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Royal Ballet: The Two Pigeons, Monotones I & II, November 2015 & Rhapsody January 2016


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I was in attendance at the dress rehearsals, armed with the camera. So here are some photos  :-)

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The Two Pigeons - Vadim Muntagirov, Lauren Cuthbertson
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Monotones I - Yasmine Naghdi, Tristan Dyer, Emma Maguire
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Monotones II - Edward Watson, Marianela Nunez, Valeri Hristov
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Set from DanceTabs: RB - Monotones I & II, Two Pigeons
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

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Looking forward to this tomorrow, though I must admit the first thing that the Monotones costumes brought to mind was Woody Allen's 'Everything you wanted to know about sex'.  If you know the film you'll know the scene..

 

I remember that Sylvie Guillem once said she was asked to dance in Monotones, and refused for exactly the same reason.

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I remember that Sylvie Guillem once said she was asked to dance in Monotones, and refused for exactly the same reason.

 

Really?  I thought top dancers were supposed to transcend their costumes? (and the sexual orientation of their dance partners, for that matter, remembering that she famously said she wouldn't be able to dance with a gay Romeo because she wouldn't be able to believe in him onstage).

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Looking forward to this tomorrow, though I must admit the first thing that the Monotones costumes brought to mind was Woody Allen's 'Everything you wanted to know about sex'.  If you know the film you'll know the scene..

 

Thanks for that! :rolleyes: It hadn't occurred to me the last time the RB did Monotones, but now I'll never be able to un-see it...

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Over the years a number of Ashton's ballets while attracting approval for the quality of their choreography have been criticised for their designs or redesigns.If some of the comments here are anything to go by Monotones could well be the next Ashton work to have the "benefit" of a redesign.So far none of the redesigns of ballets by Ashton or Cranko have proved to be an improvement on the original designs however imperfect the originals were thought to be.

 

It would be interesting to know what you could put in the place of the original designs for Monotones without destroying the mood of the two works.As Monotones 1,green and earthbound, was created as a contrasting companion piece to Monotones 2, a white celestial exercise in pure flowing line even changing the colour of the costumes would alter the audience's perception of the works. I think that the skull caps are intended to focus the audience's attention on the nature and quality of the dancers' movements rather than their gender.The standard Balanchine uniform for purely abstract works does not seem appropriate nor does the knicker and vest style of costume so loved by contemporary choreographers.

 

I think that there is something wrong with set designs for Two Pigeons,or at least there was at the open rehearsal and the lighting was not quite right either.I shall be interested to know what other people, particularly those who remember the old Royal Opera House sets for this ballet, think.

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In 'Pigeons' I think the lighting designer was very fond of magenta coloured gels, especially for gypsies!

As for the bathing hats in monotones, they would be the only element I'd change myself. Everything else is near perfect and so meddle proof 

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I prefer the look of the new headgear; I found the more elaborate ones distracting. I'd somewhat prefer to see what it looks like without the headgear, though, because I think it makes the costumes look like something out of a low-budget sci-fi TV series.

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They already have changed the costumes for Monotones - the green trio used to wear more elaborate headdresses, like Phrygian caps. Can't think why they changed them - they looked fine and made a clear distinction between the twp groups.

 

The old-style headdresses are shown in this photo of ABT's Studio Company in 2004. It appears in Alastair Macaulay's NYT article of a month ago about Monotones.

 

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©Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

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Goodness, those pictures make it look as though the dancers have giant codpieces on their heads.  Of course, it could just be the angle of the photo.

 

I like the neat, clean lines of the current caps shown in Dave's lovely photos.  I can't see anything wrong with them, personally.  I can see the reasons for them, and the only alternative would be to have the men and women wear matching wigs. which would probably look very odd indeed. 

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Well, the show was terrific and had a wonderful, enthusiastic reception from the audience. The three leads (Cuthbertson, Muntagirov (who hardly leaves the stage) and Morera) were all on top form - as were the pigeons  :)

 

So nice that Christopher Carr (who was responsible for staging Two Pigeons) came on stage to take a bow and was receiving congratulations at the Stage Door afterwards.

Edited by capybara
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Why have we had to wait 30 years for Two Pigeons? A wonderful evening, and for the first time since Friday night I felt happy, although a bit sad that London has been deprived of this ballet for so long! 2P was totally charming and enchanting, with the three leads all on scintillating form, as was Marcellino Sambe and every dancer on the stage. Perfect pigeons, too! This ballet is set in Paris, and Kevin O'Hare came out at the beginning of the evening to dedicate tonight's performance to all those affected by the tragic events there, an announcement that deservedly got a big round of applause. The beautiful performances were a very fitting tribute, and reminded us that the best side of humanity will always win over the evil side.

 

Monotones 1 was my favourite of the two, with Yasmine Naghdi and Emma Maguire giving a fine rendition of this difficult choreography. 2 was greatly enhanced by the presence of Marianela Nunez, but I thought that Ed Watson and Valeri Hristov were a bit underpowered and not always to time. So for me, the girls carried the ballet this evening.

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London has seen performances of the Two Pigeons in the last thirty years the problem has been that the resident company at Covent Garden has chosen to ignore it. Ballet goers intrepid enough to make their way to the theatres at which Birmingham Royal Ballet/Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet perform have been able to see it from time to time and befor Gailene Stock's directorship it was often to be seen at the Royal Ballet School's annual main stage performance.

 

The performance by last night's cast made the company's neglect of the work totally inexplicable. They have set the bar extremely high for the rest of the casts who are due to dance in it. It was very clear that the bulk of the audience had never seen it before. At the interval there were lots of people expressing surprise at how good the ballet is.A lady sitting next to me told me that she liked Ashton's ballets but had never heard of the work.Let us hope that the reviews stimulate interest and ticket sales.

Edited by FLOSS
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I have seen BRB do it in London. I suppose I should have been clearer and asked why we have had to wait 30 years for this to be taken back into the London-based RB's repertoire. As Floss said, an inexplicable absence!

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I have seen BRB do it in London. I suppose I should have been clearer and asked why we have had to wait 30 years for this to be taken back into the London-based RB's repertoire. As Floss said, an inexplicable absence!

 

Importantly, we have it back now. Another lovely 'feel good' ballet - valued all the more in the midst of this strange old world.

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Thanks, I logged on all agog to see what the view from the forum  was- really looking forward to Tuesday even more now to see that cast- but also to seeing the next cast.

The rehearsals on World ballet day certainly showed how hard Christpher Carr was working on this ballet- it sounds as if he has saved it for the repertoire.

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I am very much looking forward to the performance on 5th December evening.

 

Fans of BRB have been so lucky to have seen this wonderful production so many times over the last 15 or so years.  I have many happy memories of glorious performances - my 2 favourites being a Saturday afternoon in Birmingham with Nao Sakuma and Robert Parker and the same Saturday evening with Ambra Vallo and Chi Cao.  What a day that was...

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The Royal Ballet's set has always been slightly different to that of BRB. The stairs on the side of the studio are a lot higher and the "arch" with the draped cloth over it enables the dancers to go round it whereas their is no gap in the BRB set. If this sounds peculiar you'll see what I mean when you see the ballet.

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Can't remember exactly when I saw The Two Pigeons before, might have been 30 years ago but as soon as I heard the music it all came back to me, last night's cast was as good as it gets, apart from Lauren Cuthbertson and Vadim Muntagirov whose dancing and charm I took for granted, I was so pleased to see Laura Morera and Marcelino Sambe on such great form too, made me realise just what a master choreographer Ashton was, and a relief after the Carmen bill, this time I felt real emotion, in fact I couldn't watch the last pdd through opera glasses, Lauren and Vadim and the two perfect pigeons were too much!

 

Pleased that it got such a warm reception, especially for Christopher Carr!

 

Monotones on the other hand has lost it's charm a bit, the white one felt rather heavy going instead of the "walking on the moon" feel it used to have, and the green one didn't have the Oriental quality I remember, think the Rhapsody programme will be even better.

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