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  1. I’m screwing up my courage to comment here & I hope that my post comes across in the reflective (not critical) way I’m intending it to. I agree with Jan & Sim’s general points. I wanted to say the following in addition to the points about the inherent difficulties with posting online. While there’s always going to be: i) The potential for issues in the way views are expressed in a post on any public forum. ii)Or the potential for those views to inadvertently come across to others in a way the writer never intended. iii) Or the way the views expressed in a post are interpreted by any given reader. My own thoughts on potential ways to help going forward on BcoF, are: 1. In cases where a BcoF post/comment has come across rather badly or ambiguously, I’m wondering whether it might be helpful for forum members to first ask the poster to clarify what they meant / if they intended their post to come across in a particular way. (This obviously doesn’t apply to situations where a post should clearly be reported to BcoF moderators / is determined to be in breach of this forum’s rules.) 2. What I’ve personally found very helpful is that because I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many forum members at the ROH (whether by accident after getting chatting to the person sat/standing next to me, or during a dedicated rendez-vous), I feel I have a better chance of appreciating where the poster is coming from having met & chatted to them in person. So I wonder if it would help if members had the ability to informally meet up if they wished to on a regular basis. I appreciated Sim recently advising on The Winter’s Tale thread that the current general BcoF drop-by meeting point is at the bottom of the escalator. The same could potentially be done for other venues (if it isn’t already). And members always have the option to make their own private arrangements to meet up if they prefer, away from the general drop-by meeting point. Anyway, just some ideas.
  2. I remember seeing Kish in the 2012(?) Swan Lake cinema relay, dancing with Zenaida Yanowsky, plus Gary Avis as Von Rothbart. As I've posted elsewhere, the whole performance blew me away & triggered my love of ballet, so I have a bit of a soft spot for Nehemiah Kish. (Though to borrow Coated's analogy, Kish is not one of my 'chicks'!) So personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Kish dance with Yasmine Naghdi & I hope he's making a full recovery/comeback from his long injury. Though I also have to admit to some disappointment that Yasmine was not partnered with Matthew Ball. I'm booked to see Laura Morera & Nehemiah Kish later in the Giselle run, so the posts above have built up the anticipation - thank you. I've not see either in Giselle before, but I love Laura & I really enjoyed Kish's performance as The Creature in Frankenstein & a friend who saw him in Sylvia was impressed with his performance/acting as Orion. I'm also booked to see Natalia Osipova & David Hallberg's Giselle, plus a few casts in The Winter's Tale, so lots to look forward to over the coming month!
  3. Hugely enjoyed Giselle on the 9th & 10th, with the whole cast giving such lovely performances at both. I agree with those who have praised Fumi Kaneko & Mayara Magri (both as Myrtha & in the pas de six), Elizabeth Harrod, Kristen McNally, William Bracewell, James Hay & Tomas Mock (Hilarion). Francesca Hayward & Alexander Campbell were terrific, as others have said. I especially enjoyed Francesca’s Act I. However, while greatly admiring their artistry, I was never really emotionally caught up in their performance. (My loss, I know!) I’ve previously found this with various of Francesca’s performances, the exception being Fille when she was partnered by Marcelino Sambé. I was very sorry that due to injury, Marcelino wasn’t able to partner Francesca again - this time as Albrecht. I’d love to have seen it & specially booked for that casting. Though Alexander was a wonderful replacement. What can I say about Yasmine Naghdi & Matthew Ball. I’m still floating happily after their amazing performance, which I found deeply moving. Yasmine was incredible & I treasure her partnership with Matthew. It’s great to see him continue developing & I love the way he is able to express so much through the movement/angles of his body – he’s always stood out for me in this respect. Together they made me see various nuances in Giselle slightly differently, compared to other partnerships I’ve seen. For example, near the start of Act II when