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ABT at Kennedy Center 2010

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A few cast changes for the 27th performance: Leann Underwood replaces Michelle Wiles in Brahms Haydn Variations, and Stella Abrera will do Birthday Offering instead of Irina Dvorovenko.

Thank you, I wish there was fuller casting for Birthday Offering. I hope anyone in DC will give a report.

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I'm going tomorrow night and Wednesday, and I'll be glad to post casting from the program Tuesday night. I have the same cast that's on the website.

How was "Birthday Offering"?

Still a bit 'rough' -- especially the circling entree, when some couples crashed -- but delightful nonetheless. Hee Seo was particularly gorgeous in the languid 3rd Variation. The last time that ABT did this, it was with an all-principals cast, in keeping with the origins of this ballet. This time, the variations (other than the lead) were performed by corps, with a couple of soloists. Thus, it didn't pack quite the same punch as before.

Casting last night:

B'day Offering

Pas de Deux: Murphy/Tamm (replacing the Beloserkovskys)

Var 1, grey - Pavam (replacing Copeland, who appears to be out...also replaced in the Tharp)

Var 2, red - Boylston

Var 3, soft yellow - Seo...it will be Part tonight :wub:

Var 4, bright yellow - Kajiya

Var 5, purple - Ricetto (replacing Abrera, who danced the next ballet, Seven Sonatas)

Var 6, teel blue - Underwood

Var 7, white - Murphy

Seven parters - Tamm (lead), Salstein, Lopez, Foster, Radetsky, Matthews, Hammoudi

Seven Sonatas

Abrera/Sevaliev (the best, IMO - extraordinarily fluid)

Reyes/Cornejo (the perky ones!)

Kent/Hallberg (elegant)


Five Lead Couples (although the top three dance more than other two):



Herrera/Gomes (the stand-out couple, IMO)

Part/Hallberg (not enough to dance...)


Two Featured Couples...who dance more than anyone else on stage, it seems:

Kajiya (replacing Copeland)/Salstein


Corps of 16 included Julio Bragado-Young. So nice to see him back on stage, dancing! :)

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According to the printed program, tonight's Variations in B'day Offering will be danced thus:

1 - Pavam (who danced it last night, replacing Copeland)

2 - Bond

3 - Part

4 - Messmer

5 - Riccetto (who also danced last night, replacing Abrera)

6 - Shevchenko

7 (lead) - Murphy (although the Kennedy Center web indicates Abrera, with Beloserkovsky)

The male lead will again be Tamm (but web indicates Beloserkovsky). Interestingly, superstar Danil' Simkin will be one of the six partners. I hope that he doesn't steal the spotlight too much from the leading man during the all-male Mazurka pas de sept!

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Thank you Natalia.

I am fascinated by Birthday Offering. According to a previous thread several years ago, the variations were originated as follows but that there was movement among them when different dancers took the lead etc...

rg first wrote:

Variations according Vaughan chronology:

#1 – E. Fifield = Marionettes/SCENES DE BALLET

#2 – R. Jackson = La Givre/THE SEASONS

#3 – B. Grey = La Glace/SEASONS

#4 – N. Nerina = La Grele/SEASONS

#5 – S. Beriosova = La Neige/SEASONS

#6 – V. Elvin = La Ete/SEASONS

#7 – M. Fonteyn = from RUSES D’AMOUR

Then another poster added:

I checked Julie Kavanagh's "Secret Muses: The Life of Frederic Ashton," and she lists the dancers in the following order on pages 421-422 --

Elaine Fitfield

Rowena Jackson

Svetlana Beriosova

Nadia Nerina

Violetta Elvin

Beryl Grey

Margot Fonteyn

It makes sense that Part would get Beriosova's solo. From the little I've seen of Beriosova, they have some similar qualities. Slightly off topic, I would have loved to see the original cast - what a collection of dancers!

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Fascinating stuff, Dale.

IMO, Grey's variation should suit Part perfectly. It's for a tall dancer, who can display slowly undulating limbs. Just like Part's Odette variation.

Hee Seo was amazingly good in it last night. I can imagine how Part will perform it.

