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Bruce Wall

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About Bruce Wall

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    Bruce Wall

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  1. I have one ticket I cannot use due to work. It is Second Circle O4 for Khan's Giselle (Cast: Fernanda Oliveira, Fernando Bufalá, Jeffrey Cirio*, Sarah Kundi*) ... It is full view. The price is £8 as that is what I paid. If interested please send PM. Thanks.
  2. From a certain perspective this makes the ENB turnover at the end of this past season seem a mere ripple. So looking forward to being introduced to these artists in 2019.
  3. BRB Sleeping Beauty Casting?

    I think today so much emphasis in our world has shifted. Now often it is considered part of the fabric of an employee's own package to promote themselves and feed such into the whole. Now self promotion - or the capacity to enrich such - is sometimes a key aspect in the actual hiring considerations. When it comes down to the wire I'm entirely confident things like Facebook friends or Instagram likes are - or certainly could be - much more immediate judges. No longer is it in so many ways - (regardless of what Radio 4 might have us otherwise believe) - 'For Whom the Broadsheets Toll'. Big up Brandon Lawrence is what I'm humming from off the ipod of my mind's ear at the moment!
  4. Too right .... but don't forget to stuff your wallet with cash before you leave home. The prices are eye watering. I would imagine beyond the means of many - certainly myself.
  5. MAB did you ever see Bujones enlighten this role? (I realise he didn't dance an enormous amount in the UK.) He had what I still think of as being as close to 'perfect technique' as I've ever witnessed - even all these many years later. Certainly - in my memory - I don't think I can recall - from personal experience - his being bettered. That said Sarafanov and Muntagirov do certainly come close. Very close. Woetzel did too no question. I for one think Brandon Lawrence has the equipment necessary to someday scale the heights of such rarefied air as well.
  6. I don't know if it is Mariinsky house policy but tonight - in what was the best individual principal performance by some distance - Shklyarov did the same number - with even greater precision of placement than Kim exercised the night before - plus equal his speed and elevation - and that with the former's much more substantial legato line. But, then, who's counting? (Erm .... guess I was )
  7. Given the stunning wealth of young male talent at the Royal Ballet I so wish THEY would adopt Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy. There is no question in my mind but that it would be justified ... What wait for the Russians? I wonder too - assuming their physical survival - which has already been remarkable - if the Hochhausers would ever bring such. There is, after all, no linear story tag for them to hang it to. That said, of course, UK audiences would never have seen Ratmanksy's materful Concerto DSCH had it not been for them. Truly we owe them much. Still I think that Trilogy's second act would - if it was acquired quickly by the Royal Ballet - be a wonderful vehicle for the glory that is Gary Avis.
  8. Just wanted to say that I agree with much that Sim says. My enjoyment of Bayadere I think is not based on a gut rending emotional connection with the characters. The story after all is rather meagre - indeed spindly. For me it is the sweep and dazzle of the technical display in direct correlation with music that Minkus envisioned for a mass balletic audience. There can be little questioning of the fact I think that his exact intents last night were deployed with wonderful colour and zest by the ever enervating Alexei Repnikov and the devoted Mariinsky orchestra members. (Earlier in this Mariinsky season the conductors were I thought rather too flat. Both have conducted with the Royal Ballet. For my taste Repnikov would be preferable - but then I'm someone who struggles to see the might of Mr. Yates that so many locally champion.) Kim really stood out last night. Solar is a good role for him. He connects dramatically insofar as is here demanded - and the monumental jump he possess - one which has always been colossal - his calling card as t'were - was often graced with a more exacting placement than he has frequently been known to deliver. Tereskina as ever delighted and has a wonderful line in portraying emotional repression by musically illustrating hesitation in her realisation of the choreographic line. Batoeva danced much as if her