Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

REVIEWS: The Sleeping Beauty


Recommended Posts

but I can't help but single out that awful green kilt, with the rhinestone breastplate, purple feather boa, and curly red wig.

That's what Elmer Fudd would wear on the golf course.

We have Tchaikovsky's score, Petipa's choreography, and the best Dancers in the world.

What if there was a production faithful to the original - set against a blue cyclorama -

the dancers wearing practice clothes. A minimal Beauty. Would you attend?

As long as the ticket price were minimal as well.

Setting only the choreography and dancers forward is one part of the mix of what a ballet is. It is a balanced compound of graphic art (including lights), costume, music, choreography, and the personalities of the dancers expressed throughout. These elements have to be balanced carefully against one another, and I have used the chemistry term "compound" advisedly. You can't break it down into its component elements without making it a whole other thing.

Link to post
It appears that this Sleeping Beauty production is going to Disneyland in July -- well, not literally -- but to the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

I have to politely interject... Just because the Orange County Performing Arts Center is in closer physical proximity to Disneyland doesn't mean that it's all theme park fairy tale land on stage. They've made some particularly daring programming choices in the past few years - the sole US engagement of Bigonzetti's Aterballeto, return visits from Hamburg Ballet doing what one would hardly characterize as traditional story ballet, Nederlans Dans Theatre, and a pretty interesting "event" from Merce Cunningham that had the audience going from hall to hall. We do get quite our share of story ballets, but I'd argue that with a strong presenter like OCPAC, Southern California has arguably seen more international dance companies - every year and regularly - than New York City. And we certainly have the money that Disneyland has helped pour into the county to thank for that.

And don't forget that this Sleeping Beauty is also going to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. What could that possibly mean?

Link to post

Thanks SanderO and Mel for your calm, wise perspective. I was hoping for the perfect,

quintessential Beauty, as I love it so. And I will go again and find more about

it that is good, be it not authentic. I still want to see a Rose Adagio to die for.

But tonight, I'm off to see Bach across the Plaza...

Link to post
IMO Hilary's mention of Veronica's opening night gala mishap, could have been omitted.

Clean slate; new day.

I have to disagree. I think a dancers' past should be mentioned when reviewing a performance, the same way an actor's past work is mentioned in a current review. For instance, "Tom Cruise showed a breath and depth in his portrayal that he hasn't in the past." Reviewers routinely mention a dancers' past performance -- for instance, "Gillian Murphy now moves with more softness and grace."

Which is what bugs me a little bit about Veronika Part. It seems to me that some reviewers (Laura Jacobs, for one) tend to forgive her technical deficiencies no matter what. It's like there's a double standard. It's great that she's overcome her nerves, it seems, and has given a great performance as Aurora, but still, Aurora presents a great number of technical challenges and, IMO, if a dancer can't conquer those challenges, she shouldn't dance the part.

Link to post

SanderO: In this case, part of the reason that many of us are being so hard on this production is because there are other versions out there that are better and could be used as a model. As I said in my review, every improvement was a deterioration. It tends to inspire more vehement criticism. To loop back to Aurora's earlier comment, no one here is criticizing Beauty because we're mean-spirited. We think the production doesn't do justice to the ballet, and that ought to be said. That said, I think everyone accepts that others like it.

Change and personal touch is certainly possible. You just have to be very talented. An example of a good change is in Boston Ballet's production of Giselle. It's a little thing - instead of having the Wilis enter from the side as is traditional, Gielgud has them assemble first at the back - but in the fog it's absolutely chilling and a great little addition. I accepted it the moment I saw it because it worked.

Link to post
IMO Hilary's mention of Veronica's opening night gala mishap, could have been omitted.Clean slate; new day.
I have to disagree. I think a dancers' past should be mentioned when reviewing a performance, the same way an actor's past work is mentioned in a current review. For instance, "Tom Cruise showed a breath and depth in his portrayal that he hasn't in the past." Reviewers routinely mention a dancers' past performance -- for instance, "Gillian Murphy now moves with more softness and grace."

Which is what bugs me a little bit about Veronika Part. It seems to me that some reviewers (Laura Jacobs, for one) tend to forgive her technical deficiencies no matter what. It's like there's a double standard. It's great that she's overcome her nerves, it seems, and has given a great performance as Aurora, but still, Aurora presents a great number of technical challenges and, IMO, if a dancer can't conquer those challenges, she shouldn't dance the part.

