Monday, November 3, 2014

ABT Fall Season 2014 - Raymonda, Seven Sonatas and Thirteen Diversions

You didn't think I'd be satisfied with just one trip to ABT's fall season, did you?  Well, you would be right!  It seems like months ago that I bought myself a ticket to last Saturday's performance - even though the weather was cold and rainy, it was warm and wonderful inside!  You know what they say (or at least what I always say, thanks to Ed Kleban): everything is beautiful at the ballet...

First up was Raymonda Divertissements, which I've never seen before.  This is a new staging by ABT's artistic director Kevin McKenzie and Irina Kolpakova.  The music is by Alexander Glazounov.  According to the NY Times, this production is based on Petipa's last surviving classic, a three-act Raymonda, that has many different iterations out in the ballet world.  They put this one together using most of the Act III music for a suite of dances in a vaguely Hungarian style.

photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor
I really enjoyed the performance, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage and I was especially thrilled with Devon Teuscher's solo, which was quite exciting with many turns and leaps and extended moves en pointe.  She got a rousing ovation from the audience.  There were eight couples, plus the lead pair, danced by Paloma Herrera and Cory Stearns.  I'm not a huge fan of Herrera, as I believe I've mentioned before, and she didn't really change my mind here.  She seemed vaguely disinterested throughout and her solo had very distracting noises made by her toe shoes.  The music suggests a lightness and neither she, or Stearns, is really a 'light' dancer.  They were perfectly pleasant, especially in the final variation, and Stearns was quite nice in his solos, but they did not complement each other very well in their partner dancing.  The pas de quatre had four terrific gentlemen, though one of them seemed less prepared than the others and was out of sync throughout.  On the whole, though, I enjoyed the ballet and the music, outstandingly played by the ABT orchestra, and would love to see it again, albeit with another couple in the lead roles.

photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor
Second up was Seven Sonatas, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, whose work I always enjoy.  This ballet has three couples dancing to seven pieces by Domenico Scarlatti.  I really loved it, all the pas de deux were lovely, and although it wasn't a story ballet, all of the couples had characters and throughlines in their dancing.  Veronika Part and Blaine Hoven had the most moving pas de deux - very passionate and exquisitely danced; Arron Scott and Sarah Lane were perhaps the most playful with light, airy jumps and quick turns.  I also enjoyed the third couple, Christine Shevchenko and Alexandre Hammoudi.  I think I've only seen Hammoudi dance as Rothbart in Swan Lake before, so it was nice to see him in a more extended dance role.  He is very noble and secure.  The stage pictures were very intricate, yet intimate, and the solo pianist, Barbara Bilach, was fantastic.  At the end, there was a glorious part where all of the dancers but one moved beautifully, then suddenly they stopped and the one dancer began.  It was stunning.  I really hope to see this piece again soon. 

photo credit: Andrea Mohin
The final piece of the evening was Christopher Wheeldon's Thirteen Diversions.  I didn't remember seeing it before when I booked the tickets, but as I watched it, I had memories of previous viewings.  I took a look at past posts and yes indeed, I've seen it twice before, though not for a couple of years.  I really love this ballet, it has everything - exciting choreography, terrific pas de deux and group dancing, gorgeous lighting that tells its own story, and great music.  I wouldn't think that music by Britten would lend itself to such silky dancing, but I guess you can just never know.  There were four lead couples, and eight other couples.  The lead gents were Marcelo Gomes, Joseph Gorak, Thomas Forster and Calvin Royal - four of my absolute favorites.  They did not disappoint in the least.  The ladies were also terrific, especially Stella Abrera, who was oh so majestic and gorgeous.  I just love all the intricate stage pictures and the ending makes you hold your breath.  I was enchanted.

After the curtain calls for the last ballet, Mr. Perfection, Marcelo Gomes, got a microphone from offstage and made a plea for everyone to donate to DRA, Dancers Respond to AIDS.  This is the first time I've heard a fundraising plea at the ballet; I'm used to hearing them at Broadway theaters.  It was interesting.  Marcelo is a wonderful speaker and he was quite genuinely moved when he was talking about the impact the money would make on people's lives.  It was a lovely way to end the evening, even if an usher did come over and ask me to stop taking pictures.  Sigh.  They wouldn't make the person turn off their hearing aid which was making a high-pitched whine through the whole evening and my little no-flash-photography at the curtain call was bothersome.  Oh well.  Thank heavens I had gotten a few surreptitious shots before she came over... ;)

I received my summer season subscription renewal form in the mail, so I guess I'll just be dreaming of ballet until next year.  May 2015 seems so far off.  I'll have to start nagging my Tony voter friends for invitations, I guess, to take my mind off my ballet withdrawal.  We'll see how that goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment