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Bruce Wall

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  1. Rome Opera Ballet has announced its 2019/20 season. https://www.gramilano.com/2019/06/rome-opera-ballet-announces-2019-2020-season/ Depending on the casting dates I think I may have to make my way to this new Corsaire. The idea of a Novikova and Sarafanov (plus Hernandez) outing is too exciting to miss. Their Giselle (e.g., the husband/wife combo of Novikova and Sarafanov) with the Mikhailovsky in the days when the Coliseum still featured major ballet company visits will I think always remain one of my most treasured ballet memories in London. Sad that the audience for that would - at best - have been but just over a quarter full. It was totally stellar nonetheless.
  2. Further to my list immediately above - well, the item immediately before this one - e.g., now on the bottom of the previous page at the system's dictate - (so glad I didn't have to paste and copy it at length) - a few more highlights to note that no one else has mentioned thus far - have entered my weary brain: (i) Seeing Stephane Bullion give a blistering performance as Armand opposite the exquisite Eleonora Abbagnato in Neumeier's Dame at the Garnier. The first time I saw this piece was 22 years ago in Paris with Bullion. In between he has been ravaged by cancer and returned victoriously. I continually read with admiration on these boards of people bursting into tears at the deaths in Mayerling and R&J. I found Bonelli's (RB) and Frola's (ENB) final moments in Manon very moving certainly. I rarely - if ever - find myself weeping I must admit. I did tear with joy filled pride at seeing O'Sullivan and Sambe's debut in the Tschai PDD in NYC. Here as well Bullion's personal history (one which I have shared) mixed with his stunningly committed performance made this Dame a complete eye-weller for me on more than one occasion during the traffic of its stage. Memorable certainly. (ii) A stunning performance by DNB of Ratmansky's Serenade After Plato's Symposium - which is, after all, the name given to the Bernstein Score. This is the same music that Wheeldon used for his Corbanistic Dances. There, I fear, any comparison for me ceases. It was ravishing. Another of his masterworks. (iii) Some vivid memories of the Festival Week of Ballet in Munich. Ashley Bouder dazzling in Rubies - as was Shklyarov rapturous in Diamonds. Laudere glistened as usual in Neumeier's Dame aux Camelias and England's own Lauretta Summerscales (at LBC on Monday) opposite her husband, Yonah Acosta - SO improved in his partnering skills since ENB as almost to be a different dancer - entertained vividly in Cranko's Taming of the Shrew and the fact that Osiel Guneo actually DANCED Spartacus - somehow managing to hold to his balletic line - was much to be applauded. Sure there are more ... but these must suffice. Again, so much to be thankful for.
  3. See Paquet is part of the Nijinsky Gala - Full programming now up. Glad to see Lunkina (NBoC) is appearing as well - as is Ferri and Cojocaru - but those, of course, have a close association with the Company. https://www.hamburgballett.de/en/spielplan/play.php?AuffNr=153198
  4. There has been so much to celebrate over the past season - be it with the stunning outputs of the Royal Ballet replete that PERFECT Triple we have just enjoyed and the breakout seasons for the ever effervescent Joseph Sissens and Anna Rose O'Sullivan and the welcoming of the ever stunning Cesar Corrales as much as the continued blossoming of Ball's dramatic acumen most blisteringly inherent in his Tybalt; English National Ballet - (most vividly in the revival of the Broken Wings- a masterwork); Birmingham Royal Ballet (thanks be for that exciting revival of The King Dances - and would that London audiences might have been more plentiful) or Northern Ballet (most especially the intoxicating delights of Martson's Victoria). The extraordinary prolonged PDT that ends the first first act of that latter will live with me a long time. So, SO much to celebrate. Outside of the above I would myself like to note; (i) Putrov's Against the Stream - for bringing gala back to gala ... and ABOVE ALL giving London audiences their one and only glimpse of Joaquin de Luz. So little; so late - but happy that this was able to happen AT ALL. Bless Ivan for this. (ii) That extraordinary moment (and I realise that SheilaC and I may be alone amongst