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Everything posted by Haglund's

  1. ABT's website now lists the rest of the Sleeping Beauty casting. We all know this could change in the blink of an eye, but right now it looks promising: June 16 Lilac - Part Bluebirds - Abrera/Radetsky June 17 Lilac - Wiles Bluebirds - Riccetto/Hoven June 18 Matinee Lilac - Part Bluebirds - Lane/Lopez June 18 Evening Lilac - Abrera Bluebirds - Kajiya/Matthews June 19 Lilac - Riccetto Bluebirds - Kajiya/Saveliev June 20 Lilac - Abrera Bluebirds - Riccetto/Hoven June 21 Matinee Lilac - Part Bluebirds - Abrera/Radetsky June 21 Evening Lilac - Abrera Bluebirds - Lane/Lopez
  2. Sorry, I forgot to include. Lane, Kajiya and Lopez. (The program had Boylston listed instead of Kajiya.) Ms. Kajiya was her normal wonderful, lyrical self. Ms. Lane was out-of-this-world radiant, fleet fleet fleet, and just beautiful.
  3. I caught the Wednesday matinee with Herrera, Stiefel, and Saveliev. It’s been a long time, if ever, that I’ve seen Herrera and Stiefel paired in a dramatic classical production, and I didn’t think that either enhanced the other. They were more suited for each other when they were much younger. Paloma has since moved on to a deeper level emotionally with her performing, but Ethan IMO is still skimming the surface with regard to characterization of dramatic roles – although he certainly shines in the more comedic roles like Don Q. The individual dancing was first rate – everything one expects from these two – but the partnering and connection left something to be desired. Stiefel put her down from a couple of lifts in a rather hard fashion, and while he allowed her sufficient rotations in supported pirouettes, he didn’t push her to brilliant multiples the way Corella, Carreno and Gomes do, and of course, Bocca always did. Herrera was a touching and fragile Odette, bird-like, and full of sorrow. She really tugged at the heart strings. The exiting bourrees with her back to the audience in Act II were so pretty with every tiny bird muscle in her back rippling. Every step to point was a perfect perch with those exquisitely shaped feet and legs. Her Odile was a temptress who toyed with Sigfried – but Paloma doesn’t do evil. Stiefel was in fairly fine form yesterday, throwing off pirouettes that were secure with 4 and 5 revolutions. Jumps were clean and bright – not those that someone with his injury history should still have. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in the new Tharp piece. Saveliev is dancing better than I've ever see before. It’s tough to be compared to the von Rothbart put out there by Gomes or Hallberg, but he managed far more than just a credible characterization with solid dancing.
  4. This was a fascinating program (Portrait of Valery Gergiev) with some fine ballet clips including Kirov class and Lopatkina's Dying Swan. Then, there she was at Gergiev's office door to complain about the lighting and costumes of some upcoming production and how Vaziev wasn't hearing or listening to her complaints. She asked Gergiev to come to a rehearsal with lights and he scheduled it for her on the spot. The interaction was quite interesting in that she clearly was exercising clout and influence that she knew she had, and Gergiev was listening but also had major attention on a television set that was broadcasting a soccer game. In another segment, he also spoke about his responsibility for upholding tradition and classics. The program also included the final Onegin scene with Hvorostovsky and Fleming as well as an interview piece. Lopatkina, Gergiev and Hvorostovsky all in the same hour! Well worth watching again. I hope PBS sees fit to broadcast again soon.
  5. I saw Michele do Act III with Acosta some years back, and they were indeed wicked. So, you may be on to something there, FauxPas. The frustration is knowing just how thrilling she could be as Odette if this arm issue could be fixed. That said, arms won't be a problem in Don Q or Etudes in which I'm expecting her to blow us away. Right now, she really is the superior technician at ABT.
