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Fokine Celebration

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Les Sylphides, Petrouchka, Le Spectre de la Rose, Polovtsian Dances.

A couple of dreamers, an exploited puppet and dancing warriors. What are your thoughts on this program?

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Went last night to the Fokine program. First of all, the reconstructions were very good and authentic looking. "Les Sylphides" had Gillian and Max supported by Yuko Kakija and Maria Riccetto. Gillian had so much technical strength that she could disguise it and make the highest jumps and fastest pirouettes look as light as a feather. Max was cast perfectly in style and manner. Kakija was kind of small scale but Riccetto is very good if a little strong in attack. Having seen very tired versions of "Chopiniana" by the Kirov this looked fresh and strong. The corps had rather stiff arms that were not very Romantic but that might have been the coaching. Alexandre Benois and Leon Bakst have program credits for the sets and costumes for the various ballets which I find a thrill.

"Petrouchka" had a very strong cast. Amanda McKerrow looked in marvelous shape as the ballerina and her work had wit and style (not always her strong points - the acting is a recent development). Shame that this is her last season but it is a long career. (Amanda and Veronika Part should be doing "Les Sylphides" too) Julio Bocca replaced Ethan as Petrouchka and though he danced well I think that Angel and Herman might have a better take on the pathos of the character. He seemed a mischievous and unhappy but not truly tragic figure. Not a failure as his acting is detailed and energetic and he is funny but I felt something missing. A kind of hangdog wistfulness was missing. Marcelo as the politically incorrect Moor was a paragon of strength and style as always. Veronika Part in flat shoes was a dancing nursemaid in the second crowd scene. The big thrill was a very spry and authoritative Frederic Franklin as the Old Charlatan. He really held the stage and moved well at 91. I don't think the lighting was particularly evocative in "Petrouchka" - I think more shadows are needed or something - it looked too flat and bright. The lighting for the other three ballets was fine.

Herman Cornejo and Xiomara repeated their thrilling "Spectre de la Rose" with Herman executing some very light jumps and perfect airborne assemblé(?) turns.

The "Polovetsian Dances" started with a so-so vocal soloist but then the dancing got started. It was a fun, kitschy ending with better choreography than what I remember from Soviet films and Kirov tours. Gennadi Saveliev was very much in his element as the leaping, demi-caractere Warrior but he is not always a favorite of mine (though effective as a type) and wasn't all that exciting compared to some flashy work I have seen him do in the past (Diana and Acteon PDD). Carlos Acosta will be better. Stella Abrera was a vision of seductive beauty as the Polovetsian Maiden. Not a great work of art but a fun diversion. The staging teams came out for the final bows for "Petrouchka" (Gary Chryst) and "Polovetsian Dances" (a radiantly beaming Frederic Franklin) which are new productions for ABT. (A woman who I cannot place came out with them - is she Fokine's granddaughter?) I think it is a very good program and will be a big success for them. Soviet companies had specialized character dancers and mimes who can liven up crowd and folk dancing scenes and these kids have to do everything in everything. They did quite well. Made me wonder why the corps work in "Sylvia" looked so bad...

Faux Pas (just registered)

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Wow! Terrific debut, FauxPas! Thank you so much! Your screen name is certainly a misnomer in this case.

And welcome to BalletTalk. :) I hope you'll be posting frequently. And why don't you stop by our Welcome Page and tell us a bit about yourself? Thanks!

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I too went to ABT's first performance of their Fokine Festival last Thursday night. Though Fokine's choreography is admireable, I can't say I can really fancy it.

Les Sylphide, though with all of its romanticism, I find some what awkward. Thank goodness Gillian Murphy led the cast, along with Maxim. I find him a weak dancer, but he was so beautiful in his role of the poet. Gillian and Maxim really complimented each other, better than what I found in Sylvia.

Petrouchka, I can say, was the dud of the evening. Though occasionally appearing in a few scenes, I feel the tradgic puppet (though Julio Bocca could have worked a little bit more on the sympathy part) was far from being the main character. If anything this ballet should be named "A Russian Carnival" or something. Just to note, Amanda McKerrow and Marcelo Gomes were perfect in their roles of the Ballerina and the Moor.