members on this board to have seen this) when Dylan Wald - then a PNB corps member - was tossed onto the Parisian stage at Le Seine Musicale in Robbins' (in the year of his centenary) stunning Opus 19/The Dreamer. The audience applauded the end of the first movement SO much the conductor was forced to delay the start of the second - with the dancers already in place. They applauded through the beginning of the second moment - with Wald continuing to dazzle. This was a shivers down the spine moment. WHAT A GIFT THIS YOUNG MAN IS. Would that we might one day we might see him in London. (iii) In that same outing (the Robbins Celebration in Paris by Les Etes de la Danse) I vividly also recall the theatrically brilliant Pink Girl of Tiler Peck in NYCB's DAAG. She is rightfully hailed (alongside Osipova) as one of the great ballerinas of the beginning of the 21st Century. Both I think are largely thought so because of the number of vital roles they have originated - and both have Ratmansky to thank for much. (This being said - and speaking of that mastermind Ratmansky - there is no question but that the showing by the SFB - a company of SUCH wonderful dancers - here in London of Ratmansky's Shostakovitch Trilogy must rank as a season high on the lists of any of the regretfully few who actually saw it here at any one of the three performances offered.) I hope we get a chance to see Peck here before her career quite finishes. I was privileged to also see her in several things - including the first movement of SiC but a month later in Copenhagen and - as ever - she dazzled. Her capacity for musicality through speed is I think unmatched today. It allows her to toy in a way with phrasing that few others can. Perhaps Putrov can bring her over for his next Against the Stream-like gala - and I do sincerely pray that their will be one. (iv) Speaking of Robbins (and we must thank Tamara Rojo/ENB for sharing The Cage with us in London's celebration) and in addition to the two examples mentioned above - although I didn't think that the four performances of the Robbins' POB programme were all that they might be - and certainly not offering much to write home about - I would like to note the fine effort - as ever - of Francois Alu as the first sailor in Fancy Free. This chap shines - indeed uniquely so - in whatever he does. His performance in La Source still reigns in my memory. He will have a feast when they do Mayerling. That he is not yet an POB Etoile boggles the (well, my) mind. (iii) The TOTAL joy of being able to revel in Balanchine's Liebesleider Waltzer and the Brahms Schoenberg Quartet in Hamburg. These are two of my favourite works - so different - but so enriching. What a privilege it is to yet again - and as ever - to witness the TOTAL authority of Alexandre Riabko. At the second performance I saw a young Australian ballerina, Olivia Betteridge, thrown into the first ballet and rightfully indulge in a radiant soloist assignment in the third movement of the second. She was entirely breathtaking. I look forward to perhaps catching a glimpse or two of her next week when I'm back for more of this same and others - plus the Nijinsky gala. At six hours of ballet that is my idea of a good time (iv) I agree with Anna - the Ratmansky Bayadere is a jewel. (Like Anna and DonQFan, I was lucky enough to see this in Berlin - in fact shared a performance with the latter - and will see her next week in Hamburg .) Unlike the Makarova, the narrative is SO clear ... allowing the choreography (of which there is more) to fully glisten. I saw it twice - and knew immediately that wasn't enough. I will be back next March for two more ... and a Haydee Sleeping Beauty sandwiched in between. I would love to see the RB ditch their current production (now over 30 years old) for this - but I know that is not about to happen somehow. Still in all so, SO much to educate and entertain us. So much to shout about. We have indeed been lucky.
  5. I know I read it recently. I wish I could remember where. I read so much for work everything else can get mushed. If I stumble across it again I will let you know. I remember thinking to copy and paste it ... but I go through periods where I lapse in reading the links - and didn't want to overlap. Sorry about that, Mandy.
  6. I've also read Adam Cooper is to be in AMP's Swan Lake at SW when it is revived - yet again - the year after next. It didn't say exactly in which role he would be appearing.
