American Ballet Theatre
Two Classical Revivals
The Leaves are Fading
Ballo della Regina
At City Center
Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova, Clinton Luckett
Georgina Parkinson, Nancy Raffa
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 5, 2007
(See More ABT Reviews and Candids)
(See an Interview with ABT Conductor, David LaMarche)
The Leaves are Fading (1975): Ballet by Antony Tudor, Staged by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, Music by Antonin Dvorák, Scenery by Ming Cho Lee, Costumes by Patricia Zipprodt, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton.
October 24, 2007: Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes, Melissa Thomas, and the Company.
October 31, 2007: Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Stella Abrera, Sascha Radetsky, Maria Bystrova, and the Company.
November 3, 2007 Matinee: Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes, Karen Uphoff, and the Company.
On three viewings of this ravishing Tudor ballet, with Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes dancing the leads on two of three performances, and Stella Abrera and Sascha Radetsky dancing the lead in one performance, I was taken with the extreme ethereal quality, as one dancer in a long, flowing costume breezes through the woodlands, lost in rapturous thought, introducing the mood. The endless pas de deux was especially effective in the partnering of Ms. Kent and Mr. Gomes, both inspired and exuding romance, sensuality, and intense chemistry. In fact, it has been noted in this magazine, that Ms. Kent and Mr. Gomes should be frequently cast together, and they are.
Ms. Abrera and Mr. Radetsky were more punctuated in movement, more sharp and individualized. They were two remarkable dancers, but not resonantly connected. Amanda McKerrow and John Gardiner took a bow on the debut performance, and their staging was exemplary and thought-provoking. The introductory “breeze” through the woodlands was equally engaging in the efforts of Ms. Thomas, Ms. Bystrova, and Ms. Uphoff. Ming Cho Lee’s green and leafy scenery was unique, with one large branch artistically angled, and Patricia Zipprodt’s effervescent costumes invited dreamy thoughts. Jennifer Tipton’s moonlit glow was critical to this revival, and Charles Barker led the orchestra through the Dvorák on all three viewings.
Ballo della Regina (Balanchine 1978, ABT World Premiere): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Merrill Ashley, Music by Giuseppe Verdi, Costumes by Ben Benson, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Penny Jacobus.
November 4, 2007 Matinee: Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Yuriko Kajiya, Herman Cornejo, Isabella Boylston, Nicole Graniero, Simone Messmer, Marian Butler, and the Company.
ABT’s staging of Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina by Merrill Ashley could have been performed more often during this Season, as the dancing was riveting. In Ben Benson’s flowing blues and pinks, the corps dances, the soloists, and the lead solos and pas de deux bring Verdi’s dynamic score to dynamic dervish, all in a classical, regal genre. The music from Don Carlo is buoyant and bravura, and Herman Cornejo did not disappoint. From his first entrance, he seized the stage and commanded the attention. His well-cast partner, Yuriko Kajiya, a recently promoted soloist, literally glowed from within, and two shining stars led the remaining dancers in rapid en air jumps and elegant leaps. Of the four soloists, Marian Butler seemed the most prepared and poised, with Isabella Boylston in mesmerizing motion, as well. Ms. Graniero and Ms. Messmer will grow into the roles.
The female corps was scintillating, and Jacquelyn Reyes and Hee Seo caught my eye more than once. Charles Barker kept the orchestra “operatic” in musical gesture and genre. Ronald Bates and Penny Jacobus added a diamond-bright stage for this glistening revival. One note, I look forward tremendously to Spring Season, as it seems that Herman Cornejo will be cast for full-length partner roles. Tonight his partnering was fully attentive, warm, and with wonder.
Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes in The Leaves Are Fading
Photo Courtesy of Gene Schiavone