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Nina G.

The Royal Ballet: Giselle, January-March 2018

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An absolutely beautiful performance last night from Akane Takada and Benjamin Ella, a perfect partnership in every way, couldn't believe it was his debut, plus finally got to see Claire Calvert's Myrtha, one of those very special Covent Garden nights!!! 

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Thank you zxDaveM for all those gorgeous rehearsal photos of Yasmine Naghdi/Matthew Ball.

The last photo already has me in tears. Can't wait to see their performance on 10th February.

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Just back from London.  A lovely Giselle last night which must have been particularly special for Akane Takada and Benjamin Ella.  The audience were also very much taken with their performance and there’s a fabulous photo from bangorballetboy on Instagram of their curtain call hug!  I thought it was so good to see a young Albrecht, clearly in love with Giselle and not, as often seems to be the case, a Count playing fast and loose.  I thought particularly touching was how Albrecht had to be man handled away from Giselle at the end of Act 1.  And the love, regret, guilt were all palpable in Act 2.  He deserved Giselle’s final parting gift of one flower as the curtain slowly fell, as well as the one Akane gave him from her bouquet at curtain call.   I was delighted for Akane that she had a partner who treated her with such tenderness.  She was an exquisite Giselle, just as she was in the previous revival.

 

Other real strengths were Bennet Gartside’s Hilarion and Kristen McNally’s Berthe.  I thought Claire Calvert’s Myrtha grew in strength and very much enjoyed Olivia Crowley and Bea Stix-Brunell as Myrtha’s attendants.  Hilarion has no chance when confronted by these three, and the fabulous Corp de Ballet.  And we know that Albrecht too would yield but for Giselle’s protection.

 

I also enjoyed Mayara Magri in leading the Pas de Six but I recall stronger performances of this set of dances.

 

A final word of thanks to Koen Kessels, the ROH Orchestra and particularly the lead viola player, Amélie Roussel?, whose Act 2 solos were utterly ravishing.  I think I might well have passed her in Floral Street but by the time I realised it was too late to offer my thanks.  

 

What a treat we have in store in February when Giselle returns with the prospect of special debuts and I'm sure more stunning performances.  

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I must admit I would never have thought of  Ben Ella as a replacement for Steven McRae. Nothing to do with his dancing which impressed me recently as Hans Peter but that Albrecht is such a monumental role in every sense : solos, partnering, and acting, it requires  incredible stamina. All of which makes his debut yesterday so impressive. Because he looks very young I think he had to work extra hard to be convincing. I was standing close to the stage and it helped considerably that even from his first entrance he looked comfortable, if he was feeling the pressure of the occasion, it didn’t show from my vantage point. His solo dancing was pretty much faultless: tidy landings, everything cleanly finished. His partnering looked secure - the Act 2 high overhead lift, no problem and again 30 seconds later, no problem ! His acting was credible, I mean you wouldn’t expect it to be full of every little nuance at this stage, but he definitely has presence. Very very promising indeed for him. 

IMO Akane was wonderful - as well as being completely secure technically she brings a lovely softness and musicality to her dancing and her arms are exquisite. 

Clare Calvert’s Myrtha was everything you want that role to be, she’s really blossomed over the last couple of years and with that has come an increased confidence in her dancing. The corps also were very impressive.

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Dave what glorious photos.  They tell us all we need to know about how special this is going to be.  

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Agree about the lovely pics and with Nina G in particular about the last one....really moving ..think Yasmine is going to be great.

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Stunning photos that capture the emotional charge of a very special rehearsal performance.

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I went to see the Takada / Ella performance last night.  Not a specific choice but because I was going with a friend who can only do Saturdays.  I was interested when I saw Ella had been chosen to replace Steven McRae. It's always good to see new young talent come through. I also was keen to see Akane, who I met at an RB event and was totally charmed by her.

 

I thought the 1st act was slow to take off. Akane's dancing was superb  but I really had to readjust my ideas to Ben Ella as such a young Albrecht. Nothing wrong with that, but I couldn't feel a depth in his performance initially.  The pas de six was not best executed with the exception of Mayara Magri who shows much promise. It is a fiendish set of dances, and everyone has to cut their teeth!

 

I was delighted to see Bennett Gartside as Hilarion and Kristen McNally's Berthe because at that point, I felt the cast needed their experience on stage. My overall verdict of Act 1 was underpowered. 

 

All changed for me in Act 2.  The corps de ballet were superb and the 3 main dancers also excellent.  The scene was set for Giselle to appear and Akane's initial rotations when she first appears were stunning.  Ben Ella then came into his own for me. All his dancing was superb. Clear cut, precise, athletic, stunning and the audience reaction reflected this.  The pdds were equally excellent - Akane appeared to float across the stage.  The emotion was now radiating off the stage. 

