Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

2015 US Tour


mussel

Recommended Posts

As far as Voices of Spring goes, it was actually created as a party piece in the opera Die Fledermaus. Park and Eagling were filmed in it at the time and a video of what they looked like (presumably dancing in the way the choreographer required) exists, though I don't know if it has also been released on DVD.

It has, with all the party pieces included, although the telecast dates back to the early 1980s rather than 1977.

http://www.kulturvideo.com/Die-Fledermaus-p/d2030.htm

Link to comment

Loved, loved, LOVED the Brooklyn Youth Chorus in tonight's performance of The Dream! Musical, precise, light, fresh, lovely ... and much preferable to the vibrato-laden adult ensembles usually visited upon us in the Theater Formerly Known as State. I'd like to see NYCB use them for its own Midsummer -- it would be a nice complement to all the children dancing onstage.

Link to comment

Since I just saw Song of the Earth for the first time, I can't speak with a mental library of memories and other knowledge behind me in evaluating the performance. I did find it beautiful as well as moving and completely agree that this is a different and much more compelling Macmillan than the Macmillan of Manon and Romeo and Juliet. I can see that if you don't like Mahler, then it would be a chore. I do. And I think anyone who does--especially any ballet fan who does--should not miss this.

I thought It received a warm but far from rip-roaring response from the audience -- and when the curtain came down I had thought everyone was going to leap to their feet.

The dancers? I am still getting to know the ballet, but will report a few impressions, understanding that different casts may give me different perspectives even on tonight's performance. First, regarding reports that Nunez smiled inappropriately when dancing the role in London... The only time we saw her smile tonight (and a beautiful smile it was) was during curtain calls. I can see that occasionally her sheer physical facility can start to look facile in this work, but mostly the utter security of her dancing meant that one was able to completely forget about what she was 'doing' and just enter the world of the ballet. Or so it seemed to me. She has a 'rich' slightly sensual quality at times, too, in the way she moves-especially the arms-something I did not remember really from the times I have seen her in the past. I am very happy to have seen her again after quite a few years.

I thought Acosta was quietly mesmerizing and showed a responsiveness to the music as well as a kind of simplicity or economy of movement that really showed up every other man on stage. Not least Kish who dancing side by side with him would sometimes be performing the same movement seemingly with twice as much energy and range of motion, but still less than half the effect. However Kish's big pas de deux with Nunez looked so fluent--effortless even--in the most seemingly complex partnering maneuvers--that I am almost willing to give him a pass on everything else.

I did think the opening of the ballet looked a touch ragged and expect that to improve tomorrow and the night after.

Anyway, the chance to see this in the theater--whatever the vagaries of casting--was one of my main reasons for coming to NY to see The Royal. (Osipova was another.) So far, I am not disappointed and will be interested to see how I think it holds up on repeated viewings and with casts that others have admired more.

Link to comment

Such a breath of fresh air in tonight's "Dream". I barely know any of these dancers, as the company is never in NYC these days. But I loved Sara Lamb here as Titania and Steven McCrae also excelled as Oberon. Fairies were as light as baby's breath. James Hay, while not Cornejo (who owns this role IMO), acquitted himself well. It looked good on the State Theater stage also. Sometimes the details get lost when ABT performs it at the Met. Here it all fit. "Song of the Earth" was also splendid. I also happen to like the Mahler and found this to be a mind bending ballet. Nunez was quite special and now I can't wait to see her "Cinderella" at ABT next week. Acosta also fine. Probably the last time I'll see him live, so that was a tad sad for me. All in all an extraordinary night of ballet. After the disaster of Misty's "SL" in the afternoon, I went home a happy camper after all.

