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northstar

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  1. Just caught this, another sublime offering from ENB's recent generous programme of broadcasting. As with the recent 3-4 streamings of ENB performances recorded in the north of England, I was at this performance live. I remember it was the first time I had the privilege to see Dronina dance live after she joined ENB. As with the other recordings, the filming is beautiful and it was a wonderful experience to see this ballet again. How lucky we were (especially in the 'provinces') to be treated to this exquisite Bournonville style dancing by such beautiful performers. As with the previous MacMillan ballets which were shown, ENB has brought such splendid jewels across the breadth of the ballet canon to people all round the UK. I distinctly remember the impression Jane Haworth's Madge made when I saw it live, and this was again a particular highlight. And the close ups of the filming really emphasised the delicacy and skill in the dancing style, which I probably appreciated more than when I was in theatre.
  2. I just caught the streaming of Manon with Cojocaru and Caley at the Manchester Opera House from Oct 2018 yesterday before it expired. I think I saw it noted that it was from 17th October (the opening night) and if so, I was at this performance too. I remember the profound impression this performance made on me and it was only confirmed by viewing this broadcast. After watching it, as when I originally saw it live, I was transported and (despite the tragedy of the story) uplifted and transported in that way that ballet, at its best, affects me. That special feeling is the core of for my passion for ballet. I felt so moved and inspired by the entire work, the steps, the music, the theatre, but particularly Cojocaru and Caley, both of whom I found incandescent in their lead roles. ENB have, more than any other company, revealed to me the genius of MacMillan with recent performances of Song of the Earth and Manon in Northern England, and I feel more gratitude than ever for their work and existence.
  3. This was fabulous. I managed to see the recording before it expired today. I was at this performance live in 2017 in Manchester. With the recent streaming (Swan Lake, Song of the Earth, Manon) of ENB performances in the north of England it's an been an unbelievable, never-imagined chance to see performances again that I was actually at. I almost didn't want to watch them worrying if it would spoil the memory, but the quality has been ever better than I remembered. This time, the thing that stood out was Caley's presence and grace.
  4. Treasured memories now of being at live ballet, and socialising and meeting ballet forum members at performances, Janet and Don Q Fan. I look forward to the day we can do so again. In the meantime, trying to look at the silver lining, I wonder if this Swan Lake recording would ever have been broadcast in other circumstances? The upcoming ENB scheduled streaming Song of Earth and Manon in Manchester are an astonishing surprise to me too - I was also at these performances as I suspect some others were - I don't think I met anyone at those performances though.
  5. Fabulous surprise to see this performance from 2018, Liverpool Empire, streamed. I was at this performance (as were a handful of other BalletcoForum members) and had no idea it was being recorded. Unfortunately I didn't pay enough attention to the timing/availability of the streaming and only watched a little of it before it disappeared. But it brought back the feeling I hand at the time of being so thrilled to see Jurgita Dronina dance in my local theatre. And I must say the close-ups from the streaming that I saw allowed me to appreciate the wonderful expressiveness of her dancing, particularly the arms/hands as Jeanette mentions.
  6. Thanks so much Ballet Forum for the information about Royal Danish Ballet's streaming. I watched the Raymonda start to end, into the wee small hours yesterday. I've never seen Raymonda (not even the whole of Act III), and I really appreciated the chance to see this fabulous work of art performed by a fine company. I've luckily been able to go to the Royal Theatre 'Old Stage' in Copenhagen and watching this brought back nice memories. J'aime Crandall as Raymonda was wonderful, as were all the dancers. Act III was a masterpiece, but I actually liked the Act II Raymonda variation (with the entrechats en pointe) and the national dances.
  7. Just heard Kevin O'Hare interviewed on Radio 3 In Tune, interview starts at about 17:21 (or 21 minutes into the program), talking about how Royal Ballet is coping in lockdown. The programme should will be available on BBC sounds (for 1 month I think). Not a lot of really new/startling info from the interview. Sounds like some dancers have returned to their home countries, but they are doing their classes together over internet including guest coaches/teachers from abroad. Mentioned was the streaming of their performances, which I'm sure is covered elsewhere on this forum and in the 'upcoming events' bar (Winter's Tale is on this Friday).
