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About jmhopton

  • Birthday June 22

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  • Location:
    North West England
  • Interests
    reading, ballet, dogwalking

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  1. Lovely pics DonQfan and fully agree with everything you said about the Osipova/Vasiliev performances being really special and benchmarks for the role. The first time they danced it together over here was at the Coliseum in (I think) 2007. They then did future shows in 2010 or 11 at the ROH of both Don Q and Flames of Paris and brought the house down every time. Amazing performances that I consider myself very privileged to have seen and will treasure as a standard of excellence for ever. That said, they might have contributed to my finding this year's Bolshoi performances on the whole lacking in the excitement of previous visits. I've always been a huge fan of the Russian Companies. Indeed it was seeing the Kirov (as they were then) in 1990 in Manchester and then the following week in Birmingham that directly led to my current love of ballet. For me the Kirov ruled supreme during the 1990s courtesy of the regular Hochauser visits and stars of the calibre of Konstantin Zaklinsky, Alytynai Asylnuratova, Faroukh Ruzimatov and Igor Zelensky. Through them I was introduced to ballets I'd barely heard of such as La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Fountain of Bakhchisarai and many of the Diaghilev ballets courtesy of their Ballet Russes seasons. Later in 1999 the Bolshoi gave their first season for a while and we saw a bolder, more masculine style of dance and dancers such as Nina Ananiashvilli, Sergei Filin and Svetlana Lunkina and ballets such as Spartacus, Bright Stream, Pharoah's daughter and Flames of Paris. As the Mariinsky rather seemed to wane the Bolshoi got stronger under the amazing directorship of Ratmansky and his newly choreographed ballets and amazing stars such as Osipova and Vasiliev. However, I've found the last couple or so visits by the 'Big Two' Russian Companies have failed to excite me they way they used to do. Whether this is because of my increasing attachment to the UK Ballet Companies, especially the Royal Ballet and because I have come to appreciate a more subtle style of dance, coupled with more complex, psychological plots and need for acting abilities not just technique - I don't know. By comparison with the Royal Ballet in particular (as unfortunately I haven't seen nearly as much of BRB, ENB and Northern Ballet as I would have liked) the Russian Companies' rep. seems very narrow and lacking in emotional depth (or at least that's what we get to see) When I think of all the fine performances I've seen by the Royal Ballet over the last year; Winter Dreams, Month in the Country, Romeo and Juliet, Mayerling, the Medusa triple, Two Pigeons, etc., Spartacus and Swan Lake seem very narrow by comparison. I know you can't judge a Company's rep by what we see here, and obviously they only bring ballets they think will sell well as the season is such a huge capital outlay, but they do usually bring 5 different programmes for the 3 weeks; 4 with half a week each and Swan Lake which has 2 half weeks. This time we only really got 2 and a half ballets with Bright Stream (their most interesting offering) only getting 2 performances. My husband and I did enjoy seeing both performances of Bright Stream again as we haven't seen it for a while though the original cast of Filin and Alexandrova as the Ballerina and Ballet dancer are hard to beat as was Gennady Yanin's incomparable accordion player. However I'm afraid neither of us were really impressed by either of the Don Qs we saw on Friday and Saturday evening. Perhaps we were thinking back to Osipova/Vasiliev; also the last RB Don Q we saw only a few months ago was Osipova/Muntagirov which was almost equally special. So the bar was set high for the Bolshoi and for us they just didn't measure up to it. At the first interval on Friday Terry looked at me and said 'I'm underwelmed'. On the Saturday he said 'I'm even more underwelmed'. This more or less summed up what I'd thought too and being underwelmed didn't come cheap as it cost us hundreds of pounds for tickets, rail fares and hotel accommodation. I was particularly disappointed in Krysanova as I thought she would really 'nail' Kitri. But her first entry and solo, which for me really sets the tone for the evening seemed rather half-hearted and lacklustre. The jumps weren't really high, the back bends (where she arches her back in full jump) weren't that accentuated; it just seemed lacking in sparkle and panache though it did get better as she went on and her fouettes were excellent. Motta Soares was OK and seemed pleasant personality wise but I didn't think his performance currently had the the 'wow