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American Ballet Theatre: All-Star Tchaikovsky Spectacular
-Onstage with the Dancers

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American Ballet Theatre

All-Star Tchaikovsky Spectacular

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters
Guillaume Graffin, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Georgina Parkinson, Kirk Peterson

Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
Susan Morgan, Press Associate

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 30, 2005

Originally Published on

Ballet Imperial (1941): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Colleen Neary, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (Concerto No. 2 in G for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 44), Scenery and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Pianist: Barbara Bilach, Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Diana Vishneva, Vladmir Malakhov, Anna Liceica, Marian Butler, Jesus Pastor, Yuriko Kajiya, Sascha Radetsky, and the Company. Balanchine staged this Piano Concerto No. 2 by Tchaikovsky for the American Ballet Caravan in 1941 in the style of Petipa and the décor depicted a fortress in the Winter Palace blue and white. (Program Notes).

With regal ambiance, chandeliers, blue décor, and a large window on a frozen lake, imperial Russia was never imagined in more classical and characteristic fashion. Diana Vishneva, somewhat reserved, but a vision in white, was superbly partnered by Vladmir Malakhov, with both joined in lead roles by Anna Liceica. Tonight's cast had the icy demeanor of that painted, frozen lake, and the rapture and chemistry was better exuded by Jesus Pastor and Sascha Radetsky, both rapidly warming soloists, who respectively partnered Marian Butler and Yuriko Kajiya, two talented female corps dancers.

Mr. Malakhov entered in the traditional Russian stance, so reminiscent of Nureyev (in days of yore), but absent his animalistic passion and glow. The corps elevated this memorable Concerto with stylized elegance, a multiple vision in blue. Kudos to Barbara Bilach, pianist, and to Barbara Matera for costumes.

Swan Lake Act II Pas de Deux (1967): Choreography after Lev Ivanov, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Costumes by Zack Brown, Conductor: Charles Barker, Performed by Amanda McKerrow as Odette and Maxim Beloserkovsky as Prince Siegfried.

We were treated tonight to two separate Swan Lake Pas de Deux, one for Odile and one for Odette. Odile's Act II Pas de Deux featured the rarely seen Amanda McKerrow, who was visibly taken with the audience accolades. Protectively partnered by Maxim Beloserkovsky, Ms. McKerrow was as delicate as her feathered accessories. What she lacked in swan-like arm undulations, she possessed in poignancy and pathos. It was wonderful to see her after quite some time.

Swan Lake Act III Pas de Deux (1967): . Choreography after Marius Petipa, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Costumes by Zack Brown, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Paloma Herrera and Jose Manuel Carreño.

This was the event that the ABT audience had craved, and the main dish, the wild black swan, Odile's seduction of Siegfried, with the very hot duo of Paloma Herrera and Jose Manuel Carreño, more than satiated that audience obsession. Both Ms. Herrera and Mr. Carreño are seasoned performers of these roles, and the chemistry between the partners was only superceded by the partners' chemistry with their ABT fans.

Every breathless, bravura step that Ms. Herrera ad Mr. Carreño danced onstage was dramatic and daring. The surprises of the male and female gymnastic spins and mid-air leaps and lunges occur in the personal style of each virtuoso dancer. This Cuban and Argentinean pair did not disappoint for a moment. They were faster than lightning and basked in the multitude of flowery curtain calls.

Theme and Variations (1947): Choreography by George Balanchine, Staged by Kirk Peterson, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (Suite No. 3 for Orchestra, final movement), Costumes by Theoni Aldredge, Lighting by David K.H. Elliott, Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Gillian Murphy, Gennadi Saveliev, Misty Copeland, Erica Cornejo, Simone Messmer, Adrienne Schulte, Julio Bragado-Young, David Hallberg, Carlos Lopez, Danny Tidwell, and the Company. This performance of Theme and Variations is presented with permission of The George Balanchine Trust. (Program Notes).

A triumphant, but structured, motif returned to the chandeliered Met stage, as a Tchaikovsky Suite shifted the mood with persistent trumpets and pompous timpani. Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saveliev were well matched. Ms. Murphy seems to be dancing with frenzied purpose this season, while Mr. Saveliev has the Russian physique and maturity to exude the stylized sophistication, so requisite for this royal role. David Hallberg, Carlos Lopez, and Erica Cornejo danced with notable energy and form.

Kudos to Charles Barker and to David LaMarche, as Mr. Barker literally gave the podium to Mr. LaMarche, during a brief pause between the swans. Kudos to American Ballet Theatre for a strong, early Spring Season 2005.


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