What is there to say about Cornejo's performance in Le Spectre de la Rose but sublime. He jumps are absolutely amazing!

Though I should feel ashamed of myself, that evening I did not have the enthuisiasm to stay and see the Polovtsian Dances. Sorry. :)

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Welcome to you, too, Majinksy, and thanks for your remarks on the Fokine program. I saw Herman's Spectre on Opening Night, and while I fully agree that his jumps are amazing, what has stayed with me over the past few weeks is, literally, the spirit of the rose. I wonder if that will be your experience as time passes.

I hope you will continue to share your impressions of the performances you attend. In the meantime, please introduce yourself :) on our Welcome Page.

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Went Friday and Saturday night.

Enjoyed both evenings very much but who decided to use "Winnie The Pooh" in Petrouchka instead of that big bear they used to have.

Tempi in Les Sylphide were a little too slow I thought.

Edited by klingsor

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Saw the Friday night Fokine Celebration. Abrera was excellent in Les Sylphides as was Gomes in his partnering. Petruchka was interesting to see but I felt that Cornejo was still working on his portrayal. Stappas was quite effective as The Black Moor.The best dancing came from Reyes. Le Spectre featured an uncharacteristically pallid performance from Corella who certainly lacked the charisma of Cornejo in the role. Polovtsian Dances featured both Acosta and Part. Part was adequate but moves too slowly. Acosta. always exciting to watch doesn't relate to anyone on the stage and seems only interested in bringing attention to himself. Not a very good evening at the ballet but well worth the visit for the artistry of Abrera and Reyes.

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We saw the Fokine ballets on Saturday night. I am a hopless romantic but I still consider Les Sylphides one of the most beautiful of ballets. The audience gave a very audible sigh of disappointment when told that Maria Riccetto would be taking Julie Kent's place. However by the time the performance was over she had won the audience over. The Corps, which appeared so ragged in Sylvia, was in very good shape. David Hallberg was superb as were Yriko Kajiya and Melanie Hamrick.

I had a hard time relating to Petrouchka. The crowd is so busy that I found it distracting at times. I enjoyed it but kept thinking of its historical significance as much as the quality of the dancing. I must say it is amazing to see Frederic Franklin out there at his age. I heard him give a talk a few months ago and he is still very mentally alert and fascinating to listen to.

Aside from accidently backing into the chair early in the ballet Carlos Acosta danced the role of the Rose very well. He had that fluid look that seems to be so critical to that role. Maria Riccetto was the young girl and danced her part extremely well. My wife and I both agree we are going to look for her in the future.

We both enjoyed Polovtsian Dances. As someone has already said a bit kitschy but the dancing was wonderful and Carreno and Boone did a fine job. I agree the soloist was not particularly notable but I don;t think it took away from the ballet. I was somewhat puzzled when one of the warriors fell on his behind. It is not so much the falling as was the fact that they did not seem to be doing anything particularly difficult at the time.

All in all a great evening.

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Fokine Tribute 6/17

In the spirit of making the most of a bad situation, the good thing about being stuck in a hotel room a thousand miles away from NY for a few days during ballet season is that a break in my hectic schedule gives me the opportunity to actually sit down and think about what I saw… and post about it. Sorry about the length of this post but that’s what happens when I have time on my hands! I saw this program the night before I left, on 6/17. Although I had mixed feelings about it, overall I thought it was very good, and I found myself thinking about it a lot, especially about Les Sylphides.

Les Sylphides

I love Les Sylphides. I have fond memories of watching Makarova & Nagy in the leads with ABT in the 70s, and often go back to the taped excerpts I have of Makarova dancing both the prelude & the pas de deux. Co-favorite video version is the RB with Fonteyn, Nureyev, Merle Park and Annette Page. I had reservations about ABT’s version after seeing it during the City Center season. I thought the dancing of the corps had a somewhat static & academic tone when they should have been lyrical & weightless, and I really wasn’t 100% happy with any of the soloists except Erica Cornejo and Max Beloserkovsky. Murphy’s jumps and turns were brilliant but I thought she didn’t really embody the romantic style. Kent was gloriously soft and romantic but her footwork left something to be desired.

