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11 hours ago, LinMM said:

Have got home too late to comment usefully further on the programme now except to say that when I got back to London flat where I stay on Tuesday I did check the cast list for Infra and as I thought Naghdi did not dance in this on Monday eve. 

I think it was Esmeralda who mentioned her as dancing with Richardson so I'm not sure who she meant in the end.

i think the three ladies with dark hair and pony tails were Beatrix Stix Brunell, Romany Padjak and Leticia Dias 

I thought the last big pas de deux was Dias.....did she dance with Sissens at one point? Not sure now...could have been Richardson but not sure he was dancing either!  I thought in fact it was with Ball she danced ....or perhaps Nicol Edmonds but sure it was Ball!! anyway it wasn't Naghdi in Infra .....unless of course there was a cast change I was not privy to but Naghdi has  such a strong projection that I'm pretty sure wouldn't have missed her! But if anyone else can remember this. Kaneko was also dancing but her hair wasn't in a pony tail.....I don't think anyway! I think the more  blonde haired  dancers were Meaghan Grace Hinkis and Camille Bracher. 

 

 

I wasn´t talking about the performance on Monday evening but the performance from Friday (where the first cast was dancing and definitely with Naghdi/Richardson), unfortunately I didn´t get the chance to see second cast.

I think you mean the post by  @Richmondhill

Edited by Esmeralda

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2 hours ago, capybara said:

On Monday night, Letitia Dias took the role also played by Yasmine Naghdi, including the final pas de deux (with Matthew Ball).

 

If you’re talking about Infra, I think there’s been some confusion. On Monday, Romany Pajdak danced the role taken by Yasmine Naghdi in the other cast. Here’s my pictures from Monday’s curtain call (the last I took before being told the memory card was full!) showing Pajdak in the centre (where Naghdi is with the other cast).

7DFB1CF0-48B8-46A1-8337-653139D79524.jpeg

69FF02DA-32CD-466A-B86E-0264D33E1FAF.jpeg

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Very bad delays due to strong winds have affected all trains out of Euston, so I'm now on a train restricted to 50mph, so a long journey ahead for me. It does however give me the opportunity to think about last night's performance. I liked US, no it's not on the levels of greatness of Gloria (& how could any ballet?), Nor was it as satisfying as Dust. But it did move me - as others have also said, I find the subject matter so utterly devastating and difficult to comprehend - the absolute horror and loss of war and that war in particular. All the dancers performed well but it was Joseph Sissens performance as the Telegraph Boy that I remember most.

I'm not crazy about McGregor - to my mind he is a modern/contemporary dance choreographer  not a classical ballet choreographer, actually I thought last night that his movements reminded me of Tom Jobe's choreography from the 80's, but that's another discussion.... Infra for me is about the last pdd - the music is lovely and Nagdhi and Richardson were just beautiful last night.

SinC was just gorgeous! Nuñez was so 'prima' which is so right in that role. Takada demonstrated great ballon. And Nagdhi was fantastic. In fact it was a pretty perfect cast and every dancer on stage deserved the applause they received.

I actually attended with two friends last night, one loved US & SinC while the other described US as twee but thought Infra was the best thing since sliced bread!?? I know....🙄

The only downer for me was I lost my (£8!!) Programme and cast sheet while queuing at the cloakroom (just after I saw you Sim). I'm devastated as I've collected every single program since the 70's. 😥😥😥

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7 minutes ago, Sharon said:

 

7 minutes ago, Sharon said:

The only downer for me was I lost my (£8!!) Programme and cast sheet while queuing at the cloakroom (just after I saw you Sim). I'm devastated as I've collected every single program since the 70's. 😥😥😥

 

Oh dear! Maybe you could contact the ROH lost property dept? Unless you think someone actually took it.

 

Hope your train arrives eventually!

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Was it the last performance?  If not, you can buy them via the ROH Shop, I think, if you don't get yours back.

