Thanks to a roommate, I ended up at New York City Ballet's Swan Lake last night, which I'd never seen before.
The production was ugly as sin (long stretches with lighting like a high school gym...possibly the most hideous fabrics ever made by hand of man...sets like community musical theatre--is it a NY State Theatre curse?); the orchestra, with some fortunate exceptions, sounded like ass; and, not that I really know from ballet, but I swear I detected the same hints of lameness in Martins' choreography here that I have in the handful of other pieces of his I've seen.
But that's not really the point now is it?
There was really some tremendous dancing, notably from Jenifer Ringer, who danced the lead with equal parts breathtaking elegance and sheer, mind-blowing skill. The small ensembles, particularly the quartet in the beginning of the Second Act, were almost uniformly a joy. The corps de swan girls was appropriately mesmerizing (the design here was fine, but I don't give credit cuz 40 people in white tulle with blue lighting look priddy--I could do that).
Oh--and if you thought riff-raff at the opera was bad...our fairly respectable seats third ring center were treated to almost every disruption in the book: not one but TWO confused ladies with noisy plastic bags walking out in the middle of the show, several full-voice disputes about candy wrapper noises, and an audible snorer two seats away to top it off.