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Posted (edited)

I will kick this off, though in many ways I'd rather not. I enjoyed Vertiginous Thrill - I'd forgotten most of it except the tutu shapes, and it was fun and well danced - lots of turning and jumping. Tarantella: Hayward and Sambe brought the house down. Absolutely brilliant - superb technically, and so full of effortless charm. Strapless looked stylish, but was as problematic as last time round. But it was Symphonic Dances that really depressed me. As a tribute to the wonderful Yanowsky, it could have been thrilling. She was beautiful - how could she not be. But the work itself was, in my view, dire. (And also in black and red, like Strapless! Does no-one think of these things?). Lots of swirling and strutting and running, incredibly old fashioned, tawdry designs. Gosh. I could have wept. But the dancers did their best - James Hay and Reece Clarke stood out particularly. And there were from time to time a few moments of interest, even of beauty. But they were drowned in the awfulness of the rest. I must acknowledge that it got an excellent reception. Maybe it's just me.

Edited by bridiem
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I was also there. I really enjoyed Vertiginous Thrill - Muntagirov and McRae dancing together onstage was thrilling and I have to say that although they were both fantastic, Muntagirov looked the more relaxed of the two, imo.

 

Sambe and Hayward in Tarantella were just joyful - put a big smile on my face - just such fun and well deserved huge applause.

 

I didn't see Strapless last time around and wondered how I would feel about it. Dull, dull, dull, was what I felt, despite great performances from all the dancers who did their best to inject a spark into it. After about 10 minutes I found my attention wandering and I was watching the orchestra more than the stage - not the best sign! Applause seemed distinctly muted , which, although understandable, was a shame for the dancers.

 

Unlike Bridiem, I actually really enjoyed Symphonic Dances, although I think anything at that point would have been an improvement after Strapless if I'm honest! I thought the lighting and projection effects were effective (if dazzling!), there was some lovely choreography and music. Yanowsky, of course, was wonderful, and brought home the sadness of her retirement when she is still dancing so well, but her pas de deux with Reece Clarke was beautiful, and I really liked Hay in this as well, although all the performances were good.

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Posted (edited)

I'll be brief. Really liked Symphonic Dances - Scarlett back on form after Frankenstein. It was a luxe production that ticked a lot of boxes from bare torso men in voluminous skirts (shades of vintage Van Manen and McGregor's Obsidian Tear) to back projection and stark lighting. The best of his choreography was stunning - particularly in second and third movements- but the frantic ending really threw me - not a bad thing as it made me really want to see it again. I enjoyed Strapless a lot more  this time round. It seemed sharper and more focused, and again when the choreography hit high points in the PDD and PDT it worked for me. Both pieces seemed to have a 50's movie ballet sequence feel at times - again no bad thing, but it does work against a truly contemporary feel of a choreographer like Justin Peck. And yes - Tarantella stunning, and Thrill was a great opener. I thought the audience reception was fine for Strapless, and the roof was raised for Scarlett, so it will be interesting what the papers say...

Edited by Vanartus
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I do agree Balletfanp.

 

It was a dream come true for me to see Muntagirov McRae and Nunez on stage together in Vertiginous- and they were all on form in their own very distinct ways.  The furiously fast choreography is very good fun but it is hard to get a grasp of the piece which seems to be over in a flash. But the dancing was as required: very precise, and also exciting and exuberant.

Taratella was sensational with Sambe looking superhumanly buoyant ( my first note about him a few years ago was Here's a very bouncy dancer! and he just gets bouncier) and Hayward as perfect: fleet of foot charming, amusing, and impeccable .

 

Strapless: oh dear- after the energy generated by those two pieces, a 30 minute interval ( why needed this time?) and then that stodgy soporific music..all the energy seemed to seep out of the audtorium. It was my second viewing- no, 3rd- and I was even more bored. There is something really terrbily wrong in that case: how can I be bored watching Osipova Bonelli Watson- and a beautiful glamorous set and costumes too- ?  But the problem remains: why should we care about this woman? and the music I think is dire.

 

One to shelve.

 

I liked Symphonic Dances. It was visually imaginative a lot of the time (I didn't think the back projection added much though and would have preferred brighter lighting- the usual points!) ; Yanowsky dominating proceedings effortlessly, her amazing swirling red dress very effective, though  was glad she was unencumbered of it later to strut grandly in a tuxedo jacket instead. I enjoyed the powerful choreography for the women in the corps (not just being lifted around) and the men in the skirts worked well- they made some inetersting shapes and their moves reminded me of flamenco dances. Those glistening chests were very impressive too.

