Author Archive: Ilona Landgraf

Fighting Back

Polish National Ballet
Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa
Warsaw, Poland
October 07, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. E.Nowak, M.Esposito, G.Melfi, L.Alberti, D.Ozeri and V.Kezik, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.KrasuckaDance critic Graham Watts called Izadora Weiss “a tempest on the Baltic shore.” Weiss has been creating a stir in the Polish dance scene from her home base of Gdansk ever since Jiří Kylián spotted her choreographic talent in 1989 during his tenure as artistic director of the Nederlands Dans Theater. She became his protégé, and would later use Kylián’s company as a model on which to base the Baltic Dance Theatr (BDT), a troupe she founded in 2010 in Gdansk that she continues to direct today. Formerly affiliated with the Baltic Opera, the BDT became an independent company in 2006 and was renamed Biały Teatr Tańca (White Dance Theatr) – BTT for short. Weiss still leads the company, serving as its main choreographer. Pieces by Kylián complement BTT’s repertoire.

2. E.Nowak and A.Kozal, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.KrasuckaLast season Weiss choreographed for the Polish National Ballet for the first time. “Darkness”, which premiered in June, was nominated for best choreography in the 2016/17 season at the Polish Dance Awards. Watts, who has been following Weiss’s work for years and saw “Darkness” last season, wrote in his review in DanceTabs: “it seemed that [the dancers of the Polish National Ballet] needed more time to assimilate the peculiarities of Weiss’ special style.” Since this was my first time in Poland and my first experience of Weiss’s work, I can’t make a judgement about this. I, however, witnessed a powerful performance of haunting immediacy. Weiss’s contemporary language doesn’t aim toward decorative purposes. Every movement helped to tell the story. Acting and dance coalesced to a unity.

“Darkness” is a two-act piece dealing with the power imbalance between men and women, violence in relationships, and other moral quandaries. The subtle scent of incense that wafted into the front rows of the auditorium before the curtain went 3. E.Nowak, M.Esposito, G.Melfi and V.Kezik, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.Krasuckaup foreshadowed the setting of the first scene – a marriage officiated by a bishop in a purple cassock (Tomasz Nerkowski). But the bridegroom (Lorenzo Alberti) to whom Lilli (Ewa Nowak) was to wed was not her true love’s first choice. The relatives who gathered followed the couple’s emerging dissonance with a mix of curiosity and increasing disapproval. As guardians of social norms, they knew how to make an insubordinate wife see reason. When the fledgling husband unbuttoned Lilli’s wedding dress, was he about to consummate marriage by force? Or did stripping off the dress mean that she had fled from wedlock? Did the subsequent scene, in which a geisha in a red kimono (Yurika Kitano) committed seppuku, the ritual Japanese suicide, present a visual representation of Lilli’s thoughts?

Indeed, Lilly was threatened with a dagger by her kinsfolks and her husband in an almost hypnotizing sequence that the men visibly enjoyed. But, despite being struck with fear, Lilli was able to ward them off. Like a little girl, she clung to her father (Adam Kozal), a bearded, stooped man with sagging shoulders. Emotionally ossified, though, and with a face as gray as his worn-out jacket, he proved not to be her salvation. As he watched his daughter’s romance with another man (Adam Myśliński), his hands clenched to fists, and, upon the aggressive insistence of his kinsfolk, he finally pulled the lovers apart. Lilli’s husband and the group of relatives returned, confronting, accusing, and attacking her. Given the vehemence of their arm movements and the aggression with which they stomped their feet, it seemed as if they were tossing buckets of blame, guilt, malice and condemnation towards her.

4. Y.Kitano, A.Myśliński, A.Kozal, V.Kezik, G.Melfi, L.Alberti, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.KrasuckaThe small space harboring Lilli’s and her lover’s romance was abruptly destroyed the moment the group emerged, this time playing suggestively around with the dagger. As in the scene with the geisha, one heard the menacing sound of panpipes. The men held Lilli tightly and, in front of her eyes, slit the throat of her lover. She survived.

The second act centered around Jasmin, a black-haired woman in a red skirt and red top. She was danced by Yurika Kitano, who portrayed the geisha in the first act (although the roles didn’t seem to be connected). In any case, Jasmin was an outsider. She persistently refused to fit into – let alone subordinate to – the norms and expectations that her parents and social environment forcibly tried to impose on her.

