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ABT 2017 Spring Season at The Met


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4 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Unless McKenzie issues a press release or an interview, we'll never know exactly why he chooses some dancers over the others (with the exception of Copeland). Who knows why he cast Seo to replace Murphy, though I expected that to happen. Maybe he's too overwhelmed thus far with all of the break-out and unexpected debuts that he can't handle anymore excitement. *Snirk* But, I will cut him a little slack right now since we don't know yet if any more O/O's will have to be replaced, and that may change everything.

 

O/O is perhaps the hardest role, posing massive technical and dramatic challenges. We may see debuts, but it is definitely harder to learn in a week or so and perform well than Medora. I was expecting if Murphy pulled out that it would be Seo. Why? Look at the scheduling. Given height and who is performing what day she's really the only logical choice. It wasn't going to be Teuscher. That's her matinee day. And Boylston is coming back from injury herself and thus wasn't going to dance 2 days with only one off in between. Part may still be injured, so she also was out of contention.

 

Similarly, if Part is unable to dance Sat, I expect Devon will get that performance, due to scheduling issues. A lot of it is a simple matter of making it all work out.

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I realize that prices are higher in NYC than in Seattle, but $142 for the Main Floor (orchestra) Front and $187 for Dress Circle (Grand Tier) are nothing to sneeze at, with the caveat that there's a subscriber discount* and Goldstar discount.

 

I think it was in Leta Biasucci's second season at PNB, after apprenticing at OBT, that, due to a variety of injuries and illnesses, she had a major role in every rep for all but maybe one programn.  She was given two weeks notice to go from the "just be in the studio to absorb" cast to carrying a full-length ballet, Balanchine's "Coppelia."  She made her debut this weekend -as the lead in "La Source," and sharing the Tiler Peck role in "Pictures at an Exhibition."  At a Q&A, Peter Boal said we should expect promotions for her and Dylan Wald, who debuted in "Opus 19: The Dreamer," and there was a standing O for him and Sarah Ricard Orza last night.  Steven Loch, another young corps-in-name-only PNB member has been outstanding in many principal roles, and Elle Macy has hit it out of the ballpark again and again this season, with performances indistinguishable from the Principals.   All four are stars, even if they aren't close to their peaks, no matter what their nominal title (and pay grade).

 

There's no Royal Ballet touring company model anymore, where young dancers do major roles in the core rep of the company and get experience on the road.  That means if you've got a home-grown dancer, they have to get their experience somewhere, and in my experience out here, it's been more than worth it.  And I've been over-the-moon feeling palpable excitement that you've been sharing about young dancers making their mark in recent performances.

 

 

*But many subscriptions are subject to a mandatory donation, so it's like the opposite of the alternative minimum tax, but with the same effect of netting it all out.

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3 minutes ago, Helene said:

I think it was in Leta Biasucci's second season at PNB, after apprenticing at OBT, that, due to a variety of injuries and illnesses, she had a major role in every rep for all but maybe one programn.  She was given two weeks notice to go from the "just be in the studio to absorb" cast to carrying a full-length ballet, Balanchine's "Coppelia."  She made her debut this weekend -as the lead in "La Source," and sharing the Tiler Peck role in "Pictures at an Exhibition."  At a Q&A, Peter Boal said we should expect promotions for her and Dylan Wald, who debuted in "Opus 19: The Dreamer," and there was a standing O for him and Sarah Ricard Orza last night.  Steven Loch, another young corps-in-name-only PNB member has been outstanding in many principal roles, and Elle Macy has hit it out of the ballpark again and again this season, with performances indistinguishable from the Principals.   All four are stars, even if they aren't close to their peaks, no matter what their nominal title (and pay grade).

Yes!  Promote Leta!

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Well, I hope Part is ok for next Saturday, but I wouldn't be sad at seeing Teuscher dance O/O again.  I saw her twice at the Kennedy Center and thought she was fantastic.

 

I wonder how Kochetkova is coming along.  It seems Swan Lake is her last scheduled performance for the year.  If she can't dance, I think it'll be interesting to see who they stick in that performance, especially if they also have to replace Part.

