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About FrankH

  • Birthday 29/10/1945

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  1. I'm looking forward to seeing this later on today at the local Curzon. They didn't show the live screening "live". Is there a link anywhere to the cast list for the screening?
  2. I understand Jan McNulty's point, and to a large extent agree, even though I know who Nela and Vadream are. There is no harm in the occasional post, especially from a moderator, to remind posters not to use nicknames etc. exclusively. Not only may some readers be unfamiliar with them if they are not familiar with the ballet company, but it may make the forum look like an in-crowd, to whom unknowledgeable outsiders are not welcome. But that's all that's needed. Just one post as a reminder - no discussion, agreement or disagreement needed, otherwise indeed, too many posts are wasted on a futile discussion. There - I've just added another one.
  3. Look up this on YouTube: Carson Optical OperaView Binoculars HD I've no personal experience of these, but they look quite interesting.
  4. You remind me of the details of what actually happened in the scene. So that's why it didn't look to me like an attempt at rape. As you point out, it's not that Paris and Juliet were alone together. Her parents wished to marry Juliet to Paris - it doesn't follow that they intended him to rape her! However Mary and Candleque in their posts above say that MacMillan did intend a suggestion of assault, and Candleque connects this with an obsession of his about rape. If that is so, then that didn't come over clearly in the RB performance that was screened. Have they altered the MacMillan original in order to make Paris a more sympathetic character? Candleque and onemouseplace then both agree that Paris in the Shakespeare play is an unfortunate victim of circumstance, which is exactly how I saw him in the RB screening of this ballet. I wasn't influenced in my reaction by the play, as I haven't seen it for decades, and have never studied it closely. So did the RB change the ballet at this point? I wouldn't know if they did, as I have never seen the MacMillan version before. Perhaps Nicol Edmonds changed this emphasis, just as Gary Avis changed the intention of Tybalt in the killing of Mercutio (unless that also is in the MacMillan original). Can anyone who knows the history of this ballet enlighten us on these points?
  5. My comment about Paris was rather tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps I wasn't paying close enough attention, or didn't catch all the nuances, but in the "assault" scene, I didn't read it as an obvious attempt at rape, although it might have developed into one. I had some sympathy for Paris. It must be rather unpleasant if someone you touch shrinks away in disgust. I still think Paris' despatch was undeservedly perfunctory. However at that late stage in the ballet, it is probably artistically correct not to draw it out. As you say, Romeo can't know what we know, so his killing of Paris adds to the impression I have that, because of his obsessive love for Juliet, he has become a rather unlikeable person.
  6. [Some kind poster somewhere on this forum posted in encouragement of less knowledgeable posters, that we need all reactions from WOW! to long erudite reviews. What you may not need is what I usually offer, which is long non-erudite “reviews”. However I do this partly to help me remember performances, and to examine my reasons for my reactions. I do not expect to enlighten anyone in a field in which I have as yet very little knowledge] My prediction as to how full my local Curzon might be for this proved correct; considerably fuller than for the recent modern trilogy, but not sold out as has been the case for all screenings of the Tchaikovsky “Big 3”. I shall be interested to see how Coppélia fares next season. I have only managed to do a superficial read-through of the many reactions and reviews in this thread (perhaps more such than has been recorded for any RB screening?) but am immediately struck by the differences of opinion, especially on the performances of the two main dancers. Were they equally magical? Did one portray his/her character better than the other? Did one show too little emotion? And so on. I was looking forward to this screening with great anticipation as it was my first opportunity to see either Yasmine Naghdi or Matthew Ball in a really major role. As I knew that both were among the most appreciated RB artists for posters in this forum, I wondered if I would have the same reaction as, for example, when I first saw Francesca Hayward in a major role. Yasmine Naghdi. I do see why so many on this forum think so highly of her. However, I wasn’t bowled over by her the way I was by Francesca Hayward (in the much lesser role of Clara