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Don Quixote -- Spring 2013 MET Season

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Seo did pull off the Italian fouettes, although she seemed shaky. I hate to sound like I'm piling on, but throughout Act II her pointe shoes seemed to be making a lot of extra noise, like they were strengthened with concrete. It wasn't just the acoustics- I didn't hear that with anybody else in that Act. Perhaps she decided that super-strong shoes were the secret!

Maybe Hee should try out a pair of Alina Cojocaru's super-duper extra special pointe shoes. Off topic, but how was Wendy in Glass. I have not seen her perform at all this season.

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Whelan, ably supported by Danchig-Waring, looked her confident self last night in "Facades" - the final carry/lift exit was especially impressive for the serenity and clarity of her pose and for calm strength of her partner's assistance.

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I agree with onxmyxtoes' review of last night's performance except that, from my seat, I didn't feel the connection between Isabella and Daniil. Every time they needed to show affection to each other, it felt more like friends or siblings than a romantic couple... perhaps I was just too far away. Also - I agree that Hee Seo looked beautiful in the Dream scene (I think the loudness is related to the landing from the glissades in this variation more than her particular shoes because I've noticed it before with other dancers) - but it definitely seemed that after the mishaps with the Italian fouettes over the weekend, the orchestra really picked up the pace at that section for both Misty and Hee.

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From my (very close) seat there was LOTS of connection between Isabella and Daniil. They were perfection in everything. I thought the supported turns were solid. Maybe I was sitting TOO close? ;) Butchered them, onmyxtoes? I just didn't see that at all!

Nicole Graneiro - as wonderful as mentioned above. She was the perfect amour/Cupid, just perfect. She even did the quick glance-thing that some dancers omit as a front attitude is held (two times).

James Whiteside was terrific as Espada and he's the best cape-handler I've ever seen. He brought enough of the grit of the sport into his role and infused his technique with it. It was an eye-opening combination of artistic mettle.

Bragado-Young can do no wrong, I've decided. After seeing him in several character roles and demi-character roles over the years, there's no better than he. Saw his Sancho Panza Tuesday night - same kudos as for his Gamanche last night.

In Tuesdays "Vasipova" performance, right from the starting scene, behind the scrim with Don Q, Julio showed us what he can do with a miming opportunity. The Don hands him his rod and Julio, as Sancho Panza, makes us feel the weight of it as he struggles to put it down, much like a weightlifter lowers his barbells. Handing it back to Don Quixote as they prepare to continue their journey, Don Q takes the rod as if it was as light as bamboo.

Arron Scott as lead gypsy: powerful and technically brilliant! What a joy!

I loved the special nuances and gestures Isabella and Daniil developed that were particular to them. As he lay 'dead' one of the bits he added I'd never seen anyone do: in addition to the quick buss on the lips, he stretched his arms up and fondled her breasts from his prone position! So cute!

Of course, let it be known, I'm in Isabella's corner from the get-go, but even if I weren't, I'd deem this a fantastic performance on her part. Great U.S. debut! I wish I could've also seen Isabella perform it with Whiteside as they did in Barcelona.

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I was soooo disappointed in Misty Copeland's performance. I've been rooting for her for a long time and it she really blew it last night in a very visible, high profile performance. She started out lovely with beautiful classical arms and upper body but those fouettes did her in. She was really swinging her leg way too forcefully and then fell out of the last one.

Maybe we should give Misty some benefit of the doubt, because it was her first show after a long period of injury. However, it is disappointing that ABT is casting Dryad Queen with dancers who apparently are incapable of executing the choreography properly. I doubt that it's a failure of coaching.

After reading today's interview with Misty her problems with the Italian Fouettes on her first performance back after such a serious injury are completely understandable. I had no idea that the injury was so severe, or that she's only at 80% (her words):


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I flew to NY from Seattle on Memorial Day specifically to see the Vasipova duo Tuesday evening. I felt like my $110 seat in row L of the orchestra was a bargain. Having seen this pair separately in person, and together only on video, it was a special treat for me to see them together live.

Despite everyone else's criticism, Natalia still has a lightness and brevity and could take big risks jumping into her husband's arms. I saw small details from both such as his phrasing of a simple grand verse in Act I and her pique attitude half turn at the sides of the stage in Act III.

I saw Natalia connect with many of the dancers and she danced the Kitri variation that the artistic director allowed. It is not the ultimate decision of the dancers what steps they do. Also I think the ABT audience needs to remember that some dancers are travelling globally and have a very short time to rehearse in the NY. Also in the States have much less rehearsal time than Europe. This means there is less time to clean up details. Also, this pair also was spending time rehearsing the new Ratmansky. The artistic staff should be held accountable for much of the final product, not the dancers.

Also I wonder if the pair was pressured to do the same past variations caught on video when maybe they weren't up to it that night. Whoever said Ivan is not musical and jumped the conductors cue in Act III needs to watch the Mikhailovsky webcast from July, because there he does the first repetition in silence as well. And if you didn't know, the dancers can see the conductor from stage so they coordinate their timing.

I was excited to see Sarah Lane and Misty Copeland in features roles. I'm glad Misty pulled off all the Italian fouettes. She seemed tentative and cautious at the beginning of the variation. The previous article explains why and it's a real testament to her determination that she is dancing such difficult pieces so soon after that surgery.

It's been a week since the show but I still wanted to provide another point of view. You cannot deny that the Vasipova duo put more than 100% effort into their performances. Ivan did about six attitude turns, each a bit slower, and by the end he was off balance and fighting (and won) to finish the intended steps. Another featured dancer (who I won't name) didn't even look like he was trying - even doing a simple assemble and then striking a pose.

My final memory is the very long curtain call that Natalia and Ivan gave. They probably really wanted to get some water and get cleaned up. They generously walked over to stage right as well, to provide photo opportunities and thank the other side of the house.

If they ever dance Don Q, or anything else together in NY again, I'd buy a ticket in a heartbeat. Can't wait to see how their dancing evolves as they move to London...

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