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The Royal Ballet: Les Patineurs, Winter Dreams, The Concert, December 2018

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I wouldn't have known about the cast changes if I hadn't met BBB and Mrs BBB in the Floral  Hall and they mentioned it.  I got my cast sheet from an usher at the entrance to the auditorium, so I wouldn't have seen the cast change board on the sales desk.  If they aren't going to bother with cast change sheets anymore, the least they should be doing is announcing it over the tannoy just before curtain up.  It is so disrespectful to the dancers and the audience not to do this.  I heard a couple of ladies behind me saying 'that Bennet Gartside is so good as the husband, isn't he?"  I turned around and put them right, and they too had had no  idea about the changes.   Many people just dash into the auditorium and grab a cast sheet.  The ROH should not assume that everyone sees the A4 boards (especially when the desk is crowded), or walk past the screen in the downstairs canteen.  This was Gary Avis's debut in the role, and it would have been really nice if they had bothered to announce that it was him dancing.    Nehemiah Kish also gave a great performance in The Concert, and many people didn't even know it was him.  By making an announcement that takes less than one minute, they ensure that the whole audience is aware of the changes.    

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14 minutes ago, cackles said:

There were no change of casts slips, no notice as far as I saw, except for a small one in the amphitheatre corridor.

 

I arrived at the ROH about 7.05 (having been to the stage door and learned of the cast changes there, but's that's another story).  There were cast change notices at the programme points by the cloakroom and the main "red" foyer and the cast changes were on the ticker on the screens in the "new" foyer above the Linbury.

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7 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I arrived at the ROH about 7.05 (having been to the stage door and learned of the cast changes there, but's that's another story).  There were cast change notices at the programme points by the cloakroom and the main "red" foyer and the cast changes were on the ticker on the screens in the "new" foyer above the Linbury.

 

Do you think that means there are notices at all the programme sale points? I don't go to the cafe area before performances so don't want to have to rely on that.

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Yes, I know that there are A4 notices, but if you get your list from an usher on the way into the auditorium itself, then there is no way you know what is going on, unless you happen to have seen the bottom of the screen in the foyer.  I don't usually enter that way, so I wouldn't see that.  If they are trying to open up to everyone, they should ensure that the audience knows who is dancing!  In the old days, all cast changes were announced on the tannoy, irrespective of whether the changes were reflected on a cast change sheet or not.

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12 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I arrived at the ROH about 7.05 (having been to the stage door and learned of the cast changes there, but's that's another story).  There were cast change notices at the programme points by the cloakroom and the main "red" foyer and the cast changes were on the ticker on the screens in the "new" foyer above the Linbury.

 

Much of the time, my "natural" way into the ROH doesn't involve going through the new area at all, and even if it does, I tend to head straight up the stairs without looking at screens.  Given that one "programme" desk seems to have vanished from the foyer since my last visit, the other one is even more crowded, and I was quite able to pick up a cast sheet from there without even spotting that there was a cast change displayed.  So no, it's inadequate to just have them at the programme desks - and in particular since there isn't one at the bottom of the escalator any more either.  It shouldn't be beyond the wit of man (or woman :) ) to be able to attach an A4 frame (gilt, of course!) by most of the major doors to the auditorium and put cast change notices in there as and when necessary.  As I've said before, I'm surprised the performers' unions aren't complaining about the lack of proper credit given to their members.

 

59 minutes ago, Mary said:

The photos on the ROH website reminded me that Jonathan Cope was in Winter Dreams in 2010-  Is he coaching for this bill I wonder.

 

 

We may never know.  In the new, revised, cast sheets, it seems that only the guest coaches are credited (because they are "supported").  I guess the "regular" (salaried?) ballet staff are now deemed unworthy of being credited - which is a huge shame, and doesn't give credit to their vital contribution to how the ballet is performed.

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This turn in the discussion (back to notification of cast changes) is such a pity , albeit understandable. But it comes just as we were all giving our views on the new Triple Bill - and I’m longing for more of that from everyone.

 

I don’t think that Jonathan Cope is back at the RB yet. He has not been among the ‘home team’ watching any rehearsal this season.

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Capybara, I agree entirely. 

Perhaps the moderators could give those who want to post about cast change notifications their own thread, and leave this one to those posting about the Triple bill

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I can understand where you are coming from, but because the lack of information concerns the dancers who are or are not performing in this triple bill, it kind of is relevant.    This role was so important to Gary Avis, who was lucky enough to witness the ballet being created by MacMillan, and who has given huge effort to ensure he got the role right (which he did, in spades).  To have people in the audience not even know it was him is not good.  

 

But hey ho, let's continue any discussion about cast change notifications (or lack thereof) on the 'New Royal Opera House' thread please.  

 

 

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In spades, indeed.

 

And I found Kish completely unrecognisable in The Concert.  I could tell it wasn't Gartside :( , but wouldn't have known who it was if I hadn't hunted down the cast change notification in the second interval.

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8 minutes ago, alison said:

In spades, indeed.

 

And I found Kish completely unrecognisable in The Concert.  

So did I.  He was excellent in the role, and he and Laura Morera were obviously having a hoot.  As someone said above, she almost stole the show, as she often does, just by being onstage.  She and Kish had great comic timing and fed very well off each other.  

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15 minutes ago, Sim said:

Gary Avis, who was lucky enough to witness the ballet being created by MacMillan

 

 

 

And who was in the original cast.  I thought his performance was exemplary.

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So did I.  I wondered if it was the best I'd ever seen.  What did he play in the original cast, BBB?  One of the soldiers?

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8 minutes ago, alison said:

So did I.  I wondered if it was the best I'd ever seen.  What did he play in the original cast, BBB?  One of the soldiers?

He played Andrey Prozorov in the original cast.

 

I will say without hesitation that even just from one performance last night, he is the best Kulygin I have ever seen.

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Ah.  I was trying to remember who'd originated that role.  I just couldn't remember what Gary's status had been back in the early 90s.

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3 hours ago, alison said:

Ah.  I was trying to remember who'd originated that role.  I just couldn't remember what Gary's status had been back in the early 90s.

I saw Anthony Dowell in the role, first time round

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Woody Allen's 'Love and Death' is one of my favourite of all his films.  In it, he pokes fun at the great 19th century Russian novel in an affectionate and hilarious way (it is also the first place I ever heard the Lt. Kije Suite!).

 

This clip, from YouTube, has been making me laugh for more than 40 years.  It just perfectly sums up the basis of most of the novels to which he makes reference in the film.   Watching Winter Dreams reminded me of it, as does Onegin, as does Month in the Country....

 

 

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Sim, I remember a spoof Chekhov play called "The Cherry Sisters" being performed at my school as part of an end-of-year variety revue, and finding it very funny even before I had seen any Chekhov (or read any long 19th-century Russian novels...).

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I'm with you Sim.  It is ludicrous that people who love ballet and who regularly shell out squillions to enjoy ballet, have to beg to know who is dancing.  And no, the ticket tape on the bottom of the screen is NOT good enough.  I avoid the airport lounge part of ROH whenever possible as it is such an uninspiring start to the evening.

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I requested a change of cast list but the young Irish woman was quite rude in saying the sign was sufficient. Yet the last time I got a form it (correctly ) named 2 changes whereas the sign only listed 1. I later went back to the sign to update my cast list: but I must have inconvenienced other audience members who were waiting to buy a programme.

Thankfuly the wonderful mixed bill,  extremely well danced, made up for the aggravation. But if the ROH can’t be bothered to print the changes they should announce them from the stage.

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I'm at the ROH and just wanted to say how amazing the front of house staff have been. I exchanged a ticket from Wednesday to Thursday. Being a scatterbrain, I turned up tonight with Thursday's tickets. I hadn't even realised I couldn't do Thursday as it's parent's evening! Had a major meltdown when I realised my mistake, 10 mins before the ballet was due to start. 3 different staff members intervened and I was given great stalls circle seats with my partner. They had to move people to get us seats together! Sad I don't get to experience front row, but so grateful to ROH for sorting it out and being so lovely about it. 

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Made my train at Waterloo in 13 minutes! Onto my thoughts about the ballet. Les Patineurs was pretty, felt festive and nicely upbeat. The dancing was really good, but nothing really stood out to me other than the blue boy?

 

I was distracted by the lady seated in front of me (I was standing) who had the most perfectly styled hair but such a strong amount of hairspray and perfume I started to get a headache. Lovely ROH staff helped me move to a different spare standing place for the remainder of the ballets.

 

Winter Dreams. I don’t believe I’ve been that bored in a ballet before. Maybe I was tired? The dancing was beautiful, Naghdi always draws my eye she makes everything look effortless. But the ballet just felt flat with repetitive music, a lot of distressed walking and holding on to people. When Muntagirov leapt it was as always stunning, I just wish there was more choreography to show some contrast. The whole piece felt so bitty, from one painful couple to the next. I love Russian plays, but I’m not sure they translate well to dance...

 

The Concert was a delight. Funny and light it flew by. Maybe not as sharp as I’d liked it to have been but I laughed a lot and the characterisation was brilliant. 

 

Overall I enjoyed the evening but with the exception of The Concert definitely wouldn’t be rushing back to book anything any time soon.

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I was reminded yesterday evening that it's as important to pay attention to what's happening behind the curtain in Winter Dreams as it is to the dancers out front.  I hope I'll remember to take my own advice tomorrow :) 

 

Incidentally, was there a lot of difference from the first night in terms of supporting cast for all of the ballets?

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Beautiful, poignant Winter Dreams is a great favourite of mine. I think Macmillan makes brilliant use of the music and the characterisation through dance and the creation of contrasting moods is masterly- in my view.

 I thought Vadim Muntagirov and Gary Avis gave the best performances of their roles I have ever seen: just exquisite dancing and acting, bravo to them both.

