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An Abundance of Giselles 纽约时报  

2015-06-03 17:13:37|  分类: 音乐和舞蹈演出 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Review: An Abundance of Giselles, With Debuts and Farewells

By ALASTAIR MACAULAY 


Abundance of Giselles, With Debuts and Farewells

It’s not unusual for American Ballet Theater to present eight performances of “Giselle” in eight days at the Metropolitan Opera House; this occurs most years. This year’s casting, however, prompted many in the audience to undertake unusually large Giselleathons, thanks to important debuts, farewells and returns.

Two important European male dancers (Vladimir Shklyarov and Steven McRae) made their debuts as the hero, Albrecht, and a long-term soloist (Stella Abrera) made her company debut in the title role. Two company ballerinas (Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes) gave their farewell performances at the company, and another (Julie Kent) gave her last Giselle. The frequently sensational Natalia Osipova, whose performances were highlights of the spring season from 2009 to 2013, returned after two years, and Diana Vishneva resumed her superlative partnership with Marcelo Gomes.

On Thursday, the Osipova-McRae “Giselle” brought both thrills and spills. Ms. Osipova’s Giselle — always riveting — continually (from season to season, and perhaps more frequently than that) changes in aspects of interpretation, phrasing and execution. In Act I, her celebrated elevation seemed less phenomenal than in past seasons, her characterization shyer and her way with the opening steps of her big solo more wayward. The waywardness was again apparent in one adagio solo in Act II, but here, when she took to the air, not only were her various jumps breathtaking, but their height and breadth also seemed — spectacularly — to keep increasing.

Then, near the end of her last solo, she crashed to the floor and needed time before she could rise again. Though she continued the performance, with a limited number of jumps and a limited amount of point work, she seemed injured. Though she took curtain calls, she did so with reduced energy, and it was Veronika Part, who had danced a majestic Myrta (the queen of the ballet’s spectral wilis), who ran over to bring the conductor, Ormsby Wilkins, onto the stage. (We await news of whether Ms. Osipova will cancel any of her announced June performances here, either with Ballet Theater or the Royal Ballet.)

Though the flame-haired and assertive Mr. McRae (a principal of the Royal Ballet in London) has been seen before in New York, even with Ballet Theater, this was by far his most prestigious local appearance, and he rose to the occasion. He’s a dancer of true brilliance: One solo featured an advancing string of five double air turns, each landing on one foot, and all his batterie (beatings of the legs in the air) scintillated. His timing is marvelous, too; some Albrechts miss the musical point of the character’s Act I solo, but he made it matter.

What fascinated most, though, was the intelligent naturalism of his acting. He draws the audience into the intimacies of Albrecht’s mind; the turn of his head, the changing pace, the movement of his eyes all gave Albrecht freshness. He exemplifies the lively vigor of Royal Ballet dance acting; New York could learn much from him. This was my sixth “Giselle” in six days; Mr. McRae, even more than the phenomenal Ms. Osipova, made sure it never felt stale for an instant.

      It was 40 years ago that I began to watch the 19th-century ballet classics. For some, as you might expect — notably, “Swan Lake” — my standards remain set by the performances I watched early on. “Giselle,” though, keeps bringing out the best in many dancers; I’m happily amazed that, having once applauded in it the luminaries Gelsey Kirkland, Irina Kolpakova, Natalia Makarova and Lynn Seymour, I have gone on to adore the best performances this century by Alina Cojocaru, Ms. Osipova and Ms. Vishneva.

Ms. Vishneva danced it again on Tuesday, with the redoubtable Marcelo Gomes: a wonderful performance. No other partnership of this Giselleathon had chemistry so potent; they suffused the ballet with romantic and Romantic love. To see Ms. Vishneva and Ms. Osipova in the context of Western companies (and Western partners) shows how mannered the Russian ways of dancing Giselle’s adagio passages have become, sometimes departing from musical cues and sometimes exaggerating legato slow motion, but mainly Ms. Vishneva makes even this enthralling.

She fills the ballet’s steps to the brim, so that those of Act II shine in the night air. It’s seldom understood that in Giselle’s last solo, the heroine’s wili/siren side should resurface. (That’s why Giselle lures Albrecht back into the dance, when a more uncomplicated heroine would encourage him to remain on the floor, getting his breath back.) Ms. Vishneva, though, gives the steps such volume, such tonal beauty, that she makes this ambiguity vivid. Hers, too, is a marvelous stage face; you hang on those perfect features.

As for Mr. Gomes, his is the art that conceals art. After the performance, you find what stays with you are his manly stance, his chivalrous courtesy, his generous focus, his large heart.




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