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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 6:10 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Woetzel mentions that his nickname is "Kate"-as in Kate Moss<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>What a sense of humor!<P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"Viola Alone" cheoreographed by Kevin O'Day to Hindemith Viola Sonatas, is one of the better ballets to come from the Diamond Projects<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I am intrigued by this choreographer. I saw his <I>Aract</I> danced by PNB this season and loved it tremendously. It reminded me of <I>Agon</I> somewhat.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 6:16 am 
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Ksneds..good job, thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 8:55 am 
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Susan Walker - Toronto Star, May. 20, 2002 :<BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Outreach key to future of ballet, forum told</B><P>Organized as part of the National Ballet's 50th anniversary celebrations, the PPF summit was the first occasion to gather together so many artistic directors. The public session at the Betty Oliphant Theatre followed two days of talks behind closed doors where the directors felt free to do what they so rarely do: say what they think.<P>Another artistic director charged with preserving a great choreographer's works, Peter Martins of New York City Ballet spoke of his predecessor George Balanchine's deathbed wish: "Do me a favour. Don't be reverent." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><BR>To read more go to the Entertainment section of the <A HREF="http://www.thestar.com/entertainment" TARGET=_blank>Toronto Star</A>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 11:46 am 
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Thanks, ksneds, for your reviews! I'm interested to hear about Alexandra Ansanelli. She was so young when she was promoted, but sounds like she's handling herself well. Her turns were always sort of unreal to me, far beyond "natural turner", so I'm surprised she lost her center on fouettes. Maybe she was just tired?


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 12:23 pm 
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Whew, CD friends! My professors st Cal State let me take finals early for reasons below:<P>NYCB May-18<BR>NY State Theater<P>“Hallelujah Junction”<BR>Music—John Adams; Chor—Peter Martins; Costumes—Kirsten Lund Nielsen; Lighting—Mark Stanley<P>Balanchine, I thought, had given advice to choreographers not to neglect a work’s ending because it is “30 percent of the total effect.” Martins seemed to have invested 30% of “Hallelujah Junction” in the opening. The houselights go out and the curtain rises. Behind a grey scrim, high spot lights illuminate pianists Cameron Grant and Richard Moredock sitting at Kawai grands facing each other and about 5 feet above the stage. The high contrast lights show only the pianists and not the pianos—it’s like they’re playing on instruments of the imagination.<P>The choreography likewise is all of a kind with Adams’ “Hallelujah Junction.” Its repetitive melodies can be tiresome to some but there is nothing tiresome about watching Janie Taylor, Sebastien Marcovici, and Benjamin Millepied. The atmosphere is abstract and rarefied. Taylor and Marcovici’s central pas de deux hyper-dramatic and tense. It’s the sort of hypertheatricality that one can only get away with once in a while. I go to intermission thinking that I’d like to see Taylor and Marcovici dance something less abstract, like “Stravinsky Violin Concerto.”<P>“Opus 19/The Dreamer”<BR>Music—Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1; Chor—Robbins; Costumes—Ben Benson; Lighting—Ronald Bates<P>I have loved this music long before I started going to the ballet. The Perleman CD is particularly fine and captures the score’s over-the-top romanticism. Though the plain stage and simple costumes finds its affinity with the company’s “abstract” repertoire, I sense something else at work. Perhaps, its more like “La Sonnambula” brought forward about 50 years into the high modernist period. Characteristic of the operatic oeuvre from which the music came, “La Sonnambula” is a psychodrama exteriorized—the Coquette and the Sleepwalker for the two versions of femininity; the Baron and the Poet as the developing artist’s potential selves &etc.<P>“Opus 19/The Dreamer” might be a passage through the poet’s interior space. This fascination with interiority is certainly suggested in the way the Poet lit almost glowing white against the dark spaces of the stage. The anonymous character of the sparingly used corps contrasts with the apparitions of the Muse danced by Wendy Whelan. By the ending’s glissandos and <I>ad astra</I> harmonics, the opening gestures of solitary reaching and stretching have been replaced by an entwining of arms with the Muse—the Poet ready for new dreams.