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Haglund's

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  1. I would interpret this to mean: a) The Reyes/Cornejo duo is looking so magnificent that it would be a crime not to give them a second performance; or b) Vishneva is really in doubt for Friday night, and they are thinking about what on earth they will be able to produce that will come close to curing the (potential) disappointment - that would be a Hallberg debut or a third and most certainly magnificent performance of Reyes/Cornejo; or c) Hallberg is not 100% and McKenzie sees a legitimate excuse to save him for what will be a world shattering double debut with Abrera in the not too distant future; or d) a combination of a, b, and c. It's all good. I was looking forward to the Dvorovenko/Hallberg event, but seeing Reyes & Cornejo twice does not leave me the least bit disappointed.
  2. When Part launches her grand jetes, she then gives her front knee a second, extra stretch forward that propels her farther and seems to keep her in the air longer. That may be what Wiles was trying to accomplish earlier, but the extra effort came from her hip (and chin) instead of her knee. Add to Part's effect her long legs and very long feet, and you have one impressive missle-like movement. But since that extra stretch of the knee doesn't accompany tour jetes or saute de chat, you don't see the same beautiful result from her in other types of jumping. I enjoyed Part's Nikyia very much this year, but Dvorovenko (with Hallberg) was by far more impressive in every way and in every act. There was no need to slow down the music for Irina as there was in order to give Veronika time to coordinate. Irina's Act I dance before Solor and Gamzatti included rises from the floor to arabesque where she balanced for an extraordinary length of time while she watched Solor and Gamzatti in the corner - then she rolled slowly and fully through the foot to come down. Veronika tried to make more out of the time on the floor than the movement involved to get there. Irina's upper body bent from the weight of her sorrow time and time whereas Veronika seemed to go only half as far with only half the effect. Irina's Act II double pirouettes into arabesque were perfectly timed and seamless whereas on Monday night, Veronika was way off the music on the last two, and I thought she was going have a little breakdown and stop without doing the last one. I hope that Irina gets two performances instead of just one next year if we are so lucky to have La Bayadere included in the season.
  3. Wow. It's pretty clear that if we don't get La Bayadere next year, we'll be damned disappointed. Let's pray it comes early in the season before injuries set in. Just to repeat what an exemplary job the corps did in this production this year - excepting those dropped candles. There are a lot of new faces this year, and for everyone to be able to come together and breathe as one as beautifully as we saw this past week is an extraordinary accomplishment. The Kirov can have and keep its tradition of cultural purity; we have something better - pure harmony. Please bring us La Bayadere next year!
  4. Kajiya is now listed as Gamzatti for Saturday night with Murphy and Hallberg! Also noticed on the website calendar that Kajiya will be dancing Gulnare on the Japan tour in July. The calendar also shows Nina dancing in many performances in Japan. Corella is also on the tour.
  5. So far this week, Dvorovenko's performance Thursday night has been the most incredible Nikyia of the season that I've seen. She was the whole package - solid, passion-packed dancing, gorgeous port du bras - she articulated Nikyia's predicament beautifully and looked splendid dancing opposite Hallberg (who replaced Carreno). I dragged a friend from work, kicking and screaming, to her first ballet, and she was on the edge of her chair most of night enthralled with Dvorovenko's fluidity and beauty. She thought that going to the ballet was going to be like going to the dentist, but at least for now, she's been converted to the light side. Murphy as Gamzatti really brought out the desperate and dangerous nature of the character and was a good contrast with Dvorovenko's Nikyia. The corps again was on its way to being near-perfect until the candle dance when once again, somebody dropped a candle or the candle fell apart onto the stage. It wasn't as bad as was described at Tuesday's performance, but it was definitely a klunker. Hallberg was wonderful opposite Dvorovenko, more convincingly dramatic than I've ever seen him. I'm crediting Irina with helping this along and I am definitely looking forward to their Giselle. Mikhail Ilyin was the Bronze Idol. He was good, very good, but who will ever etch out that movement anywhere nearly as well as Cornejo? Probably no one.
