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Haglund's

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  1. Abrera scored a slamdunk win with Cinderella tonight. In a production designed to highlight the men, she stole the whole evening with her warmth and superior dancing. The girl's line is endless, and she has this week been sporting an arabesque reminiscent of Kirkland's in its gentle, narrow curve and impressive height. Her lightness in jumps that devoured space was, again, reminiscent of Kirkland's (who was sitting in Orchestra with her husband). Secure pirouettes; beautiful fouettes while waving Cinderella's cleaning rag over her head; gorgeous, breathing balances; so incredibly relaxed dancing with Cote this evening; and 100% committed to the character from the time the curtain went up until it came down for the final time. At curtain bows, she even caught a bouquet with one hand and raised it over her head with a little victory pump of the arm. Cote, obviously enjoying himself this evening, was seriously suave and brilliant in his jumps. His turns were less spectacular than Thursday and Wednesday, but still pretty darn clean. His partnering of Abrera, who is so much less experienced, was brilliant. He took complete control, left nothing to chance, and just let her enjoy the ride. That she did. Never have I seen such a joyous and warm Abrera. She even gave Cinderella a couple of ditsy moments. What a great way to end the season by seeing a beautiful dancer in a breakout performance. My only fear is that she might have been so good that they decide to bring this production back next year.
  2. After tonight's performance, the second of Abrera and Cote, all I can say is that anyone who misses their final performance Saturday evening, well, it's your loss. Of course, all was helped this evening by a supporting cast of Carmen Corella, Marian Butler, Craig Salstein, Isaac Stappas, Kirk Peterson and the most believable fairy godmother, Susan Jones. Abrera was exquisite. Cote was ooh-la-la. It would be nice if he could be her first Albrecht - perhaps next year?
  3. Stella Abrera came through with flying colors at today's matinee - with the help of a boyishly handsome Prince Charming, Guillaume Cote. Flowing, expansive, light, modest, and above all lyrical - Abrera was a delightful Cinderella who simply worked her butt off every day for a dozen years and, with no complaining or grand expectations, lived patiently and accepted whatever good fortune came her way. Typecasting, for sure. Mr. Cote, besides being one gorgeous classical dancer, was a generous partner who manuevered Abrera above his head and around his shoulders like they had been dancing together for a long, long time. There are a lot of difficult acrobatic lifts and poses in Act III, and they all appeared to work flawlessly. A couple of the supported pirouettes were a little off, but that was the extent of any awkwardness in the performance. The efficiency of Cote's movement and coordination reminded me of Wes Chapman - the early version of Chapman, not the version in today's performance as the stalking and interfering photographer. The stepsisters, Jackie Reyes (w/glasses) and Simone Messmer, were less physical and not as over-the-top as last year's casts. These were very big opportunities for these two dancers, and I'd say each scored a success and can be expected to be much more engaged in future performances. If I hadn't seen Erica Cornejo and Carmen Corella last year, and if I hadn't seen all of the jokes already, I might have thought that they were funnier. I think in this production, all of the jokes only really work on the first viewing unless the dancers are allowed to improvise and make them their own. Sarah Lane, Marian Butler, Adrienne Schlte, and Kristi Boone were Blossom, Petal, Moss, and Twig, respectively. All danced very well, but each was under-employed by the choreography. This Cinderella is a novelty piece that is okay the first time around but not good for subsequent viewings, mostly because it really doesn't capture any of the magic of the fairytale. That said, I'm returning tomorrow night and Saturday to gauge Abrera's progress in the role and to get another glimpse of Cote.
