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ABT 2016 Met Season


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2008 -- that makes sense. A Saturday matinee makes absolute sense to me because those are they days I take my mom, and I know she was there for that Corsaire (funny the things you remember). The interview is in May, so it may have been an early season casting change when Maxim pulled out. Notice that he mentions he *might* dance Espada that very season. this implies to me that he wasn't originally cast, although I guess it's not quite the same as an understudy.

I’m pretty sure that I was at that 2008 performance as well. If you go back far enough in ABT’s news area, you can see the casting that was posted on May 6 for the May 24 Saturday matinee performance. It notes in 4th paragraph: "The matinee performance on Saturday, May 24 will feature debuts by Cory Stearns as Conrad.....". See link below which includes casting at the bottom of the page.

http://www.abt.org/insideabt/news_display.asp?News_ID=223

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This year Roberto Alagna had about two weeks to learn both the role and the new production for Manon Lescaut when Jonas Kaufmann canceled at the last minute.

Other last minute subs: believe Bouder made a last minute debut in Firebird (turned out to be a major role for her) when someone got injured. In fact, she had only a few hours to learn it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/28/arts/dance-to-be-so-young-and-also-so-good.html?pagewanted=all

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Just finished Hee's Sylvia. My impression--ehh. Were there parts that I loved? Yes. I thought the footwork and attack in her act 3 solo was enthralling. I thought her act 2 was pretty good, though she could dial up the sensuality. But I disliked her entire act 1. It wasn't because of technical mistakes (though there were a few) but she lacked the fierceness and pride I associate with Act 1 Sylvia.

Bolle is still a presence to watch, but I didn't feel much chemistry between his Aminta and Seo's Sylvia.

So while I enjoyed the afternoon and thought there were some lovely moments, I don't think I'd want to see Seo in this again. Now her Juliet, I'll be excited for.

Oh, the Met was only half full. Maybe ABT needs the stars.

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I attended multiple performances of the last two past runs of Sylvia and many around me in the audience were enthralled. It seems kind of a shame that they aren't turning out for it in greater force this year.

The Met is huge. In a way, half full is a pretty decent sized audience...only not at the Met. In that sense ABT does need dancers that generate huge excitement. Or, I guess, ballets considered "must see" events (for good or ill).

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The Met is huge. In a way, half full is a pretty decent sized audience...only not at the Met. In that sense ABT does need dancers that generate huge excitement. Or, I guess, ballets considered "must see" events (for good or ill).

These half-empty houses are troubling. ABT does have a student rush at good prices on the day of performance ($29 and $11): http://www.abt.org/performances/popstudentrushpolicy.asp

But some theaters (Segerstrom, e.g.) do more and include seniors and active military in the same-day rush. With these dreadful houses, I wonder why they don't also use Goldstar or TDF or TKTS to fill the house. Isn't half price better than nothing?

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Sylvia was actually on Goldstar for a couple of WEEKS before it opened. I was at both theaters this week, and NYCB was buzzing. The audience and the dancers over at the Met seemed "flat" to me. It's a shame because the ballet is fabulous, choreographically speaking.

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Despite my complaints, I really do applaud ABT for not over utilizing guest stars this year. I just hope attendance picks up the rest of the season, or it might not happen again.

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Bought tickets to Stella's La Fille last week on TDF. I think more dates are available on TDF but I've never seen Stella and have heard such great things about her =)

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I just noticed that Gary Chryst is doing a role in the Golden Cockerel for some performances. I remember him from the old Joffrey days. He was a wonderful performer/actor. I think it's really great.

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I just noticed that Gary Chryst is doing a role in the Golden Cockerel for some performances. I remember him from the old Joffrey days. He was a wonderful performer/actor. I think it's really great.

Yes! Saw him at a rehearsal for "Cockerel" recently. He plays the old Tsar. Great fun. Hope he might stick around in coming years for more roles.

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So after seeing tonight's performance, I realize that in retrospect, I didn't really enjoy the matinee that much. The night cast was 1000% more enjoyable for me.

I think Isabella Boylston is really coming into her own. I was very impressed with her. Yes, like the matinee, there were a few technical flubs here and there, but Boylston's overall portrayal of Sylvia was so much stronger. When she dances, she uses her entire body, and covers the stage so even if you are sitting in the back, you see her. I just don't get that with Seo's dancing. With Seo, I feel like she dances the steps well, but it's Hee Seo dancing pretty, instead of Hee Seo becoming the character. The only time I've seen Seo become her character is Juliet, when she dances with Marcelo.

