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(Just enough time to set up this thread before my train gets into its station :) )

 

Thoughts, please, if you were there tonight?

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Posted (edited)

Very briefly:

 

Golden Hour - loved the new costumes but, the men’s duet apart - with Nicol Edmonds looking very good - I was less impressed with the ballet than last time around. I think maybe that I’m just never going to be a Wheeldon fan.

 

Medusa: I really liked the only Cherkouai I’d previously seen (the Nutcracker pdd) so approached this with an open mind but thought it was a bit of a dud - low key and boring considering the dramatic potential of the story. It didn’t help that the Medusa headdress was IMO more comic than scary. The women’s costumes were lovely but I hated the diaphanous jumpsuits the men were saddled with. Great singing from Ailish Tynan and Tim Mead though!

 

Flight Pattern: after being disappointed by the first two pieces I was definitely in the wrong frame of mind for this, so had to settle for admiring it rather than being moved by it. I was most impressed with the handling of the corps - interesting, unusual and highly musical.

Edited by Lizbie1
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I agree with you about Medusa, Lizbie.  I loved the design and the lighting, and the singing, but the choreography didn’t do it for me and I didn’t find much clarity in the story-telling.  I didn’t read the synopsis until afterwards at which point I understood it more, but for me that defeats the point.  I know the story of Medusa but this version didn’t impart it to me.  As always, the dancers gave their very best, especially Miss Osipova. 

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Posted (edited)

I was on the whole very impressed with the new Triple Bill. This was my first view of In The Golden Hour and I am a great admirer of Wheeldon’s choreography. His inventiveness of movement constantly impresses me with its originality and freshness. He has a light hand and this is a delicate yet powerful work. The three main couples were Stix-Brunel with Muntagirov ( excellent together) , Cuthbertson and Hirano who had an incredible rapport and impressed in their adagio pdd, and Lamb with Campbell. The last pair danced well together and she is always so ethereal. I particularly noticed   Nicol Edmonds in the duet for two men and Fumo Kaneko danced with great beauty, however all of the supporting cast danced well.

 The light sparkly Jasper Conran costumes for the ladies were very pretty but perhaps less lovely on the men ... spangly nude coloured body suits being rather effete for my taste. Overall a great start to the evening with gorgeous music and singing and simple but beautiful lighting . 

 

Having watched and been impressed with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Medusa at the Insight Evening recently I was looking forward to this very much. The staging was very effective and the costumes for the ladies were beautiful. I  didn’t like the diaphanous boiler suits for the men but I did like their mesh Mohawk helmets which were occasionally removed allowing one to identify the soldiers. Olivia Cowley was imperious as Athena and Hirano very powerful as Poseidon ,god of the Sea who attacks and abuses Medusa. Hirano’s dancing has always been good but this year his acting and stage presence has developed greatly and he totally commanded the stage. Osipova was simply magnificent in the leading role. Her attack ( literally!) was fierce and bright. 

The singers Ailish Tynan and Tim Mead are also integral to the work and sang clearly and beautifully. 

In general I really admired the ballet but the movement, whilst very sinuous and lovely, does get repetitive after a while and a sharp sword and mirror for a more rapid and traditional decapitation ten minutes earlier would have successfully pruned the piece in my opinion. In general there was rapturous  applause and much whooping for the leading lady which was well deserved. Matthew Ball was a valiant Perseus and battled the Gorgon with strength and terrific acting skills as he eventually overpowered his foe.

 

Finally to the most powerful piece of contemporary dance I have ever seen.. Flight Pattern by Crystal Pite. I wondered at first about the Stygian gloom and very repetitive small movements just what we were being subjected to. But almost imperceptibly the semi-abstract group movements became a heart rending tale of displacement from home and loved ones, of forced migration, poverty, loss of family and possessions and grave sadness. I was riveted to my seat watching the wonderful group movements that flowed and eddied across the stage. There were stand out solos from Kristen McNally as a woman with a ‘baby’ and Marcie Sambe who has a powerful and gut wrenching solo in the closing moments . This piece works on so many levels but my overall reaction was of great sadness for the victims of war and of natural disaster who are forced to flee from their homes. This incredible work raises awareness while impressing us with its subtle beauty. 

Edited by Mandy Kent
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I enjoyed Within The Golden Hour, all the dancers performed well but Sarah Lamb and Alexander Campbell were the standout couple.

I didn't like Medusa, it looked so amateurish - especially being the centre piece in tonight's program. My friend thought it just looked under rehearsed. The singers were beautiful, in fact all the musicians and singers were incredible tonight. My understanding of this myth was not what I saw tonight, but it was not what was in the program notes either. I thought Medusa's glance could turn you to stone? - yet throughout the pdd Ball continued to look at Osipova. The costumes were silly too especially the transparent boiler suits the men wore. The apparent violent meeting of Medusa and Poseidon, to my eye's didn't appear so violent. Just a pdd with Ryoichi Hirano for some reason  wearing what looked like a grey skirt and a black line painted on him? So yes, not very good. And all I could think was why oh why would you pay for this when you - KoH - could hire Cathy Marston for example to choreograph something amazing for the company? Anyway the dancers were committed especially Osipova, who in the final solo danced her heart out.

