Sunday, April 30, 2017

Boston Ballet Dazzles with Marius Petipa's "The Sleeping Beauty" - Through May 27th


As I returned to my seat at the Boston Opera House following the first Intermission of "The Sleeping Beauty," I could not help singing to myself the iconic lyrics from "A Chorus Line":

"Everything was beautiful at the ballet. Graceful men lift lovely girls in white. Yes, everything was beautiful at the ballet. Hey! I was happy . . . at the ballet."


Cast
"The Sleeping Beauty"
Choreographed by Marius Petipa
Boston Ballet
Boston Opera House
Through May 27
Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
This production of the classic fairy tale of the beauty who was cursed to sleep one hundred years is set to the lovely Tchaikovsky score and choreographed by Marius Petipa, with additional choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton. Gorgeous Costumes and regal Set Design are by David Walker, with Lighting by John Cuff. The vibrant orchestra played under the baton of Conductor Jonathan McPhee. Production s by Ninette de Valois, after the 1939 production by Nicholas Sergeyev. This ballet had its World Premiere in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1890.

The Opening Night audience was enraptured as we consumed a veritable banquet for the eyes, ears, and soul. As we have come to expect from this world class ballet company, every Principal, Soloist, Featured Dancer, and members of the Corps de Ballet were at the top of their game.
  • Misa Kuranga as Princess Aurora and Paulo Arrais as Prince Desire brought grace, passion and chemistry to their roles. It was easy to believe that she had been enchanted by the curse, and that he, in turn, had been enchanted by her beauty. They shone most radiantly in their solos and pas de deux in the Act III wedding scenes.
Misa Kuranaga and Paulo Arrais
"The Sleeping Beauty"
Choreographed by Marius Petipa
Boston Ballet
Boston Opera House
Through May 27
Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
  • Dusty Button was strong as the Lilac Fairy who countermanded the deadly cursed imposed by the malevolent Carabosse, a haunting Erica Cornejo.
  • In Act I, the suitors at Aurora's 16th birthday gala were Florimond Lorieux, Matthew Slattery, Irlan Silva and Sabi Varga.
  • Act III, the wedding festivities, featured a number of outstanding performances, including a brilliant pas de trois by Lauren Herfindahl, Addie Tapp, and the always solid Patrick Yocum.
 Lauren Herfindahl,  Patrick Yocum, Addie Tapp
"The Sleeping Beauty"
Choreographed by Marius Petipa
Boston Ballet
Boston Opera House
Through May 27
Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
  • A surprising highlight of Act III was the mesmerizing dancing of Ji Young Chae as Princess Florine and Junxiong Zhao as Blue Bird. Their solos and pas de deux were met with rapturous applause, which was repeated during the curtain call. Zhao in particular drew attention with his athletic leaping and pillow-soft landings. Remember his name!

Ji Young Chae and Junxiong Zhao
"The Sleeping Beauty"
Choreographed by Marius Petipa
Boston Ballet
Boston Opera House
Through May 27
Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
This program will run through May 27th. It is classic ballet at its finest, and should not be missed.


Enjoy!

Al

Saturday, April 29, 2017

"The Assignment" by Camilo Almonacid - An Intriguing New Play - Through May 7th

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Houses on the Moon Theater Company has joined forces with Rhymes Over Beats to present "The Assignment," a new play by Camilo Almonacid that addresses the issue of gun violence in an innovative way. The play is a two hander, with Davis University English professor (Karen Kandel) struggling to deal with a needy new non-traditional student, Julian J. Torres (Erick Betancourt).

The performance space is the black box Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre in the beautiful new performances spaces of the A.R.T./New York Theatres on 53rd Street. Scenic Designer Patrick Rizzotti makes good use of the space with his set that doubles as faculty office and Helen's home. Lighting is by Christina Watanabe, Costumes by Genevieve V. Beller, and Sound by Erik T. Lawson. Director Emily Joy Weiner has helped these two fine actors form a tangible bond, growing from initial distrust, and weathering several unexpected complications in which their relationship deepens, experiences a rift, and then finds a detente. Both Ms. Kandel and Mr. Betancourt create believable, vulnerable, and sympathetic characters that we come to care about. Each of them is looking to find a way to build a meaningful life after experiencing a devastating loss.

The motif of the after effects of gun violence underlies all of the action, only becoming explicit as the play unfolds. Professor Payne and Julian find themselves on opposite sides of the issue, and the chasm that separates them is a wide and painful one. The playwright asks questions about the nature of loss and how one recovers from gun violence - as a victim and as a perpetrator.

Erick Betancourt as Julian J. Torres
Karen Kandel as Professor Payne
"The Assignment"
House on the Moon Theater
and Rhymes over Beats
at ART/New York Theatres
Through May 7th

The play is one that is moving and engenders reflection. The themes of the play are enhanced by a lobby display of artwork that depict the shoes of victims, and tell about young lives that were lost to gun violence. The overall impact of the play and the artwork in the lobby is powerful in its poignancy and simplicity.

The development of this play has been inspired by real life events, and runs in repertory with "Gun Country," which explores the creative process behind the development of "The Assignment." This play run through May 7th, and is worthy of your attention.

Houses on the Moon Theater Website



Enjoy!

Al Chase