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ABT Met Season (2006)

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What were the highs and lows of the Met season, to you??????


1- Julio Bocca's last performances: A wonderful end to his ABT career!!!! Bravo, Julio!!! :devil:

2- Herman Cornejo's Lescaut(Manon). For all those doubters of his partnering skills, you had to see his dancing with Gillian Muurphy. It was a masterpiece of comic dancing. He made her look light as a feather, while doing difficult partnering. Now it is time to expand his rep. to include roles like Basil, Ali, and maybe even Conrad!!! :beg:

3- I just want to say that I appreciate the wonderful corp de ballet work, for both the ladies and gents :D !!!

I will say it is the highest level of dancing/acting I have seen out of the corp dancers in my watching ABT since 1977!!!!!! Bravo ladies and gentlemen of the corp!!! :bow::D


1- Principle dancers ranks are getting thinner and older. Julio retired. Hopefully, Ethan will be back to full strength. Ferri is wonderful. But, she is in her early forties. Nina might be back at least to say goodbye? Jose is 37.

2- My personal opinion is that Paloma and Angel still need to work to become more complete artists. It should not be just about technique anymore!!!!

3- I think that the rep during the Met season should include maybe two less full length ballets. This will enable the casts to perform the ballets they rehearse for more frequently!!!!

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1- Gillian Murphy taking command in Sylvia, and also showing more softness and warmth—Aurora?

2- Misty Copeland and Sarah Lane (who else could make so much of the goat in Ashton's Sylvia—what a treat—I want to see Princess Florine next) making the case for promotion to soloist

3- Sascha Radetsky's Petrouchka

4- Hallberg and Part in Apollo

5- Great, individual Siegfrieds from Gomes and Hallberg

6- Frederic Franklin's character roles!

7- The combination of Erica Cornejo, Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes in the Swan Lake pas de trois. Probably unequalled in the world. Also good in the piece were Copeland, Simone Messmer and Yuriko Kajiya.

8- Greater prominence of Kristi Boone

9- Electric O/O from Veronika Part

10- Thrilling, athletic Juliet from Diana Vishneva

11- Hilarious stepsister from Erica Cornejo in Cinderella. Yes, she chewed the scenery and I loved it.

12- Renewal of Herrera's dancing through partnerships with Gomes and Hallberg. Yes, there is still further to go, but seemingly simpler, purer and softer dancing.

13- Craig Salstein enlivening Jeu de Cartes, Sylvia, R&J

Apparently I could go on indefinitely...


Just okay Sylvias from Herrera and Kent. Next time, a chance for someone else?

Corella dancing with less elegance and artistry than last year.

Veronika Part not a principal dancer, and no promotions for promising corps members. To come?

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1) Marcelo Gomes as Albrecht in "Giselle", Lescaut in "Manon", the Prince in "Cinderella" and everything else.

2) Erica Cornejo and Martine Van Hamel as the Goofy Stepsister and the Stepmother in "Cinderella"

3) Guillaume Coté and Xiomara Reyes in "Cinderella" - they brought great youth and heart to a ballet that needed it. Kudelka's busy ballet improved on acquaintance and is full of interesting and creative ideas. The Ashton is the best choreography of this music and the most suitable for ABT (think of Julie Kent and Gillian dancing Ashton's choreography) but this was better than the previous Stevenson version. If the Joffrey can acquire the Ashton, why not ABT?

4) Diana Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov mesmerizing in their partnership in "Giselle" and "Manon" - they seemed to create a rare symbiosis - you didn't dare look at one because you would miss something fascinating the other was doing.

5) ABT's "Noche Latina" "Le Corsaire" spectacular: it was flashy, superficial, pure showboating and simply heaven! Bocca with all the old fire heating up Herrera, Reyes, Corella, H. Cornejo and Carreno.

6) The already impressive and still developing partnership between Angel Corella and Diana Vishneva - he has found a partner who matches him physically and is a prima ballerina on his level but also demands more from him as an artist. More please.

7) Buoyant and fresher than ever dancing from Jose Manuel Carreno - one of his best seasons at ABT.

8) Julio Bocca's Joker in Cranko's "Jeu de Cartes": a bravura vaudeville turn with such comic force that it made worthwhile a ballet that lacks choreographic distinction and relies too much on slapstick.

9) The corps enlivening the filler surrounding the magical pas de deux in MacMillan's "Manon" - I sat through it for three nights in a row and didn't get bored. Bravo to Monica Parker for making this ballet so fresh and theatrical with her restaging. Bravo to the three sets of lovers Ferri/Bocca, Vishneva/Malakhov and Kent/Carreno - each brought something unique and special to the ballet.

