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  1. Great thread idea! My highlights: - La Bayadere! Amazing cast with Nunez/Osipova/Vadim, and the shades were so lovely. I really hope it comes back in the 20/21 season. - Fonteyn Celebration - a true showcase of the RB's talents. Standout for me was O'Sullivan in Daphnis and Chloe, and of course Hayward in Ondine (a successor to Margot if there ever was!). - RJ Corrales/Hayward cast. Despite not being my favourite ballet what a great cast. Not only were the leads brilliant, but the supporting cast top notch (Sambe/Ball et al.) - Within the Golden Hour - for me, contemporary 'done right' - brilliant choreography and music. - Firebird Mixed bill - what a brilliant evening and perfect end to the season, three different ballets which ended the season a real high. The choreography from Balanchine, heartbreaking casts and Ashton at his best in Month in the Country, and amazing sets, score and history with the Firebird. - Vadim Muntagirov in pretty much everything. Great stage presence, real depth of emotion/character and flawless technique. Is there anything he can't do?? - ENB - Manon with Alina Cojocaru. My god what a brilliant ballerina. - ENB - She Persisted Mixed Bill. I think Rojo is leading the company fantastically and they have really found their niche commissioning new productions and doing more contemporary works. This mixed bill was brilliant, especially the Rite of Spring. I look forward to the two Akram Khan's next season! Lowlights: - Don Quixote - aside from Nunez/Muntagirov dancing their socks off which is the only thing that made it worthwhile (and O'Sullivan's cupid solo), the story/sets and other dance pieces didn't do much for me. Perhaps not a lowlight, but not really my thing. - Mayerling - whilst I have really enjoyed Hirano in everything else I've seen him in and think he's a brilliant dancer, I didn't think he really clicked for me in this. I haven't seen anyone else in it though, so I don't think blame for me not liking it much rests with Hirano and is also do with what I thought was an overly complicated and confusing plot, and not enough character development and too much focus on violence and over the top drama. - Dare I say it but Two Pigeons/Asphodel Meadows. Whilst I appreciated two Pigeons, I thought it was a bit long and felt the gypsy scenes could have been cut significantly, if it was a one act ballet I'd probably prefer it. (Sorry I know everyone will disagree!) Saying that I enjoyed the choreography between the young girl/boy and the pigeons at the end. Asphodel Meadows was ok, but merely ok. - Medusa - didn't feel like the dancers were utilised to the best of their ability (not for lack of trying) and found the music not fitting. - Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Was really really looking forward to it because of all the hype and rave reviews. Whilst I enjoyed the scenes with the male swans (sadly Ball was injured so I had another cast member which I felt just wasn't technically up to standard as what I was expecting, but perhaps I'm unfair to compare to an RB standard) I found the other scenes not to my taste - I don't like Bourne's 'comedy' and the parody ballet I found distasteful. I think perhaps if I had known it wasn't a proper ballet and more of a contemporary dance inspired by ballet I would have appreciated it more, and I'm glad to have seen it once but I was very disappointed and wouldn't go again. To be honest, I just don't think Bourne is my thing, having had similar mixed feelings and disappointment with his 'The Red Shoes'. Sorry probably too long. Overall definitely more positives than negatives (had to stop myself from just listing so many dancers I've seen this year in amazing performances develop their skill) and feel incredibly privileged to live in London which has all of this to offer.
  2. The ROH shop were selling opera glasses the other day - not sure if they are good value for money though. I think London Coliseum also sells some. I personally got mine on Etsy as they are vintage - they work quite well but admittedly they probably aren't up to the specs of modern ones, but I am happy with them for now. If you're after a cheap vintage pair Etsy/Ebay probably are worth a look, though obviously comes with some risk you wouldn't if you bought them new in a reputable shop.
