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bridiem

The Royal Ballet - New Work New Music, Linbury Theatre Feb 2019

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Did anyone go last night? (I'm seeing this on Friday.)

Edited by bridiem

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Just tweeted this:

 

.@markymonahan on @TheRoyalBallet #ROHnewworknewmusic bill in Linbury covers a rather astringent night well. I'd have liked a more balanced bill but dancers looked fine. When I could see them that is - some seats have very poor views, not good at all

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/dance/what-to-see/new-work-new-music-review-royal-ballet-linbury-theatre-fabulous/

 

It's a hard and samey night I felt - but then I didn't get to see the whole stage picture. But I'd have hoped for more.

 

The bigger thing, for me, is just how poor the view is from some seats in the new Linbury. The old Linbury might not have been super comfortable, but generally, wherever you were you could see the stage. Having spend £50M+ (on the complete open up scheme, not just Linbury) it seems poor they made the overall seating position worse.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bruce said:

The bigger thing, for me, is just how poor the view is from some seats in the new Linbury. The old Linbury might not have been super comfortable, but generally, wherever you were you could see the stage. Having spend £50M+ (on the complete open up scheme, not just Linbury) it seems poor they made the overall seating position worse.

 

Very poor, indeed.  I would have assumed they'd have run computer projections to get an idea of the viewing obstructions before building the place, but it doesn't seem like it.  As you say, previously you could at least largely see the stage from everywhere.

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3 hours ago, Bruce said:

Just tweeted this:

 

.@markymonahan on @TheRoyalBallet #ROHnewworknewmusic bill in Linbury covers a rather astringent night well. I'd have liked a more balanced bill but dancers looked fine. When I could see them that is - some seats have very poor views, not good at all

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/dance/what-to-see/new-work-new-music-review-royal-ballet-linbury-theatre-fabulous/

 

I'm glad I don't have to hear it but loved Monahan's description "sounds like a musically minded cat repeatedly walking up the keyboard of an aggressively amped-up synthesizer"!

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Debra Craine in the Times on the @TheRoyalBallet #ROHnewworknewmusic bill - 2*s

"The musical resources are fantastic, but the evening is short on creditable choreography."

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/review-new-work-new-music-at-the-linbury-royal-opera-house-wc2-x5038c8n3

 

As Ian says the daily links will have more views, but I think Craine nails the stars right at 2 rather than 3 stars. Been a long time since I came out of one of RB's nights of new choreography in the Linbury/Clore feeling quite so depressed.

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Thanks for the warnings. I was going to go as a birthday treat but have given away my ticket and am now making other plans. Can't judge without seeing it, but, from all the comments here and reviews it does not sound calculated to lift the  spirits.  Also, only just noticed the ticket says 'Restricted view' and I don't remember seeing that on the website.

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Given the comments above about poor views, are there particular seats we should avoid booking in future? 

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I'd urge caution with the sides in general, I think.

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1 hour ago, Quintus said:

Given the comments above about poor views, are there particular seats we should avoid booking in future? 

 

I would say that many of the seats at the side would definitely be problematic.  Unfortunately, I can only give an idea about some of these areas.

People sitting in the front row of the Side Stalls seemed to have the best side view.  I’ve had no reports of what it’s like in the second row of the Side Stalls.

Circle and Upper Circle side seats should be booked with caution.  I was seated at the side of the Circle, in the front row and only just round the curve i.e. on the seat nearest to the ones which are directly opposite the stage.  I was able to see almost all the stage but a hanging light prevented me from seeing a dancer when she was at the extreme side of the stage.  Those who were in the same row but much nearer the stage reported missing what happened at that side of the stage.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any reports of what the view is like in the second row of the Side Circle.

As for standing places, row D in the Circle is, apparently, excellent.  As has been reported elsewhere, the view from Row B standing in the Upper Circle is poor.

Maybe others can report back on the view from those rows I’ve not been able to cover.

Edited to add that, at the open weekend last September,  I tried out some of the seats at the sides of the Upper Circle and found that those seats in the centre of the front row at the side (Upper Circle A8 and A9)  had only a partial view.

Edited by Bluebird
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I noticed this, in Lyndsey Winship's Guardian review, talking about the Alerts Collins piece: "...and – unusual this – the dancers look like they’re having a really nice time."

 

Is she trying to imply that RB dancers don't generally enjoy performing?

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13 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

I noticed this, in Lyndsey Winship's Guardian review, talking about the Alerts Collins piece: "...and – unusual this – the dancers look like they’re having a really nice time."

 

Is she trying to imply that RB dancers don't generally enjoy performing?

 

I think it's more the point that the vast majority of new pieces in these sort of events appear to be full of angst or similar and so the dancers don't have the opportunity to look like they're enjoying themselves.

