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New York City Ballet: Swan Lake 2011
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New York City Ballet: Swan Lake 2011

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New York City Ballet
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Swan Lake 2011

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children’s Ballet Master, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects, Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations, Katharina Plumb
Assoc., Communications & Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
www.lincolncenter.org

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 17, 2011 Matinee


(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

(See the Children’s Workshop for this Ballet)

Conductor: Fayçal Karoui

Swan Lake (1999): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by Peter Martins after Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, and George Balanchine, Scenery and Costumes by Per Kirkeby, Costumes realized by Barbara Matera, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder as Odette/Odile, Andrew Veyette as Prince Siegfried, Albert Evans as Von Rotbart, Gwyneth Muller as The Queen, Daniel Ulbricht as Jester, Anthony Huxley as Benno, Erica Pereira, Ana Sophia Scheller, Anthony Huxley in Pas de Trois, Megan Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Abi Stafford, Joaquin De Luz in Divertissement: Pas de Quatre, Savannah Lowery and Ask la Cour leading Hungarian Dance, Jennie Somogyi and Charles Askegard in Russian Dance, Rebecca Krohn, Megan LeCrone, Craig Hall, Sean Suozzi in Spanish Dance, Alina Dronova and Antonio Carmena leading Neapolitan Dance, Callie Bachman, Sara Adams, Maya Collins, Meagan Mann, Brittany Pollack, Mary Elizabeth Sell as Six Princesses, Sara Adams, Callie Bachman, Lauren Lovette, Kristen Segin as Four Small Swans, Students from School of American Ballet, and the Company.

One of the accomplishments of Peter Martins’ Swan Lake is the way he encapsulates the essence of the story, simplifying it, making it engaging for children, as well as adults. I brought my young niece, after a Children’s Workshop, run by City Ballet to cultivate young audiences and make the ballets more meaningful, and she loved this production. Per Kirkeby once again, as in Mr. Martins’ Romeo and Juliet, designed abstract backdrops and primary-colored costumes for all but Odette-Odile. Many of the swans are in black tutus, in this production, merging the lines of good and evil, and giving the sense that Siegfried is beset with nightmarish visions.

Mr. Martins adds a Jester, a one-man chorus, who lightens the mood and enhances the fantasy. In fact, it’s just this element of fantasy that expands the fairytale plot. His ending allows Siegfried to remain on land, as most Swan Lakes have him leaping off a cliff, after Odette. He also saves Odette, but, still, she remains a swan forever, a fate sealed by his vows to the fraudulent Odile, during the seduction of the 32 fouettés and ballroom dramatics. Mr. Martins’ Von Rotbart wears a brilliant orange cape, less of a frightening image than many “Rothbarts”, as they’re usually named. This Von Rotbart has a more human quality to his image, making his cruelty and demonic possession even more persuasive. The fact that Mr. Martins allows him to essentially melt onstage seals the fairytale ending.

For this matinee, Ashley Bouder was an Odette-Odile, like I’d never seen. She used her exceptional speed, fluid elevation, and virtuosic footwork to rivet the eye and make her Odette vulnerable and undulating and her Odile lightning quick and wild. She was exciting to watch and, like the choreographic design, she synthesized the theatrics with outsized drama. Nothing was muted here. This was a proficient and convincing performance. As Prince Siegfried, Andrew Veyette was a natural. He has charisma and theatrical training. His Siegfried was unrestrained, as he avoided his mother’s (the Queen) insistence on finding a bride on his 21st birthday. He exuded a sense of adventure and an affinity for the romantic. The moment he caught sight of his Swan, he was smitten. He partnered the diminutive Ms. Bouder with chivalry and acute attention. His lifts, leaps, spins, and moment-to-moment stage presence were of the status of a premier danseur. Mr. Veyette has grown in past seasons into a magnetic performer.

Albert Evans, a retired Principal, is the quintessential Von Rotbart, filled with melodrama and histrionics. He swirled his orange cape with devilish delight. His antics in the ballroom scene, prodding Odile to use more and more seduction to seal Siegfried’s and Odette’s fate, through a confused proposal of marriage and love to Odile, were hugely entertaining. I often wish Mr. Evans could return to the stage more often, even in these theatre roles. His presence is missed. Gwyneth Muller was the Queen, and she was regal and engaging, as well. Ms. Muller is alluring and appealing, whether dancing or in these non-dance roles. Anthony Huxley, as Benno, seemed too sprightly, too serious. Benno is Siegfried’s charming friend. I think here, he was miscast. His technique is growing, but he doesn’t exude depth or nuance. Without doubt, Daniel Ulbricht was a fine Jester, employing his array of gestures, jumps, gyrations. This is a role he plays and re-plays in numerous ballets, sometimes even as a faun (The Four Seasons). He’s such a theatrical and talented performer, I’d love to see him in contrasting roles. He was an exceptional Prodigal Son.

In the Pas de Trois, Mr. Huxley joined Erica Pereira and Ana Sophia Scheller, but not in a leading manner. Ms. Pereira and Ms. Scheller were both scintillating and winsome. In the various ballroom sequences, Savannah Lowery was partnered by Ask la Cour for the Hungarian Dance, with both putting on a dynamic show. Jennie Somogyi danced the Russian Dance with the soon to retire Charles Askegard, with rapturous effects, and the Spanish Dance was flaming with Craig Hall and Sean Suozzi leading Rebecca Krohn and Megan LeCrone. Alina Dronova and Antonio Carmena led the flashy Neapolitan Dance, while the synchronized Cygnettes were Sara Adams, Callie Bachman, Lauren Lovette, and Kristen Segin. These nimble Cygnettes almost stole the show. Maestro Fayçal Karoui conducted City Ballet Orchestra with a combination of rapture and vivacity. The solo violin segments were stunning. Kudos to all.



Ashley Bouder
in Peter Martins' "Swan Lake"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik



Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette in
Peter Martins' "Swan Lake"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net