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Nilas Martins Dance Company

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Program for performance November 11 (Sunday) at 7PM

Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts Patchogue,, NY:

Excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (Peter Martins)

Swan Lake, the last of the great 19th-century Russian ballets, is a work of emotional intensity, inventive choreography and glorious music, a lyrical and moving musical/psychological dance drama.

Although Swan Lake was also the last of the famed Tschaikovsky-Petipa-Ivanov ballets, it was actually the composer's first ballet score. In 1875, Tchaikovsky had received a commission from the Moscow Imperial Theatre (now called the Bolshoi Ballet). He was paid 800 rubles for a new four-act ballet, a sum that was nearly half of what he earned during a whole year teaching at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg.

Tchaikovsky, who thought that ballet was "the most innocent, the most moral of the arts," suggested the libretto for Swan Lake. Years earlier, for a family entertainment, he had composed a short ballet based on a German fairy tale about a wicked sorcerer who turns young girls into birds. He expanded this story into Swan Lake, a moving ballet of romance and tragedy. Enchanted by sorcerer Von Rotbart, Odette, the Swan Queen, assumes her human form only between the hours of midnight and dawn. It will take the pledge of eternal love by a man who has forsaken all other women to break this spell. Prince Siegfried falls in love with Odette and pledges his eternal love to her. During a gala reception at the palace, Siegfried is tricked into proposing marriage to Von Rotbart's daughter, Odile. His betrayal seals the Swan Queen's fate, she forgives him but casts herself into the lake, freeing the Swan Maidens from the curse and destroying Von Rotbart's power forever but leaving Siegfried grieving for his lost Swan Queen.

Act II White Swan…..pas de deux

Odette, the Swan Queen-Abi Stafford

Prince Siegfried- Nilas Martins

Prince Siegfried meets Odette, the White Swan Queen. They fall in love and he pledges his eternal faith to her.


Act III The Jester’s solo

The Court Jester-Daniel Ulbricht

During a grand reception at the royal palace the court jester performs a lighthearted entertainment for all.


Act III Black Swan…..pas de deux

Odile, the Black Swan-Ana Maria Scheller

Prince Siegfried-Charles Askegard

During the reception, the evil von Rotbart arrives with his daughter, Odile. Bewitched by her beauty and von Rotbart’s magic, Prince Siegfried proposes to Odile and betrays Odette.


THE SWAN……solo

Monique Meunier

-Intermission -


Eleven Songs by Giacomo Puccini (Nilas Martins)© NMDF

Puccini Songs is a totally unique interpretation through dance of songs composed by Puccini over his creative lifetime and performed here in the original version accompanied by piano and sung by soprano and tenor. In these songs the listener will hear some strains later developed in some of Puccini’s most popular works including his first great international success- Manon Lescaut his exceedingly popular- La boheme and his later bittersweet - La rondine.

Here, choreographer Nilas Martins creates an abstract modern yet romantic style very faithful to the emotions expressed in these songs. The first song, A Te is a lover’s affirmation of his faith in the woman he loves. The Salve Regina! is a supplicant’s prayer sung by the soprano voice but interpreted by a male dancer. The apotheosis, Ad una morta, becomes a solo for a man feeling the full sense of abandonment while Mentia l'avviso becomes a haunting and moving pas de deux of resolve. Storiella d'amore is a sweet bon-bon of two youngsters in first love, Morire? becomes a grand pas de deux; a man and a woman contemplate the 'other shore of existence' while life rushes on. E l’uccelino images a happy little wren in a tree, observed through the window. Sole e amore, setting the basis of the Act III quartet from La boheme, becomes Puccini’s paeon to the famous musician Paganini. Casa Mia! a solo recognizing the universal need to have something of one's own and the exquisite Sogno d’or a mother’s golden lullaby to her sleeping infant with the guardian angels swirling in the baby’s dream and finally Terra e mare which touches all the elements of human relationships.