I know Alessandra Ferri doesn’t exactly have the strongest technique in ballet but she is such a magical dancer and a true romantic ballerina so I decided to buy tickets for all of her Sylphides. I was more than a little disappointed when she withdrew, and did not have high hopes when I saw that Abrera had gotten most of her performances. Abrera is one of those dancers that I’ve really loved in some roles, but at other times I’ve found her dancing brittle. In Sylphides she was beautiful, the most satisfying performance I’ve seen from ABT in the principle female role in this revival. Her jumps and turns were strong, her footwork clear and she was so musical – I don’t know where it came from but this was a side of her I hadn’t seen before! She was fluid through the torso – in fact her torso and ports de bras were extremely nuanced -soft, rounded, light and wispy. She was able to make the movement breathe and linger through the whole musical phrase, even after she had stopped moving. She is a stunningly beautiful woman with very strong technique and I was really happy to see her do so well in this. Liceica was lovely, and Fang was a joy to behold in the prelude. The first time I saw Fang on stage I knew that I wanted to see her dance the prelude, so I was very happy to see her cast in it. She was like a wisp of a spirit floating on the breeze.

Gomes’ partnering was perfect but this is not my favorite role for him. He is so poetic but somehow his dancing has a weight, a groundedness that I don’t think works well in this. I remember thinking the same thing about him in Symphonic Variations a few seasons ago. Not that he was bad, I just don’t think he was well suited for the role.

The biggest difference for me this season was in the corps. They seem to have adapted to the romantic style much better since last season. True, they did hold their arms in stiff positions occasionally, but I think that’s in the staging. This time their dancing breathed through the music, they didn’t “pose” in their positions like I thought they did last season.

Perhaps the larger stage and greater distance from it at the Met allowed me to see the ensemble as a whole and watch all the patterns emerge and fade out and then morph into new groupings. I found myself caught up in the sweep of the movement, in the mystery of it, rather than focusing on specific dancers or even particular groups of dancers. This time they made it sing.

Petrouchka

I fall squarely into the camp of those that don’t get Petroushka. I remember seeing it with Nureyev way back when – but all I remember is that I didn’t like it. Still don’t. Cornejo was fine; his was a very forlorn, hapless puppet. Reyes’ ballerina was appropriately superficial & heartless and Stappas was fine as the Moor. I guess maybe the whole point is that the ballerina & Moor weren’t deliberately malicious; they couldn’t help being who they were, nor could Petrouchka help being a misfit. Maybe this is one of those things that really illuminated the problems of it’s times, and doesn’t have the same impact when taken out of it’s context.

Spectre

I was struck by how different Corella’s Spectre was from Cornejo’s. Corella’s looked much less classical. He didn’t show us the perfect line, the beautifully articulated leg positions that Cornejo displayed, his was a much more expressive reading of the role, especially his arms. We all know what a great jumper and turner he is, but he really played down the pyrotechnics and gave a beautiful, lyrical performance. McKerrow was lovely as the young girl but honestly, I was so captivated by Corella’s performance that I don’t really have a distinct recollection of hers.

Polovtsian Dances

This could have been worse, but it also could have been a lot better. It just isn’t the type of thing that ABT takes naturally to, especially the men. Part was gorgeous and glamorous as the Polovtsian Princess, and Paris was fine too, but neither of them had much to do. I really liked Acosta as the Polovtsian chief. He has such a dangerous edge to his dancing, like an uncaged tiger and it worked very well here. He was a fierce, prideful, fearsome leader.

Acosta. always exciting to watch doesn't relate to anyone on the stage and seems only interested in bringing attention to himself.

