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La Bayadere- Spring 2010


abatt

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Vishneva was wonderful last night as Nikiya. Her supple back and gorgeous lines were lovely. Her performance also had emotional resonance due to her fine acting. In the finale of the Shades scene, when she crosses the stage in a series of spins across the diagonal of the stage, she moved with incredible speed. The crowd went wild. Gomes started out a little slow (partly because the orchestra was incredibly slow in parts), but suddenly came alive during the Kingdom of the Shades scene. He partnered Vishneva beautifully, and his leaps and jumps were high and airy. Gillian was excellent as Gamzatti. Of course, the difficult choreography was no problem for her as she breezed through with triple turns. She is also adding additional nuances to her acting. I can't wait to see her as Nikiya on Monday! Simkin nearly stole the show with his stunning bravura in the Bronze Idol variation. The three shades were Lane, Kajiya and Ricetto. Lane performed her variation beautifully. She is such a wonderful dancer. I wish they would give her more to do. I disliked Yuriko's performance because she always seemed to end phrases several seconds after the music stopped. The second intermission seemed interminable. the show ended at approx. 10:30 PM.

By the way, Diana was wearing a pair of very sparkly pants in the final act. I thought they looked tacky. Is that a new costume? I think I would have remembered that from previous years.

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I was completely in awe with Diana Vishneva last night. This is the third time that I have seen her as Nikiya and (I don't know how you can improve upon perfection) but she just seems to find little nuances and beats of the music to make her performances better and better as the years pass. She must be one of the best Nikiyas of our times.

The whole Kingdom of the Shades Act made me cry. The corps was much better last night than at the Opening Night Gala. Marcelo Gomes was the perfect partner (as always). Gillian Murphy was an excellent Gamzatti. I saw her dance to the Act I party scene at the Opening Night Gala a few years ago, but this is the first time I have seen her in the role of Gamzatti. I was excited to see Daniil Simkin listed as the Idol and he more than delivered.

And this is the most satisfying performance I have ever seen of the last act. I really felt the bewilderment of Solor and the guilt of Gamzatti as Nikiya kept interrupting the wedding.

And a what a beautiful tribute to Natalia Makarova at the end.

But brava Diana! What a beautiful Bayadere.

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I attended yesterday's matinee hoping to see Stella Abera as Gamzatti but that dreaded little white slip was in my Playbill to tell me that was not to be. Hee Seo was a lovely replacement though, so I really cannot complain as you can tell her future is as bright as the sun. Kingdom of the Shades is still the most transcendent ten minutes in all of ballet.

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Vishneva was wonderful last night as Nikiya. Her supple back and gorgeous lines were lovely. Her performance also had emotional resonance due to her fine acting. In the finale of the Shades scene, when she crosses the stage in a series of spins across the diagonal of the stage, she moved with incredible speed. The crowd went wild. Gomes started out a little slow (partly because the orchestra was incredibly slow in parts), but suddenly came alive during the Kingdom of the Shades scene. He partnered Vishneva beautifully, and his leaps and jumps were high and airy. Gillian was excellent as Gamzatti. Of course, the difficult choreography was no problem for her as she breezed through with triple turns. She is also adding additional nuances to her acting. I can't wait to see her as Nikiya on Monday! Simkin nearly stole the show with his stunning bravura in the Bronze Idol variation. The three shades were Lane, Kajiya and Ricetto. Lane performed her variation beautifully. She is such a wonderful dancer. I wish they would give her more to do. I disliked Yuriko's performance because she always seemed to end phrases several seconds after the music stopped. The second intermission seemed interminable. the show ended at approx. 10:30 PM.

By the way, Diana was wearing a pair of very sparkly pants in the final act. I thought they looked tacky. Is that a new costume? I think I would have remembered that from previous years.

