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Giselle - July 2008


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I found Nina absolutely beautiful last night – a moving performance, perfectly in tune with Corella. The Act II supported hops in arabesque were the dreamiest, most fluid I’ve ever seen – bar none, including Vishneva and Makarova. I thought her entire Act I delivered a completely believable and innocent Giselle. The Act II PdD was exquisite and pulled me into the fantasy from the first note. My utmost appreciation to Corella for ending the performance with an expression of true regret and true loss as opposed to the happy smiles and feigned victimization from other Albrechts. Another outstanding performance from Saveliev as Hilarion - he should get a shot at Albrecht before his ABT career comes to a close. He’s one of the most underrated, under-appreciated dancers in that company – and most likely the best partner many of those women will ever dance with.

The peasant pas was just okay – not spectacular, but there was really nothing to complain about. Jared Matthews is not a particularly good partner and had some awkward moments trying to get Riccetto around in supported pirouettes. He has a lot of growing to do in every area.

The corps was outstanding and the audience had difficulty suppressing its appreciation until appropriate clapping moments. I am just amazed at how so many new dancers have been incorporated into the corps this year, and yet, it dances so well as a unit.

Gillian Murphy was a scowling, man-eating Myrta. Her dancing was superb.

There were so many small highlights last night – among them, in Act I at the end of the festivities where Giselle was standing on the wagon, corps dancer Roman Zhurban was the one who got to pick her up to his shoulder and walk forward to the front of the stage. This kid’s face was worth a million euros. He could not contain his joy and pride, and kept looking up at Nina as though he could hardly believe who was sitting on his shoulder.

Thomas and Fang were Moyna and Zulma, respectively. I’d seen Thomas before in this role and she was as beautiful as ever. The surprise was Fang. I had some concerns, because of her modest extension, as to what she would make of the renverses. Well, they were modest, but then were followed by an extraordinary bending of the back that made her Zulma unique and an overall pleasant surprise. Fang shook off all of the severe edges that were an element in her canary fairy dancing in Sleeping Beauty and were evident in her other corps dancing through the season to deliver a very lyrical and beautiful performance.

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I thought last night's performance was exquisite - particularly Act II. Nina was luminous, and demonstrated such fluidity in her upper body and her arms. Angel was the perfect partner, and he made it look as though Nina was floating through the air due to his impeccable, seamless partnering. Of course, as always, Angel achieved stunning elevation and speed in his jumps and turns. However, it wasn't just showing off tricks. He melded his virtuosity with great acting. It was a privilege to see this performance. My great disappointment of the evening was the peasant pas in Act I. Maria Ricetto was fine, but bland. Jared Mathews, however, needs some fine tuning. I kept remembering Herman Cornejo's stunning performances of this role in the past, and last night's performance was not anywhere near that level. Gillian scowled to perfection, and delivered an excellent performance.

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What I liked about Nina Ananiashvili's Act I was that she was joyous Giselle who balanced an overriding eagerness for life with fragility, shyness and foreboding. She even had a sense of humor playfully teasing her mother and being coy with Albrecht. Nina has lots of nice touches that are traditional but well-realized and honest. Like the haunted look she gets when Berthe describes the Wilis to her. Also, Nina definitely died of a weak (and broken) heart - some Giselles are now discarding the business about Giselle's heart condition. One thing this performance pointed out to me is that until the revelation that "Loys" is not who he claims to be, this is the happiest day of Giselle's life. She goes from one wonderful happy surprise (cavorting with Loys, receiving praise and gifts from the nobility and being proclaimed the Harvest Queen) to another. Then the rug is pulled out from underneath her.

I thought Nina's technique was pretty flawless. Only slight cavils, the spins on her Act II Wili "reawakening" could have been faster and wilder. They were a little careful which is the last thing they should be. Also her left side seems weaker than her right. Some of the ecartés in that cruelly exposed opening solo of the Grand Pas de Deux in Act II showed her working harder on her left side with less flexibility. On the other hand the hopping solo variation in Act I, the entrechats in Act II, the lifts and jumps were spectacular and very much the Nina of old. Add to this the boneless arms, the weightless lifts (bravo Angel who was a major factor in this) and the passionate commitment and you have a memorable Giselle.

