Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Asst. to the Ballet Master in Chief, Sean Lavery
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn
Manager, Press Relations, Siobhan Burns
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 14, 2004
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Apollo (1951): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrea Quinn, Performed by Nikolaj Hübbe, Darci Kistler, Sofiane Sylve, and Miranda Weese. Balanchine looked upon Apollo as the turning point of his life, "in its sustained oneness of tone and feeling". (NYC Ballet Notes). This was a night of four Conductors, and Andrea Quinn, the Music Director of NYC Ballet was positioned first in this melodic but striking Stravinsky score.
Nicolaj Hübbe was the shining Apollo, the god of music, visited by three muses, Terpsichore, muse of dance and song (Darci Kistler with a lyre), Polyhymnia, muse of mime (Sofiane Sylve with a mask), and Calliope, muse of poetry (Miranda Weese with a tablet). With white classically designed and minimal costumes, against a blazing blue backdrop, Mr. Hübbe was perfectly in character, like a breathing sculpture in motion, dancing with his muses in interesting combinations of partnering. Mr. Hübbe mastered each moment, with his god-like demeanor, and he and Ms. Kistler danced elegantly, with Ms. Kistler's signature extensions and their seamless pas de deux. Mr. Hübbe partnered his three muses, to this flowing Stravinsky score, which contrasts remarkably to familiar Stravinsky ballet music. The final choreographic feat had Mr. Hübbe and his muses in a breathtaking vision, with a figurative fan of legs.
Darci Kistler and Nikolaj Hübbe in Apollo (New York City Ballet - Choreography by George Balanchine)
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik
Concerto Barocco (1948): Music by Johann Sebastien Bach (Double Violin Concerto in D Minor), Chorography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Hugo Fiorato, Violinists: Arturo Delmoni and Jean Ingraham, Performed by Yvonne Borree, Jennie Somogyi, James Fayette, and the Company, including Saskia Beskow (Danskin Spokesperson).
Hugo Fiorato was the second of four Conductors, and he led this piece to new dimensions with its new Concertmaster, Arturo Delmoni, as 1st Violin and Jean Ingraham as 2nd Violin, both of whom mastered the intensity required for the violin solo variations. Bach's score was brilliant, and Maestro Fiorato was in his element. This ever-flowing piece with seamless choreography, showcasing the splendid performances of Yvonne Borree and Jennie Somogyi, was filled with energy and elation. James Fayette, although in a brief role, managed to exude the dynamism that this Concerto represents. The Corps was in excellent form.
Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deux (1977): Music by Edvard Helsted, Choreography by August Bournonville, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Richard Moredock, Performed by Ashley Bouder and Antonio Carmena. Richard Moredock was the third of four Conductors, and it was good to see him once again at the podium. This music requires effervescence and energy, which Mr. Moredock generated. Ashley Bouder has an athletic style, with flying leaps en air in perfectly flowing fashion. Ms. Bouder and Antonio Carmena were mostly well matched.
At first, Mr. Carmena was like a rubber figure, bouncing endlessly mid air, but he seemed to cut his later spins short. However, Maestro Moredock was right with him. This is a fluffy, delightful, and romantic work. When Mr. Carmena has been partnered with Amanda Edge, they seem to create more chemistry than existed here with Ms. Bouder. Partnering requires dual charisma, especially in a Pas de Deux. It would be interesting to see Ms. Bouder partnered differently in this piece, which allows for her obvious virtuosity.
Ashley Bouder and Antonio Carmena in Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deuz (New York City Ballet - Choreography by August Bournonville)
Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1968): Music by Richard Rodgers, Re-Orchestrated by Hershy Kay, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by Jo Mielziner, Costumes by Irene Sharaff, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Conductor: Paul Mann, Performed by Philip Neal, Sofiane Sylve, James Fayette, Adam Hendrickson, and the Company. Paul Mann, a new Conductor for this critic, is an impassioned and interesting persona at the podium. With arms waving, he took tremendous delight in his turn with this outstanding orchestra.
This is a colorful, campy, and classy ballet, created for Rodger's and Hart's On Your Toes in 1936. There are plots and sub-plots, involving a gangster and thug, a striptease girl, and a hoofer, to name a few. There is a narcissistic dancer who hires a gangster to shoot his competition, during a dance that happens to have a gun, so one would not know that the stage dancer is really shot, and the gangster would have time to escape from the first tier box, where he actually sits, with a stage light focused upon him. Philip Neal as the Hoofer showed good tap dance technique and performed in an appropriately campy manner. He is best in contemporary, non-charismatic roles. His partnering seemed to lack confidence and readiness, but his solos were entertaining.
Maria Kowroski as the Striptease Girl was outstanding, and her sudden wakening after being shot by her jealous boyfriend, just to receive a note for the Hoofer, was especially coy. She danced with verve and vivacity. James Fayette as Big Boss was always in role and an effective actor. Adam Hendrickson, as Morrosine, who hires the gangster to secure his standing, has perfected stage presence and theatrical technique. The Corps of bartenders, thug, policemen, and ladies and gentlemen of the ballet performed with pizzazz. When the curtain rose a second time, the audience was treated to one more vaudeville show.