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Performances Feb 3-8

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On Thurs. I attended to see Divert. 15 only, and left after it was over. Stabat Mater and Brahms Handel are pretty unappealing, in my opinion. The cast was of Divert. 15 very good, with one exception (Rachel Rutherford). All the men (Ramasar, Neal Adrian D-W) were in wonderful form. Congrats to Adrain D-W on the promotion. It is well deserved. I think the conductor was trying to kill Megan Fairchild with the brisk tempo, but she was more than up to the challenge. The other ladies (Scheller, Hyltin, and especially Peck) delivered excellent performances. Rutherford was off her game in her solos. She looked very stiff, although she did better in the partnered portion.

I attended the matinee on Saturday. In Stravinsky Violin Con., I recall only Nilas Martins dancing in the second aria. What a pleasure to see R. Fairchild in this role. He did a wonderful job. Wendy and Albert were exciting in the first aria. Y. Boree was only adequate at best in her solos. She danced very small. She did better in the pdd w. R. Fairchild.

Janie Taylor was thrilling in La Valse. It was absolute perfection.

Also captivating was S. Mearns on Sun. afternoon in the first section (Elegie) of Ts. Suite No. 3. She had incredible flexibility in her back and amazingly stretched lines. Gorgeous. Sterling Hyltin and Ben Millipied did the fourth variation (T&V). Ben tossed off his jumps with ease. His partnering was also very well done and exciting. Hyltin needs a little time to polish her performance in this, but overall she did pretty well. The other sections of Ts. Suite 3 were performed well.

I made the mistake of staying for Oltremare. It looks more under-whelming with each viewing, in my opinion.

Rachel Rutherford had an unfortunate fall in the last section of Concerto B. She got up and finished the performance, so I don't think she injured herself in the fall. Wendy and Albert were quite wonderful in the pdd. The orchestra played the initial section at a snails pace, making the entire opening section seem sluggish.

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I attended on Fri and Sat nights. Wendy and Albert in the Barocco pdd just get better and better every time I see them in it. The lifts are so sutstained, and Wendy just lets one movement flow into another with heartstopping beauty. I felt that Rachel held back a little, but I still think she and Wendy are a great match in Barocco.

T&V was better with Hyltin and Millepied than with Stafford and Garcia earlier in the season, but I thought the corps, especially in the finale, were a little off. I am wondering if NYCB has any men who can do T&V as well as Hallberg? Millepied was good but not quite as good! I am very much looking forward to Bouder's T&V later this season. T&V is in need of some serious fireworks from the lead ballerina. I don't much care for the earlier 3 sections of Suite No. 3, but a large part of that has to do with the really annoying scrim that they don't remove until T&V. It's like looking through smudgy glass and I kept wanting to rub my eyes.

Violin Concerto is immensely more pleasurable now that R. Fairchild is doing what N. Martins used to. What a difference! I really enjoyed watching him. Borree was her usual shaky self and had zero energy. They need to find someone like Alexandra Ansanelli, who used to dance this. I get very distracted by Borree -- how much is she going to shake today? It definitely takes away from the performance.

Janie Taylor in La Valse is spellbinding. Wow!! I saw MCB's version a few weeks ago, and their female lead pales in comparison. But I thought that the three girls who open the ballet at NYCB were not quite up to par. Tyler Angle was great as the man who gets drawn in by the "fates".

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I also saw the Sun. Matinee. I had watched a very, very old (German TV) video of Barocco earlier in the week, and because that video showed the spiraling sections from above, was really able to appreciate those sections all the more yesterday. I agree that Wendy and Rachel harmonized beautifully, especially in the first section. Rachel did recover with grace after her fall -- I hope all is well. While I thought the corps was slightly weak in the coda, overall it was a very lovely performance.

In that video, I finally saw some of what people have always described as "jazzy" movements, especially in the 3rd section. That aspect, I now understand, has been totally lacking for years, but hey, appreciate what we've got I guess.

There is still much to appreciate, for me, in Oltremare, other than the "plot" and the probably historically accurate depiction of violence towards women. Other than the pseudo-modern suitcase sequences , the choreography is very original, energetic and riveting. The complex partnering seems nearly as perilous as the acrobatics in Brahms/Handel, but the dancers seem to really enjoy those challenges. Actually, each thing I appreciate has a name such as Andrew Veyette, Tyler Angel, Georgiana P., Tyler P., Sean Suozzi, etc. The audience went wild for Veyette, and other solos.

I never liked the first three sections of Suite III, and other than beautiful Sara Mearns and gratitude that the mens' pants were no longer bell-bottoms, yesterday didn't change my mind (it's just all that swaying, head-tossing and unrequited longing -- not my taste). I was anxiously awaiting T&V. It was beautiful to look at, and truly exhilarating. Being picky, it was not as tight as it could be, and that applies to both Sterling and Benjamin. I also feel she is not strong enough for this. In her looks, she reminds me of the very young Darci, and I wonder if that's why she was singled out and pushed (IMHO) too quickly. The audience loved it, and the energy and choreography let me walk out with a "Balanchine High."

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I also attended the February 8th performance. Fortunately for me, abatt, balanchinette, and ViolinConcerto have already reviewed this performance. Their postings are both well-written, and for the most part happen to agree with my opinion of the ballets. Let me start by saying that after seeing other companies (Kirov, SanFrancisco, Miami City) dance Balanchine better than the New York City Ballet, it was great seeing Balanchine’s company perform two of his ballets so beautifully.

I agree with the three above named posters views on “Concerto Barocco”. I was really shocked by Rachel’s fall (and she was dancing so beautifully), but I was glad to see that she didn’t hurt herself. And Wendy was just as amazing in the part as always. I do have to admit, however, that scenes from the Ballet Trocks “Go for Barocco” kept flashing in my head. I just saw them perform “Barocco” in December.

I’ve seen “Theme and Variations” many, many times, but I haven’t seen Tsch. Suite No. 3 in a long time. I too dislike the scrim. I really loved the “Elegie” section. Sara Mearns was mesmerizing, and Ask LaCour was both haunted and haunting. I never knew he could act so well. The “Valse” section was just so-so. I kept thinking of Helene Alexopoulos in the female role. Tiler Peck and Adam Hendrickson did fine in the “Scherzo” section, but I really wanted to see Daniel Ulbricht dance the part. I was very impressed by both Sterling Hyltin and especially Benjamin Millipied in “Theme and Variations”. What I loved about Millipied’s pyrotechnics was that they were so unforced, so natural. Every movement just flowed out of him. Was Millipied as good as David Hallberg in the part? I think that very few dancers are Hallberg’s equal in this role. Not only does David have great technique, but he’s such a natural prince. I can’t think of anyone dancing today who combines both technique and princeliness (is that a word?) as well as David. However, that doesn’t mean that other dancers (such as Millipied) can’t do a great job in “Theme.”

Thank you so much, ViolinConcerto, for appreciating “Oltremare”. I was afraid I was going to have to apologize for enjoying it. I’d never seen “Oltremare” (or any work of Mauro Bigonzetti for that matter) before, and I just loved it, the dancing, the music, everything. I had forgotten to read the program notes about the ballet beforehand, but the dancing made the story very clear. I was especially impressed by the very complicated partnering. All the dancers were wonderful, but Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle really stood out. And what an unbelievably exciting dancer Andrew Veyette has become!!! I was glad to see that his performance in “Coppelia” was not a fluke.

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