  6. Swan Lake opened last night to a less than full house - thanks to no marketing by ABT. Michele Wiles as Odette/Odile was amazing from the hips down with rock steady turns, including a four revolution pique and triple fouettes, but her upper body did not do much to encourage the fantasy. The whole issue is the lack of definition in her arms and shoulders and the lack of lift and strength in the upper arms and elbows. You need all of those things in order to convey a bird like quality and especially Odette's fragility. It's also a problem that is fixable, so why don't they fix it? If they can't do it in the ballet studio, send her to Radetsky's trainer at his gym. This arm problem is the one thing that is keeping us from having another astonishingly beautiful and heartbreaking Odette. Fix it, for Pete's sake. Hallberg as Prince Sigfried and Gomes as von Rothbart just about outdid themselves last night. I had to laugh in Act I while watching Mr. Franklin, the tutor, watching every step of Hallberg's. Yes, Freddie, some day he will be as great as you were. Hallberg was pretty grand last night - so young and yet such a firm grasp on the heart of the matter. He doesn't venture past four revolutions in his pirouettes, but when he unfolds those legs to a perfect finish, he is beyond beautiful. Gomes played von Rothbart as the son of Satan last night - brilliantly - with such detail and huge dancing. Seeing these two dramatic heavy weights on stage together was fun. McKenzie could tinker with his own choreography in Act III to give them more interaction. The corps was beautiful last night - breathing as one and completely focused - and were led by our gorgeous big swans Part and Boone. Radetsky, Kajiya, and Riccetto pulled off an impressive PdT - with Radetsky's sissonnes and tour jetes explosive.
  7. Just noticed on the ABT website calendar that Vishneva has been replaced by Ananiashvili for Thursday night's Swan Lake. Ananiashvili and Gomes - hmmm. Could be ultra-dramatic!
  8. So beautifully and perfectly expressed, 4mrdncr. It makes you realize just how fortunate we have been to have them all these years. Saturday night's Le Corsaire's Act II bedroom PdD with Herrera and Gomes brought the house down. The final sustained upside down lift followed by a deep sweeping drop from which Herrera then ascended as though she might take off into the air again was almost too much to take. It was thrilling. Radetsky as Birbanto, again, turned in a transcending theatrical and technical performance. Carreno as Lankendem – charming, comically conniving – perhaps not as fresh as his previous three performances this week, but still remarkable. Maria Riccetto, but for one dropped pirouette, was wonderful as Gulnare. She always delivers a very steady, high quality level of dancing, and I think the only reason people have not latched on to her, so to speak, is that she isn't a risk taker and isn't known for going for that third or fourth revolution. Toward the end of Act III, she came flying down the stage with gorgeous grand jetes. She also demonstrated the value of moderation with her ecarte developpes. Stiefel as Ali had some good moments with his coupe jetes and split leaps, but Ali is probably a role he should pass on to someone else. He spent a lot of time in preparations as opposed to executing. At the end of the Act II PdT, he resisted coming forward for an individual bow. Odalisques were Sarah Lane, Yuriko Kajiya, and Misty Copeland. Lane got a quicker tempo for the brisse variation which helped immensely. Kajiya went for long, sustained balances before each double pirouette down the diagonal. Beautiful phrasing in her variation. Copeland's emboite variation was peppy, but she looked a bit student-ish when those arms flipped to a high fifth with fingers touching. The three of them were a good unit, but honestly, I prefer our big girls in this section. Have to agree that the blue tutu in Act II was pretty awful. They were going for a blue that matched part of the back scenery, but really did a disservice to the performers, especially Ali. Someone who posted above said that Julie Kent didn't wear it - good for her!