Giselle mimes crying, I’ve always had the impression that Giselle is saying she’s sad for Albrecht or sad for what’s happened. With Yasmine & Matthew’s performance, it very much came across to me that her Giselle was responding to Matthew/Albrecht’s genuine distress & saying he’s crying for me. Which changed the dynamic, so that instead of Giselle forgiving & protecting Albrecht simply because she’s a lovely person, Yasmine’s Giselle was making the conscious decision to forgive & protect in direct response to seeing Albrecht’s remorse & the effect it’s had on him. That gives Giselle more agency & feels less passive. As Anna C noted in her post, Yasmine & Matthew have such chemistry & incredible synchronicity. At one point in an early Act II duet, although they were dancing separately at the time, due to Yasmine & Matthew's characterisation it seemed to me that as they took off in their separate jumps & landed at exactly the same moment as the other, Albrecht & Giselle’s souls had become entwined in flight. It was profoundly moving. So that at the times when Albrecht is collapsed on the floor & Giselle mimes for him to rise, instead of it coming across to me (as it has previously) that Giselle is encouraging Albrecht to get up, that Yasmine’s Giselle was actually transferring her spirit/essence to Matthew’s Albrecht, to give him the strength to be able to rise & keep going, to survive. I was in tears in both Acts & still feel emotional thinking back to their performance. I too hope to see more of Yasmine & Matthew’s partnership in the future. But I’m also looking forward to seeing their upcoming performances with other partners (Yasmine & Nehemiah Kish / Matthew & Natalia Osipova in Swan Lake, plus Matthew & Lauren Cuthbertson in Marguerite & Armand).
  4. Sorry to hear this, Penelope. I'm on a South Western Railway route & was affected by engineering works on my journey to the ROH for today's matinee too. In my case the replacement bus service for part of my journey added 50 minutes to my normal journey time on the way up & added 30 minutes on the way back. It all went very smoothly, although I could have done without being "entertained" by the chants of travelling football fans so early in the morning! I'm very surprised to read that having arrived at your station at 0700, you were advised a replacement bus service wouldn't get you to Waterloo until so long after you were obviously expecting to arrive there. So I can't help wondering whether somewhere along the line there's been some misunderstanding Might be worth taking up with SWR's customer services. In case it helps for the future, the day before travelling I find it's worth double checking train times online with National Rail Enquiries & on the day I also check live train running online before leaving home, as things can change at short notice for a variety of reasons. I do hope you have better luck with the trains next time! (Thoughts on the Giselle performances to follow...)
  5. (Apologies this turned out to be a rather long post – do skip if you wish! ) The Illustrated 'Farewell' Hmmm. Undecided on this & I think a second viewing is necessary for me to properly appreciate Sarah & Steven’s dancing, as well as that of the other dancers involved. I’ve also not yet watched the online Insight event, which I hope to do before I see this triple bill again later in the run. It may help develop my appreciation of the work as my first impressions were very mixed. Starting with the down side: I too had several ‘shopping list’ moments during the performance. I very much agree with an audience member who said that the costumes felt wrong with the choice of music. With no scenery or backdrop being used, I was very conscious of the enormous size of the ROH stage. From the amphi, I was looking down on a vast expanse of grey, bare stage with only two dancers to occupy it for much of the time. The costumes were uninteresting (to me) & in shades of brown, so from my seat up in the amphi, their overall effect was to create about as much visual interest as looking down on a muddy puddle on a grey pavement under a streetlight. These factors really jarred & created a barrier to my proper enjoyment/appreciation of the actual dancers & choreography. I suspect the work would be better when viewed from the Grand Tier or Stalls. On the plus side: I enjoyed spotting the choreographic references to different dance styles. Loved the music. The visual effect created by the split level stage near the end, really worked for me. It also elevated the dance into something that