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New Ratmansky full-length to premiere in 2020

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I think so. It’s a lot of story to pack in. It didn’t feel long. 

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33 minutes ago, Amy Reusch said:

That is still a long ballet...  Romeo & Juliet carries two hours... is the story strong enough to hold the audience that long?

A lot of action, a lot of drama. Kept everyone fully engaged.

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Good to know...  Ratmansky has been good, I believe, in carrying the story.   I don't get to see much these days, but in the little I have seen has been brushing up of old classics, he's done an excellent job with telling the story...

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Amy Reusch said:

Surely that is including intermission?

Yes.  Act I lasts exactly 60 minutes, while Act II is 44 mins. The lone intermission was about 30 minutes. The ballet began about 5-6 minutes after the 7:30pm official starting time.

No complaints. It went by very quickly. Such a great ballet, especially the Hurlin/Bell/Whiteside-led cast, although I also enjoyed Shevchenko/Forster/Hoven. The corps de ballet was spectacular in all shows, dancing difficult, substantive choreography in every scene.

I missed 3rd-cast Seo/Bell/Ahn on Sunday. Bell subbed for an indisposed Calvin Royal, who was originally announced to partner Seo on Sat night. Switches were made so that Bell would not have to do two performances in one day. Wishing Royal a speedy recovery.

Edited by Roberta

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Posted (edited)

I saw Shevchenko and Forster's second performance on Saturday night, which was again infused with meaning.  To make any sense, this ballet requires a ballerina with dramatic ability who can show the development of the character.  I also have to mention Forster's beautiful, clean line enhancing the choreography. 

I was fortunate to have seen Hee Seo with Aran Bell on the Sunday matinee.  Aran, understandably, looked a bit tired and thinner but was fully engaged. He has such an appealing personality.  On one of the hoists to a torch lift, he did grimace, but he should be applauded for getting through a difficult week of a premiere, dancing three out of five performances, plus having to rehearse with a new partner. 

I was not ready for See Heo's utterly exquisite, moving performance, and I was in tears at the end.  She was living the role, such that you could follow the character's feelings at every moment.  It was a seamless, searing performance.  During the curtain calls, she was holding back tears out of emotion.  She made sense of the horrific pas de deux with the King of Babylon.   

I also have to mention Katherine Williams'  magnetic performance as the Queen of Babylon; both Blaine Hoven and Joo Wan Ahn as Dionysus, with Hoven in the final scene being particularly moving and upsetting to watch; and opening night's Lucianna Paris giving full meaning to the role of Callirhoe's Maid; also Tyler Maloney and Eric Tamm as Polycharmus; and all three dancers who danced the role of Plangon, including Katherine Williams, whose dialogue with Hee Seo at the downstage left corner of the stage was particularly insightful to the rest of the ballet.  

Eric Tamm danced really well and it was great to see him back on stage.  What has he been doing the past few years?  He looked great.

 

Edited by Josette

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  I went to four of the five performances and it was Katherine Williams as the Queen of Babylon for the ones I attended.  

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Teuscher was scheduled to dance and was in California. Hopefully she just wasn’t feeling well and that it isn’t anything serious. 

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I just saw with my own eyes from the printed cast insert in the program made available and handed to all audience members for the performance that I did not attend that Katherine Williams danced the Saturday matinee performance as Queen of Babylon.  

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Josette,

When Luis Ribagorda and Eric Tamm left ABT they went into selling real estate in New Jersey as a career.  Whether either one did it for the whole time he was away from ABT I don’t know.

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21 minutes ago, Needlepoints said:

Josette,

When Luis Ribagorda and Eric Tamm left ABT they went into selling real estate in New Jersey as a career.  Whether either one did it for the whole time he was away from ABT I don’t know.

Tamm was in perfect shape and very impressive.

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Re:: posts that have been removed: If you have an official source, cite it.  Official source information can be found in our rules and policies (scroll):

 

 

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Hi everyone! I'm new to this website but I always love reading what you all have to say and thought i could join in :)

I got to watch Shevchenko/Forster Saturday night and Seo/Bell sunday matinee.

