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2018 Met Season

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When Gomes was listed as Murphy's partner for both Giselle and R&J, I was willing to go even though I feel those are not strong roles for her.  With Stearns as the replacement, there is no way I'm  going to those shows.

Edited by abatt

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8 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I wouldn't count on it. It's ABT. Remember what they did with Hee Seo for a few years, a few years back? At least Stearns can probably handle it, mostly, in terms of technique, which she could not. But he's sadly lacking in terms of artistry.

Wishful thinking it was a mistake. And, who could forget Seo in every other performance that year.

I still can't believe this decision. Can they really not give Hoven a SL, which he definitely deserves and is more than ready for? It's January and they've only just started Met rehearsals. Plenty of time for Hoven, and/or another soloist, to rehearse a new role. And, is getting a guest artist (which I'm normally not in favor of) not an option either? (Or, maybe there were no takers.) And, so much for having Bolle take another role or two, which further implies that this may be his last season.

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I share everybody's disappointment. I'm glad I didn't plan much in the way of NYC visits for spring -- and, thankfully, NYCB has some interesting things in their spring season. I guess it's time to focus on season announcements for 2018-19 and hope there are things worth visiting this fall --  Boston, Washington, Pennsylvania, NYCB, PNB? 

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Since Hallberg is now out of Bayadere, unless there is some utterly stellar replacement, that time period is now slotted for a trip to DC for Natl Ballet of Cuba.  I can't imagine sitting through Hee Seo's Nikiya without a brilliant Solor. 

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I wonder if Hallberg's cancellations are because he will be dancing with the Australian Ballet's Sleeping Beauty July 6-12 (no casting has been announced yet). He performed that ballet with them last season and is a resident guest artist. He's also indebted to that company for his rehab. 

Edited by ABT Fan

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He's also indebted to ABT, but that factor doesn't seem to matter.  I can understand why he might retire the role of Solor, but Whipped Cream?  It's an easyish, short role.  The only explanation seems to be another gig.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

I'm not surprised at all.  I assumed they would just reassign everything to Whiteside and Stearns.  What is going on with David Hallberg.  If he can't handle a full schedule, he should just retire.   What a dismal season.

Added:  Is  Hallberg still scheduled for all of hir Royal Ballet engagements, or does he only cancel his ABT engagements?

I've answered my own question. David is indeed listed for his two spring Manons and his two spring Giselles at RB.  He must have gotten a better offer that conflicts with the ABT season.  Really disappointing that he thinks so little of his fan base in NYC.

I'm so disappointed that Hallberg has pulled out of Bayadere. I fear the rest of his career is just going to consist of Giselle and MacMillan ballets. Solor is such a taxing (and wonderful) role; I was very curious to see how he would pull it off after such a long time away from the Petipa ballets (at least in NYC).

If it turns out that he's pulled out from Bayadere and Whipped Cream to dance elsewhere, then it's certainly a slap in the face to ABT and his NYC fans. 

And I'd hope we'd get some creative casting for the Gomes replacements. But ABT just doesn't seem to have the capacity to coach dancers and always seems to opt for the easiest route.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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He is indebted to Australian Ballet for his rehab because they had no obligation to help him, a non-company member.

I don't see that Hallberg is indebted to ABT.  He put in the work to get where he is, and he performed well for ABT for a long time.  If they didn't think he was worth the investment, they wouldn't have continued to invest.  He would have a contract for a year, like all other dancers in the Company, and he owes only what that contract says.  I don't assume that he is breaking his contract with ABT if he is performing elsewhere, but that sharing his time would be a matter of negotiations.  If ABT didn't want to offer him a contract after being off so long, I'm sure his calendar would not remain empty for long.

It's not that I don't understand the disappointment.  Relying on ABT advance casting can be like relying on Lucy to hold the football.  But if he's announced and then doesn't dance, it's like other performers and opera singers who have reputations of canceling.

 

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

When Gomes was listed as Murphy's partner for both Giselle and R&J, I was willing to go even though I feel those are not strong roles for her.  With Stearns as the replacement, there is no way I'm  going to those shows.

I feel exactly the same way. And I was going to get tickets to see Seo in Bayadere because of Hallberg, even though I have my qualms with her. Now I definitely won't be going.

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18 minutes ago, Helene said:

 

 

It's not that I don't understand the disappointment.  Relying on ABT advance casting can be like relying on Lucy to hold the football.  But if he's announced and then doesn't dance, it's like other performers and opera singers who have reputations of canceling.