The woman next to me was seeing her first "Giselle", she was in tears at the end. I think it was Angel's real, simple grief at the end that got to her. His acting is much more the character rather than Angel (adorable as Angel as himself is), he has more gravitas onstage and his partnering was on the Marcelo Gomes level.

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Nina Ananiashvili's Giselle is in the Soviet era ballerina tradition that sees this ballet as Holy, spiritual over material, defying the State values of that time by exemplifying the power of redemptive love. Last night we saw not an old Ananiashvili but, defying time, a new Ananiashvili. Her capacitiy to convey the power of love has deepened from past years, and I wonder if it might just reflect her own life, enriched by her little Elena, now two years old.

The production was not just the ballerina of course. It had a fresh look, and some good and some not so good casting. The PPdD was miscast: grace and ballon were missing in one dancer; and, especially early on, one feared for the other's landings. Yet some casting was perfect: like Haglund's, I also admired Roman Zhurbin's joy at carrying Giselle from the cart and around the stage on his shoulder. His smile lit up the stage, and for minutes after his light was not turned off! After all, he'd just carried his village's Harvest Queen around the village square, or perhaps he'd just carried an historic ballerina around the stage. Whichever, a very enlivening performance by the young dancer. In Act II Melissa Thomas' Moyna was danced with grace and power, a type of Myrta, while Zhong-Jing Fang's Zulma shown more fragile, innocence, a type of Giselle. Beautiful dance-acting. Gillian Murphy gave her Myrta a kind of spiritual stillness, of course a strong, determined leader, locked into her prison of Vengeance, but one happy to be freed by redemption in the end. Her leaps were big and with ballon, and her face glowed a stoic yet pure beauty: there was a soul inside (perhaps all that recent dancing in St. Petersburg and Moscow is paying dividends?). Angel Corella has been a fine Albrecht for Nina in recent years and tonight his two diagonals of brisees volees were thrilling and his partnering was strong: he supported her Act II hops in arabesques so effectively that you could really believe that is was she who was supporting him, keeping him alive just a little longer, till dawn's saving light could rise.

Nina Ananiashvili can project to the biggest of theaters, yet never at the cost of any detail, any nuance. While she lies on the stage, her mother freeing her hair for the forthcoming mad scene, Giselle sneaks a look at the fourth wall, and her head recoils in horror, as if she's just seen time, her future. From then her eyes are fixed on her mother as she rises and moves toward center stage. Her back faces us. Slowly, meekly, but with courage, her head turns to face us, the terrifying fourth wall. Time has reversed, she sees her past. And her lucid madness begins.

Act II was en thrall of her spiritual force. Her Wili spin had not quite the force we've seen from Diana Vishneva, but this was right: for Nina was less a vengeful wili than the others, her love could not be overruled. The corps, too, rose to the level of the occasion with form and spirit. Early in Act I Angel had given Nina ballet's traditional arm-extended upward, two-finger pledge of love, but almost lightly. In Act II, as victory approaches, Nina raises a wraith-like hand, fingers loosely floating into position, and pledges her love to him, but to the wilis too, for this is the love of redemption, universal. The Holy ballet. Nina is Bolshoi. And so was the ovation. And so, the endless curtain calls.

Friday's tickets, as she subs for beloved Diana Vishneva, are Gold.

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By the time I got to the Met, the only available tickets were Standing Room in the Family Circle. I demurred and instead watched what I could on the video monitors in the lobby. Not ideal, of course, but neither is standing at the top of the FC.

I saw all of Act I, and Act II through the Wilis' dance. The mad scene was unlike any I'd seen before, since her soul was battling against Wilidom before she died. I have never seen a Giselle provide that continuity between the acts.

On the monitor, Fang had the weightlessness of a pure spirit. I imagine that quality was noted, too, by those in the house.