  4. Saturday night's Swan Lake was beautiful - not without problems - but beautiful. Herrera's articulate feet and gorgeous legs etched out every step with clarity and strength. In a series of supported developees a la second, Odette slowly, slowly opened the leg to the most beautiful and perfect 90 degree position I've ever seen. Pushing the arches on those feet to the extreme and powering the leg with such slowness, it took my breath away. This is why I go to see Paloma. As a youngster, she flashed her technique and threw her legs around; as a mature artist, she dances with an uncommon sense of values. I spent a lot of time focusing my binocs on her face, and she was one very convincing Odette. Passionate. Vulnerable. Distressed. Resigned. Most other Odettes dive off the cliff as though they have Olympic aspirations. Herrera's Odette stood at the edge, looked back and focused on Siegfried, and she was gone. A great death. Herrera's Odile is less about meanness and evil, and more about mischievously toying with Siegfried. Perhaps this Odile could use a little more hiss and spit, but it seems always to have been Herrera's choice not to make Odile someone who the audience could dislike - even though she must know by now how much we love and cheer our evil characters. Corella topped off a remarkable season last night with a powerful and dramatic performance. No problems whatsoever partnering Herrera, who allows him 100% of her confidence. And the guy is great in the passion department, no doubt about that. I lost count of the revolutions in his final pirouettes in the Black Swan pdd, but it went way past seven, and the audience went insane. It seems these days that there is no one who can match Corella's turning and jumping speed followed by those dead-in-his-tracks stops -- absolutely thrilling. He got so many bouquets and loose flowers thrown at him when he came before the curtain that he seemed embarrassed. Saveliev as VonRothbart had the character down pat, but his dancing was not nearly aggressive enough. His innate elegance got in the way, and he approached a lot of the great Von Rothbart moves sectionally: careful preparation stop controlled multiple pirouette stop open arabesque stop, instead of crazy-mulitple-pirouette-open-arabesque. What a let down when the strobe flash and smoke didn't go off when Von Rothbart exited up the steps to the doorway where it was revealed that he was Swamp Thing. Speaking of S.T., Jared Matthews handled this role well and gave us a good death at the end, but not before getting his cape-fin-wing appendage caught on the rock. The Pas de Trois was well-danced by Lopez, Kajiya and Lane. I have to agree with Christina174 regarding Lane's use of looking up at the ceiling on her pirouettes. It's a good trick and nice to see once in a while, but doing it every time gets tiring. Kajiya's phrasing in this variation blows me away every time I see her. Last night she found an arabesque balance that not only lasted forever, but continued to breathe and grow and fill the music extraordinarily. She was so lovely without a bit of showiness. I'm still waiting to see Lopez have a good night. I know he's been injured and thus is not at 100%, but his lumpy line and lax feet do not make me happy.
  5. Today's edition of the casting sheet handout at the Met agrees, giving her partner as M. Cote. This is her big opportunity, don't you think? Yes, I think this is an extremely exciting opportunity for her! This is exciting! And it explains her unusual ebullience in last night's Pas de Trois! Her entrechat seises were extraordinary. While I have missed Reyes very much this season, this opportunity for Abrera is certainly something to look forward to. It's really the push forward that I've been hoping McKenzie would give her.