The pas de deux betweenYanowsky and Reece Clarke was the highlight for me-  involving, powerful, moving. They looked ideal together.

The ending was a sad shame: on first viewing it looked as if Zenaida was suddenly squished flat under a large cake rack.

Hope not.

 

She so deserved the thunderous applause- I was watching her face through my bins and marvelling again at her stage presence . A dancer I never seemed to see enough off rather under -used surely.

 

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Really loved the Forsythe and Balanchine. Marianela and Vadim were fabulous but my eye also caught Akane Takada (I didn't recognise her first and had a job remembering whose names were on the cast sheet).

 

I didn't dislike Strapless as much as last time but it's certainly no masterpiece but I feel as though the talent of the dancers is a bit wasted.

 

Symphonic Dances didn't do anything for me I'm afraid.  Lots of running around and swooshing of men in skirts.  Found it rather dull and nearly fell asleep.

 

With my ticket only costing £6, I'd go again just to watch the first act.

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You are right Vanartus that there were an awful lot of -'references'- or perhaps borrowings in the Scarlett. I was thinking that too but without the erudition to back it up- though one moment was pure McGregor for example (couples march on and instantly undertake fast acrobatics in rows, rather grim-faced).

There were too many references, diffrent styles all packed in for it to quite settle down into a coherent whole, perhaps.

 

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I saw the same cast at the General Rehearsal on Wednesday and enjoyed most of the evening very much.  I enjoyed Vertiginous which had a great cast.  Loved Tarantella with Hayward and Sambe.  They got a great cheer at the end and seemed quite surprised.  I would love to see that again with those two wonderful dancers.   Strapless I enjoyed a bit more than the first time, but still it doesn't do much for me I'm afraid.

Symphonic Dances made a good ending and as usual Yanowsky was fabulous.  Hay was also very good in the first movement.  My only concern was the lighting, which was a bit dim at times.

 

 

 

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I only saw the rehearsal so far ..... Vertiginous is an incredible piece, there's so much going on it's hard to know where to look ! Tarantella is fun but feels like it really belongs in a gala. I hated Strapless last time and without serious revision I can't watch it again so I sat it out in front of the screen and what struck me was how dreadful the music is ...... 

Symphonic was terrific for the first 10 minutes. The steps fitted the music and the dancers (Sambe & Acri) perfectly. The dancing of Zanowsky with Hay and their relationship  intrigued me and at this stage the costumes & lighting were mesmerising. But then it was as if Scarlett ran out of interesting ideas - the choreography felt largely derivative and the staging monotonous. And what is it with red skirts for men - I've seen so many in the last year.  

 

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I was at the dress rehearsal - here are some photos.

Have to say i really enjoyed the new Scarlett, and the Forsythe was sensational!


34711169376_7bb750528c_z.jpg

The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude: Marianela Nunez, Vadim Muntagirov, Beatriz Stix-Brunell
© Dave Morgan.
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

34619590501_d4f6f171c0_z.jpg

Tarantella: Francesca Hayward, Marcelino Sambe
© Dave Morgan.
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


34619587011_e46f073d3f_z.jpg

Symphonic Dances: Zenaida Yanowsky
© Dave Morgan.
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more...
Set from DanceTabs: RB - mix bill May 2017
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

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3 minutes ago, annamk said:

I only saw the rehearsal so far ..... Vertiginous is an incredible piece, there's so much going on it's hard to know where to look ! Tarantella is fun but feels like it really belongs in a gala. I hated Strapless last time and without serious revision I can't watch it again so I sat it out in front of the screen and what struck me was how dreadful the music is ...... 

Symphonic was terrific for the first 10 minutes. The steps fitted the music and the dancers (Sambe & Acri) perfectly. The dancing of Zanowsky with Hay and their relationship  intrigued me and at this stage the costumes & lighting were mesmerising. But then it was as if Scarlett ran out of interesting ideas - the choreography felt largely derivative and the staging monotonous. And what is it with red skirts for men - I've seen so many in the last year.  

 

 

I agree about the music for Strapless, annamk, and it really seemed to have no connection at all with the action that was going on on stage. Big emphatic sounds right from the start - no light and shade as the 'story' develops - no change in tone when a couple is making love - dramatic flourishes where nothing much is happening on stage - etc. Really odd. Made me wonder if Wheeldon had in fact been hampered by the music and might have produced something better with a more sympathetic score. I felt sorry for the dancers trying to respond to such a situation and still present believable characters.

