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Giselle- Spring 09 Season


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I just noticed that Stella Abrera is Myrta for the Sat. matinee. Has she ever done that role before? I'm looking forward to seeing her! It's too bad she isn't performing the lead of Giselle, though.

Also, Steifel is out of Giselle on the Sat eve performance w. Osipova. Osipova's partner will be David Hallberg!! I'm very excited to see him in Giselle.

Steifel is still listed for Swan Lake in late June, but it's looking doubtful.

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Ooh, I'd love to see David Hallberg dance Albrecht again and see if he does it differently than he did in Ottawa in February (see my review: David Hallberg as Albrecht). Too bad I can't be there tonight.

In February his Giselle was Maria Riccetto. I wonder if Osipova brings out a new side to his Albrecht!

I am so looking forward to your reports.

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Any reports of the Ananiashvili/Gomes opening night?

I saw Nina and Gomes last night and thought they were both resplendent. It pains me that there is no DVD of Nina dancing Giselle, no legacy of that to pass on to our grandchildren.

Gillian was, as usual, her technically magnificent, implacable Myrtha, exactly what is needed for that glorious role. And Gennadi was wonderful as Hilarion. He is a beautiful dancer and I think he brings a kind of reverence to the art of ballet when he almost literally transforms himself into the role with his superior acting as well as modesty and dignity. I liked Maria in the peasant pas de deux. She is technically strong and also lyrical, so it will be interesting to see whether she can command the stage in her June 10th Giselle. I won't be there, alas, but I trust someone here will let us know.

angelica

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I also was at last night's "Giselle" which I think can stand proud against any I have seen live or on film. Giselle may be Nina's best all-around role right now - her mad scene was the best I have seen in a long time. She really reacted beautifully to the music. Technically she was superb - the only trouble spot was the series of hops on pointe in the "Spessivtseva" variation - she had to stop about 3/4 of the way across the diagonal of hops and then substituted a few lovely pirouettes before going into the circle of piques tournant. I have seen much younger ballerinas have trouble with the same moment. The rest was perfect and lovely. Her artistry is really refined and this role shows that off.

Marcelo Gomes reminded me so much of Fernando Bujones last night. He really gave 200% to the character and to his partner yet also threw in lots of bravura. His acting is probably much better than Fernando's was - a very Byronic type of character - dark, arrogant, capable of emotional extremes. He is a little over the top in his grief but this is a Romantic ballet and it worked. He did a thrilling series of entrechats in the coda of the Act II pas de deux that were electrifying. Of course his partnering is very strong and he is very tall - so Nina could really fly several feet off the ground in Act II in his strong hands. But he never showed any strain making her truly weightless. My strongest impression was the beautiful epaulement in Act II where his upper body and arms were so beautifully harmonized with his lower body and graceful. Gillian Murphy's Myrta is very familiar by now but her superhuman strength and speed were as exciting as the first time. Gennadi Saveliev makes a very good antagonist and his dancing was very impressive in the limited scope Hilarion requires. Susan Jones was the wonderful Berthe and Maria Bystrova was truly regal as Bathilde - very imposing and a true aristocrat. One wanted to go back to the original 1841 ending where she returns at the very end of Act II at dawn with the hunt to forgive and take Albrecht back!

The orchestra and corps seemed really "on" - no horn flubs or wrong entries and the Wilis turned it out! (Very good work by Isabella Boylston and Yuriko Kajiya as Moyna and Zulma).

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I attended Monday night. Nina, Marcelo and Gillian were excellent. What a fantastic performance. Run, don't walk, to get tickets to see Nina do this role one last time in NY on Friday. Gillian will also be repeating her breathtaking performance of Myrta on Fri.

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Two wonderful artists. Dancing as one. I also wish for a tape or dvd of Nina's Giselle. She is the last of her generation. An end of an era is upon us. Nina's contemporaries are all retired now! Nina is an international dance treasure. And, the wonderful Marcelo Gomes. The most underrated dancer in the world. Such a subtley wonderful all-round great dancer. Supreme artist. What a great partnership. If they only had more time! :( Two great artists!

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I LOVED this line from Mary Cargill's review in danceviewtimes.

Her dancing flowed gently, and she really did dance for Albrecht, rather than, as some do, waft from lithograph to lithograph.

That comparison is so dead on!

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My feelings were more mixed about the performance. I agree that Saveliev was magnificent, both in his dancing and his mime. But I couldn't squeeze out any applause for Murphy. I'm not a fan, and yesterday reminded me why I avoid her performances. I understand her wanting to make a strong contrast with Giselle, but her movements are abrupt to the point of being herky-jerky. This is supposed to be an incorporeal being? I would have been much happier with Isabella Boylston in the role.

