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Winter 2019


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53 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Piano Concerto No. 2  is one of my all-time favorite ballets, so I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually felt bored at times watching today's performance. I'm not sure it's a great role for Reichlen. Yes, she certainly looks very regal and glamorous, but I was missing a bit of energy, dramatic presence, or something from her.

The last couple of times I saw Reichlen dance Piano Concerto No. 2 she absolutely blew the doors off of it. Perhaps it was an off night? 

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52 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Thank you for pointing this out. I didn't realize they were new; I've been scratching my head over how I failed to notice this aspect of the costume for years. I think it looks odd too, and glad to know I'm not blind! 

Yes, it seems they were introduced in fall 2016, based on this article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballets-fall-season-bursts-with-talent.html

The lighter panels were there in the pre-refurbishment costumes, but they blend in and serve to highlight the legs beneath:

slide-06.jpg

The costume shop is usually so rigorous about recreating Karinska's intentions. Could she have really wanted these thick lemony panels that detract from the dancers' legs?

14NYCSEASON1-jumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=w

 

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33 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

The last couple of times I saw Reichlen dance Piano Concerto No. 2 she absolutely blew the doors off of it. Perhaps it was an off night? 

I'm thinking that may be the case. This was actually my first time seeing her in the role and I expected it to suit her really well; I figured her sometimes cool aloofness would actually serve her well for such a regal role. And I don't think there is anything in the role that's beyond her technical capabilities. Perhaps, for whatever reason, it was a performance where she simply had to get through the choreography as best she could and didn't have the capacity to bring that extra something to the role. I can fully imagine her blowing the doors off of it!

Edited by fondoffouettes
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35 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

The costume shop is usually so rigorous about recreating Karinska's intentions. Could she have really wanted these thick lemony panels that detract from the dancers' legs?

Thanks for posting those great photos. I wonder if the original panels could have been brighter, but faded over time?

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2 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Thanks for posting those great photos. I wonder if the original panels could have been brighter, but faded over time?

Anything is possible, but honest to god, I don't think the panels were ever lemony yellow. They seemed beige before.

 

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Just came home from the Sat evening performance.  Gonzalo Garcia was beautiful tonight in Apollo.  He is physically stunning and moves with assurance and feeling.  Of his muses my favorite was Lauren Lovette for her gracious, spiritual quality, though both Sterling and Abi Stafford did quite well too.  Seems that Stafford has gotten cast more since her brother took over.  When Peter was at the helm in the last few years I seldom saw her onstage.  Anyway, it was expertly danced by all and the music is so gorgeous.  

Orpheus was good tonight and I was especially surprised by how well Ask La Cour did.  This is the best thing I've seen him in; he articulated the movement very well, and really played the blind part convincingly.  Perhaps he's found a niche here?  Reichlen was his Eurydice and she was statuesque and lovely.

Agon was great.  I was astounded and impressed by Miriam Miller.  I had found her rather bland in the past, but she was crisp, articulate, musical and focused tonight.  Expertly partnered by Russell Janzen.  Gerrity did well in her trio with the two men, but I would say Miller was the stand out.  Rest of the cast was okay.

All in all the night was fabulous.  Orchestra sounded great, and I felt very uplifted and hopeful as the company seems to be thriving right now.  Has everyone been able to breath easier since Peter's departure?  Who knows?  As my husband said, it's a well oiled machine.  True.  And its future looks bright from where I'm sitting.

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6 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

The last couple of times I saw Reichlen dance Piano Concerto No. 2 she absolutely blew the doors off of it. Perhaps it was an off night? 

I saw Reichlen dance Piano Concerto no. 2 the first or second season she danced it and thought she was wonderful in it -- consider that performance one of the best I have ever seen her give. (Nor do I remember being an outlier in my reaction.) So I'm a little surprised to be reading the far more negative responses to her performance this season--I hope it was just an off night. 

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I was at this afternoon;s performance. I'll write more later (very tired now) but I thought that the whole entire corps plus Reichlen looked a little under their best. The last time I saw it the corps was so much crisper. Today they all seemed a bit tired and ragged. I have seen her in this role numerous times and she usually blows the doors off the role.