exacting mind - and not just her father - demanded such and the mime between the two ladies in the second scene of the first was riveting in its detail. Why I prefer the Bolshoi/Mariinsky productions of La Bayadere is because they unashamedly celebrate the circus element of this enterprise. This is as close as we will, I suppose, still get to the balletic variety bills that were so prevalent in the 19th century. I actually asked Makarova when she first mounted her production for ABT (I was at its opening and saw the only FULL performance that Makarova actually gave as Nikiya in her production opposite Dowell) why she had cut so many of the character dances in favour of a third act. She said it was actually a practical rather than an artistic decision. Western companies she noted like ABT and the Royal Ballet do not have the scope (e.g., number) of trained Russian character dancer counterparts. This production was to address - and does - those shifts. Still I, myself, love the character work. It is so important in terms of the diversity it scales. Indeed, it gives those parrots a proper voice. I thought that Tkachenko's Golden Idol vividly wrought and so hope when this company returns - and we know it can't be before 2020 - we might see him in some principal roles. He danced much more the last time they were here - but then he may not have been able to join the Company in London until late in the day. Sofia Ivanova-Skobilkova was a souflfetic delight in the Mantu diversion, stunningly communicating with her bugle eyeballs and so tellingly engaging with the young Brits who ably worked aside her. The fulgent Indian dance never fails but to get my blood flowing much as it seems to do for the entire audience on each occasion. It's a kind of defibrillator. Lustrous. Popov too as the fakir in the first act was wonderfully notable in both his dance and theatrical intent. His frame - and talent - gave size to the proceedings. The true highlight, however - and what will long live with me - was not just the corps in the Shades sequence but the first and third solos. Renata Shakirova and May Nagahisa are unquestionably stars of the future - and there is nothing more potent than to be at the onset of the realisation of such potential. Just think of the thrilling ride so many of us have shared with the likes of Muntagirov and Naghdi. These two glorious artists offer just such locomotives of balletic apotheosis. That is a gift at any price; at any time.
  9. If I might, Geoff, I would suggest that the above really only now enforces the plight of presentation of substantive international ballet (as opposed to contemporary dance - which oft tends to be smaller in scale) in London. It does not change the fact I think that the venues here referenced - concert platforms both - are simply not fit for ballet's purpose ... Out of necessity they do naught but diminish ballet's aspiration. They dismantle, maraud and waste the potency of this gloriously inspirational resource. British audiences in London - dedicated by pundits as a world capital in so many regards - will continue to have to watch and British dancers in our capital to forge balletic performances in these far from ideal circumstances; all at considerable and seemingly ever increasing cost. It does not I think change the sad fact that - in both instances - that it could be argued this is far from fair. It would/will take a dedicated leader to forge change in ballet's regard in London. I fear that this will not take place in my own lifetime, if ever. Rattle is doing it in the name of a truly world class concert platform in this wonderful city through his own personal dedication. Could Rojo be London's answer to Lincoln Kirstein? Perhaps. My admiration for her dedicated stealth is such that I wouldn't be surprised. Not surprised at all. Were that to come to pass the amazement over her pay grade might I think be academic. Her legacy would unquestionably be even more visceral then than it already is.
  10. I note that sadly the Lyric Hammersmith would not be available for ENB in any regard (see below) ... but certainly would be - or so they suggest - for those fine galas which have recently been at the Cadogan Hall, another concert venue which is unfortunately largely unsuitable for dance. https://lyric.co.uk/our-home/hires-and-parties/our-spaces/main-house/ QUOTE FROM FACILITY WEBSITE - Please note that our Main House is not available to hire for external theatre productions and performances. For concerts, award ceremonies, showcases and other one-off events please enquire for further details. All Main House hires are subject to availability.
