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  1. Oh, and well done to all the others! Delighted for O’Sullivan, Padjak, Gasparini and Dixon in particular.
  2. It seems a number of people are surprised that 1) Luca Acri has been promoted, and 2) that Reece Clarke hasn’t. I’m not so surprised and I wonder if it’s partly to do with their ages? I don’t know how old Luca Acri is but he seems to have been stuck at Soloist rank for a number of years now. He always, to my mind, puts in an excellent performance in whatever he does, and whilst I didn’t predict his promotion this time, I’m delighted for him and think it is thoroughly deserved. Clarke has been unfortunate with his injury this year which has meant he hasn’t really had the opportunity to prove himself this season that he probably needed to justify his promotion. He is still pretty young and possibly Kevin O’Hare feels that there is plenty of time to allow him to develop and move up the ranks. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will see him as a Principal at some stage!
  3. I have hesitated with this as I always find these things very difficult, plus I don’t get to see such a variety of performances as those living closer, so I always feel my accounts may be a bit limited, or one-sided, so apologies in advance. But here goes - in chronological order as far as I can remember it..... •Managing to score a “first” for once, and bagging a last minute ticket to see Matthew Ball’s unexpected debut in Plymouth, of all places, in Bourne’s Swan Lake. I’m not a massive Bourne fan but thought Ball would be excellent in this - and he was. And good to see him in my home town! •Nunez, Muntagirov and Osipova in La Bayadere on opening night. Wonderful performances all round, with Makarova’s appearance on stage to take applause the icing on a special cake (we won’t mention the tumbling conductor....!). •Les Patineurs triple bill just before Christmas. I enjoyed the whole bill. I loved The Concert - Lauren Cuthbertson very funny - and also Kish was a real surprise. However, the honours of the evening went to Muntagirov and Lamb in Winter Dreams (probably my performance of the season, just edging it over Month in the Country). Passionate, heartbreaking, stunning dancing from Muntagirov, with a wild edge that I had never seen in him before. Superb. Bracewell also a standout in this. •Don Q on opening night with Nunez/Muntagirov. What a performance from both! Rightly greeted with a full standing ovation - especially since Marianela was ill! Amazing. •Within the Golden Hour - an abstract ballet that somehow manages to move me. Wonderful choreography and incredible music. • The recent Firebird Triple - enjoyed all ballets but the Month in the Country performances from Cuthbertson, Muntagirov and O’Sullivan were the standouts. There was real chemistry between all three, and Muntagirov’s dancing and acting were wonderful - that first solo! •Symphony in C! What can I say? Just a joy to watch! Individuals:- •As others have said, Muntagirov just seems to get better and better and is a constant joy. He does dreamy and yearning to perfection, with those meltingly beautiful lines, but can also roll out the fireworks and the showmanship and make audiences gasp, but with apparently no effort, and never displaying an ounce of “ego.” An incredible dancer who never fails to move me in everything he does. •Anna Rose O’Sullivan in everything I have seen her in this season. Her Cupid in Don Q was exquisite and her Vera truly drawn, touching and brilliantly danced. I wish I had seen her Juliet. I confidently await news of a promotion....🤞! •Romany Pajdak - a dancer I have always liked and wondered at her not being promoted. It has been lovely to see her getting more opportunities this season and I hope we will be hearing about a promotion for her very soon. •William Bracewell - again I have liked him in everything I have seen him in. Such a shame he has been injured and I look forward to seeing more of him. •Sarah Lamb - opinions seem to be polarised on her, but I like her. Her Masha in Winter Dreams was amazing and although some say she is cold, she certainly didn’t come over as cold in that! •Marcelino Sambe - especially his Mercutio! •Beatriz Stix-Brunell - she has a unique stage presence. Lowlights:- I’m not sure I have any real lowlights but there were things that were a slight disappointment. •BRB’s Fille in Plymouth. Maybe I had had a bad day (I had!) but it didn’t seem to have the spark of the RB version, and just lacked...something. On the plus side I did meet Peregrine on the grass verge outside, attracting a lot of puzzled attention from Friday night club-goers! He was not remotely interested in me or anyone else! •The Unknown Soldier. It was a nice idea, but didn’t quite come off as far as I was concerned. •Medusa. Started off promisingly, then I found I was thinking about what to cook for dinner the following night. Never a good sign.....
  4. I thought it was somewhere else as the post referred to the North.
  5. I don’t know what it stands for either. Like the dancers’ nicknames, it would be helpful if acronyms could also be avoided unless you have already said what they are referring to.
  6. No, it wasn’t me, but as a friend of mine was in A28 I do know who it was! And I wouldn’t say I was especially knowledgeable myself anyway 🙂 A shame I didn’t know you were there, I would have said hello!