finally touched me. The Wind After the World Ballet Day rehearsal, I was really looking forward to The Wind. I don’t know the silent film or book this is based upon, but did read the programme notes beforehand which explained about ‘prairie madness’ & where Arthur Pita was coming from with this work. When Pita is quoted as saying he’d seen the film around 14 years ago & it had sparked the idea for this work, I was rather reminded of Liam Scarlett saying something similar about Frankenstein. Both created works on source material that they seem to have deeply connected with & ruminated upon for a very long time, with the pieces they created having a great deal of potential, but which for me haven’t quite got there narratively. I would have liked The Wind to have been longer & to have had more time to really develop the characters & tell more of the story through dance. It felt very compressed & shorthand; it helped that I’d read the programme notes. All the dancers gave such committed performances. Despite the limitations he was working with, Thiago Soares managed to create a bit more of a dimensional character, especially with his ineptitude once alone with his bride on their wedding day. I was also impressed with Natalia Osipova’s performance, in the same way that I have been with her interpretations in Giselle, Anastasia & Mayerling. She really got across to me a sense of the psychological arc of Letty Mason, from the culture shock when she arrives in the town, the grinding torment of the environment & the wind, to the point at which something changes psychologically for her following her encounter with Wirt Roddy. I felt her sense of empowerment as she challenged Roddy afterwards & used the wind itself to help her achieve this shift. Ed Watson gave a lovely performance as a ghost warrior. I found myself wondering what Ryoichi Hirano would make of this role too; based on past performances I’ve seen, he can create a powerfully strong stage persona too. I appreciated much about the staging. The costumes, music & sound create a terrific atmosphere, evoking the 1880s & that bleak, Texan prairie. However, I thought the set design could have done more to get across that sense of endless landscape. I would also have liked the lighting to have reflected the psychological elements better – it felt too light & bright at times for the subject matter. I liked the wind turbines having a physical presence on stage, so the wind became such a tangible character too. Especially during the interior scenes, when the turbines are crowded around menacingly close outside & the character Letty cannot escape the physical & psychological torment of the wind outside, even though she is indoors. At other times, perhaps the wind turbines could have retired into the wings at strategic points. The downside of all this wind generation was the sight of the dancers obviously adjusting their costumes to cope with the breeze, particularly the wedding veil. I found myself wondering whether the dancer playing Letty would end up with a headache due to the constant tugging from the long, streaming veil attached to her hair. I’m looking forward to seeing the second cast & also the Insights event being live-streamed this evening. Untouchable Overall, I enjoyed seeing this again, but it’s still slightly too long & I missed dancers who were in it first time around but not the revival. I thought the sound quality seemed better last night than during the first run, with more menacing drums. Though I preferred the original, subtler ‘Nigel Farage’ chant where you wondered whether they were really saying that! I’m not sure how keen I’ll be to stay & see this again on my next visit to the ROH for this triple bill.
  6. Similar story at my local Odeon. Around three years ago, they were charging £15 for standard seats at ROH live opera & ballet screenings. Now they charge £20 for a standard seat. (This price rise of £5 also applies to Bolshoi & National Theatre Live screenings.) However, I know Odeon cinemas elsewhere currently charge £16.50 for the exact same ROH screening & £15 for NT Live. When I queried this with Odeon, I was advised prices may vary from area to area & the price increase at my local cinema was due to Odeon operating "dynamic pricing". I understand this to mean that each cinema adjusts ROH screening ticket prices according to demand & the perceived ability/willingness of their customers to pay. Personally, I've pretty much stopped going to these screenings at my local Odeon. I find the feeling that I'm being fleeced is a bit of a buzz-kill.
