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I loved the double bill so much tonight that I couldn't resist being the one to start the thread 😃 More later!

Edited by Anna C
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A wonderful day seeing the rehearsal with one cast and the performance with another and so much to enjoy all round, the highlight this evening being Muntagirov's elegance, expressiveness and elevation, and the sweet chemistry with Lauren Cuthbertson in that exquisitely touching last pas de deux would melt a heart of stone..

Also a fiery performance from Laura Morera, and 2 beautifully trained and tempered pigeons- perfect.

I really liked Asphodel Meadows on re viewing too, with Nunez on especially steely form.

 

Nicely contrasting pieces- nothing to harrow the soul- made a refreshing and very welcome change......

 

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Well, I was there tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

I had never seen Asphodel Meadows before, so went not knowing what to expect and with an open mind. I found it undemanding and enjoyable in a mild way. It reminded me of Viscera a bit, which I also found undemanding and enjoyable in a mild way... that sounds like damning it with faint praise, which I’m not - I wouldn’t book tickets specifically to see it again, but I would be perfectly happy to sit through it again in another bill.

 

Ahh, Laura Morera - she is just so special. I’m not sure why, but I love it and I love her. She and William Bracewell were outstanding in Asphodel Meadows, even managing to eclipse Marianela (who was also excellent). Morera and Bracewell looked really good together and really seemed to connect with each other.

 

I was also delighted to see Morera as the Gypsy Girl in the Two Pigeons. I was so looking forward to seeing her last time around - having been told that it was very much “her” role - but she was injured before I got to see her. I was so glad to finally see her tonight, and I agree wholeheartedly that it definitely is “her” role. She was fantastic - seductive, exciting, electrifying, with wonderful dancing. She and Muntagirov have a lot of chemistry together (loved them in Fille). Last time Fumi Kaneko took over and I really enjoyed her interpretation, but....there’s no one quite like Morera!

 

And once again, Cuthbertson and Muntagirov were amazing - charming, funny and sad. It seemed to me that they had developed in the roles since last time. The last pas de deux was simply beautiful - heartwrenchingly moving.

 

The corps were on great form too and danced with huge joie de vivre making it quite a spectacle. The only slightly weak link, I felt, was Tomas Mock as the Gypsy Chief - it wasn’t that he was bad but I just didn’t really feel anything from him. Others may well disagree.

 

Of course, the Pigeon Factor lends a whole extra frisson to the last ten minutes or so - will they behave or won’t they! The walk down the stairs with the pigeon on the shoulder in particular has me on tenterhooks - it would be rather awkward for the storyline if it flew off into the flies, or started pecking around the stage (not unknown!) - to say nothing of being just a tad distracting! Well, I can report that the Pigeons behaved impeccably tonight, although the second Pigeon at the very end came in a bit late - just as I was starting to think there was a problem, it appeared! Phew! 😂

 

Excellent evening and an appreciative audience!

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I was fairly apprehensive about seeing Asphodel Meadows, the first modern abstract ballet I've seen live. I found it better than I was expecting, in that the choreography was more classical & attractive than I thought it would be. However the lack of any plot did make me wonder what the point of it all was.

 

Having the dancers stand with their backs to the audience for most of the time when not actively dancing made it, for me, impossible to recognise any of the ensemble. I couldn't even work out which was Anna Rose O'Sullivan & I saw her as Clara last week! Of the 3 main couples who I could identify I think I liked Morera/Bracewell the most (I'm also now wondering if Bracewell was selected to replace Bonelli in The Nutcracker because he & Morera had already been chosen to dance together in this, or is other partnering not a casting consideration?).

 

I absolutely loved Two Pigeons. I found it a joy from start to finish. I thought the cast were all excellent. Muntagirov was pretty much flawless again & even managed to look elegant dancing with ropes on (my mother & I were so busy telling each other afterwards how excellent he was that we nearly missed the right tube stop!). I loved Cuthertson's acting as much as her dancing, especially her indignation & attention seeking. Morera somehow seems to manage to perfectly fit every role I've seen her in (The Concert, Nutcracker & both tonight's all within a month).

 

ETA I had wondered if, after seeing Manon in the afternoon, Two Pigeons would seem a bit lightweight by comparison, but I didn't find that. I would like to thank the West End for putting on so few musicals I want to see at the moment that I have the time to start exploring ballet!

