Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

ABT 2017 Swan Lake


Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Kaysta said:

I hope they pull her out of Whipped Cream.  I don't mind Copeland in many things, but this is not a role I'd like to see her in.

 

Can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts on Devon today!

Agreed.  Once I saw the role, I really could not imagine her in it.  But, perhaps she will surprise us.

Link to post
25 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Well...then they might come with the bright idea of rising the tickets price of her performances as she learns how to throw another fouette in her SL and DQ. Who knows...if she ever completes the 32 at some point of her career ABT might be out of debt, just thanks to her..!

 

Her performances are already dynamically priced.  If you buy too late (once the show starts to sell), the price goes up.  When she performed in the Ken Center, even 2nd tier prices were over a hundred dollars.  I don't think the dynamic pricing was as bad this year at the Met, but it was still in effect.  I saw a rear side orchestra ticket for 90 dollars for her SL performance, it's normally 55 or 65.

Link to post
35 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Well...then they might come with the bright idea of rising the tickets price of her performances as she learns how to throw another fouette in her SL and DQ. Who knows...if she ever completes the 32 at some point of her career ABT might be out of debt, just thanks to her..!

 

I love the idea of a per-fouetté surcharge! They save your credit card info and charge as soon as Act III is over. Now that's dynamic pricing!

Edited by nanushka
Link to post

I following this conversation with ???.

 

Dynamic pricing works based on whether you buy or don't buy.  If I don't like the published casting, I vote with my feet.  If I know that a dancer won't do the 32-fouettes, and the 32-fouettes are so important that no other qualities the dancer has for the other [running time-60 seconds], I won't buy tickets to the performance with that dancer. 

 

 If I've chosen performances based on casting -- positive or avoidance-based -- and then there are often changes that I don't like, I vote with my feet.

 

If I'm so convinced I won't like something ahead of time, and it's scheduled, I tend to not spend money on it.

Link to post
1 hour ago, Helene said:

I following this conversation with ???.

 

Dynamic pricing works based on whether you buy or don't buy.  If I don't like the published casting, I vote with my feet.  If I know that a dancer won't do the 32-fouettes, and the 32-fouettes are so important that no other qualities the dancer has for the other [running time-60 seconds], I won't buy tickets to the performance with that dancer. 

 

 If I've chosen performances based on casting -- positive or avoidance-based -- and then there are often changes that I don't like, I vote with my feet.

 

If I'm so convinced I won't like something ahead of time, and it's scheduled, I tend to not spend money on it.

 

Since the beginning of my ballet viewing career I tend to watch everything....the good, the bad and the in between. Being able to see how bad a dancer performs-(as with Copeland yeasterday, which I had only seen one time before...quite some years ago in a Miami Gala)- really helps me appreciate the good ones.

Link to post
2 minutes ago, Balanchinomane said:

Most of us don't like to see performance standards lowered

for financial gain. It fits with the dumbing down of culture in

arts and letters, so prevalent today. When an art form crosses

the line to pop culture, everybody loses.

There are two different issues here. (1) lowering performance standards and (2) moving away from classical ballet to pop culture.  It would be nice if ballet companies could survive only by performing pure classics (whether that's from the 19th century repertory or Balanchine). But that's tough financially. And I confess I have enjoyed some of the more "pop" things I've seen, e.g., Septime Weber's Alice (in Wonderland) is chock full of really interesting choreography that the classical dancers seem to enjoy performing.

Link to post
19 minutes ago, Balanchinomane said:

Most of us don't like to see performance standards lowered

for financial gain. It fits with the dumbing down of culture in

arts and letters, so prevalent today. When an art form crosses

the line to pop culture, everybody loses.

While I don't like to see performance standards lowered either, I somewhat agree and disagree with your statement for two reasons:

 

1)  As has been discussed elsewhere on BA, Misty selling out shows may be one of the reasons ABT has not reverted back to filling all of their spots with guest artists.  So indirectly, Misty may be responsible for Sarah Lane finally dancing Giselle, which in my eyes, was one of the purest, most heartfelt performances I have seen in a long time.  All of ABTs soloists getting opportunities this Met season?  We may need to thank Misty for that (and some unfortunate injuries).

