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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:58 pm 
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Just back from the opening night of Le Corsaire at The Met. Bocca, Carreno, Corella, Cornejo -- all on the stage at the same time. It was quite spectacular with the highlight, of course, being Corella in the PdD. Just before his entrance for his variation, the electricity in the audience was almost overwhelming. He was completely possessed tonight. Can you imagine that he is even more brilliant in this role than the last time ABT performed Le Corsaire?! He was a dancing streak tonight - energy under his control like I have never witnessed before. Cornejo was phenomenal in his own right - and if anyone saw that traveling tour-assemble-in the seated opened pike position with one leg at passe - tell me the French name! Probably something like 'Le Cornejo'. Good heavens, he was wonderful. Carreno was spectacular as well with his signature pirouettes that just stop with him stuck on balance forever. Bocca was as good as he's ever been -- old only because the rest of the guys on stage were younger. He did an incredible circle of grand jetes that included split side leaps.

Julie Kent was less successful as Medora--particularly in Act I which requires a very mild form of virtuosity. Double pirouette and double step-over cannot be a problem for a principal in this company -- no matter the tenure or physical beauty of the dancer. The problem was exacerbated by the conductor’s pauses before the final note, usually as a courtesy for the dancer who does more revolutions than can fit within the music. Here they just had everyone holding their breath hoping not to see a disaster. Kent’s Acts II and III were far better, lovely in fact, although I don’t feel that they made up for what we didn’t get in Act I.

Xiomara Reyes as Gulnare knew she had a great responsibility this evening, and she came through in flying colors. Terrific, secure, and deserves to be Medora. The audience absolutely loved her every step.

While watching the bows tonight I was struck at the talent lined up on stage -- Bocca in his twilight, Carreno and Corella in their prime, Cornejo approaching his -- and there behind them in the line of extra children in tonight’s production was young Nicholas Fokine.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:18 am 
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Five Composers but Hardly a Brain in Its Pretty Head
By JOHN ROCKWELL
The New York Times
Published: June 24, 2005
Quote:
Some ballets make you think; others, if they're done well enough, make you smile. "Le Corsaire," which opened a nine-performance run at the Metropolitan Opera House on Thursday night, is a smiler, largely because of American Ballet Theater's extraordinary collection of men.
. . .
Mr. Carreño as the harem dealer had the fewest opportunities for virtuosity yet sparkled nonetheless. The other three were downright spectacular.

Mr. Bocca has a seemingly effortless elegance; Mr. Cornejo is an unstoppable dance dynamo; and Mr. Corella blends sensuality with diffident bravura. All three managed to execute difficult steps and then vary and extend them in ways that made the audience gasp. Mr. Bocca's quicksilver changes of direction in full flight, Mr. Cornejo's soaring jumps with legs held parallel to the floor, Mr. Corella's endless spinning as he dipped into a half-crouch. All were astonishing. And they made it look so devilishly easy!


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/arts/dance/23corsaire-extra.html


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:55 pm 
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Highlights of the Saturday matinee performance of Le Corsaire included Gennadi Saveliev as Lankendem and Maria Riccetto (replacing Stella Abrera) as Gulnare. Saveliev’s dancing had spark and snap, and his turns and jumps were on the money. He went for the extra turns and got them every time. Several times, he finished with sustained balances a la Carreno. Always elegant, today he was also charismatic and funny. Riccetto was all ballerina. She has left cute behind, and moved on to simply gorgeous. She is one more ABT soloist who is ready to hold an evening on her own. Riccetto was secure in everything, but what was especially noticeable today was how high she held her body in jumps. She got those legs up in a split, but her body was very high - it was very beautiful and reminiscent of Kirkland’s jumps.

The performance marked the debuts of Gillian Murphy as Medora and Carlos Lopez as Birbanto. When you see Murphy dance, you now expect her to deliver sensational turns -- and she certainly did today. Today she was not cold or unimpassioned (as has been suggested now and then), but she is very business-like with those turns, and they are replicated so as to look like they came off the Xerox machine. I think that’s a plus not a minus. The rest of her performance was beautiful -- the lyrical as well as the bravura. Max Beloserkovsky threw his heart and legs into the role of Conrad. He and Murphy are forming quite the partnership. But even when he’s made up as a nasty pirate, Beloserkovsky still comes across as handsome blond nice-nasty. He danced very well with a fierce energy.

