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capybara

The Royal Ballet: Swan Lake, anticipating the new production, Summer 2018

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This topic has already been touched on in "TimesWatch" but the Royal Opera House magazine has an article about the new production. A few key points:

 

  • Odette "and her black swan nemesis Odile" are "magical beings.......two distinct entities, creations of von Rothbart and controlled by him"
  • von Rothbart will be built up into a "true dramatic villain"......" who dances, not just a character figure"
  • Siegfried is on stage throughout: "We follow him and see his point of view", says Scarlett
  • the role of Benno will be "more substantial" and the two dancers with whom he will perform the Act pas de trois "will be Siegfried's sisters"
  • many company dances and divertissements will be re-choreographed (but not Ashton's Neopolitan Dance)
  • there will be an entirely new Act IV
  • the ending has been decided but remains undisclosed
  • Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov will lead the first night cast
  • there will be 6 different casts initially (as yet not announced) with opportunities in due course "for some of the up-and-coming company dancers to take the principal roles"

 

There is, of course, much more in the article about the background to the new production and the approach that Scarlett and Macfarlane (designer) are taking.

 

Can't wait!

 

Edited by capybara
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Thanks for taking the time to sum up the article, Capybara.  Hmmm some interesting concepts.  I hope that the ending stays the same, i.e. the two lovers throwing themselves in the lake.  I really dislike the happy ending version!

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13 minutes ago, ToThePointe said:

I don’t mind a happy ending - after all, good always trumps evil! :)

Sadly this isn't always the case, but call me old and cynical!

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So glad the Neopolitan will be retained. It certainly livened up proceedings in the last production. I was also hoping we'd get Ashton's fourth act as well. 

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18 minutes ago, ToThePointe said:

I don’t mind a happy ending - after all, good always trumps evil! :)

 

Yes - but through sacrifice. For me, that's the key and what makes Swan Lake so powerful.

Edited by bridiem
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1 hour ago, capybara said:
  • there will be 6 different casts initially (as yet not announced) with opportunities in due course "for some of the up-and-coming company dancers to take the principal roles"

 

 

- Marianella Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov  - we now know as a confirmed cast

I guess the others will be:

- Lauren Cuthbertson and Reece Clark

- Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae

- Natalia Osipova and ?

- Akane Takada and ?

- another younger principal and ?   to guess...

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sim said:

 I hope that the ending stays the same, i.e. the two lovers throwing themselves in the lake.  I really dislike the happy ending version!

 

But if Odette is Rothbart's magical creation, controlled by him, she won't really be dying?

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3 minutes ago, Jane S said:

 

But if Odette is Rothbart's magical creation, controlled by him, she won't really be dying?

 

Yes, I wondered about that aspect. She can't be wholly a magical creation since there has to be a real woman somewhere with whom the prince falls in love, etc...

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My like for one of your above posts Sim is not that you may be old and cynical  ...surely not ...just wise and realistic!! Because in our current world as you say Good does not necessarily triumph over evil at all unfortunately.....this view is usually held more by the young with the seductive optimism of youth ......fifty years ago may well have held this view myself...but hey who knows perhaps the World is about to undergo a change of Fortune( long overdue)  ....however hard it is to believe right now!!

 

Back to Swan Lake....yes I hope it's not a "happy ending" in the literal sense....the music is just so wonderful at the end and has a transformational feel about it so it would seem to me a little trite to to turn it into a straightforward sort of " boy gets girl in the end " story. 

Hope we can keep a bit of the Myth and Magic in Swan Lake.

 

looking forward to which young dancers will get the challenges of this big role......it's a lot of demanding dancing...so stamina and overall strength ...as well as talent ..must come into deciding this. Good luck to whoever it is ... I know I shall want to see them!!

 

 

 

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Aah but the love of the Prince who is REAL may overcome her magical connection to Rothbart ....she has to find her true self ...but not in Rothbarts World ....that has to take place somewhere else....I suppose not that  unlike leaving home and having to grow up and find our own values etc.

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19 minutes ago, Jane S said:

Well, not necessarily - it's enough for Siegfried's tragedy for him to believe she's real, I guess.

 

But then it wouldn't be about both of them, or about true (mutual) love, or about sacrifice, etc. It would just be about him, being mistaken or blind or tricked or whatever. That's not a reading that would resonate much for me.

