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I was there last night and agree with the comments from Cobweb and Nanushka.  I was kind of dreading the "See The Music" too but found it delightful and loved seeing the orchestra and Susan Walter highlighted.  Serenade was a joy.  Mozartiana even more so and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Tyler Angle as a partner.  I thought he looked foar more comfortable and commanding in the role than Chase Finlay whom I saw last February.  Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto Number 2 swept me away. I just love Joseph Gordon. I find that he carries himself with such nobility and elan, and the future looks bright for him. 

As for the new Tchaikovsky costumes, from my seat in row N of the orchestra, the bodices did not appear too heavy for the skirts as they might have close up, per some earlier comments. Overall, I thought they "read" very well color-wise, the vest design of the men's costumes notwithstanding.  The women's dresses -- especially the principals' -- were super-sparkly -- not enough to outsparkle Ashley Bouder, of course,  but at moments I found the bling almost blinding.  This coming from a person who loves sparkle in every form!

Edited by Jacqueline

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I saw the Matinee this today (Sat.). Serenade was first on the program. I've been watching this ballet for many, many years and still it casts its spell. Nice cast. Bouder's Russian Girl, get's better all the time. A softer side has flourished, along with her speed. Lauren Lovette, was radiant and beautiful, but I wish she'd find a way to eliminate some technical weaknesses I see in her every time she performs. (My husband disagrees and says her beauty and radiance over ride all that). She was partnered by Ask LaCour and lifts floated. Emily Gerrity was lovely and secure, her lines exceptionally beautiful. I see principal in her future.

Mozartiana was next. Troy Schumacher's Gigue could have had more sharpness and wit, but it was enjoyable. I loved Hyltin and Huxley. I saw her a few years ago and wasn't impressed. This time she made it her own with a sweet yet witty style, and nuanced musicality. Huxley was super impressive in every way - turns, jumps. clarity and speed, musically floating jumps and finishing multiple turn. 

Tch Piano Concertn 2 - Interesting cast. I didn't know what to expect from Megan LeCrone in the soloist role. I liked her very much. She looked strong, confident and happy, and offered a nice stage presence. I've liked her in leotard ballets so this was nice to see. I also liked Tyler Angle. HIs partner is always fabulous. His jumps were high and strong. Good double cabrioles and overall a very fine performance. Teresa Reichlen in the lead had her moments but overall didn't do it for me. I'm not her biggest fan and find her presentation somewhat bland (except in tall girl Rubies). This choreography clearly challenged her. She met some challenges well, but at other times she was barely getting through the steps. 

I did notice Kristen Segin as outstanding in her demi soloist role along with Sarah Villwock.

There were performance highs and lows, more highs than lows. The company on the whole looks great and seeing these ballets reminded me that beauty, spirituality and order is possible in the world. A nice reminder.

 

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I am halfway through my marathon of all six performances of the Serenade-Mozartiana-Ballet Imperial program. It's starting to feel like a heavy dose of florid beauty, like constant desserts, unrelieved by the astringency of a leotard ballet (to mix a few metaphors). Still, I soldier on. 

I agree with vipa about much of this afternoon's performance (and sorry I missed you, vipa! let's connect and meet up again.) The beauty and magic of Serenade hold up over many, many viewings. I loved the two performances I saw with Mearns, Peck, and LeCrone.  With the blazing Mearns and the softness, ease, and musicality of Peck in mind, I had to really focus on what was in front of me this afternoon. I found Lovette beautiful and distinctive in the role, and can picture her interpretation growing even deeper. Emilie Gerrity looked great, especially that supported, turning arabesque, which breathed beautifully and hit a stunning shape. I agree with vipa - I see principal in Gerrity's future. As for the men, it seems Preston Chamblee is out, missing his debut as the second man. Aaron Sanz has done all of these, and over three performances has looked more at ease. I don't understand why they moved Ask LaCour over to the man that dances with the Waltz Girl, but whatever. I get the complaints about Jared Angle, but he did a great job with Sara Mearns earlier in the week, really giving her a solid base from which to blaze (to mix a few more metaphors).

Mozartiana. I saw Hyltin and Huxley do this before, a few years ago, but while Huxley dazzled, Hyltin made practically no impression. I really enjoyed her this afternoon, finding her sweet but knowing, and musical. She has a quieter talent than many of the principal women, but this is a role that suits her. Huxley, needless to say, was in his element, and I could get overwrought in my praise and appreciation for him. One thing I hadn't noticed before is the beautiful sculptural form of his wrists, hands, and fingers. He carries a powerful authority down to the fingertip.

