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I was at the opening night at the Lowry Salford where the leads were Lachlan Monahagn and Miki Mizutani. It was my first Fille Mal Gardee, and feel very lucky to have the opportunity to see it up here in provinces, especially with the sublime quality of the BRB and it's sinfonia.

 

The multitude of sensations from such a splendid creation can hardly be summarised, or even appreciated properly fully in one sitting. I know many forum members know this ballet well, so I will briefly mention my main impressions - the gorgeous pas de deuxs and the dazzling and spectacular ribbon work - it really is something special that I'd never seen before in a ballet (or anywhere else). And an overall feeling of wonderful balance of dancing performance, humour, theatre, music, atmosphere, setting. Shades of Coppelia in that wholeness of charm. 

 

Since others have already commented on Mitzutani's and Monahagn's brilliant qualities from the Birmingham performances I won't say much more except that they seem so well suited to these roles, and that after seeing Monahagn as Prince Florimund in Sleeping Beauty last year, I am finding the impression he makes growing stronger and stronger. 

 

I hope it is not too sacrilegious to say that while I can rationally see the perfection of the combination of elements of this ballet, it's probably just slightly too much on the humourous side for my tastes, and that somehow the perfection of the bucolic aspects in Coppelia (the BRB version anyway) hits the spot with me more. And while I read of the evocation of idyllic English setting in this ballet, I must say it I didn't completely feel that (not on this night anyway), it felt more French in atmosphere to me. I'm somewhat disappointed not to be caught up in the 'pure joy' that others feel in this ballet. For me it was more pure contentment, and admiration. 

 

Minor reservations. I'm still musing on seeing another performance. A brief search indicates it last came to the Lowry in 2007, and the ballet seems too good to wait another 11 years to see again, and it's a ballet I may not travel to see. 

 

But more than anything, it felt so good on this night to be back in the Lowry again where BRB continues to educate and entertain and delight me as it has done for many years in this very theatre. A particular feeling of being 'at home' here (may well have been an influence of Fille) - with the little sadness of dancers who have retired, or will retire soon, I was thinking how I miss Elisha Willis and how I think how well she too would have been suited to Lise (as well as all the other famous main roles!).

 

Driving away, saw the Shetland pony grazing on the road verges in Salford Quays.    

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I was going to do a full roundup after Saturday but yes I saw his debut with Karla Doorbar yesterday afternoon.

 

It was a joyous experience altogether.  Perhaps there was some nervousness at the start but certainly by Act 2 (the haystack scene in BRB's 3 act production) he and Karla were firing on all cylinders.  Their dancing was crisp and vivacious and their interaction together was gorgeously romantic.  I really felt that they were a young couple madly in love.  Very auspicious debuts altogether!

 

(PS - I am biased but then the cheers from the audience backed up my feelings!)

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Beeing thinking the first Fille performance I saw this week and my enjoyment and intrigue of the work was enough to make me book another performance tonight, Momoka Hirata and Mathais Dingman leading. I came out so satisfied and happy - I was right in thinking there was too much in the ballet for just one viewing. 

 

Tonight deepened my admiration for the exquisite qualities of Fille. I was sitting nearer the stage with a more intimate view of all the action. As well as the gorgeous duo and solo work by Hirata and Dingman, the complexity and inventiveness of the ensemble pieces I had the opportunity to appreciate better. I noticed little things like the clog-pointe-work, the use of the sticks by the farmhands, but the density and richness of the action as a whole was the main thing. It had an energy, complexity and variety which I find hard to remember the like of from other ballets I've seen. While I've expressed reservations about the overall humourous mood in my first post - I can see the gentle humour throughout sets off the other aspects with such tasteful balance. As my friend who I brought on opening night said -  'it's genuinely funny - even the chickens!'. 

 

Hirata and Dingman were just superb, as well as very different to Mizutani and Monahagn. Hirata's delicacy, precision and speed just seemed what Lise could naturally be like. And Dingman's embodiment of Colas I really loved - I thought Monahagn would be hard to match, but Dingmam's happy-go-lucky, effortless virtuosity made, to my mind, an equally brilliant characterisation and performance.  

 

Another splendid night at the Lowry and a great pleasure to meet Janet McNulty in the foyer. Look forward to hearing impressions from other casts/performances I didn't have the chance to see.

Edited by northstar
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I was there last night too and thought the whole performance was brilliant. So light and bright I was smiling all the way home. 

All the cast were fabulous but a special mention to James Barton, last time I saw him was in American in Paris, showing me how versatile an dancer he is.

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Just got back from seeing the final performance of Fille at the Lowry. It was a fabulous evening with some amazing dancing not just from Brandon and Delia but the whole company. Difficult to believe it's only Brandon's second performance as Colas. He has a natural gift for comedy and a lovely Ashton style. I particularly liked his response to the final act mime when he said he wanted 10 children, not 3! I've never seen this done before and it got a laugh which proved the audience understood the mime which was good as I thought sometimes they didn't really get things and applaud like they do at the ROH. However has Fille been performed much in Manchester? I don't remember seeing it in the North before. I thought Delia great too with lovely epaulment 

and a great rapport with Brandon. Congratulations everyone. I could have sat through it all again! Also great to see Janet Mcnulty, Tony Newcombe and Sheila. 