  6. I think whoever above suggested that Macaulay is trying to impress the paper or its readers with his knowledge is probably right on target. He's under pressure to be perceived as the authority of authorities and to deliver reviews to The Times that are definitive and come as close to divine judgment as possible. I attended the Monday night Swan Lake which Macaulay reviewed and I thought much of what he said was nonsense. [Okay, I'll admit to liking this McKenzie production and all Swan Lake productions I've ever seen or trounced around in -- except for one. So, maybe my tastes are not particularly discriminating, but I sure get a lot of enjoyment out of Swan Lake, and it gets a lot of my money every year.] A few examples of Macaulay's stumblings: I kept remembering how Margot Fonteyn in 1990 coached young dancers to understand the pell-mell urgency with which Odette communicates; Monday’s Odette, Irina Dvorovenko, went through the gestures (omitting several) with painstaking, world-enough-and-time steadiness. Why didn't Macaulay identify the specific gestures which he wants us to notice he noticed weren't there, and why didn't he offer an explanation of why he thought the dancer was wrong not to include them and how the exclusion adversely affected the performance? At the start of the great lakeside adagio, as Prince Siegfried (Maxim Beloserkovsky) bent low to unfold and raise her from her folded-over “swan” position on the floor, I could hear Alicia Markova’s voice (in a 1980 television master class) saying, “Don’t look at him,” precisely at the moment Irina Dvorovenko looked searchingly into his eyes Puuleeeze. Again, the implication is that the dancer violated some holy tenant of Alice Marks' that to this very day haunts Macaulay 's memory. As the kids used to say, 'gag me with a spoon, Mom.' If Macaulay wants to take issue with an artistic choice, he should explain what the bloody issue is. Mr. Beloserkovsky is likewise a handsome man with plenty of technique, but his constant concern with bright smiles and striking poses makes him become merely pretty. Not much better is Georgina Parkinson’s snobbish, flamboyant, arch Queen Mother. (She seems to be saying to her son, “But dahling, if you don’t marry one of these dreary girls, all these frightful yobs will think you’re gay.” Beloserkovsky danced very well Monday night. His turning had an authority that we have not always seen in the past, and his jumps were effortless and gorgeous in shape. His presentation and dramatic effort were rich and his partnering miraculous. He didn't over-smile, except where every Siggy does when he is sitting atop the boys' shoulders at the end of the Maypole dance. His posing looked, well, unapologetically Russian, and not British. Is there a problem? Georgina was, of course, wonderful as the Queen Mother. Every gesture, every raised eyebrow -- a lesson in how it should be done. Macaulay's last comment ("But dahling . . . .") is little more than a lame effort to compete with Ann Coulture. The two-Rothbarts device only becomes more silly Why does he think it is silly in the first place? Why silly? Swamp Thing has never offended me. I can't say that I like it any more or less than productions without a swamp thing, and I enjoy seeing what the likes of Isaac Stappas and others can do with the character. On Monday the best dancing came from David Hallberg The best? And the point of saying that was -- what? Hallberg was good, of course, but his character was pulled way back from his first time out as Von Rothbart across from Acosta and Herrera. Of course his sissonnes were beautiful. Everyone who dances that role has great big beautiful sissonnes. But to intentionally imply that everyone else's performances were less than Hallberg's was 1) not useful, 2) not true, and 3) not a good way to build respect by the readership. He could have simply said that he enjoyed Hallberg's performance the most and why. Lastly, Irina gave a complete performance of both Odette and Odile. Everything was working for her Monday night. Exceptional arabesque balances, secure turns, clear dynamics, no bobbles. Okay, once in a while as Odette (but not more than that), she perhaps over-phoneticized with her phace, but her overall performance was very good and the audience enjoyed it immensely.
  7. Could this have something to do with the renovation schedule at City Center? I wonder. The performance calendar for the Main Stage looks fairly empty after this summer.
  8. Per the ABT website calendar, Thursday night's Romeo and Juliet performance with Reyes and Carreno has been replaced with Murphy and Hallberg. Wednesday night's performance with Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky is now Dvorovenko and Carreno. Oh well.
