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  1. There are subtitles if you click the closed caption feature of the video.
  2. But how much precedence is there, really? Hamilton doesn't even get a public performance of Manon.
  3. I would love to see Osipova and Corrales in Balcony PDD (not to mention the full R&J). Ondine is not one of my favorite ballets, but Hayward dancing the title-role would justify a revival.
  4. Beautiful review Bruce. SFB is an excellent company whom I hope to see in their home theater someday. I completely agree on Chamber Symphony: a magnificent work and vehicle for a leading male dancer. Robison has never danced better and I'm envious you saw Walsh and Birkkjaer perform it too.
  5. Interesting, based their June 1st performance I didn't find Ball's acting diminished from Naghdi's at all. If anything I thought he created slightly more arc in the character than Naghdi with hers, but more important was the chemistry between them; without it the individual performances are meaningless. They had such a tender connection as a couple which made the story come alive. Of course, two performances even from the same cast can be different, so I'm not necessarily disagreeing with anybody here. I would also like to add Ball had some of the strongest partnering I've ever seen in the ballet. Each lift in balcony was effortless and he even got Naghdi up in full presage during the last two lifts (where she runs toward him) when most Romeos only get her up to chest height. I found a lot to admire in his Romeo and look forward to seeing him and Naghdi again when this cinemacast comes to the U.S.
  6. This captures what I felt during the June 1st double header of R&J. Naghdi and Osipova could not have been more different Juliets but I found both their approaches memorable and valid. Naghdi was luminous and gave an especially beautiful account of Act I while Osipova's Act III was a tour de force. Not that I'm necessarily comparing Osipova to Lynn Seymour, whose Juliet I never saw, but I feel very fortunate to have witnessed both those performances on the same day, which showcased the different ways Juliet can be interpreted. I think Hayward's Juliet would be divine, based on watching her Vera in "Month in the Country." Certainly all the reviews here suggest this.
  7. Beatriz Stix-Brunell? She danced Lead Harlot in the first Naghdi/Ball performance (and was superb).
  8. Sorry, I forgot to answer this earlier. The only difference in the step was that Hallberg's assemble had a single (360 degree) revolution while Ball/Tissi's rotated twice. The preparation, air position, and landing of the step were all the same, with Ball/Tissi (and presumably other Romeos) rotating an extra turn in the air. Can't recall if Zuchetti's Mercutio solo was any different than Sambe's though it is possible. Sambe's technique and musicality were much cleaner and clearer, even while his pirouettes attempted more revolutions than Zuchetti's did. However, in the mandolin dance Saturday evening, Benjamin Ella added a barrel "540" jump which was not done by the other mandolin soloists (Sambe and Sissens).
  9. Saw the "new" ROH for the first time two weeks ago and wasn't a fan. The new space makes the ROH feel like two different buildings: a Marriott juxtaposed with a beautiful opera house. Not sure what I feel about letting the public in at all hours of the day. It would be fairly easy for someone to attend a performance having not purchased a ticket (provided it isn't sold out, as the mixed rep wasn't last Tuesday/Wednesday), particularly after first interval when ushers aren't vigilant. I was also hoping the new space would provide an expanded gift shop or a real box office, but to no avail (supposedly the box office is moving?) Overall the new space feels perfunctory, not a good thing when part of one of the leading opera houses in the world. Personally I don't mind a bit of opulence, especially having just toured the beautiful Staatsoper Berlin. Covent Garden is one of my favorite theaters, but the open-up doesn't do it justice.
