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4 hours ago, Sim said:

Matthew Ball is Tybalt at today’s matinee.  

… and he was absolutely stunning - couldn't take my eyes of him, which then caused difficulties as Marcelino Sambe and James Hay (Mercutio and Benvolio) were superb too.  Loved it!  

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Really hoping it’s the same cast for Tuesday’s performance! 🙏

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So jealous of everyone at the matinee. Every role seems like dream casting. So gutted I'm away for both performances. How was Corrales?

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Wow he was very passionate and very believable.  What an incredible cast!

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6 minutes ago, nycitybird said:

How was Corrales

 

I booked specifically to see him, as I think he is perfect for this part. And I really enjoyed his performance. They looked amazing together. Hearts breaking all over the audience for the pas de deux. Don’t think he is back to full strength though. Almost unfair to have two other Romeos on the same stage (Ball and Sambé) and one could be Romeo imo (James Hay).  Wish I could see the whole thing over again right now, as I am that spoiled from this cast

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Posted (edited)

Agree totally with Candleque's estimation vis a vis this afternoon.  Best I think to give Corrales some rope.  That said sparks were there to be found.  Ball and Sambe (Mercutio) were simply sublime in the fulfilment of both their balletic and dramatic goals; each adding focused details which I can only believe were unique to them.  Ball's Tybalt was a fighter - replete with a tightened confidence frequently stroked by caustic wit - to the end.  It was oh, so thrilling to be in the presence of both and the stage lit up every time they were in our lucky purvey.  Bravi. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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24 minutes ago, Candleque said:

 

Don’t think he is back to full strength though. 

You wouldn’t have thought so, watching that Act 2 sword fight.  My goodness, so ferocious. He really meant it!

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The matinee was wonderful - I’ve never been so moved by the wedding service.  Just managed a quick word with Francesca Hayward at the Stage Door and absolutely delighted to have picked up a good ticket for Tuesday.  No chance of making her final performance given train services over the bank holiday weekend and thought I simply must come again.  The cast really was a dream - Anna-Rose O’Sullivan as Juliet’s lead friend just an example of the luxurious casting.

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I loved the matinee today.  What a sublime cast.  Everyone was firing on all cylinders (physically and dramatically!) and gave an ensemble performance worthy of the best.  It has been a long wait to see Cesar Corrales onstage again, but if we had to do without him for most of the season, it was worth the wait to see him debut as Romeo today.  His Romeo is young, passionate, sensual and everything he does is from the heart.  Absolutely no hesitation to start a love affair with Juliet, even though he knows who she is from the get-go.  No hesitation at all to grab the sword to avenge his best friend's death, despite what the consequences might be;  he just goes for it and a pox on the consequences.  He was so in love with his Juliet, like a puppy on a lead just waiting to be let go so he can run to her and be with her always...it just doesn't work out that way.  His despair in the crypt scene was so sad.  He was willing her so hard to go on and get up, and when he couldn't, you could feel the weight of his agony take over his whole body, and he wanted none of it.  His fight with Tybalt was one of the most ferocious (and at times uncontrollable) I have ever seen.  He knocked the sword out of poor Matthew Ball's hand a couple of times, and the latter had to scramble to retrieve it, but did so very well.  He seemed almost surprised by the ferocity of the attack coming at him.  

 

In the last run, I wasn't as crazy about Francesca Hayward's Juliet as some other people were, but I think that had much to do with her partner, with whom she was utterly miscast.  Today, no such worries.  She and Corrales had great chemistry, and were totally believable as the young, star-crossed lovers.  When they first encounter each other at the ball, it's as if neither of them understands what is happening to them.  As love and lust slowly dawn on them, they become more and more fired up and passionate, and this will make the fall hurt much more.  Unlike Romeo, we can see Juliet have brief moments of hesitation;  her nurse has told her who Romeo is, and she knows deep down that nothing good can come of it.  Foreboding shadows darken her lovely, expressive face a couple of times, but she throws caution to the wind and experiences that which she really wants to experience.  The final scene in the tomb was so moving, from her as well as from him.   I think he is the one who really broke my heart,  but she contributed to that;  how she crumpled over him when she discovered he was dead was just heartbreaking.   He had died a bit too far away from the side of the bed for her to be able to reach his arm to pull it up and kiss his hand in her death throes, but her final, empty reach was just as moving;  she couldn't even have him in death.  Very sad.

