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  1. Ditto. She seems to be quite a character! I've met Hannah on a couple of occasions at RB events and she was really interesting and also very friendly. I always look for her now., which at first was difficult because off stage she has a fringe, so looked very different on stage. Now I can spot her easily and always enjoy watching her performances. She seems to bring an extra spark to the character acting pieces as well as being a very good dancer.
  2. Could I suggest that anyone who can, books a ticket to see Anna-Rose O'Sullivan next week. I too, loved tonight's performance but find myself still blown away by Anna-Rose.
  3. As a ballet fan, I started social media tentatively on Twitter and now look on Instagram when I have time - you can very quickly flick through photos - and I do find them interesting. Personally, social media has enabled me to connect with certain dancers, much to my surprise at first and when I met them - through the Ballet Association first and then through the ROH, I was astonished when one of them said -I know who you are, when we'd had a small interaction about one of his performances on Twitter. I was then hooked and really enjoy the social media interaction on Twitter now. I don't bother with interactions on Instagram as there are 100s, sometimes 1000s of followers/ comments and they just get lost. However, that's slightly off the point to the main theme of this thread. There are obviously some UK dancers who do try to promote themselves via Instagram and other social media. This has clearly added to their followers, but I don't see any more widespread interest from "non-ballet fans" such as referenced in the US article, however good they are. I'm thinking UK ballet dancers hopefully have the best of both worlds - some fame and admiration in their own environment of the theatre and its surrounds, but they can still go shopping without being mobbed (apart from in Japan).
  4. I'm assuming that everyone has read what's on the ROH website already, seen the casting and the clip on You Tube. So, I attended an In Conversation with Cathy Marston held by the ROH, during which she gave some background to the production and also talked about how she liked to use dancers as objects - ie, in this case the cello. There will be further examples of dancers being choreographed in this way during the ballet and it has a surprisingly large cast, as the corps will play the orchestra (interesting!). There was some discussion about the cello being male or female (musical instruments often seen as female), but in this case, practicalities of better pdd between Jacqui and male dancers influenced this decision. Anyone who has seen the clip of Lauren Cuthbertson (Jacqui) dancing with Marcelino Sambe (cello) will hopefully understand why. The change of dates mentioned in this thread was because she decided to change the music in the ballet at a fairly late stage. The evening also featured 2 beautiful recitals of cello music by Liubov Ulybysheva, a cellist with the ROH orchestra, of Elgar's cello concerto (1st movement) and Mendelsohn's Lied ohne Worte Op. 109 both of which will feature in the ballet. They did say which other music would feature but sorry I can't remember the specifics. I do remember that it was all lovely classical music - Rachmaninov for example. The 1st cast is obviously stellar, but I think the 2nd cast will also be really interesting. I loved Beatriz Stix-Brunell's Juliet so will be fascinated to see what she makes of this role. .. and Cesar Corrales as Daniel Barenboim! Cathy Marston also divulged that she had travelled to meet Daniel Barenboim to share the concept of the ballet. I was enthused by Cathy and the whole evening and prospect of the ballet (I'm not a huge fan of new modern choreography - sorry, although I was converted by The Winter's Tale) and immediately went and bought tickets for more shows. I'm hoping for an emotional ballet journey.
  5. BTW, I saw the rehearsal earlier this week which featured 2 casts; Hayward/Campbell and O'Sullivan/ Sambe. Frankie and Alex have already demonstrated their brilliance but I would also highly recommend Anna-Rose and Marcelino - they are going to be stunning too. Forgot it was a rehearsal when I saw them - really impressive. I will make no further comment as I know we are not supposed to on rehearsals - OK, I will - Gary Avis brilliant too - as he has also since demonstrated.
  6. These days, I think it probably is, though I don't see it currently having the same influence in the UK as it does apparently in the US.
  7. I went to an Insight evening on the Cellist this week and am very excited by the whole project. I'm guessing that RB fans have now seen a preview video but if not, happy to provide more details.
  8. Yes, I thought she was exceptional - such grace and beauty. A total delight. A lovely performance all round
  9. I went last night, having booked specifically to see James Hay's Lescaut and then I had the added bonus of Alex Campbell too! A marvellous performance from the whole cast, but for me James stole the show. Excellent dancing but the characterisation and how he uses his eyes, in particular, to express his feelings was absolutely superb. So expressive and gripping too, because I was always waiting to see what he would do next: and there was so much. I loved it. Yes, for me - the best of the Lescaut's in this run. I must check to make sure I have booked for his SB. Alex and Akane danced extremely well together - Akane is a beautiful, lyrical dancer, but as a pairing, I felt they lacked the fizz of the Campbell/ Hayward partnership. That might be a bit harsh, as it was very high quality, it's just that extra emotional pull. Gary Avis, also unexpectedly appeared as the Gaoler and give his usual, fine tuned and detailed performance in that role.
  10. I take a special interest in Hannah Grennell, having met her on a couple of occasions, quite by chance at RB events. She's sparky and interesting and you can see that on stage (I now watch for her), most recently in Manon. However, too young as yet to move onto purely character roles? It also seems that most female character artists are very tall, which seems to be a prerequisite? Another question could also be - who are the best actor/ actress dancers? Matthew Ball immediately springs to mind, but I think he has rather a different career trajectory still to come. I don't think the RB have a shortage of excellent male character artists with Gary Avis, Tom Whitehead and Ben Gartside all in that category.