 

Yes, my initial thought was that Hallberg is becoming the Jonas Kaufmann of the ballet world. 

 

I'm holding out hope that ABT is going to hire a special guest artist for those Bayadere slots.  I think they owe it us to hire Kimin Kim,  Shkylarov or Sarafanov, to fill those dates.

Edited by abatt

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18 minutes ago, abatt said:

I'm holding out hope that ABT is going to hire a special guest artist for those Bayadere slots.  I think they owe it us to hire Kimin Kim,  Shkylarov or Sarafanov, to fill those dates.

I’d also be happy seeing a soloist given a shot, though I thought one of Gomes’ vacated roles would have been more likely options for someone like Hoven or Royal.

Both Stearns and Whiteside dance Solor and aren’t cast in the role this year (yet). 

Edited to add: The one thing interesting that's come out of this cast shuffling is that Stearns and Teuscher, who are romantic partners in real life, will be dancing SL together. Maybe this will finally help Stearns to show some emotion! 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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Hallberg is only performing in three full lengths - 1 Giselle and 2 R&J's. That's it.

So, we have.....

- Bolle: dancing in one Giselle and nothing else. (What is that, one less than last year?)

- Cirio: underutilized and barely dancing. Three full lengths incl. one DQ and two in W.C.

- Cornejo: brilliant but quite injury-prone. Scheduled for 5 full lengths. Fingers crossed for no injuries.

- Lendorf: a good addition to the roster but also quite injury-prone. Also scheduled for 5 full lengths.

- Simkin: also underutilized and heading to Berlin after this season, so future # of perf's w/ ABT is unknown. Scheduled for 5 full lengths (incl two in W.C.).

- Stearns: new MVP, scheduled for 10 full lengths, but not well liked by balletomanes.

- Whiteside: Scheduled for 5 shows; ditto not being well liked...

The principal male roster situation just keeps getting more and more depressing.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

I'm holding out hope that ABT is going to hire a special guest artist for those Bayadere slots.  I think they owe it us to hire Kimin Kim,  Shkylarov or Sarafanov, to fill those dates.

Any of them would be an epic win :)

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

He is indebted to Australian Ballet for his rehab because they had no obligation to help him, a non-company member.

I don't see that Hallberg is indebted to ABT.  He put in the work to get where he is, and he performed well for ABT for a long time. 

 

David Hallberg signed a contract for the Met season with ABT.  He is not a guest artist at ABT. It's not a matter of being indebted.  It's a matter of honoring the contract  that you signed.  If he withdrew from these shows because he felt they were no longer within his technical grasp, that' is certainly an outcome which nobody could hold against him.  However, if it turns out that he withdrew because he is jetting off for a different gig, that's not acceptable.  ABT has been advertising his appearnaces for the upcoming season for months, and once you put your ticket order in you cannot get a refund.

Edited by abatt

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47 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Hallberg is only performing in three full lengths - 1 Giselle and 2 R&J's. That's it.

So, we have.....

- Bolle: dancing in one Giselle and nothing else. (What is that, one less than last year?)

- Cirio: underutilized and barely dancing. Three full lengths incl. one DQ and two in W.C.

- Cornejo: brilliant but quite injury-prone. Scheduled for 5 full lengths. Fingers crossed for no injuries.

- Lendorf: a good addition to the roster but also quite injury-prone. Also scheduled for 5 full lengths.

- Simkin: also underutilized and heading to Berlin after this season, so future # of perf's w/ ABT is unknown. Scheduled for 5 full lengths (incl two in W.C.).

- Stearns: new MVP, scheduled for 10 full lengths, but not well liked by balletomanes.

- Whiteside: Scheduled for 5 shows; ditto not being well liked...

The principal male roster situation just keeps getting more and more depressing.

It is a crime that Simkin and Cirio are so underutilized with small girls like Lane, Trenary, and Brandt fully capable.  Both Simkin and Cirio have done all or almost all of those full-lengths elsewhere.  Is Lendorf back yet from his injury?  And, yes, start using Hoven.  

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Lendorf is not scheduled to perform with ABT until March.

I think it's safe to assume that Forster will take Hallberg's WC slots in July, since he's already doing the role with Stella in Hong Kong (and Teuscher in DC). But that leaves two more shows of WC unfilled (Gomes's shows). They should be able to fill those gaps with the the soloists. Solor, however, is a different story so I understand if they bring a guest artist for that. It's a tough role and Stearns may not feel up for it anymore (not to mention he's already overworked).

