" Lovely, Just Lovely ! "
This is what I would liked to have exclaimed, along with the Bravos!, at the end of Friday evening, as Xiomara Reyes finished her performance of "Giselle." This sentiment also applies to all the "Giselles," which I was able to see, and to all the lead dancing and much of the other wonderful performing.
I actually saw four performances, the last four of the series.
For the second time in about two weeks, I drove across the state of California to see outstanding ballet performances. The first time was to see the wonderful Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Santa Barabara.
The four lead casts
(Giselle, Albrecht, Myrta (program spelling), Hilarion)
Nov. 6 Xiomara Reyes, Herman Cornejo, Stella Abrera, Jared Matthews
Nov. 7 Maria Riccetto, David Hallberg, Gillian Murphy, Gennadi Saveliev
Nov. 7 Paloma Herrera, Marcelo Gomes, Michele Wiles, Isaac Stappas
Nov. 8 Irina Dvorovenko, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Veronika Part, Jared Matthews
I have already 'Mentioned' Irina Dvorovenko and Veronika Part. All the other women I thought danced quite well with Gillian Murphy, Paloma Herrera and Michele Wiles perhaps being the most noticeable for their impressive abilities. Paloma Herrara did some fine jumps and Gillian Murphy did fine with that and
everything else. Michele Wiles was also very impressive. I felt that Maria Riccetto had a lovely softness in her legs and feet, perhaps the nicest such quality that I have seen. Stella Abrera had a wonderfully expressive articulation in her dancing.
Personality-wise I thought that Xiomara Reyes was truly lovable with her warm and smiling manner. She reminded me somewhat of the Mariinsky's vibrant, lovely dancer, Evgenia Obraztsova, who I like very much. I didn't recognize Paloma Herrera at first. I have only seen her in "Swan Lakes" mainly and here she was a different person, so vibrant and alive. Maria Riccetto I thought was most lovely when she was expressing a sense of wonderment in her portrayals. Gillian Murphy had a very fine sense of classical romanticism in her portrayal.
Of the men I thought that David Hallberg was noblesse personified as was Maxim Beloserkovsky with a fine dose of theatricality thrown in. Herman Cornejo was very charming and Marcelo 'The Man' Gomes as expected was the Elvis Presley crowd pleaser of the series with his wonderful theatricality and very fine technical feats (double jump turn landings in perfect fifth position and a nonstop rocketman series of entrechats ('flicking' his feet together in the air). David Hallberg also did the same series of entrechats extremely well. Maxim Beloserkovsky did the charging across the stage, feet forward entrechats towards the end of Act II with a wonderful gracefulness.
All the above Albrechts had the critical job of carrying the ballet to its exaulted Wagnerian conclusion by reaching out to whatever heavenly forces might be present at the moment as the curtain descended and they all did this magnificently. The audience roared out its loving approval after each of these performances.
All the Hilarions were very good in their portrayals. Jared Matthews, who performed it two times that I saw, was an extremely convincing, sensitive and sympathetic Hilarion, seemingly very concerned for the welfare of Giselle. Bravo to him for this.
Audience-wise the orchestra level seemed almost completely full for all of these four performances. I could only see the balconies on Sunday and they also looked quite full. The audience response was consistently warm and enthusiastic with three or four curtain calls after each performance.
PS -- One more name that should really be mentioned is that of Danil Simkin. He performed the Peasant Pas de Deux twice with a very fine Sarah Lane. His 'Space Age' dancing ignited the house resulting in thunderous applause. Another feature that I really appreciate in Danil Simkin's performances is that he seems to be getting more restrained and poetic in his overall presence. He has a very charming manner and generates a very nice feeling of warmth and modesty.