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Everything posted by Haglund's

  1. I received an email advertisement from ABT today regarding their new Sleeping Beauty. It placed great emphasis on the importance of the balances in the Rose Adagio and the mental steel required to do them: It's interesting how they are encouraging the audience to expect a very sound performance in that respect. In reviewing the premiere casting, it seems that it would be so simple to just switch the lead roles and give us Murphy as Aurora and Part as Lilac. Maybe that is their backup plan if things look iffy as the premiere date approaches. Murphy only has one SB matinee performance, which in itself, looks suspicious.
  2. I can't argue with most of the general comments about last night's performance; however, I will say that I go to see every one of Nina's performances for the same reason that I still go to hear every one of Placido Domingo's performances. There is an immeasurable artistry that each brings to the stage which perhaps is even more apparent and appreciated in the absence of awe inspiring technical feats. Why did we love Fonteyn at 55 years old? Same reason.
  3. I've not a clue what Michael Popkin is talking about. Perhaps he was sitting in a score seat. Vishneva/Stiefel/Abrera all gave compelling, passionate performances. The dancing was phenomenal.
  4. Perhaps no one should be surprised at factual errors in the NY Times, but today's review of La Bayadere has some obvious ones. I was at both the Wed eve and Thur eve performances and saw Jennifer Dunning at both. In today's review, she knocks Stiefel on his acting on Thursday night, when in fact, he didn't dance and objects to Abrera's casting on Thursday night, when in fact, she didn't dance. From my vantage on Wednesday night, Stiefel's acting was thoroughly convincing and sincere - right up there with his Albrechts to McKerrow's Giselles. Abrera appears to be perfectly cast as Gamzatti. Beautiful and royal on the surface but dangerous just below. Hallberg was very good on Thursday night --everyone was -- but I think it's time to start trying to differentiate between all the different princely characters. True, their predicaments may be similar, but Solor should not come off as Siegfried. I'm sure this will come as Hallberg becomes a little more invested in the role. Herrera was definitely more subdued as Nikiya on Thursday night than Vishneva on Wednesday night, but her interpretation worked, particularly her dynamics in Act II. The speed and clarity with which she etched out some of the phrases was astonishing. Can't wait for tonight, and oh-oh-oh Nina's back on Monday.
  5. I forgot to mention Sarah Lane's performance as a Shade. It was superb. One thing I really like about her, aside from her swift, crystaline technique and beautiful demeanor, is her courage. She approaches everything without the least bit of hesitation and manages to make it work even when it might not.
  6. Tonight's La Bayadere with Vishneva, Stiefel, Abrera and Cornejo was outstanding. The corps was beautiful, even mesmerizing. I felt like I was the one who had smoked the stuff. Everyone did such a wonderful job. Stiefel looked great and is dancing with a deepened sense of sincerity. He was more of a participant in this production than I've seen most men be. He had a great connection with Vishneva and encountered no apparent problems partnering her. She was stunning, absolutely stunning. Abrera, especially in her Act III solo, was exquisite. Cornejo was almost beyond human. I am so happy to have this production back and can't wait to see tomorrow, Sat night and Monday's performances.
  7. Perhaps my comment about the disposition of Part was a bit harsh. I just reminded myself that no one fired McKenzie after the droopy sweatpants incident during R&J on Live from Lincoln Center.
