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Sylvia


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Hello. I was at Sylvia last night. Gillian Murphy's bold attack and fabulous pointe work as Sylvia were wonderful. She is a strong and robust Sylvia. Maxim performed wonderful jumps as Aminta, although I have to admit that my favorite ABT Aminta was Corella, who is not performing the role this year. Genadi seemed to be having fun as the evil Orion. Carlos Lopez did a fine job in his difficult solo as Eros, but for me the gold standard was Herman Cornejo a few years ago. I'll be interested to see what Simkin does in this role in his debut on Wed evening. Sylvia is a pleasant diversion, but its choregraphy is a bit thin for my tastes.

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I think it is interesting that you view the choreography as thin. There are no bravura variations or a grand pas but the group dances were wonderful, I thought. And some the eccentric solos like the male slaves in scene two or the goats in scene three are little gems.

Ashton's work is certainly very different from Balanchine or Petipa but I was struck by the sheer inventiveness of much of the choreography. Ashton sets the steps on the music very uniquely and sometimes I felt that both the corps and Murphy needed more inflection and musicality in their dancing to bring out all of the details in the steps. I was very taken with all of the petite allegro he uses and how the same steps, for example sissones, mean something different depending on which character dances them and how they are set on the music.

It is nice to have different kinds of work on view, which appeal to a wide range to audiences, I think.

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I really miss longer variations in the final act. That's what makes it seem a little short. If the characters in the last act had more than just a quick appearance, I think it would feel a little fuller. I understand that Ashton tinkered with the length over the years, adding and taking out variations from this part of the ballet. I would have loved to have seen those discarded sections. It's like having Sleeping Beauty without the fairytale character's variations missing. Oh, right. ABT already has a Sleeping Beauty like that :wallbash:

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I was in the Dress Circle last night and really enjoyed seeing the piece again; I saw it once back when it was new in 2005.

I think it's just wonderful, beautiful music and a finely crafted ballet to, allright, a rather thin libretto.

The women impressed me more than the men, Murphy seemed much more at home in the role than four years ago, she was still Amazonian in Act 1 but far more effective in Act 2 and really radiant in the last act. Her first act was danced more

assuredly than last time but the second and third act showed her really making those wonderful steps magical.

Her attendants in the first act were not perfect , but certainly respectable, and also much more comfortable in the choreography than 4 years ago. And the smaller roles in the last act were really finely done by the ladies: Part, Riccetto, Boone, Copeland, etc.

The men? Not so good, at least to me. Beloserkovsky was assured and fairly polished, but without much elevation. His partnering was good though and those backward-leaps-into-fishdive were pretty impressive. Saveliev just seemed like a dull thug and danced like one. Another poster liked Lopez, I thought his difficult variation in the third act was a mess.

But what a piece! And who knows when it will be revived again. This was a positive event in the rather depressing thread on the health of Ashton's legacy in a recent thread. At least ABT is making an effect and I for one, appreciated it.

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It was my first viewing of G Murphy as Sylvia(missed her in 2005) She was wonderful esp in the 2nd and 3rd act.Max was in his usual elegant style but a bit bland.

The house was not sold out( maybe because it was monday?) I hope it will do better later in the week.People are posting that Ashton( and Tudor) are being neglected by ballet companies but when they are presented, the response is not encouraging for the artistic directors to present them again.Maybe, Sylvia is not best Ashton but i remember that when ABT did a very well-received La Fille Mal gardee, it was not a big boxoffice sucess either.

BTW, S Abrera was replaced at the last minute in the 3rd act (there was no slip in the program) Anybody knows the dancer who replaced her??

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L. Underwood replaced S. A. as Ceres

Oh dear, is Stella injured again? I hope not. I've been overjoyed by her presence this season, albeit in soloist roles. I'm still eagerly awaiting her debut in the title role of Giselle, which had to be postponed this year and last. angelica

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I saw the Sylvia matinee today. For a matinee performance it was packed. I thought that for her first time essaying the role, Diana Vishneva was excellent. She really seemed to be having fun, especially during the pizzacato polka, in which her smile just lit up the auditorium. She's more petite than Darcey Bussell and Gillian Murphy, the two Sylvias I have seen (one live, one on video), and also is less clearly the formidable huntress. But on the plus side, she is very seductive in Act 2, and brought a lovely classical purity to Act 3. It was good to see Ethan Stiefel dancing again, and I thought he and Diana partnered very well together. The backwards fish dives in the Act 3 pdd were beautiful. Stiefel I know has had a knee injury but he tore into the role with abandon, and didn't flinch from the big jumps that are a part of the role.