Link to comment

Oh no. I'm afraid I might be an outlier view on tonight. First The Dream. It was very informative (as Macauley noted in his review of the RB's opening night) to have seen it so soon after Balanchine's Midsummer (which I saw 3 times this season). IMO, Midsummer is a far better piece. First, I just couldn't get over how Ashton has mangled and cut up Mendelssohn's music. I found this tremendously disturbing. Then, I just think ABT (for all I am hating it this year) does a better accounting of the piece. As mimsyb noted, James Hay was fine as Puck but Cornejo just owns that role now. As for McRae, I was not impressed. I didn't dislike him as much as I did in the ABT Giselle with Osipova (when she got injured) but he did nothing to dispel the memories I have of Ethan performing Oberon when ABT first brought The Dream to NYC. Those flying arms on the diagonal that Oberon does.... Ethan did those so fast it did look like he was flying. McRae did do some very,very fast (and clean) chainées but that's about all I found admirable. I did like Sarah Lamb as Titania, nice feet and footwork, nice lines, good interpretation. Is she better than Gillian was last year (even with her sprained ankle)? I think not. The 4 lovers, especially Hermia (Christina Arestis) and Lysander (Valeri Hristov) were entirely forgettable. Bennet Gartside as Bottom was only ok but I know him from Twitter and he's a great guy so I won't complain. The corps were basically good, especially the pliancy of their torsos and arms, but they sounded like a herd of elephants. I was truly surprised. I NEVER hear any sound when NYCB performs. Do these girls not bang out their shoes? Anyway, it was an ok performance of an ok ballet. (Better than going to ABT IMO)

Then Song of the Earth. I have never seen this before, not even on YT. And unlike Drew, I like the Macmillan of Manon and R&J so I didn't quite know what to make of it. I was prepared to see all this intricate partnering and it really just wasn't like that at all. I really wanted to like Carlos' Messenger of Death, but to be blunt, he is too old and looks out of shape. His grand jetes are neither high nor fast. I remember when he danced a spring season with ABT maybe 20 years ago. He was spectacular , just like his fellow Cuban, Carrēno. And, as Andie Vyette openly discussed in some recent interview, once men hit 30 their legs and butts begin to change: they get bigger and softer. Anyway, there was Marianela. She was the lead female and I liked her interpretation. Boy, she is one technically perfect dancer. A little inexpressive in the upper body but step wise perfect; she didn't fall out of one pirouette. As a result, she's also a little boring. I'll see what I think after I see others in her role on Thursday and Friday. I also thought Kish was very good. Really everyone (except Acosta,sorry) but also I was just trying to figure out what the piece was about.

So in sum, an ok night at the ballet. Unlike mimsyb, I had not suffered through Misty's SL; had I, I'm sure I would have been ecstatic about tonight. Certainly I was very happy I was watching the RB and not ABT. We'll see what the next few days bring (hopefully Osipova).

Link to comment

After reading the above review I was rather surprised that someone was unable to "figure out what the piece was about". Do the programmes not include translations of the sung poems? Song of the Earth is such a famous concert hall piece I've always assumed audiences would have no difficulty in understanding the literal references in MacMillan's choreography. Btw, may I ask who the singers were?

The Messenger of Death was never conceived as a virtuoso role, rather a sinister presence, so height and speed of jumps is actually irrelevant in this piece.

Link to comment

After reading the above review I was rather surprised that someone was unable to "figure out what the piece was about". Do the programmes not include translations of the sung poems? Song of the Earth is such a famous concert hall piece I've always assumed audiences would have no difficulty in understanding the literal references in MacMillan's choreography. Btw, may I ask who the singers were?

The Messenger of Death was never conceived as a virtuoso role, rather a sinister presence, so height and speed of jumps is actually irrelevant in this piece.

