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It would be fun if a bored PhD student would develop a identification system for ballet processing types to explain the vast variety of perceptions of the same performance.

 

For tonight, I'm in camp OMG: Naghdi and Ball created magic together.

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Posted (edited)

I thought Yasmine Naghdi was wonderful - her dancing is so beautiful, and her acting intelligent, powerful and nuanced. Matthew Ball certainly looks the part - young, handsome, romantic - and his dancing was excellent, but I don't think his acting is in the same league as Naghdi's. But they did make a lovely couple, with she definitely the driving force. And what a stunning Tybalt from Gary Avis; this time, it was clear that he didn't mean to kill Mercutio - in fact was aghast at having done so - and that made his portrayal all the more interesting. When Gary Avis is on the stage, he dominates it. He is just magnificent. And a brilliant Lead Mandolin from Marcelino Sambé - terrific technically, and drawing all eyes to him through the sheer power of his stage presence.

 

So exciting to see Lesley Collier rehearsing Naghdi and Ball; she was my first Juliet (with Wayne Eagling as Romeo), and she set the standard. And I loved the interview with Alessandra Ferri. (I was at a live screening, in Brixton, not at the ROH.)

Edited by bridiem
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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, ninamargaret said:

This,was my only R and J during the present run and I was certainly not disappointed. I understand the comment about Naghdi being 'too. classical', and thinking of someone like Lynn Seymour there is,a huge difference in the interpretation. But, to me, both valid. I found Naghdi's grace touching in itself 

This captures what I felt during the June 1st double header of R&J.  Naghdi and Osipova could not have been more different Juliets but I found both their approaches memorable and valid.  Naghdi was luminous and gave an especially beautiful account of Act I while Osipova's Act III was a tour de force. Not that I'm necessarily comparing Osipova to Lynn Seymour, whose Juliet I never saw, but I feel very fortunate to have witnessed both those performances on the same day, which showcased the different ways Juliet can be interpreted.  

 

I think Hayward's Juliet would be divine, based on watching her Vera in "Month in the Country."  Certainly all the reviews here suggest this.  

Edited by MRR
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Posted (edited)

Interesting to read comments that some felt Ball was rather wan on screen. 

 

I was in the House for the majority of the MacMillian (work I fear is a substantive call at this juncture) and found my admiration - as almost always nowadays - ever growing for this fine artist.  I had seen one other Ball/Naghdi R&J live this season (obviously I have not seen the relay) and in that Ball's Romeo was much more outwardly animated.  Here - i.e., this evening - this prince among dancers gloriously internalised each and every effect for the camera.  You might well have thought he actually had rehearsed this same on an actual film set.  It was that astute.  I don't mean to suggest that we referenced at his call a theatrical diminution during this evening's traffic of the stage. Not at all.  If anything you could feel the thoughts possessing his riven charge with even greater enormity - but now they were calibrated entirely through his own specific character's mental frame.  It shone out through his piercing headlights.  Such was his skill that his focus was ever more closer up.  In a way it reminded me of Bernard Pomerance's dictate put into the steely mouth of his 'Elephant Man': 'Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams'.  I will be curious to see the media confluence.  I'm certain it will be most telling - especially as it has already inspired such a variety of viewer responses.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Brilliantly put.  His acting was sublime - I could almost hear the wheels going round I. His brain.  From my perspective he was always in control, even as events spiralled away from him.  I never got any sense that Naghdi was anything other than a passive partner.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Coated said:

It would be fun if a bored PhD student would develop a identification system for ballet processing types to explain the vast variety of perceptions of the same performance.

 

For tonight, I'm in camp OMG: Naghdi and Ball created magic together.

I do wonder if the jury are divided on Ball's performance along the lines of those who were at the ROH and those who watched the cinema relay, to some extent?  I definitely must go and see the encore to see Matthew Ball in close up,  as I'm sure all sorts of emotions were crossing his face,  but certainly,  for me,  Yasmine's acting translated right up into the amphi whilst I'm afraid Matthew's didn't (especially set against the as usual superb acting from Christopher Saunders,  Christina Arestis, Gary Avis et Al).  

 

But he is sooo young, so I am sure it will come. It took a while for Vadim Muntagirov's acting to catch up with his artistry, after all. 

 

Also,  yasmine kept bringing to mind a young Alessandra Ferri dancing Juliet tonight.   Must be the divine arms. 

