Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×


Senior Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Ceeszi

  1. Oh - thanks for identifying the other three men. And yes - hands down - the winner in the dress department was Irina - heartstoppingly gorgeous!
  2. I am going to Google his picture, but (I apologize for asking it this way) was he the really pretty one?
  3. Last night was full of surprises, but the biggest surprise of all was the appearance of the First Lady on the stage of the Met. I am not a fan of her husband’s politics, but the First Lady is the First Lady and I was very excited to see her in person. She was very charming and looked like she was very happy to be there. Overall, the Gala was wonderful – probably the best one that I have attended. The only clunker in the bunch was the Piece d’Occasion by Herbie Hancock. Herbie began by playing the piano and then Jose Manuel Carreno did a very short dance. Then he stopped and appeared that he was looking for someone (presumably his partner). He and Herbie shrugged at each other a few times and then Jose left the stage. Stella Abrera entered wearing a cocktail dress and high heels. She went over and sat behind the piano. Jose entered and the two of them never met and never danced with each other. I felt that this was a waste of the two dancers and when it ended, my friend and I looked at each other and went “HUH??” Sorry, I didn’t get it. The Gala opened with newly promoted principal dancer Veronika Part in Mozartiana with four girls from the JKO School. Part was lovely throughout and received a nice round of applause. I am sure that some of the applause was congratulations for her recent promotion which some have felt was a long time coming. In the program, she is listed among the principal dancers, but her photograph does not appear in the back. Will she ever get the respect that she deserves? After Caroline Kennedy and Michelle Obama spoke, we had “Le Defile” from The Procession with several members of the JKO School. I immediately recognized David Alvarez, who is one of the three young men who share the role of “Billy Elliot” on Broadway. The number was exciting and chock full of future talent. What a great idea to have the members of the JKO School take part in the Gala! This was followed by an excerpt from Act II of La Sylphide. I am looking forward to seeing this in a few weeks, because I have never seen the full-length ballet. I have only seen bits and pieces here and there in galas. The lead dancers were Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo with a full corps of sylphs in the background. I thought that this really enhanced the mood of the piece by bringing on a full corps instead of just having Reyes and Cornejo dance alone. Cornejo was his usual explosive self and it looked very difficult to do all those spins and leaps wearing a kilt. Reyes was very charming as the sylph, but in her partnership with Cornejo, I always seem to end up watching him. Next was the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel. This dance always brings back such happy memories for me. In 1979, I was taken to the ballet for the first time by my older sister and I remember seeing this with Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins. I remember actually getting scared, because I had never seen an audience go so crazy. This looks like such a super difficult dance. Last night, Murphy and Stiefel were wonderful. They have a very nice partnership and excelled in their solo numbers. Then, we had the Hunt Scene from Sylvia with Michele Wiles and a full corps of Amazon maidens. I saw the ABT’s Sylvia back in 2006 (with Gillian Murphy). I think I will skip it this year. It is not one of my favorite ballets and I remember it being very short. Michele Wiles was good, but in my opinion she does not have the excitement as some of the other ABT leading ladies. Act I closed with the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Waltz Masquerade with Nina Ananiashvili and four suitors holding candelabra. I could not identify the four men from Dress Circle – one I am sure was Jose Manuel Carreno. This started out very serious and then turned comic as the four suitors would not leave her alone. I would watch Nina in anything and she was, as always, spectacular. Act II began with the Balcony Pas de Deux from Romeo and Juliet with Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes. Diana and Marcelo are two of my favorites, but this is the first time that I saw them dance together. I have seen Vishneva partnered by Corella, Carreno. Hallberg, and Stiefel. Of the four, I felt that only Corella was a worthy partner to her. But last night was a beautiful partnership. This was the only dance of the night that made me cry. Diana is such an actress when she dances. I could actually see Juliet’s transformation from young girl to woman when she danced. And Marcelo is the perfect partner. Absolutely beautiful! Also beautiful was the Act II Pas de Deux from Swan Lake with Paloma Herrea and Maxim Beloserkovsky and a full corps of swans. This had that “meltingly” lovely quality to it. In my opinion, Herrera keeps getting better and better. Then, we had the Pas de Deux a Trois from Le Corsaire which is always a showstopper, especially when you have Angel Corella as Ali the Slave. His partner was a radiant Irina Dvorovenko and the other male dancer was David Hallberg. Poor Hallberg was kind of outperformed by Corella. Angel went all out and a few time it looked like he was wildly out of control, but he held it together. After the Hancock clunker which I described above, we had the finale which was The Finale from Theme and Variations. The lead dancers were Sarah Lane and Danil Simkin. I have not seen Simkin dance since last year’s Stars of the 21st Century Gala. I would have liked to see him in something a little flashier, but he was very good and this was a nice way to end the evening. I would give the Gala an overall score of A-. The minus is for the Hancock number. There was so much beauty on the Met stage last night. And there is so much I would love to see now this season.
