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Swan Lake


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I saw the performance of Swan Lake featuring Irina Dvorovenko/Maxim Beloserkovsky tonight.

Dancing van Rothbart: Gomes

Benno: Daniil Simkin

Act I Pas de Trois: Simkin, Sarah Lane, Isabella Boylston

Cygnettes: Yuriko Kajiya, Marian Butler, Misty Copeland, Maria Riccetto

Two Swans: *Hee Seo* and Stella Abrera

Regular swans include Kristi Boone, Leann Underwood

Princesses: Misty Copeland, Luciana Paris, Anne Milewski, Yuriko Kajiya

Act III Dances:

--Czardas: Marian Butler and Alexi Agoudine leading

-- Spanish Dance: *Cory Stearns*, Maria Bystrova, Roman Zhurbin, Karen Uphoff

-- Neapolitan: Joseph Phillips, Craig Salstein

-- Mazurka: Includes Leann Underwood, Alexandre Hammoudi, Patrick Ogle, *Eric Tamm*

This is my first time viewing either member of the lead couple in any role. I found Irina D a very calm Odette who was beautiful, but not moving in Act II. She was more effective in Act III -- as Odile. I didn't like Maxim B's prince. Perhaps it is due to his recent injury (which prompted Hallberg to be substituted for Maxim B's role beside Nina A last week) or his not being among the younger danseurs, but his jumps lacked height. His face has a "plastic", almost face-lifted kind of look that was only deviated from rarely (one deviation was in the final scene as he showed anguish as Odette is about to go to her doom). I have to say that the only ABT Swan Lakes I have seen are Hallberg/Wiles versions. And that is my preferred ABT pairing (even as the pairing was emerging over time), so it's in some ways unfair, but, not unexpectedly, I far preferred the Hallberg/Wiles versions from prior years to tonight's performance. But that doesn't mean, obviously, that somebody else would feel the same way. I did enjoy tonight's performance -- Irina D's interpretation more than Maxim B's.

Happily, Daniil Simkin was Benno. He was very good in the peasant pas de trois, and continued to display very high jumps, nice entrechats, and good acting for ballet. I notice that Daniil portrays a young joviality that is suited for Benno, but that somehow does not seem inappropriate. He adds to the stage presentation overall even when he is on the side lines, by interacting with the less central characters and judiciously using his arms in particular. Strong potential in this young danseur, and it's quite exciting to contemplate how Daniil will evolve at the ABT. In particular, in the first scene in Act II, as Benno and the Prince are in the forest (before the Prince sees the swan), Benno does only one jump, but it is high jump and it is shortly after a jump by the Prince. The difference in height achieved was pretty noticeable. Not that height in jumps is everything, but Maxim B's jumps lacked lightness as well as height.

To me, Gomes' version of von Rothbart in Act III is over the top. His evil laughs seem too evident, his demeanor too contrivedly villainous and unidimensional.

Before the 7:30 pm performance, I didn't have much time. So I had a smoked salmon plate at the Revlon Bar ($10). The condiments are the same as those for the smoked salmon appetizer at the Grand Tier restaurant, although the latter dish is more expensive and contains a larger portion of salmon . Garnishes are the same: Diced egg white; finely diced egg yolk; capers; diced onion; a dense creme fraiche on the side. There was also sangria ($9 for a small-ish glass) served at the side of the Revlon Bar that had the food (not the half that served the wine only). The sangria was a bit too sweet for me, but the diced green apple and the diced orange (skin on) mitigated that a bit. There were tall round (but small diameter) tables one can stand beside indoors. Some of these tables permitted a good view of the red Chagall giant mural (one of the two at the Met). Outside, despite the rain, there were people seated at tables on the covered terrace). The two Chagalls were recently made collateral on loans obtained by the Met.

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Swan Lake

Dvorovenko/Maxim B.

Irina displayed a pretty equlibrated performance (between Odette/Odile), with solid and strong technique, some spectacular balances, super fast- single fouettes....

Her port- de bras at the end of act II was beatiful as well.

