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ABT in London


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Simon

I've spent most of working life in publishing, I've written for national newspapers and my experience has always been that if you keep to your word count you are unlikely to be cut. And if you feel there is a danger of being cut, then you make sure your most "passionate" comments are near the top.

Incidentally, are you aware that Mary Clarke has retired.

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The Royal Ballet is also doing "Swan Lake" now (I saw their "Isadora/"Dancers at a Gathering" last Sat. night. I loved the latter), so there might be a bit of hometown bias (or maybe not).

Actually this was the quote I was responding to, if you notice you mention two seperate programmes, Swan Lake & Isadora/Dances At a Gathering, stating that you enjoyed the latter as opposed to the former.

I read this to mean that of "Isadora" and "Dances at a Gathering", the ballets in the parenthetical statement, DeborahB liked the latter, i.e., "Dances at a Gathering".

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Yeeeesssss, Aylmer I'm aware Mary Clarke has retired, as much as I'm aware that Clive Barnes is dead.

Okay mea culpa, let's just assume all British critics are talentless, univolved dilettantes, who've no track record of writing for the publications on which they do write, have no working knowledge that is when they're not being ghost written. Have formed a cabal of amateurs posing as pros having tied up the British press and dance publishing industry with poorly researched, uninformed drivel.

I'm wrong you're right as is Deborah and now I remember why I stopped posting on this site.

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Where are you moderators?!!

Can we please get back on topic and tell us how ABT did in London, after opening night?!

Thank you -- yes = Murphy, Irina, Part, Pas de Trios etc.

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Where are you moderators?!!

Can we please get back on topic and tell us how ABT did in London, after opening night?!

Yeah! Enough of this pointless and very personal back and forth about who knows what reviewers. Where are the actual reviews??? Is anyone there in London who can give us a firsthand report on the performances? I would love to hear about Part, Murphy, Dvorovenko, and whoever is doing the pas de trois, and anything else of interest!

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Where are you moderators?!!

Can we please get back on topic and tell us how ABT did in London, after opening night?!

Speaking as a Moderator, I also hope that we will receive reports from those who actually attended these performances.

Alas, we cannot conjur up performance reviews on our own.

So how about it? BT'rs: If you were there, help us to start the ball rolling by telling us a few of your impressions.

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There are two ways to avoid posts: one is by placing the poster on "ignore" and the second is by stepping over a post and addressing the topic at hand. There's no obligation to follow a path that veers.

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Sunday matinee (Wiles/Hallberg/Gomes): pas de trois was Riccetto, Kajiya, Saveliev. This was the first time I've seen this production on stage and I have to say it was better than I remember from the televised performance. Except for the opening of Act 4.

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I'll wait to comment on Hallberg/Gomes till I've seen Gomes/Hallberg tonight (with Part). I liked the simplicity of Michelle Wiles as Odette (I took a quick tour of some of those to be seen on YouTube the other day, and found some of them so self-indulgent that it was good to see someone who just does the choreography) but I didn't see much depth in her interpretation. Her Odile was much stronger.

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Sorry folks.

The moderators (at least one of them) happened to BE in London, seeing said Swan Lake. (Sitting next to a swan, to boot.)

I'm writing for Ballet Review, so won't talk so much about the performance. Wiles does have an easy, pure line, but I'd agree with the general assessment reported. There also isn't much chemistry there between her and Hallberg.

Sadly, the house was barely half full, at least in the Stalls (orchestra). This will not do well economically.

Let's hear some more reports on the performance itself.

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Sadly, the house was barely half full, at least in the Stalls (orchestra). This will not do well economically.

Do you happen to know how well performances with other casts sold, Leigh? Is it possible people were more interested in seeing Part and Herrera, whom I imagine are better known there?

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I don't know from first hand experience, but a friend reported a half full house for Part's Friday night Swan as well.

I was at Swan Lake tonight sitting in the stalls and they appeared to be very nearly full. The boxes all the way round however, were all empty. As this is my third Swan Lake in eight days I am exhausted. I really enjoyed the performance so I will tell all (from my point of view) tomorrow.

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ry flying three six hours and four time zones (leaping to five in the middle of the weekend) and do three in three days. You'll be hallucinating swans in no time, I guarantee.
Could this possibly be an explanation for Siegfried's vision of Odette at the end of Act III: jet lag? :clapping:
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I don't know from first hand experience, but a friend reported a half full house for Part's Friday night Swan as well.

I was at Swan Lake tonight sitting in the stalls and they appeared to be very nearly full. The boxes all the way round however, were all empty. As this is my third Swan Lake in eight days I am exhausted. I really enjoyed the performance so I will tell all (from my point of view) tomorrow.

The Dress Circle was barely half full last night.

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I'll wait to comment on Hallberg/Gomes till I've seen Gomes/Hallberg tonight (with Part).

Well, that didn't quite happen - we got Part/Gomes/Stearns instead. (Pas de trois was Copeland/Kajiya/Matthews.)

I thought both Hallberg and Gomes were fine Siegfrieds, though completley different - Hallberg all nerves, Gomes much happier in his skin. I haven't seen Part for years and wasn't entirely won over - I've never seen anyone who can so often go from glorious to gawky in the course of a single phrase. Easy to see why she divides opinions! I preferred her Odile to her Odette, which was a bit too frantically tragic for my taste. Stearns seemed a bit young for Rothbart but I thought Gomes was terrific in his big seduction number - nothing at all to do with Swan Lake but a brilliant turn anyway.

