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ABT 2020 Giselle D.C.


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6 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

At our local company someone left the performance of The Little Mermaid because they thought it would be a musical based on the Disney movie 🙄. Some people are just completely clueless.

A few years ago I attended a performance of Strauss' Elektra at the Met. The couple next to me was stunned, stunned to discover that they had purchased tickets to an opera and not a modern staging of an ancient Greek play. I think it was their first opera, and I suspect that it didn't exactly sell them on the art form, even though it was a very good performance. 

PS - These were pricey Grand Tier seats, not $25 rush tickets bought on a lark at the TKTS booth ...

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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3 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

A few years ago I attended a performance of Strauss' Elektra at the Met. The couple next to me was stunned, stunned to discover that they had purchased tickets to an opera and not a modern staging of an ancient Greek play. I think it was their first opera, and I suspect that it didn't exactly sell them on the art form, even though it was a very good performance. 

I suppose I should admit that when I attended Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake back in '06 I was surprised (and disappointed) when I discovered that it wasn't a ballet.

Edited by YouOverThere
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Just now, YouOverThere said:

I suppose I should admit that when I attended Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake back in '06 I was stunned (and disappointed) when I discovered that it wasn't a ballet.

I hope you didn't stay disappointed too long! Bourne's Swan Lake is one of my guilty pleasures: I'm the one perverse balletomane who prefers it to the original.

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5 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

A few years ago I attended a performance of Strauss' Elektra at the Met...

Also know as the Metropolitan Opera House. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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4 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

You would probably scream inwardly at the entrance applause for the second-movement ballerina in Symphony in C, which drowns out the oboe melody. :pinch: 

I might end up in jail.

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5 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

You would probably scream inwardly at the entrance applause for the second-movement ballerina in Symphony in C, which drowns out the oboe melody. :pinch:

Out of curiosity, did Farrell get applause at that moment on the occasion of her return to NYCB? I'd certainly guess not, but if it were ever going to happen at NYCB...

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12 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Out of curiosity, did Farrell get applause at that moment on the occasion of her return to NYCB? I'd certainly guess not, but if it were ever going to happen at NYCB...

According to Arlene Croce she did.

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4 minutes ago, canbelto said:

According to Arlene Croce she did.

Ah yes, I'd forgotten this description!

Quote

As the long bourrée to the oboe solo began, the audience withheld its applause, as if wanting to be sure that this was indeed Suzanne Farrell. Then a thunderclap lasting perhaps fifteen seconds rolled around the theatre, ending as decisively as it had begun, and there fell the deeper and prolonged silence of total absorption

– The New Yorker, 3 Feb 1975, p. 87

 

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A friend of mine was at that performance of Symphony in C and said there was a storm of applause when she entered and then basically the audience held its breath for the rest of the section--it was the quietest he had ever heard an audience.  I was always so jealous of him getting to be there!

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17 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

I hope you didn't stay disappointed too long! Bourne's Swan Lake is one of my guilty pleasures: I'm the one perverse balletomane who prefers it to the original.

Add me to that list!  Bourne's version is technically challenging, visually engaging and emotionally moving on every level.  Add to that his amazing respect for the score and inventive use of same.  I often come away from more "classical" versions not satisfied.  Never so with Bourne.

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52 minutes ago, mimsyb said:

Bourne's version is technically challenging, visually engaging and emotionally moving on every level. 

My husband enjoys dance but isn't an aficionado. The things he likes and doesn't like always surprise me: he loves Serenade but Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 he can take or leave. His response to most of the Wheeldon he's seen has been "Meh" but he gave Tere O'Connor's poem / Secret Mary two thumbs way, way up. (Well, I'm with him all the way on both halves of that particular assessment, but you could have knocked me over with a feather when he said that he'd like to see more O'Connor.) I took him to Bourne's Swan Lake expecting him to tolerate it at best, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, partly for the spectacle (it is an eyeful), but also because he found it profoundly moving. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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7 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Was anyone there last night? Would love to know how Aran Bell's debut went.

