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Nina G.

The Royal Ballet: Giselle, January-March 2018

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https://britishballetnowandthen.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/giselle-now-and-then/

Interesting article about "Giselle"  

(including a description of the difference between Naghdi's and Hayward's style of dancing)

 

Jan Parry also described the difference in their style of dancing (Act II) - 

http://dancetabs.com/2017/12/royal-ballet-the-nutcracker-london-4/

 

We are very fortunate to have many wonderful dancers (male and female) in the company, be it in the Corps de ballet, at Soloist level and amongst the Principals.

 

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I'd like to point out that the book Giselle and I by Alicia Markova (the very first ballerina I ever saw) is not an autobiography, it is an account of the many productions she danced in together with her thoughts on dancing the role along with fascinating historical information.  It is one of my favourite ballet books and well worth investing in for Giselle lovers that haven't yet read it.

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I know that it's not the 'done thing' to comment on rehearsals. But those us of who were fortunate to be at the 'General' today will affirm that anyone with tickets for the performance on the 9th Feb. is in for a real treat :)

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34 minutes ago, capybara said:

I know that it's not the 'done thing' to comment on rehearsals. But those us of who were fortunate to be at the 'General' today will affirm that anyone with tickets for the performance on the 9th Feb. is in for a real treat :)

Affirmed :)

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Well in my view anyone who was at tonight's performance had a real treat... Nunez was just incredible! Throughout, but especially in Act 2 where she imbued all her movements with both strength and delicacy, so physically embodying both the goodness and the vulnerability of Giselle. In one of the early solos as she rotated slowly in arabesque she was like a turning point in a still world, her movement the symbol of the salvation she was trying to win for Albrecht. There was another solo sequence where she danced as I've never seen a Giselle dance before - I can't describe it properly but there was applause in the middle of the solo which I've never heard before and I hope someone better informed than me will be able to say what she did that was different. All I can say is that it was breathtaking. And when Albrecht's salvation had been won and dawn broke, her effort was spent and she succumbed once more to the spirit world, visibly slipping through Albrecht's arms.

 

I was struck for the first time tonight by the flowers: Albrecht brings extravagant, aristocratic flowers to Giselle's grave; she in contrast brings him small, graceful wild flowers. And when she has returned to her grave, Albrecht is drawn not to the flowers there but to the single, small white bloom in the centre of the stage. He picks it up with ineffable care, as if it is the essence of Giselle's love and purity, the thing which must be treasured and preserved above all.

 

Bonelli danced beautifully and acted with sincerity, but I didn't think that he matched the depth of interpretation of Nunez. I thought that Heap was a terrific Myrna - glamorous and strong and taking an almost erotic pleasure in the demise of Hilarion (Gartside brilliant as usual) and the anticipation of a similar fate for Albrecht until her power was finally thwarted. AND the major treat of Naghdi and Campbell leading the Pas de Six! Both wonderful, and Naghdi dancing with such feeling and intense musicality that it nearly moved me to tears. I became so involved with them as a couple that I almost didn't want to get back to Giselle and Albrecht! And Olivia Cowley a ridiculously beautiful Bathilde, dazzling Giselle until she unwittingly broke her heart.

 

A great performance.

 

 

Edited by bridiem
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Just in tears (almost) reading this thread - when more posts are added about later performances I’m not sure I’ll be able to read them. Giselle is my favourite ballet and I’d hoped to catch at least one performance of this run. I love my new role in Tokyo but it’s just not possible to pop in and catch a performance so I had to ignore early bookings for this run. It’s going to be a heartbreaking for the next three years😞.

 

Anyway please keep the reviews coming! lots of detail and description pretty please 😜

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Absolutely spot on bridiem, you conveyed my thoughts/feelings perfectly. I think the solo you refer to was when Giselle does a series of two footed hops and normally to achieve a hop requires you to bend your knees. Nela seemed to do these hops, and there are a lot of them, without bending the knee which was extraordinary. She was stupendous and, in fairness, so was the whole cast. The corps in Act 2 were so together it was really chilling. Fantastic.

