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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 11:06 am 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews Lar Lubovitch's Othello for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 1:09 pm 
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American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House
Lincoln Center
New York, New York

May 23E, 2015
“Giselle”

-- by Jerry Hochman

It’s about time.

For years, Stella Abrera has toiled in what I’ve described as ‘soloist purgatory’ at American Ballet Theatre, dancing essentially the same roles year after year after year, garnering rave reviews in the featured roles she’s danced , but never being given the opportunity to perform a significant leading role at the Met. This year, she’s been assigned to dance Cinderella (a role she's danced previously, albeit in the James Kudelka version), and that would have been it. Abrera has been an ABT soloist since 2001.

It took an injury to change that.

Earlier this week, Polina Semionova announced that she was withdrawing from her performances this current Met season because of an injury, including last night’s performance of Giselle, in which she was to be partnered by guest artist, Vladimir Shklyarov. Several days later, it was announced that Abrera, who had danced Giselle previously, but not with ABT, would replace her.

To say her performance was a triumph would be an understatement.

In addition to being relatively flawless both technically and emotionally, Abrera included nuances – little ‘secret’ moments that usually develop over years of experience performing the role – that added texture to her portrayal. Her mime was clear as crystal. And she and Shklyarov, who danced an unusually fine, and notably gallant, Albrecht, looked like they’d rehearsed together for weeks: their timing was impeccable. Two minor exceptions to what some might consider technical ‘perfection’ (her ‘chugs’ when Myrta first commands her to dance were perfectly executed, but at a slightly slower rate of speed than some others, and her initial exaggeratedly slow penche arabesque upstage of the dumbstruck Albrecht was delivered very carefully to maintain her balance, resulting in a leg that elevated incrementally rather than smoothly) were not ‘exceptions’ at all, but on the contrary evidence Abrera’s experience and her artistic 'class' – she knows that the most important thing is to maintain the style, and not to push – to show off – so hard that the stylistic purity is destroyed.

I anticipated that Abrera’s Act I would be more difficult for her than Act II, but she pulled it off brilliantly, with a convincing mad scene. I confess that I have more difficulty ‘connecting’ with an older Giselle, even though, unlike for example, Juliet, the role does not require a youthful appearance. But age was not an issue in Abrera’s portrayal – she was real, danced without artifice, and consequently not only was able to connect with me, but obviously with the rest of the audience as well. And her Act II, aside from the minor exceptions already noted, was extraordinary. She danced feather-lite, seemingly without corporeal existence. And her traveling diagonal entrechats were executed perfectly, and thrillingly.

In addition to his partnering (and his obvious attention to Abrera throughout), Shklyarov delivered his own Act II entrechats – perhaps the most extraordinary that I can recall. He didn’t travel downstage, as many do, which would have been fine; he did all of them while remaining in a relatively stationary position upstage. In addition to being perfectly executed (at least at the beginning, before he began using his arms a bit too much to provide 'lift'), they went on long past the point where any other danseur who does that step sequence (as opposed to the 'Baryshnikov' brises voles) would have stopped. The audience gasped – the first time I’d heard any such reaction since…Baryshnikov.

I have one minor quibble with Shklyarov’s performance, but, again, nothing hugely significant. His Act I acting needs some measure of improvement – he dismissed Wilfred before he knew Wilfred was turning to make one last plea to get Albrecht to leave Giselle's village, without even bothering to look at him. And his reaction to being ‘found out’ – he tapped his forehead as if to say ‘what was I thinking?’ – was not made until long after he should have responded to Bathilde’s inquiry.

Veronika Part delivered her usual excellent Myrta, Nancy Raffa the appropriately concerned Berthe, Thomas Forster was a stalwart and wooden (not inappropriately) Hilarion, and the corps was exemplary throughout. The only disappointment of the evening was the peasant pas de deux, danced by Misty Copeland and Craig Salstein, which was both underwhelming, and, for the ballerina, conducted at a ridiculously slow place.

Before the performance began, Kevin McKenzie, ABT’s Artistic Director, saluted and recognized his ‘great’ ABT dancers, as well as the assemblage of ABT alumnae who had gathered for what was intended as a special performance. But no mention was made of the cast change. Awkward as it may have been, the fact that Abrera finally got this opportunity, even if it wasn’t what he had been initially intended, should have been acknowledged. The audience knew it (and cheered Abrera when she first appeared – not something that an audience usually does when a cast change is made), and recognized it again with a deserved standing ovation and extended curtain calls at the ballet's conclusion. This belated and unplanned opportunity, and Abrera’s stellar portrayal, was what made this performance of Giselle special.

edited 5/25 to correct two name spelling typos


Last edited by balletomaniac on Mon May 25, 2015 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 6:04 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews the Saturday matinee and evening performances on May 23, 2015 for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 6:12 pm 
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Gia Kourlas interviews retiring principal dancers Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent and Xiomara Reyes for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 10:10 am 
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In the Financial Times, Apollinaire Scherr reviews Isabella Boylston and Alexandre Hammoudi in the lead roles of Giselle.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 10:15 am 
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Rose Marija reviews the May 20, 2015 performance of Lar Lubovitch's Othello for Broadway World.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 10:07 am 
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Marina Harss previews the new production elements of Alexei Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty, which opens on Friday, May 29, 2015 for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 7:19 am 
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For those interested, at last night's (May 28) performance of Giselle, toward the end of her final solo in Act II, Natalia Osipova took a hard fall upon landing from a particularly soaring grand jete, sprawling flat on the stage floor and knocking into some corps dancers in the process. She pulled herself up, started to limp (I believe her right foot), but then pulled that foot up en pointe and, though she looked stunned, was able to finish the ballet - to the cheers of the audience.

I have no idea whether there was an injury (the fall looked horrific), and if so, how serious it is. Perhaps someone with access to inside information can follow up.


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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 11:50 am 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews the Wednesday, May 27, 2015 matinee and evening performances of Giselle, the final performances of Paloma Herrera (at the matinee) and Xiomara Reyes (in the evening) for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 10:45 am 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews performances of Giselle with Natalia Osipova and Steven McRae and with Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 7:29 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews the Friday, May 29, 2015 performance of Alexei Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty for the New York Times. Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes were in the leading roles.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:07 am 
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Apollinaire Scherr reviews The Sleeping Beauty for the Financial Times.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:42 pm 
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Wesley Doucette reviews The Sleeping Beauty for Broadway World.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:54 pm 
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Phil Chan reviews the Wednesday, May 27, 2015 matinee performance of Paloma Herrera's farewell performance in Giselle for the Huffington Post.

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 Post subject: Re: American Ballet Theatre: Spring 2015 at the Met
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:14 pm 
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In the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay reviews the Monday, June 1, 2015 performance of La Bayadere, with Hee Seo, Gilllian Murphy and Kimin Kim in the lead roles.

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