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northstar

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  1. Cheers Janet, I didn't do much wandering around on Thu as I was feeling a bit under the weather, and on Sat I was with friends and a small child that kept me occupied! Will no doubt bump into you again shortly. Alas, not at the BRB Lowry Autumn visit... Sob ... Maybe the next time will be Birmingham, I'm looking at the calendar now...
  2. Thank you all for your thoughts on BRB's Beauty and the Beast so far on this tour. I also saw a couple of performances at the Lowry, Salford; Thurs eve with Karla Doorbar and Mathias Dingman leading, and Sat Matinee with Maureya Lebowitz and Yasuo Atsuji leading. As Janet has mentioned this production sold very well, in fact it feels to me it's probably the largest audiences I've ever seen for BRB at the Lowry. Normally I am used to having quite a large choice of seats even when booking a week or days in advance. This time, only rear upper circle was available. But I'm not complaining, it's fantastic to see it so well attended. So much to admire in this ballet, and two performances not enough to appreciate all the wonderful scenes. It captured the dark gothic charm of an age-old children's tale, with a wonderful sense of the grotesque in the humourous scenes. I felt there were strong echoes of the styling and mood of Bintley's Cinderella. I had worried about the inescapable 'Disney' association - but, as the clips and promotion material indicate, it couldn't be further away in tone. The parts which stand out to me most are the enchanting castle scenes, the crow flight (to a Philip Glass-esuqe theme), the pure classical lines of Belle , the golden sunlit final pas de deux. I suppose I'd call it firmly 'neo-classical' , with narrative and lyricism at the forefront, rather than virtuosic technical showpieces, although the Beast and the Raven do demonstrate some spectacular dancing within ensemble or partnering scenes (some incredible fast sequences of turns and leaps as I remember). Thus, I feel it's true to say it's not a ballet that 'brings the house down', and on both of the performances I saw, a feature was the absence of the usual rounds of applause that I would expect after the big 'numbers' of a classical ballet, or even neoclassical ballets like Romeo and Juliet. And the hypnotic score, while lending much to the dreamlike, mystical atmosphere, I felt created to a rather muted, quiet atmosphere in the theatre, rather than electricity. I feel my seat up at the top of the theatre was slightly disadvantageous for the sometimes dark lighting and dark costumes of the Beast, and the crows, and made it difficult to fully appreciate some of the ensemble pieces. On the other hand, this created a wonderfully effective contrast with the shining white presence of Belle. While I'd recommend this ballet to anyone, I'd probably not travel to see it again but if it toured again near my home I would certainly go again, and book well in advance for a seat nearer the stage. Finally just mention another highlight was seeing Karla Doorbar in a lead role and admiring her poise and technique which make eager to see more of her, she looks to me to have all the elements of a top rank dancer - very convincing. And so glad for another opportunity to see the luminous Lebowitz who I've admired for many years, it's been a privilege to watch this stunning dancer in a variety of roles. I see the poster was up in the Lowry for BRB Swan Lake in March 2020, confirming that there will be no Autumn visit. This is awfully disappointing to me, I've attended Autumn and Spring for several years now. Fortunately Birmingham is close enough that I can potentially travel there too as a substitute.
  3. Thank you Odyssey for your lovely and thorough review of this evening, Bintley's final event of this kind. I was also there and really enjoyed it. Odyssey's review is so good there is little to add to it. I found it very interesting to hear Bintley's thoughts on the years gone by and the different productions he was involved in. How he didn't initially want to do Cinderella and found BBC filming of it added extra stress, and that it nearly fell through financially but for a legacy which rescued it. That he refused Sir Peter Wright's request that he produce a new Coppelia, in favour of Sylvia. How he met his dancer wife in a rehearsal room while listening to the music of Carmina Burana. I agree about the special set of highlights in the second half. Apart from the stunning showstopper of the Sylvia pdd, I really loved the Tsfasmania premiere, it was so sharp and lively and exquisite. Take Five was a bit of a revelation to me, I found it completely convincing. Being rather curmudgeonly - I am not sure of the staging in this event with the small stage space for dancing, I think it does cramp the dancers' style a bit. And generally I am not a great fan of ballet 'galas'. But as an overview of Bintley's work, and a farewell to him. the evening was such a unique opportunity that I admit these quibbles are probably churlish. Despite the rather unusual staging for ballet, the discoveries and moments in the evening are so high quality and revelatory that it's a really great event to attend. I thought this last year too (the only other time I've been), and if there were future events like this I would probably attend again. Really nice to meet you George C at the interval and hear your thoughts about the future of the company. Like many others here on the forum, we value BRB so much that it's hard not to be worried about future changes in direction. And inevitably very sad about saying goodbye to Bintley. But we must wait and see. Edited to mention that I've just found out the final ovation and Marion Tait's tribute was recorded and can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/317672039
  4. Went to this event last year and thought it was superb. Just booked my ticket and will be heading to Birmingham tomorrow afternoon. I have messaged those who've posted above, on the chance that anyone would like to say hello, and the same goes for anyone else reading who will be there. Should be a great evening.