 

2)  Popular culture is obviously very accessible to many people, which can then lead them to have a greater appreciation of the arts.  If even a few of the people who came out to the ballet for Misty Copeland only, then go ahead and develop an appreciation for the art form and seek out non-Misty performances, than she has done good for this art form.   I know that as someone who grew up in the suburbs and never had an opportunity to attend a ballet until my late thirties, I would not have been exposed without so called "pop culture."  I was introduced to the art form by a TV show that some outright ridicule on these boards.  But if it wasn't for that television show, I would have never been exposed to ballet.  Ballet needs more than just hardcore balletomanes to survive.  It's the reason the Nutcracker is performed by every company large and small.

 

I apologize for getting off topic though.

Edited by Kaysta
Link to post

I think Balanchinomane was saying that Misty's celebrity covers for her artistic deficiencies.  She shrewdly marketed herself (while she was still a soloist) as this groundbreaking alien in the dance world. At that point, McKenzie's hands were absolutely tied in terms of promoting her. I don't believe had Misty stayed a non-celebrity, that she would have ever become a principal dancer. Her fame outside the ballet world absolutely got her that promotion. I compare it to Tom Brady performing King Lear at The Globe. You know how the quality of the performance will be, but it's the spectacle that will fill the seats.

 

All that said, I think Misty is a beautiful dancer in the right roles. For instance, I would love to see what she could do with The Leaves are Fading.

 

Can anyone explain  dynamic pricing? I don't know what they term means. Does pricing go up based on speed of ticket sales?

Edited by Fleurfairy
More concise
Link to post
30 minutes ago, Balanchinomane said:

Most of us don't like to see performance standards lowered

for financial gain. It fits with the dumbing down of culture in

arts and letters, so prevalent today. When an art form crosses

the line to pop culture, everybody loses.

 

Absolutely!  Exhibit A: the latest version of the Kennedy Center so-called "Ballet Across America" with heavy PC focus. Exhibit B: NYCB's The Times Are Racing by Justin Peck...one of two "Ballet Across America's" curators...Misty being the other.

Link to post
14 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

Ballet needs more than just hardcore balletomanes to survive.  It's the reason the Nutcracker is performed by every company large and small.

 

There's pretty solid evidence that Balanchine was motivated to create his Nutcracker to bring in revenue, and companies around the country jumped on the financial bandwagon. His version, of course, does have some wonderful choreography, but I rarely see Nutcracker more than once a year. There's also some indication that he made his one-act Swan Lake in 1951 to bring in revenue and get more recognition, even though it must have seemed like a sell-out to his most ardent fans at the time. I remember one report that he was going to leave out the four little swans, but Kirstein objected, as ticket-buyers expect it! If you-know-who helps the bottom line at ABT, more power to her (and them)!

Link to post

All very good points. Variety in performance is OK  if it

influences a new audience who will want to return and see something

else. I worry about the kids working in the studios who see an

easier way to get ahead. Bare legs and sneakers does not require

professional ballet training. In any endeavor of life it's the long game

that's most rewarding. Sorry for standing on a soapbox!

Link to post

I am brand new to the forum as a writer - but has been reading all your comments for a long time. I love it - you are so committed to the art! I go to Swan Lake every year (almost) and whatever I can go to during the season as a New Yorker- which I know is not enough compared to many of you :)...My all time favorite (live) is Nina Ananiashvili. The moment she leaves the stage (back to audience) with swan arms - I cannot ever forget that. Since than I have seen Polina + David; Maria K + Herman; Isabella + (who was her partner last year? I can't remember!)..and then this year Misty + Herman. Well let's start with Herman - he is perfection and the main reason I went to see this performance. And oh boy - he delivers. The second reason I went to see this performance is because my 11 year old asked me to...She specifically wanted to see Misty. Yes, she is a vulnerable to all the marketing...not a bad thing since even thought she is a dedicated ballet student she is not always into going to the ballet. I did let her know what to expect in regards to the shortcomings of Misty (her question - why let her perform if she cannot do the part??). The second reason was as a social experiment - I wanted to see what the Met looked like during a Misty performance. So here are my thoughts:  

- Misty's Odette was ok - her solo was good - and please someone let  me know if she took shortcuts there - I did not see it but I might have missed it. She does not have the flexible back I love in Odette..but many of the ABT principals don't seem to have that it factor that I am looking for in a flexible back. Maybe a Russian thing (I am not Russian)?

