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David G

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  1. I also enjoyed the Moscow City Ballet’s production of Nutcracker on Monday but my wife and I also went on Wednesday to see their Swan Lake and we much preferred the choreography for Swan Lake. We also found Drosselmeier’s love interest in Clara creepy. I am surprised that they have not adapted their synopsis to reflect the times in which we now live. Liliya Orekhova, their prima ballerina, danced the role of Odette/Odile on Wednesday evening. We enjoyed her dancing. (She danced one small part in the corps de ballet on Monday.) In fact, we appreciated the hard work put in by all the dancers on both evenings. We sat in the front row on both nights alongside the violinists – which was quite an experience. We could appreciate the arrangements of both pieces of music for a small orchestra. Richmond Theatre is a lovely theatre but it has a tiny stage – but the dancers coped. Most of the dancers seemed quite young. The dancer who danced the role of Clara on Monday, Kesenia Stankevich, was born in 1995. She danced the role of the Spanish Bridge in Swan Lake. Ksenya Basnet who had the Spanish dance on Monday mentioned by Tango Dancer danced the role of the Neapolitan Bride in Swan Lake. She and Kesenia were also cygnets and girlfriends in Swan Lake. We also enjoyed the dancing of Rachel Hernon, an English girl. She appears to have moved to Perm to finish her vocational ballet training after Elmhurst. What a step for presumably a 16 year old to take! To move to a city near the Urals. Having also seen her dance on YouTube, I am glad that she persevered. Her Russian must be as good as her dance technique! Hopefully the dancers with the Moscow City Ballet had the opportunity of coming into London while they were based in Richmond. Their touring schedule looks exhausting, dancing 6 days a week – with matinees on Saturday. They did a tour of Poland before Christmas so they must have some stamina! Hopefully they will bring their productions of Giselle and Sleeping Beauty to Richmond Theatre next year. My wife and I will certainly support them if they do so. Unless we ballet lovers buy their tickets, we will lose these Russian touring companies - and that would be a shame. Not all Russian dancers can make it into the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky - but the dancers with the Moscow City Ballet are still very good. With the logistics of moving the sets and both the dancers and orchestra about from town to town and putting them up in hotels, it must be expensive for them to tour – but hopefully they will show a profit at the end of their UK and Dublin tour.
  2. Thank you, prs59, for posting this rave review and for the photo of Kovalyova and Tissi. I too was bowled over by their performance last night! And full marks to the Bolshoi for taking a St Petersburg girl who was rejected by the Mariinsky Ballet for being too tall – and for giving her all these opportunities before she is 21! She celebrates her 21st birthday next month. I am sorry that Coated was not as smitten as you and I clearly were! There is a clip of her dancing the role in January 2018 with Denis Rodkin on Youtube - although it it s bootleg clip so perhaps I am not allowed to refer to it. (Thank goodness though that the Royal Opera House does not allow any filming during the performance! It would drive me mad!! With the number of clips online, the Bolshoi seems to turn a blind eye...) I have already seen a performance of Spartacus and The Bright Stream - but for me, this Swan Lake will be the highlight of the tour...and I do not normally like the Bolshoi version of Swan Lake!
  3. I presume that these shadow characters were meant to be heretics and that each was wearing a coroza - a paper or cardboard hat in a conical shape that was put on those condemned by the Spanish Inquisition and that served as a complement to the sambenito. Being black, they showed that the heretics were impenitent. (I only know this because Voltaire refers to an auto da fe in Candide which I had to study for my French A level in the 1970s...but I am also grateful to Wikipedia!!) My apologies to everyone if there is an explanation of this in the programme!
  4. I am relieved to read some positive comments about Liam Scarlett’s Cunning Little Vixen. Like Coated, I thoroughly enjoyed both the performances which I saw. I found the ballet witty and inventive – and, whether Scarlett found influences in MacMillan or Ashton, I would like to view him as paying homage to the influence which both choreographers have had on him, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet School - and the style of dancing was certainly one familiar to the students. John Lanchbery clearly found inspiration in his arrangement of Messager’s music from different sources. I am sure that others heard Noel Coward’s “London Pride” in one section. There was another section where the same Massenet music was later mined by Leighton Lucas for a small section of Manon. I have no criticism for either. For my part, I found the choreography imaginative and it fitted the music and the story to a T. The final movement of the Cunning Little Vixen suite is titled by Peter Breiner “Vixen Running” and it would have been difficult for Liam Scarlett to have ignored both the title and the essence of the music at the start of this movement. My wife and I genuinely felt privileged to have seen both performances and to have been introduced to the dancers who had the leading roles. We will follow their careers with interest. On a more mundane level, you can imagine the production costs of the ballet – even though Liam Scarlett designed the costumes himself! (He is indeed a young man with many talents!) It would have bankrupted the Royal Ballet School to have paid for all the costumes used! Given that it has been mentioned elsewhere in this section, I am also pleased to see that Letitia Dias is being given greater prominence as an Artist and I hope that it will mean a promotion soon. I see that in her ROH biography, there is reference to the principal role which Letitia Dias was given in Liam Scarlett’s Classical Symphony at the end of her second year in the Upper School in 2014. I remember seeing it at the time in the Royal Ballet School annual matinee show and I remember feeling sad that it was unlikely to be seen at Covent Garden again when so much work had gone into its production. Let’s hope that the Royal Ballet School revives it soon – and again that it is included in a RB/RBS double bill. I am sure that the choreography matched in quality the choreography in Asphodel Meadows which my wife and I also saw last week. Whilst I enjoy seeing the main ballets, I also enjoy seeing new ballets and I do hope that the adverse comments posted by others do not deter future joint Royal Ballet School/Royal Ballet productions on the main stage. I still remember seeing the Royal Ballet School production of Jiří Kylián’s Sechs Tänze – and again feeling sad that it was not going to be seen by a wider audience. The Royal Ballet School is going from strength to strength and I would never feel short changed if I paid for a full price ticket to see any of their productions staged jointly with a Royal Ballet production. Let’s hope that these joint productions become a regular thing and that we don’t have to wait another 8 years for the next joint production. That is the length of time since the production of Peter and the Wolf/Tales of Beatrix Potter….and I cannot remember another joint production since. I stand to be corrected! The experience of dancing on the main stage must also help the students and it must give them a focus for their dancing – and to be involved in the creation of a new ballet is something which I am sure they will remember for the rest of their lives and will assist them in their dancing careers.
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