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Thread for all the mixed-company MacMillan celebrations at the Royal Opera House this autumn.  It kicks off tonight with Birmingham Royal Ballet in Concerto, Scottish Ballet in Le Baiser de la fée (or The Fairy's Kiss, if you prefer) and a mixed-company performance of Elite Syncopations, if I'm not mistaken.

 

And to start us off, here's a link back to David's notes on Le Baiser de la fée

 

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Actually, I'm curious to know what they're doing about the programmes, given that the schedule keeps changing every couple of days or so.  Will they print different ones for each combination, put all the ballets in one (possibly commemorative) programme, or what?  I guess we'll find out shortly.

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4 minutes ago, alison said:

Actually, I'm curious to know what they're doing about the programmes, given that the schedule keeps changing every couple of days or so.  Will they print different ones for each combination, put all the ballets in one (possibly commemorative) programme, or what?  I guess we'll find out shortly.

 

There is one massive programme for the whole celebration. £10. Expensive if you only come to one show, jolly cheap if you are coming to a lot.

 

Edited by Geoff

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3 minutes ago, alison said:

Actually, I'm curious to know what they're doing about the programmes, given that the schedule keeps changing every couple of days or so.  Will they print different ones for each combination, put all the ballets in one (possibly commemorative) programme, or what?  I guess we'll find out shortly.

 

There is one programme covering the celebration (£10).  It was on sale at the insights last week.

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Thanks.  I'll try and remember to stop off at a cash dispenser en route.  I don't think they take cards yet except at the pop-up shops, do they?

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30 minutes ago, alison said:

Thanks.  I'll try and remember to stop off at a cash dispenser en route.  I don't think they take cards yet except at the pop-up shops, do they?

 

The programme desks in the lobby take cards.

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Just briefly because the Concerto/Baiser de la Fe/EliteSyncopations needs (for me) a second viewing before comment..........

 

Yasmine Naghdi in Elite last night.........WOW! Glorious dancing and terrific characterisation. This was Yasmine first main stage show as a Principal: what a moment; what an impact. A privilege to be there.

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16 hours ago, Geoff said:

 

There is one massive programme for the whole celebration. £10. Expensive if you only come to one show, jolly cheap if you are coming to a lot.

 

Are there free cast sheets as well, as usual?

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Oh what a night!

 

To see RB,BRB, ENB, SB and NB dancers celebrating all together Kenneth MacMillan was amazing to witness.

I could see the joy in the eyes of the BRB,ENB,SB and NB dancers, relishing the rare opportunity to dance on our beautiful ROH stage. 

 

I have always loved "Concerto" and Jenna Roberts partnered by Tyrone Singleton in the 2nd Movement were both outstanding. The BRB dancers gave it their all. Well done to all the dancers.

Scottish Ballet treated us to "Le Baiser de la fee". Constance Devernay as Fairy, a technically strong dancer impressed, as well as Bethany Kingsley-Garner as Fiancee. I have never seen the SB and I am glad I have had the opportunity to see these two fine dancers.

"Elite Syncopations" brought together all five companies with RB principals Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano dancing the lead roles "Stop Time Rag" and "Bethena Waltz".

Yuhui Choe stood out in "The Cascades". A dancer from the ENB, Precious Adams, performed "Calliope Rag" with confidence and good technic. Well done to her. Marge Hendrick and Constant Vigier (SB) were hilarious in the "Alaskan Rag". Loved it.

 

Having booked my ticket a while ago it was a most lovely surprise to see Yasmine Naghdi dancing the title role. Not only was this her first performance as a Principal on the Covent Garden stage, she also danced her role debut, and this on Opening Night (no pressure there!). As Capybara said "What a moment, what an impact!", you'd never guessed this was her debut, she's so confident and a pure joy to watch. Partnered by Ryoichi Hirano (who is fabulous in this role) she had in him an experienced partner who did her real justice. They were both fabulous!

