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New York City Ballet: Concerto Barocco, The Magic Flute, Stars and Stripes
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New York City Ballet: Concerto Barocco, The Magic Flute, Stars and Stripes

- Onstage with the Dancers

Salon Ziba

200 West 57th Street
New York, NY
Open seven days a week
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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Concerto Barocco
The Magic Flute
Stars and Stripes

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
October 2, 2010 Matinee

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Fayçal Karoui

Concerto Barocco (1948): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Double Violin Concerto in D Minor), Chorography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violinists: Arturo Delmoni and Nick Danielson, Performed by Ellen Bar, Abi Stafford, Justin Peck, and the Company. Sometimes a favorite work, reviewed often, yields new surprises, and that’s what happened today, as Concerto Barocco elegantly unfolded with comely casting: Ellen Bar, Abi Stafford, Justin Peck. In fact, Mr. Peck danced with a newly refined persona, eye-catching in the circular merry-go-round passages. The Corps, an ensemble of eight females, was especially enhanced by Lauren King and Stephanie Zungre. Nick Danielson, 2nd violinist, flawlessly filled in for Lydia Hong in the Double Violin Concerto, accompanying Arturo Delmoni, 1st violin. The frenzied violins built momentum and mellifluous musicality.

Ms. Bar and Ms. Stafford worked the violin solos with uplifting sweeps of the arms and underarm weaving patterns, assisted by Mr. Peck. They exuded energy with a flood of rhythmic sequences. This 1941 premiered work for American Ballet Caravan shone brightly with its multiple variations. The mirrored solos of the violins enabled Ms. Stafford and Ms. Bar’s mirrored dance images in stunning symmetry. Later Mr. Peck led Ms. Bar past the ensemble, under and over dancers in structured, seamless patterns. Bach’s score resounded with harmony and beauty.

The Magic Flute (1981): Music by Riccardo Drigo, Orchestrated by Robert Irving, Choreography by Peter Martins, Scenery by David Mitchell, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Adam Hendrickson as The Marquis, Henry Seth as The Farmer, Marika Anderson as The Farmer’s Wife, Tiler Peck as Lise, Their Daughter, Joaquin De Luz as Luke, a Young Peasant, Devin Alberda as The Marquis’ Footman, Ellen Ostrom as Oberon (disguised as a hermit), Christian Tworzyanski as The Sheriff, Andrew Scordato as The Judge, Ralph Ippolito as The Judge’s Clerk, Alina Dronova, Maya Collins, Lauren King, Stephanie Zungre as Lise’s Friends, the Company as Peasants and Policemen, and Students from SAB as Children.

Peter Martins’ newly restored and restaged 1981 The Magic Flute, to a Riccardo Drigo score, has a plot somewhat like Fille Mal Gardée, with a peasant girl, named Lise, daughter of a farmer, and a peasant boy, named Luke. The father wants Lise to marry a bumbling Marquis, but Lise is in love with Luke. The story line is simple, clear, and sequential, also perfect for children. There’s a mythical stranger, Oberon, a flute that resolves all, The Farmer parents, the young lovers, the jilted Marquis, his Footman, a Sheriff, a Judge, a Clerk, Friends, Peasants, Policemen, and Children. The music, by Riccardo Drigo, of Le Corsaire rhythmical fame, lends itself to buoyant choreography. Ben Benson’s costumes are bright, with a storybook quality. David Mitchell’s sets are designed like those he created for City Ballet’s 1991The Sleeping Beauty, also choreographed by Mr. Martins, with the stage looking like a children’s pop-up book..

Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz led the cast as Lise and Luke, with joyful abandon, wild spins and pirouettes, leaps, tosses, and charming theatricality. They’re a seasoned duo, with wit, chemistry, and total trust, as Ms. Peck takes wild lunges into Mr. De Luz’ arms. The pantomime inherent in most scenes is outsized enough to hear children’s laughter in the audience. They also loved seeing the expansive School of American Ballet ensemble, which Mr. Martins directs, scampering and dancing in synchronized fashion. In today’s cast, Adam Hendrickson was a witty, engaging Marquis, with Devin Alberda as his head-shaking Footman, both cartoonish and adorable. Ellen Ostrom was Oberon in and out of disguise, with dramatic flair, while Christian Tworzyanski, Andrew Scordato, and Ralph Ippolito danced the respective roles of Sheriff, Judge, and Clerk. Henry Seth and Marika Anderson, from the Corps, were well suited to the roles of Lise’s parents. I recommend adding a plot synopsis to the Playbill for parents and relatives to read to children in the audience. There was no guide, and children do better, when prepped before the curtain. I overheard an adult telling her young child guest, “Well the music is by Drigo”.

Stars and Stripes (1958): Music adapted and orchestrated by Hershy Kay after music by John Philip Sousa, Choreography by George Balanchine, Scenery by David Hays, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Erica Pereira, Gwyneth Muller, Daniel Ulbricht, Ashley Bouder, Andrew Veyette, and the Company. Balanchine created five "campaigns" with changing Sousa themes. This ballet was performed for the opening ceremonies for the New York State Theater. (NYCB Notes).

No plot notes needed here, Stars and Stripes brought the house down, with Erica Pereira, Gwyneth Muller, Daniel Ulbricht, Ashley Bouder, and Andrew Veyette all appearing in thrilling Sousa-inspired, dance-march vivacity. For the First Campaign, Erica Pereira twirled, tossed, and caught her baton with coy confidence, leading the 1st Regiment: Corcoran Cadets. She has an allure that lights the stage, and she’s surely an artist to watch. For the Second Campaign, Gwyneth Muller (another artist to watch, with versatile talent and remarkable personality) marched about with her 2nd Regiment: Rifle Regiment.

For the Third Campaign, Daniel Ulbricht appeared for his now renowned 3rd Regiment: Thunder and Gladiator, leading a marching corps in lock step leg kicks and taut, close spins. His own multiple spins, total body or with one leg propelling him, drew gasps from the matinee crowd. The Fourth Campaign: Liberty Bell and El Capitan, brought out Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette, in breathtaking athletics, leaping and spinning and absorbing the accolades. The Fifth Campaign was Stars and Stripes: All Regiments, and the stage was packed with shifting lines of exciting, colorful, patriotic-infused synchronization. Hershy Kay’s orchestrations add zest and sparkle to the well known marches. When the American Flag backdrop is unfurled, applause always occurs, in the finest spirit imaginable. Kudos to George Balanchine for this significant, vibrant ballet.

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