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The Royal Ballet: Sylvia, London, November 2017

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22 minutes ago, Lynette H said:

Any views on the conductor, Simon Hewett? Is this his first ballet at the ROH? (he conducts for Hamburg Ballet). 

 

He conducted Anastasia last year.  Nice chap (spoke to us in the front row) and not too bad with the stick.

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22 hours ago, Fonty said:

 

I am surprised that Bussell was doing the coaching. I thought she was miscast in the role, it didn't seem to suit her at all.  I know we are always being told that today's dancers are so much stronger technically, but I thought she struggled with the choreography when I saw her.  Just goes to show what a wonderful dancer Fonteyn was, something that today's youngsters don't always appreciate. 

I was surprised about this too.  I was at the first night of the 2004 revival and she wasn't really at home in the role.  The critics were kind, making allowances for understandable nerves (she had just returned after the birth of her second daughter) but even to my inexperienced eye, the pizzicato solo in the 3rd Act was quite an ordeal and she was visibly relieved when she managed to finish in time to the music.  She was fun in the 2nd Act, though, playing at being seductive, and I'm sure she pressed grapes into a goblet before handing it to Orion. Maybe my memory is fault - does anyone have the DVD of the performance when she was partnered by Bolle?

 

But I have a nasty feeling that the ROH management is trying to get as many 'likes' as possible by using her in the YouTube film.  Her Strictly fame seems to be ensuring that she remains the only ballerina the Great British Public is aware of.

 

Linda

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I saw this performance too and I felt that Darcey looked distinctly uncomfortable in the role.

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2 hours ago, loveclassics said:

I was surprised about this too.  I was at the first night of the 2004 revival and she wasn't really at home in the role.  The critics were kind, making allowances for understandable nerves (she had just returned after the birth of her second daughter) but even to my inexperienced eye, the pizzicato solo in the 3rd Act was quite an ordeal and she was visibly relieved when she managed to finish in time to the music.  She was fun in the 2nd Act, though, playing at being seductive, and I'm sure she pressed grapes into a goblet before handing it to Orion. Maybe my memory is fault - does anyone have the DVD of the performance when she was partnered by Bolle?

 

But I have a nasty feeling that the ROH management is trying to get as many 'likes' as possible by using her in the YouTube film.  Her Strictly fame seems to be ensuring that she remains the only ballerina the Great British Public is aware of.

 

Linda

 

Took a look at my DVD of this and I didn't see any grapes, Orion had a bottle of wine ready for his seduction.

 

On reflection, Bussell isn't too bad as she certainly looks like an athletic huntress, but Ashtonian she is not and I winced at how high her legs went in places, she didn't look right in the last act at all.  Bolle however is very good, I mean if anyone could distract a virgin acolyte from her duties............

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I went to the first night and can empathise  with and am also amused by many of the comments already made.  In my view, Marianela sparkled her way through what is a very difficult role and Vadim was beyond marvellous in Act 3.  I'd like to mention Valentino Zucchetti who I thought was brilliant as Eros, in what must be one of the most thankless roles in the repetoire.  He really commanded the stage and his dancing was of very high standard. 

 

Yes, the story is very silly, but having chosen to attend a performance, you probably need to embrace that, and try to immerse yourself in how it was meant to be in the time it was created. The music of course, is sublime.  

 

Claire Calvert posted the most beautiful photo of Sylvia's attendants. Hope I can post it as it is in the public domain.  

 

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On 24/11/2017 at 16:26, Geoff said:

 

I saw Nunez at the dress rehearsal and again last night, on opening night. There is true glory in her performance but I have no idea how authentic what she was doing was, either to the 19th century inspiration or to Ashton. A lot was very big (rather like a Balanchine dancer I felt). Which may have been because she is a huntress. Or it may have been because, according to the programme, the coaching was by Bussell (never my idea of an Ashton dancer). 

 

In any case both she and Muntagirov showed themselves to have mastered the very difficult choreography, not so some of e.g. the corps (but I am pleased they are trying to do it, as learning the steps and the style will surely help to further raise the overall standard).