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32 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

Just got back from seeing the final performance of Fille at the Lowry. It was a fabulous evening with some amazing dancing not just from Brandon and Delia but the whole company. Difficult to believe it's only Brandon's second performance as Colas. He has a natural gift for comedy and a lovely Ashton style. I particularly liked his response to the final act mime when he said he wanted 10 children, not 3! I've never seen this done before and it got a laugh which proved the audience understood the mime which was good as I thought sometimes they didn't really get things and applaud like they do at the ROH. However has Fille been performed much in Manchester? I don't remember seeing it in the North before. I thought Delia great too with lovely epaulment 

and a great rapport with Brandon. Congratulations everyone. I could have sat through it all again! Also great to see Janet Mcnulty, Tony Newcombe and Sheila. 

 

According to a chum Fille was last performed at the Lowry in Salford in 2007 - I didn't think it was that long ago.  The company hasn't performed in Manchester or Liverpool since 1999 (The Lowry opened in 2000 and they switched to there in June of that year).  I am sure they must have done Fille in Manchester they certainly did in Liverpool.

 

Nice seeing you too Joan.

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We thought it was a great performance last night, thoroughly enjoyed it - only ever seen Fille on DVD before!

 

We thought the corps were excellent and I especially enjoyed Delia and the relationship with her mother. 

 

Lovely footwork.

 

Just sorry audience was so thin :(

Maybe it should be performed at Christmas and marketed as a pantomime? 

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On ‎27‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 23:50, jmhopton said:

JI particularly liked his response to the final act mime when he said he wanted 10 children, not 3! I've never seen this done before and it got a laugh which proved the audience understood the mime

 

Irek Mukhamedov did something similar for a while, early on.

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Sadly my Fille-watching for this year has ended.  I was able to see 8 of BRB's performances - 2 in Birmingham and the six in Salford.

 

As the week went on in Salford it struck me over and over again how fresh the performances looked since last time BRB performed it a couple of years ago.  The emphasis was most definitely rather on the romance rather than the humour and I think the performances definitely benefited from that.  It's not that there wasn't humour - there was in spade-loads, but it was the choreography that gave us the humour rather than the dancers hamming it up.

 

I love the fact that Alain is portrayed as a gauche, naive young man who, because of his father's wealth, has never really mixed with people and so doesn't know how to react or behave with them.  Both Kit Holder and James Barton gave very touching accounts of the role.  I loved the way both of them tried to attract their father's attention (as he is showing the pony trap off to Widow Simone) and he is brushed off.  He then hugs his umbrella as though it is a comforter and his only "friend".  At the very end when Alain comes back for his comforter it shows he is a sad, lonely young man rather than a heartbroken suitor and that really makes sense to me.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed all the casts I saw (7 of them) and each Lise and Colas brought something to the role.

 

I have already waxed lyrical over Miki and Lachlan's performance and I didn't think they could have bettered their performance on the Thursday afternoon in Birmingham ... but they did!!!  What an opening night!!!

 

On Thursday afternoon we saw the debuts of Karla Doorbar and Tzu-chao Chou.  They were very well matched and the main word I can think of to describe Karla is exquisite.  They were achingly romantic together and the kisses up the arm scene brought me out in goosebumps!

 

On Thursday evening we were treated to Samara Downs (who had made her debut in Plymouth) and Yasuo Atsuji.  If I am honest I hadn't thought of Samara as an obvious choice as Lise but what do I know.  She was absolutely terrific.  What I really liked was a little look she gave Alain when he was dancing to impress in Act 1 - it was full of compassion more than anything else, she could see he was really an adolescent young man who had perhaps been forced to have a dance lesson and hadn't done very well.  Again, she and Yasuo really brought out the romance of the piece.  Yasuo and Mathias Dingman (on Friday evening) gave us a more broad brush Colas than the other dancers I saw in the role but that did not affect my enjoyment of the role.

 

On Friday evening we were dazzled by a gorgeous performance from Momoko Hirata and Mathias Dingman.  Momoko is very fleet of foot and that really shows in the fast steps that this role requires.  There was another lovely touch from this cast when Alain is trying to give away the ring and Widow Simone is standing at the bottom of the stairs protecting Lise and Colas from the wrath of Farmer Thomas.  Momoko and Michael O'Hare looked quite shame-faced when they see how upset and humiliated Alain feels at his treatment by them and their friends.

 

Saturday matinee gave us another very auspicious debut by Yaoqian Shang and Max Maslen - they were just sublime!  I felt privileged to have been a member of the audience watching them.  Both of them had a lightness of touch and as for the romance...

 

What can I say about Saturday evening led by Delia and Brandon...  Well all I can say is that I floated all the way home.  They were just GLORIOUS and their onstage rapport was very telling.  I think Brandon must be the most romantic leading dancer around!