 

I had forgotten to say - so thanks for reminding me - that there was a lot of sniffling going on in the amphi the night I sat up there, so Unknown Soldier certainly moved some people.  I guess your own personal circumstances may also play a part in your response to the piece.

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Unable to quote without reproducing the photos but, of course, BBB is correct about Monday’s casting for Infra.

 

I have surprised myself this run by liking Infra. It has given us some truly stunning performances.

 

And I found William Bracewell in particular extremely moving in The Unknown Soldier last night.

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38 minutes ago, capybara said:

And I found William Bracewell in particular extremely moving in The Unknown Soldier last night

 

Yes indeed..I would add the same for Anna Rose  - in fact I think  I preferred them to Ball and Naghdi.

 

Bracewell  had a good night - excellence  in all three ballets, displaying his versatility in the different styles of narrative, modern, and neo-classical. 

Edited by Richard LH
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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

 

 

Oh dear! Maybe you could contact the ROH lost property dept? Unless you think someone actually took it.

 

Hope your train arrives eventually!

Yes I have already, fingers crossed 🙏

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15 hours ago, RuthE said:

wondering about the facial expressions in Symphony in C.

 

Last night, although Nunez kept to her "Serene" mode in movement 2,  it was lovely to see her suddenly flash a smile at Hirano when close to him  half way through.

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Apologies to Esmeralda .....I've just re read both those posts ....and I see that you posted on the Sunday! So were obviously not talking about Mondays cast.....sorry about that. It's probably because I was away from Sunday and hadn't been on the iPad until Tuesday so just assumed you were talking about the performance I'd just seen on Monday 🙄

Also on re reading Richmondhills post am not sure now whether the reference to Naghdi is for Infra or Unknown Soldier!! 

But thanks to BBB 's post it's clear to see who did actually dance in Infra that night!!

i could have sworn it was Letitia Dias dancing with Matthew Ball but obviously not!! 

 

Regards the programme Sharon ....I did that with the Wolf Works one ....a particularly good programme as it happened ....and was very annoyed when realised I didn't have it when got home.....too much luggage and changing of shoes!!

Anyway I did ring up and then called in and nobody had handed a spare programme in however I did get another one from the shop/ticket office on the corner as then ....but I did have to pay for it again 😢.

 

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Managed to see this last night. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I hadn’t seen any of the ballets but was particularly looking forward to seeing Symphony in C (henceforth abbreviated to SinC as I’m typing on my phone on the train!).

 

I found the Unknown Soldier pretty moving, especially the part with Harry Patch - I had rather an odd experience after my father died which chimed a little with his words and I confess made me a bit sniffly for a minute or two. I thought that Bracewell and O’Sullivan rang completely true as the young lovers and danced and acted it beautifully. Sissens a fabulous telegram boy. The half scrim worked well, I thought, but I would imagine that if you were sitting up high it would be a serious issue, and I’m surprised no one staging it seems to have thought of that. I liked the combination of the interviews and the footage - I thought it helped to bring the story home. My main criticism is that it somehow seemed a bit lightweight - possibly it needs more than half an hour? It seemed rushed, somehow, and I thought more could have been made of the women’s situation.

 

I’m probably one of the few people who has never seen Infra and I’m not a McGregor fan. However, I did like it, for the most part. I enjoyed the music, even the discordance (but I’m a child of the darker side of 80s music!), and I think it got across the intended message. Beautifully performed by all the dancers, particularly Takada and Magri, but as usual with McGregor, about halfway through my mind began to wander. I think (for me) the problem is that his vocabulary of moves that he gives to the dancers seems somewhat limited, and after a few minutes you are simply seeing more of the same and it becomes repetitive. But that’s just my opinion.