  6. I went to Wednesday night's La Bayadere for the purpose of seeing Yuriko Kajyia's debut as Gamzatti, but came away with a new appreciation for the modesty and honest dancing of Julie Kent. It was perfect for Nikiya. The whole night I kept having flash reminders of Amanda McKerrow in this role. Kent's movement was such a beautiful example of unforced musicality that simply wove around and through the music. She seemed especially content and relaxed on stage last night. I kept noticing her tummy and wondered if there was some developing drama there as well. Kent's Nikiya was infused with more spirituality than in-your-face glamour, and her technique was more secure and stabile than what I saw on Monday night. Stiefel was the best I've seen him all season -- characterization, technique and sensitive partnering. Kajyia had a fine debut. Her Gamzatti was more of an over-entitled teenager with a princess complex. Not much malice or spite there. But oh, what a great chase and tumble scene with Nikiya. Kajyia looked truly afraid for her future when Kent was racing after her with the knife. Her dancing, as a whole, was very enjoyable - her fouettes are the old school type where she stays in plie while ronde jambing longer rather than popping up to releve as most women do. The end result was that she appeared to "carve out" her fouettes with exquisite precision. Absolutely beautiful. There are no adequate superlatives for the corps last night. They were astonishingly beautiful in Act II - every last one of them deserved roses and a curtain call.
  7. I caught the opening of La Bayadere last night. I enjoyed Veronika Part as Nikiya immensely for the luxuriant quality of her movement and her downright astonishing beauty. At times, the tempo for her dancing was so slow that her movement appeared sluggish, especially during the Scene 3 dance in front of Solor and Gamzatti. From a technical standpoint, her performance was serviceable with an especially brilliant supported pirouette finishing attitude during the Act II PdD. I thought - why can’t she lay it on us like that more often? Other unsupported pirouettes in Act II were less successful. Gomes’ Solor was fantastic in every possible way, as was Michele Wiles as Gamzatti. Michele’s Italian fouettes were brilliant, particularly with the way she whipped her head from back to front with a glance that said everything that needed to be said about Gamzatti’s sense of entitlement. Even though her Act III solo was absolutely beautiful, as soon as I heard the music, I realized once again how much I’d missed seeing Abrera’s dancing this season as this has become a role that I now identify with her unique talents. My only disappointment was the Nikiya/Gamzatti cat fight. There wasn’t much chase and tumble to it last night. I thought the corps was superb last night. As the first dancers were descending the ramp, some idiot photographer was standing in the wings in front of the ramp snapping flash pictures of the parade. The flashes were so obvious that I thought they changed the lighting design of the scene to add some kind of electrical storm. Hello? Whoever you are, Mr./Ms. Photographer, you really interfered with the enjoyment of the scene. The shades were Lane, Kajiya and Thomas (replacing Riccetto). Beautiful faces, no inappropriate gleaming grills, coordinated dancing. Thomas’ variation (the slow single pirouette with the developpe) was really lovely. Her knees are quite hyperextended and look gorgeous at 120 degrees, but much above that, the leg begins to look like it’s going to curve back over her head. Lane again went for all triple pirouettes – making most of them quite cleanly. I have to respect her for what now seems to be her personal standard to make herself do them wherever the music allows. She’s not going to be successful 100% of the time, but no one is – not even Murphy or Wiles. Does anybody know what the significance is, if any, to the dim wick in the candle dance? For years, I’ve noticed that one of the candles always has a dim wick. Last night I noticed two dim wicks.
