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JNC

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  1. I personally wouldn't wait. Others who have been going to ROH longer may be able to provide more info but over the last year/year and a half I haven't seen any offers for any ROH productions. If ROH productions don't sell well, ROH offer £10 tickets to students as part of their standby scheme, which shifts quite a few. Usually they are offered the day before, but sometimes they can be offered for performances a week or so in advance if sales are that bad. I think this is the preferred approach as the ROH get to increase their 'sold x tickets for under £20 or whatever' statistic is, putting a positive spin on it and also benefitting those with less means. Doing special offers I think looks a bit desperate and worrying re reputation/finances and I just don't see ROH wanting to give that impression. In the past year for ballet, the only productions that have not sold out for every production (from my own memory rather than actual statistics so this may be wrong!) have been Frankenstein and the Two Pigeons mixed bill. People thought Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote wouldn't sell but a lot of people got tickets a month or so in advance. Ok, Manon may be less popular due to being in the rep relatively recently, but a lot of people don't buy tickets until a few weeks before so I expect to see a lot more tickets sold around September. This is probably exacerbated by the fact it's now summer so a lot of people may be away and spending money on summer holidays. Come September with routines back I expect a lot more tickets to shift. In short, if you are definitely going to go, want to see a particular cast (or can only make certain dates) or get 'best value' seats (i.e. best seats in a certain price band) I would book now. If you aren't fussed about seeing a particular cast and or going on a certain day or missing it altogether if an offer doesn't materialise then by all means wait and see. But I think you'll find a lot of tickets will shift in September (maybe not at sell at rates but it also depends where you want to sit) and I highly doubt Manon will sell less than Frankenstein despite it being on recently. Others may disagree! Worst case scenario, you buy tickets now and they do an offer down the line - you can pat yourself on the back for supporting the ROH/Royal Ballet, and you can treat yourself to an extra performance at the cheaper price if you feel like then you will still have benefitted in some way! EDIT - I do note that actually I now remember there was a special offer for Bright Stream this month. However I believe all of what I say above still stands as this offer only went out to ROH members/friends so I was only aware of it because a kindly person posted it on this forum (the post should still be in the special ticket offers section if you want exact details). So it wasn't intended to be a public offer for all. Also most/all of the cheaper tickets had gone anyway so you were still looking to spend a significant amount anyway even if on offer. And this was a Bolshoi production rather than an RB production so margins for selling were probably tighter, and the Bolshoi were only here for a short season. If ROH start doing offers for RB, people may start expecting this and not buying tickets waiting for the special offer which is not what I think the management would want. I think ultimately it just doesn't 'look good' for ROH to have to do special offers; I like a good deal as much as anyone but I'm happy to pay a fair price for ROH deals and would be annoyed if they started doing last minute deals, as I believe would many of their friends/members. So no, I can't predict the future but I really don't see any offers coming up. But I may be wrong! Perhaps you could do a search in the special ticket offer section to see if there have been RB offers in the past.
  2. I think this is a better analogy yes. Surely as the 'technology' of the pointe shoe has developed, certain movements/skills required etc has changed due to taste, the shoes merely adapt to this. It's a bit chicken and egg - have wider shoes enabled doing x movements or have x movements necessitated slightly different shoes? Or neither but wider shoes mean more comfort and endurance support for ballerinas giving us longer careers, less risk of injuries etc. Surely there must be a reason for 'clumpier' shoes which has some sort of benefit in payoff for some reduced lines? I would argue it's worth it in this case. Back in the day remember, there was no 'pointe'. Just soft satin slippers. Then Taglioni started doing pointe (without the hard bloc support of pointe shoes!!). By Taglioni's standards aren't all dancers using pointe shoes today 'cheating'? But ballet has changed quite a lot since those days, and changed again over more recent history (though less dramatically I suppose). Short of pointe shoes getting so extreme that the average person on the street is able to go on pointe and do ballet (which I don't see happening anytime soon), and short of there being very obvious clumpy silhouettes on the feet, I will continue to be amazed by the beauty and skill of professional ballet dancers, regardless of shoe choice.
