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ABT 2016 Met Season


abatt

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I agree! The rehearsal schedule can be pure madness and it's not always the best decision to cast over worked dancers in a new role at the last minute. That can sometimes cause even more injuries that can lead to further casting complications. An AD has to look at so many possibilities and from so many angles. There may just not be time to train someone (anyone!) to take on a roll at the last minute. Choreographers, coaches, teachers, etc. all have much on their plates already. Besides, injuries can happen in an instant with no "advance" warning. In a rehearsal, in class, walking to the subway. There is absolutely no way of predicting a safe, injury free season. Look at what befell Osipova as she was jumping in "Giselle" last season. Anyone who witnessed that (as I did) will clearly understand that injuries can happen in any number of fickle ways. Plus, her absence may not be, in fact, an injury. Any number of other reasons could come under the heading "medical". One may think they possibly have a tummy ache (and able to dance), and it turns out to be appendicitis. (clearly un able to dance!) That one can come upon anyone and suddenly! Or it might possibly be something else????............. I think given that the Opening is next week, Kevin is doing his very best to make it all work. And remember that sometimes a dancer who may not seem the "ideal" for a role can surprise you.

But who says it has to be at the last minute? They've had the met season schedule since October, that is plenty of time to have an extra understudy learn the role. Injuries happen all the time, having a backup plan that doesn't constantly rely on the same dancers might be a good thing. Yes, forcing someone else to learn the role NOW would be a crazy idea.

We know that Sarah Lane learned Juliet at one point, yet has never danced it at the Met. So they obviously are teaching roles to people who aren't casted to perform.

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ABATT makes a very good point about NYCB. I think it's the central point but I would like to add it is a tribute to City Ballet that they can field so many dancers that can provide totally satisfying performances. There is also the historical fact that many City Ballet fans came of age years under Mr Balanchine's policy of no advance casting releases. And we became and still are ballet fans!

And given their repertoire and extensive use of mixed programs, NYCB is also more likely to have some of the younger dancers step into leading roles, which as I spectator I find interesting and exciting. Yes, I'm bummed when someone like Tess Reichlen is pulled from Rubies, but I can get over it and get excited about seeing someone new and refreshing in the role that I had never seen before. To me at least, NEW = EXCITING. ABT (outside of Ratmansky's ballets, who I assume probably has some say in casting) doesn't really give young dancers much of a shot. I understand it's the nature of having many principals and a consequence of how the met season is set up, but my rambling on point is that Seo in the place of Semionova is not likely to garner a lot of overt enthusiasm.

But maybe it's just me. The way I see it, with Seo, I know what I'm getting. With someone new covering, I don't, and that is exciting to me. (Though best would have been able to see Semionova)

Hope Polina is well.

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I know Tereshkina has guested at ABT in La Bayadere. It's a shame she couldn't be rapped for Sylvia as Semionova's replacement. I understand she is fantastic in that role. Or Sarah Lamb, who as a duelie wouldn't have visa issues. Or bring back Paloma Herrera.

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I know Tereshkina has guested at ABT in La Bayadere. It's a shame she couldn't be rapped for Sylvia as Semionova's replacement. I understand she is fantastic in that role. Or Sarah Lamb, who as a duelie wouldn't have visa issues. Or bring back Paloma Herrera.

Then it would be one step forward, two steps back: ABT would be back to importing guest artists and we'd be up in arms about ABT's need to promote its own dancers.

I'm definitely one of Stella's most ardent admirers, but Stella is learning La Fille, Coq d'Or, and ABT's new version of Beauty this season. I'd love to see her as Odette/Odile and/or Juliet, but she would need more time than this to learn the roles and interpret them to her and our standards. Remember that she had already danced Giselle in several performances and been coached by the AD himself before she was given that lightening opportunity last year. We want to see Stella at her very best.

Now Sarah, on the other hand, has danced Odette/Odile, and I think, though I'm not sure, that she has also danced Juliet. Once again, she's being passed over.

And ITA with everyone who said that ABT should have understudies ready to take over at the slightest glitch. The corps should be understudying the soloists and the soloists should be understudying the principals. Between seasons, so they're ready when the season is upon us.