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Thanks very much, zxDaveM - great photos!

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Good review in The Stage. I'm relieved- I really didn't want the new Scarlett to get slated, nor Strapless to be completely written off. Re Strapless - as I said earlier I enjoyed it. It's not a deep emotional journey, but a sharp, brittle and elegant piece about superficiality in art, people and society...and yet there is a poignant quality that I get...and Osipova is wonderful in it...as are "the men in her life"...in fact when she was dancing with Matthew Ball, I did have a Marguerite moment...😉

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What a wonderful programme to get us all talking! Terrible weather last night, not conducive to wheelchair travel. However for me a great evening, especially as I had a bad day on Wednesday. Thought I would have to miss it. I think I benefited from being at the Insight day on this programme. Loved Vertiginous, slight doubt at start about Lily leaf tutus but soon changed my mind. They worked really well, loved the speed though at moments I was aware of pressure to the wonderful dancers. Such a cast, McCrae really impressed me, no cheeky boy but man with terrific technique and amazing batterie. 

Then Tarantella, exquisite dancing, I felt as if I had been transported to the sunshine of Italy. Personally I don't think Hayward and Sambe could be bettered. Thank you Mr Balanchine, I loved the quirkiness of some of the choreography but the true character of the dance sustained. What a challenge for the dancers who appeared to love every minute.

Sorry, Strapless is not for me. I admired the dancers but did not enjoy the story and choreography. Only emotion I felt was concern about Watsons wardrobe malfunction. He coped well and soon harnessed his flying collar. Just an unmemorable ballet for me.

i really enjoyed Symphonic Dances. Great contrast to Strapless! Dramatic start with amazing red dress, a preparation for the male whirling skirts. How we will miss Yanowski but I would love to see Moreras performance. I do agree there were shades of other choreographers, however the whole gave me enjoyment and that is what it is all about. I am looking forward to seeing more of Reece Clarke what a talented company of young dancers we have, not forgetting our experienced dancers. 

I am looking forward to Liam Scarlett In Conversation this evening.

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If anyone tried to follow the link to see the rest of the photos and it failed, I have made a change to fix that (I hope!!)

 

Can someone try and let me know if it works (I could aways see it from my own computer)

 

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1 minute ago, zxDaveM said:

If anyone tried to follow the link to see the rest of the photos and it failed, I have made a change to fix that (I hope!!)

 

Can someone try and let me know if it works (I could aways see it from my own computer)

 

 

Works for me now, thanks Dave.

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A few quick thoughts about last night. The 10 minutes of Tarantella were perfect, Balanchine genius and stunning dancers, the rest of the programme I'm not so sure! My memories of the Forsythe were not good and it still has no real effect on me, best bit was the opening seeing Steven McRae and Vadim Muntagirov just standing in fifth position together on the stage. Tarantella was heaven, but why a 30 minute interval to dampen enthusiasm?

 

I quite like Strapless but do agree about the music, not very expressive, the ballet appeared a little different and shorter somehow but Edward Watson's role seems less effective than before when it needed to be more, unusually for him he didn't leave any real mark on the ballet, glorious dancing from Natalia Osipova, it all seemed tepid though after Mayerling!

 

Note sure what to make of Symphonic Dances, most memorable piece of choreography was the pdd for Zenaida Yanowsky and Reece Clarke, there was a lot of dancing going on and the lighting and scenic effects were notable, also the use of the whole stage was brilliant, need another chance to see it.

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1 hour ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

Works for me now, thanks Dave.

And for me, Dave - thanks.

 

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5 hours ago, bridiem said:

Thanks very much, zxDaveM - great photos!

 

cheers - it was a fantastic mix bill to photo  :-)

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16 hours ago, Mary said:

Strapless: oh dear- after the energy generated by those two pieces, a 30 minute interval ( why needed this time?) and then that stodgy soporific music..all the energy seemed to seep out of the audtorium. It was my second viewing- no, 3rd- and I was even more bored. There is something really terrbily wrong in that case: how can I be bored watching Osipova Bonelli Watson- and a beautiful glamorous set and costumes too- ?  But the problem remains: why should we care about this woman? and the music I think is dire.

