|Sonia Rodriguez (Alice) and Cheshire. Photo: Bruce Zinger|
|Photo: Bruce Zinger|
|Elena Lobsanova and Xiao Nan Yu. Photo: Bruce Zinger|
Sonia Rodriguez danced the lead role on Wednesday, with Naoya Ebe as her suitor, Jack/Knave. The flamboyant role of Mother/Queen went to Svetlana Lunkina, who landed at the NBC after departing the Bolshoi last year—threatened in the wake of artistic director Sergei Filin being attacked with acid. This real-life drama would be hard to match, but the Queen's eye-popping costume and favorite gesture (slashed throat) did just that. Lunkina switched from preening to bloodthirsty in a split second. Juicy signature phrases went to the Rabbit/Lewis Carroll (Robert Stephen) wearing Lennonesque round pink specs and twitching neurotically when not leaping about, the Fish and Frog Footmen (Dylan Tedaldi and Francesco Gabriele Frola) slithering and waddling with charm, and Raja/Caterpillar (James Harrison), slinking on his stomach, which he also comically rubs in circles. Alice and Jack are given relatively brief duos, in which little chemistry is produced, but Ebe displayed his elegant lines and expressive back, and Rodriguez her solid arabesque when she isn't wriggling through a tiny door or acting shocked, surprised, or delighted.
Jody Talbot wrote the pleasing music, often filmic in feel, and recalling Prokofiev and Danny Elfman at moments. It moves the action along pleasantly; perhaps further listenings will let it imprint on the brain. New York City Ballet's orchestra manned the pit, led by David Briskin, music director of the National Ballet of Canada.