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Actually, there is no subscriber discount for ABT tickets.  None.  Single ticket buyers and subscribers pay exactly the same price, provided that the single tixs are purchased before the date that they institute dynamic pricing increases.  

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12 minutes ago, aurora said:

 

O/O is perhaps the hardest role, posing massive technical and dramatic challenges. We may see debuts, but it is definitely harder to learn in a week or so and perform well than Medora. I was expecting if Murphy pulled out that it would be Seo. Why? Look at the scheduling. Given height and who is performing what day she's really the only logical choice. It wasn't going to be Teuscher. That's her matinee day. And Boylston is coming back from injury herself and thus wasn't going to dance 2 days with only one off in between. Part may still be injured, so she also was out of contention.

 

Similarly, if Part is unable to dance Sat, I expect Devon will get that performance, due to scheduling issues. A lot of it is a simple matter of making it all work out.

 

That's exactly why I predicted Seo to be cast, though I was just stating that we'll never know HIS exact reasons for casting/re-casting without him saying so.

 

And, given what you say regarding O/O being the hardest role, I agree and would hope that they have already been rehearsing more than one understudy in light of all of the injuries that they have been known about for weeks now.  Otherwise, unless they have a few guest artists on speed dial ready to fly in at a moment's notice, they will have a gigantic problem if Boylston and Kochetkova are not healthy enough to dance, or if Boylston can only get through her own performance and cannot replace Kochetkova as well if that need arises. That's the only casting issue I see where there is no other in-house substitute who's already performed O/O who can partner with Simkin.

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10 minutes ago, abatt said:

Actually, there is no subscriber discount for ABT tickets.  None.  Single ticket buyers and subscribers pay exactly the same price, provided that the single tixs are purchased before the date that they institute dynamic pricing increases.  

I was comparing Seattle prices to NYC prices, and Seattle prices are reduced by the subscriber discount (if claimed), as well as being offered on Goldstar.  However, because most subscriptions are subject to a mandatory donation, which, even if tax-deductible in full, still means paying at least $.60 on the dollar, any discount comes out in the wash.

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Sarah Lane could (and should) step in for Kochetkova if she's still injured next week. Lane has danced O/O with Angel Corella in Spain so she's not entirely new to the role. She can also go easily with Kochetkova's scheduled partner Daniil Simkin. 

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3 hours ago, Waelsung said:

But just across the border we now have in Toronto one of the greatest ballerinas of today's world - a former Bolshoi prima Svetlana Lunkina, who would be excellent in all the warhorse parts like Giselle, O/O, Nikia, AND she's just done 'A Streetcar Named Desire' to a huge acclaim from its creator John Neumeier himself.

 

Why can't the ABT bring her over to pair with Gomez or Hallberg, is absolutely beyond me. I'm 100% sure she would be just perfect with either of them.

And one more question: any of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, follow Lunkina's carreer? What do y'all think of her?

 

I follow Lunkina's career quite closely and have seen her perform on three continents. I do find her more interesting than any of ABT's female principals. I also find Jurgita Dronina more interesting than any of them and have great admiration for Jillian Vanstone as well. Even in her early 40s Greta Hodgkinson has admirably strong technique. The biggest obstacle to any of them performing with ABT is the National Ballet of Canada's home season in June. Nevertheless, Lunkina has performed in New York in recent years. There have been two visits to Lincoln Center with the NBoC and a couple of YAGP galas.

 

But as Saul Steinberg famously reminded us, New York is not, in fact, the center of the universe. (I say this as a Long Island-born ex-Manhattanite.) From an artistic standpoint, these ballerinas don't really need New York. I also think the National Ballet is a stronger company than ABT, or at least its corps is rehearsed better. Maybe that's not saying much; ABT isn't the POB, after all. Lunkina doesn't lack for good partners. Her scheduled partner in a forthcoming run of Swan Lake is Evan McKie. In a number of recent guest appearances her partner has been (her brother-in-law) Ruslan Skvortsov, who is an ideal match for her physically, stylistically and temperamentally.