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Off the cuff ... I was just wondering if Gabe Stone Shayer mightn't make a dazzling Solar.  I only have really seen him dance in Paris ... in the Sleeping Beauty ... but he brought down the house at the Bastille (with the exquisite Trenary) as the Bluebird more than anyone else as far as I can remember.  

I'd certainly pay good money to see him have a punt or two in Le Bayadere I think ... and that would at least keep the assignment in ABT's terrain.  (Mindful of how long it did drift off the in-house roster.  Do people really want to go down that road again??  The balletic world is not quite what it once was in terms of world stars methinks.)  (Mind you the rise in ABT's fees - well, in respect of Standing Room at least ... is rather distressing in and of itself ... MIGHT make SOME people insist on guest artists ... NOT A WISE LONG-RUN ATTITUDE IN MY BOOK - but then they say the economy is doing brilliant things Stateside so perhaps people don't notice quite as much as they certainly do in the UK - where the Royal have just jacked up the prices for this yet to be seen 'new' Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet.  That said the RB is - just now - brimming with young talent.  The future - at least in their regard - is a rich one.  

If they wanted a surprise guest artist .... I think young Cesar Corrales would be stellar .... and he has always said he ultimately wanted to dance for ABT.  Some might say: 'a Company member in the ultimate making' .....   You can see him in a minute of his ENB Ali here ... and last week he was veritably breathtaking in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort.   Moreover he is - even now - only just 21.  Bayadere could be a good dry run for him prior to his joining the RB roster as a First Soloist next year.  I have a feeling the RB may well do the Makarova again next year.  It's been out of the rep now for some years ... and this would fit him to a tee!  Do I hear 'Fore' :)

Edited by meunier fan

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I would love to see Thomas Forster getting more opportunities in principal roles. I've seen him do wonderfully in roles that require acting skills, e.g., in Onegin. He has a beautiful line. I don't know how he is technically (turns, jumps, etc.) because HE ISN'T BEING GIVEN A CHANCE. I would vote for him in a heartbeat over Gabe Stone Shayer, who has an awesome jump but seems to be simpering to the audience, at least in my eyes.

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1 hour ago, angelica said:

I would love to see Thomas Forster getting more opportunities in principal roles. I've seen him do wonderfully in roles that require acting skills, e.g., in Onegin. He has a beautiful line. I don't know how he is technically (turns, jumps, etc.) because HE ISN'T BEING GIVEN A CHANCE. I would vote for him in a heartbeat over Gabe Stone Shayer, who has an awesome jump but seems to be simpering to the audience, at least in my eyes.

I agree with all of this. I really disliked his Hilarion last year but I've seen him do beautifully in many other roles.

They have a perfect opportunity next month on tour when they're doing the white and black swan pas from SL in Nebraska. Instead of having Stearns taking one of each, of course, (they're doing two of each), Hoven and/or Forster should be given a trial run. They're both good partners, esp Hoven, so I don't think they'd be in over their heads. Stearns' white pas is with Boylston; Hoven would do well with her. And his black pas is with Murphy, who pretty much partners herself anyway, but Forster would be a good fit there. Hoven even did the white pas last year with Abrera in Alabama for an event he organized.

Just when I thought this company had started to come to its senses (giving long overdue opportunities and promotions to certain dancers; ceasing, at least for now, the excessive guest artist contingent and using the talent within instead) they do what I view as nonsensical. A big leap forward last year, and now a few steps backwards.

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Stearns is the new Seo!  Love it.

I really was looking forward to Blaine Hoven picking up Gomes’ Swan Lake performance with Murphy, at the very least.  In my estimation this spring should have been Hoven’s breakout season.  He is more than ready for those leading roles, and his skills are very much needed.  But it’s ABT, so instead, all we have is another wasted opportunity.  ABT is so thoughtful, they really want me to save my money this year and buy very few tickets!  I don’t know whether to thank them or kick them.

Gabe Stone Shayer is young and full of energy, but his dancing for me is disappointing.  He is sloppy, his arms and legs do not fully express the flowing, articulated movement I expect from ballet dancers, and he seems unable or unwilling to work at creating real characters on stage.  Hard to believe he has Bolshoi training.  He is, however, very good at fooling around on Instagram videos.  He needs to get serious about his dancing.  Rather than Shayer, I’d prefer underused principal Cirio picking up the slack from Cornejo and Simkin, and getting more stage time with Lane, Trenary and Brandt.  Why the rush to promote him if he’s mostly relegated to soloist roles? 

