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ABT 2019 Gala and Ratmansky Trio


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Really looking forward to the return of On the Dnieper later this week. I didn't care for Songs of Bukovina when I first saw it, but perhaps with a second viewing (and a different cast - Shevchenko/Royal) I'll like it better. And, eager to see the new piece, The Seasons.

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The Seasons was an excellent work, full of inventive, difficult choreography.  I can't wait to see it again.

The bad news:  A sign in front of the house announced that Herman Cornejo is injured. He was replaced by Tyler Maloney in Serenade after Plato.  I see  he is removed from his  remaining assignments this week.  Stay tuned.

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9 minutes ago, abatt said:

The bad news:  A sign in front of the house announced that Herman Cornejo is injured. He was replaced by Tyler Maloney in Serenade after Plato.  I see  he is removed from his  remaining assignments this week.  Stay tuned.

Oh no!  I hope it's not serious!  So looking forward to seeing him, especially in the full length ballets. 

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Yes, Herman is one of the few men at ABT that I go out of my way to see.  However, he rarely makes it through a Met Season without injury.  Now he is injured before he even started his Met Season.

Edited by abatt
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17 minutes ago, abatt said:

The bad news:  A sign in front of the house announced that Herman Cornejo is injured. He was replaced by Tyler Maloney in Serenade after Plato.  I see  he is removed from his  remaining assignments this week.  Stay tuned.

Darn! He is in almost every performance of In the Upper Room next week -- a highlight, for me.

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6 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Oh no! I hope Cornejo's injury isn't serious. I've really been looking forward to seeing him and with Lane in Manon and Sleeping Beauty.

Me too....  And if he doesn't return, will they pull his partner too and replace the pair completely (especially concerned about my Lane performances)......

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9 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

Me too....  And if he doesn't return, will they pull his partner too and replace the pair completely (especially concerned about my Lane performances)......

They almost never replace the uninjured partner, so I wouldn't worry. We have 3 weeks till his next major assignment (Corsaire), so hopefully his injury is minor and he'll be back in full swing. (fingers crossed!)

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2 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

They almost never replace the uninjured partner, so I wouldn't worry. We have 3 weeks till his next major assignment (Corsaire), so hopefully his injury is minor and he'll be back in full swing. (fingers crossed!)

Yes, and if not that should be enough time for a replacement to rehearse sufficiently with his partners — in which case, the question becomes: do they give a shot to someone not otherwise cast, risk overburdening someone who is already cast, or (though this is less the common practice now) fly someone in from elsewhere?

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Just now, ABT Fan said:

Also, speaking of Cornejo, this season marks his 20th anniversary, yet I see no date marked as his celebratory performance. Kinda crappy, no?

They are celebrating it during the fall season. I can't find when, but I think it was mentioned in one of their e-newsletters.

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Just now, fondoffouettes said:

They are celebrating it during the fall season. I can't find when, but I think it was mentioned in one of their e-newsletters.

OK, good. Thanks. I guess I missed that.

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3 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Yes, and if not that should be enough time for a replacement to rehearse sufficiently with his partners — in which case, the question becomes: do they give a shot to someone not otherwise cast, risk overburdening someone who is already cast, or (though this is less the common practice now) fly someone in from elsewhere?

The recent pattern seems to be to simply use someone who is already cast. Lane can always be partnered by one of the taller men in the company, like when Stearns partnered her (I believe it was in Other Dances, filling in for Cornejo). 

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6 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Also, speaking of Cornejo, this season marks his 20th anniversary, yet I see no date marked as his celebratory performance. Kinda crappy, no?

It's Sunday, October 20. That was announced in a newsletter recently. I'm guessing that's the middle of the two-week run. NYCB closes on Sunday October 13, so ABT is probably right after that October 15-??

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18 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

The recent pattern seems to be to simply use someone who is already cast. Lane can always be partnered by one of the taller men in the company, like when Stearns partnered her (I believe it was in Other Dances, filling in for Cornejo). 

