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Everything posted by Ceeszi

  1. I attended Tuesday evening and the Wednesday matinee. I briefly wrote about the problem with the corps in Act I and Act III on Tuesday night. The Wednesday matinee was overall a much better performance. The Act I pas de trois was probably the best that I have seen in years with Gorak, Shevchenko, and Teuscher. The corps dancing in Act I and Act III was much tighter than Tuesday evening. The swans were wonderful in both performances, but I must agree that they were way off in Act IV at the matinee. I do not know Miss Boylston at all, but I felt so proud of her. She was extraordinary. She is only going to get better in this role and I found her enchanting as both Odette and Odile. I loved Polina, but I found Isabella to be much more emotionally satisfying overall. The friend that I usually attend ballet with has always said that Daniil is never going to be a leading man because of his stature - that he is a trickster and that is it. Well, yesterday's performance really put that argument to rest. Daniil partnered Isabella beautifully and his lifts were so secure. And unlike Hallberg, he milked everything out of every pose and gesture, especially in Act I, which I agree can get pretty dull after the pas de trois. I am so happy that I attended both performances. I was expecting greatness from Polina and David and I got it. I did not know what to expect from Isabella and Daniil and I was blown away. Only one complaint from yesterday's matinee - SCHOOL IS OUT. The two young ladies next to me (I am guessing they were somewhere between 10 and 13) talked during all of Act I. When Act II started I politely asked them if they could talk when the ballet was over. And how about the guy who sneezed in the Act III pas de trois just as the music stopped and Isabella hit that beautiful pose? That got many of the youngsters giggling.
  2. I agree with Batsuchan - fantastic performance last night with Polina and David. The swan corps was wonderful, but the corps in Act I and Act III were not - many noticeable bobbles and dancers who were obviously not in synch with each other. I am a little pressed for time right now, but I will write more later.
  3. I splurged for orchestra seats for Onegin, so I retreated up to Family Circle for last night's performance. I ended up liking Thirteen Diversions more than I thought I would. Misty Copeland was beautiful in her solo and then in her pas de deux with Gray Davis. They replaced Isabella Boylston and Cory Stearns, who were originally on the program. Maria Riccetto danced with Craig Salstein instead of Jared Matthews and Christine Shevchenko danced with Daniel Mantei instead of Blaine Hoven. Stella Abrera and Eric Tamm were the only couple on the program that remained intact. The other eight couples were in dark costumes and were always in the dark, so they were kind of hard to make out, especially from the nosebleeds. The music by Benjamin Britten was sometimes pleasant to listen to and sometimes it was very jarring. I saw Apollo last summer with the New York City Ballet, but I enjoyed it more last night. I could not take my eyes off of Veronika Part as Terpsichore. Hee Seo was Polyhymnia and Stella Abrera was Calliope. I am not familiar enough with the ballet to make any judgment on whether they performed this well or not, but I loved watching Part and Hallberg dance together. I would also say that Hallberg was a much better Apollo than Chase Finlay, who I saw last year. Hallberg seemed to have more command of the stage and was very good at partnering the three ballerinas. I have mixed emotions about Firebird. First of all, I was so excited about seeing this, but then I felt let down by the whole production. I agree with the comment about Marcelo's boots - that was very distracting, especially at the beginning of the ballet. One woman sitting next to me said that Marcelo looked like he was in an Elvis suit. I thought that the dance for the maidens was kind of silly - yes - I know that they are supposed to be under a spell, but it looked strange. And I really feel that Ratmansky's choreography did nothing for Osipova. I kept waiting for her to let loose, but she never really did. Natalia and Marcelo danced together beautifully in La Bayadere and Onegin, but last night they looked awkward together and (I could be wrong) it looked like they made a mistake or two. I also did not like the Firebird costume itself. It seemed like the ballet came to life a little more at the end. Two women behind me got the giggles in the last fifteen minutes of the ballet, so that was also very distracting. I'm sure this is still a work in progress. I wanted to like it more than I did.