  10. Also attended last Wednesday: Mendizabal as Firebird made a strong impression in the opening solo with big, twitching eyes and an exaggerated epaulement. Her arms were fluttering and birdlike, but her positions went unfinished in the pas and she lacked the authority of Naghdi on opening night, particularly in the scene with Koschei. Nonetheless Firebird is one of her better roles and one to which she is suited. Much to my surprise Kish made a stronger impression than Watson as Prince Ivan. Perhaps his added stature helped visualize the story more, but I found him utterly convincing in his fascination with the Firebird, love for the Tsarevna, and fear of Koschei. Alas, in his most climactic part of the ballet he succumbed to the egg, which decided to split in half well before he was supposed to drop it. Perhaps his days as a prince in the classics are gone but I second the proposal for him as a permanent Character Artist: he has a natural, unforced stage presence and remains a fine partner. Claire Calvert normally doesn't do much for me beyond her gloriously arched feet, but she was radiant and romantic as the Tsarevna, and technically strong later in "Symphony in C." A great night for her. Chris Saunders's Koschei was considerably muted compared to Gary Avis the night before. As for Osipova/Hallberg in "Month," I am torn. Technically, Osipova didn't impress to the extent of Nunez in the first solo, with the epaulement and precise footwork sort of washed over. There was also some suspension of belief that Osipova's Natalia was much older and wiser than Hallberg's Beliaev: artistically the two seemed on the same plane. However, this was the most introspective and restrained Osipova I've seen, with the sadness and melancholy of Natalia completely captured especially in her closing walk downstage. Nunez was more a Grande Dame of the household; Osipova a lost soul. I found both approaches fascinating, with Osipova's Natalia becoming more vivid in the days after than immediately in the theater. Hallberg has unmistakable deportment -- he runs onstage as if he were above water -- and the sculptural purity of his work was in a far away league from Ball the night before. Where he suffered in comparison were the security of pirouettes, his partnering (in particular with Vera and Katia, with whom he seemed to forget a couple steps), and his character's sense of naivety. Throughout the evening I didn't see him so much as Beliaev but as David Hallberg. He did achieve a kind of cosmic connection with Osipova in the final pas, but the Nunez/Ball partnership rang truer to the story for me, as did their interactions among the ensemble. Meagan Grace Hinkis as Vera and Luca Acri as Kolia were good if not to the level of their first cast counterparts. In certain ways "Symphony in C" looked more sure-footed the second night. With her diamond cut positions and lines, Fumi Kaneko is ideally cast for first movement and danced even freer Wednesday, reveling in the nuances of Bizet and Balanchine. I'm very envious of those who will see her Aurora. Nunez had a rather extravagant, dramatic presentation to second movement with Hirano as her stalwart partner. Her abandonment, complete security of technique, and ability to make every step fresh and alive were impressive as was her final balance in arabesque which luxuriated forever. As I mentioned upthread, Campbell seemed more subtle in third movement, and the last partnered arabesque with Choe (faulty on opening night) was perfect Wednesday. Naghdi was rock-solid in fourth movement with no problems navigating the numerous pirouettes which were a bit of a white-knuckle ride with Hayward. Other mentions: first movement had some luxury casting with Cesar Corrales impressive for his long arabesque and textbook entrechat six. I would love to see him as first movement principal. Claire Calvert and Beatriz Stix-Brunell were dynamic as the two ladies and Joseph Sissens held his own against the high technical standard of Muntagirov and Corrales. Muntagirov was gallant and impeccable as always.....until fourth movement where he missed an entrance. He is human, after all.
  11. Richard, it was more the manner in which he communicated his thrill of dancing "C" rather than him expressing himself at all. Of course third movement is joyous and I would never suggest the company look sullen during this ballet, just that Campbell (for me) tends, slightly, to "milk" some of his big technical moments in the ballet, and has a somewhat exaggerated way of relating to his partner. I wish I could explain it better but that's how I saw it, and I don't intend these as major criticisms. I know not everyone will agree and am happy for those who enjoyed his performance (in fact, as did I, with a minor reservation).