  4. I agree with what most people have posted about the Peter the Great Gala. First of all, I noticed that there were many ushers available last night. I think that they wanted to avoid the mess of Wednesday night. The majority of the audience was seated by the time the video started. There was some re-shuffling of the program, but as far as I can tell only Xiomara Reyes was a no-show. Here were my quick impressions: * I liked the Class Demonstration by the Cranko School, but I agree with what was posted above - it went on for way too long. However, the young men were very impressive. * The two young dancers who performed "Flower Festival in Genzano", Elizabeth Schmitt and Sam Zaldivar, were charming, but he had a very funny way of sticking out his head when he jumped. * Alicia Amatrian was wonderful in "In the Middle, Somehat Elevated". I remember seeing her two years ago at the YAGP Gala in 2007 and that she was super flexible. She and Mikhail Kaniskin were so intense in the first act and then their dance to "Le Grand Pas de Deux" in the second act was very funny and entertaining. (I was wondering why the curtain would not open!) A lot of versatility from these two! * I didn't like either of Vladimir Malakhov's dances. I thought that both dances were kind of dull, especially the one in the second act. * I have to disagree about the "Manon" Pas de Deux. This was the only dance of the evening that made me cry. Maybe Viktoria and Marcelo performed it better in St. Petersburg (unfortunately I was not there for that performance), but I thought they were beautiful last night! She is such a lovely dancer and how wonderful to actually have her here in New York City. * Sascha Radetsky was good in his solo to "5 Tangos" (actually there was only one - ha!) and then there was another music glitch for his "Sinatra Suite". He danced in this with Karine Plantadit. Something about her bothers me - not only last night, but on Wednesday night as well. I feel that she is too harsh and rough in her movements. Now I have only seen her in two dances which called for rough choreography, but she still bothered me. * I liked the "Le Corsaire" Pas de Trois. Herman Cornejo was outstanding as always and I was impressed by the two members of the Corella Ballet - Adiarys Almeida and Joseph Gatti. * "Gopak" with Gennadi Saveliev was one of the highlights of the eveing. * I did not care for "Fractal" with Sergey Kheylik, especially the way it just seemed to end, almost as if the choreographer ran out of ideas. * I felt bad for Maria Kochetkova. I saw her in November in "Giselle" when the San Francisco Ballet was at the Kennedy Center. She is a lovely ballerina, but she was having an off night. I counted at least two slips, but I feel that she got stronger towards the end. Gonzalo Garcia of the New York City Ballet partenered her in this dance. * Big Red was wasted in "Middle Duet". This went on and on with no end in sight. When they took their bows, did you see the look that she gave Islom Baimuradov? I don't know if she was staying in the character of the dance or if she was really mad at him. That was scary! * I have mixed emotions about "Carmen" with Nikolai Tsikaridze. First, how happy I am that he was here. I have not seen him dance since last year's Stars of the 21st Century Gala. But, I did not like the part where he took on the Carmen role and danced with the fan. I felt uncomfortable and I saw members of the audience exchanging uncomfortable glances as well. * The higlight of the night was the "Don Quixote" Pas de Deux with Tereshkina and Shklyarov. I got so excited when I saw Tereshkina do her fouettes with the fan opening and closing. This was spectacular! *Did they tell Peter Pestov that all this was for him? When he got on stage with his briefcase (which he looked like he didn't want to put down) he seemd very uncomfortable, especially the part where he hit Tskikaridze over the head with his bouquet. He looked like he wanted to get off as quick as possible. I understand the virtue of humility, but come on - this Gala was in honor of him!! The highlights of Thursday night for me were Corsaire, Don Quixote, Manon, Gennadi Saveliev, and Alicia Amatrian. Everything else was kind of so-so. QUICK QUESTION: Was that Georgia Engel in the audience from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"?