  11. The Hayward/ Campbell Manon partnership was actually the one I had been waiting for in this run, despite my raptures about other performances. I was so blown away by this partnership . when they first danced together, and have been so disappointed to have to wait until now for another chance to see them together in definitive principal roles. I was not disappointed. I find it impossible to compare these 2 with any other performances I have seen in this run. Quite simply, it was a totally different ballet experience. Francesca Hayward was phenomenal as Manon, bringing out every ounce of flirtatiousness but also the angst, the uncertainty, and finally the despair. As a ballerina, her speed of attack into the twists and turns outdoes anyone but Alex was always there to catch, to hold and to bring out the best in her. He was more expressive than I have ever seen and I found it very interesting to compare his stage presence in Act 1 and 2, to Cesar Corrales as Lescaut, who was dynamic and strong from the start. He was the one who dominated the stage, whilst Alex looked on in anguish. I've seen other Des Grieux's with a stronger presence, but perhaps Alex plays it right for the character. I felt Corrales almost gave off electric sparks in Act 1 and I just sat there, thinking - wow. Mayara Magri was the best Mistress I have seen by far and I did like Tom Whitehead's M GM, (horrible), so in all, an exceptionally strong ensemble. The Act 3 final pdd was an art form and I just wish I could see the whole thing all over again. Only 2 performances of this cast seems criminal. 24 hours later, and I'm still buzzing.
  12. I often choose Row E or F, though usually try to sit on the end of the row. It's not too bad, but definitely get a cushion. I always it on my coat as I'm short.
  13. I'm an amateur too, so I don't know the technical stuff: I just know what I like! It's not so difficult to do, I was overwhelmed the first time I did it because I had never imagined I would, but tickets are easy on line, flights are cheaper than a train ticket to Manchester and back, and then it's up to you where you stay. Public transport v reasonable in Milan so no need to stay in the centre where hotels are expensive. The first time I went, I also booked a tour in English which I think they do every day, so got to see all of it and a bit of history before I went to the performance. I think the auditorium beats the ROH for sheer beauty although the ROH comes up trumps with the Floral Hall (but not the new Open Up areas I hasten to add). I justify it to myself each year I do it, as a birthday treat (my birthday is in September!) I just can't resist when it's those 2 dancing.
  14. I treated myself to a trip to Milan to see the opening night of Onegin (last night 24th October), at La Scala, with Roberto Bolle and Marianela Nunez. It was my 3rd trip to La Scala, having been overwhelmed by my first experience 3 years ago, to see the same ballet with the same dancers. On the basis that any performances by these 2 dancers as a partnership is now finite, I'm keen to make the most of any opportunity to see them, such is the electricity between them. I was not disappointed. Who knows, this might be the last time I see them together. Other major members of the cast were: Lensky: Nicola del Freo Olga: Martina Arduino Gremin: Gabriele Corrado Going to La Scala is such a pleasure because it is such a beautiful theatre, so it's an aesthetic experience before you even start. It's easy to book on line BTW and tickets are sent online. There is an English option on their website. Arguably, easier to navigate than the ROH website. I was in Row B1 so 2nd row of the Stalls on the extreme left. A very good seat, with no rake problems with Row A and I don't think I missed any action on the left hand side of the stage. Also, I could see the dancers feet, so definitely better than equivalent at ROH. The audience were quite subdued throughout, until right at the end, which quite surprised me. No clapping for Bolle's entrance (amazing, and counter to what happened at the ROH!). In previous performances I've seen, they've been more energetic. Onegin is a ballet I love so no problem for me enjoying it. Having seen Bolle/ Nunez in Manon so recently, it seemed a bit strange to see them playing such different parts. Another card game, different side of the stage I thought during Act 2, when Bolle acted out disdainfully playing a card game with himself on the left , as opposed to reluctantly taking the cards against M GM on the right hand side, in Manon. Marianela, was as ever, Marianela. Beautiful, expressive dancing, delightful personality and I feel the part of Tatijana really suits her. We went on a journey with her and that's how the whole ballet pans out as the story unfolds. It was also very interesting to have seen their rehearsal during World Ballet Day. The Mirror pdd was of course, the highlight of Act 1 - degree of difficulty - high. Roberto Bolle was a superb partner as ever and really got into the rather unpleasant character that is Onegin. His rejection and impatience of Tatijana and her letter to him in the ballroom scene was emphatic and I found this particularly interesting in comparison to his depiction of Des Grieux only just over a week ago. The final pdd in Onegin always gets to me, I think it is superb choreography and Tatijana's rejection of Onegin is high drama. Bolle/ Nunez gave it their all and wrung every emotion from it. Wonderful and it brought the house down. There were so many curtain calls, I lost count. In terms of the company performance, I enjoyed Nicola del Freo as Lensky. Very dramatic particularly in the Ball scene but not quite Vadim! The production went with pace but it brought home the strength in depth we have in all departments in the Royal Ballet as a comparison. As I've said, the audience were luke warm to moderately enthusiastic, to loud applause and multiple curtain calls at the end. They nearly all stay in their seats during the interval, presumably because there aren't many places to actually go in the theatre if you do get up. I always go for a walk round the building as I enjoy the ambience of the surroundings. 24 hours later, I'm home and still on a high. There are several more performances - I'm jealous of anyone else who is going. Never mind, more Manon's next week, but in the meantime, I've downloaded the music and am playing it to refresh the memories.
  15. It depends what your motives are for choosing. If you want to be the first to see a new ballet, then go for the first night. If you want to see the best performance, then later in the run is usually better. I think that for most couples dancing principal roles too - they seem to warm up 2nd time round: perhaps slightly less nerves and more confident, having done it once. This isn't normally my first option in terms of which performances I book for though - I go for the couples I want to see dance, plus how it fits in with my personal and work diary. Sometimes my personal and work diary gives way to ballet!
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