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World Premiere of Whipped Cream by Ratmansky

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26 minutes ago, California said:

...Copeland rode in on the yak to thunderous.....

 

I can hear the screams now.  That procession is wildly cheered, regardless of who is dancing; with Misty atop the yak, it must be doubled or tripled in intensity. 

 

Thanks so much for the report.

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I'm going to the Saturday matinee, part of my subscription. Since I don't seek her out, this will be my first time seeing Misty as a principal in a full length role and since her sold out house phenomenon. This is also my first time seeing Whipped Cream so I don't have another Princess Praline to compare it to except for the youtube clip of Trenary, which was amazing.

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Isn't Marcelo's debut as Prince Coffee this afternoon? I close my eyes and picture him slowly rising from the tin can. Wish I could be there. Reports, please!

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Did anybody see Marcelo's debut? Or are we all "whipped out" with this ballet? :lol:

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I saw the Wed. matinee. It was my second viewing of the new work so I wasn't

sugar shocked by the elaborate sets and costumes. Now I can concentrate on

the music, choreography, and characterizations.

     Marcelo's Mr. Coffee  is  charming, sly, and slightly predatory toward Abrera's

coy and ditzy Princess Teaflower and they are so well matched.  Their pas de deux

isn't Petipa - it's more like the Pearly King and Queen from Union Jack.

Lane and Simkin's roles are more challenging in their complexity but equally humorous.

If Ballet had a Tony Award equivalent, I would nominate this cast.

     The Met looked full and there were a lot of children in attendance. It was fun to

hear so much laughter from the audience. I would encourage everyone to see it

and I hope it is a grand success.

 

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I also saw the Weds. matinee, but it was my first time seeing the piece, and I was in the back of the Dress Circle without benefit of opera glasses.  From my vantage point the individual performance stood out less, but I loved the production; I was one of the audience members laughing her head off.  The big visual effects (like the nurses with their YUGE hypodermic needles) really stood out.  I think Balanchinomane has nailed it with his/her review.  I loved it, just loved it; I found it a refreshing, fun change from yet another stale Nutcracker.

 

Some poor boy was crying his eyes out outside on one of the benches afterwards.  I couldn't figure our what the problem was until I finally heard him cry to his mother "it's over."  This is a big hit with kids and there were a lot of them there on Wednesday and all well-behaved, no rustling in seats and making noise.  I think this piece really captivates children.

 

I did hear two woman outside complaining afterwards; there verdict was "aside from the leaps at the end (Simkin) there was nothing special there.  What a disappointment!"

 

Simkin continues to amaze me this season; he has really come into his own.  A special shoutout to whoever was in the costume of the animal, with the long neck, in white with red polka dots.  In the last scene the rest of the creatures were just standing there but this character was bouncing around, really in the spirit of the piece.  My eye kept going to that character instead of all the others. 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Needlepoints said:

 

Some poor boy was crying his eyes out outside on one of the benches afterwards.  I couldn't figure our what the problem was until I finally heard him cry to his mother "it's over."  

 

 Exactly how I felt.

 

56 minutes ago, Needlepoints said:

  A special shoutout to whoever was in the costume of the animal, with the long neck, in white with red polka dots.  In the last scene the rest of the creatures were just standing there but this character was bouncing around, really in the spirit of the piece.  My eye kept going to that character instead of all the others. 

 

 

 

I'm sorry to read that "the rest of the creatures were just standing." At the performances I attended a few weeks ago I though the dancers were mostly very good about keeping their characters lively and reacting to what was happening around them -- joining the celebration at the end even if from the side of the stage. I think it makes a big difference and I hope all the dancers understand that!

 

I am very happy to hear lots of children are attending. Please let this be a hit!

Edited by Drew

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27 minutes ago, Drew said:

I am very happy to hear lots of children are attending. Please let this be a hit!

 

 

I think it is! I just took a look at the next three performances and they are extremely well-sold, with some sections sold-out. Wow. 

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All of the Whipped Cream performances have been very well sold, if not sold out.  I understand that it will return next season.  This is the Ratmansky box office bonanza that ABT has been waiting and  hoping for.  

Edited by abatt

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That was fun! Loved the intermission poker game for the orchestra.

