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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 3:12 am 
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Oh, yes I am sure it's great for Michelle, just as it would be great for Hallberg to work with more experinced Ballerinas! I do hope to see ABT this summer and that billboard! The only week I can possibly come is the last week with a run of Giselle. Which I actually would love to see, because I've never seen ABT's Giselle and Julie Kent as Giselle :!: :D I would love love to see Julie Kent paired with David Hallberg! If that ever happened and I was able to see it! :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 9:18 am 
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From the NY Daily News today:

Musicians may walk,
threatening ballet


Performers from the American Ballet Theatre orchestra threatened to stop the music yesterday, authorizing a strike on the eve of the season opener.
The musicians' union charges that the famed ballet company isn't offering pay increases on par with that of the dancers.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/312113p-267016c.html


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 10:21 am 
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From the ABT website:

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE REACHES AGREEMENT WITH MUSICIANS

5/23/2005 - American Ballet Theatre (ABT) announced today that it reached a three-year agreement with Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians. ABT has been engaged in negotiations with Local 802 since mid-March.

Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director of ABT, stated: “We’re delighted to report that we reached a three-year agreement last evening with the musicians’ orchestra for ABT (Local 802). ABT is committed to the use of live music and we are pleased that the musicians will be on board for the opening of our Metropolitan Opera House season.”


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 9:13 am 
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A Season Opens With Novelties and Artistry
By JOHN ROCKWELL
Published: May 24, 2005

Quote:
But for a true blend of artistry and dance skill, nothing came close to a pas de deux from Roland Petit's Carmen" as danced by Alessandra Ferri and Julio Bocca. They were elegant and intense and consummately sexy. They made the sometimes dismissed Mr. Petit look like a master.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/arts/dance/23gala-extra.html?8dpc


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 11:27 pm 
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What a fabulous Don Quixote Tuesday night at the Met! Paloma Herrera was as amazing as ever with punctuating feet and breathtaking balances. Her eschappes are worth the price of the ticket. Angel Corella had so many spectacular variations on his variations that he seemingly decided what to execute in midair. One of my most favorite moments is always in the Act III pas when Herrera turns in a la seconde, glances upward toward heaven, and Corella catches her just as she falls forward into penche.

Herman Cornejo and Luciana Paris (substituting for Erica Cornejo) were the gypsy couple. The height and clarity of Cornejo’s jumps is still astonishing. Paris may have done okay in her own right, but it wasn’t a good match with Cornejo. They are light-years apart in every meaningful way.

David Hallberg substituted for Marcello Gomes as Espada. Oh my, he looks wonderful in that costume. Hallberg and Carmen Corella (as Mercedes) were superb. If Hallberg is not 100% back yet, he’s close to it.

Stella Abrera and Michelle Wiles were the flower girls. Even though these two soloists share a number of roles, they’ve developed so differently over the years that it is now unfair to pair them up. Last night Wiles seemed to be favoring one leg on landings and appeared tense through much of her dancing. Abrera nailed everything, and her movement has such a beautiful finish -- hands, chin, fingers, focus -- all of the details are exquisite. (She would also look great with Hallberg - think Bruhn and Fracci.)

Maria Riccetto was a first rate Amour. Veronica Part as Queen of the Dryads did not have much to do, but she did it all very glamorously.

We are so fortunate to have Ormsby Wilkins as guest conductor. (His home is at the National Ballet of Canada.). Last night the orchestra was terrific for the most part. There was an instance in Hallberg’s solo where the brass let him down. Why it is so difficult for ballet orchestras in New York to find horn and tuba players who can hit the high notes?


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 7:34 pm 
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Poohtunia wrote:
Herman Cornejo and Luciana Paris (substituting for Erica Cornejo) were the gypsy couple. The height and clarity of Cornejo’s jumps is still astonishing. Paris may have done okay in her own right, but it wasn’t a good match with Cornejo. They are light-years apart in every meaningful way.


Cornejo is one dancer whom I particular enjoy but who doesn't always get a lot of publicity or attention.

I am jealous of course that I am not there watching the production...


