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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
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New York City Ballet: Mother Goose, In Vento, Symphony in C

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 13, 2006
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

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New York City Ballet: Mother Goose, In Vento, Symphony in C

New York City Ballet

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 Mistress, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Andrea Quinn
Managing Director, Marketing and Communications, Robert Daniels
Associate Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Press Coordinator, Joe Guttridge

New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
(See Other NYC Ballet Reviews)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 13, 2006

The Diamond Project: The Diamond Project is the sixth such festival of new works, with seven choreographers, from unique international backgrounds, presenting new ballets. Tonight's program features a new work by Mauro Bigonzetti, Artistic Director of Aterballetto.

Mother Goose (Fairy Tales for Dancers, 1975): (See January 29, 2006 Review). Music and Scenario by Maurice Ravel, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Stanley Simmons, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Guest Conductor: David Briskin, Performed by The Company. This ballet premiered in 1912 with Ravel's score for "Ma Mère L'Oye" (Mother Goose). Ravel detailed scenes for Sleeping Beauty to dream about other fairy tales, all conceived by Perrault. (NYCB Notes).

This light, frilly fantasy ballet was more delightful on second viewing. The incandescent Ravel score in itself, deftly conducted by David Briskin, a guest at the podium, is worth the experience. Also, the young ballet students, presumably from SAB, were poised and confident. The choreographic lyricism and visual cues (especially suited for children in the audience, and those of us unfamiliar with Hop o' My Thumb), allow the viewer to sit back and just enjoy this fairy tale within a fairy tale (As Sleeping Beauty wiles away the 100-year sleep, she dreams of pirates, forest-bound children, and demons, who turn lovers into ugly creatures). At last viewing, in a matinee, this ballet seemed better suited for young ones. However, as tonight's opening ballet (once again substituting for In the Night, due to dance injuries), this work took on a campy, charming motif. The happy Jerome Robbins-styled wedding extended the effervescence.

In Vento (2006): Music by Bruno Moretti (In Vento, commissioned for NYC Ballet), Choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti, Costumes by Mauro Bigonzetti, Costumes supervised by Holly Hynes, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Guest Conductor: Paul Hoskins, Performed by Edwaard Liang, Maria Kowroski, Jason Fowler, Saskia Beskow, Maya Collins, Tiler Peck, Teresa Reichlen, Antonio Carmena, Craig Hall, Jonathan Stafford, Sean Suozzi.

New York City Ballet has a huge hit on its hands, as In Vento ("In Wind") literally sweeps the audience off its feet. The commissioned score by Bruno Moretti and commissioned ballet and costumes by Mauro Bigonzetti are stark, seductive, and surreal. Women are in lacy, mesh black leotards and black toe shoes, men are in black tights and bare chests, and the lighting makes the dancers glow from within, like internal fire. Mr. Bigonzetti dedicated this work to George Balanchine, "my master and master of all my masters". He was truly humbled to participate in this Diamond Project.

Edwaard Liang was the perfect solo artist to open this work, with Maria Kowroski and the newly promoted Jason Fowler in his new persona of "gravitas". The eight soloists and corps dancers, from time to time, formed human chains, grasping hands in "windy" fashion, as if blown by the force of nature or life in the dark, tumultuous staging. The score and staging were sometimes evocative of the Stravinsky-Balanchine partnership, their magnetic, abstract works. Mr. Liang, with depth and drama, was writhing and lunging, as the ensemble would approach from a dim, rear stage, sometimes in solo, duo, or connected effects.

Craig Hall is surely soon to be promoted, as he seizes the interest, whenever he appears. He is one of those dancers that draw the eyes. Teresa Reichlen is another captivating and charismatic persona. Most striking was the angularity of dance, contrasted with the atonality of music. I literally noticed some Latin dance figures in limbs secured around partners' torsos, and the sensational imagery was matched by the striking score. Kudos to Mauro Bigonzetti, and kudos to Bruno Moretti.

Symphony in C (1948): (See January 21, 2006 Review) Music by Georges Bizet, Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Conductor: Andrea Quinn, Performed by Jennie Somogyi, Jonathan Stafford, Sara Mearns, Stephen Hanna, Sterling Hyltin, Antonio Carmena, Abi Stafford, Arch Higgins, and the Company.

It is not possible to see Symphony in C too many times. This is one ballet to which I could wake each day and never tire. The repetitive and rapturous Bizet symphony is contagious and cohesive, as each of the four movements builds upon the earlier one. Jennie Somogyi and Jonathan Stafford tore into the Allegro Vivo with energy abounding. Karinska's white on white tutus sparkle brightly to the bouncy score, juxtaposed to the men in black. Newly promoted soloist, Sara Mearns, captured the etherealness of the Adagio, effortlessly partnered by the able, Stephen Hanna. Ms. Mearns was dreamy and daring in this sensual role.

Sterling Hyltin and Antonio Carmena, both newly promoted soloists, were literally coltish in their prancing, leaping, and cavorting. Abi Stafford and Arch Higgins brought up the finale with energy and spirit. The company was in great form, timely and synchronized. Kudos to George Balanchine.

Tiler Peck as Princess Florine, Seth Orza as Prince Charming and Company in New York City Ballet's Mother Goose

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

Maria Kowroski, Jonathan Stafford, Teresa Reichlen, Robert Fairchild and Saskia Beskow in New York City Ballet's In Vento

Photo courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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