  8. Have to agree that Monday night Veronika Part's Lilac was beyond lovely. Her choreography was about 80% port du bra, but it was worth it. Some of the offensive aspects of last year's production are gone (e.g. the shower curtain, the princes' costumes, all the flying around by various characters), but I'm afraid that what's left is fairly boring. It quickly becomes tedious when none of the principals are dancing. It was like trying to enjoy a steak that was overly tenderized in order to accommodate people with no teeth who need to gum their food to death. All night long I just wanted something of substance to chew on. Paloma Herrera was beautiful and charming as Princess Aurora, but I felt that Gelsey has so sanitized her dancing in order to come as close to perfect Petipa style as possible that it pretty much dulled Paloma's natural sparkle. Don't even try to dull Corella's sparkle. He woke everybody up in short order. Maria Riccetto was a sparkly blue bird (everybody quite literally sparkles in this production). Radetsky sort of thumped his way through his brisee voile diagonal but otherwise was a fine partner for Maria. The canary Fairy of Joy (Zhong-Jing Fang) has dialed back the mania from last year and was really a joy to watch. I want to thank whoever on this board last year identified Florestan as Burger King. When he first came out, I found myself fighting convulsive giggles that evolved into little snorts with spits. It is all so ridiculous.
  9. Oh, this will be tough to take. Nina is one of the few ABT ballerinas who can dance the full spectrum of classical works. She's also one of the few ABT ballerinas who can fill the Met Opera House.
  10. I couldn't resist going Saturday night either. The thing about Nina is that she knows how to vary and modulate the intensity of her performance so well. Her variations and the PdD are very different from what the other Kitris dance. Some of that is the result of good choices by a maturing artist, but some of it is just there to heighten the magic of the performance. That wedding PdD was pretty thrilling, and I NEVER anticipated that final fish dive. Nina came running out of the downstage house-left corner, threw herself at Angel, BUT completely reversed her direction so that her head was facing in the direction that she had just come from. Nobody should do that without a net. And it was a nice touch to see her actually playing the castanets while doing her traveling single pirouettes down the diagonal. Nina is just on the other side of her pinnacle, certainly not some aging ballerina who should give up roles like this. Since she began appearing regularly in New York fifteen years ago, a whole new generation of twirly-gig dancers has emerged, thus moving the standard of dancing along (I won't say in which direction). So, there is that perceptible difference. And as far as I can recall, Nina always possessed certain characteristics which could be attributed to any dancer's "aging" - for example, her arabesque during grand allegro always had a little bit of attitude in it. But you know, she packs a lot into any performance and has a clear understanding of why she's out on the stage. And I agree with FauxPas, she and Angel are very complimentary to each other. Angel went crazy again last night. It was fun to watch the other men watching him while he performed some of his miraculous maneuvers. They were as amazed and unbelieving as the audience was - and they get to see him do it all the time! Kristi Boone as Mercedes was a standout - a commanding stage presence with all the technique to back it up. And now, I shall bite my tongue in preparation of next week's Bleeping Beauty, and will refrain from re-hashing and re-invigorating old complaints in favor of finding positive aspects of the dancers' performances.
  11. Very disappointing but there is always "next season"(and she'll have more time to prepare for the role). Very disappointing, indeed, but no doubt Stella is a thousand times more disappointed than we are. What a set back. Maybe she will have the opportunity to dance Giselle when ABT takes it to Ottawa in February. Hope so. Meanwhile, the husband is grabbing a lot of attention (don't they always) by dancing well enough for both of them and injecting some cheer into what so far has not been a very cheery season.
  12. This is killing me. I don't want to see her dance with an injury nor do I want to see Vishneva dance with an injury. I'd so looked forward to this debut and to seeing her as Gamzatti. She's listed for the Sat. Bayadere mat., but who knows if that's for real or just a name plug, judging from everything we've seen thus far. I'd also hoped that they would cast her as a lead in the Merry Widow, but I guess not. I noticed that even though ABT has made calendar changes, they have not yet put the last press release for the 5th and 6th weeks casting (from last Friday) up on their website. Could that be a sign that even more changes are coming? Why can't they post a page on their website like the Yankees do that shows their disabled list: such 'n such - 15 days disabled - ankle injury; such 'n such - tentative start elbow inflammation. What is ABT afraid of -- that we might start betting on ballet? Criminysakes, we're just trying to buy tickets to performances we really want to see.