  4. Last night was absolutely incredible! I actually was worried about Diana - she looked like she was going to faint at the end of the ballet. She and Marcelo gave everything they had in that last pas de deux and you could tell when she threw him out - it was a gut-wrenching decision. The look on Diana's face when she ripped up Marcelo's letter - WOW! Like her Juliet, you could see her total transformation of character through her acting and her dancing. Her Tatiana goes from a shy bookish teenager to a young woman in love for the first time to a glamorous and sophisticated society wife who cares deeply for her husband (but seemingly without any passion). Again - thank you Diana and Marcelo!
  5. May I also add what an appreciative audience. The audience clapped for Veronika when she entered and when the veil was removed. The audience clapped for Natalia when she entered and when the veil was removed.
  6. I was there last night as well. In the past, I always felt that the question was "Who killed Nikiya?" Was it Gamzatti, her father, or the nurse? Last night, there was no doubt who was responsible for Nikiya's death. Did you see the smile on Natalia's face after the snake bit Nikiya? - pure evil. I will go out on a limb and say that Natalia Osipova is the best Gamzatti I have ever seen. And her dancing? She flew through the air during Scene 3 of Act I. Last night was incredible. Of course I could not help thinking what it would have been like with Diana, but Veronika was lovely last night. Marcelo the Great was the perfect partner to both ballerinas and I could feel the grief that he projected. The Shades - the best I have ever seen in an ABT Bayadere.
  7. So what is the story - injury? illness? or are they just toying with our emotions?
  8. Can I just add that this was THE performance I was looking to the most the whole Spring season?
  9. Just got home from a beautiful Cojocaru/Corella/Murphy Giselle. Back in 2005, I attended the "Stars of the 21st Century Gala". Alina and Johann Kobborg performed the Act II pas de deux from Giselle. I remember thinking at the time that I would love the chance to see Alina perform the whole ballet. I did purchase the Royal Ballet Giselle DVD with Alina and Johann. But what an immense treat to see Alina Cojocaru perform Giselle live tonight. She brings such a fragility and childlike innocence to the part of Giselle. In Act I, she is either looking at her mother or Albrecht for approval in all of her moves. This makes her mad scene so devastating - she has been let down big time by the man she loves. In Act II, she retains her humanity (she is not the ghostly spectre that Vishneva's Giselle becomes) and is filled with love and forgiveness for Albrecht. I can't remember the last time that I have seen Angel Corella dance with ABT. I think it might have been Nina's farewell Swan Lake back in 2009. First of all, he is in great shape. Second, he is such a wonderful partner. And third, it is sad to think about him leaving ABT. Alina bowed to him and gave him her boquet during the curtain calls. The audience gave rapturous applause to the two leads. Angel lifted Alina and glided away with her during the last curtain call - she in Willi character. What a difference a season makes. Last year, my big complaint during the whole 2011 Spring season was how off the corps was. The corps looked completely different tonight - spot on in the peasant dances and the Willi corps was outstanding. Gillian Murphy has never been better as Myrtha. The peasant pas de deux with Yukio Kajiya and Joseph Phillips was ok - it started out a little weak and then got stronger. What a beautiful, emotional performance - thank you Alina and Angel.
  10. This is the first time that I have missed the Gala in six years - swamped with work. I would appreciate any information and reviews.
  11. I have not been to the ballet since November, when I saw Nina Ananiashvili at Lincoln Center. I bought tickets to Dialogues a few months ago. I had tickets for Saturday night - March 17th at 8:00 pm and I had front row seats at City Center. For some reason, Saturday night's performance was CANCELLED. Now part of this was my fault, because I had not checked my e-mails in a few days (City Center told me they sent me an e-mail). But, I went downtown and I knew something was up when I saw no one outside of City Center. Never in my life have I bought a ticket to something (play, ballet, concert) and it has been cancelled. Someone in the lobby (another disappointed fan) said that the ticket sales were not good and the management decided to cancel rather than have Diana play to a half-empty house. I know I'm venting, but it was a combination of driving down to the city, having front row seats, disappointing my friend (it was a Christmas present for the friend I was with) and just really looking forward to this for months - I was gutted. Did anyone see this show on either the 16th or the 18th? I would like to know what I missed. Signed - a very disappointed Diana fan!!
