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New York City Ballet: A Midsummer Night's Dream 2017

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2017
Ballet in Two Acts and Six Scenes

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: Dena Abergel
Orchestra, Music Director: Andrew Litton
Resident Choreographer: Justin Peck
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Associate Dir. Communications: Katharina Plumb
Communications Associate: Kina Poon
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 26, 2017

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1962): Music by Felix Mendelssohn, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by David Hays, Costumes by Karinska, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley.

The Mendelssohn ballet score includes music composed for the Shakespeare play, during a seventeen-year period, as well as a variety of overtures. The play relates adventures and misadventures, through reality and illusion, including requited and unrequited love, even between a fair queen and a donkey. Midsummer Night is June 23rd (St. John’s Eve), when fairies are present during the summer solstice of fertility rites and festivals. The 1595 play was also the source for a one-act Ashton ballet and a Britten opera. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was Balanchine’s first full-length ballet that he choreographed in the US, and it opened New York City Ballet’s first repertory season at Lincoln Center in 1964. (NYCB Notes).

May 25, 2017

Conductor: Andrew Litton
Performed by Teresa Reichlen as Titania, Gonzalo Garcia as Oberon, Harrison Ball as Puck, Brittany Pollack as Helena, Ashley Laracey as Hermia, Aaron Sanz as Lysander, Peter Walker as Demetrius, Ashley Hod as Hippolyta, Andrew Scordato as Theseus, Russell Janzen as Titania’s Cavalier, Harrison Coll as Bottom, Alexa Maxwell as Butterfly, Sterling Hyltin and Chase Finlay in Divertissement, Sopranos and Altos from Musica Sacra, Kent Tritle, Music Director, Children from The School of American Ballet as Oberon’s Kingdom, Butterflies and Fairies, and the Company as Butterflies, Oberon’s and Titania’s Pages, Bottom’s Companions, Courtiers to Theseus, Titania’s Retinue, Hippolyta’s Hounds, Courtiers, and Divertissement Dancers.

May 26, 2017

Conductor: Andrew Litton
Performed by Miriam Miller as Titania, Daniel Ulbricht as Oberon, Sean Suozzi as Puck, Rebecca Krohn as Helena, Abi Stafford as Hermia, Jared Angle as Lysander, Ask la Cour as Demetrius, Emily Kikta as Hippolyta, Aaron Sanz as Theseus, Zachary Catazaro as Titania’s Cavalier, Cameron Dieck as Bottom, Indiana Woodward as Butterfly, Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle in Divertissement, Sopranos and Altos from Musica Sacra, Kent Tritle, Music Director, Children from The School of American Ballet as Oberon’s Kingdom, Butterflies and Fairies, and the Company as Butterflies, Oberon’s and Titania’s Pages, Bottom’s Companions, Courtiers to Theseus, Titania’s Retinue, Hippolyta’s Hounds, Courtiers, and Divertissement Dancers.

My Spring Season’s two performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream were each exceptional and breathtaking. On May 25th, as Titania, Teresa Reichlen was sublime, first filled with self-protection, later melting with ardor. On the 26th, Miriam Miller, a Corps dancer, was less seasoned, refreshingly youthful, also tall and long-limbed like Ms. Reichlen, but unpredictable in the dramatic choreographic scenes. Ms. Miller exuded luxurious ardor, as well, but with more pronounced attitude, a theatrical turn in the lead role. As Oberon, on the 25th, Gonzalo Garcia was perfectly cast, playful, impetuous, lustful, and quite persistent. Mr. Garcia and Ms. Reichlen danced with gestural stage presence. On the 26th, Daniel Ulbricht was a stunningly refined Oberon, as he is usually dancing mid-air as Puck. Tonight, Mr. Ulbricht was understated, attentive, poised, mature, and still perfectly balanced and captivating in his interaction with Ms. Miller and the Changeling child.

As the ever-present Puck, Harrison Ball, on the 25th, and Sean Suozzi, on the 26th, were both fleet-footed, entertaining, and muscular, with Mr. Ball more emotionally restrained and Mr. Suozzi more expressively ebullient. Neither Soloist was overly campy. Mr. Ball’s leaps and jumps were cat-like, silent, well formed, and Mr. Suozzi’s were propulsive, darting, eager. As the story goes, a long red rose, dusted against the face of a sleeping character, forces that character to fall in love with the first person he/she sees on awakening. Both evening casts made much of those potently transforming roses. On the 25th, Helena (Brittany Pollack), Demetrius (Peter Walker), Hermia (Ashley Laracey), and Lysander (Aaron Sanz), all fell in and out of love with each other, with silent-film-worthy racing about, each time chasing whomever they awoke to see, while sprinkled in rose dust. Ms. Pollack caught my eye with her total absorption of the role. Of course, as this comedy proceeds, all is well at the conclusion, and couples are paired off as they should be. Those campy scenes are always priceless. On the 26th, Rebecca Krohn was Helena, Ask la Cour was Demetrius, Abi Stafford was Hermia, and Jared Angle was Lysander. Of these eight dancers, Ms. Pollack and Mr. Angle seemed the most impassioned and persuasive.

On the 25th, Ashley Hod was by far the more forceful Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, whipping up 32 superb fouettés, in stunning mythological motif. Emily Kikta, on the 26th, showed promise toward growing into the role. Andrew Scordato, as Theseus, Duke of Athens, on the 25th, and Aaron Sanz, on the 26th, both threw themselves into the dramatics. Alexa Maxwell, on the 25th, and Indiana Woodward, on the 26th, as Butterfly, were both omnipresent, lyrical, and ethereal, in this dreamlike ballet about a dream. Russell Janzen, on the 25th, and Zachary Catazaro, on the 26th, were Titania’s Cavalier, both strikingly cast, poised, chivalrous, and attentive. Harrison Coll, on the 25th, and Cameron Dieck, on the 26th, were witty and warm as Bottom, a donkey a child in the audience could love. Both of their Bottoms were vulnerable and magnetic. In the Act II Divertissement, two sets of Principal dancer couples, Sterling Hyltin with Chase Finlay on the 25th and Tiler Peck with Tyler Angle on the 26th, danced with regal, classical, yet energized enchantment. The children of SAB were adorable butterflies and fairies, running and scampering by the dozen, and the Corps kept the action busy, in the dimness of Act I and the glow of Act II.

The Act II Wedding scene, in the Court of Theseus in Athens, was very Balanchine-esque, with ensembles in dance designs that branched into moving patterns and figures that persistently engaged the eye. The solo singers and Musica Sacra, led by Kent Tritle, kept the Mendelssohn score colorful and vibrant, while Music Director and Conductor, Andrew Litton, on both nights, brought out the tones of City Ballet Orchestra’s strings and horns. David Hays’ pink-green-gossamer scenery is worth the experience alone, as are Karinska’s costumes, with wings, feathers, jewels, and silk. Mark Stanley had a large task in the shifting lighting, and he mastered it with expertise. Kudos to George Balanchine, and kudos to Peter Martins and New York City Ballet for a splendid Spring 2017 Season.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at