 

 

Yes, I found myself thinking the same at the end - that I didn't actually care about Amelie's downfall and distress, and I think it was because the character was not drawn terribly well, which made it hard to feel much empathy. No reflection on Osipova's performance at all, I just think the story was badly put together.

 

I also found the music pretty "samey" throughout, it made the whole ballet feel very one-dimensional and there didn't appear to be much change in pace throughout. One scene just seemed to merge into the next with nothing to wake one up or wonder what was going to happen next. Personally, I can't see much to salvage here, which is a shame as normally I like Wheeldon's work.

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10 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

 

Yes, I found myself thinking the same at the end - that I didn't actually care about Amelie's downfall and distress, and I think it was because the character was not drawn terribly well, which made it hard to feel much empathy. No reflection on Osipova's performance at all, I just think the story was badly put together.

 

I also found the music pretty "samey" throughout, it made the whole ballet feel very one-dimensional and there didn't appear to be much change in pace throughout. One scene just seemed to merge into the next with nothing to wake one up or wonder what was going to happen next. Personally, I can't see much to salvage here, which is a shame as normally I like Wheeldon's work.

One for the attic, I think!

 

I have not booked for this Bill because Strapless left me completely cold when I saw it first time round.  It was all just a big blur with no highs or lows, a big nothing.  And I couldn't see how adjustments would improve it.  Hope we don't see it again, the central storyline just isn't strong enough nor the characterisations sufficiently developed.

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Okay, I've just looked at my e-ticket for tonight, and found that Symphonic Dances is showing at 45 minutes.  Now, I know from years of experience that the Rachmaninov runs to 35 minutes or thereabouts, so can anyone explain the discrepancy, please?  Also very disappointed to see that, from an alleged running time of 2 hours 30 it is now 2 hours 55.  That's a big difference for anyone needing to catch trains etc., and I'm disappointed that it is such a difference, given that the running times of the pieces should have been known - and that 5 minutes appear to have been lopped off Strapless.

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I am intrigued about the colours of the costumes for The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. I saw the piece in Toulouse in March, where the men were wearing blue. As the Royal Ballet has gone for some berry-like colour, I looked at pictures on the web from other productions and discovered also purple and red for the men's costumes. The shape of the costumes seems the same, just the colour changes completely. The women's costumes, on the other hand, don't seem to come with such a broad colour palette. Did Forsythe provide a range of available colours that companies and/ or those who stage the piece can choose from?  Thanks in advance.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, alison said:

Okay, I've just looked at my e-ticket for tonight, and found that Symphonic Dances is showing at 45 minutes.  Now, I know from years of experience that the Rachmaninov runs to 35 minutes or thereabouts, so can anyone explain the discrepancy, please?  Also very disappointed to see that, from an alleged running time of 2 hours 30 it is now 2 hours 55.  That's a big difference for anyone needing to catch trains etc., and I'm disappointed that it is such a difference, given that the running times of the pieces should have been known - and that 5 minutes appear to have been lopped off Strapless.

 

think they have rounded it to 40mins now; they seem to play it a little slower (especially the first part) than my copy, which is about 36mins. Plus a few mins for curtain calls, and there you have it...

 

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14 minutes ago, Duck said:

I am intrigued about the colours of the costumes for The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. I saw the piece in Toulouse in March, where the men were wearing blue. As the Royal Ballet has gone for some berry-like colour, I looked at pictures on the web from other productions and discovered also purple and red for the men's costumes. The shape of the costumes seems the same, just the colour changes completely. The women's costumes, on the other hand, don't seem to come with such a broad colour palette. Did Forsythe provide a range of available colours that companies and/ or those who stage the piece can choose from?  Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

I don't know about other companies, but the Royal's costumes are the same colours as the original Frankfurt costumes.

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I was also there on opening night and I shall be interested to see how the second casts compare next Wednesday. Or, at any rate, the second casts for Vertiginous Thrill, Tarantella and Symphonic Dances, all of which I am looking forward to seeing again. Not so, Strapless. Having given it the benefit of a second chance on Friday, all that I can say is that it should be put painlessly to be sleep, never to see the light of day again.

 

I tried to work out what the changes were without much success. Was the Matthew Ball role shortened? Was the sex scene between Osipova and Bonelli enlarged? Did I really care? Not in the least and that is the crux of the problem with this work. It is impossible to care one way or the other about any of the characters and I agree with bridiem that this may partly have been due to the turgid and unmemorable score. I certainly found myself wondering whether it might have been more involving with different music, more particularly when listening to the wonderful Rachmaninov during the following piece. As it is, however, and since the Mark-Anthony Turnage piece is part of the package, I really can't see what can be done to breathe life into this soporific work. Please put it (and us) out of its misery as soon as possible!