  8. Tonight was a mix of great disappointment, great joy, and more disappointment. Excerpts from full length ballets, dropped on the stage out of context, with no scenery or framing, can be difficult to enjoy. But sometimes, the artists make it work. Tonight we saw who couldn't and who could. The night began with part of Kingdom of the Shades. One shade lost her balance in the arabesque parade like I've never witnessed before. She stepped completely off line to the side almost turning sideways. One or two of the center developee arabesques were quite wobbly. Maybe it's unfair to point out the very few problems in an overall serviceable performance, but in this piece, any deviation from the expected norm is highly noticeable and disturbing. Next -- the excerpts from Sleeping Beauty. Beautiful costumes, all of which could be seen very clearly on the empty stage with hideous utility lighting. The choreography will not make me look forward to this production. The music was glorious. Michele Wiles performed a very brief, uninteresting Lilac Fairy variation with great commitment, stability and aplomb. But the content (again on the empty stage with wretched lighting) was boring. Next came Veronika Part in the Rose Adagio who managed to turn this into an endless train wreck. Despite her fine lyrical qualities, I think McKenzie should fire her after tonight's performance or else his Board should fire him if he insists on entrusting her with the premiere. She missed every balance. She fell off pointe while desperately clutching one of the cavalier's arms. She was way off balance on most all of her supported pirouettes. No question she was pretty. She was very pretty and smiled and walked and developeed with great grace. But plain and simply, she can't do the job, and hopefully she will be replaced by June 1st. If she isn't, I'm exchanging my ticket. Next -- Diana Vishneva in an Aurora variation. I couldn't figure out what she was doing or why she was doing it. I recognized all the steps and the vocabulary and the transitions -- but I couldn't grasp the point of it in the absence of any framing. The last S.B. excerpt was the Grand Pas from Act III with Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky. Finally, they took me into the fantasy. They were in love. They knew why they were dancing. They could have come out on stage dressed in brown paper bags, and still could have created a compelling and beautiful performance. The Piece d'Ocassion with Lang Lang, Stella Abrera, and Sascha Radetsky was visually stunning. Abrera, in a plummy evening type gown, was absolutely gorgeous. Radetsky could not have been more proud dancing with her. It was the stereotypical piano PdD, but it showed both of them off nicely - oh yeah, and Lang Lang, too. Cornejo and Reyes in the Romeo and Juliet balcony PdD showed great promise but still the partnering is cautious looking. The Act III PdD from Othello with Ferri and Gomes was incredible. Very powerful drama. Very MacMillanish in a post-MacMillan way. I had enormous sympathy for both characters. Ferri, and maybe this is my overactive imagination, left the impression that maybe Desdemona was not 100% innocent of all charges. I think their single performance of Othello may be one of the best of the Met season. Not for the kids. Next -- it was the return of Nina in S.L. Act III with Corella. It was wonderful to see her again -- and it was obvious from the audience response that she has been missed terribly. She gave a sturdy performance but was not the Nina who we last saw on the Met stage. Corella appears to be in very good form. Next -- Manon with Kent and Carreno. Kent is a beautiful dancer, but she is not a deeply passionate dancer. This PdD requires unbridled passion, and tonight was a bit too restrained. Lastly -- La Bayadere excerpts from Act 1 looked very good. Paloma Herrera in the Temple PdD with Hallberg was beautiful. Every season brings a new layer of artistry from her. There seems to be so much more expressiveness in her head, neck and shoulders. Gillian Murphy's and Ethan Stiefel's pas d'action variations closed the evening on a virtuosic high note. There were some indescribible dresses in the audience. Did anyone else see that white ostrich like feather thing that the woman in the third row of the orchestra was wearing? Oh, my word, I thought that it was some type of a transgender Halloween costume. Oh, my, my, my.
  9. Why does McKenzie always feel the need to streamline everything? I doubt that Gelsey would let him get away with too much trimming, given her fondness for authenticity. What worries me, however, is whether there will be a part in this new production for Mr. Franklin.
  10. I'm already loving this as it seems that the sets and costumes will match the grandness of the music. If you look to the right of the picture, there is another picture of Julie Kent as Desdemona with Othello's huge hands encassing her head. The Fabrizio Ferri photo is brilliant, but makes me shudder considering how it all ends her.
  11. How often I've wished for that Star Trek Transporter while stuck on the A train. If you're serious about the trip, note that the May 16 performance is a matinee. Ms. Part will dance Nikiya again on the 18th in the evening. What a nice surprise to see that Abrera and Radetsky will be doing the Piece d'Occasion on Opening Night. I remember last year, Abrera was to have been featured with Saveliev in the Piece d'Occasion based on the operatic aria Shadow Dance with soprano Ruth Ann Swenson. But Ms. Swenson got sick and had to bow out; so they cancelled that part of Opening Night. How nice to see this couple finally featured together on the Met stage. With regard to the hostel on Amsterdam and 105th, I actually stayed there in 1990. It was interesting being in a room with 4 bunk beds and being the only one of eight people who spoke English (plus being in a foot cast and on crutches while searching for a NYC apartment added to the uniqueness of the experience.) My memory recalls that it was a good deal, reasonably safe, and not unpleasant. However, I'd probably not make it a first or second choice.
  12. I got an email that Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews will be performing in Swan Lake, Act II at Skidmore on April 20 and 21st. It's a staging by ABT alumnus Denise Warner Limoli. I think that performance will definitely be a look at our future.
