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2017 Met Season Prediction

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[quote name="mimsyb" post="371391" timestamp=

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As to "Raymonda". She has a lot of friends and they ALL have variations! It would need some serious editing and also serious marketing in order for it to sell tickets. It is a long ballet; very long.

That's exactly what happened with ABT's last presentation of Raymonda...serious cutting. That production was "rented" from Helsinki (?) for only one season; it was staged by Anna Marie Holmes. ABT doesn't "own" a Raymonda at present. The only previous full-length ABT Raymonda was the Nureyev version of the mid-70s.

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Ratmansky's Don Quixote for Dutch National/PNB has a distinctively quirky tone, gorgeous character dances (they don't blur together as in many stagings), a lot of variety, and gorgeous costumes.

But I found it rather heartless--Ratmansky pokes a little too much fun at the characters to allow one to actually care about them. The vision scene comes off as comical rather than beautiful. So, I think that ABT's Russophile contingent that like being swept away by a star in a familiar setting wouldn't really go for it.

Neither the book nor the choreography of ABT's current version is as tight (and, oh, those gypsy costumes), but it has a heart and moments of real beauty in the vision scene.

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...but count me in if Ratmansky wants to give ABT a Paquita or Raymonda.

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ABT would be lucky, IMO, to get the Ratmansky "Don Q." I find it much less heartless and caricaturish than most Don Q productions, where almost all of them are two-dimensional throw-away characters. (The Cuban National Ballet's Don is an exception, where there's a lot of genuine affection towards him, but he's still a peripheral character.) The opening scene which establishes Don Quixote and Sancho Panza's characters is about ten minutes long. In Seattle we had two casts with completely different dynamics, and an especially brilliant turn by Jonathan Porretta as Ganache, who was also a terrific Sancho Panza.

Kitri's two friends are meaty parts, and they have solos in the Grand Pas + 2. There are lovely demi-caractere roles in the acting troupe in the second act. The dream scene is rather lovely when done straight, and Kitri gets to keep some of her character, like a higher version of herself, not some cipher that's she's not like at all. Peter Boal said that the soloists were begging to be matadors, because of the grand moments of dancing with the bright-pink lined capes.

What I dislike about the DVD with Dutch National Ballet is that there's so much going on, and the camera has to choose. It's so much better to see when you choose yourself.

...but count me in if Ratmansky wants to give ABT a Paquita or Raymonda.

There may be a "Paquita" available as a fire sale, now that Zelensky has stomped through Munich.

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Since we are talking about the future, and there will be soon a second generational transition in the roster of the principal ballerinas (Gillian, Part, Stella are 38yo, Misty 34, I think), I thought about posting these clips here, with the hope of bringing new ideas for the renovation phase.

There is no latin female principal in the abt roster, for the 1st time in many years....so here are a couple of suggestions

1) Maya PiƱeiro, Currently a Prinicipal in Pennsylvania Ballet

2) Estheysis Menendez, who recently defected from the Cuban National Ballet and is currently living in the US

Menendez ending of the 2nd Act (8min in this clip) is glorious.....and her technical display in the black swan coda (-1:00 in the second clips) stunning

https://www.facebook.com/adrian.masvidal/videos/1086759941367665/

Both in their early 20s, I believe. Together with Trenary, Brandt..maybe Waski and Bethea......they could bring back the golden years of the company

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Since we are talking about the future, and there will be soon a second generational transition in the roster of the principal ballerinas (Gillian, Part, Stella are 38yo, Misty 34, I think)....company

Poor Stella & Misty! They just became Principals and are already lumped into the Imminent-Retirements Train!

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I agree that ABT might need to import one female principal. Maybe, a hispanic one and probably someone to replace Gillian/Abrera/Part type roles. However, I believe their female talent pipeline is more promising than their male counterparts. Swan Lake last night made it clear that there is a generational gap. Gillian was on an entirely different level from the rest of the cast. I think the best thing ABT can do is dump Kevin McKenize and bring in new leadership.

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I think that the talent problem will self-correct within the next three years.

The crux of it was that a disproportionate amount of its recent buzzy ballerinas over the past 5 years were on the taller side (Murphy, Part, Wiles, Semionova) or mid-height but requiring a commanding partner (Kent, Vishneva). Both kinds required tall men who were talented partners (which ABT lacked).

Provided that McKenzie doesn't replace his oldest ballerinas with other tall women (or hire in new tall women), the need for those problematic taller men will disappear. All of the current tall women are at a common age for pregnancy or early retirement. And the current crop of buzzy ballerinas are on the shorter side.

