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Scheherezade

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  1. They were indeed. I found it difficult, for some time, to record my impressions in case the act of doing so should in some way break the spell. I am happy to say it didn’t.
  2. Bracewell and Kaneko's R&J on Saturday afternoon was heartrending, electrifying. And so very, very special. The power of Bracewell's Romeo was that his was an ordinary boy made extraordinary by the power of his love for Juliet, a Romeo that we can all recognise, the boy next door, slightly laddish, with reactions that we can recognise too, and Kaneko's Juliet was the embodiment of a young girl in thrall to the hypnotic allure of an all-consuming first love. This was a Romeo and Juliet made rich by the little details as much as the grand gesture and it was that honesty that made those grand gestures so much more powerful. There have been some defining performances in the recent runs of R&J. One was Matthew Ball's entitled, public school Tybalt. William Bracewell's Romeo is most definitely another. Ardent, free of artifice and so totally believable, his must surely be the Romeo for our time and how on earth he isn't yet a principal is beyond comprehension. Please, can that oversight now be rectified? Please?
  3. Gosh yes, fingers crossed it’s not a repeat of his last return from injury!
  4. This is something that I have wondered about, too, but always assumed that since the Pros choreograph, they will have total carte blanche as to the music, if not necessarily the costumes. This would seem to be supported by the fact that certain Pros always choose contemporary music whilst others always opt for something traditional. I think I'm on record as not being overly enamoured with Greg, but I'm sure that even Greg lovers will agree that there was an unconscionable amount of Dad dancing coming from his particular corner. I would agree that in previous weeks there were other celebs far worse than him but, totally objectively, I would say that on last weekend's showing he deserved to go.
  5. Or the prurient. Edited to say that this comment was in answer to Fonty’s speculation that nude ballet could attract the sort of people who might only come to snigger.
  6. Agreed. As Ades’ score was said to have been provided as a precursor to the choreography, it was pretty much a done deal, I’d have thought. Unless Dowler was suggesting that McGregor should have padded out acts 2 & 3 with some other pieces of music, which I’m fairly certain he wasn’t.
  7. I saw this on Friday and since I don't want to repeat what has already been said in the many and varied reactions and in-depth analysis, I will keep this as brief as I can, dealing with the music, sets and costumes before coming to the dance content. Thomas Ades' score - Brilliant! It gave us heaven and hell with total and satisfying clarity, and if I wasn't quite sure what the middle eastern references had to do with purgatory, I loved the music so that was fine by me. A class act. The sets - The inferno worked well for me, it was suitably murky, slimy and oppressive. I liked the massive, dominant jacaranda tree in purgatorio but, again, had no idea how this was supposed to portray purgatory; when linked with Dante's nostalgic recollections of the young and adolescent Beatrice, it had a somewhat parochial feel. Moving on to paradiso, there was a cosmic and celestial swell, not unlike the tunnels of moving light that frequently accompany near death experiences, in the swirling light show at the top of the stage, but I wish that it had not been contained in the finite screen above the dancers' heads; would it not have been possible to project this rather splendid display of light onto a large backdrop? The costumes - By and large, these did the trick, although I would have liked a more generous allocation of the diaphanous skirts worn by Beatrice in her adult incarnations during the Paradiso section. The white body suits certainly helped create the feeling of perpetuum mobile introduced by the music but a little more diaphanous fabric would have cloaked paradise in a mantle of contentment. And what had poor Dante and Virgil done to deserve those dreadful sacks that they were dressed in? Shapeless, hideous and, to be honest, more than a tad comic, there was a definite Up Pompeii vibe to them - or perhaps that should be Up Pompeii's 21st century, slightly more pc-conscious offspring, Plebs. Whatever. But please do something about those awful frocks! The dancers - As expected, they were superb, an ensemble cast working together to provide an evening to remember and send the audience home on a high. I will put aside the fact that it was often difficult to discern the individual sins or sinners, that Fumi Kaneko was more pre-fall Lucifer than devilish Satan and that the virtuoso passages and humorous interludes in the inferno section were anything but infernal because I enjoyed them. I liked the pas de deux, would have liked more of Dante and Beatrice (Lamb and Hayward were both perfectly cast), loved the rapid blur of the bodies in paradise... If, overall, it wasn't the best ballet I have ever seen, it was certainly one of the best Wayne McGregor ballets and, even without any programme notes (or for anyone with no knowledge of Dante), it was possible to make some sense of what was happening: the inferno was, for the most part, unpleasant for those unfortunate souls forced to reside there; purgatory, while not a walk in the park, was a step up from the inferno and paradise was white and light and, well, paradisal. Enjoyable on many levels if not without its faults.
  8. I was also about to ask whether anyone had seen L’heure Exquise as I was somewhat baffled by the lack of any response but Geoff beat me to it. I was there at the closing performance and found it, well, exquisite. It reminded me what a wonderful dance actress Alessandra Ferri was and still is, and how I wish that we could see her Juliet or Giselle again. And, as an aside, how perfectly the emotional pull of narrative dance aligns with Mahler’s music. As her tiny frame - the arch of her feet and those beautiful arms - ‘remembered’ long lost steps and fragments of past triumphs, Ms Ferri was utterly captivating. Intimate, touching, more than a little sad when her momentary joy gave way to confusion. It was a performance to remember. And there was a tender poignancy in her interaction with Carsten Jung - Marcel Marceau fashioned by Brecht and Weill when he first appeared in bowler hat and vest, shifting to full-on Vaudevillian with a machine-gun burst of tap dancing and the sartorial addition of a waistcoat and tails. As a vehicle for the extraordinary Ms Ferri - surely she can’t really be 58! - it was, indeed, “exquise” and I was very glad to have been there.
  9. Interesting, Silke H, and something that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred to me.
  10. A great review Bridiem. I’m going tonight and it’s fired up my anticipation far more than the brief extract that was shown on last night’s news.
  11. Agreed. And thank you Marie (and Nina 99 who has also just posted) for putting forward such positive reactions. Before my earlier post, the total absence of any mention of Yasmine and Vadim was utterly deafening. I shall also look forward to next Friday. And to the reprieve of Fumi Kaneko and William Bracewell on Saturday. It will be interesting to compare them within such a short timeframe.
  12. Back to the Naghdi/Muntagirov reactions, and, oh dear, I've booked to see them next Friday and now I'm wishing I hadn't. Strange, isn't it, that he and Bracewell are both masters of the understated style and yet Bracewell conveys emotion so well. Having said that, I have previously been extremely moved by Muntagirov's Lensky, and he and Nunez certainly tug at the heartstrings in Giselle so perhaps it's just a matter of chemistry - or lack of - between the leads.
  13. Maybe not a pretty face but I'd say that chemistry scores considerably higher than personality. After all, its not as if they had enough time for compatibility or personality to work their magic, is it? 24 hours and they're married, another four days and they're dead. And before someone points out that 4 days somewhat eclipses poor Britney Spears' 55 hours of marriage to Jason Alexander, she and Jason were supposed to be childhood friends, not to mention friends with benefits. Coming back, then, to Romeo and Juliet, although still at something of a tangent: is "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" the literary equivalent of the first bar of Beethoven's 5th? Discuss.
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