I also thought Parish was stronger than Bolle.

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The Met is huge. In a way, half full is a pretty decent sized audience...only not at the Met. In that sense ABT does need dancers that generate huge excitement. Or, I guess, ballets considered "must see" events (for good or ill).

The Met holds 3800 (give or take). The Royal Opera House holds 2250 (give or take). That's quite a difference in capacity. I've sat in the "cheap seats" at the Met, and for the expensive prices for cheap seats they are currently charging, it really doesn't seem worth it. I wonder if there has been a false sense of audience growth, based on past attendance patterns. NYC received a large influx of European immigrants for a sustained number of years, often with old world sensibilities about high culture. More recent immigrants (and emigrants) to the city hail from Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- or parts of America that do not place a high value on opera, ballet, etc. Perhaps this is the real reason for the decline in attendance? Your millenial techie worker might be more interested in spending $400 / ticket to see Hamilton or Book of Mormon on Broadway, but not to see an opera ever in his life.

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I attended last nights performance, with Boylston and Parrish. I thought that Boylston had some good moments, but I still feel like she is not a "ballerina". She lacks refinement and her characterizations always seem to be very "surface level". Her mannerisms often come across very sloppy and while I admire her attack, sometimes its too much. I think she has a lot of potential, but I do wish they'd give her a good coach. All the ingredients are there, it just has not clicked. The first act, for me, was the most disappointing, but she got stronger as the show went on. I thought Parrish was also talented, but looked a little "boyish". He did not seem that emotionally invested in his character. ABT needs more and stronger coaches. Once Gillian, Marcelo and Stella retire , I'm afraid of what will be left!

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"Boyish" doesn't seem like such a problem for me in Aminta. He's not a conventional heroic figure, after all. The positive outcome of the story really has nothing to do with his actions. Even in chasing after the abducted Sylvia, he just ends up hanging around Diana's temple rather than following her to Orion's hideaway. Sylvia, Diana and Eros are the ones who really overcome the story's obstacles. I wonder if Bolle and Gomes have perhaps narrowed our expectations of what an ideal Aminta should be?

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I thought that Boylston had some good moments, but I still feel like she is not a "ballerina". She lacks refinement and her characterizations always seem to be very "surface level". Her mannerisms often come across very sloppy and while I admire her attack, sometimes its too much. I think she has a lot of potential, but I do wish they'd give her a good coach. All the ingredients are there, it just has not clicked.

I attended last night's performance, and I think Sylvia suites Boylston's strengths very well. What I think she lacks at this stage in her career is authority, and that can only come with time and coaching. She's obviously an incredibly gifted dancer but she just doesn't have that star quality or "it" factor that makes it impossible to keep your eyes off of her when she walks onstage.

Parish was beautiful throughout -- wonderful solos and super strong partnering. I'd agree that both his and Boylston's performances were rather "surface level." There wasn't a great deal of dramatic investment in the characters. Boylston's face doesn't read especially well from stage, probably due to her small, closely set eyes and thin mouth, so she's going to have to work harder than most to convey emotion.

I'm kind of shocked management has not asked Boylston to fix her dye job for the stage. Her dark roots are now about seven or eight inches long. When she took off her helmet off in Act I, she looked like a brunette with a blonde bun tacked to her head. Her hair is perfectly fine for a regular 20-something with an office job, but it looks awful on a ballerina. I do think that light hair helps soften her look, but the brassy bleach-blonde dye job and severe dark roots aren't doing her any favors onstage.

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Sylvia is a first-rate ballet, but if audiences don't materialize for it, perhaps ABT should program it as they recently did Coppelia--a split week, say, Thursday through Saturday. In fact, I wouldn't mind if they played shorter runs to more ballets during the Met season, so we'd get to see a more diverse range of works, but that does mean they'd be paying more trucking costs to move the scenery down from the warehouses (which I think are in the Bronx). Such programming would also relieve some of the predictability of repertoire during each Met season.

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Such programming would also relieve some of the predictability of repertoire during each Met season.

To be fair, this season's rep is a bit less predictable than it is in most Met seasons. A typical year consists of Swan Lake, one (or maybe two) weeks of mixed rep, and usually 5-6 of the "two years on, one year off" standard ballets (i.e. Don Q, Giselle, Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, R&J etc.). This year, we have really only 3 of the latter. Sylvia is rarer, Fille even more so.