5. A.Jankowska, Y.Kitano and N.Pasiut, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.KrasuckaJasmin wore red, while the others wore mainly gray and black. She had a strong personality – determined, yet also playful and coquettish. She was disgusted by the straitjacket of society, and soon, two other girls (Natalia Pasiut and Agnieszka Jankowska) joined her. But the trio’s confidence faltered with the arrival of three men (Dan Ozeri, Vadzim Kezik and Gianni Melfi). Each man chose a girl and the three couples spread out – one pair heading to a red carpet in the back-left of the stage and becoming intimate. On a platform on the right side of the stage, the other girl – having already been stripped to her underwear – sat on the floor, her arms tightly clenched around her knees. Just a few moments later, the man had broken her reserve and she began to dance. Only Jasmin did not stop fighting back against her male opponent.

Interestingly, the pairs rotated, and at each place – red carpet, podium and front stage – the textures of their relationships’ changed. Yet affection never arose. Instead, the men played on their physical power in varied forms. Jasmin was forced into a black dress while her red outfit was wrapped around another girl’s head like a plastic bag. Later, this girl was put into black 6. N.Pasiut, G.Melfi and M.Esposito, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.Krasucka hold-up stockings and fitted with a red wig like a whore. In another scene, one of the girls lay on the floor after a mass rape. Scornfully, the men threw down a teddy bear next to her before leaving. Their aggression had reached an explosive level. Each moment another bit of abuse seemed possible. Eventually, the two girls surrendered and returned to the group. Jasmin remained the only pariah. Her mother (Rachael Vrbancic), who had previously towered over her like a Harpy with her index finger raised threateningly, now erupted into a poignant solo. Did its fury and insistence result from her own accumulated suffering? “One has to play along,” seemed to be her message. Jasmin’s attempt to approach a man was rejected, her dress was ripped off of her body, and she was collaboratively shot dead by the group.

7. Y.Kitano and ensemble, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.KrasuckaThroughout the piece, Weiss depicted social imbalances whose complex inner mechanics yielded horrible results. She didn’t aim to merely arouse pity for the weaker sex. Both Lilli and Jasmin were victims, but they fought back; only the last scene was pathetic. It showed an angel (Ewa Nowak) on its way to Jasmin’s corpse on the podium. Nowak carried a heap of black feathers in her arms that slowly rained down, marking the angel’s path.

Stage design and costumes were by Weiss; a recorded assemblage of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Philip Glass, Armand Amar, and old French music accompanied the piece. The intensity of the performance was enhanced by the fact that it was performed in the Młynarski Hall on the small stage of the Teatre Wielki. With only around 250 seats, one couldn’t mentally steal away.

Touching upon “Darkness” in an interview, Krzysztof Pastor, the artistic director of the Polish National Ballet, explained that the piece added a further facet to the company’s repertoire. Pointing at the photo of Yurika Kitano as Jasmin on the cover of the program booklet, he expressed his pleasure about his dancers: “They have matured artistically.”
8. Y.Kitano and ensemble, “Darkness” by I.Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017 © Polish National Ballet / E.Krasucka

Links: Website of the Polish National Ballet 
Website of the Biały Teatr Tańca (BTT) of Izadora Weiss
Trailer of “Darkness”
Photos:  “Lilli”
 1. Ewa Nowak (Lilli), Marco Esposito and Gianni Melfi (Relatives), Lorenzo Alberti (Bridegroom), Dan Ozeri and Vadzim Kezik (Relatives), “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 2. Ewa Nowak (Lilli) and Adam Kozal (Father), “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 3. Ewa Nowak (Lilli), Marco Esposito, Gianni Melfi and Vadzim Kezik (Relatives), “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 4. Yurika Kitano (Jasmin), Adam Myśliński and Adam Kozal (Men), Vadzim Kezik and Gianni Melfi (Boys), Lorenzo Alberti (Man), “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 5. Agnieszka Jankowska (Girl), Yurika Kitano (Jasmin) and Natalia Pasiut (Girl), “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 6. Natalia Pasiut (Girl), Gianni Melfi (Boy) and Marco Esposito (Man), “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 7. Yurika Kitano (Jasmin) and ensemble, “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
 8.  Yurika Kitano (Jasmin) and ensemble, “Darkness” by Izadora Weiss, Polish National Ballet 2017
all photos © Polish National Ballet / Ewa Krasucka
 Editing: Jake Stepansky



“Pure Cranko” (“L’Estro Armonico” / “Brouillards” / “Jeu de Cartes”)
Stuttgart Ballet

Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
October 03, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. D.Moore, M.F.Paixà and ensemble, “L'Estro Armonico” by J.Cranko, Stuttgart Ballet 2017 © Stuttgart BalletThis season is an especially special one for Stuttgart Ballet. John Cranko, who took over the ballet company of the Wuerttemberg State Theater in 1961 and turned it into the “Stuttgart Ballet Miracle”, would have celebrated his 90th birthday this August. In October, the premiere of his “Onegin” will have its 50th anniversary. Moreover, it’s Reid Anderson’s twenty-second – and last – season as artistic director. He’ll pass the torch to Tamas Detrich next summer.