Gomes is commanding, but overbearing and certainly not aristocratic. His dancing is powerful, but lacking in romanticism. His broad-chested bravura might work well for Conrad, and it worked last week in On the Dnieper, but not for Albrecht.

I don't think the corps of wilis deserved quite the raptuous reception they received. I've seen better, even on the Met stage. Ananiashvili, on the other hand, deserved every last cheer she got. Her second act was stupendous--boneless, weightless, pure poetry. Definitely go see her while you still have the chance.

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Just back from Tuesday performance. Simkin did surprisingly well in the Peasant pdd. Wiles was a rather bland Myrta. Diana and Angel - just divine. She - so flirtatious in the beginning, almost leading him on; and so otherworldly, so completely transformed in the second act. He - starting out as a Dorian Gray of sorts and ending as a... well, there is no ending in sight for this Albrecht. Technically, Corella may be starting to show his age, but artistically this was an almost perfect experience. Breathtaking.

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just back from vishneva, who was exquisite! i'm still :bow: ha

simkin and lane, wow. daniil is a superstar. he stole the show. i can't wait to see more of him, he's sprightly! i had never really gotten sarah lane, i know you guys love her, but i have to admit tonight she was great. her dancing is strong, clear, and fluid. she's little too, so tiny! she and daniil looked like kids on stage. i did not like her facial expressions, or perhaps i should say lack of more than one expression... she was just the peasant girl but held the same beaming smile the entire time. her eyes seem fixed somehow too, and she moves her head around a lot. i look forward to lane/simkin anything in the future though.

the wilis were great, a lot better than last year! i liked melanie hamrick as moyna. she looks like svetlana zakharova in her wili costume. did not like wiles. i would have loved to see VP instead. it seems like vishneva/part are never cast in anything together. i only remember juliet/juliet's mother. :(

anyway, i'm sorry i have to gush now. diana was just so, so beautiful tonight. i haven't seen her in a long time, and not with abt in two years. she fills up the music, it's like you're there with her in every moment! she held her balances forever. she's so luminous. i heard someone at the bar say that her movements are very light but she also has a kind of inner light, which i think is so true--you can't look away from her! i'm not a fan of giselle as i've seen it about a bazillion times, and really only go to see certain dancers. that said, i thought diana's meltdown was amazing, really good. it lasted so long; we were sitting very close and from the moment hilarion first showed her angel's sword, her look was so riveting and sad. i took my little eight year old sister who has never seen giselle before and she was so moved, she couldn't believe what was happening to diana. it was really cute.

i'm going back to see osipova on saturday but i'm already about giselled out. i heard osipova's performance was totally sold? also, saw caroline kennedy and a few others there tonight.

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Vishneva was breathtaking. It was an incredible performance. I agree that Corella is starting to show his age a bit, but nevertheless he too gave a wonderful performance. I didn't like Wiles. The peasant pdd was also brilliant. What a difference from Monday night's lackluster performance of the peasant pdd by Jared Mathews. With the incredible casts we have had so far this week, is it possible that Osipova/Hallberg can match or surpass them? We'll see. The auditorium was packed last night.

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I went to the Tuesday performance and agree that it was exquisite. Time has made Vishneva less flexible, but she even used that to her advantage as she now has a softer, more romantic line. There are so many beautiful touches to her Giselle, like when she first runs into Albrecht, she startles and shivers for a bit, like someone truly in love for the first time. Her bowing her head in deference to Bathilde chillingly mirrors her deference to Myrtha. And in the Mad Scene she's now more subdued, but at the same time she's not "pretty Mad." At several points she collapses completely, as if her heart was steadily weakening.

In the second act, I don't think I've ever seen anyone do the spins when she's initiated as a Wili more ferociously. Her stern demeanor again is a chilling reminder that after Albrecht is saved Giselle is doomed to remain a Wili. Time has also maybe lessened the power of Vishneva's jumps, but she can still grande jete so weightlessly across a stage. Her developpes were flawless. Vishneva's Giselle is not a gentle spirit, but a stern and formidable force of nature who saves Albrecht through sheer will. It's not a traditional interpretation but I wouldn't want to be without it.

Angel Corella also danced better than I've seen him in recent years. His Albrecht is more sympathetic than most -- thoughtless rather than cruel. He avoided his two major pitfalls last night -- hamminess and sloppy partnering. Sometimes I wish his line could be a little cleaner, but what was important was that he created a character worthy of love and salvation. I loved the way Angel and Diana ended the ballet. Diana goes back to her grave rather quickly. At first Angel chased her, but her closed arms and downward gaze made it clear that she was beyond his reach. Instead of lying on her grave or kneeling, Corella simply stood as he watched her disappear.

