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Bayadere: May 15-21, 2007

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I did, over all very good!! The corps impressed me very much. I will comment more later!

Thanks Dansuer85, the corps news is great. Shows what a difference some rehearsal time makes, after just the few minutes they had before the Monday Gala!

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It was a beautiful production (almost sold out I think)... in marked contrast to the Romeo and Juliet cartoon production of recent the NYCB. All the principals were excellent.. especially Herman Cornejo as the Bronze Idol. There was very good chemistry between Paloma and Angel... and Gillian Mutphy was regal as Gamzatti. She was very regal in an Irish looking way which was the only thing that detracted from her performance, but obviously not much she could do about that without some extreme make up. Gillian is beautiful on stage. Paloma was darker and more sultry and one could see why Solor had fallen so deeply for her.

Both Herrera and Murphy seemed to be on their game last night and well very well received by the audience. Both were excellent as actors although I thought Paloma had more range in her facial expressions than Ms. Murphy. Corella as Solor was superb and partnered both Paloma and Gillian beautifully. I like his work.

The sets, lighting, costumes, choreography and music all worked well together.. one can see why this classic production is so well received by audiences and has such staying power. Thank you Marius Petipa and Natalia Makarova... What an enjoyable evening you and the ABT provided.

The corps was excellent althughI thought they were a bit out of sync in the first act for a moment or two, but the balance of the performance the corp was stunning, working with the precision of a swiss watch and they got better and better as the night went on.

The Bronze Idol danced by Cornejo was dazzling... he looked like a shining golden spinning Hindu god... very tight and in control.

The Papita/Makorova choreography, the sets and the orchestra and music all made this an perfect experience to begin the ABT season. Let's see what they do next!

(I met some BT readers but not posters at one of the tables selling ABT memorabilia.. and that was a hoot!)

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Ok, so I have some time to say what I thought. I had never seen La Bayadere live(though I've performed parts of it) and had only see the POB dvd before this. I was a little hesitant because the 3 leads, Gillian, Paloma and Angel are not my favorites. BUT, Gillian and Paloma actually impressed me a lot! I really enjoyed their interpretations of the roles. And Paloma was a lot less wobbly then usual. Gillian has obviously kept working on her upper body, thankfully, and it shows. She's much more lyrical. It's nice. For me, this is not Angel's best role, nor is he dancing to his best. I felt he was too wild and sloppy. Calm down and give us some breathe. He did however give a lot of emotion and convey his feelings well, which is a huge plus. Paloma and he had a great chemistry, as did Gillilan and He, though I guess you would call it a lack of chemsitry, but it read very well.

The corps, was fabulous. I was nerveous, though whenever I see ABT(which has been often in the past year) I find the corps to be quite well together. In the first part they were a little out of sync, but it's hard to get those developes and sautes all at the same time and legs at the same height. The vision scene with all of the arabesques!! GROGEOUS!! I was very very impressed. There was only one girl that wobbled and she did it often. The 3 soloist, Sarah Lane, Stella Abrea and Maria Riccetto. Very good. Sarah Lane has always impressed me and continues too. She did the first variation, which I believe is the hardest and she did it very well. Both Stella and Maria were top notch too, I was just very impressed with Sarah.

Over all the dancing was top notch. Cornejo, he is amazing and very much an idol. He has such a jump and such a line! It's great to see. I wish I could see more cast(I really want to see David and Ethan as Solar and Michelle wiles in either role..), but I have to work! I wish they did this every year. It's my new favorite ballet! The sets and the costumes are just so gorgeous and the story really flows, and you are never bored!!


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Brief Report on today's matinee, Part/Gomes/Wiles

After reports from the gala, I was feeling a little sorry for Veronika Part, and sorry for myself, too, having bought tickets to see pretty much every performance of hers this season. But whatever her faults, her beauty was on full display today, making me not at all sorry for having tickets to see her! She does look tentative and not confident, qualities oddly paired with an innate beauty, lushness and majesty. As to the Rose Adagio, I assume she can perform it beautifully, in rehearsal, otherwise she would not have been given any performances of it, let alone the premiere. Her problem is consistency and confidence. It's interesting to compare her with Michele Wiles, today's Gamzatti. Wiles is to me the least interesting of ABT's principal dancers. However, she is technically assured and very consistent, and it's easy to see why ABT values that. If only Part had that solidity!

I am not an experienced Bayadere-goer, but the corps looked pretty good to me. Misty Copeland was delightful in the first "shade" solo, and Hee Seo especially stood out in the third solo, looking very secure and fluid.

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I was there this afternoon too.

I was somewhat impressed and more so not impressed with Part today. She is gorgeous, and has a beautiful soulful expression when the choreography isn't too demanding, and beautiful lines....I was expecting this from her..... But Part just isn't strong enough.....and took the safest routes possible.... looking overwhelmed with the technical demands especially in the Shades section.

Gomes is most certainly back in fine form, and brought out the best with great technique, charisma, and abandon to his principal role.

As did Hee Seo in her soloist part. I thought she had *all* the "ballerina" qualities I'm looking for with any featured female dancer in Bayadere. What a lovely surprise.... Also thought the corps did an excellent performance.

Will be seeing the performance tonight too.... So, there will be much to compare and contrast.

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I completely agree that Hee Seo was a standout among the three soloists, christine174! It is such exposed choreography, and she held those ecarte poses without sacrificing the fluidity of the phrase. I don't know how often she's done this role before, but she did a beautiful job today. While I was delighted to see Misty given a classical solo, I don't think this role really suited her. She managed the difficult steps effortlessly, but didn't seem to know how to present the little runs on pointe. Schulte, in the cabriole variation, was clear and buoyant, would have looked better had she not yanked her arm across her body in the releves to front attitude.

The 24 shades were better than "pretty good". It was definitely in the top three or four ABT Shades Acts of my experience. The lines were straight, the unison near perfect. They wafted on a single breeze. Quite remarkable. One very small readjustment of balance that I saw. Whatever they've been eating between Monday night and this afternoon, I want some.

Part and Gomes are a duo to cherish. They are as one, making a very special Shades scene. She was something of a hybrid between a distant and abstract Nikiya, such as the Kirov seems to favor, and the Nikiya who was just 20 minutes ago a flesh-and-blood woman. There was a sense of her being immaterial, but she was very attuned to Solor. I'd never seen a dancer occupy the middle ground so effectively, so touchingly. And of course, Marcelo's partnering, which is so solid technically and so generous emotionally. Worth noting: in the scarf dance, Part did the arabesque turn-pirouette combination to both sides. Hardly a sign of timidity.

I usually see the dances in the first scene as kitschy, but Part's variation around the fire was so clearly a prayer, and if Lynda Carter thought the Othello of Monday night was erotic, she should see Part and Gomes in the fire pdd. The common element: Gomes, of course! :)

I am so pleased with this performance. Only two dancers were perfect -- Seo and Gomes -- but it was sooooo satisfying!

Thank you, ABT.

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Brief Report on today's matinee, Part/Gomes/Wiles

After reports from the gala, I was feeling a little sorry for Veronika Part, and sorry for myself, too, having bought tickets to see pretty much every performance of hers this season. But whatever her faults, her beauty was on full display today, making me not at all sorry for having tickets to see her! She does look tentative and not confident, qualities oddly paired with an innate beauty, lushness and majesty.

Brava Veronika! She didn't seem to be the least bit timid to me (well, maybe a wee bit for those 2nd Act pirouettes, but she still managed to pull through beautifully). No, her technique is not as secure as Michelle's, but Veronika dances with her heart, and the music just seems to flow through her soul. That sounds corny, but I can't think of another way to describe it. I'm reminded of Antoinette Sibley's (?) description of Margot Fonteyn in Symphonic Variations--even when she stood still and another dancer took center stage, you could only watch her. I felt the same way about Part. Wiles' positions and movements were more textbook perfect and made an interesting contrast to Part's passionate lyricism. There was such an outpouring of love from the audience for her Nikiya, and she deserves all the praise she gets. I don't think I was the only one whose heart raced as the veil lifted from her head. She received the most enthusiastic entrance--guess she hasn't lost her fans after the opening night fiasco afterall. Her expansive line and arch of her back spoke of being caught up in rapturous love. Is there anyone who can developee the way she does? I couldn't help wondering if she might have been a silent film actress in a former life. I haven't seen that kind of theatricality from any dancer before.