 

Edited by cavycapers
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6 hours ago, Springbourne3 said:

Just got back from the live relay from the ROH - it seems I’m thinking the same thoughts as some - Naghdi was beautiful with such fluidity and ease in her technique, but I wasn’t sure about Ball.  His acting/characterisation was weak and it lacked, or didn’t match, the passion of Naghdi’s.

I just love Gary Avis and he was absolutely born to dance Mercutio in my opinion - I will continue my review tomorrow as I’m shattered now!

Oops I meant Gary Avis as Tybalt!!!!!!

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6 hours ago, MRR said:

Beatriz Stix-Brunell?  She danced Lead Harlot in the first Naghdi/Ball performance (and was superb).

Yes. Sorry for my laziness/uncertainty on how to spell it!

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6 hours ago, cavycapers said:

I do wonder if the jury are divided on Ball's performance along the lines of those who were at the ROH and those who watched the cinema relay, to some extent?  I definitely must go and see the encore to see Matthew Ball in close up,  as I'm sure all sorts of emotions were crossing his face,  but certainly,  for me,  Yasmine's acting translated right up into the amphi whilst I'm afraid Matthew's didn't (especially set against the as usual superb acting from Christopher Saunders,  Christina Arestis, Gary Avis et Al).  

 

That's interesting. Last night was the first time I really 'got' Matthew Ball. I'd seen his Albrecht, his Siegfried, and his Solor, and always come away not quite sure what the fuss was about - but I saw him dance those three roles from the amphi and I saw his Romeo last night in the cinema. 

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5 hours ago, cavycapers said:

I do wonder if the jury are divided on Ball's performance along the lines of those who were at the ROH and those who watched the cinema relay, to some extent?  I definitely must go and see the encore to see Matthew Ball in close up,  as I'm sure all sorts of emotions were crossing his face,  but certainly,  for me,  Yasmine's acting translated right up into the amphi whilst I'm afraid Matthew's didn't (especially set against the as usual superb acting from Christopher Saunders,  Christina Arestis, Gary Avis et Al).  

 

I watched in the cinema, and  I didn't really "get" Ball's Romeo, even close up...he seemed too reserved, indeed "wan" to steal Bruce's word, even assuming that he was performing for the camera, rather than auditorium, as Bruce implies.

Naghdi was certainly far more expressive, indeed (for me) rather overly so at times, but then that is probably what is needed to reach the whole auditorium -  perhaps she was geared more to that, than to the camera. Beautiful dancing from her (and deserving  of the lovely flowers she received at the end), but for whatever reason, I didn't really see the wonderful Naghdi/Ball connection that so many others have enjoyed.  

Indeed I found myself wondering why Juliet was so taken with Romeo, as opposed to the rather dashing Paris of Nicol Edmonds.

One thing I noticed is that in the tomb, at first Naghdi's Juliet seemed pleased to see Romeo prostrate on the floor, as if she didn't realise he was dead, only doing so when she knelt down to him. As far as I recall, other Juliets realise at first glance that Romeo (like Paris) is dead;   Naghdi's  interpretation (if intended)  is certainly novel (and potentially even more heart rending)  but  I am not sure it is believable  given the context.  

The sword fighting came across very well at the cinema - really punchy and dramatic. But as in previous screenings, in my cinema at least, the stage lighting was far too dark in places.

Stand out supporting performance of the  night was surely Sambe as lead mandolin... becoming a Principal seems to have put even more spring in his step!

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8 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

 

Stand out supporting performance of the  night was surely Sambe as lead mandolin... becoming a Principal seems to have put even more spring in his step!

 

I think Benjamin Ella’s performance that I saw got more response from the audience around me 

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11 minutes ago, Rob S said:

 

I think Benjamin Ella’s performance that I saw got more response from the audience around me 

Do you mean last night or earlier as lead mandolin?

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6 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Do you mean last night or earlier as lead mandolin?

 

Oh sorry, I meant his lead mandolin during the last Osipova/Hallberg performance 

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10 minutes ago, Rob S said:

 

Oh sorry, I meant his lead mandolin during the last Osipova/Hallberg performance 

Thanks...Ella must have been pretty impressive then, as Sambe had a great audience response last night.

Ella was also very good last night as Benvolio. I was drawn to him the most when the three boys danced together outside the Capulets' house. 