Michele Wiles is still stiff and rather bland as Myrtha. She simply doesn't project the authority required for the role, and her steps have a jerkiness about them that is bothersome.

Daniel Simkin as others have noted brought down the house in the peasant pas de deux.

Overall a great night of ballet.

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I agree that Vishneva was exquisite but I felt she was working without much support from a bland Corella. Diana has toned down some of the coltish wildness for a more lyrical, traditionally maidenly, delicate Giselle. It all is very much in the central tradition of the role but consequently her second act now seems more congruous with her first. The renunciation and spiritual transfiguration of the second act spirit seemed to fit naturally with the emotionally open, impetuous yet tentative, innocent girl of the first act. Technically she has reserves of strength and stamina that Nina has to work without - the first act Spessivtseva variation was flawless with dazzling hops on pointe and whiplash turns. She also would freeze a second in the iconic poses (Wafting from lithograph to lithograph) but the line is gorgeous and the poses unforgettable with those long boneless arms. I have always been slightly disappointed with Diana's Act II but not last night. It was a classic interpretation.

Angel didn't have her depth or her intensity. He danced well - particularly in his solos. His partnering was excellent in Act II and Diana seemed to totally trust him (I suspected that Nina didn't totally trust Marcelo in Act II - she didn't luxuriate in his strong lifts and would occasionally put her hand on him as if to anchor herself for a slip). Angel was boyish, sincere, just enough arrogance but the emotional projection wasn't intense enough so it seemed that Giselle was throwing herself away for someone less interesting than herself. The level of interaction seemed on a lower level than in their debut "Giselle" together three or four years ago and the even greater partnership with Vladimir Malakhov. That partnership I considered on a level with Ferri/Bocca and likely Fracci/Bruhn, Fonteyn/Nureyev and Haydee/Cragun. If "Giselle" comes back next year I hope they cast Diana with Marcelo Gomes - that would be an interesting and dramatic combination.

Everyone outside of a super Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin in the Peasant Pas and Melanie Hamrick and Stella Abrera as Moyna and Zulma were a step below yesterday. Michele Wiles has strength but looked jerky and heavy in her turns and jumps as Myrtha - too earthbound. Isaac Stappas bungled key blocking (blowing the hunting horn in Act I) and seemed unfocused in his acting. Some good dancing and less business with props saved him in Act II. Props also to Maria Bystrova as a severe but deeply loving Berthe - her acting is very grounded and sincere.

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Also, it was good to see Julio Bragado Young back on stage in a character role. I'm glad to see he is conquering the physical damage caused by that awful accident of 2 years ago. I'm sure that the emotional damage runs much deeper.

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Diana was just DIVINE !!!!

She showed last night why she is considered one of the best giselle of her generation, if not the best.

The transitions throughout the performance were amazing, from an incredibly happy girl so in loved with her prince, to an astonishing madness scene.

The diagonal of hops on point was insane, she started flirting with angel while holding her skirt. Half a way through, hands free now, she was looking to her mom, telling her how happy she was, how much she loved him. Close to the end she stopped for a few seconds in a balance, looking at her prince again, flawless. She didnt dance it, she interpreted it all the way through.

The plasticity and postures of the 2nd act will stay in my mind for ever. It was real romanticism era !

The way she moved her head and the position of her arms, uff, incredible.

Each little move was weightless, she was so damn light !!!!

The technique was top class, super-fast spins during the initiation as a willi, big jetes, incredibly beautiful balances and arabesques (very high). All her variations brought lost of BRAVA from the audience.

At the end, standing ovation and plenty of cheers, very well deserved.

Simkim danced a masterclass pdd with Lane, who danced at a very high level as well.

He ended his piruoettes very slowly, like slow motion, with such perfection and musicality !!!

Lane dancing was strong and elegant and they looked very well together.

I agree that she should be careful with her facial experssions.

I loved Stella once again, as Moyna this time, and I disliked Wiles's Mirtha very much.

I ve seen her doing better before, but last night (and especially close to Diana) she looked so jerky and heavy, very heavy. She seemed stiffer than ever (if possible). It was just too bad, probably the only one thing that I did not enjoy about yesterday performance

Angel to me wasnt near close to who he has been before. However, he did partered Diana perfectly and thats another reason why she looked so gorgeous in the 2nd act. She also seemed very condident with him.

Not strong chemistry as the 1st time they danced together but it was still great.

I cant say much about him since I literally could not take my eyes out of Diana for a second during the entire ballet.

what a star !