<P>“Symphony in C”<BR>Music—Bizet; chor—Balanchine; costumes—Karinska; Lighting—Stanley<P>For the dancers, I can’t say; but as a ballet goer, I think that one would have to be in a pretty bad mood not to find this ballet irresistible. Even though it has only been less than 2 years for me, what I wouldn’t give to relive the excitement of discovering “Symph C” for the first time—like KSNEDS did this past weekend.<P>But, “Symph C” sort of understands that feeling because it gives us 4 opportunities to see it as if for the first time. Each movement has a principal ballerina and danseur—the princess and her beau—and two demi-soloist couples—the princess’s two ladies-in-waiting and their beaus—and a corps of 6 to 8 corps girls. <P>With the “allegro vivo” demi-soloist ballerinas each teaching her corps girls steps then the princess teaching the group her steps, this movement is the most formal. Jennie Somogyi and Philip Neal made it look formal as in “formal’s” other meaning of well spiffed up parties. Formal as in those Karinska tutus, ribbons, and tiaras that KSNEDS admires so much.<P>The second movement, “adagio,” is as close to true romance as this ballet can get—it’s that barely disguised phallocentrism: the danseur lifts the principal ballerina who points one toe forward and places it into the round “o” shape made by the demi-soloist couples rounded arms held at an obliging height and angle. Put that way, it sounds so … well … clinical … but it all goes with ballet’s clean display (displacement for some) of passion and emotion. Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard were beautiful—passion into danse noble incarnate.<P>Ashley Bouder in the third movement, “allegro vivace,” is all ‘allegro’ and ‘vivace.’ Fun, capricious, enormously charismatic—if you ever see this belle behind the wheels of a Maserati, get out of the way. Pascale van Kipnis leading the demi-soloist ballerinas in the fourth movement (also “allegro vivace”) reminds me of varsity lacrosse for some reason. Perhaps van Kipnis would make a pretty convincing Hippolyta in “Midsummer.”<P>The real secret, I think, of “Symphony in C” is the same as in “Western Symphony”: as if each movement’s 4 principal couples with their entourages wasn’t enough, the fourth movement provides each with a coda allowing us to visit with them one time more before the big finale. As KSNEDS says, “the corps was a bit scattered, but they got in back together for the rousing finale-how wonderful to see so much talent on one stage!”<P>Final note: walking in front of the New York State Theater, I was disappointed to see the gorgeous full length posters of Saskia Beskow and Benjamin Millepied (did I get it right?) gone. But, the one of corps Sarah Ricard, Laura Paulus, and Rebecca Krohn at Old Westbury Gardens is every bit as nice. But, what ballet are they costumed for?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 2:31 pm 
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PBS is airing "Live from Licoln Center - NYCB's Diamond Project" on Thursday, May 30. I checked the local PBS schedule for the San Francisco Bay Area but couldn't find the broadcast event. Does anyone know when PBS will air this in the SF/SJ area? Much thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 3:11 pm 
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Hello Kay, welcome to the board. I just checked for the San Diego area, and it is not listed.<P>You could call your local station.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 5:08 pm 
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Hi!<BR>In re: Ansanelli<P>Actually, they weren't straight fouttes-either doubles alternated with singles or something else alternating with fouttes. <BR>She did one sequence spot on, and then distinctly shifted to stage right. It was probably more obvious from my seat up in the 4th ring, and because Damian was his usual dead-centered self. Probably a bad spot on the floor or tiredness.<BR>It also looked like she ended the turning sequence a little earlier than Woetzel or the conductor anticpated she would. But, both Woetzel and Fiorato are old pros, and went on without a hitch.<BR>Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2002 6:56 pm 
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More thoughts ...<P>“Vienna Waltzes”<BR>5/18/02 evening<P>Music—Waltz scores of Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehar, Richard Strauss; Chor—Balanchine; Scenery—Ter-Arutunian; Costumes—Karinska; Lighting—Bates, Stanley<P>Because its choreography is based the vocabulary of the social idiom, I wonder that it is all too easy to overlook the complexity of Balanchine’s “Vienna Waltzes.” As Anna Kisselgoff says, “Vienna Waltzes" is anything but a sentimental work.”<P>“Vienna Waltzes,” I think, wishes us to remember both the world of <I>fin-de-siecle</I> brilliance and what came afterwards—Somme, Verdun, and other massacres. The ballet understands that in the first, the Waltz was King and in the second, the waltz was a relic of sybaritic decadence and degradation. Yet rather than contradiction, it is almost like prophecy. If “Vienna Woods” is akin to “La Valse,” it is also kin to MacMillan “La Fin du Jour.”