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New York City Ballet: Concerto Barocco, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Donizetti Variations, Stravinsky Violin Concerto
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New York City Ballet: Concerto Barocco, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Donizetti Variations, Stravinsky Violin Concerto

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New York City Ballet

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief: Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress: Rosemary Dunleavy
Assistant to the Ballet Master in Chief: Sean Lavery
Children’s Ballet Master: Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director: Fayçal Karoui
Chairman of the Board: John L. Vogelstein
Managing Dir. Communications and Special Projects: Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director Communications, Joe Guttridge
Assoc., Communications and Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 3, 2009

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Clotilde Otranto

Concerto Barocco (1948): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Double Violin Concerto in D Minor), Chorography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violinists: Kurt Nikkanen and Lydia Hong, Performed by Wendy Whelan, Ellen Bar, Albert Evans, and the Company. To the mirrored solos of two violins (Kurt Nikkanen and Lydia Hong), Wendy Whelan and Abi Stafford dance mirror images in stunning symmetry. Gentle arms are up-stretched. Later Albert Evans leads Ms. Whelan past lines of the ensemble (eight female corps), under and over dancers in structured, seamless patterns. Bach’s score resounds with harmony and beauty, and this ballet exudes with predictable loveliness. Albert Evans, the sole male in the cast, is always charismatic and genuinely absorbed in the moment and in his partnering. He becomes infused with musicality and affect. In the Corps, Saskia Beskow caught my eye.

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960): Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz. This music, not published with the original ballet score, was Originally intended for the Act III Black Swan Pas de Deux, but was first found by the Tschaikovsky Foundation of New York and subsequently scored for this pas de deux by Balanchine in 1960. (NYCB Notes).

Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz are now a seasoned duo, and they have finally found the chemistry to match the years. Mr. De Luz is a master partner, a dancer’s dancer, regal, loyal, devoted, and always on the beat. He lands with arms outstretched to the audience, proud and purposeful. And, in partnering, his eyes never leave the lady. This Balanchine ballet is uncluttered, buoyant, and joyful. Mr. De Luz’ incomparable chivalry inspired Ms. Fairchild’s focused fouettés, spins, and leaps into his arms. Her peach Karinska tutu was incandescent, and both dancers illuminated from within. From without, Mark Stanley’s lighting design added glowing warmth.

Donizetti Variations (1960): Music by Gaetano Donizetti (from Don Sebastian), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Tiler Peck, Gonzalo Garcia, and the Company. Donizetti composed over 65 operas, plus chamber music, for some of the greatest singers of his time. Balanchine created this ballet for a "Salute to Italy". (NYCB Notes)

In Donizetti Variations, Karinska fashioned, for the Corps, blue-brown dresses with puff-sleeves, white ribbons, and blue shirts and brown vests for the men. Brass abounds in the score, in lively lyricism, and Tiler Peck (in pink) and Gonzalo Garcia were engaged in push-pull liveliness. The operatic orchestral motifs (from Don Sebastian) added a confectionary musicality and a witty ambiance to the humorous ornamentations and faux mishaps, included by Balanchine. Ms. Peck has a multi-dimensional personality, and her campy smile was winning and persuasive. Mr. Garcia, however, dances more on the emotional surface, but, here, his delighted attentiveness was in the moment. In the Corps, Georgina Pazcoguin and Giovanni Villalobos caught my eye. In fact, I hope to see both Corps dancers in debut lead roles as soon as possible.

Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major), Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Solo Violinist: Kurt Nikkanen, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Robert Fairchild, Maria Kowroski, Sébastien Marcovici, and the Company. This edgy score calls for edgy dancing. Maria Kowroski and Robert Fairchild (unfortunately not partnered here) were the most edgy, ingenious, and electric performers, bringing the stunning violin solos to life. Kurt Nikkanen gave iconic violin interpretations of these solos, infusing zip and pulse to this scintillating score. Sterling Hyltin (partnered by Mr. Fairchild) needs more dramatic depth, a gravitas of sorts. Her sassy, stylized performance engages the eye, but does not convince the imagination.
Sébastien Marcovici, partnering Maria Kowroski, similarly is too smooth, too vapid.

I kept imagining Mr. Fairchild with Ms. Kowroski, with his impetuous rapture, and her cunning charisma. Perhaps another Season. With a simple blue backdrop and black tights, that extend below the slippers, Mr. Balanchine fashioned stark imagery for his four-movement work that was re-choreographed for the 1972 City Ballet Stravinsky Festival. In the “Toccata”, both couples lead an ensemble of sixteen: eight females and eight males. “Aria I” has Ms. Kowroski and Mr. Marcovici in a pas de deux, and “Aria II” features the pas de deux of Ms. Hyltin and Mr. Fairchild. The “Capriccio” showcases the entire cast. This ballet is replete with dynamic propulsion and daring partnering. It would be fascinating to see it cast, one time, with lead corps debuts.

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