American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House
New York, NY
June 29, 2015
by Mary Cargill
copyright © 2015 by Mary Cargill
ABT's final week is devoted to Sir Frederick Ashton's "Cinderella", a glorious combination of lyricism, virtuosity and comedy, both high and low. Cory Stearns was the opening night Prince; he had been scheduled last year but was injured so this was his New York debut. Even though, like his cousin in "The Sleeping Beauty", he Prince doesn't arrive until Act II, he dominated the evening with his combination of lush dancing (those rich pliés!) and emotional involvement. He was gracious and polite (even to the Step-sisters) at the beginning of the ball, but clearly isolated from the general hubbub. Once Cinderella appeared, he never took his eyes off her and seemed genuinely thrilled to share the stage with her. Many of Ashton's emotional highlights come as the dancers are still, with the music soaring around them, and the final Act II tableaux in the back holding the shoe as if it were a lifeline was one of the most moving images I have seen. The combination of classical purity and emotional generosity made his performance glow. Ashton's Prince is anonymous, but apparently his name is Cory.
Hee Seo in "Cinderella". Photo © by Rosalie O’Connor