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capybara

BEST PERFORMANCES OF 2018

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Agreed! Absolutely loved Vadim in Swan Lake, but also in Bayadere with Natalia as Gamzatti.

 

Yasmine Naghdi was also gorgeous as Gamzatti, but a dancer who has really mesmerised me this year is Akane Takada- I saw her as Giselle in 2015 (I think!) and really wasn’t so keen- but this year her Nikiya in La Bayadere was breathtaking, and her Pas de Trois variation in Swan Lake was extraordinarily musical, one of the best I’ve seen! Am definitely now a fan of her!

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Best memories

 

Cojocaru/Caley Manon (Milton Keynes)

 

Muntagirov/Lamb in Winter Dreams - above all Muntagirov but most of the cast deserve a mention (Mendizabal, Naghdi, Avis, Bracewell) for such a detailed, masterly performance.

 

Bonelli/Morera Mayerling - should have been filmed. 

 

NDT in Pite's The Statement - so original. 

 

Performances involving these three terrific RB 1st soloists: Bracewell, Corrales, Hay - wishing the latter 2 an injury free 2019. 

 

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And from Australia:

Two Firebirds: First Graeme Murphy's production, with stand-out performances by Lana Jones and Brett Chynoweth for TAB, and second Queensland Ballet's performance of Liam Scarlett's Firebird. Laura Hidalgo was mesmerising as the firebird, and Rian Thompson almost equally so as Koschei.  Mia Heathcote and Joel Woellner also memorable. Looking back, I think the real difference between the two versions was QB's focus on layering character, while TAB focused on story- telling. Whatever, both performances were wonderful.

Then QB's A Midsummer Night's Dream (Liam Scarlett). Delightful. Victor Estevez dominated the stage as Oberon, while Laura Hidalgo gave a gentle and endearing performance as Titania. Kohei Iwamoto's Puck was great!

Mark Morris's Leila and Majnun was also great, but if I have to single anyone out it would be Alim Qasimov (and his daughter, Fergana). I've listened to them with delight for years and they were equally good this time round. A superbly integrated performance of musicians, dancers and set designers. Thank you!

And last but certainly not least, Alex Campbell in Ratmansky's Cinderella. And Leanne Stogmenov as Cinderella. Unforgettable.

And finally (counting the two Firebirds as one - cheating, I know) I can't leave out Hallberg's masterly Albrecht, with Leanne Stogmenov as Giselle (she retired, her last performance being Cinderella to Alex Campbell's Prince. A real loss, but good luck with whatever comes next, Leanne).

It's been a great year, and next year looks wonderful as well. If I may beg the indulgence of Forum members, they may remember that several months ago the Bolshoi announced that it would be appearing in Brisbane, at which news I said, "Be still my beating heart". Within a remarkable short period of time the announcement had disappeared from the Bolshoi's website, leaving me to speculate that either the news was false (oh woe), or that the Centre for Performing Arts  (QPAC) had 'requested' its removal ( please let this be so). Anyway, on Christmas Eve (!) an email appeared from QPAC saying to expect BIG (their capitals) news in the new year. So it rather looks as if it's on. Be still my beating heart. Role on June. And happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year to all forum members.

Edited by jmb
Spelling (as usual!)
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2 hours ago, jmb said:

And last but certainly not least, Alex Campbell in Ratmansky's Cinderella. And Leanne Stogmenov as Cinderella. Unforgettable.

And finally (counting the two Firebirds as one - cheating, I know) I can't leave out Hallberg's masterly Albrecht, with Leanne Stogmenov as Giselle (she retired, her last performance being Cinderella to Alex Campbell's Prince. A real loss, but good luck with whatever comes next, Leanne).

 

I was so blown away by Aurum (which Sydney sees in 2019) that I couldn't squeeze these two in, but I will heartily second your nomination of both. 

 

For me, Miss Stojmenov was the most true of this generation of TAB principals - her acting was never forced, her emotions always genuine and communicated beyond the footlights. Mr Hallberg was a wonderfully generous partner in that one-off Giselle. And Mr Campbell as Cinderella's Prince reminded us of what we have been missing since Daniel Gaudiello retired so precipitately and prematurely.

