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Jan McNulty

The Royal Ballet: La Bayadère, London, November 2018

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21 hours ago, Wulff said:

Regarding McRae's jumps.He concluded his variation in the first act with a manege of Barrel Turns (tours de reins). In the white act he threw in a couple of 540s (Revoltade 540: so called because the body turns through 360 degrees and then another 180 - you can look this up on youtube). At the conclusion he did not perform the usual manege of double assembles but instead one of double sauts de basque.

Thought so!

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My first Bayadere tonight in this particular run and totally fabulous it was too. Vadim's solo's were literally show stopping and Nunez and Osipova were also on top form. Because everyone was so enthusiastic about this cast I ignored my own advice and traded my amphi ticket in for a side stalls circle return as I really wanted to see the action and acting close up and personal and I'm so glad I did. You can engage so much more with what's going on when you're not struggling to see the small details that add so much to the performance as a whole. I don't know enough about chess to be able to say whether or not Osipova was playing but she did seem very involved with it. She was also quite predatory and possessive in her interaction with Vadim giving him little glances, especially during nikiya's dance. I liked it when Vadim refused to escort her away but hesitated and came running back to embrace Nikya after she died. (he should really have done it before but that would have meant a very short ballet!) . It never seemed right for him just to walk off when Nikya had meant so much to him. Marianella was just amazing. The best Nikya I've seen since Assylnuratova. The fluidity of her every move, the way she just melted into vadim's arms, her every movement was a complete joy. Add to this potent mix Gary Avis' melodramatic Brahmin and Alexander Campbells wonderful bronze idol and you have a perfect performance. Can't wait for Saturday matinee, the cinema relay next week and next Fridays performance with Correles. Went to the stage door afterwards and saw Vadim and also Daria klimotova who'd come to see him dance. The perfect end to a perfect day. 

 

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Good news from  the Thursday performance - Nunez /Muntagirov /Osipova  They have got rid of the scrim at the front for the whole of Act 2 and most of Act 3. It only came down when needed for the destruction of the the temple and conveniently serves to keep the dry ice off the orchestra in the final moments. 

 

What a different performance from Monday night. I left the theatre wanting to dance down the street tonight!  I really prefer the two leading ladies this way around. Osipova certainly injected more drama into the role of Gamzatti. Both had the advantage of the more experienced Muntagirov as partner and the pas de deux flowed better as a result. Corrales made a wonderful debut on Monday, but experience needs time: this was also the case with Gary Avis, impeccable as the Brahmin tonight, who is presumably more experienced in this part than Bennett Gartside (who I generally admire greatly). That said, I preferred Whitehead''s Rajah tonight to Avis' on Monday.

 

The shades were immaculate both nights, earning a particularly long ovation tonight. Also a word for the male corps de ballet in the Act 1 wedding celebrations: great to see everyone jumping and landing at the same time - that used to be a bit of an issue. 

 

De luxe casting in the pas d'action tonight, but also great to see that artists Leticia Dias and Julia Roscoe looked as good as their senior colleagues in Monday's show. 

 

Watching Choe dancing alongside Naghdi and Takada made me beg the question, 'why not her as well?' I loved Naghdi 's extensions and  luscious port de bras, but I wish that both she and Harrod, in the same solo, would use a little more head and epaulement towards the end of the solo in the attitudes devant to give it a little more sense of joy and pride. Anyone know why have variations 2 and 3 been swapped around? 

 

As usual, I felt that Yudes outshone the more senior Acri as the Fakir. I wish Yudes could have a crack at the Blue Boy in Patineurs - bring on those extra shows! 

 

Bronze Idol - Campbell brought his usual intelligence and artistry to the role, but I don't think this is the ideal role for either him or Richardson. 

 

A special mention for Romany Padjak leading the shades and beautifully holding her own in the pas d'action. Also to Gemma Pitchley-Gale who always brings joy to the stage. Padjak used the correct inclination of the head as required in certain moments of the shades - the sort of stylistic detail expected in years gone by. 

