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Swan Lake 02/20


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2 hours ago, bobbi said:

Cubanmiamiboy, I too enjoy the lakeside scene the best.  Is it any surprise that Martins said it is based on Balanchine's 1951 one-act Swan Lake?  If you ever get a chance to see that, I would highly recommend it.  I lucked out in my subscription series, as I have tomorrow's night's Peck/Gordon Swan and am very much looking forward to it.

I have seen Balanchine's in Miami, but it has been quite a few years since they put it last. And I wonder if they'll keep it after they get Ratmansky's recon. Anyhow...I do not remember a lot, but I don't think I saw the black swans/white swans crisscrossing. From this bits here I can tell he did use Balanchine's patterns though, including Zorina's final round of pique turns for Odette's solo...😆

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
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3 hours ago, abatt said:

Isn't the fourth act ending also based on the Balanchine version? 

Yes, I have always thought Martins’ ending is essentially Balanchine’s ending, minus the dummy swans (which would certainly look very out-of-place against Per Kirkeby’s backdrop.).  I love the dummy swans!  And everything about the Balanchine version.  It has been shown occasionally during the last 20 years, and while I’m sure the box-office algorithm doesn’t like it as much as the Martins version, I believe it is a better calling card for the company (based on the tiny sample of people I’ve taken to each).

BTW—yes to Ballade, yes to Tzigane and yes to Harlequinade!

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33 minutes ago, ivanov said:

I love the dummy swans!  And everything about the Balanchine version.  

I do too love the dummy swans! They look deliciously mid century. Balanchine's "version" can really get away with the changing of the finale, given that it does not follows the original libretto at all-( no "lake of tears" explanation, no marriage anticipation...no ballroom ball...no Odile...no swearing of eternal love charade...no Odette imprisonment etc etc). But it is not an abstract piece either. It is just a prince falling in love with a queen. A love affair that doesn't get to bloom because she turns into a swan at sunrise. It would had really been problematic for Balanchine to try to follow the complicated double suicide finale sans backstory and technical resources.

 

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23 hours ago, abatt said:

Whelan danced Ballade a long time ago w. Robert Tewsley.  I hope Whelan revives Ballade.  I also hope they get Tzigane - which I've only seen in excerpt on video.

I agree wholeheartedly!

I also hope NYCB doesn't become a repository of 19th century full-lengths, it's just that they seem to have the marketing down and they sell well. If they did Liebeslieder  every Valentine's Day I'd be ecstatic. Maybe they just need a different marketing approach.

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One of the Kennedy Center-based incarnations of Farrell's company performed Tzigane. As I recall, it was not very long...the pdd and a bit more...maybe 8 -9 minutes? Lovely, nonetheless.

I'd love to see Pavane (a brief solo created for McBride, later danced by Nichols) and Hungarian Gypsy Airs (created for Von Aroldingen, for the 1981 Tchaikovsky Festival, although it's since been discovered that it may have been composed by Liszt, orchestrated by P.I.T.).

Edited by Roberta
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4 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

I also hope NYCB doesn't become a repository of 19th century full-lengths, it's just that they seem to have the marketing down and they sell well. 

Well, as many have noted, it was Balanchine himself who introduced all the XIX Century full lenghts he either danced on-( Midsummer's night dream, Nutcracker)- or that he cherished from his past at the Mariinsky-( Coppelia, Swan Lake). And he wanted to do Sleeping Beauty, AND he obviously worked a lot with Raymonda in different ways-( Pas de dix, Raymonda Variations, Cortege Hongrois). A full SL has existed for quite a while already at NYCB, so they might as well update its production.

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Aghh..I love, love, LOVE Ashley Bouder. I'm here in heaven with her Odette, which has been SUPREME. Hers is not a fragile little princess in distress crying for pity. Her Odette is an alpha female..a Queen with capital C trapped in unfortunate circumstances. I adore the way she attacks tempi, and the accents she puts on it. And those ankles...for the life of me...they are made of steel!!! She epitomizes the type of ballerina I grew up watching and adoring in Havana. Atypically strong, compared to the willowy thing Russian standards, but a star in their own realm. Her technique is extraordinary.