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I honestly can't believe that Stella hasn't been cast as Juliet! This could've been another "Giselle" moment (referring to how successful she was last year). Also, I saw a video of her White Swan Pas de Deux on YouTube and her interpretation is kinda mature and advanced for someone that has never danced the entire ballet. I think she would be a more successful White Swan than Black Swan, but I think she could power through the entire ballet. If Kevin allows Misty to continue to dance Swan Lake after all her technical mishaps in the Black Swan (fouettes, etc), I don't see how Stella couldn't get cast. Obviously it comes down to the "misty effect", so I guess Mckenzie is willing to sacrifice quality if it brings in ticket sales. Stella is a more mature ballerina, her time is limited. I think a debut performance in Swan Lake or R&J with her and Marcelo would sell more tickets than the average. I know I would immediately get a ticket! She is about to celebrate her 20th year with the company. Having danced/watched countless performances of Swan Lake and R&J, I'm sure she would enter rehearsals with significant knowledge of their technical and artistic demands. How clear does it have to be that people don't really want to see Hee Seo over and over again.... uhhhhh, this season is already looking like a disappointment and it hasn't even started.

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

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A certain aunt of mine had tickets to pretty much every Semionova performance this season and had previously claimed to be "done" with Hee Seo after last season. Let's just say she's not happy about this (now, she's not blaming Polina and neither am I, but as she said "why does it always have to be Hee Seo?")

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So, do ballets with Hee Seo sell that many more tickets than ballets with other principals at ABT? Is that why she's used so frequently?

The only ABT principal who sells more tickets than the rest is corporate dancer Misty Copeland. I'm sure Hee Seo has her core audience who will always support her, with her nice, lyrical performance style. But for me she is a Ballet Machine, reliably cranking it out, without much emotion, over and over. She's a bland, harmless substitute for whichever more interesting injured performer she'll be asked to replace.

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Then it would be one step forward, two steps back: ABT would be back to importing guest artists and we'd be up in arms about ABT's need to promote its own dancers.

I'm definitely one of Stella's most ardent admirers, but Stella is learning La Fille, Coq d'Or, and ABT's new version of Beauty this season. I'd love to see her as Odette/Odile and/or Juliet, but she would need more time than this to learn the roles and interpret them to her and our standards. Remember that she had already danced Giselle in several performances and been coached by the AD himself before she was given that lightening opportunity last year. We want to see Stella at her very best.

Now Sarah, on the other hand, has danced Odette/Odile, and I think, though I'm not sure, that she has also danced Juliet. Once again, she's being passed over.

And ITA with everyone who said that ABT should have understudies ready to take over at the slightest glitch. The corps should be understudying the soloists and the soloists should be understudying the principals. Between seasons, so they're ready when the season is upon us.

It is physically impossible to have corps understudying soloists, who are then understudying principals. Do you understand what it takes to put all of these rehearsals together for Met season? Just to get even one new soloist ready for a new principal role takes many hours of rehearsal and coaching. Can you imagine what it is like to schedule these rehearsals? Think about how many ballets and how many casts... and then imagine trying to coach corps members when they are learning their corps parts or coach soloists when they are learning their soloist roles. Scheduling rehearsals in a ballet company is a nightmare on a normal basis, but when you are talking about a Met season or an SFB season, it has got to be crazy.

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For me, comparing casting issues at NYCB and ABT is an apples to oranges situation.

The no- advance -casting rule works very fine at NYCB because they do rep shows, with 3 or more ballets presented on a single night. On any given night you are likely to see numerous different principals. Even if you get 2 or 3 principals you dislike, you will also get at least as many that you adore on that same program.

With ABT the situation is completely different. They are presenting full length ballets where you are watching only 2 (sometimees 3, but rarely more than that) people dance the lead roles for a 2 1/2 hour production. I will always buy my NYCB tixs without knowing any casting, but I would never buy ABT tickets in advance without knowing casting for this reason. ABT is well aware of this, and that is why they publish the spring casting in October. Otherwise, they would never be able to bank large amounts of advance payments for subscriptions and single ticket orders months before the curtain ever rises at the Met.

