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12 hours ago, alison said:

 

So, that photo they've been using to advertise it is actually an accurate representation, then - even if it totally puts me off seeing it?

From when I saw him dance it - yes. 

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15 hours ago, Darlex said:

That's interesting, Nogoat.

 

There was a period from about 1986 - 1992 when Mayerling wasn't performed. I saw the South Bank Show documentary before I saw a live performance, so when it came to it, I understood the plot and who the characters were and with repeated viewings, filled in the gaps and made the connections. Like many others on this forum, I was completely swept away. Yes, I was Mayerling obsessed! The ballet inspired me to visit Vienna and Vetsera's grave. I would have named it as my favourite ballet.


But that was a long time ago. Since then, I have gone off this ballet and that's nothing to do with the quality of the performances. Although I believe many of the original cast have never been bettered, some have, or at least have been equalled. In the documentary we get to see all the best parts and don't have to sit through all the padding and what is, in my view, some of MacMillan's least inspired choreography for the corps: Stephanie's maids; the glamorous porn - movie choreography for the whores; the fireworks business; and all the stuff that happens in front of the curtain while the sets are being changed - not just one officer jumping out of the curtain, but ... four - embarrassing,  even more so when you see a hand or leg sticking out of the curtain as I have on the last three occasions. And I find some of the 'drunken' acting in the tavern scene really tiresome. There are also moments in the music which I find OTT (the discovery of the bodies at the end reminds me of old horror film music, for example).

You may ask 'why be so miserable about it, but still go to see it?'. I suppose my answer would be that I am hoping to be swept away again. Just for one moment, as the parade of characters passed by at the beginning of the ballet, I thought I just might. 

 

Are there any ballets that other forum members have fallen out of love with over time? I used to rate Grigorovich's Spartacus - no more! (It will be my secret guilty pleasure next summer! I haven't seen it in donkeys years.)

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for that very honest and illuminating history of your 'love affair' with Mayerling, Darlex - your somewhat lukewarm review comments earlier in the thread now make much more sense in the light of this! :)

 

I'm still at the 'besotted' stage, but of course that may change in time...

 

Since I am besotted, I feel honour-bound to defend the implied shortcomings of the object of my affection... :wub:

- in their choreography, the maids come across as prim, proper, happy, organised, eager to please, and content in the insulated, superficial and artificial world they inhabit - Stephanie's world. 

- this is in marked contrast to the 'whores' whose eagerness to please is firmly grounded in the sordid, carnal, 'real' world inhabited by Rudolf (and many of the other males). The brothel scene, and Rudolf's attempt to induct Stephanie into its hedonistic, sex-based view of human relationships, throws light on his treatment of her at the end of Act 1 with its cruel corruption of her vision of 'pure love' (expressed, to me, in her solo before Rudolf turns up). It could be argued that it's difficult to make that point without a bit of 'porn' to emphasise the contrast; and I'm sure there are whole theses that can (and have been written) about the portrayal of physical relationships between various characters, in various ballets, by various choreographers.

- I find the firework business fascinating. Much of it is characterised by stillness (in a ballet, of all places!), posture and by slow glances. And the inclusion of a bit of 'opera' seems a sly dig at that other arm of 'high culture' that occasionally condescends to include a 'bit of dancing'. 

- given that stuff needs to happen while scenes are being changed, I think those 'curtain' scenes help define some of the (admittedly complex) facets of the story well. The one I least like is of Franz Joseph contemplating the ancestral portraits, but even that shows that even the most absolute of rulers face problems beyond their control. I am continually impressed that MacMillan was able to include a narrative on the revolutionary politics in the air at the time (again, in a ballet, of all places!). It was by necessity a shadowy world, full of dangers. To me, those brief, furtive excursions from the shadows, the whispers in the ear, the attempts to persuade, the wavering, come across very well in both the episodic staging and the choreography.

- I don't know what the drinking habits were back in the 1880s, but I'm sure it wasn't 30% of young adults not drinking alcohol, as apparently it is now.