  5. I attended Wednesday night’s Gala. This is the second time that I have been to the YAGP Gala. I attended back in 2007, but sadly I missed last year’s Gala. Tonight’s gala had many high points, a few technical glitches, and a few moments of brilliance. I arrived at City Center at about 7:40 and while City Center was open, the doors of the theater remained closed a few more minutes. When the doors finally did open, there seemed to be no ushers to seat the people. Many members of the audience were not even seated when the house lights dimmed and they started showing the YAGP 10th Anniversary video presentation. People were walking around during most of the video. Then, Christopher Wheeldon came out as our emcee for the evening and repeated a lot of what we had just heard in the video. The first part of Act I was the winners of the Gala. There was a problem with the music for the young lady who danced to "Harlequinade". Finally, everything was sorted out and thankfully it did not throw off any of these young dancers. Each performer was extraordinary in their own way. I wish I had a list of the performers, but the ones that stood out in mind are the ensemble number, the young lady who brought the chair out (I believe that the dance was called "Pisces"), the young lady who danced to “La Esmeralda”, and the young man who danced to "Hernando’s Hideaway". Christopher Wheeldon told us each name before they came out and I am sure the list will be posted somewhere on the Internet tomorrow. Then, it was time for the Alumni part of the Gala. We began with “Little Red Riding Hood” with Skylar Brandt of the ABT Onassis School and Gleidson Soares Vasconcelos of the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. This was the actual fairy tale with a comic twist. I was surprised (as was the rest of the audience) to hear the shriek of Brandt when she realized that she was sitting on top of a wolf. But, this Red knew how to handle herself. It was a playful dance and the two leads looked like they were enjoying themselves. Next, we had Charles Andersen and Eliabe D’Abadia of the Royal Danish Ballet in “The Jockey Dance”, with choreography by Bournonville. Like “Red Riding Hood”, Andersen and D’Abadia looked like they were having a lot of fun with this. They came out dressed in full riding gear, complete with riding crop, which they had no problem using on each other. This was followed by Hiroko Asami and Raphael Coumes-Marquet of the Dresden State Opera Ballet in “Reverence”. After the two playful dances, we completely changed tempo with this very darkly lit and moody dance. The two leads were very good in conveying the emotion of the music by Max Richter. The program listed Angelina Zuccarini of the Stuttgart Ballet as being next in a variation from “La Fille Mal Gardee”, but she was a no-show. Next up was James Moore from Pacific Northwest Ballet in “Mopey”. This was a very unique dance. Moore used every part of his body while running around the stage and on and off the stage. He exited by jumping up and down on his rear end while he was seated. Bridgett Zehr and Zdenek Konvalina of the National Ballet of Canada were next in “The Prokofiev Pas de Deux”. Except for one small glitch in the dance (Konvalina was leaving the stage and it looked like Zehr tripped over him causing her to put her hand down on the ground to balance herself) this was a beautiful dance. Zehr showed so much control and flexibility during this number. Our last alumni number was Natalia Tapia and Matthew Golding of Corella Ballet in the Pas de Deux from “Flames of Paris”. Golding is very tall for a dancer, but his height also helped him to get off the ground higher than most dancers. This is a showstopper and both dancers went all out in their solos. At one point, it looked like Tapia did either a quadruple or maybe even a quintuple pirouette. Act I ended with all of the participants of the YAGP competition dancing to “Grand Defile”. Some of the dancers were so young and tiny. One little boy kept running out and he had such an incredible look of joy on his face, that he received applause without having to do anything. When all of the dancers came out, Sergey Gordeev came out to announce that the World Record was being set for most dancers on one stage on pointe at the same time. They actually had a lady representing the Guiness Book who was there with the official certificate. Act II began with “Le Grand Pas de Quatre”. My only complaint about this was that the recording of the music sounded awful! They had four ballerinas from the American Ballet Theatre dance together – Melanie Hamrick, Christine Shevchenko, Mary Thomas, and Katherine Williams – and then four different ballerinas performed the individual solos. The four ladies at the beginning made a