  7. Chase Johnsey's new project: http://www.balletdebarcelona.com/ Wonder if they might hit London at some point?
  8. Interesting to read comments that some felt Ball was rather wan on screen. I was in the House for the majority of the MacMillian (work I fear is a substantive call at this juncture) and found my admiration - as almost always nowadays - ever growing for this fine artist. I had seen one other Ball/Naghdi R&J live this season (obviously I have not seen the relay) and in that Ball's Romeo was much more outwardly animated. Here - i.e., this evening - this prince among dancers gloriously internalised each and every effect for the camera. You might well have thought he actually had rehearsed this same on an actual film set. It was that astute. I don't mean to suggest that we referenced at his call a theatrical diminution during this evening's traffic of the stage. Not at all. If anything you could feel the thoughts possessing his riven charge with even greater enormity - but now they were calibrated entirely through his own specific character's mental frame. It shone out through his piercing headlights. Such was his skill that his focus was ever more closer up. In a way it reminded me of Bernard Pomerance's dictate put into the steely mouth of his 'Elephant Man': 'Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams'. I will be curious to see the media confluence. I'm certain it will be most telling - especially as it has already inspired such a variety of viewer responses.
  9. I would imagine, Jan, that if NB were visiting NYC they would appear at the Joyce given the company size. So, yes, expectations would be different if for no other reason than the great variety of Joyce dance fare. It would - in many respects - be attracting a different audience - somewhat like the difference between the ROH and Sadler's Wells. Certainly too the prices would be different. You would be able to get a seat at the Joyce for $10 (£7.87) considerably cheaper than I assume NB would be allowed to charge for its least expensive seat at, say, the Linbury noting that it is slightly smaller than the Joyce which has a 472 capacity (There is no comparison in terms of sight lines. The Joyce far outstrips the re-newed Linbury in that regard.) At the Met to stand in the furthest reaches costs over $30. It broke my heart that the audiences for Victoria (which I saw a number of times) were so thin - at least on the Sadler's second circle. You can't move some people it seems no matter what ... and that with generally fine reviews.
  10. Perfect. The day BEFORE a ROH general booking!!!
  11. So pleased to see that so many of the American Forum members are sticking up for the values to be found at core in Marston's Jane Eyre. I saw the Copeland/Stearns cast tonight. I really enjoyed the performance, much to my surprise. .... I was not expecting to enjoy this production, particularly given the reviews earlier on this thread. But I saw characters, relationships, structure, and interest, and even would like to see it again. I am especialy impressed when a writer who may have a negative take themselves has the courtesy to confirm that the majority of the audience liked it. Indeed one happily notes that their performance was more full than other ABT fare they had so far attended this season. Surely that hits where it counts. At least it did back in the day when I briefly worked for ABT at the end of the so-called Dance Boom. One BA respondent even notes her family's positive response ( here cut as above to honour BcoF's three sentence limit regulation). I apologize in advance for my very negative reaction, which is that if I never see this theater piece again, it will have already been one too many times. .... On the positive side, my son and his family, who drove all the way down from New Hampshire to see it, loved it a lot. New Hampshire is a LONG drive. So glad it was worthwhile for them. Think too we should remember that one of Ratmansky's early original dramatic pieces for ABT was The Tempest (based, of course, on the Shakespeare.) If I remember correctly it was fairly mauled by the critics and American Forum members alike. Still Ratmansky has deservedly lived to see the glory of many more than one ABT day (now being their Choreographer in Residence). I would love to hear his take on Marston .... and I am fully confident that she can only benefit from this experience which ultimately shall be to the greater good of us all. I would very much hope some of the current negative response does not stop the NBoC taking Victoria (which they co-produced with NB) to NYC. I know there were some on this Board who struggled with it ... but I actually thought that Victoria was a work of even greater stealth than Jane Eyre. The extended PDT in the first act and that heart-rending PDD in the second were both ravishing. Enough said.
