Haglund enjoyed a very promising debut by Melissa Thomas as Caroline in Jardin aux Lilas on Thursday evening. Thomas gave us a much younger, more emotional character than Julie Kent did the evening before. Her angst and passion flowed more freely through the movement, but she never gave the appearance of acting. The cast of Friends and Relatives included a younger Thomas, Mary Mills, who has the same dazzling beauty as Melissa but in a shorter, more compact package.
The Man She Must Marry was Vitali Krauchenka, and Her Lover was Thomas Forster. Haglund thought that these corpsmen posted very acceptable efforts. Both have faces that make them immediately likable, and both appeared well rehearsed and confident in their roles.
The only non-corps member in the cast was soloist Veronika Part as An Episode in His Past. Haglund immediately felt that this was a miscast as Ms. Part over-emoted her way from one end of the stage to the other trying to give the impression that she was the victim. The character is called An Episode in His Past, not the former love of his life. She was an Episode, plain and simply. Part played it like Odette. Some will like it, but Haglund thought it was way, way overdone.
The program opened with Wiles and Hallberg in Ballo again. Haglund has always liked their version of it, and likes it even more after having seen them last night finally settle into the choreography. As previously opined, Hallberg dances his best with Wiles, even though they may not be the optimal partnership. She keeps him on his toes. He knows that if he doesn’t give 110%, he will have Michele’s dust in his teeth. Both were gloriously on their toes last night. Haglund awards a little paisley Pump Bump to David and Michele for their stylish performance.