beautiful tableau when the curtain opened. They captured the grace and elegance of the nineteenth century Romantic ballet. I have to apologize in advance for what I am going to write next. One of the four (I am not sure who it was) is the chunkiest ballerina I have ever seen. Her dancing was lovely, but I was surprised. Ashley Bouder of New York City Ballet danced the Lucile Grahn solo. Again, there was a technical problem with the music before her solo. Thankfully, the glitch did not affect her dancing. Maia Makhateli of Dutch National Ballet danced the Carlotta Grisi solo. Irina Dvorovenko of ABT (who got huge applause when she came out) danced the Fanny Cerrito solo. And finally, Yekaterina Kondaurova of the Mariinsky (who also got huge applause when she came out – everybody loves Big Red!) danced the Marie Taglioni solo. They were all beautiful. Of the four, I felt that Dvorovenko and Kondaurova were the standouts. Then came an unexpected surprise. Kiril Kulish, the star of “Billy Elliot” sang and danced “Electricity” from the show. What a talented young man! Then we had two dances from Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” Sara Mearns and Jared Angle from NYCB danced to “The Man I Love” and Maria Kowroski and Philip Neal (also from NYCB) danced to “Embraceable You”. Both dances were beautiful, playful, and romantic Karine Plantadit and Danny Tidwell danced to “Good Times, Ha!” While both dancers showed great energy and comic timing in this difficult dance, I have to admit that this was my least favorite of the dances being performed tonight. After a while, the movements got a bit repetitive and it looked like Plantadit was getting tired. Hee Seo and Cory Stearns of ABT danced to the Balcony Pas de Deux from “Romeo and Juliet”. Lovely Hee Seo remains my favorite soloist from American Ballet Theatre and I was very pleased to see that she will be dancing the lead in “Romeo and Juliet” during the spring. This was beautifully done tonight and it really made me look forward to seeing her in the full ballet. Two years ago when I went to the YAGP Gala, there was a group of screamers, who seemed to feel that every big trick had to be applauded or screamed about. Thankfully, they were not as vocal this year, but it was during this dance that I guess the “natives started getting restless”. The beautiful mood was broken by the screamers in the balcony who felt that they had to go “whoooo” when Seo and Stearns kissed. Next on the program was supposed to be Gillian Murphy and Joseph Phillips of ABT in “Tarantella”, but that did not happen. Instead, we went right to Marcelo Gomes, who danced to “Percussion 4” from Bob Fosse’s “Dancin’”. Marcelo was absolutely incredible. I have had the pleasure of seeing him dance many times before, but not in anything like this. He showed a completely different side of himself and got a huge ovation when he was finished. Then came the “Le Corsaire” Suite. We started out with Sarah Lane of ABT and Zachary Catazaro of NYCB and then we went to Victoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov of the Mariinsky Ballet. There was also another unnamed dancer (he was dressed in the Conrad costume) who was having a really bad night. He went to do one of those moves that I call the “karate kick wheelbarrow” and it looked like his foot slipped right out from under him and he landed really hard on his rear end. Later on, he fudged a lift with Tereshkina and had to put her down kind of awkwardly. Lane was very pretty in her dance. Catazaro was wonderful. Tereshkina continues to amaze me. I saw her dance Gamzatti last year when the Mariinsky came to DC and then I saw her again last year in “Diana and Acteon” when the Mariinsky was at City Center. Shklyarov was wildly amazing. I thought he was going to spin out of control once or twice, but he kept it together. The screamers in the balcony were also out of control by this point. Overall, a very good night. I feel very fortunate and thankful that I was able to attend this.
  6. As of today, the morning of the gala, this is on the YAGP website: The YAGP 10th Anniversary Gala will feature the finalists of the YAGP international student ballet competition alongside the all-YAGP-alumni star cast led by specially invited guest stars, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev of Bolshoi Ballet. I'm sorry, but if Osipova and Vasiliev are not performing, WHY are they still being advertised?
  7. I am going to the Wednesday night gala. The lineup looks great, but what happened to Natalia Osipova? I thought that she was performing.
  8. I have two tickets for Friday night's performance -1/16 TR1 D 105 & 107. Unfortunately, I cannot go to DC that day. You can e-mail me at fr.charles.szivos@archny.org. The tickets are $89.00 each.
