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capybara

MARGOT FONTEYN CENTENARY

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The Royal Opera House magazine has announced that there will be a special 'one-off' performance by The Royal Ballet on 8 June 2019 to celebrate the centenary of Margot Fonteyn's birth. This will "include The Firebird and some of her most famous roles".

 

Tickets will be priced between £5 and £125 and there is also a special package (at £900) which will include drinks before, during and after the show - the latter being "an exclusive reception with the cast, production team and senior ROH staff.

 

So now we know!

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Ah good, I'm pleased they are doing something.  Wow....£900 for a few drinks?!   I think I will be sticking with the £5.00 tickets!!  :)

 

Thanks for the information, Capybara.

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Interesting - my notes and the website say that this date is earmarked for the Firebird mixed bill, both matinee and evening. Sounds like the penny dropped after the season announcement!

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6 minutes ago, RHowarth said:

Does it say when booking will open?

 

Yes - as follows:

Patrons from 25th January

Premium  Friends etc on a staged basis  from 19th February

Friends from 5th March

General Booking from 3rd April

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

Interesting - my notes and the website say that this date is earmarked for the Firebird mixed bill, both matinee and evening. Sounds like the penny dropped after the season announcement!

I think initially there was going to be an R&J on the Friday night (or perhaps it was the afternoon) and it became a triple bill matinee. I'm a little confused...just to get this straight, there is no matinee at ROH on 8 June? Lizbie1 is right that it is listed here https://www.roh.org.uk/mixed-programmes/the-firebird-a-month-in-the-country-symphony-in-c. But, it's not on the calendar and the entry in 'what's on' yields no dates at all: https://www.roh.org.uk/productions/symphony-in-c-by-george-balanchine

 

I have a weekend planned which did involve the RB triple on Friday at 12pm, San Francisco Ballet on Friday evening and Saturday evening, and ENB's Cinderella on Sunday afternoon. I will very delightedly swap my Saturday evening San Fran ticket for one for the matinee on the same day so that I can join the scrum for a ticket for the Fonteyn celebration that evening - but it would be good to know that the Friday matinee of the triple will definitely go ahead and that I'm not missing a Saturday matinee of the same bill!

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Capybara, does the Friends magazine shed any light in answer to RHowarth's question? Is there still a matinee? And if not, are any extra performances scheduled on other dates?

 

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm in a similar boat myself!

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Working solely from the listings in the magazine, I now see that there are several further events relating to Margot Fonteyn in that week: The total ballet programme is:

 

Mon 3rd June: Firebird Triple Rehearsal 11.30am

Tues 4th June: Insight - Fonteyn and Me 6.00pm Clore/Firebird Triple 7.30pm

Weds 5th June: Insight - Fonteyn and Me 6.00pm Clore/Firebird Triple 7.30pm

Thurs 6th June: Insight - Celebrating Fonteyn 7.30pm Clore

Frid 7th June Firebird Triple 12 noon/Insights - Aud Jebsen Young Dancers 7.30pm Clore

Sat 8th June: Margot Fonteyn - A Celebration 7.30pm

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lizbie1 said:

Capybara, does the Friends magazine shed any light in answer to RHowarth's question? Is there still a matinee? And if not, are any extra performances scheduled on other dates?

 

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm in a similar boat myself!

 

The dates for that bill are 4th, 5th, 12th, 13th and 14th evenings and 7th 12 noon, with the Fonteyn Celebration on the 8th evening.

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,My guess is that apart from Firebird we shall be treated to some of what the Royal Ballet  is dancing in its mixed bill on its Japanese tour which includes a series of excerpts including Romeo and Juliet balcony pas de deux and a section described as a "Tribute to Margot Fonteyn". This is said to include the Rose Adagio. So at the end of the day the Gala could well be little more than something the company is already dancing plus what amounts to a dress rehearsal for the tour. I hope I am wrong about this but it seems that it could end up being about as exciting as Stretton's ill-fated gala. Even today the balcony pas de deux could, to say the least, be a somewhat incendiary choice for some older fans. As Kevin spent his dancing career at SWRB/BRB I wonder how aware he is that such a choice could still be a problem?

Edited by FLOSS
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27 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

,My guess is that apart from Firebird we shall be treated to some of what the Royal Ballet  is dancing in its mixed bill on its Japanese tour which includes a series of excerpts including Romeo and Juliet balcony pas de deux and a section described as a "Tribute to Margot Fonteyn". This is said to include the Rose Adagio. So at the end of the day the Gala could well be little more than something the company is already dancing plus what amounts to a dress rehearsal for the tour. I hope I am wrong about this but it seems that it could end up being about as exciting as Stretton's ill-fated gala. Even today the balcony pas de deux could, to say the least, be a somewhat incendiary choice for some older fans. As Kevin spent his dancing career at SWRB/BRB I wonder how aware he is that such a choice could still be a problem?

 

Well I agree about the likely content of the evening, but for me that could still be exciting.

