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Richard LH

The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker, December 2018 - January 2019

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27 minutes ago, Tebasile said:

 

Agreed! The wigs need to go - it's not Amadeus.

 

The horrible wigs get mentioned every year.  When, oh when, are they going to get rid of them?  

 

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22 hours ago, jmhopton said:

 I'm hoping that the new or revised Cinderella Kevin O'Hare has talked about will be the Christmas ballet next year and give us all a break though I think it's a good idea to have a Christmassy double or triple bill also. This year's seems to have sold well which must be encouraging (as long as they don't increase prices for mixed bills next season!)

 

I hope Cinderella is only going to be redesigned and not 'revised' or tampered with. It just needs two character artists who can carry off the step-sisters. Maybe David Bintley will be free to return to the role. I can imagine that Michael O'Hare would also make a great Ashton sister. I think I have read somewhere that Gary Avis would like to play the Helpmann sister. Maybe Matthew Hart could also be brought back to the fold? I wonder if a Sansom/Cope duo would be any good, or were they just excellent princes?

 

I agree that a seasonal triple/double bill would be welcome, as it this this year.

 

And Janet, if you are reading, you are not the only forum member who is not a great fan of Peter Wright's RB Nutcracker. I agree that BRB's pros arch production is infinitely  preferable.

Edited by Darlex
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4 hours ago, Rob S said:

The website is being a bit annoying at the moment as I check for any returned tickets for upcoming performances, it has a habit of showing that tickets are available for a performance (currently this evening) and when you click on Buy to see where these seats are located it indicates that it’s two seats in the amphitheatre, when you get to the map to see where they are they’ve gone. Fair enough, someone must have just snapped them up but when you refresh the various pages it says there are now four seats in the amphitheatre but still doesn’t show up on the map.

 

I shall just have to wait until the Rush this afternoon. 

 

Ive had a total mare too Rob S trying to get an extra ticket for a friend for this evening. Took me 2 days of refreshing the nutcracker page (while at work!) and having that frustrating thing of not adding the coloured dot fast enough to my basket, to eventually get one and way over budget but I got trigger happy / desperate! 

 

I found first thing in the morning and between 12-2 and then again between 4-6 there seemed to be a higher instance of returns. 

 

Good luck! 

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3 hours ago, Darlex said:

 

I hope Cinderella is only going to be redesigned and not 'revised' or tampered with. It just needs two character artists who can carry off the step-sisters. Maybe David Bintley will be free to return to the role. I can imagine that Michael O'Hare would also make a great Ashton sister. I think I have read somewhere that Gary Avis would like to play the Helpmann sister. Maybe Matthew Hart could also be brought back to the fold? I wonder if a Sansom/Cope duo would be any good, or were they just excellent princes?

 

 

I hope so too.  It was perfect as it was, I hope they not going to ask one of the current resident choreographers to "bring it up to date".  

 

I have no idea if Sansom & Cope would be any good, but I would love to see them try.  Can I put my name down for a ticket now? 

 

 

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A wonderful company performance tonight, but I have to say Yasmine Naghdi's Sugar Plum Fairy was the stand-out  of the evening for me.  Technically perfect, exuberant in her joy, and making it all seem so natural and effortless.  Witnessing such beauty whilst listening to that glorious music brought tears to my eyes.  And people ask me why I love ballet so much.  This is why.

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Samuel Johnson said when a man is tired of London he is tired of life. I say if one is tired of the Nutcracker one is tired of life. 

Seeing the cheer joy of all the White Lodge children who are clearly delighted sharing the stage with the RB dancers, the smile on their face, their acting and dancing is a treat in itself. They were a joy to watch. It is such a festive ballet and takes me back to childhood. The moment when that christmas tree grows and grows, snow falling down onto the snowflakes and the beautiful music..., what's there not to like! 

