unfortunately, sometimes all your “crazy balletomane” funding ends up going to stupid unplanned (but necessary) home repairs or some nonsense, thus ending your american ballet theatre Met season somewhat abruptly. but happily there are people who are thoughtful and kind and generous so you get to see ABTs shakespeare celebration after all, and truly you are grateful beyond words.
and so it was that i found myself heading into manhattan yet again, but unfortunately running a little late due to morning errands that took longer than expected. traffic was moving a bit slow on the bridge but nothing to be concerned about until….. i took the exit ramp to the west side highway and ended up directly behind two work trucks who were using both exit lanes to pick up traffic cones. this was an excruciatingly slow process. they would drive a few feet, and pick up a cone. and drive a few more feet, and pick up another cone. there were a lot of cones. there were an appalling number of cones actually, and i was continuously looking at the clock and beginning to fear missing the 2:00 curtain.
but the cone picker uppers obviously could care less if i made to the theater on time, or that i was to meet my friend who was probably wondering where the hell i was, and they just kept crawling along, blocking both lanes, picking up cone after cone after cone. after approximately forever, the final stupid orange cone was retrieved and i was set free to aggressively speed down the west side highway. (and by “aggressively” i mean aggressively by my standards- which is to say…. not very. i’m a notoriously cautious driver but felt i should throw that in for dramatic effect). i parked my car a few minutes before the show was supposed to start, ran several blocks in 80 something degree heat to the theatre (or some bastardization of running- more of a limpy jog) and picked up my ticket with just enough time to find my seat, give my friend a (slightly sweaty) hug (ugh, sorry!) and chat briefly before the performance began.
frederic ashton’s “the dream” (based on shakespeare’s “a midsummer nights dream”) is a ballet ABT is known for doing well and the performance i saw was no exception. there have already been quite a few rave reviews of the cast i saw ( gillian murphy as titania, cory stearns as oberon and omg herman cornejo as puck) so i’m just going to be lazy and agree with them. hey, it’s either that or end up sounding like a copycat.
not to be boring but i simply loved everyone and everything about this performance. gorgeous gillian and gorgeous cory, all of the lovers (adrienne schulte, grant delong, jared matthews and especially stella abrera – i adore her in this!), bottom (blaine hoven), the fairies… they were all great. and herman cornejo was pretty good as puck i guess. pshht. he was f***ing fantastic. the ultimate puck. brilliant beyond belief. although i’ve seen him dance it before, and watched the 2004 video at least 187 billion times, i still can’t get over how incredible he is in this. i love him. whatever. (ok, i admit i was tempted to say he was pucking fantastic- but i resisted the pun. you’re welcome).
my only slight disappointment with this presentation is that i much prefer the costumes and sets used in ABTs former production of “the dream”. previously the lovers wore beautiful red and blue outfits instead of yellow and…. i’ve already forgotten… biege? and bottom had a much more solid tree to scratch his…well… bottom upon. titania’s current dress is quite lovely at least, but poor cory got nearly strangled by oberon’s cape during his turns (cory is wonderful as oberon, btw) and i’m not sure why puck now has leopard spots. but this is a minor complaint and can be more or less overlooked when you consider the wonderful choreography, beautiful music and incredible dancing. 🙂
the second half of the shakespeare celebration was alexei ratmansky’s “the tempest”. my previous opinion of the tempest still pretty much stands, although the choreography didn’t seem quite as busy as i remember. there are some truly beautiful moments – many of them involving marcelo gomes, who is so fluid and musical and….gorgeous. i saw the same principal cast as i had seen in the fall with the exception of james whiteside now danced the role of caliban. i loved james as caliban, actually – it’s a bit of a weird role and “weird” kind of works for james. sarah lane and joseph gorak were possibly even more devine than when i saw them in the fall and as much as i dislike both of his costumes, daniil simkin was wonderful as the nimble and sprightly ariel. in short, i loved the dancers and a good amount of the choreography, but not so much the production as a whole.
i can’t figure why ABT put “the dream” first and “the tempest” second, i would have preferred the opposite (saving the best for last) but i can hardly complain. all in all, it was a terrific end to a fun and beautiful ballet season and i am ever so thankful i was able to attend.
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