 

I also agree that R&J might not be a good choice, though since it's being performed near the time I fear it may indeed figure.

 

I haven't been to a gala for many years, since normally they're too expensive and the content too potentially unsatisfying. I will aim to get a ticket for this one, but I'm sure it will be difficult.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

Even today the balcony pas de deux could, to say the least, be a somewhat incendiary choice for some older fans. As Kevin spent his dancing career at SWRB/BRB I wonder how aware he is that such a choice could still be a problem?

 

That’s quite an accusation to make, particularly as the underlying point (that the balcony pd2 might be on the Fonteyn tribute bill) is based on supposition.  Are you really suggesting that the director of the RB is completely unaware of the history of his own company’s R&J?  I wasn’t born when it was created but even I know what happened.

 

I have noted that the balcony pd2 is not in the tribute section of the Tokyo programme.

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33 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I have noted that the balcony pd2 is not in the tribute section of the Tokyo programme.

 

Do you have info then as to what is in the tribute section, bangorballetboy? The programme for that evening as linked in the relevant thread doesn't include further details. (Though it does show R&J pas de deux as a separate item.)

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

 

Do you have info then as to what is in the tribute section, bangorballetboy? The programme for that evening as linked in the relevant thread doesn't include further details. (Though it does show R&J pas de deux as a separate item.)

 

As you say it’s listed as a separate item.

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3 hours ago, FLOSS said:

 So at the end of the day the Gala could well be little more than something the company is already dancing plus what amounts to a dress rehearsal for the tour. I hope I am wrong about this but it seems that it could end up being about as exciting as Stretton's ill-fated gala. 

What would you consider to be a fitting tribute evening Floss?

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So we have lost a performance of the triple bill? 8th June matinee moved to 7th (which explains why the Romeo and Juliet matinee on that day had to be moved). 8th June evening performance now the "Gala". What a mess. I was giving the ROH the benefit of the doubt, but as Lizbie said this seems like it was not in the plans initially. 

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1 minute ago, Saodan said:

So we have lost a performance of the triple bill? 8th June matinee moved to 7th (which explains why the Romeo and Juliet matinee on that day had to be moved). 8th June evening performance now the "Gala". What a mess. I was giving the ROH the benefit of the doubt, but as Lizbie said this seems like it was not in the plans initially. 

 

Come on folks, let's be reasonable. Did we want the RB to celebrate/acknowledge the contribution of Margot Fonteyn in 2019 or didn't we?

 

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55 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

Come on folks, let's be reasonable. Did we want the RB to celebrate/acknowledge the contribution of Margot Fonteyn in 2019 or didn't we?

 

We did, but if it were really important, it should have been announced at the beginning of the season and not as some kind of afterthought. 

Let's hope this is a fabulous occasion that, through some insightful programming, really does justice to this great artiste of the Royal Ballet. 

I am personally hoping that roles which she is most identified with (Sleeping Beauty, Ondine, Daphnis, Symphonic etc) are programmed at the beginning of the 2019/20 season. 

 

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 As the Fonteyn  Centenary Gala gives every indication of being an afterthought rather than something that was planned when the 2018-19 season was announced I think that what I posted constitutes "fair comment". If you are aware of your company's history and its significant anniversaries you don't find yourself forced to rearrange your company's performance schedule in order to accommodate an overlooked centenary. It's not as if Fonteyn's date of birth Is a state secret; that she was a minor player in the development of the company's repertory and its international standing or that she played no part in the creation of Ashton's lyrical choreographic style. He is on record saying that it was her presence in the company which lead him to develop a more lyrical choreographic style than he might otherwise have done.  Somehow this season Kevin has managed to allocate several evenings to a mixed bill celebrating the centenary of Leonard Bernstein who, as far as I am aware, had no direct connection with the company and yet he, and those around him, have managed to overlook the centenary of the birth of the company's Prima Ballerina Assoluta.  Announcing the inclusion of a Bernstein centennial triple bill when the season's programme was published indicated that it was planned and prepared for whereas the mid-season announcement of a single performance to celebrate Fonteyn's centenary suggests that Kevin and those around him had somehow either managed to forget it or had hoped to avoid marking it. If an AD can apparently overlook such a significant company centenary it seems quite possible to me that he could overlook other equally important aspects of the company's history.