  3. Do I think ballet is value for money when we consider the training, cost of costumes, pointe shoes, travel for the dancers/sets/costumes etc (for those travelling companies), hire of theatres (again for the travelling companies), and of course salaries of dancers/other staff and cost of commissioning new pieces etc? Yes, it is great value for money. In fact, if we factor all this in, I imagine BRB selling tickets for £30 is likely a loss for the company, covered by more expensive tickets/funding from rich patrons/government funding etc. However value for money and what people can afford are different things. Ballet is subsided by the government (sadly yes, much less than before) because of it's cultural heritage and value as well as an appreciation that the vast majority of the population could not afford ticket prices if they were sold at face value. (Ok I don't know this for a fact but I imagine this would/should factor into public funding decisions.) A lot of people are priced out of football/plays/musicals (and possibly even the cinema the way it's going!) so I don't think it's a good argument to say that ballet should cost more because other comparative things cost more. I am not saying anyone is actually making the argument that ballet should cost more, but I think it's dangerous to say that higher prices can be justified because of X, Y, Z - this is 100% true but doesn't mitigate that a lot people cannot simply afford to pay £30+ for entertainment. Are we to say to these people - well tough beans, don't have any culture in your life, you can't afford it, and just focus on feeding yourself and working? If tickets are £15, a family could go for around £50 which may be a lot to them, but worth it as a special treat. If you start charging £30, you are looking at over £100 for an evening's entertainment which just means it's out of reach for a certain sector of the population. You can see football for 'free' on TV (at home or the pub depending on the game, or at a reduced rate to being in the stadium if you're paying for a sports subscription as opposed to what you'd pay to see it live). You can wait for cheaper DVDs/home rental for cinema releases and split the cost of these with others who may watch with you. There isn't really a comparable alternative for seeing live ballet (bar the occasional cinema screening but not all ROH productions are live streamed, let alone BRB/ENB etc companies) and if a DVD is produced then it is more expensive than a standard film DVD I think due to comparatively lower demand. Yes musicals are ridiculously priced but this is argument for lowering the cost of musicals, not raising the cost of ballet. And in personal experience, with the plays I've seen in London there are always often seats in the £15-20 range, good deals for students/young people (including last minute 'rush sales' and on the day tickets), and the top tier tickets are still half the price of what you see at ROH (£60-80 compared to over £150-200 at ROH for some productions). In my opinion if we want people from all backgrounds to be able to go to ballet/opera/theatre/football whatever it may be, pricing needs to reflect this. I stand by my comment that the 'best' way of doing it (in my opinion) is by raising the price for the most expensive seats, as proportionally this will hit those people a lot less (if you can already afford over £100 for a ticket, an extra £10-20 isn't really going to hit you the same way that someone who only spends £15-20 for a ticket starts needing to spend £30 and over). I admit it's not a perfect solution and perhaps it's not done because it may annoy those people who are wealthier who would be targets to be patrons for larger donations perhaps so it's a nuanced argument. Sorry for a long post, I suppose I just feel quite passionately about this as I think it's really important to encourage all backgrounds to at least have the option of experiencing live ballet, and the sad reality is it is less 'popular' and mainstream than the aforementioned musicals/football etc, so rightly or wrongly you are never going to diversify audiences unless you price competitively with regard to these other 'alternatives'. I think ROH has positive things like the live streams and the young students scheme which do a lot, and as long as a reasonable number of tickets are priced £25 and under (I'm talking around 20%, not a token 10 or something!) despite recent price rises I will remain relatively happy (subject to these tickets being able for general public sale and not snapped up by friends which I think defeats the point somewhat...).
  4. When is casting usually announced for BRB? I know ENB which is also a company that tours frequently usually announces casing quite late, maybe like a month before. I wonder why smaller companies can’t announce when the tickets go on sale, surely by then they know who will be dancing due to rehearsals and internal casting needing to be decided? Or perhaps because they are smaller they need more flexibility? I have to say I don’t follow BRB much (but may do in future) but find the late casting for ENB frustrating - by the time it’s announced usually the cheaper tickets or best value tickets within the price band have gone, leading to me buying tickets in advance and hoping I get lucky, failing that I just go to see the company and that piece generally. If RB can do it, why not others - casting is always subject to last minute changes anyway, I’m sure people would rather know and chance it that there may be last minute injuries/scheduling changes rather than waiting till the wire. Also £30 for cheapest tickets isn’t really on - I’m always of the belief if you need to raise prices it should hit the highest prices first, and then next proportionate rising. There should always be tickets available in the £15-20 region.