The Shades were in okay form, but they didn't have the eery precision of the POB Shades. Ditto on Hee Seo.

On a side note, I spotted Maina Gielgud in the audience and last night at State Theater. If NYCB ever stages Giselle...

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I completely agree that Hee Seo was a standout among the three soloists, christine174! It is such exposed choreography, and she held those ecarte poses without sacrificing the fluidity of the phrase. I don't know how often she's done this role before, but she did a beautiful job today.

I don't know how often either, but she danced that variation at the Kirov Academy in winter 2000. To say the least, it was quite remarkable, in fact better than any professional dancers I've seen (before or since) so I can only imagine how good it looks now!

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When ABT first performed La Bayadere there was a review (perhaps Croce)

entitled Makarova's Miracle. Of course today's success was the result of some very

hard work and determination. The Shades were nearly flawless. Veronika

was beautiful - she embodied her character with such passion and purity

in her love for Solor. This story really is similar to Giselle. Gamzatti is the

glamourous other woman - Solor is as clueless as Albrecht by not

following his heart. And in the end he is forgiven. After the problems of

the Gala, today was redemption.

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Another Brava for Veronika :thumbsup: She has added another feather to her cap after her Myrtha and Odette. She is simply beautiful to watch and her emotions, I felt, were never overdone. She embodied the agony and melancholy of Nikia and I could not ask for more. Wiles, although a fine technician ( who can spin like a top) did not grasp the character of Gamzatti who should not come off as a sweet girl. Misty Copeland, Adrienne Schulte and Hee Seo as the three Shades can all be proud of their performances; but Hee Seo stood out for me, perhaps because it is my favorite variation. The Corps was impressive in the Shades scene, but I thought the lighting could be more subdued to add to the sense of mystery. Gomes was in great form; I loved his very first entrance--he bounded on the stage and he had the spring in his step like one on a trampoline.---now I look forward to Monday and Nina.

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I attended the Wednesday matinee today. This is the first time that I have seen "La Bayadere" live. However, I am very familiar with the ballet, after multiple viewings of the Komleva/Abdev/Terekhova Kirov VHS, the Asylmuratova/Mukhamedov/Bussell Royal DVD and the Guerin/Hilaire/Platel POB DVD. I even own the Zakharova/Bolle La Scala DVD, but haven't watched it yet. I have tickets for Saturday night with Diana and Monday night with Nina, but I really could not wait to see this live and I was hoping and praying for a good performance for Veronika.

First, I have to say that I loved every minute and there were a few times that I cried during the performance this afternoon. I know - I'm a mush, but I think that is the key to a great performance - does it make me cry? The overall production is just first-rate - costumes, scenery, the leads, and the corps.

The Act II Shades entrance was so much better this afternoon than it was at Monday night's Gala. There were no noticeable bobbles from the corps this time.

Michele Wiles - wow! - the role of Princess Gamzatti suits her perfectly. I have seen her dance before, but she has never impressed me. I saw her dance one of the lead Wilis (the other lead Wili was Veronika Part!) in "Giselle", I saw her dance Myrtha in "Giselle", and I saw her in Monday night's Lilac Fairy solo. None of these really made her stand out in any way, in my opinion. Today, I became a fan. I thought she was wonderful, especially during the Act I dance. Here is something she did that I did not see other Gamzattis do before. When Nikiya walks in, she deliberately looks away and barely acknowledges her presence until she turns to examine her face the first time. That was pretty good - it set the tone for the struggle between the imperial power of Gamzatti versus the humble Nikiya.