And Furlan....Furlan is her perfect match...a beautiful, tall, skilled partner who can keep up with her. Her Siegfried belongs to her ..not the other way around. At the end .. he's a Prince and she's a Queen.

My trip was more than worthy.🥰

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
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Intermission here. One thought about the pas de quatre - maybe it was cut because it just wasn’t needed. The show is already over 2.5 h long, and they could cut the expense of costumes,  rehearsal, and demands on the dancers, and still have a full evening. It’s obviously selling tickets. 
I see cubanmiamiboy is posting at the same time. I’m lukewarm on Bouder but I LOVE Jovani Furlan.  Whoever brought this intense, beautiful dancer to NYC - thank you!!

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Well well. A Swan Lake to remember, bad production and all. Bouder and Furlan reigned supreme. 

Fouettenometer alert!

I quite lost count. She was turning no stopping doing crazy triple pirouettes in between fouettes, so all and all she went beyond 32. I'm still hoarse from my bravi screams!

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16 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Well, as many have noted, it was Balanchine himself who introduced all the XIX Century full lenghts he either danced on-( Midsummer's night dream, Nutcracker)- or that he cherished from his past at the Mariinsky-( Coppelia, Swan Lake). And he wanted to do Sleeping Beauty, AND he obviously worked a lot with Raymonda in different ways-( Pas de dix, Raymonda Variations, Cortege Hongrois). A full SL has existed for quite a while already at NYCB, so they might as well update its production.

There is a review by Walter Terry (I think--I can't find it now) of the premiere of Balanchine's 1 act Swan Lake where Terry says that Balanchine was planning to do the complete ballet for New York and he (Balanchine) was going to do Rothbart.  Obviously it didn't happen, but how I wish I could have seen it!

 

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Having seen several Swan Lakes in close proximity, it's fair to say that Bouder rules in the ballroom scene.  She has technique to spare, and takes risks that payoff and send the audience into a frenzy.  Her weakness, in my opinion,  is Odette.  She certainly does the steps, but her back is not pliant or flexible.  As an example of what I'm talking about, at the end of the lakeside scene Odette moves forward and stays in place while the corps of swans move around her.  Instead of just standing in place in a static swan pose, which is what Bouder did, Mearns takes the opportunity to bend her torso all the way forward, as though she may be taking water from the lake.  When she straighten up, Mearns then bends backwards, arching her back quite a bit.  There are many little moments like this as Odette where Mearns makes full use of her head, back and torso to create character.  Bouder doesn't do these things, and is therefore much less successful as Odette.

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A few more comments on last night. The pas de trois was danced by Olivia MacKinnon, Ashley Hod, and Sebastian Villarini-Velez. Hod has beautiful limbs and solid technique, but I find her relatively uninteresting. MacKinnon has some beautiful qualities, but needs to work on looking less effortful, especially in her facial expressions. The standout was Villarini-Velez, who gives everything his all, and whose charm and good spirits radiate out to the audience. I also enjoyed Villarini-Velez, along with Alexa Maxwell, in the Spanish dance. It's been a real pleasure to see Maxwell dancing again. I'd love to see her in bigger roles. Also this season I've been noticing Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara. She is perhaps a pound or so heavier than most of her peers, which I find adds a sensuous quality. She has a wonderfully liquid way of moving, and her face is extremely expressive, with huge eyes and a beautiful smile. She's been catching my attention a lot, and I have a vivid picture in my mind of her from a few weeks back in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. 

