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zxDaveM

The Royal Ballet: Sylvia, London, November 2017

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Vadim Muntagirov certainly stole last night's show as far as I was concerned, he looked happy and relaxed and danced and partnered like a dream again, and deservedly got the most applause of the evening after his solo, thought the audience a little muted overall. Lauren Cuthbertson was my favourite Sylvia of the three, with two outstanding Aminta's from Reece Clarke and Vadim Muntagirov, they both transformed  a role that hasn't always been highly thought of. Really glad now that I braved the weather and travel warnings yesterday, didn't want to miss Sylvia!

 

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Interesting to hear peoples thoughts about the Osipova/Muntagirov partnership as, like many others I've been hoping to see them together but it's never happened before. I know this is not a true test as the partnership was very last minute but how did those members who saw them together think they gelled as a partnership? Was it a partnership you would go and see again? Would it be worth repeating as a scheduled partnership? I'm going to the Saturday matinee and keep wondering if I'll see it again when they've had more chance to rehearse together( though I love Bonelli as a dancer also and would be more than happy to see him. Certainly don't want to wish anyone to remain injured longer than they have to.)

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May I say a little yay?  Not meaning to disrespect Federico Bonelli, but Muntagirov is so lovely in the role, and I have only seen him once.....

 

Meanwhile, I hope that Federico recovers very quickly from whatever injury he has, and certainly in time for Giselle if not Nutcracker.

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1 hour ago, GailR said:

ROH casting showing Vadim Muntagirov partnering Osipova on Saturday matinee.

 

WOW!! A dream come true to see the 2 of them together but I just wished it hadn't happened like this and I hope Federico recovers soon. I intend to book for his and Laura's Manon on the strength of seeing their amazing Frankenstein and even more amazing Mayerling. Their Manon should be really special.

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I thought they were wonderful together on Monday...especially at such short notice. Osipova seemed to have a much greater connection with Muntagirov, especially in the final pdd. I wish Federico a speedy recovery, but am delighted we get the opportunity to see Vadim and Natalia again 

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Now feeling a little bit bereft having just completed my run of Sylvias at this morning's very lovely matinee.  I have been lucky enough to see all three casts (sadly not Bonelli this time round) and, thanks to earlier postings, realise I have been lucky to see every cast since the ballet's revival several years ago. This is going to sound extremely bland but, looking back, I've loved every performance I've seen. Yes, there are standouts (Muntagirov of course, for example) but I do agree with the person above who commented that this ballet is almost dancer proof. Given it's demands it shouldn't be - but there is so much to enjoy time after time: the music, the costumes, the sets, yes, the silliness of the story but above all the wonderful choreography - there is so much in there that you see new things every performance. I am surprised every time that a second act of only 20 minutes makes you feel you've seen an amazing amount of dancing. Do hope that we don't have to wait too long to see it again but hope the gap is long enough to fall in love with the ballet all over again.  And thank you to three lovely Sylvias, two fantastic Amintas and assorted goats, Dianas etc. I've loved every minute!

 

Finally had to pop into the box office after the performance only to see Bonelli in there. No idea what his injury is but no outward sign of anything major. I shouldn't really make personal comments but no-one will be surprised that he was his usual extremely courteous self in a very busy box office!

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I’ve just been to the matinee too. It’s years since I’ve seen Silvia and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does have a 50’s feel but it is fun, beautiful and obviously taxing choreography. Osipova and Muntagirov made it look easy, which was a joy to watch. I also really appreciated they were cast for the matinee as it was the only Silvia I could make. Best wishes go to Bonelli for a speedy recovery. 

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On 12/1/2017 at 10:20, Sim said:

Will post a few impressions once I've seen all three casts.

 

Just dropping you a reminder, Sim :) Looking forward to reading your views.