  3. Yes I do often feel a bit sorry for the corps in RJ as they don’t really have much to do (although they do seem to have great fun so I hope that doesn’t offend anyone!). I can’t really tell the difference between the harlots from the amphi, and no one outside the named roles really seems to have any discernible character, and therefore no ‘real’ dancing to do. This is not to downplay the skill that must be required in the corps here, but I feel in ballets such as swan lake/la bayadere or in the recent symphony in c the corps get real recognition as they do some excellent dancing and contribute a lot to the atmosphere. I also have to say that I was fairly surprised the first time I saw RJ to note that nobody wears pointe shoes apart from Juliet?
  4. An interesting discussion is developing here! I have to agree with Richard and Beryl above and say that RJ is not one of my favourite ballets. I think apart from Romeo/Juliet/Mercuito/Tybalt there is little 'real' dancing (sorry!) and whilst the pdds can be incredible, I do miss the divertissements and pure 'corps all in synchrony' that you would get in the Petipa/Balanchine style. I also think Ashton has some incredibly clever footwork and is continual dance, whereas sometimes a lot of MacMillan seems to me like 'filler' for the main pdd and leans more towards telling a story through movement as opposed to classical ballet/dance being the main attraction and a story is simply a consequence of dance (if that makes sense?). RJ for me is worth watching for the performances for the principals, and the score and some of the fighting scenes, but it's certainly not one of my favourite ballets and I always feel a bit guilty that I haven't been moved or dazzled by it the way others do. Manon I much prefer because I think there is a far stronger emphasis on dancing (I find it odd that Juliet is nowhere to be seen all of Act 2 in RJ and hardly present in Act 1, similarly Romeo isn't around for a lot of act 3!) and to be honest I prefer the music for Manon too - it always gets me! There also seems to be a deeper storyline as there are more scenes with Manon/Des Grieux/Lescaut, I feel in RJ they are separate most of the ballet so for me sometimes its difficult to see the progression of the relationship and build that connection and sense of time passing (although I do know RJ is supposed to take place in a fairly compressed time frame to be fair). I also think Manon perhaps provides for more interpretative licence for the principal - good girl who is manipulated, or someone who knows fully what she's getting into and then regrets it? Or completely naive? I know there is some room for interpretation in RJ of course, but I feel it is more limited as they are supposed to be young and in love whereas with Manon you never really know how she feels about her relationship with Lescaut/Monsieur GM and it's up to the ballerina playing her to decide. Mayerling I didn't like at all, no disrespect to Hirano as I think he's a brilliant dancer but I just couldn't get into the character. I found the women more compelling but similarly to RJ felt they only popped in occasionally so it was hard to build that sense of character/time/relationship if they only have one or two short entrances/solos/pdd, and to be honest it got rather confusing as to who they were and their relationship to Prince Rudolph, without the programme I wouldn't have a clue and I think it's a failing of dance if you need to read a plot summary to understand (see the recent Month in a Country which perfectly distills a complex set of relationships without need for a plot summary). I would be willing to see Mayerling again but only with Watson I think. In short - I can appreciate MacMillan but (apart from Manon) I can't say I feel his ballets have the effect on me that others do, with the caveat I have only seen the three mentioned above and song of the earth (which again I sadly wasn't impressed by). I am hoping that RB gives RJ/Mayerling/Manon a rest in the 20/21 season and perhaps brings back some of his one acters so we get a bit of a different flavour (or just give MacMillan a rest and revive some Ashtons/Balanchines!!).
