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  2. No, it's Mistress plus 5 courtesans in Act II. I've frequently thought what you said, and then counted and realised I was wrong.
  3. Dawnstar posted, “Why are there only 4 courtesans credited on the cast sheet when there are 5 of them on stage? While 2 have larger roles, the other 3 seem to do about the same amount yet the one costumed in red velvet (mostly Gina Storm-Jensen at the performances I've seen) doesn't get credited.” I think I may originally have made a similar assumption. In fact the four courtesans are listed in the cast sheet, and the fifth is Lescaut's mistress, who dances with them.
  4. Even more pleased to see him actually winning one, even if it was at a rather lower level (and I'd really have preferred Stan Wawrinka to have won). Bet Andy was relieved the baby didn't decide to arrive early!
  5. Impassioned differences in opinions about these dancers reminds me of something Nikolay Tsiskaridze (Bolshoi Theater) said in a mini-documentary for Dance Channel TV: Meet Nikolay Tsiskaridze 2:10 "Everything I've done on stage has had supporters and opponents. The main distinctive feature about great artists is that no one is left indifferent when disagreement arises. It is horrifying when everyone likes or dislikes something, because it is immediately forgotten. I bring out this kind of disagreement wherever I dance. In Tokyo, New York, Paris and Rome there were always people who were for or against me. They write enthusiastic reviews and terrible ones. It creates a certain wave." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0no3EwDHkWQ
  6. Not sure I can answer all your questions but I'll have a go! I think the opening is a great piece of theatre, especially with a charismatic Lescaut, but I am not sure about MacMillan's reason for starting the ballet like this. Jann Parry's biography, which I have not read in full, may answer this. I am not sure which movement you are describing for Des Grieux but if you mean that the lower legs intertwine while he turns in the air, this is a beaten tour en l'air. With regard to bourrees, each dancer has an individual speed for these (some shimmer, others undulate!) but all should start and finish within the same musical phrase. I can't really comment on the lighting as I have only seen a few performances of this ballet by the Royal Ballet in recent years but I did think the costumes looked rather washed out at yesterday's matinee so maybe this is a change in the lighting. I also remember years ago a more evocative lighting in the Gaoler's office, making it feel as if it was pervaded by an oppressive heat. When I first heard the new orchestration a few years ago, I thought it was far too overblown, especially as the Leighton Lucas orchestration seemed nigh on perfect to me! However, to my ears, the new orchestration has been toned down a bit and is now closer to the original. I love the recording that is available of the original orchestration and I do not think you will be disappointed if you buy it. In fact, you may hear even more orchestral colours in the recording. I have just checked ENB's cast sheet for "Manon" and it lists four courtesans in Act I but five in Act II. Perhaps RB should do the same? Yes, there could be some rather disturbing reason (and probably is as MacMillan liked to explore sexual practices onstage!) why there is a harlot dressed as a boy (usually one of the shorter dancers) but in that period it was common to have girls playing boys in operas (where the term 'trouser role' comes from), i.e. Cherubino in "The Marriage of Figaro", and a lot of this was so that men could appreciate the female form, i.e. their legs, which they wouldn't normally see outside the bedroom because of the length of skirts at this time, even for ballet dancers, so this may be just a nod to that practice. Hope this helps to answer your questions.
  7. Have you tried looking at the Decca recording from 1987? You can listen to extracts on youtube if you search for 'orchestra of the royal opera house manon'
  8. Beats me. I wonder that nearly every time. I mean, her name should probably be put on a different line from the other courtesans, but I think she should be credited. But then, I miss seeing the skivvies and so on credited these days, too.
  9. Today
  10. David Wall, the original Lescaut (who also danced Des Grieux) was probably the most handsome man in the history of the Royal Ballet. More seriously, its Lescaut’s ambitions for his sister that set up the drama....