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Also, I don't hate the production quite as much as I remembered. I do despise the color scheme. But I enjoyed the performance enough to consider adding in another cast, maybe Lovette and Ball. I've enjoyed Jovani Furlan since he arrived last fall, and I really loved him last night. Tall and strong, charismatic and intense, and fully committed. Beautiful stretched-out arabesque lines. Despite the lame ballroom scene, I found myself really moved by his anguish when realizing his mistake, and it was positively wrenching during the final lakeside scene. 

It was great meeting cubanmiamiboy spontaneously during intermission! I look forward to your report on Peck and Gordon. 

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4 hours ago, cobweb said:

Also, I don't hate the production quite as much as I remembered. I do despise the color scheme. But I enjoyed the performance enough to consider adding in another cast, maybe Lovette and Ball. I've enjoyed Jovani Furlan since he arrived last fall, and I really loved him last night. Tall and strong, charismatic and intense, and fully committed. Beautiful stretched-out arabesque lines. Despite the lame ballroom scene, I found myself really moved by his anguish when realizing his mistake, and it was positively wrenching during the final lakeside scene. 

It was great meeting cubanmiamiboy spontaneously during intermission! I look forward to your report on Peck and Gordon. 

Same here , dear!! 🥰🥰

More thoughts on the production here also.

I really enjoy the choreography, pseudo Balanchine and all. The parts where the children show up in the act I waltz and later on during the Polonaise-(goblets dance)- is wonderful. This kids have nothing to envy the much celebrated Russian kids of Paquita's Mazurka.

Also, the insertion of the deleted-by-Petipa "Dance of the Corps de Ballet and the Dwarves: Moderato assai, Allegro vivo" for the jester and the three jester kids-(maybe they're meant to be dwarves after all....as originally intended in 1877..?)- is a very happy idea. The dance is very fresh and alive, and the kids are adorable. 

Echoing the feeling of not needing the now deleted pas de quatre-(which I have seen)- it is understandable that the ballet might become too long, and so many variations in act III would take excitement off from Siegfried and Odile's variations. Plus...as we know, the music came from the deleted-by-Petipa Grand Pas de Six for Siegfried and the princesses, and there's no record of what the whole feeling of the pas was-(I'm sure there was a little story there, mining and all)-, so to present an abridged abstract version of it doesn't seem to add anything to the ballet . 

I truly love the choreo for the "Reunion pas" in act IV to the "Andante con Moto" from said deleted Grand Pas de six. One can only imagine what on earth happened onstage in 1877 for this grand, brass inflicted symphonic Wagnerian sound to be in that pas with the princesses. The choreo here works perfectly-(I have seen horrible try outs at it, including that film with Rudy and Margot), but I find the passage of a heartbroken Odette and a desperate Siegfried trying to find some resolution really moving. The four maidens/attendants to Odette trying to console her and protect her is a nice touch from the original libretto.

Anyhow...back tonight for more.😆

 

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
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Tiler Peck is on. I purposely sat on first circle right to scrutinize her Odette. My God ..this woman IS music! Her accents and respect for tempi are marvelous. And her artistry is superb. I know Bouder pulls out some " Viengsays" here and there-(extra long balances and stuff like that, which I personally approve, although I'm sure some others wouldn't necessarily like). 

More to come after intermezzo, but one thing I can tell. She's being extremely cautious with her neck. We know Odette is all about deep cambres and deep penchees. Well...her cambres are very cautious and quite half way through, but I applaud her bravery at doing Swan Lake with such horrible injury. 

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20 minutes ago, bellawood said:

Yes please Cubanmiamiboy! This is from a charter member of the Joe Gordon fan club. Please also report on Tiler’s fouettes!

Gordon was SUPERB too!! He handled Peck with such care as if she was really Elizabeth Queen of England. And he really shone during his variations-(both white and black acts)- and coda in the drawing room act. He has quite a balloon!! He really floated around the stage.

Fouettenometer alert!

She did wonderful. She did one to two, meaning one fouette to one double pirouette, finishing with singles, on music and on pointe!

