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All-Ashton Program

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Ironically, Lady of the Camellias, which is not considered a great ballet by any critic that I've read, seemed to sell pretty well.

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I would love to see "La Fille..." back soon, together with Oneguin !

Last year there were only 3 performances (as far as I remember, maybe 4, but def not the whole week) of Ashton's Sylvia, which I find absolutely beautiful (particularly abt staging)

I attended to 2 of them and most seats in orchestra were pretty much sold.

When I saw the all Ashton week, I was really sad not to see his Sylvia coming back again.

Same thing goes with Giselle, is pretty much sold out always (I attend a minimun of 3) and for some reason it is never programmed 2 years in a row (as compared to SL which comes every year, and I dont blame it since it sells amazingly well)

As much as I love ballet, I am not crazy for these combined programs, especially at the met, during ABT spring season.

All of my balletomanes friends have only go once (if so) during this last week, as compared to a few times when abt have a full-lenght production.

I attended only once and I think I am pretty much done, Its hard to see two full weeks of the season invested in just two programs, with ballets that we have seen so many times (Fancy Free, Company B, The Dream, for example) (if at least we had some more variety, i.e, something from Tudor, ........)

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Ironically, Lady of the Camellias, which is not considered a great ballet by any critic that I've read, seemed to sell pretty well.

Good point! This often happens.

I do not know why "Fille" doesn't sell. I know the conventional wisdom is it's the name, but it is 50 years old now and the title should have gotten around. The last time I saw the ballet in New York, I was sitting next to a very chic young couple who looked very grouchy at the beginning. When the curtain went up on the chickens, they stiffened and looked at each other with a "We're outta here!" look. But then the chickens started to dance, and the two were instantly converted. The house looked little more than half full, and I didn't see a sour face at intermission.

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I remember that in its second season "Onegin" did not sell well. ABT is looking for vehicles for Julie Kent and she is a lovely Tatyana. Also the dancers hated Cranko's "The Taming of the Shrew" so it wasn't revived. I too would like to see "La Fille Mal Gardee" again. It was done in the forties by ABT as "Naughty Lisette" and "The Wayward Daughter" with choreography by Nijinska.

http://www.abt.org/education/archive/balle..._gardee_la.html

The Ashton "Fille" is definitely worth reviving. I could see it cast with Abrera/Radetsky, Stiefel/Murphy, Cornejo/Reyes, Simkin/Lane, Hallberg/Dvorovenko (or Vishneva?) and Corella/Riccetto. Sarah Lane has beautifully carried "The Sleeping Beauty" as Aurora and a soubrette role like Lise would fit her easily.

Just a note that Stella Abrera debuted as the prima ballerina in "Birthday Offering" on Saturday night. I preferred her to Irina Dvorovenko. Abrera had more creaminess and silky phrasing with no hard edges. Dvorovenko rather uncharacteristically wobbled on her balances (less on Thursday night). But after careful preparation, Abrera nailed hers. Maria Riccetto took over Stella's variation with her customary technical aplomb but was less expressive. Gemma Bond formerly of the Royal Ballet took over the Boylston solo and looked windswept. I preferred Boylston's lighter quirkiness but Bond looked very elegant and definitely is ready for more solo work. Hee Seo did the adagio variation danced by Part on opening night and was dreamy and soft-limbed on a smaller scale. Renata Pavam is an excellent turner and did the pirouettes in the first variation much better than Sarah Lane did on opening night. Christine Shevchenko was strong in the variation danced by Leann Underwood which is demanding. Simone Messmer was again commanding in her allegro solo variation. Eric Tamm has been dancing very well this season (in the last "Dame aux Camellias" he was very fine as Des Grieux) with excellent turns and firm technique. More please. The cancelation of the City Center seasons has taken away opportunities from talented rising corps and soloist dancers. The Met season tends to concentrate on principals and guest stars. Nice to see a new face in there.

Another ballet that never misses a Met season at ABT: the MacMillan "Romeo and Juliet". I don't need to see that again for several more years. I am out of town for the Hallberg/Osipova casting but probably wouldn't go anyway.