  7. I'm interested please, if ticket still available. Will send you a DM.
  8. Before this run, I’d only seen the RB’s Sleeping Beauty once - via the cinema relay in 2014. With all the debuts as well, I decided to treat myself to quite a few visits. My first SB visit this run was in early January with Sarah Lamb & Vadim Muntagirov. In common with others, I can find Sarah cold in certain roles, but not as Aurora – she was absolutely radiant. Despite this & some lovely performances from Vadim, Yasmine Naghdi, Francesca Hayward & others too, I was conscious of feeling bored from early in the Prologue & the feeling never really left me. Which has hardly happened to me before with the RB! I thought possibly it was a combination of the dancers being understandably tired after the long, demanding Christmas period; the flaws within the SB production itself & that perhaps SB just wasn’t for me. So I was rather wary of my next visit for the SB matinee & evening performances on 18th February. But what a difference! I was in the SCS again, yet experienced completely opposite feelings & certainly wasn’t bored. The debut of Yasmine & Matthew was astounding. During the Rose Adage, to my complete astonishment, I found tears pouring down my cheeks - it was just so inexplicably moving, pure & stunningly beautiful. I’m relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one who reacted in this way. I also saw their fabulous performance the following Saturday & thought Matthew brought even more depth to the character of Prince Florimund. I can add nothing more to what has already been said so well by other posters, about the quality of their dancing. I just hope to see much more of their partnership. I was also at the first performance of Natalia Osipova & Ryoichi Hirano. I like dancers to have the freedom (within reason) to make roles their own & bring their own interpretation to it, in the same way that actors do. I agree that Natalia’s interpretation of Aurora on that night will have divided opinion. The person stood next to me was in raptures after Act I & had clearly enjoyed it hugely. Sadly, Natalia’s Act I Aurora on the 25th Feb didn’t work for me. I felt rather bewildered, as I was very much reminded of her Odile, especially with the backward head tosses which came across to me as more triumphalism than youthfully joyous. In Act II, Natalia’s Aurora was wonderfully other-worldly during the Vision Scene – one of the best I’ve seen so far to convey that sense. I also really enjoyed her interpretation of the awakening scene, registering a little more confusion & shock than others. But especially her look once she’d had a chance to take in Prince Florimund, which said, “Well, Hello!” & gave more a sense of mutual attraction & love to the fairytale ending. On balance, though, my feeling about the overall performance is along the lines of Bridiem's in post #434 above. Ryoichi was a great partner & conveyed such joy at meeting the girl of his dreams in Aurora. Though as Bridiem says, it’ll be an interesting marriage! As this is turning into quite a long post, I’d better conclude. Lauren Cuthbertson & Reece Clarke were delightful. I greatly enjoyed his debut & look forward to seeing his talent develop. Others who have particularly caught my eye include Anna Rose O’Sullivan – such a fun, vivid presence on stage. Alex Campbell & Marcelino Sambe. Gina Storm-Jensen as a terrific Lilac Fairy, really projecting such benevolence & gentle authority out into the audience. Camille Bracher & Kevin Emerton made me laugh-out-loud as Puss-in-Boots & The White Cat. Nicol Edmonds as The French Prince looked amazingly like an old masters painting come to life, I thought. Incidentally, does anyone else hear the triangle at the start of one of Florestan’s sisters’ solos & half expect Alain from La Fille mal Gardee to appear as a guest at the wedding, wiggling his bottom? All the Carabosse’s I’ve seen have been deliciously evil. In fact, from my initial negative feelings during this run, I’m now quite a convert to the RB’s SB despite its flaws & on the whole have really enjoyed the February performances. Though I can certainly see what people mean about SB being a test of the entire company.
