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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Claudia La Rocco reviews the Tuesday, May 15, 2012 performance of "Giselle," with Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes as Giselle and Albrecht, Veronica Part as Myrta, for the New York Times.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:56 am 
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Robert Johnson reviews the Monday, May 14, 2012 gala performance for the Newark Star-Ledger.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 12:43 pm 
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In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay reviews three different "Giselle" performances: Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg, Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes, and Alina Cojocaru and Angel Corella.


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 6:06 am 
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Nice review from Alastair Macaulay. Thanks, Francis.

Is there much mention of Simone Messmer these days ? I'd love to see her star shining as brightly as possible. Ditto, Isabella Boylston.


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Gia Kourlas reviews the Tuesday, May 22, 2012 performance of "La Bayadere" with Veronica Part, Marcelo Gomes and Gillian Murphy in the leading roles.

NY Times

In the Financial Times, Apollinaire Scherr reviews a different cast: Hee Seo, Vadim Muntagirov and Isabella Boylston -- all making debuts in their respective roles.

Financial Times


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:59 am 
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Julie Bloom reports in the New York Times that current guest artist Polina Semionova will become a principal dancer with ABT in the 2012-13 season.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Re: La Bayadere

I'm way behind in reviews because of work pressures, but if anyone is travelling between San Francisco and Los Angeles, I highly recommend a detour to New York on Monday to see Natalia Osipova's Gamzattii in 'La Bayadere' (with Alina Cojocaru and Herman Cornejo).

I saw Osipova at Friday's performance, and extraordinary is too weak a word to describe what she did with the role -- both technically and through her characterization. I've seen many Bayaderes, but her Gamzatti is one of the best I've seen. My only criticism is that she expressed emotion through her open mouth too much - a criticism I've made of her previously. But in other respects her performance sets a contemporary standard -- as good as (but different from) the best I've seen - the 'original' Gamzatti in Natalia Makarova's production, Cynthia Harvey). Not just technically superb, but very intelligently executed. Every emotional nuance was there, and clearly communicated.

And the dancers as a whole seemed energized by Osipova's presence (and by a live house that appeciated what they were seeing): Veronica Part's Nikiya (subbing for Diana Vishneva, who reportedly was ill), and Marcelo Gomes's Solar, gave spectacular performances of their own (better in every respect than their very fine performances Tuesday, which I also saw). Part and Gomes were not overshadowed by Osipova, they complemented and balanced her. An incredible performance all around.

I can't say that Monday's overall performance will be as good, but I'd recommend going regardless. [I didn't see Cojocaru at Thursday's performance, but her Giselle was disappointing - great characterization, but she appeared injured and skipped much of the difficult pointe work. So I can't predict how she'd do technically. And as long as I'm on the subject of Giselle, Vishneva's performance was also a bit off (just a bit - a wonderful performance, but not quite up to her best -- maybe she was ill even then). But Osipova's Giselle was magnificent in every way (with no unnecessary facial expressons). Osipova doesn't have the warmth of Vishneva, but her Giselle still managed to grab the heart. Julie Kent's Giselle was ok, but no magnetism and light rather than weightless. Of the Myrtas I saw, Stella Abrera's was the strongest (tough competition - with Part, Murphy and Semionova also dancing the role).

There. A mini review of six performances. :) [The only performance I left out featured Hee Seo's, Nikiya (it was a lovely performance, but not quite on the same level as Part's Nikiya), and Isabella Boylston's Gamzatti. Even though I've previously praised Boylston's performances, her Gamzatii was disappointing. She looked tentative, which is very unlike her (Boylston usually comes across supremely confident), and her upper body movement in Act III needs a lot of work -- particulary her arms, which seemed out of control. ABT's new Russian import, Vadim Muntagirov, made a credible debut. Excellent partnering, but a little bland.]

There. A mini review of seven performances. Couldn't help myself. More detail later, when I can.


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 11:51 am 
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Lisa Jo Sagolla reviews the May 22, 2012 performance of "La Bayadere" for Back Stage News.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 3:24 am 
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balletomaniac wrote:
Re: La Bayadere

I saw Osipova at Friday's performance, and extraordinary is too weak a word to describe what she did with the role -- both technically and through her characterization. I've seen many Bayaderes, but her Gamzatti is one of the best I've seen. My only criticism is that she expressed emotion through her open mouth too much - a criticism I've made of her previously. But in other respects her performance sets a contemporary standard -- as good as (but different from) the best I've seen - the 'original' Gamzatti in Natalia Makarova's production, Cynthia Harvey). Not just technically superb, but very intelligently executed. Every emotional nuance was there, and clearly communicated.



Thanks, Jerry, balletomaniac, for your review and I'm looking forward to your followup.

I have to say that the last time that I saw Natalia Osipova was over a year ago in the Bolshoi's modernish "Reflections" and I felt that she showed signs of 'Genius' in her total expression. I hope to be able to witness much more of this remarkable development.

Since we're in "a new york state of mind," I just watched some of the dvd of the Mariinsky performing "Jewels" and I'm very impressed. It's probably not the way that Balanchine would have done it, but it's remarkably beautiful -- 'the way the Mariinsky would have done it.'


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:41 am 
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Robert Johnson reviews "Giselle" for the Newark Star-Ledger.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:45 am 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews "La Bayadere" for the New York Times.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 4:48 am 
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Nice to read this from Alastair Macaulay. Thanks, Francis.

About Gamzatti (in "La Bayadere")

"....Ms. Boylston, Ms. Copeland and Ms. Messmer showed adult complexity and worldly allure.

"When Ms. Boylston replaced Ms. Osipova on Monday, she, already an exciting jumper, danced on a yet larger scale and found a few moments of rubato that added touches of ballerina authority. There were two brief technical smudges, but nothing that experience should not fix. The big mime confrontation with Ms. Cojocaru’s Nikiya, in Act I, Scene 2, had unusual freshness, and her behavior to Mr. Cornejo’s Solor had sophistication, wit and need."

Back in January....

I loved Isabella Boylston performing this.

Simone Messmer -- was an absolute KnockOut! as Gamzatti. Hope to hear much more about her. Like very much to see her doing leads as well (Odette-Odile, Giselle, Nikiya, Aurora, all of Balanchine....)

Thought that Vadim Muntagirov, as Solor, was great.

Delighted to read that Polina Semionova will be joining the company.


Added later:

Isabella Boylston -- here's some more.

Apollinaire Scherr in "The Financial Times"

"Only Boylston discovered where dancing might become drama. (Look out for her in the title role of Ratmansky’s Firebird next month.) Her Gamzatti may have cowed Solor into marrying but she also genuinely yearned for him. In the strictly classical pas de deux that follows Gamzatti’s discovery of his pledge to another, Boylston stepped on to pointe and planted her hands on his shoulders as if to shake him. Instead she simply perched there, demonstrating the sublimation of feeling for the sake of form."

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/4c479232 ... z1voMQHdJD

And some kind words for the plots of romantic ballets such as "Giselle" and "La Bayadere."

Robert Johnson/The Star-Ledger

"It might be tempting to dismiss their plots as seeking to complicate what, at bottom, are simple stories of amorous rivalry. Yet without the larger drama—the gulf that divides social classes and the conflict that sets wealth and power against the love flaming within a lowly individual’s heart—these works would not continue to be acclaimed as masterpieces. “Giselle” and “Bayadère” are both moral dramas, in which ballet’s concrete language dissolves into spirit during the course of an evening.

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/arts/in ... balle.html


It looks like the ABT season is off to a fine start. It is certainly one of the most exciting companies in the world today with its mix of 'homegrown' talent and international celebrities. For those such as you, Jerry (balletomaniac), hopefully the success of dancers like Simone Messmer and Isabella Boylston will show what ABT can develop itself, while the addition of dancers like Polina Semionova will give many their best chance to experience some of the finest talent to be found anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:54 am 
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The ABT Swan Lake season will be arriving in several weeks and it's probably the highlight of the ABT year.

In a sense Swan Lake ' Is ' ballet.

Two of the finest Odette-Odiles that I've ever seen are from ABT.

Veronika Part is the first.

The Mariinsky Ballet is probably the cradle of most of the greatest Swans in history -- Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova.... Today the Mariinsky's Ulyana Lopatkina is most likely considered to be the greatest ballerina in the world. I would go as far as to include her in the Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova.... circle of all-time greats. Her Odette-Odile from the 2005 Mariinsky Festival is perhaps the finest ballet performance that I've ever seen.

Veronika Part's Odette-Odile in NYC (2009) with Roberto Bolle may well have equalled this.

That evening, for me, Veronika Part may have been the greatest ballerina in the world !

Her command of the stage was all-encompassing. It was 'Instinctual'. The beauty and expression of her dancing were pure 'Veronika' at its finest. It was pure ballet at its finest. But more important than anything is that Swan Lake became her own. She in fact was carrying it beyond. She had become a continuation of its actual Creation.

Veronika Part is also from the Mariinsky.

My favorite Swans most often fall into today's generally accepted category. They're usually tall, or at least look tall on stage. They usually come from the 'Russian sphere'. They are linearly Celestial.

Thus my second ABT choice, among the absolute finest of all Swans that I've seen on stage, may come as somewhat of a surprise.

Gillian Murphy !!

I've seen her and Veronika Part perform Swan Lake about four times each. They were among the finest. I first saw Gillian Murphy perform this in Detroit (2007). Shortly after that she appeared at the Mariinsky Festival (2008). As good as she was in Detroit, she matured wonderfully in her portrayal at the Mariinsky. A year later in London she was Magnificence ! Her style was typical Gillian, excellent high virtuosity, etc., but her Presence and her Expression were somewhere in the Heavens. I went as far as to write that she had presented some of the finest romantic imagery that I've ever seen and that she had become an ambassador for womankind.

Swan Lake's Act II White Swan duet is the key. Everything else that Odette-Odile performs is a reflection of this. The White Swan Odette reappears in Act IV to sustain the aura. For me, the challenge for an Odile is to maintain the spell created by the White Swan. This is done through the beauty that is contained in the Odile duet and a very sensitive handling of the Odile character.

Among other great Odette-Odile performances that I've seen on stage are two last year by Ekaterina Kondaurova (Mariinsky). Also in her grouping of linear and ethereal Swans would be Svetlana Zakharova (Bolshoi, formerly Mariinsky), Alina Somova (Mariinsky) and Nina Kaptsova (Bolshoi). I've yet to see these remarkable artists perform an 'Ultimate' Swan Lake, as I would say that Ulyana Lopatkina, Veronika Part and Gillian Murphy have done, but they are certainly capable of it. The Mariinsky's very young Oksana Skorik may well be able to do this. Not to exclude less tall dancers, Svetlana Lunkina (Bolshoi) has also performed one of the finest that I've seen and even less tall dancers, such as Evgenia Obraztsova (Bolshoi, formerly Mariinsky), are certainly capable of this.

I've seen Michele Wiles (formerly ABT, trained at Vaganova Academy DC (Mariinsky related)) perform some wonderfully lyrical passages in her Swan Lakes and Paloma Herrera (ABT) has done beautifully as well. Of personal interest and anticipation, Isabella Boylston (ABT) will be dancing this on June 22 and maybe Simone Messmer (ABT) also some day (I hope).

I won't be able to see this year's ABT Swan Lakes, as I'm on the other side of the ocean, but I do hope to see some of the October Mariinsky series in the US.

It should be another fine year for ABT Swan Lakes and Swan Lakes everywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Tobi Tobias reviews "La Bayadere" for Arts Journal.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2012 Season at the Met
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Brian Seibert reviews "The Bright Stream" for the New York Times.

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