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Northern Ballet - Casanova - Spring Tour 2017


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A bit late in the day but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the three weekend performances of Casanova in Norwich.  I was lucky to see all three casts and they have all grown even more into the roles since I saw them in Leeds.

 

There is so much to see in this piece that I have noticed more little details with every viewing and it certainly bears repeated viewings.  I have seen seven performances so far and can't wait to see it again!

 

I particularly enjoyed Jeremy Curnier's performance as the tortured priest Balbi.  His acting reaches out over the footlights and you can feel his pain.  The dancer who plays Balbi also plays the lead castrato in Act 2 so it is a total contrast of roles and shows the acting mettle of the dancer.

 

Here's a short interview with Kenny Tindall ahead of this week's performances in Milton Keynes:

 

http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/interview-casanova-choreographer-talks-about-ballet-ahead-of-milton-keynes-date-1-7915575

 

 

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3 hours ago, Don Q Fan said:

I've just bought a ticket to the Saturday matinee at The Lowry in May.  Hoping it's good!

 

Gosh Don Q Fan. I do so hope you love it as much as I do! I've seen 5 performances so far; I need more shows and can't get it out of my head!

 

I was going to write a review but others above have said mostly everything I want to say. And if I try to discuss NB Casanova, I don't think I can be very rational or coherent!!

 

Just a couple of thoughts...I've been madly into live ballet for many years but never in my life have I been so gripped emotionally by a new production as much as I have been by NB's Casanova. IMO everything about this production collides into the most amazing output: choreography, dancers, costumes, musical score, storybook, emotion.....everything.

 

I just love this production and so hope it gets filmed. It's been by far the most exciting new production I have ever seen. Bravi to all those involved in this daring new production. For me, it's utterly sensational. 

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On 13/03/2017 at 09:30, Jan McNulty said:

...On reading the synopsis, one may think the story is over-complicated but it proved very easy to follow the action...

 

I hope you’re right Janet, I’ve just read the plot and it looks more complicated than Mayerling :lol:!

We’re going tomorrow and looking forward to it after all these great reviews :).

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1 hour ago, Timmie said:

 

I hope you’re right Janet, I’ve just read the plot and it looks more complicated than Mayerling :lol:!

We’re going tomorrow and looking forward to it after all these great reviews :).

 

Timmie - I hope you enjoy the performance as much as I have been doing.  Ian Kelly gave a talk about Casanova at a recent event and it is worth 20 minutes of your time to watch.  There is also lots of other information on the website as you have already seen.  I found Ian's talk helped a lot.

 

https://northernballet.com/casanova/mini#firstFrame

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Well, I enjoyed this a lot (Milton Keynes, Saturday matinee). I wasn’t sure if I would as I am mostly a fan of the classics and I’ve been very disappointed by some of the ROH new works. As said by others the scenery, costumes, choreography and music all worked well together. It was clear this was going to be the case when the nuns were (literally) wheeled on at the beginning of the first act – the audience tried to suppress a little chuckle at this but we couldn’t :lol:.

 

The dancing and choreography were great, the best bit in the first act for me was the pas-de-deux between Casanova (Javier Torres) and MM (Hannah Bateman). Best bit overall was the audition of the castrati and then the ensuing ongoing interaction and pas-de-deux between Casanova and Bellino (Abigail Prudames).

 

This was also a relatively rare visit to the ballet by Mrs Timmie and her verdict was that she enjoyed it – and that is not always the case! I think we were able to follow the story pretty well, though there was some armography that I didn’t really get. Not sure if it was some mime I didn’t recognise or maybe there was nothing to get…  Ahah, just re-read the story to make sure my spellings were correct and that armography must have been Casanova explaining “his theory of cubic geometry”, a strange thing in a ballet!

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  • 2 weeks later...

We watched CASANOVA in Cardiff last Saturday and were simply speechless throughout. This is one of those very rare occasions when all elements come perfectly together to create the ultimate audience experience, the music, the choreography, the set design and lighting, the atmosphere in the theatre, the dance skills, the artistry, the costumes. All in perfect harmony and complementing each other so beautifully. If I was to make one small criticism, it is perhaps slight over-use of frantic arm-ography.

 

We have seen many, many ballets and other dance performances, this beats everything we have seen so far. I thought ENB / Akram Khan's GISELLE a while back was excellent but this was on another level for me. If I could see it again next week I would, but everything left to see is sold out ... 

