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Stella Abrera in The Golden Cockerel. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor
Another peak in the current remarkable season at Lincoln Center of the American Ballet Theater was the thrilling revival of The Golden Cockerel, one of the most fully satisfying productions in the company's repertory, which I attended on the evening of Thursday, June 1st. The ingenious and witty choreography is by Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky—the finest dance creator of his generation—inspired by the original production by the legendary Michel Fokine, while the marvelous score is by the unsurpassed colorist, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The terrific set and costume design is by Richard Hudson, inspired by the originals of the great Natalia Goncharov.
The cast was equally extraordinary , featuring the lovely Stella Abrera—who was superb the previous week in the New York premiere of Ratmansky's Whipped Cream —who wasexcellentas the alluring Queen of Shemakhan, and James Whiteside at his hammy best as the Astrologer. Most dazzling of all, however, was Skylar Brandt, replacing Cassandra Trenary, in the title role, which will surely prove to be one of the greatest performances of the season.
The secondary cast was also exquisite—above all as seen in the brilliant turns by the stellar Jeffrey Cirio and Joseph Gorak (who was memorable the previous week in Giselle) as the Princes Guidon and Afron respectively. The splendid Christine Shevchenko was faultless as the leading Persian Woman and received expert support from Joo Won Ahn and Patrick Frenette as the Persian Men. Roman Zhurbin was an effective comic presence in the character role of Tsar Dodon. And the elegant precision of thecorps de ballet once again astonished.
Hee Seo and Cory Stearns in Giselle. Photo: Gene Schiavone
The second week of American Ballet Theater's new season at Lincoln Center fulfilled the high expectations elicited by the opening night performance of Don Quixote, first with the stunning New York premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream —which we hope to review next month—and, second, with an exquisite presentation on the evening of Thursday, May 25th, of the engrossing and perennially popular Giselle, set to the immortal score by Adolph Adam. Kevin McKenzie's staging with scenery by Gianni Quaranta is wholly conventional although not without its felicities, such as the lovely tutus of the supernatural wilis in the second act, designed by Anna Anni.
The beautiful and mesmerizing Hee Seo, who excelled on opening night as Mercedes in Don Quixote,astonished in the lead role. Her partner, Cory Stearns, who impressed as Basilio in Quixote,made a strong showing as Count Albrecht. The magnificent Veronika Part was riveting as Myrta, Queen of the Wilis.
The secondary cast was solid, with Patrick Ogle effective as Hilarion and Luciana Paris and Joseph Gorak both superb in the delightful Peasant Pas de Deux. Equally extraordinary were Katherine Williams and Zhong-Jing Fang as the otherworldly Moyna and Zulma, respectively. The superlative corps de ballet were simply resplendent.
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