Welcome Andres! I think I can understand why Andres felt that way about Acosta in this, but I had a different take on it. I thought he was fine with Part but wasn’t relating to any of the other men on the stage because none of them were relating to the character of the dance. He was kind of disconnected here, he had nothing to play off of. These are supposed to be savage warriors – fearsome nomadic tribes that wandered the steppes pillaging & marauding – but Acosta was the only one who conveyed that. The rest of them were just a bunch of ballet dancers prancing around with fake bows in their hands. They might just as well have been dancing holding umbrellas or bouquets for as much good as those bows did…I think Franklin was quoted as saying that he tried to get them to work “into the floor”. Right idea but poor execution. I know that companies like the Kirov & Bolshoi have dancers who make careers of nothing but character dancing whereas our dancers have to do everything - but honestly, if ABT couldn’t afford the time for sufficient rehearsal & coaching they should have passed on this one. Plus the music loses a lot of its power without the chorus. Well, I can only hope that the male corps finds it’s way in this eventually as the female corps has grown into Les Sylphides. And that a donor with deep pockets underwrites a chorus for next season…I can dream, can’t I?

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I'm in total agreement with nysusan about Acosta in Polovtsian. He & Part really made it work. It's a silly but delightful work & he was every inch the Chieftan & I felt he related well to everyone out there, including the singer. I particulary loved the raised & open "Russian" chest he used.

Carreno, the next night, was also wonderful. He seems totally healthy & was truly at the top of his turning game.

Boone did well but doesn't seem to fully understand this role, whereas

Part has all the perfume needed & then some.

Abrera danced wonderfully Friday but was, perhaps, more Willi than Sylph. The highlight for me was Gomes' amazing lyricism & Fang's gorgeous Prelude. She had the pure Romantic line from the top of her head to her fingertips. What a Giselle she will make!

The Sat night had Hallberg in Sylphides & he was, as always, gorgeous if not quite back to solid form. Riccetto replaced Kent & did very well. Kajiya was delightful; she's fearless in an Ashley Bouder sort of way.

I actually prefer a Petrouchka who does not play for sympathy. I've seen too many "boo hoo, poor me" performances & it doesn't work for me. Both Cornejo & Bocca play him very "internally", Bocca more angry & frustrated; Cornejo more delicate & wounded. Both valid & both wonderful.

Stappas & Reyes were fine but no match for McKerrow & Gomes the following night.

Corella, sad to say, doesn't seem to have a clue what Spectre is supposed to be about, starting with his entrance. Both Cornejo & Acosta appear in the windowframe, as if by magic, at the moment the girl starts to dream about the Rose. Corella made an "entrance"; leapt up to the windowsill & "TADA - here I am". It went downhill from there. This was fine with me because I didn't want to take my eyes off the amazing McKerrow, who dances & acts the girl so "big" & made her work best of any I have seen.

Acosta & Cornejo (alphabetic order here) are both totally glorious in Spectre. Again, very different, but delicious. Cornejo, with his subtlety & airborne qualities, is a pearl pink rose. Acosta, with his size & majesty, is a ruby red rose. (They should give him a little more room around the chair, though, as he's a larger fellow than the others doing it)

Acosta's performance is both androgynous & deeply sensual. I would imagine these qualities harkened back to Nijinsky in the original.

Fauxpas: I have always found McKerrow to be a wonderful actress, using her body & the music to convey the emotion rather than "acting", but I well remember her Little Sister in Pillar many years ago when she was the Cleverest Smartest Minx in Town. An amazing performance only eclipsed by her wrenching Hagar of last year. I'll miss her dearly.

Oh, Lord help us - another retirment this season!

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I was somewhat puzzled when one of the warriors fell on his behind.  It is not so much the falling as was the fact that they did not seem to be doing anything particularly difficult at the time.

The sudden and heavy fall was caused by Mr. Hoven's weapon/bow getting caught in his shoe thus pinning his foot to the floor. I am sure it was a typical problem for all Warrior Archers of the time. :wink:

Is anyone other than me reminded of Groucho Marx when the Polovtsian "young boys" exit each time?

t

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I went to the June 18th matinee. I found “Petrouchka” to be somewhat disappointing. I remember seeing the Joffrey Ballet perform this ballet a couple of times in the 80’s. I can’t remember who danced the main role, but the Joffrey’s “Petrouchka” was a very tragic figure. I didn’t find that to be the case with ABT’s “Petrouchka”.

