Some brief notes from Saratoga-I will post my formal reviews after I'm home & have better internet access.
I seem to have brought the rain to Saratoga with me. My last and only previous trip, in 2000, coincided with a massive day-long downpour that "swamped" the gala performance and the earlier matinee. It's not much better now, though at least it's just very damp and cloudy.
The rain held off during the actual performance last night, but it's damp and looks like rain is coming this morning.
Megan Fairchild ia apparently scheduled to dance Swanhilda in all four performances of Copprlia this week. It's not clear whether or not the casting for Frantz (Woetzel & Millepied) will be changed, however.
Especially with two performances today, it's interesting that no one else was cast as Swanhilda to replace the injured Ansanelli. Borree, who did dance in "Carnival of the Animals" last night, may well not be recovered enough from her injury to attempt a full-length role. Jennifer Ringer is the only other dancer in the company to have done the role (recently), and it may have been to complicated casting/rehearsal wise for her to dance. It just shows how complicated casting can be, since not only must a dancer be suited to a role and learn the steps, but there also must be enough rehearsal time, an appropriate partner available, appropriate costumes on hand and enough flexibility in the casting so that the recasting does not overstress anyone dancer or create to many other changes in casting. It's even more complicated now, as the dancers are headed straight to Russia, and have to be rehearsing for that week.
The performance last night (Wednesday) seemed well attended given the iffy weather, with a very enthusiastic audience. I couldn't see the balcony, but except for the sides, the main level was very full and there were people on the lawn.
Chaconne was well done, though it it was not
the best performance of the ballet I've ever seen. Some of the dancing appeared a bit loose, not surprising since the SPAC stage is notoriously slippery and the very damp weather was probably making it even worse. Amanda Edge and Antonio Carmena stood out in their brief pas de deux-he has such exuberance in his dancing, and she was very precise.
The corps in Symphony in Three Movements was a bit ragged, but the three main pairs were excellent. Jennifer Tinsley capably replaced Alexandra Ansanelli, though she seemed to be a bit big to be paired with Tom Gold. Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto were fabulous in the main pas de deux, and it was a joy to see Jared Angle back onstage.
The audience seemed to love "Carnival of the Animals", but I thought it lost some of it's punch at SPAC. First of all, Andrea Quinn is apparently not here at SPAC, at least this week, and it didn't seem like Richard Moredock was entirely comfortable with the score (which was at least partially arranged by Andrea Quinn). In several sections, the dancers and the music ended at different times, and also the music didn't seem to have enough energy & volume to fill the ampitheatre.
Also, the production seemed a bit overwhelmed on the SPAC stage, which appears to be wider and deeper than the NYS Theatre. There is very little set in the ballet, and so the stage needs to have a very cozy feeling. Some of the sections seemed to loose effectiveness because there was so much empty stage, and the music seemed distant and diffused in the large ampitheatre.
Jennifer Ringer made her debut as the mother, a role which was originally set on her before she was injured early in the spring season. Aaron Severini also debuted as one of the mice, a role which I suspect was also set on him (since the mice are the shortest corps men). Overall, though not the best I've seen the ballet performed, it was delightful and the dancers seemed to be having fun with their roles.
Coppelia this afternoon and tonight!