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Royal Ballet Sylvia 2018... cuthbertson or osipova?


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I'm a huge fan on the royal and seen both Cuthbertson and Osipova. I tend to choose Cubertson in more classic roles but I tend to favour Natalia.

 

Both matinees shows of Sylvia are both Lauren and Natalia and I'm really stuck to choose between them as it's a ballet I've not seen before.

 

 

i know Lauren has danced this production before with polunin but really stuck on who to see.

 

would appreciate any advice!!

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I don't believe Osipova has danced Sylvia yet.  I know that she was scheduled to debut in it with ABT about 4 years ago, but IIRC (I do remember being stuck with a ticket for it) that was canceled because of injury, and I don't think it's been in the RB's performance schedule since she joined...

Edited by now voyager
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8 hours ago, alison said:

Have you seen Osipova in the role, capybara?

 

No, but the dancers who were most successful in the last runs of Sylvia (Yanowsky/Nunez) gave her a lot of 'energy' (which Osipova has in spades).

 

 

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I would also add that Lauren is one of those dancers who is getting better and better with 'age'.  Her Aurora this season was up there with the best, and she also has energy in spades.  She also has a very commanding stage presence.

 

Osipova is always interesting to watch, so Sarah if you can possibly stretch to two matinees, I would see both!! 

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For me Yanowsky was the outstanding performer in Sylvia. I think that she has been the only dancer who has managed to encompass the Sylvia who Ashton created , the tough no nonsense huntress of act one, the would be seductress of act two, played tongue in cheek, and the nineteenth century ballerina of act three. Yanowsky said that it was like dancing three different ballets and when she danced it,it looked just that, as each act gave the audience a different Sylvia. I found Nunez, by comparison,  brought little variety to her portrayal of the role in each act. She was far too one note,she smiled and was charming but she was not Ashton's Sylvia.

 

I did not manage to see Cuthbertson when the ballet was last revived but if I could only see one dancer's performance I would go for the Cuthbertson cast as I think that she has a closer artistic affinity to the classical style of Ashton's Petipa based choreography of Cinderella and the third act of Sylvia. The ballet was created to display Fonteyn's range. The grand pas de deux of Sylvia's third act was created to  celebrate the art of his ballerina , he gave her and the audience a pas de deux firmly rooted in late nineteenth century conventions. I think that Cuthbertson dances Ashton's choreography more idiomatically than Osipova manages to do.The review of Cuthbertson's debut seven years ago is intriguing.and the reference to her old fashioned approach to the choreography suggests that she was spot on as far as style is concerned. I always get the feeling that Osipova is trying very hard to get the style right but I am always aware that sections of choreography including fast footwork and swift changes of direction have to be thought about. The choreography of Sylvia calls for elegance and nuance, the art which disguises art, it is not about raw power.The added bonus for me is that the Cuthbertson cast includes Clarke as Aminta.

 

Aminta does not have much to dance but his solos need to be elegant and his solo in the third act pas de deux needs to be compelling.Clarke is a developing dancer who is maturing with each performance he gives.He is on the way up while Bonelli seems to have entered that phase in his career where, as a mature dancer, his performances are somewhat more variable. and the third act solo is one of those terribly exposed bits of Ashton choreography where the dancer is either right or he is wrong. It does not make any allowances for an off night. 

 

Remember that Sylvia is a role which it is difficult to get right. Whichever cast you see, bear in mind that you are only seeing one dancer's account of the role and that a single performance is just that, a single performance.I nearly gave up on Sylvia after the first night of the 2004 revival and if I had only seen Bussell or Nunez my view of the ballet would have been that it was an interesting exercise in reverence to its creator but that it was an exhumation rather than a successful revival. I was given a ticket for the first performance which Yanowsky gave and the difference between her performance and that of Bussell and Nunez was extraordinary. She made it a totally different ballet but she also made it clear how difficult the ballet is to dance really well. She gave a compelling account of the role which revealed the Sylvia of each act and squeezed every ounce out of the text which Ashton had created.It was the difference between oil painting and a water colour.

