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Found 61 results

  1. I was unable to be at the London Coliseum tonight for the first night of ENB's Sleeping Beauty (Kenneth MacMillan production), but I know a lot of forum members were, so I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Our coverage of the previous run can be found here:
  2. This item was on BA: (Janet - did you get such a release? Grateful if you could confirm for us). According to an e-mail just sent out by English National Ballet, Jeffrey Cirio is joining as Lead Principal. No indication of whether he will continue an affiliation with ABT. "Joining the Company Following his recent guest performances with the Company in Song of the Earth, La Sylphide, and Akram Khan’s Giselle, Jeffrey Cirio, currently Principal at American Ballet Theater, joins English National Ballet as Lead Principal."
  3. We don't appear to have an overarching thread for next season's cinema ballet broadcasts, so here it is! Details of the Bolshoi season are here: Do we have the Royal Ballet details anywhere yet? I can't find them.
  4. Have just seen on the BBC news that Akram Khan is creating his first full classical ballet with a new version of Giselle. It is being made for ENB in co-production with Sadler's Wells and the Manchester International Festival and will open in Manchester next year. I can't find anything else about it as yet. Does anyone know more?
  5. This opened last night with a stunning first performance. I loved it. More thoughts from me when I've seen other casts.
  6. This programme, featuring a world premiere by William Forsythe, starts at Sadler's Wells this evening. I'm not going to be able to get away from work, but would love to get feedback from anyone else who's going.
  7. Well whatever is, or isn't going on behind the scenes at the ENB, it didn't show in tonight's performance, which was glorious. What a fabulous place to watch a ballet, the Royal Festival Hall is, everyone can see, the sound is glorious, although the stage is small, but I soon forgot that, caught up in a production so full of gifts i didn't know where to look....
  8. I cannot find another thread for this but wondered if they have announced Nutcracker casting yet for the London Coli season. The website is a bit frustrating as you can go into Nutcracker but it wants to take you straight to the booking at the Coli and I would like to see casting first if possible for the days I can go. Have I missed a trick from their website? Or perhaps too soon for casting announcements for December etc? Many thanks anyone with any more info
  9. Thread for all the mixed-company MacMillan celebrations at the Royal Opera House this autumn. It kicks off tonight with Birmingham Royal Ballet in Concerto, Scottish Ballet in Le Baiser de la fée (or The Fairy's Kiss, if you prefer) and a mixed-company performance of Elite Syncopations, if I'm not mistaken. And to start us off, here's a link back to David's notes on Le Baiser de la fée
  10. English National Ballet 2018 Spring/Summer Season • World premiere of new work by William Forsythe created especially for English National Ballet. • To be performed in Voices of America: Robbins/Forsythe/Barton, a new mixed bill dedicated to neoclassical ballet with an American accent. • Alongside his new work, English National Ballet perform Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata 2016 for the first time. • Voices of America also includes Jerome Robbins’ shocking ballet The Cage, and a reworked version of Aszure Barton’s Fantastic Beings. • Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty to be performed at the London Coliseum. • New version of My First Ballet: Swan Lake to tour the UK. English National Ballet today announces its 2018 Spring/Summer Season. In April 2018, English National Ballet will present the world premiere of a new work by one of the most revered choreographers working today, William Forsythe. His first creation for a UK ballet company in over 20 years. Forsythe’s new work will be presented as part of Voices of America, a new mixed bill dedicated to neo-classical ballet with an American accent, featuring works with audacious attitude from three generations of choreographers. Alongside his new work, English National Ballet will also perform Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata 2016. Originally created in 1996, Forsythe recently reworked this piece for Paris Opera Ballet. A series of pas de deux that deconstruct the classical ballet vocabulary, Approximate Sonata 2016 is accompanied by a new version of the original score by Thom Willems. Voices of America sees another work new to English National Ballet, Jerome Robbins’ The Cage. One of Robbins’ most shocking and intense ballets, The Cage looks at the rites and rituals of a species where the female considers the male to be prey, featuring 14 female and two male dancers. Originally created in 1951, The Cage is set to Stravinsky’s Concerto in D for String Orchestra, performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. Completing the mixed bill is a reworked version of Aszure Barton’s Fantastic Beings. Originally created as part of English National Ballet’s She Said programme in 2016, Fantastic Beings is a mysterious, magnetic work that sees 16 dancers take to the stage, accompanied by Mason Bates’ dynamic score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. Of Voices of America Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet said: “For a while now I have wanted to dedicate a programme to the abstract, neoclassical style of ballet that is born out of America. It gives me great pleasure to now be doing so with a new work created especially for us by the genius that is William Forsythe, alongside his Approximate Sonata 2016. “I am excited that these Forsythe works will be accompanied by Jerome Robbins’ brilliantly shocking ballet The Cage, and a revival of Aszure Barton’s fabulous Fantastic Beings. I cannot wait for audiences to experience the power and emotion of these ballets next spring.” In June 2018, English National Ballet revives Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum. This classical dark fairy-tale ballet offers “some of the most ravishing steps in 19th century repertory” (The Guardian). Featuring stunning sets by Peter Farmer, elaborate costumes by Nicholas Georgiadas, and Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. This revival coincides with the recent anniversary of MacMillan’s death, and follows the Company’s performances of MacMillan’s masterpiece Song of the Earth in the autumn/winter. Returning for its ninth consecutive year is English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancercompetition, which will be held at the London Coliseum for the first time on 11 June 2018. Recognising the excellence of the company’s artists, this annual celebration remains vital to developing and nurturing young talent within the Company. Over the years Emerging Dancer has grown significantly in popularity, with last year’s Facebook livestream receiving over 89,000 views worldwide. Next spring, English National Ballet will present a brand-new version of the ever-popular My First Ballet: Swan Lake, which premieres at London’s Peacock theatre before touring to seven venues across the country. Created in partnership with English National Ballet School, the My First Ballet series reworks popular ballet titles to make them accessible to children as young as three. Since inception in 2012 over a quarter of a million people have seen a ballet from the series. English National Ballet continues to present the very best of British ballet to audiences across the world next season when it tours Akram Khan’s Giselle internationally for the first time. In March 2018, the production will headline the Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand before opening the Dublin Dance Festival in Ireland in May 2018. Last season English National Ballet toured Le Corsaire, Coppélia, and Ballet Bold, a mixed bill that included Adagio Hammerklavier, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and The Sleeping Beauty (Act 3) internationally to over 18,000 people in Japan and Poland respectively. Tickets for The Sleeping Beauty and My First Ballet: Swan Lake’s national tour go on sale to Friends of English National Ballet at 10am on Wednesday 6 September 2018. General on sale is 10am, Monday 11 September 2018. Tickets for Voices of America and My First Ballet: Swan Lake at the Peacock, London go on sale to Friends of English National Ballet at 10am on Monday 30 October 2018. General on sale is 10am, Monday 6 November. On sale date for Emerging Dancer to be announced shortly. For information on how to become a Friend of English National Ballet see www.ballet.org.uk/support-us Listing information for English National Ballet 2018 Spring/Summer Season Voices of America: Robbins/Forsythe/Barton Sadler’s Wells, London Thursday 12 – Saturday 21 April 2018 Box office: 020 7863 8000 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £12 (on sale Autumn 2017) My First Ballet: Swan Lake Peacock Theatre, London Thursday 29 March – Saturday 7 April 2018 Box Office: 020 7863 8222 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £10 My First Ballet: Swan Lake Churchill Theatre, Bromley Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 April 2018 Box Office: 020 3285 6000 