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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 8:01 am 
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Tchaikovsky, Balanchine's and Others'
by JOHN ROCKWELL for the New York Times

Last night's "All-Star Tchaikovsky Spectacular," the first of eight in a row, might have seemed from its cheesy title to promise mindless virtuoso glitz for the hoped-for masses. What the plausibly large audience saw, mostly for the better, was a program a long way from "spectacular" in the circus sense.

Each program begins with Balanchine's "Ballet Imperial" and ends with his "Theme and Variations." In between comes a shifting panoply of pas de deux, two per performance.

published: May 28, 2005
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 8:09 am 
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The Irresistible Sylvia Seduces Again
by JACK ANDERSON for the New York Times

As the ballet writer Elizabeth Kaye noted in a recent symposium at the Guggenheim Museum, Sylvia is onstage for more than 80 percent of the ballet.

published: May 29, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 10:10 pm 
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Wow, I have to agree with Balletomaniac on Diana Vishneva. Phenomenal! I attended her and Vladimir Malakhov's Ballet Imperial at the Met Monday night. She delivered a first rate performance mercifully stripped of all Balanchine mannerisms. It wasn't as luxurious as Veronica Part's on Saturday evening, but it out-sparkled all of the chandeliers in the opera house. Malakhov looked uncomfortable in the piece, and I didn't think danced particularly well -- beats and turns were not clean. (Multiple pirouettes have never been his forte, because he seemingly refuses to spot after the first turn.) Anna Liceica, as the third principal, was tentative, held back on a lot of her variations, and didn't deliver with the expected energy. The corps was splendid but did not outdo its spectacular performance of Saturday night.

Between intermissions: Swan Lake PdD from Acts II and III. I'll have to admit that I really did enjoy watching Jose Manuel Carreno let loose in the Act III variation. It's hard to tire of watching his six pirouettes that slow to a sustained balance.

Theme and Variations, again Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saveliev, looked better than on Saturday evening. Murphy seemed more relaxed and took a lot of her partnering moves to the limit -- showing confidence in Saveliev's ability to be there when expected. And he was. His own variations were much crisper than Saturday night.


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 Post subject: Casting for the 3rd and 4th weeks at the Met
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 9:16 pm 
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Some significant changes to the original casting; most notably, Alessandra Ferri will not be performing in Les Sylphides. Lots of debuts.

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THIRD AND FOURTH WEEKS OF AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE’S 2005 SPRING SEASON AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

Veronika Part and Tamás Solymosi to Debut in Raymonda on Wednesday, June 8

Petrouchka to have New York Revival Premiere on Thursday, June 16

5/31/2005 - Casting for the third and fourth weeks of American Ballet Theatre’s 2005 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

The third week of ABT’s Spring Season will be highlighted by seven performances of Raymonda, beginning Tuesday, June 7, with Paloma Herrera, Maxim Beloserkovsky and Julio Bocca in the leading roles. Veronika Part and Tamás Solymosi will debut as Raymonda and Abderakhman at the matinee on Wednesday, June 8, with Marcelo Gomes as Jean de Brienne. Choreographed by Anna-Marie Holmes and conceived and directed by Holmes and Kevin McKenzie, Raymonda features a score by Alexander Glazounov and scenery and costumes by Zack Brown.

The fourth week continues with the Season’s final four performances of the United States Revival Premiere of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Sylvia. The Monday, June 13 performance will feature the debuts of Michele Wiles as Sylvia, Marcelo Gomes as Aminta, Danny Tidwell as Eros and Gennadi Saveliev as Orion.

ABT’s celebration of legendary choreographer Michel Fokine, including Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose, Polovtsian Dances and the New York Revival Premiere of Petrouchka, will begin on Thursday, June 16. The Friday, June 17 performance will feature debuts by Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland and Zhong-Jing Fang in Les Sylphides, Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes as Petrouchka and The Dancer in Petrouchka, Angel Corella and Amanda McKerrow in Le Spectre de la Rose and Carlos Acosta and Veronika Part as the Warrior Chieftain and Polovtsian Princess in Polovtsian Dances.