  12. I am going on Saturday evening. I have two extra tickets if anyone is interested, you can PM me.
  13. I used to feel the same way about New York City Ballet. Sara Mearns made me change my mind
  14. When I made my comparisons between ABT and Saturday night's NYCB version, I forgot to add that NYCB's solo violinist did not hit one screechy note during the Adagio. I don't know what was up with the ABT violinist during the Spring Season. The Opening Night Gala was embarrassing, the Dvorovenko/Carreno night was a little better (but still not good) and the Semenova/Gomes version was a little better than that. The NYCB orchestra was flawless. I just objected to the fast pace that the conductor took during some parts of the music.
  15. When was the last time that Zakharova danced in New York? Am I wrong or was it back in the Summer of 2005 when the Bolshoi did Don Quixote, The Pharaoh's Daughter, etc. It seems that she has been everywhere except New York!
  16. Sara Mearns made me cry in June during her solo in "Emeralds". She was so lovely!!!
  17. I attended the Saturday night performance. This is the first non-ABT production I have seen of Swan Lake. It was interesting to make the comparison between the two productions. First, I did not like the scenery or the costumes. There was nothing palace-like about the sets in Act I and Act III and Siegfried's costume did not really make him stand out from the others as "The Prince". In Act II and IV, I questioned why only Odette was wearing a tutu. And believe it or not, I did miss Swamp Thing! Now, Odette/Odile. Bear in mind, these have been the previous Odettes/Odiles that I have seen: Veronika Part, Diana Vishneva, Nina Ananiashvili, Irina Dvorovenko, and Polina Semenova. Obviously, Theresa Reichlen is the first American (and first non-Russian/Georgian/Ukrainian) I have seen in the part. Technically, she was outstanding. Her acting was okay. In some parts, she was emotional and in other parts she had a very blank look on her face. A lot of her moves, she did not finish off and part of that I think was due to the lightning-fast pace that the music was played at sometimes. I wish some of her positions and moves she would have held longer or finished off better. Tyler Angle was good, but nothing outstanding. Like Reichlen, he was technically good, but seemed to be lacking in the acting and command of the stage. I did not really feel the chemistry between the two leads. I enjoyed the character dances of the Third Act as well as the pas de quatre, which is left out of the ABT production. The whole corps was outstanding and so many times in perfect unison. Overall. I am happy that I got the chance to see this production. I missed a lot of the drama of the ABT production.
  18. I attended two performances - the Friday evening of Carmen and Symphony in C and the Saturday matinee of The Little Humpbacked Horse. I liked Carmen. Yes - there were moments during the performance that felt like it was the muzak version of Carmen (way too much marimba and xylophone), but I found the ballet very dramatic and exciting. I will agree that a lot of the choreography seemed to be more posing and wiggling than actual dancing. Yet, Vishneva's passion and command of the stage kept me very engrossed. [Off-topic sidebar - This version of Carmen is very, very familiar to me, because of multiple watchings of Katarina Witt's gold-medal winning performance in ladies figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Interestingly enough - Katarina was criticized for doing nothing but posing for one minute and fifteen seconds in the middle of her program during the Habanera part. - end of off-topic sidebar]. As much as I liked Carmen, I really loved Symphony in C. First of all, what a lineup - Somova and Fadeyev, Lopatkina and Korsuntsev, Obraztsova and Shklyarov, and Shirinkina and Timofeyev. I have not seen Somova in three years (when the Mariinsky was at City Center in 2008), but it seems to me that she has refined her style and turned down the "ear-whacking" that she was famous for. If she was behind the music, I did not notice it at all. Fadeyev was wonderful in his solo number. Lopatkina was the outstanding member of this all-star lineup - just enchanting throughout the second movement. In the third movement - I have to confess that I watched Shklyarov more than Obrazstova. The last time that I saw Shklyarov was when the Mariinsky came to Washington DC in February of 2010 for Sleeping Beauty (he was Prince Desiree to Viktoria Tereshkina's Aurora). He really did not make much of an impression on my memory, but it is obvious that he has matured and has aquired a greater command of the stage. Of the four male soloists, I thought he gave the outstanding performance (I would put Fadeyev second). Then, I completely fell in love with Shirinkina. First of all, she is absolutley gorgeous and second her movements were so light and quick. She more than held her own when the four leading ballerinas danced together at the end. Symphony in C received a well-deserved standing ovation. Today, was a different story. I thought that The Little Humpbacked Horse was ok. I preferred the second act to the first act, but I am very happy that I went to see it. As someone else posted, I thought that some of the costumes and scenery were a little on the cheap side. I also did not care for the music - some of the score was downright unpleasant to listen to. Yet, our three leads - Somova, Sergeyev, and Popov (who replaced Smekalov) were outstanding. Somova was lovely and had great comic timing. Sergeyev did several triple turns in the air like they were nothing and Popov (who I saw three years ago as the Bronze Idol in La Bayadere) was incredible, especially when he did the splits in the air in front of the cauldron while Ivan was turning into a prince. My only regret is that I missed Anna Karenina.