Edited note: I was looking through the Ballet Talk archives back in 2003. The second season of "Fille" sold very badly and BT'ers were begging people to attend. I was thinking it was a ballet very suitable for kiddies. But maybe it really is not.

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Ironically, Lady of the Camellias, which is not considered a great ballet by any critic that I've read, seemed to sell pretty well.

Good point! This often happens.

I do not know why "Filel" doesn't sell. I know the conventional wisdom is it's the name, but it is 50 years old now and the title should have gotten around. The last time I saw the ballet in New York, I was sitting next to a very chic young couple who looked very grouchy at the beginning. When the curtain went up on the chickens, they stiffened and looked at each other with a "We're outta here!" look. But they the chickens started to dance, and the two were instantly converted. The house looked little more than half full, and I didn't see a sour face at intermission.

I'm very pleased of the interest shown for the hoped-for-revival of La Fille.... I hope KMc would read this topic and consider it for next season(although they probably have set the next year's program already)

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If ABT were to perform Fille, I'd go to New York to see it as many times as I possibly could!

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I do not know why "Fille" doesn't sell. I know the conventional wisdom is it's the name, but it is 50 years old now and the title should have gotten around. The last time I saw the ballet in New York, I was sitting next to a very chic young couple who looked very grouchy at the beginning. When the curtain went up on the chickens, they stiffened and looked at each other with a "We're outta here!" look. But they the chickens started to dance, and the two were instantly converted. The house looked little more than half full, and I didn't see a sour face at intermission.

What a great story. Since ABT regularly brings guest artists, so how about bringing over Nunez or Cojocaru for some of the performances? Nunez' 100-watt smile alone ought to sell some tickets to the uninitiated, although, perhaps not enough to offset the guest fees. (??) Fille is such a joyous ballet. There ought to be a way to sell joy.

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The evening begins with Birthday Offering, a work Ashton choreographed in 1956 to celebrate the Royal Ballet’s 25th anniversary. Though the glorious music was composed by Glazunov, not Minkus or Tchaikovsky, it reminds me both of Petipa’s Paquita and Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. All the ballerinas dance their solos beautifully, but the real standout is Stella Abrera. Her every movement has such a lyrical flow and her balances are secure. I would love to see Abrera as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Eric Tamm, as always, is a joy to watch. He is an attentive partner to Abrera, with a beautiful line and very clean turns.

The Thais Pas de Deux is a wonderfully trancelike piece featuring Diana Vishneva and Jared Matthews. As a solo dancer, Matthews often disappoints me, but in Thais he is a supportive partner who makes Vishneva look like she is floating in the mist.

The Awakening is a pas de deux from a discarded Ashton Sleeping Beauty. Even though it was beautifully danced by Veronika Part and David Hallberg, I found it forgettable and a waste of Part and Hallberg’s enormous talents. Maybe it’s the music that throws me off. The Awakening is danced to music George Balanchine used for his Nutcracker. I kept waiting for the Christmas tree to start growing, and was disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Ashton’s The Dream is a perfect little jewel of a ballet. All the dancers are magical, but the two outstanding performances are given by Daniil Simkin as Puck and Cory Stearns as Oberon. As the sprite, Simkin seems to live in the air. The way he can make his body float higher and higher in space is just extraordinary. As well, Simkin’s acting has a wonderfully enchanted quality about it.

Simkin’s chemistry with Cory Stearns’ Oberon is palpable. The main partnership in The Dream is not between Oberon and Titania, but Oberon and Puck. As Oberon, Stearns is the best I’ve ever seen him. His incredible line and his gorgeous placement all serve to make the character of Oberon both noble and magical.

Xiomara Reyes is a sweet and silly Titania with footwork that is both precise and sparkling. Alexi Agoudine is a very funny Bottom, whether he is dancing on pointe as a donkey or reliving his incredible “dream” of falling in love with a fairy queen.

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Love BT's new look and the iPhone app!