  9. Wow - very sad! I always look forward to the Stars Gala -
  10. I thought that there would be some kind of press release by now! Does anyone know if it will take place this year?
  11. How happy I am that I went last night to see the opening performance of Giselle from the San Francisco Ballet. As I posted above, the last time that I went to the ballet was back in July, when I saw Giselle with Nina Ananiashvili and Jose Manuel Carreno. I usually try not to compare ballet performances, but it is easier to do with productions of the same ballet from different companies. The two obvious differences between this Giselle and the ABT's Giselle were the traditional Peasant pas de deux was choreographed as a Peasant pas de cinq (two men and three women) AND at the beginning of Act Two, we actually had flying Wilis! I felt that the overall production was superb! I felt that the corps - the Peasants in Act I and the Wilis in Act II were very tight - much tighter than ABT has been lately. I felt that the only weakness was the Peasant pas de cinq. Lately, this section of the ballet has been my complaint about Giselles that I have seen. I was spoiled by my first performance of Giselle back in 2005. The Peasant pas de deux was danced by Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes. I have seen three Giselles after that (including last night) and no one (pas de deux or pas de cinq) has danced the part as well as Cornejo and Reyes. That was magical! First of all, I did not like the whole concept of the pas de cinq. At the beginning, I could not tell if they were off or if they were just using staggered choreography. It looked very sloppy at the beggining. The two men were Taras Domitro and Isaac Hernandez and the three women were Frances Chung (who I felt was the standout of the five), Clara Blanco and Elizabeth Miner. One of the men (I can not tell you whether it was Domitro or Hernandez, but it was the second soloist) had to put his hand down to steady himself at one point. But again, that was my only complaint about the overall production. Pascal Molat was a very good Hilarion. He acted the part well and he had a very good solo in Act II. What a treat that I had the opportunity to see Sofiane Sylve as as Myrtha. I live in New York, but I am not a fan of NYCB. I prefer the classics, so I usually stick with ABT and galas. I have only seen Sofiane Sylve dance once before at the Stars of the 21st Century Gala in February of 2006. She was a beautiful Myrtha, probably one of the best that I have seen. The dance of the Wilis was wonderful and as I posted before the Wili corps was outstanding! Our two leads were danced by Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada. Boada is right up there with the other Albrechts I have seen - Julio Bocca, Angel Corella, and Jose Manuel Carreno. In his acting of the part, he was able to prevent Albrecht becoming the heel of the story. And his dancing, especially in Act II was wonderful. Kochetkova was radiant throughout the ballet. She is a beautiful dancer and her acting of the part was superb. Whether she was the young innocent girl in Act I, the girl going insane before our eyes, or the forgiving soul, who is resisting becoming a Wili, she was believable. She and Boada received a well-deserved standing ovation. Overall - a very good production!
  12. Well - it doesn't get much better than this! I am on vacation. I had a great Thanksgiving dinner last night. I am visiting my sister for a few days outside of DC. And I am taking her to the ballet tonight. I have not been to the ballet since July and it was Ananiashvili's last Giselle at the Met. After reading all the posts, I am really looking forward to tonight's Giselle with Kochetkova. You have put a smile on my face just thinking about tonight. I will try to post when I go back to my sister's.
  13. I have always loved the Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland "Nutcracker". I remember when it was first shown on television - Christmas Eve of 1978. It is a very rare thing to have Kirkland on DVD in her prime. I know Clara becomes the Sugar Plum Fairy in this one, but if anyone can pull that off - it's Kirkland!
  14. I attended the Friday night performance of Nina and Jose. I must begin my stating that I have been saddened by the injury to Diana Vishneva this season - I had tickets for her Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Giselle. How nice to see her in attendance last night. (She looked gorgeous!!!) But what this unfortunate turn of events has done is made me fall in love with Nina Ballerina. This is the third time that I have seen Giselle live. I saw Kent/Bocca/Murphy in 2005 and Vishneva/Corella/Wiles in 2006. Last night had everything that I want to see when I go to the ballet. Nina was incredible - acting and dancing. Jose was a wonderful partner and I have never seen Gillian Murphy as strong as last night. My only complaint was a very, very weak Peasant pas de deux or maybe I am just spoiled by the one I saw done in 2005 with Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes. And - how nice to see Hee Seo. This is the first time that I have seen her all season. I enjoyed her so much last year as the Third Shade in La Bayadere.
  15. Obviously you and I went to see a completely different ballet. I was very disappointed that Diana was injured, but I thought Nina was spectacular! I agree more with drb - that Adagio was one for the ages.
