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ABT 2016 Le Corsaire


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Which brings us to Gillian and Heymann. My first question would be......why was he brought in? He has no "star" power or recognition as some of the imported stars of the past. (so, no boost to ticket sales).

At the outset of his tenure as Director of the Paris Opera Ballet, Benjamin Millepied said that he wanted to see the company's dancers develop true international careers and not just be, as he derisively put it, big in Japan. He specifically mentioned ABT as a possible exchange company for the POB dancers.

I would agree with you that Heymann would be a poor fit for Le Corsaire. The premiere danseur Francois Alu, on the other hand, would be a GREAT fit for Corsaire.

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Heymann was good, but in my opinion not stellar. Mr. Abatt remarked to me that he is better than the majority of ABT's own male principal roster right now, and ABT should sign him up. Since Bolle and Gomes don't do Corsaire, the only tall principal men available are Stearns and Whiteside.

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Heymann was good, but in my opinion not stellar. Mr. Abatt remarked to me that he is better than the majority of ABT's own male principal roster right now, and ABT should sign him up. Since Bolle and Gomes don't do Corsaire, the only tall principal men available are Stearns and Whiteside.

But he isn't tall! He was noticeably shorter than Gillian (when she was on pointe) and that may explain some of the partnering problems. I thought his dancing was great, but he didn't make much of an impact and in a ballet like this, you have to sell it. He certainly did not impress as a pirate leader who could ward off an insurrection by the sheer force of his personality (paraphrasing the program notes).

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I would agree with you that Heymann would be a poor fit for Le Corsaire. The premiere danseur Francois Alu, on the other hand, would be a GREAT fit for Corsaire.

It's unfortunate that they invited Heymann, who is a fabulous dancer, for Le Corsaire. To be honest, none of the French dancers are well suited for this show of bravura and virtuosity (bar maybe Alu and on the female side Sae Eun Park and Hannah O'Neill, neither of whom were trained in France). The French school is the antithesis of virtuosity to the point it's practically punished. Heymann is a lovely dancer but this sort of role would not put him in a flattering light.

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Heymann was good, but in my opinion not stellar. Mr. Abatt remarked to me that he is better than the majority of ABT's own male principal roster right now, and ABT should sign him up. Since Bolle and Gomes don't do Corsaire, the only tall principal men available are Stearns and Whiteside.

How tall are Calvin Royal or Blaine Hoven? Both looking very good this season. I'd give either one a try at this role. Tom Forester? MAybe not your usual choice for Conrad, but he could be interesting with the right partner. He's a good actor on stage, and shouldn't always have to play the bad guy. Mr Heymann simply wasn't up to this ballet (or Gillian for that matter)

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Mimsyb, let's not forget Ethan Stiefel as Ali, to me one of the greats in this role. I was fortunate enough to see him in his penultimate appearance in this role in the spring 2012 season, the week he retired and chose this role for his final performance. In addition to his exciting and explosive dancing, his acting was full of life, whether center stage or off to the side conversing in character with another dancer. Would that he were still dancing now!

Oh no. I could never forget Ethan as Ali!! I too saw his final performances in that role and it's imprinted on my braIn. He excelled also as Conrad and had every quality necessary for that role too. Simply one of the BEST....ever!!! And I agree. If only he were out there now. It's a certain charisma that's just not there yet in some of the newer dancers coming up. Can it be learned or acquired in time? I wonder.

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The French school is the antithesis of virtuosity to the point it's practically punished.

One reads the reports of Alu, in supporting roles, overshadowing the male leads in Romeo&Juliet and Giselle at the Opera and wonders how long he will stay. It sounds like ABT could use a showman!

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Sterling Baca is going to the Pennsylvania Ballet (under Angel Corella) as a PRINCIPAL. It seems he was being groomed for bigger and better at ABT but he was offered bigger elsewhere--and sooner.

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Although I've been going to the ballet for decades, I'll never forget the first time I saw Corsaire in 1999 with Jose Manuel Carreno as Ali. That was a WOW moment for me. And like abatt, Malakhov is imprinted on my memory as Lankedem. These 2 casts just haven't cut it. And tonight, June 2 (a reprise of opening night cast) had many, many vacant seats.

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I thought that overall the "short cast" on Thursday evening was better than the cast of Wed night. Cornejo defied gravity in very high jumps that covered an enormous amount of space. He was an excellent Conrad. Cirio was a very impressive Ali - he, too, is a very high and fast jumper. His spinning skills are not as strong as his jumping skills, based on what I've seen so far. It doesn't matter whether Simkin is Lankadem or Ali - he pretty much does the same schtick, which is fine with me in this ballet. I thought Medora was a good role for Kochetkova because of her strong technique, although i generally prefer a taller woman as Medora.Lane was a lovely Gulnare, but Abrera was a gorgeous and lyrical Gulnare on Wed evening.

Speaking of Gulnare, why didn't they cast Boylston in that role. She was terrific in her debut during the last run. I suspect during the next run of Corsaire we will probably see Boylston as Medora. Seems like Boylston has two weeks off - not cast in either Corsaire or Golden Cockerel.