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Have seen 3 different Sylvia casts and enjoyed them all in slightly different ways. I loved the ballet itself and didn't really notice the rather thin, outlandish plot because there is so much to enjoy in the sets, costumes, lighting and choreography, and above all the wonderful music and high standard of dancing and acting. I thought Marianella scored more as a vamp in the second act; you could really 'see' her working out how to play it to get Thiago drunk. But she was also really strong in the first act and lyrical in the last. Reece Clark was a revelation in the second cast I saw. Difficult to believe he is only a soloist; surely promotion due next summer. He reminded me slightly of Jonathan Cope. Valentino Zucchetti was brilliant as Eros but I also enjoyed seeing Fernando Montanez today and glad to have seen him in a solo role at last. (He may have had others but I don't remember seeing him.) I don't think his walk was quite as 'pantomime' and funny as Valentino's but it was still a great performance. Finally, what can I say about today's principals'? For me, everything came together to make it a magical, unforgettable performance. Vadim danced like a dream; such style and elegance. he made so much out of relatively little. I loved Osipova's performance (apart from a six o'clock' extension she did near the start which I'm sure Ashton wouldn't choreograph for Fonteyn).The Osipova/Muntagirov partnership was everything I'd hoped for over the years and I hope we haven't seen the end of it. I do love seeing Vadim with Marianella but if he could partner Osipova occasionally that would be great. It perhaps wasn't a great ballet to form a partnership as they only have one pas de deux  but you wouldn't think they have had such a short rehearsal time together.  I can only regret the lack of more Ashton this season and hope that will be remedied next season. it would be brilliant to have a Christmas Ashton double bill, perhaps with Pigeons and Patineurs.

 

The 3 wonderful performances I've seen of this ballet makes me realise all the more what a criminal decision it was not to film it and release it on dvd or possibly even on tv. If you click on the link on the ROH news page about the broadcasting of Boheme over Christmas there is a sentence at the bottom that says 'The ROH and the BBC are partners'. Really?? Haven't seen any sign of that recently. In fact I can't remember a time when so little RB has been broadcast by the BBC. They seem to have taken to producing docs rather than full ballets. This is despite all the cinema broadcasts so the BBC wouldn't even have to film them. I know there are always problems with rights and contracts but presumably this has always been the case. Hopefully Sylvia won't be allowed to languish unperformed for another 7 years and next time it will be broadcast so the world can see this great ballet. In the meantime I'll have to make do with my memories, especially of today. For me, Christmas really did come early.

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1 hour ago, jmhopton said:

They seem to have taken to producing docs rather than full ballets

it would have been good if they had done this for the recent MacMillan celebrations. It seems that while music is pretty well covered, particularly during the Proms, ballet and theatre get very poor coverage.

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Today was the first time I've seen Sylvia and I loved everything about it, especially that it makes no claim to be anything other than a beautiful thing to look at.

 

Fonteyn was before my time, and I've never seen footage of her Sylvia, but I wonder if those who saw her could tell me if I'm being fanciful: I had the curious sensation watching Osipova today that I was seeing a sort of "tracing" of Fonteyn (not really the right word as it implies that Osipova was not full of her customary dynamism, which she certainly was). I've never had that feeling before - do I make any sense? And if I do is it particular to this role?

 

Apart from that: Muntagirov was just as fabulous as everyone said (I too would love to see him partner Osipova more) and of the rest of the cast Anna Rose O'Sullivan's goat really stood out.

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17 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

Today was the first time I've seen Sylvia and I loved everything about it, especially that it makes no claim to be anything other than a beautiful thing to look at.

 

Fonteyn was before my time, and I've never seen footage of her Sylvia, but I wonder if those who saw her could tell me if I'm being fanciful: I had the curious sensation watching Osipova today that I was seeing a sort of "tracing" of Fonteyn (not really the right word as it implies that Osipova was not full of her customary dynamism, which she certainly was). I've never had that feeling before - do I make any sense? And if I do is it particular to this role?