  9. The Random Thread

    [quote name="bridiem" post="181326" timestamp="1470905191" I am very appreciative of both 'reviews' and shorter posts on this forum. Me too. I really enjoy reading what members have to say on all sorts of topics on this forum. I like that there are a mixture of writing styles & outlooks, with freedom to express your views / thoughts / opinions (within forum rules!) as a brief or longer post, in a review style or otherwise. I can see why there are calls for threads to stick to the topic, such as the Bolshoi Swan Lake thread. Personally, generally speaking, I don't mind a few digressions, especially towards the end of a run when so much has already been said. Thinking back over the time I've been reading threads here, it's often felt as though digressions are playing a part in building a sense of community among us. So I like this random thread idea too
  10. Just wondering about ticket prices & out of genuine interest. From various things I've read, my impression is that the higher ticket prices for opera / ballet tend to reflect the true costs of running an opera house such as the ROH (complete with opera chorus & ballet companies, plus orchestra) & the considerable costs involved in staging productions. With Arts Council funding, sponsorship, donations / other fundraising enabling the number of more affordable ticket prices? That is an interesting question. Over recent years, some performances have sent me rushing to this forum to share my excitement & enjoyment, or to read other poster's thoughts. Other performances have been the type that really make me think, so I wouldn't want to write a review or post straight away - I need time to assemble my thoughts. I may gain a greater understanding or appreciation after a period of reflection, from acquiring further information, or considering other viewpoints. Though I think my emotional response at the time of the actual performance remains unchanged. Which links back to an earlier discussion point on a thread (can't remember which). I'm also finding that Smirnova's Odette / Odile stays in the memory. Though I think it helped that I'd seen two Bolshoi Swan Lakes on the Saturday & had formulated my opinion of the ballet itself before Monday evening. So I was able to focus on the dancers & their interpretation / performance & appreciate at the time just how good Smirnova & Lantratov were on Monday night. There are so many variables which can affect how a performance is viewed both during & after. But I'm finding that as I see more ballet, opera & theatre, I am aware of how my thoughts & critical appreciation (if that's the right word) are evolving.
  11. I was going to ask how Maillot's ballet adaptation addressed the more problematic elements of the play, but the four star reviews in The Guardian, Telegraph & Evening Standard have answered my question. This sounds like a Taming of the Shrew I'd enjoy seeing, also going by the enthusiastic & evocative reviews posted here (As there are a number ways to interpret this play, I'm very wary after seeing a production which got the balance completely wrong & came across as more of an endorsement of misogynistic & abusive behaviour ). If the Bolshoi do bring Maillot's Shrew back on their next tour, I'll be booking a seat...
  12. Enjoy! I didn't book for Shrew so hope to hear what people thought of the ballet / performances.
  13. Interesting you saw the lighting anomaly too, I had wondered if it was just me! My forum member radar obviously wasn't working very well, as I had no idea a member was sat nearby. It's been lovely to come across various members when I'm at the ROH (quite a few in the past couple of months by chance, but only two via the blue badges) so if you could recognise me again, do say hello if you spot me! Seconded about Muntagirov There were also various elements, such as Lantratov's tenderness & gentleness as Prince Siegfried towards his Odette, plus the way they gazed at each other, which reminded me of the fabulous recent performance of Giselle with Muntagirov & Nunez. I'm actually hoping to get an inexpensive return for Le Corsaire on 11th August, so I can enjoy Lantratov's dancing again. It'll help make the wait until I see Muntagirov dancing in Fille seem shorter too
  14. Well, I had intended to only see one performance on this Bolshoi tour - Don Q on opening night. But as I left feeling underwhelmed by that & thinking that I just wasn’t ‘getting’ the Bolshoi yet (in both senses), I found myself booked in for three Swan Lakes as well thanks to some returns. While it’s been wonderful to experience The Bolshoi live, which I’ve never done before (far better than at the few live cinema relays I’ve seen), I’ve been somewhat relieved to read about other people’s reactions. As I had been wondering whether it was just me that tended to find Bolshoi Ballet performances on the cold side. The matinee on 30th July with Nikulina / Skvortsov certainly fell into this category for me. To date, when watching a narrative ballet, I have never had the disconcerting sensation I did at certain times during this matinee, of watching a ballet being deconstructed into a series of performed steps. Normally, unless it’s a spectacular or showy series of moves, I don’t see the steps in isolation as the dancer uses their whole body to tell the story, show their character & convey emotion. But on the plus side, it did enable me to appreciate the