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Nina G.

The Royal Ballet: Giselle, January-March 2018

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I was just on facebook and up popped a short video of Nunez and Muntagirov in Giselle performing the section containing the swallow lift, not once, but twice ...... just beautiful.

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Like every other ballet fan in the uk, I'll be there tonight and tomorrow so hope to join the escalator convention! 

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It may be heresy, but I'm afraid I really don't like that video on fb. The long balance in arabesque on pointe, a few seconds in, is more circus than ballet. Nunez appears determined to stay on pointe but seesaws badly with the extended leg going up and down. It destroys all illusion of other worldliness. 

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Not wanting to divert this thread too much from the excitement of the two debut performances ahead,  but I' an fascinated by the image posted earlier of Fonteyn and Nureyev. I wonder if Margot always performed the swallow lift or if Nureyev persuaded her to try the Russian version.

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Wonderful performance by Francesca and Alexander tonight.  I think we all knew they had star quality as a couple, but tonight they wrapped it up in a gift box, tied it with a neat bow and presented it on a silver tray to the audience, who responded accordingly. Stunning!

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I'm starting to wonder whether there is a sweepstake going for the most ghoulish Myrtha make-up that dancers can get away with before they are conscripted as an extra for The Walking Dead. 

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1 hour ago, ChrisG said:

Wonderful performance by Francesca and Alexander tonight.  I think we all knew they had star quality as a couple, but tonight they wrapped it up in a gift box, tied it with a neat bow and presented it on a silver tray to the audience, who responded accordingly. Stunning!

 

Seconded! A brilliant performance, the only problem being trying to watch every move and gesture of both Giselle and Albrecht at the same time… I thought that they both danced beautifully, and in Act 1 Hayward really was a Giselle who LOVED dancing – she luxuriated in her movement and filled it with joy. Campbell was an interesting, unusual Albrecht – I got the sense of someone discontented with his ‘real’ life and finding relief in the delightful peasant girl with the laughing eyes; when he realised his duplicity was going to be revealed, he was initially more concerned to protect himself than Giselle, and only when she died did the realisation of what he had done hit him. Hayward moved inexorably from happy flirtatiousness to bewilderment, disbelief and finally desperation and death.

 

I found Act 2 really moving, because I felt that not just Albrecht but also Giselle had changed. She was no longer the blithe young girl of Act 1, or the anguished, betrayed lover; she had grown and matured so that all her focus was on helping Albrecht, on forgiving him, on stepping outside her past pain and (literally) reaching out to him. And he in his turn begged forgiveness, was overcome with the shame and guilt, and knew that in his grief he had found his true self, no longer selfish and discontented but brave and agonisingly clear-sighted. Hayward’s dancing in Act 2 was so light, so quick, so high; and she and Campbell were so well matched physically, technically and in terms of their musical responses.

 

I though Mayara Magri was excellent as Myrtha – strong, powerful and implacable. I loved Fumi Kaneko in the pas de six – such beautiful and expressive dancing. I hope that she gets more and more opportunities. And in Isabella Gasparini I wondered if we were watching a future Giselle.

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Forgive me if I gush, but I thought tonight was just sublime. I saw so much Alina in Frankie’s interpretation, when she was flirting with Albrecht in Act one, leaving her hand trailing so he could catch her was just Alina and her tenderness towards Alexander was heartbreaking. Wonderful partnering by Alexander, fabulous Myrtha by Mayara Magri and a brilliant corps of Wilis topped, of course, by Frankie. Words fail me so I hope some our more lucid forum members will help me out. Thought her interpretation of the “mad” scene was perfect and Alexander’s walk down the stage at the end was heartbreaking........ and it’s Yasmine at lunchtime tomorrow, I need to lie down.

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Francesca Hayward and Alexander Campbell beyond sublime tonight. They have so much chemistry and the drama and dancing was off the scale.  The rest of the cast were superb too. What a night. 

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31 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

Seconded! A brilliant performance, the only problem being trying to watch every move and gesture of both Giselle and Albrecht at the same time… I thought that they both danced beautifully, and in Act 1 Hayward really was a Giselle who LOVED dancing – she luxuriated in her movement and filled it with joy. Campbell was an interesting, unusual Albrecht – I got the sense of someone discontented with his ‘real’ life and finding relief in the delightful peasant girl with the laughing eyes; when he realised his duplicity was going to be revealed, he was initially more concerned to protect himself than Giselle, and only when she died did the realisation of what he had done hit him. Hayward moved inexorably from happy flirtatiousness to bewilderment, disbelief and finally desperation and death.

 

I found Act 2 really moving, because I felt that not just Albrecht but also Giselle had changed. She was no longer the blithe young girl of Act 1, or the anguished, betrayed lover; she had grown and matured so that all her focus was on helping Albrecht, on forgiving him, on stepping outside her past pain and (literally) reaching out to him. And he in his turn begged forgiveness, was overcome with the shame and guilt, and knew that in his grief he had found his true self, no longer selfish and discontented but brave and agonisingly clear-sighted. Hayward’s dancing in Act 2 was so light, so quick, so high; and she and Campbell were so well matched physically, technically and in terms of their musical responses.