 

Apart from that: Muntagirov was just as fabulous as everyone said (I too would love to see him partner Osipova more) and of the rest of the cast Anna Rose O'Sullivan's goat really stood out.

 

I think that those of us who saw Fonteyn in roles originally created for her will inevitably see "echos" of her when those roles are performed by other dancers., so I don't think that such an experience is peculiar to Sylvia although this was a role created specifically to show off Fonteyn's talents. The big difference between Fonteyn's performance and those of the current run of Sylvias is that today's dancers have a more athletic attack and bigger jump than Fonteyn.

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It was so good to see Osipova partnered with Muntagirov at last and they did go well together, both ‘in-hold’ and when apart. When dancing the solos their jumps seemed to echo the other’s. The individual highlight for me was Osipova’s pizzicato section, her dancing just played with the music, so lovely to watch! As said above Anna Rose O'Sullivan's goat was excellent and I loved Mayara Magri’s Persephone. And the Tutu clad girls were fabulous. How many of them should there be? Were there really only four yesterday versus eight two weeks ago?

Act 2 didn’t do much for me the first time around but from a very different angle yesterday’s was much more enjoyable.

Definitely a wonderful ballet and as said should be brought back more frequently and recorded next time!

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I could only attend one performance of Sylvia his run unfortunately. I really enjoyed yesterday’s performance and I thought it was well danced. I would’ve loved to have been able to see Cuthbertson and Nunez as well... (sigh)

I couldn’t believe it had been 7 years since I saw it last. I went home and took out my previous cast sheets (2008 and 2010) and I think I’m missing one or two. I know I attended a performance where Laura Morera dances the role of Diana but I couldn’t find that sheet.  Poor record keeping on my part or am I imagining things?  Did anyone else catch this “imagined” performance. 

I took it all in yesterday and it was wonderful. Good to see Fuki Kaneko back dancing and it was my first time seeing William Bracewell. I really noticed Annette Buvoli yesterday day and gosh Reece has changed since I saw him last in Symphonic Variations and Symphonic Dances(??)... lots of chiseling has occurred.

Anna Rose O’Sullivan mad WMU hear skip a beat as usual and it was a pleasure just to watch Joseph Sissens even in the little bit he did. I can’t add any more superlatives about Vadim Muntagirov...

There’ll be lots of trawling this forum from Tokyo for the next 3 years.

Now for my Nutcracker fix ...

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10 minutes ago, Jam Dancer said:

it was a pleasure just to watch Joseph Sissens even in the little bit he did. 

 

Yes he definitely got the prize for beautiful bearing and arched feet, but what a shame he wasn't given more to do. I would have loved to see him dance Eros

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On 12/16/2017 at 21:09, jmhopton said:

it would be brilliant to have a Christmas Ashton double bill, perhaps with Pigeons and Patineurs.

 

 

YES, STRONGLY AGREE! But the other way around...Patineurs/Pigeons.

 

Hoping that in 2019 (next season and the one after) there will be a chance to celebrate Fonteyn's centenary year with a pertinent choice of repertoire.

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On 16/12/2017 at 21:09, jmhopton said:

Reece Clark was a revelation in the second cast I saw. Difficult to believe he is only a soloist; surely promotion due next summer. He reminded me slightly of Jonathan Cope.

Me too- more than slightly- a very welcome thing!

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I’m sorry this is such a late post but I’ve been meaning to add a brief comment on the final Sylvia in this series of performances.  It was an opportunity for me to see the Natalia Osipova cast with Vadim Muntagirov, as Federico Bonelli was injured, having seen the other two casts.  I'd not seen Sylvia in the theatre until this run and it has certainly grown on me.  I found Natalia brought a real sense of developing the character over the three Acts, as well as wonderful dancing.  I love her attack and ability to be in position that mili-second before the beat and then hold it.  As everyone has said, Vadim was stupendous (as was his Nutcracker Prince the previous afternoon).  And Anna Rose O’Sullivan and David Yudes were brilliant goats.  I agree with others in hoping that Sylvia will regularly return to the Royal Ballet.