Actually, Lane replaced Seo (if you're thinking of their fall season last year), and they kept Stearns in.

Hopefully, Cornejo will recover, but, as abatt already pointed out he is frequently injured, so I hope they have been rehearsing understudies just in case. As much as I'd hate to NOT see Cornejo, if he's out it could be a great opportunity for someone else (provided they are already being rehearsed and won't be thrown in last minute.) Would Simkin get his debut as Prince Desire? Or, Hoven, Scott, or Gonzalez? Des Grieux is another story......Let's hope it doesn't come to a replacement or Stearns getting a third/fourth performance.

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Last night the Family Circle and Balcony were woefully undersold. That being said, there was a lot more energy in the theatre last night than there was at both performances of Harlequinade I saw last week.

This was my third time seeing Songs of Bukovina—it grows on me with every viewing. This season I am noticing many lovely qualities in Boylston’s dancing that I had not before, first as Columbine last week and now in Bukovina. I admit, I bought tickets to her Manon for Hallberg, but now I find myself looking forward to her debut. Hoven looked great. (I saw him last week as well, but he hardly had any dancing as Pierrot.) I hope Cornejo recovers from his injury, but if not, I hope Hoven gets more opportunities to dance, as he did last night as Cornejo’s understudy for the Seasons.

It was my first chance to see On the Dnieper—I wish I could see it again! What a dense piece. I have been listening to the Prokofiev score leading up to the season but that did not prepare me for the visual richness of this ballet. Choreography aside, I thought the costuming was gorgeous. I loved the muted color palette and the set design. Those petals...! I suppose it’s kind of a cheap effect (I think it would take my breath away even if the dancing was mediocre) but watching the dancers kick all of the fallen petals up during the wedding scene was truly beautiful. The choreography itself is so layered that I found my eyes constantly wandering across the stage—there was so much to take in. Shevchenko was as elegant as always as Olga. I was glad to see Seo—she seems to be back in good form after her injury in the fall. Tonight she moved with the same expressive delicacy, fragility, and vulnerability that I have loved in her dancing since I first saw her (and none of the tenuous hesitation I felt when I saw her in October in Garden Blue. It was Whiteside’s debut as Olga’s fiancé and he was on fire. His solo (dance tantrum?) during the wedding got some of the loudest applause of the night. He has always to my memory been a very athletic dancer, but this season he seems quicker and stronger than ever. I enjoyed Stearn’s dancing more than I usually do.

The Seasons was enchanting—everything I’d hoped for in a new Ratmansky piece. It’s a little early to say because I’ve only seen it twice, but I suspect the Zephyr/Spirit of the Corn pas de deux will become one of my favorite.

That being said, I have to reluctantly agree with the NYTimes: the piece looked like it could have used more rehearsal. Worse, it sounded like the orchestra desperately needed more rehearsal time. I’m familiar with the Glazunov score and while parts of it were played admirably, there were also parts (particularly around the Summer section) where there were a number of tempo changes, and the orchestra sounded very muddy and off-rhythm.

But I think this piece has staying power: parts of it were so beautiful that, even despite the issues described above, I was moved close to tears. The parts of Summer with the JKO students was especially lovely. I hope to have the opportunity to see this piece again next Fall or Spring, after the dancers have had the opportunity to tighten it up.  

 

I dearly wish I could have seen this program again with the other cast, but unfortunately circumstances will not allow it. If only they were presenting the program on Friday as well.


 

Edited by vendangeuse
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2 hours ago, vendangeuse said:

Last night the Family Circle and Balcony were woefully undersold. That being said, there was a lot more energy in the theatre last night than there was at both performances of Harlequinade I saw last week.

