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jmhopton

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    reading, ballet, dogwalking

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  1. I do agree with your last paragraph JMC. Despite attending and really enjoying four different R and J casts the ballet itself has never been a huge favourite. OK Macmillan might have created down to earth characters and situations that we can easily relate to today but he wasn't the first. Didn't Ninette de Valois choreograph The Rake's Progress? I've never seen it but I understand it was pretty shocking realism wise. Also like some others I think Macmillan concentrates a lot on the pas de deux (which admittedly are usually splendid) but possibly to the detriment of the ballet as a whole as often the corps de ballet don't seem to have nearly as much actual dancing to do as they would in an Ashton ballet. Think how hard the corps work in Sylvia or la Fille and compare the second act of Romeo and Juliet where the street people just seem to be chasing the harlots or the brothel scene in Manon where there isn't a lot of dancing until Lescault arrives. The fact that Ashton seems to think the corps are as important as the principles is just one reason he is my favourite choreographer. Another is he just choreograph great ballets without any agenda about being 'modern' or 'relevant' There are too many others to mention.
  2. I watched the Dowell, Seymour recording on Tuesday before seeing last night's performance and my first reaction was this would be a great role for Vadim and in my opinion it was. I thought he was terrific, a beautifully nuanced performance and Laura Cuthbertson was splendid too as Natalie as was David Yudes as Kolia. However I think the main star of the show was Frederick Ashton. I am constantly in awe of how this man can take a complicated story and distill it into the most beautiful one act ballet that can be followed so easily without needing involved programme notes : sheer genius! After Month in the Country Symphony in C made the perfect finish to a wonderful evening. The casting and dancing were truly awesome. It's a while since I'd seen it and I forgot how much it fizzed along. Looking forward to seeing it all again tonight though am still very cross it wasn't filmed. Such fabulous performances should be captured for ever.
  3. I thought that Juliet always thought Romeo was alive when she first saw him and it was only after she kissed him she realised he was dead. She touches her mouth to indicate she's detected the taste of the poison and I think last night Yasmine picked up the bottle. I was watching from Preston odeon last night and I thought the performance really terrific far better than when I saw it at the ROH. I think the close ups made all the difference and both main performers truly outstanding as were the entire cast. They are all an amazing advert for British artistic excellence and long may they continue to be so.
  4. I bought a last minute ticket for the the celebration and I'm so glad I did. Haven't been so impressed with a ballet celebration since the 50th anniversary of sleeping beauty in 1996 and that was just a straightforward performance albeit with very special touches to make it totally memorable even now. I thought this gala was very well planned with a great mixture of known and not so well known pieces. There were very few mistakes given the very crowded rehearsal time the dancers must have at the moment and at a time when they might be expected to be winding down a little. I thought the whole event showcased the entire company splendidly from the lead principles to the artists and apprentices. My main disappointment (like several other people) is that it wasn't filmed for others to enjoy but perhaps there might be hopes for one of the Japanese galas to be filmed. My other plea is for more unusual Ashton to be more regularly performed, even if it's in the Linbury rather than the main house. Once the likes of Christopher Carr, Monica Mason, Lesley Collier and Anthony Dowell are no longer teaching who will be able to restore these almost lost masterpieces? Anyway a fabulous evening. Everyone was so good it seems unfair to select individual performances but Francesca Haywards WAS Fonteyn in Ondine. She was incredible and made me want to go and watch the dvd immediately. Also Vadim Muntagirov was Nureyev. His first variation in particular was the most awesome I've ever seen and I've seen Ruzimatov in the nineties and Vasiliev from 2007 onwards. He leapt so high and so far twisting in the middle you got the same feeling of danger you must have got from seeing Nureyev. It seemed incredible he landed safely without injuring himself or crashing into the backdrop such was his commitment to his illustrious predecessor. To follow that with Apparitions seemed rather strange though it enabled many of the company to be onstage but when that was followed by the film of Salute D'Amour it made perfect sense and yet another example of Kevin O'Hares excellent planning and attention to detail. Bravo everyone for a perfect evening but please don't let us wait another hundred years for a similar celebration.
  5. I was at the stage door last Saturday after the Naghdi Ball matinee and saw Yasmine, Marcellino and Zuccetti and they all seemed fine then. I hope it's nothing serious and they will be fit soon both from their point of view and my own as I'm attending three performances of the triple bill the second week.
  6. I Sunday 2nd June Sky Arts are showing Ivan the terrible at 6am 2pm Mata Hari. New showing for them. 12.30 am Nureyev repeat Tues 4th June 6am Mata Hari repeat.