  5. Some quick thoughts from last night's performance: Firebird - everytime I see this I appreciate the music more and more. I love the costumes, the set design, the lighting. Naghdi's technique is flawless but I have to say Mendizabal edged it for me actually, which surprised me because I was really looking forward to seeing Naghdi and only booked Mendizabal last minute. Even from the amphi you could see Mendizabal's eyes and feel her presence, with her arms perfectly bird like. Though Naghdi can jump higher, to me it felt very much like a classical ballerina playing a firebird, whereas Mendizabal was the firebird. This is not to say Naghdi's performance was bad at all, and I see her really developing in this role and I enjoyed both interpretations. A month in the country - honestly, Vadim is called 'Vadream' for a reason. No wonder all the ladies love him! But he played Beliaev like a real dreamer, not at all a 'playboy' and just someone who is genuinely confused about his feelings but really does care for both Natalia and Vera. Of course he never put a step wrong, and was perfectly 'soft' and elegant in this role (contrasting with his more bold and 'strong' technique in Symphony in C the other evening). Cuthbertson was beautiful as Natalia, flawless technique and whilst a more reserved performance than Osipova, you could still feel her character coming through. O'Sullivan, my gosh she is such an amazing dancer and as others have commented, if she is not principal in two years I will be very surprised. I thought she danced in a very 'Hayward-esque' manner for lack of a better description - the way I would describe this is such charm, an absolute delight and beautiful dancing which is fleet footed and quick, but executed brilliantly and seemingly naturally and without effort. I predict very big things for her and I will be keen to see her in the Autumn season if I can as either Aurora/Swanhilda. David Yudes was great as Kolia, lots of quick turns and he even managed to (somewhat) pull off the wig! Despite an amazing performance, I have to say I actually preferred Osipova/Hallberg for pure emotional connection, but this feels like splitting hairs, and the supporting cast here was much stronger, and I'm glad to have seen two different interpretations. Symphony in C was practically perfect - literally. The first and second movements were executed with absolute precision, completely in time by the corps as well as the 'principal' pairs. Kaneko/Ball were stunning, Lamb was absolutely dreamy in the second movement. But the thing that really made it was the corps all in perfect harmony, I was loving every minute! Sambe in the third movement proved exactly why he was promoted to principal - my gosh his jumps and leaps are so high and so effortless, and he brings a great presence to the stage, he will be a brilliant principal next year I'm sure. I always feel after the first three movements, the fourth feels a bit short and perfunctory, but Hayward and Hay did a solid job of rounding things off, though admittedly I do think Naghdi is better suited to Balanchine than Hayward is. Interestingly I do always feel when the four principal women dance together in the final section there is always someone slightly out of timing which ruins it slightly, but I presume this is because the corps are dancing to it every evening so get in more practice (?) whereas the four principals mix it up? But this is no excuse because they should be keeping time with the music! But overall, the first two movements being perfect and the final two near to it, what a brilliant end to the evening. It is such a shame there is no Balanchine next year, but I'm hoping for Jewels or at least one or two one acters the 20/21 season, because RB right now is in such a good place to deliver the choreography! I can't wait to see what the next season will bring, and look forward to new pieces and seeing new dancers as well as some 'old favourites' develop even further.
  6. Excellent review nogoat, pretty much agree with everything you said!
  7. Ah thanks for the knowledge Douglas! An RB le corsaire may be brilliant to showcase the wealth of male talent in the RB now! But I'd rather have other things first I suppose, and as long as they bring back the pas de deux every now and again I'll be quite happy! I agree that I'm not sure if I'd want a full Ondine to come back, but perhaps we could get one act as part of a mixed bill to test it out? Although I guess the costs of this would be similar to a proper revival (or not? I don't know how it would work out) so perhaps they may as well do the whole thing?
  8. What!! How do you know this capybara? I am even more amazed and my respect for her only grows! She was one of the standouts for me (along with Hayward/Naghdi and of course Vadim!) Also as someone had already mentioned but it was also tweeted by the RB that it was twelve years to the day to Darcey’s farewell performance - what serendipity! I wonder if KOH knew this when we asked her to perform - what knowledge! What a missed opportunity for filming but agree some performances weren’t perfect (completely understandable considering rehearsal time and other commitments) so understand they didn’t want to do so; but all the more reason for a similar event in the next season, or at least the following. I wonder what the next anniversary event is for the RB?
  9. Thanks for the reviews above @Irmgard and @SPD444. I was wanting to go to this to see this for Alina mainly (and as I've not seen a Cinderella live, hopefully RB for 21/22?) but I have to say I was put off by the high prices of the Albert Hall, as it seems the venue is so big you would end up being so far away from the dancers (unless you paid a lot). I hope they bring this production to the Coliseum if it is good, as I feel even in the balcony there you'd be closer to the dancers for a better price.
