public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:52 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: ABT on Tour -- Los Angeles 2007
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:43 pm
Posts: 1
Opening Night ABT Los Angeles July 12, 2007 at 7:30 pm This was a sold-out performance for ABT, and I believe that the audience was well-pleased upon leaving the theater at the end of the evening.

The first piece was called Symphonie Concertante with Choreography by George Balanchine. The corp de ballet was perfect. They were well suited in body form as well as talent and emotion. Yuriko Kajiya stood out as exceptionally gifted and talented. I didn't have to worry about them doing something wrong. The principal dancers Michele Wiles, Gillian Murphy and Maxim Beloserkovsky were all truly brilliant. I say this in the sense that we all know that doing a classical ballet is very constraining on the new modern and ballet trained dancer, however, I think that's why we keep going back to Balanchine to remember and to do it correctly. Well, ABT does it exquisitely. The vocabulary is modest, though well thought out and very eloquently spoken through the body language of ABT. Though still a theater, they still do not speak. The chosen pas de deuxs were truly awesome to watch with Maxim Beloserkovsky and Michelle Wiles and then with Maxim Beloserkovsky and Gillian Murphy.
The solos were all done superbly.

The next piece was "Le Corsaire." This was casted with Irina Dvorovenko and David Hallberg. I thought that Irina Dvorovenko stood out as such a beautiful "fawn." She could definitely be the next Juliette. David Hallberg was great in power and strength and let me know that ABT is in the house.

The next piece was "Manon" with Stella Abrera and Herman Cornejo. They were the perfect comedic act and you know this critic does not even like comedy. He was drinking and finally got through with that and starting chasing women, especially ones that were too tall for him. This piece really worked for me and still does as I write about my experience.

Don Quixote was danced by Paloma Herrere and Jose Manuel Carreno. Paloma was very strong and well poised and balanced. She performed impeccably and partnered very well. She owned the stage when she was on there by herself. She has magnificent stage presence. I thought that Jose was brilliant and stunning and that he brought the ABT to the top with his performance.

Rodeo was a well choreographed, well costumed ballet theater that brought Ballet to the West. The scenes were very entertaining and the dancers all looked very good. The Cowgirl Marian Butler has to be highly commended for her very high level of acting and also for bringing so much god emotion into the show.

_________________
Nick Samadani, M.D.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Thanks so much for the review.

Was anyone else from CD there?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 143
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I was there last night, too! I agree with the above post - it was a very pleasant evening.

Symphonie Concertante was great for ABT, the corps looked lovely and Michele Wiles and Gillian Murphy were gorgeous. It's not the greatest Balanchine, IMO (very repetitive), but it's very pretty to look at and perfectly pleasing. The pas de deux choices were strange for a gala-type program: the Corsaire bedroom pas de deux and Lescaut/Mistress pas de deux from Manon are hardly the memorable dances from their respective ballets, and they're very short too. They showed of nothing for the dancers, though Dvorovenko turned the Corsaire pas into a gymnastic show-off. I wish they had chosen something that showed off Hallberg as well. The Mistress/Lescaut thing came off totally randomly, even if it gave a few laughts watching Herman Cornejo stumble around drunk. Don Q was its usual flashy self, though I though Paloma Herrera looked oddly subdued and not like her usual Kitri. Carreno showed off well enough, but his partner was unengaged. Herera came to in time for some perfect fouettes, so the audience still had fun. Rodeo was a charming cap to the evening.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
I was there last night, too. BTW, Art's being too modest: you can check out his blog for a fuller review and some pictures:

http://artsplace.blogspot.com/2007/07/a ... night.html

I also found it much more pleasant than I expected, but I went in with low expectations after experiencing their gala two years ago, and their fairly terrible Sylvia and Giselle.

In retrospect, Symphonie Concertante was probably the best piece of the night, though the two girls danced like soggy, wet fish in the 1st movement, and didn't really pick things up until Maxim showed up. I thought they progressively improved towards the end. The ending of the 2nd movement with its Serenade-like parade was the best moment of the piece. The corps was really on, especially for ABT. I don't think I've ever seen them this precise before.

