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The Royal Ballet, The Winter's Tale, April 2016


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I saw this at least twice in the first run and found much to enjoy but I didn't feel like going to see it again. As for the unsold tickets, well I think that the ROH may have over stretched itself scheduling 15 performances and charging the kind of prices getting on for what people expect to pay for better known ballets. I believe that it sold well last time but there was the curiosity / novelty factor and I wonder whether it will continue to sell well in the future. The last run of Manon was long and tickets had to be discounted. I suspect that only the best known ballets (SL, Beauty, R&J, Giselle, Nutcracker) will sustain a run of more than a dozen performances in one season even at the ROH. Prices seem to have crept up quite significantly in the last couple of years and I personally am becoming much choosier about the performances which I see at the ROH. I'm giving Frankenstein a miss because I have found Scarlett's work very uneven. I hated Sweet Violets and fear that Frankenstein has the potential to be a bit like it. I take the view that if it's any good it will no doubt return to the rep in a year or two (possibly improved).

 

Anyway, enjoy the evening those who are going.

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First performance tonight of the first revival, with the original cast. I am looking forward to it and was just looking for some rehearsal photos on the forum..have I missed a thread?

We only had the photo call today, at Friends Rehearsal (the General Rehearsal). Downloading pics from camera to laptop, as I type...

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She danced Hermione in the run two years ago.

I saw Marianela dance Hermione and was most impressed by her abilities as a dramatic actress, having previously associated her with more light hearted fare. I don't count her Odette/Odile as although I saw her dance the role/s,I couldn't get past how much I loathed the production.

It is a shame to see so many as yet unsold seats for Winter's Tale. I agree with Aileen that there are probably too many performances and ticket prices are relatively steep. I am not going this time round. Although I enjoyed most of it, I wouldn't want to see it again unless there had been a little pruning, particularly in Act ll. No pun intended, leave the tree alone but say goodbye to some of the dancing peasants and their extensive collection of handmade baskets!  As far as I know, there have been no changes.

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She danced Hermione in the run two years ago.

 

Thanks; I was actually aware of this fact, but due to time and financial issues I wasn't able to go to the ballet very often in 2014, and I missed a lot, so I didn't see it. I still have a lot to learn. 

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Just back from a wonderful performance.  Never mind bringing out the big guns - this was a veritable cannonade! Watson, Cuthbertson, Avis, Macrae, Stix-Brunell, Gartside, Yanowsky, Lamb... It was terrific.  Corps fab, especially the guys.  Only weak point, for me, was Stix-Brunell but that is nit-picking.  This ballet has everything:  shades of light and dark, pathos, humour and fabulous choreography although I cannot see who could replace Watson who is sublime right down to his fingertips.

 

Not the greatest audience and some empty seats in the stalls which is such a pity. . I think this one is possibly a slow burn but definitely a keeper.

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I agree Penelope that this is a really fine ballet. It is such a coherent work: everything works together to tell the story in a powerful way.

 

I really liked it in the first run but this time it seemed to move more smoothly, and I wondered whether there had been a few small cuts in act 1, with a little less of the statues scene. I shall watch the dvd to try to work it out.

At times it is really disturbing, whch is perhaps how it should be, but the contrast between the two worlds is portrayed brilliantly in the contrasting sets, colours and music and dancing. The explosion of light and joy in Act 2 was tremendous.

 

All the -original- cast, I agree were superb.  Cuthbertson the picture of noble innocence, Watson's terrifingly tortured moves projecting inner agony into the auditorium as noone else can,  Yanowsky an imperious Paulina-with those incredible wrists and feet she uses to point accusingly at Leontes- Bonelli conjuring up an exotic prince in his  passionate solo in Act 1, Mc Rae and Lamb  exciting in the Act 2 pas de deux, Gartside the sober and sensible adult in a mad world.. Again I admired the way each dancer's particular style was woven into the making of the piece.

The music for me is a big part of the success, as it actually mirrors the action and character as it should do, and is interesting, lyrical and very rhythmic, with such an interesting range of effects, eg the hissing sound evoking the jealous fits of Leontes.  ( I so much prefer it to the pounding electronic sounds used by some other choreographers.)

The effects all worked very smoothly with no statues jerking or wobbles. Again I loved the projection of sea ships.

 

I recall complaining about the awful cut and colour of McRae's trousers last time ( and I was not alone) and they did Muntagirov no favours eiher- this time, they had been altered to something more normal. ( or did I imagine it?)