Carlos Lopez was fast, daring, and seemingly loves acting. His Birbanto was a dangerous thug of a pirate. His jumps were brilliant, his turns outstanding, his swagger delightful - but with barely 36 hours between seeing his and Cornejo’s performances in the same role, it was difficult to avoid comparing them. Lopez was wonderful, but Cornejo was breathtaking!

Angel Corella was his spectacular Ali. His substitution for Ethan Stiefel was not made in the casting leaflet until yesterday. During bows, he was especially gracious toward Murphy (it was her debut) and Beloserkovsky. Knowing that the crowd would go absolutely bananas over him, instead of coming out for a bow, he pushed Murphy and Beloserkovsky out ahead of him, and stepped back while the two of them came forward. It was a very nice gesture to see. Then, of course, during his curtain call, the crowd went bananas.

On a sour note, the matinee audience was not very well behaved. Several times, someone in the upper tier took flash photos. It was someone who must have known well the danger and inconsideration of doing it to any dancer, because he/she knew the choreography well enough to anticipate capturing key moments. Because it was a matinee, there were a lot of children in the audience - some with parents who did not know how to keep them quiet. I guess this will always be a problem to some extent at Saturday matinees, and perhaps is a price to pay while introducing children to our art. But it was maddening.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:14 am 
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Fokine Celebration
by HILARY OSTLERE for the Financial Times

Better luck with Les Sylphides, choreographed in l909. Gillian Murphy, transforming herself from Arcadia's Sylvia of earlier this season to Chopin's sylph, appeared to float above ground escorted by her poet, Maxim Berloserkovsky, and the corps sustained an ethereal style. Only Yuiko Kajya in the solo Waltz failed to project the magic of this gentle ballet.

published: June 27, 2005
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 Post subject: Sylvia: Beauty in Simplicity
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:54 am 
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Little Tutu posts:

American Ballet Theatre- June 15, 2005 Metropolitan Opera House

Sylvia: Beauty in Simplicity

The curtain rises on a pastoral scene as nymphs and woodland creatures dance before the shrine of Eros, God of Love. Triumphant and Amazonian enters Sylvia, one of Diana’s huntress nymphs sworn to chastity, and her attendants, victorious from their hunt. Out of Greek mythology comes a simple story of love- a boy loves a girl, the girl is captured by evil men, the girl is then restored to the boy, and love conquers all.

Choreographed in 1952, Sylvia was Sir Frederick Ashton’s second full-length work and the Royal Ballets most ambitious venture to date, conceived as a vehicle for Margot Fonteyn and homage to the great three act ballets of Petipa. Yet because of Ashton’s reluctance toward recording his works for posterity, Sylvia was lost from the Royal Ballet’s repertory in the late 50’s.

Sylvia, in this day and age, is not particularly virtoustic- an arena for the gods of dance at ABT to display their otherworldly feats. (Although the almost optical illusion of Dany Tidwell’s enormous jumps as Eros needs no special arena for its display.) Sylvia is a chance for these great dancers to display their artistry and subtle mastery of emotion. Having virtually no mime, the passion, love, rage, and defiance in this ballet are all shown through dance movement. Sylvia hearkens back to a time in ballet where gymnastic achievements- half dozen pirouettes, greater than 180 degree split leaps, a tornado of rapidly devouring turns- were not commonplace as they are today. Sylvia possesses moments of quick and intricate footwork, delightful and surprising interplays with the magnificent Delibes score, and trademarks of Ashton’s style: plasticity and grace of the upper body, neatness of footwork, and confidence in simple movements executed with supreme elegance. In the bravura of modern dancers achievements style can easily be lost to tricks. Not only is the revival of Sylvia important achivally as a way of preserving history, but also as a reminder of the staggering beauty in simplicity.

For the ballerina, Sylvia offers a challenge as dramatic as it is technical. Sylvia, in the beginning, must portray strength and power. That hardness then softens to feminine vulnerability, lovesickness, distress, and seductiveness. The ballerina is onstage for most of Act I, all of Act II, and most of Act III. The choreography- stunning and graceful- is made for a woman’s body.

