Balanchine - Liang - Proietto revisited: Vienna State Ballet, Feb.21st, 2018
Vienna State ballet February 21st, 2018: „Balanchine / Liang / Proietto“
A long-awaited evening that made me reflect about “experience”... The programme opened with Balanchine’s “Simphony in C”.
It is not necessary to say that the audience was aware of Olga Esina's come-back to the stage after her “baby break”. Having returned officially to the company on January 1st , she had appeared for the public's eye “only” at the Opera Ball. But we still had some time until she'd enter the stage.
And a lovely time that was: Masayu Kimoto, as usual “enjoying” his role and in full-command of his technique. Experience! (And to be mentioned: the sequel of many pirouettes that seems never to finish! And his walking around his partner while holding her high for pirouettes. Complete unison!)
Natascha Mair – and her beautiful lines and precision that suit so well Mr. B's work. While technically excellent, there is still a little detail missing: some more "sparkle" – that quality that Kirkland, Farrell, McBride and some others so well incorporated while dancing Balanchine. That “shiny” quality. But Miss Mair is an extremely intelligent and gifted young dancer - I am sure she'll find HER own way to sparkle and shine more!
But as I normally say: “Mr. B. is Mr. B.”. A commentary which may not make sense first but I am always referring to his unique style. Not only technique, a very musical ear and precision are required. But also this, let's put it this way even if it sound like a ballet of his, “diamond-like” quality.
Olga Esina and Vladimir Shishov (both extremely experienced Principals, we must add) entered the stage.
There was a dismal attempt of applause (which would have been more than deserved to greet THE Prima-Ballerina from the Vienna State Opera) but Viennese audiences do not care much for a display of emotion and affection in those moments – unlike Manéges and Fouettes (strangely, like the way American audiences do) which are displays of the “circus” with which some confuse “Art”.
I consider this movement the hardest Pas de Deux in “Symphony”: very demanding but quite ungrateful. The sort of pas de deux which will not cause a standing ovation – except for connoisseurs. No “display of bravura” (to milk applause) intended but pure dance...
No question about how happy the audience was about the “Come-Back” of a beloved “Étoile” that now shines in a new dimension. The applause at the End if "Symphony" proved that. There is even more majesty in her dignified and elegant way. She is, more than ever, pin-pointed to the last detail: technical precision, exactness, cleaness not only musically but also in the use of her arms (how I have missed those arms on stage). Yes, pin-pointed to the last detail, I must repeat!
Kiyoka Hashimoto also “shining” in a new way delighted the public. Surely also a new dimension was added to this experienced dancer's aura.
The (physical) choice of casting Mr. Szábo, Scott McKenzie and Nicola Barbarossa in the same piece was a good one: three “small” dancers. But we cannot leave Mr. Szábo's experience on stage unmentioned. At the beginning – Mr. McKenzie's and Mr. Barbarossa's entrance – there was a slightly musical problem while Mr. McKenzie tended to be a bit ahead of the music.
Last but not least: Anita Manolova and Dumitru Taran – both gave life, wonderfully by the way, to the shorter "duo” in the 4th Movement. Mr. Taran displayed a very secure partner: again that magical word... experience.
There are still dancers to be mentioned: most notably Gala Jovanovic, Alexandru Tcacenco, Zolt Török, Elena Bottaro.
“Murmuration” is a favourite of mine: “We want to change things” Mr. Liang mentioned in a press conference: expressing how the beauty of art can change things within a human being…
The dancers, like at the 2016's Première were again carefully chosen : The couples Ioanna Avraam - Jakob Feyferlik, Alice Firenze – Dumitru Taran (both sort of “stole the show") feeling at ease and very into Mr. Liang's style/dance language. All four very experienced dancers...
Special mention to Madison Young and Andrey Teterin (both making the débuts in this piece): a very confident reading of the roles, emotional, technically accurate. I wish to see more of those gifted dancers in the future.
Roman Lazik (incomparable in this role) and Ketevan Papava, even more conquering than she already was (I surely believe now that Motherhood accentuates qualities in dancers! It can be no coincidence... ): again a joy on stage. Experience.
Especial distinction (And I want to reconfirm what I had already written after the Première back in 2016) for Igor Milos and Zsolt Török. Strong, visceral performances.
Blanc: I was not thrilled anymore by its conceptual complexity, like I had been at the Première. And the piece, this time, did not cause an “impact”on me. Perhaps it is the kind of piece that you should watch just once because otherwise the main effect (surprise) is gone? I am not so sure, to be honest...
Poetry. I personally still think that the use of the original English text would have been better: let’s be honest: how many visitors from abroad do we have at the Opera that do not understand a single word of German ? Just beside me a couple from Spain that was complaining about this fact.
I honestly reconsidered what I wrote on my critic from November 1st, 2016: the idea itself – to have “poetry” on stage, not only in the form of dancing, is a very difficult AND dangerous one. It is as if the author/choreographer was trying to explain what his dancer (in this case the multi talented Eno Peci) is doing: dance language?
Some people say that the "poet" was not necessary – and I begin to believe that: the choreography should tell the story - but we must respect his concept.
I love the end – when the poet meets his muse, now in reality – which is much more in Techcnicolor that his own dreams.
The “negatives” – what a great metaphor, were danced exquisitely by Natascha Mair, Alexis Forabosco and András Lukács – but what else could you expect from such gifted, experienced dancers?
My only, and not favorable at all, comment from my 2016 review, the use of the “negative film” in the background does not need to be mentioned anymore: “As long as landscapes, woods in fact, were being shown it was all right. But the use of a man’s face (was this the poet?) was a little bit too much for me. It gave me the feeling that the mise-en-scène was trying to explain itself.Like saying: “See? The dancers are black and have white hair because they are “negatives”… “. Not really necessary. ”
The piece of film with the man's face is “gone”. Mr. Proietto reworked that: If I was a little help (because no one else criticized that, just I) I am very glad. If I was not: I am very glad anyways. It is a great improvement to the story-line and does not "explain" to the audience what should be understood by dance. Alone.
I am very strict when it comes to “explaining Dance” through other art forms: if it is a video, it is not dance, it is film. If it is text, it is not dance, it is theatre. It is dangerous and not what dancing is all about. Therefore I can make no comments about Mr Kaydanovskiy's performance as "The Poet". I am not a Theatre critic and this is not my department. I just say that this time the lenght of text was harder to endure. But I guess because I hade already seen this show...
Ketevan Papava end Eno Peçi again leaded the piece strongly: Artists and Stars of the first magnitude. And to mention this word for the last time in a long time: Experience.
Ricardo Leitner / www.attitude-devant.com
If you want to re-read my Review from November 1st, 2016: