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jmhopton

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  1. In an article in this month's dancing Times Vasiliv says he would like to dance Mayerling. However, given the tricky nature of the role with all those pas de deux with different females (is it 6 pas de deux with 5 females?) I would have thought he'd have to commit more to a company as it's not the sort of role you can jet into a company and learn quickly. You would need intimate knowledge of all your partners and that takes time. Much as I would like to see him perform this role I think to expand his repertoire generally there will come a time when he will need to commit more to an individual company. I'm sure most companies will be glad to accommodate his need to guest with other companies just to have him on board.
  2. I too had Onegin on my wish list as I think it is a marvellous vehicle for dramatic dancing for Osipova and any other Royal principals. I'm also intrigued as to how they will cast the male roles. I can see Matthew Golding as Onegin but what about Vadim? He is quite tall so would make a good Onegin but will those casting think him too young? If so he will make quite a tall Lensky who traditionally seems to be shorter than Onegin. Also, will Steven MacRae get the chance to play Onegin? What about Edward Watson? I don't know why he has been overlooked for the role given his success in Mayerling. Fille is another wonderful ballet I would like to see again. Interestingly the Mikhailovsky have just aquired it. I think it premiers either the end of this month or the beginning of next. It will be interesting to see what the Russians make of Ashton's humour especially as it didn't seem to last too long in the Bolshoi's rep. What about Graduation Ball? I can't remember the last time I saw that performed live. I have a very old recording of Festival Ballet performing it with Sanguine Fan; another great dramatic ballet that never seems to be performed. An Ashton triple with Patineurs sandwiched between A Month in the Country and Enigma Variations would be good. I find the trouble with Royal Triples is that there is usually one ballet I'm not interested in and it's usually in the middle. The Concert and the Dream is a good case in point. I'd like to see both but am not bothered about the other ballet. When you travel 200 miles and have to spend on travel and accommodation these things matter. I've been re-watching the Ballet Russes doc and am struck with all the wonderful dramatic ballets that Massine created and seldom seem to be performed today. Even the well-known ones like Tricorne, Train Bleu and Gaite Parisienne. Let's see some fun, dramatic ballets that are so little performed it will be like seeing new ballets.
  3. I have emailed the Radio Times, expressing my enthusiasm for the series and hoping for more actual ballet on the BBC; perhaps more archive performances given the extent of their archive. if anyone want to email the address is feedback@radiotimes.com . If you want your comment to be (possibly) included in the letters in the Radio Times you will need to add your name and address and a daytime phone number. I think it's important for as many people as possible to express their support for this series as it's not going to lead any tv ratings which is how programmes tend to be judged these days. So if people don't contact them to express their enthusiasm they may not make any more. Here is a copy of my letter Bravo BBC! As a ballet enthusiast I would like to congratulate the BBC on their ballet documentary season which was both interesting and informative. For me the highlight was the recently discovered Margot Fonteyn Sleeping Beauty. it was amazing to see this woman who was probably at least twice the official age of the young Aurora become a teenage girl just by her personality and beautiful dancing and the way her smile lit up the stage. I wonder how many other treasures remain hidden in the BBC archive that we never are allowed to see. At one time there was talk of digitising the BBC collection for everyone to access. Has this idea now been shelved? it would be wonderful to access more of these forgotten performances. There is also a fascinating article about the Royal Ballet's cinema broadcasts in this weeks Radio Times in which a spokeman for the Royal Opera House says they would love to broaden out their live broadcasts to television and I'm sure many arts enthusiasts (who for too long have thought of themselves as practically an endangered species) would really appreciate this idea. In the Second World War the Royal Ballet brought ballet to the masses; to thousands who previously had never even thought about attending a performance. It would be wonderful if the BBC could perform a similar service for ballet today. Though I said my highlight was Fonteyn as it fitted in with what I wanted to see about seeing BBC archive performances I too was very impressed with the Tamara doc which I thought the most interesting and informative ballet doc since the 1991 doc about Irek's first year with the Royal Ballet. She is such an informed and passionate speaker it would be great if she could host a series of ballet docs or masterclasses but I suppose that is just a daydream. However, to revert to the BBC archive I was watching the repeat of the Tony Palmer doc about Margot Fonteyn shown this week on Artsworld and there were several clips of a colour Sleeping Beauty featuring Margot which looked wonderful. Surely they wouldn't have filmed just bits and I don't recall a colour Sleeping Beauty of Margot being released on video so maybe that is a treasure possibly in a BBC archive somewhere waiting to be 'awoken'. SkyArts 2 are also showing the Ashton programme featuring Polunin in Marguerite and Armand that was shown at the cinema and I think has been released on dvd. It is this Friday at 8pm; repeated at 3.30am on Saturday.