 

And all for £25 with good seats in the stalls ... fantastic value for money. 

 

Thank you Northern Ballet !

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You could also dash up to the Lowry where it opens tonight!!!  It's not quite sold out there.

 

I will, of course, be there!  I'm very excited because it is the first time the Company has been to The Lowry since 2001 and it is so much easier for me to get to than the theatres in the centre of Manchester.

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I've seen the first three performances at The Lowry this week - Giuliano's cast last night, Joe's this afternoon and Javier's tonight.

 

I loved this ballet since the first night and seeing it in Norwich half way through the tour and then this week towards the end of the run it has been a joy to see how all the dancers have deepened their characterisations.

 

The set looks even more magnificent on the bigger stage and the dancing has even more of an edge because the dancers have more space to move.  All three performances have been magnificent and each one was acclaimed with a standing ovation at the end.

 

For me, last night Jeremy Curnier gave one of the best performances of his career as the tortured monk Balbi.  He has included more and more subtle nuances throughout the run and last night I wanted to leap onto the stage to save hime!

 

Tonight Javier Torres gave what I think is the finest, most emotionally intense performance of Casanova full stop.  I found his duets with Bellini and Henriette to be almost unbearably tender and moving ... in fact both the lady sat next to me and I were in floods at the end of the performance!

 

I'm moving on to Cheltenham tomorrow but can't wait to see Friday and Saturday evenings at Sadler's Wells next week.  I think I am going to feel totally bereft when the run ends ... I sincerely hope we will soon get another opportunity to see Casanova.

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Janet: wonderful to hear your feelings about the Javier Torres performance. I'm destined not to see him as Casanova even as tomorrow I see performance number 7 of this most amazing production. Just keep missing him but both Guiliano Contadini & Joseph Taylor  are both superb in the role.

I have rarely felt so gripped and involved in a production. Repeat viewings just make me want more. Remarkable achievement by all at NB & Kenny Tindall. I went to post show talk today at Lowry; David Nixon said it is the most expensive production NB has ever done but money was no object to support the genius choreographic talent that is Kenny Tindall!

I concur with your sentiment entirely Janet; I will feel bereft once this Casanova run is over! Bring it back soon NB & for heaven's sake, film it!!!

 

 

 

Edited by nottsballetlover
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Pleased to say I found Casanova matinee on Saturday enjoyable. The first act seemed to go in a flash. The story is very easy to follow if you have read the synopsis before the show. I can't say the dance was that memorable in the sense that nothing is sticking in my mind 2 days on in the way bits of Kahn's Giselle still do. However it was well danced with some nice pieces for the corps as well as pdds.  I think this is a great show if you want dance with a good story, good sets/costumes/music. Even though I normally don't like dark lighting it worked well here.. maybe  with the Lowry being smaller and therefore me being closer to the action helped. It was very atmospheric.  I just wish the incense burner had had real incense in it that would have been the perfect touch to add atmosphere.  (I hope those seated in the stalls are not now going to tell me it DID have real incense in or I shall be insensed!) A good all rounder and interesting subject. All credit to Kenny Tindall for bringing this story to life, I am now minded to read about Casanova. 

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7 minutes ago, Don Q Fan said:

 I just wish the incense burner had had real incense in it that would have been the perfect touch to add atmosphere.  (I hope those seated in the stalls are not now going to tell me it DID have real incense in or I shall be insensed!)  

 

No, I didn't notice the aroma of incense sitting in the front row.

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4 minutes ago, toursenlair said:

about time, considering it opens tomorrow!

 

 

I hate to say it, but this is earlier than usual!!  Sad to see only 2 of the 3 casts are dancing.  They are all most definitely worth seeing.

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Fabulous reception from tonight's audience at Sadlers Wells - and very well deserved! The dancing and the dancers were tremendous - I was so impressed as I hadn't seen NB for some time (to my shame I should add...). It bodes very well for the autumn when they'll be tackling Gloria. The sets and costumes were dazzling - I hope they get an appropriate award as they made the ballet. The choreography was good, at its best demanding and inventive, but there were patches (not many) which didn't work- sometimes trying  to hard to communicate either a feeling or storyline through  clunky movement. The music was the weakest element- Max Richter ultra-lite. Nevertheless I enjoyed the evening and relished in the commitment to the choreography shown by each dancer. It deserves to be a big hit.

