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Royal Ballet - Don Quixote - Spring 2019

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This is great. Wish I was there but it's the next best thing..Keep it coming!

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4 minutes ago, Rob S said:

 

Yes, me too, I wanted to rewind and watch that bit again! 

I'm very glad that I'm seeing it again later in the run as there's so much going on, especially in Act 1, that I'm sure I'm missing lots. Especially as in Act 1 a lot of character acting was happening right in front of where I'm sitting so I kept in watching Avis & co acting rather than the dancing! (Though not when Nunez & Muntagirov were on!)

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32 minutes ago, Rob S said:

 

They were still in the Royal box for Act 2....it’s not an important seat change Mr Usher 😀

 

I take it Prince Charles isn’t in the Royal Box for a repeat Don Q performance?

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Finally managed to review the Don Quixote live-streamed performance from last Tuesday.  My local Odeon was about three quarters full which was good compared to other ballet live-streams.  Good to have Kristin MacNally as one of the presenters - good clear voice and of course, she’s got all the dance background knowledge required.  She could probably have another career as a presenter.

I have only seen Acosta’s version of this ‘not so favourite of mine’  ballet just once before  tonight’s -  I must admit I didn’t think it was the best version either. However, it’s definitely grown on me after a second viewing and I really enjoyed it.

As has been discussed previously here,  the principal roles were danced by Akane Takada (Kitri) and Alexander Campbell (Basilio).  I thought Takada was magnificent - beautifully secure technique and elevation. She outshone Campbell who I thought, was dancing slightly under parr.  He seemed to smirk rather than smile, which was slightly annoying at times and more noticeable during the close ups of the dancers on the livestream. It didn’t help that Basilio’s costume was rather dull compared to other male dancer’s. I hardly noticed him come onto the stage.  I think Takada is one of the greatest ballet technicians currently - all precision, control, beautiful upper body and she has exciting speed and elevation.  I also think that she is developing into a fine artiste - the icing on the cake.  

Valentino Zuchetti was smouldering as Espada and again, he is also a fine technician and his variation was beautifully danced with great style and elegance.  Mayara Magri did quite a fine job as Mercedes, but I think she needs to develop her acting skills as I don’t always find that her characterisation is convincing. 

I thought the male dance artistes were all on fine form in the ensemble dances - some great talent and noticeable were all the Beggar boys led by Francesco Serrano.  Stand outs were Harris Bell, Lucas Bjørneboe Brændsrød, the amazing Joseph Sissens (first artiste) and Stanislaw Węgrzyn with his guitar. 

I couldn’t help notice Nadia Mullova Barley and Yu Hang (previous PDL Gold medalist) acting their hearts out and putting everything into their dancing.  Sae Maeda was noticeable for her stage presence and must be one to watch. 

The Dryads scene was a treat and I love those stunning tutus - adorable Anna Rose O’Sullivan as Amour and those beautiful courus en pointe.  I think I preferred Melissa Hamilton’s Dryad Queen to Fumi Kaneko’s (and I’m a big fan of hers) - I just felt it was a little ‘brittle’ and not as smooth, soft and dream-like as Hamilton’s.  

The character artistes were suitably entertaining and Philip Mosley was outstanding in his hilarious portrayal of Sancho Panza.  

Beatrix Stix Brunell’s strong characterisation and dancing outshone Yuhui Choe as Kitri’s friends. Choe doesn’t have the same attack that Beatrix SB has for this type of role.

All in all, Don Quixote is a great spectacle ballet with a ‘white act’ and a grand pas de deux containing an array of balletic fireworks to conclude. I do like the guitar players but I’m not sure about that shouting by the corps - do they really need to do that? 

I wont miss it if I don’t see it for a while though - but this is just my humble opinion.

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

 

I take it Prince Charles isn’t in the Royal Box for a repeat Don Q performance?

No he definitely wasn't! 

Another fantastic performance tonight...

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57 minutes ago, Springbourne3 said:

I think I preferred Melissa Hamilton’s Dryad Queen to Fumi Kaneko’s (and I’m a big fan of hers) - I just felt it was a little ‘brittle’ and not as smooth, soft and dream-like as Hamilton’s.  