On June 15, Michele Wiles danced with the arrogance and infallibility of a righteous servant of the Goddess. Her dancing was exuberant and fearless, at times appropriately haughty and overbearing, and at others coy and infatuated. Her endless balances and strength- no matter the speed or trajectory of her movement her legs were always right underneath her and rock solid- can be said of almost any other world-class ballerina of her status. However, above and beyond that, Wiles was alive and engaging in her role bringing the personality of Sylvia to life. That is what sets dancers of such high caliber apart. Marcelo Gomes as her lover Aminta was powerfully masculine in his physicality and movement, yet at the same time graceful and soft on top of it. He is a warmly gracious dancer and a commanding performer.

While Sylvia had a very mixed reception in its day, audiences complaining that the story was too obscure and outdated to be interesting, it was wildly successful and loved on its American tour. I do not think the story more obscure than Swan Lake, for example, or particularly difficult to follow. What topic is more timeless than love, what subject more rewarding than loves endurance? Sylvia is worth seeing for it’s glimpse at the once lost work of a master, for the excitement of its dancing, for the display of the ballerina’s power and elegance, and for a refreshing and resonant reminder of how beautiful simplicity can be.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:34 pm 
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From Little Tutu:

American Ballet Theatre- June 23, 2005- Metropolitan Opera House

The Thrill of the Male Dancer


Three act classical ballets like Le Corsaire can seem a little stale in this post-Balanchinian age of uninterrupted dancing and in the time of Tharp’s dance driven Broadway hit Movin’ Out. Full of astonishing dancing, especially thrilling male roles, elaborate sets, and exquisite costumes, the stop and go style of Le Corsaire- a beautiful variation performed superbly, immediately followed by enthusiastic applause and a few gracious bows before the next dancer begins his variation- can be frustrating to follow. However, this nights performance was met with raucous and well deserved applause reminiscent of the kind you hear when a famous rock star takes the stage. Le Corsaire showcases the extraordinary male talent at American Ballet Theatre with it’s proliferation of rapidly firing leaps in a circle around the stage, each one a contradiction of the laws of physics, pirouette variations that hypnotize in their length, and the almost impossible feats of turning and leaping that had the audience gasping and murmuring in awe and wonder. I actually found myself chuckling a few times during Angel Corella’s variations, daring my mind to believe what my eyes were seeing but what it wouldn’t believe otherwise.

If you came to the Metropolitan Opera House on June 23 to see virtuosity, athleticism, bravura, and impeccable technique, then you did not leave disappointed. The men and women of ABT seldom fail to provide that. Julio Bocca as the pirate Conrad was a commanding presence and a fearless dancer. Herman Cornejo as his friend Birbanto was menacing and gallant. Although Jose Manuel Carreno as Lankendem started out slightly flat in his first entrance, he soon warmed up to the role and gave an enthusiastic performance full of charm. These men of ABT- wow! Ice skaters have ice to aid them in their fast turns.These dancers have only the floor and their immense controlled power, yet they turn as many times as those skaters spin, turning 7, 8, 9 times and then simply slowing down to stop on a dime, as if they could’ve kept on turning forever and time and gravity did not apply to them. And somehow during those moments of technical magic, time and gravity did seem to disappear as they mesmerized the audience with their sorcery and charmed us with their mastery. The magician extraordinaire of the evening, deemed so by the measure of the roars and applause he received each time he finished a stunning variation, was Angel Corella as Ali the slave. He made your breath catch in your throat and then rush out of your body with a cry of pleasure. His shy attentive grace was touching, the way he drew his hands to his bare chest in concern was birdlike and beautiful, and his presence on the stage always felt in it’s potential energy. When he moved it was with the power and regality of a lion. Corella is definitely a king of the stage. During one particularly unbelievable turning variation- a series of pirouettes that began on a straight standing leg and somewhere in the middle of multiple turns melted into a plie and then straightened again, all without losing the rhythm of the turns or needing another preparation- the audience nearly jumped out of their seats with joy! Corella owned us all from that point on.

However male dominated this ballet is, let us not forget the woman of this production. Xiomara Reyes was perfect as the playful Gulnare. Her quick and impish footwork and her mischievous pixie-like expressions were as bright and crisp as her dancing. Julie Kent, always regal and lithesome, was breathtaking to watch as Medora. While the female dancing roles were more feminine and demure, they did offer technical challenges well met by these two capable principals.

