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3 hours ago, Sim said:

I was left weeping, wrung out and blown away by this afternoon’s matinee

 

 

So were we.

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I'm on the train going home still completely blown away by this afternoons amazing performance. It was indeed an 'I was there' performance, sensational in every way. Anna Rose and Marcellino weren't just dancing or acting the roles they WERE Romeo and Juliet. They set the bar very high for anyone coming after them. For some reason I've never been a huge fan of Romeo and Juliet, especially the Macmillan version but once again the Royal Ballet has shown that the dancers themselves can alter my whole perception of a ballet. Bravo Royal Ballet, especially Marcellino and Anna Rose! 

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2 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 We gave them a standing ovation & I can't understand why the whole house wasn't on its feet. O'Sullivan & Sambé were extraordinary together. 

 

I was standing! I think that, since the extraordinary first night of Don Q (Nunez/Muntagirov), the ROH audience has been noticeably more willing than previously to get on its feet.

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You know, everyone has been so blown away by the dancing that no one has mentioned the slightly below par playing from certain sections of the orchestra!

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53 minutes ago, Darlex said:

You know, everyone has been so blown away by the dancing that no one has mentioned the slightly below par playing from certain sections of the orchestra!

 

Let me guess - the brass section?

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1 hour ago, Darlex said:

You know, everyone has been so blown away by the dancing that no one has mentioned the slightly below par playing from certain sections of the orchestra!

 

Oh dear, you mean they were doing it in the matinee as well?

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Wow R&J seems to be set for an impressive run judging by the enthusiastic response to these early performances, and with some very interesting and impressive lead pairings to come (overall 10 different  Juliets but rather fewer Romeos), all incredible dancers and each expected to bring  their own artistic interpretation. Having to choose between casts has been pretty difficult although I suspect most of us have one or two that we don't want to miss and a few that we won't particularly mind missing.  There are now limited  booking options apart from watching out for returns, and Friday Rush.

 

Last night ( virtually the same cast as the 28 March but Thomas Whitehead was Capulet rather than Gary Avis)  was another amazing production and very enthusiastically  applauded  at the end by the Saturday night crowd. Akane Takada is such a beautiful dancer, and such a mesmerising Juliet, and  is certainly cementing her own interpretation. I would definitely recommend catching  her  last performance on the 27 April if you can!

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I can only echo all the plaudits for yesterday afternoon's performance. Big fat tears rolled down my face in the closing moments (which is a Romeo & Juliet first, despite at least 20 prior viewings). What a superlative performance from both. From the farewell pas de deux onwards, sheer desperation was palpable in O'sullivan's every move. Wow. 

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I certainly enjoyed last night’s performance and Akane Takada’s Juliet particularly but I wasn’t as engaged as with the matinee.  I think that’s because Anna-Rose O’Sullivan and Marcelino Sambe were simply so believable as a couple and you cared desperately as to every twist, hoping that the inevitable would just for once be vanquished.

 

Another fantastic cast last night with James Hay outstanding as Mercutio and three great harlots - Itziar Mendizabal, Claire Calvert and Mayara Magri.

 

As regards the filming, the website ‘filming’ more accurately refers to the presence of cameras but filming requires camera operatives as happened in the evening.  I was told it was a camera rehearsal for the live relay so the matinee performance was not filmed - it’s simply the time required to set up the cameras that meant they were in place fir the matinee.  I imagine this will also be the case for 27 April when again matinee and evening performances have a ‘filming’ note.  I have to say I was very fortunate to be in H4 for the matinee and H29 for the evening - I think my view would have been pretty restricted had I been in H4 when filming was actually taking place.  I’ve always wondered why a camera is placed at A6/7 rather than A1/2.  If I know filming is scheduled, I will avoid my favourite H3/4 seats but some filming dates are added after booking opens.

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8 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

As regards the filming, the website ‘filming’ more accurately refers to the presence of cameras but filming requires camera operatives as happened in the evening.  I was told it was a camera rehearsal for the live relay so the matinee performance was not filmed - it’s simply the time required to set up the cameras that meant they were in place fir the matinee.  

 

The cameras were there (and used obviously) for the evening performance for a station on Japanese TV. They seem to get more coverage in than we do! They usually cover when Akane, Ryoichi or Fumi Kaneko are dancing a leading role, perhaps showing a pride and interest in their successful dancers here in the UK. Lucky Japanese TV viewers, I say! 🙂

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Entirely agree JohnS; no more to be said about the afternoon, and in the evening performance James Hay was the stand-out performance, for me, indeed, it was a really excellent Mercutio/Benvolio (Tristan Dyer)combination I thought. Not so convinced by the characterisation by Takada/Hirano,  although they do look good together -perhaps their partnership has not had time to develop.