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £15.50 My First Ballet: Swan Lake New Theatre, Oxford Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 April 2018 Box Office: 0844 871 3020 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £11.50 My First Ballet: Swan Lake Opera House, Manchester Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 April 2018 Box Office: 0844 871 3018 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £11.50 My First Ballet: Swan Lake The Grand Theatre, Blackpool Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 May 2018 Box Office: 01253 290190 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £10 My First Ballet: Swan Lake New Victoria Theatre, Woking Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 May 2018 Box Office: 0844 871 7645or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £11.50 My First Ballet: Swan Lake Princess Theatre, Torquay Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 May 2018 Box Office: 0844 871 3023 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £11.50 The Sleeping Beauty London Coliseum Wednesday 6 – Saturday 16 Jun 2018 Box Office: 020 7845 9300 or www.ballet.org.uk Tickets: from £14 Emerging Dancer London Coliseum Monday 11 June 2018 Box Office: 020 7845 9300 or www.ballet.org.uk Booking fees may apply. About English National Ballet English National Ballet has a long and distinguished history. Founded in 1950 as London Festival Ballet by the great English Dancers Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin, it has played a major role in the growth and history of ballet in the UK. Today, English National Ballet is renowned for taking world-class ballet to the widest possible audience through its national and international tour programme, offsite performances at festivals including Glastonbury and Latitude, its distinguished orchestra English National Ballet Philharmonic, and being a UK leader in creative learning and engagement practice and delivery, building innovative partnerships to deliver flagship programmes such as English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s. Under the artistic directorship of Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet has gained new acclaim as it introduces innovative new works to the Company’s repertoire while continuing to honour and reinvigorate traditional ballet. English National Ballet is an Associate Company of Sadler’s Wells.
  11. English National Ballet Song of the Earth & La Sylphide Romeo & Juliet / Akram Khan’s Giselle / Nutcracker National Tour Wednesday 11 October – Saturday 2 December 2017 Performance times and ticket prices vary www.ballet.org.uk Continuing its commitment to taking world-class ballet to audiences across the country, this autumn English National Ballet presents five productions on its national tour. Two works new to English National Ballet’s repertoire, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s masterwork, Song of the Earth and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide recreated by Frank Andersen and Eva Kloborg, will be performed at the Manchester Palace Theatre (11-14 October) and Milton Keynes Theatre (17 – 21 October). First performed in 1965, MacMillan’s choreography for Song of the Earth was different from anything he had previously devised. Featuring three central figures, a Woman, a Man, and a Messenger, this powerful, moving exploration of life, death, and renewal is set to Mahler’s song cycle, Das Lied von der Erde, performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. These performances of Song of the Earth coincide with the 25th anniversary of MacMillan’s death. Devised by one of the world´s leading producers of Bournonville ballets, Frank Andersen and Eva Kloborg’s faithful version of the 1830s Romantic ballet La Sylphide sees James wake from a dream on the morning of his wedding to Effy to encounter a mysterious sylphide before him, setting off a fateful sequence of events. Song of the Earth and La Sylphide will also be performed at the London Coliseum in January 2018. Winner of the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance, Akram Khan’s Giselle comes to Liverpool for the first time, with performances at the Liverpool Empire Theatre (25-28 October). Hailed as “a masterpiece of 21st century dance” (Mail on Sunday), Khan’s Giselle is one of a community of migrant workers cast out of their jobs in a condemned garment factory. Last season over 40,000 people saw Akram Khan’s reimagined Giselle performed on tour. The world’s greatest love story, Rudolf Nureyev’s Romeo & Juliet returns this autumn with performances at the Bristol Hippodrome (21-25 November). Featuring inventive and passionate