 

Two quibbles - the shades turned indigo as they entered from the back left wing - um, lightning department?! 

 

Orchestra seemed more energised tonight, but I felt the beginning of Solor's Act 1 solo could have been a little quicker to give us the full impact of Muntagirov and Corrales' elevation. Conversely, it almost looked too hasty for their manege. 

 

Girls kept hold of their candles in Act 3 tonight, but on Monday it made a rather dull third act all the more entertaining when they kept dropping them!

 

And lastly, I have never noticed this before, but all I want for Christmas now is the costume of the guy who brings on drinks for the Rajah during the wedding celebrations, boots included - perfectly ghastly! 

 

A big thank you to all involved for this luxury casting and wonderful performance last night. 

 

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19 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

 Vadim's solo's were literally show stopping and Nunez and Osipova were also on top form.

 

She (Osipova) was also quite predatory and possessive in her interaction with Vadim giving him little glances, especially during nikiya's dance. I liked it when Vadim refused to escort her away but hesitated and came running back to embrace Nikya after she died. (he should really have done it before but that would have meant a very short ballet!) . It never seemed right for him just to walk off when Nikya had meant so much to him.

 

Marianella was just amazing. The best Nikya I've seen since Assylnuratova. 

 

Yes, Jmhopton. Agree with you about all above! 

But I still do wish that we could roll back the years and bring back Altynai! She made perfect sense of it all! 

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Great review Darlex and made me realise I'd forgotten to mention the corps who I thought were outstanding tonight and not just in the Shades either but in all the character dances too. They were exceptional. Possibly the best I've ever seen, better than the Bolshoi or Mariinsky. Having said that I'm not a huge fan of this production. I think you have to leave out too much to accommodate the last act: no elephant or parrots and no Indian dance or slave pas deux. Also no 'happy dance' from Nikya when she thinks Solor has given her the basket of flowers. This dance is very important as it highlights the tragedy that is to follow. I always feel with this production that I enjoy the ballet despite the production not because of it. 

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14 minutes ago, Darlex said:

Yes, Jmhopton. Agree with you about all above! 

But I still do wish that we could roll back the years and bring back Altynai! She made perfect sense of it all! 

Me too. She was the best. Clement Crisp said she was born to play Nikya and how right he was. At least we can re live it on dvd. 

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Agree with Darlex - the scrim being up for the vast majority of this production makes a VAST difference - bringing oh, so much into better and certainly much easier focus.  It is a so much better experience when one is not forced to squint quite so much.  Please could we have this for ALL performances.  

(Last night I imagine is as good as this version could ever possibly get with the entire company on fire - and that from someone who saw its world premiere - the only full performance Makarova herself would give in it - and a vast number of others including fascinating takes by the likes of Martine Van Hamel and Bujones [not together] and my personal favourite the Annanashvilli and Jose Manuel Carreno combo.)   

 

Also agree about David Yudes as the Head Fakir; his dramatic and dancing detail set him apart.  I so wish he could have a crack at the Golden Idol even as it is here; a somewhat illogical solo strangely impinged to the whole.  He would - at least in my mind's eye - dazzle and not just because of the cosmetic glitter.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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6 hours ago, Darlex said:

Good news from  the Thursday performance - Nunez /Muntagirov /Osipova  They have got rid of the scrim at the front for the whole of Act 2 and most of Act 3. It only came down when needed for the destruction of the the temple and conveniently serves to keep the dry ice off the orchestra in the final moments. 

 

This was only because of the filming, apparently, and the artists were saying that it gave them a very different, freer, nicer feel. Some shades mentioned that, otherwise, it was like dancing in front of a wall. 

 

The scrim raced down before the rock fall - just as many of us have always wanted it to.

 

But the most important thing was that the performance was FABULOUS. I have never before heard so many superlatives being uttered in the ladies' loo!

 

Edited by capybara
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7 hours ago, jmhopton said:

... Possibly the best I've ever seen, better than the Bolshoi or Mariinsky. Having said that I'm not a huge fan of this production. I think you have to leave out too much to accommodate the last act: no elephant or parrots and no Indian dance or slave pas deux. Also no 'happy dance' from Nikya when she thinks Solor has given her the basket of flowers. This dance is very important as it highlights the tragedy that is to follow. I always feel with this production that I enjoy the ballet despite the production not because of it. 

Once again, totally agree with you, although I got more of a sense of spirituality from Bolshoi/Kirov shades of the past and Nureyev's shades,  who seemed slightly softer - dancing in unison but somehow less regimented. 

 

Now has anybody noticed my favourite costume?!! 

 

Btw,  has the wire that fires the fire in Act 1 been removed? I always remember Nikiya having to carefully avoid it as she bourreed around. Or maybe I didn't see it because I wasn't quite so high up last night? 

Edited by Darlex

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43 minutes ago, capybara said:

This [removal of the scrim] was only because of the filming, apparently

 

If the ROH accepts that the scrim detracts from the performance for cinema audiences, what's the rationale for treating theatre audiences differently?  And I very much appreciate capybara's point about the dancers feeling closer to the audience.  I've posted a question on the ROH's news website.  

Never having seen La Bayadere in the theatre I'm very much looking forward to Saturday's matinee and the cinema relay, appetite truly whetted by the various rehearsal videos from the recent Insight relay and World Ballet Day ... and by the many posts here for which many thanks.

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

 I've posted a question on the ROH's news website.  

 

....... which is working again. I know that many people have spent time reacting to the performances of La Bayadere, only to have their comments and questions 'lost'. I do hope that we will be prepared to 'try again' as I have a feeling that praise, criticism and other messages do 'get through' if they are posted there.

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9 hours ago, Darlex said:

Good news from  the Thursday performance - Nunez /Muntagirov /Osipova  They have got rid of the scrim at the front for the whole of Act 2 and most of Act 3. It only came down when needed for the destruction of the the temple and conveniently serves to keep the dry ice off the orchestra in the final moments. 

 

 

 

Is this because they don’t use the scrim when they are filming the performance or have they seen sense and removed it from now on? Sadly it’s probably the former 

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30 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

....... which is working again. I know that many people have spent time reacting to the performances of La Bayadere, only to have their comments and questions 'lost'. I do hope that we will be prepared to 'try again' as I have a feeling that praise, criticism and other messages do 'get through' if they are posted there.

 

There are now a few more comments but I struggle with Chris Shipman's reply:

"... We've recently been experiencing technical problems which we weren't able to receive any comments.

This has now been rectified, and therefore we're able to publish replies to posts once again"

Does this mean comments posted (prior to 8 November) have been lost or that the ROH was not able to respond to those comments and now is?  But as no comments are published prior to 8 November, I can't help thinking it's the former.  If the problems have been rectified does that mean the comments will be posted, together with any replies if appropriate?  All very unclear to me.  I'll ask Chris Shipman.

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12 hours ago, Darlex said:

Good news from  the Thursday performance - Nunez /Muntagirov /Osipova  They have got rid of the scrim at the front for the whole of Act 2 and most of Act 3.

I don't  understand all the scrim comments.  Obviously there must be a scrim in Act 3  at the end,  to display  the effect of the falling  temple, and presumably there is also a scrim at least on part of the stage for the cloud effects in Act 2. But I saw nothing scrim-wise that inhibited  the view  of the dancers (from the stalls circle side) in any part of Act 2 or  Act 3  on Tuesday night  (when there was no filming involved).

 

If and when a scrim is used, is the issue that it impedes the view from higher up in the auditorium? 

 

On a possibly related topic, though, my one slight criticism of this otherwise beautiful production is to do with the lighting. In the darker scenes, there needs to be better spotlighting of the active dancers. Also there seemed to be a relative absence of lighting at the very front of the  stage so that dancers were almost lost when they moved there. 