  4. I really enjoyed the 5 performances I've seen of ENB's Corsaire though I still prefer the Kirov version. The orchestration is is so much better; that wonderful overture with the shipwreck. Also the characterisation. It seems more plausible to me to have Gulnara as a slightly flirty character but Medora more serious and appalled at the idea of being sold to the Pasha. Everytime I see it I always think of Altyna's huge, horrified eyes when the veil is removed. I adore the Kirov's huge fountains in the garden scene. Corsaire without fountains just doesn't seem right. I also prefer them all sailing into the sunset together at the end without 2 of them dying! Having said that I think ENBs version is great and the sets and costumes are far superior to the ABT version which I watched on dvd to compare the 2. ABT's pirates were just dressed as Turks which is probably geographically accurate but still didn't make them look very piratical as opposed to ENB's very swashbuckling pirates. Also the captured girls were very drab unlike the ENB's almost blinding colours. Finally the Pasha didn't have any bling at all and was very anonymous! The only thing I preferred from the ABT version over ENB was that they had the pirates dance started with Birbanto firing a couple of pistols which the Kirov have also. I love this dance and I suppose the decision was taken to omit it because of keeping to the 2 and a half hour finishing slot. I can understand this but I wished they'd omitted something else as the pirate's dance is one of my favourites. I like the way Anna Marie Holmes has increased the male roles, especially Conrad and Birbanto. Conrad was the weak spot in the Kirov's version. He could have done with a bit more to do. I was very impressed with all the male dancing I've seen at ENB. Fernando Bufala especially took my eye as Birbanto. Saw him twice in the role and wished I could have seen him in others as I found him very charismatic on stage as well as an excellent dancer. Like Don Q fan I thought Yonah was excellent as Conrad. Vadim too was wonderful and I'm really looking forward to seeing him at the ROH. I did see several dancers at the stage door after the Saturday matinee and they were very pleasant and friendly. I asked Dmitri Gruzdev when we could expect to see the dvd and he said he had forgotten about it! But this does sound as if it exists. I attended the matinee at the Coliseum when it was filmed and several people were talking about it then though I didn't see any filming myself. It is a shame in a way ENB are going on to do Swan Lake and Coppelia, neither really known for their male roles. I see they are doing Ronald Hynes' Coppelia. I wonder if they have considered doing his Merry Widow ballet sometime in the future? A friend said she remembers them doing it in the 1980s, presumably when theey were still Festival Ballet. it is a wonderful, colourful ballet with some great dancing and character roles and I've never seen it performed live; only the Canadian video and Australian dvd. Both are excellent but I'd love to see it perfomed live.