In general, I thought Of Love and Rage was spectacular. The story was very complex and there were so many characters and drama going on, it reminded me of Le Corsaire (one of my favorite ballets!). Beautiful score and I have to say I fell in love with the battle scene. It was astounding! The corps danced beautifully Saturday night but I noticed they were even better on the Sunday matinee. They were dancing in sync and you could really feel they were the narrative of the story.

This was the first time that I ever saw Shevchenko dance live and I was left in awe. She was so graceful and made it all seem so effortless. Her emotions were so on pointe that I could not take my eyes off of her. Forster was as amazing as I expected him to be. Strong, high jumps and a perfect partner for Shevchenko. Hammoudi actually surprised me and was incredible on his solo. Clean jumps and very dominant on stage. In short, it was a wonderful show!

I've seen Seo dance a few times by now and was never really captivated by her. This time around, she left me in awe with her performance. The easiness of her dancing, and emotions were spectacular. I am so glad I got to see her dance this role (probably the best I've ever seen her dance). Aran Bell was magnificent! Clean jumps, his lifts were incredible and his emotions were touching. Seo and Bell danced beautifully together, which I did not expect, since they really didn't have time to rehearse with another one. Their partnership might be one of my favorites at ABT right now. It was so beautiful I was crying by the time this show ended.

I think this is definitely Ratmansky at his best!!

Wishing Calvin a speedy recovery.

Hope this is a good review...kinda nervous, since it's my first one. Feel free to comment everyone :)

 

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Posted (edited)

It's been great to read other impressions of this new ballet. I saw it three times--opening night, Friday, and Sat mat, so the Hurlin/Bell cast 2x and the Shevchenko/Forster cast once.

The ballet is really busy with a lot of background movement but, in my opinion, the most restrained balletic busy-ness that I've seen from Ratmansky in a long time. Fewer ungainly jumps, lifts, etc. (I thought the Dionysius character was maybe the one exception, especially in the Act 2 dance-off battle between Dionysius and Mithridates). Basically, instead of balletic busy, Ratmanksy has traded in for plot busy: in the first act alone, Callirhoe falls in love, gets broken up by parents, gets married, faints and fake dies, is buried alive, gets captured by pirates, gets sold into slavery, and marries the guy who bought her. It's a LOT and again that is just the first act--the second is also jam packed. I wonder how much discussion there was about making this into three acts because there is hardly any time to let emotional poignancy develop over such rapidly moving plot lines, but maybe that is not the point! I agree with Josette's critique that the ballet itself seems a bit regressive--Callirhoe isn't particularly clever or intelligent or funny or...anything. People just see her and want her (this happens at least 4 times in the ballet not counting when she gets abducted). She shows one bit of smarts when she covers her wedding bracelet in the crypt before getting abducted. Otherwise she is mostly a moving plot piece that action happens around. That's why it's important to cast the part with someone who can invent charm/wittiness in her dancing because otherwise the character has literally no discernible personality traits. 

 

With regard to characters here is some of the notable extended casting(for what I saw):

Callirhoe - Hurlin / Shevchenko (love Shevchenko and Forster together, just ok on the Hurlin/Bell cast)

Chaereas - Bell / Forster (first guy to fall in love with her. I don't want to be too rude but I found Bell a bit hulking and hunchy in his neck and shoulder which I found a bit distracting and unballetic esp in comparison to Forster)

Dionysius - Whiteside / Hoven (second guy to fall in love with her.)

Mithridates - Stearns / Hammoudi (Stearns is TOTALLY unrecognizable, to great effect, in this role as the third dude to fall in love with Callihroe; he excelled. What a wig!)

King of Babylon - Zhurbin / Roberts (fourth guy to fall in love with her,  played with a senile-groper vibe)

Queen of Babylon - Williams the whole time (if you are buying a ticket to see someone in this role specifically, it's not worth it. It's a bit part really and I'm surprised it was cast at the principal level with Teuscher supposedly. Williams' hair/makeup makes her look dead like Kate Middleton)

Callirhoe's maid - Luciana Paris / Zimmi Coker (soloist female role in first scenes who accidentally gets her mistress accused of having an affair; Paris was excellent, bright, sunny, caring, exuberant)

Polycharmus - Tyler Maloney / Eric Tamm (Chaereas' buddy throughout. Both excellent in the role. Tamm looked great like he never left)

Plangon - Courtney Shealy / Zhong-Jong Fang (Soloist role. Dionysius' servant who helps convince Callirhoe to marry him for the sake of her baby. Played as an older, wiser. clever woman. Shealy was unexpected and quite good.)

