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Giselle Spring 2012

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I attended last night's Giselle, with Kent and Gomes as the leads. Although Kent's technique has declined, she was still an excellent Giselle. The shapes she created in Act II were gorgeous. IN particular, the fluidity of her upper body and arms were lovely. Gomes is always great in just about every role he does, and last night was no exception. I think he brings out the best in Kent. Gomes was ardent and romantic, with phenomenal technique. The portion of Act II where he partners Kent as she barely skims the stage with her foot was perfectly done. Marcelo did 21 entrechat sixes as he traveled down the center of the stage. Part looks better than ever as Myrta. In the past her initial entrance, where she bourees across the stage, has been a bit slow. Last night I thought she did them faster than I had ever seen her do them previously. Kajiya and Boylston were Moyna and Zulma. Kajiya was gorgeous. Boylston has great technique, but I think she still needs some training regarding the carriage of her upper body and her arms. Lane and Simkin were last night's peasants. Lane came off pointe twice, but one of the times was due to a partnering issue with Simkin. Genadi performed the role of Hilarion. There were many, many empty seats at Tuesday's performance. Looking forward to Thursday's cast.

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I also attended last night's Kent/Gomes performance. (Always lovely to see you abatt!)

Is it my imagination, or has Marcelo gotten even better? On Monday, I thought his big sequence of turns and jumps as Romeo were cleaner and bigger than before, and I felt the same last night. And his entrechat six were soo impeccably controlled that I wondered if it were not entrechat six, but even more beats...?

As abatt said, Kent's technique has declined--she completely omitted the penchee arabesques from Giselle's Act I variation, and none of her grand jete leaps made it close to a full split. That being said, she performed with her usual grace and beauty. And although she is past 40, she convincingly played the teenage girl, and she and Marcelo were adorable together.

Bravo to the corps! The wilis looked impeccably rehearsed (perhaps since they just performed "Giselle" recently?)--it was a real pleasure to see them in Act II.

Sigh. I love "Giselle." The ending always gets me. Last night, it was the moment when Albrecht lays Giselle out across his arms and gently rocks her back and forth that nearly brought tears to my eyes. Can't wait to see it again!

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On Wednesday, I took the day off and decided to check out Hee Seo and Corey Stearns making their NYC debuts as Giselle and Albrecht at the matinee performance. These are two dancers who have been earmarked for promotion and given major opportunities denied to other talented dancers in the company (Stella Abrera, Sarah Lane, Zhong-Jing Fang, Joseph Philips, Sascha Radetsky et al.) In the case of Corey his partnering has often been lacking, his technique merely adequate and his stage presence handsome but bland. Hee Seo has always been a lovely presence but her career trajectory has been plagued by recurrent injuries which have taken her out for whole seasons.

Well on Wednesday afternoon they both justified Kevin McKenzie's extreme favoritism. It was a beautiful performance by both dancers. Hee Seo has gorgeous soft lines and clear bouyant technique. In Giselle's first entrance with the high skipping jumps in the air, she seemed to levitate a bit at the height of each jump. Seo and Stearns both seem very, very young onstage giving them unusual sympathetic innocence and vulnerability. With such young performers the wild extreme passions and terrible mistakes the characters make seem very credible and understandable. Hee Seo began as a very sunny but naturally shy and maidenly Giselle. She reminded me quite a bit of Marianna Tcherkassky's take on the role. Hee Seo has a wonderful natural smile and her facial expressions and acting come from deep inside and are shared with the audience with a kind of shy diffidence. No calculation or artifice were discernible. She isn't the wildest Giselle out there - her mad scene was a retreat into a childlike internal world. She was a naturally peaceful and serene creature.

Her technique was tested by the "Spessivtzeva variation" in Act I - some of the multiple pirouettes looked hard pressed but she floated through the skips on pointe with one leg twirling section. At her first appearance in Act II she slowly appeared by the cross over her grave but did give a impressively fast backward whirling dervish turn when reanimated by Myrtha. But she was again a peaceful, serene spirit when she quietly walked in to intervene to save Albrecht from the Myrtha and the Wilis instead of the usual wild dash onstage. In Giselle's solo in the Act II grand pas de deux, Seo has the ability to perform those killing slow motion ecartés to the side without any strain or bobble. The leg just floated upward and she turned fluidly without any shifting her weight or changing position. Her upper body movements were very ethereal and elegant. She had very precise entrechats during the coda and danced everything very, very well. A superb debut.