- Her Odille was tense from the beginning- particularly her solo. And then the 18 or so foutte turns...with a random glissade and grand jete (I think that is what she did - cant remember). I think the audience noticed. From where I was (Grand Tier) I felt that Herman got more recognition last night than she did..maybe they are learning what to expect? Or maybe it was just weird..My daughter did roll her eyes...

- They only got 1 curtain call - wasn't that odd? Maybe this audience is not used to it?

- I was puzzled that she stopped at 18...while she was traveling a LOT she seemed stable. Why did she think she had to stop? Is it lack of stamina? Is it lack of confidence? Was she certain it would lead her to falling off pointe?

- Can't wait to hear about Devon & Sarah Lane - gorgeous dancers and Devon seems to be a great turner...

Link to post
53 minutes ago, Balanchinomane said:

All very good points. Variety in performance is OK  if it

influences a new audience who will want to return and see something

else. I worry about the kids working in the studios who see an

easier way to get ahead. Bare legs and sneakers does not require

professional ballet training. In any endeavor of life it's the long game

that's most rewarding. Sorry for standing on a soapbox!

I didn't think you were standing on a soapbox and I respect and understand your opinion! :)

 

I think Misty's popularity (with her technical shortcomings) bothered me more in the past, because it felt like she was taking away opportunities from the soloists who could handle the technical aspects of the roles.  But now that ABT has ditched the guest artist rent-a-thon, it doesn't bother me so much.  Misty will bring in her fans and the money,  I can see the artists I appreciate, and ABT can make money and grow their own talent.

 

Edited by Kaysta
Link to post
1 hour ago, Kaysta said:

Popular culture is obviously very accessible to many people, which can then lead them to have a greater appreciation of the arts.  If even a few of the people who came out to the ballet for Misty Copeland only, then go ahead and develop an appreciation for the art form and seek out non-Misty performances, than she has done good for this art form.   

 

I absolutely agree with this.

 

An anecdotal example: I saw a performance of La Bayadere a few years ago with Cojocaru and Cornejo that Copeland was also in. There were some clearly non-ballet Misty fans in front of me who applauded/cheered loudly at first every time she entered the stage. By the end of the performance, they cheered even louder for Cojocaru. I appreciated their enthusiasm and think Cojocaru definitely won over some new ballet fans that night.

Link to post

Though I only have seen her a few times, I also found Copeland excellent in the right principal role (Lise)-- and though I had reservations about her Gamzatti, still, both times I saw it, she showed greater technical command than Seo the one time I saw her. (Though in some other roles I have seen Seo give ravishing performances.) Neither was a great Gamzatti...

 

Is Copeland worthy of being an ABT principal? With the possible exception of Murphy, all of their current principles are uneven across the repertory or unpredictable in their technical abilities. (That's one reason I am not altogether opposed to occasional guest artists at ABT, though there is a rising generation, if not already risen, that is definitely exciting. And I AM thrilled about all the debuts happening.)

 

I could wish Copeland hadn't suffered a major injury just as her career was catching fire and even that she was a technical powerhouse -- but I have a few wishes about some of ABT's other principles as well.  

Edited by Drew
Link to post

This afternoon's Swan Lake was a bit of a mixed bag. I've been a big admirer of Teuscher, but her recent comments in the NYT about her strengths/weaknesses in this ballet were reflected in her performance today. Her Odette doesn't really luxuriate in the poses, and her arabesques aren't particularly attractive. She tended to snap into a pose and then immediately come out of it. Quite a few of her developees were very low and somewhat clipped; others looked fine. She seems to lack flexibility in her back, as well. But it was a committed performance, and she's clearly put a lot of thought into the dramatic aspects of the role. Her port de bras is quite lovely, though, for the most part, she doesn't really attempt to do swan-like arms. For her big exit at the end of Act II, she beautifully illustrated the pull that Rothbart had over her, though she was almost off the stage by the time she attempted to do any swan movements with her arms. The strongest part of the act was probably the adagio section of the pas de deux, which was executed quite flawlessly by Teuscher and Hammoudi. However, overall, the act left me cold; there wasn't a ton of emotion shared between the two leads.