I also attended Tuesday's performance and came away incredibly disappointed! Rarely have I seen an ABT production that at the very least has a few redeeming aspects. I felt both Vishneva and Gomes were clearly not at their best and together had zero chemistry. He danced his ballet and she danced hers. Vishneva is lucky to have a facility and a technique that even on a bad night can look pretty good, but Tuesday she merely phoned in her role. And her blank mask of a face was totally devoid of any emotion, let alone passion for Solar. Gomes seemed to be struggling technically. His menage of double sau de basques were off center every single time and he barely made it through them. (just one example). Gillian's Gamzatti showed early promise but just ran out of gas by Act III. Her musical timing was rushed and un distinguished. Both Victor Barbee and Gennadi Saveliev seemed to have cement in their limbs. The Shades were off musically and technically. Since when is it allowed to have different heights on the arabesques and to come out of poses at different times in the music? The beauty of that moment is the purity of the unison. The pas d'Action was a mess from both the men and women. No where was there a meshing of minds about how that section should be danced. By the time Danil Simkin came on as the Golden Idol it was too little, too late. Perhaps everyone was feeling the response to the opening Gala. Everyone seemed to be dancing under water. Too soon in the season to look so exhausted! I think ABT would do better to begin a season with something lighter ("Don Q") so to get everyone's sea legs underneath them a bit. I exchanged my Thursday night ticket (a repeat of the casting of Tuesday) so to avoid further disappointment and will hope different casting will bring this ballet to life.

And I agree about the white pants on Vishneva. Never has the Kingdom of the Shades seemed so glamorous! But then it looked to my eye that several of the costumes had new and brighter sequins attached to them. I'm not one to deny a freshening of costumes from time to time, but many seemed to be overly bright. The lady sitting next to me kept checking the baseball score on her Blackberry and left after Act II. It would appear the Yankees also struck out on Tuesday night!

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I saw 'Bayadere' Wednesday night and really lucked out!---Gomes replaced Bolle, due to injury. Part, as usual, was a glorious Nikiya. I am still reeling from her spectacular series of grand jetes in Act 3---and I did like Nikiya's new costume for that act; Part was a bewitching sight. Gomes had the crowd in the palm of his hand and received two long ovations. They are a magical duo. My disappointment were the 3 shades---Shevchenko, Boylston and Underwood--three uninspired performances.

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I attended last night (Part/Gomes/Wiles)

Gorgeous and imperial-looking Part was just exquisite.

This ballet seems to be a perfect vehicle for her dancing style and line.

Marcelo danced beautifully. He is a master partner and showed that in Act II, where his partnership was top quality, crystal clear, effortless.

Part and Gomes Vision Scene was trully Majestic. Part sky-high and perfectly lined arabesques were to die for. Once again, I found her technique much improved and more importantly, fearless... the diagonal of piques were real fast. S

The corp looked terrific, better than on opening night. The three shades, unf, did not look the same. I think nerves got into Schevchenko, and although she started her variation well, the end wasnt pretty. She fell off point/balance in the diagonal, despite the fact that she was going pretty slow and could barely move across the stage. Again, I think it may have been a matter of nerves, I know she is pretty talented. Boylston looked better, although she had a couple of tumbling moments..but she also had a couple of real good ones. The exception was by far Underwood, who danced the last variation.

I was very impressed with her technique and musicality once again. She nailed it flawless, with tremendous control and confidence. I loved her slow pirouettes in passe, which were in real slow-motion and perfectly executed, beautiful. Every time I see this young ballerina I really get like, wow...I hope she get some more exciting opportunities to develop, seems like there is a huge potential there.

Michele had up and downs moments. In Act I, scene 2, here fight with Part worked real well, loved her there. Right after, scene 3, her dancing was technically very accomplished (as usual) but I dont like the way she uses her upper body and still see a lot of stiffness on her neck/back. Another problem here is that there is a lot of jetes to be done in her variation and she is not great at jumping. On the other hand, her supported pirouettes are amazing, you could tell that Marcelo didnt have to do anything, she woud just turn in a perfect axis by herself with endless energy. The Italian fouettes were solid, although I enjoy them more on ballerinas with bigger extensions (like Irina, for example). I was expecting very much her variation in Act III (I have seen her do this incredibly well). Unf, at the end on it, I think she fell behind the music and had to rush it (or maybe the music tempo was way to fast), I had the impression that she stayed behind almost all the time, trying to catch up......

