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  1. Just back from the cinema. Early start tomorrow, so will write at more considered length on train (and need to formulate thoughts on Fonteyn Gala), but I enjoyed Matthew Ball more in that than anything else I have seen him do. A really moving performance. Yasmine Naghdi is exceptionally lovely, but I had sympathy with the poster who felt she had become too classical in some ways for this role. The cinema really enables you to catch things you might not otherwise do, and I thought Romany Pajdak's epaulement absolutely gorgeous. You could also how much Mica Bradbury was relishing the moment.
  2. It was before R & J and I was very surprised to see it. Nevertheless, a lovely evening 🙂
  3. I really enjoyed this afternoon’s matinée which absolutely justified a dawn start from Rye. Interesting how different performances read. I agree with bridiem that Mayara Magri was superb, but found her aggressive, authoritative and aquiline (and not just because I like a bit of alliteration), with a thrilling jump. I was reminded more than once of Karsavina’s injunction, “Here is no human emotion.” Conversely, Ryoichi Hirano partnered well, but I thought his final gesture of authority lacked exactly that. The Enchanted Princess’ apple catching was well below championship standard too (surprised to see Christina Arestis, Claire Calvert, Melissa Hamilton and Beatriz Stix-Brunell-Brunelleschi amongst them). Even so, the glorious final tableau against Stravinsky’s wonderful score raised the hoped for lump in the throat. A Month in the Country was sheer joy from start to finish. It was one of my late mother’s favourite ballets (ideally with Sibley and Wall, although she liked Baryshnikov too), and I wondered if thinking of that raised my emotional vulnerability. I can honestly say that I was damp around the gills for much of it from the exquisite matching of choreography, music and situation. Natalia Osipova seems to bend a great deal more than the last time I saw her in this, and her variety of mood (bored, capricious, despairing, longing, the astonishment of “Natalia Petrova, you are in love”), the fluency of her footwork and the remarkable bleak misery she can convey read strongly, not just in partnership with David Hallberg but in her interactions with Nehemiah Kish too (how wonderful to see him back on stage, even if in a different style of role now). Hallberg may be a little more mature in demeanour than some as Beliaev, but his beautiful long lines, articulate feet and still, burning intensity were absolutely captivating, and he has the glamour of look and magnetism of personality to make Natalia’s and Vera’s fascination, as well as Kolia’s adoration understandable. A lovely maid from Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani (good to see her back so vividly), a Kolia fleet of foot and youthful of demeanour from Luca Acri (I’d never before registered the little bits of gaucheness Ashton puts in to show youth with the upturned foot in a turning sequence) and a Vera of hurt indignation from Meaghan Grace Hinkis, swooning in Beliaev’s arms but incredulous at the hypocrisy of adults. Perhaps I’d invested too strongly emotionally in Month fully to surrender to Symphony in C. I know it is a great favourite of many people, but I have to be honest and write that although I enjoyed it I didn’t experience the euphoria which others have felt. Maybe it was concern at an early slip from Fumi Kaneko, although she recovered splendidly; a slight irritation at the slowing of the orchestral score (well though it was played under Emmanuel Plasson’s fluent baton - lovely pacing of Chopin in Month); a slight sense of Marianela Nunez in Queen Bee form, marvellous as she is; or having read some criticism of Yuhui Choe’s and Francesca Hayward’s technical prowess (bold of anyone to criticise those two on here I’d think) that seemed possibly quasi self-fulfilling in observation. Alexander Campbell was dazzling though (he really has honed his technical prowess to something remarkable - those whiplash turns) and I noticed none of the grimaces of which others have complained. I’ll confess he’s a personal favourite, but I like to think that that means not that “love” is blind but that it enables one also to be honest about failings as well as strengths. He’s going to be a wonderful Troyte. This is a bill that should certainly have reached the cinema and I am sorry to have the chance only to see it once as I would very much like to have seen all The Firebird (including Tierney Heap, as it were) and A Month in the Country casts.
  4. I am so pleased to see Kish developing in new directions. I've always enjoyed his work. He doesn't seem to be listed as yet next season but I wonder if he might be on the cusp of a sideways move to Principal Character Dancer.
  5. Ah, that’s interesting and good news for Hamilton and Clarke, neither of whom appeared on the original PDF casting that was sent at the start of this thread.
  6. And was superb in Swan Lake, as well a developing her own unique company profile in Forsythe. her TV series, Dance, Ballerina, Dance, shows she was a much more versatile (as in non just strong and “modern”) artist than the company allowed her to be.
  7. That was way back in 2004. She got two more chances to dance the role in 2014. Bolle cancelled the first (I think Golding replaced him) but he did dance the second with Acosta as Lescaut ....
  8. That Manon with Yanowsky was quite something. Up there with my finest RB memories (Mason and Nureyev in Swan Lake, Jenner and Baryshnikov in La Fillle mal gardée, Park and Wall in Giselle, Sibley’s last Manon with Dowell, Sibley’s last Cinderella with Wall, Collier and Mukhamedov in La Fille mal gardée, her last Giselle with Mukhamedov. Osipova’s first Giselle with Acosta, , Bonelli’s and Morera’s first Mayerling for starters). I’m thinking of overall performances. Individual triumphs are another matter. Interesting, in retrospect, how many of these are based in the 70’s/80’s and yet I have seen fantastic things in the last thirty years too. Perhaps time will have an effect on my retro-spectacles ....
  9. She did indeed and I was there, although I have no recollection of who she replaced. My biggest memory is being disconcerted by her insistence on doing doubles in the foutées and getting out of time with the music .... One of the things I like most about Naghdi is that her musicality seems so exceptional, the balances in the Rose Adagio (for example) being dictated exactly by the musical cue. Interesting to read from some of the R & J reports that her increasingly excellent classicism may have have mitigated again st her rawer expression as Juliet. Ballet remains such an astonishingly diverse and versatile art form even within examinations of one company’s approach to its repertoire ....
  10. That was another career that didn’t quite go as anticipated. I first saw her in a Swan Lake PdT and there was a lot of excitement around her. I don’t have much recollection of her Aurora at Hammersmith (I was so devastated that Deborah Bull was “off” for her only ever scheduled Aurora performance) but suddenly she seemed to be the Nurse in R & J. Incidentally, on the subject of that, is the lovely Romany Pajdak the only dancer so far to have been both Nurse and Juliet’s Friend in the same season ....
  11. According to Alexander Bland’s The Royal Ballet: The First 50 Years, Ria Peri danced her Swan Lake (with David Wall if I recall correctly, not that I was at the performance, but I seem to remember a Dancing Times review) in 1976. According to this book, Monica Mason danced her first Swan Lake in 1967 with the Touring Company, and I don’t think she became a principal until 1968.
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