of this evening. I don't remember how long it's been since I last saw Midsummer's Night Dream, a Balanchine masterpiece, not least for his selection of Mendelssohn music. Maria Korowski created a wondrous Titania -dancing with amplitude, luscious extensions, and a space-embracing presence. She was ably partnered by Jason Fowler as her cavalier. Adrian Danchig-Waring was an excellent Bottom, giving a subtle and poetic reading. Antonio Carmena was an aristocratic Oberon, fulfilling all the technical demands of the role, even the glissades en arriere with developpes sauté en avant, with poise and equanimity. Adam Hendrickson struck a nice balance in his choices with comedic 'lines' by stressing a steady hard-working character for the role. Compared to the other Pucks I saw in rehearsal, I like his 'take' best. Both lover-couples were amply gifted for their roles. I preferred of the two the Hermia and Lysander of Abi Stafford and Andrew Veyette. Both men gained nothing in having to wear those pageboy wigs. But their fencing skills were spiffy. Ana Sophia Scheller was an athletic and soaring amazon. She was also impressive in the second act. The SAB children were exceptionally at home on stage, garnering some enthusiastic audience applause. The second act was graced by an exceptionally vibrant and precise ensemble led by Yvonne Borree and Sebastien Marcovicci. Ms Borree met the challenges of her role with poise, although a tightness in her shoulders and neck continue to mar her technically proficient dancing. Mr Marcovicci shows a pleasant stage personality, which, I for one, continue to enjoy. The propelling force behind this performance was the conducting of Faycal Karaoui. Mr Karaoui showed us his love for the Mendelssohn music. The Mendelssohn music sounded wonderful.
  23. ABT 2pm 17 June 2009 La Sylphide Veronika Part Cory Stearns Kelley Boyd (Effie) Craig Salstein (Gurn) Martine Van Hamel (Madge) "Airs" had the same cast as Monday night; my comments on Monday night's performance apply as well to this matinee. I was impressed and enjoyed the entire cast, with special mention for Arron Scott's dancing. I truly enjoyed Veronika Part's dancing with its lush, full-body expressiveness and her technical mastery placed in the service of a dance role. Whether she is the ideal interpreter of Bournonville 'ethereality', I'll leave the question for experts. My take is that her gifts, of which there are many, served the role of the sylph beautifully. Moreover, in my view, the ABT production itself, including the dancing of her colleagues was not in the same league as her dancing. Cory Stearns as a dancer seemed underpowered, as a character seemed underdeveloped. Craig Salstein was impressive in the character of Gurn, but his variation lacked the energetic demeanor that one associates with Bournonville male soli. Fully controlled energy. The above paragraph excludes the performance of Martine Van Hamel as Madge, who, as she has consistently proved throughout her career, makes every moment on stage count. For some technical glitch, we couldn't watch the wings of the sylph fall off after she was poisoned by Madge's scarf. They came loose earlier. Fortunately, the Met gift shop had copies of the Royal Danish Ballet's "La Sylphide" with Lis Jeppesen and Nikolai Hubbe (1988). We'll take that home and watch it.
  24. Yes. Part was beautiful. The production, for me, not so much. Comments later.
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