note: entire contents copyright 2000 by "Moxie"
It doesn't get much better than this! Striking scenery, luscious costumes, beautiful bodies, and excellent dancing! Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and multiple-award-winning designer Santo Loquasto have collaborated on a new piece set to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" that is a marvelous addition to Boston's repertoire. The orchestra under conductor Jonathan McPhee, and with violin soloist Michael Rosenbloom, gives its usual high quality support.
The piece --- the second in a program of two --- opens with Polyanna Ribiero and Christopher Budzynski dancing "Spring." They and their entourage flood the stage with apple-green and gold and off-white, until Spring metamorphizes into Summer.
In "Summer" Wheeldon, fresh from work on Broadway, gives us a bit of pantomime. Several boys are fishing when they catch sight of three girls swimming in a secluded spot. April Ball, Marjorie Grundvig and Tara Hench are delightful as the three Summer maidens. (It's nice that Boston Ballet is getting away from a preference for overly-thin female dancers that afflicts so much of ballet elsewhere. Boston clearly appreciates beautifully proportioned women.) Next Jennifer Gelfand appears in a gorgeous deep-green iridescent tutu. She buzzes around Paul Thrussell, stinging and teasing him to the point of distraction. Tension builds --- will he squash her flat, as We always attempt to do with those beastly green bottle flies? Thank goodness no! Instead, when he finally manages to "get her" he plants his foot on her back, and she --- still smiling --- continues to wriggle and buzz.
Summer gives way to "Autumn", which Lyn Tally rules. She is a southern Italian seductress, and the boys of Autumn (Yury Yankowski and Robert Moore) are shameless in pestering her and trying to peek under her skirts. Perhaps this one-note joke is carried on a bit too long; but on the other hand it's hard to get tired of Lyn Tally.
In "Winter" Larissa Ponomarenko, the ice maiden, is partnered by the charismatic Simon Ball in a denouement that melts into Spring again, full circle.
This could have been magical, but unfortunately the effect is broken too soon, and the stage quickly fills with all the seasons for a short finale. An opportunity was lost, alas, to tap a cyclical, spiritual symbolism that could have made the ending powerful, in stead of typical.