The singers were Katherine Goeldner and Thomas Randle. I could find no program notes to translate the songs. Odd. (I love when Mark Morris nearly hands out the entire score whenever he dances to sung music!). Both were very fine to my ear. Also, the orchestra (NYCB) seemed to be in top form. At ABT the orchestra all usually leave as soon as the curtain comes down so when a ballerina acknowledges them there's no one there. Not so last night. Almost all stayed put and applauded both the performance and the conductor at the end. And they got to take their own bow when the lights came up on them. Nice touch. (OK, a few left probably to catch their ride home, but almost all stayed). Speaking of my ear (see above), I thought the corps sounded very quiet, especially in their running steps. Only when they did the little jetes across the floor was there a sound. I found all the women's feet to be particularly articulated and in some cases absolutely gorgeous! I can agree about Acosta, but as I haven't had much opportunity to see him in recent years, it was just nice to see him on stage. His partnering is so fine and his commitment to the work so intense, I can forgive a bit of a lapse in technique. His entrance jetes seemed quite high and fully developed. I didn't come expecting to see the MacMillan of either "Manon" or "R&J". I was pleasantly surprised to see this totally other side of him. Done in 1965, this work seems to be years ahead of it's time, choreographically. Some interesting shapes and movements, patterns and couplings. The company seems so at home dancing it. And what a complete contrast to "The Dream"! I say "Bravo" to all!

Link to comment

The singers were Katherine Goeldner and Thomas Randle. I could find no program notes to translate the songs. Odd. (I love when Mark Morris nearly hands out the entire score whenever he dances to sung music!). Both were very fine to my ear. Also, the orchestra (NYCB) seemed to be in top form.

I too was surprised that there were no texts or translations, or, at the very least, a synopsis of the texts in the printed program. I know the Mahler piece well enough to be able to tie MacMillan's images (including the occasional eruptions of Chinoiserie) to the texts, but I suspect the work might have struck someone unfamiliar with the score as overlong and diffuse. (Which I actually think it might be, although I did enjoy huge swaths of it.)

A happy coincidence: I believe that the last time I heard Katherine Goeldner sing, she was portraying Juno in Mark Morris' staging of Rameau's Platée ... she was splendid in that role.

Link to comment

I was at the RB "gala" performance on Tuesday, as well as last night's performance. Tuesday's Dream was, in my opinion, quite lackluster, especially the performances of McRae and Puck (don't recall is name). The entire cast looked much better and sharper last night. However, on the whole I definitely prefer ABT in the Dream. McRae is the shortest Oberon I've seen. I'm used to seeing tall men like Steifel, Hallberg, Gomes and Whiteside as Oberson. Tall men create gorgeous, long lines, which McRae cannot do. MOreover, McRae is not a particularly virtuosic dancer compared to the men at ABt. Yes, his chaine turns were very fast and clean, But the rest of it paled in comparison to the ABT men. Moreover, nobody can touch Cornejo's speed, elevation and charm as Puck. Certainly not the guy that played the role the last 2 nights at RB. Lamb is a gorgeous dancer with beautiful feet. She was fascinating.

Re Song of the Earth, I know generally what the Mahler songs are about, but not having the texts to read before the show or at intermission was a problem. Parts of the ballet, especially the final section, were very compelling. But the ballet just seemed to go on for too long, and certain sections fo the choregraphy did not sustain my interest. I can see why this one does not cross the Pond very often. By the way, I thought Nunez was excellent and I can't wait to see her in Cinderella next week at ABT.

Link to comment

I thought Acosta was quietly mesmerizing and showed a responsiveness to the music as well as a kind of simplicity or economy of movement that really showed up every other man on stage. Not least Kish who dancing side by side with him would sometimes be performing the same movement seemingly with twice as much energy and range of motion, but still less than half the effect.

I felt this too, and I suspect that it's because my American eyes have been trained by years of watching dancers slightly anticipate the beat, which Acosta does (or at least looked to be doing last night). Kish and the other men appeared to be dancing dead on the beat*, which gave their steps a different energy from Acosta's -- and different from what I'm used to seeing to boot. I enjoyed every minute of Acosta's exquisitely musical dancing and only wished I could have had more of it.

