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stan

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Everything posted by stan

  1. Another correction: It's Pittsburgh not "Pittsburg." I was struck by the number of dancers who come from Pennsylvania. I gather there is an outstanding school somewhere in the state.
  2. This business of "Yvonne has no technique" seems to be a recurring theme in this forum. Last year when it came up, I asked why they would give such a notoriously difficult role to someone with no technique. I didn't get any satisfactory answers other than that there's a "hard" version and an "easy" version which doesn't make much sense given how few people have danced the role. In any event, I was at Friday's performance and I thought it was dazzling. I asked my wife (who is a former dancer, and has seen every Square Dance since Pat Wilde) what her view was. She said that, while Borree is not her favorite in the role, she didn't notice any particular technical concerns. As far as being worried about a particular dancer, I worry a lot more about Ansanelli who fell off pointe twice in a recent Western Symphony.
  3. On this business of Borree's not being a technician, if she's not a technician, how is it that she is one of the few people who can actually do Square Dance which, I am reliably informed, is one of Balanchines's toughest ballets?
  4. On this business of Borree's not being a technician, if she's not a technician, how is it that she is one of the few people who can actually do Square Dance which, I am reliably informed, is one of Balanchines's toughest ballets?
  5. I've seen her a couple of times during the current season and she's terrific, particularly in last night's Emeralds with Ayupova.
  6. Any truth to the rumor that a soloist from the Kirov will be guesting with ABT next year?
  7. Reading the report on the music for the Mahdiviani piece made me wonder why it appears to be so tough for people to find good music to choreograph to. I found the Philip Glass score (in Circle of Fifths) so loathsome that I simply couldn't pay any attention to the dancing (which appeared pretty pedestrian). Does everyone have a tin ear these days? I'm reminded of Peter's "collaborations" with Torque (which fortunately seem to be a thing of the past). No matter how inventive the choreography, if the music is awful, no one's going to notice. Fortunately, Circle of Fifths was the only dog on the program. We also saw Ansanelli's debut in Firebird. I liked it although she seemed a bit tentative, not commanding the stage at all. Agon was spectacular particularly the Kowrowski/Evans partnership (good to see Maria dancing with someone other than Askegard).
  8. I wasn't surprised by Fayette who's been doing very solid work lately. The other two were, of course, logical candidates. The real shock was no women given that that's where the ranks seem to be thin. We've had two retirements lately, one serious injury (I gather Miranda may be back for Saratoga) and some of the principals are seriously underutilized (I rarely see Boree and Meunier is practically invisible). Every night it's Maria in this and Wendy in the other and the next night it's Wendy in this and Maria in the other. I know I'm exaggerating but not by much. So why were Taylor and Ansanelli passed over, particularly given the widespread perception that Taylor is his favorite?
  9. Lucky LoD will be seeing Maria in both Swan Lake and Kammermusik. Incidentally, speaking of William Forsythe, I read in the Times that his company is being shut down. Is this outrage being discussed anywhere else on the site?
  10. " most were middling sorts of dancers when they danced, " Peter Martins? Anthony Dowell?
  11. I thought the Tanner piece was interesting but my dislike of everything else ranged from moderate (Wheeldon) to intense (Preljocaz). Incidentally, who was it who fell in the Wheeldon, Bouder?
  12. On the "little details that disappear" issue, I agree with Leigh that this is rarely black and white. Here's an example. Everone is familiar with the moment in the second movement of Symphony in C where Farrell did a penchee arabesque and touched her forehead to her knee. Kowrowski does the penchee arabesque but the forehead doesn't touch the knee. Why? It's hard to believe she can't do it or is not familiar with the business. I suspect that she chose not to do it for some reason. Does this make her performance inferior? Does it detract from "Balanchine's legacy"? I don't think so.
  13. On the "little details that disappear" issue, I agree with Leigh that this is rarely black and white. Here's an example. Everone is familiar with the moment in the second movement of Symphony in C where Farrell did a penchee arabesque and touched her forehead to her knee. Kowrowski does the penchee arabesque but the forehead doesn't touch the knee. Why? It's hard to believe she can't do it or is not familiar with the business. I suspect that she chose not to do it for some reason. Does this make her performance inferior? Does it detract from "Balanchine's legacy"? I don't think so.
  14. I certainly agree that Homans was short on details in her critique. Who exactly is "step-driven and one-dimensional"? Maria Kowrowski?! But it is also true that Martins has a lot to answer for. Why, for example, go to the trouble of reviving the Sylvia Pas de Deux for the Balanchine Celebration only to let it totally drop out of the repertoire?
  15. I certainly agree that Homans was short on details in her critique. Who exactly is "step-driven and one-dimensional"? Maria Kowrowski?! But it is also true that Martins has a lot to answer for. Why, for example, go to the trouble of reviving the Sylvia Pas de Deux for the Balanchine Celebration only to let it totally drop out of the repertoire?
