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ABT: Saturday evening, Jaffe-Stiefel

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I was surprised to see such lukewarm reactions to Gillian Murphy's Myrta Friday night. I didn't see Friday's performance, but I did go last night (Saturday) and today (Sunday). I'll write about today separately.

I thought Murphy was absolutely electrifying last night. I've been less than impressed with her in the past (as recently as last Thursday in fact), especially for her remoteness, but her touch-me-not icy reserve combined with her pure technique made her an ideal Myrta. She was merciless but somehow vulnerable beneath her facade of ruthless heartlessness. I couldn't keep my eyes off her, even when she was just standing coldly at the front of the stage and I was supposed to be watching Jaffe and Stiefel. The corps also looked fabulous in Act II, which was by far the stronger of the two acts.

Unfortunately, I was up in Tier 2 for last night's performance. If there was any chemistry whatsoever between Jaffe and Stiefel, it didn't carry up to where I was. Not that either of them was at all weak. Both of them gave technically strong performances, but it was like they were dancing on the same stage, both dancing the ballet Giselle, but with completely different ideas about who Giselle and Albrecht were and what they meant to each other (and if they couldn't get it straight between them, I certainly couldn't either). I was very glad to see Jaffe looking so good technically, especially after she had to miss last year's Swan Lake due to injury. I also liked Stiefel's elegant portrayal of Albrecht very much, and very much appreciated his clean beats and clearly delineated port de bras. I probably would have better memories of his performance if I hadn't seen Belotserkovsky blow him away today.

Anyone else have any thoughts on Murphy's performance last night?

[ 04-15-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]

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I thought Murphy was much better Saturday than Friday -- I think this is to be expected with someone so young; it takes time to "grow into the role." I didn't think she was GREAT, but I thought she was very good.

I was sitting about midpoint in the orchestra, and that's perhaps why I liked Jaffe and Stiefel better. I didn't think they made a deathless couple, and I think she's past her prime, but I think it was an acceptable performance from both of them. ("Acceptable" from me is "I have no serious complaints.") I agree that Belosertkovsky was stronger. Both Corella and Stiefel seemed much more mature to me than they had two seasons ago (when Stiefel was last here, and when Corella danced Siegfried) but both Carreno and Belosertkovsky are completely grown up, and it does make a difference. I thought peasant pas was quite well-done last night as well.

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