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June 29, 2023


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Thanks for the report, Haglund. Glad that you made it to LWFC! ITA that the rollicking Campfires episode that ended Act 2 provided the very best DANCING of the night. As in real, real dancing for about seven minutes, of the old-fashioned kind seen in past ballets.

I’m sorry to have missed Brandt & Bell in the campfire dance; I’m sure that they were great! (Hurlin & Gonzalez we’re fabulous in the original cast.)

Good to hear from you again, Haglund. Always interested in what you think.

Wonderful to read your review .
Thank you

Hey Haglund, I went last night with three friends and we all generally enjoyed the performance. My friend who had read the novel enjoyed it the most as she really understood all the intricacies of the plot. That said, I'm not sure if a successful balletic adaptation of a book requires an hour long study of the synopsis or to read the work it's based on. For example, I don't think you need to have read Lady of the Camellias to appreciate Neumeier.

What I did not enjoy was the pre performance video which exhorted us to understand how important the ballet we were about to watch was. I felt like that should have been in promotional material since presumably everyone in the audience already felt that the ballet was important enough to buy tickets to.

Regarding the talk about the dancing, or lack thereof, I kept thinking of the 1934 Soviet ballet "Fountain of Bakhchisarai." Along with Lavrovsky's Romeo and Juliet (1940), it was the most successful "drambalet." What made me think of it was that Soviet censors really wanted to do away with choreography and have dance exclusively used to convey textual/literal meaning. In regards to Fountain, even still on the Mariinsky website it's not labeled a ballet - it's called a "choreographic poem." I think understanding LWFC as a choreographic poem and comparing it to drambalets makes me appreciate the work a lot more then trying to compare it to other contemporary ballets.

If Mr. Ratmansky makes homage to Grigorovich and his rebellion against drambalet by adding lots of steps, it felt like Mr. Wheeldon was making a nod to the 1930s.

The tree in the background just reminded me how I would love to see his Winter's Tale on the Met stage.

Thank you for your reviews!

I pretty much agree with your analysis, with the exception of your opinion of the score. While I agree with your comment that "a ballet score is never background music to the dancing or to any of the action on stage. It is an integral part, an impetus, a controlling, motivating partner in the ballet," I found that this score was not just a "motivating partner in the ballet," but the driving force behind its extensive narrative. It was dynamic, colorful, and refreshingly eclectic with a resonant theme. I would be happy to listen to it in concert form. If anything, the ballet would not have worked without something as powerful and imagery-laden.

Thanks, Haglund, for your terrific review. Here's another shout-out to Courtney Lavine, who has been languishing in the corps for too long. So good to see her in the light.
Instead of spending all this money on LWFC (admittedly split with the Royal Ballet in some capacity), I would love to see revivals of some of the other 19th century ballets that we never get to see anymore because of woke issues (I can see them as being of their time, but not everyone can), which I'm sure could be altered, such as Paquita, The Pharoah's Daughter, and Esmeralda, especially now that ABT is limited to a measly five weeks in the Summer Season. As someone noted elsewhere, we also have limited visits from foreign classical companies. As a side note, I really think that Chloe Misseldine needs to change her eye makeup. She is beautiful in real life, but those dark uplifted corners make her look weird on stage. I felt the same way seeing her in Of Love and Rage.

Would it be so hard for ABT to put out an RFP for "a classical ballet created for a moderate to large cast of dancers using predominantly classical steps & syntax to familiar classical concert music; one-act okay"? Mail a copy to SFB's Yuri Possokhov; he loves classical music.

Or resurrect Balanchine?

Hi, Haglund, great to have you back. I saw the same cast as you did, but felt that Brandt was miscast as Gertrudis . She looked like a twelve year old next to Bell. Camargo is becoming the MVP of the male ranks, dancing every role they give him very well. I was surprised they devoted two weeks to LWFC. It makes an already short season seem shorter.

ITA about Camargo, Pat.

Pat: they had to devote two weeks to it because they needed three days to physically get the production set up. That left 4 performances during the first week.

That “Let’s Go Latin!” film that prefaced the LWFC performances made me chuckle. I have an idea! Maybe it’s time for NYCB to revive the 1960 PANAMERICA ballet - eight little ballets representing eight different countries of Latin America. There were five choreographers; George Balanchine crafted those of Colombia, Mexico and Cuba. There must have been lots of dancing in that.

I also saw the Park/Camargo cast, at their last performance, on the 1st, and pretty much agree with everything that has been said.

The highlight for me was the Brandt/Bell dancing, though I was disappointed she did not tear all her clothes off and go running naked in a field to join him on his horse. I read the book just last month and there were a couple scenes that I had to watch carefully for as they were not as vivid as in the book. Also the scene where everyone throws up after the wedding and the fire scene where not only TIta/Pedro, but I believe the whole ranch with everyone and everything in it went up in flames.

I also wondered about Chloe Misseldine's makeup. I knew she was in it but had trouble identifying her in the early scenes because of the way she looked, at least compared to her head shot on the ABT website. At first I thought maybe they were trying to "de-easternize" her and make her look more Mexican. But they didn't do that with Sunmi Park's makeup, at least as far as I could tell.

On that "explanation" at the beginning, I just froze when I saw that, fearing it was going to be a performance filled with explanations. Thank goodness it wasn't.

I did like the music, at least in the sense I would like to hear it again, maybe on WQXR or BBCRadio 3 as background music while I'm doing something else. Actually, I started to doze off during the first act and was thinking of leaving at the second intermission. But I decided to stay and one of the reasons I did was the music.

Haglund, what, if any, Giselles are you attending this week? I just came from an incredibly promising Hurlin debut and will return to the opera house in an hour or so for the Brandt/Cornejo.

I saw both the Hurlin-Camargo and the Brandt-Cornejo. Budget constraints forced me to sit in the Dress Circle and in that location Hurlin-Camargo put me to sleep. I kept thinking how much better that cast would have been in a smaller house; nothing they did projected beyond the footlights. It didn’t help that other dancers weren’t up to snuff either; Betsy McBride brought the Peasant Pas to a dead stop setting up for her turns. Sorry, that’s not dancing, that’s marking steps. The evening wasn’t perfect, but it was a 100 times better. The orchestra sounded better, the conducting was better, and even though Cornejo had to scale back his dancing, he and Brandt had enough experience and star power to sell the ballet to the rafters. Small things made a difference, too: Hurlin’s costume was so washed out one couldn’t even tell if it was blue. Brandt’s corset was a brilliant blue and there was a row of blue ribbon around the hem - no doubt whatsoever that Brandt’s Giselle wore blue. Chloe Misseldene on the other hand should never be allowed to dance Myrta again until her toe shoes don’t go clack-clack-clack across the stage during Myrta’s opening pass -what a buzzkill that was. There were fewer people in the DC during the evening than had been at the matinee, but the applause at the curtain calls was much louder. Evening 1; afternoon 0.

Don't many dancers' toe shoes go clack clack clack across the stage of the Met? That is one thing that has always struck me about ballet performances there -- how noisy they are.

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