factor' necessary for Don Q. In his solo he did attempt the Vasiliev move where he jumps, turns and sort of hangs in the air but they didn't have Vasiliev's height and polish. However, it may come. On Saturday night Rodkin couldn't even manage the one-handed lifts (he had to use two) and I don't know if he forgot his handkerchief for the 'death scene' but it wasn't in evidence. The death scene itself seemed rather rushed and didn't get the laughs it usually does. He did attempt the Vasiliev 'scissor jumps' in his solo though not as successfully as Vasiliev. Also the introduced dance in the tavern scene (itself not nearly as good as Acosta's) with the 3 men and a lady seemed completely out of place and from another ballet (which it was as it was very similar to the one Ratmansky did for Flames of Paris). However, the Don Q one wasn't nearly as well choreographed. In fact the only time either evening I got the 'wow factor' and my heart started racing and I got really excited was when Anna Tikhomiromova danced the first variation. As this lasted all of two minutes it's a bit of a reflection on how I viewed the rest of the ballet! As DonQfan said 'why wasn't she given the chance to dance Kitri?' Why hasn't she been promoted in the Company? She is still only a First Soloist which is below their Leading Soloist. Presumably this is where she was when the Bolshoi came in 2016. She doesn't seem to be getting the recognition and parts she deserves. In fact she seemed to have smaller parts this time than in 2016 though as I didn't see any Spartacus' or Swan Lakes that is only a guess on my part. I missed her street dancer in Don Q which seemed to be the only sizeable part she had in either Bright Stream or Don Q. So apart from quite enjoying Bright Stream this visit didn't do much for us personally though obviously it's only our opinion. I know many others felt differently. I do feel the big Russian Companies might be trading a bit on their name and 'brand' though perhaps it's just my tastes have changed over time. Anyway, spent hugely on the Royal Ballet's new season and am really looking forward to seeing great performances and debuts which hopefully will not disappoint.
  2. My favourite Giselle production is one Northern Ballet did in 1990. I don't know if it is the same one Janet referred to but the second act was wonderfully creepy with a fabulous gothic set, very Casper David Friedrich. The Willis had quite long, clinging dresses and looked very vampirish. I remember seeing the Kirov's version in Manchester several months later and thinking it wasn't a patch on Northern Ballets!
  3. I certainly agree about Morera being underused for both cinema performances and also performances in general. I believe she was scheduled to do the cinema broadcast of Two Pigeons but was replaced by Fumi Kaneko because she was injured. I was more annoyed that her and Bonelli's Mayerling wasn't filmed as they were superb in the roles and may never dance them again.
  4. I thought it a bit misleading that the cinema publicity did have Naghdi/Ball in the photo of the Sleeping Beauty. Perhaps Kevin O'hare originally intended their cast to be filmed and then changed his mind for some reason. As Aurora is supposed to be a teenager it would seem to make sense to film this casting or even the Hayward/Campbell cast which I thought sublime when I was lucky enough to see their one performance when it was done previously. Incidentally I haven't seen any publicity in the Odeon cinema listing for the RB Nutcracker. I don't see why they should not screen it when Nutcracker is so popular and I'm sure most people attending will not know or care whether it is a repeat. Also they don't seem to have a problem with screening Bolshoi repeats. Are any other cinemas showing it? I couldn't see it mentioned at Vue either which is my other local cinema.
  5. Yes my original was a PDF but as I had such a bother to transfer it to the Forum I changed it to a Word doc but still had bother so that's why I just ended up copying it in full. How did you do it JNC? My technical skills aren't that great! Like you JNC I don't know why it can't be easily available on the wonderful new website. I tried again searching for it several times under every permutation I can think of and still can't find it. So I emailed them again to thank them for getting back to me so promptly and for the information but asking for a URL so I can access it every season without having to email but I haven't heard back yet. I'll keep you posted!
  6. I tried repeatedly to do this using the 'choose files' option as I have done before but for some reason it didn't come up in my documents list when I searched from the forum even though it did seem to be there. I also tried the paperclip option but didn't really know how it worked; how to drag a document file from my hard drive to the Forum.