Let us hope the AGMA artists are able to settle their dispute with management before too much more time passes, or all of this discussion may prove irrelevant by springtime.

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8 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Just when I thought this company had started to come to its senses (giving long overdue opportunities and promotions to certain dancers; ceasing, at least for now, the excessive guest artist contingent and using the talent within instead) they do what I view as nonsensical. A big leap forward last year, and now a few steps backwards.

My perhaps ridiculously optimistic hope is that this is a temporary blip, that they're reeling from the loss of Gomes and now, to some extent, of Hallberg, and so they're falling back into old habits in order to play it safe. I do hope the recent trend you describe will continue in the future.

It's interesting that no one has really mentioned Joey Gorak. What the heck happened there? He had some long-standing problems (e.g. partnering) but I do think that overall he was growing, and in so many ways he was a beautiful dancer. And for awhile there he was getting some great opportunities — e.g. the Prince in Cinderella. My initial read was that Cirio came in and took the principal spot that might have otherwise gone to Gorak — but then Cirio's principal status is basically a joke. 

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It took Cornejo and Simkin years to be given important lead roles, even after they got promoted to principal.  I'm not surprised that Cirio is suffering the same fate.   McKenzie is very resistant to casting short men in roles like Albrecht, Solor and Siegfried.  Since Cornejo has trouble making it through an entire season without an injury or illness, we may see more of Cirio than anticipated.

I actually don't agree that Hoven is ready for a full length lead role.  Maybe they should give him a secondary lead, such as a replacement for Hallberg in Whipped Cream.  However, Forster seems to destined for those slots. He has improved, but taking on a full length lead role is a major undertaking that requires a lot of skill and stamina.  Hoven  needs to prove himself in more difficult featured roles before they move him up to the leading man in a full length ballet. 

Yes, Gorak  has fallen into oblivion.  

Edited by abatt

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Abatt, well said.   Not sure why Nanushka feels his rank "a joke"...   He's a proven principal both at Boston and NYC and in galas and competitions internationally.   It takes time at ABT - no matter who you are.  Agree he will likely get more as the season progresses.     He just got back from a fall season at ENB doing great stuff and found the time to choreograph the winning routine for this amazing couple (ice dancing 2018 European champions and headed to the Olympics)  http://web.icenetwork.com/news/2017/10/25/259553222

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56 minutes ago, mira said:

Not sure why Nanushka feels his rank "a joke"...   He's a proven principal both at Boston and NYC and in galas and competitions internationally.   It takes time at ABT - no matter who you are. 

I was not dissing Cirio in the least. My point was that he's not being treated like a real principal, in terms of the opportunities he's being given. Typically, even at ABT, soloists are given some leading roles and then promoted to principal, at which point they take on more. Cirio dances hardly any full-length leading roles with the company, fewer even than some soloists have tended to get. Yes, that follows in the tradition of Simkin and Cornejo, but it seems much more extreme.

This season, for instance, while admittedly casting is still incomplete (e.g. Harlequinade) and in flux, in terms of leading roles he is slated for a single performance of Basilio — other than his role in Whipped Cream, which is hardly the same as dancing Basilio, Siegfried, Solor, Romeo, Albrecht, etc. If one looked only at the calendar, one would have no idea he was a principal.

Edited by nanushka

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14 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I was not dissing Cirio in the least. My point was that he's not being treated like a real principal, in terms of the opportunities he's being given. Typically, even at ABT, soloists are given some leading roles and then promoted to principal, at which point they take on more. Cirio dances hardly any full-length leading roles with the company, fewer even than some soloists have tended to get. Yes, that follows in the tradition of Simkin and Cornejo, but it seems much more extreme.

On stage he does't read childlike, as Simkin did/does, nor does he appear as short as Cornejo (though maybe he is), so I'm surprised management hasn't given him a few more opportunities. Also, there have been no reports of him being an inconsistent partner, at least from his time in Boston. 

It's been sad to see Gorak somewhat sidelined. The quality of his dancing is exceptional. I wonder if the partnering ended up being too much of an issue; he's spoken in interviews how he's a ball of nerves before going on stage, and there was a sweet anecdote about Xiomara Reyes reassuring him before a performance of Cinderella.

Hoven was thrown soloist roles for years when he was in the corps. I'd like to see him and Forster given a shot a principal role. Can it pan out any worse than Hammoudi?

Edited by fondoffouettes

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