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Marge_Simpson
05-28-2012, 06:48 AM
Before I review the Bayadere I saw on Friday, I have to digress a bit and talk about the presentation ABT did for "Works and Process" at the Guggenheim in April. The topic was "A cast of Characters" and was all about character dancing, and dancing in character. It was moderated by John Meehan, who I have a crush on. He has a lovely voice and is just adorable. He appears very worldly and sophisticated - I can just imagine that he owns a tailor-made tuxedo and knows exactly what wine to order in a fancy restuarant. But at the same time, I can see him in in scruffy jeans, tossing a frisbee around in the park.
The part I enjoyed the most was a bit he did with Roman Zhurbin. Roman talked about his background (he took folk dance lessons as a child in Moscow) and his affinity for playing different character roles. He did a wonderful demo where he played Lord Capulet, the quality inspector from Bright Stream, the Pasha from Le Corsaire, the High Brahmin in Bayadere, and the "Swamp Thing" character in Swan Lake.
Lord Capulet, he said, was a chauvanist who enjoyed bossing people around and walked with a heavy, stomping step. The pianist played from "March of the Capulets" and Roman instantly became a stern, flat-footed man who bullied people around. The quality inspector was self-important and walked as if he had just gotten off a horse. Roman now turned into a pompous man that people snickered at behind his back. The pasha was overweight and foolish, Roman became a chubby nitwit with a mincing gait and a greedy, smirking expression on his face. You get the idea. He was wearing practice clothes, but with each change of music, he totally became the specific character and changed his walk, carriage, facial expression, the way he held his arms. Fascinating!

Now, back to La Bayadere. :) The dancing was very, very good, but what I really enjoyed was the acting. (I am really appreciating my orchestra seats!)
Everyone seems to be raving about Osipova's portayal of Gamzatti (not to mention her very fine dancing) and I have to concur. I first saw her when she did "Don Quixote" with Jose, and while I was impressed with her dancing, I felt her acting fell flat. She didn't engage with the rest of the cast and didn't even seen that interested in Jose. (how could a woman not be interested in Jose?!)
She has really worked on her acting, and it shows. It was hard to look away from Veronica during the betrothal scene, but I kept sneaking peaks at Marcelo and Natalia, at the side of the stage. Solor kept making calf-eyes at Nikiya. Gamzatti was watching Solor, and not at all pleased with the look on his face. She gave him a death stare to equal Scary Babs', and it was if he actually felt her eyes on the back of his head. He quickly turned to her and arranged his face into a neutral expression.
Veronica was a gorgeous Nikiya. She is so feminine, so lush, and has a vulnerable quality that I found very appealing in this role. She did seem just a tiny bit tentative, but maybe she was lacking in confidence? I'd read that she came off pointe in her previous performance, so maybe she was trying to play it safe.
Marcelo was a high-handed, haughty warrior when he first entered, but became a besotted man when he saw Nikiya. I have never seen him dance better. Hats off to him for partnering 2 very different dancers and making it look easy.
Daniil Simkin did the Bronze Idol. This part gave me a pang, because I am so used to seeing Carlos Lopez in this part, and, I'm not ashamed to admit it: I own the tee shirt ABT did one year with Carlos in his bronze paint. (And before anyone asks, no, I don't sleep with it under my pillow. :lol:) ABT should keep Daniil in these parts where he does not do any partnering, he did a fine job except for the fact that he slid all over the stage every time he dropped to his knees. I admit I dislike his style of dancing, but there was something a little creepy to me about seeing him half-naked like that. He is so small and slight, he looked like a prepubescent boy.
Now, the reason I started off by the "cast of Characters" recap: Roman Zhurbin! He did the High Brahmin to perfection. He was arrogant and could not let anyone forget his exalted status, yet he was truly in love with Nikiya. When he offered her the antidote, I was thinking, "Take it, you fool! He's a good man. Not like Solor, who looks like he's falling for that scheming hussy Gamzatti. Take it, the man loves you!" When Nikiya died, his anguish was even greater that Solor's. I am a bit peeved that nobody commented on Roman's fabulous portayal.
The corps was a bit ragged but the Shades looked pretty sharp to me.

emason
05-28-2012, 01:43 PM
Marge - thanks for the great review. I agree with you about the Guggenheim presentation; I went the night before you did, and Zhurbin was the highlight. It was fascinating to see him go from character to character in the blink of an eye. Next time I see him in something I am going to pay a lot more attention to what he is doing.