I agree with Sim, the star of the evening was indeed Yasmine Naghdi. She is such a fine and elegant Sugar Plum Fairy. Never did she rush, and her Pd2 with Hirano was absolutely  moving, beautifully controlled and superbly danced. Shame we didn't get to see her dance with the Australian principal Kevin Jackson. 

Edited by Xandra Newman
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16 hours ago, Darlex said:

 

I hope Cinderella is only going to be redesigned and not 'revised' or tampered with. It just needs two character artists who can carry off the step-sisters. Maybe David Bintley will be free to return to the role. I can imagine that Michael O'Hare would also make a great Ashton sister. I think I have read somewhere that Gary Avis would like to play the Helpmann sister. Maybe Matthew Hart could also be brought back to the fold? I wonder if a Sansom/Cope duo would be any good, or were they just excellent princes?

 

All those potential Ugly Sisters are mouth-watering prospects! Bring them on!!

 

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7 hours ago, Sim said:

A wonderful company performance tonight, but I have to say Yasmine Naghdi's Sugar Plum Fairy was the stand-out  of the evening for me.  Technically perfect, exuberant in her joy, and making it all seem so natural and effortless.  Witnessing such beauty whilst listening to that glorious music brought tears to my eyes.  And people ask me why I love ballet so much.  This is why.

 

You took the words from my mouth Sim! I haven't seen a dancer 'own' the SPF role so effortlessly, so naturally and as musically well, since Miyako Yoshida (who is responsible for my ballet addiction!). Which is about as big a complement as I can think of. As Yasmine conquers all the major roles, making them look as if made on her, I can only wonder why current choreographers aren't making more of her in new works. 

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

 

All those potential Ugly Sisters are mouth-watering prospects! Bring them on!!

 

Did Will Tuckett ever take on the Helpmann sister? Let's pair him with Hart. Ed Watson was a great Carabosse years ago, maybe it would be a good moment for him to do the Helpmann sister. Soares also performed the role, opposite Tim Matiakis - I didn't catch their performances 

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The thing is, the RB has quite an array of character artists at the moment, so I do wonder whether they need additional artists?

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Perhaps because there's joy in seeing a "straight" dancer letting their hair down and taking on these roles - a bit like Ian McKellen playing Widow Twankey.

 

Another idea: in the vein of the Ashton/MacMillan pairing, how about Wheeldon/McGregor? (That isn't a serious suggestion.)

Edited by Lizbie1
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Tim Matiakis was rather good - also much younger than most who take these roles?

 

Avis has already done the Macmillan sister,  hasn't he?

 

My dream casting would be Gartside/Yanowsky...

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1 minute ago, Jane S said:

Tim Matiakis was rather good - also much younger than most who take these roles?

 

Avis has already done the Macmillan sister,  hasn't he?

 

My dream casting would be Gartside/Yanowsky...

It's not mentioned in Avis' programme biography, (not that they list everything).

 

Macmillan did perform this role, but usually it's referred to as the Helpmann sister, the role's creator. 

 

I love the idea of Zanowsky coming back and while I believe she is capable of doing anything, can we just leave it with the men? (Although I  think the sisters were originally to be made on women, and were even performed by women at once in the fifties) 

 

I see Gartside as the Helpmann sister with Whitehead. 

 

I appreciate Alison's comment that the RB is currently strong in its Character Artist department (which makes it all the more a pity that there isn't more rep to use their talents - think of some of the Ashton demi - character works and how about a Massine piece). I do think it's nice to invite former members back if they suit the role -  many are a link to the creator and some original cast members. Graham Fletcher would make an excellent Ashton sister I think. (He was always more understated than Wayne Sleep, but IMO, much funnier). 

 

Okay, so my combinations are:

 

Whitehead /Gartside 

Hart/Tuckett 

Sansom/Cope

Bintley/Corder 

Fletcher/Avis 

 

Cervera/Watson? 

 

and 

 

O'Hare M./O'Hare K!!!!! 

 

Sorry for hijacking this Nutcracker thread with Cinderella thoughts! 