  7. Tried and failed to get the very accessible winter casting format put out by the Royal Ballet for the autumn period so I emailed the website customer services (website.customerservices.roh.org.uk if anyone wants it) and they very helpfully sent it to me as an attachment. Tried for an hour to copy it here as an attachment and failed (they sent it as a read-only document and a pdf which I had to change to Word) so here is the complete thing. Moderators please remove it if it is too space consuming or feel free to re-format it. I've printed it off for myself. it's great for booking even though I haven't fully booked for autumn yet! Casting for Royal Ballet performances 18 January – 16 May 2020 MAIN STAGE Onegin Choreography John Cranko Music Kurt-Heinz Stolze after Pyotr Il’yich Tchiakovsky Generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet (Production Principal), Sir Lloyd and Lady Dorfman, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson, the Paul Ferguson Memorial Fund, Peter Lloyd, the Friends of Covent Garden and the American Friends of Covent Garden Saturday 18 January at 1.30pm Cuthbertson*, Soares#, Hinkis, Donnelly*, Mock* (Tatiana, Onegin, Olga, Lensky, Prince Gremin) Saturday 18 January at 7pm Osipova, Muntagirov*, Hayward*, Ball, Avis Tuesday 21 January at 7.30pm Nuñez, Hirano*, Takada, Edmonds, Clarke* Friday 24 January at 7.30pm Naghdi*, Bonelli, O’Sullivan*, Sissens*, Gartside Friday 7 February at 7.30pm Osipova, Muntagirov, Hayward, Ball, Avis Saturday 8 February at 7.30pm Nuñez, Hirano, Takada, Edmonds, Clarke Wednesday 12 February at 7.30pm Osipova, Muntagirov, Hayward, Ball, Avis Friday 21 February at 7.30pm Naghdi, Bonelli, O’Sullivan, Sissens, Gartside Saturday 22 February at 7pm Cuthbertson, Soares, Hinkis, Donnelly, Mock Monday 24 February at 7.30pm Naghdi, Bonelli, O’Sullivan, Sissens, Gartside Thursday 27 February at 7.30pm Nuñez, Hirano, Takada, Edmonds, Clarke Saturday 29 February at 7.30pm Cuthbertson, Soares, Hinkis, Donnelly, Mock *Role debut with The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House #Guest artist /continued MAIN STAGE New Cathy Marston New Liam Scarlett Choreography Cathy Marston | Music Philip Feeney Choreography Liam Scarlett Generous philanthropic support from The Taylor Family Foundation New Cathy Marston – Generous philanthropic support from Sue Butcher and the Young Philanthropists New Liam Scarlett – Generous philanthropic support from Victoria Robey ꢀꢁꢂ and Rachael Stearns Liam Scarlett’s role as Artist in Residence is generously supported by Ricki Gail and Robert Conway Monday 17 February at 7.30pm New Cathy Marston: Cuthbertson*, Ball*, Richardson* New Liam Scarlett: Nuñez*, Morera*, McRae*, Bracewell* Tuesday 18 February at 7.30pm New Cathy Marston: Cuthbertson, Ball, Richardson New Liam Scarlett: Nuñez, Morera, McRae, Bracewell Tuesday 25 February at 7.30pm† New Cathy Marston: Cuthbertson, Ball, Richardson New Liam Scarlett: Nuñez, Morera, McRae, Bracewell Friday 28 February at 7.30pm New Cathy Marston: Stix-Brunell*, Corrales*, Sambé* New Liam Scarlett: tba Monday 2 March at 7.30pm New Cathy Marston: Cuthbertson, Ball, Richardson New Liam Scarlett: Nuñez, Morera, McRae, Bracewell Wednesday 4 March at 7.30pm New Cathy Marston: Stix-Brunell, Corrales, Sambé New Liam Scarlett: tba *Role debut with The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House †Live cinema relay /continued MAIN STAGE Swan Lake Choreography Liam Scarlett after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov Music Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky Thursday 5 March at 7pm Nuñez, Muntagirov (Odette/Odile, Prince Siegfried) Friday 6 March at 12 noon Takada, McRae Tuesday 10 March at 7.30pm Takada, McRae Wednesday 11 March at 7.30pm Osipova, Hallberg*# Thursday 12 March at 7.30pm Nuñez, Muntagirov Wednesday 18 March at 7.30pm Osipova, Hallberg Friday 20 March at 7.30pm Takada, McRae