Three Suitors - Lyle, Gorak, Tamm / Frenette, Gonzalez, Woo Han (these guys are lurkers who try to disrupt Callirhoe's marriage and concoct the cheating plot that causes her fake death. Frenette was unexpectedly good--as I've not sure I've noticed him much before in terms of range--in the second cast as the lead-creep and the three first cast guys were all excellent together).

There are some other named parts, but they don't do anything in the way of solo dancing.

Basically what is good about this ballet is there is actually a lot of substantial solo dancing for many many dancers, as you see above. That, imo, is its strongest suit. Ratmansky has done some experimenting with same sex partnering that is quite interesting throughout. Callirhoe and Plangon, for example; the 3 suitors together; and Chaereas/Polycharmus. The battle scene is great because it's quite unlike any ballet battle I've seen before--no slashing around with swords, just frenzy to the Sabre Dance which is exactly the musical/dancing pick up needed at that point in the ballet when you are thinking, "oh god, there's going to be a whole F***ing war now?!"

I have to say, I was left befuddled by the ending--Callirhoe builds a life for at least a few years with Dionysius who seems like a decent guy (except the whole buying a wife from a pirate deal--I mean he stopped his servants from raping his other servants at one point; he seemed sad when we met him about his other wife dying, etc.) and she ditches him for the guy who she was married to for about a week who is such a hothead that he did something to her to cause her to faint hard enough that she seemed dead, causing her to be buried alive, etc. (this is off stage so we don't know exactly what happenen between them)? That's "of love" I guess....

 

Oh the costumes are generally great too, though I didn't love the second of Callirhoe's outfits (the second one with the red/gold accents seemed particularly ill-matched to Dionysius and also ill matched with the gold/ivory tones to the bright white pearl hairpiece. The second act costumes are gorgeous in dark hues, deep grays, deep purples, deep turquoises with lots of beading and detail. 

 

Edited by ksk04
spelling Callirhoe

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Thank you ksk04 for this in-depth review and wonderful to read about Shevchenko and Forster, IMHO I feel Forster is a long awaited principal and it would be a travesty if they move Bell up before him, then again sadly nothing surprises me about this company anymore 😟 I would love to see Shevchenko and Forster if there is every a chance of Onegin making a come back too!

 

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They are so low on male principals- only 3 full time - that I really think both Forster and Bell will be promoted this year, especially given the amount of opportunities each one is getting.

 I currently have a ticket to see Seo/Royal in this at the Met but am considering changing to Shevchenko/Forster. Any suggestions from those who have seen either or both?

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Posted (edited)

Not all music utilized is from the ballet Gayane. One of the loveliest pieces of music heard is the 2nd movement of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto, during the first pdd adagio danced by Callirhoe and Dionysius (particularly poignant when danced by Hurlin and Whiteside). The Pacific Symphony Orchestra did it great justice at all Costa Mesa performances, particularly because audiences had the rare opportunity to hear it as Khachaturian had intended, with the musical saw (or "flexatone") instrument during the repetition of the main theme.

One of the few recordings of this movement, with this eerie instrument, is the following. Forward to the 2:38 mark to hear the segment of the musical saw. It lends a truly haunting sound to the work, echoing the sentiments that were racing through Callirhoe's mind. I wonder if the presentations at the Met this summer will include a musical saw in the orchestra pit?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qaQXk-fKdc

 

Edited by Roberta

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13 hours ago, ksk04 said:

Basically, instead of balletic busy, Ratmanksy has traded in for plot busy: in the first act alone, Callirhoe falls in love, gets broken up by parents, gets married, faints and fake dies, is buried alive, gets captured by pirates, gets sold into slavery, and marries the guy who bought her. It's a LOT and again that is just the first act--the second is also jam packed. I wonder how much discussion there was about making this into three acts because there is hardly any time to let emotional poignancy develop over such rapidly moving plot lines, but maybe that is not the point! I agree with Josette's critique that the ballet itself seems a bit regressive--Callirhoe isn't particularly clever or intelligent or funny or...anything. People just see her and want her (this happens at least 4 times in the ballet not counting when she gets abducted). She shows one bit of smarts when she covers her wedding bracelet in the crypt before getting abducted. Otherwise she is mostly a moving plot piece that action happens around. That's why it's important to cast the part with someone who can invent charm/wittiness in her dancing because otherwise the character has literally no discernible personality traits.