 

Miss Stojmenov and her husband, former soloist Marc Cassidy, are moving to her home town of Perth where they will teach future generations. Side note: at one stage in his teens, Mr Campbell was taught by Mr Cassidy.

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Merry Christmas balletomanes!

 

My 5 favourite ballets of 2018 - all from the Royal Ballet:

Giselle (Hayward/Campbell)

Manon (Hayward/ Bonelli/Campbell/Calvert)

Swan Lake (Takada/Bracewell)

La Bayadere (Takada/Naghdi/McRae)

Symphony in C (Cuthbertson/Nunez/Takada/Naghdi/Muntagirov/Hirano/Campbell/Zucchetti)

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You’ve been rumbled, RichardLH. You have now had two ‘goes’ and have mentioned two female dancers several times each 😀

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4 minutes ago, capybara said:

You’ve been rumbled, RichardLH. You have now had two ‘goes’ and have mentioned two female dancers several times each 😀

Well spotted! I thought I had beat the system by distinguishing between performers and performances ....

Edited by Richard LH
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1. Vadim Muntagirov in everything he has done this year - utterly stunning and on a different level

2. Alexander Campbell as Des Grieux

3. Will Bracewell as Siegfried (Madrid)

4. Matthew Ball as Rudolf in Mayerling

5. Marianela Nunez in Swan Lake in particular, although stunning in everything else too 

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Greetings from the USA! Five favorite ballet performances seen in 2018 - either in cinemas/online or live in NY, Berlin and San Juan (Puerto Rico, where my family resides):

 

* RB in cinemas - Bernstein 100 triple bill...such innovative steps and designs! Especially loved Wheeldon’s CORYBANTIC GAMES...Mayara Magri & Marcelino Sambe short but fiery PDD!

 

* NYCB live in NY - I made several trips to experience rarities by Robbins, in honor of his 100th b’day. I particularly loved LES NOCES (those four grand pianos at the back of the stage!) and MOVES, performed in silence. Among many fantastic up-and-coming dancers, I particularly admired Ashley Laracey and very young Roman Mejia in everything they did.

 

* ABT live in NY - Ratmansky’s HARLEQUINADE reconstruction. Absolute delight, particularly as performed by the 2nd cast of Lane, Cirio, Abrera & Hallberg. Among younger corps dancers, I’m keeping my eyes on Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin.

 

* Berlin Staatsballett- My big overseas trip was to experience the opening of Ratmansky’s BAYADERE recon, with glorious designs by J. Kaplan. Polina Semionova, Alejandro Virelles and Yolanda Correa did not disappoint, although the latter two mostly mimed.

 

Last but not least, an unusual experience:

* Ballets de San Juan (Pto Rico) at Centro Bellas Artes, presenting a difficult triple bill in April - headlined by David Keener’s CARMEN, set in a Puerto Rican coffee plantation - just seven months after the devastating hurricane Maria. Truly uplifting.

 

I wish all balletcoforum readers a blessed 2019! I’m particularly looking forward to my upcoming visit to Sarasota Ballet for the long-awaited revival of Ashton’s APPARITIONS. 🤞 

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47 minutes ago, Jeannette said:

I’m particularly looking forward to my upcoming visit to Sarasota Ballet for the long-awaited revival of Ashton’s APPARITIONS. 🤞 

 

If there's one company I'd make a special trip for, it's Sarasota Ballet - I wish I could be there too!

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3 hours ago, Jeannette said:

I’m particularly looking forward to my upcoming visit to Sarasota Ballet for the long-awaited revival of Ashton’s APPARITIONS. 🤞 

 

See you there! We’re booked for all three performances!

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Best: Francesca Hayward in "Manon"

 

Worst: Harlequinade, ABT

 

Edited by Texan
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I’m afraid I’m rather RB-centric, but for what it’s worth, my top 5 of the year, in no other order but chronological... 