choreography, and set to Prokofiev’s famous score, performed live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic, these performances mark the 40th anniversary of the production, which was originally created for English National Ballet in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. English National Ballet had its most successful Nutcracker run on record last season, when over 100,000 people came to see the production on tour or at the London Coliseum. This year sees Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker tour to the Mayflower Theatre Southampton (29 November – 2 December) before returning to the London Coliseum, continuing the Company’s tradition of presenting a Nutcracker production each year since 1950. Listings information: Song of the Earth / La Sylphide Manchester Palace Theatre Wednesday 11 October - Saturday14 October 2017 Press night: Wednesday 11 October 2017 For more information, see: www.ballet.org.uk/song-sylphide Song of the Earth / La Sylphide Milton Keynes Theatre Tuesday 17 October - Saturday 21 October 2017 Press night: Tuesday 17 October 2017 For more information, see: www.ballet.org.uk/song-sylphide Akram Khan’s Giselle Liverpool Empire Theatre Wednesday 25 October - Saturday 28 October 2017 Press night: Wednesday 25 October 2017 For more information, see: http://giselle.ballet.org.uk Romeo & Juliet Bristol Hippodrome Tuesday 21 November - Saturday 25th November 2017 Press night: Tuesday 21 November For more information, see: www.ballet.org.uk/romeoandjuliet Nutcracker Mayflower Theatre, Southampton Wednesday 29 November - Saturday 2 December 2017 Press night: Wednesday 29 November 2017 For more information, see: www.ballet.org.uk/nutcracker Booking fees may apply. About English National Ballet English National Ballet has a long and distinguished history. Founded in 1950 as London Festival Ballet by the great English Dancers Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin, it has played a major role in the growth and history of ballet in the UK. Today, English National Ballet is renowned for taking world-class ballet to the widest possible audience through its national and international tour programme, offsite performances at festivals including Glastonbury and Latitude, its distinguished orchestra English National Ballet Philharmonic, and being a UK leader in creative learning and engagement practice and delivery, building innovative partnerships to deliver flagship programmes such as English National Ballet’s Dance for Parkinson’s. Under the artistic directorship of Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet has gained new acclaim as it introduces innovative new works to the Company’s repertoire while continuing to honour and reinvigorate traditional ballet.
  12. [Edited to remove my original post, which is posted further down this thread. Janet posted here at the same time I was posting my response on the original ENB press-release post: I then moved my post over to here only to find that I must have posted seconds before she did, and the board software inserted my reply in front of her original post. I trust that's all as clear as mud]
  13. Took 7 year-old DD to see Cinderella last night at the Peacock in London. Remi Nakano was absolutely exquisite as Cinderella and looked like she was loving every second of her performance - DD said she could have watched her for hours and I totally agree, I'll be looking out for her in future. For those that haven't come across the My First Ballet series, they are classical ballets danced by the students at the ENBS and members of the ENB and aimed at younger children. There is a narrator on stage and the whole performance is cut down to around an hour. Last year was Sleeping Beauty which was also excellent. I wasn't too keen on the idea initially - thought the talking would detract from the music and the dance - but it is done fantastically well. She plays the part of the grown-up Aurora or Cinderella looking back at her life, and is a fabulous actress - different voices for all the characters, and explains some of the mime used in the choreography. I have a feeling I will miss her at the next adult ballet as I learnt quite a lot! It's perfect for children who enjoy watching ballet but aren't quite ready for a full-length programme. There is also high tolerance of whispering and fidgeting which is both good (if you own a fidgeter) and bad (if you own a child who can't stand noise), and worth bearing in mind if you are very irritated by mild disruptions. The evening performances are much better than the matinees if you want less background noise. Ticket prices also good - two front row seats in the circle were £40 for the pair.
