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Don Quixote Spring 2010


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I've seen three Don Qs at the Met in 2 days. Friday evening, Angel and Paloma were electrifying. Although Angel's technique has declined somewhat from when he was a youngster, he is still phenomenal. He easily whipped off extremely fast spins and soaring leaps. He loves this role and it shows. Paloma was also wonderful, in what I believe is her best role. She held one of her balances for what seemed to be an eternity, and treated the audience to double fouettes in the wedding pdd. The auditorium was PACKED. McKenzie made a major error by not giving Angel more to do this season. Gomes was a ham as Espada, and looked like he was having the time of his life. Stella replaced Part as Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads on Friday. (Did they always cast the same person in those 2 roles?) It is so good to see her back and looking so good. She performed her Italian fouettes marvelously. Sarah Lane was dazzling as Amour. Yuriko and Misty were the flower girls. It was a joyous evening.

I'll write more tomorrow on the other performances I saw. Time to recharge the ballet batteries with some sleep.

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I attended the Saturday matinee of Don Q with Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes and it was spectacular. I'll write more about it once I get my thoughts together. It's Sunday morning and I'm still on such a high from yesterday's Don Q.

With regard to your question, Abatt, about one dancer performing both Mercedes and the Queen of the Dryads, until yesterday I had never seen that done in this production of Don Q (the Kevin McKenzie/Susan Jones staging). When I saw my first Don Q in 1981 (Barysnikov and Kirkland danced the two leads. What a performance that was!!) ABT was dancing a production staged by Barysnikov. In that Don Q, the same dancer was cast as Mercedes and Dream Mercedes (whose name was changed to the Queen of the Dryads in the current production). I think it's a good idea, especially if both parts are performed by a dancer as fantastic as Kristi Boone. Both more on that later in the week. Hopefully I'll get my ideas together by Monday or Tuesday. Today I'm off to see New York City Ballet.

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I was also at Friday night's performance, with Corella and Herrera, and Stella Abrera replacing Veronika Part. (No indication of why the replacement was made; hope all is well with Veronika!) It was a very fun show, very enjoyable compared to the two lackluster performances of La Bayadere that I saw a week or so back. Both Herrera and Corella have declined in their technique from past years. Herrera is better off than he is, although she doesn't seem as light and springy as she used to. Corella it seems to me suffers from a decline in his stupendous abilities, as well as his recklessness and abandon. He wound up looking sloppy. There were also some partnering glitches. Still, while he may no longer be stupendously dazzling, he is still great, and a great showman to boot. The audience loved him and Paloma. Marcelo Gomes, as someone else noted, looked like he was having the time of his life. He was riveting every moment he was onstage.

Overall, I was relieved that this was such a lively and enjoyable show. I was dismayed at the moribund quality of the two performances that I saw of La Bayadere (Gomes/Vishneva/Murphy and Herrera/Hallberg/Seo). Maybe I've just reached the saturation point, with 20+ performances every Met season for some years now, but I feel ready for something new. I wish I'd seen Kristi Boone as Mercedes/Queen of Dryads yesterday! I feel a little ho-hum about many of the principals (again, maybe just because I've seen them do the same roles over and over and over); the dancers I really look forward to seeing are several of the soloists and corps members.

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Herman defied gravity in Don Q. with incredible elevation and lengthy hang time in the air. He can also spin like a top. This is an excelent role for him. I liked Xiomara as Kitri, although I think she is less technically accomplished than certain other principals. In particular, her line tends to get a bit sloppy. Boone was lovely as Driad Queen and Mercedes, although she knocked over one of the darts during her variation. Genadi didn't do much for me as Espada. Anne Milewski was a perky Amour. Pavam and Boylston were the flower girls.

Regarding Sat evening, Stiefel had flashes of brilliance, especially in the last act. However, overall it is clear that his technique has declined quite a bit. Gillian was a marvel, as usual. Hallberg showed us his gorgeous line and feet as Espada. Stella was Mercedes=Driad Queen. The flower girls were Lane and Messmer. Due to their differing size and height, that pairing wasn't a great idea. Pavam was Amour. Simkin nearly stole the show as the gypsy leader in Act II.

I'm taking a break from Don Q on Monday, and I'm gearing up to see Osipova rock the house as Kitri on Tuesday.

