Saturday evening January 26, 2013 - This evening's performance at New York City Ballet was filled with wonderful dancing (and playing from the pit) and went a long way to compensate for the previous evening's late-seating debacle.
The programme was the same as the night before, but what a difference! Tonight we were able to fullly enjoy the delicate mysteries of BAISER DE LA FEE, led by Andrews Sill. I have a special fondness for this ballet since it was the first work I ever saw at NYCB lo! these many decades ago. My 'premiere' cast featured Patricia McBride and Helgi Tomasson and it is pleasing to report that Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette made just as fine an effect in the ballet as ther illustrious predecessors. Megan and Andrew caught the quality of rhapsodic youthfulness right from the start, abetted by the very nice dancing of the corps ensemble. Andrew's solo had a dreamy feeling, but it's one of those restless dreams (we've all had them) where you are seeking something that seems to elude you; his dancing was so expressive, making me want to see him as Jerome Robbins' Dreamer in OPUS 19. Megan's solo, set to the birdlike song of the flutes, was fetchingly spun off by the ballerina. The couple then brought a lovely feeling of quiet ecstacy to the magical backing-away which brings this Balanchine jewel to a close. Erica Pereira and Mary Elizabeth Sell led the corps to charming effect.
Tiler Peck and Joaquin de Luz then went to town, pulling out all the stops for an exciting Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux in which Tiler scintillated with her magical pirouettes whilst also capturing the warm lyricism of the adagio. Joaquin fills the stage and the theatre with his generous dancing and genial smile; if there's a dancer with a bigger heart than Joaquin de Luz I haven't met him. The two dancers swept thru the bravura fireworks of the coda to the audience's delight, and if the fish dives took on a risky quality tonight, that's part of the fun. They swept off as the curtain fell, igniting a full-house ovation which made them smile all the more as they stepped out to take their bows.
Now being in a really good mood, I even decided to give BAL DE COUTURE another try and strangely enough I liked a lot of it tonight, or maybe I should say that I saw where it might - with a few alterations - become something to enjoy. The music's wonderful for one thing, but my first change would be getting rid of the women's bizarre, fanciful costumes. And since the costumes are the whole point of the piece my other 'fixes' wouldn't matter. It's nice to see all that star-power onstage even though - as a friend pointed out - turning principals into a corps tends to make them anonymous. Despite its drawbacks, I found I could sit thru it, and could again - if the need ever arises.
In the concluding DIAMONDS, Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle were elegant, and they seemed to filter the melodies of the score directly into their dancing. Maria's magical way of sculpting her long limbs into the regal poses of the adagio was finely echoed in Tyler's handsome and ardent partnering. There's a lovely simpatico quality between these two dancers and it was shining brightly tonight. The demi-solistes and corps filled the stage with Mr. B's grand patterns in the finale; the audience loved it.
Andrews Sill conducted the first two ballets tonight, then passed the baton to Daniel Capps for the rest of the evening. The NYCB musicians played the entire programme very appealingly and they well-deserved the audience's warm cheers as they took a spot-lit collective bow at the end. The players were recently chided in the press for playing too many wrong notes. Yes, musicians - even the finest ones - do sometimes hit wrong notes, especially the wind players. Anyone who has ever played a musical instrument knows that the best intentions and plenty of rehearsal can still be undone by fatigue or plain old bad luck. It's nothing to write home about since it tends to happen randomly, even among the excellent players of at the NY Phil or the Metropolitan Opera (where the orchestra is considered one of the best 'pit bands' in the world). For myself, having played piano, guitar and French horn, I always have a sympathetic ear and am grateful when things go as well as they do on a given night. The NYCB musicians work hard and it's nice when the audience acknowledges their nightly contributions to the success of the ballet.
Heading home on the A train, I met the three people who'd been sitting behind me at the performance. Students at Columbia, they drew out a season brochure and began asking me questions about what they should see next. "Who was that woman with the long legs in the last ballet?" the girl asked. "She was awesome!" I could only agree.
DIVERTIMENTO FROM ‘LE BAISER DE LA FÉE’: M. Fairchild, Veyette, Pereira, Sell
TCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX: T. Peck, De Luz
BAL DE COUTURE: Lowery, Reichlen, Krohn, Scheller, Hyltin, A. Stafford, T. Peck, M. Fairchild, Bouder, Taylor, J. Angle, la Cour, Danchig-Waring), Veyette, R. Fairchild, Ramasar, Finlay, De Luz, Carmena, Marcovici
DIAMONDS from JEWELS: Kowroski, T. Angle