  13. Tuesday - June 10 Bocca – who proved yet again that when ballet dancers retire, they tend to go crazy and cut off all of their hair – looked handsome, happy and rested when he came out for a bow before last night’s performance. He graciously thanked the audience and expressed how much it had meant to him to dance here for twenty years. As nysusan said, everyone danced really well last night. Herrera’s Kitri is so nuanced, natural, and exquisite. Brilliant balances. Unforced turns. And, pardon me, but her Kitri packs a whole lot of sex-talk into an arched foot. Developpe en avant = “Want some?” Developpe en arriere = “Catch me.” Slow 90 degree developpe a la second = “I’m really enjoying it.” Corella had a super performance last night (well, youknowwho was watching), and teased the audience when he entered the stage for his variation with a glance and a “I know what you’re waiting for” laugh, and then he took off – like a rocket. And those lifts in the Act I PdD! They went on so long that they deserved their own intermission. They were PERFECT. PERFECT. PERFECT. Add THRILLING. I’m glad I got to see Kristi Boone as Queen of the Dryad’s. One more thing that is starting to stand out about her now is how completely coordinated she is. Arms precede legs. Head and neck always have a clear path of movement. There is a sense of completeness to her dancing which makes one not necessarily look at the feet, legs or face in isolation, but one looks at the whole image. I hope we get to see her debut as Myrta in the Abrera/Hallberg Giselle. Renata Pavam’s Amour was swift and dainty with a pinch of spunk. Sean Stewart stood out among a spirited group of Toreadors. I thought the flower girls, Maria Riccetto and Simone Messmer did well individually, but the pairing didn’t add much, and they had a few disorganized moments. I think we all had a very good time last night.
  14. Having purchased a ticket for last night's opening of Don Quixote for no reason other than to see the debut of Abrera in Mercedes, as advertised in the press release less than two weeks earlier, imagine my disappointment when: A) she did not perform, and B) ABT knew far enough ahead of time that she would not perform so as to actually make the change in the printed program. Part did an admirable job in the role, but it just wasn't what I had expected to see. The highlight of the first act was not the principals. The highlight of the first act was the sum total of Misty Copeland and Yuriko Kajiya as the flower girls. Spunky. Vibrant. Dancing like best friends. Either one looked like she could have stepped out and danced Kitri on the spot. Such different dancers who last night dancing together showed how a performance can be enriched by such diversity. Stiefel as Basilio was challenged by the demands of the technique. I was more than a little ticked off when during their Act I PdD lift, he felt it was more important to show that he could hold Murphy up in the air with one arm (which he couldn't) rather than show her in the position cleanly with two arms supporting her. Each time, Murphy kind of dangled in a slow, awkward descent, but Stiefel kept his arm stuck out there to show everyone that he was doing the lift with one arm. Murphy slam-banged her way through Kitri with some impressive gymnastics in her Act I variation (right leg to the ear followed by left foot to the back of the head). Pirouettes were highly multiple but they were also highly unmusical if not off-music. She always rushed to the preparation ahead of the music, rushed into releve ahead of the music, and finished the pirouette whenever it happened to finish. Not exactly what I pay to see or want to applaud. The end doesn't justify the means. I left at the first intermission. I felt somewhat bad about not staying to see Boone and Lane as Queen of the Dryads and Amour, respectively, but I just was not interested in sitting through more of what I'd just seen.
  15. I wonder if they even bothered to ask Carmen Corella to come back to do Gamzatti. I'd really rather see one of our own dancers who has sweated her way up the ranks get this opportunity. Unfortunately, unless my Economic Stimulus check shows up in the mail soon, I guess it will be Paloma's Bayaderes with the Lopez substitution that I will miss. Christine174, as you point out, ABT has quite the crew of soloists. Last night Riccetto and Kayjia came uncorked in the demi-soloist roles in Rabbit & Rogue. (Weren't they the two demis in red pointe shoes in In the Upper Room?) After observing over past seasons how Maria doesn't tend to take risks, I watched her last night launch herself into a five revolution pirouette downstage followed by a dust-in-your-face exit that was pretty bold and pretty exciting. Not only are the soloists fantastic, all of these corps dancers stepping up in major, major roles and nailing them is an awfully good sign: Cory Stearns - last night in Etudes burning up the floor opposite Corella and Wiles. He had this big smile on his face and kept looking over at Corella as if to say: OMG I can't believe I'm dancing a principal role on stage with Angel Corella! He did really, really well. Melissa Thomas is an eye-catcher. She looks less coltish than in the past and seems to have complete control of those impossibly long legs. Messmer, pulling out "A" performances under tremendous pressure. Blaine Hoven - I'm speechless. We are so lucky.