 

6 hours ago, capybara said:

I have never before heard so many superlatives being uttered in the ladies' loo!

Thanks for sharing, capybara .....!

Edited by Richard LH

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On 02/11/2018 at 17:30, zxDaveM said:

really disappointed that the scrim is still being used, it ruins the view, at least from the amphi, since it doesn't seem to be on the Rojo/Acosta Blu-Ray

But presumably it must have been used on the Rojo/Acosta recording because the clouds are still there in Act 2 and the rocks still fall in Act 3.  Plus you can see its thin netting on the close ups in Act 2, though it seems only noticeable in front of the  girls who are at the rear - whether that is to do with the lighting, or the location of the scrim, I can't work out. 

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Last night was the second of the three Muntagirov/Solor/, Nunez/Nikiya, Osipova/Gamzatti performances, and I don't think that anyone will disagree that two-thirds of it was better than last week. Why? Simply because we were thankfully scrim-less for Acts 2 and 3. Everything was brighter, clearer, more colourful - in one word, better!

I know it's been said before, but it's worth repeating - why deliberately degrade the audience's experience by introducing something for the whole of an act that is only needed for the last few minutes?

But hats off to the stage team who seem to have cracked the problem so astutely identified earlier...

 

On 02/11/2018 at 18:35, Rob S said:

If only there was some way of lowering it when it's actually needed

 

...no doubt a hastily put together contrivance of pulleys, levers and muscle power was straining away behind the scenes - but it worked! 😛

 

But how about the dancing, now we could see it in all its glory? Well, yes, the first thing to note is that with those three on stage 'glory' is all but a given. So, the usual proviso applies - any comparisons/criticisms are relative to the lofty heights achieved...

 

I thought Act 2 of opening night was the weakest - possibly because Acts 1 and 3 were so good - but last night that was reversed. The corps were radiant (obviously the absence of the scrim, quite literally, helped with that impression), and their movement as precise as that of a Swiss watch; it was nigh on perfect - neither I nor my partner noticed anything amiss (and when you work out the total, combined number of moves during that extended entrance, that is pretty impressive). Nunez was on brilliant, lyrical form in Act 2, and Muntagirov's increasing confidence in his role was apparent as he turned his attention more to expressing his emotions (to great effect throughout all three Acts); when combined, the whole of Act 2 was greater than the sum of its parts. If they can pull that off on Tuesday it will be wonderful.

 

That leaves Acts 1 and 2. Firstly, I'd like to cover a couple of the 'minor' roles.
 
Avis is utterly dependable as the Brahmin, and a joy to watch; he has a wonderful gift of being able to make his characters larger than life - they are almost caricatures, but he doesn't step over the border into either 'ham acting' or spitefulness. His High Brahmin (and the Notary in Fille) are two great examples. This is in contrast to Gartside's more understated Brahmin and, at the other extreme, the full-on haminess of the Brahmin in other productions (search YouTube for Mariinsky Bayadere July 14th 2014, then look at 18 min in; this video also demonstrates just how wonderful are the Royal's costumes).


It was disappointing that Campbell has not improved his performance from that of last week; actually, that's not strictly true - last night the upper half of his body was better than last week (sharper use of his arms, in particular), but unfortunately that seemed to be at the expense of his lower body, which seemed oddly out of tune (poor elevation, extended legs not horizontal).

 

Last night, Nunez's Nikiya was difficult to fault - so I won't because I can't (I don't have the technical knowledge for a start). It is the ideal role for her in this ballet. I must admit I was disappointed when I first heard which cast was being broadcast in the cinema (and then, hopefully, released on DVD) - I wanted to see Osipova as Nikiya on the simple basis that she gets more stage time. But now I've seen both dancers in both roles I'm happy that Osipova takes the 'minor' role. But, of course, the role of Gamzatti is not minor at all - it is absolutely central to the story. Without Gamzatti it would become a sweet love story between a noble warrior and a beautiful and unassuming temple dancer, with perhaps a bit of drama thrown into the mix by the jealous High Brahmin (who would soon get his comeuppance from Solor who, after all, has no trouble dispatching tigers). Instead, we get two beautiful women from opposite ends of society vying for the love of that noble warrior. As someone said to me during an interval, the ballet could almost be titled 'Gamzatti' rather than 'La Bayadere'.