“Polovtsian Dances” was a lot of fun – great music, great costumes, and especially Sascha Radetsky!!!!!! He’s really become an exciting dancer. He also has such a commanding presence. I found myself watching him even when he wasn’t dancing.

“Les Sylphides” was wonderful. The corps danced beautifully, but it was Maria Riccetto who really made the ballet magical. To me, she was the epitome of the romantic dancer.

But the highlight of the afternoon was Danny Tidwell in “Le Spectre de la Rose.” His dancing stood out for its elegance and musicality. And those great light leaps and equally soft landings. It was a very exciting performance.

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In the 80s you probably would have seen Gary Chryst as Petrouchka. He staged the ABT version.

Danny T was very impressive tonight as well. He understands what the role is about, doubly impressive in a young dancer.

& he certainly made a gorgeous looking rose!

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Colleen & Zerbinetta, I agree with both of you about Danny’s Spectre. I thought I had heard some lukewarm reviews earlier but I saw him Wed night and thought he caught the tone of it beautifully, and his dancing was gorgeous. So light, such perfect line and musicality, and what a perfect danseur noble body! I also saw Acosta and McKerrow at the Wednesday matinee and was totally blown away. McKerrow was beautiful, and Acosta was truly amazing. He really did manage to combine an otherworldly androgyny with a distinct erotic edge. His huge leaps, his expressive arms and his high energy level really made you feel the pulse of the music in his dancing; it was very alive and urgent. It felt like he was enticing the girl, leading her deeper into the dream.

Having seen the program 3 times now, I want to revise my initial harsh assessment of Polovtsian Dances a bit. I still stand by my criticisms, but the bottom line was that when the last performance of the season was over my first thought was that I hope they do it again next year. It’s just so much fun!!!!!!!!!!!! As in the case of some other recent ABT revivals I guess I think that a flawed production is better than none at all…

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I too went to the June 18th matinee but cannot gush about Mr. Tidwell's Rose. He is a lovely dancer with a beautiful body and was much improved from when I saw his Rose debut in DC. His performance still fell short for me. There are movements of his that still seem not just petal soft, but unsure. Perhaps Mr. Cornejo has spoiled this role for me. It is not the difference in the way the 2 men execute the jumps nor any of the steps as much as the slightest of gestures when almost still that makes me prefer Mr. Cornejo's Rose.

I also differ with many in that I adore ABT's "Petrouchka." I felt that the performance I saw in DC in February was much more solid, especially for Mr. Corella. I enjoy the many layers in the Stravinsky score and feel this production gives it's Shrove Tide festivities meaning, not madness. The highlight for me is the music with the Coachmen and the snow falling it's heaviest. I believe someone sitting near me spontaneously started clapping to the beat at that moment. It was distracting but I understood getting caught up in the moment. Also, kudos to the orchestra! Petrouchka is a tough one to get through any time and it was their second of 3 times to perform it on 6/18.

"Polovtsian Dances" makes me giggle, I don't even want to be giggling but I can't help it. It really has some spastic moments and I enjoy it.

I don't know how many performances, ABT and others, I have been to that have chosen to start off with “Les Sylphides.” It does set a mood and sadly some folks in the house (not me!!) literally start to snore the moment the lights go down. This piece does not wake them up. This was the best I have seen Mr. Saveliev dance all season and it's always a pleasure to see Ms. Riccetto.

I am enjoying this Met season, bring on the pirates.

t - who is pleased to have met carbro for a brief second :P

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PAMom, I don't think any of us were "gushing" over Tidwell's performance, only delighted to see how well such a young & inexperienced dancer did in a killer role. He not only danced it very well but he understood the flavor of the role.

He both danced & "performed" it far better than Angel Corella.