Edited by Dawnstar
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42 minutes ago, Balletfanp said:

Of course, the Pigeon Factor lends a whole extra frisson to the last ten minutes or so - will they behave or won’t they! The walk down the stairs with the pigeon on the shoulder in particular has me on tenterhooks - it would be rather awkward for the storyline if it flew off into the flies, or started pecking around the stage (not unknown!) - to say nothing of being just a tad distracting!

 

That reminds me - when I reported on Ballet Studio Live a couple of weeks ago, I forgot to say that Christopher Carr seemed to devote almost as much time to pigeon care, shall we call it, as to the ballet-related corrections.  Quite fascinating!

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Were they rehearsing with the pigeons or do they only come for the stage rehearsals?

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It was in the Floral Hall - I dread to think what might have happened if they'd let the pigeons loose in there!  Far too many options for roosting and getting distracted ...

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Dawnstar, one shouldn't comment on rehearsals...but i think I can say that the two pigeons did take a full part in the morning rehearsal- and they tell me they felt it 'went well'.

 

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7 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

 

ETA I had wondered if, after seeing Manon in the afternoon, Two Pigeons would seem a bit lightweight by comparison, but I didn't find that. I

One should never underestimate Ashton. The subject matter might seem light, but the treatment isn't.... 🙂

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As Two Pigeons is also being performed separately in a different mixed bill, alongside Royal Ballet School, please keep this thread for discussion about the RB double bill. We can start a separate thread for the RB/RBS mixed bill.

 

Thank you. 🙂

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10 hours ago, alison said:

It was in the Floral Hall - I dread to think what might have happened if they'd let the pigeons loose in there!  Far too many options for roosting and getting distracted ...

 

Maybe as part of Open Up the ROH should allow London's pigeons in to roost in the Floral Hall. After all, having lovely white doves on stage while keeping out ordinary pigeons could be considered elitism, and we all know how desparate the ROH is to avoid that! 😉

 

2 hours ago, Jamesrhblack said:

One should never underestimate Ashton. The subject matter might seem light, but the treatment isn't.... 🙂

As the only Ashton I've seen previously is Les Patineurs last month I didn't really know what to expect from Two Pigeons (I had looked up the plot but as written down it's quite short).

 

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Really enjoyed the double bill this afternoon. Love Asphodel Meadows (especially the pdds in each movement). Fumi Kanako in the 1st was just divine, and her partner, William Bracewell, immaculate. Hats off too, to young Sae Maeda in the 3rd.

then on to The Two Pigeons, with such a marvellous, nuanced cast of Beatriz Stix Brunel and Reece Clarke in the leads ( their final pdd was utterly sob inducing), with a feisty and glam gypsy girl of Claire Calvert. No wonder The Boy was tempted! Wish they had more than the one performance!

 

for those there this afternoon wondering about the fate of the white dove after it escaped from Reece’s grasp, it fluttered into the pit, just managing to avoid an arm waving Barry Wordsworth, and sat implacably on the music stand of one of the double bass players - to much amusement. A young lady entered the pit and rescued/recaptured her, ready to be thrown back in (literally) at the appropriate ‘awwww’ moment.

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1 hour ago, zxDaveM said:

 

for those there this afternoon wondering about the fate of the white dove after it escaped from Reece’s grasp, it fluttered into the pit, just managing to avoid an arm waving Barry Wordsworth, and sat implacably on the music stand of one of the double bass players - to much amusement. A young lady entered the pit and rescued/recaptured her, ready to be thrown back in (literally) at the appropriate ‘awwww’ moment.

 

And I thought they just got the spare out 🤣

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Am I alone in being distinctly underwhelmed by Cuthertson in Two Pigeons? She seems too knowing and mature for the role. I'm not referring to her actual age, but to the image she projects on stage. Overall, I wasn't convinced. Stix Brunel was much more satisfying in her interpretation. Muntagirov, though he danced magnificently, was almost the opposite. He projected so youthful an impression that it was hardly surprising he was tempted away by the evanescent promise of the gypsy girl. The Two Pigeons is always performed by two young(ish) leads but, while this is very important for the girl, Ashton actually set the role on Donald Britton who was, I believe, one of the more senior men in the touring company at that time (in his mid-thirties) and Christopher Gable took over the role only in the last week or so before the first night when Britton fell ill. The first night went so well, cementing the Seymour-Gable partnership, that the ballet has always been cast, usually, with younger looking dancers.