- OK, the object of my affection can be a bit OTT, but in his/her defence... The crashing of the screen and discovery of the bodies is pure melodrama - and the music reflects that; after all, it was the defining moment of that era's equivalent of the mother-of-all 'tabloid' scandals. This is in marked contrast to the incredibly private, intense PDD that preceded it, and the sombre, but grubby, attempt to cover the scandal up in the churchyard that followed it.

 

Right, I've got a couple of dates with the object of my affection coming up, so I will stop there and go and get ready...

 

 

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Great post, Nogat.  I too have an ongoing love affair with Mayerling and with Ed Watson's interpretation especially.   I am attending tomorrow with my heart in my mouth, fearful of being disappointed.  Oh dear.  Different I can cope with, but...

What a problem!  It's like returning to the scene of a lost love.

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Just hoping Storm Callum doesn't cause any major disruption to Virgin West Coast as I have double Mayerling tomorrow, and a first chance to see Open Up.  

Many thanks to all for so many thought-provoking posts which have well and truly whetted the appetite.

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15 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

Great post, Nogat.  I too have an ongoing love affair with Mayerling and with Ed Watson's interpretation especially.   I am attending tomorrow with my heart in my mouth, fearful of being disappointed.  Oh dear.  Different I can cope with, but...

What a problem!  It's like returning to the scene of a lost love.

That's the way it is with ballet, with dancers having such short ( relatively speaking) careers and the ever present risk of injury. But then, they come and they go. I was reminiscing rather sadly to myself about the loss of some of my favourites at RB- ......then Corrales leapt onto the stage..

There is always a new excitement on the horizon!

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Interested to see Hirano tomorrow as his interpretation sounds well worth seeing. But can't wait for Bonelli - definitely my current favourite!

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All you Forum folk spending the weekend watching Mayerling:  spare a thought for those who have to work to pay for the next tickets..and do please post some thoughts!

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Having asked you all for advice about whether to see Bonelli or Soares, I found my theatre gift card (thank you mother-in-law) and bought a ticket for Matthew Ball’s debut tomorrow afternoon!!

I cannot wait!🤗 I think he’s a wonderful dancer and am intrigued to see how he portrays Prince Rudolf-with so little preparation time too. 

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7 minutes ago, penelopesimpson said:

Can anyone tell me who danced with Irek Mukhamedov when he did Rudolf?

 

I saw him dance with Viviana Durante initially and, later, with Mara Galeazzi.

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15 hours ago, JohnS said:

Just hoping Storm Callum doesn't cause any major disruption to Virgin West Coast as I have double Mayerling tomorrow, and a first chance to see Open Up.  

 

Storm Callum has struck and an emergency timetable introduced.  Virgin emailed details last night so at least there was some notice.  I eventually realised I could catch an earlier train making an additionally stop at Penrith but had to be up at 5:00.  Now waiting for the train running 16 minutes late but shoukd make this afternoon's matinee which at one time looked unlikely, or at least Act 1.  Whilst I was impressed with Virgin's email, Virgin's website was down yesterday evening - another casualty of Storm Callum or insufficient capacity to deal with customers' questions?

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It's such a pity that, since the opening night of Mayerling,  far more has been written on the FORUM about the botched PR and the deficits of the 'new' ROH than the masterpiece which is playing on the stage. I'm just hoping that Matthew Ball's performance this afternoon will cause us all to burst into print about ballet once again :)

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Incidentally for anyone interested in Mayara Magri there is a video clip on the ROH facebook page of a rehearsal from Act 2 of Mayerling.

 

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Can anyone report on the Cuthbertson/Soares cast from last night please?  

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From last night :)

 

A great night, I was expecting Tierny Heap as Empress Elizabeth (listed as being her debut in the role) but it turned out to be Lara Turk

 

may1.jpg

may2.jpg

Edited by Rob S
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Big thanks to John Mallinson for posting the Mukhamedov dates.  I spent a happy time last night looking through all the casts and wondering how it felt to be playing Vetsera as a child and then, years later, headlining.  Did you see Irek and, if so, how was it?