 

And this is where we get to the crux of the matter. What role does Gamzatti play in the ballet to drive and direct its narrative so it all makes sense? Is she a villain, or should she be pitied? What is her relationship to Solor? How does it fit the choreography?
I was initially surprised, and then totally convinced, by what was to me the novel interpretation of Gamzatti by Osipova on opening night. She fell in love - hopelessly and totally - with Solor on first sight, and that fully explained (though, of course, didn't justify!) becoming an accomplice to the murder of her love rival. This strategy fitted the set pieces beautifully; the tiny cameo at the end of Act 2 was of her triumphantly claiming Solor following Nikiya's death; but more tellingly, her Act 3 solo became an evocation of her deep love for Solor, a love that was not being reciprocated even though Nikiya was dead (I felt real sympathy for her during that solo).
I was hoping she would develop that approach last night but, Osipova being Osipova, she changed it - reverting to the more standard interpretation of Gamzatti more as a scheming bitch. It was good, but last week's performance seemed to cohere and strengthen the ballet's narrative. I discussed this briefly with someone after Act 1, and we both agreed that she was probably experimenting in preparation for the broadcast next week. She is the most unpredictable element in the cast - and I love her for it! :wub:

 

It must be part of herd mentality, but I'm not just affected by what's on stage, but by the auditorium as a whole. There was a palpable buzz and sense of anticipation on opening night that I did not feel last night. The audience seemed a bit tentative and less spontaneous during the performance (does that reflect who tries for tickets on opening night versus a regular night in the run?), and that difference couldn't be down to the quality of what we were seeing. It's a long ballet, and there are lots of trains that need catching, but I was surprised to turn to leave my seat towards the front of the Amphi after the last curtain call to find that a whole series of rows already empty.

 

I thought an absolutely lovely touch came part way through the curtain calls. Just after she fetched Boris Gruzin on-stage to justifiable applause, Marianela carefully moved her large bouquet to behind her, up against the steps, so there was no chance of Boris backing into it and losing his footing again! How thoughtful was that? :D

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Well I think there is always a bit more of a buzz around a first night especially if the ballet has not been performed for a while and with such a stellar cast etc 😊

There was still reasonable buzz around on Monday ....perhaps because of the first role swap and Corrales debut etc?

 

Going back to a post of Darlex earlier .....I'm glad you mentioned the swap around of the Shades dances.

Two weeks ago was on a workshop where we looked at and had a go at what I thought was the second shade variation ....not on pointe though...so the music was very firmly in the brain ( if not the dance quite yet lol ....next Life around hopefully!) so on Monday was surprised when the second variation didn't seem to be the one we had studied! Then when the third came on I thought yes that's the one ....had to madly refrain from humming along ....so thought perhaps I had made a mistake with the numbers!! But perhaps they did swap them then? 

Everyone of those dances has some OMG moments .....in the RB order then but going backwards ...the third those huge cabrioles ( our video was of Osipova in this role!!!) the second that glorious hold in arabesque a la seconde and the first .....anyone who can do fifteen releves onto pointe whilst still holding a decent arabesque at 90 ....that is quite a feat and I don't think I praised Choe enough who danced the first shade on Monday .....all were brilliant but that night Choe in particular.

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, LinMM said:

 

Everyone of those dances has some OMG moments .....in the RB order then but going backwards ...the third those huge cabrioles ( our video was of Osipova in this role!!!) the second that glorious hold in arabesque a la seconde and the first .....anyone who can do fifteen releves onto pointe whilst still holding a decent arabesque at 90 ....that is quite a feat and I don't think I praised Choe enough who danced the first shade on Monday .....all were brilliant but that night Choe in particular.