10) Carlos Acosta as Apollo - raw power being refined by art into pure form and beauty. A God being formed before our eyes as he learns from and then inspires his Muses.

11) David Hallberg smoothly ascending to the principal rank his elegance and form deserves.

High and Low

The end of the Julio Bocca/Alessandra Ferri partnership in their final "Manon" - a night to remember all that Julio has given, all it has cost him and how much he will take with him as he leaves. You felt very full and very bereft at the same time. Julio was determined to leave ABT on the same high level that he brought to it when he came. He danced better than he has in years. There is too much fire and too much artistic drive in that man to just drift away on a boat or coach in a studio. Julio, this may be just the rest time before starting another new adventure. Invite us along wherever you go, Julio.


1) The only soloists who made progress this season were Sascha Radetsky and Stella Abrera. Arron Scott, Simone Messmer, Jared Mathews and Craig Salstein in the corps took advantage of those tiny opportunities they were given.

Those amazingly talented soloists and corps members whose careers remain stalled or in limbo include:

Anna Liceica - totally underused, undervalued, forgotten about - ABT's loss

Sarah Lane - a goat in "Sylvia", a teen hooker in "Manon", not much for a shining classical talent. She is very young but no more seasons like this for her in the future, Kevin.

Misty Copeland - where were the second leads she used to get? Both she and Lane and Zhong-Jing Fang spent too much time as Giselle's friends or Swans.

Maria Bystrova showed real stage presence in walk-ons like Bathilde in "Giselle" and Rosaline in "R&J" - when are Kevin and his staff going to wake up and see the light they have hidden under a bushel?

Veronika Part - how much longer can she be pushed aside and dancing Nurse Maids in "Petrouchka" and Terpsichore in "Sylvia"? - yes she also got Terpsichore in "Apollo" and repeated her Myrtha but her one and only Wednesday matinee "Swan Lake" shows what ABT feels it can waste on the sidelines and plan nothing for.

The full-length repertory and the way it was cast didn't have opportunities for much of the emerging talent that is trying to break through. Ultimately some of the starry principals who do the same roles each season will drop away and then these people will be needed. They may not be there.

2) "Jeu de Cartes" - very minor Cranko that a less starry regional company or the Joffrey might do better adding to their rep in a smaller house. This besides the Kudelka "Cinderella" was the only novelty and new acquisition the company made this season. How about Cranko's "Romeo and Juliet" to give us a rest from MacMillan's tedious harlots and street brawls?

3) Erica Cornejo leaving for Boston Ballet - it is probably better for her personally and professionally but she will be missed. At least 10 dancers are leaving at the end of this season - (per Matthew Murphy's blog) - including some valuable and promising talent (Laura Hidalgo). How about inviting Danny Tidwell back as a soloist to reverse some of the damage?

4) A lot of deja vu in the repertory casting and revivals - shake things up! The new premieres weren't for the ages. Only individual star turns (Vishneva, Bocca, Gomes, Ferri, Part, Malakhov) and excellent staging (e.g. the "Manon" revival) livened things up.

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1. The Partnerships. Ferri/Bocca, Vishneva/Malakhov, Part/Gomes.

2. Frequently, the quality of corps dancing.


1. The Lack of Partnerships.

2. Only one Part/Gomes.

3. Virtually no chances given for people in the corps to dance meaningful solo parts.

4. So many dancers leaving the company. Not really much different from 3.

By the way, if you haven't looked recently, there are many new late-season photos now posted on


Under Principals (beginning with a half dozen of Vishneva/Malakhov in the swamp), including such highlights as Bocca's shoes-at-Giselle's-grave. New ones mostly at the beginning and end of this collection.

Under Invidual Dancers you can see many corps and soloist favorites.

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The low of the season, for me, were all the evening long ballets----one after the other :) Oh, for the glory days of Ballet Theater when there were three or four different ballets every night. Those were the days when upcoming corps members and soloists had a good chance to shine. It was a glorious Company then, and perhaps a new Director would try to recapture it.

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The low of the season, for me, were all the evening long ballets----one after the other :) Oh, for the glory days of Ballet Theater when there were three or four different ballets every night. Those were the days when upcoming corps members and soloists had a good chance to shine. It was a glorious Company then, and perhaps a new Director would try to recapture it.

While I agree there used to be more nights with mixed bills (vs one mixed bill this season), ABT has always done a good number of full-length ballets. There has never been a MET season where there were "3 or 4 different ballets every night," the schedule has always included at least 3 full lengths per season, probably more.

Granted I haven't been around since the foundation of ABT, but I've been around since the early 80s, and performed as a super with the company in some of those full-length ballets done in the early 90s.