  7. I too really enjoyed the Hayward/Corrales performance last Saturday evening. I thought they were a great match and would like to see more of them. I knew Francesca would be fabulous and heartbreaking as the role seemed to be designed for her. Corrales I wasn't so sure about at the start (I haven't seen him before) but warmed to him a lot more as the evening wore on. I thought they formed a terrific partnership; he very young and hot-headed, she more mature (once in love) but very passionate. The moment when they first set eyes on each other in the ballroom was truly electric and then afterwards they just couldn't keep their eyes off each other even when dancing with other people. She got a good laugh when she did a beautiful 'I've got a headache gesture' when Paris asked her to go with him and then it was all systems blazing when Romeo reappeared. Sambe was an incredible Mercutio; possibly the best I've ever seen and with James Hay's Benvolio they made a very 'laddish' trio. it was good to see James in something different; he doesn't seem to have had many chances since being promoted to first soloist whereas Reece Clark who wasn't promoted, has had several major 3 act roles. However, I think my favourite Benvolio is Teo Dubreuil . I think he is a terrific and very personable young dancer and I hope he is promoted. To return to Saturday night, Coralles really let rip in the swordfight against Tybalt. I've never seen such fury and passion unleashed.I'm not surprised that on the first night he knocked the sword out of Matthew's hand! I don't know how Matthew managed to hold onto it on Saturday without damaging his wrist. Matthew was an absolutely incredible Tybalt; definately the best I've ever seen. his acting has come on so much. he played Tybalt not so much as an angry young man as a very entitled, arrogant 'public school' young man used to being obeyed and getting his own way. I thought a lot about the Bullingdon Club that David Cameron and Boris Johnson were members of at Oxford and thought that would have been just up this particular Tybalt's street. I hope he will be filmed in the role sometime in the future as to me his is the definitive performance. Someone described the entire performance as the Agony and the Ecstasy' and that's what it was. there were no half measures. At the wedding scene it was so emotional as neither could keep their eyes off the other and the moment of parting was heartbeaking with Coralles physically pulling and then snatching Francesca back to him for just one more kiss. The last act scene with Paris was heartbreaking too with Gary Avis (who's also obviously not used to being defied and by a slip of a girl at that) thinking he could get his own way by 'shouting' and getting angry (in fairness it's probably worked in the past!) Francesca was brilliant; totally distraught yet determined not to yield. When she does finally go to Paris she is so obviously hating it and Paris you wonder how anyone could be fooled by her 'agreement'. I was in tears by the time it got to her decision to take the poison though I always wonder why she took it so far from the bed and then had to practically to crawl there. The final scene was as heartrending as it usually is so all in all a very emotional night!
  8. The Nureyev doc is on Tuesday evening from 10.15-12.25am so quite a long one. This striking and moving documentary from BAFTA nominated directors Jacqui and David Morris traces the extraordinary life of Rudolf Nureyev. From his birth in the 5th class carriage of a trans-Siberian train, to his dramatic leap to freedom in the West at the height of the Cold War, and unprecedented adulation as the most famous dancer in the world. The film highlights Nureyev's unlikely yet legendary partnership with Margot Fonteyn and charts his meteoric rise to the status of global cultural phenomenon. Nureyev's life plays out like the sweeping plot of a classic Russian novel. His story is Russia's story. Blending never-before-seen footage, with an original score by award-winning composer Alex Baranowski and spellbinding newly choreographed dance tableaux directed by Royal Ballet alumnus, Russell Maliphant, Nureyev is a theatrical and cinematic experience like no other. This is a portrayal as unique as the man himself. There will never be another Nureyev. It follows another in the Akram Khan series at 9pm Why do we Dance, focusing on the tango. The Bolshoi Spartacus starring Carlos is repeated Thursday 30th May at the more usual SkyArts ballet time of 6.35am. Odyssey is definately right. SkyArts are showing a lot more ballet and opera than they used to. They've shown more in the last few weeks than they've shown in about the last 6 months.Long may it continue though it's a pity the BBC can't make more of a effort. I suppose it's too much to hope for that one of the reasons the Fonteyn programme is being kept secret is because it's being filmed? That's probably just wishful thinking but hers is the only ballerinas name (apart from Darcey Bussell) that most people not interested in ballet will know. It would at least partly compensate for the very lukewarm ROH 'celebrations' of our only prima ballerina assoluta.
  9. I'm sure it's been posted elsewhere but I just thought I'd post this link to the ROH 2019/20 cinema offerings. https://www.roh.org.uk/tickets-and-events/all?event-type=cinema-broadcasts,bp-big-screens The RB cinema broadcasts are:- Concerto, Enigma Variations/Raymonda Act 3 5th November Coppelia 10th December Sleeping Beauty 16th January New Marston/New Scarlett 25th February Swan Lake 1st April The Dante Project 28th May Additionally, not mentioned here, during last weeks triple cinema broadcast Kevin O'Hare said there would be a Christmas cinema screening of the 2016 Nutcracker. This prompted me to wonder why more past broadcasts weren't screened as the Bolshoi do. It would make sense if people hadn't seen them for a while. Also I wonder if we can get an inkling of screen casting as a photo of Naghdi/Ball was used for the Sleeping Beauty and Takada in Swan Lake. or is that just coincidence?
