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ABT 2017 Spring Season at The Met


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I think ABT lost all sense of balance.  Previously, their roster was overwhelmed with guest artists, which created many problems and didn't allow for the growth of their own artists.  Now they have one guest artist , Ferri.  I think having one or two guest artists per season is not a terrible thing. However, I think I've had enough of Ferri's Comeback Tour, and I wish ABT would invite a different guest artist next season.

 

 

Someone above commented that Seo is taking Murphy's SL.  Gulp. Now I have to figure out  what dates I have available to exchange  out of that SL. I would have welcomed just about any other O/O except Hee Seo.

 

 

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

Someone above commented that Seo is taking Murphy's SL.  Gulp. Now I have to figure out  what dates I have available to exchange  out of that SL. I would have welcomed just about any other O/O except Hee Seo.

 

 

Me too. I wish there was some way to know if this is the ONLY change for SL casting, or are there more changes on the way? In other words, are Part, Kochetkova, and Boylston all well enough to perform, or is any of that still iffy?

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I think what Waelsung said has a point. I don't think the problem is because of guest star policy of ABT, but because there haven't been many comparable level of stars from home-grown in ABT so far. I also do not care the dancer is home-grown or from anywhere else. What I care is the quality of performance. Honestly, people here are very excited about Abrera, but after seeing her giselle, I didn't want to see her anymore, so I don't think she's that level of dancer (and one of the reviews of Le Corsaire said she simplified its step too, such a disappointment!). But agree with most people that soloists (Shevshenko, Trenary, Lane, Brandt... ) seem to have a good potential to be the stars and loved them so far. Hope ABT can get their old name back. 

Edited by nana
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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

 

Just one note, Waelsung, since you've mentioned this twice now: there are quite decent $30 orchestra seats available as rush tickets (which can be purchased online day-of) for virtually every performance, other than the sold-out Misty performances.

 

Due to my age and state of health, I am very particular about where I seat at ballet. The tickets that I usually buy are in $125-$150 range, but I wouldn't mind paying that to see somebody who imho was worth it. At, opera I can set in the Family Circly for $25-$30, and thus can experiment with singers I don't know or just want to get acquainted with. With ballet it's different. Once again, I wouldn't mind paying even $200 per ticket to see Semyonova, Obraztsova, Kondaurova, Tereshkina, Lobukhin, Shklyarov. Heck, these days I would even go to an Osipova or a Vasilyev performance, and I used to usually skip those. The funny thing is all of these artists used to come to the ABT, but no more. So, I don't think the ABT has changed its ways and has decided to give homegrown dancers more chances - in reality, they simply don't have a choice. 

All strictly IMHO and I do, of course, with all the upcoming ABT dancers all the luck in the world!

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2 minutes ago, nana said:

I think what Waelsung said has a point. I don't think the problem is because of guest star policy of ABT, but because there haven't been many comparable level of stars from home-grown in ABT so far. I also do not care the dancer is home-grown or from anywhere else. What I care is the quality of performance. Honestly, people here are very excited about Abrera, but after seeing her giselle, I didn't want to see her anymore, so I don't think she's that level of dancer (and one of the reviews of Le Corsaire said she simplified its step too, such a disappointment!). But agree with most people that soloists (Shevshenko, Trenary, Lane, Brandt... ) seem to have a good potential to be the stars and loved them so far. Hope ABT can get their old name back. 

 

These seem like two very different points, though – Waelsung's being that "the future of ABT is grim" (quoting from memory from the previous page, but that's almost exact) and nana's that there seems to be "good potential" for future stars and that ABT is in a sort of "growing period" (my own summarizing term, not a quote). Having actually seen many of these recent performances and debuts, I'd agree with the latter, rather than the former.

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14 minutes ago, Waelsung said:


 I'm not interested in Ferri's comeback (wonder if she'll be doing these until she's 100 years old), nor in Vishneva's retirements. 

 

I hear you there. No idea why ABT keeps bringing Ferri back in her mid-50's to do roles like Juliet who is supposed to be a teenager(!) I can suspend disbelief but up to a certain point. 

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4 minutes ago, Fleurfairy said:

 

I hear you there. No idea why ABT keeps bringing Ferri back in her mid-50's to do roles like Juliet who is supposed to be a teenager(!) I can suspend disbelief but up to a certain point. 

She has been a guest twice--once last season, and once this season (2 performances of the same role, a roll that older ballerinas do frequently).

 

Hardly the situation being suggested.

And I think they wouldn't have asked her back had her performance last year not been considered a success.

 

In any case, she's hardly taking up a ton of space on the roster.

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And there is one thing that really buffles me in all of this. I understand that a lot of European stars are not too eager to come to NY anymore for just one or two performances or to participate in a Ratmansky so-called 'ballet'

 

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?

If there's enough members willing to discuss, maybe we should open a separate topic.