Part series of jetes in the final act were totally breathtaking, the last three were so strong that she looked as she left the stage literally flying.

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I was at the yesterday evening performance with Part, Gomes and Wiles and loved it!

Gomes dancing was superb, and those jumps! Flights, really, not jumps - high, strong, secure!

Veronica was all fluid, lyrical, gorges. And yes, she took my breath away with her leaps in Act III.

I was amazed at Wiles in Act III - she was majestic, evil, seductive and so beautiful. Real Gazmatti!

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As the full company was stepping back from its call, non-performing company members appeared from the wings and McKenzie escorted Makarova to center stage. In very brief remarks he noted that this is not only ABT's 70th Anniversary year, but Natasha's 40th anniversary year of joining ABT and also the 30th year of her staging of the full La Bayadere. Bouquets and bows -- and hugs -- ensued. Makarova wasted no time in finding ballet mistress Susan Jones and pulled her forward to receive her due applause from the company and audience.

Irina Kolpakova was also on stage applauding Makarova. Quite remarkable to look at the three Vaganova ballerinas together like that -- the different paths their lives took, the changes in the world between Makarova's courageous defection (against the constraints upon Kolpakova) and Vishneva's mere need for a work visa to come and go as invitations arise. It was breathtaking.

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Thanks for sharing this. It sounds like a really lovely tribute.

And your observations about the differences for dancers between the old Soviet Union and today's Russia are also insightful. Kolpakova was on the Canadian tour with Baryshnikov when he defected. I always wondered if the Helen Mirren character in White Nights drew (partially) from her experiences when she returned to the Soviet Union without him. Some interesting history along those lines is at the end of this article: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2008/11/03/0...a_talk_acocella

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Part series of jetes in the final act were totally breathtaking, the last three were so strong that she looked as she left the stage literally flying.

:wink:

thank you for this beautiful description. i can't wait for saturday.

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I also attended Tuesday's performance and came away incredibly disappointed! Rarely have I seen an ABT production that at the very least has a few redeeming aspects. I felt both Vishneva and Gomes were clearly not at their best and together had zero chemistry. He danced his ballet and she danced hers. Vishneva is lucky to have a facility and a technique that even on a bad night can look pretty good, but Tuesday she merely phoned in her role. And her blank mask of a face was totally devoid of any emotion, let alone passion for Solar. Gomes seemed to be struggling technically. His menage of double sau de basques were off center every single time and he barely made it through them. (just one example). Gillian's Gamzatti showed early promise but just ran out of gas by Act III. Her musical timing was rushed and un distinguished. Both Victor Barbee and Gennadi Saveliev seemed to have cement in their limbs. The Shades were off musically and technically. Since when is it allowed to have different heights on the arabesques and to come out of poses at different times in the music? The beauty of that moment is the purity of the unison. The pas d'Action was a mess from both the men and women. No where was there a meshing of minds about how that section should be danced. By the time Danil Simkin came on as the Golden Idol it was too little, too late. Perhaps everyone was feeling the response to the opening Gala. Everyone seemed to be dancing under water. Too soon in the season to look so exhausted! I think ABT would do better to begin a season with something lighter ("Don Q") so to get everyone's sea legs underneath them a bit. I exchanged my Thursday night ticket (a repeat of the casting of Tuesday) so to avoid further disappointment and will hope different casting will bring this ballet to life.

I just came back from Thursday night's performance. Unfortunately, I agree with virtually all you say, except about Gillian's Gamzatti. Vishneva definitely seemed to be "phoning it in" and was simply flat and uninteresting to watch. This was a great disappointment as I generally love her performances and still remember the first time I ever saw her (performing Nikiya with the Kirov in Bayadere in NYC). She had little to no chemistry with Gomes, though I actually found him more interesting than her to watch. It is indeed lucky that she has such a prodigious technique that she can rest on.