building blocks of the choreography. Sadly, I didn’t feel this partnership had chemistry or engaged me emotionally at all, despite viewing from a good SCS place. I did wonder whether Skvortsov was perhaps having an ‘off’ day, as I’d previously enjoyed his performances in cinema relays. The evening of the 30th July with Krysanova / Chudin, I found much more enjoyable. They’re both terrific dancers too but I had more sense of character (especially Odette / Odile) & cared more about their fate, but frustratingly I still didn’t connect in the way I often do with the RB. This time I was sat in the front row of the Stalls Circle, very close to the stage & was able to pick up a lot of detail. The ensemble were all good & I particularly enjoyed Tsvirko’s portrayal of The Evil Genius. He is the only person I’ve seen dance this role who hasn’t made me want to substitute in Gary Avis. He had that same capacity to convey the sense that they aren’t just waving their arms about, but connecting to & physically moving energy (like you see in correctly demonstrated Tai Chi), so you can believe in Von Rothbart’s / Evil Genius’ magical powers. Monday’s performance with Smirnova / Lantratov was different again & this time, I felt really engaged: Hurrah! I was sat in the front row of the Stalls Circle again, very close to the stage & agree with Coated’s comments about this pairing. They brought lovely detail which made me believe Odette & Siegfried loved each other. Other things I think may have made the difference for me is that Lantratov appeared very relaxed much of the time (except during some partnering spins), to be enjoying dancing & especially being comfortable acting, giving Prince Siegfried more range & development of character within the limitations of the ballet. Smirnova also gave me somewhat of that impression, especially in her portrayal of the sultry Odile. Which was quite a surprising contrast to how her Kitri came across to me on opening night. Maybe she could relax more on Monday, with far less pressure on her (btw, I agree with others that her insouciant tambourine shake during a one-handed lift in Don Q was fab ). I felt she was really trying to bring out the multiple layers in her interactions with other characters as Odile. I loved her Odette, which when she first appeared had the strongest sense of a wild swan I’ve seen – I got quite a jolt by the evocation. I see a lot of swans on the rivers where I live & she really conveyed the essence of their movement. Some other general thoughts: I must say thank you to the poster on the Don Q thread who remarked that to a certain extent, Lantratov’s dancing style was similar to the RB’s Muntagirov. I booked on that basis & wasn’t disappointed! I found the lighting in Act II had a strange red tinge, so that when the dancers moved at speed, the edges of their white costumes appeared to trail a red, phosphorent glow. Reading comments about the Bolshoi’s habit of stopping for quite prolonged applause, I wonder if they do it because that’s what’s expected of them when performing in their home theatre? I did get the sense that Smirnova & Lantratov consciously did less of this on Monday night. Unless I’ve grown inured! I really admired all the corps swans. Though I was sorry to only see them from various angles in the stalls circle; I would have liked a full overview of the stage from the amphi to appreciate the patterns fully. By the third Swan Lake, I’d just about got the hang of which was which national dance. So my suggestion for improvements to the national dances, purely for the benefit of anyone like me, is during the initial introductions, for them to walk on carrying banners with the name of the country they’re representing, as they do in the Olympics! The Fool could be a much more interesting, more complex role in this more psychological Swan Lake, rather than a potential irritant, however beautifully danced. I felt Lopatin’s delivery / interpretation on Monday evening was more subtle than of those I saw dance the role on Saturday. From the way Lopatin‘s Fool interacted with Prince Siegfried, I thought there was more of a medieval / Shakespearean interpretation of a Fool – one who is licensed to speak unpalatable truths to power, rather than just a comically capering jester. But I’m not sure how well that would have come across if you were sat too far away to see the facial expressions & nuanced hand gestures clearly. Personally, in a narrative ballet, I am far more concerned about whether or not the lead dancers & other key characters can act / convey a character, than I am about how sensationally technically skilled they are, or about whether they make a few minor errors. I agree with others that this production of Swan Lake isn’t one of the best around & doesn’t adequately explore / portray the potential of the psychological storyline dimension, but with the right cast, I would happily see the Bolshoi dance this again when they next visit. [Edited: Missed a sentence out]
  15. Audience Behaviour

    I've noticed that taking photos at curtain calls seems fairly common at the ROH. As I wanted to take some myself, I recently asked an ROH Front of House Manager whether or not it was OK to take photographs then. They told me that while photography was strictly forbidden during the performance, the ROH accepts curtain call photography. Perhaps they found the ban was just impossible to enforce at the curtain calls!