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I remember Veronika Part having impressed me some years ago as Queen of the Dryads and the Lilac Fairy among other roles. I have read how she divides both critics and ballettalkers as to her abilities and performance consistency. I must say I was also somewhat disappointed with her when she came with ABT to Sadler’s Wells Theatre two years ago but that was, generally a misbegotten venture by the company which did nothing for its prestige in London at that time.

I had read about Mr McKenzie’s “Swan Lake” production in the past and also the reviews of the current run in London.

On the whole it would appear that I chose the right cast although perhaps I would have preferred that the two leading men had changed roles.

After seeing Sonnanbend’s designs for the same ballet last week and I positively loved the comparative normality of Zack Brown’s costumes even if they lacked a cohesive conceptual approach. I liked Brown’s sets and thought the palace ballroom effective and a hoot as it looked like Colefax and Fowler had been let loose on a grand English stately home.

The performance looked at times somewhat small scale with too few people involved in entrances and in attendance for what after all is a “Grand Ballet.”

I found the Prologue a fairly brutal affair. Dramatically effective, but rather too naturalistic a portrayal of the event rather than magically sinister

In Act one Marcelo Gomes as Prince Siegfried did little wrong except give the impression of being a danseur noble. In general he executed all the right steps and mimetic requirements, but I found him physically too stocky for the role of a balletic Prince.

Frederick Franklin was missing as the tutor as this sprightly gentleman had another stage engagement half a mile away and Victor Barbee took the role. Georgina Parkinson played the Queen Mother for all it was worth and at her entrance, my memory recalled an image of this beautiful woman I had watched for many years with the RB including seeing her as Odette/Odile.

The dances in Act one were not choreographically memorable but in the Pas de Trois of Misty Copeland, Yuriko Kajiho and Jared Mathers(Benno), were youthful and pleasing and Kajiho stood out for me.

In Act II the swan costumes were fine. Rothbart was affirmatively sinister and the Prince suitably in awe, when a truly, majestic Odette/Odile, arrived on the stage in the shape of Veronika Part.

Not one of the revues I have read exaggerated her abilities and portrayal. I put it this performance in my top ten of Odette Odiles I have seen.

Part was flawless in the white acts and just the teeniest bit short of perfect in the black act( caused only be an unsteadiness in the last two fouettes but even then, she never for a split second stepped outside of the characterisation).

As meltingly a beautiful performance of Odette as you could wish for. No vulgar extensions as if in preparation for a gynaecological examination, that have became the trademark of better known

performers of this role. Part came to London and conquered the audience with consummate skill and artistry in a modern performing style albeit some distance from a Fonteyn or Beriosova.

I have read negative comments about the ABT corps de ballet. On this occasion, the corps was no worse than the RB I saw last week and because of their appropriate costuming were infinitely more pleasing.

The Cygnets of Gemma Bond, Sarah Lane, Renata Pavam and Jacquelyn Reyes were in my opinion superior to the RB counterparts I recently saw. The two big swans were Leann Underwood and Melanie Hamrick who appeared on a rare occasions to have to reach hard to get through the choreography, but were still very effective.

The Black Act was entirely dominated by Part. Technically and dramatically assuming the doppelganger Odette, she was thrilling, but all the time, she remained within the aesthetics of academic classical ballet. Gomes partnered her extremely well and danced an attractive variation with style. The cast list said that the dancing Rothbart was Cory Stearns. He gave a performance that was villainous, gratuitously charming and dominated the male dancing in this act. In fact he was a hit even though I have never thought purple on a man looks good. I suppose the colour is kind of midway between the red of a devil and the black of a Satan and is therefore symbolic as to character of Rothbart. The Pricesses were played by: Zhong-Jing Fang - Hungarian, Jessica Saund - Spanish, Gemma Bond - Italian, Simone Messmer - Polish. Czardas was led by Elizabeth Mertz and Patrick Ogle, The Spanish by Jennifer Whalenand and Roman Zhurbin with Sarah Smithh and Alexandre Hammoudi, Neapolitan by Blaine Hoven and Grant Delong.

I liked the theatricality of Odile's exit and the appearance of the tragic figure of Odette seen through an open door at the top of a flight of stairs.

I resented the shortening of the last act by Mr McKenzie but the general audience at the end accepted the denouement and applauded almost rapturously with many bravos. Part, Gomez and Krauchenka all added to what is always a satisfying end to a tale where the protagonists end up in the state of eternal love and the baddy collapses in what one hopes is his death.

I have given the cast as printed.

Charles Barker conducted the Orchestra of English National Opera.

I thought it a successful evening and I add a well-done and a thank you to the board and sponsors of ABT, Mr McKenzie, the coaching staff and all the artists.

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Leonid--that was a rare and inspiring pleasure to read, not only because of the detailed description of this particular Swan Lake, and this particular performance of it, but because it has about it some exemplary way ot looking at a work, never losing contact with its origins literally from its very beginning in the 19th century, but as if these new colorations and responses by Mackenzie and the others to the work slide into and through the very classicism that you have much of always in mind about the piece itself--there is the temporary of what is unique to this production and performance seen as it should properly be, superimposed and/or integrated into what is more timeless and always implicit in what a 'Swan Lake' must be. Somehow you have made it possible to see 'Swan Lake' afresh and anew--but not only what is literally new in this production, as well what has always been there. I know I'm sounding quite enthusiastic about this report, but I am; it seems to demonstrate the correct way to approach a work of classical art, and will make me less prone to make snap judgments about things in the future (I hope.).

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