Corey's extremely handsome looks were complemented by real stage authority. He no longer seemed a boy in a man's role. He performed all the stage business in Act I and II with a real understanding of the character. His reaction to Giselle's death was a little too much of an angry petulant teenager but he made up for that with genuine grief in Act II. Both he and Seo handled the partnering excellently - I never worried for Seo and she did seem to float in the air in his arms. During his solos he performed stunning beats and turns. During the series of multiple entrechat sixs in the coda to the Act II pdd, he really got high off the ground and had precise footwork but needed just a bit more stamina since he ended them just a little too early. His upper body was fluid and connected and he seemed a true danseur noble up there. This is frankly his best role and one in which he can stand comparison with Gomes, Hallberg, Corella et al. Bravo!

Simone Messmer is already a fearsome and authoritative Myrtha with fast skimming bourrees across the stage at her entrance that were worthy of Gillian Murphy. She also has better command of her upper body and not a trace of the jerkiness that bothered me so much with Michele Wiles. Messmer also had a powerful jump, wonderful severe glamor and clear powerful mime. Patrick Ogle was decent if a bit callow as Hilarion. Jared Matthews and Maria Riccetto danced the peasant pas de deux. She was in good form with really clear footwork and precise positions. He made his presence felt and did some excellent scissoring beats in his jumps. The orchestra sounded scrappy but there were only one or two disasters.

Seo and Stearns really gave the international superstars of the company true competition. I was really deeply moved at the end of Act II and I have seen many, many "Giselle"s in my time.

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Just got home from a beautiful Cojocaru/Corella/Murphy Giselle.

Back in 2005, I attended the "Stars of the 21st Century Gala". Alina and Johann Kobborg performed the Act II pas de deux from Giselle. I remember thinking at the time that I would love the chance to see Alina perform the whole ballet. I did purchase the Royal Ballet Giselle DVD with Alina and Johann. But what an immense treat to see Alina Cojocaru perform Giselle live tonight. She brings such a fragility and childlike innocence to the part of Giselle. In Act I, she is either looking at her mother or Albrecht for approval in all of her moves. This makes her mad scene so devastating - she has been let down big time by the man she loves. In Act II, she retains her humanity (she is not the ghostly spectre that Vishneva's Giselle becomes) and is filled with love and forgiveness for Albrecht.

I can't remember the last time that I have seen Angel Corella dance with ABT. I think it might have been Nina's farewell Swan Lake back in 2009. First of all, he is in great shape. Second, he is such a wonderful partner. And third, it is sad to think about him leaving ABT. Alina bowed to him and gave him her boquet during the curtain calls. The audience gave rapturous applause to the two leads. Angel lifted Alina and glided away with her during the last curtain call - she in Willi character.

What a difference a season makes. Last year, my big complaint during the whole 2011 Spring season was how off the corps was. The corps looked completely different tonight - spot on in the peasant dances and the Willi corps was outstanding. Gillian Murphy has never been better as Myrtha. The peasant pas de deux with Yukio Kajiya and Joseph Phillips was ok - it started out a little weak and then got stronger.

What a beautiful, emotional performance - thank you Alina and Angel.

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I was at the Angel/Alina performance last night too. I thought it was good, but not stellar. In particular, I thought that Alina's performance was conservative insofar as her technique. She seemed to avoid doing choreography that required her to land on her pointes. For example, she failed to do the little hops on pointe in Act I, and modified it to do something easy. Also, in the second act, she modified the portion where Giselle does a series of small jumps, so that she could do fewer of them. That in itself would not have been a problem, except that her modification of the choreography caused her to be out of sync with the music. Additionally, the modification made her more earthbound, when her character is supposed to be airborne. In addition, the part where Angel lifts and supports her as she skims the floor with one foot seemed to have been modified. I don't think it was partnering error. It seemed planned in order to reduce the number of times her pointe struck the floor. However, I thought Alina's performance did have emotional resonance. Angel didn't take any short cuts, and he gave a marvelous and memorable performance. Murphy was in excellent form as Myrta. The peasant pdd seemed flat. Looking forward to Super Saturday.

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I saw Alina in rehearsal and thought she was avoiding a lot of dance steps. She padded around quite a bit. I hope she is not injured.

I am glad to read that Hee and Cory did so well in their performance. The rehearsal had moments of great beauty, but some flaws, as well, and it gave me concern about the lifts.

I saw the performance with Paloma and Roberto. Last year's performance was wonderful, but this year's surpassed it. Paloma was "in the zone". Her dancing was technically brilliant and her artistry was so very moving. Roberto left me heartbroken, in tears, and breathless. His performance was riveting. I sat at the edge of my seat and had to hold myself from standing up to applaud throughout the performance. The wilis were much improved this year, as well. Stella sent chills through my spine.

In the open rehearsal, the woman in the peasant pas was terrific. The program said it was performed by Isabella, but she told me it was not her. Does anyone know who it was?

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I saw Cojocaru/Corella/Murphy last night.