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 8:50 pm 
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There have been some wonderful tweaks to the casting as per the May 25th casting leaflet distributed at the Met: Stella Abrera has been added to the principal cast for the Saturday, June 25 matinee of Le Corsaire. Erica Cornejo has been added for the evening's performance. I believe both will be debuts. And that uncast Saturday matinee of Giselle still looms! Who is going to get that opportunity?!

Hey Azlan, how about auto-spellcheck for the forum?


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 8:58 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House
New York NY
May 26, 2005; Don Quixote

Eventually, when ABT takes stock of its history of great performances, Diana Vishneva’s portrayal of Kitri in “Don Quixote” will surely rank among the best. Having been privileged to see many of these great Kitris, including Gelsey Kirkland (who created the role in the initial ABT production) and Cynthia Harvey (who’s performance with Mikhail Baryshnikov is memorialized on DVD), I feel fortunate to have been able to see yet another one. Vishneva is a Russian revelation.

But before I attempt to wax eloquent over a glittering performance, there’s the production. Although it does little good to mourn the loss of productions that the audience is no longer able to see, the current staging, by Kevin McKenzie and Susan Jones based on the original Petipa as amended by Alexander Gorsky, doesn’t hold a candle to Baryshnikov’s original vision. The Baryshnikov production was non-stop action; here the production is much slower-paced. Perhaps the earlier production was a bit too busy and too injury-provoking (I recall some scenes looking like choreographed chaos), but it never stopped delivering glorious images and even more glorious dancing from one second to the next. In this production, the seams show. And the prologue is disappointingly banal, the gypsy scene choreography is much less exciting to watch, the ending image following Kitri’s wedding seems like a virtual repeat of the opening scene rather than the naturally joyous denouement in Baryshnikov’s version, and so on. Even the roles seem to be less meaty, except for Kitri, Basilio, and Espada. And although this staging retains a clearly communicated sense of fun, it is missing the earlier version’s delightful sense of humor. It is just not as endearing or intelligent a staging. But if you’ve never seen the original Baryshnikov production (or even as it appeared to get modified and stripped down a bit in succeeding seasons), the current staging is more than adequate. It certainly is an improvement over the Vasilev production that preceded it.

Vishneva was Kitri. I mean, she WAS Kitri. Both in the quality of her dancing and the quality of her acting, she was extraordinary. She looked every bit the spitfire and tease she’s supposed to be. Kitri’s a party girl; perhaps the opposite of the somewhat introverted and easily bruised Giselle (a role Vishneva will play with ABT later this season). But before you think a Spanish and brunette Paris Hilton who can dance, she’s not superficial, she has a keen intelligence and wit that she doesn’t mind showing, and she’s loyal to Basilio, the poor barber. Vishneva was all these things and more. And her dancing was merely phenomenal; she moved (and glowed) as if powered by lightning. Her legs go from 0 to 180 in the blink of an eye, as if they were being pulled by rubber bands. Her leaps are soaring and perfectly formed, her fouettes were virtuosic, her balances were rock solid, and on and on. When she did the Plisetskaya leaps in Act I, the audience literally gasped as her leg not just reached her head but went beyond it. She danced with verve and controlled abandon, and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy what she was doing at least as much as the audience did. Indeed, the Met audience, liberally sprinkled with current and former dancers, baby ballerinas, and ballet cognoscenti, got perhaps even more than they had anticipated.

The fact that her Basilio was easily her match in nearly every respect made the overall performance even more complete. Jose Manuel Carreno was only perfect. In fact, if I have any criticism of Carreno’s performance, it is that he was almost too perfect, maybe a bit too refined – a little rough edge to Basilio would be appropriate. But that’s nit-picking. He was fabulous. ABT-goers know his leaping and turning ability, his partnering ability, and his strength. He demonstrated them all at this performance. But perhaps most notable was the obvious rapport he had with Vishneva. That she was trusting enough, and he was strong enough, for her to do an over-180 split while he held her over his head with one hand says it all.

