American Ballet Theatre
Two Contemporary Revivals
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)
Clear (2001) : (See May 8, 2003 Review) Choreography by Stanton Welch, Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Costume Design by Michael Kors for Celine, Lighting Design by Lisa Pinkham.
October 24, 2007: Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Herman Cornejo, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Xiomara Reyes, Gennadi Saveliev, Sascha Radetsky, Luis Ribagorda, Alejandro Piris-Niño, Oboe Soloist: Matthew Dine, Violin Soloist: Ronald Oakland.
October 27, 2007: Conductor: Ormsby Wilkins, Performed by Jose Manuel Carreño, Alexandre Hammoudi, Blaine Hoven, Paloma Herrera, Gennadi Saveliev, Sascha Radetsky, Craig Salstein, Alejandro Piris-Niño, Oboe Soloist: Matthew Dine, Violin Soloist: Ronald Oakland.
Matthew Dine and Ronald Oakland, on respective solo oboe and violin, should be prominently mentioned here, as their musical solos in this bountiful Bach score propel the almost-all male ensemble in mind-grabbing pyrotechnics. Just as Ballo della Regina has one lead male to a female ensemble, Clear has one lead female to a male ensemble. The lead females were Xiomara Reyes and Paloma Herrera, and they were both partnered to their best advantage, with Herman Cornejo for Ms. Reyes and Jose Manuel Carreño for Ms. Herrera.
Craig Salstein was added to the cast on October 27, and his presence always adds to the dynamic. Stanton Welch created an oeuvre with shifts in attitude, tempo, direction, music (silent pauses), and energy. The almost all male leads were literally highlighted in every muscle and motion, with Sascha Radetsky’s taut torso and tattoos gripping to the eye. Gennadi Saveliev and Luis Ribagorda danced with memorable presence and skill. Michael Kors’ light costumes were the image of simplicity, so as not to distract from the athleticism of the work. Ormsby Wilkins was adept on both nights, making Bach buoyant and blazing. Kudos to Stanton Welch.
Meadow (1999): (See November 5, 2006 Review) Choreography by Lar Lubovitch, Asst. Choreography by Scott Rink, Music by Franz Schubert, Gavin Bryars, Ferrucio Busoni, William David Brohn, Costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, Lighting by Brian MacDevitt.
October 31, 2007: Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Julie Kent, Marcelo Gomes, and the Company.
November 2, 2007: Conductor: David LaMarche, Performed by Stella Abrera, David Hallberg, and the Company.
Meadow has to be one of the most difficult ballets to conduct, and, in the 1st Movement, David LaMarche expertly managed to lead the William David Brohn’s “Pentimento” and its atonal strings, while Schubert’s “Die Nacht” and its elegant chorals melted into the music. In an email, Maestro LaMarche wrote, “The chorus in Meadow is a recording of some Schubert songs for men’s chorus. The piece playing simultaneously is a string and harp sextet called “Pentimento” by William David Brohn, and that was being conducted by me. I have to coordinate the string piece with the recording while I’m conducting! I like Meadow very much, and I think Lar was successful in creating an eerie, other world atmosphere.” The 2nd Movement presents Gavin Bryars’ “Incipit Vita Nova”, and the 3rd Movement presents Ferrucio Busoni’s “Berceuse Elegiaque”.
I found the October 31 leads, Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes, to create the more memorable interpretation, but Stella Abrera and David Hallberg were ghost-like in the dim pas de deux, with painted costumes of blues and lavenders. I could not get Meadow out of my mind, with the three sections of the ballet integrating the dancers: first, the ensemble; second, the lead couple (Kent-Gomes and Abrera-Hallberg); third, the ensemble and lead couple. Ms. Kent and Ms. Abrera were, at the end, each lifted upwards toward the rafters on invisible wire. The choreography is romantic, rich, and ravishing, with the Company moving in and out of opaque, foggy imagery, captivating the imagination and mesmerizing the viewer. Kudos to Lar Lubovitch.
Stella Abrera and David Hallberg in Meadow
Photo Courtesy of Gene Schiavone