I both agree and disagree with you here, canbelto. When one says that "Murphy now moves . . . " or "Cruise showed . . . "it takes in the scope of a whole career to date, not a specific performance (although I don't see how a film, with scenes shot several times and spliced together can be compared to a live performance). A critic can trace a general trajectory without citing each and every step along the way, and especially an anomaly, which is what we hope that oops! in the Opening Night excerpted Rose Adagio was. Time will tell on that.

I think every experience observer of ballet has their own ratio of technique/artistry when we rate dancers. My estimation of Part's artistry is high enough to cancel out whatever admitted technical weaknesses she has. Is it a double standard? Perhaps. However, she is tackling roles Alessandra Ferri never attempted at ABT, Ferri sticking with a less exposing (and less interesting, IMO) rep, even in her prime.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Until Friday night, the last time I saw Gelsey Kirkland on the Met stage she was taking a call with Kevin McKenzie. It was after a performance of The Leaves are Fading, and she left New York a few days later. And at this misguided production's premiere Friday, there she was, taking a call with Kevin again.

Edited by carbro
Add afterthought
Link to post

I just got back from a week in New York City and have to post this.

Veronika Part - One Of The Most Poetically Beautifully Moving Human Beings That I Have Ever Seen!

In "Sleeping Beauty" (June 4, 2007).

One Of The Best Performances That I Have Ever Seen!

And Possibly The Most Beautiful!

Link to post

Tonight was Diana, and she was glorious. She was the justification for the expensive tickets. I thought Halberg was OK, but there isn't much for him to do. Cornejo, amazong, Reyes OK. I didn't like the truncated and rather muddled scenes, the swan boat (Lohengrin anyone?), the phenomenal amount of costume glitter and overall Disneyland costumes and sets. The panniers on the women in the wedding scene were completey over the top. I prefer tasteful fairy tales a la Rackham.

Link to post

But can anyone tell me, outside of the program notes and cast list for this production, what in thunderation is an "elvador"? I can't find this kind of being in The Goldern Bough, any of Joseph Campbell or anything else on myth. They don't even exist in heraldry, as does the hippogriff. To me, they sound like Robert Joffrey's old shoes, or maybe wasn't that the mythical country in Larry Gelbart's play MASTERGATE!? Ask the revivers, and I think you'll hear something related to, "Pretentious? Moi?"

Link to post
And don't forget that this Sleeping Beauty is also going to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. What could that possibly mean?

That George Bush will see it?

:beg:

that seems unlikely!

Link to post
Tonight was Diana, and she was glorious. She was the justification for the expensive tickets. I thought Halberg was OK, but there isn't much for him to do. Cornejo, amazong, Reyes OK. I didn't like the truncated and rather muddled scenes, the swan boat (Lohengrin anyone?), the phenomenal amount of costume glitter and overall Disneyland costumes and sets. The panniers on the women in the wedding scene were completey over the top. I prefer tasteful fairy tales a la Rackham.

Ooh Rackham--now his work would be a beautiful inspiration for the decor of a ballet :beg:

I wanted to second your assessment of the dancers tonight (and the wedding scene costuming--though people wore panniers even bigger than that at times, they werent with dresses that were kneelength!)

I agree about Reyes, however I did think she was better tonight than on friday--she didn't hold the balances to the detrement of the musicality nearly as much as she did then.

Link to post

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Vishneva/Hallberg 1

Dancers of Air

For me, the ballet Sleeping Beauty is not a fairy tale and is not an allegory, nor even about battles on some high and moral plane. A given realisation is, of course. But what has gotten me through so many productions, and what I honestly believe, is that it is about The Ballerina. About a 120 years ago a stream was set in motion. It stays so, because of Tradition and a School. It is crucial that that School not only teaches how, but gains continuity of motion for the stream by assigning those who have bubbled up from its depths, filled with The Ballerina, to stay and teach those with the raw material to become another vessel for Her. This week we've been graced by two such vessels.

Diana Vishneva was a dancer of the air, a creature so light that something like the Rose Adagio had nothing to it, it was the easy and natural thing to do with what Tschaikovsky was telling her. The happy hops, and the circles, no more, no fewer, than what Veronika Part--the dancer of line--had shown: for Tradition remembers who The Ballerina is.