The great three act ballets, with their divertissements and broken plot advances, may seem a bit outdated and choppy, but they have their place in the repertory of ballet companies world-wide as a vehicle for the technical and artistic displays of their dancers and as a nod to the origins of an art form. The audience on this particular evening certainly appreciated this classical performance and presentation!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:01 pm 
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CASTING shakeup for the last two weeks:

Solymosi - withdrawn entirely

Abrera - withdrawn from principal casting entirely. This morning I spoke with the ABT press office, and was told that Abrera had sprained an ankle. No surprise there given her over-working in the past few weeks.

Stiefel - withdrawn from Vishneva’s Swan Lake. Beloserkovsky replaces. Stiefel is still listed to dance Le Corsaire this Wednesday evening, and in Giselle for Amanda McKerrow’s final performance on Thursday, July 14th.

Ferri - withdrawn from the July 11 Giselle, although she is still scheduled for her 20th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, July 15. Kent replaces her on July 11.

Further changes expected. And so it goes . . .


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:16 am 
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Quote:
Love and Death
Ill-fated passion from Russia and ABT's young hopefuls
by TOBI TOBIAS Village Voice

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company — the gifted farm team astutely led by John Meehan — added guest appearances by alums to a program of contemporary works danced by the juniors.

published: June 10, 2005
more...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:25 am 
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What a nice surprise!

MICHELE WILES PROMOTED TO PRINCIPAL DANCER

6/28/2005 - Michele Wiles has been promoted to Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, it was announced yesterday by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Wiles received her early training in Washington, D.C. At the age of ten, she received a full scholarship to the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. where she studied for six years. Wiles also participated in the summer programs at The Joffrey Ballet and The Royal Ballet before joining American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in 1997.

Wiles joined American Ballet Theatre in 1998 and was promoted to Soloist in August 2000. Her roles with the Company include Gamzatti in La Bayadère, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Medora in Le Corsaire, Myrta in Giselle and the title roles in Raymonda and Sylvia. She has also danced leading roles in George Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Symphony in C and Theme and Variations, Twyla Tharp’s The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels, Jirí Kylián’s Petite Mort and Sinfonietta and William Forsythe’s workwithinwork.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 11:18 pm 
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Yikes!! My apologies for last night improperly opening a new topic regarding Michele Wiles’ promotion to principal dancer. It was late, and I was giddy -- giddy from having just returned from another spectacular Le Corsaire starring Bocca, Carreno, Corella, and Cornejo. And it seemed like everyone in the audience wanted to be pirates -- screaming, hollering, gesturing. There were even extra bars open on the dress circle level. A loud band of Corella-boppers squealed at his every entrance. Nearly everyone who sat around me had attended the Thursday performance which featured the same cast. They came back, because they knew that this cast in this production on this stage was more than a performance -- it was an event, one to be remembered for a long, long time -- the proverbial bar to which all other performances would be held and compared.

Bocca! Yes, his face gets very red when he dances, but good heavens, he threw in a triple assemble during both the Thursday and Tuesday performances. Cornejo, whose variation entrance includes shooting off two pistols, tonight pretended that one didn’t go off. He closely examined it, and then pretended to nearly shoot himself. He then grinned at the audience waiting for us to laugh at his joke. The swirling, piked, passed tour that he does in his variation is his alone - although I did see Saveliev attempt it the other night. Carreno was perfection. He’s a human gyroscope. And Corella - the gist of his variation was extreme speed, height and revolution between poses of extreme length and stillness. One never saw him approach the poses or approach the en l’air maneuvers. He was intheair, and then inthepose. Fast. Brilliantly fast. All four of these men pushed the envelope in their variations. One imagines that on nights like this, Kevin McKenzie must cover his eyes and say ‘please tell me when it’s over’.

Julie Kent had a better evening than Thursday. Her classic line is perhaps the prettiest shape I’ve ever seen. She looked lovely being tossed about by Bocca. There was less uncertainty in her variations. Her pirouettes were, for the most part, serviceable. She successfully performed her fouettes without incident or invention.