  12. I very much enjoyed the performances (seven in total I think) I saw of the SFB while they were here. I agree about the lighting - and there is no question but that the level of the dancing was fine; VERY fine indeed. While certainly I missed Chung, Van Patten and Scheller (who I have long admired be it with NYCB or SFB), the ladies here in the London SFB company had many standouts. I adored Froustey in Snowblind. Those rich eyes have a morse code of their own. A pensive alphabet kept flashing bright in their yearning. Yan Yan Tan left me in wonder at the stealth of her elongated limbs as much as of her much appreciated longevity in no matter what work she appeared. Totally adored Dores Andres - especially when she was matched with the superlative Joseph Walsh - be it in Ratmansky's Symphony No. 9, in Scarlett's Hummingbird or - and most crucially - in Peck's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. I saw the latter work a second time with a new cast during the Saturday afternoon matinee and it was just not the same experience. Far from it. The first cast held the focus so ably forged by by the initial community of the noted whole. The second definitely didn't. It almost struck me as a different work - knowing that, of course, at root it wasn't. The Scarlett was more but not as assured at that matinee as it had been with its first cast. Still it made me wonder if the Peck too might have been different/more focused had the choreographer himself been somewhere in the vicinity - much as Scarlett was. (I know this to be true in the latter's case as I saw him come out of a pass door just before the start of the Hummingbird matinee.) Sasha De Sola is a true spirit of joy and glistened in whatever role she was given which happily was much. Young Wona Park defines potential. I also very much enjoyed Jennifer Stahl (so affectionately ridden in the Marston) and Isabella DeVivo, a force of blissful nature. This Company too is one rich - as is our own Royal Ballet just now - in male adjuncts. (I so admired how male on male partnering at SFB became - or most assuredly has become - a matter of simple Outbound course.) Each of the SFB men were a part of a considerable and certainly notable whole. The aforementioned Joseph Walsh, the ever electrifying Ulrik Birkkjaer and our own (as already noted earlier on) hair-raising Aaron Robison each dazzled in Ratmansky's Chamber Symphony as the very spirit of Shostakovitch. Surely this has to be one of the finest dramatic works created for a senior male dancer in the first quarter of this century. Each man here mentioned honoured it exceptionally. Luke Ingham and Vitor Luiz (who has guested with ENB) both showed themselves masters of the art of partnering. For me there were three outstanding dancers in the younger contingent: the truly remarkable Angelo Greco who managed to hypnotise but never blur in everything he took on; Lonnie Weeks, who is a genius of soulful bounty. His closing solo in Wheeldon's gloriously telling Bound To was so affectionately searing in its compassion so as to render this treatise unforgettable. The audience sat - as a whole - agog at its wallop. Benjamin Freemantle - a new SFB principal not unlike our own tower of ecstacy, Marcelino Sambe - has the capacity to make simple in the viewer's eye a string of steps which are far from being so. Theirs is a test of true brilliance. This was a wonderful gift. Thank you Helgi Tommason (as astute an SFB Artistic Director as he was a NYCB dancer) - and thank you Alistair Spaulding for making this prize possible. It literally broke my heart that the audience for your rich gifts was so undeservedly underpopulated throughout. Perhaps the time for such has passed in London. Educational failures may well have come home to roost. I don't want to actually believe that is true BUT if it IS so it saddens me even more. I want to see that balletic lexicon extended as each of these works - with the exception for me of the Pita - strove to do. That said, I felt - throughout - entirely privileged to have been proffered the luxury to attend this feast of balletic colloquy. The rapturous fruition of its elated intercourse will not only stay in but shall inform my soul for many years to come. That much I know. I certainly will do what I can to pass such memories on.
  13. I have just seen that DanceTabs has given ABT's rendition of Marston's Jane Eyre a two star review. Don't know why - but surprised at that from this publication - while honouring that it is well written and presented as is most of the turnout from this noted source. https://dancetabs.com/2019/06/american-ballet-theatre-jane-eyre-new-york/
  14. And, perhaps, that today Balanchine's own company (NYCB) dance Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide, Nutcracker and two versions of Swan Lake ... Both a full length and Balanchine's one act distillment - ... Amongst other narrative works in addition to those listed above.
  15. I wonder .... Has anyone EVER looked human ... let alone good ... in that Kola wig???? I'm beginning to feel really sorry for these poor chaps. First they have to dance the role of someone who is supposed to be seven (not an easy task) ... and then they are lumbered with that bale of straw on their heads. A challenge indeed - and that's before they dance a step .... and it is, of course, Ashton's magnificent steps that provide everyone joy ... and certainly separate the men from the boys There was no question but that Hay (no pun intended) dazzled!!
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