  12. It's not him smiling, per se, it's the big smile and open mouth after a difficult series of steps which I noticed a few times. Somebody commented on this back in the autumn (not specifically about Campbell, but the company), that excessive smiling after difficult passages was threatening to turn the Royal's "Symphony in C" into a Petipa ballet. I wouldn't go that far, but I understand the point and suspect the small affectations were not to Balanchine's taste, particularly after reading fascinating insights from John Clifford (former NYCB principal). Genuinely was not meaning to be disrespectful to Campbell whose dancing was on very good form both shows. While he isn't my favorite, I respect the quality, consistency, and versatility he brings to the table. Again, the second night either Campbell was more reserved or I just exaggerated this in my brain, and I didn't intend it as more than minor criticism. Choe was the main weakness of third movement for me, for the reasons I stated.
  13. Meaning he has sort of a "ta-da" look whenever he finishes something difficult. I don't mind it so much in difficult classical variations but from my understanding Balanchine hated these affectations. However, Campbell seemed more reserved tonight, or maybe the first night I saw a couple instances of this and exaggerated them in my brain. I believe we're referring to the same thing.
  14. It's frustratingly rare to get a mixed bill where you like all three ballets, but such was finally the case here. In her debut Yasmine Naghdi's Firebird is already headed in the right direction and then some. She pays scrupulous attention to the music as well as nuances within her hands and eyes to bring this exotic creature to life. Her legs are like knives, piercing through the air. She had a strong solo and PDD in the opening with a fraction less intensity than I recall from Benjamin, but she was at her best in the standoff against Kostchei. Her gaze dominated him, and Gary Avis was masterful here in how he showed a certain fallibility in this villain with the mile long fingers. Overall I found him much more suited to Kostchei than Tybalt. Watson has almost nothing to do as Prince Ivan besides the first PDD and dropping of the egg, but good to see him back. Christina Arestis was elegant as the Tsarevna. "Month in the Country" is a masterpiece not performed often enough, which I had only seen once before with Guillem. For me Nunez was *almost* sublime, with a technical masterclass in the first solo featuring rich epaulement and tremendous precision of her lower extremities. The PDD with Ball was ravishing, but there were certain instances of overacting instead of letting the choreography speak for itself. Nonetheless, Natalia is a beautiful role for her and I was entirely captivated last night in a way I never was with her Juliet. Ball has excellent turns and a developing pathos as Beliaev, but his arabesque doesn't shape and stretch to the degree needed, particularly on a role created for Dowell. Francesca Hayward doesn't yet have the luscious upper body of Nunez but her allegro work is a marvel, every step buoyant and effervescent. Her Vera was the perfect foil for Nunez's Natalia. James Hay darted around the stage in a dizzying array of gyroscopic steps all rapidly strung together. There was a slight hiccup on the opening series of turns but another great performance. Very interested to see this tonight and hopefully Osipova is back; I'm curious to compare given my lack of familiarity of the ballet. The setting and story is refreshingly simple, requiring no program notes or synopsis to know exactly what is happening. In Symphony in C Kaneko acquitted herself admirably in the first movement (frankly can't picture Osipova in 1st, she belongs in 3rd) with a precision of line and strength of technique particularly in those hops in arabesque. In the finale she was especially radiant. Muntagirov can give a clinic when it comes to entrechat six and double tour, and his line extends for days. Lamb had her usual Old World glamour in the second movement, creating an air of mystery while also being ingratiating to the audience. Late in her career Lamb has maintained a beautiful extension though she eschewed the nose to knee penchees (I'm not aware if this was the staging or a personal preference). There was one partnering fault where Nicol Edmonds was supposed to descend her between the demi soloist couple's arms, instead carrying her so far upstage that Sarah's leg brushed the demi guy's head. Third movement was the weak link of the evening. Yuhui Choe seemed miscast with her lack of elevation and penchees barely extending above 90 degrees, and while Campbell was technically strong there was a bit too much audience-faced mugging. Hayward in 4th struggled with the pesky pirouette---a la seconde--pirouette both times, but was otherwise spirited, once again, in her dancing with James Hay.
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