Thursday September 27, 2012 - The third programme in the New York City Ballet's 2012 Stravinsky festival included the first ballet that I ever saw the Company perform: BAISER DE LA FEE. This work of pure enchantment holds a special place in my heart and while the memory of Patricia McBride and Helgi Tomasson dancing the ballet's principal roles on that first night roles stays strong in the memory, I was particulary keen to see tonight's pairing of Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia making their BAISER debuts.
But first a zesty appetizer: SCHERZO A LA RUSSE was performed by students from SAB. It's always fun to see, with it's unfinished sentence at the end.
BAISER with its intoxicating score (conducted by Jayce Ogren, who at the end of the evening gave us a delicious reading of FIREBIRD) always weaves its dreamy spell. And under that spell, Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia danced superbly: Tiler's pirouettes so swift, soft and fair, and Gonzalo brushing the floor with his fingertiips in his mysterious solo. Their artistry, individually and in unison, is thoroughly satisfying to experience. As the melody of 'None but the lonely heart' pulses in the orchestra, the dream ends - or does it go on? - as the lovers back away from one another, eyes heavenward. Alina Dronova and Faye Arthurs were very agile and lovely in their demi-soliste roles.
DANSES CONCERTANTES with its fussy Eugene Berman costumes, old fashioned 'flats' setting and entr'acte curtain, has a music hall flavour. It seems a bit dated, and the score - perfectly pleasant - is unmemorable in the long run. Brilliant dancing from Megan Fairchild, Andrew Veyette and a dozen premiere corps dancers (forming four colour-coded pas de trois) showed the ballet to its best advantage, but tonight it seemed longish and very much of a theatrical era that has vanished.
But FIREBIRD seemed like solid gold tonight, with its glowing score - Stravinsky's most marvelous, in my view - and its ever-entrancing Chagall designs. For me this is a ballet that never ages. Teresa Reichlen is an elegant vision in her fiery tutu, and with her fluttering gestures, her lovely stretched-out leaps and the gentle hush of her Berceuse, she was perfect. Ask LaCour and Savannah Lowery as the prince and princess were likewise impressive. And to the gorgeous melodies of their ensemble, a dozen fetching ballerinas in their Chagall peasant-gowns wove a particularly enchanting spell: Anderson, Arthurs, Brown, Hankes, King, Laracey, LeCrone, Mann, Pazcoguin, Pollack, Smith and Wellington - a fine corps-watchers opportunity. If the girls take the whole thing a bit tongue-in-cheek, that actually makes it all the more fun. Thank you, my beauties.
SCHERZO À LA RUSSE: Students from the School of American Ballet
DIVERTIMENTO FROM ‘LE BAISER DE LA FÉE’: *T. Peck, *Garcia, Arthurs, Dronova
DANSES CONCERTANTES: M. Fairchild, Veyette
FIREBIRD: Reichlen, la Cour, Lowery, Scordato