 

To crown it all, Gary Avis popping up again, this time resplendent in an orange kilt, orchestrating the revels in his inimitable style.

 

I am looking forward to the other cast and would watch it many times.

 

For me it was a good audience- quiet! and where I was sitting they seemed entirely involved in the ballet, saving thier very warm applause for the end.

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I also really enjoyed last night. This is never going to be one of my favourite ballets, but there is enough in it to hold my interest (although this does start to be challenged in Act 2)in order for me to see each cast. Mary has beautifully summed up the opening night cast, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. Zen and Lauren are both great dance actresses and I couldn't take my eyes off them; when Zen is onstage she is mesmerising, even if she is (ostensibly) doing nothing. As we know, Ed does 'lunatic' like no-one else, but it is good to see that his dancing is still excellent as well.

I think this most complicated of stories is well told here, but some of the big moments are rushed; for example, when Leontes discovers that his daughter is in front of him, it all seems to pass in a second. I am also really disappointed that the whole bear thing hasn't been changed. "Exeunt, pursued by a bear" is the most famous stage direction in literature, and yet here most of the house can't even see that it's a bear, and once again it all happens so quickly that if you blink you miss it. We get to see a bear face on a sheet for about two seconds...and if you are sitting up in the amphi you miss it. I'm not saying that someone in a bear costume should run out onto the stage, but with all the other wonderful use of video in this production I think a better solution could be arrived at.

I remember in the last run I didn't love this ballet when I first saw it, but then it grew on me with subsequent viewings. I liked it better this time, and am sure it will grow on me during this run.

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I didn't love this on it's first run and last night didn't change my mind. The complex story is clearly told, the staging and costumes are attractive but I find the choreography and the music dispiritingly dull. Act 3 was the most successful, Acts 1 & 2 outstayed their welcome in spite of huge commitment by the dancers. Notwithstanding my personal reservations about the ballet, it was sad to see a few rows of empty seats at the back of the stalls last night. 

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Were any changes made to the choreography? From what I remember, Act 2 went on too long with a lot of repetitive peasant dancing and Act 3 was too short with 'the denouement' rather rushed.

 

Act 2 (and Act 1 for that matter) still go on too long. I think that part of the problem is Wheeldon's desire to develop roles for the corps.

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I saw this at least twice in the first run and found much to enjoy but I didn't feel like going to see it again. As for the unsold tickets, well I think that the ROH may have over stretched itself scheduling 15 performances and charging the kind of prices getting on for what people expect to pay for better known ballets. I believe that it sold well last time but there was the curiosity / novelty factor and I wonder whether it will continue to sell well in the future. The last run of Manon was long and tickets had to be discounted. I suspect that only the best known ballets (SL, Beauty, R&J, Giselle, Nutcracker) will sustain a run of more than a dozen performances in one season even at the ROH. Prices seem to have crept up quite significantly in the last couple of years and I personally am becoming much choosier about the performances which I see at the ROH. I'm giving Frankenstein a miss because I have found Scarlett's work very uneven. I hated Sweet Violets and fear that Frankenstein has the potential to be a bit like it. I take the view that if it's any good it will no doubt return to the rep in a year or two (possibly improved).

 

Anyway, enjoy the evening those who are going.

Take your point.  I was quite surprised to see I had paid more for Winter's Tale than Giselle

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The timings of the three acts are slightly different according to the cast sheets:

 

2014 - 49/37/24 minutes

2016 - 50/40/25 minutes

 

Make of that what you will! I agree with Aileen about the balance between Acts II and III being a bit off.

 

So do I (based on the first run).

 

I'd been going to ask: something official I saw recently claimed that the running time was 2 1/2 hours, but my cast sheets from last time around say it's a bit under 3 hours. I assume it's still the latter?

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So do I (based on the first run).I'd been going to ask: something official I saw recently claimed that the running time was 2 1/2 hours, but my cast sheets from last time around say it's a bit under 3 hours. I assume it's still the latter?

I make it 1hr 55 on stage plus 55mins of interval.

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Enjoyed seeing tonight's cast. To be honest I wasn't looking forward to it as I wasn't in the mood but I was totally engrossed. Personally I think act 2 could do with a little bit more snipping. Even though had an enjoyable evening there's something about it that doesn't make me want to see it more than once. The only reason I'm going again is to see the third cast. Does anyone know why the percussion are sectioned off from the rest of the orchestra?

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