|Hee Seo in A Month in the Country. Photo: Marty Sohl|
It just ended four performances of a combo platter: Mark Morris' Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes (1987), Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country, and Balanchine's Symphony in C. The program proved to be a terrific balance stylistically and temporally. Morris' sweeping cross-stage passages chased Virgil Thomson's solo piano lines (played by Barbara Bilach) like butterflies, the phrases sweeping with longuer or clicking together. It balanced Symphony in C, a study of musical and dynamic contrasts to Bizet. Each of its four sections has such a distinct characteristic that, while abstract, its casting reveals as much about the dancers chosen as if it were Romeo & Juliet. Of particular note were Polina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes imbuing the adagio second movement with great import and maturity, and Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in the third movement, playfully trading ever higher grand jetés.
|Hee Seo and David Hallberg in A Month in the Country. Photo: Marty Sohl|
The arrival of a tutor (Beliaev), danced by David Hallberg, disrupts Natalia's status as the sun around which the household revolves; he captures the hearts of the three women in varying capacities, as the object of the ward's (Sarah Lane) crush, a playful companion for the maid (Simone Messmer), and a fully blossoming romance with Natalia. The dance passages are mellifluous and fragrant (if somewhat confined by the set), great attention is paid to echoing and complimentary lines, which both Seo and Hallberg have in spades. But it's the small gestures and details that transform a sketch into a story: imbuing personal objects with emotional resonance (a shawl, a basket, a dress' ribbons), the foreboding of absence and longing, the fragile network of human relationships so easily sent spinning.
ABT returns to the chestnut canon with Don Quixote.