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The Royal Ballet: Manon, London, March-May 2018

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On 3/31/2018 at 12:15, Ian Macmillan said:

Indigo: For such stories, I suggest you seek out the work of Cathy Marston whenever you can find it.  Her Jane Eyre, for example, is currently being toured by Northern Ballet, as is The Suit for Ballet Black.   At the moment she is in San Francisco completing/rehearsing her piece Snowblind for the Company's 'Unbound' series of 12 new works, a work for three central characters, two being female.  Later this year, she will be in Montreal to prepare her take on Lady Chatterley for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

 

Where you will not find her, regrettably, is doing anything for the Royal Ballet - unless something is under wraps for the next but one season or later.

Yes Ian I agree. I'm actually off to California in a couple of weeks and I have a ticket for the Unbound festival, & I'm so looking forward to seeing Snowblind. I just wrote last night on another thread that I wished Kevin O'Hare would invite Cathy Marston to the RB to create a classical narrative ballet....

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Berlin Ballet when they did Manon some time ago used RDB costumes - I think ENB use them because whole design and scenery is far easier to take on tour.

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4 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

Have been looking at two versions of Manon on You Tube, the Australian ballet and the Danish Royal. The former is pretty close to ours, but the Danish version came over, to me at any rate, as somewhat watered down, almost too polite, and the costumes are quite nasty. So yet another perspective!

 

I loathe the RDB costumes.

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The whole of act 1 of RDBs Manon seems to be on youtube- (there goes the spring cleaning)-and  from a quick look, the costumes seem to me pared down, sure, a bit monochrome, but I can't see what provokes the very strong negative reactions, so am interested to hear more. The poor beggars in their grey rags look actually very poor as opposed to those in the RB version.....

 

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2 hours ago, Mary said:

The whole of act 1 of RDBs Manon seems to be on youtube- (there goes the spring cleaning)-and  from a quick look, the costumes seem to me pared down, sure, a bit monochrome, but I can't see what provokes the very strong negative reactions, so am interested to hear more. The poor beggars in their grey rags look actually very poor as opposed to those in the RB version.....

 

The other two acts are also there, so bang goes even more spring cleaning! And you may see what I mean about The costumes particularly in act II. 

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The whores' costumes show way too much leg: there's nothing left to the imagination (and nothing to hoick up when the choreography requires it)

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10 hours ago, Mary said:

I can't remember what exactly used to be depicted, but seem to recall, for example, one of the girls being very young, a child in fact, and this has, perhaps been changed-?

 

 

 

I seem to remember the young child, too. Unless I am confusing this with another ballet.

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I always felt that there was something of the publically-perceived Princess Margaret about Manon in her choice of creature comforts and status above love.

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6 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

 

I always felt that there was something of the publically-perceived Princess Margaret about Manon in her choice of creature comforts and status above love.

 

I don't know if that is the public perception of Princess Margaret's choice, but it's not mine. I didn't know her and that was a complicated and difficult situation so I would not presume to judge. Either way, her situation was rather different from that of a (fictional) young woman born into poverty. Although in fact Manon doesn't seem to struggle all that much with her options (until she is hit by the horror of their consequences).

Edited by bridiem
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7 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

 

I always felt that there was something of the publically-perceived Princess Margaret about Manon in her choice of creature comforts and status above love.

 

I think that’s a very rude and unfounded statement.

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Gerald Fowler also says Act 2 has been "toned down.".  I noticed that in the last run.  

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2 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I think that’s a very rude and unfounded statement.

A tad blunt, I agree, but probably founded in the actuality.  PM could have married Townsend but did not want to give up being a Princess and all the material goodies that accompany the title.  She probably made the right decision as I doubt the Townsend marriage would have endured, particularly in straightened circumstances.  A tragic life.

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3 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

I think that’s a very rude and unfounded statement.

 

I disagree. The statement objectively repeats views that have been expressed openly and publically in print and on TV and presents these as a possible parallel to Manon's motivation. It does not attempt to validate those views, nor does it suggest that I hold those views. For the record, my views are my own business and I would not, and do not, choose to express them on this or any other public forum.

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12 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

 

I seem to remember the young child, too. Unless I am confusing this with another ballet.

 

There certainly was a character who seemed much younger than the others - a girl dressed as a boy, or perhaps the other way round? (Though always danced by a female, I think.) She had a little dance of her own and was clearly presented as an extra tease for the customers.

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3 minutes ago, Jane S said:

 

There certainly was a character who seemed much younger than the others - a girl dressed as a boy, or perhaps the other way round? (Though always danced by a female, I think.) She had a little dance of her own and was clearly presented as an extra tease for the customers.

 

Now it has been mentioned, I remember the young child too.

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29 minutes ago, Jane S said:

 

There certainly was a character who seemed much younger than the others - a girl dressed as a boy, or perhaps the other way round? (Though always danced by a female, I think.) She had a little dance of her own and was clearly presented as an extra tease for the customers.