Ballet Imperial (I prefer this to the clunky alternative). I agree, Reichlen had a rocky afternoon. Tyler Angle has been looking pretty good, IMHO (I know not everyone agrees). This is a fairly new piece to me - in the third movement, when the man comes running in with the woman on his shoulder, twice, does he always carry her with only one arm? I don't recall Joseph Gordon doing this with Bouder, but maybe it's where I was sitting. Tyler came running out with Tess on his shoulder, and one of his arms grandly out to the side. Showoff! (I loved it.) I had my doubts, let's say serious doubts, about Megan LeCrone in this role, but she has been looking pretty fabulous this season, and while her face could show a brighter smile and openness, I enjoyed her a lot. Finally, a small detail, in that section in the third movement where the corps men are kind of tossing the ladies into the air, Emily Kikta, launched by Silas Farley, looked like she was going to sail off into the sky. 

I look forward to reports on Gonzalo Garcia's Apollo. I would definitely not have thought of him for this role, but when the casting came out, I could suddenly see it. Also please, reports on Miller and Janzen in Agon. 

And my marathon continues tomorrow afternoon...

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I attended today's matinee and the highlight for me was Mozartiana. I didn't much care for Hyltin's Preghiera --  it lacked the expansive, spiritual, otherworldly quality you might hope for -- but I also think this section could benefit from being played a hair more slowly by the orchestra. (I know NYCB is all about speed, but I think the ballerina could use a little more room to luxuriate in some of the steps and poses.) Hyltin, and especially Huxley (wow!), were excellent in the Theme and Variations. With Finlay's unfocused performance still fresh in my mind, Huxley's incisive, lightning-quick dancing was all the more impressive. Hyltin danced very, very well, though I'd like to see her play more with her phrasing and the way she accents some of the steps. It felt a little by-the-book at times. Schumacher captured the jaunty spirit of his role, though I thought his dancing looked a bit small-scale at times. My eyes were glued to Kikta during the entire Minuet; perhaps someday she'll make a great lead in Mozartiana. Something odd happened in the orchestra during the Minuet, by the way; the orchestra cut out right before a repeat they were supposed to play. The women kept dancing, and then the orchestra came back in; not sure what happened.

Lovette made a strong debut as the Waltz Girl, despite one pirouette that really got away from her. Hopefully her characterization will become more fully fleshed-out with more performances. I've seen Hyltin and Mearns be transcendent in the role, and Lovette still has a ways to go. The first male principal is a good role for Ask la Cour at this stage of his career; his partnering looked solid, and in the limited amount of solo dancing he looked just fine. (Also, he looks trim and fit in that rather unforgiving costume; it was probably smart to avoid casting an Angle brother in the role.) Sanz did very well in the second male role, though you could perhaps see the concentration on his face as he dealt with some of the partnering. Gerrity wasn't a particularly memorable Dark Angel, though she acquitted herself well. The way she covered Sanz's eyes looked odd, as if she were gripping his face; maybe she's too short to do it any other way. Bouder was my favorite part of the performance; it's a great role for her, and her dancing looked so big and free. No mugging whatsoever, not that you'd expect it in this role. The yellow-beige tulle panels in the front of the refurbished costumes were so distracting! They didn't even seem like they were having the intended effect of making the dancers' legs more visible through the skirts.

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. Perhaps she has to work so hard to get those long, beautiful limbs to cooperate with the choreography, that it doesn't give her much room to focus on being interesting from a musical standpoint. Yes, she danced well, but it felt a bit bloodless to me. I've been among those who've been critical of the Angle brothers (Jared more than Tyler), but Tyler Angle's dancing was excellent throughout. LeCrone was solid as the second ballerina.

The new costumes are a mixed bag. I love the overall color palette -- dusky blues and metallics -- but I do think the two lead ballerinas' bodices are overly encrusted. They look like armor, which was only further reinforced by their rectangular shape. I'm also puzzled by the decision to put the two demi-soloist women in heavily encrusted bodices, as well. This was distracting in the second movement, when they link arms (along with the other eight women) with the principal man. I wish the men's costumes could have been designed in a way that would work with white tights. Between the dark brocade vests and navy blue tights, the corps men really faded into the background (also blue). And I can only imagine how hard it would have been to see their legs from, say, the fourth ring. This was especially disappointing in the finale, when, usually, it's overwhelming and exciting to see all those legs working in unison, but really only the women popped. I do think the corps women's costumes were just about perfect; not overly ornate. But overall, I don't think all the costumes worked together harmoniously, and it all just felt a bit dark and heavy. I wasn't crazy about the previous costumes, but I feel like the new ones really diminish the poetry of this piece. I hope NYCB considers some alterations now that they see how the costumes read onstage, and how they don't really work together as a whole.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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9 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

The yellow-beige tulle panels in the front of the refurbished costumes were so distracting! They didn't even seem like they were having the intended effect of making the dancers' legs more visible through the skirts.

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! 

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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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An apprentice, Naomi Corti, is replacing Sterling Hyltin in Herman Schmerman next week. I haven’t really noticed her but it’s definitely exciting to see a young dancer get an opportunity like this.

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I saw Naomi Corti at the SAB workshop. Definitely a standout. Tall leggy beauty.

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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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