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Interesting to hear so many different views of the same performance.  I thought the chemistry and connection between Ball and Naghdi was wonderful.  I think what shone through for me was the complete and utter mutual trust these two have, enabling Naghdi to (literally, at times) throw herself into the pdds.  These weren’t steps and lifts or even dancing, they were two people falling in love.  

 

So many little touches made Naghdi’s Juliet special and different from others I’ve seen.  This was no petulant teenager, she was genuinely frightened of her Father and the dawning that there was no support to be found from her Mother or even Nurse was horrifying.  

 

One standout moment for me was Ball’s face when he took Naghdi’s hand at the beginning of the balcony scene.  As they walked forward he closed his eyes as if overcome with pure bliss and that made me catch my breath.  I’m not sure whether he did that on the opening night, perhaps we needed the close up to see, but it was so special.

 

Outstanding performances as ever from Saunders, Arestis and McNally.  I thought Zuchetti’s Mercutio very much improved since opening night and Ella was terrific as Benvolio with such camaraderie between the three boys.  Gary Avis as Tybalt blows me away every time I see him; he seems to add layer upon layer to the character with every performance so I’m delighted he has been filmed for posterity.

 

The only performance I found slightly lacking acting-wise was Nicol Edmonds as Paris which was a shame.  To be fair, I could be overly used to Hristov and Hirano in the role, both of whom really use their expressive faces, and others may have seen much more from Edmonds than I picked up last night.  

 

I only picked up one duff note from the brass last night; were they better in the ROH than they have been? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Richard LH said:

One thing I noticed is that in the tomb, at first Naghdi's Juliet seemed pleased to see Romeo prostrate on the floor, as if she didn't realise he was dead, only doing so when she knelt down to him. As far as I recall, other Juliets realise at first glance that Romeo (like Paris) is dead;   Naghdi's  interpretation (if intended)  is certainly novel (and potentially even more heart rending)  but  I am not sure it is believable  given the context. 

 

I noticed this too and I really loved this detail in Naghdi's interpretation. After waking up she was delighted to finally see her Romeo again...but gradually realised he is was dead. Her scream was all the more effective and heartbreaking. I attended the Insight with her and Deborah Macmillan (and Avis) and during their conversation Yasmine and Deborah both said what is so wonderful about Macmillan's choreography is that he allowed his dancers the freedom to interpret their role, to tell their own story, as long as they stick to the notation. 

Edited by Xandra Newman
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1 hour ago, Richard LH said:

 

One thing I noticed is that in the tomb, at first Naghdi's Juliet seemed pleased to see Romeo prostrate on the floor, as if she didn't realise he was dead, only doing so when she knelt down to him. As far as I recall, other Juliets realise at first glance that Romeo (like Paris) is dead;   Naghdi's  interpretation (if intended)  is certainly novel (and potentially even more heart rending)  but  I am not sure it is believable  given the context.  

 

Not necessarily in the RB production (which I haven't seen for quite a few years) but I find this is the most usual interpretation in virtually all the productions I have seen.

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I saw this at the cinema last night and what a difference this makes (some good, some not so good) to seeing it at the theatre.

 

I must start with Matthew Ball, who is now at the top of my list in "must see" for any dramatic dancing role. I was first blown away by his Rudolph in Mayerling which I saw quite by accident due to a cast change. Since then I have been watching with avid interest and have never been disappointed. This was my first view of his Romeo and I loved it - every nuance of expressions which flitted through his face, made even better by the close up camera work for the cinema. Pretty good dancing too!

 

As a pairing, I loved them both - Yasmine is such a lyrical dancer and again, the close ups at the cinema exposed the acting required for the role in this genre, far more than is ever necessary for a stage production viewing. She really stepped up for this. 

 

Such a strong supporting cast and fascinating to see Gary Avis's portrayal of Tybalt. Loved it - what a great character artist he is. He seems to get better and better. 

 

Down side of the cinema is that you miss what's happening on the whole stage, especially in the market scenes, which for me is one of the joys of watching at the theatre, where I can see Romeo, Tybalt, Mercutio, Benvolio simultaneously and not miss any action.    

 

  

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Richard LH said:

 

One thing I noticed is that in the tomb, at first Naghdi's Juliet seemed pleased to see Romeo prostrate on the floor, as if she didn't realise he was dead, only doing so when she knelt down to him. As far as I recall, other Juliets realise at first glance that Romeo (like Paris) is dead;   Naghdi's  interpretation (if intended)  is certainly novel (and potentially even more heart rending)  but  I am not sure it is believable  given the context. 

