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

ABT Swan Lake in DC


Recommended Posts

My late (and slightly disorganized) thoughts...

Part and Gomes were a match made in heaven with a very special chemistry between them. Their partnership was one of kindred artistry rather than dazzling technique. They completely believed in the lake of tears and sold it to me singlehandedly.

Marcelo Gomes’ Siegfried was handsome and noble, ardent, a fine dancer, magnificent partner, and dramatically “on.” He possessed a commanding stage presence that drew my eye to him even when he stood still or was on the side of the stage. The best Siegfried I’ve seen live or on TV.

It was not be until late in the party that the full weight of his mother’s order for him to marry hit Siegfried. As he seemed to try to break free from the couples whirling around him before he gave us that haunting soliloquy, perhaps he was unconsciously attempting to follow the faint calling of a swan. Nothing else then was more natural for him than to stumble onto the lake, that world, and find…

His Swan Queen. Veronika Part was the most beautiful, heartbreaking Odette. She was sublime, lyrical, with lovely lines, gorgeous legs and feet, wonderful arms, and a deep understanding of the role. I hadn’t really gotten into the performance during Act I (maybe it was because I had trouble knowing where to look with so much going on), but as soon as Odette did that huge jete onto the stage, I was suddenly enraptured.

Her first moments were sad, melting, caught between swan and woman; then the terrified stillness when face to face with the awed Siegfried. Fear almost gave her wings as she ran from the prince again and again.

I was struck by how much Gomes attempted to capture, just touch, Part. He barely took his eyes off her, as though afraid she would vanish. Once he swiftly followed behind her, his hands moving quickly to hold, calm her frantically beating wings. Two clenched fists paused above his head, only air in his tight grasp as she fled.

This night was not one of love at first sight. She stole his heart when she related her strange history – mime clear and emotional – which to him was very real, believable. A change came over him and his hands rested over his heart before he attempted to swear to love her. It was not until during the pas de deux that he won hers. (Earlier after she’d bowed in thanks for his promise not to shoot her companions, she recoiled when he reached out to touch her, fearful of this glimmer of possible freedom.) At the beginning he raised her and offered his hand: she looked into his eyes and placed her hand in his. There was a reluctance towards him at first; still afraid to dream. Here he did not try to quickly chase or rush things like before. Instead he was patient, sensitive, tender, protective. And as time went on, he won her slowly and surely until she melted into him, bodies fitting perfectly. They were in their own world which could not be shattered by anything or anybody. Near the end she tried to leave one last time. He caught her hand and firmly shook his head, “You can’t go. Not when I’ve found you at last.” And she stayed.

(Huge response. Part was called on twice. Gomes didn’t seem to notice the audience as he watched her. A heavenly, exquisite White PDD. :))

Part-Odette’s newfound hope and love was expressed clearly in the solo and coda.

Then dawn summoned her back to her other self. Desperately she tried to fight the spell, reaching out to Siegfried whose grasp was not firm enough to keep her. The anguish in their parting foreshadowed the second meeting. Now there was no hope or dreams of freedom, just betrayal and grief. Yet amidst the darkness was forgiveness in the final heartbreaking pas de deux. Love so deep and true, it could not be defeated by evil as the lovers were separated by Rothbart again and again, always finding each other before they drowned (Gomes’ leap was splendid, straining to follow Part). Maidens bowing in homage, now free, they appeared with the dawn, having found life after death. A spiritual happy ending for this prince and swan queen.

Part and Gomes had their Act III, yes, and it was rather fine! During the dance of the princesses Siegfried was longing for that other world, love. His walking by the hopeful bride candidates and pausing before the last had the feeling of “I can’t do this,” before rushing to his mother. Part’s Odile was wicked, confident, and glamorous, while at times a dark reflection of the swan queen when she imitated her. It was impossible for Siegfried to resist this Odile/Odette. And did she know it when she performed those wonderful single 32 fouettes in time to the music; and at that final moment of the coda tossed her head back triumphantly with him at her feet as he passionately pressed her hand against his cheek! What a wicked smile she flashed him when he swore to love her, dooming Odette. Gomes beating wildly on the ballroom doors like a madman I found extremely haunting.

There was more: Hallberg’s devilish, dangerously handsome Rothbart; Maria Ricetto, Yuriko Kajiya, and Jared Matthews’ nice pas de trios; the national dances (I missed half of them as I kept glancing over to Gomes to see his interaction with the princesses and queen) which, expect for the “anything you can do I can do better” Neapolitan, seemed alike and danced small/marked – don’t know if it was ABT’s style or McKenize’s choreography; the swan maidens were good, though the staging for them in Act IV was ineffective; and the stunning sets and costumes.

Yet for me there really was only Gomes and Part from the beginning at the lake to the end with the touching moment Veronika gave Marcelo a rose. What a magical partnership! The best Siegfried and Odette IMO. ABT has a treasure with this pair and should cherish them.

