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Spring 2015: Giselle


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PNB's "Giselle," which goes back to the original, is a more full-blooded Giselle. There's a lot more mime, and, through it she says "No" and "Stop" a lot, and can be direct, willful, and strong. It's by no means a feminist screed., but she's not easily pushed around, by Hilarion, by her mother, or by Myrtha.

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I saw Gillian Murphy in person in Royal New Zealand Ballet's Giselle twice - the second time I was in the front row - and thought she gave a beautiful, feminine, believable performance, not at all harsh or overly strong, and her bravura technique was neither the focal point nor a distraction from her characterization and the beauty of her dancing.

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I saw Gillian Murphy in person in Royal New Zealand Ballet's Giselle twice - the second time I was in the front row - and thought she gave a beautiful, feminine, believable performance, not at all harsh or overly strong, and her bravura technique was neither the focal point nor a distraction from her characterization and the beauty of her dancing.

I would love to see the film made of her performance with RNZ Ballet, but can't find any information about its release in North America on DVD (or streaming video). Has anyone else?

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It was shown here in NYC at the Walter Reade as part of their annual dance on film season. The actual ballet part of the film was lovely but the cutaways to... what? I don't know how to describe them because they didn't really make any sense to me... were expendable. But Gilliian gave a lovely performance. Well worth watching if you can find it on videol.

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I've never found Murphy's dancing harsh.

Me either. I'm tired of people using that as an excuse as to why she can't dance certain roles.

I'd take Gillian in those roles over some of the dancers cast in those roles at ABT in a heartbeat.

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I saw Gillian Murphy in person in Royal New Zealand Ballet's Giselle twice - the second time I was in the front row - and thought she gave a beautiful, feminine, believable performance, not at all harsh or overly strong, and her bravura technique was neither the focal point nor a distraction from her characterization and the beauty of her dancing.

I also saw this production when it came to L.A. I agree about Gillian. She was wonderful in the role. A different take on the ballet overall, perhaps, but she was stellar.

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Vishneva and Gomes were wonderful as always, tonight. True, age is beginning to show for both of them, but the emotional connection remains as strong and moving as ever. At the end, in the curtain calls, both were quite emotional--I wonder if this might be the last "Giselle" for them together at ABT, considering that ABT probably won't run it again until 2017...

Devon Teuscher subbed for Stella Abrera as Myrta--I'm not sure why.

I will write more about all the shows I've seen after tomorrow's performances!

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To add on to Batsuchan - Diana's act one solo was nearly technically perfect and her hops on pointe we very impressive. She travelled the entire stage, hopped to the music, did a little turn to Albrect and ended with a beautiful triple ronde de jambe. It was really something.

The Gomes/Vishneva partnership was yet again emotionally charged and full of chemistry unlike other partnerships. They each had some truly heartbreaking and touching moments. I also think they're one of the most synchronized couples. Most of the time they jump and land at the exact same moment and their lines match perfectly.

As was mentioned, their curtain call was rather emotional and seemed like they were talking to each other about something. Hoping there will be another Giselle between the two of them. I feel like we are very lucky to have this dynamic pair dancing with ABT. They really raise the bar.

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Just got back home (I was naughty and stayed out late), and am curious to see how everyone enjoyed tonight. I'm largely here to listen and learn! Lots of thoughts, but tonight I will just say this pretty much confirms that I prefer Russian companies/ dancers/ aethetics/ epaulement/ acting overall- I preferred the Bolshoi's Giselle (although I think I prefer Gomes to David Hall- first time seeing Gomes live, and wow! I enjoyed both Zakharova's- blasphemy, I know- and Vishneva's performances very much for different reasons, and their interpretations varied quite a bit), and found it much more moving and haunting, and yet somehow exhilarating. I mean, I even prefer Maria Allash's arm movements to Devon Teuscher's when she does a particular hand whirling over head movement, it's that specific. I also think I like to see a dancer dance with "their" company, whether on tour or at home, over the whole guest starring, absolutely. I realize that Vishneva is listed as an ABT principal, and has been for many years, but she is Mariinsky, much more so than ABT, to me. Her partnership with Gomes is stellar, regardless.

Of course, now that I've gone, I've decided I must go to more shows this season than I've bought tickets for, even though I already have plans, have earmarked the money for other things, am supposed to be elsewhere/ traveling, can't leave the dog, etc. Oh, dear.