However, I found her Odette pretty unmoving, totally lacking passion and love.

I have enjoyed her a lot this season but i think tonight she went back to her "showy" version, going from pose to pose....

She also danced Odette at a very very fast tempo, which I particularly disliked a lot (especially in the adagio pdd)

Maxim, probably due to the recent injury, was pretty weak as her prince and certainly he did not contribute in the acting section either.

Marcelo showed why he owns the role of Von R., he was wonderful.

Simkim elevation in his jumps were as amazing as usual, however he does show problems whenever partnering a ballerina.

I think he had a little problem with his variation, ending it up before the music.

Cant wait for Vinshneva/Gomes and Part/Bolle shows !!!!!!!!

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I was very disappointed in tonight's performance. Having seen Swan countless times I left at the intermission, not wanting to stick around. As someone mentioned earlier, Odette was completely devoid of any emotion. Maxim also is struggling with his injury.

Also, I know this is to be expected given that it is Swan Lake and draws the masses to the opera house, but audience today was quite unruly. Someone was blatantly taking photographs with the flash on. A person brought a "Slim Jim," no joke, and started munching on it. People all around me were talking and commenting throughout and during the performance. One young man actually started chuckling audibly during the Act II pas de deux! This girl in front of me claimed she was a dancer and offered to explain certain motions during the performance! (she clearly did not look like a dancer!!!). And these were orchestra seats.

Plus it was hard to focus on the music with the audience erupting into applause seemingly every single time somebody jumped or Irinia made an appearance or exit, disregarding the fact that the sequence was not yet completed.

On a plus note: I thought the Pas de quatra (cygnets) was very well executed, and I was very pleased with the peasant solos of Act I, and thought the Corps did well tonight in Act II. Can't comment on the rest, as I had left.

p.s. Did anyone happen to catch that funny final arabesque in the Act II pas de deux? Where Irinia extended her arabesque into Maxim's chest?

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As someone mentioned earlier, Odette was completely devoid of any emotion.

I wasn't sure whether having approximately the same facial expressions throughout Act II (and, for the Prince, Act I) is a more "Russian" presentation, or a presentation particular to this pair. In Act II, the only time I felt Odette's experiencing something emotional was the initial fear she had of the Prince. Maybe Irina D thinks that she is "acting" very subtly with her eyes, but I was using my binoculars a lot and I didn't think that was achieved, if that was her intent. In Act III, as Odile, she more effectively used seductive or expressive eyes (looking from the left or right at the Price).

I didn't think her "intended-to-be-fluidly-flying-wings-mimicking" arm movements during Act II were that special or fluid, around the time when she exits. I thought Michele Wiles' rendition of that was markedly better.

I also was surprised by how Irina D does not seem as well-proportioned a ballerina as I thought she would be. She looked a bit less tall and elegant than I had expected, and her legs and torso didn't look particularly lean and long relative to her head and neck. I'm not saying Irina D isn't beautiful or that her overall proportions are not pleasing. She is just a bit different from what I had expected.

Simkim elevation in his jumps were as amazing as usual, however he does show problems whenever partnering a ballerina.

Now that you mention it, Simkin did seem slightly slightly hectic towards the end of the Act I pas de trois. But I think that was because he had to move between the ballerinas on either side of him quickly. He was barely able to do it. BTW, Sarah Lane might be a good soloist for Simkin to work more with. While I don't particularly like Sarah Lane's dancing, her height seems to allow Simkin to look taller relative to her. While Simkin's height is not ideal, he does have nice lines for his height. But he also looks young (because he is), and I wonder how that will affect his advancement. He's certainly getting relatively plummy roles for a new soloist, although some roles he has had this season have been due to injuries (eg Cornejo's injury for the bazaar owner's role in Le Corsaire allowed Simkin to fill in during both the Herrera/Hallberg and Murphy/Hallberg Le Corsaire performances).

