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Dreamer

Akram Khan’s Giselle at the Harris Theater Feb 28-Mar 2, 2019

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The principal cast for the Chicago tour of Akram Khan’s Giselle has been posted at ENB website:

 

Giselle: Alina Cojocaru (February 28),  Erina Takahashi (March 1), Tamara Rojo (March 2, mat),  Crystal Costa (March 2, eve)

Albrecht: Isaac Hernández (February 28 and March 2, mat),  James Streeter (March 1), Aitor Arietta  (March 2, eve)

Hilarion:  Jeffrey Cirio (February 28 and March 2, mat),  Ken Saruhashi (March 1),  Erik Woolhouse (March 2, eve)

Myrtha: Stina Quagebeur (February 28 and March 2, mat),  Sarah Kundi (March 1),  Isabelle Brouwers (March 2,eve)

Edited by Dreamer

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Dreamer, thanks so much for posting the casting. I am attending Feb 28 and March 1.  I am interested in seeing Hernandez as I saw him many times when he was in the corps and as a soloist with San Francisco Ballet. I am thrilled to be seeing Cojocaru, as well as Cirio, whom I have also seen in the Royal Balllet and ABT, respectively, as well as dancers new to me. 

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Eager to read reports about this--at almost any other time of year I would have made the trip to Chicago...I do hope to see it on video at least at some point.

And I think Cojocaru is not to be missed in anything.

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On 2/15/2019 at 9:13 PM, Dreamer said:

The principal cast for the Chicago tour of Akram Khan’s Giselle has been posted at ENB website:

 

Giselle: Alina Cojocaru (February 28),  Erina Takahashi (March 1), Tamara Rojo (March 2, mat),  Crystal Costa (March 2, eve)

Albrecht: Isaac Hernández (February 28 and March 2, mat),  James Streeter (March 1),  Sarah Kundi (March 2, eve)

Hilarion:  Jeffrey Cirio (February 28 and March 2, mat),  Ken Saruhashi (March 1),  Erik Woolhouse (March 2, eve)

Myrtha: Stina Quagebeur (February 28 and March 2, mat),  Sarah Kundi (March 1),  Isabelle Brouwers (March 2,eve)

On 2nd March evening I think Aitor Arieta is a more likely Albrecht than Sarah Kundi (although that could be a very interesting cast!).

For me, James Streeter is THE definitive Albrecht in this production.

 

 

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2 hours ago, JMcN said:

On 2nd March evening I think Aitor Arieta is a more likely Albrecht than Sarah Kundi (although that could be a very interesting cast!).

Tahnks for catching it, JMcN. I corrected the error.

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Just posted a short comment under the Giselle/Cinema category, which should probably be moved here, about opening night. I'm glad to be going tonight as well to see James Streeter, given JMcN's comment above.  Cojocaru, Cirio, and Quagebeur gave searing performances. 

Edited by Josette

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I had mixed feelings after the opening night performance. First, I found it to be very VERY darkly lit, a problem that becomes more and more prevalent in newly created ballets.  I understand that the story calls for the stage to be dark but, come on, I want to see dancers emotions and not just their silhouettes. Alina Cojocaru conveys the physiological state of her heroine with every part of her body, her tensions, pain and agony ripple through her body and reveberate in every step she makes and in her eyes searching for answers. She was like a little delicate butterfly agonizing in the last moment of its life. Cojocaru is a tiny dancer yet her dancing is so intense, unrestrained, and magnetic that she commands full and undivided attention of the audience when on stage.  Hernandez, in contrast, was exceptionally devoid of any emotions. His body was so stiff and the face so inexpressive that I didn’t think anyone could feel anything for his character, maybe just annoyance. The last scene with Albrecht mourning by the wall with his back to the audience was such an anticlimax to this otherwise heart wrenching story. Hernandez might be a great classical dancer and perform an impressive, full of tricks Basilio’s variation at some gala but he is not an actor dancer.  I am sad to conclude that the years he spent dancing as a principal dancer since leaving his soloist position with San Francisco Ballet did little for development of his acting skills. He remains a boring and unmoving dancer in story ballets.

Jeffrey Cirio was so much more effective in creating a powerful dramatic presence and being a part of this dark tragic narrative. Cirio’s pliable body and the ability to execute quick and precise moves were a perfect tool for this choreography infused with traditional Indian dance. And Brava to Stina Quagebeur (Myrtha) — this role requires feet of steel because the dancer performs long and grueling sequences of pointe steps, with the especially impressive one when Myrtha is bourreeing across the stage while dragging a lifeless body of Giselle behind her. This is definitely a captivating ballet and I look forward to the repeat viewing so I could absorb more details. 

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Dreamer, I agree with you about Hernandez. I didn't even think much of his technique, let alone of its being devoid of fluidity or meaning,  as the other three principals - and everyone else on stage - were expressive. Having bought my ticket last August when I was in Chicago, I was in the front row, where I could see the faces, and I was wondering how the shadowy lighting registered from farther back. Hernandez, whom I watched in his years in the corps and as a soloist at SFB, has not shown much progress in learning to exhibit or project emotion on stage. 

Cirio, in contrast, was a burning ember/ a panther, unfolding a full characterization of a man whose traits we can recognize,  plus Cirio has a natural phrasing and musicality that takes my breath away. He has  found the right ballet company for himself. I have been a fan of his since seeing him in Plato's Symposium, and it was thrilling to see him last night. 

Cojocaru was no surprise as I was fortunate to have see her in Neumeier's Liliom and Midsummer's Night Dream, and I have the deepest respect for her lack of  histrionics, her introspection, her ability to project straight from her interior and with a heartbreaking vulnerability, and the beauty of her dancing.  I was impressed with Khan's development of the Myrtha-Giselle relationshipi n Act II and how it was portrayed last night by and between Cojocaru and the outstanding Quagebeur. 

Last, it was  lovely to see the dancers' genuine happiness at the standing ovation given them. 

According to ENB's FB page, the filmed version will be available in the U.S. later in March.  It appears to have Rojo, Streeter, and Cirio in the leads. 

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What a difference James Streeter made as Albrecht! He was wonderful. 

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The closing night of Giselle was the best performance the company gave. None of the main characters (Crystal Costa as Giselle, Aitor Arrieta as Albrecht, Erik Woolhouse as Hilarion and Isabelle Brouwers as Myrtha)  were of the principal rank but the level of artistry, passion and interpersonal chemistry surpassed that seen in other performances. It looked like all pieces of the puzzle suddenly fell into place and the ballet unfolded in its full glory. 

In the matinee performance, Hernandez dancing opposite Tamara Rojo looked somewhat more engaged but I still found him lacking intensity and emotional connection to the role. He had quite an impressive support group that kept shouting “Bravo, Isaac” at the curtain call.

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Have enjoyed this ballet now several times both in Liverpool and Chicago. I have to say my favorite cast is Rojo, Streeter, and Cirio. I also love the understated, yet powerful performances of Takahashi. I still find the second act of the ballet to be somewhat weak choreographically, but it is certainly not a ballet to be missed. I am hoping ENB will do more of Khan’s work. I thought “Dust” was other-worldly, and wished they had brought it to Chicago also. 

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Thank you, Dreamer and its the mom for your comments, as I had to be back in L.A. on Sunday so could only see two casts.  I was so happy to get to see this work in Chicago, and I hope it finds its way to another venue in North America so I can see it again.  I found the work so compelling and loved seeing the absolute focus, commitment, and emotional investment of the dancers.  

 

Edited by Josette

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--

Edited by sandik
should have read ahead...

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