After more than two hours standing on the hard stone floor, my back and shoulders started to ache. I stayed as long as I could, but ultimately the discomfort intruded on my enjoyment. I'll be back for Nina and Jose on Friday.

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After more than two hours standing on the hard stone floor, my back and shoulders started to ache. I stayed as long as I could, but ultimately the discomfort intruded on my enjoyment.

You are a warrior. A Wili Warrior. :)

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Loved Nina in act 2. In act 1 technique and therefore musicality were a bit lacking. I must dare say that members of the audience showed such enthusiasm when she entered that in the minds of some she could do no wrong.

Murphy was great -- a wonderful role for her.

Peasant PPD - pretty mediocre.

Nina's 2nd act was amazing.

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Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel in Giselle July 8th.

Breathe taking, Genuine and Memorable are just a few words to describe this performance! I've seen Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel in many performances, but tonight was the best I've ever seen from both. The emotion behind every movement was unbelievable! Each little movement told the story! Julie has the most supple upper body. Her port de bras IS Giselle! It's so hard for me to put into words what I saw! Julie may be getting older and at times it shows, but over all she takes your breathe away! Ethan, he just holds the stage! From his legs and feet, to his smile! Their chemistry, was electric!

Michelle Wiles as Myrta was also very good. I felt she could have been a little bit more evil, but of course perhaps she wasn't playing it that way! She was a little too stiff for me, because then it went almost contemporary at times when her arm was too straight. But over all she was very good!

The corps was also very well put together! They had great energy and good precision!

I have one pet peeve, which is a large one. From where I was sitting, right orchestra towards the front, you could see someone holding the string to pull the veil off the Wilis!! WHAT?!?! EXCUSE ME?!?! ABT can't get a piece of string long enough to handle that?! Way to ruin the moment!

I know there is a lot I'm not talking about, but mainly because I'm just still in awe of Julie and Ethan!

Bravo!

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I also attended the Julie-Ethan Giselle last night. They gave a wonderful performance. I agree that her arms and upper body were beautiful and expressive. Julie didn't have the floating, weightless quality in her solos that I observed in Nina's performance on Monday. Also, I felt that Julie fudged some of the footwork in Act II. Nevertheless, her acting ability and presence more than compensated. Ethan was fantastic in his jumping and in his acting. The peasant PDD was performed by Misty Copeland and Carlos Lopez. They did a very good job, and Lopez drew gasps from the audience with the height of certain jumps. Maria Bystrova was an arrogant, aristocratic princess; a much different approach than Kristi Boone's more approachable and sympathetic princess on Monday. Michele Wiles as Myrta was pretty good, but I thought her upper body was too stiff. Ricetto and Boone were Moyna and Zulma. Sasha was an angry Hilarion. He did a good job with the jumping portions of the role, but in my opinion he did not reach the emotional depths of the character that Genadi captured on Mon. eve. in that role.

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For those of us in ABT's touring cities, we have something to look forward to in the coming season. According to the membership office, Giselle will be the 2008-09 touring production for Miami and, I assume, elsewhere.

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Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I too saw the all-American home team "Giselle" on Tuesday night. I was glad I went because the last time I saw Julie Kent dance Giselle it was as a replacement for Ferri with Bocca as her Albrecht. Julie and Julio had little chemistry and I found her Giselle flat and predictable that night. Overly calculated and recessive personality-wise. Last night, Julie was completely wonderful.

Beautiful, beautiful port de bras and epaulement. Very truthful emotion at all times. Just the right amount of shyness, flirtation and joy in the first act. The dancing was very solid, not spectacular but lovingly shaped and phrased. Julie has that increasingly elusive quality of grace in movement in all that she does.

Ethan in the second act was dancing like it was ten years ago. Very clean jumps, turns and landings, precise but exciting technique. His brisés volés (sp?) in the coda in the second act got gasps from the audience. It was the only time I saw him this season, so I was glad I saw him at his best.