  5. Have had a full ENB day as attended the class and rehearsal this morning and matinee and evening performance. I don't know how the dancers do it. I was exhausted at 10pm just by watching them! Will comment later on their performances but just wanted to say Vadim took a special bow at the end and all the cast applauded him. A nice touch I thought. Joan
  6. I too was completely blown away by last night's performance. It was so special it is difficult to find mere words to express the brilliance of Natalia's performance in particular. I think it was the most moving performance I have seen in my 30 years of ballet going and made very special by the wonderful cinema relay. Like Terpsicore I too attended her performance on the 18th but I found the relay enhances not detracts from the actual performance as you can get wonderful close-ups of the dancer's expressions and see nuances of acting not visible from the amphitheatre. Yes, some of the camera angles weren't perfect, especially in the first act; (they nearly missed what Carlos did to the flower) and several times the close-ups were timed when you really needed to see the wider picture of what was going on, but the second act was just sublime. You really believed Natalia was a spirit so light and airy were her leaps, so wonderfully placed were her arm movements and so incredible was her acting. Every emotion was clearly visible in her expressive face; you really suffered with her. Can't wait for the dvd but I really want to see it at the cinema again on the big screen. I hope it's encored. It deserves to be shown every night! Interestingly my Preston Odeon was virtually sold out; something I've never seen before and I'm intrigued to know why. Was it to see Carlos? Have people read the reviews? it's brilliant to know there are ballet lovers over 200 miles from London who can enjoy such an amazing performance. Thank you ROH for making it possible; just encore it soon, please. Joan
  7. Am pleased Golden Age seems to have been replaced by Marco Spada which I've never seen live; only the dvd with Nureyev. (Having seen the video of Gediminas Taranda in Golden Age can't imagine anyone else in the role). However, the date it is being broadcast (30th March) I will be away in Rye, East Sussex on the south coast. Can anyone tell me of a cinema within easy reach that will be showing it? There is an Odeon at Hastings but they are not down to show it yet (though I know that can change). The nearest Odeon showing it seems to be Tunbridge Wells but I wondered if there were any independent cinemas in the area that may be showing it. Many thanks Joan
  8. I too was at the Sunday matinee and thought everyone was splendid and seemed to be enjoying themselves hugely. The dancing is certainly of a very high standard and the Royal may envy ENB the very high standard of dancing seen by all the male soloists. Can't wait to see it again in Manchester. I love the sets and costumes but as a production I do think the Kirov's is unbeatable. From the very loud opening gong (or is it symbols) and racy overture and wonderful shipwreck scene you know you're going to be in for a real treat. I first saw them perform it in Birmingham in 1990 and thought it incredible. I'd never seen anything like it and it formed the basis of my current love of ballet. Please insist they bring it this year Mr and Mrs Hochhauser. We'd love to see another Corsaire and it's been ages since we've seen it.
  9. Loved meeting Janet and Helen (Don Q Fan) in Manchester. Top dancing highlight had to be Osipova in Giselle with the Mikhailovsky. Her performance was breathtaking and indescribably moving and I can't wait to see her at the ROh a week on Saturday and in the live relay on the 27th. Other highlights were her and Vasiliev in the Mikhailovsky Don Q and Laurencia and her debut in the Royal Ballet's Romeo; not a huge favourite as a ballet for me but she made it special. My 'wow factor' ballet was definately the Vasipova Flames. it was just amazing!!!!!! I've never seen anything quite like it or for an audience to react to a ballet with such passion and eloquence. I loved the Alina and Marianella performances of Onegin I saw at the beginning of the year. It is one of my favouite ballets and both casts were superb and heartbreaking. Special mention for Steven as a wonderful Lensky, and also his Don Q. He is a wonderful talent and we are lucky to have him. I really enjoyed Stuttgart's ballet Taming of the Shrew despite some of it's content not being to modern taste. I thought the Petruchio on Friday night (I'm afraid I can't remember his name) was really excellent and wished the critics had attended that performance rather then the Saturday matinee. Finally I must praise the live cinema relays. For us provincial folk living 200 miles from London it is an amazing treat to see performaces that are so accessible and where you can get such wonderful close-ups you can see details in costumes and facial expressions you couldn't see if you attended a live performance in the amphi. I am able to go with friends who would otherwise never see the Royal Ballet. We are lucky to have this wonderful facility, especially as more ballet is being shown. Well done the Bolshoi and the ROH for making this incredible treat possible.
