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Two Pigeons

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  1. I liked the Walker designs too. They represent my purple years of seeing the Royal Ballet during the 80s and early 90s. I was lucky enough to see Sibley and Dowell twice. Both shows were totally magical.
  2. I don't think it is a huge secret to say that Cinderella has been on ice for some years due to difficulties with the producer and current owner of the rights to the ballet. I have seen David Bintley's version of Cinderella. For me it cannot compete with the Ashton one in terms of choreography. However, in design terms, it leaves the last ROH version cold.
  3. Too many greats dying too close together.
  4. I had forgotten what an utterly beautiful woman she was. Degas would have loved her.
  5. Indeed. She was a direct link back to the days of the romantic ballerina. I have a treasured DVD which includes her dancing with Erik Bruhn. Her style was such a contrast to the more athletic dancers of today.
  6. I was lucky enough to be at the Opera House for that gala. Given for the Queen's 60th Birthday with her, her mother and her sister all present I cannot tell you how unbelievably apt it all was. The gala was televised live on ITV - those were the days! - and my mother, a direct contemporary of Princess Margaret, was in floods of tears as memories of her childhood came back to her. What a gala that was. Dowell and Kirkland (in her prime) dancing Romeo and Juliet, Dowell and Collier in Birthday Offering, Marion Tait in Solitaire. As I remember it finished with the finale of Daphnis and Chloe with Jenny Penney and Mark Silver. And then there was the Opera. Domingo in Tosca, Carreras in Granada, Jessye Norman singing about Marble Halls and then Tremonisha by Scott Jopling. One of my greatest memories of my nights at the theatre. Many thanks for the reminder Lizbie. P.s. I agree absolutely with your comments about Ashton.
  7. Dying is easy, it's comedy that's hard! So, allegedly said the great actor Edmund Gwenn as he was dying.
  8. I did know that as I saw a review of his performance by Richard Buckle. It was all well before my time though.
  9. When I saw the original post the first performance which came to mind was Michael O'Hare as Will Mossop in Hobson's Choice. I was at the world premiere at the Opera House and the first performance in Birmingham a few months later. In terms of last performances, I saw the final SWRB show in Liverpool - Janet will also remember that one - with the second cast of Marion Tait and Graham Lustig. I always thought it very appropriate that Marion led the last SWRB show. I was in Plymouth to see Karen Donovan's final performance as Maggie which included Stephen Wick's farewell as Albert Prosser. He was a member of the Royal Ballet by then. Michael's last performance was in Birmingham with the utterly beautiful Leticia Muller as Maggie. That was a real night to remember. If all of that wasn't enough I was at the last performance at the Hippodrome in June 2019, this time with my husband. We enjoyed it so much we went to the very last showing a week later, appropriately enough, at Sadler's Wells theatre. Leticia Muller and Stephen Wicks amongst other cast members of the original premiere were in the audience. So, 30 years, 1989 to 2019, lots and lots of wonderful memories. The really sad thing is I feel the ballet is most unlikely to be given again. If I have one regret over all that time it is that Iain Webb never got to dance Will. I feel he would have been outstanding in the role. I wonder if he has ever thought about presenting the show in Sarasota.
  10. Terrific and very knowledgeable reply Jane. Thank you, I really enjoyed it.
  11. When the redesigned version of Les Rendezvous first premiered by the RB I sat in the stalls feeling as though I had been punched. As I remember it the production was given on the occasion of Markova's 90th birthday. I did wonder what she thought of it but, of course, the original designs which she would have known were yet a third version. The photographs of it do not given me any great confidence and I can see why William Chappell was called in. For reasons utterly beyond me, the lead girl was danced by Darcey Bussell, about as far removed from Markova as you could get. I think her cavalier was Roberto Bolle, who was at least a good match height wise. However, as he danced I kept thinking of Clement Crisp's review when had said that Bolle had discarded his boater just before his big solo. Clem comment that this 'was a shame as it was the single most interesting part of his performance'. As always Clem had hit the nail on the head. Back to the redesigns. I cannot tell you how much the marigold type short gloves for the corps girls irritate me. They make absolutely no artistic sense to me at all.
  12. No Alison. No hallucination. The redesigns really were that bad and the revised set meant that the basic concept of people meeting in a park was completely lost.
  13. No, as it has turned out, multiple owners were not a good thing. I can understand fully giving works to the dancers most closely associated with them, Ondine and Daphnis and Chloe going to Fonteyn for example, but they were passed on to legatees when she died who had considerably less involvement with the works. I hope it is not too controversial to say that in some cases this was near disastrous. Cinderella has not coped well since Michael Somes died. Sir Kenneth Macmillan has been well served by his widow who is both forceful and an artist who was very involved with the creation of many of his works. Ashton does not seem to have given serious thought to the long term future of his works and we are reaping the results now.