  5. I wish I was attending Sabine0308. My first taste of Staatsballet, in December, where we missed each other, was so impressive I would love to see more of their performances. Unfortunately I am only a infrequent visitor to Berlin. There may very well be other ballet forum members attending though.
  6. Thanks JohnS yes of course - I just didn't mention it because I was taking for granted everyone on the forum knew about it. I keep meaning to re-watch it before it vanishes from iPlayer. I wonder when the last time a full length Swan Lake (not Bourne!) was broadcast on BBC?
  7. The acid humour on this thread is like a guilty pleasure! Sorry to be dull but to balance the argument - when the male ballet dancer didn't 'get through' all the judges including Cheryl expressed their strong disagreement with the audience. However, I do agree there was something quite cheap/superficial/crass about the programme (worse than other recent TV talent shows) Also when reading this thread I'll have to be dull again and argue the other side that, like JohnS says above, there are good programmes being made. I thought Tamara Rojo docs (Good Swan, Bad Swan and Giselle: Belle of the Ballet) weren't bad, and Darcey Bussell 'Ballet Heroes' was OK too (gave at least a bit of insight into the Bournonville style for example). There was a doc on Sir Peter Wright at 90 in 2016. Wasn't too keen on the Francesca Hayward's Sugar Plum Fairy documentary (Dancing the Nutcracker). I do admit the documentaries can be a bit 'formulaic' and dumbed-down - with the wearingly modern dull BBC production values applied - superficial visuals, sensationalist or sentimental tone, and 'travelogue' style (I thought Rojo and Bussell and Hayward did rise a bit above that though.) Naively I still thought there was a full length ballet on BBC every xmas but after digging around perhaps I am wrong, could only find BRB cinderella 2010 and RB Winter's Tale 2014. Apart from that, it is either Matthew Bourne or a ballet documentary. (But there was Scottish Ballet's Fairy's Kiss on BBC Arts - maybe it wasn't broadcast, internet only?) And that does lead to the other point, the inevitable effect of the internet. YouTube (and other) channels now provide much access to absolutely wonderful ballet video footage and documentaries, including the Royal Ballet's own channel - than the BBC probably ever did in it's entire history - correct me if I'm wrong! I would agree that the BBC should not simply then 'give up' on it's duty, but let's not give up hope just yet, there's still some good ballet programmes to be found on the BBC (I liked the Dancing to Happiness programme too).
  8. Just further to my post on the RSBS Swan Lake, (and while I remember) the main divertissement I'd not seen before (or seen so long ago I've forgotten I saw it) was the Russian Bride solo in the 'black act'. The last ~ 10 years Swan Lakes I have seen have been English National Ballets or Birmingham Royal Ballet and don't have this divertissement . Also while I remember must praise the RSB Orchestra, in the small Buxton Opera House you could hear the individual string and woodwind solos accompanying the dancers really clearly and beautifully.
  9. Thanks Jane S and those above on this discussion of Fille music! The relation between the Fille music from Herold, Hertel and Lanchberry can all be found on google, youtube, wikipedia, but much more fun to discuss it, and be educated, here on this forum!
  10. I also attended the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia performance of Swan Lake at Buxton Opera House on today (Sat) matinee. Anna Fedosova was Odile/Odette and Daniil Kostylev was Siegfried. I really enjoyed it. Not much time to add much detail but it was a punchy, entertaining, well-danced Swan Lake with some beautiful moments. I have just seen the exquisite English National Ballet version and it must be said that when placed next to that, this production/performance seemed - to but it bluntly - unsubtle, gauche, melodramatic. But I love a bit of melodrama! And the sense of a company really 'delivering' a show without too much artistic angst. Sorry I realise that sounds like damning with faint praise, or make it sound like I'm describing a panto, but I had a great time at this Swan Lake and left Buxton smiling. To add more detail: some great dancing and new variations/divertissments/music I'd never seen/heard before. LOVED the Spanish dance with the continual exaggerated backbends. A stunning set of black swans in the final act. All the swans including Odette doing the entrechats at the climax of Act II. Fedosova's fantastic fast fouettes (all 32 if you're interested, I don't count but she finished when the music finished). Loads of treats, I'll maybe post more of what I remember and look forward to hearing what other people think of it.