This was my third time seeing Songs of Bukovina—it grows on me with every viewing. This season I am noticing many lovely qualities in Boylston’s dancing that I had not before, first as Columbine last week and now in Bukovina. I admit, I bought tickets to her Manon for Hallberg, but now I find myself looking forward to her debut. Hoven looked great. (I saw him last week as well, but he hardly had any dancing as Pierrot.) I hope Cornejo recovers from his injury, but if not, I hope Hoven gets more opportunities to dance, as he did last night as Cornejo’s understudy for the Seasons.

It was my first chance to see On the Dnieper—I wish I could see it again! What a dense piece. I have been listening to the Prokofiev score leading up to the season but that did not prepare me for the visual richness of this ballet. Choreography aside, I thought the costuming was gorgeous. I loved the muted color palette and the set design. Those petals...! I suppose it’s kind of a cheap effect (I think it would take my breath away even if the dancing was mediocre) but watching the dancers kick all of the fallen petals up during the wedding scene was truly beautiful. The choreography itself is so layered that I found my eyes constantly wandering across the stage—there was so much to take in. Shevchenko was as elegant as always as Olga. I was glad to see Seo—she seems to be back in good form after her injury in the fall. Tonight she moved with the same expressive delicacy, fragility, and vulnerability that I have loved in her dancing since I first saw her (and none of the tenuous hesitation I felt when I saw her in October in Garden Blue. It was Whiteside’s debut as Olga’s fiancé and he was on fire. His solo (dance tantrum?) during the wedding got some of the loudest applause of the night. He has always to my memory been a very athletic dancer, but this season he seems quicker and stronger than ever. I enjoyed Stearn’s dancing more than I usually do.

The Seasons was enchanting—everything I’d hoped for in a new Ratmansky piece. It’s a little early to say because I’ve only seen it twice, but I suspect the Zephyr/Spirit of the Corn pas de deux will become one of my favorite.

That being said, I have to reluctantly agree with the NYTimes: the piece looked like it could have used more rehearsal. Worse, it sounded like the orchestra desperately needed more rehearsal time. I’m familiar with the Glazunov score and while parts of it were played admirably, there were also parts (particularly around the Summer section) where there were a number of tempo changes, and the orchestra sounded very muddy and off-rhythm.

But I think this piece has staying power: parts of it were so beautiful that, even despite the issues described above, I was moved close to tears. The parts of Summer with the JKO students was especially lovely. I hope to have the opportunity to see this piece again next Fall or Spring, after the dancers have had the opportunity to tighten it up.  

 

I dearly wish I could have seen this program again with the other cast, but unfortunately circumstances will not allow it. If only they were presenting the program on Friday as well.


 

I basically would echo everything you said with only minor differences! I had seen On the Dneiper before but that was 10 years ago, and while Hee Seo didn't have the emoting power of Veronika Part (who originated that role) I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

In fact I enjoyed it all so much, and wanted so much to see The Seasons again, that I bought a ticket for the other cast at today's matinee!!

 

 

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I'll second (or "third") the above opinions about Ratmansky's The Seasons. I saw the first two presentations, with different casts, Monday's gala viewing led by - dancing the main pdd in the Autumn segment -  Isabella Boylston (Spirit of Corn) and James Whiteside (Zephyr), while last night's second cast was headed by Stella Abrera and Thomas Forster in the same roles.

 

Let me dispense with my one negative right off the bat:  The designs were too simplistic for a grand Imperial-era ballet, even though I understand that Ratmansky created the steps, as there are no notes for The Seasons in the Harvard Sergeev collection. Yet, I was not alone among my fellow balletomanes in anticipating somewhat grander, more solid costumes from the same designer - Perdziola - who gave us the magnificent outfits for Harlequinade. We have one lovely Imperial-style tutu and a tiara for the leading ballerina, the Spirit of Corn, while the rest are variants of free-flowing nice Karinska ca-1960 dresses for NYCB. Very pretty, for sure, but not what I had been imagining. I'm sure that the budget impacted on the luxuriousness of the costumes, minimal props, no wigs, etc. The red dresses for the Poppies, danced by girl students, were bright and effective. Some of the men's outfits - such as the Satyrs and so-called "Water Men" - were garish. The biggest disappointment was in the sparse emptiness of the setting, as there was no setting or even lighting effects; we got just the bare cyclorama with a different solid color for each season, then some weak twinkling lights against black for the finally of "The Cosmos."

