Roberta on the Arts
A Conversation with David LaMarche, American Ballet Theatre Conductor
Home
Contact Roberta
Jazz and Cabaret Corner
On Location with Roberta
In the Galleries: Artists and Photographers
Backstage with the Playwrights and Filmmakers
Classical and Cultural Connections
New CDs
Arts and Education
Onstage with the Dancers
Offstage with the Dancers
Upcoming Events
Special Events
Memorable Misadventures
Mailbag
Our Sponsors

A Conversation with David LaMarche, American Ballet Theatre Conductor

- Offstage with the Dancers: Sponsors and Testimonials


Il Punto Ristorante
(formerly Osteria Gelsi)
507-509 Ninth Avenue
New York, N Y 10018
212.244.0088

Traditional, Authentic Italian Dining
Old World Style, with Comfort and Attention
Three Dining Rooms, Private Events Welcome
Midtown West, Near Broadway Shows, Fashion District
Mention RobertaOnTheArts.com

Interview with David LaMarche
Conductor, American Ballet Theatre
www.abt.org

At
Il Punto Ristorante
(Il Punto Ristorante Website)
(formerly Osteria Gelsi)
507-509 Ninth Avenue
New York, N Y 10018
212.244.0088

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 10, 2010


(See More ABT Interviews, Reviews, and Candids.)

This is a synthesis of a recent conversation with David LaMarche, Conductor of American Ballet Theatre, which will have its Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House, May 17, 2010 to July 10, 2010. David LaMarche has been favorably reviewed in his capacity as ABT Conductor in these pages on multiple occasions in recent years. I chatted with Maestro LaMarche at Il Punto Ristorante, on Ninth Avenue at 38th Street, NYC, over a dinner of orange, fennel, and wild berry salad, pasta with broccoli rabe, red snapper filet in parchment, and rosemary-lemon chicken on the bone. We enjoyed a good wine with our dinner, as well.

David LaMarche told me he’s in rehearsals for the Spring 2010 Season at The Met, and we spoke about the upcoming music for the numerous full-length story ballets, the shorter works for the Repertory Festival, and other Ballet Theatre projects. We also reminisced about ABT’s Fall 2009 Season at Avery Fisher Hall. He told me about the Ravel Violin Sonata in G, a jazzy piece that he accompanied on piano, to Azure Barton’s choreography, and about Ravel’s meeting with Gershwin. The second movement of Ravel’s Sonata is infused with jazz, and the ballet, he said, was high society style. David also mentioned Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances, danced in the fall by Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes, that he also accompanied on piano. He loved working with these virtuoso dancers, and they loved working with him.

Before long, we were sweeping through the upcoming Met Spring Season ballets, that David will conduct. One of those iconic ballets, La Bayadère, with music by Ludwig Minkus, that David has conducted for many years. He likes the depth of the drama, and he told me about the Bronze Idol’s 5/4 timed dance, 5 beats to the measure. His favorite passage of all time to conduct is right there, as the Minkus score swells and the Temple collapses. He also loves the big Pas de Deux in Don Quixote. I asked how he conducts Kitri’s 32 fouettés, and he said some ballerinas, in rehearsal, asked for faster tempos, and some asked for a slower set rhythm. As the ballerina is spinning, if she’s on balance, he may speed the tempo to raise the tension and excitement. For The Sleeping Beauty, in the Rose Adagio, where Princess Aurora takes a long-stemmed rose from each Prince and stays en pointe for endless minutes, David checks if she’s on balance, and, if so, he may hold the music longer, for dramatic effect. Many of these cues and choices are worked through in the dancers’ rehearsals.

Two new Frederick Ashton Pas de Deux that David’s rehearsing with Ballet Theatre Orchestra are Thais Pas de Deux (Music by Massenet) and Awakening Pas de Deux (Music by Tchaikovsky from The Sleeping Beauty). He’s very excited about this music, which includes a sumptuous violin solo, and he mentioned, in preview, that one short ballet would feature Veronika Part and David Hallberg, with Mr. Hallberg hopping fast on one leg. I wanted to be surprised as the Season drew closer. Only a balletomane would savor such mystery.

Of course, no Spring Season discussion would be complete, without delving into Swan Lake, and especially with this being the first season in decades without Nina Ananiashvili in some of the leads. David said he’s conducted “tons of Swan Lakes”, and I’ve probably seen quite a few of them. He loves the theatricality, the nuanced Variations, and the superbly written Tchaikovsky score. In the Act II Odile (Black Swan) – Siegfried Pas de Deux, he watches the stage carefully, to time the lifts. If something dramatic happens on stage, where timing slows or applause bursts forth, he holds up his hand for the Orchestra’s attention. He appreciated Nina’s tossing of long-stemmed roses into the Orchestra pit in gratitude, during her countless bows.

Our final reflections revolved around Romeo and Juliet, with Prokofiev’s “rich, well-written score”. David said this music is his favorite, with its powerful Capulet Ball, its Crypt Scene, its touching Pas de Deux. He especially enjoys conducting its serious, passionate, partnered passages, particularly with the more experienced dancers, who, at this point, dance to the Orchestra’s timing, adding theater to the familiar tempos. You can catch American Ballet Theatre in its imminent Spring 2010 Season at the Metropolitan Opera House, starting May 17. You can check to see when David LaMarche will be conducting, too, at www.abt.org.



Exec. Chef Michele Orsino
and David LaMarche, Conductor
American Ballet Theatre
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Insalata Di Finocchi Arance E
Frutti Di Bosco
ORANGE, FENNEL, MIXED WILD BERRIES,
AND BALSAMIC DRESSING
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Conchiglie Con Broccoli Rape
TINY PASTA SHELLS, GARLIC,
BROCCOLI RABE
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Dentice Al Cartoccio
RED SNAPPER FILET IN PARCHMENT PAPER,
FRESH HERBS, SNOW PEAS, ZUCCHINI, ROSEMARY,
MUSHROOMS AND CHERRY TOMATOES
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Side Dish, Browned Potatoes and Broccoli
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Pollo Assut Assut
CHICKEN PIECES ON THE BONE
SAUTEED WITH GARLIC, ROSEMARY,
LEMON JUICE AND A SPLASH WHITE WINE
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower


Maria, Il Punto Wait Staff,
and David LaMarche
Courtesy of Roberta E. Zlokower





For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net