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Perfection, is all I can say.  Never seen a better Giselle.

 

I heard Federico telling someone as he left, that he was only told two days ago that he was dancing tonight, instead of Vadim, and that he had had to postpone his holiday to Japan.  He said he had only had one rehearsal, but that it didn't matter, as 'Nela does it all by herself anyway', which I though was such a lovely and gracious thing to say.

 

 

Edited by cavycapers
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Wow it sounded amazing!! I hope Takada/Ella are equally breathtaking when I see them tomorrow!

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I was also there - a very accurate review, bridiem. I loved Heap's Myrthe - that face! Marianela was, of course, a joy to watch. Her mad scene is so natural and convincing it brings a lump to the throat.

 

Bonelli was a likeable Albrecht and his acting got stronger as the performance went on - his ending was lovely. However, in comparison with Marianela, I felt he didn't quite reach the same level of dancing - and when one knows what Muntagirov can do with it....

 

Naghdi and Campbell in the Pas de Six were superb, and a special mention to Joseph Sissens, who quite rightly is being given some plum roles - he has particularly beautiful feet.

 

I don't know if it was where I was sitting, but the orchestra seemed a little leaden under Kassels, and there were some rather obvious bloopers from the horn section in a couple of places.

 

The applause for Marianela in the middle of an Act 2 solo was mentioned. I am all for showing appreciation for dancers, but (again, maybe because I was sitting quite close to the applauders) I found it somewhat inappropriate and quite annoying - it happened several times (they were obviously Marianela fans!) and there was actual whooping going on! Call me old fashioned, but for me it broke the spell of the ethereal Act 2 and was out of place. I've never seen that happen before. I'm quite happy to be told I'm a Grumpy Old Git! ☺

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53 minutes ago, SPD444 said:

Absolutely spot on bridiem, you conveyed my thoughts/feelings perfectly. I think the solo you refer to was when Giselle does a series of two footed hops and normally to achieve a hop requires you to bend your knees. Nela seemed to do these hops, and there are a lot of them, without bending the knee which was extraordinary. She was stupendous and, in fairness, so was the whole cast. The corps in Act 2 were so together it was really chilling. Fantastic.

All I can say is somebody better film these hops. They were amazing and looked utterly right for a Giselle. 

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Thanks for these very evocative reviews, I had to miss it due to ill health.

 

Balletfanp you are not a Grumpy Old Git for preferring no 'whooping' in Act 2 of Giselle!

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A truly lovely opening night.  Great atmosphere in The House, although I agree that I wish the whooping could wait until the end of Act 2.  There were some quite vocal fans in last night, which is great, but I don't like the other-worldly aura of Act 2 to be intruded upon by our all-too-real world.  

 

I thought that Marianela Nunez danced wonderfully;  not only did she dance beautifully but in Act 2 especially she gave a deeply moving interpretation of forgiveness and love.  Unlike others, I found that Federico Bonelli was her technical equal.  I was a bit surprised at how good he was;  beautifully placed turns, perfect cabrioles, high jumps, confident partnering....and again, his interpretation of Albrecht is one that I like very much.   He is in great shape and doesn't seem to have aged at all.  Although I loved their performances,  I wasn't as moved at the end as I was when Nela did it with Vadim and Federico did it with Lauren Cuthbertson.  Strange!

 

I agree about the pas de six:  absolutely wonderful dancing from Yasmine Naghdi and Alexander Campbell.  From her, such fleet footwork, gorgeous lines held long enough for everyone to admire, clear and crisp dancing.....I can't wait for her Giselle debut.  From him, perfect tours en l'air all landed centrally and steadily, great partnering and general enjoyment of what he was doing.  From the other four, a few moments of bad timing but on the whole very nice.

 

I just loved Tierney Heap as Myrthe, the cold and vengeful Queen of the Wilis.  She danced with such confidence and aplomb, and I can't think of a Myrthe who has terrified me so much since the days of Monica Mason (and I've only seen her on screen!).  I would hate to meet this Myrthe in a dark anywhere.  And the gusto with which she threw the flowers into the wings made me say to my daughter that she could pitch for the NY Mets!   The contrast between that and when she is momentarily cowed by the force of love really works.