Well, this year anyway, ABT is offering two different programs of" mixed bills", both Ratmansky. And NYCB is offering the full length "MidSummer's Night Dream" and next year will also be offering their "Sleeping Beauty". Plus, they perform an entire month of that well known full length, "The Nutcracker", without long term advance casting. So both companies do some of each at various times. ABT will always feel the need to give advance casting; NYCB doesn't follow suit. Would ABT be able to sell as many tickets for "Firebird" if the casting was not announced? Perhaps. Perhaps not. It is what it is.

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It is physically impossible to have corps understudying soloists, who are then understudying principals. Do you understand what it takes to put all of these rehearsals together for Met season? Just to get even one new soloist ready for a new principal role takes many hours of rehearsal and coaching. Can you imagine what it is like to schedule these rehearsals? Think about how many ballets and how many casts... and then imagine trying to coach corps members when they are learning their corps parts or coach soloists when they are learning their soloist roles. Scheduling rehearsals in a ballet company is a nightmare on a normal basis, but when you are talking about a Met season or an SFB season, it has got to be crazy.

I'm sure that other companies do some form of this. Companies have to have a long-range focus as well as a short-range focus.

In any event, I understand that most new roles are learned via DVD. When I was up at 890 Broadway a couple of years ago, I happened to meet James Whiteside, who had just joined the company, and was learning a new role by watching it on a laptop. At a studio rehearsal, Hee Seo was holding a small laptop as she was marking the steps of Gaite Parisienne.

I also understand, from two former corps men, that the corps is over-coached--to paraphrase: "same darn Mazurka over and over again."

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I also understand, from two former corps men, that the corps is over-coached--

Does the ABT corps de ballet look overcoached?

For the rest...I come from out of town for performances and this is the first year I chose my ABT Met dates before casts were announced and did so solely with an eye on repertory (though casts were known by the time tickets went on sale). The repertory? All Ratmansky mixed bill, Shostakovich Trilogy, and Fille.

But, of course, that's not what I usually do and I would hate for ABT to change its policy of announcing casts before tickets go on sale--even allowing for the risks involved. And I have sat through my share of disappointing cast changes. NYCB is one kind of company; ABT another...I'm a fan of difference.

(NYCB in full-length 19th-century rep? Having satisfied my curiousity concerning particular productions...I would prefer to know casts for those too. But I don't consider that rep to be NYCB's calling card. The day that it is.... :huh: )

Re Seo: she wouldn't be my first choice for Sylvia, but I can easily picture her as very good in Acts II and III--less sure about Act I--and will be interested to hear how she actually does in the whole ballet.

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I feel sorry for Seo. My hypothesis is that she hasn't gained the transaction that the other female principals have. McKenize probably wants to keep pushing her so she gets the stage experience and matures artistically and technically. He probably also wants the audience to like her, so she can sell tickets alone. I seriously doubt she has a large enough following to fill the Met. I'd probably go as far as suggesting that she might be the weakest in terms of ticket sales. IMO, I think she isn't on the same level as the other ballerinas (leaving Misty aside at the moment). Seo is young and likely has to "catch up". Kevin wants to make the most of the investment the company has made in her, because she will be around for some time. But the audience doesn't seem to be buying what she is offering. Maybe she was promoted too soon. In the end, pushing Seo comes at the expense of other capable ballerinas in the company.

Back to Stella getting cast in Sleeping Beauty and La Fille mal Gardee, but not R&J and Swan Lake. I think that is in a way like casting Alessandra Ferri in Don Quixote and Le Corsaire and passing over her for Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. I think Stella will be great as Aurora and I will certainly go watch, but Romeo and Juliet seems like such a logical next step for her. Why push her so hard to take on roles that aren't as natural for her and ignore the roles that suit her best? I think dancers should find a balance between the roles that fit like a glove and the roles that are a bit of a challenge, but the audience also wants to see great interpretations in these ballets. Sometimes I question Kevin's casting decisions....

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IMO, I think she isn't on the same level as the other ballerinas...

For me, I suppose it might well depend on the role.

I wasn't crazy about her Nikiya but liked her Aurora quite a bit--preferred it to Boylston's.

