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New York City Ballet: Interplay, Opus 19/The Dreamer, The Four Seasons

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Opus 19/The Dreamer
The Four Seasons

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
Manager, Media Relations: Katharina Plumb
Assoc., Communications and Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 16, 2010

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrews Sill

Interplay (1952): Music by Morton Gould, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Piano Solo: Elaine Chelton, Performed by Ashley Laracey, Tiler Peck, Ana Sophia Scheller, Stephanie Zungre, Joaquin De Luz, Amar Ramasar, Troy Schumacher, and Sean Suozzi. The original title for this music was “American Concertette” (1945). Gould's Ballet works generally drew on American subject matter. Gould received a Grammy in 1965 for his recording of music by Charles Ives. Gould was a composer, arranger, and conductor and wrote in many genres. He conducted for New York City Ballet at the 1988 American Music Festival. He orchestrated “Fall River Legend” (Choreographed by the great Agnes de Mille) and “Interplay”. He also composed for Broadway, television and film. (NYCB Notes).

Today was a professional test of these splendid dancers, and they met the challenge with aplomb. The fire alarm system rang mid-Interplay, with a sizable break, after the Operations Manager addressed the audience. When the curtain went up again, dancers were in the exact pause as pre-break, and Elaine Chelton, always the pro, hit the piano keys as if nothing had happened. In “Free Play”, the rapid spring action of the dancers’ limbs and feet was enhanced by the pizzazz of the Morton Gould score. Joaquin De Luz and Amar Ramasar, in the cast, led by Sean Suozzi, were particularly energized. Mr. Suozzi is fast becoming one of the most engaging and magnetic dancers in the Company. Mr. De Luz danced the solo, “Horseplay”, with rapid abandon and sexy, suggestive spins, followed by Tiler Peck and Amar Ramasar, a mesmerizing, highly motored match, in the slower “Byplay”. “Teamplay”, danced to the same music as “Byplay”, in a variation of rhythm and tone, was buoyantly bright and sparkling with wit.

Opus 19/The Dreamer (1979): Music by Serge Prokofiev, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Violin Solo: Lydia Hong, Performed by Wendy Whelan, Gonzalo Garcia, and members of the Corps. Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major set the angst-ridden, dreamy score for this eloquent Robbins work (tonight was an all-Robbins program). Gonzalo Garcia was the troubled soul in white, in frenzied spins, with Wendy Whelan his partner, in navy blue leotard. Their spinning, intertwining choreography never ceases to engross, as the music shifts from searingly, slow intensity to frenzied, feverish tempos. Ronald Bates’ lighting changes the backdrop from opaque to shadowy. Ms. Whelan, not the dreamy romantic type, drew me in with her fixed gaze and angular shapes. Lydia Hong, on violin, expanded the disturbing dissonant tones to wrap the audience in its tension. Ben Benson’s blue and purple costumes strengthened Robbins’ nocturnal design. In the ensemble, Daniel Applebaum and David Prottas caught my eye.

The Four Seasons (1979): Music by Giuseppe Verdi, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Scenery and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Justin Peck as Janus, Russell Janzen as Winter, Ellen Ostrom as Spring, Marika Anderson as Summer, Henry Seth as Fall, Sean Suozzi, Erica Pereira, Christian Tworzyanski, Jenifer Ringer, Jared Angle, Rebecca Krohn, Amar Ramasar, Ashley Bouder, Andrew Veyette, Antonio Carmena, and the Company. Verdi was known as a prolific composer of opera and was active in Italian politics. The Four Seasons draws upon Verdi's operas, I Vespri Siciliani, I Lombardi, and Il Trovatore. (NYCB Notes).

It was wonderful to re-visit Robbins’ The Four Seasons, with some changes in the usual casting. Once again, Justin Peck was Janus, the caped figure, who invites and dismisses the leads and casts of each of the four seasons. Russell Jansen summoned Winter, with Sean Suozzi, Erica Pereira, and Christian Tworzyanski in the lead. The audience always loves the shivering, freezing corps gestures, as they huddle in projected snow. Ms. Pereira, a rising star, deserves kudos for her luscious leaps and charismatic charm. In Spring, summoned by Ellen Ostrom, Jenifer Ringer and Jared Angle starred in a lengthy pas de deux, backed by a corps quartet. While Ms. Ringer and Mr. Angle were warmly lyrical, it was the corps quartet, dancing like the Cygnettes in Swan Lake, that transported me, with synchronized choreography that was widely applauded.

Summer was summoned by Marika Anderson and led by Rebecca Krohn and Amar Ramasar. For me this was the highlight of the evening, with two hugely animated dancers in brilliant form. Together they breathed the heat of summer, and the corps of six included the always dynamic Georgina Pazcoguin and Gwyneth Muller. The final Fall segment was summoned by Henry Seth and led by Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette. Here humor returned, as Ms. Bouder and Mr. Veyette wowed the audience with fancy flourishes and snappy footwork. Antonio Carmena was well suited to the spritely role of Pan. His mid-air bouncing jumps were pulsating and spirited. Andrews Sill conducted throughout the evening, drawing notable musicality from City Ballet Orchestra.

NYC Ballet Cast in "Interplay"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Wendy Whelan, Gonzalo Garcia
in "Opus 19/The Dreamer"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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