 

A delight - and lovely to see something that was very different from the norm. 

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9 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

I was at the rehearsal with the Yasmine Naghdi / Matthew Ball cast this week - here are some photos. They were utterly glorious!

 

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Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball
©  Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


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Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Yasmine Naghdi, Matthew Ball
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more... 

Set from DanceTabs: RB - Giselle (2018 - Naghdi/Ball)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


By kind Permission of The Royal Opera House


 

So, so lucky! 

I'm going on the 10th. Unbelievably excited.

Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos 💐

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I didn't see this performance but it is admirable that Mr O'Hare has given this young dancer such a great opportunity. I believe Benjamin Ella has struggled with recurrent injuries since he joined the RB and to be able to make a come back as Albrecht is just wonderful.

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He did at least one very good performance as Hans-Peter in The Nutcracker, along with Isabella Gasparini, last month (or possibly right at the beginning of this one).  But yes, after all his injury problems it's good to see some progress.

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Just a quick observation, as no one has yet mentioned last Saturday's matinee: Sarah Lamb and Ryoichi Hirano were the leads and I thought they made a very effective, intense partnership, one of the most moving I've seen in my 40 years of ballet-going.

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1 hour ago, Grand Tier Left said:

Just a quick observation, as no one has yet mentioned last Saturday's matinee: Sarah Lamb and Ryoichi Hirano were the leads and I thought they made a very effective, intense partnership, one of the most moving I've seen in my 40 years of ballet-going.

I love the sense of fragility which Sarah Lamb gives to Giselle, and I thought she and Ryoichi Hirano made the close of Act II exceptionally moving on Saturday.

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I agree that the pas de six was a bit weak on Saturday night and I’m sure I saw one of the dancers stumble just before finishing a routine. Is it just luck of the draw as we had Naghdi and Campbell on opening night in the pas de six but no principals this time? Magri was very good though. 

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7 hours ago, Nina G. said:

I didn't see this performance but it is admirable that Mr O'Hare has given this young dancer such a great opportunity. I believe Benjamin Ella has struggled with recurrent injuries since he joined the RB and to be able to make a come back as Albrecht is just wonderful.

 

It has been great to see Benjamin Ella taking ever more prominent roles and moving up the rankings in the last couple of years. I remember him well as a member of an outstanding year at the Royal Ballet School (Muntagirov, Dyer, Stock, Kase, Badenes among others) which graduated in 2009. Unfortunately, his injury during an RBS performance in the Linbury took him out of dancing Oberon on the main stage.

 

But now he seems to be catching up fast with his peers.

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I thought Muntagirov had been first cast for Oberon - was I wrong?  (I know he was injured too)

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Some more photos - this time from the General Rehearsal, featuring Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell

 

25968242398_f4329cd48e_z.jpg
Alexander Campbell
©  Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Francesca Hayward
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Alexander Campbell, Francesca Hayward
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more... 

Set from DanceTabs: RB - Giselle (2018 - Hayward/Campbell)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


By kind Permission of The Royal Opera House

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22 hours ago, Sim said:

Dave what glorious photos.  They tell us all we need to know about how special this is going to be.  

 

It was all I could do not to shed tears! At a rehearsal! 

 

Bring tissues....

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2 hours ago, alison said:

I thought Muntagirov had been first cast for Oberon - was I wrong?  (I know he was injured too)

I think I remember Muntagirov saying Ben Ella was first cast and he was second cast. They each had one leg injured (so there was an uninjured pair between them, but that might have been a bit difficult to negotiate! :D  ) Vadim said it must have looked a bit strange when the two of them hobbled up to collect their awards at RBS.

Edited by MargaretN7
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I am so looking forward to this. The pictures are beautiful and Hayward and Campbell look so good together. I still cannot believe that initially he wasn’t cast...

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I was wondering if anybody could tell me anything more about Moyna and Zulme? I realise they are "lead Wilis' as such, but seeing as they have names, I thought there might be a bit more to their characters as far as the story background goes?

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One was originally a bayadere, I believe - was the other an odalisque?  Back in the days when the Wilis came from all over.

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18 hours ago, MargaretN7 said:

I think I remember Muntagirov saying Ben Ella was first cast and he was second cast. They each had one leg injured (so there was an uninjured pair between them, but that might have been a bit difficult to negotiate! :D  ) Vadim said it must have looked a bit strange when the two of them hobbled up to collect their awards at RBS.

Not only one of the most beautiful dancers I have ever seen, but the man has a sense of humour, and doesn't take himself too seriously.

 

What a combination!

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On 23/01/2018 at 04:36, zxDaveM said:

Some more photos - this time from the General Rehearsal, featuring Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell

 

Oh my goodness! That second photo breaks my heart....  

So much to look forward from the different casts...

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