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I thought Diana and Marcelo were exquisite tonight. I agree with Batsuchan that age is beginning to show a bit, more IMO in Diana than Marcelo. Still, there were so many lovely moments throughoutl. I liked. i agree with onxmyxtoes that Diana's hops on pointe had just the right combination of flirtatiousness and skill and she casually looked over to see if he was watching her. I also like she gave all these premonitions of her heart condition. She clutched at her heart, almost immediately, seemed to faint and then Marcelo came over, gave her a shake and she recovered. Marcelo also played the role of Albrecht in a more typically dramatic way (as opposed to understated Shklyarov's interpretation) he was the arrogant, caddish, entitled Prince, although unlike some, he never totally spurned Giselle.

I found Stella's mad since a bit more layered that Diana's. Stella had a wider range of emotions pass over her face. Diana basically looked shell shocked. As for Hilarion, I liked Patrick Ogle tonight much better than Thom Forster. Partick's mime was very clear and his suspicion of and disgust at Albrecht was palpable.

Act 2 was wven better than Act 1. However, of instead Stella as Myrtha we got soloist Devon Teuscher. This was a VERY last minute replacement. There was no insert, just a verbal announcement l(ike at NYCB). Likely this was Teuscher's début in the role. I thought she did very well. She did all the beats that Veronika just threw away and did her promenades with not even a hint of a shake.'I thought her jump was pretty good and becoming more authoritative will come in time. I'd certainly like to see more of her.

Diana was ethereal, ephemeral, ghostly in this act. One thing I'd be remiss not to point out is that after all the whirling in attitude, Diana completely left out the sissones that move from stage left to right. She substituted some traveling steps instead. But other than that, everything was gorgeous,and all the jumping was fine. The slow lifting of her leg from arabesque into penche was luxurious and beautiful. When she extended her first leg into a la seconde it seemed a bit shaky but the second side- it looked like she could hold that forever. Marcelo danced a desperate Albrecht. He did the entrechats sixes (I counted 24) but they were high, clean and his arms remained at his sides.When he lifted Giselle high overhead, he put her down very slowly. I also loved the touch that after Giselle returns to her grave, Albrecht doesn't just hug the grave but picks up the flowers he got her and strews them around the cemetery until his final pose (on his knee, crying).

As for other character,Christine Shevchenko and Stephanie Williams had great ballon and fluidity as Moyna and Zulma respectively. The peasant pas was again danced by Craig Salstein and Misty. He was even worse today than last Saturday; his tours were really messy. I don't think he landed cleanly once. I thought Misty was a bit better, her point shoes were not as loud (although at intermission everyone complained the could hear her run off into the wings). She lost her balance doing a pirouette into a penchee but luckily didn't fall off pointe.

Anyway, it's late and my takeaway was that this was a marvelous program by two artists who know each other so intimately, they are the Ferri and Booca of our time.

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What a pleasure to see two dancers that take so much care of these iconic roles. I noticed Vishneva cut out some steps here and there (as with the sissonnes ouvertes during the initiation scene), or sought out some extra help as when, subtlety, she carefully grabbed the cross to get into arabesque penchee as she was bidding farewell to Albrecht at the graveyard, but other than that she was great to watch. Her sautees on pointe in the Pas Seul were right on the spot, as well as her developpes and promenades in her Act II solo. And Marcelo..oh, I always say that he embodies an almost defunct animal in current ballet male standards. ABT is so lucky to have someone who is a truly "danseur noble"..soft with his ballerinas, yet masculine and so beautiful to watch. He is from that same wonderful breed as Carlos Acosta and Toto Carreno...one that we are getting less and less to see onstage nowadays, with so many either male prima donnas or clueless, non capable partenaires. In a personal level, both Vishneva and him are in the very point of their careers where I have the most joy watching a dancer take on such iconic roles.

That girl who danced Myrtha didn t do anything special for me, I have to say..

Loved to see some of you guys last night! The blond in black will be there today once again! :-) :-)

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Not much to add to all the plaudits above. Very moving performance.

Macaulay was in the audience. I hope he'll do an overview of the week's remaining Giselles.

Gomes did what I call the "Baryshnikov ending," leaving a trail of lilies across the stage from the grave. Baryshnikov said that was his link to her. The others (so far) take one lily and stand in the middle looking upward to "heaven." The latter actually makes more sense in recognizing she's gone to "a better place" and is not just a dead body in the ground.

Only 23 entrechats, but who's counting. I wish somebody this week would do the Baryshnikov brises, which I love.