 

Some very odd noises from the brass section, also they were out of time at one point.

 

It was good to sense much enjoyment from the audience overall but for me the evening did not really do it.

I felt sorry for people sitting near the camera. I could see one short ish woman contorting herself to try to see round it. Presumably people are offered some kind of rebate or to move seats?

 

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30 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

The cameras were there (and used obviously) for the evening performance for a station on Japanese TV. They seem to get more coverage in than we do! They usually cover when Akane, Ryoichi or Fumi Kaneko are dancing a leading role, perhaps showing a pride and interest in their successful dancers here in the UK. Lucky Japanese TV viewers, I say! 🙂

 

Thanks Dave - I did ask whether the filming was for Japanese TV (as with Frankenstein) but Front of House staff were quite sure it was a camera rehearsal for the live relay as it was “ROH equipment and Japanese TV brings its own equipment.”  I have to say it makes more sense if it was for Japanese TV given the different casts and surely ROH’s experience in filming R&J?  But that was not the ‘official’ story.

 

36 minutes ago, Mary said:

 

I felt sorry for people sitting near the camera. I could see one short ish woman contorting herself to try to see round it. Presumably people are offered some kind of rebate or to move seats?

 

 

I know some seats immediately adjacent to cameras are not sold (available for staff)/heavily discounted but I doubt if many seats are discounted and would have been a bit miffed if I’d been sitting in H4 which is several rows from the camera.  I’d asked the usher at the matinee when it was unclear if there was to be any filming and she said that if there’s a problem, they look to move people - it would have been very difficult to do with a full house.

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Posted (edited)

Have to say that R+J isn't my favourite ballet by a long way, but I was absolutely bowled over my Sambé and O'Sullivan. Her performancw, as said, full of details, utterly inhabited. A performance worthy of a Principal. I was so moved, as I rarely have been by the work.

 

I was too far away to see AROS's face in the "bed scene" where she in Act III sits and decides on her plan as Prokofiev's string sing upwards in arpeggios and his horns sound out in strength - for me a crux of MacMillan's staging (stillness yet resolve). I hope she matched others I have seen there. I think it's the hardest moment (from the audience pov) to convey that by doing so little.

 

And of course they both made the choreography sing too. 

 

So glad I went. She truly melted into her Romeo, swooned...he lambent with love. And once more I had to appreciate Avis. How can such a nice man be so mean onstage? Terrifyingly patrician, a bully of a father. I felt so sorry for Juliet as he manhandled her around.

 

Greatly enjoyed Dubreuil's dancing, lovely finesse, beautiful hands. Everyone did well...what a show!

 

Edited by nickwellings
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What a pleasure to see a young fresh cast dancing R&J. Sullivan and Sambe so believable in the lead roles, very impressive debuts and thoroughly enjoyed Teo Dubreuil’s debut as Benvolio, a future Romeo I hope!  It would have been good to see a younger dancer dance Tybalt, after all those boys should all be of the same generation?  Bravo to all!

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Wonderful debut from O'Sulivan and Sambe. In addition to the standing ovation they took a curtain call with the house lights on. A rare tribute these days and well deserved.

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For some people, the number 13 is unlucky. For all people in the ROH yesterday afternoon, it was a very lucky number indeed. We were as lucky as heck to have chosen to attend a very, very special performance.

 

It marked the official debuts of rising young stars Anna-Rose O'Sullivan and Marcelino Sambe in the title roles of Romeo and Juliet. It also featured debuts from Luca Acri as Mercutio and Teo Dubreuil as Benvolio. Where to start, when the afternoon was (for me) as perfect a performance as you could ever expect to get?

 

