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ABT 2016 Met Season


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I saw the dress rehearsal this afternoon with multiple casts. My advice is to see the Seo/Bolle/Cirio/Stearns performance. Bolle was to-die-for stunning and how many more years will we have him? Seo was lovely, with greater amplitude than I've ever seen in her. She is dancing with more confidence and elegance than before.

Hoven and Kochetkova were ill-matched for height. Also, I found Kochetkova boring. What were they thinking when they made her a principal?

I will probably never see that ballet again, however. They threw everything into it but the kitchen sink--headdresses, bows and arrows, a mysterious witch-like creature, a magical flower, nymphs, peasants, a boat, and, if all that weren't enough, two goats. Another belly-button ballet to add to Bayadere and Corsaire. There's one more, if I'm not mistaken, but I can't remember it.

Kaysta, you are so right. May we have no injuries and good performances!

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I saw tonight's performance and was generally horrified at the indifference and emptiness of the theatre. Rows and rows of empty seats everywhere, orchestra sounded like they were sight reading, the corps making their entrances at different times, and (most depressing) sloppy performances from both Gillian and Marcelo. Gillian's usually such a strong ballerina that it was depressing to see her shortening steps and simplifying footwork. (In the pizzacato polka she didn't even bother to stretch into full arabesque.) Marcelo also added no energy. A very damp start to the season.

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That's depressing to hear since I became Gillian's fan after seeing her in Sylvia. She's usually great in the role. I hope she can perform like her usual self later this week.

Who was Kochetkova's original partner on Wednesday? I don't think it was Hoven originally...

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That's depressing to hear since I became Gillian's fan after seeing her in Sylvia. She's usually great in the role. I hope she can perform like her usual self later this week.

Who was Kochetkova's original partner on Wednesday? I don't think it was Hoven originally...

Hoven was originally paired with Hee Seo, who changed dates to fill in for the injured Polina Semionova. (If Kochetkova and Hoven are ill-matched, Kochetkova and Bolle would have been even more ill-matched: I wish them the best, as they'll have had little time to prepare together, given that Kochetkova's season at SFB ended so recently. )

Murphy mentioned having a tweaked calf a few weeks ago on Instagram that took her out of the YAGP gala, so she might not be up to full speed yet...which in turn would mean that Gomes was doing a lot more lifting than usual. (Not that this info makes the performance better...but in my experience they're not the type to phone things in.)

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I absolutely love Sylvia. I love the music, I love that wonderful open Ashton style, the pastoral, the goats, everything. But I have to say that last night the first act was just dreary. The music was played so slowly and the dancers seemed really lethargic. I'm sure it didn't help that there were so many empty seats and that the audience was so low energy but it was more than that. It seamed like the orchestra and the dancers were just tired, or just not ready for the season to start. Thinks picked up a great deal after intermission, but this kind of start does not bode well for the season.

And I agree with Canbelto that it was shocking to see so many empty seats in all levels on opening night. I know its a Monday, I know Sylvia is not a popular ballet but c'mon - it was opening night and it was half empty.

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I thought Gomes started off in the first act a little slow, but he improved and did a wonderful job in the final act. I also perceived that his back is much stiffer than it used to be, and he does not arch his back very much. However, his high jumps and his speed in the final act were very good, and of course his partnering is flawless. Gillian started the ballet with high energy and powerful technique, but an unfortunate slip during the second act seemed to rattle her. Her wedding scene was well done, but not the breathtaking display that it was in years past. As canbelto pointed out, she was clipping short some of the footwork and did not stretch out some of her positions to the full extent. Salstein looked positively wonderful as Eros. Whiteside was a little hammy, but always fully committed to the character he was playing. Whiteside seems to be at the top of his game in terms of technique. Loads of empty seats everywhere.

If anyone goes to the Hee Seo Bolle show tonight, please report.

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Hope they pick it up by Saturday.

I am sorry to hear of Gillian and Marcelo's show as I have been a fan :( Since the cast tonight is showing the same as Saturday, and I do have tickets to take my grandchild, I too second Kaysta's sentiment!

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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!

Mimsyb I am a subscriber and unfortunately we are beholden to dynamic pricing. The only perk we get is being able to exchange.

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So I went last night for Seo/Bolle/Stearns/Cirio and was pleasantly surprised. First of all, the orchestra sounded okay, not like they were sight reading. The horns were in tune and the ensemble was fine so you could enjoy the lovely Delibes score. Also, the ABT corps work in the first act which was always from the premiere season so sloppy in comparison with the stylish and precise Royal Ballet corps in the video, had better formations and ensemble except for an out of sync quartet of nymphs, Bolle was truly beautiful and age defying from start to finish - he looks like some sort of classical deity and the body is so perfectly proportioned. But he had amazing assemblé turns and great speed in his solos and was a perfect partner.