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Fascinating stuff, Dale.

IMO, Grey's variation should suit Part perfectly. It's for a tall dancer, who can display slowly undulating limbs. Just like Part's Odette variation.

Hee Seo was amazingly good in it last night. I can imagine how Part will perform it.

Was the ballet ever recorded?

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Was the ballet ever recorded?

Not commercially, that I'm aware. A while back somebody here wrote about an old b&w version filmed in the 60s for archival/teaching purposes, starring Beriosova. Then there's a Fonteyn or Nureyev (or F/N) documentary showing parts of the pdd, as Ashton rehearsed the couple. Some ensemble portions and the pdd were televised in the UK as part of a Royal Ballet gala tribute to Ashton in the early 80s. The male pas de sept (Mazurka) was performed in the televised gala for the reopening of the ROH, ten years ago. That's about it, I think.

Edited to add the Fonteyn/Nureyev rehearsal clip (with cigarette-puffing Sir Fred):


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I understand your frustration down there in DC but I might think about traveling down to see an R&J if Marcelo Gomes was dancing. He's reported to be dancing better than ever especially in his partnership with D. Vishneva. I missed him here in NY and would love to see what the raves are about.

I saw him Thurs. night, partnered with Julie Kent. Rocked my world. Those two were so in tune with everything (music, choreography, each other) that they weren't just "in the flow," they were the flow. It was like they were spontaneously creating the whole dance. Oh, and Herman Cornejo as Mercutio was no slouch either. :wink: Maybe one reason the ABT brought R&J back so soon is that they knew they could deliver a peak experience with it. I'm still reliving this performance in my mind. Absolutely unforgettable. Thank you, thank you ABT!

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Hello all, I attended the Friday evening performance of Romeo and Juliet and watched the ballet from the front row. Here's the cast:

R & J - David Hallberg and Gillian Murphy

Mercutio - Jarred Matthews

Tybalt - Issac Stappas

Benvolio - Danil Simkin

Paris - Sacha Radetsky

Lady Capulet - Maria Bystrova

Lord Capulet - Roman Zhurbin

Rosaline - Luciana Paris

Harlots - Isabella Boylston, Stella Abrera and Jessica Saund.

I have not seen ABT live for over 10 years but have been able to keep in touch on line by viewing websites like this one. Let me begin by saying that David Hallberg is everything I have read about. He did not disappoint and was, in short, amazing. Gillian Murphy was a surprisingly lovely and poignant Juliet. Her extensions are to die for and she just moves beautifully.

Issac Stappas was a great Tybalt and he drew lots of applause from the audience, especially at the final Curtin calls. Jarred Matthews also drew lots of applause for his portrayal of Mercutio. I enjoyed his performance as well.

Then there was Danil Simkin who did not steel the show (as I've read he does sometimes) but rather, fit in very nicely indeed. He was perfect Benvolio and I'm sure is a fabulous Mercutio as well.

I would have liked to have seen Sacha Radetski in a more substantive roll, but I have to say that out of all of the performances of R & J I've seen over the years, he was probably the most evil Paris. I say that in a good way because he was a presence rather than a nusance, which is what I am used to seeing in the roll.

The Harlots were all pretty cool. Isabella Boylston, who was replacing Misty Copeland, was a particularly excellent harlot I thought. (I mean that in a good way!: wink: ) She brought the perfect amount of playful mischief to the roll. Stella Abrera left me thinking that, like Sacha, she also needed to be doing something more substantive.

Maria Bystrova was interesting as Lady Capulet. Her emotions were powerfully portrayed as she grieved over Tybalt's death. Roman Zhurbin simly, WAS Lord Capulet.

It was a wonderful evening all and I cried my eyeballs out at the end, as did my mom (it was her birthday) and I could swear I saw my husband wiping his eyes although I'm sure he will deny it.

The only down side of seeing a performance from the front row of the Opera House is that you have to crane your neck to see the feet well if your less than 5’7’’. I’m 5’6” and so left with a bit of a stiff neck but it was well worth it! I believe a Ballet Talk member warned me about this part a couple of months ago.

I hope others will write about this, and other performances the see or have seen.

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