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Back to Stella getting cast in Sleeping Beauty and La Fille mal Gardee, but not R&J and Swan Lake. I think that is in a way like casting Alessandra Ferri in Don Quixote and Le Corsaire and passing over her for Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. I think Stella will be great as Aurora and I will certainly go watch, but Romeo and Juliet seems like such a logical next step for her. Why push her so hard to take on roles that aren't as natural for her and ignore the roles that suit her best? I think dancers should find a balance between the roles that fit like a glove and the roles that are a bit of a challenge, but the audience also wants to see great interpretations in these ballets. Sometimes I question Kevin's casting decisions....

They aren't the ballets that I'd first associate with Abrera's temperament, perhaps. But in other ways, they're the kindest choices.

As far as La Fille is concerned, Abrera trained on the RAD syllabus, won the Genee Medal, was coached many years by Georgina Parkinson, and has danced in every other Ashton work I can recall seeing at ABT: she's one of the company's Ashtonians (by choice, I think). And Aurora is one of the few full-length principal roles with which Abrera has solid stage experience (in New Zealand, under Stiefel).

(In other news, I'm not weeping for Gorak yet. He just inherited Cornejo's gutcruncher role in Symphony #9 and is doubled with Whiteside in the Ratmansky premiere. Being developed by the resident choreographer is never a bad sign.)

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So I tried to switch out of my Hee Seo Sylvia and the ticket agent refused, saying that is only a subscriber benefit. I told her I have more than 10 shows over the spring season purchased, and I don't subscribe only because they don't have pick your own seat subscriptions (after the regular subscribers seats are filled) like NYCB and I am super picky about where I sit, and she didn't seem too moved by my plight.

So I'm keeping my Seo tickets, but bought tickets for the night show with Boylston and Parish as well.

I'm feeling angry with ABT's ticket policies, and think I might cancel my membership.

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I'm feeling angry with ABT's ticket policies, and think I might cancel my membership.

Kaysta, if you're a member (i.e., donor) of ABT, you might speak with Grey Johnson, Director of Membership, about the problem with your tickets. I would guess that you have a 50-50 chance either he'll tell you that ABT has to abide by the Met's ticketing policies or that he'll be able to help you. You can mention that Angelica Smith suggested you call him.

Another suggestion is that you subscribe to one series and then you can change all the tickets to performances and seats you prefer. You'll be no worse off than if you wait to buy and then can't change.

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Kaysta, if you're a member (i.e., donor) of ABT, you might speak with Grey Johnson, Director of Membership, about the problem with your tickets. I would guess that you have a 50-50 chance either he'll tell you that ABT has to abide by the Met's ticketing policies or that he'll be able to help you. You can mention that Angelica Smith suggested you call him.

Another suggestion is that you subscribe to one series and then you can change all the tickets to performances and seats you prefer. You'll be no worse off than if you wait to buy and then can't change.

I also just added three seats to my subscription. (this was after I'd gone through the "other process" of exchanging during exchange week). I hadn't intended to do a "triple play", but the very nice man at the Met BO said he converted it to that, so if I did change my mind and need to exchange later, I wouldn't be charged a fee or be beholding to "dynamic pricing". I thought that was very considerate of him. That said, I still think ABT needs to address their whole process of ticketing and exchanging. Making things more user friendly is always a good thing. In these days of ever dwindling audiences (see the NY Times article in regards to the Met Opera in Saturday's paper), it's always a good idea to be innovative and ahead of the game. Good luck!

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That said, I still think ABT needs to address their whole process of ticketing and exchanging. Making things more user friendly is always a good thing. In these days of ever dwindling audiences (see the NY Times article in regards to the Met Opera in Saturday's paper), it's always a good idea to be innovative and ahead of the game. Good luck!

ITA about the need to change ticketing and pricing policies at ABT. But if I'm not mistaken, ABT has to abide by certain rules of the Met box office. Bummer not to have your own theater where you can make your own rules.

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Well, opening day of the spring season is finally here.

I hope for no injuries and good performances over the next 8 weeks.

I hope someone is attending Sylvia tonight, I can't wait to read reports!

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