Photo of Bolle taken from here, where there are many many more!
It’s kind of hard for me to be my usual enthusiastic self after hearing about the death of Pina Bausch earlier today, but I’m getting too far behind on blog posts to take the rest of the day off, so I’ll try.
Of course, I should have written about this performance earlier, but I was too busy at the stage door that evening, and then I’ve had a ballet every night since then. Anyway, hope I can make sense of my notes!
Overall impression was that they both — Veronika and Roberto — gave a beautiful, stunning performance, that he did very well when dancing on his own, that she did very well both on her own and when being partnered by him, and that she out-acted him. By a long shot. I have been told that (despite posing for photos like this) he is actually rather shy, though, and it did kind of seem like that at the stage door, so I think maybe he needs to get used to a ballerina for a while, and will do much better the more comfortable he gets. The reason I say that is because I loved him so much in Romeo and Juliet two years ago, and he danced wonderfully and completely comfortably with Alessandra Ferri. I think it’s just a matter of getting used to our ballerinas and perhaps American audiences.
Whenever he was on his own, his dancing and acting were solid. I really felt like I saw Odette flying away after Siegfried’s encounter with her, as Bolle’s sad eyes traced her imaginary path along the ceiling. And his early solo, when Siegfried is at the party, pre-Odette, and he’s feeling alone and ill at ease with his mother’s demands that he choose a wife, Bolle really conveyed that mixed emotion, confusion, loneliness. Later, his jumps were stellar. It just seemed that whenever he partnered Veronika, he was concentrating so hard, he had no time for emotion. So, Angel, Ethan, and Marcelo (when I last saw him as Siegfried, a year ago, anyway), were more passionate. But others think differently. Read Haglund (an excellent newish ballet blog by the way!) for a different take on Bolle’s performance.
Photo of Veronika Part by Marc Haegeman, from here.
Veronika was just gorgeous, and so passionate. She did her usual thing of taking me on her character’s journey with her, of making me feel Odette’s plight and pain, and Odile’s desires as well. She has such sweep and breadth, when he’d take her down into an arabesque penchee on pointe, her arms brushed the floor. And her extensions are always so breathtaking, and the overhead lifts — they are both so tall they were just spectacular, she just touched the sky. In the Black Swan Pas de Deux, she did the straight fouettes, as did Nina Ananiashvili the following night (review coming soon!) She has such height she moves a bit slower than other ballerinas and she didn’t really make the 32 fouettes, but who cares. She really devoured the stage with those fouettes, and when she did her turns around its perimeter. What’s important in that scene is how you eat up all the space around you and command the attention of the audience and poor Siegfried, and you can do that in a variety of ways — a ridiculous number of turns is only one. She had a really wicked smile all throughout that scene! I really love her!
Hehe, one other thing: poor Roberto. No one told him that, thanks to a certain David Hallberg, New York audiences are accustomed to an all-out Olympic gold medal-level Swan Dive off the cliff and into the lake at the end Or perhaps he didn’t want to out swan dive his lady, because Veronika just kind of tossed herself off the cliff. Either way, Roberto followed her with a slight jump, not even really a jump — almost like he was falling into the water as well. Of course I’m partly joking about the need for an extravagant suicide jump, but I do have to say, in my quest to see casts other than my regulars this season, I did so miss that Hallberg dive!
A couple of other things: I have a bunch of stars next to Craig Salstein’s name in my Playbill so he must have done something I liked… Oh yes, he was one of the two Neapolitan high-bouncing jumping jack guys in the court scene. I also have written “violins ***” which reminds me that I thought the violinist was very good during von Rothbart’s seduction of the court ladies scene. I always forget about the hard-working orchestra!