  10. As others have said above, a lovely and very special evening. Marianela was lovely in the Sleeping Beauty, but having never seen the RB's version before I have to say the costumes weren't to my taste (the men's were completely unflattering in rather horrible shades of brown, and Marianela's tutu looked cheap, a bright pink with glitter). However Marianela's dancing was executed perfectly as you would expect, and with the history of SB it had to be included. Stix-Brunell was good in Nocturne, as was Pajdak in Wise Virgins - nice to see both of these two getting solos and whilst rather short pieces, good to add to the variety and works that aren't seen anymore . Birthday Offering was lovely. Kaneko technically confident and her smile always wins me over. Lamb and Hirano so so elegant in their pdd, moments were they were completely in sync with their movements were just glorious and having not seen Lamb properly before it certainly made me want to book for her in future! I hope they bring Birthday Offering back for the 20/21 season as I feel this evening demonstrates that RB now have at least 7 dancers who are capable of doing this justice, and how lovely would it be to see that variety again (similar to this evening with its many divertissements). Ondine, well wow was Hayward beautiful and glorious. As someone else has commented I felt she came closest to capturing Margot in this piece tonight, how lovely and what beautiful dancing and emotion. To b honest Watson didn't do much but nice to see him on stage again. Controversially I have to say despite the beauty of Hayward here, the plot didn't do a lot for me so I think I'm one of the few that wouldn't be clamouring for a revival but I'm willing to be proved wrong! Sylvia was brilliant and I really hope this comes back for the 20/21 season as it's something I haven't seen before and this brief flavour makes me want to! Magri, whilst I haven't been a fan of hers in the past, was very good in this. I have to be picky and say I noticed Calvert in the back was able to raise her leg higher but Magri was very confident, and some of her jumps were very high (a bit osipova) and her strength of character came through well. Daphnis and Chloe may have been my favourite of the night. Sad to see Morera wasn't able to dance, but what a worthy replacement in Anna-Rose O'Sullivan. Her dancing was perfect, real emotion and not a single wrong step. Just pure delicacy and Campbell partnered well. I felt very moved by it all and whilst I already admired O'Sullivan, this proves she can do the 'deeper' more 'adult' roles and she is definitely the one to watch for me in future with regard to debuts and new opportunities. Having seen Osipova/Hallberg in RJ a week ago, I was slightly disappointed it was them again rather than some variety (and I felt their performance whilst it had potential lacked a little something when I saw it). However, I don't know if I was not in the mood when I saw them before, or if something else has changed/developed (which seems unlikely, all I can think is Hallberg's additional rehearsal time plus perhaps me being won over by them in A Month in the Country) but I really enjoyed their balcony pdd. Yes Hallberg still seemed to struggle a little with some of the lifts but he brought a level of emotion I didn't feel I saw in the full-length and he just seemed to have more stage presence and true harmony with Osipova. Osipova isn't everyone's cup of tea (it always interests me that she seems to divide opinion more than any other ballerina on here, truly marmite - perhaps it's her Bolshoi training) but I found her brilliant her - her facial expressions always convey such emotion (which is what I feel some on here don't like) but I feel even if she's not your favourite, you can't fault her technique. Similarly to 'A Month', I'm glad I saw them again as it went some way to redeeming their partnership for me as I was disappointed in the full length RJ, but this shows what they are capable of. Facade - not much to say here apart from what a clever surprise from KOH to bring back Darcey! And that 360 turn which was executed so quickly and with such humour from Avis and Darcey. A nice break from the heavy ballets and added to the variety of the evening. Audience enjoyed the humour here and seemed very pleased to see Darcey back. Le Corsaire - wow what a crowd pleaser and definitely makes the argument for more evenings like this in future (with samplings of ballets and divertissements). Vadim always amazes me how high and quick he can jump, all the while looking effortless and assured. Utter perfection and he probably got the loudest applause of the evening! Naghdi was excellent too, one small slip as others have mentioned but an impressive recovery and just goes to show how difficult all of this actually is - which sounds obvious but when it's executed so brilliantly 