Michele Wiles had very cleanly articulated footwork as Myrtha and strong jumps. Gillian is now a forceful dramatic presence in the part (Gamzatti too) and Michele doesn't have that kind of authority. A friend on Monday night said she thought Gillian Murphy is definitely the best Myrtha since Martine Van Hamel.

In the Peasant PDD, Misty Copeland was charming if a little shaky in a few pirouettes. Carlos Lopez indeed had some excitingly high, daring leaps and aerial turns but I found his landings sloppy and perilous. He had beautiful form when aloft but I cringed every time he hit the floor, the feet were all over the place. He was very on the music however, striking a pose with every climactic "da-dum!".

Lovely conducting by David LaMarche and you have an equally lovely evening as the more glitzy prima. Not as many flowers though - Julie got three bouquets at her call but no flowers tossed from the house, Ethan got no flowers at all! (Nina got the ultimate accolade of a confetti shower from the upper side boxes house right on Monday).

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For those of us in ABT's touring cities, we have something to look forward to in the coming season. According to the membership office, Giselle will be the 2008-09 touring production for Miami and, I assume, elsewhere.

Bart, maybe you will see first the much-awaited but postponed joint debut of Stella and David in Giselle :)

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I also went to the Kent-Stiefel-Radetsky last night.

Stiefel was fantastic. Really transporting and wonderful. I can't say enough great things about him, and he and Kent had absolutely seamless partnering. The little skimming hops that Kent does while lifted in the air by Stiefel was absolutely beautiful. Stiefel was everything I go to the ballet for - expressive, powerful, technically flawless, and so very charismatic.

I love Radetsky's dancing and mime. He tends not to be as much of a show-offy showman as Stiefel, so he doesn't get the recognition applause when he enters (which I think he ought to), but his dancing is so clean, so precise, and his acting is right on. He's one of the better mime actors at the ABT, where you can actually 'hear' the words he's miming. I thought it was a shame that the Hilarion dance to the death was not better lit. I know it's happening at night in a graveyard in a forest, but come on! You've got a fantastic dancer performing on stage - we in the Dress Circle should be able to see all of him clearly and not be forced to squint for a better look.

Julie Kent has lovely, lovely port de bras. I don't know how she does it. Her partnering with Stiefel was divine. The thing is, I was a little disappointed with her acting in the first act. I have seen Alessandra Ferri and Diana Vishneva in this part, and they both went more heartbreakingly and convincingly insane, and they also had much better articulated heart problems. Sad to say, I felt Kent's Giselle didn't go mad so much as just feel very sad, and when Kent's Giselle died she very prettily melted to the floor and it wasn't clear that she was actually DEAD until everyone started to react. I sat next to a family with two little girls, and both girls asked their mother if Giselle was actually dead, and they read the synopsis again because they weren't sure if she was dead yet!

The corps de ballet Willies were very fine, except for one blooper. The last willie on the left back row must have had something go wrong with the veil-pull off and so she was quite late getting to the stage and had to join her row late.

I felt so grateful and restored and happy at the end of last night's performance, and it went a long ways to erase the disappointment I felt at Bayadere and Merry Widow.

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I saw both Monday night's performance of Giselle and also Tuesday's. Will also be going to see Cornejo make his debut as Albrecht on Thursday. I've been attending performances of Giselle since the Bolshoi first danced it in the US in the late fifties. I thought Nina and Angel were exceptional on Monday night, perhaps the greatest performance of Giselle I've ever seen. Nina danced with every pore of her body. She used her eyes to perfection, in addition to her radiance, her perfect line, and flawless technique. In Act II I couldn't take my eyes off her for even a moment. Why, oh why, is there no DVD of her performing this work? That is such a great loss to posterity. Why is there no good DVD of Giselle to be had?

And then I saw Julie and Ethan on Tuesday and I felt the same way--that this was the greatest performance of Giselle I'd ever seen! Julie was breathtaking. She was charming and delightful in Act I, completely in command of her exquisite classical line and technique. In Act II she was truly a spirit, completely weightless, with fluid Romantic arms/hands and finely articulated legs. She reminded me of Carla Fracci, whom I also adored in that role. Julie's performance should be captured on DVD before it's too late.