In Act I Alina was as sweet and lovely as she usually is, you cant help to fall in love with this incredible lovely young girl. The couple seemed to have good chemistry and everything was going terrific until it was time for her variation. She first threw a jaw droping almos-180 degreee penche, but in the second (when she goes to the right side of the stage) she almost fell.. luckily she recovered well, did two nicely and perfectly centered triples pirouettes, and went for the diagonal of hops on point. As soon as she went on point and tried to start moving, she came off point, so she had to improvise some coreography herself, which looked a little weird, then she tried again, once she reached the center of the stage, but unf she couldnt hold it and came off point for the second time. I was very close to the stage, and to me I think she may have been in pain or at least uncorfortable, because, she didnt fell because she lost her balance or anything like that. This small accident carried over a little bit, or at least I sensed some lost of focus/concetration in the following scene, half way through the madness scence she looked back in top shape and delivered a heart breaking death, the last sequence was really emotional.

In Act II, Alina was absolutely sensational, I really have no words, she more than made up for whatever happened in Act I. This is trully an ARTIST !!! The fluidity/coordination of the movement, the perfection of the poses, the beauty and deeply emotional dancing that she delivered was incredible. I was stunned with the visual effect of all her movements. Every single little step made so much sense to me, and everything was so well connected and expressed, brava ! In the series of entrechats 4 she slowed down a couple of times and picked up the speed again, I dont know if this was done on purpose, or because of any kind of problems in her foot. I just really, really, hope that she is not injured.

The ending was different to what she did last year with David, when she boureed around him and left a little flower (like the one of the first act) fell on the floor. This time, she left a flower fall into Angel's hand when she was about to leave, and then she was lifted from behind, so it looked like she just flew away, like a ghost, and Angel then looked to the sky, around the stage, like following her flying away. I was on the right side of the stage, so I could see that, but I am not sure everyone in the audience saw the effect though, but it was really beautiful.

Angel partnering was close to perfection, and one of the reasons why Alina looked so weightless, was his incredible ability to lift/move her. His technique/energy when dancing his variations was not close to what it was a few years ago, but it wasnt bad either. I will miss him too, very much, although, in my opinion, giving the decline that I notice in his technique and energy, its better for him to go now, when he is still looking good, I think is a wise decision (and I know that it may not even be his own)

Gilliam was terrific as Myrtha, those boureess...omg, she was frightening, comanding, and as always, technically sublime.

Overall, I think it was a magnificient performance, maybe not as complete/stellar as the one that she danced last year with David, but I did like better her Act II this time, despite the minor problems with her foot. She dances with so much soul, so delicate and elegantly, that one can only love her more and more. Even though I have seen Giselles for over 15 yrs, she still managed to make me feel chills all the time in her Act II, I really thought at some point that I was in a different world !!! ...and I am also so very happy that her interpretation is so different to Vishneva's, since she is my other all time fav Giselle...I feel like they are so different yet both so magnificent......thanks abt, having the chance to see these two artist live, the same week, is a luxury that in no too many other places one can have ! smile.png

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I seem to remember discussions in previous seasons of Alina's foot problems. She has been seen in orthopedic shoes off-stage and many have commented on the huge blocks in her pointe shoes. It sounds like those problems are flaring up again. Does anybody know?

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Classic Ballet, I assumed that the modifications she made to the choreography and constantly coming off pointe in Act I was not an accident, but a choice she made to lighten her burden in Act I. I also noticed the moment when she almost fell over in Act I. I hope she is better by next Thursday for Bayadere.

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In the open rehearsal, the woman in the peasant pas was terrific. The program said it was performed by Isabella, but she told me it was not her. Does anyone know who it was?

It was Yuriko Kajiya, and she was sensational--light and exquisite and technically perfect--she nailed those pirouettes from the kneeling position and everything else as well. Best part of the entire DR!
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I have been suffering with a bad cold and had to leave at intermission last night. Very disappointed to miss Devon Teuscher's NY debut as Myrtha. Any reports from those who were there?

As for the first act, I think I"m just getting a little weary of Giselle. I love Herman Cornejo, and I love Reyes in the right roles, but I was just unmoved (again, probably not their fault but just that I've seen enough Giselles to last me quite awhile). In the peasant pdd, Blaine Hoven didn't strike me as principal material (referring back to the "Male Principal Problem" thread), executing his moves with competence, but coming down heavily from his jumps and no special flair. There's so much to love about Isabella Boylston's dancing, but she has a show-offy quality that I find a little offputting. I am eager to see her and Simkin in Swan Lake, though.

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I saw Devon Teuscher in the dress rehearsal, and while it may have been a promising beginning, she didn't hold a candle to Veronika Part or Stella Abrera. But of course they are very much senior to her. Let's just say I didn't feel I was discovering an up-and-coming principal.

And I agree totally about Isabella Boylston--in addition to her lack of refinement.

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Devon Teuscher: gorgeous arms, good bourrees, nice turns, low and lazy (or just not yet strong enough) arabesques.