  14. Hear, hear. Hope the ENB dancers have the proper, floaty frocks!
  15. These are all excellent points. Ashton suffers because of the rather patchy view of our major companies and for the lack of an energetic and powerful champion of his work. This situation is becoming more urgent as the people he actually worked with and created his ballets, frankly, die off. Sorry, cannot think of a more tactful way of describing it. ENB have had very few of his works, although Peter Schaufuss had a very valiant effort to revive both Apparitions and his Romeo and Juliet while Ashton was still alive. At the RB Ashton will always come second to Macmillan's works. Every young aspiring soloist wants to dance Juliet and Manon but Lise seems to be less sought after. Please the dance gods Cinderella is not lost forever. Ondine and Sylvia have their bursts but a number of one acts seem to be disappearing in the balletic quicksand of time. Ashton seems to be pretty popular in Europe, but mainly for aging ballerinas who queue up to dance Marguerite and Armand with zero appreciation of the required style. The change of directorship at BRB does seem to herald a diminishing appreciation of the Ashton works. When I say this I mean absolutely no disrespect to Carlos Acosta as he has barely had time or opportunity to set out a clear direction for the company, apart from the indication to take the repertoire in a completely different direct from David Bintley's tenure. It also needs to be admitted that the Ashton rep was failing to sell in Birmingham despite some excellent performances. His ballets are no longer so familiar to local audiences. Time for the familiar gratitude to Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri for preserving a power house of accurate productions if the Ashton works. I do feel that if current directors do not recognise the dangers of losing the Ashton repertoire soon so much of it will be lost. This is something else which happens in bursts. Kevin brought back Two Pigeons to great acclaim while there were still repertoire experts to mount it. Added to this was a knowledgeable audience to appreciate it. However, if the RB gets to be better known for the classics, the Macmillan blockbusters and the work of Wayne McGregor I fear for the long term future of the Ashton rep. I think there is a salutary lesson in the precarious situation of another great choreographer and his works. The Royal Danish Ballet and the works of August Bournonville were introduced to the eiderBallet World in the 1950s. The company treasured and preserved its unique style for decades. A change of company director and it is all being diluted to the point of total loss. Please don't let the Ashton heritage go the same way. There is still time to act and can Ashton Society sounds a very sensible start.
  16. I remember Airs. It was delightful and Marion Tait was in it but performing a non-principal role. She was 'just' one of the cast. I am pretty sure David Yow was featured. I should have followed your example regarding cast lists!
  17. P.s. I have a lovely colour photo on one of my walls of Ravenna Tucker and Kevin dancing the lead couple. This means that BRB did the work in at least one season, probably at the old Sadler's Wells theatre.
  18. I really enjoyed this programme, starting with Iain's introduction when he said how much both he and Maggie loved Sir Fred and that love shows very clearly in their meticulous recounting of so many of his ballets. I remember when SWRB revived Valses Nobles under the personal direction of Sir Fred not long before he died in 1988. I loved the elegant designs although I did hear one of the members of the cast saying he was "wearing one of the curtains". It has been niggling me, can anyone remember who was the 4th of the girls corps? I remember Karen Donovan, Sue Lucas and Nicola Katrak but the remaining one eludes me. I was particularly impressed with Maggie Barbieri talking about working with Markova. As I remember they broadcast 3 masterclasses with her coaching Maggie. One, or both of them had a keen eye/memory for detail which really showed in Facade. I haven't seen the foxtrot danced so atmospherically for years. They had a real feeling for the 1930s style. All in all I was very pleased I had ordered the relay and glad that I had sent the company my money as an investment. P.s. I have some photos of the SWRB revival with Iain dancing one of the 3 corps boys, ably assisted by Mark Welford and Kevin O'Hare. I can still hear Kevin recounting the story that Sir Fred repositioned him with his familiar instruction "bend, bend!".
  19. I do wish they would repeat come of their older performances. I have a copy of the Paris Opera Ballet performing Le Palais Cristal, designs by Lacroix from about 10 years ago. Mathieu Ganio shone in the first movement. I am lucky that I still have it on my Sky Q box but there were other works from the POB, especially those with Nicolas Le Riche which I would love to see again.
  20. I have never seen Sarasota Ballet live and, regrettably, I am never likely to do so now. However, as a balletomane of over 40 years standing and a devoted Ashtonphile I am so glad that they exist and the Iain and Maggie have done such wonders with them. The Ashton rep seems safe in their hands and thank Heavens that this is the case as it seems to be vanishing before our eyes ( with notable exceptions).
  21. Please don't forget that Sir Peter Wright revived Massine's Choreartium for BRB with very considerable success.
  22. I haven't had an e-mail either but I will endeavour not to hold it against the company.
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