  10. I saw this triple bill at the cinema and it would be tempting (though rather frivolous) to say that the bit I enjoyed most was seeing Vadim warm up behind the curtain before the performance. He seemed to be doing a very energetic series of turns and possibly leaps though it was difficult to see as Ore and Darcey kept getting in the way! Personally I would be quite happy to see an entire night of Vadim doing anything like this (he even makes standing still interesting, and possibly even 'relevant'). Perhaps Liam Scarlett could devise a suitable programme. After that the official programme was slightly anti-climactic and panned out much as I thought it would. I quite enjoyed Within the Golden Hour, which, as expected, was my favourite of the three. I agree with Dawnstar that I found it similar to Asphodel Meadows and while it was very pleasant it didn't personally engage me. Perhaps I need to see it again. However, the dancing was wonderful and an unexpected treat to have my first glimpse of Hayward before the Romeo and Juliet performance I've booked next Saturday. Medusa, well.... Found it rather tedious and pretentious and kept wondering when it was going to end. No doubting the commitment of the dancers, especially Osipova who was terrific; just a pity they hadn't something more worthy to commit to. Flight Pattern didn't do much for me either. The best bits were seeing Joseph Sissens; even in a small role he shone through as did Kristen McNally. Good to see her in a recognisable rather than character role. Great to meet up with Jamesrhblack in the little Rye Kino cinema which was about half full. Like many others I find the high rate of injuries very concerning both from an audience but more importantly the dancers point of view. I increasingly wonder about the decision to front load the next season with so many full length ballets, especially with so many performances. However, the problem might be more to do with the constant switching from classical to modern this season so perhaps next seasons decision to separate them more and have a classical first half of the season and a more modern spring and autumn might be better. Autumn is all classical, Winter; the only 'modern' ballets are the Marston/Scarlett double bill and they tend to be classically oriented choreographers anyway. The main modern programmes are in spring and summer with only the Tombeaux triple classical in the summer and the Heritage Linbury programme in May. Time will tell whether this works better from an injury point of view. Incidentally, I've saved the 2019-20 seasons calendar http://www.roh.org.uk/seasons/2019-20 on my toolbar as an invaluable booking and information aid and cannot understand why Onegin (and La Traviata) are part of both the autumn and winter season. How can they be both and how do you manage for booking? As Onegin doesn't start until January how can it be part of the autumn season? The autumn season is going to be expensive enough without adding Onegin to it!
  11. Apologies for being a bit late posting this but I see SkyArts are showing the 2017 Ashton triple The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand (Yanovsky's farewell performance) today at 12.45pm. I know it's been available on dvd for a while but it's 'New' to SkyArts so presumably hasn't been shown there before. It is followed by a programme called Why Do We Dance? 3pm to 4.15 (no details given) The latter may be part of a series as there is another programme of the same name on Tuesday 21st May at 9pm; this one headed New, and presented by Akram Khan who 'examines how dance is often used to feel a sense of unity and to find solace and refuge'.
  12. I've been waiting for the single word Onegin in the Royal ballet seasonal announcement for what seems like forever and it's here at last! Christmas has come early! That said I'm still disappointed at no cinema broadcast. I didn't really expect one because of the control Reid Anderson exerts over the ballet but it seems such a shame when you imagine all the fabulous potential RB performances of it there will be. Still the main thing is it isn't vanishing from the RB rep and will hopefully be performed by them for many years to come. As regards the rest of the programme I am rather underwhelmed. Though I thought the same a couple of years back and still enjoyed some fabulous performances of ballets I wasn't initially bothered about seeing but saw some stunning debut performances. No doubt it will be the same this year. Like many others hugely disappointed at the lack of Ashton. Difficult to understand as his ballets sell so well, unlike more modern triples. The current modern bill was showing many unsold seats until recently and I don't know how many of the expensive sold ones are student reductions. They wouldn't have this problem with Ashton. Also re programming apart from Sleeping beauty, Swan Lake and Coppelia there doesn't seem many ballets where you can see 2 ballets for one overnight stay, something important for us non Londoners. It makes all the difference to see more than one ballet for your hotel visit though of course casting is important too. Finally I was very disappointed no mention was made of Margot Fonteyn in any of the briefings. I'd hoped they would repeat and film Sylvia as a belated tribute but not to be. I think it is disgraceful that our only prima ballerina assoluta is treated so shabbily as just to have a seemingly unplanned gala as her only tribute. Has the programme even been announced yet?
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