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ABT Sleeping Beauty


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I am planning to see one performance--tues eve, Wed matinee or eve, or Thurs eve. Which cast should I see? Which cast is the least desirable or does it matter b/c it is an extravaganza? Your opinion is appreciated.

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I am planning to see one performance--tues eve, Wed matinee or eve, or Thurs eve. Which cast should I see? Which cast is the least desirable or does it matter b/c it is an extravaganza? Your opinion is appreciated.

Personally I would go for Tuesday eve, can't go wrong with the great cast IMO, Gillian is Aurora and Stella as Lilac! Or Thursday with Stella, finally, Aurora! Something many of us have been waiting for! :flowers:

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If how strongly a ballerina balances is your criterion for Aurora, then Seo is not a good choice, but I thought that she danced very beautifully as Aurora last year throughout--really differentiating the three acts--and showed an especially engaging crisp classical purity in her dancing with Stearns in the final act. This year she has Hammoudi as a partner and I can't say how that will work. At this point he doesn't have Stearns' experience and that would be a question mark for me.

I consider Murphy as close to a 'sure thing' as ABT has, though I know she had a minor injury early in the season. I enjoyed her Aurora very much last year. Abrera and Trenary are both Aurora debuts--well, Trenary has danced it once on tour (one fan reported on that performance and liked it a lot). It's a very challenging role and seeing a debut could be exciting. Both are beautiful dancers as I'm sure you know. Abrera obviously the more experienced one (she is celebrating her 20th year with the company). Aurora is, I believe, Trenary's first big classical role. I personally would be happy to attend any of these performances, but my expectations might be a little different for each one.

All of the casts also seem to feature excellent dancers in secondary/tertiary roles, though different ones. Regarding those roles: Part is a gorgeous Lilac Fairy, but dances a different (simpler) variation than the others who have been dancing an extremely intricate one that Ratmansky and his collaborators found/reconstructed. Don't know what other dancers will do this year, but I'm pretty sure Part will still be doing the simpler one. That said, I found Part by far and away the best Lilac Fairy of three I saw last spring. Similarly, of the men dancing the prince at the performances you mention, Gomez, could not be less suited to the super intricate male variation reconstructed for this production. (It's all about footwork...) I am not-so-secretly hoping Ratmansky has decided that it would be in the spirit of Petipa to give Gomez a different 'traditional' variation that is better for him. But with Gomez you DO get the strongest most reliable partner (by far...and more) as well as a gracious and princely presence -- qualities that are even more important to a great Sleeping Beauty -- last act in particular -- than the one male variation.

On the extravaganza front: I think the weakest part of this production is the lack of truly magical scenic transformations and the sometimes lackluster drops. The costumes are altogether fantastical and often beautiful.

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I am planning to see one performance--tues eve, Wed matinee or eve, or Thurs eve. Which cast should I see? Which cast is the least desirable or does it matter b/c it is an extravaganza? Your opinion is appreciated.

Forgot to say -- whatever performance you go to, please share your thoughts!

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Thank you both for your recommendations. They were very helpful. Based on your responses I'll aim for Murphy or Abrera. I wish I could see all the casts. What fun it would be to see different casts on succeeding days as some of you have done for other ballets this season. I will report back after the performance.

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Just saw this video posted on ABT website: <

Sad to see that Lane is once again dismissed as if she doesn't exist as Aurora! The video images shows her dancing but there is no interview of her, it clearly shows favoritism from within the artistic or board, IMO Lane deserves the equal time vs a new comer even out of respect for all her years of beautiful work! IMO :(

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Personally I would go for Tuesday eve, can't go wrong with the great cast IMO, Gillian is Aurora and Stella as Lilac! Or Thursday with Stella, finally, Aurora! Something many of us have been waiting for! :flowers:

I'm definitely going to Stella's Aurora--wouldn't miss it for the world. And she's dancing with Marcelo. If you can go to only one SB, this is the one I'd recommend.

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Sad to see that Lane is once again dismissed as if she doesn't exist as Aurora! The video images shows her dancing but there is no interview of her, it clearly shows favoritism from within the artistic or board

I wouldn't read too much into it. I think performance footage makes a greater impression than a talking head anyway, Boylston is in the same position as Lane. Seo is the one who ends up ignored, so to speak.

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I wouldn't read too much into it. I think performance footage makes a greater impression than a talking head anyway, Boylston is in the same position as Lane. Seo is the one who ends up ignored, so to speak.

Thank you volcanohunter for reminding me of the other Auroras: Boylston and Seo too! I mentioned Lane as I have seen her placed aside for so many years, after all her beautiful hard work and dedication giving us such memorable dancing! :flowers:

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I'm definitely going to Stella's Aurora--wouldn't miss it for the world. And she's dancing with Marcelo. If you can go to only one SB, this is the one I'd recommend.

I will also be there and that night they're celebrating her 20th anniversary, so it should be quite a treat!

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I will also be there and that night they're celebrating her 20th anniversary, so it should be quite a treat!

I'm so glad you added that, ABT fan! I'd forgotten about it when I wrote the recommendation. It's going to be quite a night!

