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Who would YOU cast in Jewels if you were AD for a day

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The two threads on the Paris Opera Ballet's "Jewels" have stimultaed a lot of dicussion (pro and con) about the casting of the various roles.

Imagine if the powers that be in your favorite ballet company made YOU the Artistic Director for a while and asked you to cast "Jewels" based on current dancers in the company?

If you don't get the chance to look closely and often at a company with the dancers to perform Jewels, please feel free to make up your own cast of "guest artists" from wherever. :)

Whom would YOU choose?

My local company, Edward Villella's Miami City Ballet, was actually one of the first companies other than NYCB to perform this ballet, but that was before we moved here, so I've only seen a part of their Diamonds. Based on current dancers, my casting choices would be:

Proposed MIAMI CITY BALLET first cast for JEWELS


First solo ("the hands"): Haiyan Wu

Sicilienne: Jennifer Kronenberg

Male lead: Kenta Shimizu


Lead couple: Katia Carranza, Jeremy Cox (alternate: Alex Wong)

Tall girl: Andrea Spiridonakos (alternate: Tricia Albertson, though I'm not sure how tall she is)


Female lead: Mary Carmen Catoya (alternate: Deanna Seay)

Male lead: Mikhail Ilyin (alternate: Mikhail Nikitine)

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An alternate cast with the Paris Opera Ballet :

Emeralds :

- First couple : Isabelle Ciaravola, Matthieu Ganio

- Sicilienne : perhaps Aurélie Dupont, with Jean-Guillaume Bart

Rubies :

- Lead couple : Clairemarie Osta, Emmanuel Thibault

- Tall girl : I would keep Marie-Agnès Gillot.

Diamonds :

- Female lead : Delphine Moussin (alternate : Laura Hecquet in a few years' time, she did the pas de deux in a young dancers' program and was already gorgeous)

- Male lead : José Martinez (who should have been recorded in the part but got injured)

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I loved Osta in Emeralds, but, I too, would love to see her in the Rubies lead, and I think the idea of Thibault as her partner is great. For the tall girl in Rubies, I would choose one of the demis in Diamonds, but I don't know the Company well enough to know who was who. I found that height doesn't really matter; Carrie Imler at PNB was one of the best "tall" girls I've ever seen in the role, if not the best.

I'd be curious to see how Dupont would dance the lead in Diamonds, although I think she'd be ideally cast in Emeralds.

For PNB, I think Peter Boal came very close this past season. If I were recording the DVD, I might combine some of the casts and see some different dancers in some of the roles before making a final decision, but any performance I saw would have been worthy of recording:

Emeralds: Carla Körbes, Ariana Lallone/Karel Cruz. Herd was a great partner for Körbes, but she was so beautiful with Jeffrey Stanton in Diamonds that I would have loved to see them together in Emeralds, too. (Stanton danced as second couple with Pantastico). Vinson and Chapman as the demi-soloists, with Nicholas Ade, to get this wonderful dancer's last solo performance on record.

Rubies: I would like to have seen Carrie Imler in the lead, with Jordan Pacitti, partly to avoid having to make a decision between Pantastico/Wevers and Nakamura/Porretta -- I didn't see Thomas/Yin (or is Le his last name?) -- and so that Lindsi Dec would be "tall girl."

Diamonds: Patricia Barker with Batkhurel Bold. Milov was a wonderful partner for Barker, but Bold was lovely with Imler and he was aloft for an inhuman amount of time his solos. I thought he'd never land.

This leaves out so many breathtaking performances, like Nadeau's and Vinson's in Emeralds in the Verdy role and Pantastico's and Chapman's in the Paul role, Eames' in the pas de trois, Körbes/Stanton's in Diamonds, just to name a few. The one I would not have recorded (yet) is Imler's in Diamonds because as beautifully as she danced it, she was a bit too attached to her partner in the role to be set in bytes.

Edited to Add: I've reconsidered. Louise Nadeau and Maraval in Emeralds (Verdy/Ludlow roles), and Körbes in Diamonds. Barker's Titania was recorded for posterity.

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Helene, I saw Emilie Cozette (one of the two demis in Diamonds, the blond one) as the tall girl in Rubies, and I wouldn't have wanted that performance to be recorded...

The other one is Isabelle Ciaravola, who was absolutely wonderful as the first soloist in Emeralds. I'm not sure she would fit the role of the tall girl temperamentally though - she's a very lyrical dancer, who has danced such roles as Nikiya and La Sylphide. I'd be curious to see how she would fare in Rubies, in a role that's not her natural "emploi".

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Since the limits are a single company, & V. Part is with ABT, here's my ABT cast:

Emeralds: Fang/Lane/Hallberg (yeah, way tall, but so beautiful)

Rubies: Reyes/Cornejo/Wiles

Diamonds: Part/Gomes, of course

Kajiya might also be wonderful in Rubies & Murphy, with her droll sense of humor, excellent as the tall girl.

If/wheb she returns, Nina A would be gorgeous in Diamonds, maybe with Carreno.

If only ...

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For Ballet Arizona, it would be a hard one: Central Casting would put Natalia Magnicaballi with Michael Cook in Emeralds (Verdy) and Paola Hartley in Diamonds with Astrit Zejnati. It also pretty much guarantees at most two casts, but usually one for a single weekend run. The Company performs Rubies next April, but without knowing what else is on the menu, it's hard to know if these two will be cast in the lead, with Draxton and/or Doepker in the "tall girl" role.