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............"I wasn't sure whether having approximately the same facial expressions throughout Act II (and, for the Prince, Act I) is a more "Russian" presentation, or a presentation particular to this pair. In Act II, the only time I felt Odette's experiencing something emotional was the initial fear she had of the Prince. Maybe Irina D thinks that she is "acting" very subtly with her eyes, but I was using my binoculars a lot and I didn't think that was achieved, if that was her intent. In Act III, as Odile, she more effectively used seductive or expressive eyes (looking from the left or right at the Price)".................

Is def. not a Russian presentation but something very typical of this couple.

Irina is a very talented dancer, but when she decides to come for a photo section instead of a ballet show we get what we got tonight.

I encourage you to see Part and Vinshneva, so you can see by yourself that they way she danced tonight was totally anti-russian style.

and yes..I did see Irina's leg crashing into Maxim's chest, and the funny thing to me was how she still moved the leg and force it to go into 6-o'clock position....as if saying....over my dead body I am not showing a 180o perfect penchee in front/center stage of the met.... i have to said that i literally laughed...

I actually think that it happened more than once during the performance.

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I was also at the Irina - Max Show last night. Agreed that their performance was devoid of emotion, which is surprising to me because they are married. His technique declines more and more every year, and his acting is virtually non existent. However, he is a reliable partner. By the way, some may recall that the NY Times critic was put off by Max's ultra-blond hair at the opening gala. Max took that to heart, and has gotten rid of the blinding blond, trading it in for a more natural brown-blond color. As for Irina, I think she has good technique and a beautiful line. Her positions were fully stretched and lovely. She was more at home in the Black Swan act, where her true extroverted, "look at me I'm gorgeous" persona can come through. As noted above, she did 32 single fouettes very quickly in place. She certainly is not the best of the ABT swan queens, but she's very good. I also noticed the minor partnering problems with Simkin. His solo dancing, however, was incredible. I was happy to see Freddie Franklin back on stage as the Tutor. He used to perform Madge at ABT in Sylphide. (He should have given Barbee some lessons.) Gomes was, as usual, completely seductive as the purple Von Rothbart. He owns the stage in that role. Is it my imagination, or did Stella look stiff as one of the big swans? I really liked Hee Seo as the other big swan. Georgina Parkinson has toned down her super stern portrayal of the Queen Mother, and actually smiles now and then.

The audience was very full. School is out, and I guess SL is particularly popular.

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I know the very first scene in Act I has already been a debated aspect of the current ABT Swan Lake production. But I still fail to see why it was added -- it takes the possibility of different interpretations away from how Odette became entrapped as a swan by von Rothbart. It makes Odette seem like she was entrapped by von Rothbart because of girlish naivete, even though the synopsis in the program describes this as having occurred many years ago. Then, the final part of the scene involves von Rothbart (now with the "monster" costume on) holding a fake white swan the length of one's arm, next to himself. This seems to involve a certain "force feeding" of information to the audience that does not seem called for.

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I know the very first scene in Act I has already been a debated aspect of the current ABT Swan Lake production. But I still fail to see why it was added -- it takes the possibility of different interpretations away from how Odette became entrapped as a swan by von Rothbart. It makes Odette seem like she was entrapped by von Rothbart because of girlish naivete, even though the synopsis in the program describes this as having occurred many years ago. Then, the final part of the scene involves von Rothbart (now with the "monster" costume on) holding a fake white swan the length of one's arm, next to himself. This seems to involve a certain "force feeding" of information to the audience that does not seem called for.

I cannot agree more--and it always looks like Rothbart is strangling the ridiculous stuffed swan rather than caressing it, anyways. I also seriously question the need to have the 'swamp monster' incarnation of von Rothbart--it really seems like an unnecessary complication to the story. I really wish Kevin M. had a better editorial eye or sense of aesthetics... I know this is off topic, but did anyone else notice the significant swath of unpainted wood on the mechanical branch in Act II of La Sylphide (the one that the Sylph appears to be perched on)? That and the rickity stuffed sylph that glided (jerkily) off into the sky at the end of Act II really made me wish there were someone at ABT who could edit out such clunky, inelegant details...