A te (To You !) Tenor

Salve Regina ! (Hail Holy Queen !) Soprano

Storiella d’amore (A Little Love Story) soprano

Ad una morta-spirto gentil (To a Dead Girl-Gentle Spirit) tenor

Mentia l’avviso (The Warning was False) tenor

E l’uccellino ( And the Little Bird…) soprano

Morire? (To Die?) Tenor

Casa mia! (My House!) Tenor

Sole e amore (Sunlight and Love) soprano

Sogno d’or (Golden dream) soprano

Terra e mare (The Earth and the Sea) soprano


Ashley Laracey, Monique Meunier, Erica Periera, Arch Higgins, Nilas Martins, Daniel Ulbricht

Julianna Di Giacomo, soprano

John Matz, tenor

Pacien Mazzagatti, pianist

Stage manager/Lighting Director…Mark Mongold

For The Nilas Martins Dance Company…Nilas Martins, Artistic Director

Robert Lombardo, Managing Director

(From the Press Release received 11/8 from the offices of Robert Lombardo)

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Very ambitious, creatively -- with a thoughtfully written press release. I hope the performance goes well, and that people can get out to see it ---- and report back to us.

For me, getting out there is a 20-minute drive. For once I can see good dance without a major schlep into the city! :clapping:

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Thanks, zerbinetta, for posting this.

I look forward to your reaction, Klavier, and that of anyone else who attends.

Don't know if anyone else from the group went, but if you didn't, I would say that you didn't miss anything to die for. The first half, the Swan Lake excerpts, was kind of blah all told. Maybe it was the lack of scenery, the chintzy costumes (Daniel Ulbricht's jester suit had to be seen to be disbelieved), the taped music through a lousy sound system, or the sense I got that everyone was just going through the motions to give a little something to the hicks in the boonies, but I was rather disengaged. Or perhaps it just doesn't make much sense choreographically to offer a few snippets from a full-length work like Swan Lake. Nilas and Abi Stafford in the White Swan pdd, Daniel alone (mugging much too much), Charles Askegard and Ana Marie Scheller in the Odile scene (probably the best work of the segment), and Monique Meunier in a Fokine-derived solo from Saint-Saens's The Swan (bizarre) comprised a short first "half" that couldn't have lasted more than 30 minutes.

Things improved considerably after a long intermission. (Even so, I was out of the theater and on the road by 8:30. Not exactly a lot of dancing for your money's worth.) Things improved, as I said, with Nilas's own choreography to 11 Puccini songs for soprano, tenor, and piano. I thought/hoped there would be live performers because their bios were in the program, but alas, more taped music. These songs are not taken from Puccini operas but are standalone songs, of which one was quarried for the Act Three quartet in Boheme; the rest were unknown to me. Here Nilas showed a good lyrical gift for choreography that was quite pleasing on the whole. Dancing his own work for the first time, he was paired with Monique Meunier, while Arch Higgins appeared with Ashley Laracey and Daniel Ulbricht with Erica Pereira. (I hope I've got that straight. There were a lot of cast changes announced.) And this time we were given a coherent work very nicely danced. Martins uses his dancers in all kinds of combinations, from solos to duets to full ensembles, and there was a freshness to the work that was very captivating. If I had to single out one special moment, it was a playful "she loves me, she loves me not" duet for Daniel and Erica, where they were well-matched physically and showed a good sense of character detail. Not all of the work was quite as interesting, but I left feeling considerably more encouraged by the Nilas Martins Dance Company than I had felt at intermission.

In comparison to last year's program at Patchogue, this one was not as generous in terms of the amount of work presented, nor as successful as that one had been in terms of performer energy. The theater was perhaps half-full tonight at best and audience reaction was understandably tepid for part 1 but more enthusiastic for part 2. I hope the group returns next year, but I also hope they work with more commitment than they seemed to be showing tonight.

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Thanks, Klavier. I'm glad to hear that the second half, at least, was rewarding.

From the press release and zerbinetta's post, this version of Swan Lake sounded like it would be pretty much as you described it.

I've seen the NM group twice, and both times have been well worth it. As you well know, even the best companies sometimes have off-nights or not-so-great programs.

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