  9. Friday night's Le Corsaire was another excellent performance courtesy of Hallberg, Wiles, Copeland, Radetsky, Carreno and Salstein. Wiles was amazing in her sustained and centered turns and balances. She's tall and erect the way van Hamel was and was brimming with confidence last night. A great job! Hallberg's a la second leaps are about the most beautiful shape I've ever seen with that S-curve that goes from his hip to his feet. He had a super night technique-wise and also dramatically. They left out the final upside down lift in the Act II bedroom PdD and opted for a shoulder lift instead. It was less dramatic, but a minor aspect in an overall great and grand performance. Carreno was delicious - a slave one wants to be a slave to. He so milked one of his mulitple pirouettes by finishing the final revolution on balance while slowly turning his back and looking over his shoulder back at the audience. Oh, god. As nysusan pointed out in the Wednesday matinee performance, Misty Copeland nailed everything in Gulnare, but did, unfortunately, decide to employ some excesses along the way. The lift with legs in second position went beyond second and into a wide V position, and some of the developees went to 179.99999 degrees and would have been much prettier had they not. I'm going to guess that this sort of muscling was the result of this being her first tutu-principal role, and she wanted to show everyone that she could run with the big guys/girls. By the way, she looked gorgeous in the yellow tutu. Radetsky had a very, very good night as Lankendem. Someone must be mentoring him, because his pirouettes have been looking (in most cases) quite a bit better. Last night in the opening solo, he ticked off the sets of four revolutions while pressing the arms, shoulders, and energy into the ground like I'd not seen him do before. There was none of that turning with his center in his throat. Everything he did last night was at a high principal level. He and the other guys on stage are so "into" their characters as pirates that sometimes there is spontaneous interaction that isn't always part of the choreography. It makes this production all the more fun to watch. Salstein and Sarawanee Tanatanit were the lead pirates. This section of Le Corsair will always be hard to assesss so long as the Cornejo sibling's performance from years ago still lingers in the mind. Salstein and Tanatanit gave an energetic and complete performance. The Odalisques were Hamrick, Boone and Part. The music for the brisse solo for Hamrick was painfully slow, resulting in brisses that went up instead of moving laterally. Boone and Part were both terrific. Part is looking very confident and strong. Boone's emboite variation was superb. These two ladies look quite wonderful dancing together. By the way, Xiomara Reyes has been dancing up a storm this week, and she has just been listed as the lead in Etudes for the opening and closing nights.
  10. You're right! And he's getting a another big push in less than two weeks as a principal in both Etudes and the Tharp piece.
  11. SanderO - You're not alone with regard to your feelings about Dvorovenko. Her persona puts off some people. The only time I found it objectionable was in Les Sylphides several seasons ago when she had just returned from maternity leave and could not contain her enthusiasm for being back on stage. Last night I was sitting quite close to the stage, equipped with binocs, and I thought she came off as warm and genuine. Her dancing was un-flashy and quite lovely in many respects - particularly some of her breathing balances. It was Stearns debut in his first principal role. Yes, he played it safe and was visibly under pressure, but I always find it very exciting to see these youngsters debut and then follow them as they develop. I had to laugh when after all the tough dancing was over, he seemed almost unprepared when Dvorovenko pulled a rose out of her bouquet for him. I wonder if that was his first rose. I imagine his second opportunity Saturday afternoon will show him a bit more animated. Wish I could be there. Did anyone see Misty Copeland's debut at yesterday's matinee?
  12. Le Corsaire - Wed. May 21 Tonight's performance marked the debuts of Cory Stearns as Conrad and Mikhail Ilyin as Birbanto. Stearns is a tall, beautiful proportioned, handsome kid with a velvety smooth texture to his dancing. He did well last night. No technical fireworks - just a very measured and thoughtful effort where he demonstrated good ability to partner, beautiful long lines, and a good amount of prince-liness. Ilyin, on the other hand, is a short dynamo with lots of star quality, great turning ability, and potentially a huge dramatic power. McKenzie is definitely replenishing the ranks with some great talent. Last night's Odalisques were Messmer, Boone and Pavam. Pavam, as the third Odalisque, gave us some guttsy triple pirouettes down the diagonal. Boone was beautiful but not as striking as the night before when she was dancing next to the Kirov inspiration. Messmer was lovely as well. The evening's star power was delivered by Dvorovenko, Carreno and Corella. Irina did nothing objectionable, and in fact, was a gorgeous Medora. She was touching and funny and delivered everything Medora is supposed to. She did single fouettes without moving an inch. Very impressive to see that in a time when travelling all the way to the edge of the stage is the norm. Kudos to her for helping to break in Stearns - that could not have been without pressure, especially the first flying leap across the stage and into his arms in Act I. Maria Riccetto was Gulnare. Another solid performance. She's so light that Carreno decided to do some sustained one-armed lifts with her. She and Dvorovenko had a bit of a synchronization issue in Act III, but all in all Maria had a good night.