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37 minutes ago, Jane S said:

 

My dream casting would be Gartside/Yanowsky...

 

Zenaida Yanowsky and Laura Morera (if either or both decide to do character, once they have finished dancing). 

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Getting back to Nutcracker, reading this morning's link (a big thank you to the team who does this for us every day), Vera Liber makes confusing reading of the facts in her last paragraph. 

 

And Luke Jennings says that, unlike Nutcracker, the company's relationship with the rest of the classical cannon has been ambivalent - he singles out Sleeping Beauty. I wonder if he is actually comparing how often the ballet is shown? If so, How do other forum readers interpret his remarks in today's article? 

 

Okay, so I seem to be diverting the thread again. I am giving RB Nutcracker a rest this year. I always find the second act in this production a strangely desolate affair. 

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I think Luke Jennings has reached a time in his life that I entered a few years ago. « Grumpy Old Man »

 

Edited by Tony Newcombe
Typo
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44 minutes ago, Tony Newcombe said:

I think Luke Jennings has reached a time in his life that I entered a few years ago. « Grumpy Old Man »

 

 

I think you've hit the nail on the head there!

 

It's a very odd review - he seems so cross about finding nothing to fault with the show itself that he spends about half of the space complaining about something else. I can't remember when I last saw five stars given so grudgingly.

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Just got back from my local cinema's encore screening of 'The Nutcracker' (Shown live on Monday night) a magnificent production and performance from The Royal Ballet, superb dancing from Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier,  just a magical performance from two dancers at the top of their game and they look so good together, the whole cinema went really quiet during the PDD, spellbinding. 

 

Marcelino Sambé and Anna Rose O’Sullivan were delightful as Hans-Peter and Clara, joyous dancing and Gary Avis was as always excellent as Herr Drosselmeyer, one of the best interpreters of the role today IMHO

 

The corps de ballet were great as the snowflakes, lots of flurries. 

 

Melissa Hamilton was slinky in the Arabian dance, draping over the shoulders of the men and moving like liquid, channelling the music so well.

 

Fumi Kaneko was a pretty Rose Fairy and I just love the Waltz of the Flowers.

 

The music was gorgeous, such a genius ballet score from Tchaikovsky, Christmas has got dialled up to 11. 

 

I'm not familiar with lots of Nutcracker productions, I've only ever seen the Bolshoi's and Birmingham Royal Ballet's (on DVD with the divine Irek Mukhamedov and Miyako Yoshida) and I like all 3 for different reasons but Sir Peter Wright's productions (both RB and BRB) just gets the magical essence of The Nutcracker. 

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5 hours ago, Darlex said:

Getting back to Nutcracker, reading this morning's link (a big thank you to the team who does this for us every day), Vera Liber makes confusing reading of the facts in her last paragraph. 

 

And Luke Jennings says that, unlike Nutcracker, the company's relationship with the rest of the classical cannon has been ambivalent - he singles out Sleeping Beauty. I wonder if he is actually comparing how often the ballet is shown? If so, How do other forum readers interpret his remarks in today's article? 

 

Okay, so I seem to be diverting the thread again. I am giving RB Nutcracker a rest this year. I always find the second act in this production a strangely desolate affair. 

When I first read his review this morning I was going to come on here and have a rant....but as it's sunny, Sunday and the so-called season of goodwill, I decided not to.  So I am very happy that someone else has instead!!  :)   I was just gobsmacked when I read it.  I mean, I know he is paid by the Guardian, but to reduce The Nutcracker to a class issue is just ridiculous.  I won't even dignify his comments with cogent argument because it's not worth the time it would take.  

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46 minutes ago, Sim said:

When I first read his review this morning I was going to come on here and have a rant....but as it's sunny, Sunday and the so-called season of goodwill, I decided not to.  So I am very happy that someone else has instead!!  :)   I was just gobsmacked when I read it.  I mean, I know he is paid by the Guardian, but to reduce The Nutcracker to a class issue is just ridiculous.  I won't even dignify his comments with cogent argument because it's not worth the time it would take.  