 

I loved Matthew Ball's Tybalt...it was a very different interpretation, an 'English' Tybalt, if you like.  He wasn't angry and fuming and lashing out.  He was subtle, simmering, sardonic, smug, sarcastic, smirking, sexy and sublime.  He was much more measured than we usually see with Tybalts, and this worked as a very effective contrast to Corrales' Latin passion.  This Tybalt just thought it was all a fun game at first....he smirked at the Montague boys, toyed with them like a cat with a half-dead bird, obviously considering them as pathetic little boys trying to be big men with their swords and their provocations.  However, the simmering cauldron had to boil over, and the job be completed on the half-dead birds.  All of a sudden, Tybalt's fury and humiliation manifested themselves through his sword.  As mentioned above, this was one helluva fight.  There were no regrets after killing Mercutio, and that's when I felt really angry at him.  I really hope he is doing it again on Tuesday night.  

 

And speaking of Mercutio....Marcellino Sambe, wow!  One of the best I have seen.  Again, last time I didn't think  he was that great in the role.  THIS time was a completely different  matter.  Fabulous dancing,  fun, cheeky, full of life....all of which made the waste of his death so much more poignant.  A truly bravura performance.  

 

Excellent also from James Hay as Benvolio.  I always feel sorry for poor Benvolio;  by the end of the story, he has lost both of his best mates in the space of just a few minutes.  I always wonder whatever becomes of him!  But I digress....James Hay was an exuberant boy, and the trio were utterly believable as three teenage mates, roaming around Verona, having fun....until Romeo falls in love, at which point they are all doomed in one way or another.  

 

Gary Avis was his usual patrician lord, and I love the feeling I get with him that he is just fed up with dealing with all these hormonal teenagers:  Paris always whining asking why Juliet doesn't like him, Juliet not paying attention to nor fulfilling his wishes, Tybalt constantly angry and making a scene at his ball, Romeo also causing problems in his house....I can almost hear him cry in despair 'will no-one rid me of these hormonal teenagers?'    Christina Arestis is a very sympathetic Lady Capulet;  she loves and comforts her daughter, but as a woman in those days there wasn't much she could to help Juliet with her situation as Lord Capulet's word and will are final.

 

Well done to a very special all-round cast who gave a luscious rendering of this ballet.  The fact that I have seen it so many times and yet can still be moved by it is a huge tribute to all the fantastic casts the RB has at the moment.  I am in awe.  

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

absolutely delighted to have picked up a good ticket for Tuesday.

 

hashtag jealous 😄

 

18 minutes ago, Sim said:

Well done to a very special all-round cast who gave a luscious rendering of this ballet.  The fact that I have seen it so many times and yet can still be moved by it is a huge tribute to all the fantastic casts the RB has at the moment.  I am in awe.

 

Agree agree agree. Thanks @Sim for the excellent detailed review

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Great review Sim, and a full one for being so hot off the press. It was indeed a wonderful performance from all those you mention. Those PDDs at the end of Act 1, and the start of Act 3...so beautiful.

As I recall, Corrales picked up the sword that he knocked out of Ball's and handed it back. A gentlemanly act!

 

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34 minutes ago, Sim said:

I loved the matinee today.  What a sublime cast. 

 

Well done to a very special all-round cast who gave a luscious rendering of this ballet.  The fact that I have seen it so many times and yet can still be moved by it is a huge tribute to all the fantastic casts the RB has at the moment.  I am in awe.  

 

Totally agree with you Sim. 

 

Only a little to say ......

