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ABT 2017 Giselle


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On 5/30/2017 at 3:52 PM, FauxPas said:

To KarenAG: the house manager will honor past dated tickets if you can get to the theater.  If you held on to your ticket and explain the transportation problem last Saturday afternoon, the house manager should seat you tomorrow night.  There is availability throughout the house.  The problem is getting there!

Thank you, FauxPas, I called ABT's box office and they granted me a 'comp ticket' - some dates were blocked out, incl. 5/30 but not 5/31. At that time it was still Maria and the prospect of a wee-hr trip home was daunting, so I decided to attend 6/14 matinee w/Devon's debut in SL. Had I known about Sarah, I would have most  definitely tried to make 5/31. 

 

Great posts, everyone - very enjoyable! 

 

Anyone attending 6/14? 

 

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On 5/30/2017 at 7:34 PM, Natalia said:

 

Ya think so, Captain Obvious? :lol:

 

KarenAG, I hope that you make it this time. Who would have thought that a 2nd chance would come this quickly? Yay!

I know!!! And I missed that, too! (See my earlier post). So happy you could make it, Natalia, fellow bus-taker. 

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Congratulations to Sarah Lane for two fabulous performances! I think I will try and write her directly to express my appreciation for her gifts. Here's hoping she receives a well-deserved promotion. So very sorry to have missed them. 

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A truly magnificent Giselle with Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo last night. Such dazzling technique and deeply heartfelt emotion as well. This was the first time I ever wept at the ballet. I will remember this performance forever.

Edited by Rick
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Agreed.  Last night was a spectacular night for Lane.  It was a heartbreaking Giselle.  Exquisite.  I saw McKenzie speaking with a colleague (maybe a coach?) as I was leaving the theater.  He seemed to be gushing about exquisite arm movements, so I presume he was talking about Sarah.  I wanted to run up to him and scream, "So when the ?#") are you going to promote Lane!". Of course, I didn't.  Not my style. 

 

I agree w. the posts above that mentioned that Herman seemed to be holding back in his Act II solo to prevent further injury.  I've never thought that before in any performances of Herman's that I've seen in the past. I liked Sarah w. Simkin better than w. Cornejo.

 

 

 

Edited by abatt
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Disagree. IMO.  Last night was my fourth Giselle this week.  Felicia.  I saw it already with Gillian/David, Isabella/James and Marcelo/Stella.  Out of the four performances, I found Lane performance to be the least exciting.  I personally did not feel the strong star presence from her as I do with Gillian and Stella.  She does not have the commanding presence to stand out in the midst of all the corps.  Thankfully, Schevenko also lacks some stage presence compare to Veronika and Stella as Myrta.  Therefore, the only star last night was Herman.  His acting was en pointe and his beautiful feet really carved the floor beautifully.

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I'm going to be the outlier here and say it-- the emperor has no clothes. I came into the Sarah Lane/Cornejo Giselle eager to see what all the fuss was about, and while Sarah Lane was extremely technically proficient-- her Act 2 entrance especially, with those very fast, tight whirling turns-- her Act 1 was a complete snooze for me. I adore Herman (his Albrecht is more of a flirty playboy than Marcelo's, whose devastating Albrecht seems more ardently, adoringly, genuinely in love), and I found they had very little chemistry together. Herman was wonderful as always. Sarah Lane is extremely technically secure, and executed the steps perfectly fine, but she lacks the "it" factor-- the proportions of her limbs are short and fleshy, and I find that she dances small. She's a soubrette dancer-- boring. I left totally unmoved. Her facial expression for the entirety of Act 1 was a plastered on smile, with eyebrows raised so high as if to say, "this is me being a young, sweet, likeable girl!" Someone above described her acting as "naturalistic", and I have to disagree entirely-- her stage presence is extremely forced. On the other hand, for the few minutes that Cassandra Trenary was on stage in the peasant pas, she was buoyant, sweet, and winning, without having to "act" like it. I echo those above-- she would be a fabulous, natural Giselle. For the most part, excepting some lovely jetes, Sarah's jumps also felt heavy; even those Giselle signature entrechat with the changement in coupe were rather low to the ground, the feet not totally stretched.