 

OK - I got my little rant about the designs our of the way...

 

What mattered the most - the steps and the dancing - are brilliant, ultra-classical, yet inventive. My personal highlights, upon two viewings:

 

* Winter: Not-so-Old Man Winter (Aran Bell - so strong yet light! - or precise Joo Won Ahn) and his four Weather Ladies (my term!), each with a bright little solo, to familiar music used by Ashton in his Birthday Offering: 

  • Frost - Katherine Williams or Zhong-Jing Fang;
  • Ice - Hee Seo or  Devon Teuscher;
  • Hail - Magnificent Catherine Hurlin...my ABT discovery of the two nights!...or Courtney Lavine; and
  • Snow - Luciana Paris or Betsy McBride.

A female corps of 12 Snowflakes in long gauzy dresses accompanied each solo with inventive moves.

* Spring: A delightful Pas de Trois for Rose (incredible Sarah Lane or Cassandra Trenary), Swallow (Skylar Brandt or rising beauty Breanne Granlund) and Zephyr (Whiteside or Forster), However, this segment looked particularly sparse with a smallish corps in simple pink knee-length gowns and no setting. The stage looked almost bare from halfway up (Row A center, Dress Circle)...almost like a little ballet for a secondary stage...Dolly Dinkle Ballet recital feeling, for such a great work. Oops, there I go again about the designs...sorry!

* Summer: The Barcarolle ensemble for 18 - 6 each of adult female corps, adult male "water men" corps and 6 little girls as Poppies - was exquisite, including intricate, ever-changing lifts and holds, in time to the swaying music. I wanted to sway along with all of them! And, of course, Summer ushers in our prima ballerina - the Spririt of Corn, with a number of magnificent solo turns...this was Matilde Kchessinskaya's role at the 1900 premiere, after all.

* Fall: the Bacchanale, led by either Cassandra Trenary and Calvin Royal III in 1st cast or my discovery Catherine Hurlin - also with Royal - at 2nd cast. Here, unlike in Spring, the ensemble truly gobbles up the stage, in the celebration or life and love that the choreographer promised us. Sorry to fixate on Hurlin yet again but her solo in this segment, with multiple pirouettes separated by hops, is spellbinding.

* Within "Fall," all of the season's "characters" return for a little final show-off, including Springtime's Rose, performing an amazingly long balance-in-attitude, partnered in turn by the six Water Men, echoing the Rose Adagio of Petipa's SB. Both Trenary and Lane did well but - oh my - Sarah Lane totally amazed. This was my #1 moment of the night, with the exception of the grand adagio pdd for Corn & Zephyr...

* The PDD for Corn & Zephyr - THE highlight of the ballet for many. I cannot honestly prefer one pairing over the other. Boylston/Whiteside were most precise, with Abrera/Forster were most poetic, to me. And both couples performed the most amazing tabletop lift imaginable, with minimal preparation.

* Final Tableau "The Cosmos" - a grand celebration, with seemingly 100 dancers on stage for the final freeze pose, as Glazunov's grand fortissimo notes ring down the golden curtain!

 

Do-Not-Miss-This, if you can get to it.

 

Edited by Roberta
typo
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Thank you so much, @Roberta, for the very detailed description/analysis! I always feel I can take in so much more of a new piece when I have a sense of the structuring elements going in, so I plan to refer back to this while listening again to the music before I see the piece tomorrow night. Very much appreciated!

