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Monday, June 2---Don Quixote

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First off, let me say that Paloma was GREAT! I really do believe that she is the best dancer in ABT right now. Her arms are so beautiful now--there's really no problem with them any more. She was excellent as Kitri; it's really *her* role. Her facial expressions were nice, but there were times when she would pucker her lips.

Jose Maunel Carreno is HOT! Haha. He was totally on, and he seemed to work well with Paloma, which is a good thing since he partnered Susan Jaffe for such a long tme. They looked very comfortable dancing together. His "ice-skater" turns were beautiful. They didn't look like he was struggling. He looked totally in control, and that was great to see.

The corps was only so-so. Often they are not in sync, and during the dream scene on the girl fell. I have to give her props, though-she got right back up, put a smile on, and kept dancing.

Sandra Brown and Marcelo Gomes were perfect as Mercedes and Espada. Sandra came out and hit such a perfect balance in arabesque, it was beautiful. Marcelo is such a large dancer, in build and in character.

The flower girls, Stella Aberea and Michelle Wiles, were very good when they were dancing by themselves but were slightly off when it came for them to dance together. It seemd as if Wiles was trying to hold the balances longer than Abrera, which made them be not in sync.

Veronika Part was very good as Queen of the Dryads. She did not make it look like work--she was seemingly weightless. Maria Ricetto, as Amour, was adorable (for lack of a better description). In her variation she was fleeting and light, just how it should be. I didn't particularly like her facial expressions, however--they seemed too contrived and the was just too much mouth movement for me.

Back to Paloma--Her turns are really amazing, as were the "Don Q" leaps. She was just absolutely beautiful as far as I'm concerned. Her balnces in the Grand Pas de Deux weren't the best I've seen her do, but still--they were good. In the fouette turns in the Coda, she finished with 4 of 5 turns. However, she definitely wasn't all tricks; she is definitely developing her artistry, and that was good to see.

All in all, a very good performance!


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Hello Petite_Arabesque - as you, I too enjoyed the performance and found both Paloma and Jose Manuel in excellent and joyous form. I love your description of Carreno as being HOT - he is certainly a dish!!!! and Paloma is undoubtedly coming into her own - at least in Don Q.

The highlight of the evening for me was Sandra Brown as Mercedes - she was absolutely and completely exquisite! I also agree with you about Marcelo being a large dancer, in build and in character but I felt that he danced for himself and had very little chemistry with his "Mercedes".

Interestingly, I found Veronika Part's dancing totally opposite from you. Although her upper body/port de bras had that typical Russian/Kirov elegant and regal quality, and her legs are lovely, I found her dancing looked forced and heavy - the steps were sharp and crisp but I felt a sense of effort and weight in her movements.

And I too thought Ricetto's "Amour" adorable, fleeting and light.

All in all, a most enjoyable performance with plenty of other wonderful casts to see. I wish I could take the afternoon off to see Meunier's debut as Mercedes this Wednesday matinee - with Dvorovenko, Belotserkovsky and Monique it should be a highly glamarous and exciting trio! For those of you fortunate to see that performance, please post for the rest of us.

By the way, heard that Gillian Murphy did 38 fouettes during the dress rehearsal on Monday afternoon. I will catch the Murphy/Stiefel cast later on.



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Tuesday: Murphy/Steifel/Lopez/C.Corella/Wiles

No question as to Gillian's technical abilities. Totally awesome. In Act I, her diagonal of pirouettes from fifth position were from -- well, pretty darn close to a textbook fifth! And fast! And straight as an arrow. Her only technical imperfection of the evening was a missed lift at the end of the Act I pas. It appeared to be just a mistiming between her and Ethan. They covered nicely, though.

The Dream Scene offered Gillian's best dancing of the night, hovering in the prettiest balances. And I am not a balance freak -- feel they tend to break the musicality and/or fluidity of movement. Not so here. Beautifully presented, and full of breath. And her sissone balances alternated attitude with penchee. :)

We did not get the triple fouettes in the Grand Pas, but Gillian opened them with a quad pirouette, and gave us single, single, double, with an amazing changement de bras on the double -- fanning herself all the while.

