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Swan Lake

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Swan Lake - Monday night, July 1 was an exciting evening with great dancing.

Too bad the choreographic additions are so bad. I would have kept the old beautiful dances and cut out the new things that McKenzie has added. ABT's David Blair production was so good.

The company danced beautifully. What a difference from the gala I saw a year ago!

Ananiashvili and Bocca are huge stars that sold out the house to the last seat. (I saw summer students outside the theatre that got some of the last tickets). Nina's page bows were so pretty and endearing. The NYC audiences adore her and would have stayed forever to keep seeing her bow. Bocca's variations were clean and musical. What gorgeous turns!

But the whole company danced on a high level, despite a few glitches. (At one point in the last scene the swans had a moment that reminded me of Jerome Robbins 'Mistake Waltz').

With the huge rep the company has performed this past season, they have to be applauded for doing such a brilliant job!

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Yesterday afternoon's SWAN was just about perfect. It was a very hot afternoon but a great day off from work! The company keeps getting better.

My problem with this production is some of the added choreography: I miss Act 1's traditional peasant and court dances; they looked thrown together. There's no kovorod in Act 4 and it looked like all the swans were dead at the end.

However, I really liked van Rothbart's dance of seduction over the Queen Mother, court and princesses. If there are two swans, why can't there be two sides of the sorcerer as well? This worked in the Prologue too. It worked even better because Riccardo Torres looks like a handsome opera bass (they are always devils, etc.).

Julie Kent was a lovely Odette. Her prettiness matches her solid technique (I counted 34). Every step is executed cleanly and completely. She enjoyed being the 'bad girl' in Act 3, parodying the innocence of Act 2. I lose my objectivitiy with Angel Corella. He's gone from being a trickster into a compelling dancer and partner. Odette and Siefried's first encounter was sensuous. The Act 2 pas de deux...beautiful.

Adding to the excitement was the appearance of Frederic Franklin as Siegfried's Tutor. Wow.

Best wishes for the holiday!


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Very exciting from backstage!

Gillian Murphy is quite different from all I've read. She was very expressive today (and in Corsaire earlier in the season). Her Black Swan was electricity! In the coda she did triples every fourth fouette, and before the hops up stage on diagonal, she put her hands on the Prince's face. Very seductive.

Jose Manuel Carreno was clean, gracious and every inch a Prince of dance.

Act I pas de trois was danced by Anna Liceica, Stella Abrera and David Hallberg.

Ethan Brown and Maxim Belotserkovosky shared Von Rothbart.

Zack Brown's costumes are in beautiful shape and the sets are much more massive than you imagine when you watch from the audience.

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I also saw the July 6th matinee of "Swan Lake" and I was extremely impressed by Murphy's performance. After seeing her in "Don Quixote" and "Le Corsaire" I knew she would do well as Odile, but she was also a wonderful Odette. As Glebb has already

said, she was very expressive. Her arabesques were just perfect, and her arms were so birdlike. I still think ballerinas trained in the old Soviet Union have the best swan-like arms, but

Murphy's were very good. And Jose Manuel Carreno as usual was

wonderful. I think he and Murphy have real chemistry together.

(And now that Susan Jaffe has retired he could use a partner.) Unfortunately the second act pas de deux was marrred by a screaming child. He screamed on and off (mostly on) throughout the entire pas de deux. (Why his parents didn't take him out of the theater sooner I"ll never know.) Murphy and Carreno did not let the tantrum affect their dancing in the slightest. I know they're professionals, but I was really impressed at how professional they were.

And as Glebb also mentioned Murphy was dazzling in the Black Swan pas de deux. I don't think she put a foot wrong the entire

performance of "Swan Lake". David Halberg was very exciting in the Act I pas de trois. He's someone I really want to see more of in the future. And Maxim B. (I never can spell his name) didn't dance the part of the sophisicated von Rothbart. Carlos Molina did. (They announced it at the beginning of the performance. It wasn't in the program.) And I still think the solo von Rothbart does in Act III is really stupid. After four times of seeing McKenzie's production of "Swan Lake" I have yet to see the point of it. All I keep thinking is "let's get this over with so the Black Swan pas de deux can begin." I think I'm getting a bit used to McKenzie's "Swan Lake" though I still far prefer the David Blair version. I'd even put up with the dumb von Rothbart Act III solo if McKenzie would just bring back the old Act IV in its entirety.

But it was really a tremendous performance, and I think Murphy is becoming a ballerina in the truest sense of the word. Also I think ABT had a magnificent season.

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Sorry for that mistake. I was backstage and could not hear the announcements. It explains why I thought Belotserkovsky was so versatile (and he very well may be versatile). He seemed so light in 'Le Corsaire' and so full of fire as Von Rothbart.

The screaming child could be heard on and backstage and we were wondering if maybe they were in the middle of a row and were hoping that the child would stop before they made so many in the row stand up.

The wings were quite full for this perf.

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