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The works and process video is up, with lots of performances and interviews for Whipped Cream.

 

 

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Just noticed on the ABT calendar that Cornejo is out and Simkin is in for tomorrow evening's performance. Even as of earlier today I think it still listed Cornejo. The rest of the cast remains the same.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Tonight was my first indulgence in Whipped Cream. I mostly enjoyed it; some parts were truly wonderful but a few didn't hold my interest.

 

The sets and costumes were as marvelous as I expected them to be, given all the photos and videos that I've seen. But, Princess Tea Flower's tutu was even more beautiful - every turn and pirouette that Abrera did accentuated the lovely dangly flowers. I loved the big creepy heads and the blinking eye, the cute but ominous scenery and characters - a typical child's imagination. The cupcake children were absolutely adorable! They were clearly having loads of fun. I wish they had been brought forward for bows. Of course there's not much of a story but it's a charming visual feast with lots of dancing and comic moments.

 

I was very impressed with the men who played Marzipan (esp Shayer), Sugarplum, and Gingerbread. Despite getting out of sync a few times their choreography is mostly nonstop jumping and no one looked lethargic or lacked pointed feet.

 

Gorak was Prince Cocoa and he could have used a dash of sugar or cinnamon to spice things up (sorry, can't help it). His dancing is lovely with perfectly articulated legs and feet but it's too nice and pretty at times. His dancing lacks shading, nuance and feeling and I've been noticing that for awhile now. Perhaps that's why he's stalled.

 

Royal stood out (as he always does for me) as one of the Coffee guards. He and Hurlin (as a Tea Flower attendant) were paired up in Act I and I'm telling you they're a star couple waiting in the wings (SL!). Hurlin later changed into Mademoiselle Chartreuse and my what a comedic actress she is! I laughed out loud several times during her bit with Zhurbin and Lyle. 

 

Abrera and Gomes were perfect together. Full of funny moments and beautiful dancing (especially Abrera). I can't imagine Hallberg in this role now after seeing Gomes - he was typically clever, witty, full of personality. He and Abrera really played off of each other. However, their Act I pas was too long and anti-climatic (I suppose how climactic can a dance between tea and coffee get?). And, I'm sure to be in the minority here, but despite the beautiful score I don't find much of it danceable, especially during the Tea/Coffee pas. I became bored through no fault of Abrera/Gomes. 

 

Simkin was Simkin - fantastic dancing, lots of brio. This part suits him perfectly and he garnered lots of laughs and applause. Lane was gorgeous, confident, crisp and luxurious. I think she was also enjoying herself being in a comic/goofy ballet for a change (where no one dies). Even though Simkin continues to impress me with his improvement in acting and partnering, there were a few minor partnering bobbles. 

 

I dont think I'll be in a hurry to see this again but I'm really glad I went. I still enjoyed most of it. The house seemed full and the audience (including plenty of children) was very enthusiastic, so I think this is a great addition to their repertoire.

Edited by ABT Fan

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Tonight was also my first time seeing Whipped Cream and I echo a lot of the sentiments expressed by ABT Fan. It's hard not to smile through much of this production, though it had some moments where my interest waned. Overall, though, I was impressed with the choreography. From what I'd read, I had expected the ballet to be all spectacle with little dance, but most moments were quite filled with substantial dance.

 

Okay, first the disappointments. The biggest one for me was actually the Whipped Cream waltz that closes the first act. It started out super cute, with all the corp ladies sliding down the slide, but the choreography that followed just felt a bit bland to me. It all just seemed a bit generic, and the dancers didn't make particularly interesting patterns on stage. I was hoping for something that would more clearly evoke the swirling of cream being whipped. It kind of needed to be a showstopper -- like Ratmansky's Waltz of the Snowflakes -- to close out the act, and it just fell short for me. Also, I thought much of the nurses' choreography to be pretty mundane. In terms of overall structure, I found it a bit of letdown to go from Princess Praline's procession to all the schtick with the three liquor bottles (as funny as they were). It's just that the Princess Praline procession is a hard act to follow, and it kind of suffered from comparison. And the liquor bottles dragged a big long; I was kind of relieved when they finally got the doctor and nurses drunk and we could move on. 