 

Sarah 1987 Sorry if this is not as helpful as you might have wished. There is no hard and fast answer to your question. Osipova is a star and she will no doubt give a stellar performance while Cuthberston will almost certainly be more at home with the choreography and dance it idiomatically. It is possible that neither dancer will fully meet the challenges of the role and give an effective account of the role Ashton created.

Edited by FLOSS
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Choreography always sits best on a dancer close in stature to a role's creator, therefore my choice would be Osipova.  Sadly I never saw the ballet in its entirety before the recent reconstruction, but the last act pas de deux was a favourite party piece of Fonteyn's, usually danced with Attilio Labis, Doreen Wells also favoured Sylvia at galas but would dance the pas de deux from earlier in the ballet, most memorably with Maris Liepa.  The style in which these two ladies danced the role still stays in my mind.

 

Russians, both dancers and audiences, experience love at first sight with Ashton's choreography, how I would love them to bring their Sylvias to London, I am heartened by the fact that as the Brits cool towards the master, Russian interest is being ignited.

 

I would strongly prefer Bonelli over Clarke as Aminta as he has the charm and stage experience to bring much to what is a rather empty role technically, when he dances I'm uninterested in his age, I'm only aware of the positives he brings to everything he does.

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

Choreography always sits best on a dancer close in stature to a role's creator, therefore my choice would be Osipova. 

 

Is there that much difference in height between the three candidates?  And would you also apply that rule to the dancer's proportions in general?  Select a long-legged dancer of the right height, rather than someone of similar proportions, but shorter or taller?

 

FLOSS, very interesting thoughts: thank you.  I've only seen the revival, so have no idea how Fonteyn used to dance it, but you make some interesting points about distinguishing the different acts.  I must admit, I've always regretted that it was Bussell who got the DVD recording.

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I had no idea Lauren Cuthbertson had already danced Sylvia, wonder why I didn't see her before, but am looking forward to her and Reece Clarke as they were so good together in Sleeping Beauty, how I wish there was a film of Margot Fonteyn dancing this role, whenever I watch it I always imagine her!

 

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2 hours ago, MAB said:

Russians, both dancers and audiences, experience love at first sight with Ashton's choreography, how I would love them to bring their Sylvias to London, I am heartened by the fact that as the Brits cool towards the master, Russian interest is being ignited.

 

If by "Russians", you mean "Mariinsky", then it must be added that for "Russians" Sylvia feels difficult and not their home territory, this is what Tereshkina herself admitted. It is understandable if they are not eager to dance it in London. This season, in particular, they danced it only twice (Batoeva's debut, Kolegova).

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34 minutes ago, MAB said:

I'm sure 'coals to Newcastle' has a Russian equivalent.

 

Surely, MAB, the Russian equivalent for that is "to travel to Tula with your own samovar".  (The first and eventually most famous samovars in Russia were produced in Tula.)

 

Considering Sylvia, I prefer to judge the dancer’s sutability for the role not in advance but after the performance. There are sometimes surprising discoveries. I saw Fonteyn’s Ondine in 1961 and decided it will be better not to see anyone else in this role in the future. Many years later I saw Ansanelli and, without unnecessary comparison, found her very charming in this role.

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1 hour ago, Jan McNulty said:

Exactly MAB, as a traveller from Liverpool I know (and I know of many others too) how expensive an overnight trip to see a performance at ROH can be.  Even Saturday matinees can be problematic in terms of train fare.

But sooo worth it!  My friends think I'm crazy going down to London every 2-3 months!!

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16 hours ago, MAB said:

 

I would strongly prefer Bonelli over Clarke as Aminta as he has the charm and stage experience to bring much to what is a rather empty role technically, when he dances I'm uninterested in his age, I'm only aware of the positives he brings to everything he does.

 

After a slow start to the 16/17 season, Bonelli came magnificently in to form for Mayerling.

 

However, don't under estimate Reece Clarke who has been mightily impressive all season, including opposite senior ballerinas such as Cuthbertson (Beauty, Symphonic Variations) and, most memorable, Yanowsky (After the Rain)...

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