 

Corrales is an astonishingly talented young man: 22 years old, just back from a major injury, dancing one of the most demanding male roles in ballet, his first principal role in a MacMillan ballet and he has the skill and confidence not simply to dance the solos beautifully, and to partner commendably but to act out a committed, credible and deeply passionate Romeo. 

 

Ball is turning out to be a remarkably versatile dancer. His Tybalt was powerful and convincing. 

 

Sambe and Hay were both terrific and ideally matched with Corrales : the masks pd3, so often sloppy, was almost a masterclass. 

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Lets have a little shout out too for the corps and the harlots. They had a whale of a time whilst all the main business was going on. Lovely to watch. Wonderful having you back Frankie, well matched with Corrales. Matthew, Marci and James really put the top hat on it.  Fabulous performance, Act 3 was just sublime. Going to lie down now.

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Sim - I’ve tried to send you a pm, but can’t. I just get a note to say you can’t receive messages. 

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2 hours ago, Sim said:

He had died a bit too far away from the side of the bed for her to be able to reach his arm to pull it up and kiss his hand in her death throes, but her final, empty reach was just as moving;  she couldn't even have him in death.  Very sad.

 

Not sure that's a bad thing, anyway - isn't the grabbing of the hand a fairly recent accretion?

 

Loved your description of Ball's Tybalt in particular, Sim!

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1 hour ago, alison said:

Loved your description of Ball's Tybalt in particular, Sim!

 

Me too! I really hope he's Tybalt next Tuesday.

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Actually, a practical question for those people sitting higher up - were you able to see Corrales' face okay?  I did wonder if his fringe might have been blocking the view :) 

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Posted (edited)

Unlike what appears to be everyone else, I was at the evening rather than the matinee R&J today. I'd spent all my Christmas present money on a front row  centre block stalls seat for this performance & it was nice to get to see all the production with no bits cut off by the proscenium arch. I thought Lamb & Muntagirov danced beautifully - in the last scene of Act 1 I started crying during Muntagirov's solo section at the sheer beauty of his dancing! Lamb was exquisite. Opinions of their acting seem to vary considerably but I thought both were good & I was certainly crying at the end (though I wasn't quite as moved as 2 weeks ago). Sambe was brilliant as Mercutio, though the role seemed to suit him so well I can't really imagine him as Romeo. Whitehead seemed to play a more unpleasant Tybalt than Avis or Kish.

Edited by Dawnstar
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Back from the evening performance and certainly very enjoyable, if not to me as moving as this afternoon.  I find Sarah Lamb’s Juliet a little cool.  Much is executed extremely well and the final moments were exquisitely shaped.  But there were times when things felt a little tidy.  I got very little sense of Juliet’s desperation in seeking out Friar Laurence for help.  She scarcely got to the curtained openings let alone looked in the rooms.  This afternoon Francesca Hayward entered the rooms in her desperate search.  I thought Sarah Lamb almost came to grief on the last step as she came down the steps from her balcony but fortunately no slip,  I very much enjoyed Vadim Muntagirov’s Romeo - fabulous dancing and effective sword fighting.  But again there was a tidiness about his performance which contrasted with an edge of seat, raw feel to parts of the matinee.  The Romeo/Tybalt sword fight was lethal, perhaps too free at the start with swords not actually clashing, Tybalt losing one sword which Romeo attempted to give back but which Tybalt had to retrieve which made for a great recovery.  But after that it really was a hammer and tongs fight and Matthew Ball’s final leap at Cesar Corrales was astonishing.

 

I don’t want to give the impression that the matinee was untidy or rushed.  Some of the most affecting moments were the stillnesses where you could see exactly what Romeo and Juliet were thinking, the all encompassing love they were feeling, and the enormity of the decisions they were taking.  That wedding service was so powerful with the lovers gazing at each other.  In the evening, certainly to start with, Romeo and Juliet were a model of restraint at their wedding.  And Francesca Hayward seems to have so much time to make the most of those moments of real pathos.

 

I fully agree with all the plaudits for Marci Sambe - double Mercutio.  Matthew Ball was a tremendous Tybalt and I very much enjoyed James Hay’s and Benjamin Ella’s Benvolio.  And I agree with the praise for all the harlots, Juliet’s friends, and corps.