 

She's still there, so I'm not sure what people are thinking about?  Although it did seem to me that she was danced by a taller dancer than previously on Thursday.

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32 minutes ago, alison said:

 

She's still there, so I'm not sure what people are thinking about?  Although it did seem to me that she was danced by a taller dancer than previously on Thursday.

 

As someone remarked earlier, the girl dressed as a boy used to be very much the domain of Leanne Cope. It was Leticia Stock on Thursday.

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On 31/03/2018 at 14:40, RobR said:

 

Whilst I completely accept that there are two perspectives on the role of those in the background, a hallmark of MacMillan's fabulous ballets is the involvement of those supporting the frontline performers.

 

I always feel that I am emotionally transported to an 18 century Parisian brothel or a bustling Veronese market square filled with tradespeople and bored (but armed) teenagers 'hanging out' with their chums. 

 

MacMillan's ballets are anything but static and that is one of the many great strengths of his productions. 

 

I am regularly frustrated watching the summer performances of the Russian companies, in which brilliant principals perform in front of a backdrop wooden faced, inanimate onlookers who might as well have stayed in the dressing rooms for all they contribute. 

 

Still, it's a matter of style and taste. 

 

I imagine those people laughing at inappropriate moments may well have been newcomers to the ballet that imagined things not happening stage centre were relevant to the action.  On the night I went one of the clients struck one of the whores to the floor, right in my field of vision, distracting and unnecessary. I'm sorry you feet it necessary to comment so negatively about the Bolshoi and Maryinsky, personally I've never found their  dancers 'inanimate'.

 

Sorry 

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I think the girl dressed boyishly was originally danced by Jennifer Jackson 

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I find this thread very interesting reading, especially the fact that many find it uncomfortable viewing in modern times.  I've always seen Manon as a good time gal, using her youth and good looks in order to get the material things she wants.  They are timeless, aren't they?  There are certainly plenty of those around today.  In my day, they were called groupies and set their caps at the top rock stars.  Unless they moved in political circles, in which case they were probably called "society ladies", or something like that.  Nowadays, it seems premier league footballers are the ones to get.  But the end result is the same thing - get involved with an immensely wealthy man, and enjoy the trappings of that lifestyle.  

 

Incidentally, I am not making a moral judgement on the women who live that lifestyle.  Whatever floats you boat, so to speak.  But the idea that she is an innocent victim doesn't match with the story as I remember it.  

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Absolutely, Fonty! And because of the far-reaching moral standards which pervade European art and literature across a number of centuries, we're allowed to see such women getting exactly what they want, as long as they have to die at the end.

 

I haven't seen this yet in the current run, though I have several visits lined up, starting tomorrow.  Last run I saw the majority of performances.  I absolutely love this ballet - as somebody who remains primarily an opera fan rather than a ballet one, I prefer Macmillan's treatment of this story to either of the two well-known - as a number of others do exist - operatic versions.

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38 minutes ago, RuthE said:

 - as somebody who remains primarily an opera fan rather than a ballet one, I prefer Macmillan's treatment of this story to either of the two well-known - as a number of others do exist - operatic versions.

 

I much prefer the operas, the Massenet version delves deepest into the actual story I believe and I particularly like the scene where Manon persuades Lescaut to leave the church, I even have a memory of it given as a gala number years ago. Personally I only see the ballet as a vehicle for the three leads and don't consider it has much artistic merit at all, but it was certainly tighter dramatically and better danced by the ensemble in the past, but then you can say exactly the same about R&J.

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For me it's the music and the pdd's in Manon that I love. That's it. I've seen it several times so made the decision not to go through the expense of going to London to see it this run. Although I will probably go see ENB in Manchester out of interest and because it's quite near.

I sort of feel the same about Mayerling, although I prefer Manon. I love MacMillan's pdd's & non narrative ballets -but not all his full 3 act narrative ballets.....

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Amazing night at Manon. Shklyarov possibly best Des Grieux ever - and I've seen 40 years of Manon! And talking of M - yes Osipova had depeened and tightened her interpretation- her acting and tiny details are amazing. Naghdi one of the best mistresses ever - since Mason, and I loved Sambé as Lescaut. The whole cast and production rocked - an incredible evening.

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10 minutes ago, Vanartus said:

Amazing night at Manon. Shklyarov possibly best Des Grieux ever - and I've seen 40 years of Manon! And talking of M - yes Osipova had depeened and tightened her interpretation- her acting and tiny details are amazing. Naghdi one of the best mistresses ever - since Mason, and I loved Sambé as Lescaut. The whole cast and production rocked - an incredible evening.

 

And I'd like to add a word for Bennet Gartside's Gaoler, too.

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A fabulous evening.  Shklyarov's incredibly passionate performance will stay with me for a very long time.  I am in love like a school girl.   More tomorrow....sigh.  

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