 

I was so pleased to see Bennett Gartside as Hilarion once again.  He always brings something special to whatever he does, and this was no exception.

 

The corps was beautiful and in such harmony with each other.  Special mention to Anna-Rose O'Sullivan and Beatriz Stix-Brunell as Zulme and Moyna;  worthy assistants to an imperious queen.

 

There have been a few slight changes to the production which I'm not too crazy about.   Why are the Wilis now smeared with dirt?  I know that they have been buried in boxes in the ground, but surely these are supposed to be ethereal spirits, not earthy women?   We don't need them smeared with dirt to let us know that they are powerful females:  the choreography tells us that.  When we were leaving at the end of the night, two women behind me were saying that the ghosts looked 'green'.  Maybe this should be re-thought.  

 

I don't know too much about music,  but I know the music to this ballet pretty well, and it seems that this too was tweaked.  For example, in the entrechats six segment, the music is now just played by strings, so it doesn't have anywhere near the terrifying impact that the build-up from the whole orchestra traditionally gives it.  The music tells us 'this is it, Albrecht is on his last legs', and then when Giselle appears to save him, the music softens up so that we breathe a sigh of relief.  There were a couple of other places where it has changed, and I don't think it improves things.  I know that Sir Peter Wright has a reputation for constantly tweaking his ballets, but as the old saying goes, if ain't broke, don't fix it.   For me, this production of Giselle was just about perfect;  there wasn't any need to alter things.  

 

Having said all this, they are relatively small niggles and I look forward very much to the other performances that I will be lucky enough to see.  Well done to the whole company, and I wish them all a great mid-season break before a very busy few months to come.  

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I'm not going until later in the run, but may I just thank everybody for such wonderfully detailed reviews.  They are a real treat to read.

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59 minutes ago, Sim said:

And the gusto with which she threw the flowers into the wings made me say to my daughter that she could pitch for the NY Mets

I don’t know if anyone else heard it (we were quite close), but when she threw the second flower there was a small crash in the wings and the tinkle of somethIng breaking - definitely not very ghostly! Made me giggle.

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A brief aside on Myrtha throwing the flower into the wings. In the nineties, there was one Myrtha who had a very weak left hand.

The flower would always land just off centre of the stage. The great delight was watching the corp slowly move the flower off stage during the hopping sequence.

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11 hours ago, cavycapers said:

I heard Federico telling someone as he left, that he was only told two days ago that he was dancing tonight,

 

I'd hope it was more than two days ago: didn't we have 3 days' notice?

 

11 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

I don't know if it was where I was sitting, but the orchestra seemed a little leaden under Kassels, and there were some rather obvious bloopers from the horn section in a couple of places.

 

You weren't sitting next to me,, were you? :)

 

Quote

The applause for Marianela in the middle of an Act 2 solo was mentioned. I am all for showing appreciation for dancers, but (again, maybe because I was sitting quite close to the applauders) I found it somewhat inappropriate and quite annoying - it happened several times (they were obviously Marianela fans!) and there was actual whooping going on! Call me old fashioned, but for me it broke the spell of the ethereal Act 2 and was out of place.

 

No, I hated it as well - being suddenly jerked back to reality mid-solo was most unpleasant.

 

1 hour ago, Sim said:

There have been a few slight changes to the production which I'm not too crazy about.   [...]

I don't know too much about music,  but I know the music to this ballet pretty well, and it seems that this too was tweaked.  For example, in the entrechats six segment, the music is now just played by strings, so it doesn't have anywhere near the terrifying impact that the build-up from the whole orchestra traditionally gives it.  The music tells us 'this is it, Albrecht is on his last legs', and then when Giselle appears to save him, the music softens up so that we breathe a sigh of relief.  There were a couple of other places where it has changed, and I don't think it improves things.  I know that Sir Peter Wright has a reputation for constantly tweaking his ballets, but as the old saying goes, if ain't broke, don't fix it.   For me, this production of Giselle was just about perfect;  there wasn't any need to alter things. 

