Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bolshoi's Coppelia in HD

At this point I'm really going to collapse from ballet-induced narcolepsy. After catching two Giselles in a row, I woke up early this morning to catch the Bolshoi in HD series, their last of the season. My main reason to see this was I wanted to see Sergei Vikharev's "new-old" reconstruction of Coppelia. I've seen both the ABT and NYCB versions, as well as the version the Royal Ballet does. But Vikharev's reconstructions are from the Sergeyev notations of the 1894 Petipa/Ceccheti version, and I was curious. The Leo Delibes score is always so delightful to listen to. And of course, I wanted to see Natalia Osipova.

What did I learn? Well, for one, that the Vikharev reconstruction looks basically like the versions the ABT and NYCB do. There are no major differences in either choreography, mime, or traditional stage business. The ABT version is by Freddie Franklin and Alexandra Danilova, the NYCB has Balanchine and Danilova, and after watching the Vikharev I must say Danilova and Balanchine must have had great memories of their days as students in the Imperial Ballet School, because their versions echo the Vikharev reconstruction note by note, step by step. Only Vikharev's costumes are more old-fashioned. I guess this is one ballet that has been fairly well-preserved, including the mime. The NYCB version has some original Balanchine choreography in the third divertissement act, but even then ... it kind of looks the same. There's even that big leap into fishdive that ends the wedding pas de deux.

Two Great Giselles

American Ballet Theatre
May 27 and May 28, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Born This Way

I downloaded the by now very very leaked Born This Way album yesterday. I played it basically all day long (sorry neighbors!) and here's my track-by-track breakdown:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don Quixote at the ABT

Don Quixote - Alina Cojocaru, Jose Manuel Carreno, Maria Riccetto
American Ballet Theatre 
May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Die Walküre

Richard Wagner - Die Walkuere
Bryn Terfel, Deborah Voigt, Jonas Kaufmann, Eva Marie Westbroek, Stephanie Blythe, Hans-Peter Konig, James Levine cond.
Metropolitan Opera
May 14, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Edge of Glory

Words cannot describe how awesome this song is. Gagagoddess eternal love!
And how awesome is this cover?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dvorak's Stabat Mater

I'll be the first to admit that I know practically nothing about choral works. I guess it's the part of me that is my father's daughter, to not really be interested in that kind of music. But this afternoon I ventured to Carnegie Hall to see Antonin Dvorak's Stabat Mater, simply because I wanted to see what the buzz was all about with Angela Meade, who's being whispered among hard-core opera fans as the next Sutherland/Caballe/Callas/Sills all rolled into one.

Without knowing much about choral works, it seems to me that Dvorak's Stabat Mater is more instrumental than vocal, with the chorus and soloists acting as another instrument, so to speak. The New York Choral Society and Brooklyn Philharmonic sounded absolutely stunning at Carnegie Hall, maybe the best acoustic hall I've ever stepped in -- sounds are so vivid, as if they were literally buzzing next to your ear. The melodies of Stabat Mater seem more romantic and less formally religious. But again, I really shouldn't comment too much about the music, since it my first time hearing it.

How were the soloists? Well I have this theory that everyone sounds great in Carnegie Hall -- it's such a perfectly designed hall, and voices sound larger, richer, and riper there than anywhere else. That being said, it's clear that Angela Meade has a major league voice. It's bright, it soars over the orchestra and chorus, just a gorgeous sound. The glow of her voice really made her sound celestial. She really might be the next bright hope for dramatic coloratura sopranos. I look forward to her Anna Bolena next year at the Met, a role she will be sharing with Anna Netrebko. Yeghishe Manucharyan, an Armenian tenor, had a pleasant lyric tenor that just occasionally sounded metallic and nasal. Tamara Mumford was the alto and she was stuck with the most formal, least interesting solo of the piece. She was one of the Rheinmaidens this year -- her voice is definitely rich and plummy, a real mezzo. She's also a striking looking woman. Barak Bilgili rounded out the quartet as the bass, and he was maybe the weak link? His bass just didn't have the resonance I associate with this fach, and often sounded hollow and inaudible.

Overall I was glad I went, even though choral works are still not my cup of tea in general. But the four soloists are promising artists, and as always, sitting in Carnegie Hall is a thrill. I especially love how in the lobby there's an autographed photograph of this nobody named Tchaikovsky.

Balanchine's Nutcracker pops up ... everywhere

It's December 2020 and the world is going through a furious, deadly second wave of the covid pandemic. Most performances have been cance...