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  1. Finally had to chance to watch the Nunez/Osipova/Muntagirov Bayadere in cinema this week. It was a thrilling show and I'm so envious of everyone who got to see it live. The Nunez-Osipova face off lived up to its billing. Nunez has a stately, cerebral dignity as Nikiya with her usual strong, steely technique. There was a certain defiance in the Shades scene which contrasted with her lyricism in the first act. The Act I solo was masterful: her control rolling on and off pointe, the extended arabesques, and the phrasing showed all of her experience performing the ballet. Dramatically her Nikiya didn't develop to the extent of an Asylmuratova or Vishneva--my gold standards in the role--but an absolutely fine performance. She makes steps you've seen hundreds of times appear fresh and alive; how she extended back into attitude after the supported pirouettes in Shades was a particular highlight. Osipova has less purity technically than Nunez: there were instances of slack knees, insufficient turn out, and sloppy port de bras in the exposed betrothal scene. But as Gamzatti she is convincing and captivating in every moment. Small details in the choreography somehow stick in your memory when Osipova performs them. As an example, before Nikiya's entrance in the fight scene when Gamzatti is distraught and glances at her bracelet, Osipova's reading was so clear you could hear her say, "I've got this under control." Gamzatti is perhaps the most fully realized character in the ballet....much like Amneris in Aida, she is a spoiled princess who has everything one could ever want except love. Osipova brought the character to life as much as I've seen in recent years with the possible exception of Alexandrova. Muntagirov's Solor was subtle in characterization and was as its best in Shades. The partnering of both ballerinas was fauthless and the Act I solo was quality in every respect: superior cabrioles, a la seconde turns, and a double tour-double finish for good measure. He captured Solor's dilemma well in Act I but seemed slightly muted against the two ballerinas. Fortunately the hypnotic Kingdom of Shades was just what he needed, where in his dream the torment of losing Nikiya was palpable. Technically I've rarely seen a danseur who can pull out all the stops with bravura but has such elegance of line and quiet, soft landings. In the coda he included eight double assembles instead of the usual six. Makarova's production has its longueurs and is less demanding technically than Nureyev's (about the only Nureyev production I find watchable), and I have very mixed feelings about the third Act. On one hand it provides closure to the story but Shades is impossible to top. Nonetheless, with such a strong trio of principals, the third Act made sense and was welcome in this performance. And what can be said about Kingdom of Shades? Simply one of the most beautiful scenes ever choreographed, and the RB women did it justice. The treacherous opening arabesques and developpe a la seconde hold were negotiated with few serious wobbles. The 24 women had this serenity, breathing as one. The three soloists-Yuhui Choe, Yasmine Naghdi, and Akane Takada--were all very fine with Naghdi standing out for her adagio control and textbook fifth positions. I know she danced Gamzatti elsewhere in the run but I would love to see her Nikiya.
  2. Yanowsky, Nunez, Galeazzi, and Lamb all danced Rose Fairy as principals. The Rose equivalent in Balanchine's production (Dewdrop) is also frequently danced by principals at NYCB.
  3. Loving these reviews: I can't wait to see the Nunez-Osipova face off in cinema. Sad for Cesar's injury (did he only dance one show?) but a unique opportunity for audiences to see the two ballerinas switching roles opposite Vadim's Solor.
  4. It's also possible Matthew was covering the role, so he would've been shadowing rehearsals and actively learning the choreography if management didn't feel Watson's return was likely. In major American companies it is almost compulsory to have covers for major roles even when there are multiple casts. Not sure if that is the case at RB but I would be shocked if it weren't. Still nothing to diminish his accomplishment: it's clear he had two weeks in earnest to prepare Rudolf which is a very short window. But I imagine he came in with some understanding of how he wanted to portray the role as well as its physical and technical demands, before he was officially cast to perform it.
  5. Was Matthew Ball originally slated to perform Rudolf, or is he just adding shows because of Watson's injury?
  6. Can't comment as I haven't seen Two Pigeons, but good to see she is debuting that. Maybe bravura technique isn't her strong suit, which wouldn't make her an ideal Odile, Kitri, or Gamzatti? But even then, she has proven quite adept at MacMillan and I would've hoped for a Vetsera debut at the very least.
  7. Hmmm, disappointed Francesca Hayward and Beatriz Stix-Brunell were not cast as Kitri. Especially Hayward who as a principal is not debuting any major role in full-lengths next season. Has Cuthbertson danced Don Q before? Beautiful dancer but I can't picture her as Kitri at all. I had a similar thought about Lamb when I saw her in the 2015 D.C. tour: great dancer, wrong role. But I see Lamb is not dancing Don Q in this run.
  8. The MET stage is massive and can easily fit 32 shades, but perhaps the smaller touring venues ABT frequents couldn't? But Mariinsky was able to use 32 shades when they toured to the Kennedy Center, which is a very cramped stage. So I think Makarova, in trying to get the notoriously ragged ABT corps together, decided 24 shades was the best way of accomplishing that. Obviously not a wish for 2018/2019 since the season is set, but in the future I would love for RB to stage a full-length Raymonda.
  9. From the credits, the two ballerinas are Sandra Conley and Rosalyn Whitten. Wasn't impressed with Coleman but enjoyed the two ladies. Sandra's entrechat six (the beated jumps in the sequence beginning at 2:35) are on par with the men. The only ballerina I saw attempt a six in the current run was Mayara Magri, and I think Sandra's are better. ETA: Bridiem, this performance was in 1982.
  10. Nunez danced SPF (replacing Bussell) and Swanhila under Dowell, but not Myrtha or Lilac. She debuted Myrtha under Stretton, May or June 2002, and Lilac under Mason when the Makarova production premiered in March 2003. She also debuted Aurora during that run, which I saw. I recall quite liking the Makarova Sleeping Beauty and wishing it hadn't been shelved so quickly. Also, yes, the Nureyev Bayadere is a better (and far more difficult) version than Makarova's, but it's the only full-length of his I find watchable.
  11. That's what I suspected Richard; thanks for checking. I posted that shortly after watching Houston Ballet's Swan Lake which does include it, and this music was also used for the Ashton pas de quatre.
  12. Yes. The Royal Opera House mentioned on its Facebook page that Osipova substituted the fouettes because of injury.
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