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6 minutes ago, LinMM said:

Aah but the love of the Prince who is REAL may overcome her magical connection to Rothbart ....she has to find her true self ...but not in Rothbarts World ....that has to take place somewhere else....I suppose not that  unlike leaving home and having to grow up and find our own values etc.

 

That's interesting, LinMM. But it would make Rothbart the initial creator instead of just an evil distorter which is how I see him.

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3 hours ago, Rachelm said:

Maybe Fumi Kaneko as Odette? 

 

Maybe. We know Nunez. Probably Cuthbertson, Lamb,  Osipova, Haywood and Naghdi maybe. There seems there could be many more though. The should announce fairly soon.

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Hayward, not Haywood!  ☺

 

Fumi was certainly a lovely Sugar Plum. Fairy on Wednesday night.  

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Thank you very much for posting this. I am organizing an entire trip to London around seeing this production with multiple casts and honestly had not imagined quite so much tweaking of the traditional libretto/staging as the list above implies. One or two of the tweaks even recall the Grigorovich Swan Lake--which, let's just say, is not my favorite. Honestly, I hope I've got that wrong. And I guess it's just as well to be prepared. But at least we do know how Tchaikovsky and Petipa/Ivanov ended the ballet. I would have said that it's nothing so 'earthly' as happy or sad. It's sacrificial and transcendent and that's what one hears in the music too. I'm hoping to see that on stage...

 

(And, of course, whatever the production, I'm also super looking forward to seeing many of the Royal Ballet's dancers whom I have seen very little in recent years and that little in 20th-21st-century choreography.)

Edited by DrewCo
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1 hour ago, Sim said:

Hayward, not Haywood!  ☺

 

Fumi was certainly a lovely Sugar Plum. Fairy on Wednesday night.  

 

Some one else in my life is Haywood. I think subconsciously I always thought that was hwr name.

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1 hour ago, Sim said:

Hayward, not Haywood!  ☺

 

Fumi was certainly a lovely Sugar Plum. Fairy on Wednesday night.  

 

was that in the afternoon? I watched Claire Calvert in the evening...

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23 hours ago, Nina G. said:

 

- Marianella Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov  - we now know as a confirmed cast

I guess the others will be:

- Lauren Cuthbertson and Reece Clark

- Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae

- Natalia Osipova and ?

- Akane Takada and ?

- another younger principal and ?   to guess...

 

 

OK, casting roulette. Here goes from me :-

 

Nunez, Muntagirov

Lamb, Hirano

Cuthbertson, Clarke

Osipova, Bonelli

Takada, McRae

Hayward, Campbell or Naghdi, Ball

Edited by Jamesrhblack
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10 hours ago, Shya100 said:

 

Maybe. We know Nunez. Probably Cuthbertson, Lamb,  Osipova, Haywood and Naghdi maybe. There seems there could be many more though. The should announce fairly soon.

 

From my reading of the wording, I'd guess established principals for the initial run, with others to follow later.  So:

 

Nunez/Cuthbertson/Lamb/Osipova/... and Muntagirov/Bonelli/McRae/Kish/... (am having a bit of a mental block on all RB principals, and other dancers who've danced the roles at sub-principal level).  If there's major rewriting of the choreographic text as well, I can't see them having the time to concentrate on new arrivals to the role (although, as has been commented elsewhere, certain high-ranking dancers haven't had a vast amount to do yet this year).

 

Wonder what Morera will do?

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Oh dear you wait for thirty years for a decent Swan Lake by which I mean a sound text and designs which create the right atmosphere,don't overwhelm the dancers and provide enough space to dance in and now it sounds as if we could well be about to get a version not that far removed from the current Grigorovitch version with von Rothbart becoming an all- dancing evil genius type of character. I do hope that the RB has not finally succumbed to the Russian revised version after retaining something fairly close to the original for years.  At a time when at least one major choreographer, albeit working outside Russia, is showing interest in what Petipa's ballet actually looked like in performance and is staging versions that Petipa might actually recognise it would appear that we are going to have a version which moves further away from the Petipa/Ivanov original than we have seen before. Even the 1963 production in which Ashton introduced new choreography including a new fourth act did not alter the structure of the ballet or the character role of  Von Rothbart. I do hope that Scarlett's innovations do not include dancing through the processional music, a jester and and a rip off the wing happy ending.

