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The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker, 2015-16


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Last night was wonderful, but as FLOSS said Mr Campbell did seem to look a little tried in places. Nevertheless he did a great job once more. Can't say enough good things about the cast. Salenko and McRae were their usual highly polished selves. Even SM's arms in the 'run to me, I'm going to catch you!' were beautiful.

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I think the majority of attendees in a typical Nutcracker crowd will not care whether it is this year's performance or last year's or one from 5 years ago. I expect there are problems with conflicts with the Bolshoi Nut.

 

No, after all, there must be about 4 of them to choose for by now?

 

Actually, was the 2009 one the one with Alexandra Ansanelli?

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There is a cast list on the ROH website now...

(But I am getting a bit muddled about what we're talking about by now to be honest! I am talking about tonight's ROH live streaming or live screening or whatever it's called in cinemas)

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Well I'm just back from the cinema!

 

I can't believe that Sir Peter Wright has made 2 such differing productions of the Nutcracker - BRB's masterpiece and this one!  OK some of the choreography is the same but I'm afraid I didn't like the set or the costumes, which I also loathed on the only previous occasion I have seen this production (in 1986).

 

However the performances were stellar.  I thought Francesca Hayward was utterly exquisite as Clara; her facial expressions were vivid but subtle at the same time.  Alexander Campbell was magnificent as the Nutcracker/Hans-Peter and he and Francesca were scintillating together.  Gary Avis just inhabited the role of Drosselmeyer; he is a true star.  Lauren Cuthbertson and Nehemiah Kish were fabulous in the gpdd.

 

So my first cinema outing was a success and I will definitely go again but probably not to see this production of Nutcracker!

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I was wondering if anyone could direct me to the Secretary of the A. Campbell Fan Club -. He was fantastic.

 

A marvellous evening.

 

Gary Avis,Christopher Saunders, Elizabeth McGorian- all the  detailed characterisation was first-rate, and good to see close up. However, some of the camera angles were not helpful-especially , the camera should have pulled back to show the patterns of the Snowflakes.

The corps were on very good form.

 

(I was rather embarrassed though as always by the presentation and could have done without the appeal for money in the interval!)

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I was wondering if anyone could direct me to the Secretary of the A. Campbell Fan Club -. He was fantastic.

 

A marvellous evening.

 

Gary Avis,Christopher Saunders, Elizabeth McGorian- all the  detailed characterisation was first-rate, and good to see close up. However, some of the camera angles were not helpful-especially , the camera should have pulled back to show the patterns of the Snowflakes.

The corps were on very good form.

 

(I was rather embarrassed though as always by the presentation and could have done without the appeal for money in the interval!)

 

Well Mr C has a growing army of fans!  I hope you are going to see him in 2Ps!

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I loved the performances AND the sets and costumes! My only quibble is the low lighting for the party in Act I; I'm not sure if this is meant to be authentic/atmospheric etc, but I just find it dark. Other than that - fabulous all round. Hayward and Campbell terrific together and superb performances from everyone else too. The tree growing and growing and the music building and building is one of the greatest moments in all of ballet.

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Well Mr C has a growing army of fans!  I hope you are going to see him in 2Ps!

 

I just booked my ticket! can't wait!

 

Truly, I thought his footwork was wonderfully neat and precise, his  line was lovely, and his acting was perfect in the role. Handsome too.

 

i also enjoyed Kish's performance-what very quiet landings.

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Well what an evening it was! 

The RB may have been slammed this week as "turkey of the year" but boy did the dancers deliver tonight!

The whole cast was absolutely stunning and they have shown the world what a first class company they can be: Hayward probably the best Clara I've seen, Alexander Campbell so charming and wonderful, and the one and only Avis, Olivia Cowley lovely in Arabian and Yasmine Naghdi - a truly beautiful Rose Fairy - danced with such confidence, strong stage presence and superb technic. 

The best cast in years. 

What happened to Lauren? Something went wrong but she covered it up well. Kish, well I am sorry, no emotion, so dry, so indifferent, didn't like his Prince! 

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Somehow got the one and only returned ticket at our cinema for a sold out performance so rushed off at 7! It was rather fabulous, Hayward was stunning and I really enjoyed the whole thing. The lady next to me was very chatty in the interval and asked me at the end whether the SPF was Russian. I explained that no infact Lauren Cuthbertson was indeed English and trained in England too. She seemed very surprised but happy!

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Lauren seemed to almost fall at the end of the pas de deux- such a shame-but carried on very well. After all she only found out who she was dancing with yesterday  (presumably).

 

I saw the encore Bolshoi Nutcracker on Sunday and really this seemed so much better, So much warmth and spirit in it.

 

Well done RB- you confounded the critics tonight. Agree  Cowley and Naghdi were superb.

 

i love the costumes especially the Rose Fairy and cavaliers.

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Some exquisite performances tonight. I agree with Nina G about this demonstrating the high quality performances the Royal Ballet can deliver. I do prefer the BRB production with a transformation scene that continues to excite no matter how many times you see it, but there's quite a few changes made to this production from when it first appeared and I do like how Clara and Hans -Peter are given significant contributions to the various dances in Act 2. Yes what did happen to Lauren ?