  5. Whoops yes sorry, I guess I used the phrasing 'trip' rather liberally, I saw was a sort of falling forward movement and the audience collectively gasped. As others have said, I felt she recovered quickly and well and am just glad it wasn't worse and there was no injury. I think we get so used to seeing flawless performances that we forget dancers are human and you can't be perfect all the time. Most important is that they don't injure themselves, and then as long as the dancer recovers well, and it doesn't happen continually throughout a performance I am very sympathetic to these things and for me I don't think it impacts the overall performance. I think despite my critical thoughts above (I do try to be honest and it would be weird if we loved absolutely everything we saw and felt we could only positively comment on things) I think Scherezade summed up my feelings well below -
  6. It was my first time seeing the Bolshoi and I saw Spartacus/DQ. Considering my high expectations and the fact that they are meant to be on a similar (outstanding) level to RB (or better some might argue although obviously there’s subjectivity always going to be involved) I felt rather underwhelmed. Perhaps I picked the ‘wrong’ casts - I didn’t get to see Zakharova and I was impressed by Rodkin - but I felt they didn’t ‘tell a story’ like RB. Saying that I also probably picked the ‘wrong’ pieces as I’ve realised I’m not a DQ fan generally and Spartacus isn’t really my thing either. But I was still expecting to be blown away by sheer energy, high jumps and perfect corps synchrony and I felt I didn’t see this - or would only see it occasionally. There was the odd corps member or soloist who stood out and I thought was great, and clearly the company is very talented but there was just a bit of magic missing. I’m disappointed I missed the Bright Stream as I think this would have been the one that would have impressed me; and whilst their Swan Lake seems a bit odd I think I also would have appreciated the ‘white scenes’ and the Bolshoi technique in this. I will note I have found their orchestra to be great, particularly in Spartacus. (I thought they were maybe a tad slow in DQ but they may have just been following the dancers.) I hope they do return to London. I’d like to see them bring back Bright Stream, but apart from that would want to see completely different works scheduled.
  7. I saw the final performance with Rodkin/Stepanova. Firstly, I have only seen RB’s Acosta Don Q and I will admit I was not a fan. I enjoyed anything danced by Nuñez/Muntagirov and found O’Sullivan’s Cupid an absolute delight, but overall the story was silly, the music wasn’t great and the actual choreography didn’t excite me, with Kitri/Basil despite being the leads barely in the ballet! I thought maybe the Bolshoi would do a better job but I think I may have actually preferred Acosta’s! I felt I wasn’t as dazzled by the dancing overall and the bits I did enjoy were few and far between (in both RB/Bolshoi in my opinion). Poor Stepanova took a bit of a trip in her opening solo. She recovered fine, and was technically good despite this but I didn’t feel any chemistry between her/Rodkin. There was some good acting and comedy in Act 1 between the leads but after that there were no real sense of the characters. Rodkin was a highlight - I’ve not seen him before and he was flawless. I feel the leads in DQ are severely underused, and in this case doubly with Rodkin as he barely appears in Act 2, whereas Stepanova appears in the dream sequence. I did enjoy the ‘spanish’ style dancing most - a fantastic solo with someone in a white dress playing the castanets was executed wonderfully and I enjoyed the matadors and Mercedes pieces. (Saying that I preferred Hirano!) Nothing else really got me going to be honest, I’m not a fan of slapstick anyway so whilst I thought the DQ/Sancho/duke characters did an excellent job, this is not what I want to see in a ballet. The dream scene choreography seemed uninspired. Clearly I’m not a fan of DQ, but even then I felt I preferred the RB’s version in parts and unfortunately I couldn’t take to Stepanova and kept comparing her to Nuñez (who I thought was great as Kitri). I’m glad I went, if nothing else to see Rodkin, and also to convince me that unfortunately DQ clearly isn’t for me and even the Bolshoi can’t redeem it. I know DQ is a favourite with a lot of people and can appreciate the lighthearted fun and it does have pieces which are great but we can’t all like everything I suppose! apologies for any typos etc, quite tired but wanted to get something noted before I forgot!
  8. Guessing Bruce has nabbed this but if not I will happily take it off your hands
  9. Is the one for 17th August still available? I’ll be interested if yes
  10. Ah ok, clearly I either missed/forgot this or interpreted it completely differently! In my memory I thought they were meeting for the first time and their first scenes/dances together are them falling in love. I do vaguely remember the holding the womb/stomach gesture now it's been mentioned (though could be false memory!) but I think it maybe came later on in which case it would still work for Giselle/Albrecht to have their initial meeting at the beginning of the ballet, and then to fall pregnant off scene? But happy to stand corrected - will watch closely next time and happy to have different interpretations floating about, think this is often the interesting thing about ballet - different people will have different thoughts on dancers' emotions/motives etc. In the 'original' classical version, are they also already in a relationship?