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Managed to swap my tickets for 19th to 20th so looking forward to hearing thoughts from Capybara and others from today’s matinee in anticipation for next week! 

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

It’s only the first interval but MATTHEW BALL - wow, just WOW.

waiting avidly for the detail.........

 

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I want to thank you already to all of you for your reviews, they are all making the waiting for "my" performances easier...I am still sad that I will not see Watson live in this and do not want to think about if there will be a chance once more but I am completely excited to see how Hirano will tackle this role. Also  decided to see Ball in his second performance so two new Rudolphs for me in this run instead of none! Try to see the positive!

 

Though I have to say I am a bit surprised that there aren´t so many reviews. I am also interested about comments about the whole cast and who were casted in the minor roles like Princess Louise, the four hungarian Officers etc. The profiles of the dancers aren´t really useful, they only contain major roles, which is a pity!

6 hours ago, Rob S said:

From last night :)

 

A great night, I was expecting Tierny Heap as Empress Elizabeth (listed as being her debut in the role) but it turned out to be Lara Turk

 

 

According to her IG account she is injured and had a small OP ( hopefully this is not against the forum rules).

 

2 hours ago, capybara said:

It’s only the first interval but MATTHEW BALL - wow, just WOW.

 

Sounds promising! To be honest I was a little bit suprised when I saw that Ball got so soon cast in this role, but this is (ballet)- life...Can not wait for more opinions about his performance.

6 hours ago, greypuss said:

Incidentally for anyone interested in Mayara Magri there is a video clip on the ROH facebook page of a rehearsal from Act 2 of Mayerling.

 

 

Thank you for your hint! Loved the video, it is also one of my favourites dances in Mayerling. Magri as Mitzi Caspar was one reason why I thought long about it if I should really book for Bonelli but thought "my" Rudolph was more important so I will only see her in this in cinema...But also the four officers, Sambe, Clarke, Richardson and Mock are looking great!

Funny enough: thanks to the video I noticed that I have absolutely no idea what the fourth officer is doing during the swing forth and back...I think I watched Mayerling at least 10 times but the fourth guy is at the moment a mystery to me...

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An excellent debut by Matthew Ball. He navigated the longueurs  of the first scenes cautiously but the final pdd in Act 1 was impressive. However, he really started to ratchet up the intensity in Act 2, brilliantly aided by Melissa Hamilton who I thought contributed magnificently to their passionate folie à deux.. by Act 3 it was absolutely gripping and they danced to the death with I think nearly all the auditorium in their dramatic thrall.  This was - in my opinion - a really well danced and superbly acted debut by Mr Ball. He should be very proud.

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3 minutes ago, BeauxArts said:

An excellent debut by Matthew Ball. He navigated the longueurs  of the first scenes cautiously but the final pdd in Act 1 was impressive. However, he really started to ratchet up the intensity in Act 2, brilliantly aided by Melissa Hamilton who I thought contributed magnificently to their passionate folie à deux.. by Act 3 it was absolutely gripping and they danced to the death with I think nearly all the auditorium in their dramatic thrall.  This was - in my opinion - a really well danced and superbly acted debut by Mr Ball. He should be very proud.

 

I agree entirely BeauxArts. Quite exceptional chemistry between the leads. 

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I very much enjoyed the Matinee and will treasure Matthew Ball's memorable debut.  I hope very much to see Matthew's Rudolf grow in maturity over the years.  I found the pdd with Stephanie a little telegraphed as there seemed too much advance warning of lifts etc - here's my knee etc from Elizabeth Harrod and I would have welcomed greater abandon from Melissa Hamilton's Mary - at times I thought Matthew Ball could have done with Melissa Hamilton higher in the air.  But it was a fabulous debut and I'm delighted to have witnessed it - well worth the early start this morning!

 

 Looking forward immensely to tonight's performance and how splendid Open Up feels from first viewing.

 

More considered thoughts later.

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A wonderful debut from Matthew Ball.   Wow!!  More later.  

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