Friday, February 22, 2019

NYCB's Sleeping Beauty has Radiant New Aurora

Indiana Woodward and Anthony Huxley, photo @ An Rong Xu

Natural Auroras in Sleeping Beauty are surprisingly rare for a ballet that's performed so often, all over the world. Many ballerinas try it, many ballerinas can do the steps, but very few ballerinas have that combination of charm, radiance, joy, AND classical technique to really pull off the transformation from a sixteen year old in the birthday party to the regal monarch in the wedding scene. Margot Fonteyn was a legendary Aurora. A film made when she was 50 showed that she could still nail all the Rose Adagio balances and be a remarkably convincing teenager. In my live ballet-going experience, Alina Cojocaru, Diana Vishneva, and Sterling Hyltin are/were wonderful Auroras. Well tonight I can add another natural Aurora to this very small list: Indiana Woodward.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

My Fair Lady's new cast; My new assignment


Benanti as Eliza in the Ascot scene, photo @ Sara Krulwich
The annual "momsical" came and went this past weekend -- My Fair Lady with an almost entire new cast. Henry Hadden-Patton is the only holdover from the original cast.  (Well and Allan Cordunner as Pickering and Linda Mugleston as Mrs. Pearce but ...) My mom is usually a very enthusiastic theatergoer (provided the musical is a wholesome, G-rated old-fashioned affair). Indeed she loved Henry Hadden-Patton and Danny Burstein (the new Doolitel), REALLY loved Christian Dante White (the new Freddy), and she  also liked Sher's ending. She said it "made more sense" because "Eliza could never be happy with Higgins." Keep in mind she's very old fashioned and was mildly bothered by the drag dancers in "Get Me to the Church."

Friday, February 8, 2019

La Fille du Régiment: Vive la France, vive Les Hauts C!!!; Call Me Madam

Fille du Régiment, photo @ Marty Sohl

Donizetti's delightful comedy La Fille du Régiment made a much-welcome return to the Met last night. This was one of those evenings that was such a delightful performance overall that the flaws hardly mattered. The Met has assembled a wonderful cast for this revival, and Laurent Pelly's ubiquitous production remains as fresh and funny as ever. My first ever Fille was unforgettable -- Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez in the lead roles. I remember the pandemonium during that performance -- the screaming, shouting, and stomping. If this performance didn't quite have the same raucous energy it was still one that made you leave the theater grinning from ear to ear.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

NYCB Winter Diaries: Justin Peck's Principia Drops to the Bottom of his Oeuvre

The ladies of Principia, photo @ Andrea Mohin
Winter Season at NYCB usually follows a pattern: one week of pure classics, and then week 2 brings new works. Week 2 brought the premiere of Justin Peck's by-now obligatory new work. The title: Principia, after Isaac Newton's book (why???). The music: Sufjan Stevens (again). The strengths of the ballet: Peck's consistent ability to create arresting corps formations. In one of the ballet's few interesting moments, there are three separate huddles of dancers onstage. One dancer breaks free and breaks up another group. That broken up group quickly unites again. This action is repeated several times. Why are these dancers so determined to remain in this tight huddle formation? It's mysterious, intriguing.

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...