  16. I could not resist the opportunity to go back and see the Kirov again. On Sunday, I was in the last row of the orchestra. Last night, I was in Rear Mezzanine. It just seems so far away from the stage before the curtin opens. The woman sitting next to me sat down, turned to me and said, "Oh my goodness - these are awful seats!" The last time I was in Rear Mezzanine was for last year's Youth America Grand Prix Gala. Last night's audience was much better behaved - no screamers - but it was an audience scattered with people who felt like thay had to applaud every single big trick. Luckily, they were in the minority and did not take over. Someone did take a flash picture during the last act; the woman in front of me could not sit still; and another person to the right of me coughed all the way through the first two acts (to the point where they actually had to get up and leave both times). But other than that, I had a really wonderful experience! Act I began with Le Corsaire (Le Jardin anime and the Pas de Deux). The ballet began with Diana Vishneva dropping a flower not once, but twice! One was picked up, but the other was left on stage. I sucked in my breath when one of the Odalisk girls danced right over it. The Odalisk girls tonight were Sevtlana Ivanova, Olesia Novikova, and Nadezhda Gonchar. Finally, one of them picked up the flower and got a round of applause for doing it! Gonchar (who I also saw on Sunday) really continued to impress me. (By the way, it looks like she went to a tanning booth - she was noticeably darker than her sister Odalisks!) The beautiful Pas de Deux was danced as a Pas de Trois with Vishneva being joined by Anton Korsakov as Ali the Slave and Danila Korsuntsev as Conrade. Vishneva was not perfect technically, but she radiated joy and happiness throughout her dancing and as always, I could not take my eyes off of her as she twirled around the stage. I was impressed by Korsuntsev's leading-man presence and Korsakov was wonderful in his solo. The costumes (as on Sunday) were just extraordinary! Overall - corps, Odalisks, and the three leads - beautiful!! Act II began with Diana and Acteon with Victoria Terekshina and Mikhail Lobukhin. I had the great pleasure of seeing Terekshina as the Princess Gamzatti in Washington DC this past January. Last night, she was joined by a beautiful corps of maidens. Terekshina has such purity and clean lines in her dancing and Lobukhin was good in his solo. He was agressive, but did not go over the top as I have seen other dancers in the past (no karate kick wheelbarrow move for him!) Then, came the moment I was looking forward to with nervous anticipation. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to see Alina Somova live. Based on what people have written about her, I did not know what to expect. When I first started reading this Board, I remember that Svetlana Zakharova was kind of a controversial figure. Then, I had the chance to see her live in Don Quixote in the summer of 2005 and I thought she was marvelous! Going into last night, I thought that maybe Somova's kind of dancing might be suited for the role of Kitri. Well ........ I was very pleasantly surprised! I really thought she was lovely! She only did one move which would be considered "ear-whacking" and I could not see the nails from Rear Mezzanine - Her technique on her fouettes was a little funky, but overall I really liked her and she was my favorite of all four leading ladies last night! She was joined by Leonid Sarafanov, who had some good moments and some shaky moments. Ekaterina Osmolkina was not very impressive in the Variation. I thought this really belonged to Somova - Act III was really the whole reason that I wanted to come again - to have the opportunity to see the Kingdom of the Shades. How much I love this! Last night we had Uliana Lopatkina and Yevgeny Ivanchenko. I liked Ivanchenko so much more in this, than in Sunday's Chopiniana. Sunday, he really did not impress me at all, but last night he was a wonderful Solor. Lopatkina was lovely throughout, although she bobbled a little in the scarf dance. The three solo Shades were all spot-on - Olesia Novikova, Nadezhda Gonchar, and Ekaterina Kondaurova. The corps was magnificent. There were some grumblers around me who complained that there was no ramp. But overall, a beautiful Kingdom of the Shades. How happy I was that I came back to see the Kirov again. I think that this might be it for me. But what will stand out in my mind from Sunday and last night will be Lopatkina's swan, Vishneva in Scheharazade, and Somova's Kitri!
  17. What a beautiful afternoon at City Center - so much beauty and so much variety in the program! Chopiniana (Les Sylphides) was performed in a very dreamy and ethereal style. It lulled me into such a state of relaxation that I almost nodded off. This is no fault of the performers - it's just such a dreamy ballet. Yevgeny Ivanchenko was the Poet or Young Man surrounded by all the beautiful sylphides. He was good, but he landed very heavy on all his leaps and jumps. According to the insert in the Playbill, we saw Daria Vasnetsova in the Mazurka and Valse, Yulia Bolshakova in the Prelude and Nadezhda Gonchar in the closing Waltz. Of the three, I felt that Gonchar was the standout. The corps was lovely - just one little glitch when they all came together - one girl got bumped and had to put her hand on the floor to steady herself. Could this have been one of the affects of the small stage? But overall, a beautiful performance. After the intermission, we had Le Spectre de La Rose with Nadezhda Gonchar and Leonid Sarafanov. This was Gonchar's second performance of the day. Sarafanov landed his leaps without a sound. To me, it seemed that his character was masculine enough to stir romantic feelings in the young woman's heart, but at the same time, he kept making those arm gestures that reminded us that he was still a rose. It's a very unusual role. Then came The Dying Swan. I was expecting something - maybe something along the lines of Ananiashvili, but instead Uliana Lopatkina showed us something completely different and it was magnificent! Instead of the exaggerated arm movements, Lopatkina showed us a graceful, fighting, and then accepting of death swan. It was one of those moments where I felt that I had stopped breathing and I was breathing with her. Absolutely breathtaking! I wanted it to go on much longer and I wanted Lopatkina's ovation to go on and on. The third act gave us Scheherazade. I had no idea what to expect. Rimsky-Korsakov's gorgeous music wafted over us as we were looking at a scrim of Arabia and then the curtain opened upon the royal harem. Diana Vishneva was hiding in the corner. Then, with the departure of the Shah the keys to the rotal harem were opened. Once Igor Zelensky entered as the Golden Slave, the fireworks really started. Vishneva and Zelensky gave us a sexually charged, erotic, tension-filled ballet. They seemed to melt into each other's bodies. Diana was not wearing toe shoes, but she used that incredible back of hers to project her passion to the last row of City Center. Zelensky's leaps were incredible! But, this belonged to Diana. What an incredible death scene! I was drained at the end of this one. And once again, Diana has left me in awe! The afternoon flew by - I wanted it to go on and on. But so much beauty and excitement!