  10. Definately agree about Kitri's entrance. In the Bolshoi version she enters upstage and all the cast are looking for her and there is almost a pause before her entrance which heightens the dramatic tension. Then she (especially if it's Osipova) is perfectly placed to do those amazing jetes and Laurencia type leaps she executes so splendidly and dramatically. But this is not the only Royal Ballet production spoilt by an uncomvincing entrance. In the Bolshoi Bayadere Solor again enters upstage and gives a series of elegant or dramatic (depending on who's dancing) jetes across the stage. In the Royal version Solor enters downstage and gives a little hop. Not the same effect at all! Joan
  11. I loved the quote from the reviewer for Don Q (sorry, can't remember who it was) who said that 'Kitri's friends were dressed in a colour that I can only describe as Windowlene' . Every time I see them I now think of Windowlene! Apart from that I enjoyed what I saw of Don Q up to the end of the gypsy scene. We had to switch over after that so my husband could watch the M.R. James (you have to give in sometimes) so I'll watch the rest tomorrow. I think there is always a problem with filming scenes that are darkly lit. They are never as dark when you are watching them at the theatre because your eyes can adjust. However, a camera can't, so somethimes I think there may be a case for having slightly more light when a performance is being filmed though that may be too difficult to achieve. Presumably lighting is plotted and it may not be possible to re-plot it just for a couple of performances. I have never cared for Matthew Bourne's productions and this one was no exception. I thought I might like it more as it had some good reviews but it just seemed to be change for the sake of it and to possibly shock traditional ballet goers. However, judging by the cheers at the end perhaps I am in a minority. As SB is often a ballet children are taken to I hope potential parents were informed it wasn't suitable for small children. I thought the last act (which reminded me more of Dracula than Sleeping Beauty) was potentially quite scary for children. I think Lez Brotherston also did the sets and costumes for Northen Ballet's Dracula which I enjoyed. I recorded SB but I won't be keeping it. Roll on tomorrow for a proper Sleeping beauty on SkyArts with the added bonus of Polunin.
  12. Like Aileen I am very disappointed with the programme. Nothing we haven't seen before that I particularly want to see. I don't think Balanchine's Midsummer Nights Dream is a patch on Ashton's Dream and am not bothered about Ratmansky's Cinderella. Please, please, please change something and bring Corsaire!!!!!!!! I was disappointed it wasn't brought last visit. I know we have seen the Bolshoi's Corsaire and now ENBs splendid version but for me you can't beat the Kirov's. it is simply the best as I don't think they've brought it since about 2001. Joan
  13. Wednesday 18th and Sunday 22nd Dec SkyArts are showing the Mariinsky Nutcracker which I think is a fairly recent filming, starring Alina Somova and Vladimir Shklyarov. On Christmas day The Red Shoes is being shown on BBC2 at 8.50 am. At teatime the Matthew Bourne Sleeping Beauty is also being shown on BBC2 at 6.10 pm until 7.40pm (Is this rather short for a Sleeping Beauty?) This is followed by Carlos' Don Q at 8pm on BBC4. Can't remember such a feast of ballet for a long time all on one day. Unfortunately the 2012 recording of the Royal ballet Nutcracker shown on SkyArts at 4.30pm clashes with Beauty but the Nutcracker is repeated I think on Boxing Day at 8am and possibly other dates as well. Royal Ballet Swan lake on SkyArts Boxing day at 4.30 pm stars Kish and Yanowsky. Am really pleased the 2010 Patineurs is being shown on a number of occasions on SkyArts. I know it is on the Ashton dvd but I never understood why it wasn't broadcast on tv when it must have been filmed at the same time as the Tales of Beatrix Potter which was broadcast several years ago. The Lauren Cuthbertson/Polunin Sleeping Beauty is being shown on SkyArts on Friday 27th Dec at 4.30pm. (repeated next day)It lasts until 7pm so that seems to be an hour longer than the Matthew Bourne production. While I'm really pleased that all these balletic treats are being broadcast it is rather hard luck on those who only have Freeview and won't be able to access the SkyArts broadcasts. While it's great the BBC are broadcasting 2 ballets it's a pity the BBC/Royal Opera House link seems to have been lost and more aren't being broadcast on terrestrial tv. It's also a pity the Macrae/Marquez La Fille isn't being broadcast as that was definately my highlight of the ballet broadcasting year. Perhaps Tony Hall could add it to the BBC Easter highlights.
  14. The Coliseum discounts I referred to was partly the 'Secret seat' where you pay £20 for an unallocated seat and are guaranteed one worth at least £25. An interesting idea though I've never tried it. The discount I really meant was the 'subscription ticket' where you get a discount when you book several tickets. can't remember how much it was but when we booked about 4 tickets for the Mikhailovsky they were discounted. I think this system of recognising ballet enthusiasts want to see possibly several performances of the same ballet is commendable and an example for the ROH.
