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Everything posted by Haglund's

  1. Just as Barbara said, it was a delightful evening. The JKO student Swanilda was Skyler Brandt, who has appeared in most of the children's roles in the spring season's full length productions in recent years. She was always the smallest child with the most assured technique and stage presence. It looks like she might have done a bit of growing recently. She really is quite the confident performer, and did a splendid job last night with her solos. The ABT II'ers were fairly cramped while trying to do Czardas, but managed to avoid any collisions. The lead couple was Isadora Loyola and Isaac Hernadez. I noticed today that Ms. Loyola is now an ABT apprentice. The ABT II'er who I noticed immediately was, I believe, Joseph Gorak - usually house left. His performance polish was just extraordinary, and he danced with his partner as though it was the performance of his lifetime. I know he is still a baby and too young for the corps, but I can't help hoping that the time will pass quickly to when he will be on stage, and then we can all obsess impatiently about the glacial progress of his career. Last night could have easily turned into "Late Night with Freddie Franklin" complete with a Top Ten list if Wes Chapman hadn't maintained moderator control. Mr. Franklin was pretty sparkley in the limelight, and as Wes said at one point - we're trying to keep the lawyers out of it. One of the film clips included Mr. Franklin dancing a solo in The Red Poppy. Phenomenal! When the lights came up after that clip, his face was beet red like he was embarrassed at how freakin' awesome he had been as a dancer. Watching him coach the JKO kids was like watching the Energizer Bunny on some kind of extra juice. The corrections came so quickly and his explanations were wholly connected to the story and the why of it all. There was also a film clip of him coaching Julie Kent and Nicholai Hubbe in Mozartiana which was funny. He was talking so fast and excitedly, and Julie was confused and trying to ask questions, and he just talked faster. As Barbara pointed out, Julie and David Hallberg performed tidbits from Gaite Parisienne and Mozartiana. A nice offering, but of course cramped on the small stage.
  2. FYI - the Chicago Tribune article referenced in today's Links makes the following casting announcements for the Chicago Sleeping Beauty:
  3. Veronika Part's Swan Lake on May 31st (matinee) is now with Hallberg, who replaces Gomes.
  4. I believe that's correct except for the last name which would normally be Birbanto. It's kind of a surprise to see Stiefel listed for Ali in two performances whereas Cornejo is not. Maybe Herman is the backup plan in the event that Stiefel (or any of the others) isn't in top form when the season starts. Given the debuts already listed, I hope I don't sound greedy by wishing for a Myrta debut by Kristi Boone.
  5. The ABT website calendar has been updated: Hallberg and Abrera are listed for Giselle on Wednesday, July 9th MATINEE. Sara Lane and Cornejo are listed for Sleeping Beauty on Thursday, June 19th. Xiomara Reyes is now listed with Carreno for Sleeping Beauty on Wednesday, June 18th Evening. Dvorovenko and TBA are listed for the remaining La Bayadere on Thursday, June 26th. Still open is that Wednesday matinee of the Merry Widow. If I had to guess, I would bet on either Abrera and Hallberg or Abrera and Radetsky. This is all so nice! YIKES! Edited to include MISTY COPELAND debuts as Gamzatti on Saturday May 24th MATINEE! All the casts are strong, but the May 21st Evening is incredible with Herrera, Gomes, Abrera, Carreno, Corella and Cornejo! Edited again: In my excitement, I misspoke. MISTY COPELAND will debut as Gulnare in Le Corsaire, NOT Gamzatti (although, she would be pretty darned terrific in that as well.)
  6. You are lucky. NYC is not even getting the 10 a.m. Nutcrackers this year, or the 3 a.m ones. Back in November I searched our local PBS affiliate's website for Nutcrackers. When I found none, I emailed them this note: Their reply:
  7. Haglund's, how were you struck by Orestes and Iphigenia in that pool of light at the end of Act II (that is, at the start of the one and only intermission). It was very moving. In silence, Placido got up and began to slowly turn toward Iphigenia. Just as one felt their energies moving toward one another, the pools of light vanished. Ooohs and awes from the audience.