 

 

The RB dancers used to do this more often, but I have noticed this run that it hasn't been done, so I was very pleased to see Naghdi do it.

 

I think it is entirely in context.  The tomb is very dark, and Romeo has had to travel a long way to get to it, probably through the night so he wasn't seen re-entering Verona, so would be exhausted.  Juliet has been in a deep, deep sleep.  She has just woken up in a dark, forbidding place and tripped over Paris' dead body.  There are no outward signs of death to Romeo, and it isn't until she kisses him that she realises the awful truth.  It is totally feasible that she would think, for a brief moment, that he had fallen asleep whilst waiting for her to wake up. 

 

This is just one of the touches that Naghdi, ever the intelligent interpreter, added to her performance that made it so special for me.  For those who commented that she didn't stab herself hard enough last time, last night she certainly did, and for good measure, pulled the knife out very slowly ensuring that her pain was shared with all of us.  I can almost feel it now. 

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Apologies for intruding on this great exchange of views. But does anyone know if there is an encore showing in the London area which is NOT this coming Sunday afternoon (16th)?

Thank you!

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Was Matthew Ball’s Romeo the only one to lie down beside Juliet after he drank his poison rather than just fall to the ground and die?

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Yes.  He did it four years ago, and I commented then what a moving and touching act it is.  He wants to die lying next to her, but the violence of the poison is agony and makes him retch so he falls off the tomb.  I also love the way, when he first notices her, he actually walks upstage and out from the crowd so that the audience can see that he has noticed Juliet.  Too often, this very important moment is lost because Romeo is downstage left amongst the guests and the audience is watching Paris and Juliet dance, so very few people notice that Romeo is captivated by this girl's beauty.  Johan Kobborg is the first dancer I saw doing this, and to me it makes a lot of sense.  I am so pleased that Ball is doing this as well as putting his own deeply emotional touch to his death scene. 

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I noticed this too and it was a very beautiful moment! Just one last time being close to her before he was to die, feeling her body next to his. Very touching! What was amazing is that both Ball and Naghdi each brought their own individual touches to their performance. No carbon copies but a unique performance.

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I think it’s quite interesting how some find Naghdi too classical for Juliet. Naghdi and Takada are, in my opinion, the next big classical stars at the RB and I loved both of their Juliets because they looked so aristocratic. Because they naturally have such a classical hold, they really looked like they belonged in the Capulets' decadent mansion, and I think this worked really well. It explains how she is meant to be paired with Paris and married off and why she is a product of her upbringing. I really dislike it when Juliet is made to be too feral which I found with Osipova’s take. She ran into the ballroom looking completely in awe of her surroundings and completely shocked that someone like her could have a place in such a magnificent setting. To me, that is more like Giselle turning up to an extravagant party. Although it’s likely to be Juliet’s first party, it’s being held in her house, and she would be very aware and used to the glorious setting of it all. Naghdi and Takada are so classical, elegant and graceful that I think they were perfectly suited to depict the aristocratic nature of Juliet. I also felt that they cleverly ‘loosened’ as they fell in love, culminating in complete despair and limp like bodies by the end.

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1 hour ago, Sim said:

Richard LH said:

 

One thing I noticed is that in the tomb, at first Naghdi's Juliet seemed pleased to see Romeo prostrate on the floor, as if she didn't realise he was dead, only doing so when she knelt down to him. As far as I recall, other Juliets realise at first glance that Romeo (like Paris) is dead;   Naghdi's  interpretation (if intended)  is certainly novel (and potentially even more heart rending)  but  I am not sure it is believable  given the context. 

 

 

The RB dancers used to do this more often, but I have noticed this run that it hasn't been done, so I was very pleased to see Naghdi do it.

 

Actually I did see Lamb do that in her second performance in the run.
She pulled Muntagirov's Romeo to her and cradled his head with such tenderness, and with such a sweet, joyful smile on her face, I realized she didn't know he was dead. 
Then the realization dawns on her, and I remember thinking that if she had just froze, it would have made that moment much clearer and more powerful. As it was, it was perhaps too subtle and fleeting.

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Posted (edited)

One little bit that moved me enormously was the slow zoom into Juliet's face as she sat on the bed. Her expression spoke a thousand words.

 

I think Ball must just be too subtle for me. I felt he was just playing it a bit too cool.

 

BTW, did Hayward play the role in other performances? Still in love with her Clara...

Edited by thewinelake

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