The 3 pas in the middle part of the evening were pretty random for me, too. I was hoping to see David Hallberg dance, but he maybe got to point his foot once, and otherwise was just lifting the very lovely Irina Dvororenko around. I think I enjoyed Don Q more than Art did --- I never realized how beautiful Paloma's feet were until last night, and I loved J-MC's stop-on-a-dime pirouettes. He has got to be one of the most beautiful turners out there.

Since we're talking tricks, I was disappointed that Paloma's fouette turns weren't much different than before: doubles for the first 10 or so, and then singles for the rest. I love how Tamara Rojo and a couple of other ridiculously accomplished turners do theirs: during doubles, she opens her fan and fans herself, closing it when she whips her leg around. That laissez-faire attitude during really difficult steps is very appealing.

Rodeo was fine, but I preferred SFB's I saw last summer at Stern Grove. Character development of the cowgirl and her relationship with the two guys was more believable with SFB. Marian Butler did a really outstanding job as the cowgirl, touching in her emoting, but ABT's staging seemed more cartoonlike in its emotional development: one moment she likes one guy, and as soon as the other guy kisses her, she falls for him.

Nevertheless, I walked out of the theater smiling, and that's certainly much better than previous ABT visits.

--Andre


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Reviews of the opening night follow below. I'm not sure what show Lewis was watching, but my impressions line up more with Laura's.

Quote:
American Ballet Theatre: exciting but muddled
Lewis Segal, LA Times

As a whole, the program made a statement about company versatility, the same kind of statement that the Joffrey Ballet failed to make with its Music Center programming earlier this season — mostly due to misinterpreted Balanchine. Where many of the most prominent European companies specialize in works by one choreographer, major American classicism seems focused on variety — sometimes mindless variety — even at New York City Ballet (Balanchine's home) these days. Most of the raggedness Thursday — from the orchestra to the women's corps in "Symphonie Concertante" to some of the principals — could be fixed by more rehearsal time. But you'd still be stuck with an artistic vision that's not about anything in particular.

And isn't that a strange place for an art form to be?
more


Quote:
American Ballet Theatre's golden West
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

As American Ballet Theatre forges into the future, commissioning new dances – as companies must – a question arises. Who's minding the heritage?

It's been a spotty issue at ABT and elsewhere. The older the ballet, the moldier it becomes, is how it plays out too often. To my mind, ABT should hang on even more powerfully to its roots. Its historic repertory serves as an identifying symbol for this 68-year-old company whose dancers have no single, recognizable style, and whose artistic leadership likes it that way. How better to separate ABT from the other big-gun companies?
more


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Mods, can this thread's title be changed to reflect all of ABT's SoCal performances this year?

Here're some previews of Sleeping Beauty below. Interesting comments in the OC Register article about the production still undergoing revisions after its lambasting by NYC critics.

Quote:
Reawakening a classic
Laura Bleiberg, OC Register

McKenzie did not intend to completely reinterpret the ballet, so he began his research with existing productions, including those in which he had performed, and with the classic passages from Petipa's original. (Unlike other century-old ballets, "Sleeping Beauty" is preserved thanks to dance notation, although only the Kirov Ballet has re-produced the complete, four-hour original). McKenzie also delved into versions of the story that had served as source material for French author Perrault, considered the father of the European fairy tale.

"It's a tale that's retold in every culture. It's surprising how many times it crops up," he said.

McKenzie decided to give extra emphasis to the story's potent symbols – Carabosse as a representation of evil, for example. McKenzie said he read one version in which Aurora's mother weeps so plentifully at being separated from her enchanted daughter that her tears form a river. It is that waterway that Prince Désiré follows to reach Aurora, in ABT's production.
more


Quote:
Gelsey Kirkland's new moves in ballet
Lewis Segal, LA Times

As a one-on-one coach, Kirkland says, she's frustrated by dancers who don't have enough time to absorb interpretive concepts that are central to what the production is trying to achieve. "By the last act, Aurora should not be still in any way a coquette," she explains. "She has to express grace and majesty that's of another world. The spirit that's in her is about giving to the kingdom — and to get that across to people [in the company] is impossible. It's not happening. I have put in my two cents' worth, and it's been rejected. It's very humbling: I realize that I'm powerless on many levels."