 

SinC was everything I had hoped it would be, and I fully concurred with the appreciative “Oooh!” from the audience when the curtain went up on the white tutus. So bright, so simple, but with the “bling” catching the lights so wonderfully. Just gorgeous. Fantastic dancing from everyone and wonderful to see so many Principals onstage together for once - the sequence near the end with Cuthbertson, Nunez, Takada and Naghdi all dancing in unison was something to remember. A shame really that there wasn’t more for the men to do, especially Muntagirov, whose lightness and soft landings were something to behold, along with his sheer exuberance at performing something that is simply pure dance. Nunez was as regal as one has come to expect from her, with perfect command and technique. And....well, they were all amazing and I’ve run of words (and I’m getting cramp from typing in an uncomfortable position!).

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2 hours ago, capybara said:

And I found William Bracewell in particular extremely moving in The Unknown Soldier last night.

 

I second that! In combination with O`Sullivan it made me more moved trough the whole piece. They really seemed to be the couple, really young and innocent and completely in love. Curious to see if I can relive the emotions from yesterday with Naghdi/Ball again or if I prefer the second cast. Loved Sissens as the Telegraph boy though it made the choreography for him even more not fitting.

 

The second time I saw the first cast at Infra - and I loved it every minute of it! The whole cast was brilliant and Naghdi/Richardson were even better than last friday! And so glad that I will see them all again tonight!

 

Symphony in C - so much applause and so well deserved for every dancer! Yesterday it was just perfection in every role, no matter if I am talking about the corps, the solists or the principals. With dancers like this I loved to watch it a few more times even when it is not my absolute favourite!

 

1 hour ago, LinMM said:

Apologies to Esmeralda .....I

😢

 

 

No need to apologize!

Edited by Esmeralda
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I have to say, I too preferred O'Sullivan and Bracewell - and I don't think that was solely down to the fact that it was my second viewing and that greater familiarity helped.  However, no matter which ballerina it was, there were a few times when I was all too aware that the role had been created on Francesca Hayward, and that I could almost see a "ghost" of her in the steps, and that they didn't look quite such a perfect fit on either of the other dancers.

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It's interesting that it's such an abstract ballet like Infra that is now a GCSE Dance subject......and the school is supplied with a whole pack.. ....perhaps this would help to really understand it ....though I've now decided it doesn't really need to be "understood" just "felt"  

 

But talking of GCSE packs perhaps Unknown Soldier could become part of study for looking at World War One....what happened to those who were left behind? The film clips would be very useful ....as a record of real people who actually lived at that time and went to fight at that time. There would certainly be ideas for improvisation here.

 

I didn't find the film clips too intrusive in the end .....though wish the clip of Florence telling of her meeting with her boy and how she felt about him had been shown in one go before the lovely duet ...as initially I thought it didn't ring true the depth of feeling in the duet and the fact that they had only just met....but then the film clip came back on in which she says just that... that she was besotted and very much in love ...which if shown before would have made the duet seem just that bit more real. One of the most moving bits for me was when Florence ( Naghdi) received the telegram. The telegram boy was danced extremely well by Leo Dixon ....but I thought this role could have had more gravitas to it knowing the suffering he was about to deliver and could have been a fine dramatic solo...or more made of the tension between his role and Florence's as the receiver. 

Of course the clip of Harry Patch was very moving ....he was somewhat of a famous local character down here in Sussex as he lived in a local hospital for veterans of war ( St Dunstans in Ovingdean)  so his birthdays were always in the local paper ....totally amazing to live to 112 considering what he had been through. 

I feel the ending of this ballet was a tribute to him in the end ....it was what he had believed ....that Death was not the end...the spirit carries on ...directly as a result of a young soldier dying in his arms. 

So there were affecting moments and even the music was okay but although not the deepest of works I think it has its place and I would be happy to see again .....though not one for many repeat viewings 

 

Infra on the other hand  I think I would have to see many times just to catch everything!! I just do not know how the dancers remember the different moves as they are so convoluted and with such tiny changes of hand ..head ...even shoulder ...here and there! I found it engrossing and even moving in parts .....especially the bit where the dancers walk by ( as the animated art figures above) and one dancer is destraught on the floor ( Beatrix Stix Brunell) 

Also the last pas de deux was very beautiful ....and it's sheer beauty moved me. Apparently this is called "Hope" It's probably something like the calibre of this duet that might have been rather fitting in the first ballet because of the seriousness of its subject matter. 