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I thought Stix-Brunell was terrific as the Young Girl this afternoon, beautifully danced and very funny. I’d love to see her as Lise.

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Just now, Lizbie1 said:

I thought Stix-Brunell was terrific as the Young Girl this afternoon, beautifully danced and very funny. I’d love to see her as Lise.

 

Yes she danced and acted very well....I thought Claire Calvert was a great Gypsy Girl too

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4 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

Really enjoyed the double bill this afternoon. Love Asphodel Meadows (especially the pdds in each movement). Fumi Kanako in the 1st was just divine, and her partner, William Bracewell, immaculate. Hats off too, to young Sae Maeda in the 3rd.

 

Is Bracewell dancing in both Asphodel Meadows casts, doing different roles in each, or am I misreading this?

 

2 hours ago, Douglas Allen said:

Am I alone in being distinctly underwhelmed by Cuthertson in Two Pigeons? She seems too knowing and mature for the role. I'm not referring to her actual age, but to the image she projects on stage. Overall, I wasn't convinced. Stix Brunel was much more satisfying in her interpretation. Muntagirov, though he danced magnificently, was almost the opposite. He projected so youthful an impression that it was hardly surprising he was tempted away by the evanescent promise of the gypsy girl. The Two Pigeons is always performed by two young(ish) leads but, while this is very important for the girl, Ashton actually set the role on Donald Britton who was, I believe, one of the more senior men in the touring company at that time (in his mid-thirties) and Christopher Gable took over the role only in the last week or so before the first night when Britton fell ill. The first night went so well, cementing the Seymour-Gable partnership, that the ballet has always been cast, usually, with younger looking dancers.

 

I really enjoyed Cuthbertson's performance last night & didn't think she seemed too mature for the role. However it was my first time seeing the piece so I haven't seen anyone else to compare her to.

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17 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

Is Bracewell dancing in both Asphodel Meadows casts, doing different roles in each, or am I misreading this?

 

Well, his name wasn't on the cast sheet this afternoon, and I was pretty sure he wasn't dancing.

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Dyer, Richardson & Dixon the three main men in AM. Clarke, Acri and Lukas BB in Two Pigeons. 

Edited by RobR
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Sorry - that was my mistake, I didn't have my cast sheet to hand, and I completely mis-remembered. It was Calvin Richardson, not William Bracewell. Apologies for the confusion!

 

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Ah, that clears it up. It did seem a bit unlikely that he'd be doing a different role the very next day.

 

I've discovered, slightly to my horror, that 2 of my tweets from last night have been quoted in the ROH's reactions round-up. I very rarely go to first nights so didn't think of that. They would pick me being dubious about Asphodel Meadows rather than praising Two Pigeons. I hope there isn't a rabid Scarlett fan club out there going to pounce on me!

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???🤔 I think I'm missing the point Coated....is there a double entendre in the word pounces?

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31 minutes ago, LinMM said:

???🤔 I think I'm missing the point Coated....is there a double entendre in the word pounces?

Perfectly entendre free. I just couldn't resist pouncing on @Dawnstar on behalf of the Scarlett fan club (non-rabid division)

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Great photo.

Did you take any of the Two Pigeons cast?

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20 minutes ago, RobR said:

Great photo.

Did you take any of the Two Pigeons cast?

 

Thanks.  Have a look at my instagram or twitter

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As I said at the top of this page, I LOVE this double bill.

 

I'm afraid that I remembered little about Asphodel Meadows, save for the fact that the original cast featured Tamara Rojo and Leanne Cope. But I was very happy to become reacquainted with it. I think that its, shall I say, neo-classical style has real appeal, especially in the hands of the current casts.  On Friday, Morera and Bracewell were absolutely  superb but both the leading line-ups have been excellent and, as others have said, are giving newcomers such as Sae Maeda and Leo Dixon a chance to shine.

