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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
New York City Ballet (NYCB)
Lincoln Center
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

New York City Ballet: Mozartiana, Piano Pieces, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 27, 2007
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
About the Author:

New York City Ballet
(NYC Ballet Website)
Three Masters

Founders, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins
Ballet Mistress, Rosemary Dunleavy
Children's Ballet Master, Garielle Whittle
Orchestra, Music Director, Fayçal Karoui
Communications, Managing Director, Robert Daniels
Assoc. Director, Communications, Siobhan Burns
Manager, Press Relations, Joe Guttridge
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center
Conductor: Fayçal Karoui
(Read More NYC Ballet Reviews).

Mozartiana (1981): (See February 2, 2005 Review) Music by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (Suite No. 4, Op. 61), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian, Original Lighting by Ronald Bates, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Performed by Kyra Nichols, Tom Gold, Philip Neal, students from the School of American Ballet, and the Company. Tschaikovsky studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine also studied piano and dance. The original NYC Ballet cast included Suzanne Farrell, Ib Andersen, and Christopher d'Amboise. (NYCB Notes).

It was wonderful to have an extra opportunity to catch Kyra Nichols, pre-retirement, as the poised and sophisticated lead in Mozartiana. In Preghiera, her arms were outstretched like a falcon's wings, her torso both rounded and straight, her eyes straight at her audience, at one with Tschaikovsky's score. Philip Neal was the ever attentive partner in Theme et Variations and left the stardom to Ms. Nichols, although his solos were well executed and lively. Tom Gold, in Gigue, was buoyant and brimming with energy, and the students from SAB were remarkably professional and radiant. It was impossible to take notes during Ms. Nichols' magical performance, as her every moment onstage was a gift. Her retirement looms too soon.

Piano Pieces (1981): (See February 2, 2003 Review) Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Costumes by Ben Benson, Lighting by Ronald Bates, Piano: Susan Walters, Performed by Antonio Carmena, Jennie Somogyi, Jared Angle, Abi Stafford, Amar Ramasar, Jenifer Ringer, Ask la Cour, and the Company.

Jerome Robbins used the second of tonight's three Tschaikovsky scores to create a masterpiece, with Ben Benson's folk Russian inspired, silky, red-trimmed costumes. With rapid, skipping beats, about 14 dances, including Troika, Waltz, Mazurka, Polka, and Barcarolle, develop a cultural mélange of musical dervish. Susan Walters, on solo piano, kept a tight watch over the numerous shifts in solos and pas de deux, as well as the ensemble's entertaining Polka and Scherzo. Abi Stafford and Amar Ramasar exuded personality and skill in Troika, while Jenifer Ringer and Ask la Cour exuded elegance and classicism in October. Jennie Somogyi and Jared Angle were seductive in the pastel Reverie. Antonio Carmena would be better served with a less self-consciousness grin, as his technique has expanded.

Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 (1964): (See January 18, 2007 Review) Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky (Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major), Choreography by George Balanchine, Costumes by Gary Lisz, Lighting by Mark Stanley, Piano: Cameron Grant, Performed by Ashley Bouder, Jonathan Stafford, Teresa Reichlen, Seth Orza, Sean Suozzi, Faye Arthurs, Amanda Hankes, and the Company.

For the third Tschaikovsky work, and the second tonight by Balanchine, Cameron Grant joined City Ballet Orchestra for Piano Concerto No. 2. With a scintillating and remarkable cast of dancers, Ashley Bouder and Teresa Reichlen were partnered by Jonathan Stafford, while Seth Orza and Sean Suozzi partnered Faye Arthurs and Amanda Hankes. Ms. Bouder and Mr. Stafford were confident with appropriate affect, and Ms. Bouder has become a bravura ballerina exemplaire. Ms. Reichlen is always a riveting presence onstage, with effortless elevation of endless limbs. This work is structured, classical, and regal, ornamented by Gary Lisz' long, silky costumes and jeweled tiaras. Jonathan Stafford leads the corps and solo dancers in symmetrical shifts and linear imagery, while at other passages, dancers intertwine in mesmerizing motion. The fluidity of the under-arm design is characteristically Balanchine, and he evokes "Imperial Russia" in motif and mime. Kudos to Fayçal Karoui, Cameron Grant, Susan Walters, and City Ballet orchestra for tonight's Tschaikovsky smorgasbord.
Kyra Nichols in 'Mozartiana'

Kyra Nichols in "Mozartiana"

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

NYCB's Ensemble performs 'Piano Pieces'

NYCB's Ensemble performs "Piano Pieces"

Photo © & courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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