Thank you, Veronika, and thank you, Marcelo, for such an enchanting performance that I will remember for a long time. The night was yours. :clapping::)

Link to post
There is also the matter of Swamp Thing running up onto the cliff right after Siegfried throws himself in as if to say, "Swimming, what fun! Cannonbaaaaall!" :)

Oh, Hans! :)

I seriously thought something similar, "He looks like he's going to jump in after them!" when Rothbart ran up onto the cliff. Does he really need to check to see if Odette and Siegfried hit the water? It kind of ruins the mood of the finale.

Link to post

Grateful for that lone Saturday evening review, OKOK. :) Hans, now I can say "You said it all" about yesterday's Wiles/Hallberg performance! I have very little to add to my own take...

American Ballet Theater

SWAN LAKE (McKenzie, after Petipa/Ivanov)

February 22, 2009

Kennedy Center Opera House

Odette/Odile - Michele Wiles

Siegfried - David Hallberg

Von Rothbart - Marcelo Gomes

Pas de Trois - Hee Seo, Renata Pavam, Blaine Hoven

Two Big Swans - Veronika Part, Kristy Boone

Cygnets - Lane, Milewski, Kajiya & ??? (in place of Ricetto...I could not hear the pre-perf announcement)

Michele Wiles was technical perfection yesterday, conquering icily and resolutely, whereas Veronica Part was all passion and 'singing body' last Friday. However, Michele was more than technique -- those arms and hands were exquisite! She has such a command of her technique that she is able to 'play' with the music and use the balances as points of emphasis for the music, rather than mere tricks. Brava! The audience went absolutely wild for Michele, with (to my ears) even more bravos and standing-os than for Veronika, which is unusual for a DC matinee audience, which can often be half asleep.

David Hallberg showed-off his gorgeous lines -- those arched feet, mamma mia! Somewhat lacking in the emotional department, he was the perfect cool partner for Michele...the cool couple. :) Whereas Veronika and Marcelo were SCORCHING FIRE on Friday, Michele and David were SHINY ICE.

Marcelo Gomes continues to own the role of Purple Pimp, getting THE single biggest applause and bravos of the day after his ballroom solo...and lots of laughs when he picked-up and cast aside one princess to go to the next one. Roman Zhurbin nicely essayed the Green Giant-Swamp Thing version of Von Rothbart.

The Pas de Trois team was good, although I still don't quite "get" the fuss about Blaine Hoven, who was nonetheless clean and precise. Renata Pavam -- almost a twin of Maria Ricetto in looks! -- was wonderfully musical in the 2nd solo. However, it was Hee Seo who totally wowed me with her gorgeous line and feet, and 'joie de vivre' quality. What elevation and spring this "prima of the future" has!

Luis Ribagorda and Tobin Eason were both fantastic in the Act III Neapolitan Dance.

Like Hans, I was a bit put-off by the casting of the divine Veronika Part as one of two "Big Swans"...so this was her Birthday Present? Gosh, it seems cruel but, then again, she is "only" a soloist and can go from the lead to the supporting cast overnight. Geez, when will this change?

In sum, it was a GREAT performance for Michele Wiles. All of the promise that I felt when visiting the Washington, DC, Kirov Academy of Ballet ca 1992 and seeing a little 11-yr-old girl with so much talent and desire...all of the promises of great things have indeed come to pass. Sometimes dreams DO come true!

Natalia Nabatova

Washington, DC

p.s. I agree about Marcelo's wild bellyflop on Friday. How could I have forgotten to mention that crazy dive? He could win an Olympic diving competition with that high, perfect "U"-shaped beauty of a flop. It's a "classic"!

p.s.s. I am now covered in goosebumps thinking "The next time that I see Marcelo Gomes will be on the stage of the Mariinsky Theater as Albrecht to Vishneva's Giselle!" Oh - my - G.........

Link to post
Grateful for that lone Saturday evening review, OKOK. :) Hans, now I can say "You said it all" about yesterday's Wiles/Hallberg performance! I have very little to add to my own take...

American Ballet Theater

SWAN LAKE (McKenzie, after Petipa/Ivanov)

February 22, 2009

Kennedy Center Opera House

Odette/Odile - Michele Wiles

Siegfried - David Hallberg

Von Rothbart - Marcelo Gomes

Pas de Trois - Hee Seo, Renata Pavam, Blaine Hoven

Two Big Swans - Veronika Part, Kristy Boone

Cygnets - Lane, Milewski, Kajiya & ??? (in place of Ricetto...I could not hear the pre-perf announcement)

Michele Wiles was technical perfection yesterday, conquering icily and resolutely, whereas Veronica Part was all passion and 'singing body' last Friday. However, Michele was more than technique -- those arms and hands were exquisite! She has such a command of her technique that she is able to 'play' with the music and use the balances as points of emphasis for the music, rather than mere tricks. Brava! The audience went absolutely wild for Michele, with (to my ears) even more bravos and standing-os than for Veronika, which is unusual for a DC matinee audience, which can often be half asleep.

