Sunday February 27, 2011 matinee - Today's programme at the New York City Ballet featured a Balanchine/baroque masterpiece, a visually striking Martins ballet (photo above) set to a fascinating contemporary score, and the festive Robbins/Verdi FOUR SEASONS as a finale. The Company now leave for a week of performances in Hong Kong, and will be back at Lincoln Center for their Spring season opening on May 3rd.
SQUARE DANCE: M Fairchild, Huxley
MIRAGE: Somogyi, J. Angle, Laracey, Finlay, Pereira, Huxley (solo violin: Lydia Hong)
THE FOUR SEASONS: JANUS: J. Peck; WINTER: Janzen, Pereira, Alberda, Tworzyanski; SPRING: Muller, Mearns, T. Angle; SUMMER: Anderson, Reichlen, R. Fairchild; FALL: Seth, Bouder, Veyette, Carmena
The opening SQUARE DANCE again featured Megan Fairchild and Anthony Huxley in the leading roles. This is ideal casting of the ballerina role; it could have been created just for Ms. Fairchild as it shows off her polished technique and lovely presence to perfection. Anthony Huxley was again very impressive both in his allegro work and in the slow, expressive solo with its deep backbends and silky port de bras. He and Megan showed a more intense connection with one another than at the earlier performance, and both separately and as a partnership they offer a highly enjoyable vision of this vivid and demanding Balanchine ballet. Excellent corps work.
Ashley Laracey (Joe Anderson photo from the NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ project) is a dancer who always stands out among the bevy of City Ballet's corps ballerinas and I am always so happy to see her in a featured role. In MIRAGE she danced with Chase Finlay, the Company's rising young cavalier; they looked great together and Ashley showed off her beautiful extension, swift pirouettes and a lyrical style that is uniquely her own. Chase was excellent here, confirming his ascendent trajectory.
Jennie Somogyi's innate dramatic quality instills a sense of urgency into her duets with Jared Angle, always the perfect partner. It's been great to see Jennie so often this season, and Jared shows her off superbly in this ballet. Erica Pereira's technical clarity works wonders in a contemporary setting and Anthony Huxley followed up his beautiful SQUARE DANCE with a fine performance in the Martins, notably his airy opening solo. The four corps couples deserve special mantion, both for their fine dancing here and for their uniform excellence all season: Callie Bachman, Brittany Pollack, Kristen Segin and Mary Elizabeth Sell with Ralph Ippolito, Troy Schumacher, Andrew Scordato and Christian Tworzyanski.
At its premiere, the composer Esa-Pekka Salonen had conducted his own score for MIRAGE; tonight Andrews Sill had the complexities of this dense, colorful work well in hand and Lydia Hong played the demanding violin part - a real physical workout - with complete command.
In THE FOUR SEASONS, set by Robbins to neglected ballet music from Verdi operas, Justin Peck summoned the seasonal deities - Russell Janzen, Gwyneth Muller, Marika Anderson and Henry Seth - who in turn escorted their respective courts onto the stage. Erica Pereira made a very pretty impression as the shivering maiden in Winter, with Christian Tworzyanski and Devin Alberda as her cavaliers. Sara Mearns swirled serenly thru the many pirouettes of Spring and looked luscious while her partner Tyler Angle gave an excellent performance with some majestic grand jetes. Their four back-up boys - Giovanni Villalobos, Allen Peiffer, Austin Laurent and Ralph Ippolito - looked handsome and danced handsomely. The tall and radiant Teresa Reichlen was provocative in Summer and Robert Fairchild was ideally cast as her cavalier, a new role for him this season.
Ashley Bouder and Andrew Veyette tossed off the spectacular technical fireworks of Autumn with boundless supplies of energy and pirouettes, and Antonio Carmena's sexy and ingratiating Faun followed Bouder's lead and tucked in some Plisetskaya kicks in addition to his other virtuoso feats.
A very sizeable audience today and nice to see so many of the faithful on the Promenade at intermssion.