  9. Another truly magnificent performance from everyone last night. Yes, there were a number of empty seats including sold seats in prime areas held by no-shows or people who exchanged for other performances. What a mistake. I caught a glimpse of former ABT principal Bonnie Mathis sitting in par terre, looking ageless and absolutely entralled with the performance. Among the people around me was a woman who attended all eight of the Manon performances and gushed over every one of them. Another attended three and her daughter two. After Thursday night's performance, she waited at the stage door to ask Ferri to sign a copy of the new Ferri by Ferri book of photographs of Alessandra in performance and with her family. She said it was a mob scene as soon as Bolle came out and that he graciously posed for pictures with everyone and signed autographs. When Ferri came out with her 5 year old daughter in tow, she signed this woman's book and then Ferri's little girl asked the woman if she could sign her own picture as well. You gotta love 'em. Bolle danced with less reserve and more abandon than on Monday night. Wow, what a parting gift from Alessandra, who was astonishing in all respects. Some of the risks that she took with falling arabesques last night left me breathless. Such a totally perfect performance. I will miss her so very much. The Stiefel injury announcement after the first intermission jolted everyone. We can only hope that this was more of a cautionary replacement than one of instant need. It worked out relatively well. Radetsky, apparently fresh from the matinee, got another, all too infrequent opportunity to dance with his wife, Abrera. If you hadn't seen Stiefel dance Lescaut earlier this week, you would have thought that Radetsky was tops. He was very good - perhaps a bit studied in places - but nevertheless very good. Abrera was gorgeous and secure and confident last night. Her limbs and torso were more relaxed. Her legs flew up with an uncharacteristic abandon. Her comedic timing with Radetsky was on spot. She looked to me like someone who could develop into a Manon. It's been highly satisfying to see her first rate principal work this and last season, and I only hope that MacKenzie gives her the shove forward that she needs and deserves. She is outstanding in every style that this company employs from Petipa to Tharp to MacMillian to Robbins to Fokine to Balanchine to Graham to whatever. What a gem. The corps last night was again outstanding. Every dancer had his or her own character and retained it throughout. The imprisoned prostitutes were marvelous, but they could mess up the wigs a little. Last night, they tended to look more like stereotypical modern dancer haircuts. During bows Alessandra turned around to face the corps and applauded them. She then grabbed Georgina Parkinson, who also performed the role of Madame at ABT's Manon premiere with Ferri and Bocca fourteen years ago, and gave her a massive hug. Bolle got the flowers thrown at him when he came out in front of the curtain. Compliments to the audience member who this week mastered the art of having the rose petals spew all over the stage when the bouquet lands. The audience's response was enormous and emotional every time the curtain went up and when Ferri came before it. Imagine a whole audience that is going to need grief therapy after next week.
  10. Some of the casting is up for the July Reno, LA and Orange County tour. However, as of this time, no Sleeping Beauty casting has been posted for the performances in Orange County July 17-22. July 10 - Reno Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes Company The Sleeping Beauty pas de deux M. Beloserkovsky I. Dvorovenko The Green Table I. Stappas Sinatra Suite H. Cornejo S. Lane July-12 7:30 PM Los Angeles Opening Night Gala Symphonie Concertante M. Wiles G. Murphy M. Beloserkovsky Le Corsaire Bedroom pas de deux I. Dvorovenko D. Hallberg Manon Lescaut/Mistress pas de deux S. Abrera E. Stiefel Don Quixote pas de deux P. Herrera J. Carreño Rodeo X. Reyes S. Radetsky J. Matthews July-13 7:30 PM Los Angeles Othello J. Kent M. Gomes S. Abrera S. Radetsky H. Cornejo July-14 2:00 PM Los Angeles Othello G. Murphy D. Hallberg M. Butler M. Beloserkovsky B. Hoven July -14 7:30 PM Los Angeles Othello X. Reyes R. Thomas M. Riccetto C. Lopez J. Matthews July-15 2:00 PM Los Angeles Othello J. Kent M. Gomes S. Abrera S. Radetsky H. Cornejo
  11. Bolle is extremely youthful looking. At the Ferri-Corella matinee, he sat on the aisle in Row H. I had my binocs on him quite a bit. He could barely fit in the seat. His shoulders were blocking half of the aisle. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but he is one handsome young man - in a very NFL quarterback way.
  12. Ferri's dramatic readings are actually enhanced by the fact that she wears so very little theatrical makeup. One can actually see her eyes change shape with expression. At today's performance, it looked like eyebrow pencil and a dab of plum lipstick were the extent of her makeup. Compare that to Julie Kent's or Gillian Murphy's routine, which may be typical ballet stage makeup, but it makes it hard to observe any natural expressiveness. Sure, the eyebrows might go up and down, but the eyes themselves look stiff and soul-less - very unnatural. So, they both may be acting up a storm, but it never gets through the makeup.
  13. I'll never be able to adequately describe what I saw at the Met today; so I hope there will be someone else in BT Land who also attended the Manon matinee with Ferri and Corella and can help. They danced for themselves this afternoon - one last time. Never in all the years of watching Corella have I ever seen such a range of raw emotion and depth of passion as today. He gave Ferri the dramatic performance of his lifetime. She knew it, and she responded with an intensity almost unimaginable. It was indeed wonderful. Stiefel and Abrera as Lescaut and his mistress were perfect. Arron Scott as the Beggar Chief, Isaac Stappas as the jailer, Roman Zhurbin as Monsieur GM, Martine Van Hamel as the Madame, and Clint Luckett as the Old Man all turned in first rate performances. I love this ballet so much, and I hope that Ferri will stick around to pass on some of her artistic wisdom to those with the challenge of following in her footsteps in this role.
  14. Thank you drb! I raced up to the Met to get a ticket and was able to get my favorite seat. They said that the performance was not nearly sold out. I picked up the latest casting sheet which lists the Von Rothbarts in Swan Lake. Hallberg will dance the role on opening night with Irina and Max. Gomes will dance the role in Nina's and Corella's performance. The other Von Rothbarts are Radetsky, Saveliev and Pastor.
  15. Last night began bittersweet -- remembering Julio Bocca and Alessandra Ferri with a renewed mourning that we would not see the likes of their Manon or R&J again. But Ferri did a good thing by bringing this "new" young partner to our house. Tall, dark, and handsome with beautiful feet, endless legs, and a pure, classical line -- Roberto Bolle wasn't the dramatic powerhouse we'd hoped for, but he was a lot more than just eye candy. For a Met debut across from one of our most beloved ballerinas whom we only want to remember with Julio, he held his own, handsomely. What is there left to say about Alessandra? Once again, she lived the role of Manon with abandon and passion. She swept us into her character's moment and left us emotionally exhausted at night's end. She was securely partnered by Bolle, who as previously suggested, indeed has some big shoulders. He's a very good dancer, and I hope to see him in future seasons. It's understandable why Alessandra chose to dance with him, but the pairing just looked a little odd to me - size-wise, age-wise, and drama-wise. I kept thinking how interesting and powerful a Ferri/Stiefel pairing in Manon might have been. Stiefel was great as Lescaut. Great. And I think that Bolle's best dramatic moments came from his confrontations with Stiefel's Lescaut. Murphy was Lescaut's mistress, and was appropriately saucy. I love everything about this production. While it certainly centers around the main character of Manon, every character from the harlots to the beggars to the guys playing cards is fully and brilliantly developed. It makes you downright grateful for the genius of MacMillan.
  16. Kirkland was replaced at intermission due to an unspecified injury. Kristi Boone, who had been dancing the Fairy of Fervor stepped in for her, and Yuriko Kajiya replaced Kristi as the fairy. Kristi did very well although it appears she did not get the full treatment as far as face makeup was concerned. She received a very warm response from the audience.
  17. Two major ballerinas cancel out of MacKenzie's dreadful Sleeping Beauty due to illness or injury, and yet both are still scheduled to dance next week. A former prima in a character role ducks out at intermission. Should Page Six of the Post investigate for back stage drama? Paloma was very, very lovely last night. She was a believable 16 year old of extraordinary grace and modesty. Her joyfulness of dancing with Corella was sincere, and the two of them were as harmonious as the music. From a technique standpoint, Paloma was underemployed, but she did not try to force entertainment into the performance with technical stunts that have no place in Petipa. She and Corella seemed very relaxed and motivated by the music. Last night we saw a very musical Paloma. I had some mixed feelings about the Lane/Lopez Bluebird. She had technique to burn last night, but the quality of movement was overly bold - more like Kitri than a bluebird - even though she was wearing the worst possible bluebirdish eyeshadow. Lopez had neither height of jump nor speed nor turning facility for this part. When they announced that Gelsey was being replaced by Kristi Boone, I was a bit unhappy, because Kristi was blowing me away with her Fairy of Fervor. Those legs remind me of Cynthia Gregory's, and Kristi's got the stability and unforced energy as well. Yuriko Kajiya stepped in for her at intermission, and no one can complain about that. She's exquisite, but very different from Kristi. Melissa Thomas was a cool, classical beauty as the Fairy of Charity. I remember her as Moyna in Giselle a few seasons back. A very pretty, unaffected dancer. Just in case Page Six misses this - at intermission last night, the oboist was loudly practicing the theme song from Jesus Christ Superstar. Could that be next year's new production?
  18. It appears that this Sleeping Beauty production is going to Disneyland in July -- well, not literally -- but to the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
  19. Ouch! The reviews are in. Ouch! I guess with all the complaining about the costumes, I need to ask: Did anyone think that Aurora's three tutus were ugly or wrong? I thought they were beautiful. Just curious. I think I would have chosen a paler pink to go with Murphy's hair, but I didn't find them objectionable at all. Did anyone else? I neglected to mention that in the Schwartz Gallery inside The Met Opera House lobby, there is an exhibit of set models and designs for next season's opera productions including Macbeth, Hansel and Gretel, Iphigenie en Tauride, and Peter Grimes. The models are stunning examples of work by people who know how to use the vast production capabilities of the Met Opera House. Now granted, the Met has had some set design disasters, e.g., last year's Madama Butterfly which went for a Hollywood effect, but wouldn't ABT be better off with a much, much closer collaborative relationship with The Met Opera on areas such as production and scenic design? Sometimes I think that ABT would be better off completely merging with The Met.
  20. Fairy changes from opening night: Hee Seo was Sincerity, and Adrienne Schulte was Valor. I was bothered by the over-the-top intensity and aggressiveness of Schulte's Valor. It may be that the music was a bit faster than the night before, but it seemed excessive in all respects. Hee was lovely and has some very articulate feet, but again, seemed to be pushed by the tempo.
  21. The program insert for last night's performance said that Julie Kent was injured. However, at this moment, she is still scheduled to dance Tuesday evening. The highlight of last night's performance was Abrera's Lilac. She has always been lyrical and in recent seasons has solidified her technique. Last night, it all came together in one of the most beautiful, luminescent and articulate performances of Lilac that I've ever seen. Her phrasing was just exquisite. Every aspect of her technique was solid and exploited for no reason other than to convey the story. Abrera's balances were breathing and effortless, and her turns were old-school musical as opposed to the flipping we're inclined to see these days. Her final ascent and "hanging" made sense and seemed more controlled than at the premiere. As disinterested as I have been in this new production, I am now forced to buy another ticket to see her performance with Vishneva as Aurora. Last night's Aurora was Murphy. She was highly competent and correct. Her Rose balances were less than expected, but everything else was remarkable from a technique standpoint. It may be that her emphasis on blazing speed and attack are not particularly compatible with Petipa -- even when you add the epaulment. Stiefel was very, very good last night -- had me believing that he was a prince, and that's about the extent that the story allows. Their final pas was thrilling, and the two of them gave us everything they could possibly give. The audience went bananas. A couple of quick kudos: Misty Copeland as the White Cat: Get a picture of that, please. The face was as cute as you could ever imagine and rich with cat attitude. Her variation was short but would have made any cat proud. Maria Riccetto and Sascha Radetsky in Bluebird: Both of them impressively rose to the occasion. Maria is so elegant - I wish they would find more for her to do. Martine as Carabosse pulling out Wes (Cattalbutte) Chapman's 'hair'. I hope they get rid of that shower curtain.
  22. I think Michele was scared. For those who haven't seen it yet, at the end, Lilac "ascends." I forgot to mention that the orchestra was superb. It sounded Met sized and looked like there might have been a few extra brass musicians in the pit. Ormsby Wilkins conducting is a performance to watch in itself. Edited to add that Joe Volpe, the former Met manager, was in the audience.
  23. That was my initial thought exactly -- a shower curtain. Maybe they will think that one over again. Part and Gomes were absolutely beautiful together, and it was heartening to see Part's eye contact with him and with the audience and her dazzling smile. Her confidence grew literally by her leaps and bounds and culminated in a luxurious final pas with Gomes. The balances in the Rose, while far more secure than what we've seen previously from her, were minimal and really should be so much better. Her hops on point in whatever scene that was after the intermission were both awkward and labored. Her pirouettes were best and most secure when her she employed a rounded arm preparation and shorter fourth. She fought for everything--everything--and did not give up on one single thing the whole night. Basically, MacKenzie forced her to finally step up to plate as the #4 hitter and whack one out of the ball park for the benefit of the team. That she did. I thought that Michelle Wiles was extraordinary, and that her transformation from our all-American beauty to a fairytale character was as complete as it gets. I could not get over how different and beautifully expressive her face was and the lyricism in her upper body. We take her feet and legs for granted, of course. Brava! Now, about Martine. Could you believe this?!! What a show stealer! Did my eyes deceive me, or did those creatures really pick up 60+ year old Martine and literally heave her into the air? There were no wires on her. They heaved her! And yes, Susan Jaffe was just perfect, and how nice it was to see her grace the stage again. She still looks very youthful, and makes one think that she could just slap on those pointe shoes and give Aurora a whirl. I found some of the choreography a bit ordinary and tiring. Maybe it was just tiring, because there is not much drama embedded in it. The costumes were stunning. Aurora's three tutus could have driven a fairytale by themselves. What a nice surprise to see little Skylar Brandt given a child's solo in Act I. We've been watching her for several years in the kids' roles in Le Corsaire and other productions. It made it so much fun to see four generations of ABT's dancers in this production. All in all, a more than satisfying evening.
  24. Last night was quite something -- so many familiar faces covered in grey hair or no hair at all, but the smiles were all recognizable. Everyone behaved during the alumni group bow at the end. No one pushed anyone into the pit that I could see. And what a performance the current dancers put on. Murphy and Abrera in Symphonie Concertante were as near perfect as one could ask for. Abrera, as the violin, with her new confidence and determination, put on quite a virtuosic and elegant display. She surprised herself with a snappy pirouette-developee side-double pirouette with a perfect ending, and the audience giggled a bit at her surprise followed by "oh yeah I meant to do that" expression. Murphy cracked a wide smile, too. Both of them were radiant and confident and delivered the goods as did the corps. This piece certainly looked better on the Met stage than at City Center. The Dream was Cornejo with all cylinders firing. It was hard to believe your eyes when he took off, and every step was done to convey the story. Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes were incredible as well, but this piece definitely belonged to Cornejo. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to see this company right now?!
  25. A great review, FauxPas. When I saw Othello some ten years ago, I think, I recall that its weak point was the score which lacked melody and which used the saxophone and xylophone to very odd effect. Last night's music was not helped by the ringing of a violinist's cell phone during a pause in scenes. The music drove neither the story nor the choreography. It was just there. The music was sort of modern, the scenery was sort of modern, the costumes were sort of period-like, the choreography was a mismesh of template Lubovitch for the corps and MacMillanish for the PdDs. The pieces, some interesting, didn't fit together to make a meaningful whole. It reminded me of the Met Opera's effort two seasons ago to update itself by presenting Tobias Picker's "An American Tragedy", again a mismesh of stuff that did not assemble into a meaningful whole. The selling point at that time was the handsome baritone Nathan Gunn; the selling point last night was the beautiful Alessandra Ferri. Most of us would pay just to see her wander down a supermarket aisle selecting fruit and vegetables. She is an astonishing actress of unparalleled depth and intuitive responsiveness to her fellow dancers. Gomes was in heaven dancing with Ferri. Radetsky was in heaven dancing with his wife. Cornejo, impressively bruised and chained, danced up a storm. No complaints about his partnering of Ferri or Abrera. There was definitely a connection between Ferri and Cornejo -- maybe it was the intangible Bocca effect. I enjoyed Othello for one reason only: the superb cast that overcame the music's shortcomings to put on one heck of a display of Shakespeare. I can't single anyone out, because the five of them were just terrific. It was a one of a kind performance, literally, and I'm so happy I got to see it.
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