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Re: yesterday's matinee --  agree with most of the comments above. Reichlen at least looked very nice in the adagio sequences. And her jumps and turns were mostly good. The chainés looked slow compared to the fast piano music, though. She mostly looked most "off" in the fast footwork sequences -- I couldn't always tell if the choreography was supposed to look slightly awkward, per Balanchine playing with convention, or if it was her butchering the steps. The mostly passionless demeanor didn't help the performance either. But Angle proved that he's still got it. LeCrone was great but she does struggle with making her face look warm and inviting from afar. I tried to overlook this though because it isn't entirely her fault. I loved the over-the-top sparkle of the costumes. 

Overall, it was a great program. Lovette did a nice job in Serenade but could have brought in more drama. I also noticed that one botched pirouette. Loved Gerrity as well and agree that she's principal material -- she's good in a wide variety of roles, I've noticed, from classical to modern and contemporary. Nice to see her get so many debuts. Bouder was fabulous as expected. And Mozartiana looked so seamless and effortless with Huxley and Hyltin compared to the last time I saw it, last spring, with Mearns and Finlay and Ashley Hod's terrible onstage fall (although I thought Schumacher was better in that performance than he was yesterday). 

Edited by JuliaJ
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12 hours ago, nanran3 said:

Gonzalo Garcia was beautiful tonight in Apollo.  He is physically stunning and moves with assurance and feeling. 

Thank you for this report Nanran3! I wasn't necessarily planning to see this program again, but I am very intrigued to see Garcia. I may make it to see him at next week's matinee. 

I'm totally bummed that Hyltin and Huxley are not doing Mozartiana again this season. I lose track of the casting, and when they came out yesterday I was assuming they'd be doing it again next week, but now I see it's Mearns and Janzen. Curious to see Russell Janzen debut in this, but I'm doubtful he will be anywhere near Huxley's level. 

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So I got confused about casting and did in fact see Hyltin and Huxley in Mozartiana again yesterday. I would love to see them further develop this partnership and this particular ballet. She has her own sweet and delicate take on the role, and he is just great. His dancing is so strong, fine, and so so clean. At times he let go of the serious look and beamed an easy smile at the audience, and I just felt my heart swell with happiness. More of that relaxed smile is all I could ask for from Huxley. I'd add, he looks great in the costume. He can pull of white tights like nobody's business, and the violet vest sets off his pale coloring and dark hair. 

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I agree with the above regarding Huxley in Mozartiana yesterday. Wow. His footwork is so clean and precise and he shows virtually no effort. He is incredible.

Serenade was gorgeous. Mearns and Peck were luminous. J. Angle was a fine partner, but I don't understand why he and brother always look so out of shape. I agree with others who do not like the yellow panels in the front of the dresses. I liked the "old" look of virtual transparency. 

Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 was beautiful, although the female corps was messy and out of sync in some places. Bouder is clearly an extremely talented dancer, but she just isn't my cup of tea. Even when she isn't mugging, her presentation of "look at me, look at me" is a turn off. King was effervescent and Woodward really stood out as one of the soloists. I would love to see her in the one of the lead roles someday. And, how beautiful is Gordon? He has such a natural elegance and openness. I would go to see him (and Huxley) in anything. I didn't find the new costumes, and the vests, too overwhelming, but I was in the 2nd ring so maybe I'd feel differently if I was closer. What I didn't like was the all-blue effect - all blue costumes and blue backdrop. It was too much.

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2 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Bouder is clearly an extremely talented dancer, but she just isn't my cup of tea. Even when she isn't mugging, her presentation of "look at me, look at me" is a turn off.

I agree with this. So many of my respected fellow BA commenters have loved Bouder in Serenade and Ballet Imperial over the past week that I feel I have to give her a more sympathetic look, but while she's technically amazing, I find her to have a showoffy demeanor, also lacking in depth and softness. I'm highly impressed, but never moved by her. 

2 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

And, how beautiful is Gordon? He has such a natural elegance and openness. I would go to see him (and Huxley) in anything.

Yeah, this too!  I'm in love with both of these guys. 

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Saw the Sunday matinee. Happy to be back at City Ballet! 

Serenade: amazing cast. Mearns (waltz girl), peck (Russian girl) and LeCrone (dark angel) exquisitely embodied each role.  Mearns, especially, was just breathtaking. It seems to be a minority opinion here, but I noticed the refurbished costumes and don’t mind them. 

Moziartiana: I was underwhelmed by Hyltin’s Preghiera which felt a bit emotionless, but the rest of her performance was stronger. Troy and Huxley were both great. 