She's had more success with the gift fairies, she says. "They've done some fine, fine work. The Joy Fairy was truly joyful on opening night. You have to be able to take direction like that. You've got to fly with it. But this is where we are. It's a trust problem. When we came into the company, the dancers had never worked with us. So in order for them to remain open and trusting, it takes patience and time. We can't control everything."
more


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
I saw Othello last night with Gomes, Kent, Cornejo (who was replaced Blaine Hoven after act 1 due to an unspecified unjury to Cornejo) Radetsky, and Abrera, and frankly I was blown away!

First the negatives: Radetsky is not a good Iago. He's more like a Mini-Me to Parrish Maynard's original: a slightly comical parody that just doesn't work. For some reason, I also kept thinking about Chris Kattan from Saturday Night Live. I don't think he has the looks or gravitas to play Iago without looking like a parody.

The ending of the ballet always struck me as too abrupt. Emilia tells Othello, and he immediately kills himself. The cast looked a little tired by the 3rd act, too.

Besides those caveats, the ballet was fantastic, climaxing dramatically in Gomes's amazingly physical, totally committed solo in act 2. Julie Kent is wonderful as Desdemona, but I always feel like that's a secondary role playing straight man to Othello's descent and his relationship with Iago.

Hoven did a great job stepping in on short notice to replace Cornejo as Cassio, and Abrera was also wonderful as Emilia. In fact, in her duets with Radetsky (and the two of them are apparently a real-life couple making the pairing even more interesting), she came across as the more interesting dancer with deeper felt and completed movements.

The set design is fantastic, with lots of symbolic tie-ins to the plot. The cracked glass and the spider web of ropes all reflect Othello's state of mind.

But for me, the star of the show last night was the music and the orchestra. Very rarely do we get to hear such full-blooded, muscular symphonic music with a post-Romantic emotional angst probing deeper than most other ballet music, which tend to be superficial and third-rate (eg. all of Drigo) or very abstract (Stravinsky). Tchaikovsky comes closest in Swan Lake with its psychological inferences, but as great as his ballet music is, it never lays bare the human psyche like Goldenthal does with his score. I wish we could get more ballet to music as raw as what Goldenthal made for Othello.

--Andre


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 143
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I went to see Othello on Saturday afternoon, and the performance really worked for me because of the dancers. American Ballet Theatre is giving a committed, convincing performance of it right now, so much so that I see through the rather muddled narrative and the extraneous ensemble dancing. Lubovitch's ballet is not without it's faults, but when he focuses it down on just the few essential characters - late Act 2 and the full of Act 3 - things can get downright dramatic and exciting. Especially in these dancers' hands - I barely recognized David Hallberg and Maxim Beloserkovsky from their usual princely selves, and Gillian Murphy's strong woman presence gave a different dimension to the usually waifish role of Desdemona. Lubovitch's Othello is dark, depressing and long, but these dancers made a big difference in it. I do have to say I did very much like Gregory Tsypin's sets for the ballet - visually stunning, with the shattered glass panels and moving background.

(Thanks, sneaky Andre, for posting a link to my blog posting!)


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:48 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
The Othello reviews are in, and the LA Times and OCR both review different casts:

Quote:
ABT packs a powerful 'Othello'
Laura Bleiberg, OC Register

Lar Lubovitch's three-act ballet, "Othello," was 10 years old in May and this unusual melding of modern dance, classical ballet, Elizabethan tragedy and contemporary symphonic sound, though imperfect, still packs a wallop.

San Francisco Ballet, which co-commissioned the work with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), performed it here first, in 2002, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. It was ABT's turn over the weekend, presented by Dance at the (Los Angeles) Music Center.
more


Quote:
American Ballet Theatre's 'Othello'
Lewis Segal, LA Times

Indeed, everyone worked with diligence to justify the grand experiment that "Othello" represented, but whether the result was preferable to programming one of the company's misguided productions of antique Franco-Russian repertory is a question that each dancer and balletomane must answer individually.

A flawed original or a fake antique — you choose.
more


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group