 

Now the good -- and there was much that was good! I thought Abrera was absolutely adorable as Princess Tea Flower and I almost can't imagine anyone else being so good in that role. She and Marcelo were just beautiful in all their dancing together. Yeah, the Strauss isn't what I'd imagine for typical ballet music, but I was pretty impressed by what Ratmansky was able to do with the score.  

 

Simkin's dancing was brilliant throughout and I loved him and Sarah together. Overall, I thought his partnering was quite strong. I was particularly impressed in the last act when he and Sarah danced together in a way that mirrored Gomes and Abrera dancing the same choreography at the same time. Despite the big differences in the two couples physically, all four dancers were beautifully in synch. 

 

Looking forward to seeing this again tomorrow and having a chance to absorb some of the more dense choreography, especially that between Gomes and Abrera.

 

It was so thrilling to see the huge response from the audience, in a Met that looked packed. The enthusiasm was infectious.

 

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Last night was my first time attending as well (going back for a second tonight –– disappointed that I won't be seeing Cornejo), and I too agree with much that has been said by both ABT Fan and fondoffouettes.

 

The piece is charming right from curtain up, with the business of the carriage horse and driver outside the little church. The trick of using oversized heads on adult characters (most of them) to make the "children" look small is an ingenious solution to the problem of casting adult dancers in children's parts and is central to the working of the piece, because Ratmansky clearly wanted to keep everyone really dancing in his signature, complex way.

 

I was surprised that he had the boy eating his whipped cream way at the back of such a visually rich set; if I hadn't read the synopsis, I might well have missed this –– not that it matters much if one misses a plot point, since plot is not the point.

 

Abrera was delightful –– playing with every inch of her body to craft a comic character while also creating some gorgeous dance moments. And Gomes was a perfect match for her, in both beauty and humor. I love how Ratmansky plays against the lines of classical technique (slouches, angles, twists, etc) while also tapping their beauty for great effect. There's so much to take in in his best choreography. Even with Petipa I often feel I have to see something three or four times before I really consciously register the structure and the highlights and the distinctive elements. With Balanchine, make that six or eight; with Ratmansky, make that 10 or 12. I'm grateful for the Works and Process video, which I watched yesterday and which shows four or five dances; I hope to watch those again today before going back tonight.

 

I loved the use of four Tea Flower attendants with three Prince Coffee guards. By creating a little "problem" like that for himself, the choreographer thus ensures that he'll have to come up with fresh and inventive solutions (matching everyone up or using the "extra" girl in various ways) throughout the whole pas d'action, keeping the whole thing even more visually interesting. (And yet, tracking his solutions was just another thing that pulled my attention away from the intricacies of the central choreography, making it even harder to take everything in –– a wonderful frustration!)

 

I did have some trouble with a few of the costumes. Tea Flower's tutu was lovely (though at times the hanging petals seemed a bit too distracting), and Prince Coffee's outfit was very handsome; Prince Cocoa's hat and cape worked well enough. But Don Zucchero's outfit hung from him in an unattractive way, I thought, and muddied the effect of his dancing. Similarly, while Mlle. Marianne Chartreuse's bottle outfit was trim and attractive, Ladislav Slivovitz's and Boris Wutki's bottle outfits seemed baggy and distracting.

 

I, too, was quite disappointed by the whipped cream scene that closed Act I. First I felt cheated that only 12 of the 16...what does one call them? dollops?...came down the slide, while the other four slipped onstage immediately after. But more importantly, I agree that the choreography in this scene was not very interesting and didn't seem at all of the same caliber as Ratmansky's masterful snowflake scene in The Nutcracker. Obviously, the style and particular effects here would need to be quite different. But I hoped for something that would similarly use the spirit of the "situation" in inventive ways to create really distinctive dance effects. I liked it best when he really had the dancers moving around the stage, but there was not enough of that –– and perhaps he could have played more with using different numbers and configurations onstage at different times?