But being rather perverse, I would like the see the following cast:

Emeralds: Despite the huge difference in height, I would love to see Hartley/Toth (Verdy) and Doepker/Cook (Paul) -- or vice versa-- with Cavanaugh, Smith, and Imayoshi in the pas de trois. Doepker has amazing hands and gorgeous epaulement.

Rubies: Mitchell and Breusenko, with Draxton as the "tall girl"

Diamonds: Magnicaballi and Dekkers, with Haar and Wojtowicz as the demis, joined by Smith and Imayoshi in the third movement.

Alternately, Doepker would get a crack at Diamonds, with Magnicaballi and Zejnati in the Paul role in Emeralds, and Moroz in the pas de trois. And I've left out dancers who would be terrific in other roles.

I think Ballet Arizona has the leads; it would have to borrow corps for the ballet, though.

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Since the limits are a single company, & V. Part is with ABT, here's my ABT cast:

Emeralds: Fang/Lane/Hallberg (yeah, way tall, but so beautiful)

Rubies: Reyes/Cornejo/Wiles

Diamonds: Part/Gomes, of course

You read my mind! I was stuck, though, on a partner for Cornejo for Rubies. (I come to this cast by way of Herman, as you did by way of Veronika). I kept wanting to cast Erica in Rubies, but that's not a good brother-sister pdd; plus, she's in Boston now. :crying: As for the Diamonds cast, no offense, but that's gotta be ballet's biggest no-brainer! We've seen Part in Emeralds, and I loved her (at first sight) there. But she's given hints of what she'd make of Diamonds, and that's pretty exciting. Maybe she can alternate?

If only ...
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Sorry, I'm breaking the rules. I'm going to mix companies, but use dancers still currently dancing and who have danced their roles before. Starting with mostly women.

Emeralds: Bouder (Verdy) and Korbes (Paul)

Rubies: Kronenberg and Garcia with Meunier

Diamonds: Part and Bart (I think Part would light a fire under Bart)

To fill in the men in Emeralds would take a little more thought.

I'll have a second cast of:

Emeralds: Catoya and Part

Rubies: Weese and Jonathan Porretta with Gillot

Diamonds: Korbes and Zelensky (or Reichlen). Both women would be helped by Zelensky's secure partnering

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Alternate home team cast, excluding casts I’ve actually seen

Emeralds: Scheller, T. Angle, Taylor

Rubies: Peck, De Luz, Krohn

Diamonds: Mearns, Hall

And alternate ABT cast, assuming that Nina returns…

Emeralds: Part, Hallberg, Fang

Rubies: Vishneva, A. Corella, C. Corella

Diamonds: Ananishvilli, Gomes

Watching the POB video really makes me long to see NYCB's Jewels again- hope it's back in repertory soon!

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...Watching the POB video really makes me long to see NYCB's Jewels again- hope it's back in repertory soon!

Me too!

To get very alternate with ABT (all Diamonds):

Diamonds Murphy/Acosta

Diamonds Vishneva/Malakhov

Diamonds Part/Gomes

They'd be so different that it might work!

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Mmm... Mearns has such beautiful hands, I'd love to see her in the Verdy part in Emeralds. But then again, I'd like to see her (and Sylve) in Diamonds. I'd move Bouder to Rubies and use Bar in the Neary role. I'd like to find a place for Reichlen, maybe in the Paul role in Emeralds. Allen Peiffer hasn't been seen much in solo parts, but I always watch him in the corps. I'd try him out in the trio. The last few years, the women in the trio have been sort of dry - I'd look for more romantic types.

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Rubies: Kronenberg and Garcia with Meunier

I seriously considered Kronenberg for this, but cast her in Emeralds for smoothness of legato style and a quality of introspection and intelligence I associate with Verdy. But I do see your point, Dale. She would not have Patricia McBridge's sprightliness, but -- based on last season's Push Comes to Shove -- I guess I have to agree that she does have the personality and technique that also qualify her for Rubies. Quite a marvellous dancer -- with a quiet stage presence that commands the eye. :crying:

And, as Klavier says, quite a remarkable piece of music.

Watching the POB video really makes me long to see NYCB's Jewels again- hope it's back in repertory soon!
I feel this also, not only about NYCB but for all the company's that have done Jewels in the past. We've all known about the incredible variety within the 3-part work, but the POB performance -- which I've now seen several times, including lots of rerunning of different parts -- has made me think that Jewels does indeed have the depth and the "legs" to travel (a) to a wide variety of classically based companies and (b) for a long time into the future.

How about your cast lists for Kirov, Royal, Denmark, Boston, San Francisco? Why not the Bolshoi? Pina Bausch? -- just kidding. Or -- and here's an idea with potential -- Susanne Farrell Company?

Please keep your casting thoughts flowing.

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Alternatively for the Bolshoi I'd take advantage of recent hirings (both regular company members and "permanent" guests):

Emeralds: Shipulina/Matvienko, Antonicheva/Klevtsov

Rubies: Osipova/Vasiliev/Vishneva

Diamonds: Alexandrova*/Filin

*Although Zakharova has the "look", I'd trust Alexandrova to give the needed depth, and most importantly, to dance the role with total originality.

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