  18. I just arrived home and I am going to try to synthesize evrything that I saw tonight. This is the fourth year in a row that I have been to "Stars" and in my opinion, I thought that this was one of the best. There was a lot of variety in the dances and of course, a tremendous amount of talent on the stage tonight. I have the program in front of me (which was shuffled around), so I am going to try to go by memory. I may get a couple of the dances out of order. Myriam Ould-Brahm was a no-show. The star of the night? Daniil Simkin! WOW!! ACT I The evening started off with the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Maria Kowroski of the NYCB and David Hallberg of the ABT. It is such a very beautiful dance. I saw this almost thirty years ago with Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins, but I can still remember the audience reaction. Tonight was very well done. I thought that Kowroski was a little distant and remote in her projection to the audience, but her dancing was beautiful. The audience oohed and ahhed over David's leaps, but there was better to come later in the eveing. They were the only pair not to do an encore in Act II. "Moorhuhn" was our first glimpse of Daniil Simkin of the Vienna Opera Ballet. Every year, "Stars of the 21st Century" has some kind of modern dance. In 2005 it was the Martha Graham Dancers (which I hated), the past two years has been Desmond Richardson (which I thought was OK) and in 2006, they also brought the tango dancers (which I loved). These are usually my least favorite parts of the night, but tonight was very, very different. Simkin interpreted every note of the music, which was done to mostly bird calls. And in the end he layed an egg - I'm serious! This was very creative and some of the positions he hit were incredible. I saw in the program that this was choreographed by his father. Next was a real treat - Svetlana Lunkina and Nikolai Tsikaridze of the Bolshoi in the "Giselle" Act II Pas de Deux. I also saw Lunkina in 2005 and 2006 in the "Stars" gala. She is not one of my favorites, but she is a very lovely ballerina. This is the first time that I had the opportunity to see Tsikaridze. The two really set the mood of the Romantic Ballet with their dancing and their expressions and both excelled in their solos, especially Lunkina. Then we had a World Premiere - E Lucevan Le Stelle from Puccini's "Tosca". This was danced by Shoko Nakamura and Ronald Savkovic (who also did the choreography) of the Berlin State Opera Ballet and sung by tenor Mikhail Kotlyarov. First of all, I admire Kotlyarov who was able to sing his aria to recorded music. This was the first time that I have ever seen ballet being done with a live singer. I mostly watched the dancing, which was highlighted by Nakamura's beautiful pirouettes and the passionate moves of Serkovic. Then came another treat - the "Le Corsaire" Pas de Deux with Anastasia and Denis Mativienko of the Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre. The Matvienkos really brought the house down. They got a well-deserved ovation. Very, very beautiful and dynamic! I have seen this Pas de Deux danced a few times and this was one of the best I have ever seen. Denis Matvienko did that move, which I can only describe as the "karate kick whellbarrow" move. Daniil Simkin returned with "Les Bourgeois" - a Jacques Brel song. Again, I was expecting some kind of dissapointing modern dance. Instead, Daniil gave us a smooth, sophisticated combination of ballet and Broadway-like sashaying. He had the audience in the palm of his hand. And he did this one move that I can't even being to describe. Whatever that move was called, it was followed by a huge butterfly jump. Really, another spectacular performance from this young man. The first act ended with "Thais" with Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre from the Munich Ballet. How dissapointed I was last year when they had to cancel out of the "Stars" gala. And what a treat to see them tonight! They danced this two years ago and tonight was just extraordinary. I saw this about four years ago with different choreography by Frederick Ashton. In that version, the womn enters covered by a veil as if she was a dream floating in and out of the man's imagination. In this version, with choreography by Roland Petit, it was just a total exprssion of love. Lacarra is one of my favorite ballerinas. I think I wrote this before - you can actually see her heart when she dances. Probably because she is dancing with the man she loves. ACT II Now, here is where I may get the order mixed up. According to the program, we were supposed to see Ould-Brahm. I beleive I heard that Svetlana Lunkina took her place (which means she actually appeared three times tonight - brava to her!) She danced with David Makhateli of the Royal Ballet in the Pas de Deux from "La Sylphide". I have never seen this ballet in its entirety. In fact, my only exposure to this ballet was back in 