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I am planning to fly up for 3 days to see 4 performances (Murphy, Trenary, Seo, and Abrera) as consolation for skipping a trip to Russia this year. I was going to just see Trenary and Abrera but decided to add the other two performances since I will be there anyway. Maybe I will run into some people.

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After two delayed flights I was able to make it to the Met by 7pm in plenty of time for Tuesday's performance with Gillian Murphy and Cory Stearns. I didn't think I would.

It is really hard to know what I think on this very first experience with Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty. I will probably figure out how I feel as I see more performances. I know the steps are not easier but to someone used to more "traditional" (the norm) choreography it looks easier. I know it is not from reading what dancers have said. It is just different.

For the most part I feel the story and much of the choreography is similar to what we all know and love, but there are a lot of differences too. I was ready to have the scales lifted from my eyes and feel like it was a revelation to see what is closer to the 19th century, but I was actually surprised how much was very similar to today's more traditional performances. Yes, more fancy footwork for Desire, changements in Aurora's first variation, low arabesques, etc. Many differences but a shocking amount of similarities, in my personal opinion.

There is a sweetness and more "loving" poses between Aurora and Desire but there is also a little bit of imperial grandeur that is lost also as a result, so for me it is give and take, pros and cons concerning Ratmansky's SB. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it, and I will probably like it more as I view it more.

Murphy was nice but a few things looked somewhat simplified and/or omitted compared to the short clips online of Vishneva. I especially missed the boureeing up to the prince into arabesque to kiss him. She didn't do it to the music at least.

My favorite was Abrera as Lilac Fairy. Can't wait to see her Aurora! But I see why historical accounts conflict about whether the Lilac Fairy was a dancing role or not. She doesn't dance as much as traditional productions, and I expected that, but now I understand why some accounts claim she didn't while others say she did.

I know opinions are sharply divided about Misty Copeland. I have to say this was not the Florine of one's dreams. I feel her arms are much too stiff and her smile is too much like mugging. But she does cause quite a stir in the audience, and I love when audiences get excited.

I had seen Cirio many times in Florida at galas when he was with Boston Ballet and always been impressed but I have to say I was disappointed in his Bluebird. I was expecting more elevation and excitement. More flowing arms at the beginning of the coda would have been nice (to imitate flying).

Overall, a nice night but I was extremely tired from traveling/waiting all day (delays). So not an earth shattering night at the ballet. Just pleasant.

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I'm glad I'm not the first to report on last night's performance, which I attended. I agree with much of what Birdsall said about the choreography and the dancers. After reading the posts here from last spring's premiere run, I expected extravaganza and spectacle and I got it. For the most part the costumes, wigs, beards, and sheer numbers of adults and children on stage was overkill. The huge Met stage felt cramped. The only crowd scene I liked was in Act One with the horseshoe-shaped garlands--very effective. The rest of the crowd scenes did not work for me although I appreciate all the work that went into staging them. I did think the 19th century style ballerina costumes, with knee-length skirts, complemented the 19th-century style choreography, and their skirts were exquisite. The male dancers' costumes detracted from their line. The costumes of the 4 princes at Aurora's birthday ruined my appreciation of their dance. Hammoudi, Forster, Hoven, and Zhurbin were all terrific as the princes but I wish they were just wearing vests and tights so I could see them!

The dancers--for me the best was Stella Abrera as Lilac Fairy in Act One--so creamy and dramatic, she owned the stage. Also outstanding was the Diamond Fairy (program said Devon Teuscher), whose performance sparkled like a diamond. Also Catherine Hurlin as the White Cat--absolutely delightful and well complemented by Alexie Agoudin as Puss in Boots. Less spectacular but okay were Misty as Princess Florine and Jeffrey Cirio as the Bluebird. He had trouble with the first of the two lifts and I could see him struggle to carry her across the stage. His costume also detracted from the image of a bluebird--it was top heavy with puffed sleeves and a ruffled front and although he is light on his feet he doesn't get much air and the costume didn't help. I would have liked to see Simkin in the role--I saw a clip of him and he was spectacular. Misty was okay but not stage-commanding. But she does have a huge following who roared at her entrance and when she was done.

As Aurora Gillian was technically spotless as always, especially in balancing on single point with her four courtiers. She also stepped out of the shell perfectly. Cory was elegant--so nice to see a tall male dancer--and a supportive partner, especially in the repetitive falls into backbends in his arms. But I didn't feel anything magical in their performance. Maybe because it's the end of the season and Gillian has been carrying this company. Maybe because by Act 3 the overkill of the crowd scenes and the "shtick" of some of the Ratmansky choreography broke the spell for me,but I didn't feel the magic of the intimacy in the pdd that I was hoping for. Not to take anything away from Gillian's and Cory's performance but when I see her as Odette and Odile it is magic.

I don't think I'll see this ballet again. Too much spectacle and not enough magical ballet, but I am grateful I got to see it once.

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The only crowd scene I liked was in Act One with the horseshoe-shaped garlands--very effective.