  13. Le Corsaire – Tues May 20th Medora – Herrera Conrad – Gomes Gulnare - Reyes Ali – Corella Lakendem – Cornejo Birbanto – Radetsky Odalisques – Riccetto, Boone, Part Lead Pirate Woman - Butler A superb performance from everyone. The first thing that must be mentioned is Herman’s partnering of Reyes: A+/A! He’s got it. He’s finally got it! He even made it look easy. Herman had a phenomenal evening of leaps and turns, including the “Le Cornejo” which is the spinning leap-turn in the piked passe position. Paloma was flawless, warm, completely engaged with the other characters on stage. The highlight for me was her and Gomes in the bedroom Act II PdD. Her leaps of faith into Gomes’ arms and the shape of line that the two of them created together left me breathless. The only thing that I was bothered by the whole night was the blue tutu in the first part of Act II. I was expecting the elegant white with either blue or purple trim, but out came this Disneyesque royal blue thing with a million sequins that clashed with every color on stage including and especially, Ali’s costume. It made his costume look dirty. Reyes astonished me during the Gala performance with her determination and the way she just willed her way through some troublesome turns. Well last night, she applied that same will accompanied by no technical difficulties whatsoever. She flew through every variation, nailing her balances and turns. Corella was the expected lightning. What is there left to say about him in this role except maybe “Thank you. Thank you for 10 years of this, and would it be too much to ask for 10 more?” The Odalisques were as perfect and in unison as they could be. Part was secure and lovely. Her double pirouettes down the diagonal were authoritative and on spot. Maria’s brisse variation was hampered by a sluggish tempo, but she was crisp and clean. Kristi Boone just blew me away with her new Kirov-inspired port de bras. She looked magnificent, regal, all those other words. I noticed that the Myrta for the Abrera-Hallberg Giselle is the only TBA on the schedule. I wonder, will we get a triple debut with Kristi?! Radetsky’s Birbanto and Marian Butler’s pirate woman were superb as well, but it was a daunting task to compete with everything else going on on that stage last night. Radetsky’s turns were secure as was all of his technique. He does evil and threatening very well. I wish he would play this role a bit bigger. One doesn’t have to pander to the audience, but one can lift up one’s eyes and acknowledge the space out in front of him now and then. All in all, a great start. Can’t wait to see Irina with Cory Stearnes debut tonight.
  14. that is so strange from what I have seen Gillian Murphy can perform those fouettes with one hand tied behind her back. I would have been disappointed at that especially not seeing the solos. The last time I saw Ethan Stiefel out in LA however he did look excellent. He has bulked up somewhat which looked great on him and as someone said earlier the haircut is great. Just looked more mature, substantial and was quite a presence. I hope his injuries are behind him for now. If physical issues led to the omission of the variations, they may have been Murphy's issues. I just got back from Le Corsaire tonight and the updated casting sheet shows Murphy withdrawn from Thursday night's performance. Julie Kent will dance Medora.
  15. They looked inside my bag last night and gave the bottom of it a pat. I think it probably depends on the size of the purse or bag as to whether they just ignore it, go through the motions, or actually make an interested examination. Same with the cops in the subway. I forgot to mention last night about all the new faces in the corps. Thank goodness for Marian Butler, Anne Milewski and other vets who helped to keep all the excitement in check. The first woman who stepped out in Etudes was a striking blonde in a black tutu. I thought it might be Gemme Bond from the Royal Ballet. Am I correct? She was quite lovely. Isadora Loyola, fresh out of ABT II, was a standout in The Merry Widow excerpts. She creates a generous and unforced rapport with the audience. Other newcomers were Eun Young Ahn, Christine Shevchenko, Katherine Williams and Lauren Post. I thought the corps looked quite good. It was an ambitious evening with major corps work from Merry Widow, Giselle, and Etudes. That's a lot to do. I totally forgot to look for Sean Stewart. Did anybody focus in on him?
  16. Definitely agree here. Compared to last and past year's awful utility lighting, this year's was great. Also, they were able to drop down a bit of scenery on to the stage for a couple of pieces. The lighting definitely enhanced the gala evening. Yes, I saw The Donald and wife #??, too. I tried so hard to take a picture of him with my cell phone from the side boxes, but when I zoomed in and clicked, all I got was a blurry blob of his hair. The brass section of the orchestra had some real problems. These are usually ironed out by the time Swan Lake rolls around, but unfortunately, S.L. is extremely early in the season this year. I really cringe every year when I see the same brass players who are so below the level of the rest of the orchestra.