 

Apart from the nurses (whom I agree fell flat –– could he have gotten more from fewer, by using just four or six?), Act II was just a series of new delights, one after another. The fantasy parade, with all those creatures and Princess Praline atop her snow yak, is of course a big highlight, and the audience was absolutely giddy. It was one of those magical moments when suddenly everyone becomes uninhibited (no longer aware of needing to be a quiet, formal, respectful audience sitting in THE Metropolitan Opera House) and just lets out gasps and giggles. And there was so much excellent dancing from both Lane and Simkin throughout their pas d'action and later in the final scene –– at times delightfully intricate, at times narratively infused, at times bravura. Lane is by nature, I think, an essentially sunny dancer (not that she can't quite effectively play against that at times, as in her Odette and her Act II Giselle), so this part really seemed to fit her like a glove.

 

I'm excited to take it all in again and hopefully see much more of what's there tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

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I attended yesterday's matinee and have a few observations/questions: The Met was close to sold out, this I knew, but I've never seen such a long line to enter the house. Only 2 doors were open. It was getting close to starting time and it was horribly hot and steamy so I slid in the gallery door and then merged with the crowds. For a full house the audience was very quiet, only tepid applause, until Misty arrived and then cheering that sounded like mostly young voices. Jeffrey Cirio also garnered lots of well-deserved applause. Misty acquitted herself very well in her fast solo, I was impressed and of course her charming personality fit the part. I noticed Princess Praline was given time for a bow after her variation, when Princess Tea Flower was not. I had not realized that Princess Tea Flower and Coffee do more dancing and had more time on stage, it seemed to me, than Princess Praline. Isabella Boylston and Alban Lendorf stunned me with their full out performance in the first act. My favorite bit of choreography was the supported pirouettes done with the ballerina's head tilted in such a way that she looked like a spinning corkscrew, thrilling! Final question: I didn't understand the costumes for Marzipan Men and Sugarplum Men. Gingerbread Men were obvious but the other two looked more like peppermint and chocolate drops. Can anyone explain? Oh, favorite costume and execution was Worm Candy Man! I look forward to seeing this again next spring season with a different cast. After two viewings I'll probably skip future performances, unless I have a small human to bring along!

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1 hour ago, Barbara said:

I attended yesterday's matinee and have a few observations/questions: The Met was close to sold out, this I knew, but I've never seen such a long line to enter the house. Only 2 doors were open. It was getting close to starting time and it was horribly hot and steamy so I slid in the gallery door and then merged with the crowds.

I heard constant complaints about this when I was in town for Onegin. The problem is funneling everybody through just a few ticket takers. I assume they worry about security, with bag checkers and the bomb-sniffing dog. But there's an easy solution: open the doors an hour before curtain, as the State Theater started doing a few years ago. That would relieve some of the crowd pressure and I'm puzzled they haven't made that change.

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One thing management has been doing to ease crowding is to make announcements about the garage level entrance.  The line has been much longer than usual down there, but it moves very quickly.  There are benches to sit on, bathrooms outside the house that are always open, and it's much easier to get an uncrowded elevator at that level.  I always go in down there.

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Saturday night:

 

Was a bit less bothered by the schlagobers waltz choreo.

 

Was even more bothered by some inhibiting costumes, especially Don Zucchero's sack. It takes a lot to make me think well-executed (by A. Scott) double assemblés (probably my favorite male step) are ugly.

 

On 6/30/2017 at 11:36 PM, ABT Fan said:

Gorak was Prince Cocoa and he could have used a dash of sugar or cinnamon to spice things up (sorry, can't help it). His dancing is lovely with perfectly articulated legs and feet but it's too nice and pretty at times. His dancing lacks shading, nuance and feeling and I've been noticing that for awhile now. Perhaps that's why he's stalled.

 

I agree completely and this expresses kind of what I've felt all season, in the little I've seen of him. Calvin Royal danced this last night and the contrast was striking: a taut, energetic, characterful performance. It's a chicken and egg question for me. Is Gorak disspirited because he's not advancing or is he not advancing because his performances have been beautiful but a bit flat?

Edited by nanushka

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21 hours ago, Needlepoints said:

One thing management has been doing to ease crowding is to make announcements about the garage level entrance.  The line has been much longer than usual down there, but it moves very quickly.  There are benches to sit on, bathrooms outside the house that are always open, and it's much easier to get an uncrowded elevator at that level.  I always go in down there.

I had no idea this door was open, thanks Needlepoints! I'll remember for the future, for sell out performances at least.

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