  14. The first performance of this was tonight, with Alina Cojocaru in the title role. Thoughts here, please.
  15. As there was some interest in the article I wrote about the creative process of Mary Skeaping's "Giselle", here it is in its entirety. I hope people will find it interesting and that it will add to your enjoyment of English National Ballet's performances. Mary Skeaping and Giselle By Irmgard E. Berry (adviser to the Skeaping Estate) I was privileged to be Mary Skeaping’s assistant for the last five years of her life and honoured when, a few months before her death, she entrusted to me not only her extensive research material but also the guardianship of her choreographic copyright and the artistic integrity of her productions. During our many hours of working together, our conversation had often turned to the creation of her production of Giselle in particular and she was especially keen to teach me all the mime scenes she had restored to the ballet. Skeaping’s life-long love of Giselle began 1925 when she joined Anna Pavlova’s company as extra corps de ballet for a four-week season at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. To Skeaping, Pavlova remained incomparable as Giselle, although she greatly admired the interpretations of Olga Spessivtseva and Alicia Markova and, in her own productions, Alicia Alonso, Raissa Struchkova, Violetta Elvin, Galina Samtsova and Eva Evdokimova. To be in Act I of Giselle with Pavlova was a harrowing experience for the other dancers as, each time she performed the Mad Scene, it was so real that she reduced them to tears. The second act was easier to bear as the dancers were able to concentrate on portraying particularly evil Wilis. When, as Artistic Director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Skeaping finally had the opportunity to create her own production of Giselle in 1953, staging it a few months later for Ballet Alicia Alonso (the forerunner of the National Ballet of Cuba), she approached it from a musical point of view. (Skeaping was a trained musician, having studied at London’s Royal College of Music in 1924). Having danced in both Pavlova’s production and Sergueyev’s 1932 production for the Camargo Society, and having rehearsed the Sadler’s Wells version originally staged by Sergueyev, Skeaping was always troubled by the brutal cuts and rearrangements in the order of the pieces which she felt would never have been sanctioned by Adolphe Adam, nor was the banal orchestration the work of this master of melodious and harmonious music. The ballet and its music had proved so popular in 1841 that the Paris Opéra had taken the unprecedented step of publishing a piano reduction of Giselle. (Hitherto, complete ballet scores had not been considered of sufficient interest to warrant the expense of publishing them.) However, this proved to be a double-edged sword because, although ballet companies wishing to perform Giselle could thus use the original music, rather than composing a new score, the orchestration was generally left to ‘house’ composers far less accomplished than Adam, often resulting in the loss of its dramatic quality. In the 1950s most companies used the Büsser edition of the piano reduction which had been prepared from Olga Spessivtseva’s 1924 performances at the Paris Opéra. Skeaping investigated the archives of the Royal Opera, Stockholm, and found that, although there was no complete orchestral score of the 1841 production, which was first performed in Stockholm in 1845, there was a copy of the 1841 piano reduction. Notwithstanding the lack of orchestral colour, the score proved invaluable in revealing the correct order of the pieces and for the dramatic instructions it contained although, of course, there was no indication of the actual steps danced. The archives also housed some orchestral parts of the scenes she wished to restore and on this Skeaping built her production until she was able to obtain a microfilm of the original orchestral score from the Paris Opéra. This was the score which would have been transcribed from Adam’s handwritten score (also housed in the Opéra’s archives) by one of the Opéra’s copyists for use by the conductor in 1841. Skeaping also collected as much information as possible on the original production, with Gautier’s writings, critiques, lithographs and newspaper cartoons all providing her with inspiration. In her research, Skeaping received tremendous help and support from Tamara Karsavina, who had danced Giselle in Russia a few years after Pavlova’s debut in the role and in the version staged by Michel Fokine for the Ballets Russes. Karsavina, one of the finest exponents of balletic mime, which she had been teaching in London since the 1930s, taught Skeaping the complete mime sequences which had been drastically cut or omitted altogether in many productions during the 20th century. She also discussed the restorations Fokine had made to the ballet at the request of Serge Diaghilev. To Skeaping’s delight, these included a number of the elements that she herself wished to restore, particularly the Fugue for the Wilis in Act II which had been cut from Russian productions at some point in the late 19th century. Skeaping was keen to introduce the villagers at the very beginning of Act I, as indicated in the 1841 piano score. In 1968, when Mary was staging the work for the Frankfurt Ballet, her designer Hein Heckroth (designer of Kurt Jooss’s groundbreaking The Green Table) told her of the autumnal custom still followed in some German villages of tasting the new wine at a different cottage each day. The selected cottage