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  1. I'm keeping my fingers very tightly crossed that third time lucky and I will get to see Hallberg. Sounds like a really interesting programme.
  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon at the Barbican - as always being closer to the dancers than usual is a real treat, as is seeing members from the three companies involved working together. Having read the interview with Viviana Durante and JohnS's (and others') review, the brevity aspect came as no surprise and I enjoyed all three items equally. It was fascinating to see Manon and Juliet movements making an appearance in those early MacMillan works and, as with The Cage in ENB's programme, seeing ballets that I was only aware of from photos (with the exception of Dances Concertantes which I saw in 2003) come to life. And, for me, come to life they did - I suspect the combination of the small space and excellent dancers (with special mention of Francesca Hayward in Laiderette) allowed this to happen but I didn't feel the ballets looked dated at all and could happily sit through repeat viewings. Personal comment alert: thought Takada looked absolutely stunning in her Dances Concertantes costume and headdress - had a brief and rather nightmarish image of what I would look like with that on my head! The reception from the audience was very warm and enthusiastic and congratulations to Viviana for bringing about such an interesting and informative programme and for getting all those wonderful dancers together (so interesting to see Thiago Soares' partnering skills close up). Really hope it is the first of many such enterprises for her and that we can see similar events both from Viviana and in the new Linbury generally. A great afternoon all round.
  3. I found this to be a bit of a curate's egg programme but overall very enjoyable. Having retired not too long ago, I am still finding it quite a treat to be able to go to a mid week matinee and, although it is sad to find a very sparse audience, it was lovely to be able to virtually pick my seat and see the dancers much more closely than I am used to. I hadn't particularly liked Fantastic Beings first time round but enjoyed it more today, although I am not sure it adds up to too much although it was very well danced. For me it is too long - I enjoyed the quirky movements to start with it and then I felt it really began to sag quite badly and it felt I was going to merge into countless other ballets I had seen at Sadlers Wells over the years danced in gloomy lighting and leotards which all seem merged into one slightly forgettable blob! I have no idea what the fringed costumes signify and while I found them a bit ridiculous and the glittery ending a bit clichéd, today I found it very effective when all the dancers were on stage together madly pirouetting. Apart from the Forsythe ballets done at the ROH, I haven't really seen much of his work but did enjoy Approximate Sonata. Normally I would find dancers stopping and talking very irritating but I felt quite receptive today and enjoyed seeing his very particular brand of choreography again. Having never seen The Cage but read about it quite a lot, this was the one that really interested me. I think may be my expectations were too high as while it was undeniably dramatic, it didn't quite pack the punch I was expecting. From photos I had seen, I thought the set was much more cage like rather than the 'web-ish' one we saw. There were definitely some very arresting dance images but overall this felt, for me, slightly disappointing. Had totally the opposite reaction to Playlist - it was one of those rare moments when seeing a ballet for the first time, I just wanted it to start again immediately. It's just pure, unadulterated, pleasure and I was quite taken aback - and taken by - just how classical a lot of the movement is. Like Irmgard above, I wish it had been more brightly lit (I can't understand this desire for murk) as, from their movements, the dancers just seemed to be loving every minute and it would have been the icing on the cake to see if their faces reflected the joy they communicated to the audience. Do hope this becomes a staple of the repertoire - it left me with a very big grin on my face! Congratulations to all the dancers.
  4. So glad to have picked up a return for tonight. Despite Osipova being fantastic last week, the whole thing went up a gear to night: Osipova even better - even sitting in the amphi, you can see all the emotions on her face (love, lust, revelling in her power over men, despair, confusion - you name it!) and that is without mentioning her amazing dancing. Shklyarov had shed all his first night tentativeness and was all passion and the most exquisite, beautiful and elegant lines. They were just wonderful together. Thought Marcelino much improved tonight - he had a much better grip of both the dancing and character, and very much played his part in the whole evening. And I am no longer in a minority if one regarding Yasmine as the mistress! Whole cast terrific, the noise from the audience was thunderous - a performance to live long in the memory.
