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  1. 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.
  2. Ouch! I nearly said something similar but lost my nerve!!!! The performances from the 'home team' this week have served to emphasise Hallberg's weaknesses and it will be interesting to hear what people on here who are 'doing the double' today have to say.
  3. Firstly, I want to say how much I appreciated Matthew Ball on Thursday evening. He was very believable Des Grieux (even though he somewhat over-emoted when standing at the side of the stage in Act 2) and his dancing seems to have acquired a new softness which suited the character's youth very well. Unfortunately, for me, it felt as if his was a 'solo performance'. I couldn't read any chemistry between him and Lauren Cuthbertson and neither she, Lescaut, nor the Mistress registered much where I was sitting ....until the very end when, near to death, this Manon suddenly exuded impressive life and real drama. This afternoon (Sat, 19th Oct.) was an altogether different story with truly stellar performances from Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales. Both have a magic aura about them as artists and an ability to inhabit their characters completely and believably. Hayward has deepened her interpretation still further in such a way as to demonstrate the conflict within and the range of Manon's emotions even more clearly, but still naturally. Corrales was the personification of the wheeling and dealing rogue who gets away with it (for the most part) because he has charisma in spades. I have not seen this from a Lescaut in years and I loved him for it. His Act 1 solo was very stylish too. Alastair Campbell is not quite 'up there in the dancing heavens' but he was a really impeccable Des Grieux in every sense: very well executed solos, deft and supportive partnering and a true sense of who he was and what Des Grieux was going through at every stage. His gestures and body do not always 'speak' to me as some other dancers' do but I think that, on the basis of today's showing, he merits a lot of praise - and I am quite surprised to read some of the contrary appraisals above. I truly believe that this was the best performance that I have ever seen him give. So thank you Frankie, Cesar and Alex (and the Company) for an experience to savour. It will go down as something very special in my memory.
  4. Some ballet companies have a cast sheet listing the names of the dancers who will definitely do the role together with others named in brackets who attend all rehearsals but do not necessarily get rehearsal time of their own. If asked, the 'covers' will say that they are "learning the role". Of course, sometimes, things happen which means that they do eventually get on stage. I believe that the RB does occasionally make provision for a dancer (usually someone who has his/her own shows) to be on 'standby', especially if the person who is due on is nursing any kind of twinge.
  5. Yes, some dancers, including Alexander Campbell, did 'appear' after the barre section of the class ........ and disappear quite quickly too!!! I believe that Principals have the choice as to which class they attend and which aspects they wish to participate in. I was amazed at the energy being invested by Matthew Ball throughout the session. He was Des Grieux last night, after all............!!!!
  6. This might be an issue which was discussed with the Front of House staff some years ago and I think that it was maybe understandable that no 'action' resulted. The problem is that, as in my experience last Tuesday when three people around me absolutely 'reeked', it can mar one's enjoyment of the evening - scented hanky or not!!!!
  7. It was a terrific session (with teacher Brian Maloney) attended by about half of the dancers in The Royal Ballet. The handout was very instructive too. The auditorium was packed.
  8. Francesca Hayward does have an agent and has made no secret of that.
  9. After the events of last night, the RB might be waiting to put up other cast changes - alas for Steven McRae as well as William Bracewell. And I've just had an e-mail to say that Yasmine Naghdi will be replaced as Dorabella in Enigma Variations on the 25th October and 2nd November by Meaghan Grace Hinkis.
  10. That's a real shame. However, the packed house this morning for The Royal Ballet in Class on the main stage had the very great pleasure of watching William dancing, including some virtuoso moves towards the end of the session.
  11. STOP PRESS!!!! GARY AVIS MBE, Principal Character Artist and Senior Ballet Master of The Royal Ballet will now be the LBC's guest on Monday, 21st October at the Civil Service Club, 13-15 Great Scotland Yard, London, SW1A 2HJ. Payment at the door. Members £5; non-members £8
  12. Reece Clarke danced the role at the Schools Matinee on 2nd October.
  13. That's nice to hear. Presumably, they finished the whole show? I feel desperately sorry for Steven. Poor man: I cannot imagine a worse scenario.
  14. I do agree that having the leads in Manon dance only two shows seems odd, especially when, as in the case of Lamb/Muntagirov, both their shows were over within 3 days of the start of the run. On the other hand, there are those of us who have bemoaned the fact that Hamilton/Clarke didn't get a public showing. Having danced Des Grieux so well in 2018 and as a strong dancer, Clarke could arguably have partnered Osipova. With regard to the RB 'marketing' its stars, I sense that it is averse to any one of them being actually promoted by the RB itself as 'first among equals'. But this has happened anyway (with the recruitment of Osipova) and is currently happening, for various reasons, some of them external, with Hayward, Ball and Sambe. I think that it would be unfortunate if we were to speculate as to what Muntagirov does, or doesn't want. But I, for one, was rather surprised that the RB did not make more of the prestigious awards he won this year - 3 in total indicates that there is something special to be celebrated, Oh dear, this is not really about Manon per se.................
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