 

As to what I would choose to stage to celebrate Fonteyn my first choice would be a proper mixed bill beginning with Birthday Offering followed by Symphonic Variations and ending with Daphnis and Chloe, a masterpiece we have not seen since 2004. Many people who saw Fonteyn in the ballets say that Chloe was her greatest role  Each of the ballets in the mixed bill to be carefully cast according to ability and willingness to dance with appropriate Ashton musicality and style rather than seniority. I am anxious to avoid the travesty of Birthday Offering which we saw in 2012 when the company fielded two casts  and the majority of the dancers  involved gave every indication of being mastered by the choreography rather than mastering it and danced with such  extreme care and caution that the majority of the performances lacked any sense of being  idiomatic accounts of the choreography. This time there should be only one cast for Birthday Offering with those best able to perform the choreography selected to appear in it. If this means casting junior dancers and only a limited number of Principal dancers then so be it. An exemplary cast for Symphonic Variations and equally careful casting for Daphnis and Chloe. In addition I would revive Cinderella, Ondine, Sleeping Beauty and Giselle during the season. I should like to include Sylvla but that has only recently been revived. Other mixed bills suggest themselves such as Scenes de Ballet, Nureyev's Kingdom of the Shades and Birthday Offering ; Les Patineurs, Scenes de Ballet or Symphonic Variations and A Wedding Bouquet and possibly a Diaghilev mixed bill of Les Sylphides, Firebird and Le Tricorne although I accept that Les Sylphides and Le Tricorne  would both represent real artistic challenges.  .

Edited by FLOSS
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I agree that all the signs are of an oversight. It reminds me of the Paris Opera Ballet's event meant to honour Yvette Chauvire, (their equivalent of Fonteyn) which was also very last minute and was an absolute disgrace,, I can't believe that the Royal's approach will be so demeaning. But as Floss implies the content needs to be carefully designed and prepared.

The text about the celebration in the ROH magazine is written by someone who understands little about Fonteyn (' Frederick Ashton created several ballets  for her'- little recognition that she was his muse). One despairs.

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I hope no one will mind a small personal anecdote. Many years ago, I saw Fonteyn and Somes in Daphnis and was totally captivated. Around the mid eighties, I met Michael Somes  and commented that I had always loved seeing his performances with Fonteyn, especially Daphnis, and especially Fonteyn as Chloe. He looked at me quite sadly and commented that there would never be another Chloe! I tended to agree until I saw Cojocaru - not surpassing Fonteyn but pretty near! Agree with Floss that Daphnis and Symphonic should form part of any celebratory programme -they are so closely part of the amazing dancer that she was.

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I feel a bit gloomy about it. I think FLOSS was right when she said it’ll be Firebird (absolutely right) and bits n bobs that are doable from actual or recently performed stuff with the odd solo quickly mastered. The novelty might come from imported guests. So I can see a leaden logic to R&J balcony pdd, something from Sylvia, shadow dance Ondine, SB rose adagio, something from Giselle, something from Dante Sonata c/o BRB, perhaps even (sigh) a film excerpt with Darcey Bussell narration, and yes I can see even more lead and logic in M&A to finish it off. They’re not going to pull off Daphnis, Symphonic or Scènes by June, but perhaps we’ll get them next season and the performances will be dedicated to her memory.

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39 minutes ago, Vanartus said:

 The novelty might come from imported guests. 

 

I sincerely hope not, unless it is a joint venture with BRB.

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2 hours ago, Vanartus said:

I feel a bit gloomy about it. I think FLOSS was right when she said it’ll be Firebird (absolutely right) and bits n bobs that are doable from actual or recently performed stuff with the odd solo quickly mastered. The novelty might come from imported guests. So I can see a leaden logic to R&J balcony pdd, something from Sylvia, shadow dance Ondine, SB rose adagio, something from Giselle, something from Dante Sonata c/o BRB, perhaps even (sigh) a film excerpt with Darcey Bussell narration, and yes I can see even more lead and logic in M&A to finish it off. They’re not going to pull off Daphnis, Symphonic or Scènes by June, but perhaps we’ll get them next season and the performances will be dedicated to her memory.

 

Though of course since Ashton didn't want anyone other than Fonteyn to dance Marguerite it would seem a bit off to see someone else dance it in a gala for Fonteyn. I know that bird has flown, but still...

 

I do hope that BRB are involved too, though. And that perhaps Dame Beryl Grey could be involved in some way.

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2 hours ago, capybara said:

 

I sincerely hope not, unless it is a joint venture with BRB.

 

I wouldn't mind Sarasota Ballet showing up!

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Just checked the ROH web site and nothing at all posted as yet.  Really do think they should update!!!  I am a Friend+ so hopefully can catch up with the ROH magazine when it arrives.

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8 minutes ago, fashionista said:

Just checked the ROH web site and nothing at all posted as yet.  Really do think they should update!!! 

 

Maybe they want to make the announcement to Friends first through the magazine?

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In some ways, this current season feels like an inadvertent tribute to Lynn Seymour. It showcases her wide range of fabulous created roles: Mary Vetsera, The Young Girl, Juliet, Natalia Petrovna. She was also in the first RB performances of The Concert. 

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Good observation, Darlex.  Inadvertent or not, Miss Seymour definitely merits a season tribute.  She almost single-handedly invented the 'dance actress' which is why her partnership with MacMillan worked so well, and why the RB has such a great reputation for dancing dramatic ballets.  Her artistic legacy has led to a long line of other wonderful dance actresses (and actors) within the company, something that is now expected of most RB dancers.  Being able to do the steps just isn't enough anymore.  

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