 

The first solo was danced the night I went by Meaghan Grace Hinkis and she was brilliant too, thought they were called releves but wasn't sure!

 

 

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Last night's audience, I had the impression, was fairly largely made up of people you couldn't call "regular" regulars!  I mean, they may go to the ballet at the ROH quite often, but not the really enthusiastic ones who see a large number of casts and so on.  Friends at other locations in the theatre were saying there were quite a lot of lights from mobile phones showing during the performance, I think.

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1 hour ago, Nogoat said:

Last night was the second of the three Muntagirov/Solor/, Nunez/Nikiya, Osipova/Gamzatti performances, and I don't think that anyone will disagree that two-thirds of it was better than last week. Why? Simply because we were thankfully scrim-less for Acts 2 and 3. Everything was brighter, clearer, more colourful - in one word, better!

I know it's been said before, but it's worth repeating - why deliberately degrade the audience's experience by introducing something for the whole of an act that is only needed for the last few minutes?

But hats off to the stage team who seem to have cracked the problem so astutely identified earlier...

 

 

...no doubt a hastily put together contrivance of pulleys, levers and muscle power was straining away behind the scenes - but it worked! 😛

 

 

 

I guess that makes me an ‘influencer’. Just think how other ballets can be transformed with my inspired idea, no longer will Don Quixote have a giant windmill in his bedroom, Widow Simone won’t have to deal with a smelly chicken coop in her living room and the  Mayerling brothel scene won’t be spoiled by a load of family portraits dangling in the way!! 🤣

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5 hours ago, JohnS said:

Does this mean comments posted (prior to 8 November) have been lost or that the ROH was not able to respond to those comments and now is?  But as no comments are published prior to 8 November, I can't help thinking it's the former.  If the problems have been rectified does that mean the comments will be posted, together with any replies if appropriate?  All very unclear to me.  I'll ask Chris Shipman.

 

I wrote after 8th November and my comment seems to have vanished into thin air.

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32 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

I wrote after 8th November and my comment seems to have vanished into thin air.

 

The ROH has now posted a clear explanation:

 

"Due to the technical issues, the website was unable to receive comments for a little over a week. This means the comments posted during this time have been lost and won't be able to be published. Any of the comments that have come through to us, we monitor, publish, and reply as appropriate, as long as they meet our community guidelines."

 

Sadly the earlier posts have been lost so I'd very much encourage people to re-post their comments - annoying for all those posters but things now seem to be working and I do welcome the clarification.

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Sorry - I should have said that my question about the scrim I guess is still being considered as it's not yet on the website.  Hopefully it will appear soon (but probably next week), together with an answer.

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44 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

The ROH has now posted a clear explanation:

"Due to the technical issues, the website was unable to receive comments for a little over a week".

 

But it's unbelievably pathetic, especially as they continued with the 'news' headline: What did you think of La Bayadere? throughout that period.

This is the ROH's website, after all, not something put together by an amateur ...................... but, come to think of it :( ! ! ! 

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17 hours ago, Darlex said:

 I loved Naghdi 's extensions and  luscious port de bras, but I wish that both she and Harrod, in the same solo, would use a little more head and epaulement towards the end of the solo in the attitudes devant to give it a little more sense of joy and pride. 

 

Does Harrod dance the second variation? I’ve only seen her in the third one which Takada dances in the first cast.

 

The other second Shades I’ve seen are Magri and Kaneko.

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9 hours ago, JohnS said:

 

If the ROH accepts that the scrim detracts from the performance for cinema audiences, what's the rationale for treating theatre audiences differently?  And I very much appreciate capybara's point about the dancers feeling closer to the audience.  I've posted a question on the ROH's news website.  

Never having seen La Bayadere in the theatre I'm very much looking forward to Saturday's matinee and the cinema relay, appetite truly whetted by the various rehearsal videos from the recent Insight relay and World Ballet Day ... and by the many posts here for which many thanks.