As Mercedes, Veronika Part looked great, and danced well. If she didn’t leave a stronger impression, it is because the choreography didn’t allow her to. David Hallberg was a blond bombshell as Espada. He brought life and energy (and yes, sex appeal) to what often is a cardboard role. Michele Wiles danced the Dryad Queen with her usual aplomb, and Sarawanee Tanatanit showed promise in the limited role of the Gypsy Girl. Sascha Radetsky was an energized Gypsy Boy. And Maria Riccetto and Misty Copeland performed well as the Flower Girls. The only disappointment was Guillaume Graffin as Gamache, who was portrayed as a lumbering buffoon. Perhaps next time he could switch roles with Victor Barbee, who played Quixote. Barbee does a superb Gamache.

As Amour, Sarah Lane seemed a little nervous and tentative. She danced well, and brought some moderation to what often is an overly cute interpretation. She also paced her movements a little differently than other Amour’s I’ve seen, intelligently slowing down some movements almost to legato when she was able to do it. But she seemed also to have surprising difficulty getting off the ground, and needs to lift her forward leg higher in her leaps. But even with this relatively minor criticism, it was encouraging to see that she was given this featured role on the heels (or toes) of her superb debut last fall in “XIII”. All too often ABT relegates its promising corps dancers to stage candy, at least when the company appears at the Met. The ones with promise, like Lane, need to be displayed as well as nurtured: One of the pleasures of seeing performances is being able to watch dancers grow as artists before our eyes. In that regard, and as competent a dancer as Wiles is, it might have been more interesting to have given the role of Dryad Queen, which is relatively limited in this production, to a promising corps dancer. Based on her work last fall, Kristi Boone might have been able to do it well, but there are probably others who the audience doesn’t usually get to see.

All in all, it was a superb performance, to which the multiple standing ovations can attest. My only regret is that Vishneva was not dancing in Baryshnikov’s production.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 9:42 pm 
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Poohtunia wrote:
Hey Azlan, how about auto-spellcheck for the forum?


Um, I don't make all the decisions here you know... However, for you, I'll see if JY can tackle this one, assuming it's okay with Salzberg.


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 11:43 pm 
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Friday evening’s All-Star Tchaikovsky Program was a mixed bill with mixed results.

Ballet Imperial
It was beautiful but tedious. The steps, the combinations, the formations were the same that we see in much of the Balanchine rep. Same soup, different bowl -- but with really, really long piano solos. I thought it got off to a rough start but then everyone settled into the tempo. Gillian Murphy sailed through it without a hitch. She added some nice dramatic touches with her head movements. Unfortunately, this was not a good showing for Michelle Wiles. I don’t know what is going on there, but she is different from what we saw last year. Friday night, I saw some ghastly arms and hands. Max Beloserkovsky made the most of what the choreography offered him. Having done all of this complaining, I’m going back Saturday night to see Veronica Part and Stella Abrera in the leads.

Swan Lake Act II Pas de Deux
Excerpting Swan Lake looked like a case of economy-class programming. Of course, Julie Kent and Jose Manuel Carreno were perfect in every way. But with no scenery, no Act I, no other swans running around the stage, it became little more than an example of dancing in Swan Lake -- something along the lines of, but less than, a movie trailer. I thought it was out of place at the Met. I kept thinking - what if the Met Opera sandwiched an evening of duets and arias between its full-length productions of Der Rosenkavalier and Turandot. It wouldn’t.

Onegin Pas de Deux
Alessandra Ferri and Julio Bocca were spectacular. They swept the audience right into their moment and anguish. When they dance together, they live their parts like no other couple I’ve ever seen. I understand that the Estate of John Cranko had not previously allowed Onegin to be excerpted, but that this was a gift to Ms. Ferri as she celebrates her 20th year as an ABT principal.

Theme and Variations
Paloma Herrera, Angel Corella, and an inspired corps delivered a first rate, send-them-home-smiling, elegant-beyond-words performance. Herrera has truly made this ballet her own. Dancing it is like breathing for her. Kevin McKenzie likes to remind people that Balanchine made Theme and Variations for ABT not NYCB. He’s even called it ABT’s “signature piece”. I would say it’s Herrera’s signature piece, for now.