I agree about the veils. I sat in the side parterre (my favorite seats, as I'd rather sacrifice a corner of the stage in order to see the expressions on the dancers' faces) and saw the arm and the string ("oh, so that's how they do it," I thought). In older productions the wilis used to go offstage for a moment and return without their veils.

Both Gennadi and Sascha were great Hilarions. My impression, though please correct me if I'm wrong, is that the role of Hilarion contains more classical dancing than it used to. Perhaps this is because the quality of male dancers has improved greatly since the 1960s. Gennadi's acting was superb, as well as his dancing. Sascha is a joy to watch as well. I hope that before too long both will be able to move up the ranks to become principal dancers.

I am eagerly awaiting the debut of Stella and David in the leading roles. May her injuries heal quickly and completely. We need her back on stage!

Both performances are indelibly etched in my brain. But where are the DVD people? Why weren't they capturing these transcendent performances?

Angelica

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I attended to Monday's performance (Nina/Angel)

Once again, Nina showed what a truly prima ballerina can do on stage.

Her acting in the 1st act was incredibly good. Wasnt she a real young girl coming out of her house ? Her happiness and love was touching. The only thing that I didnt like was when she did the diagonal on point in the 1st act (whats the name of this step?), she did not look at the prince at all, just at her mom. I rather prefer what some other ballerinas like Vishneva or Kent do, when they look at the prince and show him how pretty she is and how in love she is as well. Her madness scene was very good, particularly her dead, which was one of the best I have seen.

Her 2nd act was just incredible. She was a real ghost, weighless, fluid, her arms and upper body was perfectly used. I cant say enough about her 2nd act performance, I never thought that I would have the chance to see her dancing like this again !!! At her age and after giving birth 2 yrs ago, this is just a miracle !!!

I agree with Angelica about the fact that they are not recording these performances.

This year the opera not only recorded the shows professionally, but showed them on TV and right now you can see every now and them a performance of this last year on channel 13. If abt could do the same !!!!

I am sure it would bring a lot of new and young people into the world of classical ballet. Is it a matter of money ?

I just cant stop thinking how sad is not to have Nina's Don Q, Swan Lake and Giselle for the ages.

Her performances this year have just been: Ballet Master Classes, literally.

Even though she doesnt have the technique she had years ago, she has cover that with her experience. The level of details that she incorporates in every single of her characters, make me think that she is dancing a completely different ballet. This should be def taped for the generations to come !!

Murphy’s Myrtha was tremendously powerful, perfect execution (as always), great personality. As in gamzatti, she def own this role. I really congratulate her for the progress shown in these last two years regarding her expressiveness and stage projection. Her acting is much better and she is now putting that together with her amazing technique to take her dancing to a different level. I hope to see her progressing even more and making new debuts in the years to come (I knew she danced in St Petersburg, but somebody else mentioned before that she danced in Moscow as well, did she really dance there ?)

Fang’s Zulma was also a big surprise. One of the best I have seen, very impressive !!

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I agree with the above reviews. Nina and Angel took my breath away with the supported hops, and with the angel lift. I will forgive any of her lapses in technique because I think she more than made up with those with her arms, face, timing (a little behind the music sometimes, for the sake of poignancy). Angel's cabrioles (only 4 to cover the whole diagonal of the stage) were stunning. I loved the two of them together. Gillian Murphy as Myrthe was the best I have seen. My favorite gesture of hers is when she slumps a little as Giselle is protecting Albrecht at the cross. It was subtle and very fleeting. It seemed as though the power of Giselle's love for Albrecht confused Myrthe for an instant.

Julia and Ethan were splendid as well. I would not have wanted to dance the night after Nina and Angel; they certainly rose to the occasion. I liked Misty Copeland and Carlos Lopez in the PPdD. The dancing was crisp and easy. Michele Wiles is also a great Myrthe, but once I had seen that gesture of Gillian's, I wanted Michele to do it too. Sascha is a beautiful dancer and did Hilarion well.