Marge_Simpson
05-29-2012, 05:53 AM
So: I saw Bayadere again tonight, against my better judgement, and am thoroughly disgruntled.
Isabella Boylston replaced Osipova; I didn't groan as most others did when I saw the announcement in the lobby. I like seeing how different dancers interpret a role.
If I continue to review when I am in this peeved state, it will be nothing but snark. So I will only say this: the dancing was, on the whole, terrific, but it all added up to less than the sum of its parts. :mad:
Is anyone attending the matinee on Wednesday? I was not originally planning to see "Bright Stream" this season, but I cannot resist the temptation of seeing the very handsome Alex Hammoudi. :swoon:
I have a ticket for the wacky Swan Lake; I am seeing the matinee. Cheylana, let me know if you end up getting tickets. We can meet up even if you end up at the evening performance. :)

nubka
05-29-2012, 05:06 PM
Did anyone have the chance to attend the GKA Elusive Dreams performance over the weekend? I have always been a huge fan of Gelsey Kirkland and am following her students with much interest.

Marge_Simpson
05-31-2012, 03:49 AM
La Bayadere is my very favorite ballet; probably not coincidentally, it is the very first full-length ballet I ever saw. This was back in the dark ages (1987 :lol:) when I received a subscription offer from ABT in the mail. I really can't explain why I mailed them my check, I was a punk rocker with jet-black hair and a whole slew of earrings in my ears; my idea of a fun time was putting on my Docs and dancing all night at the Peppermint Lounge.
But for some reason I took the plunge and bought a subscription; I also realized I'd have to wear something respectable and purchased a skirt and pumps that would pass muster at the Met. :lol:
Marianna Tcherkassky was Nikiya, Ross Stretton was Solor, and Amanda McKerrow was Gamzatti. I was mesmerized. When Nikiya appears at Solor and Gamzatti's wedding, it truly was as if he was the only one that could see her.
Thus was I hooked on ballet.
Now, Friday's Bayadere. I wanted to like it; I really did. I am not Herman Cornejo's biggest fan by any means, but I adore Cojucaru, and I had no problems with Boylston replacing Osipova, I have seen Isabella before and like her dancing very much. My quibbles with Cornejo are mainly with his partnering; BUT I had heard he had greatly improved.
Well, wrong. It's hard for me to get past his height, but I was willing to overlook that if he could partner well and show some emotion. But he couldn't and he didn't. He was the blandest, most disinterested Solor I've seen and lifted both ladies as if he was hoisting sacks of potatoes at the supermarket.
The pity is that everyone danced so beautifully...when they were dancing alone. Alina's balances went on forever; her pique turns were so fast she was a blur on the stage. Herman's solos were first rate. Isabella was crisp and clean; I was especially impressed with the Italian fouettes. Roddy Doble deserved an "A" for effort with his High Brahmin.
But everyone danced as if they were performing in a gala, not a ballet. The only characterization that came across was Doble's. When Solor first saw Nikiya, he should have lit up with happiness. Instead I could imagine him saying, "Hi, honey, I'm home. What's for dinner?" Alina did the best she could to act madly in love, but she didn't have much to work off. Gamzatti was just an entitled bitch. She didn't want to marry Solor; she just wanted to get married, period, probably to escape her grumpy father, played by Saveliev. You can usually count on Saveliev to throw himself into a role and create a believable, rounded character (his Hilarion is superb) but he just looked irritated on Friday.
I didn't see Cornejo or Boylston look at each other even once during their chess game, they both watched the dancing. When Nikiya danced during their betrothal, Herman kept his eyes glued to the floor the entire time. Okay, maybe he meant to demonstrate that he was so torn up over losing her, he couldn't look her in the eye. BUt then,t to hammer that home, he should have sneaked a peak now and then, and then looked away with an anguished expression. Not stared at his feet the entire time as if he was wondering if he'd sewn his elastics on too tight.
The 3 of them looked bored to tears, and if the dancers don't care, why should I? By Act III I had a total brain disconnect like I did at the ghastly Swan Lake I saw last year. Even Doble looked bored by then. When he married Solor and Gamzatti, I could just imagine him thinking, "Come on, marry her already so I can go backstage and wash the makeup off my face." If I want to see a gala, I'll go see the YAGP. If I'm seeing a ballet, I expect to see a story. Not a random collection of dancers dancing in isolation. When the curtain came down, I wasn't in tears over the doomed lovers, I was relieved that I could go home.
Ugh!

Cheylana
06-02-2012, 10:49 PM
I have a ticket for the wacky Swan Lake; I am seeing the matinee. Cheylana, let me know if you end up getting tickets. We can meet up even if you end up at the evening performance. :)
I purchased the June 16th matinee tickets and then remembered I have to be in Rhode Island on the 16th for a bachelorette party - arrrrrgh! (And not my bachelorette party - double arrrrrgh!!) :( I gave my ticket to my mom, and now I don't know if I'll splurge for a ticket for another night that week. [Insert grumbling/weeping here.]

I am seeing The Bright Stream tonight, if anyone else is going.

nubka
06-03-2012, 03:06 AM
Did anyone have the chance to attend the GKA Elusive Dreams performance over the weekend? I have always been a huge fan of Gelsey Kirkland and am following her students with much interest.

BUMP!

I'm assuming that nobody saw the performance... :( :(

Cheylana
06-03-2012, 03:59 AM
I'm sorry, nubka, I didn't see it. Perhaps one of the others did, though.

The Bright Stream was ok, though the storyline and choreo were not really my cup of tea. I knew it was supposed to be lighthearted and whimsical, but the choreo had too many pratfalls and silliness for my taste. That said, the dude doing en pointe was kind of impressive. Cast was Reyes/Osipova/Cornejo/Simkin.

Marge_Simpson
06-03-2012, 04:24 AM
Magnolia Bakery has "Firebird" cupcakes on sale during June, in honor of ABT's new Firebird.

Marge_Simpson
06-04-2012, 04:00 AM
I went to the matinee of "Bright Stream" on Wednesday; I am now firmly convinced that matinees attract loons. (Myself excepted, of course :lol:)
This wasn't on my subscription so I got a ticket in my usual Grand Tier box. I was the only one in it, but the box next to mine had 3 loud ladies who were no strangers to botox injections or tanning salons. They must have been from New Jersey, they sounded like they were auditioning for "The Sopranos"
"Oh, honey, you look GAWJUS, where did you buy that dress?"
"Ya like it? I got it at Nawdstroms!"
"Oh yeah, you look hawt!"
Anyway, it was a treat after seeing the boring Bayadere. I went mainly to see Alex Hammoudi, who was Pyotr and did a really nice job with it. He didn't have his hair gelled back as he usually does, and he did something different with his makeup, which took about 10 years off his face. Not that he looks old for his age normally, but on Wednesday he looked about 18. Perhaps he was experimenting for his Romeo debut? Veronica played his wife, Zina, and they looked very good together, even if his new look made him seem a tad too young for her. I'd love to see this partnership develop... Alex played Pyotr as a loveable doofus, quite charming, but I couldn't help wondering if he took his inspiration from Kevin, who always strikes me as a cheerful fool. :lol:
Speaking of Kevin, when is he going to promote this guy??????
Cory Stearns was a complete shock to me. His acting gets better every time I see him, but I had my doubts that he could pull off the man in drag scenes convincingly...he just doesn't seem the type to ham it up. But he had the audience laughing hysterically, and his pointe work was pretty nifty. I was howling at the bit where he stumbles to the ground, then realizes his tutu is exposing his legs and quickly crosses them in a coy pose. He hadn't shaved and his hairy legs juxtaposed with the tutu just cracked me up.
Roman Zhurbin stole the show with his pompous quality control inspector. I laughed out loud when he first appeared on stage, prompting a three-way look of death from the ladies in the next box. They hadn't figured out that we were watching a comedy.
Misty played the milkmaid and her look of disbelief was priceless when she was presented with the red dress. It's printed with tractors on it. :lol:
Jared Matthews looked extremely hunky in his overalls with no shirt on underneath. ;)
Is anyone seeing "Onegin" on Monday? let me know if you want to meet up.

Marge_Simpson
06-05-2012, 05:33 AM
Onegin was DIVINE. :swoon:

emason
06-05-2012, 01:29 PM
Happy to hear that, as I am going Thursday, and I think it is mostly the same cast.

Rob
06-05-2012, 03:55 PM
Onegin was DIVINE. :swoon:

oh i wanted to go so bd, but I got bronchitis and sinus infection and had to cancel my trip back to NYC.

emason
06-05-2012, 04:16 PM
Bummer. I'll send good thoughts your way when I am there on Thursday.

Cheylana
06-05-2012, 04:32 PM
oh i wanted to go so bd, but I got bronchitis and sinus infection and had to cancel my trip back to NYC.

Feel better, Rob.

Onegin is divine? Hmm, now I'm tempted to go. I do have some of Tchaikovsky's Eugene score on my iPod, so it would be nice to see some dancing to that music.