 

I suspect Lunkina would be very happy to dance in ABT's La Bayadère. The NBoC has never done the complete ballet, and it hasn't done the "Kingdom of Shades" for some years. She opened her recent "Svetlana Lunkina and Friends" gala with the water jug variation and duet from Act 1. (Although ABT hasn't done it, I think she would also be an ideal candidate for Ratmansky's production of Swan Lake. She is one of the least "swanny" Odettes I've seen.)

 

A friend routinely travels from Brooklyn to Toronto to see Lunkina perform. My own flight to Toronto takes about four hours, and I'm scheduled to do it again in a weeks' time. Yes, I think New York is really missing out on this dancer, but I'm not at all convinced that Lunkina is the one losing out.

 

My opinion of ABT's current roster of principals would probably shock a lot of ABT regulars. But it's for this very reason that I would be extremely interested in seeing Shevchenko, Teuscher, Trenary et al. in leading roles.

 

As for ticket prices, what the National Ballet of Canada charges is pretty astronomical, too, and that's nearly always for the "home team." But at least at the Four Seasons Centre one doesn't feel as though seated somewhere halfway to Connecticut.

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27 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

Sarah Lane could (and should) step in for Kochetkova if she's still injured next week. Lane has danced O/O with Angel Corella in Spain so she's not entirely new to the role. She can also go easily with Kochetkova's scheduled partner Daniil Simkin. 

 

I would LOVE to see Sarah get this opportunity.

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3 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

 

My opinion of ABT's current roster of principals would probably shock a lot of ABT regulars. But it's for this very reason that I would be extremely interested in seeing Shevchenko, Teuscher, Trenary et al. in leading roles.

 

 

I don't think that'll shock as many people as you think. At least, not on this board. ;)

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3 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

As for ticket prices, what the National Ballet of Canada charges is pretty astronomical, too, and that's nearly always for the "home team." But at least at the Four Seasons Centre one doesn't feel as though seated somewhere halfway to Connecticut.

 

Yes, every single seat at the Met Opera is a compromise for ballet, except, perhaps, for J1, which is almost impossible to snag. Alas, it wasn't built for ballet. The (fka) New York State Theatre is much better, but I don't think the stage is large enough for ABT's productions.

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8 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

I would LOVE to see Sarah get this opportunity.

 

I've already alerted my employer that there's a small chance that I may have to "work remotely" next Wednesday! :thumbsup:

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23 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

I've already alerted my employer that there's a small chance that I may have to "work remotely" next Wednesday! :thumbsup:

 

Natalia, Teuscher is dancing at the matinee next Wednesday and Seo is dancing in the evening. Isn't it more likely that Sarah would replace Kochetkova on Thursday evening? On the other hand, if you need Wednesday to cool down your anticipation, then by all means work remotely on that day.  :thumbsup:

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1 minute ago, angelica said:

 

Natalia, Teuscher is dancing at the matinee next Wednesday and Seo is dancing in the evening. Isn't it more likely that Sarah would replace Kochetkova on Thursday evening? On the other hand, if you need Wednesday to cool down your anticipation, then by all means work remotely on that day.  :thumbsup:

 

Thanks...I meant Thursday! Still thinking about the Wed matinee last week for Sarah's Giselle, LOL. Next week would involve a very late bus back to DC, then trying to stay awake on Friday during the day. 

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1 minute ago, Natalia said:

 

Thanks...I meant Thursday! Still thinking about the Wed matinee last week for Sarah's Giselle, LOL. Next week would involve a very late bus back to DC, then trying to stay awake on Friday during the day. 

 

Actually, Lane's surprise Giselle was in the evening lol. Her scheduled one with Simkin was Saturday matinee.

I don't want to jinx it, but Natalia, I REALLY HOPE that you'll be working remotely next week :sweatingbullets::)

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36 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

I've already alerted my employer that there's a small chance that I may have to "work remotely" next Wednesday! :thumbsup:

I keep checking the calendar to see if I need to ask for an off day, too!