Hee Seo was not perfect but she was lovely. Her entrée with the Amazon huntresses had a pirouette that almost got out of control but otherwise I was surprised by her confidence and technical solidity. Her dancing was not exciting but it was musical and her port de bras is creamy and fluent. She also has a lovely, demure stage face. I saw a few impressive jumps and all those pirouettes were mostly solid. Though there was one that was sort of en dedans up to an arabesque finish where oddly she seemed to turning and supporting herself on the side of the foot rather than the pointe. Her second act scene in Orion's grotto was also well-danced but lacked abandon and sensuality. Diana Vishneva better understood the "oriental" odalisque style of dancing here and the dramatic motivation that Sylvia is turning into a kind of bacchante to get Orion drunk and unconscious so she can flee. I also felt that in her solos she was dancing at full strength and she had just enough without having anything extra. The pizzicato solo in the last scene was beautifully phrased but the quick footwork taxed her though she doesn't lose her poise. There was one section that had a series of hops where she would rise on pointe - kind of like the "Happy Shade" solo in "La Bayadère" Kingdom of the Shades pas de trois. Anyway, her foot tired and she just hopped flat footed with no rise to point on the third set. Again she didn't lose her poise and it seemed planned - the audience applauded. But for all the three of four little flaws, there were many, many lovely and polished phrases including a nicely held balance in the final pas de deux with Bolle. With his help there, Seo really looked like a ballerina and was coolly lush and serenely classical. She doesn't dance as big as Gillian Murphy or Semionova but is truly a good, not great ballerina in the right role. I consider this a step forward and though I hadn't really desired to see her in this role, I was glad I did.

Cory Stearns is looking very technically strong these days and his dancing was exciting. The beard and makeup gave him more stage face - again he could have made more of Orion's drunkenness and lust for Sylvia in Act II. Jeffrey Cirio as Eros is a small but well-proportioned dancer with strong jumps and classical form - I look forward to seeing him in several roles this season. He looked very ready for prime time.

Sarah Lane and Craig Salstein were vivacious and sprightly as the two goats. Zhong-Jing Fang looked lovely as Ceres in the last act grand pas. Daniel Mantei (partnering Devon Teuscher as Apollo) always catches my eye - with Sterling Baca poised to leave how about some solo work for him? I noticed many new faces in the corps - looks like some major turnover there. There was one very handsome tall new dancer that caught my eye - I looked through the website photos and identified him as Marshall Whitely who is new this year. He wasn't listed in the program:

http://www.abt.org/dancers/detail.asp?Dancer_ID=360

If ABT is searching for a tall, strong premier danseur they might avoid going shopping around internationally and just develop this guy. He is very tall and has stage presence and from these videos has solid technique that could be developed.

NOTE TO ADMINISTRATOR: If you want to start individual threads on each ballet please move this message to that thread. Thanks.

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A casting release:

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THIRD AND FOURTH WEEKS OF

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE’S 2016 SPRING SEASON

AT METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

ISABELLA BOYLSTON AND JEFFREY CIRIO TO LEAD

REVIVAL PREMIERE OF LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE ON TUESDAY, MAY 24

GILLIAN MURPHY TO CELEBRATE 20TH ANNIVERSARY WITH ABT

ON SATURDAY EVENING, MAY 28

Casting for the third and fourth weeks of American Ballet Theatre’s 2016 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

The third week will begin on Monday, May 23 with the season’s final performance of Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy, set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich with scenery by George Tsypin, costumes by Keso Dekker and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. Symphony #9 received its World Premiere at New York City Center on October 18, 2012, led by Polina Semionova, Marcelo Gomes, Herman Cornejo, Simone Messmer and Craig Salstein. Chamber Symphony and Piano Concerto #1 both received their World Premieres at the Metropolitan Opera House on May 31, 2013, with Chamber Symphony danced by David Hallberg, Isabella Boylston, Paloma Herrera and Julie Kent, and Piano Concerto #1 led by Diana Vishneva, Cory Stearns, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev.

American Ballet Theatre’s Revival Premiere of Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, led by Isabella Boylston as Lise, Jeffrey Cirio as Colas, Roman Zhurbin as the Widow Simone and Craig Salstein as Alain. The matinee on Wednesday, May 25 will feature Gillian Murphy as Lise and debuts by Cory Stearns (Colas), Marcelo Gomes (Widow Simone) and Arron Scott (Alain). Misty Copeland and Herman Cornejo will debut as Lise and Colas, respectively, at the evening performance on Wednesday, May 25, and Stella Abrera and James Whiteside will dance these roles for the first time on Thursday evening, May 26. The performance on Saturday evening, May 28 will honor Gillian Murphy as she celebrates her 20th Anniversary with the Company. Staged for ABT by Malin Thoors, La Fille mal gardée is set to music by Ferdinand Hérold, freely adapted and arranged by John Lanchbery from the 1828 version, and features designs by Osbert Lancaster, a scenario by Jean Dauberval and lighting by Brad Fields. La Fille mal gardée received its World Premiere by The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on January 28, 1960, danced by Nadia Nerina (Lise), David Blair (Colas), Alexander Grant (Alain) and Stanley Holden (Widow Simone). The ballet received its United States Premiere by The Royal Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on September 14, 1960, danced by the same cast. La Fille mal gardée received its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York on May 31, 2002, danced by Ashley Tuttle (Lise) and Ethan Stiefel (Colas).

