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  1. Good to hear. I will be interested to see him when I go next week. I just have visions of performances by other companies where older character roles are taken by conspicuously young looking dancers. Also, I saw Yudes do Loschek a number of times and always thought it was a waste of such a talented dancer.
  2. I thoroughly enjoyed Naghdi’s performance and thought her characterisation in act 1 was good. I really felt sorry for Campbell (who was superb all round) having to put up with her self-involved antics. It really made sense of the Young Man’s decision to leave, meaning that the final PdD was all the more powerful as both had learnt from their mistakes. I do agree that some of Naghdi’s dancing may have lacked the precision of Takada’s, but this was made up for by her chemistry with Campbell. Maybe it is just a matter of experience in the role; I hope Naghdi gets the chance to revisit Pigeons soon. Kaneko is an amazing dancer with beautifully crisp and sparky technique, but she seems almost too cultured for gypsy/mistress type roles. I found her to be a particularly sophisticated Mitzi Casper for instance. She makes it work brilliantly, but has a totally different energy to dancers like Calvert and Magri, who seem more earthy. Her Mytha was something to behold though, stern and spookily etherial. I await her Kitri with great anticipation. Thinking of Magri, I got a pair of her pointe shoes a few years back when Olivia Cowley was selling them for charity. This season has made me feel rather smug! I too have misgivings about The Cunning Little Vixen. The choreography seemed derivative: I’m with Lindsay on the Caucus from Alice, also shades of MacMillan in the PdD. The story telling felt acted rather than danced, with no sympathetic characters. Am I supposed to like the Vixen? She was a bully and I was left wishing for Janáček’s ending with the Vixen getting her comeuppance. Also, to my eyes the stage was so barren it had the feeling of a gala piece, giving the unfortunate impression that these dancers were only borrowing the stage and did not belong there. I did, however, enjoy the wonderfully committed and accomplished performances, particularly Madison Bailey and Daichi Ikarashi but everyone really. It really was a pleasure to see the students perform on the main stage and I thank Liam Scarlett for that. They deserve all the plaudits they get and I look forward to getting to know some of them better when they join the company. In the end, 4 of the 9 performances were opened to student standby: 19th Jan, 2nd Feb Matinée, 12th Feb, and 14th Feb. One wonders what affect this will have on the bottom line, especially if Frankenstein is shaping up the same way. Two Pigeons is a brilliant ballet and I hope to see it back soon, but if they can’t shift tickets it can only be a matter of time until it is mothballed once again. Whatever happens, these performances, and particularly the image of Reece Clarke’s ridiculously long neck clucking away, will live long in the memory! Sincere thanks to all concerned.
  3. Is it usual for a dancer to play Sancho Panza as Yudes is doing? I have always presumed it was a role taken by character artists. Also, good to see a comprehensive review of opening night in the Telegraph. Muntagirov's contribution reduced to a parenthetical acknowledgement of his presence... Also, an image of Bonelli and Lamb is captioned as Acosta and Nuñez. Really makes you feel like you were there.
  4. Looks like Daniel Camargo, Principle with Dutch Nation Ballet, is replacing William Bracewell as Basilio on 23rd and 27th Feb. I was really hoping Reece Clarke would get the chance if needed, but am sure Camargo will be great. Incidentally, anybody know anything about him?
  5. RBS/Pigeons on 12th was opened for Young ROH Standby on Thursday. That is three out of six with three to go (19th Jan, 2nd Feb mat, 12th Feb). Unprecedented surely. It is the first time I have seen the decision made so far ahead of time, normally it is the day before. Also, tickets sold very slowly even at the reduced price, normally they are mostly gone within a few hours. There are still some decent seats available. Very sad, the company, the pigeons, and the students deserve better.
  6. Student standby tickets are made available very late, normally about 24 hours before a performance, and sell very quickly. It's like a panic button they can hit at the last minute to fill up the theatre. I can see how it could be disconcerting if you are not aware it is happening! Incidentally, at least one of the Two Pigeons performances in 2015 was also opened for student standby. I guess the problems are not new.
  7. There have been some discounts. This is the first time in my 4 years following the company that tickets for two performances of a bill have been made available on the student standby scheme (19th Jan mat and 2nd Feb mat). This means that all remaining tickets (irrespective of price band) are made available to registered students for £10. So perhaps they are getting a younger audience in… at vastly reduced prices. Not quite what the marketing department are after I suspect. I really fear that Two Pigeons will be one of the first casualties of the new marketing initiatives. (caveat: I might be bitter on account of not being able to take advantage of the scheme. I already had tickets for 19th and on 2nd all the trains stopped because a single snowflake was found on the line)
  8. My spot is front row upper circle on the sides where the price band is lower. Great compromise between price and view, better than a lot of seats at the ROH in my opinion. Especially good if you can get it at a reduced price. It is so much better since the refurb, like a different theatre. I'd give it another go if you get the chance.
  9. I just want to, once again, register my thanks to ENB for six wonderful performances in four days at Southampton and one at the Coliseum. It has been a pleasure to get to know the company better over the past few months. It seems churlish to pick favourites, but McWhinney and Frola rose above the rest for me. I caught two of their shows, and both were brilliantly passionate and nuanced performances. I am particularly delighted that McWhinney has received such praise for a role she has coveted. I hope to see her and Frola dancing together again in the future as this is a partnership that deserves to be nurtured. Romeo and Juliet, perhaps. Other stands out were Cirio as Lescaut (his Des Grieux was good too), Hawes as Mistress, and Velicu and Belini as Trouser Girls. That said, this is a ballet that requires a company performance and everyone rose to the occasion. I really hope that everyone gets an opportunity to revisit their roles in due course. A quick note on some of the points being raised here: On the sets: I want to echo others who have said that this production looks better on a smaller stage. At the Mayflower the sets looked minimal, but evocative, whilst at the Coliseum the stage appeared almost barren at times with a lot more space between stage furniture. This did provide more space for the dancing, but I felt was less impactful overall. On the background activity: I feel that ENB’s approach is perhaps more broad than the RB. For instance, the lead courtesans seemed much more physical, more concerned with fighting each other than dancing, although all did dance wonderfully. I also haven’t seen any RB Lescauts do the slit neck gesture, but all have with ENB. One of the clients out right collapses, rather than just being helped to a chair. This isn’t intended as a criticism, just an observation. Perhaps subtlety comes with greater exposure as in the case of the RB, maybe it was an artistic choice. Either way, it in no way affected my enjoyment. The courtesans were particularly funny in fact (Velicu and Costa come to mind). On ticket sales: During my trip to the Coliseum (18th matinee), it looked like the balcony had been closed. This, on top of the price reductions in Manchester and London, and the closing of the balcony for all performances in Southampton. It looks like ENB’s marketing department is as useless as the RB’s. It seems a travesty that performances of this quality have played to empty seats. This company, and these dancers, deserve better.
  10. Very glad that I got to see Soares as Rudolf this year. Unfortunately my ballet going life coincided with the winding down of his career, but I always enjoyed the drama that he brings to his performances. An extraordinary dance actor. Fond memories also of him partnering Takada for her debut as Giselle. Best wishes for the future. I hope he gets the send off he deserves next season.
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