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25 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I think it's more the point that the vast majority of new pieces in these sort of events appear to be full of angst or similar and so the dancers don't have the opportunity to look like they're enjoying themselves.

 

Yes it would be good if a bit of Ashton-like joy or silliness could be included in some of these  new works. 

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34 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I think it's more the point that the vast majority of new pieces in these sort of events appear to be full of angst or similar and so the dancers don't have the opportunity to look like they're enjoying themselves.

 

Yes, I assume that is what she means; but if so it's not very clearly expressed and is open to (mis)interpretation.

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1 hour ago, Quintus said:

Given the comments above about poor views, are there particular seats we should avoid booking in future? 

 

1 hour ago, alison said:

I'd urge caution with the sides in general, I think.

 

1 hour ago, Bluebird said:

 

I would say that many of the seats at the side would definitely be problematic.  Unfortunately, I can only give an idea about some of these areas.

People sitting in the front row of the Side Stalls seemed to have the best side view.  I’ve had no reports of what it’s like in the second row of the Side Stalls.

I sat in BB1 - Left Side Stalls.  Not only was there at best a one-third to half view of the stage, but a column divided that poor view into two parts, a sliver to the left, in which I spotted the odd hand or foot, and the rest to the right.  I could not see any of the back of the stage so if I hadn't had sight of a programme I would have had no idea of what piece I was seeing - others had the benefit of a back-projected title with names of choreographer and composer.  BB2 and BB3 can't be much better and assume the same is true for the matching seats on the opposite of the auditorium.  The view from AA1 is not obstructed by the column but of course I can't say how much of the left-hand side or the back of the stage is visible from there.  I would never book BB1 ( or 2 or 3 for that matter) again even if I were desperate to see a programme and nothing else were available.

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54 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

 

Yes it would be good if a bit of Ashton-like joy or silliness could be included in some of these  new works. 

Quite agree- but could someone who has seen it tell us if there was in fact any such joy or silliness? The second photo in the Guardian review certainly hinted at some of the latter....

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It's depressing to read about the Linbury seating, unbelievable that any seats or standing places in a brand new theatre have a bad view!

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I've only started watching ballet in the last couple of years (and began with lots of kind help from board members here!) so have probably been to less than 20 ballet/dance performances in my life. From skimming a couple of the newspaper reviews it seems like some of my thoughts are the opposite of theirs, so I suspect my taste in dance isn't particularly refined. Which is to say, take my comments with a huge pinch of salt.

 

I found the evening a really mixed bag, loving some pieces and hating others, but I found the evening as a whole really exciting and I can't wait to go to the Linbury again.

  • The first, 'based on 'a' true story', was moody and interesting but ultimately fell flat for me. Perhaps it simply reflects my lack of understanding of dance, but by the end it just felt uninspired to me and I wondered how much of the effectiveness was simply down to the lighting.
  • The second 'uncanny valley' was meant to explore that unnerving effect that occurs when the artificial gets closer & closer to emulating the natural, but I found it simply too scrappy, oddly out of sync and too long. Presumably the scrappiness was intentional to give the uneasy feel, but it just almost looked under-rehearsed in a way that, in my eyes at least, is fundamentally different to what the uncanny valley really is.
  • The third, 'circular ruins' I enjoyed. Unlike the first and later pieces it's ideas felt fairly clear to me; bringing to mind ideas around creator/created like films like Blade Runner and Ex Machina.
  • On the first night the order was different to the programme. I'm not sure if this has remained, but we had 'something borrowed' which I absolutely loved. If much of the rest of the night was intensely somber, this was joyous and just a little mad. The mix of different dance styles, the weird outfits and Anna Meredith's wonderful pounding score all worked together brilliantly for me. This image from the Guardian review is one of the sets of costumes from that piece.
  • The next was 'two sides of' which felt more traditional. I found this enjoyable in parts, but it felt oddly truncated, as though it wasn't a complete short dance but a section of a longer piece that was cut off early.
  • The final piece 'blue moon' didn't work for me at all. It gave me the impression of a wonderful silent comedy with all of the joy sucked out. The dancers smiled but, unlike 'something borrowed' the piece as a whole just felt stiff.

In terms of view I was sat LG, front row of the side stalls but on the more central seats rather than in the lowest/highest numbers. Perhaps its just a reflection of the fact that I have so little experience of dance, or the fact that at the ROH we tend to go for the highest & cheapest seats, but I found the view fantastic. The near back-corner of the stage was blocked from sight, but other than that the view was pretty good. Obviously, a more central position would have given a better view of the overall staging (in particular a visual trick at the start third piece fell flat), but on the other hand I found it quite exciting to be so close to the action.

 

I really hope that Metamorphosis is put on again, now that the Linbury is back. Although I see that it hasn't been for ~6 years so presumably it's unlikely.

