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New York City Ballet: New Combinations Evening: All Russian

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New York City Ballet

New Combinations Evening
All Russian

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
Guest Teacher: Merrill Ashley
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
January 20, 2010

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Agon (1957): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Fayçal Karoui, Performed by Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans, Teresa Reichlen, Sean Suozzi, Rebecca Krohn, Tyler Angle, Savannah Lowery, Craig Hall, and members of the Corps.

Tonight’s Agon was the best I’ve seen at City Ballet, with Sean Suozzi and Teresa Reichlen the most mesmerizing of the ensemble of eight. Mr. Suozzi, in severe attitude and angular posture, maintained interest throughout the initial male partnering (with Tyler Angle), then in solo, and then with Teresa Reichlen, who remains, as well, one of City Ballet’s most consistent sophisticates. This Balanchine work’s scissors splits, in the pas de deux, gave Wendy Whelan and Albert Evans showcased drama during the dissonant strings. Atonal, symmetrical moments also highlighted Rebecca Krohn’s gripping presentation.

The Lady with the Little Dog (World Premiere): Music by Rodion Shchedrin, Choreography by Alexey Miroshnichenko, Costumes by Tatiana Noginova, Scenery by Philipp Dontsov, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Fayçal Karoui, Performed by Sterling Hyltin, Andrew Veyette, Troy Schumacher, Giovanni Villalobos, and members of the Corps. Dedicated to Maya Plisetskaya on her 85th birthday.

All eyes were on this World Premiere, and truly I was disappointed. With a stunning cast and much audience anticipation, the music and choreography were agonizingly soporific. Rodion Shchedrin’s music was generically uninteresting, and Alexey Miroshnichenko’s choreography was loosely based on a Chekhov tale. There’s a couple, Sterling Hyltin as Anna Sergeevna, and Andrew Veyette as Dmitri Dmitrievitch, as well as eight male dancers as “Angels”, who seem more like crawly creatures. Tatiana Noginova’s costumes include a jacket and eyeglasses for Mr. Veyette that Ms. Hyltin assists him with, as part of the non-drama drama, and Philipp Dontsov’s lengths of quasi-carpeting, for the dancers to move through and against, was confusing and extraneous. I wanted to love this new work, especially with Mr. Veyette in the lead, a vivacious virtuoso, whose stage personality can be both charming and powerful. Ms. Hyltin, as well, seemed well suited for the “Lady”, but tonight the “Little Dog” seemed to save the show.

Cortège Hongrois (1973): Music by Alexander Glazounov (from Raymonda), Choreography by George Balanchine, Décor and Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Maurice Kaplow, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Jonathan Stafford, Rebecca Krohn, Sean Suozzi, and the Company. The ballet title derives from "corteggio", or Italian divertissements, with a Hungarian enhancement. There are references to Glazounov's score for Petipa's full-length Raymonda and also for Balanchine's Raymonda Variations. (Program Notes).

In contrast to its restrained response to the previous work, the audience lit up, with palpable attention and collective rapture. Maria Kowroski drew many “Bravas”, as she danced with magical and electric pizzazz. She even clapped on point, as she possessed the stage in sensual delight. The new tutus unveiled tonight, in Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s design, glittered in Mark Stanley’s warm lighting. Maurice Kaplow kept Glazounov’s Raymonda score frothy and exotic, while Balanchine’s choreography exuded a proud, Hungarian, regal attitude. Ana Sophia Scheller’s Variation I drew my eye for its captivating aura, and Gwyneth Muller’s Variation II was equally intriguing. But, it was Maria Kowroski’s solo in Variation IV that brought down the house. Her partner, Jonathan Stafford, was supportive and attentive, but no dazzle there.

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