The audience clearly loved "Elite Syncopations" and it was the absolute highlight of the evening. Thank you to all the dancers for bringing such great joy to the audience. I left the ROH on a real high (not for the first time :). 

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3 hours ago, RuthE said:

Are there free cast sheets as well, as usual?

 

Of course :)  And they contain the synopsis for Baiser, too.  Which you really need to read beforehand, I should think.

 

I haven't examined it closely, but the commemorative programme actually looks like pretty good value, given how much it covers.  Well over 140 pages, standard ROH size.  Do note, though, that the only biographies are those of the Artistic Directors - although I guess that trying to do any more than that would have turned out to be rather a nightmare.

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2 hours ago, Nina G. said:

I have never seen the SB and I am glad I have had the opportunity to see these two fine dancers.

 

They (like Northern Ballet) are regular visitors to Sadler's Wells, though, Nina.

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Yes, quite a night (although I had to miss Elite Syncopations which has never really been a favourite), my first visit to the Clore and a fabulous start to these celebrations, although Jeux is more Wayne Eagling's ballet (I would love to know which parts were MacMillan's, don't think the Nijinsky film is available on DVD). Wonderful to see the dancers so close, especially Vadim Muntagirov and Yasmine Naghdi, very atmospheric, would like the RB to acquire it as a companion piece to Faun perhaps.

 

As said above, Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singleton were spectacularly good in the slow movement of Concerto, I have seen Le Baiser de le Fee but not sure exactly when, it seemed like a new ballet to me, fascinating because it's not really like a MacMillan ballet at all, looking soft and pretty, and the music also not always sounding like Stravinksy, so a great contrast to the later works to come. Really looking forward to seeing the BRB version soon to compare. Andrew Peasgood stood out for me as the Young Man.

 

I've been reading the programme, it is good value if you are going more than once and covers Jeux and Sea of Troubles, some great photos.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Beryl H said:

and the music also not always sounding like Stravinksy

 

 

It's fun to play "spot the Tchaikovsky tune" (and also "spot the other Stravinsky tune") in Baiser.

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It was a great atmosphere in the House last night. Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singleton were the standout dancers in Concerto for me. It's a great piece; I wish that it were performed more often. It was hard to believe that Baiser was a MacMillan ballet, although it did contain a few of the kind of lifts which we are accustomed to seeing in his more dramatic ballets such as Manon and R&J. There was some interesting choreography in there including some rather Ashtonian movements. I wasn't keen on the staging or the sets. I don't know whether the longish section for the Young Man and the Fairy (which involved some rather complex lifts) in front of the curtain appeared in the original but I felt that it looked a bit awkward in such a narrow space. I thought that the Fairy's outfit was a bit too Disney-esque but perhaps I expected to see something more along the lines of the costume worn in La Sylphide which seems to me a rather similar story. Elite Syncopations is a jolly, colourful piece but I'm not sure that I'd want to see it repeatedly. Yasmine Nahgdi was splendid in this and Itziar Mendezebal also shone in her role. Precious Adams gave a very assured performance in her solo so well done to her.

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Agree it was lovely to see 'other' dancers getting an opportunity on the ROH stageand while everyone really acquitted themselves well across the board, absolutely agree that Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singleton were stand-outs, not only in Concerto but for the whole evening. They brought tears to my eyes and, not for the first time, this pas de deux was a great reminder that (apparent) simplicity is so often more.  Looking forward to seeing Baiser again next week but suspect two viewings will be sufficient. And so good to see Elite Syncopations again - it had seemed such a long time. Great fun, great dancing and great collaboration. Hope we can see more of these cross-organisational events.

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19 minutes ago, BMC said:

Looking forward to seeing Baiser again next week but suspect two viewings will be sufficient.

 

I'm sure I would, too, but aren't there only two?

 

1 hour ago, aileen said:

Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singleton were the standout dancers in Concerto for me.

 

And for me.