I was at the All-Classic Program last night. First off was Allegro Brillante. Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel looked great. Incredible as it seems, she just keeps getting better, and I definitely noted more expressiveness and fluidity in the upper back and arms, as others noted recently. Stiefel is such a wonderful dancer, with great form, height, humor, and panache. It's so unfortunate he missed so much time with injuries, but it's great to see him! The second part of the first half of the program consisted of three similar pas de deux -- Romeo & Juliet, Thais, and Manon. This was an unfortunate pairing (or tripling?), IMHO. The pieces are all similar in tone, style, and set. They are all brief, not distinct enough, got lost in the vastness of the Met, and just generally I felt it was too thin as a program. Individual performances were stellar, in particular Hee Seo in Thais. (This was especially admirable coming after she fell flat on her face during Allegro Brillante. I didn't see what happened there, but heard the audience gasp and saw her picking herself up off the floor and get right back to work).

The thinness of the first half of the program was more than redeemed by The Dream, however. I saw this for the first time during the terrific All-Ashton program a few weeks back. I really love this ballet! It has everything a ballet should have -- exciting choreography, sharp characterization, sophisticated narrative, and great music (especially love the choral sections). Also good costumes, good humor, and compelling otherworldly atmosphere. Marcelo Gomes as Oberon was his usual extraordinary self, impressing as much for acting as he did for dancing. I could barely recognize him as the Marcelo Gomes I know. I can totally see him in an acting career when he's finished dancing (not for a long time to come, I hope!). Craig Salstein as Puck was a delight. Overall, a great performance. I'll be at the All-Ashton program again tonight, and I can't wait to see Murphy, Hallberg, and especially Herman Cornejo as Puck!

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I saw a post on yesterday(Thu 1 July)'s performance in 'ABT Met 2010 final 2 weeks of casting'.

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I saw Wednesday's performance. It was my second viewing of the Hallberg, Murphy, Cornejo Dream. It was a wonderful performance. A few years ago I wasn't terribly impressed with Hallberg. However, he has worked hard since his promotion to principal and it has paid off. He is now a stellar dancer. All the cast members were fantastic. The audience, though, seemed to be very sleepy as compared with the opening night of this program a few weeks ago. This was my third viewing of Birthday Offering. I like the ballet, and I thought Stella and Eric were superior to Max and Irina in the leads. Hee Seo was GORGEOUS in Thais. I wish I could see her Wed. matinee of Juliet next week but I can't miss work that day. I'm not a big fan of the Awakening pdd, regardless of who performs it.

I'm seeing tonight's performance.

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In today's Times, A Macauley wrote that A Dowell coached the ABT dancers in "The Dream" for the first time. I might be wrong but didn't Anthony staged the previous production?

I do agree that this season's production seems sharper and clearer in the acting and dancing of the entire cast. While Anthony is here , Kevin can work on him ,in obtaining the rights for A Month in the Country.I think, this ballet was given to him by Ashton.

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In today's Times, A Macauley wrote that A Dowell coached the ABT dancers in "The Dream" for the first time. I might be wrong but didn't Anthony staged the previous production?

You're right, bingham, about Dowell coaching the first production of ABT's "The Dream" in 2002. I remember him taking an opening night bow with Alessandra Ferri, Ethan Stiefel and Herman Cornejo. Going to ABT that night was a gift for my college graduation and I was thrilled to even see Anthony Dowell walk onstage :)

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No posts on the past few days of performances! I would love to hear more reviews and impressions!

Just saw Friday night's All Classic program. Xiomara substituted for Irina in Allegro Brilliante and I thought she was marvelous; she actually reminded me a bit of Patricia McBride. She not only had the technique down solidly but she had the right attack and musicality that ABT dancers sometimes lack when dancing Balanchine. At this point, I have to say that I generally enjoy ABT performances of both Balanchine and Robins works more than the City Ballet performances partially because the ABT dancers' technique is so outstanding.

The other highlight of the evening was the Manon pdd with Vishneva and Gomes. Vishneva was touching, romantic, and the flexibility and expressiveness of her upper body make her mesmerizing to watch. The chemistry with Gomes was definitely there and they received a standing ovation afterwards.