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Saw Don Q last night from Row A Orchestra. We were trying out the seats because several people we know swear by them. Although we couldn't see the dancers' feet unless they were on pointe (or releve) at the front of the stage, it was a spectacular view of the individuality of each dancer. Biggest excitement for me: Stella Abrera is back and looking fabulous, exquisite technique as well as acting. I'd love to see her and Sascha become the next principals. She was slated to dance Giselle for two years in a row, but each time was taken out due to injuries. Welcome back, Stella! Be well, be safe, and dance for us forever! angelica :wink:

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I was also at Friday night's performance, with Corella and Herrera, and Stella Abrera replacing Veronika Part. (No indication of why the replacement was made; hope all is well with Veronika!) It was a very fun show, very enjoyable compared to the two lackluster performances of La Bayadere that I saw a week or so back. Both Herrera and Corella have declined in their technique from past years. Herrera is better off than he is, although she doesn't seem as light and springy as she used to. Corella it seems to me suffers from a decline in his stupendous abilities, as well as his recklessness and abandon. He wound up looking sloppy. There were also some partnering glitches. Still, while he may no longer be stupendously dazzling, he is still great, and a great showman to boot. The audience loved him and Paloma. Marcelo Gomes, as someone else noted, looked like he was having the time of his life. He was riveting every moment he was onstage.

Overall, I was relieved that this was such a lively and enjoyable show. I was dismayed at the moribund quality of the two performances that I saw of La Bayadere (Gomes/Vishneva/Murphy and Herrera/Hallberg/Seo). Maybe I've just reached the saturation point, with 20+ performances every Met season for some years now, but I feel ready for something new. I wish I'd seen Kristi Boone as Mercedes/Queen of Dryads yesterday! I feel a little ho-hum about many of the principals (again, maybe just because I've seen them do the same roles over and over and over); the dancers I really look forward to seeing are several of the soloists and corps members.

I was there Fri. night, and agree totally with everything christine174 wrote. I actually thought everyone was a wee bit 'tired', though as noted, a "lively and enjoyable show" overall. Angel's decline in technique is troubling because I am not sure of the cause--there are probably a lot of contributing factors--but I also agree with christine174 that it was more in the details than overall, and therefore probably fixable. Afterwards, I did try to obliquely (and hopefully tactfully) warn him.

But I did enjoy the performance and charisma onstage and won't soon forget the friendly competition and playful interaction & familiarity between the principals; Angel's beautiful attitude en dehors turns, his first pirouette set (10 turns! done v.fast and cleanly, unlike later), and v.long one-armed lift; and Paloma's answering incredibly long balance in arabesque and overall assured and comfortable technique. Or, of course, Stella Abrera, Marcelo Gomes, Sarah Lane, and corps for making me smile.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes in the matinee. Cornejo made everything look so effortless, but what most impressed me about his performance (it's so hard to single out one aspect, but ... ) was his sense of style. Very Bolshoi-Spanish, but more refined that that would suggest.

I was afraid that Reyes would fall back on her former tendency towards coyness, but she didn't. In fact, a little dash of it wouldn't have hurt.

While there were no obvious partnering mishaps, there were moments when things could have been smoother, the mechanics less apparent.

Gennadi Saveliev was too bland as Espada. He danced just fine, but failed to project the rock-star charisma and ego that the role requires. I wonder how Daniil Simkin -- though shorter than the men usually cast in that role -- might fare.

Special mention for Isabella Boylston's second Flower Girl* (cabriole variation), danced with great aplomb and Misty Copeland's Gypsy woman. Also to Julio Bragado-Young, very funny as Gamache.

*Renata Pavam was her BFF.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes in the matinee. Cornejo made everything look so effortless, but what most impressed me about his performance (it's so hard to single out one aspect, but ... ) was his sense of style. Very Bolshoi-Spanish, but more refined that that would suggest.

I was afraid that Reyes would fall back on her former tendency towards coyness, but she didn't. In fact, a little dash of it wouldn't have hurt.

While there were no obvious partnering mishaps, there were moments when things could have been smoother, the mechanics less apparent.

Gennadi Saveliev was too bland as Espada. He danced just fine, but failed to project the rock-star charisma and ego that the role requires. I wonder how Daniil Simkin -- though shorter than the men usually cast in that role -- might fare.

