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  1. I watched Stormzy’s incredible, emotional set and was surprised and thrilled to see the Ballet Black segment
  2. Definitely at Sadler’s in November, I’ve booked
  3. I very much enjoyed Tuesday evening’s performance. This ‘Cinderella’ is definitely a ‘spectacle’, and as such, I found that at times I was not paying as close attention to the steps as I would usually because I was constantly being ‘wowed’ by the beautiful projections and clever staging. Nevertheless, I found myself by turns moved, enthralled and amused, and overall felt it was a delightful production from start to finish. I booked before casts were published, and would really have been happy with any cast, but I felt an extra sense of delight when I realised it would be Alina Cojocaru dancing Cinderella. Her sweet face and vivid, expressive dancing made her, for me, the perfect Cinders – she brought out all of the character’s goodness and gentleness. Isaac Hernandez is a dancer I could happily watch in any role, and his joyful dancing as the Prince was beautiful to behold. The RAH is such a huge space but Wheeldon’s choreography for their PDDs still felt intimate and touching and I had tears in my eyes at the end. I personally really liked the use of the four Fates in place of a Fairy Godmother character. Their choreography was much more contemporary than classical, and I was fascinated by their sinewy, acrobatic movements, as well as their stillness at certain points – suggesting their constant vigilance, guidance and support of Cinderella. I’m in full agreement with those who have said earlier how strong the acting is within the ranks of ENB – I particularly liked Sarah Kundi as the stepmother – she impressed me greatly last year, too, as Carabosse – and the step-sisters’ dances, especially at the ball, were well-judged. The big set pieces such as the seasons and the waltzing couples at the ball were a visual delight, and I can’t finish without mentioning how utterly gorgeous the score sounded – played expertly by the orchestra and conducted by Maestro Gavin Sutherland, who rightly got a huge cheer at the end. This really was a lovely evening! This email has been scanned by Netintelligence http://www.netintelligence.com/email
  4. Ah, ok. I can understand you wanting to see the Hawes/ Frola cast, and I too was really impressed with Frola’s Des Grieux (and his Prince Siegfried and his Nutcracker Nephew!) however I would highly recommend any cast of this production- Cojocaru and Hernández were a delight on Tuesday (still compiling my review!)
  5. Re Paris: in the text it is made clear that Paris is a kinsman to the Prince, and is therefore of higher status than the Montagues and Capulets. This explains what I see as a touch of pushiness , for example in Act 1, scene 2 when he asks Lord Capulet for Juliet’s hand in marriage, it’s clear from Capulet’s response that Paris has asked before and been given the same answer, ie that Capulet thinks Juliet is too young. Paris answers back ‘Younger than she are happy mothers made’, still not wanting to take no for an answer! Things change after Tybalt’s death when Lord Capulet, in need of an heir, decides the marriage will take place quickly. When Juliet encounters Paris at Friar Lawrence’s cell, Paris addresses her as ‘my lady and my wife’, this hint of possessiveness at which Juliet bridles (‘that may be Sir, when I may be a wife’) would be conventional for a man of his status in that society. He does indeed bring flowers to Juliet’s tomb, and when he sees Romeo challenges him, assuming that as a Montague Romeo’s attendance at Juliet’s tomb is suspicious. Their fight is quick, and it is only after Paris is killed that Romeo recognises Paris. Before Paris dies he asks to be laid next to Juliet. Romeo is sorry for Paris, saying he is ‘writ with me in sour misfortune’s book’. I do apologise if I’m explaining what some people already know, but knowing the context I think it’s far too much of a stretch to suggest that Paris is capable of assaulting Juliet.
  6. Thank you SBD44. I’m going on Tuesday with, I think, more or less the same cast. The photos of the production that ENB have posted look fantastic. I can’t wait!
  7. Casting for the roles of Stepmother and the two Stepsisters is now on ENB’s website, at least for the first few performances.
  8. I can’t answer the question, but I recently came across a pile of old programmes, including the programme for my first ever trip to the ROH, Thursday 13th May 1993, when the role of Odette/Odile was performed by Leanne Benjamin, who is listed as a First Soloist. (Adam Cooper was Siegfried, replacing an injured Jose Manuel Carreno).
  9. I went to see ‘Gatsby’ at the Mayflower yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. Beautiful choreography and dancing, both from the leads and the company as a whole. I saw cast number three - Riku Itu was a thoughtful and ardent Gatsby and Ayami Miyata a lovely Daisy - however, the whole cast were on fine form, and I must mention Matthew Koon who expressed Wilson’s pain so vividly. The party in the New York apartment was full of drama, the big party scenes were vibrant and compelling and the love duets full of passion and yearning. I’ve read the book several times and felt the story was necessarily simplified a little- I liked the use of young Gatsby and young Daisy as a narrative technique to explain Gatsby’s past, and it gave the story an extra layer of poignancy. The staging was very imaginative- the simple set cleverly represented many different scenes effectively. I particularly liked Gatsby’s deck with the symbolic green light, as well as the mirrored background in Gatsby’s house which reflected and distorted the characters. The lighting too was gorgeous with the blues, the opulent gold tones and the sunrise colours. I thought the choice of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett’s music was inspired- swooning and dreamlike in some places, achingly sad in others, and played with great sensitivity and style by the orchestra. The use of a recording of Bennett himself singing “I Never Went Away” at the epilogue, followed by that sudden and powerful ending left me very moved. Although it had been a long time since I’d seen Northern Ballet perform, I will definitely be planning to see them again before the end of the year.
  10. I’m going on the 11th - I would have been happy with any cast but I’m delighted that I’ll be seeing Alina Cojocaru!
  11. I’m going to see this next Saturday in Southampton, Jan. Thanks for your review- I’m really intrigued and excited to see the production and to see NB.
  12. My thoughts on Wednesday evening’s performance- R and J is one of my favourite ballets, I’ve seen many productions over the years, and on Wednesday evening it felt completely fresh, as if I was watching it for the first time. I thought Vadim Muntagirov gave a beautifully layered performance: all the aspects of Romeo’s complex character were there – sensitivity, gentleness, love for his family, playfulness, impulsiveness, ardour, fury. Sarah Lamb was heart-breaking for me from her first entrance, so sweet and shy at first, but then blossoming to a passion matching that of Romeo’s. The balcony pas de deux and the marriage ceremony in particular had me in tears at the poignancy of what was to come. Lamb was superb when confronting her family after being told she is to marry Paris, and when she pondered taking the potion I actually felt sick – never before had that music felt so ominous. The staging of Juliet’s family at her tomb, in tandem with Prokofiev’s piercing music felt unutterably sad, and Romeo and Juliet’s respective deaths almost too much. I will hold this wonderful performance in my memory for a long time. I must add that the whole cast were superb, I felt really fortunate to see Marcelino Sambe’s dazzling Mercutio, and really enjoyed the interplay between Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio. Bravo to all concerned, not forgetting the orchestra who were on absolutely top form. By the way, I was in a side amphi seat, row C - very happy with my view.
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