Very interesting -- this was the scene that people most complained about last year as being overstuffed and crowded. I'll be curious to see whether they've scaled this one down a bit to make it more effective.

I'll also be curious to hear (not seeing them this time) whether Lane and Cornejo do the fish dives this year or whether they do the alternate choreo as they did last year.

And curious to see whether there are any other tweaks in the production since last spring.

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What was the alternate to fish dives?

The Russians tend to fall backward with Prince Desire catching them as they fall backwards. I was wondering if that's what Lane and Cornejo did.

They do what is apparently in the original dance notation. It's not the "fall backward" thing and it's not exactly like anything I've seen on various DVDs. Aurora stays upright, I believe, and I think there may have been some turning and changes of arm positions. I'm sorry my memory is failing me! This is when it would be nice to have a DVD of the Ratmansky SB with the various alternative choreography included as "extras" (as I think Macaulay once suggested in one of his reviews). The alternative to the fish dives was really lovely, though, and I definitely preferred it to fish dives that are not well-executed.

P.S. The one thing I love about the Ratmansky Act III pas de deux is that, in the part where Aurora sits down and then rises into an arabesque, she puts all of her weight on her supporting foot, which stays on pointe the entire time (rather than rolling up onto pointe, which is presumably much easier). This is the moment I mean, with Moira Shearer executing it beautifully:

https://youtu.be/m3yxaoIxwk0?t=4m22s

In ABT's old production of Sleeping Beauty, it was left up to the ballerina's discretion if she wanted to do this (I remember Part would usually elect to do so). In all the casts I've seen in the Ratmansky version, the ballerina has put all of her weight on the foot, on pointe. It's a small detail, but an exquisite one in my opinion. A kind of ultimate "ballerina moment."

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"As Aurora Gillian was technically spotless as always, especially in balancing on single point with her four courtiers. She also stepped out of the shell perfectly. Cory was elegant--so nice to see a tall male dancer--and a supportive partner, especially in the repetitive falls into backbends in his arms. But I didn't feel anything magical in their performance. Maybe because it's the end of the season and Gillian has been carrying this company. Maybe because by Act 3 the overkill of the crowd scenes and the "shtick" of some of the Ratmansky choreography broke the spell for me,but I didn't feel the magic of the intimacy in the pdd that I was hoping for. Not to take anything away from Gillian's and Cory's performance but when I see her as Odette and Odile it is magic."

I was wondering what you meant by Gillian has been carrying this company.

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I cannot remember if this lecture was mentioned here on Ballet Alert. Russian scholar and ballet historian Tim Scholl discussing the Ratmansky and Vikharev reconstructions, with some video from both productions, at the University of Michigan before the ABT performances in Detroit. It's a bit over an hour, but very worth it.

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"As Aurora Gillian was technically spotless as always, especially in balancing on single point with her four courtiers. She also stepped out of the shell perfectly. Cory was elegant--so nice to see a tall male dancer--and a supportive partner, especially in the repetitive falls into backbends in his arms. But I didn't feel anything magical in their performance. Maybe because it's the end of the season and Gillian has been carrying this company. Maybe because by Act 3 the overkill of the crowd scenes and the "shtick" of some of the Ratmansky choreography broke the spell for me,but I didn't feel the magic of the intimacy in the pdd that I was hoping for. Not to take anything away from Gillian's and Cory's performance but when I see her as Odette and Odile it is magic."

I was wondering what you meant by Gillian has been carrying this company.

What I should have said is that this is my opinion. IMO she is the most accomplished prima ballerina in the company, stellar in so many lead roles that she can be depended on to deliver an outstanding performance and attract ballet goers to performances in which she has the leading role. And I think KevinMcKenzie depends on her too to fulfill these expectations. Everyone to their own opinion on this board, of course.

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Intermission update on Trenary. If there was ever a star is born moment at ABT, this is it. She IS Aurora. Spectacular Rose Adagio. Incredibly warm stage presence and nuanced acting. The best I've ever seen the variations look in the Ratmansky version. Huge response from the audience, though many appear to be newbies. More to come later!

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What I should have said is that this is my opinion. IMO she is the most accomplished prima ballerina in the company, stellar in so many lead roles that she can be depended on to deliver an outstanding performance and attract ballet goers to performances in which she has the leading role. And I think KevinMcKenzie depends on her too to fulfill these expectations. Everyone to their own opinion on this board, of course.

Of course, everyone has their own opinion. I just wanted clarification because I think casting has been fairly equitable this season. Of course, everyone to their own opinion on that one, too.

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Intermission update on Trenary. If there was ever a star is born moment at ABT, this is it. She IS Aurora. Spectacular Rose Adagio. Incredibly warm stage presence and nuanced acting. The best I've ever seen the variations look in the Ratmansky version. Huge response from the audience, though many appear to be newbies. More to come later!

Thanks for this report. I was just this second looking at a photo of Trenary rehearsing Aurora with Kolpakova. Very excited to read about rest of performance. (I tend to think excitement from 'newbies' as well as fans can be a good sign that a dancer really has the 'it' factor.)

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