As a result, there are quite a number of events slated for the season – but, with everything being interconnected in Stuttgart, the first program already brought the company full circle. (more…)

A Patchy Beginning

“The Taming of the Shrew”
Bavarian State Ballet
National Theater
Munich, Germany
September 30, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. J.Amo and E.Kruteleva, “The Taming of the Shrew” by J.Cranko, Bavarian State Ballet 2017 © W.Hösl This August John Cranko would have celebrated his 90th birthday. Stuttgart Ballet honors its founder with several programs, beginning with the triple bill “Cranko Pur” that premiers on October 3rd. The Bavarian State Ballet, which Cranko directed in addition to his Stuttgart company from 1968 – 1972, revives his three big narratives. “The Taming of the Shrew” opened the season. “Onegin” and “Romeo and Juliet” are scheduled for February and April 2018. During the Ballet Festival Weeks next April all three ballets will be danced on three consecutive evenings.
I saw the second performance of “Shrew” led by Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin, both guest dancers of the Munich company.

Cranko’s characterization of the figures follows Shakespeare’s comedy closely. We are in Padua in the 17th century. Poor Baptista is kept in suspense by his two daughters. No less than three suitors buzz around the pretty Bianca like bees around the honey pot, but her older sister, the strident Katherina, fights getting married tooth and nail. Bianca is not allowed to marry until Katherina is wed, declares Baptista unceremoniously. But how to marry her off? By accident, Bianca’s suitors – Lucentio, Hortensio and Gremio – run into the young Petruchio and recruit him to court Katherina. (more…)

A Small Retrospective Exhibit of Jiří Kylián’s Work

“Celebrating Kylián!
Nederlands Dans Theater
The Hague, The Netherlands
September 22, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. “Celebrating Kylián!” © A.CorbijnJiří Kylian turned 70 years this March. “Celebrating
Kylián!”, a festival initiated by Kylián Productions, Holland Dance, Nederlands Dans Theater, Zuiderstrandtheater and Korzo Theater has been honoring him throughout the year. Part of the events and programs is a multimedia exhibition at the Zuiderstrandtheater, the home of Nederlands Dans Theater, the company considerably shaped by Kylián. The exhibition opened on September 22nd.

For twenty-four years, beginning in 1975, Kylián headed NDT as artistic director and, after handing the reins over to Marian Sarstädt in 1999, remained the company’s house choreographer for an additional decade. Of the two affiliated troupes he founded – NDT 2, the junior company in 1978 and, for older dancers, NDT 3 in 1991 – the latter was dissolved in 2006 due to financial reasons.

Kylián is best known as choreographer, but has also photographed and made films such as “Zugvögel” and “Car-Men.” The list of choreographies on his website ends with the number 99. The main part, 75 ballets to be exact, were created for NDT. Video excerpts of some of those works – both performances and rehearsals – are now shown on several screens in the foyer and on the first floor. The large video hologram of “Gods and Dogs” attracted the most spectators. Diagonally opposite a black and white picture wall with various portraits of Kylián hangs next to the bar. A few costumes, among them the well known red skirts from “Bella Figura,” greet the visitors opposite the cloakroom.
The exhibition is only open when performances take place. To watch the four documentaries shown in a side room one should arrive early. “The Road to Stamping Ground,” for example, which traces the creation of “Stamping Ground,” a 1983 piece that was inspired by Aboriginal culture and dance, lasts for almost one hour. But it is also on YouTube.

Three New Pieces for NDT

“Side A: Split into One” (“Proof” / “Soon” / “Sisters”)
Nederlands Dans Theater
The Hague, The Netherlands
September 22, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Anderson and Y.Takaura, “Proof” by E.Clug, Nederlands Dans Theater 2017 © R.RezvaniOn the right side of the Zuiderstrandtheater berths a huge yellow ship, the way on the left side leads directly to the beach. The theater, a plain concrete building with much glass, opened in 2014 in The Hague’s port area. Its neighborhood and the parking lot in front of the house don’t please the eye, but the view out of the huge windows on the first floor does. Between the dunes one can see the sea gleaming in the setting sun.
Inside, the smell of deep-fried fish permeated the foyer. The reception celebrating Nederlands Dans Theater’s first performance this season – a triple bill with entirely new works – was in full swing. The program consisted of pieces by Edward Clug, Medhi Walerski and the inseparable duo Sol León & Paul Lightfoot. Since 2002 León and Lightfoot have been the company’s house choreographers. In 2011 Lightfoot also took over as artistic director succeeding Jim Vincent. (more…)

