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Prince of the Pagodas Insight Evening


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The evening consisted of:

1) a half hour input on the music, lucidly presented by Barry Wordsworth with the assistance of Colin Matthews who is an afficionado on Britten and who was bursting to offer more. They introduced some extracts played by Rob Clark on the piano and referred to the cuts and re-ordering which have been effected this time round to give more coherence to the storyline

2) Claire Thurman, the Ballet Education Manager, reading a brief synopsis

3) a rehearsal of the final act pdd with Jonny Cope teaching Beatriz Stix-Brunell the steps along with Ryoichi Hirano who was already familiar with the piece. [Although nothing was said, there was a feeling in the air that one if not both of them could well feature as the second cast.]

4) a few questions of Jonny about what it was like to create the role of the Prince/Salamander

 

It was enjoyable, of course, and especially lovely to see two rising stars rehearsing. However, Insights used, in our experience, to be distinguished clearly from rehearsals by being spread over a day/half day/full evening, covering many elements of the production and its history and providing opportunities for questions at each juncture. What we now seem to have is a very pared down version - which is not only a great pity but, in our view, missed opportunities to fully engage an audience wherein the majority were coming new to the piece. After all, there are currently hundreds of tickets remaining to be sold.

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Thank you for this, capybara.

 

3) a rehearsal of the final act pdd with Jonny Cope teaching Beatriz Stix-Brunell the steps along with Ryoichi Hirano who was already familiar with the piece. [Although nothing was said, there was a feeling in the air that one if not both of them could well feature as the second cast.]

 

Oh dear. While great for them if it turns out to be true, it doesn't necessarily sound so good for the scheduled cast ...

 

However, Insights used, in our experience, to be distinguished clearly from rehearsals by being spread over a day/half day/full evening, covering many elements of the production and its history and providing opportunities for questions at each juncture. What we now seem to have is a very pared down version - which is not only a great pity but, in our view, missed opportunities to fully engage an audience wherein the majority were coming new to the piece.

 

Indeed. Some insight evenings in recent years have been nothing but glorified rehearsals (and at least one told me nothing I didn't already know about the piece in question, so no "insight" at all there!), and some, as you say, have been very cut down. In the case of such a significant revival as this, I'd have thought a full evening covering music, design, choreography and history more than justified. How long did it last, in fact? It now seems rare that we get anyone (especially someone external) to talk significantly about aspects such as music. Barry Wordsworth is of course very good, but he's a busy man.

 

It's probably 2 or 3 years since I went to an opera insight: does anyone know if the same sort of thing is happening there? I suspect not.

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I'm not surprised that there are hundreds of unsold tickets for Prince of the Pagodas. It's not a well-known ballet and the tickets are very expensive: £64 for the best seats in the Amphitheatre. I think that the RB may have miscalculated its appeal to those other than its core supporters. This really highlights for me the enormous difference in ticket prices for the RB. As I said on another thread, the prices for Ballo/Sylphide are high (£55 for the best seats in the Amphi) but those for PoP are even higher. In contrast, the tickets for the forthcoming triple bill are a bargain at £36 for the best Amphi seats. I appreciate that the pricing may work out differently in other parts of the theatre.

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Whilst I do really enjoy the Insights, I find that £16 for less than two hours is too much for me. I can see two full productions for that price in the standing/cheap seats, so these days I usually give them a miss.

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ROH marketing needs to have a big rethink.

 

Louise Levene in today's Telegraph comments (about Sylphide):

 

Despite such superlative casting, the lower house had a shocking number of empty seats on both Monday and Tuesday. If marketing a masterpiece is beyond the wit of the Opera House, they could at least try mass-texting their target audience (or even local office workers) with some last-minute deals.
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The ROH does have a deal for Ballo/Sylphide but, at £50, it is hardly going to draw in the casual ballet-goer.

 

Interestingly, over at ABT at the Met, Giselle, even with Alina Cojacaru in the title role, has not sold well, I understand.

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The evening consisted of:

 

3) a rehearsal of the final act pdd with Jonny Cope teaching Beatriz Stix-Brunell the steps along with Ryoichi Hirano who was already familiar with the piece. [Although nothing was said, there was a feeling in the air that one if not both of them could well feature as the second cast.]

 

 

Whilst wishing no ill on others, it would be a stunningly brilliant move to see Beatriz Stix-Brunell get the nod, should any of the original cast not be able to dance the lead role. Just my opinion of course...

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We have heard that some opera Insights have been cut to around 2 hours.

 

If you're talking about evenings, I didn't realise they were ever any longer, but thanks for the info.

 

I think that the RB may have miscalculated its appeal to those other than its core supporters.

 

And possibly to many of its core supporters, I should think. I suspect the high prices are partially to offset the cost of bringing it back, and probably only for a short run.

 

Whilst I do really enjoy the Insights, I find that £16 for less than two hours is too much for me. I can see two full productions for that price in the standing/cheap seats, so these days I usually give them a miss.

 

That's getting to be my way of thinking more and more, too, Sim. (And not only for ballet: the other day I turned my nose up at an Olympics ticket because I decided it was way too much to pay for a session of little over an hour!)

 

The ROH does have a deal for Ballo/Sylphide but, at £50, it is hardly going to draw in the casual ballet-goer.

 

Well, I suppose it may: the ones from whose point of view £50 is a good deal for an evening out at somewhere posh and with cachet that they've never visited and probably won't do again. (Actually, I regard it as a "good deal" too, but in the other sense of the phrase :) )

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If that's the case, I am wondering... who is not able to dance this role and will be "replaced"?

 

Lauren Cuthbertson sadly hasn't done any of her Ballo della Regina shows this week, so could miss Pagodas too...

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Thank you all for your postings. As a fan of PoP (though only through seeing the recording) I was really sad at not being able to get a ticket for the Insight. On the other hand, I have to agree that Insight events now are nowhere near as illuminating and informative as they used to be. I can remember some which ran nearly all day and included far more than just a few comments and a rehearsal (and that's only in the last 8 years). As Sim rightly points out, they are now very poor value for money and much I would have like to have been there, I'm not THAT devastated to have missed it. I just hope that the number of unsold tickets will encourage the ROH to offer some deals so I can see more than 1 cast (and I hope Lauren will make it).

 

Linda

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