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Found 41 results

  1. After nearly two months of strikes, Paris Opera Ballet returned to the stage at last with Giselle on Saturday. And what an evening it was! Firstly, I should explain that although we had excellent seats seven rows from the front of the stalls, two extremely large (tall and wide) people came and sat in front of us restricting the view of my six foot partner, let alone short dumpy me. This meant that all I could see for the whole evening was the right and left sides of the stage but nothing in the middle! It wasn’t a fault of the rake, nor the large people who after all didn’t choose their exceptional size, but it did mean I missed a lot of the action. So bear that in mind when reading my review. Before the performance began there was a speech from the Union, which elicited a rowdy response from the spectators with some clapping support whilst others booed loudly. However after this the audience behaved itself very well . The ballet-starved attendees seemed to be mainly French, with a good number of well-dressed and well-behaved children in spite of the late hour. In fact I witnessed none of the poor behaviour we have recently discussed on another thread, and the audience showed their sophistication by applauding appropriately throughout but not (as annoys me at other venues) when the star dancers appear, before having even danced one step, and not after every little solo. (Having said that I plead guilty to what I am criticising in the case of Zakharova, and a couple of others, so I’m a hypocrite.) The dancing was superb. Honestly, I could not fault either the étoiles nor the corps who were very ‘together’ and homogeneous. Giselle (Léonore Baulac) was delightfully pretty and seemed full of joy at being back on stage. At first I found her interpretation a little too ‘cute and playful’ – I always feel terribly sad and serious throughout the whole of Giselle, whereas the first act in Paris had a feeling of light-hearted jollity. However once she came to the mad scene she was more convincing than any other dancer I’ve seen in the role. She seemed to age visibly as you watched (an effect of sudden grief I have noticed in real life) and her movements were so authentic that it was difficult to imagine this was the sweet young girl who had been dancing so merrily just minutes before. Kudos to Baulac for such a powerful transformation. I realised at that point that she had emphasised the innocent charm earlier in order that the contrast be as dramatic as possible. Germain Louvet danced Albrecht – the embodiment of stylish, entitled aristocracy, he entered with a great flourish and long run from the back of the spacious stage, his cloak flowing out dramatically behind him. He was a splendid dancer, and I especially appreciated his perfect entrechats (which I have noticed some other male dancers closer to home cheating on a little). Hilarion’s appearance was a bit of a shock to me. He was a stocky-looking man with an oversized, shiny bald head, and was almost comic in his portrayal. It was all too clear why Giselle would prefer Albrecht. However when I looked at the programme I found that the dancer (François Alu) is actually a good-looking chap with a full head of dark curly hair so obviously this portrayal was intended, but it did somewhat remove sympathy for the man who is the real victim of this tragic tale. Myrthe was danced with suitable menace by Hannah O’Neill – in spite of her name she looked Japanese to me, and was a rare exception to most of the dancers who were French-born and trained. The scenery and lighting were exceptional; for example, during the mime scene where Berthe warns Giselle about the Willis, it is as though the sun goes temporarily behind a cloud and an unnerving atmosphere washes over the stage, sending a shiver down one’s spine. Then, of course, there are the stupendous surroundings of Palais Garnier itself – the statuary, the all-pervading layers of gold leaf, the multiple painted ceilings, the chandeliers… although I have visited many times it never ceases to take my breath away. You could say that our Royal Opera House looks, in comparison, like a minimalist Scandinavian interior. I love both buildings in their different ways.
  2. Opening night was stunning. My words don't quite have the power to convey the feeling I had throughout - and after - the performance, but hopefully they will give you an idea of just how wonderful it was Hee Seo, Cory Stearns and Devon Teuscher are so perfectly cast. Here's my review.
  3. This evening is the premiere of Ratmansky's new Giselle for the Bolshoi. This news video is in Russian so even though I can't understand it's still interesting to see the costumes and staging. https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&sp=nmt4&u=https://tvrain.ru/teleshow/vechernee_shou/meldonij_dlja_balerin-497766/&xid=25657,15700023,15700186,15700190,15700256,15700259,15700262,15700265,15700271,15700283&usg=ALkJrhij0y84wnEnM-Z0c4iIy9RMP_FSFg
  4. The casting for the Birmingham Giselle performances is now on the website: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/giselle Casting order: Giselle, Albrecht, Hilarion Wednesday 25th September - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Kit Holder Thursday matinee 26th - Celine Gittens, Brandon Lawrence, Alexander Yap Thursday evening 26th - Miki Mizutani, Mathias Dingman, Lachlan Monaghan Friday 27th - Delia Matthews, Tyrone Singleton, Yasuo Atsuji Saturday matinee 28th - Momoko Hirata, Cesar Morales, Kit Holder Saturday evening 28th - Celine Gittens, Brandon Lawrence, Alexander Yap
  5. (I posted this in the wrong place!) It's too late for Birmingham, but the casting for Plymouth and Sadler's Wells can be accessed from this page: https://www.brb.org.uk/whats-on/event/giselle#dates-and-times I suppose the absence of the Gittens/Lawrence cast means I don't have to go to all 3 performances
  6. I haven't seen Boston Ballet live in decades, and that was at the Wang Center. The beauty of the Opera House is an experience in and of itself; on top of that, Boston Ballet performing Giselle made it the highlight of my recent trip there. Here's my review of the Saturday matinee performance.
