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Boston Ballet dazzles with Treasures of Les Ballets Russes



The Boston Ballet.

Wang Center, March 8, 8 pm.


THE BOSTON BALLET recently presented Treasures of Les Ballets Russes. The performance was comprised of three vignettes: "Carnival," "Scheherazade, an Oriental Fantasy" and "Aurora's Wedding." All three were wonderfully presented in a dazzling display of movement, color, and sound.

With spring on its merry way, soon romance will fill the air. "Carnival" was a delightful play on love found and love lost. There was no actual story, but the dance depicted men pursuing women and women teasing men. Karl Condon's Pierrot, a clown garbed in black and white oversized clothes, was particularly charming, and added fluidity and comedy to the individual would-be lovers.

The Harlequin (Patrick Armand) was the star. With energy and grace he wooed Columbine (Trinidad Sevillano), and together they taunted Pantalon (Lazlo Berdo), Columbine's erstwhile suitor. The exuberant costumes, both elegant and jovial, added excitement to an excellent piece of work.

When the first intermission ended, so did the mood of frivolity. "Scheherazade" opened with a beautiful violin prelude that foreshadowed the tragedy soon to follow. The story, taken from A Thousand and One Nights, was about the suspicious Sultan Shahriar (Arthur Leeth) and his unfaithful wife, Zobeide (Adriana Suarez). When the sultan pretended to go away on business, Zobeide invited the slaves into the palace. Immediately, the slaves took to the harem of scantily clad wives.

In an orgy scene that one might have expected to be banned in the prim state of Massachusetts, the audience was swayed by the erotic movements of seven slave-wife couples and the seduction of Zobeide by the Golden Slave (Mark Massey). The orgy evolved into a wild party with 20 dancers on stage at one point. The party was brought to a tragic halt when the sultan reappeared, ordering the execution of everyone present.

Suarez was fantastic, and was rewarded with much fanfare for her performance. Massey, while lacking in speed and agility, compensated for it with his powerful presence. Once again, the costumes were dazzling, and this piece was well-received.

"Aurora's Wedding," the weakest of the trio, is the third act from Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty and was packed with fairy-tale characters. There were appearances by Puss N' Boots (Geoffrey Rhue), Cinderella (Lori Norwak) and Red Riding Hood (Maria Arnillas). The costumes were the most lavish yet, with almost everyone clad in layers of velvet and lace.

Unfortunately, this segment lacked cohesion and never really came together. The final scene looked like a Broadway tapdance spectacle, with everyone gallivanting in unison. The mood was shattered by this seemingly anachronistic choreography. Despite this final disappointment, though, the evening was a huge success.