 

Odile suits Teuscher better at this point, at least technically. She's a natural turner, though all her turns weren't exactly spot-on. Her variation was very well done. The adagio was marred by a botched lift (not a complete disaster; but not good) and some unbelievably wonky violin playing during the part when Teuscher is supposed to hold a balance. She didn't really attempt to hold the balance, but I think the horrendous violin could have been to blame. The fouettes are no issue whatsoever for Teuscher, but I just wish they had been more musical. She started out doing only doubles, but they didn't go at all with the music; I think it works much better with the music when the dancer elects to do singles with multiples thrown in. The doubles she executed looked fine but they didn't mesh with the music at all. She traveled quite a bit, but not terribly, during the doubles, and then transitioned to singles, at which point the traveling ceased; a nice clean finish, too.

 

Royal looked excellent as Rothbart. He perhaps doesn't have the command and charisma that will come with more outings of the role, but his technique was really exceptional. The only thing I found odd was that he didn't try to hold the arabesque on demi-pointe at all. There seemed to be some hesitation before he started it and then he just did an arabesque and immediately moved on. That special moment became a non-moment.

 

I'm sort of burying the bad news of the afternoon: Hammoudi was kind of a mess overall. No partnering glitches to speak of besides that lift in the black swan pdd, but much of his solo work looked really sloppy. Underpowered jumps, bad landings, botched finishes to turns. And he didn't bring much dramatically to the table until Act IV, when I thought he was very emotive. 

 

Zhiyao Zhang was excellent as Benno. Gorgeous leaps and great partnering. The two female dancers in the pas de trois were Zhong-Jing Fang and April Giangeruso. Fang looked great and injected a lot of personality into her dancing. Giangeruso danced the jumpy role that has all the little beats in the air. I thought she looked earthbound and underpowered; really underwhelming. It's hard to imagine why she was cast in this role, unless she's looked completely different in the rehearsal room.

 

Nancy Raffa Kate Lydon didn't work for me as the Queen. Maybe it would be better if she were part of an all-around short cast, but she just looked tiny next to everyone else. And she doesn't bring a lot of presence in that role.

 

I'd definitely like to see Teuscher in Swan Lake again, but with a different partner. I'd also like to see her let go a bit more in Act III, and act more seductive and evil. I'm not sure if the Act II issues are fixable, but I guess we'll see as she grows into the role.

Edited by fondoffouettes
Edited to correct error re: casting of Queen
Link to post

I also saw today and agree on quite a few things, not on others.

 

I thought Teuscher was great.

I had no problems at all with her Odette. I disagree pretty vehemently about her back flexibility etc. I thought she put a lot of emotion into the role. I do agree about Prince Wetblanket. And it is pretty hard to do a totally one-sided love story with a brick wall.

I too would like to see her with a different partner.

 

The only flaws in the performance came in Act III--

one of the Neapolitans (poor Jonathan Klein) lost his shoe, and had to get it back on, but he and Gabe made a good go of it.

I thought Royal looked excellent--danced well and had charisma which is something few bring to the part. I also noticed that the arabesque became a non-moment. Not sure how I felt about it...ultimately I decided that his very nice arabesque that was not held as intended was preferable to the torturous wiggling that often occurs when its going poorly, and it was his debut.

 

I don't just want to repeat things, but that music error was inexcusable, I'm glad it didn't throw them off more!

 

Also, I agree on the pdt--Fang has looked fantastic in everything I've seen her in this season. Really lovely dancing from her.

 

All I can add for Hammoudi is that he leapt to his death very nicely. Please stop giving him principal roles.

 

Link to post

Thanks to all the posters on this topic--you are all much better critics than the NYTimes critics. I have benefitted from all your posts here, and from reading Fondoffouttes' and Aurora's comments on this afternoon's performance, I am glad I didn't try to move heaven and earth to get there. I had a feeling Hammoudi might not give a great performance based on other less than stellar performances he gave in spring 2016, and it is too bad that he seems not to have improved. I am not able to go tomorrow to see Sarah, but I look forward to your posts afterward. 