Flight Pattern is what I wanted to see as I missed it last time. And I was not disappointed. Firstly I loved the atmospheric lighting, and the music was perfect, and I was struck yet again at how small simple moves, such as rocking in place can be so powerful when structured by someone like Pite. I loved it. And all the dancers without exception were amazing. It made me cry.

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1 hour ago, Sharon said:

I thought Medusa's glance could turn you to stone? - yet throughout the pdd Ball continued to look at Osipova.

 

What I think he was doing was that every time he faced Medusa he closed his eyes , only opening them when facing away from her. A bit lame I admit, considering her powers!

 

(the black line indicated the immortals I think - maybe?)

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1 hour ago, Sharon said:

I thought Medusa's glance could turn you to stone? - yet throughout the pdd Ball continued to look at Osipova.

 

Quoting from the story as outlined on the ROH cast sheet:

 

'By use of the scarf received from the once beautiful princess, he [Perseus] avoids her petrifying gaze and finds a way to behead her'

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But he wasn’t using the scarf until the end.

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Just some quick thoughts from me - I thought overall it was quite a powerful, yet beautiful mixed bill.

I had almost forgotten just how much I love In the Golden Hour - I was slightly misremembering it with something else (which I liked, but not as much as this, if that makes sense). Anyhoo, wasn't particularly struck by the redesigned costumes, and thought some of the lighting (so, so golden) was rather ghastly; but the choreography was gorgeous, and the dancers danced it beautifully. The pdd with Sarah Lamb and Alex Campbell was achingly, breath-holdingly so. And Beatriz Stix-Brunell looked like it was made on her, and the dancing with Vadim Muntagirov was just sumptuous.

Medusa was enjoyable I thought - if a bit puzzling at times. All those slo-mo fights between Natalia Osipova as Medusa and the soldiers (and later Matthew Ball as Perseus) whilst lovely to look at, seemed somewhat lacking in threat or menace. Not sure the singing added much, the music was quite atmospheric on its own, and unusually for me, I actually preferred the electronic parts. From where I was I couldn't see much of the set, but what I could see looked effective and was lit so that we could actually see what was going on (hurrah!). The ending solo seemed a bit long - and for me, somewhat out of place. I could imagine that being quite effective after she was made a gorgon, and before the soldiers arrived in her column filled lair - with perhaps a shorter reprise at the end back in human ghost/soul form with the temple bowls. But then, I'm not the choreographer!! 🙂

Flight Pattern has lost none of its emotional heft on me since last we saw it - just wow. One moment always stands out for me - when Kristen McNally realises her baby has died (symbolised by the coat) and carries off the coat towards the back of the stage, and everyone else piles on their 'coats' until she crumples under the weight, makes me sob every time!

Looking forward to seeing it again now, with a better view!

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2 hours ago, Sharon said:

My understanding of this myth was not what I saw tonight, but it was not what was in the program notes either. I thought Medusa's glance could turn you to stone? - yet throughout the pdd Ball continued to look at Osipova.

 

You may not be surprised to hear that this was something which was really bugging me too :) 

 

1 hour ago, zxDaveM said:

What I think he was doing was that every time he faced Medusa he closed his eyes , only opening them when facing away from her. A bit lame I admit, considering her powers!

 

Hmm, not very clear from even Stalls Circle level, in that case - was it even visible from up in the amphi?  (Talking of which, I'm sure Flight Pattern would look more effective seen from a bit higher up - and possibly Medusa as well)

 

Quote

And all I could think was why oh why would you pay for this when you - KoH - could hire Cathy Marston for example to choreograph something amazing for the company?

 

Possibly scheduling may not have allowed, of course.  Ms Marston appears to have been quite busy in recent months.

 

 

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Was Perseus carrying his shield?  I thought he kept his back turned to Medusa, and used it as a mirror?  

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So did I, but I guess shields make partnering a bit tricky.

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1 hour ago, zxDaveM said:

Flight Pattern has lost none of its emotional heft on me since last we saw it …

 

Incidentally there's a very illuminating interview with Crystal Pite from 2017 which I don't remember hearing at the time.

 

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12 minutes ago, alison said:

So did I, but I guess shields make partnering a bit tricky.

 

Yes, but it is such an integral part of the story, I would have thought it would have to make an appearance at some point!  Plus the fact that he had to keep his back to her at all times,  which I assume is also not shown. 

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11 minutes ago, Fonty said:

 

Yes, but it is such an integral part of the story, I would have thought it would have to make an appearance at some point!  Plus the fact that he had to keep his back to her at all times,  which I assume is also not shown. 