At the matinee on Saturday, June 18, Maria Riccetto, Gennadi Saveliev, Marian Butler and Kristi Boone will lead Les Sylphides for the first time. The same performance will also feature debuts by Stella Abrera and Roman Zhurbin as The Dancer and The Moor in Petrouchka and by Ethan Stiefel in Le Spectre de la Rose. The evening performance on Saturday, June 18 will be highlighted by the debuts of David Hallberg, and Melanie Hamrick in Les Sylphides, Julio Bocca in the title role of Petrouchka, Carlos Acosta in Le Spectre de la Rose, and Jose Manuel Carreño, Kristi Boone and Luciana Paris in the leading roles of Polovtsian Dances.

Countrywide Financial is the National Sponsor of American Ballet Theatre and Cole Haan is a Leading Benefactor. Graff Jewelers and Northern Trust are the 2005 Season Sponsors at The Metropolitan Opera House. ABT’s 2005 Spring Season is also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s 2005 Metropolitan Opera House season, priced $22-$92, are available at the Met box office, by phone at 212-362-6000 or online at metopera.org. The Metropolitan Opera House is located on Broadway between 64th and 65th streets in New York City.

Complete casting follows:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THIRD WEEK
Mon. Eve., June 6 , 8 P.M. SYLVIA – Kent, Saveliev, Lopez, Radetsky
Tues. Eve., June 7, 8 P.M RAYMONDA – Herrera, Beloserkovsky, Bocca
Wed. Mat., June 8, 2 P.M. RAYMONDA – Part*, Gomes, Solymosi*
Wed. Eve., June 8, 8 P.M. RAYMONDA – Murphy, Corella, Pastor
Thurs. Eve., JUNE 9, 8 P.M. RAYMONDA – Herrera, Beloserkovsky, Bocca
Fri. Eve., JUNE 10, 8 P.M. RAYMONDA – Reyes, Carreño, H. Cornejo
Sat. Mat., JUNE 11, 2 P.M. RAYMONDA – Wiles, Gomes, Solymosi
Sat. Eve., JUNE 11, 8 P.M. RAYMONDA – Murphy, Corella, Saveliev


FOURTH WEEK
Mon. Eve., June 13, 8 P.M. SYLVIA – Wiles*, Gomes*, Tidwell*, Saveliev*
Tues. Eve., June 14, 8 P.M. SYLVIA – Murphy, Beloserkovsky, H. Cornejo, Gomes
Wed. Mat., June 15, 2 P.M. SYLVIA – Herrera, Corella, Salstein, Pastor
Wed. Eve., June 15, 8 P.M. SYLVIA – Wiles, Gomes, Tidwell, Saveliev
Thurs. Eve., June 16, 8 P.M. FOKINE CELEBRATION
LES SYLPHIDES – Murphy, Beloserkovsky, Kajiya, Riccetto
PETROUCHKA – Stiefel+, McKerrow+, Gomes+
LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE – H. Cornejo, Reyes
POLOVTSIAN DANCES – Saveliev+, Abrera+, Copeland+
Fri. Eve., June 17, 8 P.M. FOKINE CELEBRATION
LES SYLPHIDES – Abrera*, Gomes, Copeland*, Fang*
PETROUCHKA – H. Cornejo*, Reyes*, Stappas
LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE – Corella*, McKerrow*
POLOVTSIAN DANCES – Acosta**, Part*, Hidalgo
Sat. Mat., June 4, 2 P.M. FOKINE CELEBRATION
LES SYLPHIDES – Riccetto*, Saveliev*, Butler*, Boone*
PETROUCHKA – Corella, Abrera*, Zhurbin*
LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE – Stiefel*, Reyes
POLOVTSIAN DANCES – Radetsky, C. Corella, Hidalgo
Sat. Eve., June 17, 8 P.M. FOKINE CELEBRATION
LES SYLPHIDES – Kent, Hallberg*, Kajiya, Hamrick*
PETROUCHKA – Bocca*, McKerrow, Gomes
LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE – Acosta** Riccetto
POLOVTSIAN DANCES – Carreño*, Boone*, Paris*


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

*Please note: First time in a role:
Wed. Mat., June 8 – Part, Solymosi (Abderakhman) in Raymonda
Mon. Eve., June 13 – Wiles, Gomes (Aminta), Tidwell (Eros), Saveliev (Orion) in Sylvia
Fri. Eve., June 17 – Abrera, Copeland, Fang in Les Sylphides; H. Cornejo, Reyes in Petrouchka; Corella, McKerrow in Le Spectre de La Rose; Part (Polovtsian Princess) in Polovtsian Dances
Sat. Mat., June 18 – Riccetto, Saveliev, Butler, Boone in Les Sylphides; Abrera, Zhurbin (The Moor) in Petrouchka; Stiefel in Le Spectre de la Rose
Sat. Eve., June 18 – Hallberg, Hamrick in Les Sylphides; Bocca in Petrouchka; Carreño (Warrior Chieftain), Boone (Polovtsian Princess), Paris (Lead Polovtsian Girl) in Polovtsian Dances

**Please note: First time in a role with ABT:
Fri. Eve., June 17 – Acosta (Warrior Chieftain) in Polovtsian Dances
Sat. Eve., June 18 – Acosta in Le Spectre de la Rose

+Please note: First time in a role in New York:
Thurs. Eve., June 16 – Stiefel (Petrouchka), McKerrow, Gomes (The Moor) in Petrouchka; Saveliev (Warrior Chieftain), Abrera (Polovtsian Princess), Copeland (Lead Polovtsian Girl) in Polovtsian Dances


Last edited by Poohtunia on Tue May 31, 2005 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: The New York Sun discussing Ballet Imperial
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2005 9:27 pm 
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American All-Stars
Dance

BY AERON KOPRIVA
THE NEW YORK SUN
May 31, 2005

Quote:
The corps, light blue and navy blue, is followed by a flame-colored soloist, performed on Friday with punctuality by Michele Wiles, and by a stone-faced but equally ravishing Monique Meunier during the Saturday matinee. The real thrill was Stella Abrera's interpretation of the role Saturday evening. Her animated phrasing, overly aggressive at times, was a delight to watch. Where Ms. Wiles was soft with her bourrees, Ms. Abrera stepped keenly.

http://www.nysun.com/article/14599


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 1:39 am 
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The 'All-Star Tchaikovsky Spectacular' is reviewed in the NY Times:

Quote:
The Traditions of Russia With American Inflections

By GIA KOURLAS
Published: June 3, 2005

Lincoln Kirstein, who founded New York City Ballet with George Balanchine, noted: " 'Ballet Imperial' is not an American ballet. It is a Russian ballet danced by an American company." But at American Ballet Theater, where Balanchine's opulent work was the showpiece of an "All-Star Tchaikovsky Spectacular," seen on Monday and Tuesday nights and in Wednesday's matinee at the Metropolitan Opera House, Kirstein's sentiment had little relevance, except in the case of Gillian Murphy.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:27 pm 
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Just saw "Sylvia". It's too late to write an instant review, and I may try to see it again tomorrow before committing myself. But I can say that the Delibes music is wonderful, the sets are stunning, and Gillian Murphy was fantastic (she was the perfect huntress/seductress). My one hesitation is with Ashton's choreography, which seemed to be a hodgepodge of borrowings (or choreographic quotations) from other major ballets (Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty) and himself (Two Pigeons). If you go expecting a major work of art, or an example of Ashton at his best, you might be somewhat disappointed. But if you go expecting a choreographic bon bon (a very expensive choreographic bon bon) that is very kitschy and very camp, it's fun. And there was some interesting gender bending (the women are strong, the men are weak; instead of a fairy godmother, there's the god Eros; Sylvia is shown a vision of her love Aminta the shepherd, rather than the male character seeing a vision of the woman he loves,..... But I'll write more later. That's a promise, not a threat. But by all means see it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 12:23 am 
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I also caught the U.S. premiere of Ashton’s Sylvia Friday evening at the Met. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. I didn‘t anticipate that. I mean -- No one tragically leaps from a seaside cliff. No double suicides. No love-betrayal-revenge-forgiveness motif. None of the usual stuff that appeals to this drama queen. Just a simple kidnapping with a happy ending told through extraordinary dancing, glorious music, exquisite sets and beautiful costumes.