When I finally got home yesterday I just wanted a bit more Infra....and found on YouTube the whole of the original cast dancing it...what a fabulous lot they were.....the Ed Watson and Nunez final pas de deux is a really wonderful piece of dancing. 

I will still hate the grating noises in the music etc but probably won't be as bad next time as I know how long they last!! On a first seeing it's a bit ....hell is this going to be it now for the next twenty minutes!!.....Luckily the rest of the Richter score speaks for itself ...well to me anyway! There was a very close collaboration on this between Richter and McGregor and a sound engineer person ....Eks? and Richter did often have to shorten/ lengthen bits according to how the Dance was working out!

I enjoyed Symphony in C ....what's not to like...and bits of humour here and there a light piece really and have mentioned already who shone particularly that evening for me ...but would like to add as others have mentioned the extraordinary range of the dancers on Monday ....Stix Brunell, Kaneko, Sissens et al just fab in two completely different ballets. 

 

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Because the last train back from Paddington deposited me in Bristol at 2am and I’ve had a full day of work since then, I’ll keep my thoughts relatively brief, no doubt to the relief of regular readers of my reviews!

 

The Unknown Soldier started quite promisingly for me, and I initially thought the usage of video and talking heads in a ballet was a fascinating idea. The dancing was lovely throughout, with Anna Rose O’Sullivan something of a revelation to me, and William Bracewell seems to be going from strength to strength at Covent Garden, which is great to see. 

 

However, there were a number of stylistic choices in The Unknown Soldier that weren’t to my taste. I found the score a little overwrought. It’s a dramatic subject, but the music reminded me of World At War, and wonder if maybe we haven’t moved on a little from that style. It felt a little old-fashioned, and a touch more restraint on the score might have added to the dramatic tension for me. 

 

On a similar note, some of the choreography (or maybe staging?) I found a little literal for my tastes. I was reminded of Stina Quagebeur’s Vera which, and it was a while ago when I saw it, conveyed a similar bandwidth of emotion on a similar subject with a far greater degree of subtlety, and was far more powerful to me as a result. I felt like Vera let the dancing do all the talking.

 

I also found the voiceovers jarring when they suddenly arrived without warning. Bookending the piece would have had impact, but the interview segments further felt to me again like Marriott still wasn’t trusting me to understand what was happening on the stage. 

 

I guess what I’m saying is that I wonder if audiences are more sophisticated now, we don’t need to have everything spelled out, and I felt the piece might have had more impact if the audience was trusted a little bit more, and the choreography was allowed to speak more than the staging. 

 

This isn’t to say that there was nothing I enjoyed about the piece. The dancing, as I say, was wonderful, especially from the leads. The final act in heaven I found to be quite moving, and while the abstraction was a little jarring after the literal staging to that point, it felt like a welcome relief. 

 

Infra was a freshener after the first interval, and I really enjoyed this piece. The quality of dancing throughout was excellent, with all the leads excelling themselves. Akane Takada was absolutely sublime; her performance was a real standout for me for the evening, and deeply affecting. She really seemed to inhabit the piece and was enchanting. I also didn't mind the static noise, but then I was seemingly the one single person on the planet who really liked Fitter, Happier on Radiohead's OK Computer, so that might explain things.

 

Finally, Symphony in C. There was so much to enjoy here and the whole company seemed on joyous form. 

 

I wish there was a way to bottle the smile Lauren Cuthbertson gives the auditorium in the short moment between taking her place and the music starting; “Hey guys, I’ve got this. It’s gonna be great.” That moment is an absolute joy, like a welcoming embrace to the audience and it makes me smile whenever I see her dance.