Last edited by Poohtunia on Sat May 28, 2005 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 12:05 am 
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I forgot to mention in the above post that I sat directly above this forum's favorite newspaper dance critic. He kept dashing out at the intermissions and disappearing. I kept looking for him at the bar, but he was no where to be seen. I was just going to invite him to step outside. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 12:29 am 
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There was Russian royalty at the Met on Saturday evening -- Veronica Part debuting in Ballet Imperial. Her beauty, grace and elegance are all understated, but the totality of it blows you away. Where Friday evening’s Ballet Imperial appeared at times to be frenetic with the sole purpose of doing everything as fast as humanly possible, Part’s Saturday evening performance was about musicality and connecting emotionally with her partner, Marcello Gomes. Who knew that Ballet Imperial was such an incredible love story? Marcello Gomes knew. On stage, Part and Gomes are as glamorous a couple as you will ever find on any society page -- Russian or American.

Part’s dancing was solid and unforced. She seemed to have no particular problem moving speedily -- even if it was outside of her usual comfort zone. She has some mighty long legs that form a very pretty shape in pirouettes. Gomes managed to bring a new importance to the male lead in Ballet Imperial. One of his exits was simple walking steps backward, but they were so laden with loss that the audience nearly erupted.

Stella Abrera as the third principal was dazzling. I don’t remember when I last saw a dancer who commits to details the way she does. Textbook perfect and absolutely beautiful at the same time -- not a bad combination. She’s clearly ready for some much bigger challenges. Even though she’s often cast in mini-bravura roles (like tonight) or roles requiring large amounts of grand allegro (Myrtha), I look forward to her first Giselle and Juliet. She’s an intelligent actress, and I can’t help thinking that the audience is missing out by not seeing her in more dramatic roles.

The corps in Saturday evening’s Ballet Imperial was phenomenal. All those port de bras -- all done in the inimitable ABT style.

The program continued with excerpts from Swan Lake. Amanda McKerrow and Max Beloserkovsky from Act II; Michelle Wiles and Carlos Acosta from Act III. The dancing was superb, but it came across as low budget evening-filler.

Theme and Variations was carried off nicely by Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saviliev. Murphy emphasized high speed turns and racing footwork -- quite different from the elegance emphasized by Paloma Herrera - who, by the way, also has the facility for high speed turns and racing footwork. But once you’ve seen a role articulated with Herrera’s arches, you don’t want to see those shoes of Murphy’s. They may do wonders for her turning, but they do nothing for her line.

Saviliev partnered Murphy beautifully. His own variations were solid for the most part, with a couple of troublesome double tours as the exception.

The corps was once again fantastic in every way.


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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 7:08 am 
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Spectacles, on Tap and on Toe
by JOHN ROCKWELL for the new York Times

One novelty was the first New York performance of Frederic Franklin's staging of Fokine's version of the "Polovtsian Dances" from Borodin's opera "Prince Igor," a staging first seen in February at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Another was a "Pièce d'Occasion," as it was perhaps rather grandly titled, from Savion Glover.

published: May 25, 2005
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 7:18 am 
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New Serving of 'Don Quixote,' Seasoned by the Seasoned
by JENNIFER DUNNING for the New York Times

They are seasoned enough now to know that it is almost impossible to inject a little personality or nuance into the ballet's two-dimensional characters. The trick is to keep moving vivaciously until the moments when they get to dance, and that was what Ms. Herrera and Mr. Corella did for the most part, brilliantly enough to draw roars of approval throughout the evening.

published: May 26, 2005
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 7:50 am 
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A Pair of Incurable Romantics, Multiplied by Three
by JACK ANDERSON for the New York Times

"Don Quixote" is one of those 19th-century ballets that permit stars to add personal embellishments to their parts. Mr. Acosta, a daredevil, put astonishing ones into the solo that is part of the coda to the final pas de deux.

...

Ballet Theater audiences could hardly believe what they were seeing. Yet he was real - and fantastic.

published: May 28, 2005
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