Please let us know their response as I detest scrims!  Hoping tomorrow's matinee does not have the scrim except for the necessary part.

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17 hours ago, Darlex said:

As usual, I felt that Yudes outshone the more senior Acri as the Fakir. I wish Yudes could have a crack at the Blue Boy in Patineurs - bring on those extra shows! 

Is that you wishing or are they putting more on?!

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I am rather late posting my thoughts about the performance on 5 November but here goes. I have admired the technical brilliance of the charismatic Cesar Corrales since he burst onto the stage in the Russian Dance in Eagling’s ‘Nutcracker’ for ENB at the Coliseum in 2014, barely eighteen years of age.  Since then, it has been a pleasure to watch him develop his artistry further, ending his time with ENB with electrifying performances as the ‘jeune homme’ this January.  It was therefore very gratifying to see that Kevin O’Hare has such faith in him that he partnered him with not one but two of the Royal Ballet’s leading ladies for his debut in a major role with the company, only a few weeks after his twenty-second birthday, and that this faith was rewarded with a performance of all the dramatic depth and effortless technique I have come to expect from Corrales. From the moment he stepped onto the stage (and yes, dancers do appreciate applause on their entrance, if it does not disrupt the mood of the piece, so that they can feel the audience is ‘with’ them), he was every inch a warrior prince with his regal bearing and elegant mime. Although the choreography does not allow for all the pyrotechnics of which he is capable, there was plenty to admire in the powerful virility of his dancing and, in particular, his perfectly placed turns and panther-like landings from jumps.  I particularly liked his first scene with Natalia Osipova's Nikiya, in which I thought she was glorious, and I thought there was a wonderful chemistry between the two of them.  Osipova initially impressed with her beautifully expressive body (and astonishingly deep backbends) and then her vulnerability in her confrontation with Gamzatti.  Where I felt she was not so successful was in the Kingdom of Shades with its demands for complete purity of classical technique and line (and I am lucky enough to have seen Markarova herself in this role in her prime).  The difficulties of the scarf pas de deux were surmounted with ease, with Corrales giving just the right amount of tension to the scarf, but too often I noticed a loss of turnout or untidy footwork from Osipova, not helped by her unflattering pointe shoes which gave her feet a rather blunted look.  So, unlike Marianela Nuñez, whom I saw at the dress rehearsal, she did not seem as comfortable as Nikiya as she had as Gamzatti.  With her impeccable technique and style, Nuñez's dancing was an absolute feast for the eyes and I loved her interpretation of Gamzatti: all surface smiles and graciousness but with the deadliness of a cobra ready to strike when scorned.  In the scene where Nikiya is ordered to dance for Gamzatti and Solor, I was struck by Nuñez's almost gloating smile contrasted with Corrales's combination of anguish and anger as he was forced to sit beside her while his beloved danced.  In a ballet which does not lend itself to deep characterisation, I felt these three leads made their characters thoroughly believable, three-dimensional people.  When the production was new for the company, I remember the Bronze Idol's solo was one of its highlights but i was decidedly underwhelmed at this performance.  Likewise, I was not as impressed by the Shades as the rest of the audience seemed to be, noticing arabesques at different heights, body angles not quite identical and legs closing at slightly different times, unlike the corps de ballet in the 1970s and 1980s whose precision in the Nureyev staging was so breathtaking that it won them an award.  Every time I think I might be remembering past performances through rose-coloured glasses, I find a film clip or DVD which shows that yes, they really were that good!

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2 hours ago, Don Q Fan said:

Is that you wishing or are they putting more on?!

Just my wish. Sorry! 

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2 hours ago, MrsBBB said:

 

Does Harrod dance the second variation? I’ve only seen her in the third one which Takada dances in the first cast.

 

The other second Shades I’ve seen are Magri and Kaneko.

Sorry and apologies to Naghdi. It's the solo danced by Takada and Harrod. Used to be the second solo, now the third. Thanks for pointing it out MrsBBB.

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