 

Widow Simone is a role that requires a light touch ... the humour is in the choreography and direction and in the dancer not hamming it up.  We are very lucky at the moment that Birmingham Royal Ballet can field four wonderful Widows.  Of course, Michael O'Hare in nonpareil in the role but James Barton, Kit Holder and Rory Mackay are all very, very good too.

 

So, Birmingham Royal Ballet's current tour is giving us wonderful, meaningful performances of this masterpiece of English choreography.  I wish I could see more performances but I hope you will all report back from Sadler's Wells and Belfast.  BRB are not to be missed!

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On 26/10/2018 at 16:04, Sophoife said:

If anyone on the forum sees Tzu-Chao Chou as Colas, I'd be grateful for a report please.

 

On 26/10/2018 at 17:16, Jan McNulty said:

I was going to do a full roundup after Saturday but yes I saw his debut with Karla Doorbar yesterday afternoon.

 

It was a joyous experience altogether.  Perhaps there was some nervousness at the start but certainly by Act 2 (the haystack scene in BRB's 3 act production) he and Karla were firing on all cylinders.  Their dancing was crisp and vivacious and their interaction together was gorgeously romantic.  I really felt that they were a young couple madly in love.  Very auspicious debuts altogether!

 

(PS - I am biased but then the cheers from the audience backed up my feelings!)

 

22 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

On Thursday afternoon we saw the debuts of Karla Doorbar and Tzu-chao Chou.  They were very well matched and the main word I can think of to describe Karla is exquisite.  They were achingly romantic together and the kisses up the arm scene brought me out in goosebumps!

 

Thank you so much Jan. Achingly romantic is something we never had the opportunity to see Tzu-Chao do in Oz, and now I just want to get on a plane and see the entire Sadler's Wells season, as you've whetted my appetite for all casts, and AusBallet hasn't done Fille since 2004 (I couldn't get to Brisbane for QldBallet's, and anyway it's not Ashton it's Greg Horsman).

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Wonderful performance tonight. Brandon Lawrence replaced Tyrone Singleton as Colas and Celine Gittens danced Lise. I took both of my daughters and a friend’s daughter and was wonderful to see the ballet through their eyes. It is really the perfect production to maintain their engagement- chickens, panto dame, pony (pony poo- surprisingly interesting for an 8 year old), ribbon dances, clog dances, maypoles... I could go on. 

 

Lawrence sailed across the stage effortlessly. Gittens has just the right balance of sweet and wayward! 

 

Lorries and coaches parked outside - looks like they were ready to leave from Sadlers Wells ready for the next venue. 

 

Still think this is the perfect pantomime and wish a company would be brave enough to run this at Christmas selling it as such. 

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Took a Parisian friend to see this at Sadlers tonight and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. I've seen the ROH production a couple of times but I actually prefer this one - it has a somewhat gentler charm and while the Alain character still irritated me, it was far less than he did at the ROH.  We had to run all the way from Angel and made it a minute before curtain up so I didn't even get a cast sheet!  It was my friend's first ballet and she was really impressed, indeed to the point that she says she is going to go back and book one at the Opéra. Do I get Convert Points?

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17 hours ago, Blossom said:

Still think this is the perfect pantomime and wish a company would be brave enough to run this at Christmas selling it as such. 

I agree with you. The Royal Ballet did. I think the last time was in the early nineties. SWRB did back in the eighties at the Wells. 

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Just back from opening night of Fille in Belfast. Last minute cast change only to Delia Matthews and Brandon Lawrence, to say I was delighted is an understatement as it was pure chance I am in Belfast just as Fille opened! Needless to say it was a flawless performance, an evening of beautiful dance and pure joy. What more can I say? Icing on the cake was seeing little Peregrine pony 😍🐎

Will post some pics when I'm home. 

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Injured or otherwise indisposed, I suppose.

 

(I completely forgot that I wanted to say that on Saturday at Sadler's Wells Tyrone Singleton may have been replaced at only a few hours' notice by Brandon Lawrence, but from the performance Lawrence and Celine Gittens gave you'd never have realised that it was a scratch pairing in that ballet)

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A few curtain call photos from Wednesday evening with Delia Mathews and Brandon Lawrence.  Rory MacKay was great as Widow Simone and the clog dance was fab.  James Barton played Alain and the role suited him to a "T".  The whole cast were on great form everything was lovely - the maypole dance with the ribbon weaving went perfectly and Delia performed the amazing feat of pirouetting just holding the ribbons - always amazes me how ballerinas do that move! 

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On Thursday afternoon I met Peregrine the pony as he was outside the theatre so that was a dream come true - he has the softest fur ever!

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Edited by Don Q Fan
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2 hours ago, Colman said:

Made it to the Saturday matinee in Belfast, running straight over from an RBS insight day. What a pretty little opera house! I’d never been up to it before. 

 

It's a Frank Matcham and is absolutely gorgeous.  Did you enjoy the performance?

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It was delightful: really charming. The

first act was a little hesitant maybe, though that could have just been me winding down from the stress of running around a strange city on a tight schedule.

 

We had Karla Doorbar as Lise, Tzu-Chao Chou as Colas and Kit Holder as Alain. Michael O’Hare as the Widow. I don’t know the company at all, so they’re all new to me.

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