*I've always thought of the Royal as an"on the beat" company, and one that I consequently have difficulty wrapping my head around, despite their many, many virtues. I had been looking forward to seeing their version of The Dream since I've only seen ABT's and it's always good to digest a couple of readings of a work in order to take its full measure. Now I wish they'd brought a different Ashton instead; The Dream looked inert to me last night (ETA: because of the way I perceive the way the dancers handle the beat) -- particularly Titania and Oberon's great duet -- though one could hardly argue that it wasn't well-danced. But I'm happy to own up to this being my problem, not the Royal's.

Link to comment

I thought The Dream was wonderful. It's a piece I'm quite familiar with from many fine ABT performances, and much as I love Balanchine's version, this one is just as good. (If only there were more Shakespeare plays with two such wonderful ballet renditions!) I have never seen either Sarah Lamb or Steven McRae before and was mighty impressed with both -- especially her supple feet and musicality, and his fine, deep characterization of Oberon. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen such a nuanced, detailed, and commanding characterization of Oberon. Like others, I also loved the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and would be happy if NYCB would use them.

I had never seen Song of the Earth before. It's interesting, and heartening, to hear that others here liked it. I dozed off. But, I'm willing to reconsider it if I should see it again. I was impressed with Marianela Nunez's clean technique, though, and I look forward to her ABT Cinderella.

Link to comment

MacMillan's Song of the Earth is an austere evocation of Mahler's great orchestral work.It must come as something of a shock if your knowledge of his work is based on seeing Romeo and Juliet and Manon and I somehow feel that the management's decision to cast big name dancers who are known to the New York audience may have added to the shock since the names Acosta and Nunez may well have raised expectations of a totally different type of ballet than the one that was performed.

While MacMillan does not follow the text slavishly some understanding of the general themes of each section will add to your appreciation of the images that his choreography creates. The dancers are not given any opportunity for bravura display,competitive dancing or acting and anyone who stands out because of his speed or the height of his jumps has singularly failed to understand the work that he is performing. It is a ballet without starring roles if you associate starring roles with bravura technical display. It requires dancers with real stage presence who dance elegantly; beauty of execution not technical display is essential.

The three characters are named but the Man and the Woman are not really individuals but universal types.The ballet is about the transitory nature of life.The Messenger of Death or the "Eternal One" as he is called in Germany is not a bravura role.He is not threatening merely an inevitable part of life.In the first song "The Drinking Song of Earthly Sorrow" MacMillan shows the Man with five other men celebrating the fleeting joys of life.Death claims the man."The Lonely One in Autumn", the slow movement,shows the Woman and three other women who dance with four men,this section ends when Death summons the man with whom she has been dancing."Of Youth" shows young men and women enjoying themselves in games near a green and white pavilion near the end the text refers to everything being mirrored in the pool surrounding the pool the men up end themselves suggesting both the reflections in the water and incense burners."Of Beauty" shows a group of girls picking flowers who are joined by a group of young men riding horses. The loveliest of the girls send the riders "glances of yearning". The "Drunkard in Spring" shows the Man drinking with two men accompanied by Death who eventually carries him off. The last section shows the Man, the Woman and the Messenger of Death.When the Messenger of Death leaves he takes the Man with him. The Woman is alone among the corps de ballet which it seems to me emphasises the loneliness of the bereaved. The Messenger of Death and the Man return they follow the Woman as she moves among the corps de ballet. She is aware of their presence but they are always just out of sight.I wonder whether MacMillan was also thinking of Marvell's lines"At my back I seem to hear Time's winged chariot drawing near"? Finally the Woman is summoned. The ballet ends as the three dancers move slowly towards the front of the stage as the mezzo repeats the word " forever". As the curtains close the three are still in motion suggesting eternity.The role of the Woman is for a dancer of grace and beauty. With the right cast this ballet is incredibly moving.

Link to comment

As I watched Songs last night for the first time, I saw images which reminded me of the Dark Angel in Serenade, as well as images which remined me of Balanchine's Orpheus.

