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Showing posts from February, 2017

Welcome Back, Joseph Gordon!

After being out for the fall and Nutcracker season with an injury, the wildly talented Joseph Gordon made his return to the NYCB stage as Gold in the 2/15/17 performance of Sleeping Beauty. NYCB has put up two brief but wonderful clips of the performance: Joseph Gordon as Gold. No explanation necessary. FLASH FOOTAGE: Joseph Gordon made his debut as Gold in last night's The Sleeping Beauty. There are only 5 perfs https://t.co/cNA8orL1NE pic.twitter.com/yqy5yRJOJP — New York City Ballet (@nycballet) February 16, 2017 And the ever radiant Sterling Hyltin's entrance as Aurora: FLASH FOOTAGE: Last night Sterling Hyltin enchanted us as Princess Aurora. She'll dance this role again on Sunday. https://t.co/XuSzbgbOmb pic.twitter.com/GQDkxOCyNp — New York City Ballet (@nycballet) February 16, 2017 Also new to me was Sara Mearns' delightfully hammy Carabosse, by far the most entertaining of the four that I've seen: Last #Sarabosse of the season!!!

Sleeping Beauty Marathon

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Balanchine's glorious Garland Waltz, photo @ Paul Kolnik I went on a Sleeping Beauty marathon this weekend and saw three performances in two days. NYCB's Sleeping Beauty is one of the finest productions I've seen -- Balanchine's wondrous Garland Waltz with the SAB children weaving in and out of the garland formations is itself worth the price of admission. The designs are beautiful and tasteful. Although Peter Martins cut the knitting scene and made some more abridgments this is a surprisingly complete Sleeping Beauty, and a nice contrast to ABT's historically correct but somewhat fussy and constipated Ratmansky version . For instance, more of the Panorama music is included than many versions, and the Wedding divertissements are almost all there. Especially adorable is the little SAB students they have as Little Red Riding Hood. They steal the show every time. Here are the casts I saw:

I Puritani - no high F, but who cares?

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Javier Camarena and Diana Damrau, photo @ Marty Sohl Whoever knew that the serene  I Puritani would be the opera to bring out the audience crazies? Last night at the Met's premiere of I Puritani there was this EXTREMELY vocal Diana Damrau fan who would scream "BRAAAAAAVVVVVVIIIIIIISSSSSSIIIIIIMMMMMMAAAAAA" and "THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU" after every number. You could admire her enthusiasm except that sounded more like she was giving birth than anything else. Then at the end of "Credeasi misera" some fanatical vocal purist (???) shouted "NO HIGH F" at Javier Camarena. The audience was shocked. The two overly vocal audience members leant some comedy to an otherwise rather sleepy (if vocally solid) revival. Don't get me wrong -- there's reasons to see this revival, the number one being Javier Camarena, whose warm sweet timbre, glorious upper register and winning stage presence officially put him in the designated spot of The Grea

The Great Comet

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Last night I saw Dave Malloy's wonderful musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and reviewed it for parterre box here . Suffice to say I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to people looking for a fun night at the theater. Josh Groban and DenĂ©e Benton are amazing. Here's my review: I never made it through more than a few chapters of any Tolstoy work. And I never made it through Chapter One, Volume One of  War and Peace . Yeah, I know. I suck. Turns out I was just not using the left side of my brain, because  War and Peac e can actually be a fun, entertaining, lighthearted musical.  The travails of Natasha, Pierre, Andrey, Anatole, and company are really a funny, tongue-in-cheek soap opera.  Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812  is one of those improbable shows that  throws in everything, including the kitchen sink, cabinet and refrigerator, and somehow the final product just works.   One of the things director  Rachel Chavkin  did wa

Winter Season Diaries: Swan Heaven, Sunday Un-funday

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The flock of black swans, photo @ Paul Kolnik I've seen lots of Swan Lakes in my balletomane life. And to be honest, I've disliked or felt indifferent to almost all of them. A long time ago Nina Ananiashvilli impressed me with her boneless arms and old-style Bolshoi acting. Mariinsky swans are hard to beat -- I loved  Viktoria Tereshkina 's strength and chutzpah.  Uliana Lopatkina's Odette/Odile was a master class of classicism, and she also had an inner radiance and spirituality that was heartbreaking. But really, that's ... it? Well tonight I was transported to Swan Heaven again, and in the unlikeliest form: petite, slight Sterling Hyltin in Balanchine's one-act version of the ballet. I've never taken Balanchine's abridged Swan Lake seriously -- sometimes I think he took an orchestral suite and had no idea what to do with it. He added a coda to the pas de deux. He added variations. He deleted variations. He changed the setting to some sort of a