David Hallberg showed-off his gorgeous lines -- those arched feet, mamma mia! Somewhat lacking in the emotional department, he was the perfect cool partner for Michele...the cool couple. :) Whereas Veronika and Marcelo were SCORCHING FIRE on Friday, Michele and David were SHINY ICE.

Marcelo Gomes continues to own the role of Purple Pimp, getting THE single biggest applause and bravos of the day after his ballroom solo...and lots of laughs when he picked-up and cast aside one princess to go to the next one. Roman Zhurbin nicely essayed the Green Giant-Swamp Thing version of Von Rothbart.

The Pas de Trois team was good, although I still don't quite "get" the fuss about Blaine Hoven, who was nonetheless clean and precise. Renata Pavam -- almost a twin of Maria Ricetto in looks! -- was wonderfully musical in the 2nd solo. However, it was Hee Seo who totally wowed me with her gorgeous line and feet, and 'joie de vivre' quality. What elevation and spring this "prima of the future" has!

Luis Ribagorda and Tobin Eason were both fantastic in the Act III Neapolitan Dance.

Like Hans, I was a bit put-off by the casting of the divine Veronika Part as one of two "Big Swans"...so this was her Birthday Present? Gosh, it seems cruel but, then again, she is "only" a soloist and can go from the lead to the supporting cast overnight. Geez, when will this change?

In sum, it was a GREAT performance for Michele Wiles. All of the promise that I felt when visiting the Washington, DC, Kirov Academy of Ballet ca 1992 and seeing a little 11-yr-old girl with so much talent and desire...all of the promises of great things have indeed come to pass. Sometimes dreams DO come true!

Natalia Nabatova

Washington, DC

p.s. I agree about Marcelo's wild bellyflop on Friday. How could I have forgotten to mention that crazy dive? He could win an Olympic diving competition with that high, perfect "U"-shaped beauty of a flop. It's a "classic"!

p.s.s. I am now covered in goosebumps thinking "The next time that I see Marcelo Gomes will be on the stage of the Mariinsky Theater as Albrecht to Vishneva's Giselle!" Oh - my - G.........

How was the boxoffice in DC for this run?I dread that the next "big news"from ABT is not Veronika's promotion but dancer layoffs.If this happened to NYCB,which is supposedly better financed and endowed, then the ABT corps de ballet are also in danger.

Link to post

Bingham, there is mixed news to report on the box office.

The SWAN LAKES were, I believe, sold out. At my two SWANs (Fri night and yesterday's matinee), the 2nd Tier -- uppermost level of the theater -- was full, which rarely happens -- not even with the Kirov DON Qs last month. I know that Nina's Saturday night was sold out a while back, according to the KennCen website.

The Mixed Bill, alas, did relatively poorly. On Tuesday, when I went, the 2nd Tier was about one-third full when the house lights went down. I was told by a reliable source that only 20% of 1st Tier had been sold. On the other hand, Orchestra level appeared to be at least 80% full on Opening Night, to my eyes.

I echo your sentiments about the ABT corps. These are some of the greatest dancers on earth...down to the Apprentice level. Let's keep our fingers crossed for NO layoffs. As for trimming the budget, I say: No more RABBIT AND ROGUE type of commissions, please. Dance the Old Reliable chestnuts, pack the theaters and keep the dancers employed! There will be plenty of time for experimentation in the future, once the economy picks up.

Link to post

Sorry I'm on the late freight here :). Thanks so much Natalia for the wonderful (Feb 20) review! I'm so happy to read your report that Part and Gomes made such a great impact! I always knew she had it in her! Well done Nika :)!

Link to post
The SWAN LAKES were, I believe, sold out.

I was in row M of the orchestra Friday night, and there were empty seats from that row down on the left side at least. But not too many.

Oh, and Rosa, thanks for that great, detailed recollection and review!

Link to post
The SWAN LAKES were, I believe, sold out.

I was in row M of the orchestra Friday night, and there were empty seats from that row down on the left side at least. But not too many.

Oh, and Rosa, thanks for that great, detailed recollection and review!

I was in row R and also saw plenty of empty orchestra seats. Plus I only bought my tickets a week before the performance...

And let me add my thanks to Rosa, Hans, OKOK & Natalia for their reports!

Link to post
I just hope Ms. Kaufman does not rain on Veronika's parade.

Ms. Kaufman showered Part with roses in her review. :)

And thank you Hans, OKOK & Natalia for the wonderful reports on the last two performances! :o

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...