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Opening night of Don Quixote

Guest Ballet Nearby

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Guest Ballet Nearby

How many of you were lucky enough to see the spectacular opening night of SFB's "Don Quixote"?

I would like to know if you were as excited as I was.

Feijoo and Boada were just spectacular. They w-e-r-e Kitri and Basilio from the very entrance. The image that they created in this production were phenomenonal.

I thought they were the best love couple in Don Q that I ever saw on stage or on video. Feijoo and Boada were sooo firely (and funny). These two were definitely in a different catagory ....they belong to THE PANTHEON, I think.

Here, I am comparing how they were diferrent from Kristin Long and Gonzalo Garcia, who performed the following afternoon.

Long and Garcia were good, just as good as the ABT dancers I saw. I love Russian ballet and their dancers, and I usually prefer them to others performing this kind of classical story ballet. But Joan Boada is unique. I believe not even Russian danseurs (with that big dancing) could equal Boada's fiery passion and very lively, very friendly personality of this non-aristocratic citizen living in Barcelona. Not to mention his technique! When he displayed his technique, the audience first gasped and then followed with big applause and bravos. I think he was more than ready to show his great talent to everyone in the audience (especially to SFB staff and Board of Trustees) ... I am unhappy that after this season, he will not be here to perform Basilio.

Other than Feijoo and Basilio, the cast members were excellent. Don Q was Ben Pierce and Sancho was Pascal Molat, our new soloist who already has made a lot of fans in the audience.

However, I thought James Sofranko, on Saturday, was funnier. One surprise was corps member, Mayo Sugano, who was cast as one of two friends of Kitri. Vanessa Zahorian danced the other friend. Sugano did very well, considering it was a premire and she was dancing with Zahorian next to her all the time. Zahorian danced a lyricalf solo in the last act. She is always reliable and I enjoy watching her.

Again, these two (Sugano and Zahorian ) showed more vivacity than Catherine (nee Baker) Winfield and Leslie Young. Julie Diana was an excellent Street Dancer (not as good as Altynai, ofcourse but then who would be!) Lorenzo, the father of Kitri was played by Ballet Master Ashley Wheater. I never imagined he had a comical side when he was dancing several years ago. He did a lot of funny pantomime.

Anyway, to help myself make this review end, it was the first time I ever saw SFB members on the stage so involved. Much energy was criss-crossing the stage and between the audience and the performers. At the end, the poor cameraman who I was standing right behind could not shoot his pictures of the bows on stage no matter how he changed the position. The whole orchestra audience had stood to give a tumultuous standing ovation as soon as the stars arrived on stage. From that time on, I had no idea what was going on until people taller than me told me that Tomasson and Possokhov were on the stage. I finally managed to see the bows on stage only by squeezing by between the ushers.

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Ballet Nearby let me tell you, how I envy you that you’ve also seen a second cast --

and welcome to Ballet Alert-- what a wonderful first post -- hope to read more of you -

Don Q was, I agree, totally sensational opening night. Everybody but the Don himself was outrageously adorable.... the mimes were fantastic, gamache stole hte show....

ANd Boada was a fantastically charming rogue -- not only can he do double assembles flying through the air at a 45 degree angle, he's screamingly funny when he's lying on hte floor, "dead," and Kitri's trying to revive him, and he puts his hand on her breast, and she's shocked and furious and delighted but has to play along because her FATHER is there.... --

But let me tell you what happened at the curtain call!!

You didn't see this!

At the end, after flipping her fan open on every double fouette, and finishing in a sous-sus she held for about 16 counts, like a knife stuck in the floor, (I couldn't sit still, I think I jumped up and cheered at that point, there she was STANDING there....)

It was about 55 seconds from then till the end of the ballet -- come the bows, when they handed her her flowers -- a bouquet the size of a bath-tub, red lilies -- Lorena took one look at them and HANDED THEM to Joan Boada, her partner (who I know you know, and the whole audience knew, had just been told a week ago that his contract would not be renewed)! She then took him forward and presented him to the audience. Talk about non-verbal communication! WHAT a magnificent gesture.

It was just heroic, absolutely in keeping with the performances they'd just given -- one of the greatest things I've seen on this stage here----- reminds me of Maria Bylova with the Bolshoi, who threw her flowers into the pit... she'd danced Myrtha..... You couldn't tell if it was in homage to the musicians, or out of contempt for the commissar who'd sent them to her, but it was magnificent, and definitely defiant...

Lorena's gesture was SO handsome -- obviously spontaneous, just her response to the fact of the flowers, enough to cover a coffin, huge red lilies.... In a way it was defiant --not necessarily of management, I think she knew what a sympathetic vehicle Helgi had just given her. and how deeply it validates her way of being onstage -- more a defiance of fate, let the chips fall where they may, I support my fellow artist and countryman --

What we'd seen and LOVED in the performance was very much the Cuban temperament, a kind of nobility in adversity that sets great store by unconquerable high spirits -- I don't expect to see it in Kristin Long or Yuan Yuan Tan, though I admire both very much -- it takes a whole lifetime to develop that.

The first thing Lorena did that truly amazed me was the curtain calls in Gala Performance..... I was shrieking. She was funnier than the Trockaderos, and as with the Trockaderos, the reality was so powerfully there behind the parody -- she wants us to love her. So she was milking the bows, wrapping herself in the curtain, going WAY beyond anything I'd seen van Hamel do in the role when ABT had danced it here.... but the thing was, she was NOT outstaying her welcome... the more she did the funnier it got, and the more I wanted it to go on...... When she finally did leave the stage, it was because she'd had enough....

Until this production, I thought this kind of Don Quixote was a joke at the expense of Don Q -- which i think was Balanchine's view...... But after seeing it, I think it presents a KIND of ideal, and that on opening night we saw this ideal when she handed him those flowers --

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I was fortunate enough to see Lorena and Joan on opening night as well as Vanessa Zahorian and Gonzalo on Sunday matinee and Yuan Yuan Tan and Vadim on the closing night. All were wonderful. There is no doubt that Lorena doing the fouttes--doubles and triples opening and closing her fan was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen. Wow!!! Lorena was a wonderful Kitri, the part seemed made for her.

I was also very impressed by Vanessa Zahorian's performance. I loved her style. She also did double and triple fouettes but did not have the fan in her hands--still extremely impressive.

I also enjoyed Yuan Yuan more than I expected to. This company is blessed by so many really outstanding dancers. The men are so amazing. Joan was so impressive. [snip; A.T.]

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Guest Ballet Nearby

[snip; A.T.]

Thanks for the good news and the reviews, my plan to see all Don Q became interrupted...

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Administrator's note: please don't post rumors off-board, even benign ones. If you're not familiar with our Rules and Policies, please take a few minutes and review them -- they're on the About This Site Forum.

Here's a link to the Gossip policy.


Thanks very much for your report, lillianna. It's fun to see several casts and compare them, and fun to read about them. :)

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My apologies to all. Of course, it is improper to post rumors. I was caught up in the good news and failed to wait for the release. This morning's SF Chronicle reports that Joan Broada's contract has now been renewed. Those of us who were fortunate to see his wonderful performance in Don Quixote give that news a standing ovation. The paper did not say whether or not Joan accepted the contract. It also said that the contracts of the other 3 who had notices of non-renewal of contracts were not affected by the new decision.

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