Première - The Snow Queen - Feb 21st, 2016
Wiener Staatsballet: The Snow Queen, February 21st, 2016
Corder's "Snow Queen" is definitely not one of my favourite pieces.
The choreography neither follows nor contains an uniform line, a strong structure - it is sometimes "sprinkled" with a too obvious use of the music, sometimes too slow and all of a sudden - but lacking any stylish connection - too ferocious (I am thinking about the gypsies at the third act's beginning - one of the few exciting and lively parts of the evening – but on its own!).
In fact, my chronic dislike to anything that is usually played at Christmas time – and specially targeted at families and children – is immense. I dislike those "Season's spells" intensely.
Still “Snow Queen” offers good opportunity to young dancers. Leonardo Basilio and Jakob Feyferlink were very secure and effective as the two wolves.
The same should be said about Tristan Ridel (making a good impression on stage) and Alexandru Tcacenco – both impressive, professional, melodic and very lyric as the two “roses”. Not to be overlooked: Adele Fiocchi and Suzan Oppermann as the two polar foxes. Very, very effective.
The elves (or fairies) have quite dominated the stage and were splendidly danced by Natascha Mair, Eszter Ledán, Elena Bottaro (giving her debùt of this role) and Nikisha Fogo (unlike the others, focusing directly at the audience - and probably unintentionally "stealing" a bit of the show!).
Delightful Géraud Wielick made a good, secure impression as the reindeer. He “wins the audience” on his first entrance: an obvious display of sympathy and good stage presence. One must say that Mr. Wielick seems changed every time I see him on stage – he is developing fast, his stage persona is getting stronger with every single performance. A good thing.
Ketevan Papava and Eno Peçi, two great performers, were at ease, not being that much challenged as the gypsies. But their performances, as usual, were brilliant and precise – and always full of energy. Never dancers to “relax” on stage, they are – because of that quality – extremely appreciated by the audiences. Nina Poláková, a dancer I have never – by coincidence – seen much of, gave a good, aggressive show of the (in fact) glacial character.
Unfortunately the choreography for the “Queen” tends to turn quite repetitive at the very end of the ballet, as if the choreographer’s vocabulary had vanished completely, finished. The incessant, never ending lifts on jeté by the wolves are boring and make her look more like a drowning “Fliegende Holländer” than like a queen… also here Mr. Corder seems to have missed some more inventive ideas…
Miss Poláková seemed a bit tense around the mouth and jaw area - A fact that is not seen at the video close-ups! (which in fact, I detest: they remind me of the wicked witch of the East in the Wizard of Oz!). I am looking forward to watching Miss Poláková next week in “Onegin” – so shortly after having seen her in “Queen”.
The evening belonged completely to the lovely couple Nina Tonoli/ Greig Matthews. Both, still very young, gave confident performances and were rewarded with huge applause. Mr. Matthews was a steady, strong partner and had his joy while dancing the young Kay. Also a very "clean dancer" Mr. Matthews pays lot of attention to "details" - always displaying his (marvelous) demi-pointe and an impeccable turned-out passé relevé.
Miss Tonoli, a very modest dancer and a hard worker, was absolutely enchanting. Her technique is clean, seeming completely natural to her - as if she'd be a dancer who makes no efforts (that is an utopia!). I consider Miss Tonli one of the few candidates for future 100% classic roles... and I could already imagine her in "Coppelia".
It should also be noted that their first pas-de-deux, in which they seem to be playing with each other and having lots of fun, is especially entertaining. The use of the diagonals is extremely effective – and combines lot of fun with step precision.
All in all: a pleasant evening, very “Volksoper-like”. Not a real challenge for an “every day, average ballet-goer” but still… colorful and “neat”!