I thought the corps, that looked so ragged last week in Swan Lake, somehow looked great today. And the music! What lovely music. Overall, I hope the ABT keeps this in their repertoire.

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I, too, saw the Vishneva/Stiefel Sylvia yesterday afternoon. This was the first time this season I saw them both perform and, yes, Stiefel danced full-out with no holding back, although Aminta is such a scanty role for the lead dancer, I kept wishing for more. Since Ashton had Michael Somes as his first Amninta (not an outstanding technician) I can't help wondering if this influenced the choreography. Vishneva succeeded for me in separating the choreography from Fonteyn. In any of Ashton's ballets made for Fonteyn; her image and style influence performances by other ballerinas. However, Vishneva made the role her own, and if anything, was a pure Mariinsky ballerina. (I don't know what the Ashton purists would think) She was alternately buoyant in Act 1, quite seductive in Act 2 and the sublime ballerina we expect in Act 3. I enjoyed the ballet and hope it sticks around for a while--(enough of the Don Q,s and Corsaires!). Hee Seo and especially Eric Tamm were outstanding as Ceres and Jaseion; the latter exhibiting his beautiful line and jumps.

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I saw the Vishneva - Steifel performance at the Wed matinee, and I also saw the Wiles-Bolle performance yesterday evening. Vishneva was sublime. Her interpretation was so lyrical and beautiful. She is a completely different Syliva from the more warrior-like presentations of Wiles and Murphy. Simkin was brilliant last night as Eros. His difficult solo was filled with high, effortless jumps. I liked both Steifel and Bolle. Cory Stearns was Orion last night. He was excellent, and the best of the Orions I have seen this week.

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I attended the Sylvia last night with Bolle and Wiles, and they both danced very well. Michelle especially shone as Sylvia. I haven't seen her much this year, but her rather forceful dancing style suited itself well to the stern aspects of Sylvia's character in Act I. I was suprised by how much detail she put into her acting throughout all acts. I don't necessarily expect Sylvia to be an opportunity for great acting or a moving emotional arc, but she really captured Sylvia's shifting moods over all three acts. She seemed to particularly glow in the third act, and she danced the pizzicati and pas de deux with a great sense of joy, energy, and attack.

Bolle did a beautiful job with all of the partnering, especially the sustained lifts in the pas de deux. I thought perhaps he didn't make the most of supported arabesques in which he grasps Sylvia by the sides of her head. His solo dancing in the first act started out a bit tentatively, and he never quite achieved the crispness and musicality that I saw in Angel when he danced the part two years ago. His grace and bouyancy in the third act surely made up for that, however. It's hard to judge him purely on his dancing, per se, since his stage presence and physical beauty make such an impact and seem to be a significant part of his appeal (judging from what I overhear during curtain calls).

In regards to the choreography, I find this to be one of the most satisfying full-lengths overall in that there are no boring lulls, no endless matador or pirate dances, no national dances that seem to go on and on forever. All of the female corps (I believe) wear pointe shoes and are given challenging turns and leaps throughout. The result is that it's very hard for the corps to stay in synch, but I'd take fouettes in tandem anyday over a perfectly executed Hungarian dance. What struck me last night is that Ashton left no music unchoreographed--every strain of music had a coresponding hand gesture, flick of the foot, or bend of the knee. I left feeling as if he had done justice--and then some--to Delibes' gorgeous score.

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In regards to the choreography, I find this to be one of the most satisfying full-lengths overall in that there are no boring lulls, no endless matador or pirate dances, no national dances that seem to go on and on forever. All of the female corps (I believe) wear pointe shoes and are given challenging turns and leaps throughout. The result is that it's very hard for the corps to stay in synch, but I'd take fouettes in tandem anyday over a perfectly executed Hungarian dance. What struck me last night is that Ashton left no music unchoreographed--every strain of music had a coresponding hand gesture, flick of the foot, or bend of the knee. I left feeling as if he had done justice--and then some--to Delibes' gorgeous score.
I am so glad someone could put what I feel about Sylvia into words. I know the audience will be filled with enthusiastic families on 7/4 and I will be joining them. Excited to see Alex Hammoudi's Orion!

