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September 22, 2017

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I will be there Sunday! Alas I can only make it to one show in the shortened run, but I'm looking forward to it very much.

Fabulous, Diana. Can't wait to hear back from you.

At my gate at the airport heading to Houston! Haglund, I have your seat for tonight's show - how ironic. My original seat was one row behind. Front row left for this afternoon's show and front row center for tomorrow. Have you seen the photos from last night? Fabulous!

Patricia, just wait until you see the front of the Hobby Center:

Mayerling Hobby Center

This guy was gobsmacked by Houston Ballet's Mayerling, and it was his first ballet:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZXs8W9lY7q/

So happy to see that Leanne Benjamin traveled to Houston to help with this production.

Sky-high praise for Mayerling from the Houston Press: http://www.houstonpress.com/arts/review-mayerling-at-houston-ballet-9816098

OMG, our little Yuriko is a prostitute again!

"Working opposite the best the Houston Ballet has to offer has to be an advantage and boy, did he have the best. Kajiya dazzled as Rudolf’s favorite prostitute Mitzi, particularly in her group dance with the Hungarian officers (Ryo Kato, Rhys Kosakowski, Linnar Looris and Jared Matthews). Webb is elusive as Marie Larisch. She both toys with Rudolf and shows the most genuine concern for him, distraught at their last encounter. It’s also apparent in their pas de deux that she’s the closest to being Rudolf’s equal. Mennite is a low-key tragic figure in the story. Humiliated by her husband in public and in private, it’s easy to imagine her own trajectory, one that maybe leads to the creation of a character like Empress Elisabeth."

I was at the performance yesterday and I was blown away by Connor Walsh's performance. The ballet was fantastic and before the show, the mayor of Houston was escorted onstage by Lauren Anderson to thank the public for attending. Karina Gonzalez was as beautiful as ever, but Mitzi Caspar is the role for Yuriko Kajiya...amazing!

Thanks, Matthew. Do you think that most of the audience liked it as much as you did? Do you think they followed the story?

More extraordinary high praise for Houston Ballet's Mayerling from the Houston Chronicle:

"Connor Walsh, with a vacant despondence in his normally cheerful eyes, danced as if possessed by an army of reckless inner demons. His Rudolf barrels toward an end he seems to deserve."
....
"Yes, "Mayerling" is driven by sobering subject matter – sex, drugs, drink and death – but it's also high art, and ravishing entertainment."

http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/Houston-Ballet-s-Mayerling-is-a-must-see-12223295.php

More high praise for Mayerling: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/arts/09-23-17-houston-ballets-mayerling-surges-above-the-storm/#slide=4

Haglund, I'm not sure that a lot of the audience knew much about the ballet. I talked to a mom with her young daughter before the show and they were only there because of season tickets. People around me applauded a lot, but during intermissions I saw everyone reading their programs to figure out what they saw.

Oh my goodness. Wonders never cease.

Houston Ballet was so brilliant in Mayerling that it prompted Alastair Macaulay to seriously backpedal over his long, well-known disdain for MacMillan's ballet.

But in true form, Macaulay pronounces that MacMillan was a "flawed craftsman" because "it’s exceptionally hard to know who’s who amid the many important characters". He clarifies on his Instagram that he concluded MacMillan was a "flawed craftsman" simply because after 39 years of watching the ballet (yeah, right), Alastair still mistook the prime minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for the husband of the ex-mistress of Crown Prince Rudolf. Any chance that the problem could have been Macaulay's? After 39 years, he still hasn't gotten it straight?

It's quite uncommon for Macaulay to do an about-face like he has today -- astonishing to see it done for Mayerling. Maybe all the loud criticism of his inability to watch any ballet with fresh eyes prompted him to stick a couple of toothpicks under his lids to hold them open.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/arts/dance/review-mayerling-houston-ballet-macmillan.html

The best review and most informative review (about the performance) that I've read so far is from the Houston Press: http://www.houstonpress.com/arts/review-mayerling-at-houston-ballet-9816098

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