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2019 Giselle

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Casting is posted for the beginning of the run:

https://www.bostonballet.org/Home/The-Company/Dancers/2019-2020-Season-Casting/Giselle-Casting

** all casting posted here and elsewhere is subject to change **

OPENING NIGHT (SEP 19, 2019 7:30 PM)

Viktorina Kapitonova (Giselle), Patrick Yocum (Albrecht), Paul Craig (Hilarion), Dawn Atkins (Mythra), Ji Young Chae, Tigran Mkrtchyan (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 20, 2019 7:30 PM

Lia Cirio (Giselle), Lasha Kohozashvili (Albrecht), Matthew Sattery (Hilarion), Ji Young Chae (Mythra), María Álvarez, Patric Palkens (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 21, 2019 1:30 PM

Chisako Oga (Giselle), Derek Dunn (Albrecht), Isaac Akiba (Hilarion), Emily Entingh (Mythra), Nina Matiashvili, Irlan Silva(Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 21, 2019 7:30 PM

Viktorina Kapitonova (Giselle), Patrick Yocum (Albrecht), Paul Craig (Hilarion), Dawn Atkins (Mythra), Ji Young Chae, Tigran Mkrtchyan (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 22, 2019 1:30 PM

Seo Hye Han (Giselle), Patric Palkens (Albrecht), Irlan Silva (Hilarion), Paulina Waski (Mythra), Soo-bin Lee, Junxiong Zhao (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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Woah love that so many of the new members are getting cast in main roles. Chisako Oga as Giselle! She's come such a long way... I remember seeing her years ago as an apprentice at the SF Ballet.  So excited for her.

Plus, Soo Bin Lee and Paulina Waski getting cast is great!  Sad that Waski left ABT but it seems to be the right decision for her now that she's getting opportunities here.

I was really hoping Joy Womack would get cast in more things (especially since I believe she performed Myrtha in Russia?), but it seemed on her Instagram she was at the doctor's office - perhaps injured?

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9 hours ago, Phrenchphry11 said:

Woah love that so many of the new members are getting cast in main roles. Chisako Oga as Giselle! She's come such a long way... I remember seeing her years ago as an apprentice at the SF Ballet.  So excited for her.

Plus, Soo Bin Lee and Paulina Waski getting cast is great!  Sad that Waski left ABT but it seems to be the right decision for her now that she's getting opportunities here.

I was really hoping Joy Womack would get cast in more things (especially since I believe she performed Myrtha in Russia?), but it seemed on her Instagram she was at the doctor's office - perhaps injured?

I'm not sure if we're not allowed to discuss this (I noticed the Womack thread is closed for commenting); social media is obviously a huge marketing tool- and Womacks followers have been brutal lately on her IG; and Womack isn't deleting any of the comments.  Is it possible BB is trying to avoid a spotlight on Womack's life right now?  I'm just thinking, it's a possible explanation.

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If Boston Ballet wasn't aware of her social media presence and her fans and detractors, they offered her a contract from under a rock that was covered by an ocean.

Boston Ballet has a lot of dancers whose careers are in their hands, and many a dancer has joined a new company and has been eased in slowly.

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On 9/6/2019 at 1:23 PM, Phrenchphry11 said:

Woah love that so many of the new members are getting cast in main roles. Chisako Oga as Giselle! She's come such a long way... I remember seeing her years ago as an apprentice at the SF Ballet.  So excited for her.

Plus, Soo Bin Lee and Paulina Waski getting cast is great!  Sad that Waski left ABT but it seems to be the right decision for her now that she's getting opportunities here.

I was really hoping Joy Womack would get cast in more things (especially since I believe she performed Myrtha in Russia?), but it seemed on her Instagram she was at the doctor's office - perhaps injured?

Good news indeed for all and agree about Waski leaving ABT, we so enjoyed her dancing and sad she never got to dance her Myrtha there, I believe due to injury but wishing her the best, lucky for Boston indeed 👏! Even better it seems Boston offers discounts for dancers to share, how wonderful that is!

 

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6 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

I agree they are likely paying very close attention to social media posts.

I noticed she doesn't have Boston Ballet on her Instagram bio. Did she remove it or did she never add it?

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27 minutes ago, Emma said:

I noticed she doesn't have Boston Ballet on her Instagram bio. Did she remove it or did she never add it?

I thought she had it in her profile but I could be wrong.