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To be fair, this season's rep is a bit less predictable than it is in most Met seasons. A typical year consists of Swan Lake, one (or maybe two) weeks of mixed rep, and usually 5-6 of the "two years on, one year off" standard ballets (i.e. Don Q, Giselle, Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, R&J etc.). This year, we have really only 3 of the latter. Sylvia is rarer, Fille even more so.

I'm afraid that if La Fille gets the same reception as Sylvia, we will be seeing less Ashtons in the coming seasons. :mad::yucky:

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Also to be fair I think a lot of the ABT's spring programming has to due with the super-conservative of the ABT core audience. This is not a slight against them -- there is a place for the classics in the repertoire, and for that to happen there needs to be a built-in audience. But a large portion of the ABT audience would really only like to see the warhorses. R&J, Giselle, Swan Lake. Those three are never out of rotation for long.

Part of this is the touristy crowd ABT tends to draw in the spring, part of it is the star system which has been in place since, well, forever. But Ashton's Sylvia is a great favorite among balletomanes but it's not something the Swan Lake/Don Q/Giselle/R&J only audience want to see.

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Part of this is the touristy crowd ABT tends to draw in the spring, part of it is the star system which has been in place since, well, forever. But Ashton's Sylvia is a great favorite among balletomanes but it's not something the Swan Lake/Don Q/Giselle/R&J only audience want to see.

I especially remember one evening at the second to last run of Sylvia when I was surrounded by ecstatic elderly subscribers--decidedly not balletomanes--one of whom declared it the best ballet she had ever seen. (I concede that it was a very 'on' performance.)

Both Fille and Sylvia should suit a conservative audience just fine. And if it's true that there is no way to lure ABT's mainstream New York audience to ballets other than those you list--I'm not altogether convinced--then it would be beyond depressing. I still think the size of the Met is well to keep in mind. A relatively full house at the Koch theater would still look a little lame at the Met.

(When it comes to box office, I suspect Fille suffers from the fact that its title is in French. The Royal Ballet website now also calls it "The Wayward Daughter." Of course, I don't know if that makes a difference, but presumably the marketers at the Royal Opera House think so.)

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Sylvia is a great favorite among balletomanes but it's not something the Swan Lake/Don Q/Giselle/R&J only audience want to see.

I would suggest, rather, that it's not something that audience knows it wants to see. In other words, it's probably unfamiliar to many of them, but I think the pleasures of Sylvia are very much ones that would appeal to the audience you're describing. If they came, I think most of them would like what they saw, and it plays to many of the tropes and conventions that are indeed familiar to that audience. The problem isn't that the piece is outside of their comfort zone; the problem is that it's unfamiliar. The challenge, then, is getting them in the door -- i.e. marketing.

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I would suggest, rather, that it's not something that audience knows it wants to see. In other words, it's probably unfamiliar to many of them, but I think the pleasures of Sylvia are very much ones that would appeal to the audience you're describing. If they came, I think most of them would like what they saw, and it plays to many of the tropes and conventions that are indeed familiar to that audience. The problem isn't that the piece is outside of their comfort zone; the problem is that it's unfamiliar. The challenge, then, is getting them in the door -- i.e. marketing.

Nanushka--I think we were posting at the same time regarding Sylvia. I now rather wish I had written what you just wrote :shake: .

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I would suggest, rather, that it's not something that audience knows it wants to see. In other words, it's probably unfamiliar to many of them, but I think the pleasures of Sylvia are very much ones that would appeal to the audience you're describing. If they came, I think most of them would like what they saw, and it plays to many of the tropes and conventions that are indeed familiar to that audience. The problem isn't that the piece is outside of their comfort zone; the problem is that it's unfamiliar. The challenge, then, is getting them in the door -- i.e. marketing.

I was there last night and the two women behind me had never seen "Sylvia", but came away loving it. They couldn't stop complementing the dancing, the costumes, the story, the music. Plus, one of them liked the fact that it isn't a very long ballet (just two hours), so even with am eight O'clock start time, one is out by ten PM. I also think a split week of a ballet like this, maybe paired with "Bright Stream" for the other half of the week. Personally, I would hate to see ABT diminish it's commitment to dancing Ashton. In fact, I wish they would do more. They do a wonderful "Birthday Offering", that would give many dancers an opportunity to be on stage. Ashton's works are simply some of the best in all of ballet. MO

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