The season’s first performance of Le Corsaire on Tuesday, May 31 will be led by Maria Kochetkova (Medora), Herman Cornejo (Conrad), Sarah Lane (Gulnare), Daniil Simkin (Lankendem), Jeffrey Cirio (Ali, the Slave) and Craig Salstein (Birbanto). The matinee on Wednesday, June 1 will include debuts by Devon Teuscher as Gulnare, Joo Won Ahn as Lankendem and Gabe Stone Shayer as Birbanto. Exchange Artist Mathias Heymann, an étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet, will make his ABT debut on Wednesday evening, June 1 in the role of Conrad. Gabe Stone Shayer will dance the role of Lankendem for the first time at the same performance. On Friday, June 3 the performance will include debuts by Hee Seo as Medora, James Whiteside as Conrad and Jeffrey Cirio as Lankendem. Based on the Lord Byron poem “The Corsair” (1814), the ballet features choreography by Konstantin Sergeyev after Marius Petipa, and staging by Anna-Marie Holmes after Petipa and Sergeyev, with music by Adolphe Adam, Cesare

Pugni, Léo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo and Prince Oldenbourg. Scenery and costumes are by Irina Tibilova, with additional costume designs by Robert Perdziola and lighting by Mary Jo Dondlinger. Le Corsaire received its Company Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on

June 19, 1998 with Nina Ananiashvili (Medora), Giuseppe Picone (Conrad), Ashley Tutttle (Gulnare), Vladimir Malakhov (Lankendem), Jose Manuel Carreño (Ali, the slave) and Angel Corella (Birbanto).

American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre. 
Northern Trust is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. 
ABT is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s 2016 Metropolitan Opera House season, beginning at $20, are available online, at the Met box office or by phone at

212-362-6000. The Metropolitan Opera House is located on Broadway between 64th and 65th streets in New York City. For more information, visit ABT’s website at www.abt.org.

Complete casting follows.

La Fille mal gardée has been generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

American Ballet Theatre's performances of Le Corsaire are generously supported through an endowed gift from Anka K. Palitz, in memory of Clarence Y. Palitz, Jr. Additional support provided through an endowed gift from Irene and Fred Shen.

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I thought Gomes started off in the first act a little slow, but he improved and did a wonderful job in the final act. I also perceived that his back is much stiffer than it used to be, and he does not arch his back very much. However, his high jumps and his speed in the final act were very good, and of course his partnering is flawless. Gillian started the ballet with high energy and powerful technique, but an unfortunate slip during the second act seemed to rattle her. Her wedding scene was well done, but not the breathtaking display that it was in years past. As canbelto pointed out, she was clipping short some of the footwork and did not stretch out some of her positions to the full extent. Salstein looked positively wonderful as Eros. Whiteside was a little hammy, but always fully committed to the character he was playing. Whiteside seems to be at the top of his game in terms of technique. Loads of empty seats everywhere.

If anyone goes to the Hee Seo Bolle show tonight, please report.

I agree with your notes. I also saw it on Monday and Gillian definitely simplified the movement in the first entrance.

However, I think Marcelo did very well and carried the performance through out wonderfully.

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The ABT performance calendar for tonight's show has removed Murphy's name and now lists Boylston. However, it also lists Seo, Kochetkova and Bolle. Could they be splitting up the casting for tonight so that the principals each only do one act? Is this just an error? Thoughts.

Added: Whiteside's name is also removed from toinght's cast, replaced by Simkin.

I hope Murphy is not injured or if she is, that it is minor.

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I'm guessing it will go like this: Boylston/Gomes for act I, Kochetkova (and Simkin; perhaps they thought Kochetkova "fighting" Whiteside would look way disproportionate size wise) for act 2, and Seo/Bolle for act 3.

If Murphy is still not 100% then she should indeed rest. Not sure why Gomes is skipping act 3, maybe he also needs a little break. Regardless of why this casting change was done, I hope those who are or may be injured have a speedy recovery.

