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Scheherezade

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  1. It’s always nice to have some recognition for Melissa Hamilton, too.
  2. Oh, Bridiem, there is absolutely nothing that I can add to your post. A pitch-perfect appraisal of a memorable and quite wonderful evening. I was about to say extraordinary but when Nuñez and Muntagirov dance together the extraordinary becomes the expected norm and, as you say, each superlative performance somehow manages to surpass the last. Just magical. And so glad that I was there.
  3. Was I the only person on this forum to see the divine and incomparable Max Raabe with the equally intoxicating Palast Orchester at the Cadogan Hall last night? I shall lay my cards on the table, I have long been a fan, but for anyone less familiar with Herr Raabe, this man is droll and delicious and totally gives the lie to the idea that Germans have no sense of humour. I cannot begin to describe the evening - you had to be there - but, by way of summary, it was an evening of slick, arch performances, sometimes lyrical, sometimes ironic, but always performed with affection and frequently delivered with a conspiratorial 'wink' to the audience. Last night stayed firmly within Herr Raabe's core repertoire of Weimar era songs from both sides of the Atlantic, each introduced by a fitting bon mot and all of them concluded with a tribute by name to the individual soloists in that particular piece. Apropos one song, he advised us that whilst we might understand how, as a King, Herod might have adhered to Salome's chosen reward of the head of the man she loved on a silver salver, surely as a father he must have wondered: "where did I go wrong with my daughter?" We had Kurt Weill, Cole Porter and everything inbetween. From time to time the sharp-eyed will have detected the odd, Trocks-style disagreement between various members of the band, many of whom played multiple instruments and two of whom provided a brief and timely chorus for Herr Raabe at one point during the evening. And what a band! Engaging, amusing and never less than absolutely note-perfect. Listening to the brass section, I was moved to reflect how certain members of the ROH orchestra could have learned a thing or two had they been there last night.
  4. Yikes! Well at least I will be prepared when I see this next week.
  5. Yes, congratulations to Mr Hallberg and, given the very special nature of the links between him and the Australian Ballet, may it prove a long and fruitful association for both.
  6. So, first of all Robert Clark’s professed shortcomings at the keyboard didn’t at all diminish my delight at DAAG - and how amazing that the RB can currently sport two separate casts equally able to thrill. I would say that the other posters have more or less summed up my reactions to last night. As with The Cellist on opening night, Sambe pretty much stole the show in last night’s DAAG - lyrical, impetuous and eye catching in turn. And, yes, so good to see Tierney Heap back, and didn’t she seem thrilled both at her bouquets and at the audience reaction? On the topic of which (audience reaction), where I was sitting there was a collective “Aaah” at Beatrix Stix-Brunell’s lovely and spontaneous recognition of Emma Lucano’s delightful performance as young Jackie. Beatrix’s reading of Jackie was very different from Cuthbertson’s: sparkier, less wistful, a very engaging performance with notably strong stage presence. I enjoyed Calvin Richardson’s performance in the abstract but felt that Sambe embodied the cello more strongly and I don’t think that this embodiment was a bad thing, merely different, an interpretation that gives a different slant to the role of the cello in Du Pre’s life: with Sambe the cello was her motivation, with Richardson it was the expression of who she was. Interestingly I felt that Matthew Ball’s role came across more strongly with this cast, although that could well be because the cello was more integrated and dominated less. So, in summary, two very different but equally valid performances of the Cellist but my original views (that the work would be better largely as a three hander at half the length) still stand. And Dances at a Gathering was a sheer delight from start to finish with every member of both casts. And, by the way, I felt that Meaghan Grace Hinkis came across much more strongly last night than in anything I have seen her in so far. Please revive this work soon!
  7. So, nose pickers take note! And not before time, some might say ...
  8. Pickpockets at the ROH are nothing new. I had a brand new Samsung phone lifted long before open up.
  9. First and foremost, what an astounding, triumphant and utterly heart-rending performance by Yasmine Naghdi last night with a convincingly nuanced Onegin, more than capable of engaging our sympathy, from Federico Bonelli. Anna Rose O'Sullivan's Olga was as charming as we have come to expect from her, characterised with the little details that breathe life into the characters she portrays. I found Sissens' interpretation very different from that of Matthew Ball. For me, Ball's Lensky was a hopeless romantic in thrall to his love for Olga - the big romantic statement - whereas Sissens painted a Lensky more concerned with the damage to his ego than any notion of romantic love. I have always enjoyed watching Sissens and his pre-duel solo consolidated that enjoyment but feel that his Lensky is still very much a work in progress. Did he, by the way, steady Anna Rose from a slight loss of balance in the act 1 duet or was it the angle at which I was seated? So back to Yasmine. I haven't seen her earlier performances so can't compare but I did not feel that her relationship with Gremin was limited to duty and respect. I found that little gestures, such as a spontaneous tilt of the head towards his shoulder, suggested that love was there, albeit a different type of love from the blazing passion that Onegin could invoke. I also felt that her coming of age was shown very clearly in her unspoken rebuke to Onegin when they faced each other after the duel. And I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has noted the emotional connection between Naghdi and Bonelli and hope that this partnership will still have some time to develop whilst Bonelli is still on the ROH stage.
  10. What! A copycat bravo man? I heard the post group dance bravo. It did get me wondering ...
  11. Sadly I have to echo most of what has already been said regarding The Cellist. I was so looking forward to this premiere but found myself in two minds about the merits of the piece. On a positive note, I was definitely moved by the end of the piece but rather felt like moving during some of the earlier bits. Overall I felt that it would have worked far better as a three hander at roughly half the length and benefitted from some judicious pruning of the (to my eyes) superfluous ‘others’. Lauren Cuthbertson gave the piece it’s emotional heart and it was an absolute showpiece for the virtuoso talents of Marcelino Sambe. I felt that Matthew Ball was somewhat underused. So, on to Dances at a Gathering. I absolutely loved it and each and every one of the wonderful dancers, in particular the weightless and nuanced lyricism of Francesca Hayward who really does seem to be made of little more than air.
  12. I totally agree, Bridiem. For years I found Nunez to be technically superb but an emotional void but her partnership with Muntagirov seemed to take her to another plane. The first time she took off for me was her Giselle to Muntagirov's Albrecht and she almost always manages to hit that spot when they dance together: the value of a truly great partnership fuelled by moving and genuine chemistry.
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