  8. I saw this last night with Susan Graham as Iphigenia, Placido Domingo as Orestes, Paul Groves as Pylade, and Louis Langree conducting. Graham was superb – a powerful mezzo with equal beauty and passion in all registers. Domingo sang the role as a baritone rather than a tenor, and there were no particular challenges for him, but he sounded wonderful. His burnished tones were quite beautiful, and the weight and darkness creeping into his voice makes me hope that he continues singing for a long time. He seems to have found a way to keep his artistry evolving. I recognized what the critics were complaining about with regard to his French. "Je" sounded like the Spanish double L a lot of the time. Paul Groves gave a very strong performance in the tenor role. I think my favorite part of the evening was in Act IV when the three of them were sitting at the end of the altar singing together. Quite beautiful. There was a lot of O: Let me die. P: No, let me die. O: No, I have to die. P: No, you live, I die. I: No, you have to die and you have to live. But it was all highly emotional and, as I said, beautiful. I thought the choreography was pretty on spot. Normally at the opera, you hear certain music which signals "Okay, it's time for the ballet", but this choreography was very well integrated into the whole staging, which for the most part didn't have a lot of movement in it. But then, how far can one move when one is chained to the altar? Langree's conducting took me on an emotional roller coaster, and the Met Orchestra was as always unmatched. Great job with the scenery, and especially the lighting. I'm not used to seeing a full opera at the Met with essentially the same scenery throughout the night, but it worked well last night.
  9. Gene now has around 60 photos of Jennifer in performance posted in this album along with an in memoriam introductory note from David Hallberg.
  10. Gene Schiavone has created a lovely album on his website to celebrate Jennifer Alexander's artistry.
  11. Jennifer's face now graces the front of the ABT website.
  12. Deepest condolences to Jennifer's and Julio's families and to the whole ABT family. Our prayers are with you all at this sad, sad time. A special prayer to Julio and Nicole for a speedy recovery.
  13. I can't imagine trying to count to 36 while my head is spinning around like that! Holy smokes. What a trick. She would surely pick up a lot of small change by doing that in the subway here. Equally or perhaps even more valuable is the youtube footage of Aria Alekzander doing a half dozen pirouttes while she pulls off her yellow dress over her head. No kidding. Search her name with spin cycle, and it comes up. She would surely pick up the gold medal in any competitive pirouette olympics, but only if there was a little dog racing around her en dedans.
  14. Those apprentice promotions are as recent as tomorrow. While cruising the site I noticed the nice set of 44 photos by various photographers from the Alumni pre- and post-performance parties with some nice pics of hearthrob Nagy.
  15. The Saturday matinee series always sells out very fast. You can always exchange if the casting is moved around. It's so wonderful and smart of Hallberg to seek out Graffin for help. And what about Nagy? And what if Abrera could spend a day or an hour or a cup of coffee with Fracci and Makarova and Tcherkassky and Kirkland and all of the beautiful living Giselles who could enrich her interpretation?
  16. Over on thewinger.com, contributor David Hallberg reports that he is in Amsterdam for coaching with Guillaume Graffin for his spring Met debut as Albrecht opposite Stella Abrera's Giselle. Thank you to all of the gods everywhere. And to think that Hallberg is preparing for this role 7 months in advance. Abrera no doubt has been preparing for this her entire life. I weep. I am so grateful for this enlightened casting. I am sorry for every unfair word I ever said about McKenzie. I repent. I repent. I repent.
  17. Degas in Bronze Noticed an announcement in the December issue of Art in America. The "complete sculptures" of Degas, 73 cast in bronze from Degas' original composite and wax models, will appear at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Mizner Park from January 25 through April 27, 2008. For more info: www.bocamuseum.org
  18. Well, yes. The key word here is 'judge'. Gottlieb tends to judge instead of offering criticism of Part's dance. And, of course, he likes to voice an opinion that goes against the grain - loudly. He is kind of the Rosie O'Donnell of dance critcism, which I won't elaborate on without tremendous coaxing. Part is uniquely talented, and blessed with lyrical and musical abilities that most of us would struggle our whole lives to acquire and would miserably fail. What is frustrating is that some of her shortcomings are seemingly simple ones that many of us have overcome and know can be conquered with determination, focus, self reliance and above all suspending the fear of failing while one is putting together what works. Nobody can go out on stage and do Veronika's pirouettes for her. The answer is inside Veronika, not her coaches, teachers, a special shoe, the critics, or us. Everyone knows how unbelievably spectacular she will be when she pulls it all together. In the meantime, we should just be grateful that we have the opportunity to see her do what she does so beautifully. By the way, she will be the Sugar Plum Fairy to Hallberg's Prince in Washington, DC on December 19th.