Xiomara had some wonderful acting: the first set of heart palpitations, the mad scene, etc.

And Kelley Boyd had some of the most crystal-clear and effective miming I've seen.

All in all, a night of fantastic expressive elements, though not perhaps the most technically proficient dancing.

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I saw Giselle both Thursday and Friday. I agree Kelley Boyd's mime was very good. In fact, I preferred it to Raffa's the night before.

Alina's mad scene was quite impressive. I loved how she ran through the crowd, grabbing various townsmen as though she was looking desparately for Albrecht.

Corella danced beautifully.

I loved Reyes and Cornejo. Devon Teuscher was good, but I would rather have seen Abrera as Myrtha. I remember enjoying her performance in the role a few years ago and felt that she was more commanding in the role than Teuscher.

Radetsky played Hilarion both nights. I've always found him to be one of the best Hilarions of late. I'm not sure exactly why, but I thought his performance was better Friday night.

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I attended both performances yesterday of Giselle on Super Saturday. Briefly stated, it is a day of performances that I will never forget. Two utterly brilliant and memorable performances. Thank you, ABT, for bringing these supreme artists to New York. I don't have much time right now, except to say that Vishneva was heartwrenching. The last great partnership at ABT was Ferri and Bocca. I think that Gomes and Vishneva can now be bestowed with that honor. They are electric together. The way she pleaded with Myrta and tried to protect Albrecht brought tears to my eyes. The only weak link here was Semionova's Myrta. She seemed stiff and unimposing.

The afternoon performance was also astounding. The thing I will remember first and foremost is Osipova's hops on pointe in Act I. She hopped on the diagonal of the stage, and then using the same working foot she did 360 degrees of hops, and then proceeded to resume the hops along the diagonal of the stage without ever coming off that pointe of her foot. Is this woman human or a superhero of the ballet world. Hallberg has never looked better.

Hopefully other will pick up this thread, as I need to go now.

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She hopped on the diagonal of the stage, and then using the same working foot she did 360 degrees of hops, and then proceeded to resume the hops along the diagonal of the stage without ever coming off that pointe of her foot.

With a ball on her nose?

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Ouch. I will say that Osipova's Giselle was alternatively delightful and touching, in addition to being a technical marvel. But Vishneva's was undoubtedly the richer, deeper interpretation. Heartwrenching, indeed. Just one observation from among many-- Vishneva's whole upper body was so eloquent in its ethereality in Act II.

David Hallberg was in great form in the matinee, embodying what I can only call something like a sensitive, almost tragic nobility. But I thought Saturday night had a stronger cast overall and was the more moving performance. Simkin and Lane were wonderful in the peasant pdd, even if Simkin was rather self-consciously showy. And what a great partnership is Vishneva/Gomes, as you said, abatt.

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I saw all three Giselle casts -- Alina Cojocaru, Diana Vishneva, and Natalia Osipova. Cojocaru's performance was a disappointment. She was simply unable to dance many of the steps in Giselle. Even her characterization didn't have the affecting details that it did last year. Natalia Osipova's Giselle was a technical marvel. If her feet ever touched the ground in Act Two, I never saw it. Vishneva's Giselle was technically still extremely solid, but it was the deepest interpretation of the three, I thought. The way she became completely unhinged in the Mad Scene was unforgettable. When she started swinging around Albrecht's sword she really looked like she wanted to kill someone. In Act Two, she is so haunting -- ghostly and spooky, really no longer of this world. When Albrecht carried her back to her grave I loved how she dropped her arms and closed her eyes, and actually looked like a corpse. It's an unorthodox but totally gut-wrenching characterization.

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I thought Hallberg & Osipova were amazing. After previously being blah about seeing yet another Giselle, I was way more engaged than I thought I'd be! Osipova is so good it's almost too much... almost, but not quite. I don't find her circus-y, although she could easily become that. I don't think anyone's yet commented on this, so I'll add that in Act I she didn't wear the usual ABT Giselle costume -- she wore a royal blue dress in what looked like a velvety fabric. It was lovely, and way more pretty than the usual costume, although it totally clashed with the other peasant outfits in color, style, and texture. And I'm surprised they let a peasant wear royal blue! I guess Osipova didn't like the usual Giselle outfit, and probably her contract lets her wear whatever she wants. I'm not sure if the Act II outfit was the usual ABT or not.

Thanks to those who reported on Devon Teuscher's Myrtha.

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Yes Osipova's dress was rather glam for a peasant girl -- it was sleevelss, very shiny, as if made of fine satin. Like Giselle had recently made a trip to Bloomingdale's. I too thought it clashed with the other peasant girls' outfits, but her Giselle was so amazing that this Diva Moment was okay. She has very short hair too, so she must have been wearing a wig, since it stayed in place during the Mad Scene.

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