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New York City Ballet: Mes Oiseaux, In the Night, See the Music…, Les Carillons

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Mes Oiseaux
In the Night
See the Music…
Les Carillons

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Founding Choreographers: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children’s Ballet Master, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects, Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations, Katharina Plumb
Assoc., Communications &Special Projects, Caitlin Gillette
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 23, 2012

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Conductor: Andrews Sill

Mes Oiseaux (2012): Music by Marc-André Dalbavie, Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by Gilles Mendel, Costumes supervised by Marc Happel, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Violin: Kurt Nikkanen, Cello: Ann Kim, Piano: Cameron Grant, Performed by Taylor Stanley, Lauren Lovette, Ashly Isaacs, Claire Kretzschmar.

With a violin, cello, piano trio, and a female Corps trio to match, joined by Corps dancer, Taylor Stanley, Mr. Martins has fabricated a new ballet that once again showcases his Corps dancers. This is a magnanimous gesture, allowing young talent to shine in the spotlight, stage front, as the stars. Marc-André Dalbavie’s music and the dancers’ movements are synthesized. The accents and tones of Kurt Nikkanen’s violin are the catalyst for a rapid twirl, an outstretched arm, a high kick of the leg, all combining for a visually stunning piece. Mr. Stanley and each of the women, Lauren Lovette, Ashly Isaacs, Claire Kretzschmar, shine in solo and duo variations. The score, Trio No. 1 was composed in 2009, and the costumes are by the French fashion designer, Gilles Mendel. Mes Oiseaux is French for My Birds, and the wing-like arm extensions were illustrative of birds in flight.

In the Night (1970): Music by Frédéric Chopin, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Anthony Dowell, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Piano: Nancy McDill, Performed by Janie Taylor and Tyler Angle, Maria Kowroski and Andrew Veyette, Wendy Whelan and Jared Angle.

This 1970 intoxicating Robbins work has always been a favorite on my list of City Ballet repertory. Nancy McDill plays four Chopin Nocturnes, Op. 27, No. 1, Op. 55, No. 1 and 2, Op. 9, No. 2, with sumptuous passion, as three couples in Anthony Dowell’s romantically drawn evening costumes dance short dramatic vignettes. Each couple appears for one entire Nocturne, followed by a full cast drama as in the final Nocturne. Janie Taylor and Tyler Angle perform a graceful, elegant ballet, soothing and sophisticated. Maria Kowroski and Andrew Veyette perform the second, more rapturous and emotionally tense ballet, and Wendy Whelan and Jared Angle perform the tumultuous, angst-imbued third ballet. At one point, Ms. Kowroski is tipped upside down and sideways by Mr. Veyette, and Ms. Taylor at one point is carried offstage by Tyler Angle, totally upside down. This is a popular Robbins device and one that lures the audience into gasps. Ms. Whelan, in the very tumultuous segment, throws herself at the feet of Jared Angle, who cradles her in his arms.

See the Music… A musical exploration of Georges Bizet’s score for Les Carillons, Featuring Asst. Music Director, Andrews Sill, and New York City Ballet Orchestra.

Andrews Sill had a rare opportunity, usually reserved for Music Director, Fayçal Karoui, to introduce Georges Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suites No. 1 & 2, the score for the next piece, Les Carillons, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Also rare was the introduction of a saxophone player, Ed Joffe, after the orchestra rose on the motorized stage raising machine. It’s always a joy to see the musicians up close, as they’re almost always hidden in the pit. They seem overjoyed, as well, for the spotlight. Mr. Sill didn’t have the French savoir faire that Maestro Karoui exudes, when he addresses the crowd in witticisms and asides, but Mr. Sill exuded warmth and expertise in the workings and nuances of the music.

Les Carillons (2012): Music by Georges Bizet (L’Arlésienne Suites No. 1 & 2), Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Costumes by Mark Zappone, Scenery by Jean-Marc Puissant, Lighting by Mary Louise Geiger, Performed by Ana Sophia Scheller, Wendy Whelan, Maria Kowroski, Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Amar Ramasar, Robert Fairchild, Tyler Angle, Daniel Ulbricht, Gonzalo Garcia.

Mr. Wheeldon’s 2012 work, that premiered in January, is filled with duos and dynamism. Tonight, Ana Sophia Scheller assumed the role I had seen performed by Sara Mearns, and her interpretation was brisk, pointed, spritely, yet full of color. Mary Louis Geiger’s lighting merges the shiny effects of color in the backdrop with grey-white or brown-gold. Amar Ramasar partnered Ms. Scheller with poised, pronounced attention to postural presence. Mr. Wheeldon adds nuanced and dramatic gestures. Daniel Ulbricht partnered Lauren Lovette in such a way that I hope to see them dancing a showcased duo in the very near future. Both dancers were brash and vivacious. Robert Fairchild partnered Wendy Whelan in slow surrealism, while Gonzalo Garcia partnered Tiler Peck, who took an additional solo.

Flute and saxophone reach above the orchestral blending, and the music often became its own show. Tyler Angle partnered Maria Kowroski, sometimes enveloping an ensemble of dancers. The costumes by Mark Zappone were eye-catching, with men in leotards that uncovered one arm. The silk on the man’s costume matched color to his partner. Each passage was mesmerizing and abstract. Of special note is the male ensemble’s choreography of assisted turns and lifts, while using each other’s arms for support. There was no explicit story or meaning, it seemed, but a visual and musical feast.

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