In the Vision Scene (+). David Hallberg was an absolute success. Sometime when your first time is in a certain version seen as wrong to others, the dancer doesn't need to compare, and simply inhabits the home he's given. (Such was the case with Gillian Murphy's success in McKenzie's final act of Swan Lake). So here was Hamlet, but one that might have been if Mr. Shakespeare had awakened on a happier side of the bed the day he wrote it. Not mentally ill at all, just confronting a situation that was rather unreal... His focus and youthful majesty, and jumps, were complete. Eventually, Aurora showed up (one doesn't count the sleeping in that whatever that carries her from stage left to right) in their mutual dream. A very different Aurora to that of Veronika Part. Ms. Part, as I've tried to describe earlier, dreamed not only sight and music but also, at one magic moment, her physical feeling, her body, as if touching the world afresh. This suits a great Odette, who in every performance of White Swan has been inspired by Siegfried to feel her human self, that had been long lost in the Swan prison (At every performance that moment is at a different time, because it catches her unaware). Diana is a great Giselle, so she remains on that ethereal plane throughout the Vision Scene. But Mr. Hallberg knows exactly who she is and that he wants her. His celebration is a dramatic masterstroke: He now dances with her lightness, and of course his virtuosity and poetic line. When the kiss awakens Diana, it takes a while till she even looks at the kisser: she feels, she faces her old Kingdom and the people in it and the audience and the whole world and embraces it. Then sees her Prince and remembers him and is ready for the rest of her life.

The Grand Pas de Deux was the remaining question. As far as I know this is their first time dancing together, where Ms. Part had her one and only Partner, Mr. Gomes. Mr. Hallberg was surely terrific here as well. They of course look good together, even to matching with air-like interpretations (no doubt very intentionally so rehearsed). It went off beautifully, without a real glitch, including the fish dives (of course more carefully than Part/Gomes). He often looked at her in awe, even at their "crowning," how could life be so wonderful to him? I look forward to their Saturday performance. Ms. Vishneva will be The Ballerina differently, of course, as she is that most four-dimensional of all ballerinas. But I think Mr. Hallberg will know how to be the right different too. He is an artist.

Link to post

I attended tonight's performance with Vishneva/Hallberg/Abrera. I also attended Monday night with Part/Gomes/Abrera.

First of all - I may sound that I am gushing, but I love Diana Vishneva! It was worth going back to see this production of "Sleeping Beauty" just to see Diana's magnificent Rose Adagio. My heart was pounding - tears were pouring down my eyes - and I don't think I moved at all. When it was over, I was spent! And Diana raised the level of this production. When I left on Monday night, I said "OK - that was nice". But having Diana as Princess Aurora made this a much better production than it actually is. Diana was glorious throughout the whole evening and I kept waiting for her to come back onstage. I have seen three Auroras in my lifetime - Veronika Part on Monday night, Alina Cojocaru last summer at the Kennedy Center, and now tonight - Diana. Diana was the best. There is no contest between her and Veronika - Veronika was just too tentative and unsure of herself. It's a little closer between Diana and Alina. While I also loved Alina Cojocaru's Aurora, Diana truly brought something magical to the stage tonight.

David Hallberg was very good and I thought that he partnered Diana beautifully. Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes were just as great as they were on Monday. Martine Van Hamel played Carabosse. Stella Abrera was good, but again, like Monday, she left me feeling cold. Honestly, I was hoping for a different Lilac Fairy.

What a Fairy cast! - Hee Seo, Yuriko Kajiya, Melissa Thomas, Misty Copeland, and Zhong-Jing Fang.

Link to post
I think every experience observer of ballet has their own ratio of technique/artistry when we rate dancers. My estimation of Part's artistry is high enough to cancel out whatever admitted technical weaknesses she has. Is it a double standard? Perhaps. However, she is tackling roles Alessandra Ferri never attempted at ABT, Ferri sticking with a less exposing (and less interesting, IMO) rep, even in her prime.

But how often does a reviewer say, "Ms. Ferri's second performance of Manon was even more ardent than her performance on Wednesday, which showed some tentaveness that perhaps were a result of opening night nerves"? How is that any different? As for Ferri vs. Part, apples and oranges. Ferri was never a tutu ballerina who specialized in classical repertoire. Part is (or wants to be). As I said, I wasn't there when Part botched her opening night Rose Adagio, nor have I seen Part's Aurora in any other context, but IMO it's perfectly fair game to compare two performances from the same dancer, especially in the same role.

Link to post
But can anyone tell me, outside of the program notes and cast list for this production, what in thunderation is an "elvador"?

I heard the term "Elvador" mentioned at the Guggenheim's Works and Process lecture in April where Gelsey Kirkland, Michael Chernov & Wes Chapman discussed ABT's new SB... I got the impression it was just a term they came up with while discussing whether to call the males dancing with the fairies "elves" or "knights".

