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Everything posted by bridiem

  1. I put the headline into google and got this - not very good translation but better than nothing: https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=ro&u=http://www.europafm.ro/scandal-la-opera-nationala-dupa-numirea-lui-tiberiu-soare-in-functia-de-director/&prev=search
  2. Interesting. Makes me think of La Sylphide and the feckless James. It would be interesting if Bathilde were portrayed in a more sympathetic light. She never does seem to me to be sufficiently upset/shocked/angry when she realises what Albrecht has been up to. Perhaps she just doesn't take it sufficiently seriously; until Giselle dies.
  3. I am!! And I've booked for the Friday evening so am very happy.
  4. I noticed that too. I loved Bussell in Song of the Earth, both as a young dancer and before she retired. It suited her combination of strength and innocence and the boldness of her dancing. But although she had a lovely quality about her I didn't generally find her especially involving or dramatically interesting, and I didn't think one role warranted a place on a 'favourites' list.
  5. Delighted by this evening's performance! I had been very disappointed that Laura Morera was injured, and to be honest I had no great expectations of Akane Takada. And at first I did find her a little too bland, but her dancing was wonderful - light and fast and amazing jumps. But then came her mad scene, and it was really affecting - such bewilderment and anguish. And in Act II she really danced so beautifully and graciously that I was completely won over. Similarly Nehemiah Kish, who I thought was an interesting and unusual Albrecht. Very reserved and quite haughty in Act I - just wanted to have a bit of fun with Giselle but didn't realise what he was getting into. And then in Act II, shame and sorrow all the more moving for being expressed by someone normally so reticent. Excellent dancing and acting that was touching without being histrionic. Seeing him sprawled in agony at Giselle's grave at the end, all dignity lost but his humanity saved, was incredibly emotional. I also really liked Hikaru Kobayashi's Myrthe. Implacable yes, but also shrouded by such intense sadness. Another quiet but highly effective performance, and superbly danced. An interesting bit of last-minute casting: because of illness, Sian Murphy performed both Bathilde and Zulme. I don't think I've ever seen that doubling up before, and it gave a fascinating resonance to Act II. I can't say I've ever felt much sympathy for Bathilde in the past; but in fact on reflection, she was very betrayed too. Even if it wasn't a love match (which we don't really know), she was humiliated and deceived too. So there she was (sort of!) in Act II, a jilted Wili refusing to spare Albrecht... And absolutely brilliant dancing by the corps. Total belief, commitment, unity, purpose. All made for an unexpectedly powerful performance.
  6. Yes, an exciting foretaste (I hope!). The other dancers were terrific too (Olivia Cowley, Paul Kay and Matthew Ball). Interesting seeing new ideas and movements to music and for characters that are so extremely familiar. And Joshua Beamish (Canadian choreographer I hadn't heard of before) had some valid ideas about the plot/characters. But I personally would prefer not to take the spiritual out of Giselle.
  7. Do you mean Nicholas Johnson? I thought he was a wonderful dancer/actor.
  8. An interesting discussion. In relation to ENB's name, I think it does have significance given that it was a new name chosen as being more appropriate than the former London Festival Ballet. But yes, I presume the reduced touring within England has been because of financial considerations. Big shame.
  9. Anthony Dowell - I saw him dance on the documentary All the Superlatives, and fell in love with him and ballet before I ever saw a performance. The sheer beauty of his dancing opened my eyes and my heart, and I have never looked back! Also David Wall and Stephen Jefferies - great dance/actors. Nureyev for his sheer blazing stage presence. Baryshnikov for technique, charm, charisma, etc. Peter Schaufuss. Joseph Cipolla - terrific actor/dancer. Mukhamedov. Polunin. I suspect Muntagirov is coming onto the list too. And in a different sphere: Akram Khan. And on reflection, in a completely different sphere: John Curry.