 

I though Mayara Magri was excellent as Myrtha – strong, powerful and implacable. I loved Fumi Kaneko in the pas de six – such beautiful and expressive dancing. I hope that she gets more and more opportunities. And in Isabella Gasparini I wondered if we were watching a future Giselle.

How true about trying to watch them both at the same time. I wanted to catch every nuance. I was blown away by their Sleeping Beauty which was on such a different plane in terms of emotional range as well as the dancing.I've been looking forward to this with such anticipation as they are my favourite partnership and it still went beyond expectations. I was lucky enough to be in Row C of the Orch Stalls tonight so able to see all their expressions.   Such little things as Alexander's expression change when the 2nd horn echoed in Act 1, and how he managed to go through the range of emotions when his duplicity is discovered which leads to the death of Giselle. As for Francesca, her range is phenomenal for one so relatively inexperienced, both in dance and acting.  She floated across the stage in Act 2, her movement and fluidity is so beautiful.  We are seeing something really special. I feel privileged.    

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Agree with all of the above.  I liked the way Campbell portrayed Albrecht as a bit of a bastard, just using Giselle to alleviate his boredom.  A simple gesture told us this:  after he whispers in Wilfred's ear what he intends to do with Giselle, he throws his arms out to the side as if saying "heeey, of course I'll get my way, I'm irresistible".   I don't think I've seen that before. It made his abject contrition in Act 2_all the more poignant and believable .  Their Act 2 was wonderful.  I don't think I can add any more to what's been said already.

 

Mayara Magri was fabulous as Myrtha;  I found myself training the binocs on her a lot, especially when she was standing still.   She smirked, she smouldered and oh how she jumped.  Another future Giselle, methinks.

 

Now I have to try and get some sleep before tomorrow's matinee!  

 

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4 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

Top or bottom of escalator?

Bottom of the escalator tomorrow.

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I was moved by how feather light she was in Act 2, especially in the series of lifts. As a cockney geezer near me in the audience said, 'If she jumped in a puddle there wouldn't be a splash!' And Alexander shaking his head no when she started slipping away from him again at the end. I hope they get a cinema relay next time as I'd love to see their faces close up and I think this partnership needs to be recorded.

 

I'll be at today's matinee as well and will try to make it to the escalator.

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 A short comment about the act 2 lifts in Giselle. I recall Markova appearing in a series of BBC2 programmes in which she coached David Ashmole and Margaret Barbieri in Swan Lake, Les Sylphides and Giselle. When it came to Giselle she said that originally there had been no overhead lifts in act 2 as Giselle does not fly she floats and that what the audience had originally seen was Giselle being held slightly off the ground as if she was floating above it. She did not say much more about it but I suspect that what Albrecht was required to do in the original version or at least the late nineteenth version which N. Sergeyev had taught Markova was not only far less spectacular than the press lift (aka Bolshoi lift) which the RB uses today but also more difficult for the man, a bit like the dead weight lift which according to the Ratmansky reconstruction of Sleeping Beauty occurs in the first act of the ballet. In his version one of the princes holds Aurora about a foot off the ground straight in front of him at the point where we are used to seeing Aurora lifted to perch on the prince's shoulder. In both cases the  original lift is less spectacular than the RB's current version of the choreography but it is extremely challenging for the man as in both cases the earlier form of the choreography requires the man to hold his partner in front of him in a dead weight lift. A type of lift which Dowell said that Ashton liked using and which Dowell on one occasion described as a "forklift truck" lift. 

Edited by FLOSS
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A wonderful debut Giselle from Francesca.  I thought she lived the role throughout, utterly convincing whenever she was on stage and a magnetic presence.  Innocent, vulnerable, playful at the start of Act 1, capturing and embodying the spirit of dance that she lives for; tragic in her mad scene; and ethereal in her exquisite Act 2, protective of Albrecht to the end and deeply moving when pleading for his life.  And her dancing and technique is a wonder to behold.  She seems extraordinarily centred yet so flowing and fleet of foot.  I can see Giselle being Francesca’s signature role (but then she delivers wonderful performances whatever she’s dancing).  I agree very much with the comments about how she brings back memories of Alina.  Where time is suspended with Giselle floating from pointe to pointe in a tremendous arc beautifully supported by Alexander’s Albrecht, I did wonder if Koen Kessels might have been more expansive - to my ears the tempo slightly quickened rather than luxuriated.

 

I very much agree with the praise for Alexander in how he shaped his role from aristocratic seed sower, through recognition of his love and what he had done, to utter remorse.  His dismissal of his dalliance with Giselle when confronted by Bathilde was chilling.  Again fabulous dancing and very moving in his final slow walk at curtain fall.  He discarded Giselle’s parting flower - was this a sign that he realised he was not worthy of her?  I thought some Albrechts kissed and held the flower at the end.

 

Two other performances stood out - Kristen McNally’s Berthe, wonderfully characterful as always, and an astonishing Myrtha by Mayara Magri.  Fabulous dancing, absolutely secure in the tremendously exposed opening, and commanding throughout.  Was this her Martha debut?  She consistently delivers excellent performances but her Myrtha was extraordinary.