A word about Gabe Shayer. Considering how young he is and that he hasn't had many lead roles, his debut as Lankadem this week was impressive. I hope he (and a few others) get promoted to soloist soon.

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A word about Gabe Shayer. Considering how young he is and that he hasn't had many lead roles, his debut as Lankadem this week was impressive. I hope he (and a few others) get promoted to soloist soon.

I was there Wednesday matinee.

I thought Gabe Shayer was an excellent Birbanto as well. Lots of charisma, and really seemed to be enjoying himself.

Dealt with a minor snafu with ease (his headscarf flew off).

He's short but a strong partner. Unlike Joo Won Ahn (Lankedem) who was fine in his solos, if a bit cautious, but looked unable to get Devon Teuscher as high as desired in lifts and then, dramatically, FELL on top of Veronika Part when carrying her off while running away from the pirates after the failed attempt by Birbanto on Conrad's life. Fortunately she seemed to be uninjured. In fact I think she danced with greater freedom after the fall!

I was very impressed by Devon Teuscher and I thought the Odalisques were uniformly good although the tempo did become somewhat stretched to allow for the triple pirouettes: They were Gemma Bond, Zhong-Jing Fang and Kaho Ogawa.

I wouldn't have particularly pegged Whiteside as an Ali, though his height obviously made him useful in the partnering segments with Part, but he was excellent. One bobble in a turn but he rescued it to great effect. Had charisma to spare and really nice jumping passages.

Finally Cory and Veronika have developed a sense of romance between them on stage. He is still not the best principal I've seen but he was ardent, and danced well. Veronika looked a bit insecure to me at moments early on but warmed up as the ballet progressed and was lovely on the whole.

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I had hoped that Sterling Baca might have been groomed for a future dancer that's versatile and strong and good looking! Alas, guess that's not to be.

It is indeed a loss for ABT and us all, I hope they won't loose anymore talent within the corps! It seems quite puzzling to me that they have so many young talent within the corps as well, here is one of them whom my grandchild has been following whom we don't seem to hear of? McCune? <

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I saw the Thursday evening performance and thought the main fireworks and excitement came from Cornejo and Simkin. I would like to like Kochetkova, but just when you think she'll push the limits and astonish us - she doesn't.

I see a lot of discussion here from people yearning for some sizzle and excitement from this ballet. I have a hunch you will find it next March in Philadelphia, when Corella stages Le Corsaire for the Pennsylvania Ballet. I say that having seen his production of Don Q a few months ago and being stunned at the several young dancers he has entrusted with lead roles. Corsaire just seems like a natural for them and I suspect Corella will make the most of this opportunity to show them off.

http://paballet.org/le-corsaire

Subscriptions are on sale now. I don't know when singles will go on sale.

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Sterling Baca is going to the Pennsylvania Ballet (under Angel Corella) as a PRINCIPAL. It seems he was being groomed for bigger and better at ABT but he was offered bigger elsewhere--and sooner.

I think this is subjective. "Bigger elsewhere?" He is going to a regional company a third the size of ABT. I agree that he will get some great experience, but I would wager that unless Corella can come up with some money to grow the company, Baca will move on.

I saw the Thursday evening performance and thought the main fireworks and excitement came from Cornejo and Simkin. I would like to like Kochetkova, but just when you think she'll push the limits and astonish us - she doesn't.

I see a lot of discussion here from people yearning for some sizzle and excitement from this ballet. I have a hunch you will find it next March in Philadelphia, when Corella stages Le Corsaire for the Pennsylvania Ballet. I say that having seen his production of Don Q a few months ago and being stunned at the several young dancers he has entrusted with lead roles. Corsaire just seems like a natural for them and I suspect Corella will make the most of this opportunity to show them off.

http://paballet.org/le-corsaire

Subscriptions are on sale now. I don't know when singles will go on sale.

I am a bit concerned as to how a company of 32 dancers will do a run of nine shows of this ballet. Obviously, the second company and school will be used. It should be interesting.

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I am a bit concerned as to how a company of 32 dancers will do a run of nine shows of this ballet. Obviously, the second company and school will be used. It should be interesting.

Don't underestimate the great work by regional companies with 30-40 dancers - Washington, Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Colorado, many others. They fill in with studio company members, pre-professional students, etc. Principals and soloists take multiple roles. They rent costumes and sets from major companies and each other. There is wonderful ballet all over the country that is worth seeing.

EDITED TO ADD: As most here recognize, with the near-complete disappearance of classical ballet from PBS and the sharp decline in touring by major companies like ABT and NYCB (at least compared to the 70s and 80s), these regional companies keep classical ballet alive across the country - and they provide paid professional performance opportunities for many dancers.

Edited by California
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I definitely do not underestimate the work by regional companies. I am a long time PA Ballet fan, and because of my travel, I am able to attend every Boston Ballet production. Although I consider Boston Ballet to be a step above the label of "regional," with over 50 dancers and 10-15 in the second company, I have seen the toll that large-scale productions can take on the principals and soloists who do double and triple duty.