  5. Very excited - just picked up a return amphi ticket for tomorrow. Can't wait to see if: Natalia is as wonderful as last week; Shklyarov has shed his debut tentativeness and his wonderful elegance will be even better showcased; Sambe develops his character a bit more and seems more at home in the role; and if I remain in a minority of one about Yasmine!! Hope all reservations completely overturned and it's a fantastic night. PS: just literally now picked up this ticket and there were a few returns.
  6. I think I am definitely going to be a minority of one here - I thought Osipova was outstanding (but admit to being a fully paid up fan!). She was transformed from the last run and, as with all her performances, she always seems to find extra details and show them with great clarity eg the way she she panicked a bit in the pas de trois and called to her brother to 'get him off me'. I agree that Shklyarov was quite tentative to start and a bit unsure of some of the partnering, but he is such an elegant dancer, a pleasure to watch. Think I will have to beg or steal a ticket for next week to see him again when presumably he will be more at ease. However, I was really disappointed in Sambe - usually he is one of those dancers that makes me perk up whenever he comes on stage but I don't feel he made much impact as Lescaut. I didn't feel any sense of menace or slyness, while the 'drunk dance' for me fell completely flat. Likewise I thought Yasmine danced exquisitely (as always) but her part in the ballet just didn't come alive for me as it has done with other dancers. Others have commented on the 'busyness' that is going on on the sidelines but that seemed to reach epic proportions at times last night and I wanted to shout out tone it down a bit - think they are the most hyperactive beggars I've ever seen! Having said all that, I had a lovely time! Manon was my first ballet at Covent Garden (also 40 years ago) and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. Looking forward to seeing other casts and hopefully seeing this one again to see if my impressions remain the same.
  7. Yes - and was wonderful in both! Sigh ...
  8. bridiem - this is bordering on spooky as I had exactly the same reaction to you. Having loved Yugen at the cinema, the impact seeing it live was somehow less rather than more. I thought Benjamin Ella was excellent, as were all the dancers but the audience reaction was very muted and certainly didn't move me the way it had on screen. As many others have said, The Age of Anxiety came across much better in the cinema when you can see the facial expressions and nuances much better and I'm sorry to say I not only drifted off but actually fell asleep. As for Corybantic Games, it does seem a lot of activity with no (for me at least) discernible outcome in that I don't feel any of the usual emotions I have at the ballet: being moved, excited, transported, interested in the movement, engaged with what is happening on stage etc - sadly just indifference. Much as I love the cinema screenings, I find it rather weird that I had a much better experience there than at the theatre. Rather relieved to be turning to Manon later this week.
  9. I think I counted 11 of us in my cinema! Having had a hacking cough and missed opening night (and have to admit to not being exactly bitterly disappointed) I really appreciated getting the chance to see this before going to the ROH next week. Like many others I loved Yugen - in fact I would go as far as to say I was bowled over by it (perhaps an unfortunate expression in the light of the cricket scandal!). Like Woolf Works I found I was really moved simply by the quality of the movement - I really like this 'kinder, gentler' McGregor (Woolf Works, Obsidian Tear, Yugen) and will be interested to see how Infra, which I liked at the time, now looks in comparison. Always good to see the up and coming dancers get their chance which Calvin Richardson seized wonderfully. I also really linked the staging and the costumes looked great against the beautiful set. I didn't dislike Age of Anxiety and seeing it close up really does help but don't feel it is one for repeated viewings. Alexander Campbell was again very charismatic but all the cast were excellent. It's quite hard to judge in the cinema but it seemed to be particularly well received by the audience. Loved the was Sarah, as is her won't, gave a rose from her bouquet to all her leading men. Unfortunately I have to add my voice to the chorus of disapproval for the costumes in the Wheeldon. I don't want to see dancers in underwear ever again! It was particularly disappointing because in all the interviews leading up to the premiere, the focus had been on the costumes. When I heard Christopher Wheeldon say that Erdem had wanted to use velvet but it didn't work for the dancers, I had visions of some rich, lush, beautifully coloured equivalent rather than the unflattering and unattractive actuality. As for the ballet itself, there seemed to be an awful lot happening and I am looking forward to seeing it again on the stage because I couldn't really get a proper sense of it. I liked the three pas de deux all happening at the same time although you couldn't then watch any of them in their entirety, especially in the cinema where you don't get to choose where to look. Great dancing from the whole cast but it was Lauren who really caught my eye. She is a dancer I don't always book for (with no rational explanation for that) but I find she sometimes has a wonderful serene quality that works particularly well on the big screen. Can't wait to see Yugen again next week - hope second viewing confirms initial reaction and lives up to what are now considerable expectations.