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10 minutes ago, Roberta said:

I'll second (or "third") the above opinions about Ratmansky's The Seasons. I saw the first two presentations, with different casts, Monday's gala viewing led by - dancing the main pdd in the Autumn segment -  Isabella Boylston (Spirit of Corn) and James Whiteside (Zephyr), while last night's second cast was headed by Stella Abrera and Thomas Forster in the same roles.

 

Let me dispense with my one negative right off the bat:  The designs were too simplistic for a grand Imperial-era ballet, even though I understand that Ratmansky created the steps, as there are no notes for The Seasons in the Harvard Sergeev collection. Yet, I was not alone among my fellow balletomanes in anticipating somewhat grander, more solid costumes from the same designer - Perdziola - who gave us the magnificent outfits for Harlequinade. We have one lovely Imperial-style tutu and a tiara for the leading ballerina, the Spirit of Corn, while the rest are variants of free-flowing nice Karinska ca-1960 dresses for NYCB. Very pretty, for sure, but not what I had been imagining. I'm sure that the budget impacted on the luxuriousness of the costumes, minimal props, no wigs, etc. The red dresses for the Poppies, danced by girl students, were bright and effective. Some of the men's outfits - such as the Satyrs and so-called "Water Men" were garish. The biggest disappointment was in the sparse emptiness of the setting, as there was no setting or even lighting effects; we got just the bare cyclorama with a different solid color for each season, then some weak twinkling lights against black for the finally of "The Cosmos."

 

OK - I got my little rant about the designs our of the way...

 

What mattered the most - the steps and the dancing - are brilliant, ultra-classical, yet inventive. My personal highlights, upon two viewings:

 

* Winter: Not-so-Old Man Winter (Aran Bell - so strong yet light! - or precise Joo Won Ahn) and his four Weather Ladies (my term!), each with a bright little solo, to familiar music used by Ashton in his Birthday Offering: 

  • Frost - Katherine Williams or Zhong-Jing Fang;
  • Ice - Hee Seo or  Devon Teuscher;
  • Hail - Magnificent Catherine Hurlin...my ABT discovery of the two nights!...or Courtney Lavine; and
  • Snow - Luciana Paris or Betsy McBride.

* Spring: A delightful Pas de Trois for Rose (incredible Sarah Lane or Cassandra Trenary), Swallow (Skylar Brandt or rising beauty Breanne Granlund) and Zephyr (Whiteside or Forster), However, this segment looked particularly sparse with a smallish corps in simple pink knee-length gowns and no setting. The stage looked almost bare from halfway up (Row A center, Dress Circle)...almost like a little ballet for a secondary stage...Dolly Dinkle Ballet recital feeling, for such a great work. Oops, there I go again about the designs...sorry!

* Summer: The Barcarolle ensemble for 18 - 6 each of adult female corps, adult male "water men" corps and 6 little girls as Poppies - was exquisite, including intricate, ever-changing lifts and holds, in time to the swaying music. I wanted to sway along with all of them! And, of course, Summer ushers in our prima ballerina - the Spririt of Corn, with a number of magnificent solo turns...this was Matilde Kchessinskaya's role at the 1900 premiere, after all.

* Fall: the Bacchanale, led by either Cassandra Trenary and Calvin Royal III in 1st cast or my discovery Catherine Hurlin - also with Royal - at 2nd cast. Here, unlike in Spring, the ensemble truly gobbles up the stage, in the celebration or life and love that the choreographer promised us. Sorry to fixate on Hurlin yet again but her solo in this segment, with multiple pirouettes separated by hops, is spellbinding.

* Within "Fall," all of the season's "characters" return for a little final show-off, including Springtime's Rose, performing an amazingly long balance-in-attitude, partnered in turn by the six Water Men, echoing the Rose Adagio of Petipa's SB. Both Trenary and Lane did well but - oh my - Sarah Lane totally amazed. This was my #1 moment of the night, with the exception of the grand adagio pdd for Corn & Zephyr...