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I saw the Saturday matinee and it was mostly a huge improvement over Thursday night. Simkin, as Ali, was beyond astonishing. We have come to expect his amazing tricks, but he is outdoing himself. In the second act Pas de Trois, he did a series of four revoltade (the 540) on the diagonal - I've seen him do one or two, but four (!) and one right after each other, pow-pow-pow. Turns, leaps, all seemed to have extra embellishments I haven't seen before. Not a great place for Heymann as Conrad, who was fine, but paled next to Simkin in fire power. (Cornejo would have been a better sparring partner.)

Murphy and Abrera were Medora and Gulnare - both seemed much more secure than Kochetkova and Lane Thursday. I thought Gabe Shayer as Lankendem was quite good, especially in the PdD with Abrera in Act I. His short stature makes him an odd choice for that role, I suppose.

The audience seemed well-sold - 80%? Julie Kent and her daughter watched the first two acts from the orchestra.

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I saw the Saturday matinee and it was mostly a huge improvement over Thursday night. Simkin, as Ali, was beyond astonishing. We have come to expect his amazing tricks, but he is outdoing himself. In the second act Pas de Trois, he did a series of four revoltade (the 540) on the diagonal - I've seen him do one or two, but four (!) and one right after each other, pow-pow-pow. Turns, leaps, all seemed to have extra embellishments I haven't seen before. Not a great place for Heymann as Conrad, who was fine, but paled next to Simkin in fire power. (Cornejo would have been a better sparring partner.)

Murphy and Abrera were Medora and Gulnare - both seemed much more secure than Kochetkova and Lane Thursday. I thought Gabe Shayer as Lankendem was quite good, especially in the PdD with Abrera in Act I. His short stature makes him an odd choice for that role, I suppose.

The audience seemed well-sold - 80%? Julie Kent and her daughter watched the first two acts from the orchestra.

Simkin was something! Seriously, he is amazing at what he does.

I thoroughly enjoyed today's performance. I thought all of the leads (Murphy, Heymann, Abrera, Simkin, Shayer, Scott) were all fantastic, and they received a standing ovation from the crowd.

I want to specially mention Stella Abrera. I love her dancing. She has the most beautiful port de bras and dances with such a lightness. When she lands, she never makes a sound! She is just beautiful to watch, and I think I'm going to have to get a ticket for her Aurora, despite the fact that it's on a work night.

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I want to specially mention Stella Abrera. I love her dancing. She has the most beautiful port de bras and dances with such a lightness. When she lands, she never makes a sound! She is just beautiful to watch, and I think I'm going to have to get a ticket for her Aurora, despite the fact that it's on a work night.

Welcome to the unofficial Stella Abrera Fan Club, Kaysta!

You may know this, but in case you don't, this is the short version: Stella was about to be promoted some ten years ago but then got injured. She was out for one and a half years. When she was fully healed, she became invisible to the powers that be and other dancers were promoted ahead of her. Many of us feared that she would never get her chance. Now, thankfully, after ten years of devotion, we are no longer deprived of seeing her exquisite dancing.

Her Aurora performance is, I believe, her 20th anniversary celebration with the company, so let's hope the Met sells out to standing room only. Do come.

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Sterling Baca is going to the Pennsylvania Ballet (under Angel Corella) as a PRINCIPAL. It seems he was being groomed for bigger and better at ABT but he was offered bigger elsewhere--and sooner.

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With regards to an earlier mention about Sterling Baca going to "bigger" with Pennsylvania Ballet, I should have qualified that by saying I imagine going from Corps to Principal seems "bigger" to him, albeit a much smaller company. Young dancers don't often have a lot of patience and want to climb the ranks quickly, sometimes too quickly. I bet he had a bright future at ABT.

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But sometimes going out to another smaller company gives you a brighter future, such as Matthew Golding who moved to Corella Ballet and then to Dutch National Ballet, and now he is a principal at Royal Ballet. We can never tell what path should be better or not.

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With regards to an earlier mention about Sterling Baca going to "bigger" with Pennsylvania Ballet, I should have qualified that by saying I imagine going from Corps to Principal seems "bigger" to him, albeit a much smaller company. Young dancers don't often have a lot of patience and want to climb the ranks quickly, sometimes too quickly. I bet he had a bright future at ABT.

I am not sure if "being young" is completely true? Let's not forget some of those whom have been at ABT corps, after waiting for chances to "climb the ranks" and never saw the light, if my memory serves me correct Eric Tamm, Luis Ribagorda and a few others have moved on after waiting for a longer period, I would think a company like ABT hire only the best in the business (from the schools or jr. companies), so I am sure it is quite disappointing to many of those talents end up sitting vs being nurtured for the next level. Even Jared Matthews whom I thought was being groomed to become principal, sadly we lost him to HB :( I do have to wonder how these dancers feel when they wait for chances to come, then suddenly see the company hire from outside: Cirio, Whiteside etc. now take their spotlight vs training/grooming the talent within?

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