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Birmingham Royal Ballet & Sinfonia Evening of Music & Dance 2018

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I went to this annual event last night at Birmingham Symphony Hall. Main reason was to see Iain Mackay one last time since (this was his last performance in the city).


I've not been to any 'gala' events like this before, and I found it sensational in the literal sense - so many different styles and moods in one evening. All of the sublime quality that I've come to appreciate from BRB artists over the years.  The mixture of classic showstoppers, unfamiliar pieces, and new work made a beautiful and intelligent programme.


The Sleeping Beauty wedding pas de deux with Tyrone Singleton and Celine GIttens made an immaculate and regal start to the evening, although I can't help feeling there's something 'wrong' seeing it out of context, however expertly danced. The finale of the Don Quixote pas de deux with Momoko Hirata and Mathias Dingman brought the house down; I've never seen this performed live (or heard of it performed in the northwest where I usually see ballet) and the stunning flair of the piece is a rare and special thing. I've seen endless versions on YouTube with the great stars of ballet, and Hirata and Dingman delivered a performance equal to anything I've seen there. 


Le Spectre de la rose (Weber/Berlioz/Fokine) danced by Arancha Baselga and César Morales was just extraordinary. The expressive and virtuosic male dancing in particular was superb. I was instantly transported to a magical dreamlike world (and I felt echoes of Ashton's Midsummer Night's Dream). It was an absolute privilege to see this piece, who knows when I will get another chance. 


Mackay danced two pieces with Jenna Roberts - After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon with music by Arvo Part and a new pas de deux choreographed by David Bintley to Khachaturian's Spartacus. While both very different, the exquisite poetry of motion and sympathy/communication in the partnership, as well as their majestic presence as individuals, really was a wonderful thing to behold. Since seeing Bintley's Cinderella live for the first time last year I would say he's my favourite choreographer (of work I've seen live) next to Sir Peter Wright. Mackay got a standing ovation of course and I'm very sad I didn't see more of his performances in the past - it was Taming of the Shrew a couple of years ago where I 'discovered' him. 


It's a one off evening,  but writing this I keep thinking how I'd love to see and savour it all again. Did anyone else attend?  

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Total agreement. This was the best Evening of Music and Dance so far. "Spectre" was a revelation. I somehow did not think it could work a century on from its creation, but Cesar Morales was glorious. Just the right mix or virtuosity and sensitivity.  Arancha Baselga is always a delight too. Iain Mackay's reception was richly deserved and he and Jenna were peaches and cream.

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