Yes. He was fantastic. One of my ballet friends was surprised to hear that it was his debut. The famous entrechat six series was very strong to the end.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Ahn and Brandt today (especially Act 2) but the star of the show was Catherine Hurlin.  WOW, she was a phenomenal Myrtha.  Her jumps were so light and airy, she flew across the stage.  She was impressively menacing.  Her portrayal had nuance, honestly probably the best Myrtha I’ve seen from ABT.  

Edited by Kaysta
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30 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

I thoroughly enjoyed Ahn and Brandt today (especially Act 2) but the star of the show was Catherine Hurlin.  WOW, she was a phenomenal Myrtha.  Her jumps were so light and airy, she flew across the stage.  She was impressively menacing.  Her portrayal had nuance, honestly probably the best Myrtha I’ve seen from ABT.  

Wow! And that's saying a lot. ABT has always seemed to have a pretty great roster of Myrtas. It seems to be one of their most consistently well-cast roles.

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I’ll be interested to see what everyone else thinks about Hurlin’s Myrtha  in the spring.

The only disappointment from yesterday was the corps Willis.  They were a tad off, especially the hopping arabesques.  I could see heads bobbling at different speeds.  Not a horrible performance, just a bit off.

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The top knock-your-socks-off performances in the leads for me this week were Simkin, Brandt, and Katherine Williams!!   Superb debut by Aran and very strong debuts by Hurlin and Ahn as well, the latter being better than I expected (obvs expectations were high for Hurlin).  Personally, I found Foster forgettable, but I don't really understand the interest in him, perhaps I missed the key performance.  I didn't get tix to Seo or Copeland as I've seen them once before and once was enough, the Thursday was sold out before Brandt was subbed in so I can't speak to how she performed on Thursday, but on Sunday she was fantastic!  Top 10 act 2s of Giselle I've ever seen (approx. 250 Giselles).   Light and floaty, ethereal, with total control and confidence to go slowly in the adagio to the fullest expression of each pose, no cutting corners, and then the fitness and agility to perform all petit allegro sections with beautifully clean precision, there was a desperation in her performance that is often missing in some interpretations, this desperation creates an urgency that fills the characterization of the allegro sections.  Her musicality, lyricism top notch throughout both acts. Interestingly, in her act one the bit I expected her to nail  (the sequence of attitude turns and pirouettes at start of act 1 solo) was not perfect and the bit where I really wasn't sure if she could pull it off (the subtleties of acting - falling in love to madness etc) she pleasantly surprised me, I cried at her mad scene.  (Apologies for stating the obvious, but what dancers can do in the rehearsal room and what they can pull off consistently on stage is even more different than I imagined.)  

Katherine Williams KILLED IT!  That was one perfect Myrtha, she stole Saturday night show for me - start to finish top 10 definitely!  Her debut at the Met in 2018 was fantastic, but somehow she managed to outdo herself.  She had every element - the slow adagio section in the beginning had as much control as I've ever seen, she was cold and wickedly good acting the part, her jumps were light and airy and high as all get-out and she didn’t tire, and her bourees - the audience almost laughed in disbelief they didn't know what to make of it - it was like she was on roller skates - then of course, erupted in applause.  Gillian did bourees like this in a 2014 Giselle with Vishneva and Gomes, I'll never forget it - this was that good.    Hurlin's jumps were equally fantastic - girl can jump something fierce - the height, shape, silent landing - marvelous.  Her adagio section at the beginning didn't have the same level of control as  Williams and the bourees weren't as surreal, but this was a debut and it was more than solid - excited to see how/if it changes develops by June.

I was so excited to see Gillian, after 18 months away and hearing of the horrific splitting open of her abdominals after giving birth.  I was rooting for her so hard.  As always, the musicality was perfection, she writes the music with her body, but I don’t think the technical elements were as strong as they’ve been.  Her Met debut with Hallberg in 2017 was magical and this was not to that standard, but I’m still rooting and I’ll be there with bells on in the spring.  Side note - what the heck is with the fiddling with the hair before the mad scene, Berthe futzing with her hair when her daughter’s just collapsed - it irritates me every time.

