I was looking forward to seeing Herman Cornejo Saturday evening as Albrecht with Alina Cojocaru as Giselle. However, Herman was ill according to the program insert and David Hallberg stepped in.
I last saw Alina in Giselle with Angel Corella in 2012 and she is great in this role. Her acting is a bit on the understated side, much like Polina Semionova. She gives a sweet, modest rendering of the role. Technically, I particularly enjoyed her rapid pique turns in Act I, frenetic chugs in arabesque attitude, and massive develope a la seconde in Act II. The Act II pas de deux was dramatic and the two interacted well as Alina struggled to save Albrecht’s life. They did leave out a dramatic lift in Act II that I like in which the male lifts the woman by the hips and holds her in an overhead “T” position. Xiomara Reyes and Jared Matthews did this lift Thursday.
David seemed more animated on the dramatic front Saturday than Tuesday with Polina. For example, after Giselle dies in his arms and he rushes around the stage grieving and blaming Hilarion.
His solo was similar to Tuesday, with single cabrioles to the front, triple pirouette to a nice double pirouette in attitude, double tours on a diagonal with arms in fifth (overhead), finishing off with a quadruple pirouette to a double tour to the ground in exhaustion. He performed a brise diagonal toward Myrta that was not particularly distinguished (garnering no applause) rather than multiple entrechat six (see my review and YouTube video two posts down). David has a wonderful line, great feet, and nice extension, particularly in his grande jetes.
Stella Abrera was stunning as the severe and cold Queen Wili Myrta. Stella has a nice line; her arabesque stretches forever and is simple and beautiful. Her beat work is the envy of many male dancers as she had nicely articulated entrechat six that you could easily count along with nice assemble six that made her seem like she was flying. Jared Matthews, who played Albrecht Thursday, was outstanding as Hilarion. He was very expressive and believable as a man tormented by his unrequited love for Giselle. In dramatic roles, he does have a self-indulgent head bob combined with an exaggerated strut that is unique, but irritating when overdone.
I saw David and Jared in three performances this week and was impressed with their work, particularly the partnering. Their solos were solid but nothing extraordinary. I was a bit disappointed by David’s brise section in place of multiple entrechat sixes.
Over the week, I enjoyed the female leads, Alina, Polina, and Xiomara as each left their own stamp on the role of Giselle. Alina and Polina were understated and modest while Xiomara was more outgoing. I found Alina and Xiomara more believable as they looked the part of frail, vulnerable young woman.
Veronika Part and Stella gave great performances as Myrta. Veronika stood out with massive grande jetes. Both should be given chances to dance as Giselle. Stella was cast as Giselle in an earlier season, but could not perform due to injury. For some reason she has never been cast again in the role. Amy Watson, an exchange artist from The Royal Danish Ballet, was Myrta Thursday evening. She had some problems on balances and was wobbly at times. I think ABT could do better with their own talent rather than looking elsewhere. I heard that corps member Devon Teuscher was impressive in her debut this season in this role.