 

And what's not to like about 2 Pigeons? On Friday night, Muntagirov blew me away, firstly for the naturalness and humour of his acting (especially noticeable in the early sequences) and then for his peerless dancing. Prior to that, the last time I had seen him on stage was  when he gave that excoriating performance as Vershinin on 20th December but, here he was, completely different but just as brilliant - being a character, not layering something on. The same  ability to 'be' rather than 'act' goes for Stix Brunell in yesterday's cast and, of course, Laura Morera as the Gypsy Girl, although Claire Calvert was mighty fine in that role also.

 

I think that it is unfortunate for Reece Clarke that 'his' cast (for Two Ps is very much the man's story) has only one performance. The choreography is really (deceptively) difficult and I remember, in the last run, that Matthew Ball was able to relax more in his second show. Reece was really good yesterday but I know that he can be even better.

 

Looking forward to more bites of this delicious cherry in a fortnight's time. And what casts there are to come!

 

 

Edited by capybara
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I also loved this double bill yesterday.  I liked AM when it was first performed, and then when it was revived a couple of years later.  I still like it now.....a lot.  All three couples gave very assured performances of their pdd, and the rest of the dancers were in good sync with each other.  I really like the music, too.

 

As for 2P....well, it was just gorgeous.  I love it anyway, but yesterday's performance was something very special.  Last time, I loved Beatriz with Matthew Ball.  Yesterday, I loved her with Reece.  They had such good, natural chemistry, both being funny, tender or romantic, feeding off each other.  And what a beautiful couple to look at.  I think Beatriz is the most natural of the Young Girls I have seen for a long time.  Her dancing is sublime and she doesn't make any of Ashton's fiendish choreography look forced.  I agree with Lizbie, she really needs to be Lise next time they do Fille.  Claire Calvert was excellent as the Gypsy Queen, and I too could understand why a silly young man would be very tempted to follow her to the gypsy encampment!   However, good sense prevailed and he humbly returned to his lovely Young Girl (this time managing to keep the pigeon!).  The sweetness of their reconciliation pdd was almost unbearable;  it made me cry.  I don't often cry tears of happiness, but this was one of those rare times.  Even the pigeons did what they were supposed to do at the end, and that was just the cherry on the icing on the cake.  Wonderful stuff, and I too am very disappointed that this cast only gets one show.  On the other hand, that may well be one of the many things that made their show so very special.  

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I too think this was a lovely double bill. I enjoyed both performances of Asphodel Meadows (first time of seeing it) though I would have ultimately preferred 2 Ashton Ballets (which might have sold better too). The only thing I didn't like was the rather distracting moving sets and that very dazzling back light which I found distracting. Also thought it was a bit confusing that 2 of the 3 main couples had clothes of very similar colour so though I was able to  distinguish the Friday cast that I knew a bit better I kept getting them a bit mixed with the Saturday cast whom I didn't really know. Thought both casts were wonderful and liked the music. However, I agreed with an earlier poster that though I wouldn't mind seeing it again it's not a ballet I would specifically choose to see again; unlike 2 Pigeons.

 

I could see 2 Pigeons all the time and never tire of it. Frederick Ashton is such a genius choreographer he doesn't need lighting or gimmicks; his steps just speak for themselves and they do so wonderfully especially when they have the current Royal ballet dancers to interpret them so beautifully. What more can I see about Vadim? Every role you see him in seems to be his best until you see him next time. Like Capybara this is the first time I've seen him at the ROH since Winter Dreams which I thought absolutely sublime, a landmark performance (and told him so at the stage door Friday after I told him how much I enjoyed his 2 Pigeons performance). Is there anything he can't do; acting, dancing, pigeon whispering? His pigeon control is faultless and he makes it look so easy as he does every facet of his performance. His youthful charm especially comes across in this most endearing role in a most charming ballet. his 2nd act solo is the epitome of carefree happiness and stylish dancing and the tricky lifts that follow in the pas de deux are executed with great style and elegance. The final pas de  deux is just so emotional and beautiful I am always on the verge of tears, especially when the final pigeon appears. I was there with my husband and he looked at me at that moment and kissed me and we had our own romantic moment and I nearly cried again! It was beautiful.

 

Really enjoyed the matinee performance too. Thought Reece Clarke and Beatrix Stix Brunel very well matched and danced beautifully together and would like to see Beatrix or Naghdi do it with Vadim. Thought both gypsy couples very good too. Great to see Laura Morera as I missed her last time and was surprised by the strength of Claire Calvert's performance as it wasn't a role I'd really visualised her in.

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