  7. She had forgotten to position them so that they fell down her back - they were still tucked over her elbows, which would have meant some rather unromantic fumbling for Vadim to reach them! I thought the kissing of her hem actually worked just as well, so anyone who didn’t know what was supposed to happen wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss. Apologies in advance as I saw the bill two nights running - unusual for me - so I may ramble on a bit! I’ll try to keep it brief. Overall, I really enjoyed the performances on both nights, and what a fantastic triple bill. I’m so glad I splashed out and saw it twice. I think that was a benefit particularly for the Firebird. After the first night I wasn’t entirely sure about it as a ballet but a second night’s viewing enabled me to digest it a bit more, and I decided that I do like it. It’s certainly beautiful to look at. I loved both Magri and Mendizabal’s performances. Magri’s dancing perhaps had the edge, and she was a softer Firebird. However, on balance I preferred Mendizabal - her eyes and face are so expressive and she really commanded the stage. A pity, really, that the Tsarevitch has so little to do by way of dancing, given that it was Kish’s last performance, but he partnered and acted well, and I was glad Kevin O’Hare came onstage to give him a fitting sendoff. I was in the front row and Kish had to wipe away the odd tear, and Mrs Kish also looked very emotional. He got a warm and enthusiastic response from the audience. As soon as I had seen A Month in the Country on the first night (Nunez/Ball) I decided that it had become one of my favourite ballets. Ashton really was a genius - taking the story and telling it so charmingly and so movingly with such beautiful and expressive choreography. I really enjoyed their performance. I think Ball must have been reading the comments on here because he didn’t play Beliaev as a womaniser at all, and I enjoyed his performance, and Nunez was - well, Nunez - she never puts in a bad performance and her dancing was beautiful. Hay and Hayward were charming as Kolia and Vera (but god, I wish they would burn the awful yellow fright wig that they insist on making Kolia wear!). However, for me the cast last night eclipsed that one. I loved Cuthbertson’s portrayal and her softer, more Ashtonian dancing. And I knew that this would be a perfect role for Muntagirov, and it was. His dancing - especially that first solo - was sublime - fluid, full of feeling and of course technically perfect and with those beautifully pointed feet (something that some Male dancers allow to slip all too often). But more than that, his characterisation was just so moving and so delightful, from the first scenes of him having fun with the family, to the emotionally charged ones later on as his situation becomes ever more complicated and his feelings for Natalia sweep him away. I had a lump in my throat. Whoever said he danced Ashton with a Russian soul hit the nail in the head. There is something so special about Vadim that goes beyond his wonderful dancing and is more just about something inside him. A very rare artist. Anyway, the smile on Sir Anthony Dowell’s face in the photo above says it all! He looks very happy with the performance! I agree with you, Sim, that Vadim and Anna Rose would make a lovely Lensky and Olga. I think I preferred her performance to Hayward’s (although there wasn’t much between them), and I was also impressed by David Yudes. And of course, Symphony in C is just such a firecracker of a finale! Brilliant performances all round but if I had to single any out - Kaneko, Muntagirov, Sissens, Lamb (with excellent support from Edmonds), Sambe and Magri - last night Magri looked as though she was having an absolute ball onstage! A fantastic end to the season - how will I get through the summer?? And sorry - I did ramble on!
  8. Too tired to write a proper review now, but still on a high from tonight. Magnificent performances all round, but Muntagirov in Month, as has already been said, was stunning. More tomorrow.
  9. HappyTurk, whilst I don’t agree with you about Naghdi and Ball, I wholeheartedly agree with you about Benjamin Ella. He is a dancer I have always liked. I have enjoyed his recent performances in whatever ballet I have seen him in and I hope he will get more opportunities because I feel he should be promoted. Ditto Nicol Edmonds. I really liked his portrayal of Paris, plus having just seen him in Symphony in C tonight (more later on the appropriate thread) I feel he is a dancer who is underrated and who also needs promotion.
  10. I didn’t see Paris’s reaction as “assault” really - it came over to me as short-lived anger over Juliet’s (to him) inexplicable rejection of him when she had seemed willing before. I thought Nicol Edmonds portrayed that very well, as he very quickly looked contrite, and stared at his hands as though he couldn’t believe they had just manhandled Juliet. It didn’t seem that he was a man of habitual violence. After all, her parents and nurse were present, and despite the fact that they were exasperated and angry with her, I doubt they would have stood there and countenanced any real violence towards her.
  11. I was at the cinema last night. I thought Yasmine Naghdi was utterly wonderful. Her dancing was gorgeous and I didn’t find it too classical or restrained - on the contrary, I thought it expressed Juliet’s feelings perfectly, especially in the bedroom pas the deux when her anguish and despair was palpable. And her acting, particularly in Act 3 was fantastic. The sitting on the bed moment, with her dawning hope and determination, along with that beautiful swelling music, was spine tingling, and a real test with the camera close-up. At the end of that particular sequence, my sister turned to me and just said “Wow.” Wow indeed. I’m afraid I’m in the camp who doesn’t think Ball matched her. They did have lovely chemistry, and his partnering in the pas de deux was very strong, but although he looked the part, I just didn’t feel him. It wasn’t that he was bad in any way - just that I found his dancing good without being outstanding, and his acting fine but not mindblowing, and not on Naghdi’s level. I thought Zucchetti was very good as Mercutio, but having seen Sambe recently I think he may have spoilt me for any other Mercutio! I did, however, really enjoy Ella’s Benvolio - I always like to watch him and last night both his dancing and acting were very strong. I’d like to see him promoted (but that’s another thread!). Regarding the broadcast itself - yes, it was very dark, and after Tybalt’s death, if anyone wasn’t sure of what was going on, they would have been hard put to guess as Lord Capulet lurked dimly in the shadows at the top of the steps and Lady C gesticulated at - apparently - nothing. It was only really a problem at certain moments, but still.... When Juliet sits on the bed with “that” music, I find it very effective, and it’s a bold choreographic move to use stillness rather than movement at a time like that. When Juliet runs to find Friar Lawrence, though, I do see in my mind’s eye the In the Round version staged in the Albert Hall, and remember Daria Klimentova’s beautiful fleet footed run (she barely seemed to touch the ground) around that huge arena with the billowing cloak streaming behind.... I always think it’s a shame they don’t have all that room on the ROH stage, as the music really lends itself to the run, and it remains a wistful memory!
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