Anna-Rose bounded onto the stage full of the joys of spring; so utterly convincing as an excited young girl, meeting a handsome young boy (a very sensitively portrayed Paris by Thomas Mock) for the first time. She was shy, demure, but coy at the same time. She was curious, but wanted him out so she could continue to play with her Nurse, who quickly put paid to any further fun of that kind. When she first encounters Romeo, you could almost feel the breath being sucked out of her lungs. His excitement, and hers, was thick in the air, and they did little to hide it from the other guests because they were simply unable to. Their joy was so real that during the ballroom pdd when Juliet has finally managed to get rid of everyone (I loved the impatience with which she pushed the Nurse out of the room, and how she was almost hopping up and down waiting for Tybalt and Paris to go “come on, come on, leave already” just like teenagers do when they can't wait for their parents to leave) the feeling of tears rolling down my cheeks took me by surprise. I have never cried in that bit! I was already feeling devastated by the cruel blows that Fate was going to visit upon them because the contrast between that and their happiness was too sad to bear. I loved how, after Tybalt discovers Romeo's identity and Lord Capulet allows him to stay, Romeo and Juliet, on different ends of the line during the dance, steal glances at each other and giggle. How many of us can remember when we were young teenagers being told off by our parents, and as soon as they leave the room, bursting out into laughter? This is what it was like. Their balcony pdd was danced with such passion, such abandon, such believability, that the tears started again. What on earth was happening to me? I have seen this ballet more times than I can remember, and yet this was like I was seeing it for the first time. Act 3 finally did me in altogether. Here Anna-Rose really excelled. Her journey from that giddy young girl to the despairing young woman was clearly portrayed and devastatingly felt, by her and by us. Such expressive eyes, used to perfection all through the ballet. I could just feel the burden of grief she carried on her shoulders when she said farewell to Romeo, and her disgust and anger at having to even be touched by Paris. She still carried some of the teenage rebellion in how her anger was channeled in her defiance of her father (Gary Avis, giving another wonderful acting masterclass) and her rejection of the Nurse. This Juliet was angry with what was happening to her and to her love....why couldn't everyone else see how happy she was? Her mother certainly could, and Elizabeth McGorian's Lady Capulet was sympathetic to her daughter: maybe she too knows how it feels to marry for political/dynastic reasons but to love someone else. Before Juliet visits Friar Laurence and then takes the potion, we must be made to feel her fear of what was going to happen, and here I found myself once again welling up. The things you do for love. Finally, when Juliet found Romeo dead on the floor, terror, despair and utter horror is what came through from Anna-Rose's silent scream...one of the loudest I have ever heard. This feisty young woman had no hesitation; she strode over to Romeo's fallen knife and fatally injured herself. The determination with which she dragged herself over the bed was so real; we were willing her to reach him as she literally clawed her way over to him. I could almost hear her fingernails scratching the marble. As she just managed to kiss his hand before dying, that final gesture of love just did me in. I seriously can't explain the last time (if ever) this ballet did this to me. I don't have the words, just the memory of those feelings.

 

This was in no small part due to Sambe's portrayal of Romeo. Yes, both he and Anna-Rose are wonderful technical dancers. But MacMillan requires more, so much more. Sambe also delivered the 'more' in spades. He was so romantic, passionate and attentive. When he first met Juliet he just couldn't wipe the smiles off his face. His joy on receiving her letter almost lifted me up to the heavens. His despair when he finds Juliet apparently dead was like a knife being driven through my heart, and then twisted. His refusal to believe it was so very sad; he wouldn't stop trying to shake her and wake her. When he failed, he did the one thing he wanted to do, and that was join her. It was very clear that he didn't want to live even five more minutes without his love. An incredibly moving, heartfelt and heart-wrenching performance from him.

 

The partnership between Sambe and O'Sullivan was already clear to me a couple of years ago when they danced Bluebird together. I remarked then how well they went together, and expressed hope that it would continue. Well it doesn't get much better than yesterday for any partnership. They felt so close to each other, they fit well physically, they both danced like angels and they had true passion, trust and empathy for each other. For some reason Mr O'Hare seems to be against allowing established and steady partnerships to develop at the Royal Ballet (unless you are Nunez/Muntagirov). To me, this is inexplicable when there is so much potential for them at the moment. Having said this, I really hope that he gives these two the chance to create something very special in and for the company. They were great representatives in NYC a few months ago, and I strongly feel this partnership should be nurtured and encouraged.

 

Luca Acri gave a wonderful account of Mercutio; danced with brio, interpreted with real feeling. The use of his eyes in his death scene was very moving, especially when he took his final look at Romeo. So much was said there. As with Romeo, here is a young, happy-go-lucky boy who was the victim of Fate, stupidity and arrogance, and the contrast between his early self and his dying self was deeply felt. Teo Dubreuil, whom I have been noticing a lot this year, was a beautiful Benvolio, with lovely lines, a handsome, expressive face and a good jump. I can see him as a future Romeo.

 

The whole cast was a great frame for the two central performances, and they all deserve plaudits. I am just sad that it will now probably be at least two years before we can see Sambe and O'Sullivan reprise these roles.

 

I spoke to Marcelino a couple of days after their school performance of R&J and asked him how it had gone, and if he was happy with it. He was thrilled, and he said to me “you will see, Anna-Rose IS Juliet.” How right he was, and I would add that he IS Romeo.  So many congratulations to them both.  

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What a wonderfully evocative review Sim; I almost feel as though I was there.  Thanks.