  19. Speaking of this very topic, on Saturday night, I took out my tickets in front of the Met and one of THEM came rushing over to me and said "I need a ticket". Then, she followed me into the building and said two more times, "Do you have an extra ticket?" I finally turned to her and said very firmly, "I do not have an extra ticket!" Finally, she left me alone. It was really hard getting tickets to Saturday night - I called all week to hear that it was sold out. Finally, on Friday afternoon I got two tickets to the last row of Family Circle. I was OK with my binoculars. Was it worth it? Absoultely. I missed Semionova's Don Quixote, so I was determined to see her Swan Lake. She and Marcelo were amazing. The Act II Adagio will go down on record for something - it was the first time that I have sat through an ABT Act II Pas de Deux and the audience was absolutley still - no coughing, no sneezing. Usually at least one member of the audience decides to clear their throat during that part. I remember at Nina's farewell Swan Lake two years ago, some man kept hocking loogies during the adagio. But Saturday night, it was one of those moments where it seemed that the audience was holding its breath so that the spell would not be broken. This was probably the eighth time that I have seen ABT's Swan Lake. I also saw Monday night with Dvorovenko and Carreno. Both nights, the corps in Act I was off, but the Swans were lovely in Act II. Also on both nights, the lead violin player hit some pretty funky screechy notes during the adagio (but not as bad as the Opening Night Gala). I could not take my eyes off of Semionova the whole night. And, I may have written this before in a previous post, but Marcelo Gomes is so good as Siegfried because he is a prince. I was disappointed that David Hallberg was unable to dance, but was so excited to hear Marcelo the Great was his replacement. Any weakness in staging or choreography can be overlooked with the magnificent performance of our two leads. I am also hoping that Polina comes back next season.
  20. I just got home from an exciting evening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This was a night of firsts for me. This was my very first time at BAM, it was the first time I had been to Brooklyn in years (sorry - growing up in the Bronx, Brooklyn was always a foreign country to me) and it was the first time that I saw the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, although I did have the pleasure of seeing Viengsay Valdes when she guested with the Washington DC Ballet in Don Quixote in the Fall of 2009. All I kept saying on my ride home was how happy I was that I went tonight. I saw the Mixed Bill Program (La Magia de la Danza) and I will try to describe what I saw tonight. Act I started with an excerpt from Act II of Giselle. Just having watched two ABT Giselles (Hee Seo and David Hallberg/Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes) this was very familiar territory for me. The curtain opened with Hilarion (Ernesto Diaz) kneeling in front of Giselle's grave while a group of men are warming themselves by a camp fire. Suddenly - there were twinkling lights in the forest (!) and the Wilis approach, led by their Queen (a very imperial looking Veronica Corveas). The men run away, but Hilarion of course is captured. Tonight's Giselle was Barbara Garcia (very sorrowful looking) and Albrecht was Ernesto Alvarez. The Pas de Deux between Garcia and Alvarez was beautiful. Garcia did her solo part lightning fast. Next was the Act III Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty with Anette Delgado and Dani Hernandez. For me, as beautiful as Giselle and The Nutcracker were, this was the highlight of Act I. The fishdives were perfect and Delgado's legs were almost beyond a 90 degree angle. Hernandez was tossing off double pirouettes in the air like they were nothing. Everything was done so clean and perfect. Act I ended with the Waltz of the Flowers and the Act II Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker. The Waltz was led beautifully by Grettel Morejon and Aymara Vasallo. The Pas de Deux was danced by Yanel Pinera and Alfredo Ibanez. This was so beautifully danced. My only complaint was the set for The Nutcracker looked awfully cheap (compared to what was seen in Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty). Before I move on to Act II, I would like to make two observations. I noticed that the male principal dancers (particularly Alvarez and Hernandez) looked very young. And the Ballet Nacional de Cuba