Special mention for Isabella Boylston's second Flower Girl* (cabriole variation), danced with great aplomb and Misty Copeland's Gypsy woman. Also to Julio Bragado-Young, very funny as Gamache.

*Renata Pavam was her BFF.

I too attended the matinee of "Don Q" and was so delighted to see the company back dancing (seemingly) happily after the dour darkness of "Lady of the Camelias". Herman just gets better and better in this role and though Ziomara is not always my favorite ballerina, still she turned in a stellar performance Saturday. Kristi Boone was wonderful in both the Mercedes role and as Queen of the Dryads. Gennadi a bit under played and I agree he needs to play up the humor of his role. All the secondary dancers were wonderful and I have to give a shout out to Renata Pavam who was delicious as the flower girl in the matinee and then turned in a most charming performance as Amour in the evening performance. Such a wonderful dancer! As mentioned above Julio Bragado-Young was very funny as Gamache. If ABT ever decides to revive "La Fille Mal Gardee" (please!) Julio would make a wonderful Alain. As for the evening performance, I never took the huge grin off my face the entire night! To watch Gillian and Ethan together on stage is like having a chocolate sundae and cookies on the side. She is of course amazing, and continues to find humor and love for Basilio in her expressions. To my eye, Ethan is still dancing so well. Is there anyone out there as handsome and so obviously having a great time dancing? I think his job as Dean at North Carolina has deepened his understanding of performing. He may not do all the flash of some of the other men, but he just "is" and I love to watch him. They both "break the fourth wall" somewhat, but in this ballet it's OK, as it lets us, the audience. in on the joke that is this ballet. The other roles were all well served. Stella was flashy and sexy as Mercedes and all graciousness as the Queen of the Dryads, dancing cleanly in both. Hallberg found the matinee idol style to his Espada, and seemed to be enjoying himself tremendously! As noted elsewhere, Simone Messmer and Sarah Lane were mis matched as the flower girls. Despite their height differences, Sarah seemed to be dancing with somewhat of a brittle edge, while Simone was all cream, butter and steel. Simone has a way of dancing "on top of the notes" that is very appealing. Never late, never before the beat, she cruises through the music with a wonderful richness and depth. She reminds me a lot of a young Cynthia Gregory! Simkin was, as always, spectacular in his leaps and in his acting. However, he was the only male Gypsy to have body make up and looked a bit "orange". I'm guessing all the other male Gypsies (looking quite pale) wore SP 90 when in daylight. As his body is rather small, he would be better served with a nice "gypsy style" shirt in place of the tiny vest that makes him look a bit too boyish. All that said, he was great. As was the entire night. Bravos all around. Can't wait to see Osipova!

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I saw Corella and Herrara and found the overall the production was quite enjoyable. Some of the corps appear to have new costumes in the first act, but the costumes that really need to be replaced are the men's gypsy costumes in the 2nd act. They look like heavy metal rejects. I think they are truly some of the worst costumes and wigs I've ever seen in a professional company. The men also had some curious steps, which could be described as bad disco moves, that I don't recall seeing before.

Craig Salstein as Gamache and Isaac Stappas as Lorenzo were very entertaining as usual. Joseph Phillips and Luciana Paris were impressive as the gypsy couple.

It was wonderful to see Stella Abrera dancing again.

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I attended Friday night & Saturday night's performances and thought both were good, and I agree that Corella isn't maybe 100% of what he used to be. Paloma can definitely hold her balances though!

During Saturday evening's performance I saw Sascha Radetsky and Rachel Moore (not sitting together) around my section and wondered what their perspective of the performance would be like. I don't have much to add aside from the reviews already written but will agree that Simkin and Lane were great in their roles as gypsy and Amour, respectively. Can't wait to see Osipova!!