  7. Just a heads up to any adult ballet dancers based in the West Country - my local studio, DanSci Dance, is holding an adult repertoire day based on Giselle on 21st July, 10:00 - 15:00. It will start with a Progressing Ballet Technique session, then a ballet class, then work on Giselle repertoire. I'll be working in the USA, so can't do it, which is a pity as I love the choreography of Giselle. We've been doing Giselle-influenced adage and port de bras in class recently, and it's lovely to dance. It's also nice repertoire for adult dancers because you don't need high extensions or multiple pirouettes to make it look good - the choreography requires you to have a beautiful clear pure line and really gets you thinking about the use of arms, back, and head. I'm not sure how much specific detail to give here (I'm just a student at the studio - no financial interest!) but the studio website should come up if you google, or search on Facebook. Hope this is OK to post, Mods.
  8. Hi all, would just like to share that the North East Dance Co-operative have organised an observation of Vienna Festival Ballet at work in company class and in rehearsal for Giselle. This takes place on Friday 31st of May at Middlesbrough Theatre. A great opportunity for any members in the North East - the event is free, but you must sign up to the NEDC first (details in the link) http://bit.ly/NEDC-ViennaFestivalBallet-2019
  9. You may remember that Graeme Murphy, TAB's famous choreographer, pulled out of presenting his latest work, The Little Prince only a couple of months before it was due to premiere. Ill health. Anyway, TAB replaced it, in Sydney, with Giselle, which was presented in Melbourne last year ( I saw it with David Hallberg as Albrecht. Unforgettable.) This presentation was good but not great. Ako Kondo was a feather-light Giselle, dazzled by the wonderful, good-looking, apparently considerate creature who was interested in her. You saw her move from dutiful daughter, remembering her mother's (undoubted) warnings, to confident and care-free woman, secure in her love. You saw her reluctance to hurt Hilarion (Andrew Killian) but her determination to respect her own feelings. Chengwu Guo, as Albrecht, was less impressive. He is a great dancer, capable of exploding into action, apparently from stillnes. However, his Albrecht showed no development. You did not see him gradually fall in love with Giselle. In fact his somewhat disengaged demenour at the beginning of Act 1 was largely unchanged at the end of the act. Act 2 was better, but I got little sense of the desperation which needs to underpin Albrecht's dancing. The dancing of the corps de ballet was wonderful, rivetting. In Act 1 they created a sunny, untroubled vision of village life against which the tragedy unfolded. In Act 2 they were steely and flint-hearted: exacting terrible revenge for their own suffering. Overall, a good evening, so I will avoid unnecessary comparisons with last year in Melbourne.😊
  10. This opened last night with a stunning first performance. I loved it. More thoughts from me when I've seen other casts.
  11. Thought we might as well use the Poll feature for a change! I'm thinking probably the Rojo/Streeter/Corrales/Quagebeur cast, but open to alternatives. All views welcome, no included, so as to get an accurate idea of potential interest. You can add any comments below.
  12. Full disclosure - I wrote most of this shortly after seeing it, but have only just got around to finishing the review, so apologies if it's a bit incomplete. Also apologies for starting a new thread so late! August this year marked my fortieth birthday, and back in the spring when my girlfriend asked what I wanted to do to celebrate, I immediately suggested we could go to Belgium and see Nancy Osbaldeston dance at Royal Ballet Flanders. Those of you who follow my posts will know that she is by far my favourite dancer! So we had a look at RBF's calendar and immediately Amran Khan's Giselle stood out. I've missed it at ENB, but some glittering reviews and recommendations mean it's something I've been excited to see for ages so we booked immediately. A loooong summer of waiting finally ended last week, when we hopped on the Eurostar to Belgium. I'll cut a long story short, this show was possibly the best thing I've seen on a stage. 😃 The word that leapt - or should that be jetéed? - into my mind as I was watching the performance was 'disruptive'. It feels almost like the first of a new generation of works in dance; elements of classical ballet woven seamlessly with contemporary choreography, both married to a taut narrative flow lifted more from the pacing of a film than a languid classical ballet. The doffs of the cap to classical versions of Giselle pleased the ballet geek in me, and the lifting en pointe of Giselle at the start of the second act demonstrated that Khan wasn't about to throw the ballet rulebook out the window, but wanted to push it forward. Whereas Matthew Bourne's contemporary productions can sometimes feel to me a bit like 'musicals with the singing taken out', this comes across like a proper ballet production, albeit one that is resolutely reaching towards the future. The set, the lighting, the use of sound (even from the dancers - gasp!), the willingness by Khan to embrace stillness for long periods all add up to a production that I found utterly mesmerising. Nancy Osbaldeston, for those of you who might not have come across her, stood out to me even in the corps at ENB. She won their Emerging Dancer competition in 2013, and moved from being a First Soloist at ENB to Royal Ballet Flanders in 2014. She was promoted to Soloist in '17 and Principal in '18. Her quick promotion is a testament to just how talented she is. And it's not like she's just a big fish in a small pond; RBF have an exceptional depth and breadth of talent throughout the ranks. Their Onegin eclipsed the Royal Ballet's production for me when I saw both in quick succession a few years ago. They are a fantastic company. Nancy's dancing has a quality that raises her above so many other dancers, but I always find so hard to describe. There's a musicality, a grace of movement that feels effortless, natural; the shapes she creates are like tracing liquid through the air. You know when you gently stir a mug of tea into a mini whirlpool and add the milk slowly, the beautiful patterns it makes? Maybe something like that. 🤔 But married to that, she has a rare gift for communicating so much just through movement. Some technically excellent dancers need to communicate through their eyes or their expressions, but Nancy manages to convey complexity, depth and subtlety of emotion just through the gentle sweep her fingertips, the arc of her toe through the air. Her pas de deux scenes with Albrecht in both acts reminded me of Vera, Stina Quagebeur's superb piece Nancy danced at ENB Choreographics, such was their power. Each movement was packed with meaning, with love, with heartbreak. When Albrecht reaches to Giselle's belly in Act 2, Nancy's dancing infuses that short moment of choreography with utterly desperate sorrow. Daniel Domenech was utterly superb. Danced with attack, power, coupled with sublime technique, his Hilarion was a character instantly recognisable from any city centre pub on a Saturday night. Chest puffed out, self assurance and entitlement sweating from every over-aftershaved pore, small-man-syndrome rage barely suppressed, his Hilarion viewed Giselle as a prize to be won, a commodity to be owned. While Khan's work pre-dates the 'MeToo' movement, Domenech's Hilarion here feels even more fiercely contemporary in the current climate and sublimely easy to despise. Domenech’s Hilarion had an excellent counterpoint in Claudio Canagialosi’s Albrecht, who danced with poise and nobility. Ana Carolina Quaresma utterly inhabited the role of Bathilde. She channeled the perfect blend of otherworldliness, sororal and maternal power, and a purity of rage. As I’m finishing this review nearly an entire month after seeing it - I really should get round to this quicker! - so I’ll round it off there without going into too much more. I urge you to try and catch Nancy Osbaldeston in the future, and I urge you, if you get the chance, to see her with RBF. She’s one of the finest dancers this country has produced in recent years, and RBF are a sensational environment in which to see her. You won't be disappointed, and you never know, it might just end up being the best thing you've ever seen on a stage.