Because of David Hallberg's being injured, Herman Cornejo replaced him. Giselle was Xiomara Reyes. I may be wrong but I think this was Herman's debut as Albrecht. He did an admirable job especially in his solos; she gave him the whole bouquet during the bows. He then pulled out a red rose and gave it to her. I am not so experienced but wondered if he was having a bit of trouble partnering in the Grand Pas in act 2.

I agree with one thing in the Times review: the innumerable rewritings of the score by Lanchberry have taken away from the beauty of the music in Act 2. Albrecht's entrance should be to an oboe solo, and a different melody, than ABT's orchestra uses. And in the final PdD, once again the melody has been changed and not for the better. I understand that there are many versions of Giselle, and have yet to see the "original" score (which I believe is at the museum of Opera Garnier in Paris). Why ABT uses this Lanchberry version (cheaper?) is anybody's guess.

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Just a quick note before I head back to the Met for tonight's performance.

Herman took a really big leap today in this dramatic debut. When he first came out, he looked like he had the pressure of the world on his shoulders. This was such a huge step for him. His acting was great so long as he was moving, but when he had to stand still, which Albrecht does a lot, he seemed a little lost. It will be interesting to see if 30 hours of thinking about it will make a difference for him tomorrow night. No doubt he will be a great Albrecht sooner than later, but it will be a journey. During his final scene at Giselle's grave and his final walk downstage, he could have been suicidal - he was in that much emotional agony. Very good grasp on what it's all about. Xiomara was a darling Giselle with just a touch of naive ditz. Her Act II is much, much stronger than when I last saw her, particularly the developpe releves, roll down, step into attitude movements around Albrecht. Isaac Stappas was great as Hilarion - what a theater animal! He was especially brilliant right at the end before getting pushed in the lake. Like Frank Smith many years ago, Stappas was able to really let go and convey his exhaustion.

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Herrera - Gomes Giselle

Last night was a mixed bag. I was swept away by the magnificent Marcelo Gomes. He delivered an excellent performance as Albrecht. The little touches of his acting were brilliant. For example, in Act II when he first enters the stage holding an armful of flowers, he stroked the flowers as though the flowers were the embodiment of Giselle. When he reaches Giselle's grave side, he didn't just merely bend down on his knees. He sprawled his entire body over the grave and literally hugged the rocks under which she is buried. Some might regard it as over the top. I loved it. Marcelo did not do the brisees (spelling) across the diagonal of the stage, as most Albrechts I have seen. Instead he chose to do an astounding number of high jumps in place to indicate that he was being danced to death by the Willis. (I'm not sure what the dance step is called. Sorry) He was a great actor and a great partner last night. I did not care for Herrera's Giselle at all. Her upper body and neck were stiff, and her arms were not graceful. While I love her in certain ballets (esp. Don Q), she failed to capture the signature Romantic style required here. I also was totally unconvinced by her acting. There was no innocence in her Act I portrayal. I could have lived with that if her Act II portrayal was better. The peasant pdd was done by Blain Hoven and Sarah Lane. I really enjoyed Ms. Lane's performance. She was light and airy in her jumps. Hoven had a bad landing, but he was otherwise pretty good. Veronika Part did a fine job as Myrta, and she executed her solo passages very well. However, the night belonged to Marcelo.

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Everybody had already described the exquisite,very moving Giselle of Nina and Angel last Monday night . I just want to add how exciting the Brises that Angel did near the end of 2nd act and the supported hops that Nina did near the end of the same act.I thought they were as good as i remember Natalia and Misha dancing many years ago.

Kudos to ZJ Fang for her beautiful Zulma.I hope this improves her promotion chances.

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I thought it was an oustanding performance all around, and it was touching that Xiomara gave Herman the entire bouquet, instead of just the pull rose.