I was awed by Gillian Murphy’s ability to make all of the fiendish Ashtononics look so absolutely natural. Don’t try to look up these Ashton moves in your Gail Grant manual. Leftrightuprightleftdownaroundrightleftstoponadime. As Sylvia, Murphy was on stage nearly the whole night - dancing! It was like a marathon - one variation after another, one pas de deux after another. Her three characterizations of Sylvia (defiant huntress, seducer, happily in love) were distinct and equally developed. Her port de bras was refined. She was a joy to watch.

Max Beloserkovsky was Aminta, the shepherd who was in love with Sylvia. Herman Cornejo was Eros, god of love. Marcello Gomes was the evil hunter, Orion, who kidnapped Sylvia. Gomes, of course, maximized his role to everyone’s delight. He can make evil look so seductive. Cornejo’s variations included his phenomenal leaps, but he got to skulk around under a cape as well. Beloserkovsky, bless his heart and handsomeness, will never be convincing in the English style. But that’s okay. Friday night he was greatly appreciated for his strong jumps, very long line in his slower variations, and making Murphy look like a miracle.

The corps was superb. There was so much action that it was difficult to follow at times. I have to scratch my head and wonder about someone who would think up a combination where six or eight women simultaneously do fouettes while flexing hunting bows. Can we even imagine how dangerous that first rehearsal was?

And finally, the music was magnificent. It was the first time I’d ever heard the Delibes score played live, and I was sitting right above the orchestra. David LaMarche, a naturally animated conductor, seemed to especially love the music as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:10 am 
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Ah, Sweet Melody and Spirited Dance. Ah, 'Sylvia.'

The New York Times
By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: June 6, 2005
Quote:
Sir Frederick Ashton's "Sylvia" sailed into the Metropolitan Opera House on Friday night on a high sea of scholarly investigation and daunting memories of his 1952 production. But the American Ballet Theater has an irresistible hit on its hands with this new version: a ravishingly pretty, fast-paced frolic set to the most hummable of scores, with choreography that the Ballet Theater dancers perform to light, sweet, virtuosic perfection.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/06/arts/dance/06sylv.html?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:19 am 
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A review of Sylvia from Newsday.com:

Old-school magic by an English master

BY SUSAN REITER
Susan Reiter is a freelance writer.

June 6, 2005
Quote:
But if the heart-stopping magic Ashton conjures through ballet steps has captivated you in such beauteous and profound works as "La Fille Mal Gardée" and "The Dream," American Ballet Theatre's loving restoration of this work by England's master choreographer will be joyful news indeed. From the opening moments, when six pairs of woodland spirits cavort with airborne grace, it lures you into a quintessentially Ashtonian world of harmonious beauty and luminous charms.

http://www.newsday.com/features/printedition/ny-etsylvia4292787jun06,0,7396606.story?coll=ny-features-print


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:45 am 
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Location: New Jersey
American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House; Lincoln Center
New York NY
June 3 and 4(E) – “Sylvia”