<P>“G’Schichten aus dem Wienerwald” (Tales from the Vienna Woods). Hussars and Jaegers dance with noble ladies amid a delightful green and brown forest of Ter-Arutunian’s design—perhaps a nod to ballet’s historical preoccupation with the pastoral. But, as Croce observed in these Vienna woods, the ballet comes the closest to being mere homage to the waltz. But, when did these acolytes of the sybaritic high style come so far from the city? How came suave urbanites to the land of nymphs and fauns? Will these dashing gallants soon be the cannon fodder before Fort Douaumont or on the Isonzo? Already a dissonant thematic note creeps in.<P>The central trees lift away and “Fruhlingsstimmen” (Voices of Spring) brings us the missing nymphs and shepherds. Is this better? Where did these children of nature learn to perk and caper like Arch-Dukes and Marquises? Or is it the reverse? Night approaches.<P>If the woods of “G’Schichten” showed something like the Hapsburg version of the “village” of Fountainbleu, “Explosions-Polka” taunts with a disturbing (if fun) version of dandyism Vienna woods style. The swains are particularly … <I>gah</I> (quoting Evagation “Katie” from a San Francisco Ballet thread). With their swanky, rock-a-billy hair and tall collars, painted faces, short coats, and waist high candy stripe trousers, these are not <I>caractere</I> role but caricatures. Not sybarites but syphilitics. Not exactly good clean fun but … <I>gah</I>.<P>The forest lifts upwards revealing a network of roots with clinging clods and webs of roots. These, too, rise higher and higher to reveal … a grand ballroom – ? Round clods become ceiling ornaments. The webs of roots become meshes of brass filigree and the networks of branches become wire decorations. Torches and chandeliers show us it is definitely night.<P>The “Gold und Silber Walzer” (Gold and Silver Waltz) brings in the Prince dressed in a white military jacket with royal blue sash and red trousers with naval stripe. It is Charles Askegard, very Prince Siegrfried-ish with his melancholy sighs and mooning looks. He spots Helene Alexopoulos as the Lady in Black. She rebuffs two suitors, then the crowd dramatically parts and suddenly as far as the Prince and the Lady are concerned there are only two on the dance floor.<P>Perhaps it is Alexopoulos’ gown which makes her the most glamorous widow since Jackie O, but somehow, the ballet hints at other sad stories of the Prince and the Dark Lady: the familiar tale of British monarch Edward VIII and Mrs. Wallis Simpson (abdicated to obscurity)—perhaps … but considering the Viennese setting more likely Hapsburg Emperor Francis Joseph and Empress Elisabeth (assassinated by an anarchist’s knife), the Crown Prince Rudolph and Mary Vetsaris (murder-suicide), Arch-Duke Francis Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie (the assassination that triggered the World War). <P>The ball room <I>beneath</I> the forest, Helene Alexopoulos’s glamorous presence, her black-on-black ball gown, her Audrey Hepburn black gloves. In other words, the ballet continues its evocation of <I>fin-de-siecle</I> decadence by that most Balanchinean manner of “summoning the buried instinctual power of archaic Greece” (paraphrasing Schorske on Klimt)—in this case, the myth of Persephone in the Underworld.<P>In brief the legend is that Hades, Lord of the Underworld, took as his wife Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the earth. When Persephone resides with Hades, in sadness Demeter abandons the earth to dryness, drought, sterility. The legend captures the sense with which the <I>fin-de-siecle</I> world gave itself to hedonistic abandon as it moved inexorably towards its own dissolution and empires’ end. Like Hades and Persephone, the “Gold und Silber” waltzers dance in their own underground Tartarus.<P>The final waltz sequence, “Der Rosenkavalier: Erste Walzerfolge” (Rosencavalier First Waltz Suite) is the fit and chilling apotheosis. More set lifts away revealing huge floor to ceiling mirrors that seem to double the dancers onstage. The lighting becomes spectral like moonlight. Gone forever are the earlier, gay colors. Long, white gowns for the women and black formal wear for their partners. They dance but seemingly only for their reflections in the mirror. Time, identity, and narrative are effaced as the choreography concentrates finally upon waltz abstraction. It is Persephone’s—and the Old World’s apotheosis. That elegiac phrase, “après moi, le Deluge” might be “Vienna Waltzes” subtitle.<P>Here is Fitzgerald: “This western front business couldn’t be done again, not for a long time…. This took religion and years of plenty and tremendous sureties and the exact relation that existed between the classes….You had to have whole-souled sentimental equipment going further back then you could remember. You had to remember Christmas, and postcards of the Crown Prince and his fiancée, and little cafés in Valence and beer gardens in Unter den Linden and weddings in the Mairie, and going to the Derby, and your grandfather’s whiskers.” (qtd Tender is the Night)<P>Arlene Croce: “Balanchine does not soothe us—he shakes and threatens us with catastrophe. The atmosphere of the <I>Rosenkavalier</I> waltz goes way beyond <I>La Valse</I>; in fact, there’s a breathtaking moment when the men whirl and rush forward in a diagonal line that reminds us of <I>La Valse</I> and its boundary of virtuosity. The men cross that boundary. From then on the ballet repeatedly slides and skitters over thinnest ice, the tension starts to mount, and there’s no relief from it.” (Arlene Croce 1979).