 

Also, Sarah needs to bang her shoes. They were SO noisy last night. Loud shoes are distracting, but typically not a dealbreaker -- unless you're a GHOST.

 

Christine Shevchenko seemed much better last night than the night before, when she stepped in for Gillian. I'm sure she will grow into the role well-- it's hard to hold muster on that big stage opposite seasoned stars like Marcelo and Stella!

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For me last night, Time. Stood. Still. I second every person above who wrote of the marvels of Sarah and Herman's performance. Their Giselle was history-making for me, surely one of the greatest Giselles I've seen over a lifetime of maybe 50+ performances of this singular ballet. What distinguishes this ballet from every other is that dancing IS THE STORY of Act II, so the dancing is continuous, hardly stopping for mime of any sort. And what choreography!

 

I thought Sarah was amazing. Although she's short, IMO she dances TALL. Her extensions are high, her jump is big, and when she's balancing on one leg, say in a developpe a la seconde, she draws it out with the music before melting down onto flat. What most amazed me was that she maintained the height of her jumps throughout the second act, with no sign of losing stamina, even towards the end. What a technique! All in favor of rendering the story, which was clearly shown in both her facial expressions, her ports de bras, and her body. Herman, too, outdid himself in both realms--dancing and acting. His jumps were high and often breathtaking. And his acting portrayed deep sorrow at the pain he had caused, which it seemed would haunt him for the rest of his days.

 

All in all I saw four performances this season, which made me realize how important are the supporting roles. Christine Shevchenko was exquisite as Myrta, with beautiful port de bras and spacious jumps. But not only Myrta--the peasants in the PdD, as well as Hilarion, Moyna, and Zulme, all contributed to the suspension of disbelief in which one can immerse oneself in the veracity of the tale. I'd like especially to mention Cassandra Trenary in the Peasant PdD, who dances so cleanly and brightly, and is simply a joy to watch. 

 

Last night's Giselle will linger in my mind in days to come. And thank you, everyone on Ballet Alert who started posting like crazy the minute the casting change was announced--I wouldn't have known if not for you.

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Always interesting to hear differing reactions to performances. That's why we all have favorite dancers, ballets and companies! I thought Lane's performance last night was filled with detail and nuance. Every communication and feeling between Lane and Cornejo was clear and beautifully drawn. Giselle's relationship to her mother had depth. Lane's extensions and jumps were big and beautiful, her port de bras exquisite (I have always loved the fullness and creaminess of her port de bras). Her mad scene moved me to tears because it seemed real. There was no moment of a mechanical - now I go here, now I do this - to it. For me it was the performance of a ballerina.

 

I enjoyed peasant pas, although I like the old version of the 1st woman's variation better than the one that is done now (It was even different music). Gabe Stone Shayer did some nice double cabrioles and showed good elevation. I wish he'd finish his lines, and solidify the shapes he makes in the air. Trenary was lovely.

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5 hours ago, canbelto said:

One thing that I noticed: many of the women in the ABT corps have feet that are sickled. This was the most obvious in the traveling arabesques across the stage. 

 

Glad someone else noticed this.  (I was afraid that seeing Paris Opera Ballet's Giselle a few years back had unfairly raised my expectations for the ABT corps.)  Not to mention one or two dancers whose arabesques bobbed up and down noticeably, or one, on Tuesday, who just couldn't keep up.  

The other moment that sticks in my mind is when the willis turn downstage (in groups of 4) and do a glissade jete (r), glissade jete (l), grand jete in attitude (twice), combination.    This was part was sloppy and lacked buoyancy in all three performances I viewed.  ABT actually uses an image from this moment in their marketing.  (I could be wrong, but I think that's Stella and Michelle Wiles on the right)  But it doesn't look like this anymore.