Marcelo Gomes was perfect. What can I say? He is so regal and princely to begin with. His solo dances were great and he partnered Veronika so beautifully. Their dances together had that "meltingly" lovely quality. He also conveyed deep anguish during the Act II Kingsom of the Shades and the Act III wedding scene. His solo in the Act I engagement dance - I have seen it done with more difficulty, but Marcelo opted for safe and clean. I saw Marcelo and Veronika once before in "Swan Lake", so I knew that they had a good partnership. This afternoon, I thought their partnering was superb.

Veronika Part - :thumbsup: I am so happy for her, especially after Monday night's Rose Adagio. I thought she was absolutely beautiful. She got a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. She made me cry several times during the course of the ballet. The only negative thing that I have to say about her performance is that during the Act II Kingdom of the Shades she looked like she was thinking too much. She is a dancer who needs to just let go and dance. I could tell the difference between the times when she was letting go and letting the music take over and I could tell when she was thinking her way through. She completely let go during the temple scene (her solo and her pas de deux with Marcelo) and her solo at the engagement party. She was a little tentative at the beginning of the Kingdom of the Shades, but then at the end, she started to relax. She was excellent in the Act III wedding. But I agree with a previous poster - she really felt the music and danced with her heart many times. Does anyone know why they left out the dance she does when she receives the basket of flowers? They even left out the music - I missed that part!

I was also impressed with Misty Copeland and Hee Seo. The whole Kindom of Shades Act was outstanding!!

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Wiles, although a fine technician ( who can spin like a top) did not grasp the character of Gamzatti who should not come off as a sweet girl.

I have to admit I like her interpretation. At first I thought it was odd that I should feel somewhat sympathetic for her character in Act 1, but then I understood what she was doing. Her characterization is more aloof than bitchy, and she carried a "higher-than-thou" attitude. I could almost hear her casually saying "Why would you want her when you could have this?" Wiles beauty has been likened to Grace Kelly's before, an actress I never warmed to because of her standoffish manner and passive expressions. For Gamzatti, Wiles is perfect.

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Wednesday eve, May 16

Vishneva/Stiefel/Abrera: The Goddess Reigns

Well, just maybe Diana has found her ABT partner. Tonight's Solor was the complete Ethan Stiefel, the one who was Amanda McKerrow's partner in those late, magical Giselles.

Early on the eight bayaderes performed the circle dance with arms and palms up that Mark Morris included for his blessed spirits in the opera Orfeo ed Euridice. So now we know from Mr. Morris that they're reaching to feel the rain!

Diana entered, of course beauty incarnate. Her waiting-for-Solor variation began with her reliving the ecstacies of their prior romance, both her joys and his. She was sure she'd live hers again when they met. But seemed to have a little doubt, or perhaps insecurity after so long a separation, that he would find his again. As they met her joy radiated like a nova, and she very much wanted to see him glow too. They showed a powerful rapport, yet even as she began a pair of grand jetes away from him she glanced back over her right shoulder, at the first one's summit, back toward him. Ethan's ardent response meant she had no need to look again during the second leap. Yes, I mean summit. She delivered those leaps of hers that possess the glory and divine symmetry of Fuji.

In scene 2, Stella Abrera's Gamzatti was far removed from hers in prior seasons of this ballet. Her classical technique has made great strides, tossing off the fouettees, grand and French, with seeming ease. She needed this, as Solor was virtually not there, he was with his temple dancer soul and body. Stiefel's classical form was noble, his devotion to Diana was as she deserved. In the confrontation, Gamzatti had no answer for Nikiya's overpowering confidence in love. I think she felt so defeated that her only solution was murder, even if Nikiya's deep-seated insecurity had not lead her to make that knife attack. Vishneva's horror at what she'd done made the rest of the ballet self-evident.

When Diana entered the palace garden, the betrothal scene, the chemistry between her and Ethan formed an unbreakable connection, his eyes pouring her in, but not bond. He was, after all, a general, totally obedient to his sovereign. Vishneva was the heartbreaking heart of Russian Soul. At the moment she channeled her overwhelming love for Solor into the central flower in the basket, the viper struck. Stiefel, obediently restrained by Radjah Saveliev, walked off in total daze with his assigned bride, Diana saw, her heart stopped by despair and poison, but her Soul lived.