Edited by petperj
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I think it's worth noting that McNally drew inspiration from the Grant Wood's American Gothic and this helped my understanding of her piece based on 'a' true story somewhat.

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BB6 isn't worth booking either, unless you want to end up with a stiff neck from looking around the pillar that obscures the full view of the stage. After four visits to the Linbury I am beginning to get quite a list of seats to avoid in the future!

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My friend and I sat in Upper Circle A41 and A42, in the middle of the side section. Sitting normally, we could see nothing. Leaning far forward, we could see a maximum of two thirds of the stage. How can these seats be sold without being described as restricted view?! I'm not sure I see the point of selling them at all, frankly.

 

As for the new works (what I could see of them), and the new music (which unfortunately I could hear), I really feel too depressed to write anything much. The music for the second piece (Uncanny Valley by Alexander Whitley) was so awful that I actually got the giggles at one point. It was like a parody of the most miserable, grimmest possible contemporary music. And I'm afraid I found the choreography throughout the evening boring, banal and unimaginative. The dancers were of course excellent.

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21 hours ago, Bluebird said:

 

I would say that many of the seats at the side would definitely be problematic.  Unfortunately, I can only give an idea about some of these areas.

People sitting in the front row of the Side Stalls seemed to have the best side view.  I’ve had no reports of what it’s like in the second row of the Side Stalls.

Circle and Upper Circle side seats should be booked with caution.  I was seated at the side of the Circle, in the front row and only just round the curve i.e. on the seat nearest to the ones which are directly opposite the stage.  I was able to see almost all the stage but a hanging light prevented me from seeing a dancer when she was at the extreme side of the stage.  Those who were in the same row but much nearer the stage reported missing what happened at that side of the stage.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any reports of what the view is like in the second row of the Side Circle.

As for standing places, row D in the Circle is, apparently, excellent.  As has been reported elsewhere, the view from Row B standing in the Upper Circle is poor.

Maybe others can report back on the view from those rows I’ve not been able to cover.

Edited to add that, at the open weekend last September,  I tried out some of the seats at the sides of the Upper Circle and found that those seats in the centre of the front row at the side (Upper Circle A8 and A9)  had only a partial view.

 

Good job Bluebird.

 

For reference we were in BB 1 and 4 - BB1 is pretty hopeless and I don't think should be sold really. BB4 I would not buy again and the person next to us in BB5 was unimpressed...

 

 

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9 hours ago, bridiem said:

As for the new works (what I could see of them), and the new music (which unfortunately I could hear), I really feel too depressed to write anything much.

 

 

Join the club! I really was depressed as I trudged out.

 

BUT I do support doing new things in new ways and am keen to see the company be more than 'Ye Olde British Ballet' and to keep recycling what were past glories. They need the blockbusters, to celebrate some past delights, to do new things by 3 in house resident choreographers and to break-out to other choreographers - Pite was the obvious example of this working, but they need more outside eyes working with the company. My 2p anyway.

 

I think this bill depressed largely because the music was such hard going and the choreographic responses went with the flow. Mixed bills are no bad thing!

 

 

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18 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

I think it's worth noting that McNally drew inspiration from the Grant Wood's American Gothic and this helped my understanding of her piece based on 'a' true story somewhat.

 

It's such a shame that she didn't mention this in the £5 programme. But that's not unique, many choreographers struggle to give the audience constructive notes about their work. Many just confuse things I find.

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3 minutes ago, Bruce said:

 

Join the club! I really was depressed as I trudged out.

 

BUT I do support doing new things in new ways and am keen to see the company be more than 'Ye Olde British Ballet' and to keep recycling what were past glories. They need the blockbusters, to celebrate some past delights, to do new things by 3 in house resident choreographers and to break-out to other choreographers - Pite was the obvious example of this working, but they need more outside eyes working with the company. My 2p anyway.

 

I think this bill depressed largely because the music was such hard going and the choreographic responses went with the flow. Mixed bills are no bad thing!

 

 

 

I quite agree, Bruce (except that I think having 3 resident choreographers works against inviting people in in sufficient numbers) - I was really looking forward to seeing these new works. But if this was the best available in terms of both new music and dance, God help both art forms. (And in fact, I don't think it is the best available. I do wonder how and why the works/choreographers/music were selected.)

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3 minutes ago, Bruce said:

 

It's such a shame that she didn't mention this in the £5 programme. But that's not unique, many choreographers struggle to give the audience constructive notes about their work. Many just confuse things I find.

 

Yes - no cast lists available in the Linbury, apparently, so buying a programme is unavoidable. And I found most of the notes about the works really quite preposterous. Lots of complex, huge ideas apparently being expressed in these short new works! Does no-one simply aim to produce good dance to good music any more??

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"Good music"?  Aye, there's the rub, for we might well lack unanimity in our views of any particular piece.  

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