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The guest artists tend to participate in the ballets that are standard fare throughout the world, such as Giselle or the Makarova staging of Bayadere.  I don't think that their lack of participation in the quirky Ratmansky oddities are a reflection or indication that these dancers don't like Ratmanksy.  It's just the practicality that if a guest artist flies in and out for one appearance, it has to be in a ballet that he or she already is extensively familiar with from his own home company.

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

The guest artists tend to participate in the ballets that are standard fare throughout the world, such as Giselle or the Makarova staging of Bayadere.  I don't think that their lack of participation in the quirky Ratmansky oddities are a reflection or indication that these dancers don't like Ratmanksy.  It's just the practicality that if a guest artist flies in and out for one appearance, it has to be in a ballet that he or she already is extensively familiar with from his own home company.

 

I think Abatt has hit the nail on the head.

So it is true that Ratmansky's version of Sleeping Beauty made it less likely we'd get guests in SB because the whole point (and one which I'm very happy with) is that it has to be danced in a coherent style, which just isn't possible to drop in and do.

But his presence doesn't (and didn't for his first some odd years with ABT) prevent guests from taking part in Giselle, Bayadere, R&J, etc. And we have had guests in those quite recently.

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I think numerous guest artists would be happy to appear at ABT a few times, as they did every year before ABT stopped inviting them.    I think ABT has just stopped making the invitations to appear, with the exception of Ferri. 

 

ABT probably considers Ferri a "reliable" guest artist, because she has no other home company making demands on her time and appearances.  She is her own boss.

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

 

I wonder if we're all just talking about two different things, then. Other than Ratmansky (who has a very prominent role in the artistic direction of the company and may well be creating for them for quite some time yet), these aren't the people whom I think of as representing "the future" of the company. A grim present, perhaps – though I personally wouldn't want to make such an assertion without seeing even a single performance.

 

Exactly. Waelsung is talking about the current crop of principals, some of whom are injured. Which happens in every company in the world and is an inevitability of ballet. It's not a reflection on ABT that they are injured. We are talking about the current soloists who have been given big opportunities the last few weeks and have delivered. That's how a company is grown, by letting the lower ranks have chances so they get the experience under their belts and can develop their artistry. Anyone can attend performances of "Roberto Bolle & Friends" and programs like that if they want to see an amalgamation of international ballet stars for a night. 

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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

I think numerous guest artists would be happy to appear at ABT a few times, as they did every year before ABT stopped inviting them.  I don't think it's that the money offer has dropped.  I think ABT has just stopped making the invitations to appear, with the exception of Ferri. 

 

ABT probably considers Ferri a "reliable" guest artist, because she has no other home company making demands on her time and appearances.  She is her own boss.

 

Besides, she's in many ways, a company artist.

She was part of ABT for ages, and even if the young dancers don't know her personally, the older ones do. One would imagine her presence wouldn't create the sort of tensions in the company that the use of an outside "star" might  otherwise.

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 ABT is not the Bolshoi or Marinsky touring company.  They are ABT, and should be promoting ABT dancers (I don't care what country the ABT dancers come from, just that they are actual regular ABT dancers).  You want to bring in Obratzova or Smirnova for an occasional performance, that is fine, I would enjoy that.  But not seeing non-ABT dancers dance every night.  

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I have not consistently attended ABT performances over the years, so I am not as knowledgeable as those of you who are long-time audience members.  Prior to Rachel Moore's tenure, was there a large guest roster?  Or was this something she initiated?  I know with the roster of stars ABT had - Stiefel, Corella, Cornejo, Malakhov, et al., there was no need for guests.  As those dancers started to wind down, were there enough dancers waiting in the wings to take their place?  Hallberg and Gomes, for sure, but had enough dancers been developed to step into the big roles?  I believe the guest artist policy hurt the company in many ways.  There were young dancers waiting for opportunities who never got them.  Examples:  Men:  Gray Davis, Thomas Forster, Blaine Hoven.  Women:  Katherine Williams, Zhong-Jing Fang, April Giangeruso  And there are numerous others who have left the company.  These were all young and talented dancers who were never developed.  They missed their chance over the last 8-10 years while guest artists were being used.  Additionally, the whole guest artist policy was demoralizing to the company dancers, in my opinion.  There is no earthly reason that a principal dancer like Gillian Murphy was dancing her NYC debut of Giselle this year.  With the departure of Moore, I think the company is trying to develop from within.  This is going to take a few years, for sure.  There are some very talented dancers in the corps.  Hopefully, they will get opportunities.  Additionally, some of the soloists and principals are young enough to develop into true artists.  Gorak, Teuscher, and Schevchenko in the 27-28 year old range; and Brandt, Trenary, and Cirio in the 24-26 year old range.  

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3 minutes ago, its the mom said:

I have not consistently attended ABT performances over the years, so I am not as knowledgeable as those of you who are long-time audience members.

 

There is no earthly reason that a principal dancer like Gillian Murphy was dancing her NYC debut of Giselle this year.  

 

its the mom, for someone who has not consistently attended ABT performances over the years, you are extremely knowledgeable and your summary is quite on the mark.

