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  1. As there's now a couple of days "off" before the next Manon performance, I'm going to try a few random queries I have from watching several performances & see if anyone here might know the answers (though I'm not sure if some of them are actually answerable). Why does the piece open with Lescaut sitting in the middle of the stage staring out at the audience? I can see this would make sense if the piece was either presented from his viewpoint or supposed to be him having a flashback, but it's not. Is there a name for the movement Des Grieux does a couple of times where he jumps and turns while also beating his legs together? Assuming the conductor keeps the same tempo across performances, are their certain movements that dancers are able to do faster/slower while still keeping within what they would be allowed to do choregraphically? Both Hayward & Corrales yesterday seemed to be doing some movements - bourees in her case, turns in his - faster than other dancers but I don't know if they actually were or not. Some of the reviews have mentioned changes in the lighting for this run and fairly recent changes in the orchestrations. Is anyone who's seen the previous lighting & heard the previous orchestrations able to say how great the changes are? I'm especially interested in the orchestrations as I'd like to get a CD recording of the ballet music but the only recording that seems to be available on CD is from the 70s so I don't want to buy it then find it sounds nothing like the music I'm currently loving hearing live. Why are there only 4 courtesans credited on the cast sheet when there are 5 of them on stage? While 2 have larger roles, the other 3 seem to do about the same amount yet the one costumed in red velvet (mostly Gina Storm-Jensen at the performances I've seen) doesn't get credited. Is one of the whores being costumed as a boy supposed to indicate that she caters for clients who are homosexual or paedophilic? The latter would be very disturbing but her costume is clearly what would have been worn by a fairly young boy rather than a grown man during that period so I'm not sure what to think.
  2. Since no-one else thus far has posted curtain call photos from this afternoon here are a few of mine. Not entirely successful (I seem to find it harder to take curtain call pics from the stalls than stalls circle, don't know why) so if anyone else is going to post any better ones let me know & I'll remove mine.
  3. Oh yes, I noticed that too for the first time (in fact I don't even remember Campbell doing it at the dress rehearsal, though as I was sitting further away then I might have missed it.) & thought it made the ending the the act even more dramatic & heart-breaking than it usually is. I just want to agree with this. I thought Ball was fabulous on Thursday but the rest of the lead cast weren't at the same level. I was very pleased, when stage dooring after today's performance, to also see Ball exiting so I was able to thank him only a couple of days late.
  4. I agree with that. I thought today's cast was the best as a whole of the 4 I've seen so far, although there have been individual performances in the other casts as good. I found myself wishing that there had been a cinecast in the run & that this cast had been given it because it seems a shame that such excellent isn't going to be preserved. Hayward really must be pretty near perfection as Manon, as she was as Juliet. Equally convincing as ingenue, courtesan & fallen woman dying in despair. While I agree with the comments that Campbell cannot achieve the lines that Muntagirov or Ball do, I thought his dancing was just as good in its own terms & I found his acting very good. Corrales, well, I've already raved about him on the previous page so just insert another rave here! An incredible performance, especially for a role debut. Magri likewise made a very good debut as his Mistress. I'm looking forward to seeing them opposite each other in Coppelia as I thought they had very good chemistry together. After seeing Whitehead as the Gaoler on Thursday & as G.M. today I'm not sure which role I prefer him in, as he's equally repulsive as both characters! I've realised that today is the first anniversary of my first seeing the RB live, in Mayerling. A performance that also included Campbell, Hayward & Corrales among the cast. In the intervening year I reckon I must have seen approaching 20 RB performances - it's awfully addictive!
  5. Well, that was speaking too soon. Amazing/depressing how much stage can be blocked by a couple of inches of someone's head. Brilliantly as of the end of Act 1, in my opinion. I think he's the best of the 4 I've seen, the others being Hirano, Sambe & Zuchetti, all older & more experienced dancers that you'd think would be better because of that. Corrales has such stage presence & how someone who was so convincingly nice as Romeo a few months ago can now be so convincingly evil as Lescaut I do not know.
  6. No cast changes listed today. (I had visions of seeing Choe for the 3rd time in 8 days!) I treated myself to stalls for this cast but could only get 2nd row so am deeply thankful to find I have not very tall ladies sat in front of me!
  7. Impressed you can manage to do that. I don't think I could go through all that emotion twice in a day. Based on the public dress rehearsal I'm en route to see the matinee cast with a) high expectations & b) plenty of hankies!
  8. I've just (re-)signed up & it worked for me only giving them my name & email address. I didn't fill in the Oyster card number or postcode fields as they weren't marked as complusory. So it doesn't look as if you have to have a London address, which I don't if I had given it to them.