  16. I'm with you in wondering about this. I found a review of Lopez's Gamzatti in DanceViewTimes. It pertains to a February 2007 performance, but does not sound too promising: and then this BalletTalk comment by Herman Stevens in March of 2007: Maybe she's a last minute sub to take some of the pressure off of Abrera who is slowly coming back from injury. If ABT is not ready to permanently alter the lineup of Gamzattis, they might not want to take time away from the rest of the season to ready another dancer for the role. But still, it is very perplexing.
  17. The ABT website calendar now officially shows Vishneva withdrawn for Don Q. She will be replaced by Ananiashvili. However, Vishneva is still listed for Giselle in July.
  18. Last night’s opening of Etudes was SPECTACULAR! Principals, soloists, and especially the ABT corps created such classical beauty with an energy that built so perfectly to the end that the audience responded orgasmically. Corella withdrew for illness and was replaced by Jared Matthews who was originally scheduled to debut at today’s matinee. (Considering what Corella gave us on Monday night, it is completely understandable that he was still depleted on Tuesday.) I cannot say enough about the corps last night. Such unity in style. Such a high level of EVERYTHING. I sat on the side and had a crystal clear view of the movement house-left during opening tendues, ronde jambe, etc. at the barre. I don't know where dancedance40 was sitting, but from my viewpoint right down the diagonal, they were sensational. I didn't observe any meaningful lapses in leg height, although some have legs longer than others. Bravo, brava, bravi to every last one of them. In seeing Kajyia dance short spurts in front of Sean Stewart, I hope I saw a future Giselle pairing there. In a word - harmony. Reyes continued to dance the strongest and most assured that I’ve ever seen her. Never in my dreams did I think they would cast her in this; but she was so on top of her legs and turning with a ferocity and control and dancing with such sparkle that made her perfect. Certainly, she looked different from the more statuesque and linear ballerinas remembered in this role, but she was sensational. Radetsky had a huge performance! God, those legs are so chiseled, quick, expressive, and clean. His partnering of Reyes was tops. It’s very obvious why he was first cast in this. Matthews had a bit of a tentative start, and has a bit of work to do, but he was so no-holds-barred in his presentation that he’s convinced me to buy another ticket for the end of the week to see him again after he’s gotten a couple of performances under his belt. As I said, this performance was spectacular, and I’m not going to even compare it with what I saw at the messy opening night at City Center, because it was in a league all by itself. Rabbit and Rogue - Those who have never seen Tharp before will love this simply for its nonstop energy and flying around at full speed . This piece could be one of those ‘new audience builder’ pieces if they take it on the road. The ABT dancers proved yet again that they are the best interpretors of Tharp’s stuff on this planet. That said, I found it quite tiring, because the dancing started out with climatic tricks and continued at the same level for about 90% of the time. I’d give a D- to the score for its boringness and hodge-podge construction. Who cares if it was terribly complicated - it wasn’t entertaining and was plain bad for dance. I would rather have watched the dancers in silence. As in Etudes, we had everyone dressed in either black or white - but with some shiny silver thrown in. (The ladies wore silver, highly reflective point shoes.) As in Etudes, we had dramatic dark lighting. As in Etudes, we had groups darting in and out. And in many respects, Etudes illustrated what was wrong with this piece, because it so perfectly blended music, dance, atmosphere, and concept where Rabbit and Rogue did not. There were lots of reminders of Tharp-past. At one point, I wondered whether we were going to see guys pick up a girl and turn her upside down in a slow back-bend circle as we see in many of Tharp’s work. No sooner thought than received. There were strains from In the Upper Room in the PdDs and with the groups appearing out of the black back of the stage. One part that I loved was when for a few seconds they completely opened up and lit the back of the cavernous Met stage and this enormous space filled with exceptional dancers moving at a crazy speed. But just to repeat, the dancers were out of this world. It would be unfair to single anyone out, although the piece was obviously geared toward the male principals (last night - Stiefel and Cornejo).