2005 when Lunkina danced the Pas de Deux with Guillaume Cote. I liked this much better than three years ago. Lunkina really was an other-worldly creature and I was impressed with Makhateli's dancing - especially he had to dance in a kilt - which looked very heavy! The Matvienkos returned with "Radio and Juliet". I was dissapointed, because they danced to this last year and I remember not liking it. I still did not care for it too much and I would have liked seeing them dance to something else, especially after the beauty of "Le Corsaire". However, I was impressed by their versatility. They seemed to enjoy dancing to this. I believe Nakamura and Savkovic returned with "Transparente" (again, with choreography by Savkovic). The music was by Fado Portugues. This was a dance that needed a lot of energy and intensity and I felt that both dancers slacked off a little in the middle. Of all the dances tonight, I would say this and "Radio and Juliet" were my least favorite. Lacarra and Pierre returned with the Pas de Deux from Act III of the "Lady of the Camellias". I saw this done last year by Aurelie Dupont and Manuel Legris at the Youth America Grand Prix Gala. I really preferred Lacarra and Pierre tonight. They brought so much more emotion to this dance. And in the end, they just seemed to melt into each other's bodies. The audience gasped when Cyril pealed Lucia's black dress off of her. This couple is amazing - I am so glad that they came back this year. Lunkina returned with Tsikaridze for "La Rose Malade". The music was by Mahler and the choreography was by Roland Petit. Again, Lunkina (who we saw as a sylph and a willi) and Tsikaridze showed a different side of their dancing from Act I. I found this to be a very mesmerizing dance. The two dancers set a romantic, somewhat sad mood for this dance. Tsikaridze's partnering was outstanding in this dance. Lunkina was able to float about the stage and he was always there to set her down securely. Simkin returned with Roberta Marquez of the Royal Ballet. This is almost always a showstopper. Simkin and Marquez were outstanding. This is the first time that I have seen her dance and I thought she was lovely. Simkin (like Lunkina, we were seeing for the third time) is incredible! He got the loudest ovation tonight and for me, he was the real surprise of the night! Then in the finale, everyone came out (exept for Makhateli - I guess because he had no one to partner!) Simkin did this one move where he jumped in the air like he was doing an axel jump in figure skating and then did a spit. I forgot to mention that this was the best that I have heard the recorded music. In the past, the music has sometimes sounded awful. Tonight, everything sounded nice and clear. Of all the "Stars" I have been to, I do believe this was the best. My only disappointment was the Ould-Brahm no-show.
  19. I just got back from a glorious evening at the Kennedy Center. The Kirov put on a magnificent production of La Bayadere. They did their traditional version, which ends with the Kingdom of the Shades - (no temple destruction in this one). The corps was beautiful; the character dances were very entertaining; and we had great performances from our three leads: Viktoria Terekshina was a wonderful Gamzatti. I've seen the part acted better, but her dancing was beautiful and the audience loved her. I thought she looked a little nervous in the beginning - it looked like she took a little bobble before she started dancing, but once she started - wow! She was a delightful surprise. I saw in the program that she is also dancing Nikiya later in the week. Andrian Fadeyev was also wonderful as Solor. I have seen him dance twice before (once with Vishneva), so I knew what to expect from him. His solos were great and he partnered Vishneva and Terekshina beautifully. Diana Vishneva - What can I say? I have seen her as Odette/Odile, Aurora, Juliet, Giselle, and now I have seen her twice as Nikiya. She blows me away every time. She feels every beat of the music and she has such a command of the stage. Her solo in Act II was absolutely heartbreaking. And the whole Kingdom of Shades act made me cry. There was so much beauty on the stage tonight. What a treat to see the Kirov live. And I have to say it again - I love Diana!!!
  20. Can I add a gymnast who SHOULD have been a ballerina? 1987 World Champion Aurelia Dobre from Romania. Her dance, grace, and flexibility are DIVINE!!! Several of her routines are on Youtube. Too bad a knee injury cut her career short.
  21. Sorry - never mind - I just saw the Region 2 sign at the bottom of the page - too bad!!!
  22. You just made my day. I bought tickets for this not knowing the casting. I LOVE Diana. I saw her as Nikiya back in May at ABT. I can't wait to see her in DC in January!
  23. Except for the opportunity to see Ould-Braham, I am really not that excited about this year! Although it is always nice to see Lacarra and Pierre (if they come this year!)
  • Create New...