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Richard LH

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  1. I think that yesterday's Manon matinee cements the pairing of Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell as one of the RB's best, at present, for any ballet. For me this was so much more believable than Nunez/Bolle and (probably) Takada/McRae (although it is perhaps unfair to form a view about a performance horribly interrupted by injury). In both the latter pairings I do feel the problem was with the gentleman rather than the lady. For example Takada herself is a fantastic Manon and I remember how well the pairing between her and Campbell worked last year. In fact whenever I have seen Campbell he has been a particularly good partner for whichever lady he is supporting. He set the standard yesterday (as in fact he had done at the General Rehearsal) with the first Act solo - so expressive, lyrical, and heartfelt, backed by a wonderfully strong, subtle and controlled technique. The subsequent PDDs between him and Hayward represented some of the most beautiful ballet I have yet to see. I find myself in danger of rather taking for granted the level of performance that Francesca Hayward now brings to each ballet. She is such a fantastic performer that dancing for her seems just her natural state of being - her technique is so sound, flowing and beautiful that I don't tend to notice it as such, I only see her as the character she is portraying (if that makes sense). A true star and one of the RB's current treasures! Finally I fully agree with the plaudits for Corrales. He was a suitably conniving, shifty, money-grubbing, Lescaut, but it was his amazing panache, timing, comedy, leaps, spins and speed in the drunken dancing that stood out for me. The best Lescaut yet IMHO.
  2. I know how horrid these can be....I do hope you are OK in time for the matinee Alison.
  3. If you can find today's World at One interview on BBC Sound I think Monica Mason mentioned this occasion.
  4. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/news-in-pictures-friday-october-18-2019-jhhs9cskd Two young RB artists advertising the Day....
  5. On the World at One this lunchtime, Mark Mardell did a lovely interview about her with Dame Monica Mason. I found it very moving.
  6. I am rather confused about this... the email as to William Bracewell being replaced due to injury must have been prepared very soon after this Class, or even before it....yet he was OK to commit to the Class as described. I suppose he may have been injured during the Class itself? but if so the ROH must have been unusually quick off the mark with the replacement announcement.
  7. Totally agree about Akane, Fiona, and also about James Hay - I forgot to mention him earlier. He acted and danced really well. Actually I didn't see any problem in the height difference between Reece and Akane - they were fine together, especially considering the short notice. She has danced as Kitri with Muntagirov, with Polunin (at least in a gala) and with Golding, as Giselle with Soares and Ella, as Odette/Odile with Bonelli and Bracewell, in Woolf Works with Watson, as Juliet with Hirano.....etc. etc. I'm not sure how all these gentlemen compare in height but she has certainly not been constrained by needing smaller dancers. Reece had already been dancing as a "client" so I expect he would have been warmed up, and that it would have taken much longer to get anyone else in.
  8. An example of good audience behaviour - last night during Manon when Steven McRae went off injured the whole ROH auditorium seemed properly concerned and sympathetic, patient whilst matters were sorted, and tremendously appreciative of the dancers (plus the stage manageress, the Director of Ballet, and the orchestra) in being able, so quickly, to carry the ballet on to its conclusion - only about 25 minutes late in finishing. It was great to hear the applause as the curtain went up on resumption, and as posted elsewhere, there was a standing ovation at the end.
  9. I should add how professional, and how well-rehearsed and trained, these dancers are, to be able to adjust themselves in this way, and also how well all the RB/ROH staff, dancers, musicians etc. handled this situation and managed to bring off a fine, complete performance in these circumstances. So grateful to them all!
  10. Rob those photos are great (my own were hopeless), and so poignant....Akane Takada seemed pretty devastated at the end, no doubt due to all the emotional energy she expended over some 3 hours, both in the performance itself, as Manon (which takes so much out of the dancers) and because of the awful injury to her partner Steven McRae. It had all been going so well up to that point. What a horrible return for him after a series of injuries. Of course it was also Akane's first time back, after an injury at the end of last season, so I am sure she will be very aware of how he is feeling. Best wishes for his recovery a.s.a.p. It is such a shame that her wonderful interpretation of Manon was overshadowed in this way. Every change of Manon's feelings was so expressive on her face and in her movements - her arms and hands alone are a sheer delight to watch. So attractive in Act 1, so sensual in Act 2, so broken in Act 3. Reece Clarke did a superb job in partnering her in these circumstances. I would love to see him in a full performance. You would have thought they might hold back in Act 3 but not as far as I could see - all the twists, turns, jumps and lifts done to perfection. I loved that Akane gave him that rose from her bouquet - you could see how appreciative she was. Such a bitter/sweet evening!
  11. Great audience appreciation for Reece and Akane in finishing Act 2...
  12. Rob isn't the minimum all three if you go for "Total Ballet" (there being 3 ballets in this Winter booking period), but two or more of any ballet (or opera) if you go for "Design your Own" (which has a smaller discount)? That was the case when booked as a Friend, and it seems to be the same when I looked just now.
  13. It all depends on the dates.....as I think I mentioned elsewhere, you will see there are few tickets left for any SBs on Saturdays. Would it be tickets for family members taking school children?
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