  17. Some quick notes on a very interesting evening. Merry Widow excerpts: Joe Phillips is a real catch. Wow. His first time on the Met stage was as a soloist in the first piece of the Gala Program - can't ask for much more pressure than that. He came out with guts and technique to burn. Paloma looked hungry for the season to start. In a casting change, she is opening Le Corsaire tomorrow night with Gomes. Dvorovenko, who was originally scheduled to open the run, will dance Wed evening with a Corey Stearnes in his debut. Swan Lake excerpt: Hallberg in the von Rothbart solo looked a bit careful. I suppose it will heat up when he comes face to face with Gomes as Prince. Splendid Isolation III: Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky are in the best shapes of their lives. This was a piece by Jessica Lang to Mahler's Adagietto. It started out with Irina standing in the center of a dark stage, back to the audience, in a white dress with a huge train that spun around her and outward, by my estimate, to about a 10 foot radius. Visually stunning. While Max was at his contemporary best all over the stage, Irina slowly twirled herself up tightly into her dress train, and eventually broke free of the dress to do a PdD with Max . Maybe it was the lighting, but I thought her hair was quite a bit more auburn - gorgeous - and she wore pale lipstick instead of the usual ruby red. She was stunning. Whatever one might not have liked about the choreography, it was just impossible not to love how those two were dancing tonight. Don Quixote PdD: Okay. Murphy got all the spins and turns but my enthusiasm for this performance was dampened by the inarticulate feet. It was nice to Stiefel back, but this was never his greatest role either. The Dying Swan: I didn't see Vishneva do this at City Center, but opted to see Lopatkina three times. Diana's is very different, more literal, with the agony of death more explicit. Her performance did not touch me the way Lopatkina's did last month. Judgment of Paris: Well. The old girls still got legs - for sure. Martine van Hamel and Bonnie Mathis (best buds forever and both in their sixties) were a hoot. It was great seeing Bonnie back on stage. Now I have a good memory to replace the one of her singing during ronde de jambe while teaching class in Minnesota - a la Maggie Black, but with less tone. I'm joking here, because she was a splendid teacher - except for the singing. Kathleen Moore was pretty darned good as Juno. McKenzie, of course, just sat at the table getting drunk, for which he got much applause. Giselle: The best of the night. Corella and Ananiasvili pulled everyone into the fantasy with their magic. Le Corsaire excerpts: Cornejo did the Lackendem solo and then Carreno and Reyes came out for the PdD. Not enough can be said or written about J.M. sans shirt. His dancing was superb. Reyes had some trouble with some of her turns, but held on to them like a pit bull with pinched ears. Then she came out and did a series of phenomenal fouettes. Just phenomenal. Onegin PdD: Kent and Gomes were very good, but I was still thinking about J.M. in the previous excerpt. Etudes: Holy smoke. Corella was on fire. He's looking forward to this one. Radetsky's batterie was very good; his turns not so good. He definitely picked up his game while dancing with Corella. Wiles was beautiful in line and balances; didn't overdo the smiling; had some trouble with a couple of turns, but then when I realized what she had been attempting to do, I thought she's crazy to try to do that. Michele will be sensational in this. She seems to have been in the midst of an artistic growing spurt this past year. The absolute thrill of the night, the moment that brought me to tears, was exiting down the stairs and who should I see walking up from orchestra - the most beautiful, the most elegant, the most radiant Natalia Makarova with her dashing husband. Oh my.
  18. Yuriko Kajiya has been added as Gulnare for the Saturday matinee of Le Corsaire. Stearns, Kajiya, Matthews - all debuts - and the almost-debut of Ilyian. Should be quite a performance!
  19. Just received my copy from Amazon.com after initially receiving a damaged box that was empty. The book is beautiful, and I’m glad that Ellison concentrated on performance pictures. Her last book, The Ballet Book, focused more on the process than the performance. While some pictures are out of focus along the outsides, I think that there are some jewels in there: the photos from Othello, Dvorovenko in Romeo & Juliet in a scene with Victor Barbee and (I believe) Corey Stearns as Paris, all of the pictures of Nina. The book must weigh 10 pounds!