 

giselle1380x591.jpg

Edited by DeCoster
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51 minutes ago, angelica said:

Although she's short, IMO she dances TALL. Her extensions are high, her jump is big, and when she's balancing on one leg, say in a developpe a la seconde, she draws it out with the music before melting down onto flat.

 

Yes, yes, yes.  Although she's not my absolute favorite Giselle right now, I can't see how she is perceived as dancing small.  I would argue quite the opposite. Her arms and port de bras are so expansive, and when she steps onto pointe for a pique arabesque she propels her body forward such that she actually catches air for a moment.  

 

Paloma Herrera is a dancer who unfortunately danced small, with her arms often collapsing at the elbows, not forcing herself out onto pointe beyond where her leg reached.  Xiomara Reyes is another example of a tiny Giselle who danced big for her frame and captivated me with her portrayal.  Amanda McKerrow is probably the pinnacle for me, but that could be because she was the first ABT Giselle I witnessed.

 

As for critiques of Lane's facial expressions, I am less inclined to dispute these critiques as I general sit in the dress circle and sometimes the grand tier, often in standing room.  Therefore, I sometimes can't read the facial expressions of dancers with smaller eyes and perhaps more subtle characterizations (Seo, Stearns, and Boylston fall into this category for me) without opera glasses, whereas Lane's expressions actually reach me.  Reading others reviews I'm wondering if some of how perceive dancers is influenced by where we sit.  For instance, those who sit close in the orchestra might view Lane's expression as fake or overdone, whereas it really works for those of us in the balconies.  Just a suggestion . . .

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If you said that Lane's Aurora danced small, I would have agreed. For some reason the two times I saw her in the Ratmansky production she just wasn't a good fit for the production. The costumes and sets seemed to drown her, and she was doing all the steps but without connecting much to the character.

 

But Giselle is a whole different story. First her elevation is remarkable. Her buoyant jump engulfs the stage. Her mime is so clear. And the speed of her footwork sets her apart. Really, Giselle is her role. I'd also love to see her as Lise, Cinderella and Juliet. We can hope ...

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Sarah was not dancing small last night!  Neither was anybody!

 

For me it was, in sum:  Wow! 

 

I thought it was Sarah at her best.  Sarah was more relaxed with Herman and their chemistry was real!  He is so sensual, sexy, intense and yet sweet.  A perfect partner to pump up her natural lyrical, romantic, soulful, sweet beauty.

 

Act 1:  Sarah’s solo started with a divine arabesque balance only going to plie penchee at the very last second.  No interruption to the music…. and stunningly big.  Turns were slow and perfectly controlled (esp the back attitude ones….wow.)  Hops were feminine and lovely.  Then wild, fast circle of pique turns. 

 

Acting:  Incredible throughout….. and  the mad scene was fantastic…. Loved the huge grande jetes (losing her mind totally) ending in exhaustion to the floor.

 

Peasant pas:  Cassandra was better than on Saturday (too one note for me….) with Gabe (so strong, a bit flashy for this role).

 

Act 2:  Sarah will hate me for loving Orsmby (conductor)……I usually prefer David LaMarche.  Orsmby’s tempos were too slow for all the adagio sections last night…. But I loved it because it forced Sarah to push beyond her comfort in places such as huge develope a la secondes (I didn’t know she could do that!).

First table lift didn’t stay up long enough with Herman partnering…. But the second one was perfect.  Rest of the partnering was wonderful….. full of real emotion and gorgeous lines.  Herman did really well, as he’s still a little injured from his DonQ.... 

 

Sarah was a little more distant with Daniil, but I liked her with both guys.  Future roles? Can't wait!

 

Also loved Christine as Myrta!  She improved so much since Saturday’s perf!  She doesn’t jump, fly enough, often enough, yet… especially in most of her Myrta solos…. until the very last section…. But what stunning beauty and presence, lines, throughout.  Then, at her last big jumping solo, she really flew!  I predict she will dance a Swan Lake very soon….. if not this season…. and I will be there!