<P>Though I found the dancing faultless with my non-dancer’s eyes, I thought Heléne Alexopoulos and Charles Askegard especially good as (in my mind) the Prince and the Dark Lady—very regal. One can imagine her Persephone worth destroying the earth over. Hugo Fiorato conducted.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited May 25, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2002 12:24 pm 
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Kisselgoff writes in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Alexopoulos Bows Out With Two Balanchine Works</B><P>Blessed with a natural glamour that fills the stage, Helene Alexopoulos's dancing in the New York City Ballet has been a study in contrasts. At her most subdued, she radiates a compelling sense of mystery. At her most dramatic, she moves boldly, even brazenly, exuding passion with either humor or sensuality.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/21/arts/dance/21PROD.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2002 2:18 pm 
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Funny, I never picked up on the sense of foreboding in "Vienna Waltzes". I just enjoyed it for the pure spectacle, the sense of a world gone by and the larger than life extravaganza. "Davidsbundlertanze", which was very late Balanchine, if not his last work; now THAT had a real sense of foreboding, all wrapped up in a biographical dance about the life of composer R. Schuman.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited May 21, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2002 2:35 pm 
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I don't believe I have ever seen Vienna Waltzes performed live, but I do have the tape and have watched it quite a number of times.<P>I have to agree with Trina, I have never found it to have any feeling of foreboding. In fact quite the opposite, I find it rather - well, just beautiful dancing to beautiful music.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 12:25 pm 
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Hello and thank you, Trina and Basheva, for looking over my notes to “Vienna Waltzes” such as they are. On a past thread someone said that dancers crave correction. I’m just a dance watcher, but, I, too crave correction.<P>I have to admit that in lit classes we end up looking for two things, basically —sex and death—but even then, I don’t think we’re seeing anything fundamentally different.<P>100%--“Vienna Waltzes” is “pure spectacle, the sense of a world gone by and the larger than life extravaganza” and “beautiful dancing to beautiful music.” I just wonder if the ballet’s ambition isn’t to evoke that brilliant but receding twilight world of Imperial Hapsburg Vienna in its full splendor and magnificence. Homage and praise as well as nostalgia, I think, are encompassed within the elegaic mode.<P>Balanchine put death together with the waltz once before in “La Valse” and I wonder that a reverberation didn’t remain somewhere. <P>Some of the artistic choices seemed suggestive to me, particularly the way the sets lifted away after “Explosions Polka” to suggest a subterranean ballroom. The trees in the back lift and the roots appear and as they move upwards, their silhouettes turn into ceiling ornaments. The “story of the Prince and the Dark Lady” of “Gold und Silber Walzer” was suggested by Askegard’s royal military costume and Alexopoulos’ glamorous black ball gown (and I found the choice of black significant).<P>The spectral atmosphere (lighting) and abstraction of the “Rosenkavalier Walzerfolge” especially with the suppression of individuality (dancers costumed individual looks in the first sections but almost identical in this section) suggested the residue of the <I>ballet blanc</I>. The huge mirrors especially spoke of an almost obsessive narcissism—the dead (or the damned) have nobody except themselves in Hades, I suppose. <P>Like other epochs of social brilliance—the antebellum South, late Bourbon France, Elizabethan England, etc—the very luminosity of <I>fin-de-siecle</I> Viennese society only distracted from a moral, economic, and spiritual abyss so deep that only the blood of an entire generation could seal it over. I’m thinking of the American Civil War, the French Revolution and its wars, and the English Civil War, all of which pale before WWI.<P>Trina, I had the fortune to see “Davidbundlertanze” once in performance and I can’t agree with you enough. It’s an incredibly complex and demanding work that calls out for interpretation in a critical language which doesn’t yet exist.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 1:08 pm 
