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January 23, 2019


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Great review! I’m glad I got to see Orpheus. It’s an interesting work for sure, but not my particular cup of tea.

Looking forward to Tschai PC2 tonight. I hope the new costumes turn out well.

The real tragedy is that the building itself wasn't named the George Balanchine Theater. A shame Koch wasn't big enough to understand the significance that gesture would have had.

Hi Haglund,

Terrific review! I saw the performance and although Stanley was good [and better than Catazaro's Apollo last year], I definitely thought something was missing. You articulated it: not enough youthfulness and too much stoical glaring. Stanley's stern countenance was very off. I was disappointed by Woodward and thought she could have been much more expressive.

I saw Orpheus long long ago with Peter Martins and never saw it again until last night. Garcia, not a favorite of mine, danced very well and Hyltin was great.

You said it all about the magnificent Maria Kowroski in Agon! She is the personification of the notes in the score. I've loved this dancer since I first saw her when she was very young. What a thrill for us that she's still dancing.

Well naturally the NYT (Siebert) has almost the exact opposite review of the performance, right down to Pollack being "shaky". What a joke that rag is.

And now dancers must dance with a "gender-fluid" quality??

I'm out.

LOL, Gerry. And the number of Apollo debuts that Siebert has seen for comparison is___?. And the number of performances of Apollo that Siebert has seen is ___?. All he did in his "review" was carry on with the NYT socio-political agenda which is now more important than the art in the art pages of NYT. Instead of playing it safe and only writing what he actually knew from his own experience, Siebert just drank & poured the Macaulay-Kourlas Kool-Aid.

Brittany Pollack's debut was NOT shaky. It's doubtful that Siebert ever saw Mearns fumble through the role or Bouder's tension-filled less than perfect efforts in the role. But the NYT agenda to some how convey nepotistic casting is clear--a clear effort to detract from the great job that Jon Stafford is doing. Wait until you see what Siebert/Kourlas or whomever writes about Abi Stafford's performances this week and next. It's probably already written.

Now, let's ask again, why aren't there any African American classical arts critics at the New York Times? Where's our critic "for our time." Obviously, the Times practices the same type of racism that it complains permeates ballet.

Oh no, it would upset me so much if they go after Abi Stafford. I've always loved her dancing and, though it's shallow, always thought she was one of the prettiest dancers in the company.
She's been woefully undercast in the last 5 years and I was so happy to see her back on the casting sheet since Martins has left.

Rose, I disagree with your implication that there is a connection between Abi's recent castings and Martins' departure. Abi was out a long time on maternity leave. Prior to that Martins and Ratmansky both cast her quite a bit and appropriately. She's near the end of a very long and respected career at NYCB. She hasn't been dancing anything that she shouldn't be, and I don't think that either she or Brittany should have to forgo new opportunities that other dancers get just because some ignoramuses at NYT might pounce on a knee-jerking, reactionary opportunity.

Hi, Haglund,

It's your contrarian friend, Ellen, who once again is out of step with others. For what it's worth, here is what I thought about Tuesday night. I've been going to City Ballet since 1973, so even though I don't go all that often every year, I've seen enough to have an opinion.

Apollo: I thought it was the best I have ever seen. This is the first time I saw a god and muses. All the other times I've seen photogenic dancers in white costumes, but who or what they were supposed to be never came through. I also thought Taylor Stanley had tons of energy, more than I've seen anyone else in the part has had. I thought the whole thing was a triumph and the highlight of the evening..

Agon: I thought it was very good but not so great as the Apollo. Anthony Huxley stood out to me; I couldn't take my eyes off him whenever he was on stage.

Orpheus: To the best of my recollection I have only seen two other performances of this, both with Peter Martins and Karin von Aroldingen, two or three seasons apart. I don't believe I've seen anyone else in the roles. The first Orpheus was electrifying and remains one of my great memories of City Ballet. The sensuality of Eurydice as she twined herself around Orpheus was off the charts and the unbearable struggle of Orpheus to not rip his eyeshade off was unreal. The dramatic commitment by the principals is burned in my brain. Now, you can correct me if I am wrong. but my memory is that in those performances, in the moment when Orpheus ripped off the eyeshade, Eurydice vanished instantly. She was literally ripped away under the curtain. It was a body blow and I was stunned. (More so the first time; the second performance didn't live up to the first.)

In contrast, I thought Tuesday night was a dull, lifeless, crashing bore. The seat in front of me was empty and I had a very good view from up in the 2nd Ring. I had to restrain myself from laughing out loud when I actually saw arms protruding from under the white curtain to pull Eurydice back after she had been on the floor for an eternity. There was absolutely none of that nonsense with Martins/von Aroldingen. My verdict on Tuesday's Orpheus: awful, just awful.

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