Xiomara Reyes was once again Gulnare. Not fair. Not fair. Not fair. She should be Medora. She has the ability to convey passion and romance with a glint of innocence. I’m happy to see that she will at least get to do the Le Corsaire PdD in Tokyo in July with Carreno.

What an incredible night. Here comes Von Rothbart!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:14 pm 
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:cry: :cry: :cry:

ALESSANDRA FERRI TO WITHDRAW FROM PERFORMANCES OF GISELLE DUE TO INJURY

6/30/2005 - Due to injury, Principal Dancer Alessandra Ferri will not dance scheduled performances of the title role of Giselle on Monday, July 11 and Friday, July 15. Principal Dancer Julie Kent will replace Ferri in the leading role opposite Julio Bocca as Albrecht for both performances.

This season marks Alessandra Ferri’s 20th Anniversary with American Ballet Theatre. A celebration of this anniversary was scheduled for Friday evening, July 15. Instead, the Company will pay a special on-stage tribute to Ferri immediately following the performance.

American Ballet Theatre’s Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House continues through July 16.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 11:32 pm 
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The season’s first performance of Swan Lake was dedicated in loving memory of Ross Stretton. In addition to the dedication at the top of the program’s cast page, Kevin McKenzie inserted a loose page in the program with an in memoriam in which he wrote that Stretton “believed that the power of dance could transform people’s lives.” The tribute included Stretton’s picture and listed all of the companies with which he was associated as dancer or director.

The first disappointment of the evening was that Mr. Franklin, the prince’s tutor, no longer makes a grand entrance down the long winding staircase, but instead is already mingling when the curtain opens. In years past, his entrance had always been a special opportunity for many to express appreciation, gratitude and downright astonishment that he still owns the stage. This evening, toward the end of Act I when he ascended the staircase, I wished there had been a dancer on both sides assisting him up the steps, instead of just one. It looked a bit precarious. Time marches on, doesn’t it.

Gillian Murphy’s technique was overpowering tonight. I felt that her Odette was overdone. Odette wasn’t a victim and wasn’t vulnerable. She was more an indignant princess who was annoyed by her predicament. Her mime shouted - always at the same volume. Modulation and phrasing were missing. Every movement was taken to the extreme, thereby emphasizing nothing. The swan with the hiss and spit is supposed to be Odile, not Odette. Murphy’s Odile was aggressive, but not particularly seductive. Again, it was the problem of all movement being taken to the extreme without modulation. But of course, what she did do was so utterly amazing. Triple step-overs. Quadruples inserted in her fouettes. Triple en dehors in attitude. All phenomenal.

Jose Manuel Carreno was a dream of a prince. Very much at the top of his game. His movement is velvety and luxurious. I so enjoyed every moment that he was on stage. In my opinion, he’s movie material.

Marcelo Gomes as Von Rothbart was unquestionably the highlight of the night. There may come a day when ABT presents a mixed bill with the black swan PdD, they will have to figure out how to insert Gomes’ Von Rothbart into it. His solo and antics that precede Odile’s and Siegfried’s variations are priceless. At tomorrow’s matinee, David Hallberg debuts in the role. Can’t wait to see that.

The PdT with Herman Cornejo, Xiomara Reyes and Yuriko Kajiya was superb, but it was agreed among those I was with that Erica Cornejo is badly missed in this dance. She adds a special something to it.

The corps and soloists had a first rate performance tonight. Standouts were Fang’s and Riccetto’s princesses, and Part’s and Carmen Corella’s big swans.

Oh, I almost forgot, the orchestra was much better tonight. The brass was bold and in tune. I noticed that the French horn player who had been a problem was no longer in his/her seat.


Last edited by Poohtunia on Sat Jul 02, 2005 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 2:33 am 
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John Rockwell's take on the opening "Swan Lake:

Quote:
Never Ruffling the Feathers of a Tchaikovsky Classic

By JOHN ROCKWELL
Published: July 2, 2005

"Swan Lake" is a - the - canonical ballet, and American Ballet Theater's staging, which began an 11-performance run last night at the Metropolitan Opera House, is a canonical production.

What that means is that no matter what the cast, and the dancers will shift dizzyingly throughout the run, ballet lovers can be assured of getting the real deal, reality being defined as earnest conservatism. Kevin McKenzie's version, now five years old, loyally follows the Petipa-Ivanov tradition and doesn't try to impose any breathtaking directorial conceits.