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I have to say, this is the first season that I can remember that there was just one mixed bill. And that was shown very early in the season. It was a disappointment that Sylvia was given just four times. Murphy came very close to greatness in her only performance - the first of the run - and I could only imagine what she could have done with a second performance of it.

I went less this year than I did last: 1 Sylvia, 1 Giselle (Vishneva), 1 Swan Lake (Part), Opening Night and 1 mixed bill (Hallberg as Apollo). I missed Cinderella due to the SAB workshop and a good week at NYCB, but I find that I only rue not seeing Part's twig and the sets.

So for what I saw, Part's Swan continues to evolve. This year she seemed to be really concentrating on giving a clean performance - this gave her Odile a very resolute feeling. She continued to improve as Terpsichore (though less flirting is still needed). However, I didn't find her a perfect match with Hallberg, who seemed to be concentrating very hard in Apollo. The role is within his grasp and, hopefully, with more performances (there's that wish again), he'll be a great Apollo. Regarding Vishneva's Giselle, I know her partnership with Malakhov is celebrated, but I liked her with Corella better. His ardent ways seem to ignite Vishneva's passion, whereas Malakhov always seemed to mirror his mood to Vishneva's, blend with her rather than showing contrast. Satisfying in its way, though.

One of the low-lights, was the Card Game - not really worthy of the company, frankly. I think I left after that ballet, so I missed Petruschka.

I would like to see at least 2 mixed bills, although I'm aware that people are tired of the Tschaikovsky Spectacular. It seems at the Met, the triple bills have to have a theme to sell them. So it's just a collection: all Fokine, all Tschaikovsky, all Stravinsky, masterpieces -- without thinking about what would make a satisfying program.

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And until the McKenzie years, the Giselles and Swans were sprinkled throughout the season, and the lead roles were not given to anyone of principal rank, whether suited to them or not.

I emphatically echo atm's complaint. And while I enjoyed several performances over the course of the season, the overall sense as I look back on it is boredom.

I saw less ABT this year than in recent years (granted, missed one or two perfs I would have attended due to family obligations, but doesn't change the overall decline). I am desperate for more variety in programming and less in casting.

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Up until through at least the mid-70's there were three different ballets a night, intermingled with the Giselles and Swan Lakes, but the company performed at New York State Theater in the 70's at least through 1974.

Yes, exactly. And some City Center seasons had the smaller scaled full lengths. So they would program Giselle at City Center (Makarova's ABT/NY debut for instance), Coppelia, maybe some other small set pieces. And like the Summer programs , they were sprinkled with mixed bills.


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ABT's spring season was a huge hit. I hear they actually made money and had more sell out houses this year than since the '80's.. KUDOS

My favorite performances mirror quite a few of the other bloggers...but I have a few to add:

Yes Herman Cornejo was wonderful in Manon, and he was wonderful with Gillian...That woman is definately a tour de force. Her acting is coming along and her technique, well, I don't need to tell you.

But this also shows that Herman can partner taller girls, he doesn't need to wait for that tiny partner to be a prince. I can see him as Sigfried or Albrecht...

Julio's Jue de Carte... need I say more. Of course it was just fun to watch Julio regardless.

Erica will be sorely missed as a the one soloist with the most comedic talent as well as the largest jumps.

I loved Manon, but there were some miscasts, Xiomara Reyes, not exactly a romantic lead, Julie Kent as Cinderella, a little long in the tooth. David Hallberg with Paloma Hererra in Romeo and Juliet, I have to say that David was teriffic, but Paloma just looked scared he would drop her. I have to agree with other bloggers she has not improved as an artist. Her technique is good, but that isn't enough at her level.

I was disappointed that Veronica Part only got one leading role. Speaking of beautiful line, elegant form and acting chops. Come on folks, promote her.

Vladimir and Diana together in Manon

Jose with anyone

I agree with others Sasha's acting has come a long way, now the consistancy in his dancing just needs to follow.

David Hallberg..it is wonderful to see this talent grow before our eyes. I remember him in the studio company the tall lanky sweet boy the fabulous feet and line. His growth from year to year is amazing and impressive to see. Let's hope it continues and he doesn't start to believe his own press......

The biggest disappointments were Angel Corella, what happened to him, he seems uninspired and out of shape. His acting didn't ring true... Ethan Steifel injured again, Paloma Hererra in general, I think her best role is Kitri... Not enough of Sarah Lane and as I said Veronica....too much Xiomara....

I am a huge fan of the fall season. One because the rep is more interesting and two because we get to see alot of those talented corp kids. This year the rep for fall is very exciting... and I am looking forward to it.

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