Sunday 22 March at 4pm Cuthbertson, Bracewell Wednesday 25th March at 7.30pm Osipova, Hallberg Thursday 26th March at 7.30pm Cuthbertson, Bracewell Saturday 28 March at 7.30pm Hayward*, Corrales* Tuesday 31 March at 7.30pm Lamb, Hirano Wednesday 1 April at 7.30pm† Cuthbertson, Bracewell Wednesday 8 April at 7.30pm Hayward, Corrales Monday 13 April at 1.30pm Lamb, Hirano Monday 13 April at 7.30pm Kaneko, Bonelli Wednesday 15 April at 7.30pm Magri*, Sambé* Wednesday 22 April at 7.30pm Lamb, Hirano Tuesday 28 April at 7.30pm Naghdi, Ball Friday 1 May at 7.30pm Nuñez, Muntagirov Saturday 9 May at 7.30pm Naghdi, Ball Saturday 16 May at 1.30pm Naghdi, Ball Saturday 16 May at 7.30pm Nuñez, Muntagirov *Role debut with The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House #Principal guest artist †Live cinema relay The Royal Ballet Winter Ballet Casting 2020 (2).docx
  8. Yes I tried booking a package today. I wanted the total ballet package as that gives the best discount and for the first time ever I want to attend all the ballets in a season. I've got used to stalls circle recently and hoped the discount would offset the fact that the cheaper bench stalls circle seats weren't on offer. However one look at the prices for Sleeping Beauty and Manon had me rapidly switching to the amphi package! I just booked one package with three seats on front row of the amphi and hope I can pick up some of the cheaper stalls circle tickets when public booking opens next week.
  9. When I first saw the Onegin castings I just saw Osipova/Muntagirov/Hayward/Ball and then Naghdi/Bonelli/Hayward/Sissens and I thought WOW what fabulous casting (especially seeing Joseph Sissens in a really great role; it was terrible he wasn't made soloist). Then I looked a bit further and also the Swan lake casts and thought 'Where is Campbell'? Why isn't he being given a leading role in at least one of the major winter ballets? Ball would be good as Onegin too though I understand there are so many great RB dancers it is difficult to give everyone the roles and chances they deserve. Also Sambe doesn't feature too much or Bracewell or Reece Clark or James Hay. Pity Hayward isn't being given a chance of Tatiana. When The RB first acquired Onegin Alina danced both Olga and Tatiana. It would be good if that flexibility could be applied to some of the Winter casts and even the autumn ones. I would love to see Vadim in Enigma variations; possibly more than Raymonda. I do think he will be terrific in Onegin; can't wait.
  10. Haven't seen anything balletwise in next weeks Radio Times but they did publish my third ballet letter to them in which I praised the recent ballets shown on SkyArts and said it was a pity ballet and opera was not better represented on terrestrial tv especially as the BBC Director General was the previous Chief Executive of the ROH. The letter is headed Heavenly Footwork (their heading not mine!) and is rather tucked away at the bottom of the third feedback page.
  11. I was accessing it from my computer. Come to think of it it's happened several times from there. I've just tried accessing it now from my iPhone and the link worked fine so it I'll access links from my phone from now on.
  12. Thanks very much for posting this MJW as I couldn't read it on the Links without subscribing.
  13. Fabulous video clips and it makes me wish the Bolshoi had brought it this time to alternate with all those Spartacus'. It also makes me wish we could see it again with the RB. Think of all those debuts ; Hayward /Campbell, O'Sullivan/Sambe, Naghdi /Ball, not to mention Vadim.
  14. Yes sorry about this. I forgot to mention it is a POB production. Interesting to see how it compares to Ashton's The Dream. I've always tended to prefer the latter shorter version as it just seems so much more magical somehow but will be interested to see a longer version.
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