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  1. Not sure if it’s been performed since 2000, when this DVD was filmed, starring Benjamin & Acosta: https://www.amazon.com/Coppelia-Leanne-Benjamin/dp/B00005S6KR
  2. p.s. My vote is for WISE VIRGINS. I remember seeing another photo of Fonteyn dancing a solo from this ballet, in this exact costume, at the 1970 gala tribute to Sir Fred at the ROH. That memory of Fonteyn in that white gown is what led me this morning to go through my books. I knew that I had seen that dress before!
  3. Two possibilities to identify the character with the white billowy dress with bulbous sleeves: photo 1- 1940 THE WISE VIRGINS by Ashton, to Bach arr. by Walton (Fonteyn & Somes) photo 2- 1943 THE QUEST by Ashton, to Walton score (Fonteyn & Edwards) I’ll try to upload photos in next two posts.
  4. I attended Tuesday night’s opening. While I generally enjoyed the presentation - but preferring ABT’s more faithful version and the Bolshoi’s Tsarist-Era splendor - I was underwhelmed and taken aback by the hyperflexed & brittle (ribs protruding) Maria Khoreva, who stopped just short of landing in the orchestra pit during her 29 or 30 single fouettes...lending new meaning to the designation “The Traveling Ballerina”! Think of a Somova, only more petite. Thank goodness for the mature classical style of Gulnare, Nadezhda Batoeva....overcoming weak partnering by her Lankedem in the Pas d’Esclave (off-kilter partnered pirouettes, one coming to a dead stop). It was left up to Kimin Kim (Ali) to present the fireworks, with Timur Askerov (Conrad) delivering the charisma. The three Odalisques - all from the Vaganova class of 2018 - at least were a bit more tempered than Khoreva in their style, with Maria Bulanova absolutely smashing as the multi-turning 3rd Odalisque. The corps was fine, if not as lazer sharp as I recall in past viewings, starting in 1987. In sum, while it’s always a pleasure to see this company, I’m not quite drinking the Khoreva Kool-Aid. At least not yet.
  5. Happily, it looks like there may be more trips to Sarasota in my future. The 2019-2020 season has been announced, with more Ashton rarities in the rep, including Dante Sonata and R&J: https://www.sarasotaballet.org/events/2019-2020-season
  6. Thanks for all of the reports! Marston appears to be the “full-length, audience-pleasing choreographer” of the moment. I look forward to seeing my first full-length Marston ballet at ABT...soon!
  7. Thanks for the fascinating clip of 1987. Funny thing...I don’t recall having seen the very last sequence (ending in hug) at the Sarasota performances. I *do* recall the sequence of lift-throws in which the woman turns in the air. Gomes, throwing Hulland, was far more impressive. Of course, that was actual performance. Maybe Schaufuss was stronger in actual performance.
  8. The problem was not dancing talents or acting ability. Hard to state without being unkind. The story demands that the Fonteyn character possess certain classic features. Not that Makarova wasn’t beautiful in her own unique way.
  9. One more interesting tidbit from my viewings in Sarasota: Yes, there is a “Fred Step” segment in APPARITIONS. It’s danced by the female lead during her solo in the ballroom. As the troupe’s Marketing head explained to me, Sir Fred added this for Makarova, in the 1987 version. So Dame Margot never danced this particular Fred Step...only Makarova and the two Sarasota ballerinas.
  10. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head: the need for extraordinary personalities - plus the right physiques & “aura” - in the two leading roles. Now back in my home, I’m thinking, “What if anybody BUT Marcelo would’ve danced the Poet? I cannot imagine. (Marcelo danced all three performances, subbing for the indisposed Ricardo Graziano at the matinee.) Just thinking...who else is such an enormous charismatic personality, a bit older but still with stellar technique (fleet Ashtonian footwork, quick double tours alternating in direction, expert partnering, etc.)? Maybe Carlos Acosta...a couple of years ago? Who else could do it now? For the Fonteyn role, Hulland certainly brought the glamourous look, pliant back, etc. & 2nd cast Danielle Brown was lovely but...I’m hoping to someday see someone who looks and moves like Fonteyn in the role. Having just seen the Washington Ballet’s amazing Katherine Barkman as Aurora in SB...with her raven hair, porcelain skin, Fonteyn proportions and, especially, use of her EYES just like Fonteyn...excuse me for dreaming a bit.
  11. Fonty, it’s definitely well worth the trip. Let’s see if APPARITIONS will be programmed for the 2019/20 season...either in the US or the UK. This is too substantial and important a production to be shelved. In my report, I failed to mention a vital contribution to its success: the excellent sound of the Sarasota Orchestra in the pit, conducted by Ormsby Wilkins. They truly did justice to the Liszt-Jacob score, as arranged by Lambert. Also, kudos to Doug Nicholson of BRB, who oversaw the team that brought to life the gorgeous Beaton designs. Bravo tutti! My only complaint - and I realize that I am overly sensitive on this: the order of the double bill. Ending the night with the rousing (bombastic?) STARS & STRIPES somewhat stole the thunder from what (to me) should have been the standout ballet, APPARITIONS. But how can S&S be anything but a closer? I get it. That’s why, on the 3rd and final show on Saturday night, I walked out at intermission...to truly savour every step & note of APPARITIONS. No “Yankee Doodle” to eclipse the sublimity of the Ashton.
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