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The Royal Ballet: Frankenstein, March 2019


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Something in the region of 50% newbies, I think it's usually said.  May look great on the ACE report, but as I've pointed out previously I find it alarmingly high, because it doesn't seem to indicate that they are converting newcomers into return visitors.

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Last night was brilliant - I'd been worried that I wouldn't enjoy the ballet after reading reviews in the press and on here. I loved the atmosphere of gothic decay created so skilfully by John McFarlane. The sets often seemed somewhat disembodied, eg the hallway of the Frankenstein mansion surrounded by empty nothingness, which I thought was very clever given the subject matter of the ballet. The special effects were dazzling, and I *know* the score felt cinematic but I loved it. The orchestra were on top form and received a huge round of applause! 

 

As a huge fan of the novel, I do have some questions about the omission of large parts of the plot. I can understand the Creature's tale being left out, but it seemed bizarre for Act 3 to begin with a lengthy wedding ball rather than with the Creature's impassioned appeal to Victor to create him a female companion, and Victor's creation and destruction of that companion. It would have made for much more powerful and compelling viewing; crucially, it would have given the audience a greater insight into the Creature's decision to kill Elizabeth. Contrary to what the ballet seems to suggest, the Creature does not just go on a mass killing spree because Victor abandoned him - there is more to his side of the story.

 

This ballet needs a bit of tweaking, and choreographically it is nowhere near as good as my favourites, but I would definitely see it again. 'Hideous progeny' it is not! 

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With so many people getting up to leave as soon as the curtain dropped after the curtain call I thought we wouldn’t get a red run, I can’t remember if the clapping stopped too but was pleased to see one, makes me wonder even more why Meaghan and Alexander didn’t get one. 

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58 minutes ago, Rob S said:

With so many people getting up to leave as soon as the curtain dropped after the curtain call I thought we wouldn’t get a red run, I can’t remember if the clapping stopped too but was pleased to see one, makes me wonder even more why Meaghan and Alexander didn’t get one. 

 

That was an awful decision, I presume borne of a sort of panic because the applause had stopped. Really really wrong.

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3 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

So what is going on with Frankenstein sales?  Two days ago there were about 1400 seats available next Monday, most of them  in the stalls.  And then, like magic, the same area is nearly full!

 

Are we to assume that the world has just realised that they absolutely must see Frankenstein next Monday or have all London's nurses/firemen/social workers been invited to the party?  Or is there some amazing offer on that has been extended to the world with the obvious exclusion of RB regulars?

 

Answers on a postcard, please...

 

I’ve not seen any ticket offers, so is it the student standby at £10 a ticket ? If so the RoH must have taken a big hit on this run. 

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40 minutes ago, annamk said:

 

I’ve not seen any ticket offers, so is it the student standby at £10 a ticket ? If so the RoH must have taken a big hit on this run. 

 

I heard that students were being charged £5. Maybe, if we are at a performance, we can take a sneak peak at our neighbours' tickets or ask them? I've done this in the past and have found people delighted to share news of their 'bargains'.

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To confirm what Janice has said, the student standby dates thus far have been: 5th March (opening night for £5), 11th, 12th, and 18th March (all the usual £10). On these dates, all tickets are offered at the standby price regardless of face value. That means tickets priced at £115 being sold for £10. Performances on 8th and 15th were not offered. That's four of six with three more to go. 

 

3 hours ago, Rob S said:

With so many people getting up to leave as soon as the curtain dropped after the curtain call I thought we wouldn’t get a red run, I can’t remember if the clapping stopped too but was pleased to see one, makes me wonder even more why Meaghan and Alexander didn’t get one. 

 

We were pushing dangerously close to the 10:30pm curfew on Tuesday night, but I am as disgusted as everyone else. Disgraceful and disrespectful not to do red runs at anytime, especially debuts. Can you imagine not getting red runs after a performance of Romeo and Juliet? 

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21 minutes ago, Fiz said:

Is a red run a company walk down and curtain calls? I don’t know this expression. 

 

I assume a 'red run', Fiz, is when the individual principal and soloist artistes appear in front of the red ROH curtain ... following the main company curtain call on the main stage.  Must confess the terminology was new for me as well.   Maybe at the MET they call it a 'golden gavotte' .... but I've never heard that expression either ;) 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Just now, Richard LH said:

 

Sorry Saodan, but what is this curfew exactly?