Link to post

I want to add my thanks to CTballetfan's -- I'm also looking forward to reading about Lane's debut. 

Oh--and I'm just delighted to read the above responses to Fang's dancing in the pas de trois. (She was a highlight of the various Whipped Cream performances I saw--so hilarious and so charming. My favorite Marianne Chartreuse...) 

Edited by Drew
Link to post
2 minutes ago, Drew said:

I want to add my thanks to CTballetfan's -- I'm also looking forward to reading about Lane's debut. 
 

FYI: I exchanged an Onegin ticket that I couldn't use for Lane's debut tomorrow, and they are apparently selling VERY well.

So much so that he commented on it, and I wasn't able to get anything in my usual area (which isn't a hot ticket)--all sold out!

 

If anyone wants to say hi (or avoid me!), look for the woman with dark blue and black hair (and glasses).

I'd imagine that will narrow it down at the Met.

Link to post

I, too, was at this afternoon's performance. I agree with everything written here so far -- Royal was great, Hammoudi was meh, Teuscher, while not perfect, showed great potential, and Fang was completely charming. I would like to add that I was pretty disappointed in the corps de ballet's performance in Acts II and IV. I'll be blunt: I felt they were a mess. I feel bad writing that because I know those dancers work so very, very hard and are the backbone of the company but they were just not together -- they were often out of sync and their lines were often crooked. I love the corps de ballet scenes in Swan Lake, and I've seen them done to perfection before, most recently by San Francisco Ballet a few years ago, so it was a bit of a let down for me. I don't blame the dancers, it seemed pretty obvious to me that they were under-rehearsed, and seemed a bit sleepy to boot.

 

 

Link to post
11 minutes ago, aurora said:

All I can add for Hammoudi is that he leapt to his death very nicely. Please stop giving him principal roles.

 

LOL! This last line cracked me up, Aurora. I'm in total agreement. That ship has sailed. It looked for a time –– like, 4 or 5 years ago now –– that Hammoudi might be the next homegrown tall male principal, but I'm tired of waiting for him to step it up. I don't know if he's just not working hard enough to make it happen or what, but by now I think it's time to cut him off and give those opportunities to someone else.

 

I was excited to see the PDT this afternoon, but that excitement was dampened a bit when April Giangeruso was announced as replacing Catherine Hurlin. I've read great things on here about Hurlin and she's been a standout in the corps, but I have yet to see her in a big solo. I'm sure I'll get my chance soon enough, though.

 

I always appreciate seeing Zhiyao Zhang, as he has a fine lean elegance and often gets very nice height on his leaps. There were some messy landings today during his solo, but otherwise a good performance. I was even more impressed by their short PDT at the start of the Act III, where his partnering was very clean, making the girls' lifts look like a seamless continuation of their movements on the ground.

 

I'm mostly in agreement with fondoffouettes about Teuscher's Act II. I had my doubts going into today, as I wondered if this role was the best fit for her. I think she's an excellent dancer in many things –– her Gulnare on Saturday night was really a standout performance, for instance (and I even thought she overshadowed Shevchenko's Medora). But she seems rather cool in temperament to me –– a diamond, I'd say, not an emerald or a ruby. Anyway, as I say, I had my doubts, but the reports from D.C. were so positive, and I went into today with an open mind. But in the end I was underwhelmed. I agree that, in Act II, she was at her best in the PDD adagio. In her variation, on the other hand, I felt she lacked fluidity between steps. I was not too troubled by the height of her développés, but her rond de jambes looked more distinct on the right than on the left, where they were muddied. There was also a stumble once as she brought her leg down, and in the ensuing part of the variation she really didn't seem to luxuriate at all in any of her arabesques.

 

The cygnettes were pretty good through most of their number, in nice unison, and they handled the pas de chat crossing from far stage left to far stage right quite well (where many ABT quartets tend to fall behind the music), but things fell apart a bit at the end, and Mai Aihara in particular seemed the weakest link. (The others were Rachel Richardson, Betsy McBride, and Breanne Granlund.)