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I think McKenzie added the monster Rothbart and the stuffed swan in order to make it more "Disneyesque". Kids like to see monsters and stuffed animals, so let's put them on stage. I think he believes that this approach makes it more family friendly and therefore sells more tickets.

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I think McKenzie added the monster Rothbart and the stuffed swan in order to make it more "Disneyesque". Kids like to see monsters and stuffed animals, so let's put them on stage. I think he believes that this approach makes it more family friendly and therefore sells more tickets.

i wish Ratmasnky will re-stage all the classics and especially Mr McKenzie's versions

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I was also at the Irina - Max Show last night. Agreed that their performance was devoid of emotion, which is surprising to me because they are married. His technique declines more and more every year, and his acting is virtually non existent. However, he is a reliable partner.

I guess you missed the part where Max failed to get out of the way and got kicked by Irina during the end of the Act II pdd? That is a very serious mistake for a professional at this level of the game. Almost as bad as falling off of a pirouette and having to flail your arms to catch your balance, as one of the corps did in the opening of Act I.

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I think McKenzie added the monster Rothbart and the stuffed swan in order to make it more "Disneyesque". Kids like to see monsters and stuffed animals, so let's put them on stage. I think he believes that this approach makes it more family friendly and therefore sells more tickets.

I guess the monster is a closer call for me than the stuffed swan and the first scene re: the young Odette. The reason being that, maybe by splitting the less-dance-intensive aspects of the von Rothbart role from the more substantive portions in Act III, it is easier to entice a principal or another interesting danseur to dance the Act III von Rothbart role even though it of course does not involve the male lead in the ballet (without having to worry about the less attractive aspects of the von Rothbart role from a substantive dance component perspective). If the von Rothbart that is not dancing did not have a mask (or other headgear), the audience would be able to tell that it was not the same danseur. Of the eight dancing von Rothbart roles this season at the Met, two are taken by Gomes and one by Hallberg.

On the other hand, having a mask on the non-dancing von Rothbart does not mean one has to stick with the current monster costume now used to cover the body of von Rothbart. That is pretty bad. :dry:

Getting back to last night's Gomes in Act III, there was a funny part where von Rothbart had already captivated the four princesses at the ball. He has already danced with each of them individually. Then, the four are in a "square" formation and he is in the middle. Von Rothbart then lifts one of the princesses almost straight up, while she has her hands relatively close to her body and doesn't move. He then sort of easily, but not forcefully, plonks her down. He then repeated this for one of the other princesses. It kind of made the princesses look like dolls/putty in his hands.

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I was also at the Irina - Max Show last night. Agreed that their performance was devoid of emotion, which is surprising to me because they are married. His technique declines more and more every year, and his acting is virtually non existent. However, he is a reliable partner.

I guess you missed the part where Max failed to get out of the way and got kicked by Irina during the end of the Act II pdd?

Well, I guess I should have said that he is generally a reliable partner. I had to say something nice about him, right!

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June 23 Swan Lake

Gillian Murphy/Angel Corella

Benno: Jared Mathews

von Rothbart, Act III: Gennadi Saveliev

Queen Mother: Nancy Raffa

Pas de trois: Maria Riccetto, Stella Abrera, Jared Mathews

Aristocrats (the program's term) in Act I: include Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston and Blaine Hoven

Cygnettes: Yuriko Kajiya, Sarah Lane, Anne Milewski, Renta Pavam

Two Swans: Leann Underwood, Melanie Hamrick

Regular swans include Hee Seo, Isabella Boylston

Hungarian Princess: Marian Butler

Spanish Princess: Sarah Lane

Italian Princess: Gemma Bond

Polish Princess: Isabella Boylston

Czardas: Includes Simone Messmer (subbing for Kristi Boone), Patrick Ogle, Blaine Hoven, Eric Tamm

I attended tonight's performance of Swan Lake. I had been curious about this pairing after having watched the PBS TV program featuring the same. Corella's performance was outstanding.

