A Red Velvet Cake Conspiracy has been victimizing Haglund
all summer to the point where he has been worried whether he would continue to
fit in his red velvet seat at the Met Opera House. Unlike with the seats on the subway, you
can't spread across two seats in the opera house and just say, "Sorry Bud, go to
the next car." Nor is it well-received when your anatomy spills over into the
next person's space - especially when it's hot and muggy. So, Haglund
was not put out at all last night when some of the higher calorie lifts were omitted
from the Act II Pas de Deux at Swan Lake. The lower calorie
substitutes were all quite delicious and nutritious. By Acts III and IV,
Haglund's gut was ready for the big old dessert tray once again. And boy was it
loaded last night.
Let's stop all this silly food talk and get to the meat of
the matter. Last night's Swan Lake cast had a last minute substitute of
Veronika Part and David Hallberg because Irina Dvorovenko suffered an injury and
could not perform. Irina and her husband Max Beloserkovsky have supplied us
with some of the classiest and most enjoyable Swan Lake performances throughout
the years and so it was just awful to hear of Irina's injury. Haglund'eelers
everywhere wish her a very speedy recovery.
With little rehearsal and to Haglund's recollection, not
much more than one previous Swan Lake together, Veronika and David closed the
week-long run of Swan Lake with a fantastic performance. They are quite
handsome together and if adjustments had to be made during the partnering and a
lift truncated, it did not jar the audience out of the fantasy. Odette had a
much more reasonable tempo with which to convey her predicament in Act II than
she did on Monday night. Her final series of supported pirouettes and
concluding penche arabesque were the miracle the audience always holds its
The Act III Black Swan PdD was excellent. Hallberg is
simply unmatched when it comes to beauty of line and those jumps that sail
through the air. The speed with which he gets that back leg into attitude
position on his coupe jetes brings the whole shape of the jump into clear view.
Speaking of attitude positions – last night Haglund observed from both Odile
and Siegfried some beautiful, tight, square, 90 degree angle attitudes that were
gorgeous. Haglund loves the perfect square attitudes and wishes they would be
used a little more frequently instead of the elongated ones where the knee
sticks out past the side of the shoulder and the shape zooms upward. He would
especially love to see perfect square attitudes used in the Rose
The Act IV PdD was sensational and the lifts were, too.
Siegfried lifted Odette sky-high with seemingly no effort and she arched
backwards with stunning beauty. A fantastic Act IV from these two - just
fantastic! A smallhowever - Odette stepped off the cliff
vertically while looking down as if she was unsure where the pond was. We don't
want to see her bounce back up the way Siegfried Carreno sometimes does, but a
little more of a horizontal exit would have been nice.
Swan Lake is a lot more than just Odette and Siegfried.
Once again last night we were treated to a brilliant PdT from Blaine Hoven,
Stella Abrera and Maria Riccetto. When Blaine positioned himself in the
downstage corner to prepare for his diagonal of spectacular, splitting grand
jetes entournant, he wore a wonderful, confident expression on his face that
said "Watch this, I'm about to make you crazy" – which he did. Stella belted
out entrechat sixes and flying assembles that caused the audience to interrupt
with applause. Maria finished those supported pirouettes with such authority
and charm. Oh, these three are very, very good in this PdT – and they
know it – and that makes it all the better.
Jared Matthews gave a hugeperformance as the
sexy, dangerous Von Rothbart. This guy is now attacking every role with a new
fearless authority and blistering energy that is making him very exciting to
watch. What a year he is having!
The ladies and gentlemen of the corps were superb as
well. There just are not enough thanks for the swans – all of whom were truly
beautiful all week long and gave such pleasure to the 30,000 or so people who
saw them. That's a lot of memories made in a short time.
And so, we come to the close of another Swan Lake Week.
The fantasy never fails us and it always leaves us aching for more. Haglund
must venture below ground to the secure vault in the saferoom to bring out the
Golden First Position Pump Bump Awardfor this week's grand