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I'm looking forward to seeing Chisako Oga debut in Giselle.  I was worried about a Saturday Matinee cast, the only time I could make it, but I am quite looking forward to seeing her take on the role... she is young but charming and promising in what I could find of her online.

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I´m curious how it will go on with Womack at BB. Yes, she stopped posting  - Maybe because of all the negative comments on her weight and her responsibility for other young dancers during the last weeks or (or and) because BB steped in. Her "one of many"-comment with ist "no, you are so much more than that"-answers could have been already too much. Maybe it was the right time to take a break form social media (although I have the feeling she needs it like air to breath).   I guess with her repertoire she could get other roles soon if she can handle all the circumstances and if she doesn´t have a serious health probelm (she was in the hospital lately as it seems). But there are a lot of other very good dancers too at the moment, so... we will see. Maybe she won´t be a choice when it comes to the modern peaces.

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Just for info: I think I discovered Joy at one of the BB instagram posts during williis reherseal. So she seems to be fine. BB seems to do really a lot of instagram by itself, at the moment very much on "Giselle".

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A friend from Boston just shared this with us, how exciting it must be for Paulina Waski! We will miss her on the NYC stage, but glad she seems to be settling in very nicely and what a wonderful video from the company too 😍 Sure hope the company will tour in NY again! Interesting that Boston does a description of who Myrtha is in the ballet. 👍

http://www.instagram.com/p/B2SeinXjVuJ/

Edited by stuben
inserting image

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Updated with casting for the entire run:

** all casting posted here and elsewhere is subject to change **

OPENING NIGHT (SEP 19, 2019 7:30 PM)

Viktorina Kapitonova (Giselle), Patrick Yocum (Albrecht), Paul Craig (Hilarion), Dawn Atkins (Myrtha), Ji Young Chae, Tigran Mkrtchyan (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 20, 2019 7:30 PM

Lia Cirio (Giselle), Lasha Khozashvili (Albrecht), Matthew Slattery (Hilarion), Ji Young Chae (Myrtha), María Álvarez, Patric Palkens (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 21, 2019 1:30 PM

Chisako Oga (Giselle), Derek Dunn (Albrecht), Isaac Akiba (Hilarion), Emily Entingh (Myrtha), Nina Matiashvili, Irlan Silva(Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 21, 2019 7:30 PM

Viktorina Kapitonova (Giselle), Patrick Yocum (Albrecht), Paul Craig (Hilarion), Dawn Atkins (Myrtha), Ji Young Chae, Tigran Mkrtchyan (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 22, 2019 1:30 PM

Seo Hye Han (Giselle), Patric Palkens (Albrecht), Irlan Silva (Hilarion), Paulina Waski (Myrtha), Soo-bin Lee, Junxiong Zhao (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 26, 2019 7:30 PM

Chisako Oga (Giselle), Derek Dunn (Albrecht), Isaac Akiba (Hilarion), Emily Entingh (Myrtha), Nina Matiashvili, Irlan Silva(Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 27, 2019 7:30 PM

Ji Young Chae (Giselle), Tigran Mkrtchyan (Albrecht), Paul Craig (Hilarion), Dawn Atkins (Myrtha), María Álvarez, Patric Palkens (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 28, 2019 1:30 PM

Seo Hye Han (Giselle), Patric Palkens (Albrecht), Irlan Silva (Hilarion), Paulina Waski (Myrtha), Emily Entingh, Lawrence Rines (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 28, 2019 7:30 PM

Lia Cirio (Giselle), Lasha Khozashvili (Albrecht), Matthew Slattery (Hilarion), Ji Young Chae (Myrtha), Soo-bin Lee, Junxiong Zhao (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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SEP 29, 2019 1:30 PM

Ji Young Chae (Giselle), Tigran Mkrtchyan (Albrecht), Paul Craig (Hilarion), Dawn Atkins (Myrtha), Soo-bin Lee, Junxiong Zhao (Peasant Pas de Deux)

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On September 7, 2019 at 11:23 PM, Amy Reusch said:

I'm looking forward to seeing Chisako Oga debut in Giselle.  I was worried about a Saturday Matinee cast, the only time I could make it, but I am quite looking forward to seeing her take on the role... she is young but charming and promising in what I could find of her online.

She has certainly benefitted from the fact that Kuranaga is gone.  Dunn needs a very small partner.  Additionally, many of they young dancers have benefitted from departures from the company this past year.  

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Oh, yes, I'd love to see the A & B cast, but I can only go to the first Saturday Matinee and I'm delighted that the Giselle looks so promising... 

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On 9/7/2019 at 11:23 PM, Amy Reusch said:

I'm looking forward to seeing Chisako Oga debut in Giselle.  I was worried about a Saturday Matinee cast, the only time I could make it, but I am quite looking forward to seeing her take on the role... she is young but charming and promising in what I could find of her online.

I'm glad to see this recommendation as I'm not familiar with Oga at all.  My first choice is Kapitonova, but can't get to her performances.  I look forwad to any reviews of her perf.  I can't see Cirio as Giselle, and wondered if Ellis would be cast.  I can't see her either though. The last Giselle I saw in Boston was Lorna Feijoo who I thought was wonderful.

On 9/13/2019 at 5:54 AM, its the mom said:

She has certainly benefitted from the fact that Kuranaga is gone.  Dunn needs a very small partner.  Additionally, many of they young dancers have benefitted from departures from the company this past year.  

I'm happy to see Dunn in anything.  True that the young dancers have benefitted from recent departures.  

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I saw the Saturday night 9.21 performance with Kapitonova, Yokum, and Atkins.  Kapitonova was very good and I'd be happy to see her again.  Her Act 1 portrayal of a naive young woman dazzled by the amorous Albrecht was convincing.  Her solo was delightful; only the very rapid hops on pointe seemed rushed and unmusical.  Her Act II  was terrific.  Technique, phrasing, musicality were all there.   I was really wishing she had a different partner.  I found Yocum not particularly expressive.  He didn't make much of his entrance in Act 2.  His technique is strong enough, but he seemed to really flag in his difficult variation. I really thought he wasn't going to make it around on his last few turns.  Atkins did well as Myrtha but you could see the effort in the challenging arabesques pencheés. Yocum again was rather flat as Giselle returns to her grave.  Paul Craig was very good as Hilarion. The peasant PdD was danced by Ji young Chae, who was light and fleet with nice ballon. Tigran Mkrtchyan was an uneven dancer. He never seemed to finish his jumps cleanly yet I think he has the potential to grow.  The two chief Wilis, Zulma and Zoyna [?]  were both excellent.  I am not sure what "adapted" means in the description of this production, "staged and adapted" by Ponomarenko.  It seemed to me that there were truncations in Act 1, where Albrecht's solo was happening almost immediately after their previous dance together.  Were some of the villagers' ensemble dancing cut short?  Also in Myrtha's initial solo, why did she hold lilies?  She later entered with myrtle.  I've only seen previous Myrthas with the myrtle.   

I'm curious to read reviews of  others who have seen different casts. 

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Just a reminder that the company forums are for what you see.  You can find the critics' reviews in the Links forum, usually within a few days of publication.

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Apologies for taking so long to report back...

 

Oga was a delight... if you ever wanted to explain the difference between the movement signature a principal and someone only able to support  a corps de ballet role, show them Oga's work with steps below 45 degree extensions... so beautiful!!!  No tricks to distract, just beautiful movement.  Truly a charming Giselle.   Her Albrecht, Derek Dunn, I could watch execute jumps all day... that one diagonal run of Brisés would have been worth sitting through an entire performance of mundane work just to catch.

I enjoyed seeing the willies flickering in & out from the wings,  something I don't recall ever seeing before.  The sets were charming.

Isaac Akiba was the best Hilarion I've ever come across (not that I have seen dozens of productions, but I have seen a few).  He held the stage with a brute force that made me want to see him bring life to other roles... has he played a role in Corsaire yet?  He could be very worth seeing in that.  The man is not afraid to act with the energy he puts into his character's sequences of steps.

i hope they do Giselle more often.

-----

Things I would love to see changed..

the lighting design... in the second act, I did not mind the swirling lights giving the "other worldly" vibe, but the erractic xmas lights were just plain distracting.  And the cross on Giselle's grave being upstage did not help Albrecht's entrance (or is that Hilarion's?) this  long slow walk toward nothing in particular with lots of light effects...   the cross was rarely visible... not sure what was up with that... and it almost seemed like they could not afford enough followspots?  Often Giselle & Albrecht were entreating a Myrtha left wholly in shadow.

