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NBoC's Merry Widow

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The Merry Widow Nov. 2

Choreography: Ronald Hynd

Music: Franz Lehar

Hanna: Martine Lamy

Danilo: Geon van der Wyst

Valencienne: Sonia Rodriguez

Camille: Maxim Vaitsiul

Kromov: Guillaume Cote

Prititch: Piotr Stanczyk

Leading Pontevedrian dancer: Keiichi Hirano

I went last night and it was such a lovely performance to start the company's 50th anniversary season with. I'd seen the Merry Widdow on video before ( Karen Kain and John Meehan) but it looks much better on stage. Before the show I was eating dinner and Stacey Shiori Minagawa who was scheduled to dance Valencienne was sitting beside me! I wondered why she wasn't backstage getting ready! But it turned out there was a casting change so Sonia danced. Evelyn Hart who was to dance opening night had an engagement in Ottawa and once again Sonia filled in, so she's dancing almost every performance! She was partnered by Aleksandar Antonijevic for opening night, but on friday newcomer Maxim Vaitsiul made his debut. I don't know much about him, he's new to the corps but there is no bio for him in the season program. I was very impressed with his dancing! Handsome,fine jumps and turns, good partnering, looks very much at home on stage.

Guillaume Cote is another one to keep your eyes on. He has excellent classical technique but also does well in the modern repetoire.

Keiichi Hirano was great in the character role. He is a bit short for a male dancer, but his soaring jumps and fast pirouettes shine in these kind of roles.

The corps looked good, not always in perfect unision ( one of the newspaper reviews suggested that they had more rehearrsals for the mixed program next week) but lovely in the waltzes. The can-can ladies, especially Tanya Evidente, had a lot of fun with it!

It was nice to see Martine Lamy dance Hanna. She isn't used as much these days, but there are some ballets that she looks marvellous in, Manon, Onegin... She's danced Widdow many times, and has grown into the role beautifully. Every detail, gesture, and mannerism was perfectly in character. It was a very elegant interpretation. I loved her act 2 solo, and the flashback in Act 1 when Hanna as a young peasant girl gives the scarf/ hankerchief to Danilo was equally charming. She hold her upper body very well, lovely port de bras.

Geon van der Wyst was also very well suited to his role. His stage presence is strong and masculine. He plays the part of a 'cad' or heartbreaker (saw him earlier as Pinkerton) quite convincingly! But I wish he has more polished technique. The duel in Act 3 is more like " who can jump higher?" and in this case Maxim Vaitsiul's Camille wins!

Sonia Rodriguez made a naive and pouty Valencienne- with utterly gorgeous dancing. I was sitting in the very front row on the side though, and when she was at the side of the stage sitting with the baron, she was having a full conversation with him!

Merry Widow is a 'fluff' ballet with it's can-cans, champagne, fluffy gowns and fake mustaches! But it is beautiful and shows the company enjoying itself and celebrating!

Can't wait to see Mozartiana, Pastorale, and Solitaire on wednesday! Leigh, what day will you see it?

[ November 03, 2001: Message edited by: Paquita ]

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Loved your review of Merry Widow!

My older daughter and I saw the Sunday Matinee, with Martine Lamy and Sonia Rodriguez. A great show, although daughter thought that there was a lack of unison in some of the dancing. I had never seen this ballet "live" before, and enjoyed it immensely. At wonderful way to start the season.

Leigh, if you go to the Sunday matinee perhaps we'll rub elbows! I will be there, with younger daughter this time. Enjoy the show!

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