is indicated by a wreath-encircled wine-jug hung outside. For Mary, this seemed to answer a question that had long bothered her: Why does the royal party stop at Giselle’s cottage in particular? She therefore incorporated this little ceremony into her subsequent productions. This also gives the opening scene a focal point as the young villagers, on their way to the vineyard, acknowledge the wreath and the prospect of the celebrations later that day with the wine tasting and the crowning of Giselle as queen of the vintage. Restoring this scene musically also restores Hilarion’s first entrance and we learn of his love for Giselle and the friendly relationship which exists between him and the vine-gatherers. In the ballet’s original scenario, the first scene between Giselle and Albrecht contained a mime scene in which Giselle tells him of a troubling dream in which a beautiful lady comes between them, dreams being a popular method of foreshadowing in Romantic plots. Although not including the entire mime scene, Skeaping uses the idea as a motivation for Giselle being unsure whether or not to stay with Albrecht and doubting his love (“You love me not”), leading very nicely to the famous daisy scene. The two major restorations in Act I which Skeaping undertook in 1953 were Berthe’s (Giselle’s mother) mime scene and the suite of dances known as the Pas des Vendanges, both in their original positions. Romantic ballet was a blend of realism and the supernatural and, in the mother’s mime scene, we have the first indication of the supernatural, foreshadowing not only the music but also the action in Act II. Berthe, worried by Giselle’s passion for dancing and her infatuation with the young stranger (the Duke of Silesia in disguise), relates the legend of the Wilis, spirits of young girls who were inordinately fond of dancing and died as a result of being betrayed by faithless lovers. In death, they become female vampires, haunting the woods to avenge themselves on any male who crosses their path by forcing him to dance until he dies of exhaustion. Skeaping learned the mime sequence in full from Karsavina but simplified it very slightly for present day audiences. Skeaping restored in full Giselle’s meeting with Bathilde as performed by Pavlova and exactly as described in an article for The Dancing Times by Karsavina. According to Karsavina, the dialogue in which the two girls discover they are both engaged and Bathilde makes a gift to Giselle of a necklace, was to give a human touch to the otherwise purely functional part of Bathilde. It was at this point that Skeaping found the perfect place for the Peasant Pas de Deux. Although this was not in the original scenario, being a politically motivated interpolation to give the established étoile, Nathalie Fitzjames, the opportunity to upstage the newcomer, Carlotta Grisi, just before her mad scene and had obviously not pleased Adam or Gautier, it had become an accepted part of the ballet. To Skeaping, it made dramatic sense to move it to a less intrusive position as the perfect entertainment for the royal party. The original suite, put together from music by Burgmüller, contained six pieces. Skeaping decided to use only the entrée and adage, boy’s variation with restoration of the rarely used coda, girl’s variation and coda. It was orchestrated for Skeaping by Peter March of the Tchaikovsky Foundation in New York. In Skeaping’s production, this is followed by Giselle’s solo to music by Minkus, probably choreographed in the 1880s and first danced in London in 1932 by Olga Spessivtseva. At first, Skeaping omitted this Russian interpolation in her productions but, after much persuading by Galina Samtsova, Giselle in the première of the 1971 production by London Festival Ballet, Skeaping found a dramatic reason for its inclusion: it is Giselle’s way of thanking Bathilde for her gift of the necklace. There was also the practical reason that guest artists would have a solo familiar to them. The Pas des Vendanges is a suite of dances which Giselle and Albrecht perform to celebrate the height of the wine festival, following Giselle’s coronation as queen of the vintage. No record of the original choreography exists, although there are some indications in Serge Lifar’s book on Giselle. Giselle’s solo is described as a vivacious tricotage to a flute melody. Albrecht should dance the “acrobatic arsenal of the danse d’école”. In the finale of the pas de deux, Albrecht and Giselle “give an image of fidelity with kisses in arabesque”. Skeaping drew on steps from earlier in Act I, her own knowledge of Romantic technique and a lithograph from the original production to create a charming set of dances to this suite. In Skeaping’s production, Giselle’s mad scene is based on the performances of Pavlova and Spessivtseva. For many years, there has been a controversy as to whether Giselle dies of a broken heart or stabs herself with Albrecht’s sword at the climax of the mad scene. Skeaping found Gautier’s writings ambiguous so she followed Pavlova’s example: the sword is snatched from Giselle before she can stab herself. Her weak heart, already revealed to the audience in a telling moment which Skeaping restored earlier in Act I, cannot stand the shock of Albrecht’s duplicity and so she dies. The essence of Act II is the conflict between the supernatural and the religious elements. The dominant figure of the supernatural world is Myrthe, whose passion for dancing is so great that she is queen of the Wilis. Skeaping restored her solo music in its entirety to establish this extraordinary passion, creating the most virtuosic