99% of the time it's easy to forget! I'm so glad they included this and look forward to seeing ENB's production next January in London. I know some people don't like Le Corsaire but this makes me feel the RB should revive it - even if not the whole thing, one act (like Raymonda)? Have to say I was a bit disappointed with Apparitions. I felt whilst the dresses looked lovely, they obscured some of the dancing and footwork. Controversially I think Ball wasn't giving a performance he is capable of and some of the lifts with Cuthbertson didn't look very smooth. I think I would have preferred to have seen them both in other pieces (Cuthbertson in Sylvia for example!) and whilst I know understand the reason why this closed the evening but without this context (and even so) I just think after the sparkle of Le Corsaire it did feel a bit anti-climactic. I too was surprised not to see Marguerite and Armand as whilst it may not be to everyone's taste it was created for the famed Fonteyn/Nureyev partnership. I feel if Ball/Cuthbertson had danced this as the finale rather than Apparitions perhaps? The video of Fonteyn was so so lovely, and a perfect end to the evening. The orchestra were brilliant throughout but especially here accompanying this video performance. Overall what an absolutely glorious night, well done to KOH and the dancers for pulling it all off and what a treat to see so many principals and different flavours of ballet in one evening. I think we were all in ballet heaven. The programme is lovely, full of photos of Margot dancing each piece and I do hope they keep up the photos of her and the Firebird tutu in the Amphi bar area as a tribute for a little longer (or at the least replace them with something rather than nothing). My admiration for RB and its dancers has grown leaps and bounds (from an already very high level) and I am so looking forward to what they can bring to 20/21!
  11. I for one loved that performance of LB and was actually in the audience that very night (if it was the one that was live streamed, not sure exactly how filming for DVDs works and if it corresponds with the live filming) so it will be a very special DVD which I feel I must have. I haven't seen another LB but have to say I do think Nela/Vadim/Natalia were truly suited to the roles and danced brilliantly that evening. Does this mean Nunez is in all LB/Sleeping Beauty/Nutcracker/Swan Lake DVDs for the RB though? (Not withstanding historical recordings of course.) And presumably Coppelia as well as I believe it is her and Vadim being filmed this year? As much as I love her, I feel this is a bit much surely as she then dominates the classics and the recent RB DVD output. I note the Raymonda being filmed has Osipova at least! And SB this year will be Cuthertson and Bonneli, though it looks unlikely for a DVD release perhaps. Feel we need a bit of variety and could do with Naghdi/Hayward particularly getting some DVDs (someone correct me if I'm wrong and they already have them!). Perhaps we can hope for a Naghdi/Ball RJ release, but I note Manon isn't being filmed this year it seems, so no chance for Hayward. But I'm very pleased about LB, I've been waiting and hoping for that to be released so thanks for the news!
  12. Yes please report back onemouseplace and anyone else who goes. Exhibitions are so expensive now I only go if I know it's going to be very substantial and what I am interested in!
  13. I too am rather shocked at the number of available tickets for this. Interestingly I don't think it's gone to student standby as with the timing of Friday Rush it didn't seem to work out (Student Standby tickets have to be purchased by midnight the previous day). I hope this doesn't mean empty seats though, would be a real shame and wouldn't want to put ROH commissioning such one-off gala/celebrations in future. I have to admit I was hoping for Naghdi in Firebird too (as I've already seen Menzibal this week) but if this means she can do something elsewhere I can't complain too much as I'm not missing out (seeing her in Firebird next week!). I am sightly curious as to whether gala/celebrations usually do a full one act ballet rather than a full mix of divertissements. I do wonder if they are only doing the whole firebird (rather than select firebird extracts) because the company has a lot on (to be fair to it) and because this seemed to be a fairly last minute scheduling and firebird happened to be showing at the same time. But perhaps this is a little unfair/cynical of me, and I look forward to tomorrow night immensely, I hope it will be a very special evening.
  14. I note they haven’t posted castings for the Enigma mixed bill online though other castings are up. Come on ROH!
  15. Oh good to hear there was some good stuff, sad I missed this! Hope there will be another one at some point!
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