And thus in the Shades, superbly danced by the corps, she was not just a pipe dream, she was inhabiting Solor. They were the epitiome of classical perfection and dazzle, Stiefel dancing on a grand, full-out scale, yet always pure and always with her, Diana's diagonal exit the thing that dreams are made of. This Act raised their Bayadere into my personal pantheon along side the Bayaderes of Cojocaru and Asylmuratova, along with the home teamers Makarova, Kirkland and McKerrow. The fine Shades were Sarah Lane, Yuriko Kajiya, and Maria Riccetto. Kajiya, especially, appealed with her reach toward combining amplitude with lyricism.

Herman Cornejo was spectacular as the Bronze, well in his case, Golden Idol. Seen from downstairs, the effect of the two circles of candle holders, one round each of Gamzatti and Solor, lacked the aesthetic force that it has from my usual perch upstairs. In this performance, I do not think Nikiya was seeking revenge, instead the temple and principality were destroyed by their own evil, and Diana and Ethan lived forever after as Blessed Spirits.

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Tonight's La Bayadere with Vishneva, Stiefel, Abrera and Cornejo was outstanding. The corps was beautiful, even mesmerizing. I felt like I was the one who had smoked the stuff. Everyone did such a wonderful job. Stiefel looked great and is dancing with a deepened sense of sincerity. He was more of a participant in this production than I've seen most men be. He had a great connection with Vishneva and encountered no apparent problems partnering her. She was stunning, absolutely stunning. Abrera, especially in her Act III solo, was exquisite. Cornejo was almost beyond human. I am so happy to have this production back and can't wait to see tomorrow, Sat night and Monday's performances.

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It was a beautiful production (almost sold out I think)... in marked contrast to the Romeo and Juliet cartoon production of recent the NYCB. All the principals were excellent.. especially Herman Cornejo as the Bronze Idol....

Darn! :thumbsup: I was on my way into the city but the trains were messed up. I knew I wouldn't make the curtain, so I didn't go. I didn't feel like watching the first act on the large screen tv even if they have a much better monitor now.

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I forgot to mention Sarah Lane's performance as a Shade. It was superb. One thing I really like about her, aside from her swift, crystaline technique and beautiful demeanor, is her courage. She approaches everything without the least bit of hesitation and manages to make it work even when it might not.

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Just a few very quick notes on Wednesday evening's "Bayadere" as previous posters matched my sentiments so eloquently. I found Vishneva thrilling in the first act - particularly in the first temple scene where she brought out the double nature/identity of Nikiya. In her dialogue with the amorous High Brahmin she was aloof and spiritual - a chaste vestal. But in her scenes with Ethan as Solor she was all passionate woman hurling herself headlong into a fatal but irresistable love affair. (BTW: Hindu priests are not as far as I know expected to be celibate, the bayaderes are basically temple prostitutes who are expected to take care of their sexual needs. Nikiya - you aren't lying down on the job and that's bad!!!)

I actually preferred the Nina Ananiashvili of about 10 years ago in the "Shades" section. I think the secret of success in this act is that Nikiya has been trasmuted into a creature of pure form in this act - hence the "aloof" and "distant" approach. Nikiya has to be a pure classical ballerina who can suggest Romantic softness while maintaining strict classicism. Nina nailed this every time I saw her do it and had thrilling piques in the coda as well! Diana's temperment doesn't sit easily on this abstract approach. I am being very picky though...

I was delighted with Ethan who I found very much back on form and acting with a new depth and engagement. Stella Abrera was excellent throughout - it is always surprising to note the strength and force, both physical and tempermental, in that tiny, porcelain frame. She did particularly fine work in the last Lanchbery/Makarova act in Gamzatti's solo (many ballerinas thrive on that choreography - Paloma, Gillian...)

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