I did, however, find Gillian's Gamzatti to be dramatically quite intriguing. She dances the role as an aggressive woman, possessively keeping tabs on her man and asserting her authority (as opposed to a disappointed woman desperately trying to hang on to her man). In this interpretation, of the 3 principals (Gamzatti, Solar and Nikiya) Gamzatti is the one who clearly wields the most power. This interpretation was new to me, and I found it quite interesting and very well done. Gillian's performance was far more interesting and nuanced, I thought, than Vishneva's Nikiya.

I also felt the corps was lagging and not up to par. Where have the back port de bras gone, in Act 2? And yes, the arabesques and arms were of different heights and off musically. At least some of the soloist Shades (Sarah Lane especially) seemed to be making a good effort and succeeding.

All in all an indifferent performance that leaves me fervently hoping that ABT pulls it together for the other ballets this season.

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I went to tonight's performance with Vishneva, Gomes, and Murphy. I had to leave after the Shades act but I think I caught the flavor of the performance.

I have to admit I was disappointed. Both Vishneva and Gomes seemed to be phoning it in, and i've NEVER seen them do that before. I've seen them together and separately several times, and I always appreciate the energy and passion they bring to every performance. Maybe they're tired? Marcelo was visibly tired during the Shades scene. (I guess his third Solor in so many days will do that.) Diana made some obvious technical mistakes. She had trouble sustaining the arabesque turns in the Scarf duet, and overall her performance seemed rather careful. She still has a very Oriental face, lovely physique and the back flexibility, plus a natural affinity for this kind of role, but this wasn't the same Diana that made me literally tremble during her Giselle.

Gillian Murphy also ran out of steam. She has a nice haughteur for the role of Gamzatti, but her grand pas de deux with disappointing. Her Italian fouettes were marred by her inability to straighten her free leg. She threw in some nice doubles but her turns lacked speed, and she never seemed very into the performance either.

The ABT Shades really suffer when you've seen companies like the Kirov (live) or POB (video). I particularly love the way the Mariinsky ballerinas stretch their leg upwards in the arabesques, not overly so, but enough to give a feeling of reaching for the heavens. They also stretch their free arm upwards in that same kind of heavenly motion. The ABT ballerinas on the other hand looked well drilled, but nothing more. And their lack of uniform schooling shows in the developpes that weren't at the same height.

I think another issue is I'm over the Makarova production. It scales down Bayadere in a way that I find more and more annoying. Nikya isn't even allowed to dance her "dance of joy" with the flower basket. With such a small-scale production, you need big personalities to make it work, and I thought two years ago Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes made it work. But alas it can't always happen.

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STEARNS ALERT!!!! :wink:

Since Bolle's Wed night performance was canceled due to injury I just went to ABT's website and checked on the Saturday night casting. Bolle has been replaced by Stearns. I'm going to say a little prayer for Veronika...

Just returned from tonight's Vishneva/Gomes/Murphy performance. This is not my favorite role for Vishneva and I preferred her in the Mariinsky version, I recall her having a much more "oriental" plastique in that production. But even so, she was very good tonight. In fact, technically, she was superb. I just didn't find her Nikiya very engaging in the first act. Proud & passionate, yes, but not really engaging. And in the shades act she assumes the standard Mariinsky impassionate, remote visage, which is the approach I prefer but I can see how some people might find it cold. I still found her dancing in the shades act to be superb, it was at such a high level in terms of technique and purity. In fact I have to admit that it was at a much higher technical level than what I saw from my beloved Veronika on Wed, although, over all, Veronika's performance was much more touching. Veronika's Nikiya is very much a woman in love and her extension and line were flawless expressions of her love and longing. But Vishneva's steely pointes and incredibly fast turns on the diagonal at the end of the 2nd act were really stunning.