 

Yes, I noticed changes to the music and to the production as well, and I don't think it was just because of my unusual viewing angle.  Not sure I liked most of them, but will have another look in February.

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58 minutes ago, Balletfanp said:

I don’t know if anyone else heard it (we were quite close), but when she threw the second flower there was a small crash in the wings and the tinkle of somethIng breaking - definitely not very ghostly! Made me giggle.

Yes, I was in the amphi and heard it.   My daughter and I looked at each other and smiled too!

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2 hours ago, buflesse said:

Claire Calvert will be playing Myrtha in tonight’s performance!

 

Claire should be good.  I really enjoyed Laura McCulloch's Myrtha a while ago. Both dancers have a strong presence onstage. 

 

I'm delighted that Bennet G is still dancing Hilarion - he is exceptionally good in the role.  

 

Thanks so much for the reviews so far - daughter and I are only seeing one Giselle but it's the Naghdi/Ball cast which I absolutely cannot wait to see.  

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6 hours ago, Sim said:

I don't know too much about music,  but I know the music to this ballet pretty well, and it seems that this too was tweaked.  For example, in the entrechats six segment, the music is now just played by strings, so it doesn't have anywhere near the terrifying impact that the build-up from the whole orchestra traditionally gives it.  The music tells us 'this is it, Albrecht is on his last legs', and then when Giselle appears to save him, the music softens up so that we breathe a sigh of relief.  There were a couple of other places where it has changed, and I don't think it improves things.  I know that Sir Peter Wright has a reputation for constantly tweaking his ballets, but as the old saying goes, if ain't broke, don't fix it.   For me, this production of Giselle was just about perfect;  there wasn't any need to alter things. 

 

There is some discussion of revisions to the score in this review:

http://seenandheard-international.com/2018/01/marianela-nunez-and-federico-bonelli-excel-in-the-royal-ballets-giselle/

 

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Just arrived - no full cast list yet but Stix Brunell is replaced as Zulme by Kaneko, and Whitehead is replaced by Gartside as Hilarion

Edited by buflesse

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Giselle - Takada

Albrecht - Ella

Hilarion - Gartside

Berthe -  McNally

Bathilde - Turk

pas de six - Magri, Montano, Gasparini, Edmonds, Bracher, Mock

Myrtha - Calvert

Moyna - Cowley

Zulme - Kaneko

 

Sad that Stix Brunell can’t perform but Kaneko is a lovely replacement!

Edited by buflesse
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On 19/01/2018 at 18:36, capybara said:

I know that it's not the 'done thing' to comment on rehearsals. But those us of who were fortunate to be at the 'General' today will affirm that anyone with tickets for the performance on the 9th Feb. is in for a real treat :)

 

I was also there and just can't let the opportunity to second Capybara's endorsement pass.

 

This was a performance which was all the more extraordinary for its naturalness, the childlike innocence, love and unquestioning loyalty of its Giselle and the remarkable connection between the two principal dancers. Totally convincing and utterly heartbreaking.

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Just got back from tonight’s performance. Casting change slip was wrong - Stix-Brunell replaced Kaneko.

 

It was completely gorgeous, and you could really see Takada and Ella’s IRL connection. He was a fantastic Albrecht, especially tender and tragic towards the end. Akane’s performance was also very moving, and she was light as gossamer. Calvert was an excellent ‘ice queen’ Myrtha and Stix Brunell also stood out as Zulme. Perfect!

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Buflese, Jenny is referring to the Hayward/Campbell cast on the 9th....

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I was at the rehearsal with the Yasmine Naghdi / Matthew Ball cast this week - here are some photos. They were utterly glorious!

 

24945101517_3baf422ea2_z.jpg
Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball
©  Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


39783565932_9a32d76e8f_z.jpg
Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

38916385015_e5affe8c9e_z.jpg
Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more... 

Set from DanceTabs: RB - Giselle (2018 - Naghdi/Ball)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


By kind Permission of The Royal Opera House


 

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