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I saw my first Don Q in June of 1981. Kitri was danced by Gelsey Kirkland and Basilio was danced by Mikhail Barsynikov. It was an unbelievably exciting ballet, forever etched upon my mind’s eye. That performance, however, set a very high standard for Don Q’s, one I was sure would never be reached. Fortunately I have seen some wonderful Kitris and Basilios since 1981, including Susan Jaffe, Nina Aniashvilli, Paloma Herrera, Gillian Murphy and Xiomara Reyes as Kitri and Julio Bocca, Angel Corella, Jose Manuel Carreno, Carlos Acosta and Herman Cornejo as Basilio. That being said, the May 29th matinee performance of Don Q, my second time seeing Reyes and Cornejo in the main roles, is definitely the best Don Q I’ve ever seen. It is certainly up there with the top three ballets I’ve seen in my lifetime (I’ve attended the ballet regularly since 1980.)

Herman Cornjeo is perfect as Basilio. His incredibly high leaps where he hangs suspended in the air, his spins, the multiple double air turns – all are stupendous. His comic timing is also spot on. Cornejo is especially funny when he waggles his eyebrows just before his “suicide”, making sure to let the audience in on the joke. Cornejo’s partnering skills have improved in the past few years. His one handed lifts in Act I look effortless. The second lift he held for a full ten seconds.

As Kitri, Xiomara Reyes is a real spitfire. Her footwork is amazingly fleet and precise. She can whirl across the stage at an incredibly dizzyingly pace. Her leaps with the kick to the back of the head are astounding. Reyes’ fouettes in the Act III pas de deux (the famous grand pas) are very exciting. They are incredibly fast and very secure. And every time Reyes does a double, she opens and closes her fan over her head. I have only my small quibble about Reyes’ dancing. In the Act III grand pas she holds her balances for a very short time. I remember seeing Paloma Herrera dance Kitri in 2004. Her balances went on for so long that it was as though time stood still.

One of the great things about this performance is how in sync Reyes and Cornejo are. Their styles of dancing, their levels of energy, the way they approach their roles – it all meshes. And the chemistry between Reyes and Cornejo is palpable. Theirs seems to be the beginnings of a great partnership.

As Espada, the matador, Gennadi Saveliev’s dancing is good, but his performance lacks the needed Spanish flair. Kristi Boone shines in the dual role of Mercedes in the Seville scenes, and the Queen of the Dryads in the vision scene. Boone’s Mercedes is all fiery temperament, but her Queen of the Dryads is the epitome of classical elegance.

Julio Bragado-Young is very funny as Gamache, a role which requires the ability to take a lot of pratfalls. Anne Milewski is always good as Amour in the vision scene. I’ve seen her dance the part many times. She has a great light leap and quicksilver footwork.

Carlos Lopez is an amazingly high-flying Gypsy King who held his own in his dance with Cornjeo’s Basilio. Lopez seems to be going from strength to strength this season. I am looking forward to seeing his next performance.

All in all, it was an exhilarating afternoon at the ballet. I hope ABT keeps this joyous Don Quixote in their repertoire for a long time to come.

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Just a note to BalletTalkers: did anyone see Corey Stearns' debut as Basilio yesterday afternoon with Michele Wiles? I am rather curious as to how that went down. With Stiefel, Carreno, Beloserkovsky winding down, Corella in a slump of a sort and Bocca, Malakhov and Carlos Acosta gone from the company there is a need for new Basilios. Frankly, I think that Basilio is not a good fit for Stearns who is really a danseur noble, not a virtuoso firecracker and the lifts would give him problems. He is a little immature for the role though the Solor showed progress. I also worry about so many role debuts in one season. Seems to be a lot of pressure on a young man and could lead to injury.

It took ABT too many years to give Herman Cornejo the part of Basilio but there was a lot of competition. Frankly, I think that Sascha Radetsky and Daniil Simkin (who has done the role) are the more appropriate choices for Basilio.

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It took ABT too many years to give Herman Cornejo the part of Basilio but there was a lot of competition. Frankly, I think that Sascha Radetsky and Daniil Simkin (who has done the role) are the more appropriate choices for Basilio.

I would love to see Simkin as the lead in Don Q. The problem is that the only short woman dancing the female lead is Reyes, and she is partnered with Cornejo. If they had more short virtuoso women, Simkin might have more opportunities. Why hasn't Sascha been dancing? I thought for sure he would turn up as Espada, at least.

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I don't think that Simkin is as short as Cornejo - I think he is about the same height as Corella. I think that Simkin could easily be partnered in "Don Quixote" with Paloma or Natalia Osipova. In fact, I find Simkin/Osipova a better match as to youth and dynamism than the Osipova/Carreno duo I will be seeing tonight. I think that Osipova's youthful verve and powerhouse technique will probably make Carreno look older and more technically diminished than he actually is.