I thought Gomes was wonderful in all 3 performances, but the chemistry between him and Veronika is really special. Wiles was a fine Gamzatti, but Murphy was incredible - this is a great role for her and Amour described it very well. I saw Simkin, Salstein and Lopes as the Bronze Idol, all 3 were excellent but Simkin was just unbelievable. The 3 shades were a bit disappointing with the memory of the Mariinsky's shades still so strongly emblazoned on my brain even after a couple of years. Lane was the best (first variation Tues & Thurs) with beautiful multiple pirouettes and lovely, lilting musicality. Unfortunately Shevchenko completely fell out of the hops on point and that's really all I remember of her performance of that same variation. Kajiya & Boylston werre both fine in the second variation, but nothing special however I thought Leanne Underwood was really beautiful in the 3rd (Kondaurova's) variation.

I usually watch ABT from either the Parterre or Grand Tier level and have noticed a few bobbles and differences in level of arabesques, arms, etc while looking down at the entrance of the shades from that vantage point. Tonight I was sitting in the orchestra and absolutely none of that was visible. Don't know if they've improved or if it just looks better from the orchestra level.

By the way, Makarova has been in the audience observing all 3 performances so far (and looking gorgeous!).

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If Bolle is injured, who will they use to replace him in Lady of the Cam. next week? I suspect if he's still out, they may pair up Kent w. Gomes. It's unfortunate that the season has hardly begun and Bolle is already injured.

Edited to add: I just checked the ABT website. Hee Seo is replacing Stella tonight as Gamzatti. I hope Stella is merely sick, and not injured again.

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I've seen Part on Wdn and Vishneva yesterday (missed first act - shame). I'd agree with nysusan, and would sign under Canbelto's comment about Corps and overall ballet impression. After getting used to the Marriinsky version, i was missing the number and quality of Kirov shades, as well as Nikiya's dances (in the palace, before her meeting with Gamzati and "the Joy dance"). (I would suggest ABT corp Iyengar yoga chest openning classes to learn port-de-bra).

With Idol, i found Salsten's dancing much more articulate & precise compared to Lopes.

But i can't help commenting on the music (and found explanation in

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/arts/dance/20bayadere.html or http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...mp;#entry268724 post 6

"music, by the Austrian composer Ludwig Minkus. It doesn’t help that what we hear today is John Lanchbery’s 1980 embellished edition"

Ah, that's the edition, which caused it probably. For me personally, It sounded WAY too slow in entrance of shades and some parts and it was lacking the depth and full-filled sensiveness of what i'm used to hear (with Mariinsky or on DVDs) as if they just let off half of the orchestra.

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If Bolle is injured, who will they use to replace him in Lady of the Cam. next week? I suspect if he's still out, they may pair up Kent w. Gomes. It's unfortunate that the season has hardly begun and Bolle is already injured.

Edited to add: I just checked the ABT website. Hee Seo is replacing Stella tonight as Gamzatti. I hope Stella is merely sick, and not injured again.

Since you checked the ABT website, no doubt you noticed that Cory Stearns replaces Bolle in the Monday Bayadere. It's probably a good idea to bookmark the Calendar. :lightbulb: When/if a replacement for LoC is announced, it will probably be there first.

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I also felt that some of the tempos really dragged, especially during the first 2 scenes of the first act under Ormsby Wilkins' baton on Tuesday night- I thought Barker's tempos on Wed night were much better. Also agree that ABT's corps are no match for the Mariinksy's, but I really didn't expect them to be on the same level. I do miss the way the Mariinsky shades reach out to infinity with their epaulment and arabesques as Canbelto mentioned, but the ABT corps still looked quite good last night from my orchestra seat. The eye level perspective may be kinder than watching from above where you can really see every little detail so clearly.

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Another thing about Vishneva's Nikya that I saw last night that is not what I usually see from this dancer is a lot of careful posing. She made some beautiful and striking shapes, but I always loved her hyperkineticism and her willingness to take risks, even if it resulted in a mistake or a fall. The kind of "I will lift my leg up in developpe and it will look perfect and I will hold it for a long time so everyone will see how perfect it looks" thing is not why i buy a ticket to see Diana, and maybe this explains my disappointment.