 

1. Giselle - I think 2018 is when Giselle really ‘clicked’ for me. Loved the Nunez/Bonelli and Osipova/Ball performances, very different but both exceptionally moving 

2. Lauren Cuthbertson and Matthew Ball in Marguerite and Armand - I’m afraid I’ve never seen the original cast, but I’ve seen a lot of modern ones and this pairing has blew me away. They are both terrific actors and I’m really enjoying seeing their partnership develop. I’m excited to see their Romeo & Juliet (and Naghdi/Ball too, naturally!)

3. Francesca Hayward in Manon

4. The Christmas mixed bill - so much joy in Les Patineurs and The Concert

5. Seeing Carlos Acosta rehearse Luca Acri and Marcelino Sambe as part of th Frederick Ashton foundation - I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this deviation from the normal ‘rediscovered’ sessions. 

 

Quick note - the act 3 set in swan lake deserves an honourable mention!

Edited by Riva
Pressed send too quick!
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I think the standouts this year have been beginning with a bang in January Cesar Corrales and Jia Zhang in Le Jeune Homme et La morte ...ENB .....just absolutely riveting edge of seat stuff! As someone else said .....recover soon Cesar we are missing you already! 

And the two lovely  Giselles of Hayward and Naghdi ...what a weekend that was. Completely different but absolutely engrossing. Still cannot decide any favourite probably by just a whisker Hayward .....who know s what I said way back then ....but from my memory right  now it's the lightness and musicality of Hayward that seems to have lasted in the memory.

I loved Bayadere and the switch of Osipova and Nunez ......just by a whisker again Nunez as Nikiya and Osipova as Gamzatti!

I haven't yet commented on the recent triple but Muntagirov and Lamb ( who hasn't been a favourite until now) in Winter Dreams were simply wonderful .....not sure what I feel about the ballet as a whole .....but that pas de deux was just stunning ....and in the end turned out for me to be the highlight of the triple ....even though I expected it to be Les Patineurs. 

I hope I haven't got this wrong but the ENB in Le sacre du Printemps at Sadlers Wells was pretty good too!! 

In terms of dancers I would say that these have really come to the fore in 2018

Marcelino Sambe 

James Hay 

Akane Takada 

Francesca  Hayward 

Yasmine Naghdi

Anna Rose O Sullivan 

and the wonderful Joseph Sissens ( think I've finally spelled his name correctly!!) and Cesar Corrales. 

As soon as I've posted will no doubt think of other ballets and other performers etc but this is what first comes to mind on 2018 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I knew it!! .........also loved Jane Eyre by Northern Ballet as a dramatic ballet as a whole .....and BRB Nutcracker particularly Brandon Lawrence and Celine Gittens ...loved those two in particular and the production as a whole a great Nutcracker to see and end the year with! 

 

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Typed that far too quickly as I was being nagged at by family! I’ll need to substitute one of mine to make way for Matthew Ball as Rudolf in Mayerling - a performance which will stay with me for a long time. The development of this terrific dancer over the last few years has been a joy to behold. I do hope his injury is not too serious and he is back dancing again soon. 

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15 hours ago, LinMM said:

I knew it!! .........also loved Jane Eyre by Northern Ballet as a dramatic ballet as a whole .....

 

 

Thanks for this. I’ll make a point of seeing ABT in Jane Eyre next spring.

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Reviewing 2018 made me get out my ROH 2019 calendar and look at the photos of 2018 productions..and - I'm afraid it's going to be November all year round in my house! ( though March is  a very beautiful picture as well)

🙂

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10 minutes ago, Mary said:

Reviewing 2018 made me get out my ROH 2019 calendar and look at the photos of 2018 productions..and - I'm afraid it's going to be November all year round in my house! ( though March is  a very beautiful picture as well)

🙂

 

Hahahaha!!!!!

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31 minutes ago, Mary said:

Reviewing 2018 made me get out my ROH 2019 calendar and look at the photos of 2018 productions..and - I'm afraid it's going to be November all year round in my house! ( though March is  a very beautiful picture as well)

🙂

Errrr....is Vadream Mr November by any chance??!!  :)

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36 minutes ago, Jeannette said:

 

Thanks for this. I’ll make a point of seeing ABT in Jane Eyre next spring.