  19. Winger contributor David Hallberg has some interesting comments about his performance with Veronica Part over there.
  20. Nina was phenomenal last night. She was so determined to give us the best Swan Lake of the season that she darn near surprised Corella a couple of times. In the Act III series of turns down the diaganol that ends with her abrubtly in attitude in Siegrfried's arms, Nina decided to do multiple everything. Corella thought she was going to keep going and was caught flatfooted when she independently went into her final spin. I thought 'oh no, what's going to happen to the rest of this PdD?' Well, what happened was that Nina picked up even more steam and blew through it at lightning speed with, oh heck, fill in your own superlative, superlative, superlative. Those blazing fouettes with her arm extended, no, hyperextended in an Odile ecarte were unexpectedly delicious. I think Nina's ability to hyperextend those arms just makes them more wing-link. Her Odette was spellbinding. I was so surprised when she decided to face the audience on that bourring exit, but it worked! Wow! Corella had Odette and Odile doing nine revolutions in supported pirouettes. He also burned through his own turns so fiercely and generated such energy that I thought the lights might burst back on in the opera house. Everyone last night was determined to turn in their top performances. The PdT with Messmer, Thomas and Hoven was very, very good. Melissa Thomas has a gorgeous combination of cheer, grace and authority in her dancing. Messmer, somewhat less ebullient, but was no less superb in her variations. Hoven - look out. Just look out. He is the next complete prince package. So elegant and refined with steady but brilliant technique. He looked totally at ease last night, smiling when he wasn't supposed to be serious. Such poise in yet another very young man.
  21. Gomes just keeps adding and adding to his von Rothbart character. This year, I noticed his Dracula moment when he stood glaring at the audience, grasped his throat with his hand, and threw his head back laughing. He is so good, it hurts.
  22. count me in as well--hopefully this will be the season. After all, she still has some bayaderes to do... but in my view she is now, without question, the best odette/odile (whole package) they have. What a surprise! you all know by know that I think she's fabulous. As for ABT Odette/Odiles as the 'whole package', I would say she's penultimate. As much as I love her Odette and certain parts of her Nikiya, her problem from the gitgo has been pulling the whole package together for any performance. Yesterday's Odile was wonderful on persona, but elementary on technique. Not principal level - not yesterday. Let's hope she keeps working hard on her technique and her relationships at ABT, and minimizes the times she withdraws from soloist and demi-soloist performances for illness or injury or whatever.
  23. Part's Odette today was everything I'd remembered it to be from two too long years ago. Exquisite and hypnotic. Her Odile was good in terms of a Part Odile, but she had some clunky moments manuevering within the supported pirouettes and partnering and her variation had the minimum of virtuosity for an Odile. But I'll take it when it's wrapped up in delicious evil like it was today. I loved her persona as Odile - absolutely loved it. Lots of hiss. Back to Odette – Odette was sumptuous and suffering with endless legs and line that usually only come in dreams. She just has to stand there in that costume and one is instantly grabbed by the fantasy. Hallberg turned in another fantastic performance. However, I felt his disconnect with Part. Usually, Hallberg burns his eyes into his partner's, but today he sometimes looked at the tiara or top of her head instead of into his partner's eyes. While on paper this looks to be a perfect match, I sense that maybe it's not a very easy relationship. Gomes as vonRothbart was even better than on Tuesday night. Nasty, spiteful, vindictive, venomous - oh, lord he was good. The PdT was Messmer, Pavam and Hoven. This is the first time I've seen Hoven in the PdT. I don't know if he's done it much, but it looked like a couple of more times is all that is needed for him to be brilliant in this. He was concentrating a lot and looked a little tight while executing most everything really, really well. And he's got all that prince stuff, too, just waiting to be fully developed and utilized. What was up with the awkward front-of-curtain bows? It took a long time for Gomes to come out, then Part appeared by herself, then Hallberg wandered out by himself. Did they not hear us wildly cheering and decide to head for the subway before us? I'm glad I missed the Friday night split up of Odette and Odile. Was there an insert that said why Julie wasn't dancing Odette?