If Trenary and Brandt were the next two elevations, suddenly Shayer, Scott, Cirio, and several of those mid-height corps guys we never discuss would begin requiring a second look (and there would be a far larger pool to draw from afield as well).

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Looking over the ticket sales this past week, it looks to me as if ABT should program two weeks of Swan Lake, one at the beginning of the season and one at the end. Those of us who think this would be a step backward might take into account that from all appearances the general public seems to have no end of people who want to see SL. On the plus side for balletomanes, it would give Stella, Sarah, and the up-and-coming soloists the opportunity to try their wings.

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ABT would be lucky, IMO, to get the Ratmansky "Don Q." I find it much less heartless and caricaturish than most Don Q productions, where almost all of them are two-dimensional throw-away characters. (The Cuban National Ballet's Don is an exception, where there's a lot of genuine affection towards him, but he's still a peripheral character.) The opening scene which establishes Don Quixote and Sancho Panza's characters is about ten minutes long. In Seattle we had two casts with completely different dynamics, and an especially brilliant turn by Jonathan Porretta as Ganache, who was also a terrific Sancho Panza.

Kitri's two friends are meaty parts, and they have solos in the Grand Pas + 2. There are lovely demi-caractere roles in the acting troupe in the second act. The dream scene is rather lovely when done straight, and Kitri gets to keep some of her character, like a higher version of herself, not some cipher that's she's not like at all. Peter Boal said that the soloists were begging to be matadors, because of the grand moments of dancing with the bright-pink lined capes.

...

There may be a "Paquita" available as a fire sale, now that Zelensky has stomped through Munich.

I agree -- Ratmansky's Don Q is a really juicy production with great detail. It's a much more sympathetic portrayal of the Don himself, and of Gamache. He's still a comic character as the unsuccessful suitor, but like Alain in Ashton's Fille, he has moments of emotional truth.

And the vision scene is clearly related to the rest of the ballet -- a big trick for that kind of work.

Having said that, though, ABT might make a really smart decision if they pick up the Munich production of Paquita.

(ps -- although I know that "Ganache" is a typo, I do love to think of that character as a bowl of frosting!)

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Looking over the ticket sales this past week, it looks to me as if ABT should program two weeks of Swan Lake, one at the beginning of the season and one at the end. Those of us who think this would be a step backward might take into account that from all appearances the general public seems to have no end of people who want to see SL. On the plus side for balletomanes, it would give Stella, Sarah, and the up-and-coming soloists the opportunity to try their wings.

An interesting idea, but a real budget buster -- you would be doubling the technical fees, and playing hay with rehearsal schedules.

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An interesting idea, but a real budget buster -- you would be doubling the technical fees, and playing hay with rehearsal schedules.

Not this season. I mean instead of something else next season. Too bad for those of us, I included, who have a long wish list, but having seen how empty the house has been the first three weeks of the season, I'm thinking of helping to spread the gospel and bring in more ticket sales.

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Not this season. I mean instead of something else next season. Too bad for those of us, I included, who have a long wish list, but having seen how empty the house has been the first three weeks of the season, I'm thinking of helping to spread the gospel and bring in more ticket sales.

Perhaps too many people come just to see the current "stars". Ticket prices are high, so it precludes many from "trying" either an unknown ballet or a somewhat unknown dancer. If one were to cast Misty in more works, I'm sure the seats would fill more readily. It's a shame really. But sometimes putting all of one's eggs into one basket makes the basket very heavy.

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I think that the talent problem will self-correct within the next three years.

The crux of it was that a disproportionate amount of its recent buzzy ballerinas over the past 5 years were on the taller side (Murphy, Part, Wiles, Semionova) or mid-height but requiring a commanding partner (Kent, Vishneva). Both kinds required tall men who were talented partners (which ABT lacked).

Provided that McKenzie doesn't replace his oldest ballerinas with other tall women (or hire in new tall women), the need for those problematic taller men will disappear. All of the current tall women are at a common age for pregnancy or early retirement. And the current crop of buzzy ballerinas are on the shorter side.

If Trenary and Brandt were the next two elevations, suddenly Shayer, Scott, Cirio, and several of those mid-height corps guys we never discuss would begin requiring a second look (and there would be a far larger pool to draw from afield as well).

Those of us who love the special beauty of tall dancers would be very disappointed if this were the only solution to ABT's talent problems.

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Seems like they've given up on grooming the next great Swan Queen... I believe this is one role that requires tall pricipal dancers... or maybe that's just my preference.

However, they will have many promising Kitris in near future! I also hope they can renew their DonQ production.