 

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Have just watched the Sylvia dvd as I can't see any more live performances, alas. It was interesting to see Sarah lamb and Lauren Cuthbertson as 2 of Sylvia's attendants and Thiago still playing the villain! However, the performance as a whole didn't 'grab' me like the live performances. I know you can't really make comparisons and seeing it on a small screen, not even the cinema screen will inevitably reduce the scale and impact of the ballet but it is the sheer quality of performances by everyone that made this seasons run so memorable and exciting whereas I didn't find the dvd very exciting at all.

 

However, my memory is not very good, but I'm sure there were at least a couple of differences between the 2 productions, possibly more if my memory was better. The most noticeable one was in the choreography in what I call the 'Wilson, Kepple (without Betty)' sand dance in the second act. In the dvd they did separate cartwheels but in the 2017 production I'm sure they did more complicated moves, almost pulling each other over into cartwheels where they are joined together. Also when Sylvia changes her dress in the 2nd act on the dvd she changes into a gold dress whereas this year she had a rather splendid peacock blue dress. if there was a change in the choreography who is authorised to change it? Similarly, who decides on the costume change?

 

I see the dvd I have was a recording from Christmas tv, possibly 2005. if only we had a similar treat to look forward to this year!!! here's hoping for next year (Mr O'Hare, please take note!)

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16 hours ago, jmhopton said:

Have just watched the Sylvia dvd as I can't see any more live performances, alas. It was interesting to see Sarah lamb and Lauren Cuthbertson as 2 of Sylvia's attendants and Thiago still playing the villain! However, the performance as a whole didn't 'grab' me like the live performances. I know you can't really make comparisons and seeing it on a small screen, not even the cinema screen will inevitably reduce the scale and impact of the ballet but it is the sheer quality of performances by everyone that made this seasons run so memorable and exciting whereas I didn't find the dvd very exciting at all.

 

However, my memory is not very good, but I'm sure there were at least a couple of differences between the 2 productions, possibly more if my memory was better. The most noticeable one was in the choreography in what I call the 'Wilson, Kepple (without Betty)' sand dance in the second act. In the dvd they did separate cartwheels but in the 2017 production I'm sure they did more complicated moves, almost pulling each other over into cartwheels where they are joined together. Also when Sylvia changes her dress in the 2nd act on the dvd she changes into a gold dress whereas this year she had a rather splendid peacock blue dress. if there was a change in the choreography who is authorised to change it? Similarly, who decides on the costume change?

 

I see the dvd I have was a recording from Christmas tv, possibly 2005. if only we had a similar treat to look forward to this year!!! here's hoping for next year (Mr O'Hare, please take note!)

 

We also watched the Bussell DVD recently and were quite underwhelmed with it, especially in comparison to the quality of performances seen in this run. Having initially wondered why on earth I got tickets for four performances this time, I am now sorry I didn't get more and am extremely sad to see it end.

 

You are quite right about the slave dance being different. This time the cartwheels were done holding each other around the waist and was much more exciting. They got better at it as the run progressed too!

 

One can only hope, with all the positive comments over this run, that we don't have to wait so long to see it again. This is a ballet that needs to be shared with a wider audience via a live screening/DVD rather than wrapping it in mothballs for another nine years. Caesar Corales for Orion next time? It's a thought......

 

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I hope this post is not too late, but I have a question about the 2005 DVD.

 

Could anyone tell me the name of the dancer in the role of Persephone? She dances with Gartside as Pluto in Act III.

She's also one of the woodland creatures in the opening scene and the camera lingers on her quite a bit, as if she were a rising star. Is she still with the company?

 

(Incidentally, it was interesting to see Cuthbertson, Lamb, McRae and Liam Scarlett in supporting parts. And I thought Martin Harvey was perfect as Eros - handsome, haughty and mischievous at the same time).

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