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Giselle 2011

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did any one attend the matinee? I'd love to hear how Hee Seo was in her debut as Giselle (although if her twitter is any indication, she had the time of her life!)

I would say she is a work in progress. She certainly has the expertise for the role but the depth of her love for Albrecht is not shown convincingly in either Act 1 or 2. Albrecht's indiscretion in Act 1 seemed more 'ho-hum'---in Act 2 the depth of her love for Albrecht did not appear strong enough to confront Myrtha. With these reservations. I did like her performance and hope she has the opportunity to grow in the role. Nothing much to add about the magnificent Mr. Hallberg---he joins the company of the other great ABT Albrechts---Eglevsky, Youskevitch, Bruhn and Baryshnikov.

Danil Simkin in peasant pdd practically walked off with Act 1 honors----In Act 2 I never saw a more beautifully danced Zulma. Yuriko Kajiya raised the variation to 'ballerina-dom'. At the end of her Myrtha solo Stella Abrera has a breathtaking series of grand jetes---spectacular.

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"....to show the music to me" - I so agree. She shapes the music so that it becomes a true partner in the dance. I mean this almost literally - as in a vibrant, physical presence that embraces Cojocaru.

I've always thought that Cojocaru has a unique way to paint the music and to give it different colours, making often clearer meanings hidden inside it: she is not dancing on it but using it to make her dancing a complete art form.

Yesterday evening Alina danced a sublime Manon in London (her first show with Johan Kobborg after the engagement and maybe it added something...NYC missed an opportunity, we gained it! :) ), and in her review of that formidable show Judith Flanders writes

"a musicality so intense that it just flows through her that raises her above everyone else. ... Sometimes she allows her steps to drift behind the music, and appears to be driven by it; sometimes she is slightly in advance, and appears to be driving it. But it is never anything but the core of her dancing."


After having been envious for a couple of weeks, I'm now looking forward the second Manon on Saturday :yahoo:

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thanks for all the reviews of the matinee yesterday. It sounds like Hee did a good job and that everyone else brought their A-game too!

This run of Giselle (minus Murphy's injury) is turning out to be quite a treat for us ABT fans (especially those of you who are in NYC and have been able to attend)

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I have to be honest here. At last Friday's Vishneva/Gomes performance, I thought the dancing was absolutely gorgeous and musical, there were so many beautiful images burned into my head, and the Vishneva/Gomes chemistry was, as always, a delight. However, I didn't get the emotional satisfaction that I was hoping for. In the Herrera/Bolle dress rehearsal that afternoon, I had been driven to near-tears, completely unexpectedly, but that first Vishneva/Gomes performance left me strangely dry-eyed.

Not so tonight!!

I think the main difference was the tempo. Tonight's tempo was noticeably slower than last Friday, and much, much slower than last night. I think this enhanced the gravity of the story, and it also allowed Vishneva to luxuriate even more in every languid movement; she just seemed to hang in the air. They had so much time for the lifts, and in the first one where Albrecht lifts her straight up, it seemed she stayed there for an eternity. And the second set of lifts where she is moved slowly in an arc over his head unfolded so slowly that she seemed even more ethereal, even more ghostly. Pure magic. It reminded me a lot of the Vishneva/Gomes 2009 White Swan pas de deux that was sooo slow and amazing that I was scared to breathe, lest I break the spell.

Oh, and I retract my lament about Vishneva's waning technical skills. Perhaps she just needed a few days rest, or a new pair of toe shoes or something, but today those whirling attitude turns in Giselle's wili initiation were back to lightning speed, and the slower tempo really allowed her to show fantastic height in her entrechat quatre. And with the slower tempo, she made every balance long enough for a snapshot. In Giselle's Act I variation, The hops on pointe were almost ridiculous, they were done at such a slow tempo, and yet so steadily, with full port de bras almost from the very start.

I suspected that Vishneva might play Giselle a little differently today, and I was right. Today's Giselle was noticeably more frail and ill. She was still happy and sweet, but she clutched at her neck and her heart more, as if more aware that the exertion, or the emotion, was overwhelming her. From early on, another world seem to grasp at her. She changed the phrasing in her variation to highlight the balances, given the slower tempo, and definitely changed the arms in the hops on pointe. But it was only in her mad scene where I really thought, "is she just making it up as she goes along? Does just come on stage and then do whatever she feels like doing?" There were some things in the mad scene that were the same--she still ran from one side of the stage to the other as if hearing imaginary noises; she still came to the front of the stage and peered out into our world. But she did so many other things that seemed unfamiliar that I really wondered if she had rehearsed this or was just pouring out exactly what she felt at that moment. I was blown away. (This is why I have to see her every time she dances, even in the same role.)