And where can I get one of those cool breakaway swords? :wink:

(For those of you who weren't there, when Albrecht threw his sword down at the end of Act I, the pommel unscrewed and the sword fell apart into its four pieces - a pommel, a guard, a handle and just a blade lying flat on the stage - which Xiomara, of course, is going to have to scoop up. As the principals moved left, they switched in a another sword, with a huge guard, just in time for Xiomara to pick it up.)

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Paloma gave a first rate performance in Giselle Wednesday night complete with rich, yet modest Romantic port du bras, crystal clear mime, sweetness in Act I, other-worldliness in Act II, and it almost goes without saying, the most beautiful and articulate feet in the ballet world today. Her interpretation continues to grow and deepen with artistry. She does not attempt to imitate anyone’s Kirov or Bolshoi interpretation, but seems to strive for her own individual ideal. She is believable in every respect, and her rapport with Marcelo the Magnificent was wonderful. It was an incredible performance from everyone. Sarah Lane did the Peasant pas for the second time that day, and oh, what a jewel!

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Lovely review by Mary Cargill. How old is that photo ABT is sending out for Giselle? I recognize Abrerra and Wiles as Wiles :wink: It must have been from a time they were in the corps or just become soloists.

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I missed what Haglund's saw last night. I went to see Gomes and Part, of whom I've seen too little this season, before ABT left town. I had not seen Herrera's Giselle before and I had low expectations, so to say I was disappointed would be overstating it. I enjoyed Paloma's exquisite pointe work -- the smooth, controlled releves and deleves of those gorgeously curved feet. But I found her dancing and acting one-dimensional. Had this been a debut, I might have termed it "promising," but it's too late in her career for that word.

Not having an engaged character to play against, Gomes seemed to feel the need to overcompensate. He did tend to overact.

Marcelo did not do the brisees (spelling) across the diagonal of the stage, as most Albrechts I have seen. Instead he chose to do an astounding number of high jumps in place to indicate that he was being danced to death by the Willis. (I'm not sure what the dance step is called. Sorry)
Entrechats sixes, although I think I saw some huits in there as desperation grew. Frankly, I prefer the brises voles, because when done right, it creates the illusion that Myrtha is pulling Albrecht towards her.
My favorite gesture of [Murphy's Myrtha] is when she slumps a little as Giselle is protecting Albrecht at the cross. It was subtle and very fleeting. It seemed as though the power of Giselle's love for Albrecht confused Myrthe for an instant.
To me, this is a very important moment often missed. It reminds us that the Wilis were young women who once loved deeply, only to be betrayed. And here we see Myrtha recall her feeling of being in love. I missed that, but little else, from Veronika Part on Wednesday. However, the speed and smoothness with which she bouree'd across the stage more than made up for it. Perfection! She was merciless, and any humanity she had once had was lost to her singleminded drive for vengeance.

Again, our Zulma was a standout. Yuriko Kajiya, whose season has been a string of small (i.e., soloist role) triumphs, epitomized Romantic style and delicately sophisticated phrasing. Simone Messmer was fine as Moyna.

Blaine Hoven's peasant pas was laborious, especially in contrast to Sarah Lane's apparent ease. She took opportunities to hold balances without distorting the choreography. Very charming performance, even though (tiny quibble) she tends to raise her eyebrows too much.

Giselle's Act I friends were pretty raggedy, suggesting that this sextet had not rehearsed as a unit. However, the corps of Wilis was exquisite. I have never seen ABT's Wilis better, especially remarkable given the corps' recent large turnover.

The only thing that I didnt like was when she did the diagonal on point in the 1st act (whats the name of this step?), she did not look at the prince at all, just at her mom. I rather prefer what some other ballerinas like Vishneva or Kent do, when they look at the prince and show him how pretty she is and how in love she is as well.
I never thought of this. It's is a good point, Classic, but there's a technical problem, since you travel in the direction that you're looking towards. Most Giselles' strong side would favor their crossing the stage from left to right. I don't think I've ever seen a Giselle hop towards Albrecht or do more than shoot him glances.

I'm up for another Giselle tonight. See you later!

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