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March 09, 2019


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I went to the matinee today and in the words of a friend: charmless. Sterling Baca is the first Albrecht I can ever remember seeing who had no discernible personality of any type. He wasn’t the heartless cad of a Nureyev or a Malakhov. He also wasn’t the boyish puppy-love type either a la Frank Augustyn (if I am remembering correctly.). He was a total cypher; the only emotion he showed at all was when Albrecht tried to run Hilarion through with a sword. I honestly wondered what Giselle ever saw in him. There was some nice dancing throughout but it never came together. Everyone can have an off day. I guess this was the one for Pennsylvania Ballet.

Oh my gosh. So sorry to hear this. I won't be able to get to any more of the performances in this Giselle run, but I'm glad that I saw the cast that I did. I wonder what Sterling's motivation for Albrecht was. How was Giselle, Dayesi Torriente? She's rather statuesque for a Giselle, but Cynthia Gregory was able to pull it off years ago. On the other hand, Martine van Hamel could not.

I liked Torriente. Her mad scene was very good and her second act lovely. Overall the second act was a big improvement over the first. Baca did entrechats in the second act and I so prefer brises; I think they fit the story better. They get A for effort but not for the end result; it was like ABT lite.

Did they use something better than that awful Lanchbery orchestration?

Hello Haglund, so happy to hear that you enjoyed the opening night performance. I saw two performances on Saturday March 9 - matinee [Giselle/Yuka Iseda; Albrecht/Aleksey Babayev; Hilarion/Ian Hussey] and evening [Giselle/Mayara Pineiro; Albrecht/Zecheng Liang; Hilarion/Arian Molina Soca]. I agree that the orchestra was outstanding, but I found some of the tempos a bit on the slow side, especially in Act 2. Both performances I saw were quite solid. The standout at the matinee was Yuka Iseda - she was spectacular. The audience was hanging on every balance on pointe, every penche arabesque. The height of her leaps, deep into Act 2, showed amazing stamina. The evening performance as well was solid all around. To my eye, the standout in the evening was Etienne Diaz in the Peasant pas de deux. He was so completely in sync with the music that it seemed that he was conducting the orchestra with his body. I'm looking forward to seeing two more performances this coming Saturday March 16 - matinee [Giselle/Alexandra Hughes; Albrecht/Ian Hussey; Hilarion/Federico D'Ortenzi] and evening [same as opening night, Giselle/Oksana Maslova; Albrecht/Arian Molina Soca; Hilarion/Ian Hussey].

Hi, Bryan.

It cannot be easy for a conductor to be handed six different principal casts for his debut run. He certainly got it right on opening night.

Glad to hear that Yuka Iseda was spectacular. I remember well her elegant classicism in Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto when Corella Ballet (Barcelona Ballet) came to New York City Center years ago.

Enjoy this week's performances!

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