  15. I just purchased my ATG card to use for the ENB Corsaire visit to Manchester. With the card you get the opening night (Tuesday) half price so that meant £17.50 for a ticket instead of £35. For other nights there is £7 off a ticket. However, there are other benefits. Card owners don't have to pay the extra 'costs' theatres almost automatically seem to add to the price of tickets these days (Don't get me started on this!!). I don't know what other ATG theatres charge but the Palace, Manchester adds about £2.70 per ticket booking charge and also a £4 (I think per booking) transaction charge (whatever that is!) So top of your ticket you pay practically an extra £7!!! So these extra charges alone almost make the card pay for itself. The card also includes discount for up to 4 people so a group of family and friends can get the reduced prices. Also, if you want to change the night of a performance you don't incur exchange charges. I booked for myself on opening night and myself and my husband later in the week and calculate I've already covered the cost of the card and am probably slightly in pocket. Any performances for the next year will be at the discounted rate and the London Coliseum is also in the Group though they operate their own discounts.
  16. Perhaps the more frequest slips are happening because the ballet is more physical than the Royal dancers are used to and they are trying to give in their all in height of leaps, speed of jumps etc? Also I agree that Kitri's entrance should be more spectacular. In the Bolshoi version the music almost stops and everyone is facing upstage and then Kitri explodes onto the scene with a series of those spectacualr backbreaking leaps. In the Royal's production she almost sidles on downstage and give a little hop; very ineffective. Bayadere is similar. In the Bolshoi version Solor jetes on from upstage, covering the stage in 2 or 3 massive leaps. In the Royal version he just comes on downstage with a little hop. Still love the new Royal production of Don Q though and can't wait to see it again next season. However, as the BBC are trying to rediscover their cultural roots an outing on Christmas tv would be very welcome, Lord Hall!!!!
  17. Yes I had a frustrating morning trying for Osipova/Carlos tickets on Saturday the 18th. There weren't that many tickets to start with; perhaps about 50 in the amphi and you could see them vanishing before your eyes. I logged on and got the seating plan up before 10am so was ready to go but everything I clicked on was 'unavailable' as someone had selected them before me. I think this was a particular problem with the Saturday performance. there were more tickets for Acosta/Osipova on the Monday but that's no good to me as I live 200 miles away and work on Mondays. After about 20 minutes of this when availability had gone down to about 10 I clicked on a random seat and got it! I then realised I only had 10 minutes left so quickly went back and did another random click and got what seemed to be one of the last ones. Didn't dare to choose any more so had to log out after paying and log in again to choose tickets for Steven's Giselle the matinee of that day. More tickets available but not the areas I usually book so had to settle for poorer tickets than I would have liked. Couldn't access my home email at work so when I got home and checked I had confirmation of one order but not the other so emailed box office and will have to keep fingers crossed it's ok. An exhausting and rather frustrating experience compounded by being at work and feeling guilty of spending so much time booking tickets even though I sacrificed my lunch to pay back the time! Why can't public booking open on a Saturday when more people will be at home?
  18. Having now seen it at the cinema I actually enjoyed it more than when I saw it live at the Opera House. I don't know whether it was because the cast had 'bedded down' more in the production or the camera meant you could get closer to the action and see details of costumes and acting not so obvious in the amphitheatre. Everything seemed better, sharper, livlier, and the princpals were a joy.Having seen some of the not very positive reviews of Carlos' dancing I was amazed at his bravura and technique. Several of the leaps he did in the 3rd act pas de deux I don't remember ever seeing and his dancing and enjoyment in the dance was incredible. Amazing for a 40 year old!!! I wonder if in earlier performances he was still more concerned with the ballet as a whole and put his effort into trying to perfect other people's performances and only with the onset of the recording did he actually concentrate on his own performance. Marianella was sensational. As Carlos said in his introduction she was born to play Kitri and only Osipova or possibly Alexandrova that I've seen recently could come close in technique. She certainly won the Kitri with the best smile award; I don't think she stopped smiling all evening and her enjoyment in the dance was as infectious as her technique was amazing as all the worlwide tweets confirmed. the supporting cast really raised their game too to the same incredible level. it was a performance the Bolshoi would have been proud of and to me there is no higher praise. My only slight quibble has been raised by someone else and isn't directly to do with the performance but the interval. Surely better use could have been made of 2 intervals than the cursory few minutes saying what was to happen next. More of a doc. about the production; classes, rehersals, interviews would have been good and more info. about forthcoming broadcasts to encourage your audience to come again. there was a couple of minutes about the Nutcracker but more could have been done. You have a captive ballet audience. make the most of it! Joan
