Sunday, July 27, 2008

Snap Back to Reality ("The Little Mermaid" and James Levine... Not Related)

I was officially snapped back to reality yesterday. My family and I saw "The Little Mermaid" on Broadway and it said to my mind "Yes, you are officially not in Saratoga Springs anymore." In other words "Yes, you are officially back in (arguably) the arts capital of the world."

Well, here's the scoop on "Little Mermaid" and Francesca Zambello.
I could tell right away that she was an opera director. All the sets were huge, too big for that stage. They looked made for an opera house (heaven forbid) and part of the time it looked like people were ducking and moving out of the way. Okay, I'm exaggerating a tad, but the sets were big and bulky. Other than that, I didn't have a real problem with them. I liked the scary little bubble Ursula traveled around in and the all purpose rotating chandelier that is the sun one minute, a giant chandelier the next and everything in between!
My favorite character: Ursula. Why is it that I always love the villains? I'm destined to be the first female baritone. All villains all the time.

Here's the scoop on James Levine.
I was really upset when I heard that Maestro Levine was to have surgery. I'm really sorry I didn't post about it. You know, SPAC and all that. He had surgery to remove what turned out to be a malignant tumor in his kidney. His brother says that the surgery was successful and curative. The tumor does not appear to have spread and the maestro will continue to recover at home. Get well soon!!!! Don't worry, he'll be ready by the Met opening night!! =)

Happy Listening!! =)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Guess Who's Back, Back Again.

That's right! I'm home from my four weeks of pure balletic bliss! I have so many stories to tell and so much to catch up with. I'm still getting back into the groove so excuse any neglect.
I would just like to announce to the world that I have performed a Balanchine ballet. That's all. Highlight of my summer. =)
I am happy to be home and I'll have more operatic adventures to report shortly! I promise!

Happy Listening!! =)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

I haven't written in almost ten days! Don't sue me, I've just been so busy! Almost every day this week I've gone with my ballet intensive to SPAC to see the New York City Ballet (with some of our teachers!!!) perform works by Jerome Robbins and, of course, Balanchine. So far we have seen, by Jerome Robbins (on opening night!): Glass Pieces, Afternoon of a Faun, Interplay, and I'm Old Fashioned. I loved them all a lot, but my favorite of the Robbins that nightwas Glass Pieces. Something about the constant motion in Glass really moved me.
The second night we went the program was all Balanchine: Le Tombeau de Couperin, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, La Sonnambula, and Symphony in C. It is hard to choose a favorite in this group, but I did enjoy La Sonnambula. In the operatic thread, it featured music from Bellini's La Sonnambula and (to my shock and amusement) "Son vergin" from I Puritani.
We went to the matinee on Saturday and saw (again all Balanchine) Mozartiana, Prodigal Son, and Symphony in C again.
We saw Daniel Ulbricht in Interplay, Mozartiana, and Prodigal Son. Let's just say that every young ballerina is in love with Daniel. To take his ballet class is heaven on earth for all of us. I've had class with him twice and spoke to him backstage after Prodigal, which is his signature role. He's so nice and very good about signing every one's playbills. The moment in Prodigal when Daniel drags himself onto the stage on his knees is so earth shaking. His energy is so intense and I got goosebumps. I will never forget the moment he came on the stage on his knees with made up blood on his legs and looking exhausted. I almost cried.
A major highlight was Ashley Bouder in Tscaikovsky Pas de Deux. She is always amazing, but she flew around the stage like an animal! Her solo variation had us on the edge of our seats! Not to mention her literally diving into a fishdive in her partners arms. The entire audience gasped and I think someone suppressed a scream (maybe that was me?). She is probably the most amazing dancer I've ever had the pleasure to be taught by. When she's on stage she's all you see. Her jumps go ten feet in the air. Her extensions are gorgeous. Not to mention her unbeatable strength! She turns for days and she makes it look so easy!
We saw Symphony in C twice, which was really great for me. I've always loved it, even since I saw it when I was younger. It is for me the epitome of classical ballet. Even though I've seen Swan Lake and The Nutcracker and all that Symphony always meant classical ballet. The white tutus and the different movements just screamed "classic!" The first time we saw it at SPAC the first movement was danced by Abi Stafford and Jonathon Stafford, the second by Wendy Whelan and Charles Askegard, the third by Sterling Hyltin and Joaquin de Luz, and the fourth by Tiler Peck and Sean Suozzi. My favorite movement is probably the fourth movement and the finale. It's so fun and (not to brag but...) I can do some of the turning sequences that the women do. They're hard and I probably look like a fool, but I can do them!!! The second time we saw it the first movement was danced by Ana Sophia Scheller and Jared Angle, the second by Sara Mearns and Stephen Hanna, the third by Sterling Hyltin again and Antonia Carmena, and the fourth by Tiler Peck again and Tyler Angle. One thing I have to say is that every time I've seen Wendy Whelan so far this SPAC season, her pirouettes are really off. We all have our off days, but I'm just concerned. I do love Wendy, though.

After each "act" the entire intensive goes to the stage door and waits for the dancers. Most of them are really nice and will sign autographs, but I feel bad because there's always so many people. So far here are the dancers I've seen backstage: Yvonne Borree, Ashley Bouder (also a teacher), Daniel Ulbricht (teacher, too!), Andrew Veyette, Jason Fowler (he taught us), Ask la Cour, Amar Ramasar, Devin Alberda, Kyle Froman, Pauline Golbin, and Jacob Prottas. I've also seen Sean Lavery, Peter Martins, Adam Hendrickson, and a few others who I didn't stop for autographs.
For anyone who knows who this is, I took class a few times with Patricia Wilde who was with NYCB for a while and then went to Pittsburgh to run their company. She's a legend and we all love her. She's so nice and she signed my NYCB face-book and everything.
I've also been in the same room as Jock Soto, but that's a story for another time. =)

Happy Listening!!! =)
PS. I'll be back with more operatic adventures soon!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promoted by the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

On this beautiful (at least it is here) Fourth of July I wish to express my patriotism. I have an intense pride in my country and especially for those who defend it. I would like to now that all the servicemen and women, abroad or not, for keeping us safe and working for peace. I would also like to extent my condolences to the families of those service personnel who have died. I say thank you to the families of those members of the armed forces for having such a brave and caring person in their family. Not many people are as courageous and loving (both to others and their country) as our soldiers.

Happy Fourth!!!!

Happy Listening!! =)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sadness to Joy

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of Beverly Sills' death. I'm not keeping track of the days here at camp, but someone said to me yesterday, "It's July 2nd, isn't it?" and I said, "Yes, I think it is... oh..." It didn't ruin the rest of the day for me, but I thought about it a lot. The song we tendued to was "O luce di quest'anima." Not only was I the only person in the room who knew that song, but I was the only one who had a reason to sigh for it. In tribute I've been listening to my Beverly Sills playlist yesterday, and today too because I miss listening to it.

As downtrodden as I was yesterday is how ecstatic I was today!!! Not only am I at the most fun ballet camp ever, it also has some of the greatest guest faculty a little ballerina can ask for! Today I had not one, but two teachers who just happen to be principal dancers with the New York City Ballet. This is no small deal. This is one big deal. In opera terms, it's like walking to your voice lesson and Rolando Villazon is standing there. "Hello, I'll be teaching you today." You collapse and faint, right? Well, I almost did. It was one great day. I'll remember it forever.

Happy Listening!!! =)