Sunday, May 19, 2019

Spring Diaries: Ramasar Returns to NYCB; ABT's Damp Start

Mearns and Ramasar in the Rondo of Brahms-Schoenberg

ABT's Harlequinade, photo @ Marty Sohl
Spring ballet season continues in NYC. I was at the first performance of ABT's spring season and reviewed it for bachtrack here. Ratmansky's Harlequinade is a delightful miniature gem but it needs a livelier performances than it received the night I saw it. The mime has grown cartoonish, the corp de ballet dances had the good old ABT sluggishness, and while individually very fine James Whiteside as Harlequin, Isabella Boylston as Colombine, Stella Abrera and Pierrette and Thomas Forster as Pierrot could not bring the commedia dell'arte tale to life the way they had been able to last year. I have never seen the Met so empty and unenthusiastic -- there wasn't a single individual curtain call.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

NYCB Spring Diaries - A New Era

 Tanowitz's Bartok Ballet, photo @ Andrea Mohin
This spring season at NYCB truly marks the start of a new era -- Jonathan Stafford and Wendy Whelan are firmly in place as the new artistic directors, and the company looks both more at ease and more disciplined. No more turmoil.

First of all, as you all might know, I've been writing more for bachtrack, and so two of the performances I attended this spring at NYCB are at bachtrack. One is the opening night performance of Pictures at an Exhibition/Oltremare/Rodeo. Review can be found here. The other is my review of the Spring Gala which had a Justin Peck premiere (the six minute, pleasant, and forgettable Bright), a Pam Tanowitz premiere, and the classic Tschaikovsky Suite #3. Review can be found here. However my review was extensively edited and they took out my favorite line about the disappointing Pam Tanowitz piece, so I'll quote it here:
Bartók Ballet reminded me of why I rarely enjoy Asian fusion restaurants. To me Asian fusion restaurants don't satisfy the appetites of those who want authentic Chinese food, authentic Japanese food, etc. By trying to be everything, it ends up being nothing. Tanowitz's Bartók Ballet tries to fuse modern dance with contemporary ballet and the hybrid was just confusing.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Dialogues of the Carmelites

Dialogues des Carmelites, photo @ Ken Howard

Poulenc's masterpiece Dialogues des Carmelites only has three performances at the Met this season. Which means ... you should definitely try to catch one of the two remaining performances either in person or in HD, because opera does not get more devastating than this. I went in only having seen the opera on video. Nothing could have prepared me for the impact of seeing it live in person. This is the sort of opera that makes you unable to sleep at night.

Boris: Do Russian Leaders Ever Change?

  René Pape, photo @ Marty Sohl There's a leader of Russia. He's corrupt and has killed people on his path to power. He only trusts ...