  8. Thanks to Ballet Forum for noting this DNB Sleeping Beauty performance It's really nice to see it commented on in this thread on the most recent BRB run of the 'same' production in the 2018. I went to 3 performances, and watching the DNB recording brought back lovely memories. I think there are some production differences, I didn't remember the 'obelisk' in the BRB performances, but looking at BRB production photos, it is there. It's probably not the right thread but I do know what Alison meant about the DNB being overblown, when I started watching I initially felt it's all a bit too formal and grandiose. But I have to say the central performance by Maia Makhateli really convinced me and blew me away, and the underlying brilliance and power of the familiar choreography won me over, and the wonderful glittery gold confetti at the apotheosis, is almost a bit of kitsch fun to wrap it up - I love it.
  9. I also saw the POB on the website (https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/magazine/swan-lake-replay only available for rest of today I think!) with Léonore Baulac, Germain Louvet leading. Great to see some reactions/opinions to this. Of course it's absolutely exquisite, and the dancers are simply out of this world. I've recently seen Birmingham Royal Ballet's version live last month, and previous to that a punchy 'cheap and cheerful' Russian touring company in Jan (Russian State Ballet of Siberia). The POB version was the most conceptual and subtle of all of these I'd say. And actually my first reaction was that it was TOO conceptual and subtle. It might just have been my mood, but I was wanting a really dramatic stirring experience, instead of this languidly exquisite and elegant dreamy idea of Swan Lake. It was funny to read in the thread of someone's view of the costumes as 'drab'. I must admit the pastel lilac, blue, magenta I found such a contrast to the resplendent and strikingly difference costumes of BRB version for the national dances. However fine the design and tailoring of the POB production, it dampened the dramatic effect of those national dances. I must admit I fell asleep (!) and missed the final act (and haven't watched it yet) which I hear from a few sources is the best one. Perhaps, for me, this is a Swan Lake for another mood or time, to properly appreciate it's qualities.
  10. Thanks to Bruce for posting this,. I watched POB's Swan Lake yesterday, I was thinking of sharing some thoughts on it on the forum, but wasn't sure where to put them. I see there are some old threads from 2016 on POB Swan Lake, but I think the web replay is from 18/19 season. Or maybe starting a new thread, or looking for another appropriate existing thread, any thoughts from anyone, moderators especially, on this?. Thanks for all who are posting on the forum, and keeping discussion of life's important stuff - ballet! - at this time.
  11. Hope it's OK to post on this ~18th month-old thread because I've just seen the recording of this 2018 RB Mayerling on BBC iplayer with Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb leading, broadcast on BBC4 last week (March 2020). Just wanted to comment on how impressed I was by this beautiful, dark, troubling work of art and can't get it out of my head. I've never seen Mayerling before and am fairly new to MacMillian ballets, thanks mainly to English National Ballet's touring productions of Manon and Song of the Earth in the last ~4 years. The atmosphere and human intensity is extremely powerful. I had already appreciated this quality in the ENB live MacMillan performances I saw, but the level in this recorded Mayerling just seemed so much more intense and in some ways more disturbing than what I'd seen before. The creative genius in this ballet was quite evident. The capturing of the Belle Epoque in the designs and costumes, the morbid sense of corruption, constraint, desperation really strongly brought out in the choreography, music and the brilliant delivery and acting of the dancers. After my recent ballet-going to classics Giselle and Swan Lake, I particularly appreciated the marvel and power of the male dancing. Just a quick mention that I watched (thanks to balletforum which mentioned it) the 1970s South Bank Show on Mayerling on YouTube, which was just superb in explaining the detailed set of characters (particularly the females) and their importance, and also expressing the mood and genius of the ballet. Thanks balletforum!
  12. This is really great comment to read! I've never seen RB live, just cinema relays and YouTube/BBC TV recordings, but I've often felt when seeing BRB live (many many times) that it would be difficult to top them for quality.