Click here for more.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2005 12:32 pm 
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What a joy it has been to watch Paloma Herrera these past 15 years - from the days when she would sneak over to take David Howard’s class while still an SAB student to yesterday’s matinee performance of Swan Lake. She and Angel Corella gave us a compelling, heart-wrenching portrayal of love and despair. While Herrera’s deep relationship with the music has tended to be paramount to her relationship with her partners, yesterday she willingly allowed Corella to intervene. It was the most dramatically attuned performance I’ve ever seen from this pair. Herrera’s Odette was despondent and tender. Her mime conveyed the sadness of her story beautifully. Corella’s Siegfried was passionate and believable.

Time and time again, Herrera’s arched feet and soft limbs phrased the music in ways that made one listen beyond the melody. Her balances were breathtaking. During the final sequence of pirouettes of the white swan Act II PdD, Herrera’s slow, slow developpes to barely 45 degrees and the ensuing fluttering serres were exquisite. Herrera’s Odile toyed with Siegfried’s heart and head. A display of impeccable technical force is what one expects from Herrera, and she delivered. Her turns, jumps and balances were rock solid, and always in character. Corella, as well. What was required was far less than last week in Le Corsaire, but Corella took the time to make the most of it.

David Hallberg was withdrawn as von Rothbart and replaced by Jesus Pastor. The announcement wasn’t made until curtain time. Pastor did okay, but just okay. He is small, and in the Prologue had difficulty with the lifts of the also-small Herrera. I’m a bit concerned about how he will do on Monday when he has to partner the statuesque Veronika Part in the same Prologue. (Wait! Maybe there was a switch, and we’ll get to see Hallberg on Monday!)

The corps was beautiful yesterday afternoon - just wonderful. Another highlight was Sascha Radetsky as Benno. The guy has really stepped up this year, and is looking great. Acts, jumps, beats (did I see entrechat huit?), partners securely. But when he goes for big finish pirouettes, those shoulders go up and he loses it. Maria Riccetto and Anna Licieca accompanied him in the PdT. The three did very well.

Conductor Ormsby Wilkins received his own well-deserved bravos during bows. The music was very big Saturday afternoon. Wilkins’ Act IV brought out the goose bumps and hankies.

As I was walking out of the opera house, I heard a woman say that she had forgotten just how much she loves Swan Lake.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:21 pm 
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Just back from the 4th of July Swan Lake at The Met. Not many fireworks but a lot of smoldering. Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes were the leads with Jesus Pastor as von Rothbart. Part’s Odette was a suffering, sumptuous creature whose pain sometimes looked like, um uh um, a certain kind of ecstasy. She was beautiful, no doubt about that. From every part of the opera house men sent loud bravos her way. Her interpretation was completely legitimate with great and convincing care given to expressing her initial fear and mistrust of Siegfried. Then, the two of them started to heat up - which was legitimate as well - just something you generally see only between these two. I loved the slow tempo of Act II. It could even be slower. Part did not have a technically superior evening. A couple of missteps in Act II may have thrown her off her game. Her portrayal of Odile was traditional and, again, convincing. But her technique was less secure, and thank goodness she didn’t try to push her way out of it. Single fouettes, no fancy-schmancie stuff. Still, it all worked well within her skilled characterization. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see her second performance later this week. I suspect it will be stronger.

Gomes had a terrific night - super turns with finishing balances followed by the ever-dramatic pose to the knee. Very secure. Great jumps. Fewer overhead lifts than in other performances, but the substitutions were just as pretty. He is so sincere and uninhibited. You just gotta love him.

Pastor is still finding his way in the role of von Rothbart. He’s not yet evil or threatening as we want him to be. He’s got to escape Gomes’ shadow -- no small task.

The best surprise of the night was the PdT with David Hallberg, Michele Wiles, and Simone Messmer. Hallberg performed the Spanish dance in an earlier performance, but this was a delightful opportunity to see him back in form. He looked wonderful, and seemed especially happy to be twirling Ms. Wiles in front of him. Wiles appeared to be having the time of her life - and may well be. Unfortunately, I’ll have to miss her Swan Lake this week. Messmer performed well, but for a little slip. However, I think most everyone’s focus was on Hallberg and Wiles, together again.


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