Celebrating Hans van Manen

“Ode to the Master” (“On the Move” / “Symphonieën Der Nederlanden” / “Sarcasm” / “5 Tango’s”)
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
September 17, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Hans van Manen at the curtain call, Dutch National Ballet 2017 © M.Graste“Were you asked to choreograph about cheese?” the late Stuttgart dance critic Horst Koegler jokingly asked Hans van Manen in a 1982 interview when discussing Van Manen’s first-ever choreography. This first piece premiered at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam in 1957, was “nationally tinged,” but by no means about cheese, and has been performed more than 350 times. It was a thorough success. Sixty years later Hans van Manen is still choreographing and still successful. His works have won the acclaim of audiences all over the world. (more…)

State of Affairs in Munich and News from Berlin

Bavarian State Ballet / State Ballet Berlin
Munich / Berlin, Germany
September 12, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. I.Zelensky © W.HöslAt the end of last season, the first under director Igor Zelensky, a second wave of dancers left the Bavarian State Ballet. Exact numbers and names weren’t announced by the press office, but according to information from within the company 22 out of a total of 69 dancers packed their bags. My report prompted an email by the press office that corrected the number to 21 and denied that the principals Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov would quit the company. What did finally come of it?

First, over the summer break the number of those leaving increased to 23, because demi-soloist Wentao Li had meanwhile returned to China, his home country, for family reasons and guest ballerina Svetlana Zakharova had withdrawn her commitment. Yet in the course of the last season Zakharova had performed only once in Munich. Secondly, Shirinkina and Shklyarov indeed did bid farewell to the core company and returned to the Maryinsky Ballet. They will appear in Munich as guest dancers.

So the gaps were considerable. How did Igor Zelensky fill them?
The company starts the new season with 66 dancers, four of them guest dancers (Shirinkina & Shklyarov and again, as last year, Natalia Osipova & Sergei Polunin). Five dancers of English National Ballet have joined: (more…)

Society’s Boggy Grounds

Semperoper Ballet
Dresden, Germany
September 04, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. R.Arndt, M.Madar, A.Ol, J.Vallejo and A.Gibson, “Manon” by K.MacMillan, Semperoper Ballet 2017 © I.Whalen Semperoper Ballet opened the season with a final run of Kenneth MacMillan’s “Manon.” In most performances since the Dresden premiere in fall 2015 Melissa Hamilton danced the title role. Hamilton returned to her home company, the Royal Ballet London, in May this year. The gap she left was filled by two guest ballerinas familiar with the role – Anna Ol (Principal of Dutch National Ballet) and Dorothée Gilbert (Étoile of Paris Opera Ballet). Both dance twice. The Semperoper Ballet’s Gina Scott is cast for the final two performances in mid-October. I saw the opening night with Ol alongside Julian Amir Lacey as Des Grieux. (more…)

A Vocation

Rose Eichenbaum:
“Inside the Dancer’s Art”
220 pages, color and b/w photos
Wesleyan University Press, July 2017
ISBN 978-0819577009
August 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. “Inside the Dancer's Art,” book cover © Wesleyan University Press Originally, Rose Eichenbaum trained to become a dancer. Her plans were thwarted by family duties, but her longing to re-enter the dance world remained. She did return – not wearing dance shoes, but instead equipped with a camera. Having discovered her talent for photography while a young mother, Eichenbaum studied with renowned photographers until her first own pictures were published in a children’s book in 1987. Eight years later, she began to photograph dance, circling her career back to its origins. Six years of work went into her debut book, “Masters of Movement”, which portrays around sixty American choreographers from various dance genres. A significant amount of time spent on taking photos, but Eichenbaum additionally conducted interviews with each and every choreographer – and those interviews are treasures to read. (more…)

The Alvin Ailey Company Tours Germany

“Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater”
Deutsches Theater
Munich, Germany
August 22, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. B.Pereyra, “Four Corners” by R.K. Brown, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater © P.KolnikThe summer tour of the Alvin Ailey company kicked off in Paris and, after one week in Basel, reached Germany in early August where the main body of performances was scheduled. The last stop will be in Copenhagen in September.
I saw the opening night in Munich, one of the five cities on the troupe’s German itinerary. The four pieces on the program included “Four Corners” by Ronald K. Brown, “Exodus” by Rennie Harris, Robert Battle’s short “Takademe” and the company’s signature piece “Revelations,” one of the Ailey’s earliest works. He created it in 1960 when he was just twenty-nine-year-old. “Four Corners” and “Exodus” were replaced by “Open Door” and “Piazzolla Caldera” at other venues on the tour. (more…)

