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Balletfanp

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  1. I’ve seen Susan Hampshire there on several occasions so she is obviously a balletomane. I almost bumped smack into Derek Jacobi once whilst dashing to my seat - he was there for the Winter’s Tale 🙂. I would have loved to know what he thought of it! Sorry, derailing the Onegin thread...
  2. Somewhat late with my impressions of the cinema broadcast, but here goes. Well, Fumi was a triumph. It’s a big ask to take on a nerve-racking cinema relay in that particular punishing role at short notice (although I’m sure she must have known she was on standby since Lauren’s injury). But she rose to the occasion magnificently and her Rose Adage almost brought me to tears. I felt ridiculously nervous for her (I don’t know why as she always has such reliably good technique!) and I couldn’t stop myself from uttering “YES!!” as she finished! It was also lovely to see the faces of the dancers behind willing her on - Annette Buvoli with a huge smile on her face as she finished (now there’s a future Lilac Fairy, on the strength of her recent solo offerings? She has a lovely serenity and grace which would suit the role). And I’m sure I saw Hannah Grennell fighting back tears! Bonelli always looks the part as the Prince and I have always liked him very much as a dancer but I was a little disappointed in his solos - he has lost something of his control and ballon - but then I had only seen Muntagirov a week before and it doesn’t do to compare....! 🙂 He acted the role extremely well and Fumi must have appreciated his excellent and reliable partnering - his care and attention for her was palpable and it was lovely to see. My other highlights were Magri, O’Sullivan and Pajdak (she is so expressive) each time they appeared onstage in their various roles. I’m not normally a fan of Matthew Ball in classical roles and couldn’t really see him as the Bluebird, but I was very happy that I was proved wrong - he was excellent, and with Naghdi as a wonderful Florine it made for compelling and enjoyable watching. I was nervous to hear that Storm-Jensen was to be the Lilac Fairy in the livestream, having read comments about her on here. However, I’m going to cut her some slack and say that there was lots to enjoy in her performance. She wasn’t perhaps the most compelling Lilac Fairy I’ve seen, but I don’t think most audiences would find too much cause for complaint. She has a lovely smiling face that made for a very benign Lilac Fairy. Lovely long legs and feet and a very graceful and elegant way of moving, and clear mime. Her variation wasn’t perfect but then it’s horribly difficult and even with lots of practice I’m sure it’s one of those solos that dancers probably dread as there is so much that could go wrong in it! I think at present she doesn’t quite have the technique or the stage presence to carry off the role fully, but that may come later - she managed very creditably, and judging by comments on social media, the wider public enjoyed her performance and didn’t see anything amiss with her. Of course McNally was just sooooo good as Carabosse! Although I confess I was hoping to see Mendizabal do it (yes, I know she would have been tied up in Onegin rehearsals!), but that’s a pleasure for another time! The production itself really lends itself to the big screen - it looked sumptuous. The cinema audiences in Plymouth aren’t ones for applauding but lots of admiring comments and enthusiasm picked up in intervals.
  3. That was very slow, and it was by no means the only one. Plus some seemed a little too fast. And best not to start me on the brass section generally....
  4. Ah well, it’s always the sensible wife that puts things into a proper perspective....! 😉 I very much enjoyed last night’s performance. I know that some think Nunez is too mature for some roles, but frankly I don’t care when she puts in such wonderful performances. Her Rose Adage was supremely confident, performed with aplomb and with a glowing smile - I smiled along with her, all the way through! Muntagirov was of course the perfect prince - sensitive, yearning and peerlessly elegant. His Act 2 solo was a thing of pure beauty, his Act 3 solo brought the house down as has become the norm with him. I know that recently there have been comments on this forum about Meaghan Grace Hingis, but last night she was a very creditable Princess Florine - and also an excellent fluttery-handed Songbird Fairy earlier on. A lovely performance from Fumi Kaneko as the Lilac Fairy, and wonderful to see Elizabeth McGorian back onstage as a wonderfully evil Carabosse. I don’t seem to have seen Benjamin Ella onstage for a long while so it was great to see him dancing Florestan last night, and very well too. And I particularly enjoyed Romany Pajdak as one of his sisters - very sprightly. Was it just me, it was the orchestra a bit all over the place last night? It may have been where I was sitting, but the brass section seemed to be either ahead of everyone else or lagging slightly behind. I felt for the dancers having to decide which speed to follow! And the general tempi seemed either too fast or too slow for some dancers, although they all dealt with it very well.