  13. That's priceless! Obviously, Erica still is in the forefront of the minds of others as well as our own.
  14. A critic in The Sunday Independent once wrote about Ferri: "In the balcony duet her up-for-it excitement is so raw you want to blush. Here is none of your wide-eyed innocent. Ferri's Juliet is the 14-year-old of every parent's nightmare." The competing innocence with sexuality in this character is the stuff of mature artistry. Martins' highly publicized use of students for this production is for the purpose of lowering our expectations for his choreography. We'll be talking about everything in the production - the kids, the designs, whether the student Juliets will get contracts - everything BUT Martins' choreography, which as is apparent in the blurbs on the special website, contains plenty of kicking developees and hip swinging.
  15. I tend to agree with richard53dog. When one of the marketing points of a production is that the kids are going to be prominently featured, it immediately lowers the audience's expectations of professionalism and content of the production, which in Martins' R&J may be intentional. Also, using a bunch of kids has a way of deflecting criticism. It might be an all around lousy production, but who is going to bash a bunch of kids? Hey, we might be surprised and it might turn out to be wonderful. Odder things have happened.
  16. Yikes! You're right. But that makes Gomes's total look even more unlikely doesn't it? I mean, 19 performances with the closest next total Corella with 11. I'm now beginning to wonder about those Sleeping Beauty dates, and whether he and Part are just keeping the spaces warm for someone else - like Ananiashvili. This male casting is really very lopsided.
  17. Keeping in mind that Gomes is coming back from an injury, I thought the following performance tally for the Met season (extracted from bios on the website) was interesting: 7 - Beloserkovsky 7 - Carreno 13 - Corella 7 - Cornejo 19 - Gomes 14 - Hallberg 6 - Malakhov 11 - Stiefel It just doesn't look final to me.
  18. I dunno. Have always wanted to see Ferri and Gomes together in something dramatic. I've wished for a Romeo and Juliet and cannot begin to imagine what that would be like. There's still time for ABT to tweak the schedule. I think we, as devoted, hard working, ticket-buying loyalists, deserve (yes, deserve) a Gomes-Ferri Romeo and Juliet. I feel a petition evolving.
  19. Just back from a very enjoyable Andrea Chenier at The Met. While there, I picked up yet another ABT casting sheet, this one dated April 6th. GOMES is now listed to dance with Ferri in Othello on May 24th. This will be extraordinary!
  20. I was at The Met today and picked up a copy of the latest casting sheet that is available where the various brochures are kept in the lobby. It is dated April 3rd. Desmond Richardson has been replaced as TBA with Ferri in Othello on May 24th. However, the website calendar still has him listed.
  21. Cast changes from the ABT website calendar! Samodurov has disappeared from the Chicago run altogether. Cornejo and Reyes will do a second R&J together, but it will be her 3rd in four days. Murphy and Hallberg dance on consecutive days, which makes it his 3rd day in a row in R&J. Dizzying.
  22. I stand totally corrected re: theater per capita for the Minneapolis. From Wikipedia: "The region is second only to New York City in support for the arts and and live theater per capita and is the third-largest theater market in the country." Hope this cures Farrell Fan's "headache". Northrop Auditorium capacity is more than 4800 seats - far more than the Met Opera House. A large number of the seats are not acceptable for viewing dance or anything else; so, maybe empty seats are to be expected.
  23. That's a shame that ABT spent so little time in Mpls. I recall when I lived there for a dozen or so years back in the 70's and 80's that ABT would frequently come for almost a week at a time and do consecutive Swan Lakes and evenings of rep. I specifically recall a season when Cynthia Gregory, Martine Van Hamel and Megali Messaic all did Swan Lake at Northrup Auditorium. And Martine did one of her very last performances there in Fall River Legend. She also spent time taking class, teaching and choreographing at MN Dance Theater when her good friend, Bonnie Mathis, was the principal teacher at the school. Mpls/St. Paul reportedly has more theater/music/dance per capita than NYC. You'd think that major companies like ABT and NYC Ballet and the Joffrey would spend more time there. After all, they do call it the Minneapple.
  24. Now you see why some of us go to 7 or 8 or 11 straight Swan Lakes in the spring. It's madness what this ballet does to people. Every cast that ABT serves up is a completely different audience experience. Glad that you fell under the Murphy/Stiefel spell.
  25. This is exciting and completely unexpected casting from ABT. When was the last time that they entrusted a full length premiere (let alone a $1million premiere) to a soloist? I was sure that we would see Nina in this premiere, but it looks like we will barely see her at all this season. It wasn't unexpected that Gelsey would fall in love with Veronika Part. Gelsey's meticulous, relentless pursuit of her vision should do wonders for Part. I'm so excited. I'm so excited to see what all the women look like after a strong dose of Gelsey.
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