  11. Thank you toursenlair and jmhopton for the info. Apologies I was posting rather lazily 'on the go' without adding too much detail The programme I bought does indeed indicate that Lanchbery, (conductor of the Royal Opera House) was commissioned by Ashton to supply music for his version of Fille. For this verision of Fille by Russian State Ballet of Siberia, the programme contains a whole page on Hertel, and says that he was colleague of Paul Taglioni who created a new version of Fille in 1864 in Berlin. And says 'Hertel must be credited with composing the only truly orignal score [for Fille]'. And the cast sheet says 'Music by Peter Ludwig Hertel'. Apologies for those of you who already know this by heart. Nonetheless, I am sure I heard on a couple of occasions, snippets of the undeveloped famous clog dance theme in this Hertel version I saw on Friday - maybe I was imagining things! If anyone else goes to see it (Rob S in Swindon?) let me know if I am! Although the music to me seeemed similar in mood (joyous, sunny, dance-y) to the Ashton/Herold/Lanchberry score I heard a couple of months ago, I found it still markedly different in many other ways.
  12. Yes to me the music seemed v different to the Ashton version and indeed my programme says this version is based mainly around Hertel's music rather than Herold. I could hear the clog motif occasionally but during the actual clog dance the music was not the most famous tune we are familiar with.
  13. Actually in the performance I saw there was a brief ribbon section between Lise and Colas including some 'cat's cradle' (but much less intricate than the BRB/Ashton) - and actually I tell a lie - there was a sort of ribbon promenade, but it was Colas who was promenaded by Lise! Alison was the thread you mention this one? Also a thread from their most recent previous tour with lots of discussion and info, including link to detailed review of this production of Fille on dancetabs.com by Jann Parry. Good old balletco forum, lots of different impressions and thoughts and info in these threads, great stuff!
  14. The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia are performing a collection of works across the UK at the moment including La Fille Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, Snow Maiden. I went to see La Fille Mal Gardee at Buxton Opera House tonight and was very satisfied and enjoyed the performance very much. Lise, Colas, and Widow Simone were Elena Svinko, Marcello Pelizzoni, and Pavel Kirchev. It was almost incomparable to the Birmingham Royal Ballet production (Ashton) I saw (for the first time) a couple of months ago at the Lowry Salford. No famous clog dance music, no ribbon promenade, no maypole. However it was full of great top quality dancing and wonderfully played music and had it's own set of highlights. The Widow Simone was extremely good, having more solo work than the the BRB version, Colas and Lise had more 'showy' pas de deux and solo work particularly in Act II and performed them with aplomb. The Esmeralda solo with tambourine is inserted into Lisa's solos in Act I. Then Act II ramped up the effects and bravura from the leads and the corps (coupe jetes, fouettes etc) so the stage and theatre fairly buzzed with lively, joyous, action. Some very nice umbrella work from the corps in the thunderstorm scene. My first trip to Buxton and being in the upper circle I could not see the strange rake of the stage that has been mentioned on this forum. I did think the stage small and saw one of the corps rather flinch and duck when Colas was doing his grand manege, and Lise almost fell into the orchestra pit at the end of a diagonal in one of her solos! Really have to compliment the orchestra they were terrific and got my feet tapping to the spirited music - something I hardly ever do. Yes overall it's not the quite at the level of the major UK companies, but I'd highly recommend this company based on this performance.
  15. I'm so grateful to Balletco forum. The breadth and depth of experience and knowledge about this art form here often surpasses that in the major UK media organisations. Since discovering the forum, I would not rely on crtics' reviews in those outlets to learn about current and past ballet performances - I trust the information here more, and it's often better quality IMHO. It's wonderful that the mods give so much time to maintaining the forum - I do find it mind boggling the detailed daily links that are provided. I am happy to help in any way to keep this forum thriving. On New Year's day, I am raising a glass to all who contribute. Cheers!
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