  19. Is there any info yet about Manchester Corsaire casting? Joan
  20. I went to the Saturday night performance of Steven and Salenko. I thought Steven was superb but Salenko, while techically excellent, didn't do much for me in the role. I missed Osipova's attack and the way she dominates the stage by her amazing entrance and fiery technique. Like others (including Mr Crisp) I disliked the musical arrangements; finding it far too muted and not giving the dancers (and audience) the sense of excitement the ballet needs. I thought the costumes too, though quite pretty, were too muted in colour. (Everytime I saw Kitri's friends I was reminded of the review -surely it mut be Mr Crisp- who described the colour of their dresses as 'windowlene'!) The moving houses also seemed unnecessary as the town square - once the houses were to one side- was effective without needing constant movement which was just distracting; and possibly potentially dangerous. The house Gamanche was stepping off started moving when his foot was hardly on the floor. I didn't really like the gypsy scene. I thought it was too prolonged and rather dull and the shouting was an irritating distraction. I've no real objection to Carlos using the pas de deux music from Bayadere as Nureyev did but I thought that pas de deux in particular was a bit flat and needed better choreography. A major disappointment of the last act was the leap Kitri gives into Basil's arms. Osipova and Vasiliev made it a gasp out loud moment with their daring variations on this tricky and potentially dangerous movement. In this performance the whole leap is so mixed up with the performers getting on and off tables they have scarcely time to prepare and execute it at all. They may as well not have bothered. The whole movement needs a complete re-think. This sounds as if I had a very negative attittude to the production which isn't really the case. the problem is that most British ballet goers - like me - have only seen foreign (mainly Russian) productions of the ballet and need time to adjust to a more 'English' version. Also the abiding memory for most ballet goers is the Vasipova phenomenon whose style of dancing is very different. They have been so dominent since their debute together in 2007 that it may take a few performances for people like me who have seen all their Don Qs to fully appreciate different interpretations of the roles and the ballet. Steven was superb in the role; flirty and cheeky and brilliant technique. I liked the opening solo Carlos gave him (Like Nureyev did) and there was at least one other solo as well so Carlos has served the male dancers well. I thought the role of Mercedes could have been more developed. I'm sure she has more to do in the Bolshoi version and Mendizabal was brilliant. Loved Gary Avis as the Don and thought the prologue was better than usual; thought the idea of using the bedpost as a lance brilliant. Was slightly disappointed not to leave the theatre with the usual feeling of excitement after seeing Don Q but I do think it is a creditable production; far superior to the previous two and, unlike them, should stand the test if time with the Royal ballet - especially if the music can be made to sound exciting like it should be for Don Q. Joan
  21. Thanks for info about the Odeon showing of Spartacus, Patsomerset. I used to have Odeon Cultureplus saved as a favourite but with changes to the site I find it almost impossible to access as my computer isn't up to date enough. I had to go to the cinema to book for Don Q and while there I complained to the manager. She said I was the first to complain in person but in the Odeon office they have had to have their computers updated to cope with the new system! She said she would pass my complaint on. I find it very annoying when some computer whiz kid comes along and upgrades a website without considering all the thousands of users who don't have the latest technology. Even my computer at work can't access it without a lot of trouble. It took about 20 minutes just to see what seats were available and then it wouldn't let me book. I don't even particularly like the new layout. Previously it used to say at the top of the site how many films were there so you could tell almost at a glance whether any had been added or subtracted but not any more. The thing that really annoys me is it is possibly the least mobile members of the population who have the oldest equipment and are less able to get to a cinema to book. Joan
  22. Like Don Q fan I too think Andre should have been promoted. He is a fine dancer and a great talent whom we saw too rarely on this visit. Do you think it can have anything to do with him seemingly being perceived as as more 'character' dancer than a classical dancer noble? I'm only going off the roles he seems to be given to dance over here. Don Q, Flames and Rubies, not the more classical 19th century ballets. Joan
  23. Thanks, Toursenlair for the timing. I checked the website myself and it looks as it 2 hrs 15 mins includes the interval so it's quite a short ballet. Joan
  24. Does anyone know how long the Taming of the Shrew lasts? I'm already thinking of booking trains home after the Saturday matinee. Joan
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