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Veronika was tremendous tonight... so beautiful. This ballet really showcases her talents. As others have written, her grand jetes are just effortless and her movements are so fluid and clear. I was really impressed with Michele Wiles' technical proficiency and nuanced performance as Gamzatti, haven't always been a fan of hers in the past. Cory Stearns showed some strong jumps but was emotionally vacant; he had no intimate connection with Veronika or anyone else on stage, for that matter. Daniil Simkin had about three exciting minutes of stage time as a the bronze idol; his jumps were breathtaking... he took an unfortunate stumble up the stairs though. The shades weren't perfect but still very good. I really like this production.

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OK, I'll admit it - I overreacted a bit at the thought of Stearns replacing Bolle in Bayadere. Last night's performance was nowhere near the train wreck I feared. Cory Stearns was MUCH better than he was in those first few principal roles I saw him in last year, he has developed nicely and is starting to look more comfortable in leading roles. He had real stage presence and authority in the first act of Bayadere. In fact, he was a very imperious Solor. He showed an elegant, long line and acquitted himself well in all his solos. He and Part omitted a couple of the difficult lifts in their opening pas de deux, and that was probably a good idea. They started off well and looked very comfortable together.

Part was glorious, beautiful dancing as always but she was also very engaged with Cory, giving us an extremely expressive and soulful Nikiya. I thought she was really fabulous from the start through the first third of the shades act. At that point it looked like she tightened up a bit. There were no major mishaps, she just looked a little tight and all of a sudden her dancing didn't seem quite as expansive and luxurious. She bobbled the second of the 3 pirouette sequences with the scarf but that was the only technical problem I saw and while the partnering may have been a bit rough in spots there were no obvious glitches.

Sarah Lane was lovely again as the first solo shade. Simkin took a spill going up the steps at the end of his Bronze Idol solo but the solo itself was great. Michelle Wiles has developed into a great Gamzatti. She is more than up to the technical demands of the role and seemed to have a lot of fun playing the haughty and entitled princess though she also brought a lot of nuance and shading to the character. Her confrontation with Nikiya was very vivid and dramatic.

I also attended the matinee with Kent, Carreno & Hee Seo. It was an entertaining afternoon, Julie Kent was lovely & lyrical. She acted the heck out of the role and created a very sympathetic Nikiya but her dancing was low key - really sketched compared to Vishneva & Part. It was wonderful to see Carreno but it looks like he's slowed down a step. Hee Seo danced beautifully, she has a wonderful delicacy & lightness to her dancing but she was a lightweight Gamzatti, I'd prefer to see her in more romantic roles. Leanne Underwood was a standout as the 3rd shade but the real surprise to me was the afternoon's head fakir. I hadn't checked the program and didn't know who I was watching, just that his dancing was very clear and beautifully articulated and his acting was very committed. Turns out it was Jeffrey Golladay. He was wonderful.

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It's been a marathon week of Bayaderes. I too was at last night's Bayadere w. Part, Stearns and Wiles. Part's Kingdom of the Shades act was better on Wednesday evening (with Gomes) than last night w. Stearns. Part was riveting. Wiles was excellent as Gamzatti. I'm happy to report that Cory Stearns was much better than I had anticipated, but I'm still not convinced that he is ABT principal dancer material. The last time I saw him in a lead role was approx. 2 yrs ago, when he filled in in Corsaire for an injured Max as Irina's partner. At that time he was completely blank as far as acting ability, and he was merely adequate technically and as a partner. He has improved tremendously in his ability to act. He was a good partner, especially considering that Part is a very tall woman and this was his debut in the role of Solor. It is clear that he has been meticulously coached, and it paid off. The main problem that I continue to have with him is that his technical abilities are not commensurate with ABT's elite male principals. He sometimes lacks elevation in his jumps, flexibility in his back, and speed in his turns. In most companies, he would be automatic principal material. However, at ABT, watching Stearns was a bit disappointing. I hope he can improve these elements of his performances.

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