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Dance of the Hours

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"LA GIACONDA" et.al. at the Met

I was there in the mid-back $15 Family Circle seats too last (ie. opening) night. I took the chance that Corella would do the opening performance--esp. when I learned the female principal would be the same as last year in Spain. I agree with the general description of a choreographic pastiche. Some things I also noted....

You could feel the frisson that went through the crowd when the "Dance of the Hours" finally started--curiosity, excitement, anticipation? I was just thankful for a chance to dispel memories of Disney, and observe choreographic "moonlighting" and a "star" or two.

Corps appear first, do school tendu/port de bras sequence--how cute--then disappear!? Then the two principals come out with headdresses representing moon/evening (him) and sunburst/day (her) which effectively hide their faces. The corps stretches rainbow capes out behind them in a big sunburst--how literal!--and then thankfully takes capes and headdresses away. So now everyone can dance--finally.

Corella did what he does best. Innate grace, innate ballon (of course), fast turns (of course). In solo he was fine, and in the finale turn sequence whipped off fast a la second stop-turns, and threw in some triple and a quadruple pirouettes in between. (I thought of Gillian, Paloma, et.al. doing their 32s.) Then, as Christopher Wheeldon previously noted to him (per the Sept. 26th NYT article) Corella did a final set of a la 2nds, looked like he thought about doing more multiples (speed increased as prep?) but then didn't ,so ending wasn't as perfectly clean as it could have been due to over-rotation. (Or was Wheeldon warning him not to "milk" the ovations?)

In solo, his partner (Leitizia Guiliano--sp?) was quick, clean, and sprightly with a nice grand jete too. But in some of the partnering and pdd both had problems.

First, I think a sleeve caught a bodice requiring some quick arm manipulations to dislodge it--which was noticeable, but a relief. Then in Wheeldon's cantilevered fouette arabesques by her in the pdd, while Corella stabilized her one-handed, twice she was off-balanced, off-pointe. Don't know if she lost her balance, or Angel was slightly too far out to provide the support she needed. Looks like they need to practice that some more. I did like the two fouette arabesque pdb's he did which reminded me of his "For4" variation by Wheeldon last winter. And one can never complain about Angel Corella's epaulement. Wheeldon's use of clock-like arm "ticks",however, were a little bit too literal, as was a "6 o'clock" penche. Or do opera audiences need it that literal to understand the dance? (But then, I had to use 'Met Titles' to understand the singing.)

I, too, noticed the almost-Rockette-kick-line action in the allegro. Fizzy. The corps,however, were NOT the NYCB. They tried, but all that quick battu etc. is Balanchine's and City Ballet's forte, not a Met Opera Ballet's usual divertissement. But they did try, and looked like they had fun doing it. As we did watching.

And of course at the end, major cheering and several curtain calls--which Christopher Wheeldon joined. He hugged his two principals--glad to have them, or glad it was over?

And then it was back to the singing.

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I hope someone will post a link soon. A new production of La Gioconda opened at the Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday with choreography by Christopher Wheeldon with dancers Letizia Giuliani and Angel Corella. Reviewing it in today's NY Times, Roslyn Sulcas says the 10-minute Dance of the Hours "deserves a life of its own." I learned in "Choreography by Balanchine" that Mr. B choreographed this twice, in Monte Carlo and the Met. And his water nymph ballet from Goldwyn Follies "was later the model for the dance of the hippos and ostriches to the Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda in Walt Disney's film Fantasia".

Edited to add that dirac has posted the link. Thanks.

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Danny Tidwell did indeed return to classical ballet last night (October 18th) in fine form to great applause at his debut at the Metropolitan Opera. His elegant carriage, lightness of attack and technical control looked undiminished. His pirouettes a la seconde in the coda to the "Dance of the Hours" garnered great applause. The ovation at the end was the same as that received by Corella. Letizia Giuliani remained as the ballerina and was lovely again. The partnering in the pas de deux section looked more calculated and less seamless due to less rehearsal time together but that should be worked out by this Saturday's matinee (October 21).

ABT should put his leaving the ABT as due to "growing pains" and invite him back as a soloist. He is missed. If you are reading this Kevin, you know what you have to do! DO IT!!! :beg:

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