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7 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

Thanks...I meant Thursday! Still thinking about the Wed matinee last week for Sarah's Giselle, LOL. Next week would involve a very late bus back to DC, then trying to stay awake on Friday during the day. 

 

Oh my, I'd forgotten you're in DC. I admire your stamina in coming to New York for a single performance. You are a true balletomane! I'm at an age where it isn't so easy for me to do that kind of travel, but if I were, I would do the same for Sarah. Thankfully, I'm only just north of the city.

Edited by angelica
clarity
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3 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

And, they also need to do something about the lack of leading man potential in the soloist ranks. That is a BIG problem.

I couldn't agree more with this. I don't think the company ever truly adjusted to the departures/retirements of Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Steifel and Malakhov. McKenzie has managed to paper over the cracks with smart international hires (Bolle, Lendorf) and pickups from the Boston Ballet (Whiteside, Cirio) but that can't last forever.

 

The day is coming (and that day will be soon) when management will have to revamp the male principal ranks once again:

  • Gomes is in his late-30s and won't be the backbone of the company forever.
  • Cornejo is on the other side of 35 as well.
  • Bolle is already past 40 and is dialing down his commitment to ABT.
  • Hallberg is back onstage after a long absence due to injury but whether he can stay injury-free is an open question and, in any event, he will be spending part of his year with the Australian Ballet.

The current crop of male soloists are Forster, Gorak, Hammoudi, Hoven, Salstein, Scott and Zhurbin. I would say that Zhurbin has found his niche as the company's foremost actor-dancer. Salstein is on the other side of 35 and, like Zhurbin, has probably found his primary niche as an actor-dancer. Of the remaining five, I think only Hammoudi and Gorak have immediate prospects to rise. However, injury and inconsistency have stymied what, to me, is the company's desire to promote Hammoudi to principal. Gorak looked like he was on the fact track but appears to be stalled somewhat this season.

 

That leaves the corps guys but, boy, are they young. Is the collective age even over 25? Calvin Royal may get a promotion to soloist but I think the person the company is really missing right now is Sterling Baca. I think he was poised to move up but the company didn't do it and he didn't want to wait.

Edited by miliosr
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9 minutes ago, miliosr said:

That leaves the corps guys but, boy, are they young. Is the collective age even over 25? Calvin Royal may get a promotion to soloist but I think the person the company is really missing right now is Sterling Baca. I think he was poised to move up but the company didn't do it and he didn't want to wait.

 

It pains me every time when Sterling Baca's name comes up. Years ago I saw him in a studio rehearsal of the male corps when he was still a boy, surely under 20, and singled him out even then. I can't quite say why, but "there was something about him...." Now he looks different, as he's grown into a man, but I can't believe that ABT let him get away.

I definitely think that Forster has potential. I know everyone was raving about Salstein's Hilarion, but I thought Forster did a superb job in that role, with stellar acting as well as dancing.

Many people have mentioned Shayer, but for me there's something still boyish about his presentation, and I don't see him as a prince. For me, it's the height of his jumps that sways everyone to like him, but the acting isn't there.

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52 minutes ago, LadyBubbles said:

 

Actually, Lane's surprise Giselle was in the evening lol. Her scheduled one with Simkin was Saturday matinee.

I don't want to jinx it, but Natalia, I REALLY HOPE that you'll be working remotely next week :sweatingbullets::)

 

I'm totally zonked out...I was at the Empire Hotel's rooftop pool in the afternoon, then walked over to the Met for Sarah's Giselle after that. One day at a time! If there's a Sarah Lane Swan Lake, whenever that may be,  I'll just need 24 hours to arrange bus & theater tix and rearrange work schedule. Can't afford another expensive hotel night. Need to sleep in the bus after the show to not miss work the next day.