  19. Haglund's

    Veronika Part

    If you are near Toronto, — From the Toronto Star Canadian Ballet Theatre Russian ballerina Svetlana Lunkina is Giselle, Bolshoi soloist Ruslan Skvortsov is Prince Albrecht and American Ballet Theatre soloist Veronica Part is Queen Myrtha in Nadia Veselova Tencer's staging of the classical ballet Giselle. At 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St. For tickets, from $55 to $87, go to ticketmaster.ca or call 416-872-5555.
  20. Xiomara would make a sweet, baby-faced ax murderer. Alessandra Ferri had the role for a number of seasons. It would definitely be scary.
  21. The first few moments of Ballo were both promising and horrifying. Kayjia began with some beautiful phrasing like we've not seen before. Then the partnering proved to be too much for Cornejo. Watching somewhat from the side, it appeared that his mistakes were nearly always that he expected his partner not to need a partner and that he was there just in the unlikely event that she couldn't be on balance 101% of the time. Add to that his inability to keep her on balance during a simple promenade. Add to that the smallness of the City Center stage resulting in Cornejo looking like he was half-sizing some of the jumps. Kayjia had some wonderful moments during her solos when she was being Kayjia. When she started intentionally flailing her arms and wrists around uncharacteristically (I guess in order to capture the style), she looked like a 14 year old student. The other piece on the program was From Here On Out. It sounded like the music, particularly the first few minutes, was speedier than I'd heard during the previous four performances. An improvement. Paloma held nothing back yesterday afternoon and has discovered a few moments in choreography that she can emphasize to make it worth watching. There is a stunning moment when she is being whirled around Gomes's body and suddenly comes to a dead stop suspended at his side, facing the audience, leg and foot in one of her beautiful extensions. She just holds it there motionlessly. A made-for-Paloma moment, if ever there was one. I think that the key to this piece is that the dancers have to find what's good and emphasize it and breeze through what isn't. That is definitely in process.
  22. SEASON HIGHLIGHT A truly powerful performance today by Michele Wiles in Fall River Legend. Jaw clenched, lips quivering, teeth bared, nostrils flared, eyes beaded, brows rippling. Trembling in terror and barely able to breath after the deed. A tortured soul, impossibly hurt, no mend in sight. The old folks deserved their whacks today. Brava, Michele. Brava. Isaac Stappas was tremendous as the pastor with some very confident and polished acting and dancing. One problem -- he's just too hot to believe that he has an ounce of minister in him. Mmmmm, maybe one of those ministers who always gets into trouble. This is the performance that ABT should take across America.
  23. I saw the first two performances of Fall River Legend, and was somewhat disappointed in both Kent and Murphy. Most of the rest of the cast was first rate. Neither Kent nor Murphy conveyed the anger, hurt, resentment, and torment felt by The Accused. Rather, they looked like they were trying to adapt Giselle's mad scene to make it de Milleian. It looked odd. Both of them looked like they were acting for camera rather than theater. A little excess would have been better. Georgina Parkinson and Roman Zhurban as the stepmother and father were very good on opening night and were able to convey why The Accused should have had an ax to grind with them, so to speak. I wonder why they didn't give Jennifer Alexander a whack at this. Also, Xiomara Reyes might have brought more to the role as well.
  24. The website calendar has been changed. The Memorial Day performance is back on for Monday rather than Sunday night.
  25. Have to say that the TBAs have great potential. Whenever I see a slew of matinee TBAs, I tend to get excited and pray it means some big new opportunities for some deserving dancers. TBAs: June 18 matinee - Sleeping Beauty; July 2 matinee Merry Widow; July 12 matinee Giselle. And there is a TBA'ed La Bayadere performance as well (June 26 - 8pm). Due to the tremendous success of last year's last minute replacements (Lane in Sleeping Beauty in Orange County and Abrera in Cinderella at the Met) and in view of the generous soloist and corps casting during this City Center season, I think we have reason to be optimistic that McKenzie is loosening up a bit. Call me foolish, but I'm buying all of those TBAs. I just wish he would make it easy for us and create a Debut Subscription. I noted that for Memorial Day Weekend, the performance is on Sunday night at 8pm rather than Monday.
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