  9. I'm disappointed to have that confirmed. I had hoped that I'd misinterpreted their email, but no. If the ROH are going to choose not to make any tickets for a production available for public booking then, quite apart from the ethics in relation to public funding, I feel that they should put a notice up on their website to that effect in advance. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of people attempting to get tickets when public booking opens, not realising that there is no point in doing so. It would also enable regular attendees who do not have Friends membership themselves but who might know people with membership to see if they can get someone to get them a ticket.
  10. I was thinking during last night's performance that Ball & Hayward together could be pretty devastating. However given he's one of the taller men & she's one of the smaller women I suspect he might be "prioritised" for the taller women. I've only seen them together in Frankenstein thus far - I did book for Nutcracker but then he didn't do it - & I thought they were good together in that but the piece itself didn't allow for the sort of emotional partnership that Manon does. I couldn't decide whether parts of Act 2 scene 1 were being played differently to other casts or if I just happened to be looking at different things at different times. There's so much going on I feel I need several pairs of eyes.
  11. That is why I said "If I'm reading it correctly". As someone who spent 15 years wrestling with general public booking in the belief that there was at least a chance of being able to get a ticket for all productions then I hope it is incorrect. It was depressing enough that it became apparent once the Linbury re-opened that it is now extremely difficult to get tickets for anything popular on in there.
  12. I suppose that makes a change: usually one gets signed up to emails that one doesn't want!
  13. Apropos this, I've just read an email from the ROH to Friends that includes this sentence "For example, with fewer than 100 tickets now remaining across the run, we anticipate that Fidelio will sell out to Friends like you." Which is certainly interesting in light of the common belief that 20% of tickets are held back for public booking. If I'm reading it correctly then that sentence indicates that's not the case for Fidelio, which seems unfair. (And I say that as someone who isn't interested in seeing Fidelio.)
  14. I'd be afraid if I said anything to the ushers that it'd turn out the person was a multi-million-pound donor to the ROH or suchlike & I'd be the one asked to leave.
  15. I'm not quite sure if I feel exhausted now because of tonight's performance or because when I got to Covent Garden tube there was a big queue to get in & an announcement that only 2 of the lifts were working so I had to dash up to Holborn! I didn't have much time as I'd been waiting at the stage door just in case any of tonight's leads happened to exit quickly. They didn't, but I did spot Edward Watson leaving & spoke to him (hope I wasn't contravening any unwritten RB ettiquette by speaking to someone who was there as a coach rather than a dancer). Watson's Des Grieux coaching was certainly effective: I was extremely impressed by Matthew Ball & could hardly believe it was only his 2nd ever public performance of the role. The bedroom pdd was joyous and then after that he was so heartbreakingly, desparately in love with Manon. I started crying when he ripped the bracelet off Manon's wrist because you knew it was hurting him more than her. I was sobbing in the final pdd (again - I'm thinking this may be permanent, like the Rosenkavalier trio). Considering I wasn't completely on board with his Romeo - I mean, I thought he was good but preferred him as Tybalt - I'm very pleased to find his Des Grieux absolutely worked for me. (Has he also done Lescaut in the past, like he did both Romeo & Tybalt?) Having seen Bolle, who didn't entirely work for me, and Campbell, Muntagirov & Ball, who all have, I'm leaning towards thinking that boyishness is an essential quality for Des Grieux. I'm therefore interested to see how I'll find Bonelli when I see him. Cuthbertson I found quite enigmatic, I wasn't sure at the end of Act 1 & in Act 2 scene 1 what her Manon really thought about her situation. In fact, considering all the comments with people finding Lamb cold, I actually found her easier to read in the role than Cuthbertson. I thought Cuthbertson was best in Act 2 scene 2 & throughout Act 3. At the start I didn't feel she came over as quite naive enough. I'm not sure she's a natural ingenue? I didn't find Zuchetti quite unpleasant enough in Act 1, perhaps because I think he's got an inherently likeable face, but thought he was very good in Act 2. One side-effect of not finding him as unpleasant was that it did seem more plausible that Lescaut & Des Grieux have made friends. I thought Choe had better chemistry with Zuchetti tonight than Sambe last week & that her acting seemed to be more varied, though whether that was actually the case or just that I saw different things from sitting on the opposite side of the auditorium I don't know. In the face of strong competition, I think Whitehead's the most unpleasant Gaoler I've seen. The second scene of Act 3 was brutal. I could feel my heart thumping just from watching Cuthbertson struggling with him, including punching him on the chest which I don't recall seeing before, then Ball dashing in & stabbing him.
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