 

So onto happier themes, notably Tarantella, and I can't sing the praises of the wonderful Frankie Hayward and Marcellino Sambe highly enough! What a joyful, musical and technically accomplished performance from both of them and what fabulous chemistry this pair have.

 

I also enjoyed Vertiginous Thrill. Marianella, Vadim and Steven were everything that we have come to expect but, for all that Akane and Beatriz danced beautifully, I did notice a slight lack of synchronisation in parts. Whilst this was probably down to the last minute substitutions, it did mar what would otherwise have been a stupendous opening, and shouldn't additional rehearsal time have been set aside? I shall be particularly interested in seeing how the second cast perform this piece on Wednesday. Oh, and I really must give a mention here to the orchestra under the baton of the wonderful Koen Kessels.

 

Which leaves Symphonic Dances and, yes, I really enjoyed this piece, although I am not yet sure whether this was a triumph of style over substance. Wednesday's viewing may help me decide. As for last Friday, Zenaida was majestic and utterly compelling and the rest of the cast were also superb. I didn't have a problem with the red and black colour scheme, which I actually found effective, but I did feel that the men's first round of costumes (the ubiquitous shorts-cum-swimming trunk things that seem to proliferate within the RB wardrobe) were less than flattering. I was just thinking to myself that those long, wide Japanese-style trousers/skirts for men would have looked much better when, hey presto, what should appear but long red skirts for the men. I would, by the way, get rid of the unnecessary projections, particularly the billowing red bits, which detracted from the overall aesthetic effect. And, of course, the music was pure nectar, more of the same, please, in future!

 

My daughter brought her boyfriend along, the first ballet(s) that he has attended apart from an accidental run of different performances of Giselle, and it was interesting to note that his impressions were more or less in line with mine, my daughter's and our other friends. He thoroughly enjoyed the first two pieces, was bored to tears by Strapless (my daughter, a total balletomane told me that she found it so tedious she actually fell asleep) and he was absolutely bowled over by Symphonic Dances. He also found the Strapless music unsympathetic and a total turn off. I find that an extended session in the bar beckons for Wednesday night.

 

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What a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening! Thrill highly enjoyable with Sambe and Hay  both on top form. And lovely dancing from Hayward, Mendizabal and Stix-Brunell. Tarantella great fun with a beautifully elegant Alexander Campbell and Megan GH. But the. Came Strapless to spoil the fun. Nothing wrong with the cast; I thought Lauren Cuthbertson  did everything possible to make it work but I think it really should be consigned to the depths, or wherever ballets that don't work go. Symphonic Dances stunning. Loved all of it, apart from rather a lot of it taking place on the right side of the stage and my side stalls circle seat wasn't the best place to see what was happening! Yanowsky, James Hay and Reece Clarke all marvellous, in fact the entire company looked in really top form. I hope this stays in the repertoire. I'm surprised that the music hasn't been used for ballet before- perhaps it has but I haven't come across it before, although I've known the music for years. Would love to see it with Morera!

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27 minutes ago, ninamargaret said:

I'm surprised that the music hasn't been used for ballet before- perhaps it has but I haven't come across it before, although I've known the music for years.

 

It has: for a start, Mauro Bigonzetti did a version for English National Ballet - I'd guess that was back last century.  Didn't it involve several sofas, or something?

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Just a plea for Strapless...if you haven't seen it yet, and don't mind reading reviews before you see, do look at Mackrell's and particularly Jennings' reviews. I really do support what they write. As I said earlier it's a brittle piece about an insignificant episode which paradoxically gains significance by retrospective stealth. Anyway, I'll get back into my box now...

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11 hours ago, alison said:

 

It has: for a start, Mauro Bigonzetti did a version for English National Ballet - I'd guess that was back last century.  Didn't it involve several sofas, or something?

Thanks Alison.  Thought it was too good to languish unused! 

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13 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

 I'm surprised that the music hasn't been used for ballet before- perhaps it has but I haven't come across it before, although I've known the music for years. 

 On the other side side of the pond, it has:  there were a few efforts in the last century (including one by Peter Martins for NYCB), and in this one, about 5 years ago, ballets by Edwaard Liang for San Francisco Ballet and by Alexei Ratmansky for Miami City Ballet.

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