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I hope Gillian can recover quickly. She is my favorite ABT dancer, and I booked tickets for a lot of her performances. Selfishly, I will be devastated if she is out for a prolonged period of time. :(

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Somehow, the show always goes on. However, clearly the audience tonight is not seeing the ballet as it was intended to be performed. You are supposed to witness the transformation of the characters, especially of Sylvia, over the course of the three act ballet. Having a different cast perform each act is a diminshment of the ballet. Having multiple people fill in works fine in plotless ballets, but not in these full length story ballets.

Once again, ABT's management plan is backfiring. Too few people trained in the lead roles.

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Once again, ABT's management plan is backfiring. Too few people trained in the lead roles.

Amen. I didn't want to be the one to say it, but I completely agree.

And I don't want anyone to come in here and say they don't have time to teach roles to the younger folks as understudies.

The season has been planned since OCTOBER! They have known since October what they were performing during the Met season. That gives them plenty of time to arrange for one extra solist or corps member to learn the part. I'm not asking for 30 folks to be understudying. Just one extra in-house dancer per lead role, so if injury comes up, that person can get a quick refresher and jump in. I don't want to hear it isn't possible, when Ratmansky can teach the entire company his Sleeping Beauty in six weeks. It's possible if you plan ahead.

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It's a good thing, then, that Moderators and Admins are the only one who can tell anyone what they can't say.

It would be one thing if Ashton were around full time, and he could grab some dancers throughout the year and teach them roles. It's quite another to get stagers' time, stagers' who also could be teaching or cleaning up corps work that's been taught by an internal Ballet Master after the first run. That stager is responsible for getting the dancers to a certain standard, and there's rarely time to teach fourth and fifth casts to that standard. Stagers' cost money, and even if the money is there, they have busy schedules. It may be depressing, but it's reality.

Balanchine had pretty much full run of his company. Or actually that was Robbins, whom Balanchine often gave first dibs plus, when possible, no deadlines (ex: Goldberg Variations.") Despite this, the last half of Spring season was usually a cascade of casting changes and injuries, with some last minute debuts out of necessity, mostly in short ballets.

That isn't to say that there can't be poor decisions and poor, lazy, or short-sighted planning involved. However, to assume that the only constraint is incompetence is unrealistic, given the constraints of time and money.

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It's a good thing, then, that Moderators and Admins are the only one who can tell anyone what they can't say.

...

to assume that the only constraint is incompetence is unrealistic, given the constraints of time and money.

Brava - my thoughts exactly.
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Thanks, Helene and PAmom. They already have four full casts of the ballet. I think I said it before in this thread, to think that these dancers can put more into their already busy schedules is ridiculous. They are not machines. Time constraints do not allow every role to be covered when there are already numerous casts.

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It's a good thing, then, that Moderators and Admins are the only one who can tell anyone what they can't say.

It would be one thing if Ashton were around full time, and he could grab some dancers throughout the year and teach them roles. It's quite another to get stagers' time, stagers' who also could be teaching or cleaning up corps work that's been taught by an internal Ballet Master after the first run. That stager is responsible for getting the dancers to a certain standard, and there's rarely time to teach fourth and fifth casts to that standard. Stagers' cost money, and even if the money is there, they have busy schedules. It may be depressing, but it's reality.

Balanchine had pretty much full run of his company. Or actually that was Robbins, whom Balanchine often gave first dibs plus, when possible, no deadlines (ex: Goldberg Variations.") Despite this, the last half of Spring season was usually a cascade of casting changes and injuries, with some last minute debuts out of necessity, mostly in short ballets.

That isn't to say that there can't be poor decisions and poor, lazy, or short-sighted planning involved. However, to assume that the only constraint is incompetence is unrealistic, given the constraints of time and money.

Touche.

Everyone can sit here and give me a million reasons of why it isn't possible, but I don't buy it. Sorry. Seven months have passed from the time the season is announced to now. There is time to learn the role. And I bet you there are corps dancers and soloists who would do whatever it takes to learn that role if given the opportunity.

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Thanks, Helene and PAmom. They already have four full casts of the ballet. I think I said it before in this thread, to think that these dancers can put more into their already busy schedules is ridiculous. They are not machines. I was talking with one soloist who said that many of them have been rehearsing seven hours a day (that's after taking a class), with no breaks. And, they do have understudies learning some roles. But time constraints do not allow every role to be covered when there are already numerous casts.

Every dancer does not dance in every ballet, so again, I don't buy that it isn't possible. Maybe it requires some changes that ABT is unwilling to make, but it's not impossible.

Edited to add: in no way am I disrespecting the hours they work. I know they work long and hard. My complaint is more with ABT. I don't believe in "impossibilities." I think anything is possible, if you work towards a solution. Disagree with me, but it's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

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We originally had 5 Syvia's for an 8 performance run (Murphy, Semionova, Kochetkova, Seo and Boylston). In fairness to McKenzie, that really should have been enough to cover this run. We have now lost 40 percent of our Sylvia's while the company is only midway through the run of 8 shows.

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