.....

Basically what is good about this ballet is there is actually a lot of substantial solo dancing for many many dancers, as you see above. That, imo, is its strongest suit. Ratmansky has done some experimenting with same sex partnering that is quite interesting throughout. Callirhoe and Plangon, for example; the 3 suitors together; and Chaereas/Polycharmus. The battle scene is great because it's quite unlike any ballet battle I've seen before--no slashing around with swords, just frenzy to the Sabre Dance which is exactly the musical/dancing pick up needed at that point in the ballet when you are thinking, "oh god, there's going to be a whole F***ing war now?!"

Your description of the plot reminded me of Candide, where all kinds of big and complex things happen one on top of the other, but in most productions I know, that's played a bit satirically.  I find it interesting that Ratmansky chose such a plotty story for a 21st c production.

And your observation about Callirhoe's general lack of interior qualities makes me think as well -- we read about Helen of Troy's beauty, and it still seems like an external quality, but contemporary treatments of her keep trying to give her inner life ("how does she feel, what does she think").  The general culture is in the middle of a paradigm shift about the value of physical attributes -- I'm curious to see how this will be reflected in the art work we make.

But your comment about the amount of solo dancing made me smile -- very glad to hear about a program-length work with lots of opportunities up and down the casting chart!

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Leah said:

They are so low on male principals- only 3 full time - that I really think both Forster and Bell will be promoted this year, especially given the amount of opportunities each one is getting.

 I currently have a ticket to see Seo/Royal in this at the Met but am considering changing to Shevchenko/Forster. Any suggestions from those who have seen either or both?

I can only vouch for Shevchenko/Forster and Seo, who are all worth seeing in this ballet.  I have never seen Royal - who  did not perform - in a featured role, except for Pierrot in Harlequinade, which does not allow any of us to imagine what he would be like as Chaereas.  

Edited by Josette

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3 hours ago, Josette said:

I can only vouch for Shevchenko/Forster and Seo, who are all worth seeing in this ballet.  I have never seen Royal - who  did not perform - in a featured role, except for Pierrot in Harlequinade, which does not allow any of us to imagine what he would be like as Chaereas.  

I have a ticket for Hurlin/Bell in my subscription. I LOVE Shevchenko but have never seen Hurlin in a major role, so I do want to keep that ticket. Is this ballet worth seeing twice? I almost died during the last act of the Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty.

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1 hour ago, angelica said:

I have a ticket for Hurlin/Bell in my subscription. I LOVE Shevchenko but have never seen Hurlin in a major role, so I do want to keep that ticket. Is this ballet worth seeing twice? I almost died during the last act of the Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty.

angelica, if you LOVE Shevchenko, you must see her in this! This is a two-act ballet that keeps a brisk pace and is nothing like Ratmansky's  Sleeping Beauty. I saw it four times, didn't care for it during the premiere, then completely changed my mind and got more out of it with every performance. I have no desire to see Hurlin in it again but would gladly see Hee Seo and Shevchenko again and again. 

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5 hours ago, Josette said:

angelica, if you LOVE Shevchenko, you must see her in this! This is a two-act ballet that keeps a brisk pace and is nothing like Ratmansky's  Sleeping Beauty. I saw it four times, didn't care for it during the premiere, then completely changed my mind and got more out of it with every performance. I have no desire to see Hurlin in it again but would gladly see Hee Seo and Shevchenko again and again. 

Wow, Josette, thanks so much. I'm definitely going to see Shevchenko in this. Also, it's great to hear that someone lit a fire under Seo. I loved her in her R&J debut years ago, but then her acting seemed to diminish with every year. I'm seeing Hurlin as Mryta, so perhaps I'll even change my Hurlin ticket for Seo for OLAR. Truth to tell, I wasn't very impressed with Hurlin on her Instagram videos, but figured she was The Next New Thing, and since she was doing the premiere, I felt I needed to see her. Your comments are soooo helpful.