Thanks to canbelto for putting up the link for the Mahler songs. I will be able to watch the ballet with more perspective and information during my next viewing.

Link to comment

I had read the lyrics to Song of the Earth ahead of time (via Wikipedia) and it does help. Perhaps this is not the most sophisticated response, but I also found the ballet's themes of loss (which can be extended figuratively beyond literal death) to be something I related to more closely than bears discussion on the internet. More importantly, I felt Macmillan's imagery was really up to the power of the music. At least on a first viewing.

The Dream is one of my favorite ballets but I found last night a touch lackluster as well. No sooner was I admiring the cleanness and unison of the corps of fairies than they hit their final pose and 1 of them bobbled...this happened a second time with more than one bobbling. I thought McRae performed Oberon marvelously--with a touch of real malevolence--but his actual dancing often looked labored (despite the brilliant super fast chaine turns) as were key moments in the final pas de deux including the supported arabesque penche where he seems to turn Titania under her own leg (as it were). Nor do Lamb and he have at all matching lines. Full disclosure requires me to say that I saw Dowell dance the role (albeit past his prime). I have enjoyed a few Oberons since--notably Hallberg--but still no-one comes close. Lamb danced very prettily and I enjoyed watching her, but there's more to Titania than she showed. Still, I would be happy to have more chances to see her dance. (I saw her dance a very uneven--to put it kindly--Aurora many years ago in which--apparently--nerves did her in. So I was actually very happy to see her give a graceful account of herself here even if I wasn't crazy about the performance.) I don't know what Royal fans would think of ABT's Dream, but I have found even ABT's weaker casts in most roles to be at least as good as what we saw last night. BUT though the Royal had already performed the ballet at a gala I suspect there was a touch of opening night 'blahs' over the performance with the possible exception of McRae who, whatever his faults, certainly knows how to command the stage. (I know comparisons are odious, but inevitable too.)

Link to comment

So I was at tonight's (Thursday) performance of the RB. I can't believe it but AGAIN Osipova slipped and fell on her butt (she was Titania in The Dream). It was at the beginning of the ballet but she got up and performed the rest of the ballet just fine. Afterwards, Golding told me she was unhurt (except maybe her pride). I actually liked Sarah Lamb better last night. Lamb's footwork and the series of super quick pencil turns were better. I liked Golding better than McRae but still no comparison to Ethan. Puck was Valentino Zucchetti. Not as good as last night's James Hay. And sorry but Cornejo just owns that role.

I liked Song of The Earth better tonight. Maybe I was just better prepared to be puzzled. But I found Laura Morera infinitely more interesting than Nunez. Ed Watson was The Messenger of Death. I think Acosta brought more drama and technique to the role. Tonight Nehemiah Kish was fantastic, much better than last night. Tall, long limbed, strong technique. But I really need to read the poems before tomorrow night (when I go again.).

Link to comment

Had a very different reaction than Amour to tonight's performance. For me, Lamb's Titania is a Victorian postcard, Osipova's an otherworldly creature--wild, imperious, sensual. I have never seen her port de bras so fascinating. Thank you Royal Ballet for that. She slipped which was unfortunate. Rather more unfortunate (if less dramatically so), the pas de deux with Golding was often hesitant and even a touch awkward despite Osipova's greatly imaginative inhabiting of her role; some of that may have been Osipova still coming to terms with Ashton, but I cannot believe Golding is a good partner for her. He lacked McRae's presence as Oberon and obviously was slower than McRae in parts--but neither of them danced with anything like the quicksilver beauty and command the role calls for. In a different role I might like Golding just fine. And I could have overlooked a lot for a masterful account of the pas de deux. I thought otherwise tonight's ensemble dancing had more energy than opening and particularly preferred the lovers (Cowley, Mock, Calvert Hirano)--Calvert has very pretty feet, what I think of as just right for Ashton.