* The PDD for Corn & Zephyr - THE highlight of the ballet for many. I cannot honestly prefer one pairing over the other. Boylston/Whiteside were most precise, with Abrera/Forster were most poetic, to me. And both couples performed the most amazing tabletop lift imaginable, with minimal preparation.

* Final Tableau "The Cosmos" - a grand celebration, with seemingly 100 dancers on stage for the final freeze pose, as Glazunov's grand fortissimo notes ring down the golden curtain!

 

Do-Not-Miss-This, if you can get to it.

 

I agree 100 percent.  The Seasons is Bliss.

I presume it will return in the fall season at the Koch.  By the way, Tommy Forster is looking really terrific this season. 

Edited by abatt
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1 minute ago, abatt said:

I agree 100 percent.  The Seasons is Bliss.

I presume it will return in the fall season at the Koch.  By the way, Tommy Forster is looking really terrific this season. 

I hope that it returns in the fall.  My first thought was that this ballet will look better on the smaller stage...but there's nothing small about the Koch - former NY State Theatre, next to the Met.

 

The original Petipa/Glazunov Les Saisons was created for the smallish Hermitage Theatre within St. Petersburg's Winter Palace. It premiered within days of Harlequinade, also at the Hermitage stage. Both ballets were originally intended for intimate theaters. Incredible!

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4 hours ago, aurora said:

In fact I enjoyed it all so much, and wanted so much to see The Seasons again, that I bought a ticket for the other cast at today's matinee!!

That was my plan—to get rush tickets and go back! Regrettably something came up literally at Intermission last night... ah well. Perhaps in the Fall. :)

And could not agree more with @abatt above—Forster is doing wonderfully. (Which is partly why I wanted to attend the matinee—to see his Sergei in Dnieper.)

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11 hours ago, Roberta said:

The original Petipa/Glazunov Les Saisons was created for the smallish Hermitage Theatre within St. Petersburg's Winter Palace.

I'd go further and describe the Hermitage Theater as tiny. It seats about 300 people, and I reckon that from the sides it's probably nearly impossible to see anything. But surprisingly, the tiny orchestras that play there are able to produce a respectable sound. Full-sized orchestras playing in oversized venues can sound much worse.

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8 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I'd go further and describe the Hermitage Theater as tiny. It seats about 300 people, and I reckon that from the sides it's probably nearly impossible to see anything. But surprisingly, the tiny orchestras that play there are able to produce a respectable sound. Full-sized orchestras playing in oversized venues can sound much worse.

Yes, the auditorium area is relatively tiny. It was intended only for Romanovs and their court, after all. However, the stage is of a good size.  Productions that premiered there were usually transferred to the Mariinsky within days - same number of dancers, sets, costumes. 

https://hermitagetheater.com/auditorium

I've been there several times, beginning in the mid-1990s at the time of the restoration, when it was the most modern theater in Russia, with the latest computer technology for that time. The stage is quite deep and almost as wide as that of the current Royal Theater in Copenhagen, for comparison. Of course, the Danish theater has a much larger seating area and a full orchestra pit.

Other than the two rows of seats are the very far ends, all seats at the Herm Th. have excellent sight lines.

 

Never in my wildest dreams back in the 1990s did I imagine that one day I would be seeing ballets that premiered at the Hermitage, staged for modern companies. Now all we need, to complete the set of "Hermitage - February 1900" ballets, is Les Eleves de Dupre (2-act version of the longer Petipa work, The King's Command, to music of Vizentinni, arranged by Drigo). While we're at it - make it a foursome of "Hermitage - Winter 1900" ballets, as Russes d'Amour (also by Glazunov/Petipa) premiered about one month before Harlequinade, Saisons and Dupre.  The Romanovs sure seemed to have gone ballet-crazy in early 1900!

The Harvard Sergeev Notes exist for that both Russes and Dupre. Mr. Ratmansky? Anyone else? But, please, let's try to have full designs for all - costumes and sets.

 

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