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I don't think that Simkin is as short as Cornejo - I think he is about the same height as Corella. I think that Simkin could easily be partnered in "Don Quixote" with Paloma or Natalia Osipova. In fact, I find Simkin/Osipova a better match as to youth and dynamism than the Osipova/Carreno duo I will be seeing tonight. I think that Osipova's youthful verve and powerhouse technique will probably make Carreno look older and more technically diminished than he actually is.

I completely agree with you Faux Pas. It would have been great to see Osipova w. Simkin. However, they needed to cast Carreno in Don Q because he is a protege of Alonso, and there was no way that he would have been omitted from participating in the Alonso gala on Thurs. I think that explains why he is cast with Osipova for tonight and Thurs. I, too, think that the pairing will make Carreno look worse. I thought Carreno should have given up this role when I saw him a few years ago w. Nina. See you tonight.

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It took ABT too many years to give Herman Cornejo the part of Basilio but there was a lot of competition. Frankly, I think that Sascha Radetsky and Daniil Simkin (who has done the role) are the more appropriate choices for Basilio.

Sascha went back to the Dutch Nat'l Ballet this year and danced Basil in Ratmansky's production for them, so he has also done it. I mean no offense to Cory, but it seems ridiculous to have him debut in almost every major male role in the same season - especially when, at ABT, the heft of the season is not spread out very well. I think Kevin is doing himself a disservice by not exploiting the male talent better. He got lucky with the last generation of guys - they would have been stars no matter how he developed their talent, but it won't always be that way.

Also there's no reason why Sarah Lane couldn't dance Kitri with either Daniil or Herman.

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Osipova was dazzling as she floated in the air in her exquisite, effortless jumps. She was utterly charming in her interactions with the rest of the cast, too. She performed some of the variations differently from the way the rest of the ABT dancers do. I guess the Bolshoi training is different. Perhaps someone who has more knowledge of the ballet terminology can describe the differences. There was a moment in the wedding pdd when her left leg was practically grazing her left ear as she held an unsupported balance. Amazing. As much as I enjoy watching other women at ABT, none of the other Kitris were as incredible as Osipova. Tonight sold very well.

Carreno was, in my opinion, a shadow of his former self. He handled his partnering duties well. However, his solo variations tended to expose his weaknesses. He did some nice spins, but overall the decline in his technique has become apparent.

The only other person tonight who was at the same technical level as Osipova was Simkin, as the gypsy dancer. As on Sat. evening, his jumps had immense elevation, and the flexibility of his upper body was incredible.

Jared Matthews and K. Boone were Espada and Mercedes/Driad Queen.

Yuriko did well with her jumping as Amour. However, the fast turns and fleet footwork were problematic for her.

It looks like they are cracking down on seat stealers. Right before the lights went down at the beginning of the show, a woman who had a ticket in the Family Circle tried to sneak into an empty seat in the Balcony. The usher politely told her two or three times that she must return to her own seat. The woman would not leave. As the lights went down, the usher gave her an ultimatum that she either return to her seat or security would be called. I guess she assumed that the usher was bluffing, as she refused to budge. Sure enough, when the lights came up at the end of the first act, she was escorted out by two security guards.

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Back from the theater. What a performance!!!

I can see how it is Osipova's signature role - she really is amazing and made audience gasp nearly every time she appeared on stage. Jumps are unreal, almost unhuman, like gravity does not exist for her. So much energy, so much character! Bravo. I will remember this for a long, long time. Wow, what a dancer she is!! :)

It was pretty much all about Osipova. I had to make an effort to notice somebody else. The only colorful, memorable exeptions were Daniil Simkin, who was replacing Arron Scott as gypsy and and Yuriko Kajiya as Amour.

Did anybody see Alastair Macaulay during today's performance, was he there? Just curious.