 

Disappointing that Melissa Hamilton has hardly been seen of late. No reappraisal of her roles in either Asphodel Meadows or Queen of Dryads. Apart from Juliet, there appears to be nothing else this season.

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Yet Springbourne3 appears to have seen her?  Or am I reading that wrong?

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Springbourne is probably referring to the last run?  I didn’t like Melissa’s Queen of the Dryads...I actually found it brittle and not very classical.  I loved Fumi’s:  so elegant and beautiful.  

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5 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

I'd love to know what the ROH consider to be important cast changes. I've just had the following approximate conversation with a programme seller.

Me: That's a lot of changes.

Her: Yes but not important ones.

Me: I thought Laura Morera was dancing the second most important female role?

Her: But Nunez & Muntagirov are on.

 

So do the ROH only consider the lead couple to be important? If so then I disagree with them.

 

If anyone wants the details of the cast changes:

Mendizabal replacing Morera (Mercedes)

Moseley replacing Yudes (Sancho Panza)

O'Sullivan replacing Stix-Brunnell (Friend)

Magri replacing Kaneko (Q of Dryads)

Edmonds replacing Zuchetti (Fandango)

Padjak & Braendsrood replacing Mendizabal & Zuchetti (Gypsy couple)

I had a similar experience on Friday evening – it's so disrespectful of the cast (and of the audience). Terrible attitude. On Friday I was told there weren't any important cast changes and no cast change sheets. 

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On the ticketing issues front, the one on stalls circle right was evidently resolved as I walked past one of the women involved in the foyer at the end so she evidently hadn't been booted out altogether!

 

I really enjoyed tonight & am thanking my lucky stars that I was able to grab a return last Saturday after the first night comments. I felt like crying a couple of times tonight when watching Nunez & Muntagirov at the sheer amazingness of their dancing. I thought both acted as well as they danced too. After seeing them as doomed lovers in the Swan Lake & Bayadere cinecasts it was lovely to see them playing a happy couple!

 

This must be one of the best ballets for male character artists, with 4 roles. I thought Saunders had the perfect mix of chivalry & dottiness for the title role. Avis stole every scene he was in, in a good way: he's just such a great actor that you want to look at everything he does. Gartside was unrecognisable & very amusing (does anyone know who was playing his eventual bride tonight?). Moseley was amusing & that costume must be hard to perform in, given how flushed he looked.

 

I was pleased to see Magri as both the Queen of the Dryads & leading the fandango. The former was down as a cast change but given Kaneko danced Kitri this afternoon would she really have been scheduled to do Queen of the Dryads this evening as well or could it have been an error in the cast list? O'Sullivan was also busy, doing one of Kitri's friends (roles that were larger than I was expecting) as well as & Amour. I thought Padjak & Brandesrood were very good as the lead gypsies. I was pleased to see Gina Storm-Jensen as Dulcinea (and also, I think, in the corps in Act 2).

 

While I was disappointed not to see Morera I thought Mendizabal was very good as Mercedes & especially enjoyed some of her acting. I don't think Hirano will ever be one of my favourite dancers but I did like him a lot more as Espada tonight than as Rudolf back in October.

 

Apart from the gigantic flowers in the Act 2 dream scene I really liked the production (oh and the shadow characters who looked to be wearing black versions of Klu Klax Klan robes!). I was pleased to find I missed very little of significance - at least so far as I could tell - from side stalls circle right, less than I've missed at many opera performances.

 

I'm now about to go & look up exactly why Don Quixote was tilting at windmills...

 

 

Edited by Dawnstar
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That's a great photo @Rob S. I'm very impressed by the quality of the photos that people post on here. I tried taking curtain call photos a couple of times, at opera performances, but quickly gave up as the poorly-focused results weren't worth it.

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 A marvelous, exciting, wonderful, unforgettable evening. I'm just back ( after having waited for an hour and a half at the stage door, during which I managed to get autographs from many of the wonderful dancers tonight, including Mayara Magri, Nicol Edmond, Kevin O Hare, Ryochi Hirano (swoooooooooon, so good looking in person, it's almost imporbable) Vadim (double swoon, though his vibe is more kind and gentlemanly rather than outright "hot", which Hirano , to my tastes, is) and la queen Nunez, all of whom were smiling and gracious and patient and kind with the many, many, fans who waited till 11.30 to see them). I will try to write a fuller report tomorrow, it is well past 1 a.m. and I am exhausted !