Edited by Odyssey
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I agree with those above- really enjoying the performances of Hayward (reminded me of Cojocaru's Clara), Campbell and Naghdi. I actually enjoyed Kish's solo very much and Lauren is always beautiful!

 

Olivia Cowley's Arabian stood out as an outstanding performance, as well as Harrod's gorgeous Columbine.

 

Gary Avis really gives heart and soul to Drosselmeyer and I feel he really drives the whole ballet- I absolutely love him in this role.

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I'm not sure if she slipped but she seemed to stumble a few steps. Such a shame as the rest of her performance was sublime. Well done to Kish for stepping up at the last minute - he was very competent but I don't find him outstanding in any way (good or bad).

 

Campbell and Hayward were excellent, and also Nagdhi. Full house at the cinema, and even some applause!

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It is unfortunate that the decor for this production of Nutcracker does not show up well on TV, although looking good in the theatre, and this is true for the scenery of other ballets that have been broadcast. It's simply a matter of the sensitivity of TV cameras which cannot handle the same range of lighting intensity as the human eye. To show the decor to its best advantage would have meant a total overhaul of the lighting which would not have looked good to the audience in the theatre as well as involving much extra work for the lighting crew.

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I was there tonight OS B so got a good view of the incident. During the PDD, Lauren was knocked into by Nehemiah going in opposite directions and she seemed winded/disoriented as a result. She did well to carry on so quickly.

 

During the Russian dance Luca(?) stood on his heels, slipped and nearly fell over.

 

Also during the Chinese dance one of their hats fell off.

 

Great night overall, Gary Avis, Francesca and especially Yasmine were the stand out performers for me. Kish seemed seriously out of his depth tonight.

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 Gary Avis really gives heart and soul to Drosselmeyer and I feel he really drives the whole ballet- I absolutely love him in this role.

Absolutely agree, Gary Avis was utterly fabulous and a real joy to see him up close on the screen.

 

I thought Lauren was exquisite and Yasmine was perfect. I am probably alone in not being keen on Francesca as Clara. She didn't really have enough child-like innocence or wide-eyed wonder for me, but she danced beautifully. Snowflakes were a little ropey in places - looked like very hard work for a couple of them.

 

Overall a lovely and heartfelt performance but I am with Janet in preferring the BRB version from a set and choreography perspective.

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Stunning performances all round tonight! 

I particularly enjoyed Naghdi's Rose Fairy - felt myself smiling by the end of the Waltz of Flowers! I personally believe she is equally as good as Hayward. 

Hayward & Campbell were a great Clara and Hans Peter.

The Arabian Dance was breathtaking - I know my fellow cinema goers were left jaw dropped by that lift! 

Cuthbertson and Kish were very good (except the little wobble) - but we have to remember that Kish would have been a last minute replacement. I think some of the comments about Kish are harsh! 

 

The hat incident in the Chinese Dance gave me a sudden flashback to dance shows as a child - at least the Opera House  audience are mature enough not to burst out laughing!

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The worst I think I'd say about Cuthbertson/Kish was that they could probably have done with a bit more rehearsal to work out their spacing - I'm pretty sure her knee hit him hard on one of the turns as well. But Kish did a perfectly good job under what looked like difficult circumstances!

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I was there tonight OS B so got a good view of the incident. During the PDD, Lauren was knocked into by Nehemiah going in opposite directions and she seemed winded/disoriented as a result. She did well to carry on so quickly.

 

I didn't quite see what happened (I was in the Balcony) but straight afterwards I thought it looked as if she might have hurt her left arm in some way.  Glad to see this didn't seem to cause her any further trouble.

 

Lots of "oops, live theatre!" slips, really. Bit of a shame on broadcast night but there you go.  As well as the things mentioned by others, the blue curtain got caught up on the left on its way down (as the Nutcracker is left injured by the Mouse King) and there seemed to be a near-miss during the Chinese Dance when one of the leap-froggers almost didn't make it over his partner.  Some very untidy moments in the orchestra, too, and as for the audience... :angry: people seemed to be dropping heavy things at regular intervals, there was a mobile phone ringing AS the music began (for some reason, the house didn't make the usual announcement about phones and photography), I was distracted throughout the first scene by a young woman on the right-hand side of the Grand Tier with an iPad brightly lighting up her face, and there were flash photos right at the beginning as well.

 

Edited to add: I'm not a Golding fan, but I was disappointed he was out - the main reason I had a ticket last night, given that other than the SPF and Prince it was almost exactly the same cast I saw last Tuesday, was out of curiosity to see him and Lauren in the GPDD having seen them coached on it in the RB In Rehearsal event a few weeks ago.

 

Onward to tonight. Really looking forward to Anna Rose O'Sullivan's first Clara!

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What a shame these blips all happened on a worldwide broadcast night! I have seen Nut three times thus far (the next being tonight) and there were no blips in any of those performances. Typical!

 

I didn't see the performance last night, but well done to all for dealing with the problems in what sounds like a very professional manner.

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I must admit, I only went to see this Nutcracker because of Francesca Hayward. I am no Nutcracker Person, so I thought I’d give this one a miss, I’m very glad I didn’t!

This was the first time I saw her and what a delight to watch!

 

As if every movement comes from a bubbling source within her – her arabesque is an expression of pure joy, when she jumps, it looks as if she just has to do it that way. It looks spontaneous, fresh, natural. She’s sensitive, musical, with a great face. What a treasure the RB have in her.

 

That moment, at the beginning of Snow, when she follows the snowflake into the wings with that enraptured temps levé? The way she joins the national dancers and the flowers and her little duet with the Rose Fairy?

 

I was reminded of Eva Evdokimova who sometimes made the impression of having to dance because it’s the only way for her to express herself..!

It was wonderful to have seen her on the big screen at the cinema.

I can’t wait to see her in Rhapsody in January (from the Amphi... :( )!

 

And Yasmine Naghdi. So, so beautiful and radiant, every step enjoyable, no strains. Her èpaulement is to die for. Now I want to see her as the Lilac Fairy.

 

Alex Campbell – I’m a fan of the man since I saw him as Mercutio. A clear-cut movement quality, a great partner, he inhabited the role and really cared for his Clara. Bravo!

 

I just wish I could love the production more. I found the first act fussy, the stage looked cramped (the camera angle didn’t help), there was just too much happening at the same time.

(The dolls were fabulous, though.)

 

The snow scene is great. Beautiful choreography, immaculately danced and sensationally un-kitschy, too.

 

But after all this opulence the second act seems to be quite bland. A very pale and very empty Kingdom. Doesn’t the SPF and her Prince have a royal household? There’s no indication what the national dances mean and why they are there. I like my second act more colourful, more festive. This was overall marshmallow-ness, what a pity.

Apart from the flowers and Naghdi, of course. (The cavaliers wore too much white makeup!)

 

Besides, I couldn’t quite relate to the grand pdd, I know about the cast change, but I felt there was no sparkle in it, of course they both delivered a solid quality as can be expected but I couldn’t feel the same as with Naghdi and Hayward.

 

Overall, it was a fine night, with a cleverly invented ending. They all did a fantastic job, this is such a fabulous company and I wish I could see them more often!

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I was at the performance last evening and enjoyed it immensely.

 

I won't nitpick because the quality was very high. There were 3 noticeable blips but given the backstory, some of this is understandable and props and costumes have unavoidable issues sometimes.

 

The smack that Kish gave Lauren when they were going through some fast turns in opposite directions during the last part or the final pas de deux was unfortunate as she was almost knocked off balance but recovered quite nicely. The first part of their pas de deux was exquisite though ... Really well danced and presented (I'm not a perfectionist so picking holes in any performance to the nth degree doesn't float me boat).

 

Yasmine was absolutely delicious as the Rose Fairy and Francesca had enough wide-eyed wonder and innocence for me (when I looked through Opera glasses and from my balcony perch) and any more would have been a bit much for me...she always dances on air...

 

Alexander Cambell didn't look tired at all to me and I really enjoyed his performance...

 

Gary Avis ... What do I need to say... Impeccable - loved him last night.

 

Don't agree with comments from other forum threads that quality isn't there at RB. It most definitely is and there were oodles of it on display last evening... Might comment on those in the appropriate place later

 

Tis the season to be merry and the RB got me off to a good start last night.

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But after all this opulence the second act seems to be quite bland. A very pale and very empty Kingdom. Doesn’t the SPF and her Prince have a royal household? There’s no indication what the national dances mean and why they are there. I like my second act more colourful, more festive. This was overall marshmallow-ness, what a pity.

 

Totally agree and always have done.

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Tabitha, out of interest, were you at the theatre or at a cinema? I think that as far as performances are concerned whether close to, in the theatre, or closer still in the cinema you need to remember performances have to register right at the back of the Amphi something like twenty four rows back.I have no quibbles about Hayward's performance as Clara . Her performances project into the theatre rather than dying at the footlights.

 

As far as Mr Campbell is concerned I believe that I said that the company was working him hard, not that he was looking tired.So far he has featured in most of the Nutcracker performances in this run, with two nights off when Cervera made his final appearances as a dancer..Last night he was Hans Peter, tonight he is with Morera as her cavalier. As far as the overall quality of the dancing last night is concerned I think that they sometimes use students to dance in the corps.It could be that some of the snowflakes were students, rather than company members.I think that the run of the Pigeons mixed bill has benefitted the company. Ashton demands precision and his choreographic style feeds into performances of the classics unlike the modern works which the company dances.

 

Naghdi was visibly relaxed and exceptionally good last night. As for the SPF and her cavalier, Cuthbertson rehearsed with Golding,danced with Bonelli last week and with Kish yesterday. You can wonder how much rehearsal time they got together.Things go wrong in live performance.Props play up and human beings make mistakes. We notice them because they are such an infrequent occurrence.

Edited by FLOSS
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