Were I to take a newcomer to the piece, yes, I would choose Cornejo or Acosta. They are already perfect. But one cannot compare a young man still in the corps to either of these giants.. yet.

It is the future promise that delights us.

I'm sorry to say I cannot share your admiration of Corella's Petrouchka, either. This is a dancer of enormous gifts who has not fulfilled his potential. He seemed to think Petrouchka was a comedy. It is not about steps & he did his usual overdancing: more turns & higher leaps than anyone else.

Corella can be wonderful in certain roles, principally some of the classics, but seems to lack the interest or the imagination for a Spectre or Petrouchka.

Every season I hope this is the time when he will become an artist but it hasn't happened yet.

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It is the future promise that delights us.

You have no idea how much you are "preaching to the choir" on that point. :P I am sure he will grow nicely into the role. I hear a lot of Tidwell gushing off of the board too. (A four hour post peroformance bus ride with teens made sure of that.):blush:
I'm sorry to say I cannot share your admiration of Corella's Petrouchka, either.

I said I admire ABT's "Petrouchka", not Corella's. He was much better in DC. I too was disappointed in his performance this past Saturday. It did not hit the mark for me but I love the piece as a whole. Edited by PAmom

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t - who is pleased to have met carbro for a brief second :D

My pleasure, PAmom! :P Next time, maybe we can extend the encounter.

I can only second Zerb's remarks. I fell in love with Danny Tidwell's dancing at first sight, when he was in ABT Studio Co. This role was a big jump (forgive the inadvertant pun) in prominence and technical and artistic demands from any of his previous roles. My expectations were met in terms of his technique, and exceeded, in terms of his expressiveness. Compared to Corella, I think Tidwell gave the superior performance. Corella does not understand that his tendency towards staccato phrasing (which is becoming a tiresome mannerism, and it pains me deeply to say that) is completely inappropriate here. And I was horrified that in the midst of a long phrase that unwound in a rightwards curve, he stopped to take a multiple (quad? quint?) pirouette to the left. A simple double would have sufficed, and if he did it to the right, he would not have disrupted the choreographic flow. Unfortunately, and disappointingly, his Petrouchka was no better, but for different reasons, as cited by Zerbinetta.

Herman Corella found Petrouchka's heart and opened it for us. He is so much more than jumps and turns, for which I am so grateful! :blush:

One exceptional performance in this program which has not been duly recognized so far was Zhong-Jing Fang's Prelude in Les Sylphides. She was pure spirit; you'd think you could pass your hand through her. The orchestra gave her an e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y slow tempo (beyond Makarova time :yawn: ), but she held the phrases together. When she and Anna Liceica flanked Marcelo in the attitude-front balance, her stillness was at once complete and absolute, and ready to spring to life. I was stunned by her artistry. THAT was an example of imagination made visible.

I thoroughly enjoyed Acosta in Polvotsian. Just as impressive, in a quieter way, was Veronika Part's ability to make the lead Harem dancer a vital participant. She was more than a beautiful woman doing silly (to our 21st Century eyes) steps in beautiful silk drapery. She gave us a woman trying to keep a rein on her painful longings. She gave us a character to take seriously.

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In a previous post, I did "gush" (I'm not so sure I like this word) about Fang & await her Giselle. Last night, during Polovtsian, I was watching Fang & Kajiya & imagining a Nikiya & Gamzatti .. sometime in the not too distant future.

Fang totally breathes music; she's poetry on a puff of a breeze. She needs to work on coming down from point through the foot, but very little else.

Kajiya struck a rather amazing balance, way off kilter, the other night & I wonder if she has Suzanne's ability to balance anywhere on her pointe.

The future is looking bright at ABT!

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Wish I'd been there to see all this. Wonderful that they DID do it --especially after preventing the Cubans from dancing Sylphides last year, to hear that their version did have a real heart-beat.