 

Marianela Nunez was terrific too. She has a statesman - stateslady? - type quality to her dancing. I don’t mean she danced like Hillary Clinton. I mean, I don't know, maybe Hillary Clinton dances beautifully, but I don't mean... I guess it could be worse, I guess I could be saying that she dances like Theresa May. I don’t think anyone—  *cough* I digress. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that Nunez danced with such gravitas and confidence that it’s hard not to be completely captivated by a ballerina at the top of her game. 🙂

 

It’s still really strange to see Vadim Muntagirov on the Covent Garden stage, having watched him so much in ENB, but he was the best I’ve seen him. He’s not always my favourite dancer, but tonight he married his super-extended jumps with a sublime lightness. Alexander Campbell is, I think, relatively new to my limited ROH radar, but was also great to watch, dancing with real ebullience and verve.

 

Anyway, I said I’d keep my thoughts relatively brief and have failed dismally, no doubt to the complete lack of surprise to regular readers of my reviews. 🙄

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35 minutes ago, BristolBillyBob said:

 

Anyway, I said I’d keep my thoughts relatively brief and have failed dismally, no doubt to the complete lack of surprise to regular readers of my reviews. 🙄

 

It’s OK - I enjoyed reading it. And I don’t think mine was much shorter!

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I so much enjoyed the triple bill tonight- the great joy of seeing Symphony in C- but also, of seeing the company shine in 3 such different pieces, with so many really wonderful and individual dancers. It was a great effort to get there, but so very much worth it.

 

Edited by Mary
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I did hugely enjoy the evening.

 

I do agree with  BristolBillyBob and others who have queried the general approach, and use of various media in Unknown Soldier.

I found the testimony of the real people very deeply moving and it made me cry. But sadly, I was crying for this and not because of the dance.

Whereas Infra- surely the best of McGregor and feeling very pertinent after struggling with Kings Cross and the underground while not feeling v well - made me feel, just through dance (one could lose the cartoons-really- they do not add much after the first minute in my view) yes, it feels like that!

 

And the simply SUBLIME Symphony in C - makes one cry just for the beauty for dance. Every second and every gesture is honed to produce an effect with music and dance in perfect harmony, encompassing joy, laughter, solemnity,  love-  building to an amazing climax and ending - snip- on the crest of the wave,  with no overdoing it, no longeurs. It is an organic whole,  perfect, one of the wonders of civiisation. A  miraculous thing.

 

In totally different ways, two pieces that  say so much with dance.

 

But, for me, the Marriot really did not work as DANCE. I've seen much worse things but...

It is not a theme to take lightly. The reality of the suffering and deaths in WW1 was very far from beautiful: it was the ugliest thing imaginable. I realise the film clip was the state funeral of the Unknown Soldier. but most soldiers just sank into filthy mud.  I thought of Wilfred Owen- 'these who die as cattle'. It was not noble and uplifting.

My grandfather was gassed in the trenches and died 2 years later having slowly choked to death. It was nasty, horrible, grim, painful and sordid.

Women were not mainly just  floating around in pretty pastel frocks- they were working in factories, nursing etc- ( see ENB triple bill!)-

 

So to me the piece- clearly well intentioned and beautifully danced-  rang false. Maybe that is why even the lovely Naghdi and Ball in a nice pas de deux could not quite bring the piece to life? I don't know but it just didn't catch fire for me at all.

 

But what a company- I am constantly amazed by them and so thrilled to have the chance to see them on a regular basis: a privilege.

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Did I mention how little of the video for the Unknown Soldier was visible from Stalls Circle standing?  I had no idea that it was a funeral happening, for the most part.  I trust those who were seated could see it all.

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I could see it all, Alison, being lower down, but all the time I was thinking that those higher up would have their viewing restricted.  It seems such an amateurish mistake for the staging people to make and one wonders why it happens. Two viewings of US have not changed my view that this is a lightweight piece tackling a subject that needed greater depth and gravitas.  Marriott was perhaps not the right choice as previous creations have not been particularly impressive.  Disappointing.