I have a question unrelated to this subject-didn't ABT perform Jewels many many years ago? It's not on my wishlist because I'm happy with NYCB's performace but I just want to know whether my memory is correct... I am pretty sure that ABT performed it about 8 yrs ago or something... or not. Maybe I'm mistaken!

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I agree with you, alexL. SL looks much more impressive on tall dancers. That is not the trend at ABT, where they are now enlisting short women like Copeland and Kochetkova to dance SL.

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Watching Swan Lake yesterday, if ABT develops their young dancers correctly, I don't think there is a talent shortage.

Yes, there are not a whole lot of "ready to go stars" dancing right now, but if they continue to develop folks like Gorak (please promote him next year and give him more work, he's ready!), Shayer, Royal, Trenary, Brandt, Shevchenko, Waski, and Hurlin I think the future could be bright.

I really hope the 3 men listed above get a promotion at the end of this year.

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Waski stands out to me even when she's standing on the background and I hope she gets more soloist opportunity. She also seems quite tall!
The current soloists can be great in roles like Aurora, Giselle, Nikiya, or Juliet but just not as Odette.

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I think the real problem might be more "does ABT have the resources to turn talent into world-class superstars"? I don't think that the current crop of talent is at the caliber many of us, and others, believe ABT dancers should be at. The right coaches should ideally be able to get them there. The lack of coaching might be responsible for the lackluster progress in many of the newest principals. I think Georgina Parkinson was a huge loss to the company. When we talk about Gillian and Stella, its important to note that Parkinson had a huge role in their development. Selling out the Met (3,300ish seats) requires big stars of an international caliber, so ABT needs to get on board with developing talent.

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Perhaps too many people come just to see the current "stars". Ticket prices are high, so it precludes many from "trying" either an unknown ballet or a somewhat unknown dancer. If one were to cast Misty in more works, I'm sure the seats would fill more readily. It's a shame really. But sometimes putting all of one's eggs into one basket makes the basket very heavy.

I agree that people come to see the current "stars," with the single exception of Swan Lake. Swan Lake seems to draw people in no matter who is dancing, which is why I think that if that ballet were performed more times than a single week allows, it would bring in ticket sales and give aspiring O/Os a chance to get noticed.

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Those of us who love the special beauty of tall dancers would be very disappointed if this were the only solution to ABT's talent problems.

I did an experiment one year when I went to see Part dancing SL and then a shorter dancer, perhaps Xiomara Reyes, but I don't remember for certain. I especially loved seeing those long legs of Part unfold. And sure enough, who's the dancer who most appeals to me at City Ballet--Maria Kowroski, with her gorgeous long legs. I would hate to lose that at ABT.

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I have a question unrelated to this subject-didn't ABT perform Jewels many many years ago? It's not on my wishlist because I'm happy with NYCB's performace but I just want to know whether my memory is correct... I am pretty sure that ABT performed it about 8 yrs ago or something... or not. Maybe I'm mistaken!

ABT hasn't done Jewels, it's not in their repertory archive. however, some ABT dancers may have done Jewels with other companies. I remember Herrera did Rubies with another company.

Selling out the Met (3,300ish seats) requires big stars of an international caliber, so ABT needs to get on board with developing talent.

The Met has 4,000 seats, 3800 seats and 200 standing rooms to be exact. It's more than twice the capacity of many major European opera houses.

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I think if/when ABT redoes their current production of Swan Lake, which I don't think is that far off, they should run it for a week and a half. The 2nd half of the later week could be filled with a mixed-rep bill. I'd be interested to see if the placement of Swan Lake in their larger season (sooner rather than later or later over sooner) affects ticket sales for other productions. Maybe they could collect e-mails/etc and then maybe offer SL ticket buyers a discount on other productions. They could offer anyone that buys a ticket for SL 25% off tickets for productions with less ticket sale momentum. I also think it would be a fun experiment if McKenize pulled a few of the ballerinas from across the plaza. Imagine a SL with Mearns/Gomes or Don Q with Bouder/Simkin. It seems that many of the NYCB ballerinas are interested in some exploration of major classical works and might enthusiastically sign up for a guest performance here and there. It might also let ABT tap into NYCB audience members that might not be as excited about ABT performances. I don't think that McKenize should solely rely on NYCB talent, but maybe a total of 3 shows might generate buzz and publicity. Also, I wonder if the Met Opera model where the productions rotate rather randomly, each night is a different production instead of each week, might work better for ABT? On a side note, I think McKenize should make a play at getting Chase Finley to jump ship to ABT. He could fill the tall male principals ranks quite nicely.

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