Just read a WONDERFUL review of it by Apollinaire Scherr in Newsday..... by a roundabout method, was referred by a friend to the link on Ballet.co, so if you missed the link to it that was doubtless posted here a week ago, here's the URL again

http://www.newsday.com/features/printediti...-features-print

What I love about it is it's so poetic: she's writing in Newsday, of all places, of the Romantic stage as "the mind of man" and the relation of the sylphs to the nightingale's song in Keats's "Ode", the "murmurous haunt" that the dancing Sylphides evoke. And she's really good on Petroushka, too.

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I returned for the "Fokine Celebration" this past Tuesday.

"Les Sylphides" - first of all the tempos are quite slow and the dancing can seem quite studied in effect. A friend said she was bored. She was also disappointed that Julie Kent didn't dance. However my companion said she could watch "Les Sylphides" every night and not get tired of it. Maria Riccetto is a strong technician and just needs a little more musicality and authority to become a prima ballerina. She was on the right path to this in the lead Sylph role. David Hallberg was back in top form from what I could see and his sense of line and inhabiting space is very poetic in effect. Wonderful arms and smooth leaps - no jerking movements. Marian Butler and Melanie Hamrick were very fine as the supporting Sylphs. Hamrick had very smooth jumps and turns and Butler looked quite secure.

"Petrouchka" - Pretty much the same cast as the opening except Stella Abrera as the Ballerina Doll. She was more lacquered and openly seductive playing off Marcelo well. Didn't bring that touch of fake modesty that Karsavina reportedly brought to the love scene with the Moor but was funny in her avid pursuit of him. Bocca was better as Petrouchka - less manic and more pathos. He was more the way I would have imagined him to be.

"Spectre de la Rose" - Corella was more a young man in a rose costume sweeping a girl off her feet with his ardor than an idea, a dream, a thing. Cornejo has an almost supernatural lightness and a faun-like delicacy (with strength underneath it) that made him seem more unreal and ethereal. Corella danced well enough but you were aware of steps, preparation and effort. Riccetto was again lovely and brought an erotic quality to the girl's dreaming.

"Polovetsian Dances" - Sascha Radetsky had more elan and energy as the Warrior than Saveliev did on opening night. Though he doesn't have all the trick jumps that Acosta or Saveliev have, he was pretty impressive with his turns and spins. Very high and fast. You really have to sell this piece very hard with lots of energy or it just doesn't work. Carmen Corella was the Polovetsian Maiden - she looked softer and more voluptuous and less race-horsey than she usually does. She has a flexible long and supple torso and her arms were gorgeous. The piece was more fun the second time for me too.

Despite the ups and downs of casting, I think this program is very fine. Should they replace "Polovetsian Dances" with a revival of their "Firebird" or maybe they should get someone at the Joffrey to set a revival of "Apres-midi d'un Faune" for Cornejo (or Stiefel)?

Edited by FauxPas

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I saw three performances...why not, right? :P

Les Sylphides

Murphy, Kajiya, Riccetto, Beloserkovsky

For me, Murphy is not a Romantic ballerina. She looked a bit stiff and chemistry was not palpable between her and Beloserkovsky. What really bugged me though, was that they were off the music on many of the well-known Chopin phrases, Beloserkovksy would lift her too late and set her back down too early, I didn't feel that connectivity with the music that I think is so essential in a ballet like Les Sylphides.

Ricetto, Butler, Hamrick, Hallberg

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this cast!!! Hallberg is my new favorite up and comer! :( He is just so elegant, his dancing is so sincere and every single tilt of the head has a meaning. And he is so gorgeous! He is a replica of the young Godunov.. he has this unbelievable stature and presence. And those feet...his landings are so soft, like a cat. I loved Riccetto with Hallberg, I thought they had great chemistry and looked lovely together- just the fact that they are opposites, Riccetto is a petite, graceful brunette and Hallberg, this tall statuesque blond..I just loved it! Riccetto is a beautiful dancer, she is so proficient and consistent technically, but also has such beautiful phrasing and quality of movement. I can see her moving up in a few years...it just takes time to develop that aura, and presence a prima ballerina has. I'm so happy for her- the way she lived up to and exceeded the expectations the audience had for the evening (I was one of those who sighed quite loudly when the announcement about Kent was made). Melanie Hamrick had a great first turn- she seemed very nervous in the beginning but it was nice watching her anyway- something about her youthfulness probably added to it. Towards the end, she loosened up and began to smile, and her jumps really flew. It was a pleasure

A word about Zhong-Jing Fang- what a gorgeous dancer. So fluid...I agree..I see a Giselle in the future....

