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New York City Ballet: Monumentum Pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Duo Concertant, Opus 19/The Dreamer, Luce Nascosta
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New York City Ballet: Monumentum Pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Duo Concertant, Opus 19/The Dreamer, Luce Nascosta

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Monumentum Pro Gesualdo
Movements for Piano and Orchestra
Duo Concertant
Opus 19/The Dreamer
Luce Nascosta

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 24, 2010

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Fayçal Karoui

Monumentum Pro Gesualdo (1960): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, and the Company. Stravinsky's homage to Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa re-composes the madrigals into instrumental voices. (NYCB Notes)

I was delighted with tonight’s casting for Monumentum and Movements, Balanchine’s two very somber, brief ballets, that sometimes lack sparkle. There’s no lack of sparkle in Teresa Reichlen, a generously exuberant dancer in every ballet genre of every mood imaginable. And, together with Ask la Cour, the tall, lanky soloist with regal bearing, they gripped the hall, enhanced by Stravinsky’s searing dissonance. Every motion in Ms. Reichlen’s choreography was deliberate, but less angular and severe as has been presented by other principals. This duo, assisted by a twelve-corps ensemble, exuded partnered chemistry and reverence for the moment.

Movements for Piano and Orchestra (1958-59): Music by Igor Stravinsky (Movements for Piano and Orchestra), Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano Solo: Cameron Grant, Performed by Rebecca Krohn, Sébastien Marcovici, and the Company. This piece is divided into five sections, and Balanchine paired this work with the previous one for performances. (NYCB Notes)

For the second half of these paired Balanchine works, two new dancers arrived, soloist Rebecca Krohn and principal Sébastien Marcovici. Once again, the chemistry was rich, and the dancing was even richer, as Ms. Krohn created perfect poses of Picasso-esque physicality – angular, with an almost fragmented image. Ms. Krohn can weave and wind her limbs and torso with amazing fluidity. Mr. Marcovici danced with muscular force and bristling tension. I noted in my comments that today’s four solo performances in these paired ballets were the most gripping I’d ever seen. The silent pauses were palpable.

Duo Concertant (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky, Choreography by George Balanchine, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violinist: Kurt Nikkanen, Pianist: Cameron Grant, Performed by Sterling Hyltin and Jared Angle. Stravinsky had dedicated this "Duo Concertant" to Samuel Dushkin, a violinist friend, and the two performed this for years in Europe, starting in 1932 in Berlin. Balanchine choreographed to this score for the Stravinsky Festival, and Kay Mazzo danced with Peter Martins. (NYCB Notes).

Prior to the first intermission, Duo Concertant, a pas de deux for two dancers and two musicians, was danced by Sterling Hyltin and Jared Angle, with Kurt Nikkanen on violin and Cameron Grant on piano. I vividly remembered Mr. Angle dancing this ballet in Yvonne Borree’s Farewell, and the feeling then was rapture and sincerity. Tonight’s performance, with Ms. Hyltin as Mr. Angle’s partner, was too coy, too flirtatious, against Stravinsky’s searing score. The dancers casually walk from the grand piano to the front stage spotlight and back, then again, and the entire motif is classy and serene, almost an intimate parlor salon, but onstage for all to view. Mr. Nikkanen and Mr. Grant were stunning in their sophisticated staged collaboration, but Ms. Hyltin was miscast here, too self-conscious. This is a ballet for natural nuance, and the spotlight is unforgiving. The final circle of light closes in on the woman, then her arm, then her hand. The delicately drawn dramatic effects don’t allow for faux gravitas.

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. Wendy Whelan and Gonzalo Garcia were again cast in Opus 19/The Dreamer, with equally elegant results. Mr. Garcia has grown in this role, the past couple of years, with a taut, focused presentation, a command of the stage. Ms. Whelan, always one who commands the stage, was compelling and charged, as Prokofiev’s score swelled through the hall in blazing string solos (thanks to the talented Lydia Hong). In the Corps, Marika Anderson and Gretchen Smith caught my eye, this time. Tonight’s performance had a decidedly windswept quality, with the duo leads seemingly elevated through space.

Luce Nascosta ‘Unseen Light’ (2010): Music by Bruno Moretti (Commissioned by New York City Ballet), Choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti, Scenic Design by Santiago Calatrava, Costumes by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Maria Kowroski, Tiler Peck, Teresa Reichlen, Tyler Angle, Gonzalo Garcia, Amar Ramasar, Jonathan Stafford, and the Company.

Luce Nascosta is one of my favorite of the newest ballets in the Repertory, (unfortunately, the other, Peter Martins’ Mirage, wasn’t in the fall program). Bigonzetti’s dark, imaginative work, rivets the eye. Tonight’s cast was faithful to the original, and Ashley Bouder, Maria Kowroski, Teresa Reichlen, and Tiler Peck were the female leads in ostrich-like black and gold costumes. This week I attended a City Ballet Costume Seminar, with Marc Happel speaking about his costumes for this ballet. They literally glow in Mark Stanley’s lighting (he also spoke at the Seminar). Every time I see this ballet, it seems to metamorphose with slight shifts in interpretation. The male dancers were Tyler Angle, Gonzalo Garcia, Amar Ramasar, and Jonathan Stafford. I was particularly drawn to Mr. Ramasar’s effusively focused presentation, throwing himself into the moment.

A soloist who should be seen in more leads is Craig Hall, an intense, skilled performer, who was perfectly cast in this expansive, gripping work. Adrian Danchig-Waring, as well, is spellbinding, as he weaves his torso and limbs in outsized muscularity. Sean Suozzi and Christian Tworzyanski were also compelling in their solo variations to Bruno Moretti’s engrossing score. In the female ensemble, Georgina Pazcoguin and Ana Sophia Scheller added intriguing allure to their own spotlighted variations. Santiago Calatrava’s golden discs, that glow like multiple moons, separate and join in a wondrous dance of their own. Luce Nascosta is a rare gem that envelops the viewer.

At a Pre-Ballet Talk, I had the pleasure of listening to Corps Dancer, Chase Finlay. The Talk was moderated by Faith Petrides, on the City Ballet Exec. Staff. Mr. Finlay answered a variety of questions about training and rehearsals from the City Ballet aficionados in attendance. He talked about the ways in which the Ballet Master and Principals teach the roles to the Corps, the importance of eating and exercising for healthy bodies, the transformation of persona for the story ballets (“being someone else”), and the rigorous rehearsal schedules. He mentioned dancing in Interplay, as well as in Glass Pieces, and the value of his physical training for both Robbins ballets.

Adrian Danchig-Waring and Teresa Reichlen
in Bigonzetti's "Luce Nascosta"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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