choreography in the ballet for what she considered to be a ballerina role with the instructions to dance “furiously and with great delight”. After summoning the other Wilis to initiate Giselle, Myrthe becomes cold and calculating as she instructs them to attack the gamekeepers who have wandered into her realm. Skeaping considered this scene crucial in establishing the Wilis as the cruel, vengeful creatures described by Heinrich Heine, luring any man to his fate. She found that, too often in 20th century stagings, the character of the Wilis is diluted so that they appear to be no more than sylphs, largely due to later orchestrations which remove the evil quality of the music but it should be remembered that, in the original score, Adam described the dances of the Wilis as an “infernal Bacchanale”. The Fugue for the Wilis (allegro feroce) has perhaps been regarded as Skeaping’s most controversial restoration but she regarded it as central to the conflict between the supernatural and the religious. Giselle has led Albrecht to the safety of the cross marking her grave. The myrtle branch, symbol of Myrthe’s strength, is shattered by the superior power of the cross as she tries to force him away from it. This marks a turning point in the action as, from this moment on, her power is continually challenged. During the Fugue, she sends wave after wave of Wilis to force Albrecht away from the protection of the cross but each time they are repelled by its power (a stage direction from the original score). On the final bars, Myrthe orders Giselle away from the cross, realising that Albrecht will not be able to resist the seductive power of Giselle’s dance. In Skeaping’s production, Giselle subtly gestures to Albrecht to remain by the cross but, as she is carried away by the dance, so he is enraptured by her beauty and cannot resist leaving his sanctuary. However, Giselle continues to thwart Myrthe’s destructive intentions until the dawn when the Wilis must return to their graves. In a beautiful mime sequence restored by Skeaping, Giselle tells Albrecht “the sun has risen, you are saved”. Skeaping’s production of Giselle has been acclaimed as powerful evocation of the Romantic era. However, in her view, the present day idea of Romanticism is very much distilled and therefore she decided to omit the final tableau vivant in which Bathilde and Albrecht are reconciled at Giselle’s grave. Instead, it is only Albrecht who receives Giselle’s blessing as her spirit sinks back into its grave, saved from her fate of remaining a Wili by her undying love. © Irmgard E. Berry London 2016
  16. Casting is now on the ENB website: http://www.ballet.org.uk/whats-on/giselle/
  17. I was at the opening night of ENB's lovely Nutcracker by Wayne Eagling. I really rather like this production. The opening wintry scene with skaters in great coats is delightful and then the festivities inside the house with all the dance students is just lovely. The children were really good and a credit to Tring Park School. The "adult" role of Clara was played by Laurretta Summerscales partnered by Emilio Pavan as the Nephew and Junor Souza as the Nutcracker although they double up in parts. Best not to put too much store by that or it gets confusing! James Streeter was Herr Drosselmeyer and a fine job he made of the role too - James can do no wrong in my eyes - his magic tricks were great too! I absolutely loved the Snowflake scene at the end of Act 1 - the ballerinas kept really straight lines and the intricate patterns of them weaving in and out was just beautiful to watch, I wish they could have done an encore! The Snowflake scene alone was worth the ticket price. Of all the divertissements in Act 2 I really enjoyed the male cossack in the Russian dance - his leaps were fantastic and he barely made a sound on landing - the cast sheet is confusing as it names 2 men in that section but there was only one and I feel it was Fernando Bufala rather than Francisco Bosch who was also named? The Spanish dance was great as well and danced with great latino joie de vivre by Crystal Costa, Adela Ramirez and Vitor Menezes. The dance of the Mirlitons and the Flower Waltz were all beautiful as well, I could go on.... Laurretta was very fast in the SPF section particularly in her solo which was great. In the pdd with Emilio Pavan there was a quick succession of lifts and unfortunately the biggest of all didn't quite come off as it should - I felt that the lift in question came after too many others so it's quite understandable that it didn't quite work, overall though this was the only glitsch throughout an otherwise super show. I have not seen Emilio Pavan before and I thought he was a lovely partner to Laurretta. The orchestra played beautifully under the baton of Gavin Sutherland (although I could have done without the accompaniment of at times some loud talking and lots of rustling sweet papers etc...grrr) I noticed they had 2 harps - I almost thought the music was being amplified as it was loud but I think it was having the second harp that made it sound louder! I was delighted that ENB had a children's choir (Tring Park I think as no other credit on the cast sheet) to sing the "Ah Ahs" - that was the icing on the musical cake for me! The set and costumes are lovely and it all made for a lovely Christmassy feel. I think the Liverpool shows are pretty much a sell out which is great - I am really pleased that ENB brought Nutcracker here again as it saves a trip to London. I would definitely recommend seeing this show. A curtain call photo from last night showing Laurretta summerscales and Emilio Pavan.