 

Overtime kicks in for certain categories of staff, including, especially,  the orchestra.

Apparently, the cut-off for the orchestra is when the conductor, with the cast, walks forward to acknowledge them and they can then get up and go.

Stage Managers have to make notes on these exact timings.

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I've never understood this time restriction on the orchestra especially as I wouldn't have thought it could apply to opera given how long some of them are. So why should it apply to ballet? I didn't realise it was still ongoing. Rightly or wrongly I seem to remember blaming it on why some of my favourite choreography was omitted from Bayadere back in the 1980's as the extra act made it difficult to finish by 10.30. (sorry this is a bit off topic for Frankenstein!) 

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25 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

I've never understood this time restriction on the orchestra especially as I wouldn't have thought it could apply to opera given how long some of them are. So why should it apply to ballet? I didn't realise it was still ongoing. Rightly or wrongly I seem to remember blaming it on why some of my favourite choreography was omitted from Bayadere back in the 1980's as the extra act made it difficult to finish by 10.30. (sorry this is a bit off topic for Frankenstein!) 

I think overtime is payable to the orchestra after 2230, and this is costed into the costs for longer operas, hence the increased prices for opera. Sometimes there are earlier start times - can't understand why they don't fix this for ballet.

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Lengthy operas have an early starting time to avoid the overtime issue. I seem to recall that years ago, at some point during the early years of Dowell's directorship, when the company was still dancing the de Valois production of the Sleeping Beauty,  we were told that we were to be charged more for its performances than other full length ballets. The reason given was that the text that was then danced meant that the ballet's finishing time was a lot closer to 10:45 pm than 10:30 pm and this resulted in additional costs in the form of  overtime payments. In later seasons the ballet was cut  to ensure that its performances finished before 10:30 pm and did not attract overtime. The main victim was the Hunting scene, where among other things we lost the Farandole danced first by the peasants and then by the peasants and the courtiers and I think that some of the panorama music was cut as well. The unimproved opera house had the machinery needed to stage the Prince's journey to find Aurora  using nineteenth century technology in the form of a panorama. This is something which the improved opera house cannot manage, which is a great pity as although it was very low tech it was a lot better than the current solution of having the Lilac Fairy's boat weave about among the hanging cloths which are supposed to represent foliage. But then perhaps its just that I find low tech Victorian stage effects such as the ship leaving the harbour and the storm in Ondine far more effective than the shipwreck which  ends the Bolshoi's Le Corsaire which I am sure the machinists of the nineteenth century Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres would have found toe curlingly embarrassing. I don't think that computer generated effects could  solve the problem of how to stage the boat ride in the Sleeping Beauty. They produce a very unsatisfactory effect when it comes to the destruction of the temple in La Bayadere.

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12 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

But then perhaps its just that I find low tech Victorian stage effects such as the ship leaving the harbour and the storm in Ondine far more effective than the shipwreck which  ends the Bolshoi's Le Corsaire which I am sure the machinists of the nineteenth century Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres would have found toe curlingly embarrassing. I don't think that computer generated effects could  solve the problem of how to stage the boat ride in the Sleeping Beauty. They produce a very unsatisfactory effect when it comes to the destruction of the temple in La Bayadere.

This is a very interesting new thread in itself perhaps?

It seems to me, and many posts on the forum over the years persuade me, that successful stage effects are those which are imaginatively and artistically right- it has very little to do with how much technology is available.

 

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Whereas, previously, I have been pleased for the students sitting next to me who have got a cheap ticket, I now find the Frankenstein debacle somewhat alienating in that I have paid for a full-price ticket when 99% of the audience has got in  so cheaply and has had several opportunities to do so.

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12 minutes ago, capybara said:

Whereas, previously, I have been pleased for the students sitting next to me who have got a cheap ticket, I now find the Frankenstein debacle somewhat alienating in that I have paid for a full-price ticket when 99% of the audience has got in  so cheaply and has had several opportunities to do so.

 

I'm feeling a bit like that too. Do I really want to pay £43 for a row C side stalls circle rush ticket next Saturday, & sit there missing what I gather will include important parts of the action, while knowing that probably half the people in the stalls will have paid only £5 for a full view?

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