 

A fabulous double performance, the Corrales/Hayward cast is a ‘must see’, and I’m looking forward immensely to Tuesday’s repeat.

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42 minutes ago, alison said:

Actually, a practical question for those people sitting higher up - were you able to see Corrales' face okay?  I did wonder if his fringe might have been blocking the view :) 

 

The fringe was certainly blocking the view - I was in the Amphitheatre (unusually for me) and I found it hard to see any of his facial expressions for the mop of hair, which detracted from the performance for me.

 

Double show day for me - my thoughts tomorrow - too shattered now!

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34 minutes ago, JohnS said:

The Romeo/Tybalt sword fight was lethal, perhaps too free at the start with swords not actually clashing,

 

Very definitely too free!  And potentially dangerous.  I was quite stunned to realise suddenly that it was 15 years since Edward Watson did his debut Romeo run, and that many of the company (and audience!) wouldn't be aware of the serious injury he narrowly missed as a result of some ill-controlled swordplay.

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I can't like your lovely review Sim ....the computer says no! 

Am looking forward to Tuesday ....looks like a great all round cast.

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There seem to have been a few glitches with the forum tonight!  Thanks Lin.  

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5 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

 

The fringe was certainly blocking the view - I was in the Amphitheatre (unusually for me) and I found it hard to see any of his facial expressions for the mop of hair, which detracted from the performance for me.

 

I thought the same, and was downstairs...

 

I’m glad you all enjoyed the matinee, and I agree with what everyone has said about how brilliant the casting of all the young men was, but I’m afraid the lovers left me absolutely cold. I wasn’t convinced by the chemistry between them in the slightest! Maybe I should have booked somewhere from which I would have been able to see faces.

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8 hours ago, alison said:

Actually, a practical question for those people sitting higher up - were you able to see Corrales' face okay?  I did wonder if his fringe might have been blocking the view :) 

 

It did for me lower down and several people who were higher up have made the same comment.

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I went to both performances yesterday and feel privileged to have seen both.  What casting in the matinee! I can only echo the thoughts already written here already.  

 

For me Matthew Ball's Tybalt was a total revelation but James Hay and Marcelino Sambe's performances were equally stunning as a pairing of friends... and when the 3 of them were on the stage together, it was electric.  The same didn't quite happen in the evening.  Sambe's Mercutio was superb though, on both occasions. 

 

I preferred Vadim and Sarah's R&J in the evening. I don't often see Sarah Lamb and I was very impressed with her acting skills as well as her dancing of course.  I loved the Hayward/Corrales partnership too and I suspect they will perform even better next week, especially with some of the lifts (being really picky). Corrales is certainly an exciting prospect and his speed across the stage was electric.

 

Can someone confirm - did Hay/Sambe appear in exactly the same costumes for the scene before they enter the house / ball?. I thought they both appeared in red but then Hay changed for the next scene, where they were back in contrasting colours.  That - or I need a new pair of glasses.    

 

The performances showed the amazing strength in depth we have at the Royal Ballet now, not only in the principal roles, but throughout the entire company.  Marvellous.  

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57 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

It did for me lower down and several people who were higher up have made the same comment.

I was standing in the Stalls Circle and had no trouble seeing his face.  Maybe someone should inform Mr O’Hair (!) about the problem?!  He might then suggest a quick trip to the barber before Tuesday!  

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, JennyTaylor said:

 

 

Can someone confirm - did Hay/Sambe appear in exactly the same costumes for the scene before they enter the house / ball?. I thought they both appeared in red but then Hay changed for the next scene, where they were back in contrasting colours.  That - or I need a new pair of glasses.    

 

I noticed that too.  From where I was sitting (front side amphitheatre), they looked as if they were both wearing red, albeit different shades of red.

Edited by Bluebird

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11 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

Me too! I really hope he's Tybalt next Tuesday.

Matthew is scheduled to dance Tybalt on Tuesday.  👏👏

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