in The Nutcracker). For me, Ms Hayward possesses to a remarkable degree a sort of charisma which can really be described as the X factor, because it is undefinable. For me, Ms Naghdi has less of this, but I suspect she is more of a dance-connoisseur’s dancer – one whom those who really know about ballet, will appreciate more than I can at present. So I certainly don’t wish to in any way play down her undoubted excellence. Matthew Ball. Again I can see why so many rave about him. He is clearly a formidable talent – destined for the very top of his profession? As an aged heterosexual male, I probably don’t have the right to say this, but he strikes me as almost too good-looking! But what about their acting in Romeo and Juliet? Contrary to some on this thread, I don’t think either was guilty of underplaying their role. I initially thought they were both over-acting! But I soon realised this wasn’t the case. We were being shown close-ups which would only have been available to well-placed audience members in the ROH, and then only if they had binoculars. Ballet-dancers in narrative ballets have to convey emotions to an audience without close-ups, so exaggerated facial expressions, for instance, are necessary. Perhaps in future screenings of such ballets as MacMillan’s highly emotional dramas, they should avoid close-ups. Despite the excellence of not just Ball and Naghdi, but the entire ensemble (how good are the RB corps at crowd scenes!) and my general enjoyment of the dancing, I found myself largely emotionally unmoved by the ballet as a whole. But that is perhaps a consequence of what is, to me, a rather unattractive plot. While I can understand why Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, I think, at a deeper level, it is far from his most sympathetic. Young Romantic Love will always be a superficially attractive theme. But R & J could also be seen as a portrayal of the obsessive selfishness which is an almost automatic accompaniment of such emotions. And so, among the five deaths which litter this drama, I found myself more moved by the deaths of the minor characters. Especially Tybalt. A great characterisation by Gary Avis, but I wonder if he almost made Tybalt too likeable. He clearly didn’t intend to kill Mercutio, in Avis’ interpretation, which makes his subsequent death at the hands of Romeo that more of a tragedy. As for Paris, the poor chap unwittingly wanders into this tragic mess, and is swatted away without even a drawn-out death scene. Is this a deserved fate for anyone who dares to threaten Young Romantic Love? Despite my reservations, I did enjoy the ballet, and will remember many fine things in it. Perhaps especially the stark beauty of the final tableau – Juliet’s body draped over the side of the bed, her hand reaching for, but not touching, the hand of Romeo. Is that scene pure Kenneth MacMillan?
  7. Thank you Sim for your kind words, and thanks to Mary for her supportive comments. It is always nice to find that someone else has a similar reaction about a particular performance, as I am certainly not experienced enough in my knowledge and appreciation of ballet, to distinguish between the truly great and the merely good. However I wasn't being as humble in my review as might have appeared. Each person will have a slightly different aesthetic sensibility, and may thus be "blind" to what others find beautiful. An instance which occurs to me is the fact that Tchaikovsky intensely disliked Brahms' music, and was very rude about it, calling Brahms "talentless". As I greatly love the music of both composers, I find this very hard to understand, and can only assume that Tchaikovsky had a blind (or, rather, deaf) spot as far as Brahms was concerned. Thinking back to my reactions to the RB triple bill, I realise I didn't experience it in the best of circumstances. I had had a rather tiring afternoon at the university where I am a part-time lecturer, listening to students giving presentations, and assessing them. So perhaps my momentary lapse into sleep during Flight Pattern wouldn't have happened otherwise. The very subdued lighting of the piece certainly didn't help. As for Medusa, from the posts of others I learn that this may be regarded as a work still in the process of development, and that Cherkaoui's ballets evolve and develop considerably. My disappointment with these two works is also partly bound up with the fact that they deal with very important themes - masculine ill-treatment of women, and the plight of refugees and the dispossessed. If artists in any medium tackle these sorts of themes, they had better make a very good job of it. Otherwise these days it would only be too easy to dismiss their efforts as merely "politically correct". I am glad to read that many of you were very moved by Flight Pattern, even if I couldn't appreciate it on the night.