  10. Audience Behaviour

    A lesson for me in not making assumptions at two matinees last week: Wednesday - very respectable looking middle aged lady takes seat a few rows down at Long Day's Journey into Night. Every 10 minutes or so phone comes out for texting or general perusing, blatantly, not even that surreptitious half covering with the hand. I know the play is long but please ... Thursday - heart sinks as I get to the theatre in Stratford for Christopher Ecclestone's Macbeth to see that just about every schoolboy in the country is there. But absolute silence in the play: no rustling, fidgeting and not one telltale little (but oh so distracting) light anywhere in the auditorium. Felt the need to atone for my negative thoughts by congratulating teachers on their impressively behaved students who could certainly teach some adults a thing or two!
  11. Thanks capybara - I was sitting outside the amphi when it began so couldn't see anything but it sounded as though quite a number of people were involved.
  12. I thoroughly enjoyed last night's performance too - I think something has happened to Federico since Mayerling. He was always a very elegant dancer and lovely partner but he seems to have much more confidence in his acting abilities - I saw the first night Giselle with Marianela and again he acted superbly in my opinion. Both Kaneki and Takada danced beautifully and the last act was really moving. I thought Campbell was very charismatic as Florizel - he doesn't always do it for me in the classical roles but this part suited him very well. Always a pleasure to see Sambe lighting up the stage and I agree with ninamargaret about Sissens - I do find my eye is very often drawn to him. I was a bit worried about Tierney Heap as Paulina - for me she has a quite dramatic, sort of 1940s style, glamour on the stage which I felt might not suit this part, but she was excellent - It was so clear the way that Leontes looked to her for guidance and that she was leading him to redemption. All in all a lovely evening but where I was sitting the audience seemed to thin out a bit over time which was odd as everyone seemed totally engrossed. Finally, does anyone know what the protest (I assume it was a protest) was outside the ROH - there seemed to be a lot of trumpets sounding but no idea what was going on?
  13. Plenty to look forward to - fantasy casting time for Symphony in C! Absolutely love that ballet and delighted it is coming back. Like many, agree it's a shame about Onegin - it's been quite a while now so fingers crossed for next time round. Great re Two Pigeons, Month, Patineurs, Winter Dreams - some of my all time favourite one act ballets and wonderful to have the Pite back again. Sadly got a bit carried away with speculation about Cinderella being revived - again perhaps one for next year? I'm in the 'prepared to give Frankenstein another go' camp - it's never going to be a desert island ballet but would love to see Kish in this again - I thought it was one of his best ever roles. Not sure I'm up for months of R&J - I would quite like this to disappear for a good few years (bottoms on seats notwithstanding) and come back really fresh but no doubt when I see the casts, I will be reaching for the credit card once more. All in all really quite excited about this - a big please to Vadim as Rudolf!
  14. Chris Wheeldon and Erdem to be interviewed on the Today programme - some time between 8am news and the end of the programme.
  15. I seem to have been moved to a 'similar seat' just at the opposite end of the row. Very curious!
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