  11. Would love 2 or 3 tickets for this show if anyone has anything going. Thanks
  12. I too was at yesterday's matinee and while being totally absorbed in the terrific dancing of the soloists and principals it is interesting to pick out some of the more unsung but still technically excellent dance actors in the RB. I too noticed Teo Dubreuil who is one of my favourites and I hope is soon promoted. It was great to see Joseph Sissons too as a beggar (always a favourite and can't wait for his Lensky) though I was slightly disappointed not to see him as one of the 'three gents' in the second act. Francisco Serrano was a beggar again following on from his excellent beggar in Don Q. Another great character I'd like to see promoted. Enrico Montes was a great gent and always manages to bring a great sense of character to whatever role he inhabits. Everywhere you look in whatever ballet you watch the RB have such a great breadth and depth of talent in every department at the moment. As for the principals.... words almost fail me. Francesca Hayward (I nearly wrote Francesca Manon!) was absolutely terrific. Is there nothing she can't do? For me she is definately one of the great dance/actresses of her generation and I'm so pleased I saw her Manon again. Her dancing expressed every emotion and did those beautifully expressive eyes. Possibly even better than last time. Alexander Campbell is a great partner and a beautifully romantic De Grieux. Coralles and Magri made hugely impressive and charismatic debuts. Indeed Magri reminded me a bit of Laura Morera when she made her entrance. Another Manon I've never seen but going to rectify that this Wednesday. Had a great day out with a friend who'd never seen Manon and never been to the ROH before. She immediately became a huge convert to both and it was so refreshing and heartwarming to see both the beautiful building and outstanding performance through the eyes of someone who'd never seen either before.
  13. As there's now a couple of days "off" before the next Manon performance, I'm going to try a few random queries I have from watching several performances & see if anyone here might know the answers (though I'm not sure if some of them are actually answerable). Why does the piece open with Lescaut sitting in the middle of the stage staring out at the audience? I can see this would make sense if the piece was either presented from his viewpoint or supposed to be him having a flashback, but it's not. Is there a name for the movement Des Grieux does a couple of times where he jumps and turns while also beating his legs together? Assuming the conductor keeps the same tempo across performances, are their certain movements that dancers are able to do faster/slower while still keeping within what they would be allowed to do choregraphically? Both Hayward & Corrales yesterday seemed to be doing some movements - bourees in her case, turns in his - faster than other dancers but I don't know if they actually were or not. Some of the reviews have mentioned changes in the lighting for this run and fairly recent changes in the orchestrations. Is anyone who's seen the previous lighting & heard the previous orchestrations able to say how great the changes are? I'm especially interested in the orchestrations as I'd like to get a CD recording of the ballet music but the only recording that seems to be available on CD is from the 70s so I don't want to buy it then find it sounds nothing like the music I'm currently loving hearing live. Why are there only 4 courtesans credited on the cast sheet when there are 5 of them on stage? While 2 have larger roles, the other 3 seem to do about the same amount yet the one costumed in red velvet (mostly Gina Storm-Jensen at the performances I've seen) doesn't get credited. Is one of the whores being costumed as a boy supposed to indicate that she caters for clients who are homosexual or paedophilic? The latter would be very disturbing but her costume is clearly what would have been worn by a fairly young boy rather than a grown man during that period so I'm not sure what to think.
  14. Why does *everything* seem to be happening on the 23rd? Loads of things, not necessarily ballet-related, and so many of them that I can't possibly fit them all in
  15. That makes a pleasant change from the "MacMillan as misogynist" viewpoint.
  16. Thanks for the recommendations, everyone: I'm very glad I went, although perhaps it's not the best thing to be going to see with a migraine hovering, because of some of the lighting effects.
  17. Capybara says “ One of the joys of Manon for me is that lower-ranked dancers ......... have the chance to shine”, and I fully agree with her. I have been a regular at the ROH for about fifteen years and have always enjoyed watching the 'junior' RB dancers, spotting my favourites and trying to predict those who may rise through the ranks. Most of the ballets, not just Manon, have roles that allow a junior dancer to take the next step (no pun) on the developmental ladder. In some instances, dancers who are 'covers', have had the chance to make a mark, if not an impact. I understand why 'bigger names' are sometimes imported; Osipova & Hallberg for example, but I get greater pleasure watching dancers who have developed with and within the RB and whose careers I have enjoyed over the years. I think that both the current Director, and his predecessor, should take both satisfaction and pleasure from having adopted and applied such an approach, rather than merely buying in talent.