  8. The local Curzon was only half-full for the live filming of this. How different from when one of the Classics is performed! I am a rather naïve and unsophisticated lover of ballet. As such, I myself am most fond of the Classics, and haven’t generally found “abstract” i.e. non-narrative ballet that interesting. So, looking at the descriptions of the three ballets being performed, I thought I would probably appreciate Medusa and Flight Pattern, but find Within The Golden Hour something of a challenge. I couldn’t have been more wrong in my prediction! I was bowled over by Within the Golden Hour. I marvelled at the amazing “logic” (I can’t think of a better word to describe my impression) of the choreography. Every movement of the bodies, arms, and legs, seemed to be part of a perfect moving pattern. Nothing out of place, nothing unnecessary, like a composition of Mozart as described by Salieri (in the film Amadeus). And all fitting in so well with the very beautiful musical score. I must admit I had never heard of Ezio Bosso before, but I will be looking out for anything by him from now on. I had of course heard of Christopher Wheeldon. I have seen Alice also through live transmission, which I enjoyed, but to nowhere the same extent that I appreciated WtGH. I will bow to the superior taste of the more knowledgeable people on this forum if I am wrong, but it seems to me that WtGH is a minor masterpiece, perhaps even a major one. It was of course, to my undiscerning eyes, danced impeccably. What an unexpected joy to see Francesca Hayward as one of the unlisted changes! She is one I find difficult to take my eyes away from when she is on stage. But I also found Beatriz Stix-Brunell compelling. Actually the whole ensemble, both the central six, and the back-up eight, were entrancing. It is actually rather unfair to single anyone out, but those two did especially catch my eye. I have not seen a ballet which better demonstrated to me the possibilities in abstract non-narrative dance. I know that there is supposed to be a story in the differing relationships of the three central couples, but I must admit that I didn’t get that aspect of it. It didn’t matter. I was just content to take in 35 minutes of brilliant “eye candy”. After this wonderful opening, I am afraid I found Medusa and Flight Pattern rather disappointing. Hearing and reading about the choreographers, and their motivations for these ballets, I wanted very much to like them. But I found both, in different ways, rather tedious. A lot of movement in Medusa, but unlike that in WtGH it seemed to me rather unstructured. A lot of arm waving to little purpose. Flight Pattern I just found grey and depressing. I must confess I actually fell asleep briefly during it. However, it was as usual good to see the marvellous Osipova, although even she couldn’t redeem Medusa for me. And it was nice to see Kristen McNally getting a prominent role in Flight Pattern. I haven’t yet had time to read many of the reviews in this forum, but I note that some whose views on ballet I greatly respect, liked Medusa and/or Flight Pattern. And of course both these works and their choreographers have been much praised. I am glad of that, as I applaud what they are aiming for in these works. I therefore attribute my lack of appreciation of these works to a lack of aesthetic sensibility on my part. The fact that they both earned rapturous prolonged applause from the ROH audience would confirm this. One problem, for me, was the order of the works. After the overwhelming impression of Within the Golden Hour, perhaps most ballets would have seemed a little stale to me in comparison.
  9. This has just appeared on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSGLGnHJDSQ "Artists of The Royal Ballet in Liam Scarlett's production of Swan Lake, which will be broadcast on Christmas Day 2018 on BBC Four. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk" Apologies if this is a duplication.
  10. The live transmission is over, but still can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj2I7TrWWNo
  11. Most of you probably know this already, but the Northern Ballet class is live on Youtube at present. Forgive me if this has been noted elsewhere. Moderators please cancel this post if that's the case.
  12. Which shows just how much in the appreciation of the arts depends on the subjective impressions of the viewer/listener. There was a discussion about "charisma" on another thread, in which this was brought up. One poster wrote to the effect that if someone didn't see such a quality in a performer who obviously had it, it reflected (by implication badly) on the viewer (I may be unfairly presenting the viewpoint, but that's what it read like to me). I differ, in that I believe it reflects both on the artist and the viewer/listener. There is certainly an objective dimension to charisma or any other quality in the arts. Otherwise, how could anyone state with certainty that Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky etc. were among the greatest composers? And yet there are those who dislike the music of one or more of these masters. For that matter, Tchaikovsky apparently thought Brahms was talentless. As I love the music of both, I find this incomprehensible. So there is an inescapable subjectivity too.
  13. I think this points up the difference between a seasoned, knowledgeable ballet lover (you), and a novice (me). Although I don't know whether I will ever be able to advance to the stage of pure appreciation of dance technique, as that would probably require more intimate knowledge of dance than I could acquire.
  14. Let me make it quite clear that I meant absolutely no slight to Miss Naghdi in my comments! All I was doing was stating that in Miss Hayward's absence, other dancers will have more opportunities, including Miss Naghdi and Miss O'Sullivan (not in any way putting the latter at the same level as the former). I certainly did not mean to imply that Yasmine needs Francesca's absence to shine!!! That would clearly be nonsense. It's obvious from the tremendous appreciation that Yasmine's dancing receives from so many on this forum, and from many others, such as reviewers, that she is a dancer of quite exceptional quality. I am looking forward very much to the live transmission of the RB Romeo and Juliet next June, which will be the first time I will have the opportunity to see her in a really major role, alongside the much praised Matthew Ball.
  15. That's an approach which certainly makes the Sugar Plum Fairy/Prince prominence more understandable. Next time I watch this ballet, I'll try to see it with your interpretation in mind. Whatever the case, I agree that the Grand Pas de Deux is breathtaking, and that all the qualities you mention are expressed in it. Sir Peter Wright certainly tidied up the original ballet. However I still think The Nutcracker is basically a bit of a "mess" in a dramatic sense. One of the touring "Russian" companies, the "Moscow City Ballet", has a version of The Nutcracker, which does away with the SPF, in effect combining the role with that of Clara. I thought it was, dramatically speaking, an improvement. However it's probably far too radical a change to be generally accepted - and the SPF is far too beloved and iconic a character to be so dismissed.
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