I was very impressed with Angel Corella's portrayl of the Prince. Very expressive face, head tilt, eye contact (at appropriate times), very communicative body stance and strong engagement with everything and everyone around him throughout the performance. In Act I, for example, when he sees the different couples around him, Corella is able to convincingly convey his loneliness and feeling left out. During Act II dancing with Odette, he showed, at various relevant times and in a moving way, yearning, amazement, a feeling of needing to explore more and engage Odette more, a sense of being empassioned somewhat, and a sense of elegant and somewhat smoldering urgency. I found his acting (including his body and face expressiveness and positioning, and his mime) excellent. His jumps and other technical aspects were very good -- not great -- but way more than the level sufficient to be very effective overall in the role of the Prince. During Act III, after Corella sees Odile, his face glows and he communicates the joy he feels as he dances with her. He almost floats, as he was so immersed in the moment and in Odile. He practically beams with happiness. I found Corella's overall performance to be excellent. He seemed so much more vibrant and full of life than Maxim B from Monday evening.

I did notice, however, that Corella's upper legs seemed a little bit more filled out than in the PBS video. That did not adversely affect anything; I just noted it. I didn't notice it during Corella's also oustanding (but normal for him) performances this season as Ali the slave in the Le Corsaires seen or in his very good performance as The Prodigal Son. Maybe the white leotards the Prince wears in Swan Lake are not helpful.

To me, Gillian was generally effective. She was more emotive as Odette than Irina D, but it doesn't take much to be able to say that about a ballerina. But still, for reasons I cannot quite pinpoint, I found both her Odette and her Odile less than entirely satisfying. Her black swan fouettes were exciting, expectedly. A number of multiple turns, and interesting (and appropriate) differences in arm positions. She was at times using her arms to facilitate the turn like many ballerinas do, but, at other times, holding her arms in the air in a nice position. At other times, her arms were elbow height and more hand to elbow. She conveyed energy during the fouettes.

One thing that should not matter, but that I found not visually appealing about Gillian's Odette costume: The costume from far looks like a bustier on top, but it is actually held up by two sections of skin-colored gauze that secure the bustier and form more of a sleeveless top. In Gillian's case, her gauze section was many shades more intense than her natural tone and was not visually appealing.

I found Saveliev's depiction of von Rothbart in Act III to be poor. His dancing did not seem crisp, and some of his jumps seemed, to me at least, poor. Also, Saveliev's physique is of the stocky type in the upper body, and his lines are compromised by that, at least to me.

Jared Mathews was alright -- not as animated as Simkin, in the role of Benno. Maybe Jared Mathews was not the best Benno to cast when Corella is the Prince. Jared's height makes Corella look shorter than if, say, Simkin were utilized. At least Jared was better as Benno, however, than he was as the guy who pursued Giselle and was killed by the Wilis during the Hallberg/Osipova Giselle performance (with a wonderful performance by Hallberg).

I enjoyed a Bailey's Irish cream, on the rocks ($14), during intermission.

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To me, Gillian was generally effective. She was more emotive as Odette than Irina D, but it doesn't take much to be able to say that about a ballerina.

:o wow that's really harsh!

I don't claim to be tactful. :) Nor, for that matter, do I aim to be even handed in my descriptions. For example, I really appreciate Hallberg and Corella's performances and I rarely find their performances less than very good. :wink:

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I first saw ABT's Swan Lake four or five years ago with Gillian as Odette/Odile. Since that time, she has seemed to improve her artistry and build on her already impressive technique. I agree with Ambonnay that something felt unemotional and slightly unsatisfying about her portrayal. She has obviously tried to soften her Odette and add nuance to her arm gestures and expression, which is a welcome change. Her black swan was very exciting, as expected. Whenever she appears on stage in that black costume with her seemingly lavender-white skin, I can only think of Madame X. Her fouettes were spectacular; she incorporated wild swam arm gestures during her triples. Angel's Siegfried was certainly very good, but lacked the finesse and energy he's brought to the role in years past. His jumps weren't as buoyant; his turns weren't as buttery smooth. It is strange to see Angel appear as if he's not completely engaged in a role. It's hard for me to judge Savaliev objectively in his role as Rothbart because David and Marcelo inhabit the character so completely...