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44 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Gordon was SUPERB too!! He handled Peck with such care as if she was really Elizabeth Queen of England. And he really shone during his variations-(both white and black acts)- and coda in the drawing room act. He has quite a balloon!! He really floated around the stage.

Fouettenometer alert!

She did wonderful. She did one to two, meaning one fouette to one double pirouette, finishing with singles, on music and on pointe!

And that's it my friends. I'm heading back to Miami in the morning. I truly enjoyed this run of SL, bad production and all. 

Who's getting the fouettenometer torch...? I need to pass it over...!😆

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2 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

More to come after intermezzo, but one thing I can tell. She's being extremely cautious with her neck. We know Odette is all about deep cambres and deep penchees. Well...her cambres are very cautious and quite half way through, but I applaud her bravery at doing Swan Lake with such horrible injury. 

Yes!  It was very clear she was being cautious in the way you mentioned.  She can still spin like a top as Odile, but she was too conservative as Odette.  In fact, I believe they made one change to the choreography.  Late in Act 4 Odette is supposed to do a deep backbend while leaning on Siegfried's thigh.  Instead, Peck sat on the floor in a stretched position.  This was evidently planned in advance.

Joseph Gordon was spectacular.

 

Christian, have a safe trip home and looking forward to seeing you at your next ballet trip.

Edited by abatt
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I noticed how cautious Tiler was tonight, but I loved loved seeing her back and was excited to see her perform all the fouettes without any issue.  She looked great.  Joseph Gordon was excellent - his spins and jumps looked effortless.  He's really grown on me over the years, a confident and beautiful performer.  I really wish I could go again this week, as it was a great night all around.  Daniel Ulbricht was a standout tonight as well.

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I thought Peck and Gordon gave a moving, exhilarating performance last night. Peck has physical limitations as Odette, even without the injury... I didn't go into her performance expecting deep backbends and long extensions. I was just happy to see her back on stage! Her artistry was still impeccable ---- Odette's solo diagonal turn sequence across the stage was one of my favorite parts of the whole night. Peck also brought out more drama and vulnerability than I expected; seems like she was able to channel her recent personal turmoils effectively. 

What an amazing debut for Gordon. Every pirouette was seamless and he landed his double tours in perfect 5th. Characterization was also convincing and he's becoming a strong partner. 

This was my first time seeing this production in almost two decades. Act I is atrocious -- how did anyone give these costume and set designs a go-ahead? Maybe in the '90s they were somehow more appealing? I do like the lakeside backdrop though, and the choreography in the Act IV finale. Even with the ugly costumes though, at least the dancers weren't drowning in them like they do in the huge heavy dresses in ABT's production. And I like NYCB's nationality dances better than ABT's. Speaking of which, Unity Phelan looked phenomenal in the silly "Russian" / Arabian number. I look forward to seeing her as O/O one day. 

Oh, and Ulbricht! Really flawless dancing despite the ridiculous jester costume. He does things that look physically impossible, like turning his turns à la seconde at lightning speed before stopping with total control (he does this in Rodeo too). 

Edited by JuliaJ
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The ending of Swan Lake represents an eminent composer's attempt to express through music not only a climactic conflict between good and evil, but also the intricate yet inescapable relationship between love and death. Without a doubt, it is one of the most dramatic and powerful moments in classical music—one whose capacity to move deeply never pales even after countless hearings at the theater or in recordings. In New York City Ballet's controversial production this extraordinary moment—and the buildup to it: the rest of the second lakeside scene—is realized magnificently! The three most recent performances during this season's run—Sunday evening with Teresa Reichlen and Peter Walker, Tuesday with Ashley Bouder and Jovani Furlan, and last evening with Tiler Peck and Joseph Gordon—amply demonstrated this.

Particularly for a busy company focusing on non-narrative, shorter ballets these performances of Swan Lake were impressive. Together with Tchaikovsky's music and the marvelous work by the dancers, the felicities of the production in my mind easily outweigh all its questionable and unattractive aspects.

 

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