The props...  I felt like the props department thought everything must be extra extra because surely we would never "get it" otherwise...  so Albrecht has a short red ermine trimmed cape  (might have been borrowed from a Snow White production?) for his first entrance... And his sword looks more like Excalibur than the quivering rapier needed for the snake moment in the mad scene.  Myrtha wears a big crown in case you didn't get that she was Queen of the Willis, and her asphodel sprig is so large that it is terribly distracting when she has to get rid of it off-stage...  also, strangely, the peasants have bright shiny solid gold goblets stored in the cottage in case visiting aristocrats stop by.  I just don't get what the deal was with the props department... they clearly didn't take the job seriously.

Coaching of Albrecht in Act II...  he has to sense Giselle's presence... not just turn and look her immediately straight in the eye... it should be like sensing at the back of the neck that someone is watching...  if he sees her plain as day, why does he miss her when he reaches for her later...

In the act 2 pas de deux, that lovely adagio was missing legato in the dancers' musicality... i don't know if it were the conductor playing with it or the dancers themselves, but the setting Giselle down on pointe shouldn't be so precisely accented to the note... it's not a moment to express precision... it should be like a dream...

I missed the power of the Willis' rolling gesture of pointing... it was more like a Busby Berkeley wave than the inexorable command the drama requires...  and I have to say that one of the Russian touring pick-up companies did a better job of the willi's arabesque voyagé crossing,.. the willis should not appear to hop, no air time in the chugs... it spoils the magic, they lose that ghostly crossing clouds affect when gravity appears to jar the arabesques, or even merely dancers popping up individualy... floating has to be communicated or the moment is nothing...

Some of the dancers in the ensemble's of Act I were lovely, but many needed more practice with the Romantic style of epaulement and heads... they were trying to get the heads right I guess, but with the slamming force of a leg extension in Forsythe... not with a soft tilt.. 

Hopefully the Peasant PDD went better in other performances.

Coaching of Giselle's mother... she never so much as looks at Albrecht... which seems a little weird... that she doesn't give this interloper even a passing glance... especially since she clearly is happy with Hilarion's courting of Giselle.

Why was Bathilde's father younger than Albrecht?  Surely a ballet master could be pressed into service here!  The young man was tall, yes, but he looked barely 18.  And why on earth did the Prince put his mouth on his servant's hunting horn?

All these things could be easily fixed in future performances... and we would have the  magic that has carried this masterpiece  over 175 years...

------------

I loved Chisako Oga's Act I, though I thought her mad scene could use a little more angst..  she is still so young, perhaps she has not yet had her heart broken to know how to express that desperation? She was so gorgeous in the floating lifts (this might have been all to Dunn's credit, but there is one crossing where he carries her and she seems so light as if he is carrying a spectre not a real woman... and surely she had something to do with managing that).  I don't know if it was a costume problem or what, but I was surprised her line didn't haunt in Act II.  Sure, she is petite, but so too historically were a great many magnificent Giselles, and frankly it should not be danced by a tall ballerina if rules of emploi are followed? Peasants are supposed to be shorter the aristocrats  I believe? So why did her line not extend? There probably isn't a female dancer in Boston Ballet or among the apprentices without line, so surely it isn't her physique... did the costume dwarf her or did she just not emote the extensions?  Did her fingers curve and not suggest eternity? What was the problem?  I could not figure it out, but I hope someone does and corrects it... she was a perfect pre-mad scene Giselle, best I have ever seen... she should be allowed to grow into Act 2.

In all fairness, this was her debut with Boston Ballet, and not being first or  second cast, perhaps this was her first time on stage with that conductor and that orchestra and in that lighting with that partner... she did a gorgeous job of what could not have been ideal conditions.

Edited by Amy Reusch

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Just a couple of responses, Amy (and in no particular order)

I saw several shows of this at Boston.  The costumes and sets were borrowed from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  I agree with some of your complaints about the props, but shouldn't Ponomarenko (who adapted it for the company) have changed some of this?  I didn't know whether Myrtha's "sprig" was rosemary or asphodel, but whatever it was supposed to be, it was way too large and cumbersome.  Additionally, the lilies were too loud as they hit the ground (I am assuming they were plastic.)  As you said, Amy, it was just a number of little things that didn't seem thought out.  My feeling on the whole production was that there was just not enough time to bring the whole company up to speed on the intricacies of this ballet.  With so many new corps members (I recognized so few of them, and I see this company pretty regularly), there was no way to set this ballet to perfection in a little over a month.  (The dancers returned in August and had to perform a full program at Jacob's Pillow prior to this performance.)  Their reactions and/or non-reactions in Act I were obvious.  

About the conductor - he is fairly new.  My only comment is that I sorely miss Jonathan McPhee.  