t

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In regards to the choreography, I find this to be one of the most satisfying full-lengths overall in that there are no boring lulls, no endless matador or pirate dances, no national dances that seem to go on and on forever. All of the female corps (I believe) wear pointe shoes and are given challenging turns and leaps throughout. The result is that it's very hard for the corps to stay in synch, but I'd take fouettes in tandem anyday over a perfectly executed Hungarian dance. What struck me last night is that Ashton left no music unchoreographed--every strain of music had a coresponding hand gesture, flick of the foot, or bend of the knee. I left feeling as if he had done justice--and then some--to Delibes' gorgeous score.
I am so glad someone could put what I feel about Sylvia into words. I know the audience will be filled with enthusiastic families on 7/4 and I will be joining them. Excited to see Alex Hammoudi's Orion!

t

Now if only those point shoes could be a bit more quiet! The corps, especially in Act I sound like a herd of cattle entering the corral! Even Vishneva's shoes were noisy throughout the performance. I find that she blurs much of the delicious Ashton footwork and goes for the big picture usually. In her Act II, she seemed to be channeling herself a bit much from last year's Scheherazade, but redeemed herself in the purely classical Act III. Stiefel underdanced a bit but partnered well. Jared Mathews was largely ineffective as Orion. But this is a wonderful ballet for ABT. Musically and visually, it's a standout. The best overall performance for me was last night's Wiles/ Bolle/Stearns/Simkin. Wiles is really suited to this work and she found freshness and beauty in her dancing that sometimes goes missing. Maybe the partnering of Bolle helped. They were wonderful together. Stearns danced and acted convincingly. As for Simkin, he seems to be able to do almost everything thrown his way this season. His Eros had an elegance yet at the same time a sense of humor. A delight. I'd like to see this ballet remain in the rep. (and hopefully add "La Fille Mal Gardee!). Ashton has an extraordinary way with non human characters, at the same time he remains the most human of choreographers.

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I've seen Sylvia with all 4 casts and I've enjoyed them all - especially all the Sylvia's. This ballet provides really good roles for ABT's ballerinas and for upcoming soloists (Eros, Orion, Diana) plus the music and choreography are both so beautiful I hope they keep it in rep. And the costumes and scenery are gorgeous - not a hint at McKenzie's tendency towards Disneyfication.

I'm going to see the Murphy and Vishneva casts again so for now I'll limit my comments to the Hererra/Gomes and Wiles/Bolle casts. These 2 are not among my favorite ballerinas so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them both. Hererra's performance was beautifully well rounded. She wasn't the fiercest of Amazons, but she showed strength, acted well and performed the steps with a wonderful combination of technique and lyricism. Of all 4 casts, she and Vishneva seemed to understand Ashton's musicality best and I loved Hererra's phrasing. She was a delight in all 3 acts and Gomes was her Aminta. It's a pretty thankless role but he danced it well and was able to convey Aminta's passion for Sylvia without looking too much like the local yokel.

Michelle Wiles was paired with Bolle. I love this guy, Kevin - can we keep him? He is not a virtuoso but is not lacking in technique either. His jumps were high, pirouettes fast and perfectly controlled and his line is absolutely stunning. But the best thing about Bolle is what he brings out in ABT's ballerinas. Wiles has more than enough technique and stamina for this role and her interpretation started off with a more athletic, almost tomboyish take that she kept up through the act 2 seduction. There was no question in Orion's cave but that she was a nymph on a single minded mission. Then, in the third act she started off with a really lovely, regal style and somewhere after the beginning of the pas de deux when she was in Bolle's arms it was as if she just took a deep breath and let it all go - all the tension, the stiffness that often mars her otherwise flawless dancing. All of a sudden her dancing became light, joyous and - delicate. It was as if a light bulb went on and it was wonderful to see. I hope she keeps this up! I will have to disagree with fondoffouettes - I particularly enjoyed their execution of the "head" arabesque, I thought it looked very natural and loving and flowed well.

Although all of the dancers I've seen in the role of Eros were fine, none really wowed me until I saw Simkin last night. Admittedly it's tough to compete with my memories of Cornejo and Tidwell when ABT first presented Sylvia but Simkin was certainly in their league. He showed a great flair for the 1st act comedy and his variation in the 3rd act was beautiful - high, light jumps, gorgeous line and princely (or in this case, Godly) bearing.