The connection between Vishneva/Gomes was there last Friday, but today it was indescribable. Perhaps with the slower tempo they had the time they needed to really breathe with the music and let the emotion sink in. Or perhaps they just needed one more go at it.

I felt it, and I think you could tell they felt it too when they took their bows--so much admiration and affection for each other. And while last time, I was a bit put off by Vishneva's very dramatic bows--a little too much like the prima donna acknowledging her adoring subjects--today she looked almost humbled by the experience, and grateful to the participants and the audience. Bravo!

Speaking of which, the house was absolutely packed to the brim today! And yet the audience seemed notably quieter than last Friday, applauding and cheering far less, or at least I thought so since the technical marvels seemed so much greater today. But judging from the huge roar of the crowd and immediate standing ovation, I'm guessing that it was really that everyone was too awed, or too scared to emit a sound mid-performance, lest they break the illusion.

Thank you, thank you, Diana and Marcelo for a devastating (and thus wonderful!) experience! And thanks again for the corps for being absolutely stunning! What a glorious end to a wonderful week of Giselles! :clapping:

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So of course I went to see ABT's "Giselle" at the MET Wednesday evening, though would have liked to see the matinee too. I had rushed, and because of that, forgot many things and had to rush around more when I got to a hot/muggy (but thankfully dry) NYC.

(More on the ballet later, except to say I saw a noted change in interpretation from previous perfs, and in some of the choreography--though from recent BT posts this week concerning others in performance, it seems to be the new ABT standard. And the AC/XR pairing as usual was magical.)

It was also nice to see friends and acquaintances who had flown in especially for this performance. And that night, the weather cooled, cleared, Lincoln Center's construction seemed almost done, and the city lovely. All was well with the world...or so I thought.

Then I got home to Springfield, MA. And found out otherwise. My house is intact, and my 80hrs of HD footage (thank all dance & weather gods) but the next streets over from me are shocking. All I could think on that long long bus ride home from NYC was...Ballet, and a certain dancer, and "Giselle" that night saved my soul.

In years past, when the blizzards were bad, I used to think, "Somewhere in the world it is warm, the sun is shining, and flowers are blooming." Now I think, "Somewhere in the world, the lights go down, the dancers appear, and for a time, all's right with our souls, our lives, and the world." Thank you ABT. Thank you Angel & Xiomara. Thank you all who love ballet.

With wishes for the safety and health of all who have suffered in these terrible storms/weather patterns.


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After 6 or so Giselle's, it all starts to blend together but I can add a few impressions. I had no plans to see Dvorovenko & Beloserkovsky, but I was enticed to buy a ticket by the opportunity to see Kobborg, who I'd never seen before. As mentioned, the chemistry with Dvorovenko wasn't sizzling, but nonetheless I found it a quite satisfying performance. Kobborg was very virile and charismatic and impressive technique-wise. He conveyed an authentic caddish princely high-born hauteur (if that's not both redundant and an oxymoron) better than anyone other than IMHO Angel Corella on Wednesday nite (although take out the caddish part for Corella, who is always a charmer and a sweetheart). Dvorovenko is someone I often think I don't like but then she surprises me by delivering an affecting performance, and this was one of those times. She is a real asset to ABT.

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I know this does not specifically address your question. But if he is referencing just these two performances, is it relevant to remember that this represented Cojocaru’s debut in Giselle in ABT’s staging at a relatively new venue for her as well as her first pairing with Hallberg vs Vishneva’s many appearances in Giselle over the years both with Gomes and at the Met?

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... But could anyone explain for me what Macaulay means by a "full toned dancer" as in Vishneva being more "full toned" than Cojocaru?

I don't know, and I don't think anyone can really answer your question but Mr. Macaulay. I know that when my husband emailed A. Macaulay with a question, he got a lovely response. Perhaps you could go to the source (and report back of course!)

I thought it interesting that so much space was given to G. Kirkland in the review. I am old enough to remember Kirkland's performances, but what is the younger audience member supposed to make of it. Telling us the Cojocaru was more flawed than Kirkland but warmer etc. is useless for most people (I'd quibble with that assessment, but that is not my point).

Reviewing dance is difficult - putting any art form that speaks for itself into words is very hard. Hat's off to anyone who does it well at least some of the time!

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