Petrouchka

McKerrow/Abrera, Bocca, Gomes

PAmom, I'm also one of those who adores this Petrouchka! It was so colorful and lively. I do agree however that the title isn't quite appropriate. The ballet doesn't seem to be about Petrouchka, and "A Russian Carnival" certainly would have been more fitting. They captured the Russian spirit so well, with all the folk dances, and the snow, and the drunkards :P (by the way, brilliantly done by the four corps members- Roman Zhurbin stood out especially- and as the Chief Coachman as well) Gomes was just brilliant as the Moor, he was so funny, and adorable. I loved McKerrow as the doll, she had the perfect air of ignorance and flirtatiousness, and batted her eyelashes and blinked nonstop- very cute. :lol: Bocca I loved as usual-from when he first ran down the stage from his spot in the "teatr", limping, with his arms folded across his knees and his head down, he embodied the miserable, forlorn doll who no one loves and no one cares for or needs. He was so genuinely in love with the doll and visibly (and audibly) excited whenever she was around. I found myself having to relax my face as I was watching him- I felt so much empathy for the poor doll's anguish- and he had some adorable moments. When he ran into the hole in the wall, Bocca was actually "weeping" as he was hanging there- I appreciate sound effects like that! I wish that there was a pas de deux between him and the Ballerina- wouldn't that make sense? Anyway, it was geniously done.

La Spectre de la Rose

Riccetto, Acosta

What I loved about Acosta is that of the three men I saw, he was the only one, IMO, that really understood the role. He was masculine, yet appropriately feminine at the same time, and had perfect upper body movements and gestures- sensual yet elegant. What was lacking was the virtuoso prowess of the other two.

Reyes, Cornejo

Cornejo was the clear winner. I've changed my mind about him in this role since seeing him at the Opening Night Gala. He mixed virtuosity with everything that Acosta brought to the table, and more. His jumps were, it seemed like, mutiple feet above Reyes' head as she sat in the chair! :rolleyes: It was just unbelievable.

Riccetto, Corella

I think this was an off performance for Corella. He came on stage through the window with a *BOOM* and crash, literally. :P Normally one of my favorites, he didn't really seem to get the part of the role that calls for him to embody the spirit of a rose, that a girl brings home from a ball :huh: - he was trying to get in as many jumps as he could, and that night, those weren't too successful and didn't add to or make up for the part that was missing. (I did love him in Corsaire though!!!! :( )

Polovtsian Dances

Carreno, Boone, Paris

I must admit I only stayed for one of these, having seen it at the Gala as well. Loved Carreno, who brought macho-ness and power, and perfect pirouettes to something I wouldn't necessarily include on an ABT program. :unsure: Boone was very pretty as the Polovtsian Princess.

The winners in my book: Bocca, Cornejo, Riccetto, Hallberg

That's all :D

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I think it's great that people are seeing the ballets multiple times and giving us a first-hand comparison. :( I wish I could be in your shoes!

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I think it's great that people are seeing the ballets multiple times and giving us a first-hand comparison.  :tiphat:  I wish I could be in your shoes!

I was at last Monday's Fokine program. I was pleasantly surpised to see a big crowd considering it was a Monday night and not a full lenght ballet. Maybe, this proves that w/ good programing and casting, triple bills can bring people to the Met.

I especially enjoyed Les Sylphides which was beautifully danced by S Abrera(replacing G murphy), Y Kajiya and especially by ZJ Fang. She was just breathtaking during the Prelude.I agree w/ Carbro and Zerbinetta, who were able to describe her dancing better than me,that she will be someone to watch for the next few seasons. Maybe, there will be a Giselle or La Sylphide in her future. :yahoo:

Joe

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