 

I always hate how jagged the ABT orchestra's tempi are in the Act II coda, especially with the big slow-down when Odette comes out for her diagonal, but I have never heard it get slower than it did today. It seemed a bit ridiculous. I would imagine Teuscher of all people could pull that off a bit faster.

 

In Act III, despite the problem with Jonathan Klein's shoe, he and Shayer danced a very nice Neapolitan –– in fact, to my eye, Klein looked every bit as good as his partner (no easy feat), and he was even more crisply on the beat of the music.

 

I was very excited to see Calvin Royal's Rothbart, and for a debut it was quite good. There were some places where he needs to learn to juice up the movements, and that non-balanced arabesque was indeed quite odd. It seemed to me that he planned that, because he waited until very near the end of the phrase to raise his leg, so it wasn't as if he ended it early –– rather, he started it late, so there was no time for a balance. I agree it was better than a shaky balance, but in a stronger performance that can be such a great moment, and here its potential effect was lost.

 

The intro/adagio of the black PDD was quite good, with the very notable exception of the violin flub. The soloist entered a beat or two early, then had to repeat his phrase once the orchestra came back in after what should have been a silent pause. It seemed like just a total brain flub, and I'm sure the violinist was kicking himself after. (I see in the program his name is Ben Bowman. Hah.) In any case, it was just another lost moment that could have been really great.

 

Hammoudi looked very tired at the beginning of his variation, and it only got worse from there. Low energy. Devon's variation was very good, though –– one of the highlights of her performance. In the coda, the fouettés were just as reported above, and then came Hammoudi's turns à la seconde, in which his leg was held at maybe a 60 degree angle from the vertical. It just looked like he was really running out of steam by that point. Devon may have been as well, as her backward hops in arabesque also looked rather tired. Kind of an anticlimactic ending to the act, overall. And then to top it off we all had to sit through that interminable entr'acte with the swans.

 

Devon's mime was another highlight of her performance, in both Act II and Act IV, with just one exception. Her "I will die" gestures in Act IV looked rather odd –– not so much resolved to her fate but rather as if she were scolding Siegfried and saying he was gonna die. But her "you've broken my heart" gesture in the same scene was quite affecting.

 

Despite my criticisms, I do think on the whole this was a promising performance for her, and I'll definitely see her again in future years, particularly if she's paired with a stronger partner. (I would love to see her with Marcelo, and am sorry I missed those performances.) I might give her a few years to become more seasoned. But there are some other principal roles I'm even more excited to see her in.

 

And I'm so excited to see Sarah and Daniil tomorrow, and keeping my fingers tightly crossed that Veronika is fully recovered and will dance on Saturday!

 

 

 

 

Link to post

Unfortunately, this afternoon's performance felt more like a typical Wednesday afternoon matinee than an important New York debut.  So many things seemed "off."  The audience where I was seated in the orchestra was filled with the elderly folks who were upbeat and happy to be there, far preferable to the mothers with very young children, who could not concentrate and insisted on whispering through Act II, (was grateful when they departed at intermission); and the five year-old next to me who insisted on tunelessly humming along with that dreadful violin in Act III; and a fidgety woman in front of me who removed her shoes and stretched out as if she were on a lounge chair at the beach.  This kind of environment made the performance even more disappointing than it might have been.

 

Devon Teuscher was wonderful, even as her Act III fouettes traveled downstage she was fascinating to watch.  Alex Hammoudi was clearly out of his depth.  His finest moment came with Siegfried's leap off the cliff, it was high, beautifully executed, and better than Teuscher's.  When Devon repeats the role next year (that's a certainty), I hope she'll have a partner who is more inspiring and an evening performance with an audience who will truly appreciate her beautiful dancing.  Calvin Royal has improved so very much over the past two years.  His arms and legs create such long, beautiful lines, and he now knows how to control them.  (I did miss Rothbart's arabesque, though.) He doesn't yet have the gravitas or acting ability to be a convincingly creepy Rothbart, but the potential is there. Tom Forster, however, was excellent and quite creepy as the green demon Rothbart.  I also thought there was something off about the four cygnets in Act II, at least one of them missed a step, or was off the music.  This may be my last Wednesday matinee for some time.  I'd rather miss an important debut than have my enjoyment impaired by folks who should be at home watching TV.

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...