 

Many thanks again to bangorballetboy for curtain call photos and Bloomsberry Flowers.  A very busy weekend for them and how richly Francesca deserved all her bouquets.

 

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

 

Many thanks again to bangorballetboy for curtain call photos and Bloomsberry Flowers.  A very busy weekend for them and how richly Francesca deserved all her bouquets.

 

 

I reckoned that around a thousand pounds worth of flowers was surrounding Frankie. Wow!

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3 hours ago, JohnS said:

Many thanks again to bangorballetboy for curtain call photos and Bloomsberry Flowers.  A very busy weekend for them and how richly Francesca deserved all her bouquets.

Curtain call photos !?😳 Any chance of seeing those? The interest of being at work at the Winter Olympic Games is not making up for missing two huge debuts this weekend...please keep the reviews coming (sigh)

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Agree with all comments, thought I was seeing Alina again, Giselle suits Francesca Hayward perfectly, and have never seen such an emotional Alexander Campbell who looked close to tears throughout Act 2, also sensational Myrtha from Mayara Magri, such strong footwork and huge jetes yet all her dancing was soundless and soft, I applauded 3 times during her opening solo, my new favourite Myrtha! Nice to see the very fluid Fumi Kaneko in the peasant pdd too.

 

Looking forward to seeing the photo's now.

 

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It may have been drizzling outside the ROH this afternoon but inside history was raining down in a telling balletic flood.  The Naghdi/Ball Giselle entirely delivered on the initial promise of their Olga/Lensky.  The exquisite spontaneity of their combined dramatic glory had not only survived but been enhanced in the most magical - delicious - way lending each audience member a rhapsodic cantata with which to decorate their hearts for at least a generation much as Sibley/Dowell had done in time past.

 

It was a privilege to simply be there.  The air throughout this magnificent mesh of moments resonated with the magnanimous benevolence of their combined and individual artistry. It crackled as much as it bedazzled.

 

We were ALL the lucky benefactors.

 

It was - at once and ALWAYS - a gift.   .   

 

We watched - as one - agape at the zealous focus of their illustrious majesty.  

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Just an amazing and deeply emotional afternoon, leaving me speechless and in tears.  Wow.  Just wow.  More when I can stop drivelling and start making sense!

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6 hours ago, capybara said:

 

I reckoned that around a thousand pounds worth of flowers was surrounding Frankie. Wow!

If so, I think this afternoon’s flowers cost a little bit more. Two absolutely stunning performances inside 24 hours and let us not forget the fabulous corps de ballet. They have been truly magnificent during this run.

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For those who saw both performances, how would you describe the difference between Yasmine and Francesca in Giselle? (Style, interpretation, dancing etc.). 

Edited by HappyTurk

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What a tremendous performance this afternoon. Very difficult to believe that Nagdhi and Ball were making their debuts since they both inhabited their roles so completely. Very different from Hayward and Campbell last night, and just as thrilling. Ball’s Albrecht was an arrogant, rather smug young aristocrat, very pleased with life and himself and enjoying his half-real romance with Giselle. But his arrogance was a veneer of youth, and when Giselle died the veneer crumbled and the devastated young man beneath it emerged with now real passion. Naghdi’s Giselle was so lovely, so sweet, so good; and when understanding came, it was too much for her and her mind gave way. Her Act 2 was full of grief; and yet, seeing Albrecht’s now true love, she gained strength from it and returned to her grave at peace. Throughout, the most stunning dancing from both of them. And Fumi Kaneko’s amazing Myrtha, once more flying through the air full of vengeance. Also delighted by Takada and Hay in the pas de six – terrific dancing, and Hay brings such life and ebullience to every role.

 

And a great pleasure to meet some BCF members at the bottom of the escalator! I think we were out in force today (and yesterday). What an incredible and auspicious 24 hours for the RB, the ROH, and for ballet in this country.

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I will write something once I have recovered from this afternoon's most stunning performance, my mind is simply numb with all the beauty delivered by Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball.

 

The steady flow of huge bouquets delivered on stage, one after the other , didn't seem to end! Fans must have spent thousands....I have rarely witnessed such a "waterfall" of flowers at any debut.

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48 minutes ago, HappyTurk said:

For those who saw both performances, how would you describe the difference between Yasmine and Francesca in Giselle? (Style, interpretation, dancing etc.). 

Still cogitating ahead of writing at greater length, but I would say that Francesca Hayward was more naturalistic than Yasmine Naghdi. The latter’s music borne dancing, breathed through her body, seemed to be a wonderful evocation of the Romantic movement. Both terrific, Hayward enchanced by Campbell, who was truly outstanding, but, for me, Naghdi just edged it through her musical empathy and evocative prowess. Lovely as her partnership with Ball is, I think she gives a little more than he does, so it will be good that he is challenged by Osipova in Swan Lake and she will be able to, to quote (misquote?) Deborah Bull, “release her inner safety catch” in the experienced arms of Nehemiah Kish.

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