PS many many cast changes, and I asked one of the ushers and he didn't seem to even know. I could identify Mayara Magri (instead of Fumi Kaneko)  and Itizar Mendizabel (instead of Laura Morera) but it's really irritating that they can't print cast change slips if the changes had been made somewhat in advance.  I mentioned to Mayara Magri that I hadn't known that she would be Queen of Dryads this evening (while telling her how delightful her performace was) and she asked if she was in the cast sheet and appeared irritated to see that she was not listed as the Queen of the Dryads. So, I do think it is disrespectful to dancers. I understand if the change had to be at the last minute, but if it is done a few days ahead surely they can reprint at least change slips like they used to?  And why don't they announce the changes before the performances?

More from me tomorrow, on the actual performance.

Edited by SMballet
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Regarding the cast changes – the printed notice had a couple of the dancers’ names misspelt. Apparently, Valentio Zucchetti was replaced by Lukas Brændsroød...

 

I think that tells us everything about how they are treating cast changes at the moment. 

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I will say it again....just make the cast change announcements before the curtain goes up!  How hard can it be?   They had cast change sheets when I went last night, but if there are any last-minute changes, or not enough cast change sheets, and the staff aren’t aware....announce them to the audience!  This should be done as a matter of course because even if change sheets are available not everyone gets them. It’s a matter of informing the audience and showing the hard-working dancers the respect they deserve.  

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18 minutes ago, Thalia said:

Regarding the cast changes – the printed notice had a couple of the dancers’ names misspelt. Apparently, Valentio Zucchetti was replaced by Lukas Brændsroød...

 

I think that tells us everything about how they are treating cast changes at the moment. 

 

And PHLIP MOSLEY.....as in what the phlip is going on with all the typos!!!??

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6 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

does anyone know who was playing his eventual bride tonight?

Lara Turk. She also doubles this role with that of Dulcinea on occasions.

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6 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

I'm very impressed by the quality of the photos that people post on here. I tried taking curtain call photos a couple of times, at opera performances, but quickly gave up as the poorly-focused results weren't worth it.

I find the same thing Dawnstar. This is the best I could  achieve last night.

 

Curtain call1.jpg

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9 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

. Gartside was unrecognisable & very amusing (does anyone know who was playing his eventual bride tonight?).

 

9 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

Apart from the gigantic flowers in the Act 2 dream scene I really liked the production (oh and the shadow characters who looked to be wearing black versions of Klu Klax Klan robes!). 

 

 

 

It was Lara Turk.

 

I think the KKK wear white versions of their robes 😉

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2 hours ago, Richard LH said:

I find the same thing Dawnstar. This is the best I could  achieve last night.

 

Curtain call1.jpg

 

Focus shouldn't be a problem, it’s exposure that can be an issue for the red run which is why I use spot metering 

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10 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

 

Apart from the gigantic flowers in the Act 2 dream scene I really liked the production (oh and the shadow characters who looked to be wearing black versions of Klu Klax Klan robes!). I was pleased to find I missed very little of significance - at least so far as I could tell - from side stalls circle right, less than I've missed at many opera performances.

 

 

 

I presume that these shadow characters were meant to be heretics and that each was wearing a coroza - a paper or cardboard hat in a conical shape that was put on those condemned by the Spanish Inquisition and that served as a complement to the sambenito. Being black, they showed that the heretics were impenitent. (I only know this because Voltaire refers to an auto da fe in Candide which I had to study for my French A level in the 1970s...but I am also grateful to Wikipedia!!) My apologies to everyone if there is an explanation of this in the programme!

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I think it is a shame that the KKK have appropriated these robes in white, and so they are what many people think of first.  In fact the robes are still used in Spain in religious processions, particularly in Holy Week.  Various colour combinations exist.

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6 hours ago, Richard LH said:

Lara Turk. She also doubles this role with that of Dulcinea on occasions.

