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About Jamesrhblack

  • Birthday October 18

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  1. “I too enjoyed David Donnelly’s performance at the matinee of 18th January. I thought he had wonderful musicality, he was able to project the emotions up to the amphitheatre and had beautiful technique. However, this was all spoilt for me unfortunately by his noisy landings. Such a shame and a schoolboy error for me. He had great plié and good feet but he didn’t use either on his jumps/landings.” I’ve had a ludicrously busy week and although I’ve formulated thoughts on the Onegin matinee and the ENB Saturday night Gala I’ve not yet committed in writing, but I have to agree with Allegro re the noisy landings. It was particularly noticeable next to Thiago Soares who doesn’t now in technical terms have the younger dancer’s pliancy but was much more disciplined in such matters. And, I’ll try to write at more length, I thought Mendizabal was wonderful.
  2. Gosh that was lovely. She was absolutely superb: I was hoping for a promotion to principal epilogue. Kudos also to Bonelli who danced out of his skin, elegant and charismatic
  3. And Bravo Bonelli, who is at his most lyrical and involved. And, am I allowed to write this, Christina Arestis is just ravishing to look at ....
  4. Brava Fumi Kaneko. Absolutely lovely, and really touching to see, in close up, her colleagues willing her on.
  5. Why do so many dancers find the Lilac Fairy solo so problematic? I really don’t recall this being the case back in the day of Bergsma, Derman and Mason, Storm Jensen started really rather well, but there was an accident towards the end. I know she’s jumping in but she’s relatively experienced in the role now surely. And on the subject of accidents, did Calvert put a heel down? Sorry to be grumpy ...
  6. I enjoyed Coppelia last night, although I don’t think it’s a ballet I would rush to see again. The score is absolutely glorious (and etched into my consciousness since childhood) and it’s interesting to see the influence that I am sure the Act 1 Pas de deux with ensemble had on Ashton for the Cornfield ensemble in La Fille mal gardée, but I find the scenario a bit thin and remain uneasy (as I was seeing the broadcast) at the dramaturgy in Act 2. I liked Bennet Gartside’s Dr Coppelius, more serious, more sinister, and, perhaps surprisingly, more touching than Gary Avis’ performance (I appreciate that is probably heresy), even if the character completely fades from view in Act 3. I also thought Alexander Campbell ideally suited. There’s not a lot of meat on Franz’s dancing bones, but as character (cheeky yet charming), partner (delightfully attentive) and soloist (briefly but impressively virtuoso with double tours to left and right) I can’t see that he could be faulted. Now for more heresy. I admire Laura Morera very much as a dance actress, and her Mary Vetsera is one of the most memorable performances I have enjoyed. However, I don’t find that her dance style haunts my imagination (think of, for example, Cuthbertson’s floating musicality in the Vision Scene of Beauty, Hayward’s epaulement, the impossibility of Naghdi making anything but a ravishing movement, or Nunez’s assured grandeur in full flow) and for all the neatness of detail and charm of her characterisation I thought last night brought home why she isn’t often seen in classical roles. That lack, for me, of sheer dance magic was brought home when Anna Rose O’Sullivan took to the stage as Aurora. May I emphasise that I mean no disrespect to a much loved dancer who I have admired very much in other repertoire and who I hope to have pleasure of seeing for some seasons more.
  7. Very London-centric... New works Dust Woolf Works Performances Giselle - Osipova, Acosta Manon - Yanowsky, Bolle, Acosta Mayerling - Bonelli, Morera, Cowley Dancers who really touched me in individual performances... Galeazzi Hayward Naghdi Campbell Hallberg Streeter
  8. I very much enjoyed the Fonteyn Gala, The Firebird Triple Bill and The Bright Stream, but, for one performance only, am with Janet: the Hayward/Campbell/Corrales/Magri Manon.
  9. I enjoyed catching up with the broadcast yesterday of a ballet I think I’ve seen once 40 years ago. I’d forgotten how absolutely glorious Delibes’ score is, with not one dull number. I’m not notably politically correct but I did surprise myself by having a slight issue with the central plot premise, involving illegal entry and destruction of property. I’d also agree the poster who wrote of the “mature sheen” of Nunez’s dancing. I think there was an element of that even in her younger days and however brilliantly and beautifully danced I didn’t find Swanilda a natural fit for her, with without an ‘h.’ Goodness knows what I’ll think to Morera who I’ve booked to see as I wanted to see Campbell as Franz (and I couldn’t catch his Hayward dates after the casting changed). Muntagirov exuded boyish charm and enthusiasm and danced up a storm whilst, at the risk of seeming heretical, I think there is a more sinister yet more touching Dr Coppelius to be found than the splendid Gary Avis offers in this. A particular pleasure was to see Buvoli. Her long lines, musical response and serene presence seemed ideally fitted to Prayer and I understand she was beautiful in Enigma Variations too. There is a thread to be considered on why opportunities have been so long coming to dancers such as her and (an even longer wait) Romany Pajdak, since when those opportunities arise they are taken so very beautifully. Nevertheless, I enjoyed very much, above all for the music.
  10. Is this the first time somebody has appeared as Carabosse, Lilac Fairy and Florine in the same season? I think Alfreda Thorogood did Carabosse and Florine (although she didn’t dance Aurora very often). I think Itziar Mendizabal is a most interesting dancer and am not sure that the Royal Ballet has always got the best out of her very particular talents. She reminds me very much in her strength of technique and personality of Dame Monica Mason and I hope that she may yet make Principal, albeit at a Character Artist level.
  11. I really dislike it when the ballerina ignores the choreography to hold a longer balance. One of the things I loved about Naghdi last time (haven’t seen her this time) was that she balanced exactly in accord with the music cue so there was an organic inevitability between choreography and music that was much more satisfying than any technical stunt.
  12. It's my favourite part of the ballet and the 'cello solo is so exquisite. We read things in different ways and I thought your interpretation of Aurora's beckoning as being a request to be released from her spell very apt: I'd always seen as it as a slightly seductive moment (like Giselle caught up by her dancing in Act 2 urging Albrecht to join her) but I like your idea too. Maybe it's a bit of both. I also find very touching the way that Florimund has to be "taught" not to be too impetuous in his approach but to let Aurora trust and come to him.
  13. I didn’t see the Insights when Dame Beryl Grey apparently jumped up and joined in but it did strike we watching this Insight on Beauty that although Samantha Raine worked very technically with the dancers there seemed to be no input at an artistic level to help define the nature of the solo. This struck me as odd ...
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