The music by Leo Delibes is memorable. The sets are stunning. The lighting is enlightening. The performances are brilliant. Even the orchestra sounds great. And the choreographer is Sir Frederick Ashton. So why isn’t “Sylvia,” which had its U.S. premiere with ABT on June 3, 2005, the unqualified triumph it should be? Why isn’t it another “La Fille Mal Gardee,” “Cinderella,” “Two Pigeons,” or “The Dream”? Perhaps because it was intended as a garland to Ashton’s muse, Margot Fonteyn, and nearly all of the good stuff belongs to her. Perhaps because any production of “Sylvia,” as has been said, is jinxed. Or perhaps Ashton simply couldn’t decide whether he was doing a pastiche, an homage, or a new classic. Regardless of its faults, however, it is a fun ballet to watch, and even less than perfect Ashton is better than a less than perfect ballet choreographed by almost anyone else.

“Sylvia” was first staged by Ashton in 1952. It is a simple story – boy loves amazon-like huntress, huntress kills boy, god kills huntress, huntress doesn’t die, boy doesn’t die, huntress decides she loves boy after all, huntress is abducted by evil man from the wrong side of the forest, huntress seduces evil man while force-feeding him wine, god rescues huntress, huntress is reunited with boy, the end. And perhaps therein lies part of the problem: It is a busy ballet. Originally a full three acts, Ashton felt it was too long, tinkered with it, and eventually reduced it to one act which, apparently, was not successful. “Sylvia” then suffered the same fate as its choreographic predecessors that attempted to harness the Delibes score – it died. The present revival, lovingly and apparently faithfully resurrected and staged by Christopher Newton, who danced in the original production, unfortunately revives the ballets flaws as well as its virtues.

A second viewing permitted me to modify my overall first impression from opening night that the piece was a choreographic hodgepodge. Much of it still appears to be. But Act I, which takes place in a forest glade that is dreamily beautiful, is often wonderful (the original designs by Robin and Christopher Ironside have been gloriously revived, with additional sets by Peter Farmer). The various naiads, dryads, fauns and sylvans move gently and lyrically, a style Ashton does so well. Aminta, a shepherd boy, appears similarly gentle, and the movement that Ashton gives him is almost effeminate. When Sylvia appears, accompanied by her Attendants, the action becomes militaristic, and the movement imperious. Sylvia is strong, commanding, and almost masculine. She thrusts her bow into the air repeatedly, as if hailing herself or saluting her unseen mentor, Diana. Although she is only one of Diana’s nymphs, she is the leader of the hunt-pack, and clearly is to the amazon born. Up to this point, the Ashton choreography is dazzling, in keeping with the dazzling Delibes score. And then things start to go a bit off track. Amid choreographic quotes from Giselle, the hiding Aminta (who has fallen for Sylvia), is found by Sylvia’s Wilis, er, Attendants, and then is slain with an arrow by the uncaring Sylvia (who apparently was really aiming at the statue of Eros). In response, the god Eros, who has been watching the developments stonefaced from his temple perch, shoots Sylvia with his arrow. Miraculously, however, and to her own surprise, Sylvia survives. Although we are told, by the program, that Eros’s arrow has caused Sylvia to fall in love with Aminta, we see no such reaction in Sylvia’s face or gesture. Sylvia simply reenters the stage later suddenly a nymph in love. Odd. More odd is what Ashton does with Eros. After all attempts to revive Aminta fail, and after Sylvia is abducted by the lecherous Orion (who is a comic-book villain, with his – or Ashton’s -- tongue firmly planted in his cheek), Eros appears as a hooded and caped Madge-like figure, and, after some comic-relief pitter patter around Aminta’s body, revives Aminta with flower nectar. Eros then removes his cape, resumes his position of honor in his temple, and commands Aminta to rescue Sylvia as he (Eros) stands like a stone statue clad only in a gigantic fig leaf.

So is “Sylvia” a serio-fantasy, a serio-comedy, or is it an overly long joke?