 

Presumably his next review of The Sleeping Beauty will include a withering criticism of monarchy as a system of government.

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Very much enjoyed the encore performance and will look forward to the cinema cast in the theatre 22 December all being well.  I thought the ending slightly rushed so Clara didn't really have the time to recognise that she still had her pendant as the lights were already showing Drosselmeyer at his table.

 

As regards Luke Jennings, I rather assumed he was a little 'tongue in cheek' in his support for the mice.  I've always had some sympathy for the urchins snowballing the party guest and wondered about their Christmas festivities.

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I found Mr. Jenning’s comments a mixture of amusements and worthiness. I can’t help sharing a sneaky desire to see the mice triumph one day! His rather self righteous remark concerning the unfortunate families whose story is not told in the Nutcracker, is symptomatic of a frequent trend to critique the ‘cultural’  canon across several of the  arts. As another festive character would say “ Humbug”.

 

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5 hours ago, Tony Newcombe said:

I think Luke Jennings has reached a time in his life that I entered a few years ago. « Grumpy Old Man »

 

 

I used to have a high esteem for Luke Jennings as a ballet critic and used to enjoy reading his reviews but not any longer.  I just roll my eyes now whenever I read a review of his and after this one I frankly will not bother reading his reviews. 

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Don't forget, he writes for the Grauniad.  There is probably some sort of contractual obligation that says they must mention the word elitism at least once in every article they write.  Or make sure they mention something about the class war, poverty v wealth etc etc.

 

Edited by Fonty
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On 06/12/2018 at 15:31, James said:

This, I think, is the photograph in question.

 

Nutcracker1892.jpg

I've just watched the RB version with Collier and Dowell and have now seen this in action! Even Lesley Collier looked a little apprehensive. Fascinating to see people like Johnathon Cope and Christopher Saunders in the Arab Dance. Well worth a watch, even with the rather unattractive costumes.

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2 hours ago, Fonty said:

Don't forget, he writes for the Grauniad. 

 

The Observer, actually.

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1 hour ago, alison said:

 

The Observer, actually.

Which is owned by The Guardian.

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9 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

I've just watched the RB version with Collier and Dowell and have now seen this in action! Even Lesley Collier looked a little apprehensive. Fascinating to see people like Johnathon Cope and Christopher Saunders in the Arab Dance. Well worth a watch, even with the rather unattractive costumes.

 

I knew I'd seen it somewhere..but I gave my DVD away, -alas, must get it again. Which year is that one, ninamargaret?

 

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21 hours ago, Jane S said:

Tim Matiakis was rather good - also much younger than most who take these roles?

 

Avis has already done the Macmillan sister,  hasn't he?

 

My dream casting would be Gartside/Yanowsky...

 

Gary Avis has danced the Helpmann sister a number of times. I saw him in June 2010, with Phiip Mosley as the Ashton sister. Personally, I think it would be a mistake to cast former principals in these roles - it was not a great success when it was tried before. Benet Gartside would be brilliant alongside Gary Avis.

 

Sorry, back to Nutcracker...

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10 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

I've just watched the RB version with Collier and Dowell and have now seen this in action! Even Lesley Collier looked a little apprehensive. Fascinating to see people like Johnathon Cope and Christopher Saunders in the Arab Dance. Well worth a watch, even with the rather unattractive costumes.

Amongst the female dancers, there is an impressive cast list in minor roles including Sarah Wildor, Maria Almeida,  Karen Paisley, Fiona Chadwick, Viviana Durante and Wendy Ellis - all of whom went on to become principals.

Among the up and coming male dancers at the time are Bruce Sansom, Ashley Page, Errol Pickford, Anthony Dowson, Phillip  Broomhead and of course the aforementioned Jonathan Cope!

The year of this production is 1985

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