Jared, Stella, and Maria were all very secure and clean in the peasant pas de trois; it wasn't the over-the-top virtuosic pas de trois that Cornejo has created in past years, but it was very satisfying and musical. Stella wasn't quite as buoyant as she sometimes is, but still very lovely and expressive. I was worried about her earlier this season when she was pulled from some roles, but it's great to see her dancing so well again.

My new technique for 'coping' with the stuffed swan in the prelude is that I simply keep my eyes shut for the entire overture. Though this presents another problem--I end up focusing on the orchestra's thin sound. The brass section didn't produce any cringe-worthy moments as in past years, though, so that was a sign of improvement.

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My new technique for 'coping' with the stuffed swan in the prelude is that I simply keep my eyes shut for the entire overture.

I've come up with another objection to the overture, although you may not be able to comment on today's version. After von Rothbart grabs the young Odette and lifts her in the air, she is lifted and held in a series of stark, rapidly shifting positions, before the part with the stuffed swan. The unnecessarily "posy" and dramatic nature of each of those Odette positions does not seem in keeping with any other part of the ballet. Those positions are even more dramatic and rapidly placed together than certain very tension-filled moments in the ballet later on.

So I think the choreographic style in the preclude is not appropriately matched to the remainder of the ballet. :)

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My new technique for 'coping' with the stuffed swan in the prelude is that I simply keep my eyes shut for the entire overture.

I've come up with another objection to the overture, although you may not be able to comment on today's version. After von Rothbart grabs the young Odette and lifts her in the air, she is lifted and held in a series of stark, rapidly shifting positions, before the part with the stuffed swan. The unnecessarily "posy" and dramatic nature of each of those Odette positions does not seem in keeping with any other part of the ballet. Those positions are even more dramatic and rapidly placed together than certain very tension-filled moments in the ballet later on.

So I think the choreographic style in the prelude is not appropriately matched to the remainder of the ballet. :)

I've never thought about that aspect, but I think you are entirely right. Between the loose hair, flowy dress, and series of rapid, dramatic lifts and poses, it almost seems like something that belongs in a MacMillan ballet.

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I think McKenzie added the monster Rothbart and the stuffed swan in order to make it more "Disneyesque". Kids like to see monsters and stuffed animals, so let's put them on stage. I think he believes that this approach makes it more family friendly and therefore sells more tickets.

The stuffed swan is a bit of a problem. I've seen all the "monster Rothbarts" do this role, and to my eye only Isaac Stappas reveals the swan facing towards stage right, so more of the audience can see the "bird in hand" (so to speak). All the other Rothbarts bring the bird out facing stage left, and because the action takes place in the downstage corner and because the bird is caught in the light coming from the wing many in the audience miss the moment. And only see the bird's behind,not it's head. By facing the bird to the right, it benefits from the back light from the wing, thus more people see it. I sometimes wonder if anyone bothers to watch the action from the house, or ever goes up to Grand Tier or Dress Circle to see how an action "reads" from different vantage points. The audience is more than just those in the orchestra.

mimsyb

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I sometimes wonder if anyone bothers to watch the action from the house, or ever goes up to Grand Tier or Dress Circle to see how an action "reads" from different vantage points. The audience is more than just those in the orchestra.

mimsyb

I prefer middle orchestra or one of the side boxes. I have seen a ballet from the upper levels (it was for NYCB and I refuse to spend $$ to watch NYCB), and it was simply too far away. I had a hard time keeping up with the leg movements, and no chance of seeing the dancers' feet from that angle (looking down). Also, you miss the facial expresions unless you have binoculars, but at that point you also miss the big picture.

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I prefer middle orchestra or one of the side boxes. I have seen a ballet from the upper levels (it was for NYCB and I refuse to spend $$ to watch NYCB), and it was simply too far away. I had a hard time keeping up with the leg movements, and no chance of seeing the dancers' feet from that angle (looking down). Also, you miss the facial expresions unless you have binoculars, but at that point you also miss the big picture.