 

Patineurs is lovely- perfect Xmas fare- and the dancing was good but I did not think Blue Boy was the best I have seen- ( kept remembering Steven McRae's phenomenal performance) He seemed to take a while to warm up, but ended very well- and in general it wasn't to my eyes  the sharpest perfomance of the ballet tonight, so it seemed to me anyway. BUT... with the exception of wonderful Anna Rose O Sullivan/Meaghan Hinkis and Reece Clarke also looking rather divine with Melissa Hamilton..

Lots of cheers and no wonder: this is obviously a much loved ballet we should see a bit more often.

 

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On 18/12/2018 at 16:27, annamk said:

A small impression from Friends rehearsal earlier. It's a terrific triple, I enjoyed all three ballets enormously. Have to mention Muntagirov just blew me away in Winter Dreams. He was simply outstanding, dancing of extraordinary beauty, acting of great intensity and passion. 

Exactly!

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It's a very long time since I last saw Les Patineurs and I thought it was stunningly beautiful. A feast for the eyes and a balm to the spirit. Gorgeous sets and costumes, witty, sophisticated choreography, joyous music, and wonderful dancing. A work of uplifting harmony; a work of genius. Very impressed by Meaghan Grace Hinkis's fouettés! And I thought Luca Acri was a brilliant blue boy. For the second time in recent weeks, the sheer beauty of ballet at its peak brought tears to my eyes as Acri spun round and round in a pool of light at the end, with the rest of the cast and set fading away and he alone spinning and spinning like a turning point in a still, light-filled world. Magnificent.

 

I did, in the end, very much enjoy Winter Dreams. I'd forgotten about the table at the back etc, and I think it's really a bit pointless since you can't see who's there or what's happening (well I can't, from the Amphi). And there are too many characters and too many episodes in the ballet; if I hadn't reminded myself of the 'plot' in advance I suspect I would have been pretty confused at times. Since MacMillan decided to pare down the play, and to stage it without scenery, I think he could/should have pared down more radically. The brother and his wife, the nanny, the doctor - none of these really contribute anything (though Kirsten McNally danced a most beautiful slow, grave solo). But the core of the ballet - the Masha/Vershinin/Kulygin triangle - was so powerful that it made the whole thing worthwhile. Lamb, Muntagirov and Avis were all brilliant and desperately moving. Muntagirov's dancing was absolutely breathtaking and his acting absolutely heartbreaking. And Naghdi was a lovely and very touching Irina, though even that storyline seemed a bit secondary. I like the ambition of Winter Dreams; even if it isn't wholly successfully, it's highly admirable. And as danced tonight, even reached brilliance at times.

 

The Concert was a riot, with great performances by Melissa Hamilton, Nehemiah Kish, Itziar Mendizabal and Mayara Magri. And what an evening for Robert Clark! Solo pianist and on stage in both Winter Dreams and The Concert, and an excellent job he did too.

 

I thought this was a superb triple bill and very appropriate for the time of year; and I do hope that Les Patineurs will be programmed more often.

 

 

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I really liked Les Patineurs - a whirling, swirling, sliding delight of a ballet, with plenty of Victoriana and even snow! I agree that Meaghan Grace Hinkis's fouettes were brilliant. I liked Luca Acri, and I thought Anna Rose O'Sullivan really stood out. 

 

I was foolish enough to not read a synopsis of Winter Dreams beforehand. I assumed as it wasn't on the cast sheet that I wouldn't need it. Unfortunately my partner and I were confused throughout. I grasped that Sarah cheated on Gary with Vadim (poor Gary, but who can blame her??) but went back to him, and the rest was a bit of a mystery. It made more sense when I read the synopsis after....there was some beautiful dancing and very moving characterisation, especially from Sarah/Gary/Vadim/Yasmine, but the general confusion plus the repetitive and soothing music meant I was pretty sleepy throughout, and I thought it went on a bit too long. Anyway, in light of recent discussion on this forum I think it should be renamed Winter VaDreams..... 😛

 

The Concert was a joy to watch throughout. I've seen Kish before and always felt him to be a bit wooden, so it was wonderful to see him dance with so much humour and exuberance. Mayara Magri was very funny as the bespectacled ballerina, and I loved Hamilton and Mendizabal's performances. Fantastic piano accompaniment from Robert Clark, who was also marvellous in Winter Dreams. 

 

That said, can someone explain the bug thing to me? Do they literally turn into bugs or is it some kind of metaphor, or just silly dress up? 

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20 minutes ago, bridiem said:

The brother and his wife, the nanny, the doctor - none of these really contribute anything

 

They may not have much in the way of dancing, but isn't it the point that Natasha's "expansionist" behaviour - producing offspring, taking over the house, like the proverbial cuckoo in the nest - starts pushing the sisters out?

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2 minutes ago, alison said:

 

They may not have much in the way of dancing, but isn't it the point that Natasha's "expansionist" behaviour - producing offspring, taking over the house, like the proverbial cuckoo in the nest - starts pushing the sisters out?

 

Well if so (which I'm sure is the intention), it doesn't come over to me at all.

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