  18. Like a well-cut diamond, truly great performances rely on different facets being skilfully cut and working in harmony. I've now seen all (as in 'both'!! ) of the Osipova/Hallberg/Hirano performances, and neither of them would I class as 'great' (though I'd have been very miffed to have missed either) as each was lacking in one area or another. As a reference point, the last truly great performance I saw was the final Osipova/Nunez/Muntagirov Bayadere a year ago. However, there were features of the two Manon performances that, if combined, would have gone quite a way to making a single 'great' performance, though I realise cherry-picking aspects in hindsight is ultimately a bit of a mug's game as performances happen in the take-it-or-leave-it here-and-now rather than the selective past. Compared to Tuesday, I thought last night's on-stage interaction between Ospiova and Hallberg was a lot more relaxed, natural and self-assured, though part of that impression might reflect that I was a lot more relaxed (on Tuesday I did fret about her welfare and, like others, breathed a huge sigh of relief when she got through unscathed). As a result, the chemistry of the characters' relationship was also more natural - something that came to the fore (rather perversely, given that it's an 'argument') in the 'bracelet' scene at the end of Act 2. For me, the highlight of Tuesday was Osipova's Act 2 solo, but last night it was their very first duet after she gets up from her chair once he has expressed his feelings for her; the blossoming of those mutual feelings and the exposition of that through their dance, when coupled with that beautiful music, conspired to make me well up and reach for my hanky. I'm still in two minds about just how fully-recovered Hallberg is. While the problematic lift of Osipova from him being on one knee was better last night than on Tuesday, it still looked a bit of a struggle. In addition, the two arching lifts (of her above his head, from behind, hands around the waist) that were so well done on Tuesday, barely seemed to register 45 degrees last night. Having said that, his line was as wonderful and elegant as ever - I can't wait to see the pair of them in Sleeping Beauty. It's a bit of a puzzle that despite their more confident on-stage partnership, the prevailing impression I got from last night's performance was that it was a little subdued compared to Tuesday. This even extended to Gary Avis; his Gaoler was not quite so repugnant in his behaviour towards the female deportees (though his abuse of Manon remained as utterly distressing as ever). It is possible, of course, that the problem lay with me - perhaps I had unrealistic expectations in terms of improvement over Tuesday's excellent performance? A few other 'random' points... I reckon (from observation, not experience, I hasten to add!) that the most difficult part of cheating at cards is hiding those extra aces. Having previously struggled to get them into (and out of) that small jacket pocket, Des Grieux decided last night just to shove them under his seated thigh. It didn't help, of course - thankfully (for the story) he still got found out! 🙂 The spot-on synchronisation/musicality I saw and heard time and time again on Tuesday was less evident last night. That was a real shame as I expected the second performance to be as good if not better on that score (sorry!). Act 3 deals with some of the most unedifying aspects of human behaviour - of man's inhumanity to (wo)man. As such, I can never bring myself to applaud any part of it until the final curtain; applause (even when restrained/hesitant) at the end of those first two scenes strikes me as inappropriate - and detracts from the intended effect. But overall, despite starting musically, and ending plotwise, on rather depressing notes, Manon remains my most thoroughly 'enjoyable' tragic ballet!
  19. Hello, for those of you with children who auditioned last weekend, when did you receive notification that they were through to the final audition? DD auditioned today and made it to the recall audition (further than last year). Just curious as when to expect the yes/no email for the final. Thanks
  20. My parents always watched this show and I recall as a ballet loving youngster being allowed to watch this episode. One of the pieces she had to guess was the Villa Lobos Little Train. If I recall cross the years she got that it was a journey, but she couldn’t name the piece. When the title was given, she smiled radiantly and said, “well, trains are for boys.”
  21. It is disappointing but depends on the preceding events. The visitors/tourists have to leave the Abbey by 4.30 pm. Evening prayer normally said on Wednesday at 5.00pm. That is why the photography will be allowed only at 5.30 pm.
  22. I agree and am feeling guilty that being overwhelmed by the performance of Hayward and Corrales in particular caused me to omit to mention earlier the very fine rendering that Mayara Magri gave in her debut as Mistress. I also agree with Irmgard that Teo Dubreuil was a real standout in the matinee performance, as he has been so many times during the run. One of the joys of Manon for me is that lower-ranked dancers such as him have the chance to shine. Moreover, when things risk getting a bit dull or the conductor's tempi seem all over the place, I can focus with delight on the young talent at the margins of the stage.
  23. It's so heartwarming to browse through the almost 800 comments regarding his injury. Such lovely messages of support and understanding and sending healing vibes. If it is just for this support, he will heal well and be back onstage wiser and with even more passion. Wishing him only the best.❤
  24. I saw ballet for the first time in my life in Cuba in 60s, it's quite possible that it was one with Alicia Alonso in leading part, the only reminder of the performance is my own drawing ( and I was 5-6 years at that time), so it looks like it made quite an impression on me. Then I took my kids to the ballet in Cuba - and it was superb, though again I don't remember exactly if Alicia was dancing. What I do remember is her appearance on the stage after "Don Quichote" performance for some years ago in Paris - what a noble and great lady - even if she needed assistance to come to the stage! Thank you, Alicia, for everything you've done for the ballet in general and for Cuban ballet as well and particularly for me: my love for the ballet comes from that first performance in 60s, in GranTeatro de La Habana!
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