  13. I was at Salford Quays on Saturday to see both matinee (Samara Downs and Yasuo Atsuji) and evening (Yijing Zhang and Brand and Brandon Lawrence). First thing to say the costumes and set design of this production are just amazing, and they get more impressive the more times I see it. The sheer splendour you can just gape at, never mind the dancing. It's more than just over-the-top opulence though, the design also has a darkness to it that gives a brooding tragic atmosphere and is a really perfect setting for the story. I had not seen either leads in these roles before. And not having seen Downs dance much before I wondered how she would deliver but I must say she was absolutely superb, she had the 'principal presence', and to my mind made a convincing individual interpretation. There was a sharpness to her wing beats in Act II which emphasised the wild, nervous nature of the swan. Both black and white pdd were sensational. In Act III she delivered a cracking solo and really went for it in the fouettes, and almost came a cropper but I loved her throwing caution to the wind, it made the atmosphere very exciting. I must admit I was dreadfully disappointed when I heard Delia Mathews would not be dancing Sat eve, it came as a shock to me. I was checking the BRB twitter because I knew she had recently been injured but I only found out about her replacement when I picked up a cast sheet in the evening. (Unless I am mistaken English National Ballet usually announce cast changes on their twitter, so naively I expected BRB to do the same). However, when I found out it was a debut by Zhang my disappointment was replaced by intrigue. And again, I was impressed by her stage presence, which was there immediately when she appeared, and the pdd (black and white) were really top quality. For the solo work I felt there was an element of playing it safe (perhaps understandable), but I must say her fouettes had a beautiful style to them. I am usually guilty of neglecting to pay attention to the male leads in Swan Lake. Both Atsuji and Lawrence are stunning dancers, Atsuji particularly aristocratic in bearing while Lawrence has such powerful presence, even when standing still! My favourite part from the Prince's dancing is the melancholy Act I solo and both dancers gave beautiful interpretations of it. I found myself quite emotional at the point of high drama particularly in Downs/Atsuji performance; this doesn't always happen to me, so something special was going on I'd say. These performances of Swan Lake gave all I could ask for, and yet again I find myself grateful to be able to see such high quality work from a touring company. I'll keep going to see them in Salford, Birmingham, Sunderland, Bristol whenever I get the chance and can fit it around my day job. I'll even go to Plymouth! I kind of wish I'd gone to see Celine Gittens/Tyrone Singleton on Friday eve too. Lovely to see you again Janet and hope you got back home OK after the usual night motorway closures.
  14. I'm afraid I'm one of those ! Over 4 hours of tiring, unpleasant driving conditions, and I must admit I was disappointed in the cancelled segments. And although it wasn't announced, the Far from the Madding Crowd sword pas de deux, which was in the published programme, also didn't happen. No Delia ! - sob. However,reflecting overall, there were several reasons I don't regret making the trip. Seeing Samara Downs for the first time (first for me anyway) in a major PDD of the canon was extremely interesting. I got to see the fabulous Maureya Lebowitz, one of my personal favourites, in a piece I'd not seen before - the Two Pigeons PDD, and I really appreciated the theatrical magic and power of this piece. Finally I enjoyed and was impressed by the CInderella PDD (Odyssey, wasn't it Miki Mizutani as Cinderella, not Momoko HIrata? I remember the compere saying she'd stepped in as a late replacement) and I have to say it was Mitzutani who impressed me most with her dancing this evening, and the midnight waltz played by the Sinfonia my favourite music of the evening. It was a real shame that the grand finale of the Don Q PDD didn't happen, but luckily I saw that danced at the equivalent evening in 2018. The Butterworth Theatre at Warwick Uni seemed a strange choice of venue for the 'repeat' of this event (although one could say Birmingham Symphony Hall has similar issues with staging the dancing parts of the evening), and I wonder if anyone on the forum knows why it was chosen? The free parking was a pro, but I was in a seat 'side on' to the dancing 'area' which while very close perhaps wasn't the best to appreciate the dancing. The close proximity was so unforgiving, you could see every little wobble or misalignment, and the same time as not being best placed to see the most beautiful effect of the lines/shapes of the choreography. I'm afraid I found the Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein and Merry Widow rather too 'easy listening' for my tastes. I tried to love the Kit Holder piece but ended up only admiring it. I do rather agree with Odyssey's comments about the compere and would love Acosta to have said a few words but I remember Bintley saying how nervous he was when hosting these evenings. Maybe Jonathan Payn might have been a choice ? - he's been great at the pre-performance talks I've been to. Despite the issues with this event today, I can never regret an evening watching and listening to the BRB dancers and sinfonia - I love them.
  15. I agree with Janet, I've had some great memories of ENB @ Liverpool and very disappointing they're not coming at all in the 20/21 season. Yes they're coming to Manchester but in the last few years they have visited BOTH Liverpool and Manchester in the same season (and further in the past there were multiple visits to both cities per year, I think). I would have attended their Nutcracker at Liverpool last November but left it late and there were very few tickets left, so that makes me even more surprised they're not returning. A complete Raymonda directed by Rojo sounds so intriguing and exciting and the fact it is premiered in Manchester is a slight consolation. But with Birmingham Royal Ballet also seeming to cut back it's visits to Manchester, it's a bit of a worrying time for me and other NW ballet fans.
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