I found the Tudor choreograpy for the Romeo and Juliet bedroom scene to be rather dull and the score (neither the Prokofiev or Tchaikovsky music was used but rathaer a prelude by Delius) to be similarly dull. Gillian wasn't terribly convincing as a passionate Juliet though Hallberg made the most of the choreography (this season he is wonderful to watch even if he isn't even moving on stage). The Thais pdd was a bit more interesting and I thought Maria Riccetto was quite good in the female role.

As for The Dream, though it was fairly well danced it just didn't hold a candle to the original performances with Ferri, Stiefel and Cornejo. (I saw their first performance of the piece in 2002 and also a year later in 2003). Carlos Lopez, as Puck, suffered the most in this comparison; however I feel that Ethan, at that point in his career, gave a more elegant, funny and technically solid performance as Oberon than Gomes did tonight. Julie Kent was more sweet than imperious as Titania; overall, I thought she was convincing but just not as wonderful as the incomparable Alessandra Ferri. Karin Ellis-Wentz, Kristi Boone, Saveliev and Zhurbin all gave good performances as the star-crossed lovers and Isaac Stappas made the most of his role as Bottom (if I remember correctly, he generally played the role in the 2002 production, as well).

All in all, it was a program worth seeing, even if some pieces were better than othersl.

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I also was there last night and enjoyed the program immensely. I think it was Carreno, not Gomes, doing the Manon pdd with Vishneva. I've enjoyed Carreno a lot this season as a partner -- generous, reliable, noble.

I've seen The Dream four times now and really love it. I've seen Gomes as Oberon twice. The clarity and vividness of his mime is astonishing. It was clearly readable from the Family Circle, I especially loved the look of sternness and astonishment he gave Puck; his gestures clearly said: "WTF??!!!"

I also thought the star-crossed lovers cast of Kristi Boone, Karin Ellis-Wentz, Roman Zhurbin, and Gennadi Saveliev was especially good. Roman Zhurbin especially gave a wonderfully ardent and comedic turn.

As the season comes close to the end, I find I'm especially enjoying Simone Messmer. I didn't really understand why she got promoted, especially ahead of the amazing Hee Seo. But without really focusing on her, I've found myself increasingly noticing her. Last night she was one of the soloists in Allegro Brillante and Peaseblossom in The Dream. Also saw her in Birthday Offering on Wednesday night, where her variation was espeically explosive. It's hard to describe what it is I'm finding so interesting about her, but I think of words like softness, flowing movement, authority, and unexpected passion. Pretty good!!

Finally, I've been really happy to see rep that's new to me. I've reached the saturation point with Swan Lake, Bayadere, and Don Q. If they bring the Ashton program back next year, I'd be there every night!

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I saw "The Dream" for the first time last Tuesday, and two times more this week.

Gomes (Tuesday and Friday) was really great, especially in his musicality. I could clearly see and enjoy what the choreographer intended to express in Scherzo scene only when he danced Oberon. I wish I could see it once more this season, ah -

Julie Kent (Tuesday and Friday) was just pretty, Murphy (Wednesday) seemed more closer to Titania, though both didn't look like a queen, to me (of course, that might not matter much in case of Titania, compared to Oberon should possess some nature of a king). Anyway, it was pleasing to see girl-like Kent.

Salstein (Tuesday) and Lopez (Friday) danced well, but, they seemed a little weak, when on stage with Gomes, so it was not easy to catch they were dancing "mischievous" Puck. Cornejo (Wednesday) was a perfect Puck, as generally accepted. I regret not having seen him much this season.

Isaac Stappas (Tuesday and Friday), and Julio Bragado-Young (Wednesday) danced Bottom, both were satisfactory. I liked Julio more. Karin Ellis-Wentz/Kristi Boone/Gennadi Saveliev/Roman Zhurbin (Tuesday and Friday) and Riccetto/Abrera/Radetsky/Matthews (Wednesday) were star-crossed, comic human lovers, and both castings were satisfactory. If I have to choose, I would like to vote for the first.

I loved the chorus, the stage and the overall atmosphere of "the dream" and want to see it again, by Gomes and Cornejo, or Cory Stearns and Daniil Simkin (I missed their performance, but I can easily agree that would have been a very nice one).

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