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I agree that Angel seemed different last night than in the past, a little reserved. I saw a Vishneva/Corella Giselle in 2005 and they had much more of a spark, or at least he was more invested in her. Not to say that he wasn't endearing...

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I agree with everyone that Vishneva's dancing was excellent but am with Faux Pas in thinking that while last nights performance was great it simply was not in the same league as the one she gave a couple of years ago with Malakhov. That one set the bar ridiculously high – I consider it to be one of the best I've ever seen and on a level with Fonteyn/Nureyev, Fracci/Bruhn, Makarova /Nagy, Kirkland/Baryshnikov and Ferri/Boca. This one was merely great.

I see 2 reasons for the difference. First, while he provided strong support for her, the chemistry between her and Corella was not great. It was ok, but some partnerships are special and this one was not. I would love to see her with Malakhov again (assuming that Albrecht is still within his capability) or Gomes. Second, as Faux Pas noted she has changed her approach and while this Giselle was more traditional I think her earlier interpretation was more compelling and had a greater emotional impact. The girl who was so passionate that she danced herself to death was replaced by a slightly wilder version of the standard sweet/shy first act Giselle. Beautifully done but the toned down first act made for less contrast with the second act. I also don't really love the tendrily arms approach to the second act and don't recall her doing that previously (although I could be wrong I remember Pavlenko adopting that style and thinking that I preferred Vishneva's more rounded romantic style arms & upper body).

I loved the fact that Maria Bystrova went straight from dancing Bathilde on Monday to Giselle's mother on Tuesday – what a wonderful, versatile dancer. Other highlights included Lane & Simkin's PPD (although I agree that Lane needs to work on facial expression & head positions) and Hamrick & Abrera as Moyna & Zulma. It was especially wonderful to see Abrera back – she danced that second variation like a dream. Agree with all the other posters that Wiles was merely ok as Myrtha, there was no shading to her dancing.

I also saw Nina/Gomes/Murphy on Monday and all I can say is – WOW. I was very hard on Nina last season because I felt that her technique had fallen too far for the works she was attempting but she looks to be in much better shape this year. I loved her in Corsaire and her Giselle on Monday moved me to tears. Certainly, she is no longer in the same technical league as Vishneva but aside from the change to the hops on point there were no technical deficiencies. She and Marcelo were wonderful together – there just aren't enough superlatives to describe him anymore. I enjoyed Murphy's Myrtha, she has come a long way in this role. I remember when she gave an unbending "take no prisoners" interpretation but over the past couple of seasons she has added nuance with softer epaulmant and a more flexible torso.

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Nina last season definitely had problems but varied from night to night. Nina ended up taking over one Giselle, Don Quixote and Swan Lake from the injured Diana with a different partner each night. The Gomes SL was problematic (Black Swan) but the Corella SL was pretty good by report. The Corella Giselle was excellent (and Angel was better last year with Nina) but the one with Carreno showed a falling off (problems with Act I solo). The Corella Don Q was not perfect but fun but the Carreno one had noticeable failings. Nina has also had seasons in the early 2000's where she was recovering from injuries and I thought she was losing it - then she would return the next year and it was the old Nina blazing away (a 2004 Don Quixote with Carreno).

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I'll try and write more later (especially if no one else reports, or if their opinions were significantly different than mine) as I have almost no connection now but WHAT a pleasant surprise today's matinee with Ricetto and Hallberg was! For those who do like a traditional Giselle, Ricetto certainly filled the bill--and this was only her second go at it, I for one look forward to seeing her grow in this, and I would not have counted myself as an enthusiast (I got the ticket back when this was still billed as Hallberg/Abrerra).

In fact with the exception of Lopez in the peasant pas this all corps and soloist cast (excepting David) hit it out of the ballpark.

Also, kudos to Ricetto for extreme graciousness. Forget giving your partner a rose, she gave David the whole bouquet :bow::(:)

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Thank you for the report, aurora, and I hope you do write later to add more details. I love to hear about the soloists and corps, especially when they shine in the rare opportunities they get.

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I'm in general agreement with aurora about today's Riccetto-Hallberg matinee. I found Riccetto's performance very pleasing, with a few caveats. She was technically very secure, but it didn't flow as well as it might; it was as if you could sometimes see her moving from one element to the next. Also, her interpretation is not as deep as some others. However, presumably this would smooth out with a few more performances. I would definitely see her again.

Myrtha was Simone Messmer, and the demi-soloists were Isabella Boylston and Hee Seo.

Peasant pdd was Carlos Lopez and Yuriko Kajiya. Kajiya was lovely, so fluid and airborne. Lopez seemed to be having an off day and did not look secure at all in the solo sections.

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