  11. Enjoyed yesterday's matinee - largely for the two exciting debuts but just as much for the 'conservatoire' nature of the outing; one where so many of the performing 'artists' - certainly in the male ranks - (and Nureyev's choreography is - as we know - in the most literal sense - 'manful') - were, I believe, students - or certainly VERY young dancers at the beginning of their careers. Well done, TR, for truly emphasizing ENB's key role as a training company. I remember hearing the great Dame Beryl Grey saying THAT was the principle purpose of the Company. Here Rojo makes that element real on a scale I, myself, don't think I've ever seen with LFB/ENB before (apart, of course, from the add-ons for the arena outings). For example, the vast majority of the flag dancers yesterday afternoon were students I think. (In the past the unions would unquestionably have stepped in ... especially at this number. They would argue that these students were taking truly meaningful opportunities from dancers of the 'artist' rank, i.e., the largest on ENB's books. How wonderful then that the union too now has become SO supportive of this training element. The world really has changed - and quite clearly TR is able to twist arms in a fashion not witnessed heretofore. The British ballet world will be all the better for this in the long run. Perhaps this is a clear forward action of 'Brexiteering' in the fullest sense. I so look forward to spotting some of these faces in the Khan Giselle in September. I, myself, didn't think such changes would happen SO quickly. Leave it to the ever resourceful TR. She amazes every time.) The fact that these ensembles really were in places ragged when compared with the opening performance I saw - (where the company looked like a team of world class professionals) - was made up for by the boisterously bounding energy/enthusiasm with which the willing students delivered their various charges. The beaming grins said it all. Also - and one cannot make too fine this point - there were key ENB stalwarts skewed about as defining role models in the throng. SURELY there could not have been - or indeed BE - a better one than that exemplary Company member James Streeter. As ever it's hard to pry your eyes off him, so glorious is his detail. It will be a sad day indeed when this fine artist leaves the ENB fold. Please may it not be for a long time to come. His paternal care, dramatic acumen and rightful theatrical concern - while fulfilling his own responsibilities as the most vital of ALL Capulet townspeople - embossed upon my mind just how extraordinary a father he will now be to his own newborn child. The svelte and oh, so legato Mr. Robison made much of the choreography fashioned on a considerably smaller body sing with aplomb while the sterling Ms. Dronina yet again astonished, surprised and, indeed, captivated the audience by her ever spontaneous musicality and the banting raillery of her creative interplay. That final scream will have pierced the soul of many men. They looked so lovely together as well .... and having seen the glorious Ms. Dronina ensnare and charm Mr. Hernandez at DNB too ... I know we have oh, so much to look forward to. Ms. Rojo can now safely hang up - or pass on - those pointe shoes - knowing they are in extraordinary hands. THEY ARE! One aside. I'm sorry but yesterday I truly came to detest this venue as a place for ballet. The house staff were bringing people to their seats right through and into the middle of the third scene. I was truly shocked. Still others were eating crisps and drinking wine from glasses. (I thought the latter was actually against the law in such places for health and safety reasons.) One young girl in front of me spent the entire second act playing with ever growing wads of chewing gum. Eventually she was sticking fountains of the stuff on the chair in front and spewing strands from it. Still, in a way I don't blame her. The lighting was SO dim my eyes felt skeletal - well, certainly parched. It was truly painful - in quite the wrong way - to watch by the end (and I KNEW what to expect). The dancers looked squished on the stage ... and you couldn't really make out the personages on the side at all. Moreover the placement of the rail bars and the varying scope of the rake upstairs - (ah, yes, that ever persistent problem of heads) - makes the RFH far from ideal to watch dance in. Moreover, it's sterile. Fine to sit back - close your eyes - and listen to a score .... but not I think to watch a balançoire to the same. I remember seeing my very first Swan Lake here. I also remember my dear mother (a judge) saying on another occasion whilst watching a LFB perfromance that it 'should be sanctioned as a place for ballet'. I was reminded yesterday of just what she meant ... AND THAT WAS OVER HALF A CENTURY AGO. Surely the world would have moved on from this perspective you say. Sadly no. The situation in the interim - i.e., our desire for a meaningful location for the presentation of ballet on an international scale - has really not changed; remained unanswered. We need someone like Rattle to say they won't take a posting unless there is an appropriate facility. I suppose it is largely for this reason why London has become so much more a fulcrum for modern dance and why for decades that scope has been the lead for our London based ballet companies and why ballet audiences themselves (and presenters understandably) have remained so conservative. It's hard to educate if you really don't have the wider school(s). Dear directors, if we can't have a dedicated ballet theatre of appropriate world scale (like the incredible house that Balanchine built in cash strapped 60's NYC - one that still shines as a beacon today) ... could companies please use a 'REAL' theatre as opposed to a concert platform? Is that asking too much at the prices charged? I know it's pointless in making such a statement without making a constructive suggestion ... so I won't. If the Coliseum is the one real outlet of choice now in this regard ... what of another Matcham house: What of the Lyric Hammersmith? Surely a week or three or six or at least several could be booked into its season with justification ... there is at least historic prescedent with ballet on variety bills there and heaven knows there are facilities there both for the artists and audience present. Without hesitation there is also a local urban audience to serve. (Rant now over. Have a joyous Sunday.)