To be fair, Hurlin is new to these principal roles, she will probably grow into them and get better and better. I think she needs more refinement.

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Different strokes for different folks, as I found Hurlin to be a more compelling actress, more fluid in delivery (Russian "plastique") and just-plain-beautiful (lines, face, that fire-red hair!). Of course, Shevchenko has perhaps the more steely academic technique - I love her great leaping Myrtha! - but, to me, the role of Callirhoe is all about "plastique." Needless to say, Aran Bell was her perfect hero - great soloist and steady partner. They make such a lovely pair in every sense! Which is not to say that Shevchenko/Forster were not very fine in cast 2.

Now that I've seen Of Love and Rage in Costa Mesa, the one performance to which I am most looking forward at the Met this summer is Catherine Hurlin's Aurora debut on (I think) June 17, with Forster as her Prince Desire. Promote her (and Bell) pronto, please, Mr Mckenzie! It's the 80th Anniv of ABT but we don't have to wait for the 100th anniversary for Hurlin to become prima ballerina. (wink)

OK - promote Forster too. We've been waiting seemingly 100 years for that one. :)

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7 minutes ago, Roberta said:

Different strokes for different folks, as I found Hurlin to be a more compelling actress, more fluid in delivery (Russian "plastique") and just-plain-beautiful (lines, face, that fire-red hair!). Of course, Shevchenko has perhaps the more steely academic technique - I love her great leaping Myrtha! - but, to me, the role of Callirhoe is all about "plastique." Needless to say, Aran Bell was her perfect hero - great soloist and steady partner. They make such a lovely pair in every sense! 

Oh, Roberta, I'm so glad you wrote. It's much easier for me to do nothing than to exchange those tickets. I'm seeing Shevchenko in both Giselle and Swan Lake, and who knows, perhaps I'll keep the Hurlin ticket for OLAR and simply buy a Shevy ticket if a good seat comes up when they release unsold VIP seats a day or two before her performance. I'm interested to see Forster too. At last the female roster has more than one or two dancers I want to see, and the male roster is s-l-o-w-l-y rebuilding to a better, if not yet compelling, level.

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On 3/11/2020 at 10:04 AM, sandik said:

And your observation about Callirhoe's general lack of interior qualities makes me think as well -- we read about Helen of Troy's beauty, and it still seems like an external quality, but contemporary treatments of her keep trying to give her inner life ("how does she feel, what does she think").  The general culture is in the middle of a paradigm shift about the value of physical attributes -- I'm curious to see how this will be reflected in the art work we make.

Very interesting connection, sandik--I am interested to hear what others will make of the character in NYC (hopefully...feeling good we got to see this before everything shut down)

 

On 3/11/2020 at 9:07 AM, Roberta said:

Not all music utilized is from the ballet Gayane. One of the loveliest pieces of music heard is the 2nd movement of Khachaturian's Piano Concerto, during the first pdd adagio danced by Callirhoe and Dionysius (particularly poignant when danced by Hurlin and Whiteside). The Pacific Symphony Orchestra did it great justice at all Costa Mesa performances, particularly because audiences had the rare opportunity to hear it as Khachaturian had intended, with the musical saw (or "flexatone") instrument during the repetition of the main theme.

One of the few recordings of this movement, with this eerie instrument, is the following. Forward to the 2:38 mark to hear the segment of the musical saw. It lends a truly haunting sound to the work, echoing the sentiments that were racing through Callirhoe's mind. I wonder if the presentations at the Met this summer will include a musical saw in the orchestra pit?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qaQXk-fKdc

Thank you so much for this info and for knowing what this piece was called, Roberta! I thought this music was perfect in the scene and was so fascinated by the flexatone's effect.

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14 hours ago, ksk04 said:

….

 

Thank you so much for this info and for knowing what this piece was called, Roberta! I thought this music was perfect in the scene and was so fascinated by the flexatone's effect.

You're welcome, ksk04. I can't get that tune out of my mind. It's followed me back home from Costa Mesa.

It's way too early to speculate on when the NYC theatres - all US theatres? - will reopen but, gosh, I hope that the ABT and NYCB spring/early summer seasons take place. Surely we'll all be back to normal then? At least the US hasn't had it as bad as my country (Italy) or China.

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