I thought all of the secondary roles were done well and agree with abatt that, as much as I love Hammoudi, Stearns was the standout among the Orions. I finally see what ABT management must see in him, his dancing was clearly a cut above the others. I particularly liked Leanne Underwood as Ceres (despite a nasty fall last night) and Kristi Boone as Diana. It was a little jarring to see Part cast as Terpsichore but it was a treat to see her, even in such a small role.

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Michele was radiant last night and seemed so relaxed and natural. Even her much-criticized smile seemed natural. She ,obviously,enjoyed her new partner. Roberto had no difficulty in partnering her . The entrance to the PDD,where he was carrying her in his shoulder brought applause from the audience. I thought this was one of Ashton's most beautiful PDD. ABT should definitely keep Roberto.

The rest of the cast was also better than Monday's night particularly D Simkin and C Stearns.The orchetra was almost filled ( better than Monday) and the audience was very responsive.I hope this will encourage ABT to present more Ashton. ( La Fille, Two pigeons or his Cinderella) in the future :):beg:

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I ended up not being able to go, so I am very thankful for all of these reviews! I have the Sylvia DVD with Bussell, but there is nothing like a live performance.

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I have never seen Wiles more radiant or authoritative (read: charismatic) than she was throughout Wednesday night's performance. And I thoroughly enjoyed Bolle's Aminta which was clean, musical and more Ashtonian than the other Amintas I've seen.

I'll be the distinct minority on Simkin's Eros, which lacked the qualities I just praised in Bolle. Instead of sautee-ing with the biggest double ronds de jambe in the history of ballet and finding himself totally at odds with his music, I wish Simkin had opted for smaller diameters and more sensitivity to the music. I'm pleased that he did not play the humor in his role as broadly as he did the choreography. He is extraordinarily talented, but he needs a lot of tending, as he tends to display his facility, no matter how inappropriate to the moment. It's an easy trap for a young professional to fall into, and I hope someone can prevail upon him to calm down and pay attention to musicality and phrasing.

I thoroughly enjoyed Stearns' muscular Orion.

Once again, I'm going to cheer Misty Copeland, whose witty and stylish Goat was one of the bigger pleasures of the last act. This has been a great season for her, giving her opportunities to shine -- no, blaze -- in a wide range of styles. She has long been a fave of mine, but this season she's dancing on a conspicuously higher level. I didn't want her progress to go unnoted. :beg:

Another improved dancer is Veronika Part, no longer dancing like every performance is a test. She danced this Terpsichore (is it really a principal role?) with freedom and great pleasure.

I'm going to second bingham's suggestion that the company do more Ashton. Rolling out a single Ashton ballet for one week every four or five years is not enough for these dancers to absorb Ashton style. (Ditto La Sylphide/Bournonville, btw.) That's unfair to the ballets, the dancers and the audiences. But thanks, Planners of the Rep, for bringing back this delightful Sylvia at least in '09.

I ended up not being able to go, so I am very thankful for all of these reviews! I have the Sylvia DVD with Bussell, but there is nothing like a live performance.

:) I was looking for you.

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I am hopeful that I will get up to New York some time! I've been wanting to go for a while now.

On another note, imagine if ABT did start programming more Ashton and Tudor. Combined with all the Balanchine and Robbins NYCB could perform, NY would truly have an embarrassment of choreographic riches!

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The entrance to the PDD,where he was carrying her in his shoulder brought applause from the audience. I thought this was one of Ashton's most beautiful PDD. ABT should definitely keep Roberto.

Just to clarify -- did he not carry her in on his hand (one handed lift, she's sitting on his hand and I think he's holding her leg in front of him?):

Sylvia Pdd entrance

I like Bolle -- until he has to act. Then it's like there are cartoon balloons above his head telling the audience what he's thinking! :)

I'll be the distinct minority on Simkin's Eros, which lacked the qualities I just praised in Bolle. Instead of sautee-ing with the biggest double ronds de jambe in the history of ballet and finding himself totally at odds with his music, I wish Simkin had opted for smaller diameters and more sensitivity to the music. I'm pleased that he did not play the humor in his role as broadly as he did the choreography. He is extraordinarily talented, but he needs a lot of tending, as he tends to display his facility, no matter how inappropriate to the moment. It's an easy trap for a young professional to fall into, and I hope someone can prevail upon him to calm down and pay attention to musicality and phrasing.

Well-stated carbo. Your description reminds me exactly of how I feel about Steven McRae -- full of promise, but almost needs to tone it down a bit and discover performing vs. over-dancing.....

