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New York City Ballet: "Opus 19/The Dreamer", "Barber Violin Concerto", "Stravinsky Violin Concerto"
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New York City Ballet: "Opus 19/The Dreamer", "Barber Violin Concerto", "Stravinsky Violin Concerto"

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New York City Ballet
(New York City Ballet Website)

Opus 19/The Dreamer
Barber Violin Concerto
Stravinsky Violin Concerto

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, Dena Abergel
Orchestra, Interim Music Director, Andrews Sill
Managing Dir. Communications & Special Projects, Robert Daniels
Manager, Media Relations, Katharina Plumb
The David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 18, 2014

(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Opus 19/The Dreamer (1979): Music by Sergei Prokofiev (Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major), Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Conductor: Andrews Sill, Violin Solo: Kurt Nikkanen, Performed by Janie Taylor, Gonzalo Garcia, and members of the Corps.

Gonzalo Garcia spins tightly, swings his torso, and pivots in space with confidence and strength. This angular, atonal, searing ballet is set to one of my favorite Prokofiev scores. Jerome Robbins’ partnered choreography is ethereal and visually exciting. Janie Taylor exudes exhausted angst, primal abandon, and intense yearning in this exceptional work, which always reveals new imagery and new combinations of sound and mood. The pointe work adheres to the pizzicato violin, performed by violin soloist, Kurt Nikkanen, a pro’s pro. Mr. Garcia spins on the beat, eyes focused, while balancing in various shapes. Ben Benson’s costumes are purple and filmy like gossamer wings. When Ms. Taylor loosened up in Mr. Garcia’s arms, she exuded a sense of being resigned and enveloped. The final image of these two bodies, merging with angular limbs like insects, was astounding. Ms. Taylor will be missed, when she leaves the Company next week.

Barber Violin Concerto (1988): Music by Samuel Barber (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 14), Choreography by Peter Martins, Costumes by William Ivey Long, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Conductor: Clotilde Otranto, Solo Violinist: Arturo Delmoni, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Jared Angle, Sara Mearns, and Ask la Cour. Barber, usually considered a classicist, moved into a contemporary motif with his "Violin Concerto", with its dissonance and starkness. This work includes melodic movements as well as a rapid scherzo. (NYCB Notes).

Clotilde Otranto took the baton from Andrews Sill for this Barber score. Peter Martins’ entertaining work, with a ballet couple meeting a modern dance couple, then switching partners with contrasting results, has never been better. Sara Mearns and Ask la Cour are the ballet couple, voluptuously and slowly dancing to Barber’s “Violin Concerto”. Theater costume designer, William Ivey Long, created lovely, understated dancewear. Ashley Bouder and Jared Angle are the modern dance couple, who don’t seem quite content. Their choreography is casual and distant, reflecting the depth and maturity of this music.

Soon Ms. Mearns happens to meet Mr. Angle, and at the end of their seductive pas de deux Mr. Mearns’ hair comes down, falling in locks onto her shoulders. Their chemistry was stronger than ever, giving the pas de deux meaning and moment. Then Ms. Bouder meets Mr. la Cour, and the result is frenetic, aggressive, persistent, on the part of Ms. Bouder. She lunges at Mr. la Cour’s torso and legs, climbs up his back, grabs his thighs from behind, wiggles and twitches, but she’s overcome by the cool, tall, muscular stranger. Several times in this segment, Ms. Bouder falls, but here it’s written into the choreography. At the curtain, the audience audibly responded to the dancers and also to Maestro Otranto, who always draws out the best from this orchestra. .

Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972): Music by Igor Stravinsky (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major), Choreography by George Balanchine, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: David Capps, Solo Violinist: Arturo Delmoni, Performed by Maria Kowroski, Sterling Hyltin, Amar Ramasar, Robert Fairchild, and the Company.

Arturo Delmoni was brilliant in the violin solo, as this “Violin Concerto” was a full concert, equally as thrilling as the dance. The “Toccata” was danced by Maria Kowroski with Amar Ramasar and Sterling Hyltin with Robert Fairchild. Mr. Ramasar and Ms. Kowroski were strikingly spectacular, always in the rhythm, with captivating gestures and an adherence to the mood. Mr. Fairchild dances with energy and warmth, even in dissonant, black-white Balanchine works. His pas de deux with Ms. Hyltin in “Aria II” was engaging and replete with mesmerizing shapes. Ms. Hyltin has grown considerably to absorb gesture and expressiveness that match the ambient intent of the music.

But, the pièce de résistance was the “Aria I” pas de deux, between Ms. Kowroski and Mr. Ramasar. It was stirring, sophisticated, and sensual. The “Capriccio” brought the full cast out for a thrilling finale. The Corps was extraordinary in synchronized, structured figures, balance, lifts, and presence. Kudos to Stravinsky.

Janie Taylor and Gonzalo Garcia
Robbins' "Opus 19/The Dreamer"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Sara Mearns and Jared Angle
in Martins' "Barber Violin Concerto"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Sterling Hyltin and Robert Fairchild
in Balanchine's "Stravinsky Violin Concerto"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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