 

Only real critique from me:  corps and the two Willis demis needed some cleanup work. 

 

 

Edited by sz
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Just a few things to add...I saw the last six Giselles. For me, Lane was the best, by far -- both interpretation and technique. So many outstanding Albrecht's -- Simkin, Cornejo, Lendorf, Gomes, Hallberg -- impossible to pick. Even Whiteside surprised me with his gallantry.

 

Act II-overhead horizontal/table-top lifts: Others have noted the problem with the first one by Lane-Cornejo. It seemed they held the second one longer than usual to make amends. The biggest disaster I saw was Copeland-Lendorf Wednesday afternoon. They were so shaky on the first one I thought he might drop her and she put her right arm down on his shoulder. Their second one was fine.

 

Final lift of Act I: There is an important dramatic detail at the very end that many Giselles missed. Albrecht lifts her up at the waist and she falls to the ground dead. But when he lifts her, she should look skyward and raise her right arm with the two-finger pledge to love him eternally. It's a link back to his insincere declaration early in the Act and it explains why she is so loyal and determined to save him in Act II. Lane got it right. Boylston and Copeland looked upward but just flailed their arms to the side with no declaration. We need that closure to explain why she saves him in Act II after her mad scene.

 

Hillarion sharing her grave: Hillarion's red-shirted arms were too visible again on Wednesday pulling her into the grave. Perhaps, after he danced to his death, he figured out where she is buried and crawled in first to spend eternity with her, as he always wanted! Really, it's a detail that could easily be fixed. 

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I saw Alonso in Giselle, but was probably too young to truly appreciate her performance.  But over the years I have seen many, many Giselles.  Some live in my memory and some are there, but without true memorable distinction.  I put Fracci, Makarova, Kirkland, Ananishivili, Cojocuru (there are others, yes) in that premiere pantheon .  And I know I missed many great portrayals.  But after last night, I really feel as if I saw the greatness that makes memories live.  So, welcome Sarah to this very elite short list of wondrous  Giselles.

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6 hours ago, DeCoster said:

As for critiques of Lane's facial expressions, I am less inclined to dispute these critiques as I general sit in the dress circle and sometimes the grand tier, often in standing room.  Therefore, I sometimes can't read the facial expressions of dancers with smaller eyes and perhaps more subtle characterizations (Seo, Stearns, and Boylston fall into this category for me) without opera glasses, whereas Lane's expressions actually reach me.  Reading others reviews I'm wondering if some of how perceive dancers is influenced by where we sit.  For instance, those who sit close in the orchestra might view Lane's expression as fake or overdone, whereas it really works for those of us in the balconies.  Just a suggestion . . .

 

I sat in Row A Orchestra, and to me, her facial expressions were nuanced and not in the least fake or overdone. And I'm glad to hear that they registered with you, DeCoster, further away.

 

The funny thing is that Seo and Stearns have always looked exquisite to me in the studio, and when I see them on stage they don't project. Haven't seen Boylston enough to say.

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2 hours ago, mimsyb said:

.... after last night, I really feel as if I saw the greatness that makes memories live.  So, welcome Sarah to this very elite short list of wondrous  Giselles.

 

I couldn't agree more, after over six decades of watching wondrous Giselles.

 

I, too, am holding my breath for a promotion for Sarah. With Theme and Variations, Sleeping Beauty (old and new versions), and now Giselle, she has certainly earned her place in the principal roster.

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25 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

I couldn't agree more, after over six decades of watching wondrous Giselles.

 

I, too, am holding my breath for a promotion for Sarah. With Theme and Variations, Sleeping Beauty (old and new versions), and now Giselle, she has certainly earned her place in the principal roster.

 

We can also add Whipped Cream and Coppelia to that list. And, even though it isn't a full-length, she performed Miranda, the female lead in Ratmansky's The Tempest and was first cast.

Edited by ABT Fan
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