showed the best I have ever seen of the man spinning the ballerina. (This season at ABT I have seen a few ballerinas fall off point or lose speed while being spun). Act II began with the Mazurka and Wedding Pas de Deux from Coppelia. The Mazurka was led (beautifully) by Mercedes Piedra and Javier Sanchez. And the Pas de Deux by Amaya Rodriguez and Jose Losada was brilliant! Rodriguez and Losada were incredible in their solos and they partnered each other so beautifully. Rodriguez radiated joy to the very last row of the Opera House. (Unfortunately, like The Nutcracker, the backdrop for Coppelia looked very cheap. The backdrop for Don Quixote and Swan Lake was much, much better). Don Quixote had the Act I Dance of the Bullfighters. Mercedes was played by our Wili Queen, Veronica Corveas (a lot of versatility!) and Espada was Osiel Gounod. I was looking forward to seeing him after reading the post for the Kennedy Center performances. Unfortunately, Espada is more of a flashy posing role than a virtuoso role, but what he did was great (I was hoping to see more!). Then, the Act III Pas de Deux was done by the beautiful Sadaise Arencibia and Alejandro Virelles. I think that the audience was holding its breath through the first part of the Pas de Deux and then erupted when it was finished. In the solo part Arencibia did not do her solo with a fan and it looked like she was thrown off by something, but then she aquitted herself with an amazing set of fouettes. Virelles is an incredible spinner. The audience oohed when the curtain opened to reveal a corps full of swans and a bird like von Rothbart standing over them waving his wings back in forth (no SWAMP THING here). The Act II Pas de Deux was danced by Viengsay Valdes and Camilo Ramos. When I read the program, I was honestly hoping that Valdes would do the Act III Black Swan Pas de Deux, but she was so heartstoppingly beautiful as the White Swan. Every pose she hit was just picture perfect. The night concluded with an exciting Gottschalk Symphony. The lead parts were taken by most of the dancers who performed solos tonight (Garcia, Virelles, Arencibia, Losada, Pinera, Alverez, and Delgado). The audience at first gave a partial standing ovation and then everyone rose when they brought Alicia Alonso out on stage. She seemed genuinely moved by all of this. Again - I was so happy that I went. Hopefully, they will come again.
  21. Hygiene - I almost passed out at the Met in the Spring of 2009 during "La Sylphide". For some reason, the air conditioning was not turned up that high and the man next to me smelled like he lived with 20 cats. I am a cat lover, but - wow! - that was heinous.
  22. Did anyone see Wiles and Stearns on Wednesday evening?
  23. Has there been any casting for NBC's performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music?
  24. I attended last night's performance as well. I have to make a confession - this is the first time that I have been to New York City Ballet in over ten years. I have been meaning to go, but last night just proved to be the perfect opportunity. After a steady diet of ABT, I felt like I had landed on another planet. With the exception of La Sonnambula, there was no scenery or fancy costumes, but I found myself paying more attention to the choreography and the dancers themselves. Apollo was very good with Chase Finlay in the lead role. The audience was buzzing during intermission that he slipped at the beginning, but I did not notice at all. Of the three Muses, I enjoyed Maria Kowroski the most. I am no expert in this area, but the choreography looked super difficult and it was amazing to watch the four dancers and the shapes that they made together. I did not get Afternoon of a Faun. The music was beautiful, but I just didn't get what it was supposed to be about. Same with Antique Epigraphs, although I really enjoyed Sara Mearns. And the unison of the eight women was great to see. I would say that La Sonnambula was my favorite of the night. The corps was wonderful. I thought Jenifer Ringer was so beautiful in the role of the Coquette. There was a great Pas de Deux with Ana Sophia Scheller and Antonio Carmena and Daniel Ulbricht was fantastic as the Harlequin, especially when he lept off into the wings head first. And Wendy Whelan was so striking as the Sleepwalker. This was the ballet which moved me the most. I am so happy that I went last night. It was good to see something different and I want to come back to see Jewels at the beginning of June.
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