Oh Rudolf…

“Romeo and Juliet”
English National Ballet
Royal Festival Hall / Southbank Centre
London, Great Britain
August 02, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Ensemble, “Romeo and Juliet” by R.Nureyev, English National Ballet © L.LiotardoEnglish National Ballet’s revival of Rudolf Nureyev’s “Romeo and Juliet” this August celebrated two birthdays at once. The 40th birthday of the ballet itself and the 90th birthday of the one who commissioned it, Dame Beryl Grey, the company’s President and former artistic director. The six performances given in early August at the Southbank Centre, London, included five castings for Romeo and four ballerinas in the role of Juliet. I saw Josua Hoffalt and Laurretta Summerscales as the star-crossed lovers. Hoffalt, étoile of Paris Opera Ballet, guested with English National Ballet for the first time. For Summerscales it was one of her last performances this year with her home company. She will take a sabbatical year with the Bavarian State Ballet in the next season. (more…)

A Conversation With Nicolas Le Riche

Ballet Summer School
Palucca School
Dresden, Germany

July 27, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

The corridors of Dresden’s Palucca School were buzzing with students waiting for their next class. While the school’s regular students enjoyed their holidays, young dancers participating in the annual Ballet Summer School were populating the campus for two weeks. Marina Antonova and Guy Albouy, organizers of the summer workshops since 2009 and ballet teachers themselves, have always lured a roster of renowned teachers to Dresden. This year Nicolas Le Riche came before heading to Stockholm where he takes over as artistic director of the Royal Swedish Ballet in mid-August. I met him at the Palucca School to talk about the time since his farewell from Paris Opera Ballet in 2014 and his plans for Stockholm.
Le Riche’s answers are in italics. (more…)


“Ballet Matinée”
John Cranko School
Stuttgart State Opera
Stuttgart, Germany
July 16, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Pernão and S.Pompignoli, “Alrededor No Hay Nada” by G.Montero, John Cranko School © Stuttgart Ballet Stuttgart’s John Cranko School has an excellent reputation in the ballet world. In a recent interview, Dutch National Ballet’s Marijn Rademaker talked about the excellent teachers in Stuttgart. I saw quite a few end of the year school performances, but this year’s matinée made me shake my head in disbelief. What outstanding talents has Tadeusz Matacz been training under his roof!

The students’ performance of Leonid Lavrovsky’s “Classical Symphony” could have vied with proper companies. The boys jumped spick and span, landed from tour en l’airs nicely in sync and partnered smoothly. Short Motomi Kiyota of the 6th class was especially intriguing. He soared through the air as if it were his natural space of being. The girls dabbed the choreography onstage, defying weight and gravity and confidently tossed out fouettes. “Classical Symphony” left one with an elevated feeling.

They proved they can also excel in contemporary pieces in “Alrededor No Hay Nada”, new choreography by Goyo Montero, artistic director of the company of the State Theater Nuremberg. (more…)

“Anna Karenina” – Another Lesson By Neumeier

“Anna Karenina”
Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier
Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg, Germany
July 14, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Arii, M.Huguet, I.Urban, A.Laudere, L.Wang / G.Fuhrman and ensemble, “Anna Karenina” by J.Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet © S.Ballone Several choreographers have adapted Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “Anna Karenina” for the dance stage. Maya Plisetskaya choreographed the piece for the Bolshoi in 1972 and danced the title role; Alexei Ratmansky created several versions, his latest for the Maryinsky in 2010; Christian Spuck, artistic director of Ballet Zurich, premiered his version in 2014. Now John Neumeier has tackled the subject with Hamburg Ballet. It is a co-production with the Bolshoi Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada, but has been solely produced in Hamburg. (more…)

Young Choreographers of the Ballett am Rhein

“Young Moves”
Ballett am Rhein
Opera House Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf, Germany
July 09, 2017

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2017 by Ilona Landgraf

1. C.Jaroszewski and A.Pinet, “No Destination” by W.S.Chan, Ballett am Rhein © G.Weigelt For the second time, Ballett am Rhein presented works by young choreographers. All six ballets of “Young Moves” were created by members of the company. Four of them – Wun Sze Chan, Boris Randzio, So-Yeon Kim and Michael Foster – already participated in last year’s event; Sonny Locsin and Chidozie Nzerem were novices. The program was shown three times during the first half of July. I saw the second show, an afternoon matinee. Maybe it was because of the gorgeous summer weather that many seats in the auditorium remained empty. Applause was, however, warm and intense. (more…)