Tchai Piano Concerto no. 2– I enjoyed bouder’s performance but Lauren king was the stand out for me. Sparkling, crisp, lovely dancing. She looked so happy to be on stage, beaming in a way that felt like a reflection of real joy rather than glued on in a pageant queen way as it does with some dancers. A few of the corps dancers looked REALLY under-rehearsed giving an overall ragged effect. When the corps were in their lines, you’d see 4 versions of the arm positions. 2 women had such awkward port de bras that I kept getting distracted by their jutting elbows and drooping wrists. Still, the performance overall had great energy and I enjoyed it. 

Looking forward to the rest of the season!

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Tuesday 1/29 performance:  Corps member, Mira Nadon, replaced Isabella LaFreniere tonight in the Mozartiana corps.  She was the standout of the four women.  Beautiful carriage and length.  I hope to see more of her. 

I'm normally a Janzen fan and find him to be an attentive and elegant partner, but his solos were slightly awkward.  The tight footwork wasn't effortless.

And, have to agree with what others have said about the corps looking a little sloppy.  Some early and some late in Serenade.  Great to see Lovette back on stage who brings an ethereal quality to the role.

  

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I was very disappointed with Sara Mearns' Mozartiana tonight. I thought her footwork look labored and this most daring of dancers seemed like she was holding back. I'm willing to chalk it up to a bad night since I;ve seen her dance this much better. I really enjoyed Harrison Ball in the Gigue. Russell Janzen did look awkward in the theme and variations solos. 

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Agree that Mira Nadon looked lovely, elegant and serene with a noble carriage. Very very promising  

And Russell Janzen is miscast in Mozartiana. MHO. I know there must be reasons for casting that I don’t know about but why not let Tyler Angle dance with Mearns in Mozartiana and give Ballet Imperial to Janzen. Seems like a much better fit. I missed Anthony Huxley like crazy. And I like Sara a whole lot better in Serenade than Mozartiana. Romanticism is a better match with her style of dancing. 

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Well the last time I saw Tyler Angle do Mozartiana he also struggled with the fast footwork of the Theme and Variations. That role is really evil and IMO works better with shorter men who can do that fast footwork. Since Mozartiana's partnering does not involve any fancy lifts and is mostly side by side partnering I do wonder why they don't cast a shorter male with Sara who is tall but not that tall. For instance Joseph Gordon could probably do it well.

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12 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Agree that Mira Nadon looked lovely, elegant and serene with a noble carriage. Very very promising  

And Russell Janzen is miscast in Mozartiana. MHO. I know there must be reasons for casting that I don’t know about but why not let Tyler Angle dance with Mearns in Mozartiana and give Ballet Imperial to Janzen. Seems like a much better fit. I missed Anthony Huxley like crazy. And I like Sara a whole lot better in Serenade than Mozartiana. Romanticism is a better match with her style of dancing. 

I saw Sara dance Mozartiana last spring and it was just magnificent. When she started the Preghira it was like silence and simplicity itself. I thought she was going to bourree right into my heart. I have no idea who her partner was, but I can't imagine it was Finlay. if it was I must have blocked it out. Tyler Angle was great in Mozartiana with Maria last week. Crisp footwork and everything. T. Angle can't partner everyone, though I would love to see Janzen in Ballet Imperial.

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PS. Mr Cobweb, who had no idea of the BA discussion about the new Serenade outfits, queried me about the purpose of the “yellow stripe” in the women’s skirts. In vain did I try to explain it’s not a “stripe.” He felt it distracted from their legs. So, definitely not having the intended purpose. 

Edited by cobweb
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I went to the Inside NYCB event on Serenade last night. I hadn't realized that the skirts are attached on an angle with the right hip slightly higher than the left. As Happel said, it gives the appearance of longer legs on one side and a longer torso on the other, and prevents the skirt from being attached at the widest part of the womens' hips. They're quite beautiful, and the yellow stripe does seem to be fading.

Happel also said that Karinska was against dyeing fabric on principle and bought fabric in whatever colors she needed. He said they have to dye alot themselves these days because the fabrics are no longer made in those colors.

It's one of the few ballets where the women principals, soloists and corps de ballet wear exactly the same costume. I hope they NEVER change them. 

Edited by BalanchineFan
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Very very Interesting, thank you BalanchineFan. I noticed that the skirts looked uneven, that is with the “stripes” so visible you can always tell that one side is higher than the other. Thought that was a bug, but hearing it’s a feature puts it in perspective. Hope those panels continue to fade...

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