 

 

And not only the goats. As Mary wrote earlier, "It is an entertainment, of a fabulously delightful kind. It is comedy, not tragedy". If I had any overall observation, it would be that on opening night the comedy was not pointed as much as it might have been. Today's audience needs even more help - as comments here have shown - to understand the parody elements, the jokes, and indeed the overall light-heartedness. 

 

I think there is a risk that audiences may just look at the scenery and make assumptions about old-fashioned solemnity, which would be to miss the point. The music makes it all clear, of course, but not everyone trusts their ears these days.

 

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Wulff, did you want to reply to the post you quoted above?

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What Nunez was doing was authentic Ashton, and she was doing what Fonteyn  did in the role. The only difference was that she has a naturally bigger jump than Fonteyn. The steps in act1 portray the dancers as huntresses and and are not influenced either by Balanchine or Darcey Bussell.

 

Incidentally, regarding the music.When Tchaikowsky heard it, he admired it so much that he said that he would not have dared to compose Swan Lake if he had heard it earlier. Also the score of Sylvia was quite revolutionary in its time. Delibes was an admirer of Wagner and the score incorporates a number of Leitmotivs,  which was unusual for ballet music of that period.. It also strikes me that the entree and pas des chasseresses, is a sort of gallic Ride of the Valkyries.

 

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I wonder if we are not being over critical about the “story” being silly. No one accuses Wagner’s ring cycle of being a silly story but that’s about Gods and stuff. Personally, I loved the music; the corps danced beautifully, Vadim didn’t have much to do but did it really well and Nela was wonderful; total command of the stage, I am not an Ashton expert but it looked pretty good to me and that smile is just fantastic.

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41 minutes ago, SPD444 said:

....... Vadim didn’t have much to do but did it really well ..........

 

"Really well" feels like a bit of an understatement :) Muntagirov's glorious dancing and  believable characterisation gave manly life to what is a rotten leading role. It's rare to see such glowing reviews for Aminta and his performance richly deserves everything that is being said. I feel we are so lucky to have him at the RB. He is an absolute STAR.

 

[I've been holding back from commenting on Sylvia so far because I usually like to see more than one cast before venturing to write anything. But, now that I have, I must add that I loved every minute of it. More later in the week. ]

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I should have added to my post immediately above regarding Muntagirov:

 

"Who better to have the accolade of the centre page colour spread in last Thursday's Guardian?"

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17 hours ago, Wulff said:

 

 

Incidentally, regarding the music.When Tchaikowsky heard it, he admired it so much that he said that he would not have dared to compose Swan Lake if he had heard it earlier. 

 

 

He also said that, having seen it,  Sylvia was one those ballets where the sole interest lies in the music. (!)

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22 hours ago, SPD444 said:

I wonder if we are not being over critical about the “story” being silly. No one accuses Wagner’s ring cycle of being a silly story but that’s about Gods and stuff. Personally, I loved the music; the corps danced beautifully, Vadim didn’t have much to do but did it really well and Nela was wonderful; total command of the stage, I am not an Ashton expert but it looked pretty good to me and that smile is just fantastic.

 

I'm envious reading all these reports...I have only seen Ashton's Sylvia with ABT--I wish I could see it with the Royal. I love this ballet. And reading this thread, I found myself wondering  not about Wagner exactly, but about other mythological and/or faux-Renaissance paintings and poems from the 18th and 19th centuries. Artists often work with outdated materials that, on one level, neither they nor their audiences take seriously anymore. Though on other levels they might.

 

Ashton seems to be conjuring what was already in the nineteenth century an ironic and sensual appropriation of Renaissance material that had itself appropriated much older materials. (Floss made what I understood as a related point, but in terms of ballet history.) Nor are the themes of the material all that silly. I love the way Terpsichore is poised at the center of the goddesses in the ballet's final tableau as if to say "Dance" is the force that can bring together all the opposing energies let loose in this ballet whether Diana with Eros or the discipline of agriculture (the human workers or the goddess Demeter) with Bachanalian excess.  In dance, in ballet, these are all fused.

 

All the times I have seen Sylvia (not all equally good performances of course) I thought it managed to feel urbane and other-worldly all at once. It seems serious because of its playfulness not in spite of it. And always joyful. The story feels part of that--not as key as the fusion of the ballet's music and choreography, but I would have said not dispensable either.