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I saw my first Sylvia Tuesday night, and after hearing the music in recording since childhood, what a thrill to hear it live.......those horns! It is an ideal ballet score, full of drama and variety.

Not having seen any other casts I can't make comparisons, but I thoroughly enjoyed both Herrera and Gomes. Herrera made the most of the opportunity the role offers to show a variety of qualities. Gomes was exciting in his solos, and what a wonderful partner he is. The third act PDD has some tricky partnering but you would never know it. Those two worked together as smooth as silk and looked like they were enjoying it as much as the audience.

This is a full length ballet that moves right along, no boring padding, as someone pointed out. When the peasants dance, they DANCE.

There are two outstanding examples of some very witty choreography that is so uniquely Ashton. The slaves (Alexei Agoudine, Luis Ribagorda), and the Goats (Sarah Lane, Daniil Simkin) all well danced, as was the whole ballet. My only complaint is the women's noisy shoes in the first act. Even their bourrees sounded like hammers. What they had to do didn't require super hard shoes. Herrera on the other hand, had softer (quieter) shoes, and she was doing a lot of turns and balances. She must have very strong feet!

This isn't Ashton's greatest work, but it is a very well made and entertaining ballet. I loved it.

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Just saw Vishneva and Steifel perform tonight. Absolutely fantastic. Reminded me why I love Russian-trained dancers. Steifel is fantastic and charismatic, even though his technique is not nearly as clean as it was in his prime. But such a fabulous artist.

The music of Delibes is absolutely heavenly.

The corps I thought were good today surprisingly, with lots of great performances. I've never been a fan of Daniil when he's partnering anybody, but today he impressed me.

Audience also was pretty perfect today, which was a relief after last week's Swan.

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god yes

tonight was wonderful!

i absolutely loved vishneva. i love her anyway but she was excellent. great to see stiefel back too. simkin and lane were especially entertaining as the goats. sorry i'm kind of exuberant...what a wonderful production! NO DISNEY. i just bought tickets for tomorrow...haha. lots of great seats available. nice surprise from abt.

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I also saw Diana Vishneva and Ethan Stiefel perform tonight and was absolutely enthralled. It's my third time seeing Sylvia (having seen it years ago with Paloma and again this past Monday with Gillian). Watching it tonight with such a stellar performances was like watching an entirely different ballet. The clarity and difficulty of the pointe work and the balances have never been so clear to me as Vishneva made them. She was a forceful presence in the first act, but was transformed into a seductive temptress in the Act 2 in a way I've never seen before. She is also able to convey the forcefulness of the role through her acting and lower body, but her upper body is always fluid, liquid and extremely expressive. A world class ballerina! We are lucky to see her in so many roles this season.

While I thought Ethan did a commendable job, it looked like he was straining, particularly in Act 1, having trouble with balance and achieving an elegant line (in a way that Maxim, on Monday did not). However, his acting was very good and made up for some of the technical difficulties.

Sylvia's attendants were also more harmonious than in Monday's performance and Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin were terrific as the goats.

In sum, this performance gave me a whole new take on this ballet - I hope I get the opportunity to see Diana Vishneva perform it again some time soon.

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I saw Vishneva last night, for the first time this season, and was totally reminded of why I've loved her so much in the past. She is just so strong, so fluid, and so so sensuous! And so dramatically present. I'm really sorry I missed her Swan Lake, and totally bummed I can't get to R&J on Monday night. Next year, I hope!

I also saw Tuesday's performance (Herrera and Gomes). Alexandre Hammoudi was a terrific Orion, with a strong, masculine presence, and conveying so much menace that I was envisioning him as Von Rothbart. Another hope for next year?

The single image that most stands out for me from the two performances of Sylvia that I saw is Kristi Boone as Diana. Talk about regal! That crisp, clear mime as she stares Orion down, takes the arrow from the quiver, puts in the bow, and boom! I was transfixed by her every movement onstage. Another fervent hope for next year: Boone as Myrtha.

The interpolated scene of "Diana in Love" appeared to feature the lovely Melissa Thomas. Where has she been this season? Injured?

This was probably hashed out on BT when Sylvia was new, but what is going on with the costumes? The Roman-themed skating dresses worn by the men had me scratching my head. On the other hand, loved Diana's leopard-print bikini top and deep green velvet drapery skirt.

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