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BRB is performing Michael Corder's version of Baiser at Sadler's Wells in a couple of weeks time. It will be interesting to compare the two.

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Clearly I haven't got my head round the various permutations - will look forward instead to whatever is on offer on next visit!!

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Congratulations from me to those who conceived and organised last night, what a resounding success!  It was good to hear so many Birmingham and Scottish accents enjoying their companies' chance to shine in the splendour (building work notwithstanding) of the ROH, and the dancers looked thrilled at their reception, especially the "red runners".   

Wonderful dancing in "Concerto". In addition to the five leads, Brandon Lawrence particularly impressed me. "Le Baiser de la fée" was a similar story to "La Sylphide", bleaker and for me overlong, but as others have remarked interesting for the bits of choreography that MacMillan developed in later works.   Having avoided "Elite Syncopations" for decades, I really enjoyed this one, the cast went to town with the characterisations, what terrific performances from Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano: her such a "babe" and him an inspiring partner and establishing a dominating presence over the whole proceedings despite little solo oppotunities. Can't wait to see them as Manon and her brother, and what a pity they won't be together as Lescaut and his mistress next year.

Back to last night, a MacMillan commemoration could be a depressing affair and this, although balanced out by the more downbeat "Fée", wasn't. I hope Lady M was there to feel the love!

Finally, grab a ticket for "Jeux" in the Clore if it comes up, but look up a synopsis beforehand as the cast sheet doesn't give it.  It was such a privilege to see world-class dancers in so intimate a setting.

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 Such a great evening. Just touching on audience behaviour we couldn’t have had a more joyful and enthusiastic audience then we had last night at Covent Garden.  I enjoyed every moment, what a brilliant idea to celebrate the work of such a gifted choreographer. So much  variety. I don’t think I have ever really appreciated the breadth Of MacMillans talent.

 I loved concerto, so impressed by the beautiful duet of Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singelton with the great globe behind them and at times dancers mirroring their movements. Not so keen o Delia Mathews, can’t put my finger on the reason. However what a talented company. 

Enjoyed seeing the Scottish Ballet but Baiser will not be a favourite of mine. I am glad to have seen it and loved the girls skirts with petticoats of 1960’s. Would have loved to have seen Beriosova and Collier in these roles. How did I miss it? Beriosova was so statuesque and Collier so dainty, such contrasts. 

Elite Syncapations was a joy, I can only agree with previous posters about Yasmine and Ryoichi, such skill and talent. Alaskan Rag such a tribute to Sleep and Derman, I do remember this! The Company worked so well, how on earth did they rehearse it and make it so cohesive? 

I enjoyed the lack of leotard costumes, ugly over extensions , frequent body ripples and the purity of line, the crisp batterie, the sheer technique and the varied choreography. Great musicians too. So looking forward to next Tuesday! I loved being part of last nights audience.

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I agree with all the comments above, and I thought that it was a really excellent and satisfying triple bill. And I was delighted that Concerto was given in its original designs. I just wish it was programmed more often - it's SO beautiful and the music is thrilling. I really enjoyed Baiser, and I hadn't seen Elite for about 18 years having rather overdosed on it in my early years of ballet-going. Coming back to it afresh I loved it and found it really amusing and uplifting.

 

All the dancers were terrific, especially Jenna Roberts, Tyrone Singleton, all 3 principals in Baiser, Precious Adams and Yasmine Naghdi. A great evening and yes, I do wish the companies could come together more often. I found it quite emotional.

 

And the moment of the Baiser in Baiser was just tremendous!!

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Just got back to my hotel room from seeing tonight's triple bill (quadruple bill if you count Jeux, which was wonderful - my first time in the Clore and it's great to be so up close and personal to the dancers).  Having seen Northern Ballet do Concerto in Bradford a couple of weeks ago I was interested to see how tonight's BRB performance compared.  It bore out what I suspected at the time, that Northern Ballet's forte is not abstract ballet but dramatic ballets such as the other two they performed in their triple bill. In Concerto, though it was perfectly OK, they never seemed able to relax into it.  BRB sailed through it just as I hoped they would, and Jenna and Tyrone in the slow movement were totally sublime.  