 

Thanks. I knew she was someone I should recognise. I saw her as Natasha in Winter Dreams.

 

12 hours ago, Thalia said:

Regarding the cast changes – the printed notice had a couple of the dancers’ names misspelt. Apparently, Valentio Zucchetti was replaced by Lukas Brændsroød...

 

I think that tells us everything about how they are treating cast changes at the moment. 

 

Sorry, I didn't realise that the cast change sheet had mis-spelt Brændsrød's surname so I've perpetuated the erros in my posts from yesterday. I'll see if I can edit them. EDIT: No, too late to change my posts from yesterday. Plus I see I put an extra e in Mosley. Apologies everyone.

 

14 hours ago, Odyssey said:

Disappointing that Melissa Hamilton has hardly been seen of late. No reappraisal of her roles in either Asphodel Meadows or Queen of Dryads. Apart from Juliet, there appears to be nothing else this season.

 

I would say that maybe it's because she's doing Seven Deadly Sins at Wilton's but as Morera is the lead in that & still has lots of RB roles coming up then I guess it can't be that.

 

6 hours ago, Richard LH said:

I find the same thing Dawnstar. This is the best I could  achieve last night.

 

That's still much better than I ever managed. Both my camera & my phone give very poorly focused pictures in low light levels, such as in a theatre.

 

3 hours ago, David G said:

I presume that these shadow characters were meant to be heretics and that each was wearing a coroza - a paper or cardboard hat in a conical shape that was put on those condemned by the Spanish Inquisition and that served as a complement to the sambenito. Being black, they showed that the heretics were impenitent. (I only know this because Voltaire refers to an auto da fe in Candide which I had to study for my French A level in the 1970s...but I am also grateful to Wikipedia!!) My apologies to everyone if there is an explanation of this in the programme!

 

Thank you very much for the information. That also suddenly makes more sense of a scene in the 2008 production of Candide at ENO.

Edited by Dawnstar

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22 hours ago, alison said:

Yet Springbourne3 appears to have seen her?  Or am I reading that wrong?

Sorry I did mean the last run - I didn’t make that clear.

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On 21/02/2019 at 23:42, jmhopton said:

I thought the cinema relay could have done with better lighting. Several times the cameras seem to be switching angles because the first shot was too dark and not just the gypsy scene but the street scenes. I thought the idea was to present a sunny Spain (at least in the street scenes) but several shots looked very overcast.

Yes the lighting was  too dark in the (encore) screening I saw, especially in the long shots. It made it difficult at times for all the nuances of the dancing  properly to stand out. The street scenes are really sunny and bright ballet as performed live in the ROH, so it is a shame that this seems to have been lost,  at least in some cinemas. Certainly worth pointing this out to the ROH (again - La Bayadere was also too dark for me) for anyone that had the same experience.

With that exception, I thought the screening was well filmed and well presented and of course the wonderful dancing spoke for itself (to mix a metaphor).

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13 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Yes the lighting was  too dark in the (encore) screening I saw, especially in the long shots. It made it difficult at times for all the nuances of the dancing  properly to stand out. The street scenes are really sunny and bright ballet as performed live in the ROH, so it is a shame that this seems to have been lost,  at least in some cinemas. Certainly worth pointing this out to the ROH (again - La Bayadere was also too dark for me) for anyone that had the same experience.

With that exception, I thought the screening was well filmed and well presented and of course the wonderful dancing spoke for itself (to mix a metaphor).

 

I'm glad someone has mentioned the lighting in the cinema screenings - I saw a screening of Swan Lake both on BBC4 at Christmas and again at the Linbury in January, as well as La Bayadere at the cinema, and they were much darker than seeing them live. As you say, it is quite difficult sometimes to make out all the detail !

 

Edited by MJW
missing words

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I went to the encore screening today and, having read the posts about lighting, was on the alert for dim lighting. 

 

I sat in row C at the Finchley Road Vue. It was as clear as anything as far as I was concerned and I thought it one of the best ROH recordings I’ve seen. 

 

I’m afraid I couldn’t see the basis for the earlier complaints. 

 

I loved the whole performance. 

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I think we've discussed previously that lighting seems to vary from cinema to cinema, haven't we?

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