The confusion, and loose ends in the libretto, continue in Act II. Except for the choreography for Sylvia and lascivious counterpoint by Orion, this scene is simply not fully realized. In Orion’s Acadian den, where she has been taken to become Orion’s mate, Sylvia is at first lovesick and heartbroken over her separation from Aminta. In the course of Orion’s attempt to get Sylvia to loosen up, his slaves dance in an oriental style, like Chinamen. Chinamen? In Acadia? Or are Orion’s slaves merely strange people from a strange place who move strangely? Whatever the reason Ashton may have had, the choreography looks out of place and doesn’t work. Then Sylvia hatches a scheme to get Orion and his minions so drunk that they pass out and she can escape. She gets them drunk as she skillfully seduces them, but then realizes that she’s stuck in Orion’s grotto with no way to escape the Acadian Alcatraz. Didn’t she know she couldn’t escape? What was the point of getting them drunk if she couldn't get out on her own? Eros, fairy godfather that he is, comes to Sylvia’s rescue (and shows her a vision of her beloved Aminta, like Siegfried seeing a vision of Odette or Florimund seeing a vision of Aurora). But didn’t Eros command Aminta to rescue Sylvia? Why didn’t Eros at least take Aminta with him so Aminta could have gotten credit for rescuing her (perhaps with a kiss to Aurora’s cheek)? Is Eros a control freak?

And then there’s Act III. The classic pas de deux between Aminta and Sylvia is superbly done, particularly (no surprise) the choreography for Sylvia. But, apparently, little else mattered. The choreography for the “second leads” is weak. The goats move like they were lifted practically intact from the cats in “Sleeping Beauty.” And the celebration for Bacchus that precedes Sylvia’s reunion with Aminta is, perhaps unintentionally, hilarious. The peasant celebrants move like aliens from another planet imagining what it might be like to be intoxicated. It just looks silly and forced. And then Diana suddenly appears out of nowhere furious that her protégé would throw it all away for a man (and a poor shepherd to boot), and puts the cabosh on Sylvia and Aminta’s wedding -- until Eros reminds her that she, too, once was a lapsed virgin.

“Sylvia” clearly is top-heavy, with Act I dominating the action and Sylvia dominating the piece. And Ashton knew it. His remedy was to try to condense “Sylvia,” but it might have been better if he had attempted to strengthen the choreography for the other dancers so that the overall performance was more balanced and the story didn't have so many loose ends. The ABT audience also seemed to know that "Sylvia" was not in the same league as Ashton's many triumphs. Although the audience response both nights was favorable, and eventually the orchestra audience gave the dancers the almost obligatory (and in this case deserved) standing ovations, there was no immediate audience celebration at seeing a masterwork as there had been last year with "The Two Pigeons."

The two Sylvias I saw were superb. Gillian Murphy danced Sylvia as if possessed. She was strong, she was imperious, she was sensual (she should transfer some of that sensuality to her portrayal of Odile), she was lyrical, she was everything she needed to be. And as a temptress the fact that Murphy has curves where they’re supposed to be helps too: Poor Orion never had a chance. In a word, Murphy was phenomenal. Paloma Herrera, who portrayed Sylvia on June 4, was a kinder, gentler Sylvia, and she had to work at being imperious. She danced the role very well, but didn’t quite have the intensity of Murphy. At Saturday’s performance Angel Corella was able to overcome Ashton’s concept of the lowly shepherd, and made him more forceful and more aggressive. Maxim Beloserkovsky was Murphy’s Aminta. He danced well, as usual, but appeared unable to take the role to another level, as Corella had. The two Eroses were a study in contrasts. Herman Cornejo, who portrayed Eros on Friday, took to being a god like a duck to water. He was the Arnold of Eroses. Craig Salstein, Saturday’s Eros, was more like the god next door. Instead of being in command, he looked bewildered. But his dancing, such as it was with the limited opportunities Ashton provided, was top notch – particularly his comic turn as the Madge-like witch. Both Marcelo Gomes on Friday and Jesus Pastor on Saturday were excellent Orions, each one vamping up a storm. And Sarah Lane and Carlos Lopez, at both performances, did outstanding work as the cat-like goats.