  18. Just released by ENB: http://www.ballet.org.uk/media/filer_public/2016/09/08/akram_khan_giselle_principal_casting.pdf
  19. I meant to post this one some time ago, but then it got lost in my inbox, and I've only just retrieved it, so apologies for being so late: The Australian Ballet 13 - 23 July 2016 The Australian Ballet, Asia Pacific’s pre-eminent ballet company, makes a welcome return to the UK to perform Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella at the London Coliseum in July 2016. Shanghai Season - Thunder Storm Thunderstorm 11 - 14 August 2016 Thunderstorm is an award-winning modern opera about family, society and corruption in Old Shanghai. Zhou Puyuan is the head of a wealthy, successful and seemingly happy Shanghai household. But a storm is gathering… Shanghai Season - Echoes of Eternity Echoes of Eternity 17 - 21 August 2016 The Song of Everlasting Regret is a legendary poem in the canon of Chinese literature, a favourite from the 8th-century Tang dynasty. This year, it will be brought to life by the world-renowned Shanghai Ballet. Eifman Ballet – Up & Down 6 - 10 December 2016 Eifman Ballet returns to the London Coliseum this December with the UK premiere of Artistic Director Boris Eifman’s awe-inspiring ballet Up & Down featuring the invigorating music of George Gershwin, Franz Schubert and Alban Berg. Plus we already know about this from other sources: English National Ballet - The-Nutcracker The Nutcracker 17 December 2016 - 7 January 2017 Over 100 dancers and musicians bring The Nutcracker to life with exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious score played live. English National Ballet - Giselle Giselle 11 - 22 January 2017 Giselle is a haunting story of innocence and betrayal, a timeless tale about the redemptive power of love. (courtesy of Ticketmaster)
  20. So pleased to see some very favourable reaction (in French) online and some lovely photos of happy dancers in the Palais Garnier. I will post some thoughts on the performances once I have been and returned.
  21. Shiori Kase has just been named ENB principal dancer on Opera Garnier stage. Congratulations!
  22. ... replete with two different versions of Giselle (Khan/World Premiere ... and the lovely Skeaping) See link here.
  23. Just got back from Swan Lake in the round and I was enchanted. I was a bit sceptical from the clips I had seen, whether I would like it or not, but I am tempted to go again. Alina was strong and beautiful, Osiel's jumps tore up the stage, but the 60 members of the corps were the stars, the patterns they made were unbelievable. There are some tickets still available, do go if you can. Even better, I was waiting for a taxi to go to Victoria to get the red eye coach home, and Irek Mukhamedov came out of the door, and he signed my pointe shoes! He was so humble, he said, 'I can't, I didn't do anything', but he kindly signed them anyway. If you do get a chance to go, go in at Door 1, they have a black and a white swan tutu on stands there, lovely to see them so close up.