Surprising disappointments were the peasant pas de deux.   Paris and Shayer danced well separately, but piss-poorly together, they seemed so out  of sync, not good partnering.   And Trenary must have been having an off night because those were some of the wobbly turns I’ve ever seen from her and Maloney was v unsure on his landings too, like nerves wholly got the better of him.
 

Simkin and Lane were a dream - no surprises there.  Annoyed that this performance had the most unsold seats of the bunch - unfortunate as it was world class. 

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Brandt and Ahn have one of the most remarkable debuts I've ever seen. Brandt seriously came close to Lane, who is the epitome of Giselle in my opinion. 

Act 1 started off nicely. Brandt and Ahn were technically good but she was definitely giving more emotion than Ahn. Act 1 seemed like a debut for them both. Brandt's mad scene seemed a little overdone, less would been more for her. Ahn didn't seem terribly perturbed during this scene. 

However, it was in act 2 that they both shone. I was astonished at Ahn's emotional transformation. Here was the distraught prince, heartbroken over what he's done and aching for forgiveness. Brandt was mesmerising. So very ethereal, light and forgiving. I truly felt her pain at Albrecht's punishment and she would've sacrificed herself to save him. Ahn was amazing. He really did look like he was on the verge of death. He and Brandt brought something deep and cathartic out of each other in that act 2. They really went there. I was astonished. If they somehow get a show this spring, run to see them. 

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20 hours ago, Emily12 said:

Side note - what the heck is with the fiddling with the hair before the mad scene, Berthe futzing with her hair when her daughter’s just collapsed - it irritates me every time.

I performed the role of Berthe several times, once upon another life.  And if I'm understanding the part you're asking about correctly, I believe she may be helping remove hair pins from Giselle's hair, which comes out of the bun during the mad scene. 

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9 minutes ago, bluejean said:

I performed the role of Berthe several times, once upon another life.  And if I'm understanding the part you're asking about correctly, I believe she may be helping remove hair pins from Giselle's hair, which comes out of the bun during the mad scene. 

Thanks!   I should have been more clear, I could see what she was doing (and it's def not Berthe's fault) but I just don't feel the ends justify the means - that is to say having her hair all the way smoothly down isn't worth her mother's reaction to her daughter's collapse to be fixing her hair.  For me, it takes me out of it.  If you watch the Obratsova one at Paris Opera on YouTube, her hair never makes it all the way down - she tears at it, it becomes a mess, mother comforts her, she gets up again with it in disarray.  It's just the direction of that action that bothers me.  Not hugely, but I notice it.

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41 minutes ago, Emily12 said:

Thanks!   I should have been more clear, I could see what she was doing (and it's def not Berthe's fault) but I just don't feel the ends justify the means - that is to say having her hair all the way smoothly down isn't worth her mother's reaction to her daughter's collapse to be fixing her hair.  For me, it takes me out of it.  If you watch the Obratsova one at Paris Opera on YouTube, her hair never makes it all the way down - she tears at it, it becomes a mess, mother comforts her, she gets up again with it in disarray.  It's just the direction of that action that bothers me.  Not hugely, but I notice it.

Some Berthe’s do this better than others and make it look like she’s petting and stroking her head to console her, and you barely notice the hair pins being removed. But, when it’s done poorly I agree it’s bothersome.

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Another former Berthe here. The Giselle's generally try to loosen pins for you offstage before the mad scene--but sometimes one pin just sticks, or gets caught on a headpiece, etc., etc. Live theater! I agree with Emily12 and greatly prefer the Obratsova method. 

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Yeah I don’t like that mostly because by that time, Giselle is sweaty and mushing her hair around her face is gross as inevitably it sticks to the skin and is incredibly distracting. But then again, people with hair constantly falling in their face bothers me in everyday life too. 

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