 

Coming out of the theatre I heard a couple describe The Fairy's Kiss as 'filler'.  I can see their point as I thought the same when I saw Scottish Ballet do it in Edinburgh last Friday (I've been doing a lot of preparation for the Macmillan Festival!), especially set against Christopher Hampson's stunning Rite of Spring.  However, coming to it again tonight, with the same cast as last week and knowing the layout of the piece, I found it an awful lot more satisfying, and yes the Baiser was tremendous, along with the giver and receiver of it, Constance Devernay and Andrew Peasgood and the jilted fiancee, Bethany Kingsley-Garner.  If there's a fault I think it lies largely with the music, and I say this as someone who loves Stravinsky's music with a passion.  The problem is that after the rumbustious folk dance music of the first village scene it kind of slowly fizzles out, just as the drama of the story should be increasing.  

 

I'd never seen Elite Syncopations before other than on the most recent DVD, though I have vague memories of watching the 1975 TV broadcast referred to in the excellent programme.  Highlights for me were a beautifully slinky Precious Adams from ENB in what I'm assuming was the Monica Mason role (I sat behind her for Jeux!), and the splendidly mismatched Scottish Ballet couple, Marge Hendrick and Constant Vigier in the Alaskan Rag.  They used to say that it showed great talent that Les Dawson could play the piano so badly, and I guess it's the same here in terms of showing great talent to dance so badly!  

 

Looking forward to coming back to London next week for more of this wonderful festival.

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I had a wonderful evening, with Jeux as a very tasty amuse bouche for what was to come.  More thoughts anon, but I must say how impressed I was with Scottish Ballet.  I haven't seen them before, I don't think, and they far exceeded my expectations.  The three leads were excellent, and the whole company very impressive.  

 

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3 hours ago, Jillykins said:

 I loved concerto, so impressed by the beautiful duet of Jenna Roberts and Tyrone Singelton with the great globe behind them and at times dancers mirroring their movements.

 

Yes, but was anyone else as confused as I was to read in tonight's Evening Standard that " Jenna Roberts is spirited, light-hearted, sunny."?? 

https://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/arts/kenneth-macmillan-a-national-celebration-is-a-sunny-sensation-a3662596.html

 

I agree with various other people who have said that in their opinion the problem with Baiser is the music (and possibly Stravinsky's rigid insistence on the narrative) rather than anything else.  A homage to Tchaikovsky is one thing, but overall it doesn't to my mind really lend itself to the scenario, and yes, I'd say it peters out.  But very interesting to see MacMillan's rather spiky classicism (will we ever get Danses Concertantes back?  I do hope so).

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i thoroughly enjoyed the performances both of the home team and all the visiting guests - a cohesive, satisfying whole.

 

For me, Baiser de la Fee, although beautifully danced by Scottish Ballet, was overlong with no particularly memorable moments one day later.

 

Concerto was just the opposite - please can we have more performances of this wonderful work. Bravi BRB!

 

And Elite Syncopations, a work that has left me underwhelmed in the past, was sheer joy from start to finish. Amongst a number of standouts, many of whom have been mentioned in previous posts, Yasmine Naghdi brought impressive panache to her first role as Principal and, judging by the audience reception, seems already established as a house favourite. But was no-one else as impressed as I was by Precious Adams, who barely seems to have been mentioned?

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4 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

But was no-one else as impressed as I was by Precious Adams, who barely seems to have been mentioned?

Have a look at the reviews re Precious Adams, you are not the only one who thought she was knockout!

 

"Best of all is English National Ballet’s Precious Adams" (The Guardian)
"Precious Adams was magnificent" (The Independent)

Edited by cavycapers
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