Morera brought intelligently honed emotional intensity to Song of the Earth. Her hands were particularly beautiful and articulate throughout. For my taste, though, Nunez and she showed different strengths in the same role--ditto Acosta and Watson, and I am glad I saw the opening cast as well as this one. In particular Nunez' greater flexibility, greater ease and daring in the partnering and trio work, and greater security and cleanness in turns brought out imagery and effects that were more muted in Morera's dancing and added to the expressivity of the performance not just its beauty or technical fluency. (Though it did the latter as well.) But Morera and Watson were very fine. Morera wonderfully intense and free in her bourrees at the end as if entirely carried away by powers and feelings beyond her control. The ensemble was better than opening night, but I don't find it hard to believe that this ballet has been danced better overall in the past.

It did not cast a spell on much of tonight's audience certainly, and New York does not appear to be embracing it. Leaving aside ticket sales...Within my line of vision I saw half a dozen people leave early and while last night's response was good not great, tonight's response was barely that. Something like a quarter of the orchestra--or so it seemed--headed for the exits the nano-second the curtain came down. And those that remained could barely, if at all, work up a cheer except a bit for Morera's solo bow. I do not think this can all be passed off on tourists. I do think people were perhaps not prepared for what they were going to see, and maybe the Mahler is a turn off for some. Still, I was embarrassed for the audience. (There has to be room for touring companies to present ambitious, serious modern ballet choreography that is less familiar to American audiences ... And, even from those who disliked the ballet, time for some minimal good manners. I just don't believe that all the people leaving had to catch a train or were rushing home to care for a sick relative etc. And I mean they didn't stay for ONE curtain call.)

Even if these dancers (principals included) are not the best the ballet has ever seen, I am hard put not to think these were fine performances deserving of a warmer reception. I, at any rate, am glad I got to see them -- am glad I got to see both casts, too, and am headed back tomorrow night.

Link to comment

I liked Lamb better than Osipova. Whenever Lamb was on stage she was radiant and joyful. Perhaps it's because she fell early in the performance, but for me Osipova's performance lacked joy. I thought Osipova's spins and turns were much more impressive than Lanmb's, though. Golding was much better as Oberson than he was as Siegfried in the HD broadcast of SL a few months ago. McRae is certainly faster and jumps higher than Golding, but I enjoyed Golding's long lines due to his height.

I didn't stay for Songs.

Link to comment

Last night was a revelation after the disastrous ABT season. This morning I am still in awe of "Song of the Earth". It really hits home for the older generation (Me) It's hard to believe MacMillan was only in his thirties when he composed this. Each of the 'songs' I found riveting---both choreographically and emotionally. Heart wrenching.....is there a recording of this around? I found the ballet superior to his opulent evening long ballets.

Osipova has a hard time doing Ashton.....she should have looked at some old clips of Fonteyn...it might have helped her. In the final PDD she was ferociously flailing her arms...and frankly. I found her interpretation more 'snooty' than regal.

Link to comment

Last night was a revelation after the disastrous ABT season. This morning I am still in awe of "Song of the Earth". It really hits home for the older generation (Me) It's hard to believe MacMillan was only in his thirties when he composed this. Each of the 'songs' I found riveting---both choreographically and emotionally. Heart wrenching.....is there a recording of this around?

Sounds wonderful. There is this 14-minute rehearsal video.

Having enjoyed Sarah Lamb's Aurora in D.C. way back in 2006 (?), I love reading such good things about her on this thread.

Link to comment

You may find this footage interesting ... The Royal Ballet has just released it. It's home movies from the 1955 tour of the USA and Canada by the RB. It's amazing to see just how much of New York is the same ... after 60 years ... Oh, but that Camel smoke won't see that now, huh ... If you go through to the end you will see a rehearsal on the West Coast (I assume) of Sleeping Beauty .... Was that Ashton as Carabosse??? ... You see Puss in his boots but no mask ... and the last act PDD is being rehearsed in heels by Aurora ... All in all a blast from the past ... and, as such, a privileged peek ;)

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...