At today's matinee performance of the highly anticipated premiere by Alexei Ratmansky, ABT's new artist in residence, Marcelo Gomes commanded the stage as the young soldier Sergei who returns from war only to find he no longer loves his fiancee (Veronika Part) but instead is attracted to Olga (Paloma Herrera) , a village beauty committed to another man. Elegant and suave and as fine an actor in ballet today, he invests his character with humor, boyishness and irrepressible passion. Though the story sounds like a thousand other tales of frustrated love, Ratmansky choreographs emotions so convincingly that the familiarity of the plot is soon forgotten. He creates a wonderful macho fight sequence between Sergei's friends and those of Olga's groom (the dashing David Hallberg) that fired the stage almost as much as the lush pas de deux between Sergei and Olga - Herrera looked fresh and delicate. Set to Sergei Prokofiev's music "On the Dnieper" - the Dnieper is a powerful river in the Ukraine - the ballet also gains its appeal from the picturesque set with flowering trees and full moon by Simon Pastukh and gorgeous green and rust costumes by Galina Solovyeva. Ratmansky delivers on hopes of ballet lovers that he would bring new ideas to an art form in desperate need of them.
Photo by Fabrizio Ferri