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NYCB Opening Night?

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Did anyone see NYCB's all-Balanchine opening night last night?

Those of us who live far away have to live vicariously...although we are having a Martins festival right now at the Royal Danish Theater. A mix of good (Stabat Mater), bad (Jazz) and ugly (the new one to John Adams, Hallelujah Junction.) The casting is rather creepy, however...a Darci lookalike to do Darci's part in Stabat Mater, someone with a Xerox copy of Jock Soto's build for the part choreographed on Soto.

Speaking of Martins, it's always fascinating to follow his current whims as expressed on the NYCB casting list. What, for example, has happenned to the wonderful Ben Millpied? He seems to have been exiled to tiny parts in the Four Seasons. And Sebastien Marcovici, who was getting a lot of stage time during the winter season, seems to have disappeared into one part - the lead in "La Valse."

Meanwhile, Nikolaj Hubbe is everywhere...

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Hallelujah Junction is a new one on me. Did he do it specifically for the Danes? I was at NYCB last night, and while the programing was odd (all Balanchine leotard ballets, which was a bit tiring on the eyes after a while--as was discussed on an earlier thread somewhere, programming is a real art). The 4 Temperaments opened it, and I would be perfectly happy to see it again and again (so much for my imaginative programming!). I thought it was a very good cast, with Peter Boal as Melancholic, so fluid and moving. Miranda Weese and Philip Neal were Sanguinic and again, I like that casting very much. Neal is tall and can make the ballerinas look very good. I don't think Albert Evans is really well-cast as Phlegmatic--he is just too intense and interesting to convey the laid back feeling. But I am always pleased to watch him dance anything.

But the high point to me was Duo Concertant. Drew, I think wrote last season about Darci Kistler's performance, and there is nothing I can add. I hadn't seen the combination of Kistler and Hubbe before, and boy, does casting make a difference. The last bit with the light which had always seemed so hokey had me in tears. As far as I'm concerned the season is a success if I don't see anything else!

[ 05-02-2001: Message edited by: cargill ]

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It's so good to hear the season's off to such a strong start!

Mary, "Halleluiah Junction" was, indeed, choreographed on the RDB. About 20 minutes, I'm told, to a John Adams piano piece of the same name. My correspondents liked that one and disliked the other two intensely. I was told that one critic (Aschengreen) gave the program a favorable review but the others did not.

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I agree that Kistler and Hubbe were great in Duo Concertant. I've seen it performed several times before, but last night was the best performance I've seen of this ballet by a wide margin. It was also as good as I've ever seen Nikolai Hubbe. Hubbe has not so much lost weight, coming back from (a hip?) injury, as lost bulk, particularly from the waist down. His thigh and calve muscles (as well as his arms) are more elongated and more articulated than I've seen before and, as a result perhaps, he seemed to dance with more nuance and detail.

The programming was: The 4Ts; Duo Concertant; Monumentum Pro Gesualdo; Movements for Piano and Orchestra; and Stravinsky Violin Concerto. I suspect that the point of this (one night after ABT's opening night gala) was to demonstrate that this is not the company across the plaza.

The company danced with great spirit and joy. The dancers very noticably enjoyed themselves and received very warm and prolonged ovations, to which they visibly responded in their bows -- something you don't see that often in that house. Also the All Balanchine and "All Balanchine the Modernist" program attracted exactly the "younger," "hipper" NY crowd that the NYCB marketing folks are said to be looking for.

Kowroski and Askegaard and the entire corps were beautiful in Monumentum Pro Gesualdo. Also agree completely with Mary about Miranda Weese and Philip Neal. Also, Carrie Riggins, as one of the side girls in the Melancholic (first) Variation of the 4Ts, showed tremendous progress in how she presented herself. What a gorgeous and powerful dancer this is.

[ 05-02-2001: Message edited by: Michael1 ]

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I was dejected to discover that I will not arrive in NY in time for the performance of Duo Con. Friday evening. If I remember correctly there are only 2 performances of the ballet scheduled, at least early in the season. How were the violin and piano the other night? I think it's such a wonderful score.

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