  24. The Le Corsaire casting was a logistical nightmare. Beloserkovsky was injured and replaced by his back-up corps member Cory Stearns. Unfortunately, Beloserkovsky was scheduled for opening night of the run. ABT rightly decided not to entrust the opening night of the run with a debut of a corps member. Murphy was also ailing and had to drop out of her Thursday night performance for which Kent substituted. They couldn’t use Kent or Hallberg for opening night, because they were dancing the next day’s matinee. They couldn’t use Murphy and Saveliev for opening night, because Murphy was ailing. That left Paloma and Marcelo. The only other alternative to switching their nights was to make Paloma and Marcelo dance it two nights in a row – thereby risking fatigue and injury. As much as I like to complain about these substitutions all the time, I think in this case, ABT did the best they could.
  25. I bought a ticket to last night’s performance after hearing about the substitution. Ananiashvili opposite Gomes and Hallberg was just too much to pass up. Unfortunately I got stuck on the outside aisle of Orchestra Balance only 4 rows from the stage. So basically, I saw a lot and missed a lot at the same time. What I saw was Ananiashvili enthralled at performing with both Hallberg and Gomes. The prelude with vonRothbart seducing the young girl was very dramatic. Hallberg’s eyes directed into Ananiashvili’s had a chilling impact, a “this is not pretend, Nina; I am truly evil, and here we go . . .” And then they went. Nina’s Odette was to die for. All of those details that are so important to creating this fantasy were on display. When she stopped at the end of a series of travelling turns, it was a dead stop with her wings bent over the top of her head – nearly broken. When her hands ‘spoke’ of her mother’s tears filling the lake, you saw the water flowing. Her bourreeing exit with back to the audience was breathtakingly beautiful. The final Act II supported pirouettes with hummingbird quality serrees and final penchee were as dramatic as it gets. I don’t care if she’s eighty years old, this white swan was one that I’ll remember for a long time. I wouldn't say her arms were over the top - they were Bolshoi. I couldn’t fault Gomes on his partnering last night. He was where he was supposed to be at every second. We don’t know how much rehearsal the two of them had, but the outcome was pretty good, and I doubt that anyone has ever lifted Nina as high as she went last night. In the Act II PdD, Gomes lifted her high and she split those legs and then pulled them back together with even greater speed and force. Thrilling. Nina’s Odile had some uncharacteristic problems with her fouettes last night. I suspect that all will be redeemed on Monday night. Her overall performance as Odile was the complete package. Again, it was the details. Where Odette was careful, Odile was reckless. Where Odette was shy, Odile was in-your-face. Where Odette was sincere, Odile was deceitful. Both Gomes and Hallberg had outstanding evenings, and both seemed pretty thrilled to be sharing the stage with Nina. And that Saveliev – where has this Saveliev been hiding from Saveliev all these years? He had a huge PdT with Melissa Thomas and Simone Messmer. This is the first time I’ve seen Thomas in the PdT and she was beautiful, assured, and captivating. And Messmer - last minute cast in a tough PdT and then thrown into the Big Swans mid-dance to replace Part. I hope somebody bought her some flowers or at least a beer last night after the performance. This girl did a great job under some tough circumstances. One of our future swan princessess was dancing her heart out in the cygnettes. I trained my binocs on Sarah Lane to see this beautiful little face filled with Odette’s soul and arms working like there was no tomorrow.
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