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American Ballet Theatre: Angel Corella Farewell: Swan Lake 2012

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American Ballet Theatre

Angel Corella Farewell:
Swan Lake 2012

Metropolitan Opera House

Kevin McKenzie, Artistic Director
Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director
Alexei Ratmansky, Artist in Residence
Victor Barbee, Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Masters:
Susan Jaffe, Susan Jones, Irina Kolpakova,
Clinton Luckett, Nancy Raffa
Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director
Kelly Ryan, Director of Press and Public Relations
James Timm, Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Susan Morgan, Manager of Press and Online Media

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 28, 2012

(Read More ABT Reviews)

Swan Lake (1877, Moscow; 2000, ABT): Choreography by Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Set and Costumes by Zack Brown, Lighting by Duane Schuler. Swan Lake was first produced in 1877 by the Russian imperial Ballet at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. In 1895, the Petipa/Ivanov choreography was introduced in St. Petersburg, and in 1940 ABT staged Act II, followed in 1944 by the premier of the Black Swan Pas de Deux at the Metropolitan Opera House. In 1988 Mikhail Baryshnikov staged a new version for ABT, and in 1993 Kevin McKenzie re-staged this piece for ABT and again newly produced Swan Lake in 2000. (ABT Notes).

Cast on June 28, 2012:

Conductor: Charles Barker

Paloma Herrera as Odette-Odile, Angel Corella as Prince Siegfried, Nancy Raffa as The Queen Mother, Victor Barbee as Wolfgang, Gennadi Saveliev as Benno, the Prince’s friend, Vitali Krauchenka and Jared Matthews as von Rothbart, Melanie Hamrick, Hee Seo, Gennadi Saveliev as Pas de Trois, Maria Riccetto, Nicole Graniero, Sarah Lane, Yuriko Kajiya as Cygnettes, Christine Shevchenko and Devon Teuscher as Two Swans, Victor Barbee as Master of Ceremonies, Adrienne Schulte as The Hungarian Princess, Sarah Lane as The Spanish Princess, Gemma Bond as The Italian Princess, Yuriko Kajiya as The Polish Princess, Simone Messmer and Alexei Agoudine as Lead Czardas, Devon Teuscher and Roman Zhurbin, Karen Uphoff and Alexandre Hammoudi, as Spanish Dance, Grant DeLong and Luis Ribagorda as Neapolitan, and the Company as The Aristocrats, The Peasants, Swans, Czardas, and Mazurka.

Cast on June 29, 2012:

Conductor: David LaMarche

Polina Semionova as Odette-Odile, David Hallberg as Prince Siegfried, Karen Uphoff as The Queen Mother, Clinton Luckett as Wolfgang, Sascha Radetsky as Benno, the Prince’s friend, Roman Zhurbin and Alexander Hammoudi as von Rothbart, Maria Riccetto, Stella Abrera, Sascha Radetsky as Pas de Trois, Luciana Paris, Cassandra Trenary, Sarah Lane, Gemma Bond as Cygnettes, Simone Messmer and Melanie Hamrick as Two Swans, Clinton Luckett as Master of Ceremonies, Sarah Smith as The Hungarian Princess, Luciana Paris as The Spanish Princess, Christine Shevchenko as The Italian Princess, Simone Messmer as The Polish Princess, Kelley Boyd and Julio Bragado-Young as Lead Czardas, Melanie Hamrick and Thomas Forster, Jessica Saund and Daniel Mantei as Spanish Dance, Craig Salstein and Joseph Phillips as Neapolitan, and the Company as The Aristocrats, The Peasants, Swans, Czardas, and Mazurka.

June 28 was Angel Corella’s Farewell, and he chose Paloma Herrera, a longtime friend and dance partner, to be his Odette/Odile. I remember vividly, in 2007, days after the World Premiere of Sleeping Beauty, when this duo brought the house down. Now, only five years later, Mr. Corella is retiring from the Company and dedicating all of his time to his Barcelona Ballet. When Mr. Corella, as Siegfried, a role he has grown into over the years (he joined ABT in 1995), lifted his chalice, he nodded in feigned salute to his fans. The air was thick, and nobody wanted this evening to end. Mr. Corella has not danced as often lately in Ballet Theatre’s Met Opera Season, and his fouettés and jumps are no longer as breathtaking, his backward leaps no longer as gravity defying. But, in comparison to so many renowned danseurs, he’s still a star and exudes cherished charisma, especially in Swan Lake, and especially with Ms. Herrera. As Odette, in the lakeside scenes, Ms. Herrera was poignantly sorrowful, more than the theatrics demanded. With Mr. Corella at her side, or lifting and carrying her about, or twirling her torso rapidly in place, she always fulfills her virtuosic technique and imagery. Now it will end. As Siegfried and Odile, in the ballroom scene, Ms. Herrera whipped her own 32 fouettés with tour de force sensation. They played it wild for the crowd. On the empty stage, after most curtain calls, Angel Corella stood near his mountain of wreaths and roses and blew kisses to everyone.

On June 28, Benno was Mr. Corella’s colleague, Gennadi Saveliev, and Wolfgang was Victor Barbee, Ballet Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director. Von Rothbart, the dual character in this Kevin McKenzie production, featured Vitali Krauchenka in the lakeside monster costume and Jared Matthews in the ballroom seduction dance. Mr. Matthews seemed to be having an off night, improvising, as if this were more a real party than a stage. Nancy Raffa was the Queen Mother, whom von Rothbart seduces into allowing Siegfried to propose to Odile, thus breaking Odette’s spell of eternal love and dooming her to live forever as a swan. Earlier, the birthday Pas de Trois was vivaciously danced by Hee Seo, Melanie Hamrick, and Mr. Saveliev. Of the Princesses, Yuriko Kajiya was outstanding. Ms. Kajiya was also one of the four Cygnettes. I look forward to Mr. Corella’s frequent tours to New York with his own Barcelona Ballet.

Where the June 28 Swan Lake, Corella Farewell, was poignant and sentimental, the June 29 Swan Lake, Hallberg-Semionova, was phenomenal and astounding. Ms. Semionova, as Odette/Odile, arched her long neck to her back and undulated her arms as supernatural wings at the lakeside, and whirled and twirled her long legs and torso in the ballroom. Mr. Hallberg was possessed and regal, youthful and ebullient. Together this is another duo for history, having recently electrified the stage in La Bayadère, now repeating the partnered bravura for Swan Lake. In fact, in the Black Swan Pas de Deux, they caused audience pandemonium with Ms. Semionova wickedly summoning then teasing Mr. Hallberg in their reeling en air rotations.

The June 29 Pas de Trois was danced by Sascha Radetsky (Benno), Stella Abrera, and Maria Riccetto, all in top form, and Clinton Luckett was a persuasive Wolfgang. The two von Rothbarts were a menacing Roman Zhurbin at the lake and Alexandre Hammoudi (in rare demonization) at the ball. One high point was the Two Swans dance, with Simone Messmer and Melanie Hamrick. Karen Uphoff was a stately Queen Mother, and Luciana Paris was a poised Spanish Princess. Craig Salstein and Joseph Phillips wowed the clamorous crowd in the Neapolitan dance, with a burst of propulsive athletics, and Hallberg-Semionova became another infamous duo for the balletomanes. Kudos to all.

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