 

The only thing I would say is that I believe it was felt in the past by the artistic staff at ABT that Gillian didn't have the "floatation quotient" (my phrase) to dance Giselle. However, when her husband, Ethan Stiefel, was directing the Royal New Zealand Ballet a few years ago, and Gillian joined him there for a time, she was given wonderful coaching and the opportunity to dance Giselle, from which a beautiful film was made. The film was interspersed with artsy images of wind-swept fields, which perhaps was inspirational, but in that film Gillian danced a wondrous Giselle. I don't think her performance at the Met this season was up to that standard, but I'm glad she was given the opportunity because it might have been.

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19 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

its the mom, for someone who has not consistently attended ABT performances over the years, you are extremely knowledgeable and your summary is quite on the mark.

 

The only thing I would say is that I believe it was felt in the past by the artistic staff at ABT that Gillian didn't have the "floatation quotient" (my phrase) to dance Giselle. However, when her husband, Ethan Stiefel, was directing the Royal New Zealand Ballet a few years ago, and Gillian joined him there for a time, she was given wonderful coaching and the opportunity to dance Giselle, from which a beautiful film was made. The film was interspersed with artsy images of wind-swept fields, which perhaps was inspirational, but in that film Gillian danced a wondrous Giselle. I don't think her performance at the Met this season was up to that standard, but I'm glad she was given the opportunity because it might have been.

I do remember the film and her opportunity at RNZ.  But with proper coaching earlier, might she have been able to dance that role?  It just seems that dancers lost out in the last 10 years because of the guest artists.  

 

 

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I don't think Rachael Moore was necessarily the architect of the guest artist policy.  After their own roster of star dancers (Corella, Carreno, Nina A., for example) retired, they needed to fill the roster with people who would fill the vast Met auditorium.  Though people like Kajiya, Jared Matthews and Simone Messmer were talented, and should have been given more lead roles, they were not bankable stars.  Now that ABT has Misty Copeland to virtually sell out the auditorium in anything she appears in, they again have a bankable star.  We can argue about the merits of her performances, but I think it's clear that she sells seats- lots and lots of seats.  They now appear to be experimenting with the idea of whether Copeland's ticket sales alone are enough of a financial juggernaut  to offeset other nights where the Met is half empty.  As discussed in a prior thread, do not underestimate the Copeland Effect as an influence on ABT's decision to stop inviting guest artists.  The demoralization of ABT's own dancers, as well as the diva-like behavior of certain invited guests, also contributed as secondary reasons to ABT's decision to stop inviting guests.

 

 

Edited by abatt
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7 minutes ago, Just an Observer said:

Once the Wed night Swan Lake became available, why was it given to Seo, rather than Abrera or Lane? The Misty casting  I get - - - she attracts an audience that otherwise would not attend. But Seo?

 

 

To quote from a famous Julia Roberts movie of some time ago, "Big mistake. Huge."

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[Admin Mallet in Hand and Ready to Swing]

 

I've deleted the posts that have clearly gone off the rails with unsubstantiated claims from people who should know better by now, and, in doing so, have removed reasonable responses, since the original quotes are now in the internet ether. 

 

As a gentle reminder for newer members, posting "I've heard" pretty much guarantees editing and deletion, unless you're citing that you heard it at a Q&A or in an interview.

 

[Admin Mallet Back Down at My Side]

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10 minutes ago, its the mom said:

I do remember the film and her opportunity at RNZ.  But with proper coaching earlier, might she have been able to dance that role?  It just seems that dancers lost out in the last 10 years because of the guest artists.  

 

I don't think the dancers at ABT are ever given enough coaching from within, guest artists notwithstanding. Gillian surely got more and better coaching in New Zealand.

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2 hours ago, abatt said:

 

 

 

Someone above commented that Seo is taking Murphy's SL.  Gulp. Now I have to figure out  what dates I have available to exchange  out of that SL. I would have welcomed just about any other O/O except Hee Seo.

 

 

I've heard that's exactly my sentiment. I'd welcome any replacement other than Seo.

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23 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

I don't think the dancers at ABT are ever given enough coaching from within, guest artists notwithstanding. Gillian surely got more and better coaching in New Zealand.

I wouldn't be surprised.  Lack of coaching under normal circumstances is something that dancers have discussed, aside from when injury causes a lot of cramming.  Kolpakova can only be in one place at a time.

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Both of Ferri's Onegin performances, less than 2 weeks away, have a TON of seats available. So, unless that changes quickly, their hope and gamble that she would bring in the crowds hasn't worked this time.

 

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. But, I agree (and fear) that Murphy and even Part will not be dancing much longer so he needs other O/O's besides Teuscher to take over. And, as much as I like Abrera, I believe she just turned 39 (she posted her bday on her Instagram yesterday) so even if she's cast she won't be performing this role for even another 5 years probably. Unless ABT's plan is to return to the days of guests artists galore (oh lordy, no) after Copeland retires (she's 34, so in five, six, seven years?), they need to get their soloists ready for prime time. And, they also need to do something about the lack of leading man potential in the soloist ranks. That is a BIG problem.

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