  5. Well, we’ll never know, will we, now that he isn’t dancing it? I think it rather unfair to write anyone off before seeing them. I have seen dancers before in roles that I didn’t think they were particularly suited to, and been very pleasantly surprised. I think those who have seen Muntagirov in roles such as Winter Dreams, Month in the Country and Jeux, are aware that his acting abilities are far beyond what most people credit him with (I didn’t personally see him in Jeux but heard very good reports of his acting in that). It feels as though he is being somewhat typecast by those who have perhaps only seen him in classical or lighter roles and, as someone said above, if you don’t allow a dancer the chance to prove him or herself, or write them off before seeing them in a particular role then you are keeping them in that pigeonhole forever. I regret that for whatever reason Muntagirov is no longer to dance Onegin as it would have been a chance for him to prove himself in a major role far different from those he is generally selected for. Anyway, back to Reece - for whom I am delighted, by the way! I hope very much (and feel that he will) give an excellent account of himself.
  6. Well, they must have approved the replaced dancers initially.
  7. Hmm. Mixed feelings from me. Francesca Hayward was brilliant and utterly heart-rending. William Bracewell certainly looked the part but I felt that some of the filming didn’t do justice either to his acting or his dancing. I was looking forward to seeing this because I thought that a “live” setting would really bring it to life - and in some scenes (mainly the indoor ones), it did. However I didn’t think the crowd scenes really worked; too much street furniture and dancers having to work around it meant that the dancing seemed - by necessity - quite restrained, and showed few dancers to advantage, with the exception of Sambe in the Mandolin dance. The potted plant has been mentioned already, but too often it felt as though one was trying to watch the dancing from behind various obstacles, which detracted from that wonderful choreography. Even in the death scene - beautifully and movingly acted by Francesca and William - the bars in the tomb seemed to get in the way! Having said that, there were some real high points. The fight and that (very fortuitous!) rainstorm worked really well (I’m assuming it was a real storm??). The indoor scenes were, on the whole, effective (and I too liked the perspective when Juliet’s friends discovered her “dead.”). Great acting from Francesca and William, but also from Kristen McNally and Chris Saunders. I suppose, on balance, I did enjoy it - for lots of reasons - but my overall feeling was that it lacked the grandeur of the stage version, and wasn’t a good showcase either for the choreography or for the majority of the dancers. I would say, leave the ballet to the stage, and for a realistic setting I’ll stick with the Zeffirelli film with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting!
  8. Well, amongst the many amazing performances, it was difficult to choose, but I think I have to plump for the opening night of Don Q with Nunez and Muntagirov and the amazing (and deserved) audience reaction it provoked - full house standing ovation which I have never seen in the ROH other then for retirement performances. Nunez just WAS Kitri and with her sunny smile the role suited her down to the ground, to say nothing of her secure and showstopping technique. And all the more remarkable given that it turned out she was ill during the performance and almost didn’t go on. And Muntagirov was simply incredible - some of the tweaks he made to the standard choreography seem unique to him (I’ve certainly not seen anyone else do them) and provoked gasps from the audience. All performed with consummate ease, and his whole characterisation proved that he can play comedy very well. We were also spoilt in that performance with Laura Morera as Mercedes and Ryoichi Hirano as Espada. I’m not Hirano’s greatest fan but he was knockout in this. To say nothing of Kaneko and O’Sullivan in the Act 2 dream scene. Altogether the most exhilarating performance I think I’ve ever seen
  9. I agree that large bags and coats have no place in the auditorium, but I confess to not using the cloakrooms myself, largely because it takes so long at the end to retrieve things. Having said that, I always try to wear a non-bulky coat or jacket and drape it carefully over the back of my seat making sure it isn’t getting in anyone’s way. If if looks as if it might, I’ll hold it in my lap. Any (small) bags I may have are stowed under my seat. It doesn’t take much effort to ensure that fellow audience members aren’t inconvenienced by one’s possessions. However, at the Raymonda triple bill, I was seated in row B of the Stalls Circle on the bench seats, and the man behind kept putting his foot on the back of the bench and poking me in the back with it! Ostentatious fidgeting from me didn’t make him take the hint, but eventually turning right round and giving him a hard stare and a pointed glance at his foot did the trick. Sharon, I have also had the problem in these seats of people leaning forward and blocking the view. I know that in these seats you can miss a lot of stuff going on at the same side of the stage but some people seem to take the view that as long as they lean forward and can see, it doesn’t matter that they are completely obliterating the view for someone else! Fortunately when I have politely asked if they could lean back they have done so, but obviously the idea that they were spoiling things for someone else never even occurred to them in the first place. I think it’s a problem nowadays that people seem so self-obsessed and lacking in any self-awareness that they just don’t give anyone else a thought. My parents brought me up to consider others, especially in public places, and it always strikes me as amazing that most people just don’t do so. And it’s not always younger people either. I’ve just realised as well that I sound about a hundred years old in those last sentences....!
  10. Yes, to your latter two questions. Unfortunately, it is looking as though poor Vadim will not be making his debut there. I can’t see the situation changing any time soon. Although I hope for his sake there is a last minute change of heart, but even if there is will they all be rehearsed enough? So sad for him. We were due to travel to see his performance on the 22nd (a nice pre-Christmas treat), but we had to bail out at the last minute. We were disappointed - how much worse for him 🙁.
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