I've noticed that it sometimes matters what magnification of binoculars I use. It is not necessarily the case that highest magnification is the best, as that also limits the "scope" (as your post suggests) of what is seen, depending on where I sit. So, this sounds like a trivial thing, but I have more than one pair of binos for ballet viewing purposes and, if have time, I will look at the ticket and seat number/placement when picking which of my binos to bring along.

On Gomes as the Act III von Rothbart on Monday, the NY Post had this to say: "Choreographer and director Kevin McKenzie conceived the villain Von Rothbart as both an evil sorcerer and an irresistible sex magnet, an idea that's not nearly as good as it sounds. . Marcelo Gomes created the role and usually makes a case for it through sheer charisma, but this time he pushed from charisma to sleaze."

I wouldn't have framed the observation in the last part of the last quoted sentence so harshly, but I would agree with its content. A rare negative assessment this season for Gomes.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/06242009/enter...ight_175814.htm

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Hi everyone. I also attended last night's SL w. Murphy and Corella. Murphy has improved in the whiite swan aspects of the role over the years. She is certainly more emotive than she used to be. Also, I liked the way she used her flexible back to demonstrate her anguish through deep back bends. Corella was brilliant from a dramatic point of view. As one post noted above, he was able to convey his loneliness during the birthday party scene merely through facial expressions. In his solo at the end of Act I, he expressed yearning and despair through his stretched line. During the Act II pdd, he became increasingly enraptured with his swan queen. This was expressed not only through passiionate facial expressions, but through every little gesture of his body. His technique has declined a little bit over the years, but he is still way ahead of the rest of the ABT pack, in my opinion. Gillian dazzled in the Black Swan act. Weren't those quadruples I saw her do? I don't think they were triples. The crowd went wild as she added undulating swan arms to her turns. I guess Angel decided toward the end that he had to turn the juice up a notch to compete with Gillian, so he concluded his solo in the pdd with incredibly fast turns, with perfect control. Gillian has her limitations dramatically, but her incredible technique makes her a very exciting dancer. Genadi had zero impact as purple Rothbart. The peasant pdd was lovely, but unremarkable. Stella, in my opinion, has looked noticeably tentative this season. I hope she can return to being the old pre-injury Stella soon.

By the way, re the post above, didn't Vladamir Malhakov create the role of purple Rothbart on opening night? I recall that he received greater applause than the Odette, Susan Jaffe.

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Corella was brilliant from a dramatic point of view. As one post noted above, he was able to convey his loneliness during the birthday party scene merely through facial expressions. In his solo at the end of Act I, he expressed yearning and despair through his stretched line. During the Act II pdd, he became increasingly enraptured with his swan queen. This was expressed not only through passiionate facial expressions, but through every little gesture of his body. His technique has declined a little bit over the years, but he is still way ahead of the rest of the ABT pack, in my opinion.

I agree with Corella still being amazing. I never saw him in his younger years, but his technical capabilities are still much much more than good, even if they might not be what they once were. I agree Corella is much better than any other danseur at the ABT, with the exception of Hallberg, who, for me, is at least at Corella's present-day level from an overall evaluation perspective and has the potential to grow into more. But Hallberg, despite all his commendable qualities, is not (yet) a superb actor (with that not being a negative, because sometimes I think Hallberg chooses subtlety and finesse over more obvious ways of acting communication). Also, Hallberg has the benefit of a beautiful natural physique and elegant frame, and height and handsomeness. While Corella is handsome as well and has an open, inviting face, Corella did not start off with those all of those natural advantages and therefore is to be particularly commended for his remarkable achievements.