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Ok a couple of thoughts and a general, somewhat rhetorical question. I preface this with the following: I rarely get to see ABT perform, but I do have several friends and a major coach that dance without ABT, as well as a family connection to Ratmansky. I do, however see a lot of European companies as well as galas when I can. Ok with that said:

 

About Ratmansky. I don't love everything he does. I also don't love every last bit of Petipa, or Balanchine, or Ashton either. I've heard many dancers complain about having to work with a choreographer or perform a certain ballet. But in all my travels and with many, many friends who are dancing professionally i have personally never heard a complaint about having to work with or dance Ratmansky. Now granted I don't know every dancer on the planet, and I've heard small complaints about this or that, but the major consensus is he is giving interesting and different material for them to dance and really cares about the dancers he works with. Everything is not a masterpiece, but if inspires or gives new material then I am all for it.

 

About guest artists: My husband grew up and danced with, for many years a principal couple recently retired from ABT (yes I know that so difficult to figure out who that might be) and the main complaint from them as well as other dancers performing major roles is the lack of coaching and the few opportunities to perform. I'm not sure how ANYONE who gets to perform a major role, if they are lucky, one time per year is supposed to develop artistry and confidence in that role no matter how gifted the coach. It should not under any circumstances take 10 years for a ballerina to truly understand what dancing O/O means and how to project that meaning to an audience. I remember reading way back in the day when ABT used to be a primarily touring company that dancers were constantly performing the standard rep as well as some mixed Rep thrown in. Was it grueling, sure. Is it hard to stay in shape on tour, most have no idea how difficult. But they had the opportunity to actually dance and grow in a role before they were required to perform it in the big leagues! I'm sad that that has all but disappeared for ABT. I think they have taken a step in the right direction in allowing their dancers to get opportunities to try out roles and to grow the talent that is there. I'm not sure I would want to be a young soloist and be expected to deliver a star quality performance at the Met my first time out. I cannot imagine the pressure. And knowing in the back of their head that this may be the only chance they will have to prove they can do it. I've been so happy to hear reports of how so many have risen to the occasion this season! That is amazing and I hope those dancers know that more experienced dancers have had to do that and failed miserably. So bravo! 

 

Ok my question: when I was in Londen recently I had time to meet with a few dancers who had performed in a gala that I somehow managed to sit through. Two of these dancers have been guest artists for ABT in the past so I asked them what their take on the lack of guest artists these past two seasons is. Both mentioned how much harder it is to secure a visa for Russian dancers trying to perform in the US due to the political climate between the US and Russia. So when I got back I asked another friend who has hosted a very large gala with dancers coming from both Bolshoi and Mariinsky for many years. It looks like this year it may not happen. He also said the same thing about difficulty obtaining visas as well as the huge rise in cost of the sponsoring agencies to secure those visas. So my question is, do you think that might have something to do without ABT's lack of guest artists, and if so do you think that if the political tensions die down that perhaps we will see a reamergance of the Russian Guests back on the ABT roster?

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Kevin McKenzie has gone on record stating he wants guesting to be more equal -if ABT hosts a Mariinsky dancer, then there is a formal exchange with an American dancer getting coaching at the Mariinsky and a performance opportunity.

 

So Corey Stearns went to RB, Sarah Lane went to Mariinsky, etc.  It's a good remedy to give dancers more coaching and opportunities while making money at the box office  with a Russian Prima.  

 

Perhaps exchanges are easier for visa purposes?  Just my hypothesis.

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32 minutes ago, Fraildove said:

So my question is, do you think that might have something to do without ABT's lack of guest artists, and if so do you think that if the political tensions die down that perhaps we will see a reamergance of the Russian Guests back on the ABT roster?

Kevin McKenzie gave an interview to Dance Europe last year in which he was asked specifically about the guest star policy:

Were guest artists part of your strategy to get the company back on track?

He answered that "it was" but that it became like being "an alcoholic" -- the solution "becomes the problem".

Did the presence of guests affect company morale?

He said that the guests did have a "negative impact on the company morale," which is why he is shifted away from the pure guest star approach to the dancer exchange policy.

 

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/41553-dance-europe-interview-with-kevin-mckenzie/#comment-372174

 

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