  13. Well, it's been quite a year .... Firebird, two of them, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Leila and Majnun, Spartacus. Good thing there's no mandated maximum to the number of highlights you can have, because I don’t know what I'd drop from the list. And there's still TAB's Cinderella to come. But right now there's Teatro alla Scala's Giselle and Don Quixote in Brisbane. First, Giselle. With David Hallberg. Which I didn't know when I purchased the ticket. And Nicoletta Manni. There has been criticism, elsewhere in this forum, of David Hallberg's performance. With respect, I largely disagree. It is true that his performance, particularly in Act 2, lacked fireworks. Great partnering, but no fireworks. But his presentation of the character of Albrecht was wonderful. At the beginning an arrogant aristocrat bent only on seduction, he became more and more enamoured, his gaze seeking out Giselle, and softening, even when she was on the opposite side of the stage. When confronted with the Duke, he froze; then Bathilde appears and the horror of the situation breaks over him. Only with difficulty is he able to pull himself together and greet her. Then Giselle intervenes and the rest is history. It occurs to me that Giselle could be seen as a study in the consequences of ignoring the law of cause and effect. Giselle falls for a completely unknown young man, someone with no ties to the village. I am sure that her over-protective mother must have warned her about the dangers of unknown and unattached young men. (Yes, I know that with Giselle herself, I'm drawing rather a long bow, but hopefully less so with Hilarion and Albrecht.) Giselle has clearly indicated to Hillarion that she does not love him, but he clearly believes that he only has to get rid of Albrecht and he will be home and hosed. Giselle's own wishes don't seem to register in his mind at all. He appears sublimely unaware of the possible effect on Giselle herself of exposing Albrecht's deceit. As for Albrecht, well, he has clearly no concern about the effects of his seduction (what else are attractive peasant girls there for?), until he falls in love, ending up in far deeper water than he had previously experienced. He is consequently shocked to the core when Bathilde (Emanuela Montanari) appears, and watches Giselle's disintegration with impotent horror, aware of his responsibility, but unable to intervene in events. This sets up Act 2, where Giselle intervenes discisively, rather nicely. Whatever, in Act 2, Nicoletta Manni is a feather-light Giselle, flying across the stage, rarely touching the ground. In Act 1 she had been a quiet, even shy girl, coming to life as she fell more and more under Albrecht's spell. Now she is loving, mourning, pleading for his life. The fireworks are provided by Christian Fagetti. His Hillarion is a far more sympathetic character than is usually the case, and his terror, his desperation, his pleading results in a brief but spectacular burst of dance before he is hustled off the stage and out of this life with unusual rapidity. Overall, this Giselle was very different from the TAB presentation I saw in August, a presentation also featuring Hallberg. Don Quixote was a very different kettle of fish. This was an exuberant, colourful ballet, and Nicoletta Manni a vibrant, cheeky Kitri, one who knew her own worth and was not about to settle for second best (BTW, Nicoletta Manni danced Giselle on Friday night, Kitri on Saturday and Giselle on Sunday. How she did it, I don't know, but thank you, Nicoletta; you were great. 😊) Basilio was danced by Leonid Sarafanov of Moscow's Mikhalovski Theatre, and I didn't know that he would be dancing either. Anyway, he provided fireworks aplenty, as well as being a worthy foil for Kitri. His dancing was technically assured and the chemistry between him and Manni convincing. Special mention needs to be given to Giuseppe Conte's Don Quixote, a characterisation second only to that of Robert Helpman in Nureyev's 1972 film with Lucette Aldos and TAB, and anyone who has read my previous posts on DQ will know that I have no higher praise. His DQ was elderly and deluded but eternally dignified. Great costumes and wonderful sets, especially the wonderful woodland setting of Act 3. Overall, two memorable performances and a great trip to Brisbane.
  14. Have just seen on the BBC news that Akram Khan is creating his first full classical ballet with a new version of Giselle. It is being made for ENB in co-production with Sadler's Wells and the Manchester International Festival and will open in Manchester next year. I can't find anything else about it as yet. Does anyone know more?
  15. Also posted on Twitter - spare e-ticket going for tonight's Giselle. Amphitheatre G69, face value £35. Hope it'll find a good home - if not will return to Box Office later this PM. Drop me a message if interested!
  16. Orchestra stalls left. £112 per ticket, face value. I can deliver in Central London by arrangement. It’s the last performance, curtain 730pm. Very sad to miss it
  17. I have the following ticket available for the 12:30pm matinee performance of Giselle tomorrow at the Royal Opera House. Balcony Standing C65 £8
  18. I have an Amphi Ticket V65 for original price £14.00. I will be in London ROH area by 1800 today. Please PM me.
  19. Interested in all of these dates! Relatively inexpensive ideally, as I paid top price for a seat on 20th Jan and can't do that again I could also exchange for a front row amphitheatre seat on 21st February.
  20. With Cuthbertson and Bonelli. You can either have A53 or A55 (front row) of Ampitheatre. Great view; restricted legroom. £35.
  21. Wanting tickets for any performance of Giselle. Ideally to watch Nuñez or Osipova, but not massively fussy. Thank you!
  22. Hi anyone have a spare stalls circle standing or similar for Giselle evening of Jan 20th please - would consider same for Feb 5th??.... Thanks Jules
  23. would love to provide a good home for a spare stalls circle standing for giselle on january 19th - would consider good balcony standing too ..... thanks please let me know jules
  24. The first performance of this was tonight, with Alina Cojocaru in the title role. Thoughts here, please.
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