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I know how much it moved you from your Facebook post, Sim. This is a wonderful review and I really wish I had been there too. 

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The fact that Sim has spent so much time and care on her review of yesterday's matinee performance speaks volumes about its overall superlative quality and the two central performances in particular.

Yet these two young dancers, both at an ideal age to be cast as Romeo and Juliet, have only one public showing whereas more senior couples (and I do not include Ball or Muntagirov here), including dancers who have had the role for 10 years or more, are given three outings.

I want an encore from O'Sullivan and Sambe and I'd like it NOW, please!!!!!

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Posted (edited)

Wow Sim that was a terrific review how lovely to have been there.

We all need these life enhancing performances from time to time.

The only thing I would say is that sometimes when a performance has been that good you don't want to see the ballet again too soon! 

Edited by LinMM
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Posted (edited)

In reply to capybara’s comment above

 

Haven’t we been here before with that other memorable R&J public debut matinee for Yasmine Naghdi/Matthew Ball (3 October 2015) and again just one public performance?

Edited by JohnS
Extra post in between responding
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41 minutes ago, capybara said:

The fact that Sim has spent so much time and care on her review of yesterday's matinee performance speaks volumes about its overall superlative quality and the two central performances in particular.

Yet these two young dancers, both at an ideal age to be cast as Romeo and Juliet, have only one public showing whereas more senior couples (and I do not include Ball or Muntagirov here), including dancers who have had the role for 10 years or more, are given three outings.

I want an encore from O'Sullivan and Sambe and I'd like it NOW, please!!!!!

 

In 2015 (yes nearly 4 years ago) two young dancers, one a soloist at that time (Yasmine Naghdi) and the other one a first artist (Matthew Ball) danced their debut as R&J. Everyone present that day was totally bowled over, shed tears, raved and gushed. They were given just 1 public performance, a Saturday Matinee.... That was it!

Nearly 4 years later and we will finally see their highly praised partnership again. 

 

Mr O'Hare has to keep his Principals happy too and as such we get Osipova, Cuthbertson, Lamb, Nunez, Naghdi, Takada, Hayward (that's 7 out of the 8 female principals) dancing Juliet and all are dancing 3 performances. Only this season Takada was given the opportunity to debut as Juliet. There is first soloist Hamilton who has Juliet in her rep. too, and Stix-Brunell also gets the opportunity to debut.

If besides those 7 female Principals, the 2 first soloists Hamilton and Stix-Brunell and 1 soloist O'Sullivan were also to be given three performances the R&J run would go on for several months!  

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13 minutes ago, JohnS said:

In reply to capybara’s comment above

 

Haven’t we been here before with that other memorable R&J public debut matinee for Yasmine Naghdi/Matthew Ball (3 October 2015) and again just one public performance?

Yes I thought that too. Also like, O'sullivan and Sambe didn't they do the school matinee as well? The only slight consolation is that when they came to perform it again they were given the cinema broadcast so perhaps this will also happen to Marcellino and Anna Rose in a couple of years or so (not that I want to wait that long!) 

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As much as I LOVE Sambe and O'Sullivan Mr O'Hare has to give priority to his principal dancers in the worldwide cinema broadcasts. Only this Season did he finally start to show his younger principals Takada, Campbell, Hirano and Naghdi and Ball to a worldwide audience.  

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21 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

 

Let me guess - the brass section?

It felt like the balletic equivalent of dropping someone/falling out of a pirouette/or simply not turning up for an entrance/turning up and then creeping back into the wings for a second. Luckily, the dancers didn't seem at all phased by it.

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Sim, what a beautiful review. I think we must have been crying as much as each other - it ripped me apart. It's a been while since I last saw Romeo and I'm so glad I waited for this one. And I had no idea it was Acri's debut too. 

 

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27 minutes ago, Darlex said:

It felt like the balletic equivalent of dropping someone/falling out of a pirouette/or simply not turning up for an entrance/turning up and then creeping back into the wings for a second. Luckily, the dancers didn't seem at all phased by it.

 

The brass section always jar on me. They let down the rest of the orchestra. Surely they can do better?

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I'm just watching the new Swan Lake and I'm surprised they left the brass section's Act 2 gaff in the BBC broadcast...I hope they edited it out for the blu ray

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Thank you Sim for such a wonderful review that said what I thought but could not put into words, which you have.  This performance goes in a very special place in my head which only has my first concert, Sir John Barbarolli and the Halle in Oldham which introduced me to music, William Walton at the proms, Margot and Rudi my first ballet, Alina every time I see her, Frankie and Yasmin of the new bunch. The RB is in a very good place.

 

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