There are reasons why a ballet gets lost. Sometimes it’s better that way. But this is Ashton, and, despite my criticisms, we are enriched by having it back in the repertoire. It will be repeated later this season, and I’m sure in seasons to come.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:32 pm 
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Balletomaniac wrote:
Quote:
So why isn’t “Sylvia,” which had its U.S. premiere with ABT on June 3, 2005, the unqualified triumph it should be? Why isn’t it another “La Fille Mal Gardee,” “Cinderella,” “Two Pigeons,” or “The Dream”?


I’m not sure there is such an animal as a ballet production that is an "unqualified triumph" -- not so long as there are ballet forums, dance critics, and viewers with differing tastes and performance expectations. I enjoyed Sylvia more than La Fille Mal Gardee. I enjoyed it less than The Dream. I enjoyed it more than Les Patineurs, but less than Symphonic Variations. I think that Sylvia stands on its own without the program notes and works without explanation. I doubt Ashton intended a literal translation of the story. However, anyone who goes to the theater has the perfect right to expect it (or anything) and be disappointed when it’s not delivered. That doesn’t mean that the artist missed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:35 pm 
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Poohtunia -- I agree with you. There will always be someone who disagrees with others, and therefore, by definition, I guess, a work's success will not be "unqualified". Maybe I should have used a different word. But in this case, whatever one thinks of them, Sylvia isn't a "Dream" or a "Two Pigeons", and that's what I was getting at. I also agree with you about preferring "Sylvia" to "Fille" - it's more fun. But "Fille" doesn't have the holes, both in terms of the choreography and the book, that "Sylvia" does, so to my mind "Fille" is a more successful work. And, no, he didn't have to be faithful to the book. But the unexplained change in Sylvia from not caring whether she killed Aminta to loving him, I think, is inexcusable. If Ashton could show us the light bulb going on in Sylvia's head in Act II when she concocts her scheme to get Orion etc. drunk, he could have had her show some expression of love for Aminta after she removes Eros's arrow, not just surprise at still being alive. To me, that's a serious flaw. Without the program, the change in Sylvia's attitude - no matter how good it may have been performed - made no sense because there was no transition. And the choreographic oddities, although they obviously reflected Ashton's unique and adventurous imagination, just didn't work to me. I appreciated Ashton's making the human pigeons move like pigeons in "Two Pigeons". Strange as it was to watch, it worked. But some of the oddball choreography here, although it was clearly difficult to execute and was executed well by the ABT dancers here, made no sense. In the part of the audience I was in, people were laughing at it, not admiring it. So I do think Ashton missed the mark here, and I think he thought so too: Ashton himself recognized "Sylvia's" faults, but was unable to satisfactorily improve it.
Nevertheless, it really is great fun, and its wickedly complex choreography is brilliantly executed. And if anyone who sees it thinks it ranks with Ashton's best, that's great. I'm glad that ABT apparently has a new hit on its hands.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:01 am 
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Ongoing
by JOSIE GARTHWAITE & KATIE CLANCY for the New York Village Voice

The stylized choreography and musical shifts within Orion's lair convey an outdated concept of exoticism.

published:June 7th, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:03 am 
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Ah, Sweet Melody and Spirited Dance. Ah, 'Sylvia.'
by JENNIFER DUNNING for the New York Times Arts

Sir Frederick Ashton's "Sylvia" sailed into the Metropolitan Opera House on Friday night on a high sea of scholarly investigation and daunting memories of his 1952 production. But the American Ballet Theater has an irresistible hit on its hands with this new version: a ravishingly pretty, fast-paced frolic set to the most hummable of scores, with choreography that the Ballet Theater dancers perform to light, sweet, virtuosic perfection.

published:June 6, 2005
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