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LOVED tonight's performance. I would've been more than content with the two Don Q's I've seen this past week but Osipova was truly amazing. Her variations were slightly different from the ABT norm but they didn't take away from her performance at all. She omitted the full balances from Act III but that was trivial in comparison to everything else she offered. The substitution notice stuck in programs is usually not a good sign but I was ecstatic to see that Simkin would be the lead gypsy tonight. I agree that a Simkin/Osipova Don Q could be electrifying; they could feed off each other's energy and create a dynamite performance. I've never seen Carreño in Don Q so I can't say much but he was alright. Tonight was Osipova's night without a doubt; everyone else seemed secondary to me.

I think Lane's been the best Amour so far and Ethan Stiefel the most comedic Basilio. Great week of ballet. If Alastair Macaulay was there tonight, it'd be interesting to see what he has to say. Hopefully something positive!

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I was at tonight's Osipova/Carreno performance. I thought Osipova was an absolute phenom. This role really showcases all her strengths -- her elevation, her ballon, her incredible jumps, her lightness on her feet, her buoyant stage personality, and of course her ability to turn like a top. I saw her in Giselle last year and while I thought it was a memorable performance for all the above mentioned reasons, I thought that missing ingredient of real tragedy was missing. Her Giselle was too buoyant, too happy almost, as she bounced all over the stage like a sprite. But no such reservations with her Kitri. She was a delight from start to finish, and her fouettes of course brought the house down. Some cherished memories: the way her bourees literally seemed to twinkle in her fan variation. The way she kicked the back of her head, Maya-style, in Act 1. Her playfulness in the Dream Sequence -- she moved across the stage with such energy it was just fun to watch. Her grand pas de deux with Carreno was the expected highlight, as she held long balances and teased the audience shamelessly. And her fouettes! Doubles, triples, quadruples, I lost count.

Carreno I thought seemed energized by his dancing partner, and gave a better performance than I've seen him give in ... well, a long time. He did occasionally just not dance parts he was supposed to dance. Oh welll, he;s pushing 40. Kristi Boone was very fine as both the street dancer and the Queen of the Dryads. Daniel Simkin I thought gave a great performance as a the Gypsy as well.

But as much as I enjoyed Osipova's triumph, I have to admit that there;s this sluggishness that I've seen this year with the ABT in their warhorses. It's not a problem with the principals, but the corps de ballet. It was this way in the Bayadere a few weeks ago. I just wish the ABT could somehow revitalize their warhorses.

But anyway, the point is ;... bravo Natalia!

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Osipova = incredible! But: as I think it was Carbro warning last year with Simkin, she has to make sure she develops artistically and doesn't become a circus act with that incredible elevation.

Carreno -- indeed the ABT principal contingent is aging, but I thought he looked better than in some time.

Simkin, gypsy king, left the audience gasping.

Boone, lovely!! Look forward to seeing so much more of her.

Kajiya as Amour... I have no complaints, but Sarah Lane "owns" this role in my mind.

And Renata Pavam and Isabella Boylston lovely as flower girls.

A great evening!!

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I agree that Osipova was phenomenal; however, I found tonight's performance disappointing. Ospiova seemed to be dancing in a completely different production than everyone else. She did not seem truly engaged with anyone else on stage. I got the impression that Kitri didn't care about Basilio. I preferred her performance in Giselle because I found it much more integrated than her performance this evening.

She didn't seem to be dancing with Carreño as much as against him. I felt they had only a limited connection to one another although the connection seemed to grow as the evening progressed.

Simkin was amazing as the gypsy. Misty Copeland was very good too as his partner although she has much less to work with choreographically. Kristi Boone was thoroughly engaging as both Mercedes and the Queen of the Dryads. Julio Bragado-Young was very entertaining as Sancho Panza.

The corps was very sloppy tonight, especially towards the end of the dream scene and in the last act. There were several times when the orchestra audibly sped up to keep up with the dancers on stage (during the Queen's variation and during some of Kitri's variations). I thought the orchestra playing was unenergized, especially in the interludes.

Carreño is 42 according to wikipedia and 43 according to a 2006 article in the Times. I was quite pleasantly surprised by his Ali last year (I'm pretty sure it was last year). He danced beautifully then. He still danced beautifully tonight if in a "technically diminished" capacity.

I don't know that the ushers are cracking down on seat stealers. In my experience, they have never allowed people to move into unoccupied seats before the first act of any opera or ballet, provided, of course, that the ushers witness the person attempting to move to a better seat.

Of course, these comments are only my opinion. YMMV.

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