  10. Floss's comments about first impressions are so true. The first ballerina I loved was Lesley Collier, and I realised recently that in spite of all the other wonderful dancers I have seen she is still my ideal. Her clarity, sincerity, musicality and harmony set the standard for me. Others I loved in my early years of ballet-going included especially Bryony Brind, Fiona Chadwick, Alessandra Ferri and Eva Evdokimova. And I'm so grateful that I caught the last years of Fonteyn and Sibley, and some of Seymour's great performances. I have only seen Maximova perform once live, but it was seeing her feet in The Nutcracker on television that awoke my fascination with ballet before I had ever even seen a performance. I adored Suzanne Farrell - such grace and dignity. I thought Makarova was amazing in her technique and dramatic power. Two great dance actresses would be on my list too: Marion Tait and Sandra Madgwick. Maria Almeida had a quality all of her own, and I was so sad when she stopped dancing. More recent ballerinas I've loved: Benjamin, Cojocaru, Rojo, Yanowsky, Osipova. Many others have enriched my life too and I'm so grateful to all of them.
  11. I think that with the best will in the world (so to speak), nudity is almost always just a distraction, no matter how sophisticated we all like to think we are now. Hofesh Shechter's recent 'barbarians' was an exception in this respect, though - I was a bit apprehensive (since he's not the most reticent choreographer), but it was absolutely beautiful. The lighting was kept very low, and the dancers stood in a row just dancing very slowly and gently. Wonderful.
  12. I still love Enigma, but it does depend how it's produced/danced. I think it's difficult for dancers now because it's not (mainly) technical, so it all depends on characterisation, nuance etc. And it's treated with great reverence, which doesn't help it.
  13. Yes, that's the most wonderful solo! The Pie Jesu. I especially remember it danced by Lesley Collier and Leanne Benjamin. The whole ballet is like a prayer, with that solo at its heart. If I had ever been a dancer that would have been my ideal. Closely followed by Song of the Earth, Aurora and Odette.
  14. So many to choose from! Lucky us. Swan Lake - still, the ultimate ballet for me Giselle The Sleeping Beauty The Nutcracker (both the RB and BRB versions) MacMillan: Requiem, Song of the Earth, Gloria, Mayerling, Romeo and Juliet, Concerto, The Rite of Spring Ashton: La fille mal gardée, The Dream, Symphonic Variations, Scènes de Ballet, Cinderella, Rhapsody, Birthday Offering, La Valse Balanchine: Symphony in C, Serenade, Agon, Theme and Variations, Jewels, Concerto Barocco, Apollo, Mozartiana Bintley: Galanteries, Sons of Horus, Still Life at the Penguin Café, Tombeaux, Consort Lessons Robbins: Dances at a Gathering, In the Night Morris: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (don't suppose that counts as ballet, but is as sublimely beautiful as the most beautiful ballet) Shechter: Political Mother (definitely not ballet, but thrilling) Khan: DESH (ditto), Dust Nijinska: Les Noces Fokine: The Firebird Tetley: Pierrot Lunaire, Dances of Albion Pina Bausch: Masurca Fogo (not ballet, but so unexpectedly full of joy) And many others nudging to get in!
  15. Off the top of my head (since I don't want to dwell here too long): Rosalinda (London Festival Ballet as was) - frivolous and tedious The Judas Tree - sordid and obscure Different Drummer - just sordid Mark Morris's Romeo and Juliet (to my surprise and dismay) Matthew Bourne's The Nutcracker - no poetry (with that music!) Raven Girl And I LOVE Sleeping Beauty. It has an austere beauty all of its own.
  16. I saw the Cuthbertson/Bonelli/Calvert/Gartside cast for the first time last night. I felt quite distracted, which may be partly why I admired the performance rather than finding it particularly moving (I think mood does, or at least can, affect the way a performance is perceived). Cuthbertson's technique was wonderful - so light and fast. Bonelli looked ravishing - no wonder Giselle fell for him so hard. And he was a shallow, weak Albrecht - I felt that he must have had it so easy until now that he thought he could also have Giselle with no complications. And then it all went wrong, and he reacted with a kind of shocked bemusement - how could this happen to ME? And then in Act II: what is this quality in Giselle that I don't recognise in myself? etc. So he really didn't deserve to be saved; but Giselle saved him anyway. I found that quite a refreshing interpretation. Calvert danced strongly and with great focus; Gartside was very convincing. For me, Naghdi really stood out amongst the rest of the cast. Can't wait to see her do Giselle!