 

Hi Jeanette - here's an earlier thread with some comments about NB's Spring Tour.  Please do let us know what you think when you see ABT performing the work:

 

 

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3 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

 

Hi Jeanette - here's an earlier thread with some comments about NB's Spring Tour.  Please do let us know what you think when you see ABT performing the work:

 

 

Thank you, Jan.

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I fear that my favourites have been covered already: Ball’s Mayerling, Naghdi and Ball in Giselle, Takada and Bracewell in Swan Lake, Lamb and Muntagirov in Manon, and Osipova/Muntagirov/Nuñez in La Bayadère. 

 

So, in the interest of being a little bit different:

  • Takada and Hay in the Giselle Pas de Six: I normally find this to be the dull bit, but these two kept my attention throughout. Razor sharp technique, great chemistry, and an engaging stage presence. 
  • Naghdi as Mistress in Manon: again, I’m not normally a fan of the Mistress solo in act two, but Naghdi made it work for me. Her characterisation was so good throughout and she squeezed every last drop out of, what often seems like, an unrewarding role. 
  • Ella as Benno in Swan Lake: a difficult role to get right if the discussion on the Swan Lake thread is anything to go by, but I thought Ella nailed it. Impressive dancing, explosive barrel turns, and a warm understated stage presence that made a positive impact whilst never threatening to upstage his Siegfried. 
  • Kay as Bratfisch in Mayerling: a favourite in this role, Kay brings great character and pizazz to his Act 2 solo and real pathos to act 3. It may have helped that he was in my favourite cast this run, but I felt the same last run as well. 
  • Avis as Kulygin in Winter Dreams: a dramatic tour de force, incredibly nuanced acting with every movement imbued with deep meaning. This performance was made even more special having read the social media posts and understanding what the role means to Avis. I will sneak in a mention of Bracewell and Edmonds who I thought were fantastic as well. 

I also have to add a heartfelt thank you to ENB for a wonderful 6 performances of Manon in four days in Southampton. It was an amazing experience all round and it would feel churlish to single out one performance, but I found Takahashi/Cirio and McWhinney/Frola particularly moving. If you can get to the Coliseum in January definitely see a performance, the company really is on excellent form and all casts were different and marvellous. 

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I'm still trying to work out how I can see the maximum casts without totally exhausting myself :) 

 

Thanks, Saodan, especially for crediting the "supporting casts", who have also done some remarkably fine work this year.

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7 hours ago, Sim said:

Errrr....is Vadream Mr November by any chance??!!  :)

 

indeed he is - but mine will be stuck on October 🙂

 

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34 minutes ago, alison said:

Being ... Sarah Lamb?  Laura Morera? Yasmine Naghdi?

 

Yasmine/Matthew in Sleeping Beauty  🙂

 

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  1. Cesar Corrales and Jia Zhang in “Le jeune homme et la mort” (ENB)
  2. Luana Georg in her farewell performance of “Giselle” with Sergei Upkin and Estonian National Ballet in Mary Skeaping’s production
  3. Begoña Cao, Aitor Arrieta and Junor Souza in “Manon” (ENB)
  4. Begoña Cao and Aitor Arrieta in “Swan Lake” (ENB)
  5. Fernanda Oliveira, Aitor Arrieta and Ken Saruhashi in “Song of the Earth” (ENB)

 

As I mostly attend dress rehearsals of the Royal Ballet, I can’t really count them as performances but Vadim Muntagirov is always the highlight of whichever ballet he appears in.  I also loved Jurgita Dronina in everything I saw her dance with ENB this year but her partners did not always match her artistry, otherwise her performances would have tied for second place in my list as nothing (for me) can beat those electrifying performances by Cesar Corrales and Jia Zhang!  

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Lots of great ballets for me as well this year but only two performances stood head and shoulders above the rest.

At number two is Yasmine Naghdi with her marvellous tear-inducing Odette/Odile in her Swan Lake debut.

But an easy number one is Alina Cojocaru as Aurora in ENB’s Sleeping Beauty. It was a sleepy mid-week matinee audience, in a far from full London Coliseum, that was woken up when the divine Cojocaru gave a performance that not only entranced the audience but seemed to raise the game of the whole ENB company.

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