Corella's acting is so much better than any ABT principal's (male or female) I have seen. Many small changes in body position, meaningful glances at his partner, the way he might sway his head, or shift his hand -- all of those things can, in some ways, be said to be more than "acting" and to make his acting blur with his overall "occupation" of the role of Prince Siegfried. It is quite amazing that Corella can do so much with just his face, although it is his whole body that is involved in expressing what is happening with the Prince throughout. And yet Corella's acting doesn't seem contrived. It seemed natural and genuine. :unsure:

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Corella was brilliant from a dramatic point of view. As one post noted above, he was able to convey his loneliness during the birthday party scene merely through facial expressions. In his solo at the end of Act I, he expressed yearning and despair through his stretched line. During the Act II pdd, he became increasingly enraptured with his swan queen. This was expressed not only through passiionate facial expressions, but through every little gesture of his body. His technique has declined a little bit over the years, but he is still way ahead of the rest of the ABT pack, in my opinion.

I agree with Corella still being amazing. I never saw him in his younger years, but his technical capabilities are still much much more than good, even if they might not be what they once were. I agree Corella is much better than any other danseur at the ABT, with the exception of Hallberg, who, for me, is at least at Corella's present-day level from an overall evaluation perspective and has the potential to grow into more. But Hallberg, despite all his commendable qualities, is not (yet) a superb actor (with that not being a negative, because sometimes I think Hallberg chooses subtlety and finesse over more obvious ways of acting communication). Also, Hallberg has the benefit of a beautiful natural physique and elegant frame, and height and handsomeness. While Corella is handsome as well and has an open, inviting face, Corella did not start off with those all of those natural advantages and therefore is to be particularly commended for his remarkable achievements.

Corella's acting is so much better than any ABT principal's (male or female) I have seen. Many small changes in body position, meaningful glances at his partner, the way he might sway his head, or shift his hand -- all of those things can, in some ways, be said to be more than "acting" and to make his acting blur with his overall "occupation" of the role of Prince Siegfried. It is quite amazing that Corella can do so much with just his face, although it is his whole body that is involved in expressing what is happening with the Prince throughout. And yet Corella's acting doesn't seem contrived. It seemed natural and genuine. :unsure:

I also saw last night's SL. I felt Corella was a bit distant in his Act I acting, and not his usual self in the dancing department. Even my seat mate noticed the weight gain and I think his dancing at times looks more forced than usual. But he pulled it together for Act II, both acting wise and in his dancing. Still, he seems to have lost a lot of his youthful fluency, especially in transitions from one jump to the next or in his turn preparations. I agree that Gillian has improved her White Swan in many ways, and her passion has deepened as displayed by her extraordinary flexibility of her back. What can one say about her Black Swan? She out did herself in many respects, including the fouettes with the multiple turns (yes, they were quads) and the new arm waving. It can border on a circus act at times, but in truth by that time of the evening I was ready for some excitement. For most of the evening I sat numb. Saveliev was not very effective as purple Rothbart. (they should take Isaac Stappas out of the Ninja suit and give him a go at the role. He's the best villain at ABT, and he's pretty sexy on the eyes.). The Pas de Trois for the most part was a yawn. Ricetto looked dazzling, Abrera started out OK but faded into her variation, and Mathews was well, Mathews. Not much going on. I'd love to see Joseph Phillips or Erich Tamm given a chance at this. Both would generate more excitement. The swans were pretty much hit and miss. Many instances of dancing off the music and not dancing together. Arms at different angles and arabesque heights not uniform. The four Cynettes were fine, although dancing at a rather moribund tempo. The two big swans (Leann Underwood and Melanie Hamrick) again not in sync. And neither could do the entre chat sixes (a common problem with the ABT women). Nancy Raffa as the Queen Mother was excellent, although I had a hard time getting the image of her stunning portrayal of Madge in last weeks "La Sylphide" out of my mind. In many ways, "Swan Lake" is the ultimate test of a company and it's resources. Last night fell short. But I'm seeing all the other casts, so somewhere in there there has to be a fully realized performance. And my last gripe of the evening. Can't someone at ABT or the Met do something about the total inappropriate use of cell phones and Blackberrys during the performance? The lady sitting on my other side (Grand tier) was texting the entire performance! This has gotten totally out of control and the ushers do nothing even when you mention it to them. The lady texting told me "to mind my own business". Apparently she thought she was at the ball game. Please someone HELP!!

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