  12. Dear Janet, Lizbie1, penelopesimpson and assoluta for your kind words. They are keenly appreciated. Bless you.
  13. What a difference a night/cast can make. I have myself felt at times quite ambivalent about the Mariinsky's current tour – but then I felt the same way about their previous one. I have attended a goodly number of performances but much of it has passed in a muted muster and tone. There are times when it has come awake. Batoeva - (for me the best of the Kitris thus far) - with those scintillating pique turns at a speed/precision that would make Osipova blush - and the dare-devil do of Shklyarov's Basil - the best too of that number (Kim can jump, yes, but he is consistently an oh, so muddy dancer) braving out and through the sincerity of his considerable wit and the flash of that Michael-Jackson-like smile. Nothing though had come together in a unified whole quite like last night’s Anna Karenina, however. The previous night - at least from my perch standing atop of the Amphitheatre's world view - the ROH’s stage employ - as much as that of its audience - became restless at the prospect of Vishneva's Anna. Although this artist may be physically retiring from her career, here she plied - or perhaps better - stuck on - as she has done so frequently in her latter recesses of that journey - an artifice – albeit an attractive one - as if t'were a sticking plaster. 'It was' as my mother almost certainly would have said, 'nice - and all that therein is implied!' I remember once – during a season when I was a journeyman performer at the Stratford Festival in Canada - hearing company member, Maggie Smith (yet to be Damed) mumble: 'Does anyone actually WANT to be nice?' Well, yes, Maggie: Vishnea - and Zakharova do. They pose and glisten. Beautifully.. They are a tribute to their dressmaker's art. There is, I know, a talent in that and they adorably fit its bill. Last night Viktoria Tereshkina went far beyond such posturing. She digged deep into the diversity of Anna’s erupting elation and the depths of her coruscating despair in a way only ballet can allow. She breathed it. Whereas Zverev was competent in the heavy lifting department the evening before he was wan in terms of the manly variety that Parish so richly displayed in the seven PDDs entrusted to that character. Let there be no doubt he deserves his 'leading principle' mantle and then some. The detail of Islom Baimuradov's Karenin was exemplary in demonstrating the ravage of that character's disappointments without ever having to ever resort to 'McGregoresque' contortions. For each - as much as for the audience - their extremity was the point. Whereas the evening before audience members around me slouched away from Shchedrin’s dramatic score here they leaned forward. Ratmansky richly answered the recitatives of his music's many theatrically characterful conversations. It pranced amongst the nags, Vronsky's and others. The entire company rode with stealth. You could have heard a pin drop during that first act last night. That was certainly not true on Thursday. The loud cheers that the orchestra – indeed all - got last night were richly earned. We suddenly saw those artists in a way we had not seen them before. They had been kissed by Ratmansky's genius. The Company was invested in it as one and allowed us – a collective Sleeping Beauty – to wake up in a shared new world. Anna’s determined collapse under that train last night was heart rending. The evening before it almost appeared as if it had been theatrically accidental. Vishneva got the big bouquets. Tereshkina deserved them.
  14. Same old; same old ... and agree ... after the SW debacle ... two sticks in the formation of a cross will come in handy ... Must ward this one off with wariness.
  15. I'm not sure I agree about the venue - it's a concert hall after all. That said I certainly do concur vis a vis the performance. And how! It was completely stellar throughout. Hernandez outdid himself as Romeo - such a wonderful dancer; such a natural actor. The detail of Bufala's life enriching zeal as Mercutio (a so much better role in the Nureyev than in the MacMillan - and the Russian does succeed in depicting the Bard's story more clearly) was thrilling to behold - and James Streeter was the fantastic artist as Tybalt we have long known him to be. Have the sword fights ever been more dramatically dazzling? Not in my memory certainly. The dancing of the ensembles could put many other noted (and wealthier) companies to shame - and.the score playing by the rightfully burnished ENB Phil was blistering in its delight. It was sad to have to say a mental 'thanks and farewell' to so many in the Company ... Still they were going out on an assured high ... and as I sat there I felt encouraged that there would be oh, so much more of a similar ilk to come. Well, that at least was the indication and what a potent one it was. Well done TR; Well done ALL.
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