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....and the Second World War before which all else pales....so far.<P>When I see Vienna Waltzes, I see a dream, nothing decadent, no web over an abyss. If the inhabitants of Hades have only themselves to watch, so must the inhabitants of Heaven/Nirvana/Shangri La/Paradise. (I often wonder what one does there should one be so fortunate to get there?)<P>Back to the waltz...to me, it's a dream. Elegantly dressed, elegantly phrased, elegantly perfumed. Perfumed not to disguise but to simply enjoy. Where is harm of enjoyment without an underpinning of meaning? What about the simple joy of simply enjoying?<P>Isn't that what we admire in children? Their capacity for enjoyment without hidden inuendo? And don't we rue our loss of that simplicity? No, children aren't simple, but their dreams are not yet complex.<P>When I want to watch people dance as I wish I could dance to music which I wish I could play, I watch Vienna Waltes.<P>Please Jeff, do not read this as a 'correction' of any sort - it is but a putting forth of a conception.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 3:46 pm 
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Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
NYCB May 19<BR>Sunday matinee<P>“Mozartiana”<BR>Music—Tschaikovsky Suite No. 4; Chor—Balanchine; Costumes—Ter-Arutunian; Lighting—Bates, Stanley<P>Is it really possible in this hardened modern age to hold up one’s hands in prayer un-selfconsciously? —to offer the image of the Madonna praying without the image of the Material Girl?<P>No, not really. But, fortunately, Tschaikovsky and Balanchine substitute a charming Mozartean world for our own—a world of unstudied reverence, joy, and humor. In the world of “Preghiera,” for Wendy Whelan and 4 students from SAB, the theatrical becomes the liturgical and performance like prayer.<P>A performance with Tom Gold in “Gigue” is not the time to try out dancers new to the principal roles—Gold, looking especially smart with fleet, light footwork, would steal the show away. Wendy Whelan and Damian Woetzel (substituting for Philip Neal), naturally, hold their own. The four demi-soloists of “Menuet,” Ellen Bar, Mary Helen Bowers, Dana Hanson, and Eva Natanya, seem very refined like ladies-in-waiting to Wendy Whelan’s Duchess. SAB students, Lola Cooper, Maya Egawa, Kay Ohta, and Ksenia Pereverzeva were appropriately respectful as the novitiates.<P>Andrea Quinn conducted.<P>“Haiku”<BR>Music—John Cage; Chor—Albert Evans; Costumes—Carol Divet; Lighting—Stanley<P>Unfortunately “Haiku” was a case where the spirit was willing but the body weak—the spare, silence filled music and the telescopic use of stage space … in other words … I nodded off after a few minutes. I just sort of retain the impression of a sort of high fashion gloss and Cage’s impenetrable music. Music performed by Essential Music (John Kennedy artistic director).<P>“Prism”<BR>Music—Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1; Chor—Helgi Tomasson; Costumes—Martin Pakledinaz; Lighting—Stanley<P>A couple minutes of cool if cigarette-smoke filled air on the terrace overlooking the Lincoln Center fountain found me alert and ready for “Prism.” Over in the San Francisco Ballet threads, there have been some for-and-against discussion about Helgi Tomasson’s choreography. I’ve always liked “Tuning Game” and “Nanna’s Lied” (hope I got that right), myself. “Prism’s” not quite up there in my opinion; but, if it didn’t quite have me writing blank checks to SFB’s Annual Fund, it was never boring.<P>At the minimum, the company looked to great advantage—not a bad goal for a company like this. Lindy Mandradjieff, Jeroen Hofmans, and Alexander Ritter were a lot of fun in the 1st movement—energy and humor reminding me of, well, Mozart’s music, actually. Benjamin Millepied got the spunky Soviet jester’s role in the 3rd movement and wow’ed the audience at least twice with what seemed like slow motion turns high over the stage. My best image, however, is of Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard in the central movement. Kowroski has an innately beautiful line and Askegard a talent for extending those lines far into space.<P>The pianist was Cameron Grant and the conductor was Hugo Fiorato.<P>Last note: at the end of the semester, its hard not to see grades everywhere:<BR>my seats—A (thank you Box Office!)<BR>proximity to subway—A (important if you have to run to Penn Station after the matinee)<BR>audience electronics—C (when they ask you to “please turn off all phones and cellular devices” that means YOU!)<BR>lines at restroom—A (meaningless grade for a guy anyway)<BR>coffee—C (strong but with a sort of bitter taste, also $3)<BR>lines at coffee—A (perhaps related to coffee grade above)<BR>2002 Spring Season brochure—A+ (nice cover photo of 3 corps girls at NYC landmark)<BR>boutique—B+ (needs more guy stuff)<BR>program notes—C+ (needs more, also see KSNEDS comments)<BR>Diamonds Project 10nth Anniversary Booklet—A (nice photos of the company, only $1)<BR>Décor in grand foyer—A (nice pictures of the company courtesy Kodak—my favorite is a B&W of Eva Natanya and Deanna McBrearty down on the 1st ring level, east side)<BR>


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