  16. Sunday's New York Times has an article by Jennifer Homans entitled: "Where is the Heartbeat in the Balanchine Legacy?" Homans has apparently picked up the torch from Arlene Croce arguing that Martins has trashed the Balanchine Legacy. The only good work, she says, is being done elsewhere like with Farrell's company. I've been watching the NYCB since the mid-70s and I don't get this. Of course, when new people come into the roles the dances may look different but that's too be expected. And certainly Martins is at fault for freezing out Farrell and the others. But has there really been such a precipitous decline?
  17. This site, jeromerobbings.org , reminds me that there were singers in the pit. The "Requirements" section suggests that the ballet can be staged for non-singing dancers.
  18. It's been a while since I've seen it but I think it's around 40-45 minutes so obviously not everything is included. Robbins called it a "distillation" of the West Side Story material from "Jerome Robbins Broadway". And yes, the dancers can certainly "hack" it. Helene, as I've noted, brought down the house a Anita. She could certainly have a future on Broadway if she doesn't want to give up the business.
  19. It's an ingenious adaptation of the musical which includes both dancing and singing. Some of the remembrances of Helene noted her amazing performance. My personal favorite was Nikolai Hubbe doing "Cool, man". Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be in the repertoire this season.
  20. At the Closing Night Gala last Saturday, there were no boos directed at Volpe, presumably because the audience was well-prepared for the cancellation and the Met had gone out of its way to Concorde in the up-and-coming Salvatore Licitra from Milan. Of Licitra, they tell the story that he was booed at La Scala after the "Di quella pirra" in Trovatore which traditionally ends with some ringing high Cs. Licitra didn't do the high Cs because they're an interpolation and Muti, the conductor, believes in following the original score. Muti's predilections in this regard are well known so in theory the audience should have booed him rather than Licitra but I guess the Italians didn't see it that way.
  21. At the Closing Night Gala last Saturday, there were no boos directed at Volpe, presumably because the audience was well-prepared for the cancellation and the Met had gone out of its way to Concorde in the up-and-coming Salvatore Licitra from Milan. Of Licitra, they tell the story that he was booed at La Scala after the "Di quella pirra" in Trovatore which traditionally ends with some ringing high Cs. Licitra didn't do the high Cs because they're an interpolation and Muti, the conductor, believes in following the original score. Muti's predilections in this regard are well known so in theory the audience should have booed him rather than Licitra but I guess the Italians didn't see it that way.
  22. There's an interview with Helene, on the subject of her retirement, in the current issue of Time Out New York.
  23. I've heard that Saturday, May 18 will be Helene Alexopoulos' final performance with the company. The program was changed so she will be doing Prodigal Son and Vienna Waltzes (presumably the Merry Widow). Good to see Nichols last night after a long while. And what has happened to Miranda Weese?
  24. I agree that the Gamzatti was a lovely dancer and that the evening on balance was a plus but there were a lot of questions. Overall, I much prefer the ABT production. Here the ballet ended with the Shades scene and there was no destruction of the temple. I missed that. Which version is more authentic? The program notes said something about creating a "streamlined" version of the ballet (shades (so to speak) of Peter's Swan Lake!) but you're hardly streamlined when you end at 11:00. We could have used Andrea Quinn last night! The wedding scene seemed to go on forever. I didn't much care for the parrots or for the water pitcher on the head dance. As to the dancing, I agree that the women, particularly, Gamzatti, were outstanding. I was less impressed with the Solor. And the Bronze Idol (here done in the wedding scene) was a throwaway. It's tough when you get used to the technical panache that ABT brings to it. (Wasn't the Bronze Idol Angel Corella's first big role?) It's true that a couple of the corps members were awfully wobbly in their arabesques. I've never seen that at ABT. Also, can someone tell me whether I was hallucinating or not. I had the impression that the music to the first variation in the Shades scene was actually music from Don Q. I understand that it's the same composer and that Minkus is notorious for his "beer hall" music as Croce described it. The orchestra (something called the New York City orchestra) played as loudly as any orchestra I've heard since Jimmy Levine conducted the last act of Gotterdammerung.
  25. I entirely agree about Gottlieb (and Croce too for that matter, even though I do think she started losing it toward the end). But I'm not sure this proposition is true as a general matter particularly in other arts, like literature. One periodically sees letters in the Times book review along the lines of: "How could you possibly give my latest book to [so-and-so] when everyone knows he's my sworn enemy." Once many years ago, a friend of mine had the idea that Pavarotti should write his autobiography and her first job was to find a writer. She considered a number of names including Stephen Wadsworth who at the time was a critic for Opera News. (Since then he's gone on to greater things like writing opera libretti.) Ultimately she decided on Bill Wright who wrote a very nice book. When we heard that the Times review was going to done by Wadsworth, we resigned ourselves to a pan which in fact is what we got.
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