The two Hilarions that stood out were Paul Craig and Isaac Akiba, both veterans.  Craig was so good as Hilarion that I was very disappointed not to see him cast as Albrecht.  It makes no sense to me to not cast a perfectly capable and seasoned Principal in the role.

I felt that Act II was missing something and then I remembered that when Maina Gielgud set Giselle on the company, the Willis' entered with veils over their heads.  I don't remember how long they kept them on, so perhaps someone can remind me.  But I do remember feeling the scene was much more "other-worldly."

The Peasant pas was much better danced in other performances.  Ji Young Chae had the task of performing the peasant pas, Myrtha, and Giselle.  She is quite the machine, and her jumps are unbelievable.  I hope she develops more in her acting skills.  

I thought each of the principal couples I saw brought something different to their respective roles.  Interestingly, Oga and Dunn were my least favorite, and they were the couple specifically coached by Ponomarenko.  And this brings me back to the time given in bringing this ballet to the stage. There was just not enough time for Ponomarenko to put her finishing touches on everyone and every scene.  Luckily, several of the Principal dancers had danced the ballet before, which became obvious in seeing several of the shows.  

If, Amy, your line of thinking is to follow, then Dunn (as an aristocrat) is too short.  I felt as though I should be watching Coppelia or La Fille in seeing Oga and Dunn on stage, and this is probably why their pre-mad scene was appealing.  His technique is surely beautiful, but I didn't see Albrecht.  Oga was fine, and as you say, she is young.  I think the company is hoping for a "Kuranaga" in her.  This ballet is a soulful story to be told, and while technique is obviously at the centre of it, there is so much more to it.  In their defense, it was their first time together in a full-length. Kapitonova/Yocum and Cirio/Khozashvili have danced together before, and, again, it was evident.  I think it may have been a better choice to have Oga and Dunn do the peasant pas before throwing them into the title roles.  But, I am sure we will be seeing them do a lot more together.  

All in all, I am glad the company finally (after 10 years) brought the ballet back.  I hope that they do it again soon, but spend more time in coaching it.  With so many recent departures, it will take time to bring the new crop of dancers up to the level of the past few years or prior.  

Edited by its the mom

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Oh god yes, the lillies... they should have taken them off their plastic stems amf put them on florists wire... something... anything...   I had forgotten but my companion and I both deplored the lillies...

 

and yes, the veils... the willis did have them on but the losing of the veils happened so much in the wings that it was pretty unnoticable...   I can understand why getting it to happen like they did at Paris Opera  might be beyond Boston's means, but what happened here was almost pointless...   POB veils at about 18 seconds in:  

re the talented Hilarions... are those lifts in the second act dangerous if there is any prior back injury?  I am not making assumptions, I just wonder if there is a reason like that which might leave a principal out of the pool for Albrecht... 

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Thank you Amy Reusch for your perceptive review.  Although I didn't see the same cast I agree with everything you wrote below:

Things I would love to see changed..

the lighting design... In general the lighting was a problem. In Act 1 it was initially very dark for a daylight scene.   And the cross on Giselle's grave being upstage did not help Albrecht's entrance (or is that Hilarion's?) I was surprised  that Giselle's grave was so far upstage and that I couldn't tell whether it was Hilarion or Albrecht entering.  Not good.

... this  long slow walk toward nothing in particular with lots of light effects...   the cross was rarely visible... not sure what was up with that... and it almost seemed like they could not afford enough follow spots.  Often Giselle & Albrecht were entreating a Myrtha left wholly in shadow.

The props...  I felt like the props department thought everything extra large because surely we would never "get it" otherwise...   everything had an amateurish quality. 

Coaching of Albrecht in Act II...  he has to sense Giselle's presence... not just turn and look her immediately straight in the eye... it should be like sensing at the back of the neck that someone is watching...  if he sees her plain as day, why does he miss her when he reaches for her later... This was a major disappointment.  Albrecht's entrance had no nuance as performed by Yocum.  Ditto the lack of legato in Act 2 adagio as well as staccato arabesques voyagés.  

In act 2, that lovely adagio was missing legato in the dancers' musicality... idon't know if it were the conductor playing with it or the dancers themselves, but the setting Giselle down on pointe shouldn't be so precisely accented to the note... it's not a moment to express precision... it should be like a dream...

This production needs a lot more cohesion and thought, along with more coaching.  In the BB Giselle 10 years ago I don't recall being so critical of the production itself.

 

 

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