. . . and then it was time for Act II of this evening's Giselle starring Paloma Herrera, Roberto Bolle, Stella Abrera, and Jared Matthews.
Stella Abrera's Myrtha swiftly and silently bourreed across the floor of the dark forest summoning the restless spirits to rise from their shallow graves and come together to begin their nightly ritual of unholy revenge. In white tulle and veils, they were a vision of beauty, but underneath it all, they were -- wait for it -- a sisterhood of psychopaths led by the most stunningly beautiful twisted sister of them all. The vindictive spirits roamed the forest until they caught their first victim of the night. Poor Hilarion. He never left anyone at the altar. He didn't deserve to die. But the guiltless sisters needed their nightly relief, and He. Was. It.
Stella Abrera was brilliant tonight as Myrtha – dark, unrelenting, all-powerful, but in the end, powerless over Giselle's love, forgiveness, and determination to save Albrecht. She came flying from the back of the stage with grand jetes that streamed forward at Mach speeds, each one landing silently. Her double circle of sauté de basques – two circles of circles – was sensational. And oh, how her Myrtha menaced and threatened Albrecht – making him do 29 or 30 entrechats six at the end. She snapped those tender myrtle branches from the rocks and wielded them to orchestrate terror throughout the night forest.
Jared Matthews' Hilarion was terrific - but not as good as his Albrecht last month in Chicago. Oh, let's not start any nastiness this late, but suffice to say, New York is being robbed this year by not being allowed to see Jared as Albrecht and Yuriko Kajiya as Giselle. And of course, we're being robbed for too many years to count by not getting to see Stella realize her dream to dance Giselle. What was that articulate comment in Dance Magazine about Stella's lost opportunity to dance Giselle following recovery from an injury - "a well-deserved opportunity that, inexplicably, has not again materialized" – INEXPLICABLY.
Roberto Bolle and Paloma Herrera were enjoyable as Albrecht and Giselle. Much more than competent. Less than thrilling. The chemistry was thin. We believed more in their steps than in their love for each other. Paloma seems to have plateaued in her development of her Giselle, and there doesn't seem to be anyone at ABT who can help bump her to the next artistic level in this role. Her Act I needs to be fresher – not louder, not jumpier, not screaming crazy like Osipova, but just fresher and more distinct.
Moyna and Zulma were again danced by Isabella Boylston and Yuriko Kajiya with the same result as last evening only Yuriko was even better musically and managed to attract some balances in arabesque that were mighty impressive from an artistic standpoint.
Let's be fair and go back to the beginning, because there was some very fine dancing in Act I in the Peasant PdD by Misty Copeland and Craig Salstein. Both have gained new strengths in their roles since the last time Haglund saw them. Misty's arms, especially, are more rounded with more space between the forearm and the ear when the arms are held in fifth high position. Boy, tonight on the little section which begins with emboites going backward to the knee from which the dancer springs to a double pirouette, Misty impressively got firmly down to the knee and stayed there confidently for a count before launching her pretty pirouettes. It was no small statement about this dancer's strength and coordination. She didn't need much help from Craig on those turns either. His variation was much tidier than on previous occasions when he may have pushed too hard to impress. He and Misty have a nice chemistry going.
The corps de ballet was mostly fine but for a couple of musically rugged spots with some of the newer Wilis.
The Pump Bump Award, this luxurious leatherette rhinestone and feather wedding party stiletto, is bestowed upon Stella Abrera for her boldly brilliant Myrtha.