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A quick question about running times.  Sadlers Wells says 2 hours, including interval.  Have they been starting and ending promptly?  I am meeting friends afterwards, so they need some idea how long they might be hanging around!

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I enjoyed last night's performance very much, but while I think Judith Mackrell's unfavourable comments in the Guardian a while back were rather harsh, I can understand a number of points she makes.

 

As everyone else has said, the sets and costumes are wonderful.   Javier Torres was terrific in the title role.  He must have been exhausted by the end, he barely leaves the stage for the entire time.  The dancing from the rest of the company was great, and there were some lovely pas de deux.  

 

Now here comes the But.  For me, after a while the whole thing became a bit repetitive. I suspect this was always going to be an issue with such a vast range of characters.   Although the dancers were skillful in the way they portrayed the different personalities of the individuals concerned, there are only so many ways you can show Casanova taking part in yet another seductive piece of action.  I think the main problem lay with the music.   At first, I found it very rousing, but after a while I felt as if I had been listening to the same 16 bars of music for 2 hours.  .

 

 

Having said that, the good definitely outweighed the not-so-good.  I am very glad I went to see it, and the whole cast thoroughly deserved the rousing applause they received at the end.  

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I went to see this production twice.....at The Lowry with my youngest daughter and then because I enjoyed it so much I took my eldest daughter who usually hates dance & lives in London to see it at Sadlers Wells. I am not a dance connoisseur nor an experienced dance attendee as many of you are on here, I cannot give any meaningful critical analysis, I can only go with my emotional response to what I see. I was enthralled.....the lighting, the costumes, the staging, the eroticism blew me away. I saw Guiliano dance the role both times and loved his partnering work. The pas de deux with Henrieta made me tearful both times. Interestingly, when I was in London I was sat in a restaurant near Sadlers Wells and had brought my programme from Salford for my daughter to read before we went to see the show. A lady on the next table asked if we had been to the matinee as she had & I explained that I had seen it in Salford the previous week and was about to see it again. She said she had absolutely loved the production & had booked to see it again. She said she was a regular attendee at Sadlers Wells but this was the best thing she had ever seen!! I felt very proud to be Northern! Leaving the theatre that night we bumped into Guiliano and he graciously signed my programme and posed for photos. (My eldest daughter loved it btw! :-D)

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  • 1 month later...

So just less than 4 weeks ago I was sat checking my emails in a cafe with free internet access in Paris when I found an email from Northern Ballet.

 

CASANOVA WAS TO BE FILMED!!!  There were 2 performances at the Palace Theatre in Manchester and the tickets had just gone on sale!!  I rang my friend and she immediately booked for both of us for the 2 performances!!

 

The performances were on Friday evening and yesterday afternoon.  Only part of the stalls and the dress circle had been sold to facilitate to cameras.

 

As expected it was the first cast of Giuliano Contadini as Casanova, Javier Torres as Bragadin, Ayami Myata as Belloti, Dreda Blow as Bellino and Hannah Bateman as Henriette.  A lovely surprise was that Jeremy Curnier had come back to guest as Balbi!

 

I was in raptures from the minute the curtain went up on Friday evening!  It was almost as though I was seeing the ballet for the first time and I loved it even more than I had on the first night in Leeds in March.  If I had thought that Friday evening was wonderful then Saturday afternoon just absolutely knocked it out of the water!!  Glorious performances from everyone on stage and I and my friends were in floods after the duets with Bellino and Henriette.  Both performances garnered well deserved standing ovations!

 

So I haven't got any details about when this will be broadcast but rest assured I will publish any details we get as soon as we get them!

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  • 7 months later...

Courtesy of my NOW box and paying for an Entertainment package for a month I was able to watch the recording of Casanova on Sky Arts this morning.

 

IIRC a number of the early reviews mentioned the word cinematic.  Wow, the recording is just splendid!  I'm not usually that much of a fan of ballet performances on the TV but, for me, this one really worked.

 

The cinematographers are to be congratulated for producing such a wonderful film of a live show.

 

And as for Casanova, I fell in love with the production all over again!

 

Now we need a DVD!

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Thanks for posting this Janet, Casanova now downloading on my Sky box :). I love watching ballet on the TV, no troublesome audience members and best of all in this miserable wet weather I can stay in the warm! And a good warm-up for seeing Northern Ballet's Little Mermaid in a couple of weeks.

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