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I enjoyed Unknown Soldier for what it was and I mainly relished the opportunity to see Naghdi and Ball dance together again. The last time they were partnered was as Sugar Plum/Prince in Nutcracker December 2017 and the next time will be in Romeo&Juliet June 2019           (she danced with him in Madrid, taking over from Osipova in Swan Lake, but I didn't see their performance).  

I have seen Ball partnering Osipova, Cuthbertson, and a few other dancers, but his partnership with Naghdi is something very special and unique.  

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All good things come in threes...loved my third watching of the Triple bill, though I have to say watching TUS for the  third time was very tiring and I had the feeling it was longer than before (it wasn´t...). I am also afraid that I definitely did prefer O`Sullivan/Bracewell in this. If I had to watch it for a fourth time in this run I would probably appear later (and normally I don´t do that unless there is horrible music and I have already a migraine). I think the whole piece has potential but needs to be reworked (especially the staging when some parts of the audience even can´t see things going on the stage or in the videos etc....)

 

Infra is still my favourite in this triple and I loved to watch the cast for the third time. Probably could watch these fantastic dancers for the rest of my life. Pure perfection from every dancer in this!

 

Symphony in C was also wonderful, and I am glad that I got too see both casts. They were both fantastic, no matter if it was in the Corps, soloists or principals roles, though the Nunez cast was more homogenous to me (and a little bit more flawless...).

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Feel a little bad that I gave Unknown Soldier a miss, but it did mean I could channel all my enjoyment into Infra and Symphony in C. I thought Infra (it’s my fave short MacGregor) stunning. All were wonderful. Akane Takada as the broken girl was amazing. I love her more and more. So enjoyed Symphony in C / a real romp. Stunning! Loved all the female soloists - each one shone out...and Sarah Lamb delivered completely!

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Akane Takada has indeed shone and sparkled recently in Bayadere and now Infra- what a contrast. I have always liked her but she does seem to have suddenly burst into a ball of flame- it happens.

 

The scrim and screen things were really awful- AGAIN. How many more times will we have to put up with such things? I would start a thread listing all the ballets where they have been used to the detriment of the view of half the audience- but life is too short-it's a long list.

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2 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

I enjoyed Unknown Soldier for what it was and I mainly relished the opportunity to see Naghdi and Ball dance together again. The last time they were partnered was as Sugar Plum/Prince in Nutcracker December 2017 and the next time will be in Romeo&Juliet June 2019           (she danced with him in Madrid, taking over from Osipova in Swan Lake, but I didn't see their performance).  

I have seen Ball partnering Osipova, Cuthbertson, and a few other dancers, but his partnership with Naghdi is something very special and unique.  

 

Don't worry about missing Swan Lake in Madrid, Xandra. It wasn't their best showing and that's not surprising, given that Naghdi had two other partners in the Swan Lake run overall.

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I met up with a friend on Wednesday who had sat in row L in the Amphi and said her view had been obscured in Unknown Soldier ( I was lucky that evening had been in the Balcony) 

We were both lamenting the fact that nobody in the production team as it were had thought to look at this NEW ballet from all parts of the house! It should be standard procedure we decided!!

Obviously there are some seats which have restricted view for other reasons but the view shouldn't be obscured for many people because of a production issue!! 

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I am still pursuing an answer to the La Bayadere scrim issues and have made the question more general, partly in light of Unknown Soldier.  I am confident of getting a response and will post the outcome when received.

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1 hour ago, Mary said:

Akane Takada has indeed shone and sparkled recently in Bayadere and now Infra- what a contrast. I have always liked her but she does seem to have suddenly burst into a ball of flame- it happens.

 

She's done it pretty consistently since being promoted to Principal, hasn't she?  (I haven't seen her that much, but have been impressed with pretty much everything)

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39 minutes ago, JohnS said:

I am still pursuing an answer to the La Bayadere scrim issues and have made the question more general, partly in light of Unknown Soldier.  I am confident of getting a response and will post the outcome when received.

 

I admire your optimism

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