  20. Just looking at the ABT website calendar and observed some things contrary to the press release: The opening Merry Widow bit is shown as being danced by Herrera and Joe Phillips! AND, Cornejo will be doing a Le Corsaire solo before the Le Corsaire PdD by Reyes and Carreno.
  21. Abrera has been withdrawn from the Corsaire performances? She hasn't danced as cast on the last two tours, but this is a bummer - a real bummer - beyond bummer. The Saturday matinee with debuts of Stearns and Matthews, and the almost-debuts of Copeland and Ilyan should be exciting. Three face-offs between Gomes and Hallberg as Siegfrid and Von Rothbart (exchanging roles) could be thrilling and unpredictable.
  22. No one get too excited, but I sifted through the press releases for the last several ABT principal promotions and observed a pattern: Murphy and Gomes - May 24, 2002 Reyes - April 1, 2003 Cornejo - June 17, 2003 Wiles - June 28, 2005 Hallberg - May 5, 2006 My fingers are crossed, too, Barbara.
  23. Corella came in as a soloist and one benefit was that other dancers picked up their games and took their dancing to higher levels. Adding Simkin who appears to be one of those 1 in 100,000 talents could be just the infusion the company needs. Right now, the men in the corps and soloist positions are very, very good with flashes of brilliance. Many would dance as principals in other major American companies. Those men of the recent generation, such as Askegard, Molina and DeLuz, who left to become principals with other companies did so because they were not going to rise to the level of principal at ABT for some very clear and grounded reasons. It's great that they found opportunities elsewhere, but I don't regret that ABT didn't make them principals. If Simkin comes in and kicks "a" in the performance and technical areas, that will be a positive influence on dancers like Hoven, Stappas, Radetsky, Jared Matthews and Salstein and help drive them to a new level.
  24. I believe that Gorak is barely 18 years old. Who knows if he has even graduated from high school yet. More power to the ballet company that refuses to exploit its extraordinarily gifted children.
  25. Now that Sarah Lane is getting her shot (Aurora) this spring... and just the right height for Mr. Simkin! Z-J Fang, wasting in the corps, certainly has the look of a Giselle, too! This NYCB season a flock of ABT men will dance with NYCB. Why shouldn't this relationship be transitive? Number 1 on Ashley Bouder's wish-list is Giselle, and she's already shown it is ideal for her with her Aurora (Vision Scene), Odette (the Giselle-cloned Martins Danish Lake Act 4), and the Russian in Serenade. It's great news to hear that Simkin is joining as a soloist. I was just reading on his website how he's studying up to do Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose. I like his priorities. I hope, however, that some of the corps men who are ready to move up will get that chance: Hoven, Stappas, and Stewart (he gets credit for his previous tour of duty) all deserve those opportunities. While Melissa Hayden may have been the NCSA instructor with the highest profile, it was Warren Conover, Frank Smith, Duncan Noble, and Fanchon Cordell - all ABT alumni - who applied the "finish" to Murphy that gave her a chance to succeed at ABT. The calls for a "great new ballerina" are interesting for the use of the word "new". The word new is used in the same way as instant. Not many seem interested in observing the journey that it takes to produce a beautiful ballerina. Then when she finally achieves her peak, we're tired of seeing her and want something "new". Throw out the old, bring in something fresh and tart. ABT hopefully will never be like that place where a dancer is awarded a principal contract when she gets off her orthodonic braces. There are several dancers who are maturing into great artisitic beauties: Abrera, Lane, Boone, Seo, and Melissa Thomas. Whether they get the opportunities we think they should have remains to be seen. But I don't want them to miss out on chances because of public pressure to bring in a "new ballerina" and the desire for something instantly new and fresh and different. Bouder as a credible non-Martins-influenced Romantic Giselle is hard to imagine. Maybe Martins will re-choreograph the whole story and give it some punch and for godsakes, speed the awful thing up. (There's your nightmare for tonight.) But I'm happy with the addition of Simkin and the coming home of Sean Stewart. ABT has some great things in its incubator as well - Joseph Gorak, for one. No need to fret.
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