 

 I can't help finding it ironic that in Petipa's centenary year it sounds as if the RB is going to have a Swan Lake production which moves further away from the scenario,structure and choreography which Petipa envisaged than the company has done before.The 1963 production had the excuse that it was using the original score with the music in the acts in which Tchaikovsky had intended it to be heard and as so much of the new choreography was detachable much of it was seen in the revised versions of the ballet which the company performed until the Dowell production swept them all away. I shall be glad to see the back of Bintley's waltz and all the bling but I am not sure that I find what is being offered very appealing. Producing a version which sounds as if it has the potential to eliminate the very elements which made de Valois acquire Swan Lake in the first place is not what I was hoping for.When she acquired Swan Lake she did so because it was  a ballet whose unchanging choreography would challenge each generation of the company's dancers by forcing them to pit their technical and artistic skills against those of the great dancers of the past who had appeared in it . She thought that dancing in the ballet was the way to develop and then maintain high technical skills throughout the company. I don't wish anyone ill but I can't help wondering what the critical reaction will be to, what sounds like a radical departure from the company's core values and aesthetic traditions and what impact it might have on the Artistic Director's reputation ? Does not Kevin's contract come up for renewal next year?

 

As to the casting if there are only to be six casts initially then I rather hope that Osipova is unavailable for the first run because if she dances it will mean that one or other of the new female principals will have to wait until the next season to make her Swan Lake debut here. I hope that Kevin will stick to the casting plan he had for Sleeping Beauty at the beginning of this year rather than this run of Nutcracker.This makes it possible that Takada will be partnered by Hay as they looked beautiful together in Beauty, that Hayward will dance  with Campbell and Naghdi and Ball will dance together while Kish and Hirano could well be lined up as the all-dancing Rothbart. I am not sure that Osipova will want to be involved in the opening performances of a new production which could well take a number of performances to bed in.If she dances then I would guess that Hallberg is her most likely partner. As for Choe, Kaneko and other first soloists and soloists I really can't see them being given performances during the initial run of the new production as that would mean ignoring principal dancers who must have a prior claim to dancing the role of Odette/Odile than the first soloists do.

 

I don't think that any of us need worry that the likes of Hamilton,Kaneko, Choe, Stix-Brunell, O'Sullivan and Magri won't be given an opportunity to show what they can do with Odette/Odile over the next eighteen months.There are bound to be plenty of performances in the 2018-19 season as management will want to give dancers who made their debuts in the initial run an opportunity to consolidate and develop their interpretations but above all it will want to recoup the costs of the staging as quickly as possible.One thing we can be sure of is that the tickets will sell however far removed the text, charcterisation and choreography may be from the company's traditional version of the ballet. If the production is less than satisfactory then management could always ask Dowell to let them use the text of his production with the new sets and costumes.I don't think that any serious ballet goer would object as the problem with Dowell's production was always held to be the designs not what was being danced , with the possible exception of the waltz which was both clumsy and anaemic .

Edited by FLOSS
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“As to the casting if there are only to be six casts then I rather hope that Osipova is unavailable for the initial run because if she dances it will mean that one or other of the new female principals will have to wait until the next season to make her Swan Lake debut here. I think that Kevin will stick to the casting plan he had for Sleeping Beauty at the beginning of this year rather than this run of Nutcracker.This makes it possible that Takada will be partnered by Hay as they looked beautiful together in Beauty, that Hayward will dance  with Campbell and Naghdi and Ball will dance together with Kish and Hirano lined up as the dancing Rothbart. I am not sure that Osipova will want to be involved in the opening performances of a new production which could well take a number of performances to bed in.If she dances then I would guess that Hallberg is her most likely partner. As for Choe, Kaneko and other first soloists and soloists I really can't see them being given performances during the initial run of the new production as that would mean ignoring principal dancers who must have a prior claim to dancing the role of Odette/Odile than the first soloists do.”

 

Good point Floss. I’d overlooked the implications of the dancing Rothbart (had been wondering where Kish would fit in and agree that that would make sense for Hirano). I’ll stick to Takada with McRae as he seems wedded to dancing with her at the moment but will move Bonelli to Lamb and insert Hallberg with Osipova...

 

I’m not sure that I can see Choe and O’Sullivan as future Odette / Odiles but would envisage Calvert and Heap in at some point (and would love to see what Mendizabal might do) and I am imagine we can expect to see Bracewell, Corrales and Edmondson as well as Hay cast as Siegfried at some point.

 

Above the casting, the nature of the production is the most important aspect and I do hope that there will be respect for the existing text for the very cogent reasons that Floss, as always, puts forward.

 

 

Edited by Jamesrhblack
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