This bill is shaping up interestingly for me.
After watching the first cast, I was quite in love with the second movement of Concerto by Clarke and Cuthbertson, and Raymonda gave me what is commonly referred to as a 'ballet happy' in my house. It starts with a smile and ends with a delirious grin, in this case caused by the the marvellous performance of Lamb (happy and serene) and Muntagirov.
Enigma variations left me wondering whether I would willingly watch it every time I'll see this triple. I liked a fair chunk of it, Morera lit up the stage and I thought Olivia Cowley managed to express the cast list description of her role to a T.
But why on earth is there a woman with a scarf attached to her back that could double as fairy wings appearing out of a sudden waft of dry ice? Is it a lost Edwardian Wili? And as lovely as it is to see Hayward, how long is the Dorabella solo?
The next performance provided an immediate answer to my last question: the solo feels endlessly long when not danced by Hayward and is somewhat unlikely to become my favourite bit of Ashton.
Friday night, Cambell delivered a blistering Troyt, sharp, perfectly in character, creating a frisson of excitement early on in the piece. But the real eye opener for me were Christina Arestis and Gary Avis embuing the Elgars with such a depth of feeling that I welled up at some point. I thought Arestis was superb, the way she embodied concern though dancing alone, and then amplified it through her expressive eyes is likely to remain lodged in my brain. So, I guess I will faithfully attend all booked performances of Enigma and simply ignore the lost Wili.
Hayward and Corrales made the first movement of Concerto zing, and I was already sold on the 2nd movement - and thought Hamilton looked rather good in it - but unless I experience another eureka moment in this run, I'd happily forgo the 3rd movement.
Sadly I didn't get a repeat of my ballet happy from Raymonda. I really liked Cuthbertson imperial/regal take on the role, and there were lovely moments with both her and Bonelli, but without the complete magic woven by Lamb and Muntagirov, the wheels came off a bit and I noticed a lot of the more raggedy bits of dancing in places. Hopefully this will improve during the run, I like to think the RB can field more than 5 men capable of forming a straight line.