  11. I really do hope ENB revive Mary Skeaping's Giselle considering it is held in high regard. Whilst I really like Khan's contemporary Giselle, I think it's a shame if they have replaced Skeaping's with this, I certainly think there is place for both in the repertoire and hope it comes back in the 2020-2021 season.
  12. I am now remembering I did watch the BBC televised version of this which had Cirio in it (believe it is the same version as the DVD). I did think he was good, but (in my personal opinion) he didn't come close to Corrales, who was on another level. However, I often connect more with a live performance and I did see Corrales live. I do wish Corrales was in the filmed version because his performance was electric, to the point where whilst Rojo was absolutely amazing, Corrales had true star power and was the standout for me when I first saw it. I made of a note of his name for future performances (this was back when I didn't 'follow' ballet as much as I do now so he made a strong impression!) and knew he'd be onto big things, so was not surprised at all when he moved to the Royal Ballet. I am really hoping he can get his teeth into more contemporary ballet at the Royal over the coming year or so. Overall I feel very lucky with the cast I've got, I hedged my bets as I wanted to get fairly good seats in the price range so booked for the closing night cast in the hope that it would either be Rojo/Cojocaru and lucked out. Nothing against other ENB dancers but I have to admit I'm not that familiar with them and as I like both Rojo/Cojocaru I try and book for their performances if possible/try to guess what dates they will do which is an entirely speculative exercise! Is she? Where does it say this? My understanding was she worked in the factory and obviously Hilarion has his eye on her, but she turns him down in favour of Albrecht - the overarching story therefore being quite similar to the 'original'. I was not aware she was pregnant and also did not get this feeling at all when I watched it a live, and also when it was televised on the BBC. I also don't recall reading anything about her being pregnant? If she is pregnant at the start who is the father, clearly not Hilarion as she pushes him away and is clearly not interested in him, and not Albrecht either as she's not met him yet? I find it hard to believe they would work in a story about her being pregnant but not take this anywhere as it seemingly doesn't add much to the plot and the overall dynamic between Giselle/Hilarion/Albrecht/Bathilde?
  13. I would highly recommend. She brings a 'wild' energy and emotion to it, it's really heartbreaking and fantastic to watch. She truly embraces Khan's choreography. I imagine Cojocaru playing a more naive, sensitive, soul which would break your heart if you see it. Rojo plays it more 'dramatic', heartbroken and devastated, but with power and anger there too. I of course haven't seen Cojocaru dance it so my thoughts on how she'll play it are pure speculation at this point, but I think seeing both Rojo/Cojocaru will bring interesting and different facets to the character, but both will probably leave you truly moved.
  14. Thanks for posting @maryrosesatonapin - certainly looks intriguing. I wonder if Zakharova will dance in the McGregor piece too? And if it will be Bolshoi corps joining her or another group. Will await more news...
  15. Thanks for the info Jan. I too have seen Tamara Rojo as Giselle and found her absolutely fantastic - pure emotion and of course, a brilliant dancer. (I also was fortunate enough to see Cesar Corrales, his Hilarion I doubt will be matched and I hope he is able to dance this type of dance at RB, or in my dreams he would make a guest appearance in this again one day!) Surely dancers don't have to fit a particular age to play a role? Look at all the 'old' Juliets (in Shakespeare's play I believe she is around 13), and 'old' Auroras (she is meant to be just turned 16). I'm not sure if Giselle's age is set one way or the other, but I always thought that whilst she was portrayed as 'naive' and childlike in manner, she wasn't as young as Juliet/Aurora, although albeit she would probably have been still in her teens, but more 16-20 rather than the children of Juliet/Aurora. But as Jan says this production is quite different and she is a worker in a factory, so actually it is probably more likely that is in her 20s or older. Regardless, as long as a dancer can portray a character and emotion then age is to some extent irrelevant unless at the extremes. Anyway for this time, it has just so happened that I've booked for a date Alina Cojocaru is dancing, which I am very pleased by as I loved her Manon and was hoping I would get to see her in this. Clearly the ballet gods have favoured me! I imagine she will play the role quite differently from Rojo but I am immensely looking forward to it. I am also half tempted to book to see Rojo again as she was brilliant!
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