Tag: Abigail Simon

Review: Carmen (Lyric Opera of Chicago, 2017)

Carmen at Lyric Opera 2017 1           
      
  

Carmen

Written by Georges Bizet (music),
    Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy (libretto)
Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker (map)
thru March 25  |  tix: $20-$349  |  more info
       
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February 24, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: American Legends (Joffrey Ballet)

Anastacia Holden and John Mark Giragosian star in Twyla Tharp's "Nine Sinatra Songs" from Joffrey Ballet's "American Legends". (photo credit: Herbert Migdoll)        
       
American Legends  

Choreographed by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp,
     Gerald Arpino and Stanton Welch
at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
thru Feb 24  |  tickets: $31-$152   |  more info
       
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February 16, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Nutcracker (Joffrey Ballet Chicago)

Dylan Gutierrez and Jack Thorpe-Baker star in Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker", choreographed by Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino. (photo credit: Herbert Migdoll)        
       
The Nutcracker 

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky 
Choreographed by Robert Joffrey
     and Gerald Arpino
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
thru Dec 27  |  tickets: $31-$132   |  more info
       
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December 14, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Human Landscapes (Joffrey Ballet Chicago)

Joffrey Ballet Chicago's "Pretty BALLET", choreographed by James Kudelka.  (photo credit: Herbert Migdoll)        
       
Human Landscapes 

Choreographed by Jirí Kylián,
     James Kudelka and Kurt Jooss 
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
thru Oct 28  |  tickets: $31-$152   |  more info
       
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October 25, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Spring Desire (Joffrey Ballet Chicago)

      
      
Spring Desire 

Choreographed by Edwaard Liang,
     Jerome Robbins and Val Caniparoli 
Artistic Director: Ashley C. Wheater 
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
thru May 6  |  tickets: $25-$149   |  more info
       
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April 29, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Nutcracker (Joffrey Ballet)

Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker" at the Auditorium Theatre (photo credit: Bob Nick)       
      
The Nutcracker 

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conceived and Directed by Robert Joffrey
Music performed by Chicago Sinfonietta 
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
thru Dec 27  |  tickets: $15-$140   |  more info 
       
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December 12, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: Don Quixote (Joffrey Ballet Chicago)

       
Photo by Bob Nick - Fabrice Calmels & Derrick Agnoletti       
     
Don Quixote

Choreographed by Yuri Possokhov
Music by Ludwig Minkus
Music direction by Scott Speck
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
thru Oct 23  |  tickets: $25-$149   |  more info

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October 19, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Merry Widow (Joffrey Ballet Chicago)

     
     

Parisian elan, Austrian elegance, Pontevedran panache

     
     

Victoria Jaiani and Miguel Angel Blanco in Joffrey Ballet's 'Merry Widow'.

  
Joffrey Ballet presents
  
The Merry Widow
  
Written by Franz Lehar, adapted by John Lanchberry
Choreographed by
Ronald Hynd
Conducted by
Scott Speck
at
Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress (map)
through Feb 27  |  tickets: $24-$145  |  more info

Reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

70 years after Franz Lehar’s beloved operetta debuted in 1905, Ronald Hynd transformed the popular gem into an energetic ballet. Now, 36 years later, the 80-year-old choreographer has brought this polyglot divertissement to Chicago in a sumptuous, two-hour fantasy that takes the Joffrey Ballet into wonderful new waters.

Ensemble from Joffrey Ballet's 'Merry Widow'Though the original vaudevillian and rhapsodic tunes get mixed up among the three acts and the subplot involving an incriminating fan has been mercifully dropped, the story mirrors the original in all that matters. Cultural contrast was always the fuel for the fun. Here it’s the fact that the Pontevedran embassy in Paris needs to hold onto the fortune of the title character, if only to preserve its quaint customs and Balkan folk dances in the midst of the world’s most cosmopolitan center.

Three styles keep both operetta and ballet fascinating throughout. The Embassy ball in the first act harks back to the classic waltzes of Vienna. The Second, set in the villa of the fabulously wealthy Hannah Glawari, delights in pseudo-Pontevedran Polonaises and ethnic novelty numbers. Finally, Lehar drenches the third act in French frivolity as the action moves to Maxim’s, with its can-can grizettes and dapper Parisian dandies straight out of Toulouse-Lautrec.

Since this is ballet, the story, compressed and created by Sir Robert Helpmann, is second to the steps. Unlike the operetta, there’s never any doubt that Hanna will return to her rakish former lover, Count Danilo. (We don’t need to burden our pretty little heads with silly doubts.) There’s little more suspense over the illicit courtship between Valencienne, the Ambassador’s flirtatious French wife, and the handsome French attaché Camille de Rousillon, a nightingale indeed.

The duets between these couples echo the musical styles. Victoria Jaiani’s Hana and Miguel Angel Blanco’s Danilo turn the first act waltzes into surprisingly vertical affairs, with lifts that defy the horizontal swirl of the sweeping melodies. Likewise, Yumelia Garcia’s capricious Valencienne, with her sensuous twirls and bodice-bending dips, finds a perfect partner in Graham Maverick’s quicksiliver, gravity-defying Rousillon. Both blend in beautifully with the galloping gaiety of Maxim’s in full fluorescence.

Ensemble from Joffrey Ballet's 'Merry Widow'

Hynd has given the ensemble glorious moments, whether as gallant members of the Pontevedran entourage or hellbent, high-kicking, skirt-tossing soubrettes making plays for the gentry. They’re impeccably costumed by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno, while the stenciled facades and imitation marble pillars of the first act, wisteria-laden garden of the second, and monumental cabaret setting of the third act, are also the gorgeous work of the exquisitely talented Di Bagno.

It lasts no longer than it should, since a fantasy should never be pushed beyond its initial allure. As the English say, you should never let daylight shine on magic.

  
  
Rating: ★★★★
      
   
Lucas Segovia, Yumelia, Garcia, Matthew_Adamczyk in Joffrey Ballet's 'Merry Widow' Victoria Jaiani as Hannah the wealthy widow in Joffrey Ballet's 'Merry Widow'
Yumelia Garcia and Graham Maverick in Joffrey Ballet's 'The Merry Widow' Christine Rocas, Miguel Angel Blanco, Jaime Hickey in Joffrey Ballet's 'The Merry Widow'

All photos by Herbert Migdoll.

     
     
February 17, 2011 | 1 Comment More