 

 

Edited by DrewCo
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I had to thin out my programmes when we last redecorated and I am struggling to remember the various casts for the three main characters in Sylvia:

I have got as far as:

2004 and 2005

Bussell/Cope/ ? then Bussell/Bolle/Soares

Yanowsky/Makhateli/Avis

Nunez/Pennefather/?

2010

Nunez/Pennefather/ ?Soares or Avis (there are pictures of Nunez with Avis)

Lamb/?/?

Cuthbertson/Polunin/?

? Yanowsky/Makhateli/Avis

2017

Nunez/Muntagirov/Soares

Cuthbertson/Clarke/Kish

Osipova/Bonelli/Hirano

 

People often seem to speak on here about accessing archives but I have been unsuccessful so far via ROH Collections Online. Please would readers be so kind as to help fill in the blanks? 

 

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1 hour ago, alison said:

That's a point: has Osipova already danced the role with ABT?

 

No, she was scheduled to, but did not dance it with ABT. 

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Who, of the current principals, most resembles Fonteyn, do you think?  

 

 

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40 minutes ago, capybara said:

I had to thin out my programmes when we last redecorated and I am struggling to remember the various casts for the three main characters in Sylvia:

I have got as far as:

2004 and 2005

Bussell/Cope/ ? then Bussell/Bolle/Soares

Yanowsky/Makhateli/Avis

Nunez/Pennefather/?

 

My programme cast sheet from 4th November 2004 lists Bussell/Cope/Soares. Funny, I don't remember them in it at all, but I do remember seeing Nunez/Pennefather and a frustrating blank in the role of Orion! I think Samodurov or Jose Martin may have danced Orion at some point. 

 

Checking the programme and cast list more closely, Martin was actually a goat at the above mentioned performance and Samodurov's photo and biography is one of a few selected in the programme, so he must have been the third Orion.

 

 

 

Edited by Darlex
Extra info found

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42 minutes ago, Tony Newcombe said:

There is a clip on UTube of a 10 year old Osipova dancing the pizzicati solo. Scary!

 

Might you post a link? I know the clip of the (I think) 12 year old Osipova doing Kitri's fan variation but am having trouble finding this one.

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

People often seem to speak on here about accessing archives but I have been unsuccessful so far via ROH Collections Online. Please would readers be so kind as to help fill in the blanks? 

 

The link is here:

http://rohcollections.org.uk/production.aspx?production=1470&row=0

Edited by Josephine

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

I had to thin out my programmes when we last redecorated and I am struggling to remember the various casts for the three main characters in Sylvia:

I have got as far as:

2004 and 2005

Bussell/Cope/ ? then Bussell/Bolle/Soares

Yanowsky/Makhateli/Avis

Nunez/Pennefather/?

 

 

 

I saw Bussell/Cope/Soares in 2004 but not sure about the others.

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54 minutes ago, Darlex said:

Capybara - here's all the info you need. Check the 1952 production and you will find what you are looking for.

 

http://www.rohcollections.org.uk/work.aspx?work=1419&row=59&letter=S&genre=Ballet&

 

Thank you so much, Darlex. This is the website I found but I didn't realise that, for a 'realisation' in 2004, I needed to click 1952! ! ! So, to update my previous list:

 

2004 and 2005

Bussell/Cope/Soares then Bussell/Bolle/Soares

Yanowsky/Makhateli/Avis

Nunez/Pennefather/Samodurov

2008

Nunez/Makhateli or Pennefather/Soares

Lamb/Bonelli/Samodurov or Gartside

Cuthbertson/Makhateli/Avis

2010

Nunez/Pennefather/ Avis 

Lamb/Bonell/Gartside 

Cuthbertson/Polunin/Whitehead

Yanowsky/Makhateli/Soares

2017

Nunez/Muntagirov/Soares

Cuthbertson/Clarke/Kish

Osipova/Bonelli/Hirano

 

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On 28 November 2017 at 19:38, Geoff said:

 

Might you post a link? I know the clip of the (I think) 12 year old Osipova doing Kitri's fan variation but am having trouble finding this one.

Not sure how to link here but if you google YouTube osipova at her start it should come up. It is on the same clip as the Kitri. Adorable as is the Paquita. 

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Just copy and paste the URL from your browser's URL field into your post.  Simple.

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