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I also feel lucky to have Gomes and Vishneva at ABT. I took a friend last night, and he was blown away by Diana's performance. (It's always interesting for me to experience ballet with someone who knows almost nothing about the company, technique, or tradition, because their experience seems very pure.) It seems that Vishneva dances almost exclusively with Gomes when with ABT, and can you blame her? He is an extraordinary partner.

I was sad that Stella was replaced as Myrta. Like others, I'm still thinking about her Giselle! Devon Teuscher danced admirably but lacked authority. I guess I'm one of those shameless Part apologists, because her performance did a lot more for me despite any missing beats or technical shortcomings. (Simone Messmer was a fierce Myrta from her debut, and I miss her in this role.)

Regarding Gillian as Giselle, I didn't say her dancing was "harsh," I just don't find her suited to the role. I would say this is more of an opinion than an "excuse." Similarly, I am not eager to see Vishneva cast as Hagar or Part cast as Juliet, although I am a huge fan of both, as I am of Gillian Murphy.

What I can't understand why Gillian isn't dancing Nikiya, particularly with Seminova's withdrawal. I should probably ask this in the Bayadere thread, but do any of you insiders know if Stella Abrerra has learned Nikiya?

Lastly, I just finished checking out all these beautiful dancers on instagram. https://instagram.com/p/3GUnJ0C94b/?taken-by=vladimir_shklyarov Despite last night's magnificence, I can't stop thinking about Saturday. I sure do hope Shklyarov comes back.

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What I can't understand why Gillian isn't dancing Nikiya, particularly with Seminova's withdrawal. I should probably ask this in the Bayadere thread, but do any of you insiders know if Stella Abrerra has learned Nikiya?

What I can't understand is why Seo is performing three Bayaderes in one weekicon8.gif I have tickets for that performance and how I wish for any one but! Fortunately I am seeing Part later in the week.

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I enjoyed last night's performance very much. Not much to add to the above comments. We are lucky to have the Vishneva-Gomes partnership performing at the Met every season. Abrera had a heavy workload last week, and again this week. I was disappointed that we missed her Myrta, but can't blame her for getting a night off. This was my first Teuscher Myrta. I also thought she lacked authority. Maybe that will develop in the future.

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re Instagram linked to by DECoster: Shklyarov's Albrecht was monumental. As Stella posted to his instagram account "I will never forget it." And even we, the fans, will never forget it.

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Teuscher danced Myrtha during last year's Met season too.

I saw her in the dress rehearsal on Friday. I thought she danced it rather beautifully, but she really doesn't have any sense of authority in the role, forget any hint of menace (which, as someone who is commanding people to dance until they die, you'd really expect).

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I saw her in the dress rehearsal on Friday. I thought she danced it rather beautifully, but she really doesn't have any sense of authority in the role, forget any hint of menace (which, as someone who is commanding people to dance until they die, you'd really expect).

Completely agree. I've seen her as the Fairy godmother in Ashton's Cinderella twice, and while I was watching her Myrta, even though the steps were obviously different, she could have been dancing that role instead of Myrta. She's a beautiful dancer though, so hopefully she'll grow into it.

Decoster, I completely agree with you re: Part. She may not have been perfect, but I still think she's the best Myrta ABT has. She is very believable and cold (in a very good evil wili way!). I love Gillian and think her Myrta is amazing, but I still am hopeful that she'll be switched to Giselle at some point (maybe next year when Reyes, Herrera and Kent are gone).

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Wish I could have seen either of the aforementioned performances - Gomes/Vishneva or Shklyarov/Abrera. I think that Teuscher is just young and gathering that much authority is probably a little ways off. In terms of Myrtha, I found this interesting when I read it a few years ago:

"There are many interpretations of her story, as well as of her role in Act 2 ofGiselle. I believe she is angry at her fate of having to roam the woods every night as a zombie. Her ingrained evil shines through in her delight of killing men. She shows wrath mixed with jealously when Albrecht’s devotion to Giselle brings him to the forest, and ultimately their love is stronger than her power and she cannot separate them. Myrtha’s display of bitter hatred is also a cover-up for her own broken heart."

I believe it's very easy to play Myrtha very "one note" and evil through and through. In talking with several I have known to dance the role, one said to me, "I believe that Giselle and Albrecht's love is so powerful, that not only can she not separate them, but Myrtha falters. For a sheer moment, she wants to relent. After all, she knows what love is. She, too, was heartbroken." Perhaps there is just more than one way to approach the roles, just as we see in those who dance the role of Albrecht. Again, I did not see Teuscher dance.

Here's the blog from which the quote above was taken: http://www.sfballetblog.org/2011/02/myrtha-unveiled/

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