I think perhaps Gillian suffers from an excess of good taste. Even as Kitri, she seems unwilling to sell her performance. Kitri needs a hoydenish reading, and Gillian fell short. Salient intermission observation: She can do everything but smile. Of course, she's still young and relatively inexperienced. Perhaps projection will come in time.

Ethan, in contrast, seemed more concerned with content than form. His performance was about giving to his Kitri and his audience and having a blast for himself. Comment heard as Gypsy Camp scene opened on its black-booted men in shoulder-length "hair" held in place with red dew rags: "They look like Ethan's motorcycle friends." :) Lead Gypsy was the incomparable Herman Cornejo. What fun!

Michele's Queen of the Dryads was heavenly. My favorite moment came at the end of the melodic bridge -- a stunning soutenu. It was so space-filling and lifted that it made the French (or are they Italian?) fouettes that followed appear as if they were done inches above the floor.

I loved Renata Pavam's Amour. She caught the role's boyishness in a manner reminiscent of the much missed Christine Spizzo. Beautiful, fine footwork and nice jumps, too.

Wed. Mat.: Dvorovenko/Belotserkovsky/Saveliev/Meunier/C.Corella

I was going to sit out the Irina/Max performance this year, having seen it both last year and the previous year. Fun as they are, there's just so much DonQ one can take, and I'm seeing more later. However, after learning that Monique would dance Mercedes . . . had to be there.

Loved Irina -- a sexy Kitri, if a degree or two cooler than in previous performances. Max always seemed to me too much the Romantic poet to be a great Basil, but unusually for a dancer at this stage in his career, he has become a more convincing bravura dancer than before.

As for Monique's Mercedes -- What ice! What fire! And has anyone ever tossed her skirt more seductively? The phrasing of the Dagger Dance was breathtaking, and that silly Act III dance with the Matador -- always an endless bore before -- was great fun and of remarkably short duration.

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I was given a ticket to matinee performance of Don Q yesterday so I can give you a little info bingham. Carmen Corella did a nice job as the Queen of the Dryads...she had a little bit of trouble with the italian fouettes at the end of her variation but she managed to finish nicely. What I did notice that was very nice was how light she was on her feet when coming out of jumps. A lot of times at the Met I hear a lot of noise when the dancers come through their pointe shoes!! Yeah Carmen!! :) Amour was danced by Anne Milewski and I thought she performed well also, I think the audience really enjoyed her, she was very charming!! Overall I thought it was a good performance. I try to watch the dancers and look for qualities I can bring into my own dancing and I really admire Irina's attack and flair. She really goes for it and I love that!! I also loved the way she used the fan in the fouette section of the coda...very exciting!!!

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Bingham, Carmen and Irina were wonderfully matched -- both have similar colored hair (this season) framing roundish faces, both have angular movement styles. With all respect to Kiki, I thought Carmen pushed her way through the variation. She did not look comfortable.

Anne Milewski, whose Amour last year was pretty saccharine, has toned down the cutesiness. Big improvement. She was energetic and very endearing.

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If I had seen her Kitri I most probably would have agreed with you, but I must say that I find Gillian Murphy's refusal to "sell" her performances one of the things I admire about her. I think it was Alexandra who once wrote, in response to comments that Murphy's demeanor was "distant" (or something like that), that (my paraphrase) "There is nothing cold about Murphy's dancing." Whether I have gotten the quote correct or not, this is certainly my view.

Due allowance must be made for subjectivity, but I find Murphy's dancing very warm and engaged indeed, even passionate. That is not to say that, in a dramatic role, she can properly ignore the dramatic demands -- I haven't seen her Kitri and I'm not addressing that. It's that for me she projects very strongly. I consider her the most gifted American Ballerina dancing today and I think it's one of the great ironies of the present that she is to my eyes, dancing with ABT, potentially the most gifted Ballanchine Ballerina around. It was seeing her in Theme and Variations some years ago that first won me over.

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