  17. I have assumed that nowadays dancers wouldn't be allowed to give away signed shoes since (sadly, in a way) they do potentially have a market value (to the company) - they're sometimes offered as raffle/auction prizes etc. So I thought that such gestures belonged to more innocent times! Would be nice if not in fact the case.
  18. Maybe I'm exceptionally naïve (or have learning difficulties) but I don't find Giselle in the least bit improbable. She's young and innocent and in love, and has lived a sheltered life with a loving mother in a strong community (wonder what happened to her father?! I've never thought of that before. Perhaps if her father died when she was young, that would contribute to the intensity of her love for, and need of, Albrecht). She won't have experienced deception or betrayal. She may be unusually idealistic, or unusually intense, or physically weak, which would all contribute to her collapse when she realises the awful truth. Just too much for her psyche (or perhaps her physical health) to bear. In fact perhaps it's the very degree of her innocence (goodness) in Act I that gives her her extraordinary redemptive power in Act II. And I'm sure she would have saved Hilarion too if she could have; when he first enters the forest she's still in her grave and so powerless, and by the time he comes back she's already trying to save Albrecht. It's also Albrecht who ultimately needs saving (at the level of his soul); Hilarion dies, but had not sold his soul in life!
  19. Bryony Brind very kindly gave me two pairs of her shoes in the mid 1980s - one for me and one for my sister. The signatures on mine have now almost completely disappeared, but I treasure them so much.
  20. I saw this bill for the first time last night. From all I'd read, I expected to enjoy Under the Rain and Golden Hour and not enjoy Strapless. But then I often find my expectations confounded, so I tried to go with as open a mind as possible. What I didn't expect was that I wouldn't enjoy any of them. The dancers were fabulous, especially Yanowsky and Clarke in Under the Rain. But I came away feeling that Wheeldon is clever and creative and has a very strong visual sense, but that it's all somehow external. It's all about how it looks. Strapless looked great, at least in parts (I loved the black-costumed dancers silhouetted against the pale floor cloth, like a painting), but the choreography itself wasn't expressive or interesting, and the choreography for the other two works was extremely fluent, capable, even original, sometimes almost beautiful - but it was fundamentally empty. The dancers worked so hard and performed beautifully, but for me, it meant nothing. I realised that the same could largely have been said of Alice, which I enjoyed very much, and Cinderella - because with both of those, the visual content and the humour were so dominant that the choreography was less important. With Under the Rain and Golden Hour, both seen in the same evening, the deficit became clear. I have in fact liked one-act works by Wheeldon before now; I think the problem was seeing a whole evening of his work. I felt I was in the hands of someone very clever, but who in terms of choreography works entirely on the outside. I can't express this properly, and I know that others don't share this view, but this was my impression for what it's worth.
  21. I was at the Lamb/Golding/Heap performance on Friday evening, and I completely agree with Sim's review above. I had never seen Sarah Lamb in this role before, and she took my breath away. Absolutely exquisite dancing and wonderful acting. She was the epitome of loving, trusting goodness in Act 1, followed by the terrible realisation of betrayal. Unlike almost all the other Giselles I have seen, she didn't appear to injure/kill herself with the sword - rather she died of her broken heart, and nearly broke mine too. Her Act 2 was profoundly moving. When Albrecht lay on the floor in guilt and sorrow, she danced slowly and gently in a circle around him, as if spinning a web of care, love and protection to shield him from evil. And later, she stood in deep arabesque in the centre of the stage, absolutely still for a moment. Like a still point in a turning world - a brief image of truth and beauty. Stunning. Golding was an honest (in one sense!) and passionate Albrecht, and they did really well together given the very short rehearsal time. And he really really did need Giselle's protection in Act 2! Heap was amazingly powerful and malevolent - more vital and womanly than Myrthe usually is, and all the more striking for it. Behind the little smile you could sense a woman who has been betrayed too, and has NOT been able to forgive; but she senses Giselle's goodness and is almost tempted to relent, until her heart hardens again and she turns her back (literally) on them. Tragic. What a wonderful performance.
  22. This is the sort of article that I find very frustrating. It implies that looks are all, whereas in fact (of course) looks are no guarantee of on-stage charisma. The same sort of stuff regularly gets written about female dancers too, especially young up-and-coming ones. But if it makes non-ballet goers potentially more interested in ballet, perhaps it's worth it.
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