Link to post

I got to see Diana Vishneva twice as Aurora when the Kirov toured with SB a few years ago. On one of those nights (Saturday evening), she performed the only perfect Rose Adagio I have ever seen, and she did it with such ease. I think she can elevate any production. Unfortunately, we'll probably only get the ABT principals when they come out here.

--Andre

Link to post

I thought Vishneva's Act I was excellent - beautiful natural expression that exhibited a full range of emotions, sparkling technique and balances that made one forget they are balances. However, somewhere in the Vision scene, I felt a let-down. Maybe it was due to the horrid variation Aurora has in this production but I felt the performance drop down a notch. Maybe the full effect of the production suddenly hit her.

Link to post
It appears that this Sleeping Beauty production is going to Disneyland in July -- well, not literally -- but to the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

I have to politely interject... Just because the Orange County Performing Arts Center is in closer physical proximity to Disneyland doesn't mean that it's all theme park fairy tale land on stage. They've made some particularly daring programming choices in the past few years - the sole US engagement of Bigonzetti's Aterballeto, return visits from Hamburg Ballet doing what one would hardly characterize as traditional story ballet, Nederlans Dans Theatre, and a pretty interesting "event" from Merce Cunningham that had the audience going from hall to hall. We do get quite our share of story ballets, but I'd argue that with a strong presenter like OCPAC, Southern California has arguably seen more international dance companies - every year and regularly - than New York City. And we certainly have the money that Disneyland has helped pour into the county to thank for that.

And don't forget that this Sleeping Beauty is also going to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. What could that possibly mean?

Thanks for your interjection Art076 :wub:. I'd also like to add that OCPAC has not only featured the companies Art076 listed above, but the Maryinsky - the Opera & Ballet last October. Since we're talking about "Sleeping Beauty" performances, production values, and the future of MacKenzie's newest edition, L.A. has seen the real deal with the Maryinsky. So, it makes me wonder what possessed MacKenzie & Assoc. to think they might pass off this version in comparison to either the Sergeyev which L.A. has seen, or the 1890 - which L.A. has not seen? ABT will open "Beauty" at the OC on July 17. Just because Disneyland and Hollywood are here doesn't mean L.A.'s balletomanes and connoiseurs want to see "Disneyland" and "Hollywood" in Petipa's classics. And it certainly doesn't jazz me to throw down the plastic for this version, and spend

$ 3.55 per gallon to drive 43 miles to be disappointed. If it weren't for Part . . . I'd pass, and Vishneva will not be with ABT during the OC engagement. So, what's Plan B if a new production of "Beauty" is disparaged by critics, stays afloat by star power, then devolves into a code blue emergency without that?

Link to post
So, it makes me wonder what possessed MacKenzie & Assoc. to think they might pass off this version in comparison to either the Sergeyev which L.A. has seen, or the 1890 - which L.A. has not seen?
:) Maybe they think it's good??? Whatever possessed them, it's surely the same thinking that led them to believe they could pass off the production -- ELEVEN times this year and undoubtedly some in 2008 -- in New York.
Link to post
I thought Vishneva's Act I was excellent - beautiful natural expression that exhibited a full range of emotions, sparkling technique and balances that made one forget they are balances. However, somewhere in the Vision scene, I felt a let-down. Maybe it was due to the horrid variation Aurora has in this production but I felt the performance drop down a notch. Maybe the full effect of the production suddenly hit her.

As much as I loved Diana last night - I have to agree. Check the reveiws for "La Bayadere". Someone posted that expectations for Diana are so high that when she is not perfect, there is a sense of letdown. But she WAS absolutely perfect in Act I last night - I start crying every time I think of her Rose Adagio. Not as perfect in Act II, but better in Act III.

I am so blessed that I have seen Diana as Giselle, Odette/Odile, Juliet, Nikiya, and now Aurora!

Link to post
I heard the term "Elvador" mentioned at the Guggenheim's Works and Process lecture in April where Gelsey Kirkland, Michael Chernov & Wes Chapman discussed ABT's new SB... I got the impression it was just a term they came up with while discussing whether to call the males dancing with the fairies "elves" or "knights".

Still sound like shoes for short guys.

Link to post
I heard the term "Elvador" mentioned at the Guggenheim's Works and Process lecture in April where Gelsey Kirkland, Michael Chernov & Wes Chapman discussed ABT's new SB... I got the impression it was just a term they came up with while discussing whether to call the males dancing with the fairies "elves" or "knights".

Still sound like shoes for short guys.

:)

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...