 

there was quite a lot of back-turned dancing in the pdd, trying to avoid looking into her eyes. 

I'm just wondering from all the comments above, just how true it is that a god turns a woman into a gorgon, with a head turned into a writhing snake-filled bee-hive hairdo, that a choreographer can't take a bit of poetic license with the story, to create 40mins of dancing....

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15 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

there was quite a lot of back-turned dancing in the pdd, trying to avoid looking into her eyes. 

I'm just wondering from all the comments above, just how true it is that a god turns a woman into a gorgon, with a head turned into a writhing snake-filled bee-hive hairdo, that a choreographer can't take a bit of poetic license with the story, to create 40mins of dancing....

 

I think the back turned/not looking in the eyes thing would matter a lot less if the commenters felt the choreography and story telling were stronger. That’s my position, anyway.

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Oh! A stray thought I had watching Flight Pattern was that I’d like to see Crystal Pite choreograph or even one day direct an opera - she’d use the chorus beautifully.

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Please could someone remind me what the cast changes were last night? Flight Pattern is so moving, I still feel upset by it this morning. 

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53 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I think the back turned/not looking in the eyes thing would matter a lot less if the commenters felt the choreography and story telling were stronger. That’s my position, anyway.

And mine.  Poetic license is fine if it works.  

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20 minutes ago, Jane S said:

What was the Purcell music, please?

 

See, even Night herself is here (from The Fairy Queen) - soprano

They tell us that your mighty powers above (from The Indian Queen) - soprano

What power art thou (from King Arthur) - usually for bass but here sung by a countertenor, which IMO didn't work

O Solitude, my sweetest choice - countertenor

The Plaint (O, let me weep) (from The Fairy Queen) - soprano 

 

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27 minutes ago, daisydance said:

Please could someone remind me what the cast changes were last night? 

 

Richardson replaced by Dixon in Golden Hour and by Kay in Medusa.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, daisydance said:

Please could someone remind me what the cast changes were last night? Flight Pattern is so moving, I still feel upset by it this morning. 

 

Calvin Richardson was replaced by Leo Dixon in Within the Golden Hour, and by Paul Kay in Medusa.

 

Edited: BBB, you took the words right out of my mouth! :D

Edited by RuthE

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Calvin Richardson was replaced by Leo Dixon in Within the Golden Hour, and by Paul Kay in Medusa.

 

What a shame !   Calvin Richardson was absolutely stunning in tuesday morning rehearsal !

 

According to the NYTimes Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui was busy working in Munich AND London at the same time and it shows !  

 

Medusa seems so unfinished and the dancers so lost that it is embarrassing for The Royal Ballet (and a waste of time for the audience).

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I tend to agree with you, MAX.

Last night, the inside of the cast sheet placed Medusa last. A pity that was a mistake, really..............................

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2 hours ago, RuthE said:

 

See, even Night herself is here (from The Fairy Queen) - soprano

They tell us that your mighty powers above (from The Indian Queen) - soprano

What power art thou (from King Arthur) - usually for bass but here sung by a countertenor, which IMO didn't work

O Solitude, my sweetest choice - countertenor

The Plaint (O, let me weep) (from The Fairy Queen) - soprano 

 

 

Thank you, Ruth - did you think his use of Purcell worked?

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Just now, Jane S said:

 

Thank you, Ruth - did you think his use of Purcell worked?

 

That's a tricky question. It's been a while since I last saw a ballet with vocal music accompaniment, but I've always had a big mental-processing problem with it in principle.  My main interest is vocal music (ingrained since childhood) and I find it impossible to concentrate on the dancing because the voices draw my attention.  I even at one point last night realized I'd closed my eyes to listen to the singing, and forgotten that I was at a ballet and therefore supposed to be watching the stage.  So I'm really not the best person to ask - I could tell you what the singing was like, but the ballet that was going on at the same time has virtually evaporated from my memory!  The only reason it's "virtually" and not "completely" is that the Purcell songs were alternated with passages of electronic instrumental music which snapped my concentration back onto the stage.  The visual image that really stuck in my mind - it happened as one of the Purcell songs ended and the electronic music came back - was the "leg lift" with Hirano lying on the ground and suspending (and turning) Osipova in the air with his lower legs.

 

Assigning the very distinctive bass aria "What power art thou" to countertenor gave it a totally new and almost unrecognisable character, which I would say was "right" in the context of the character of this ballet score (due to the intensity created by the higher voice as it climbs to the top of the scale), but sounded totally wrong to my ear (indeed, the song is currently on a TV ad for PurpleBricks.com, so I imagine much of the audience would have vaguely recognized it as something meant for a bass).

 

I was also suddenly jerked out of concentrating on anything at the very end of the ballet as I seem to remember the final section and playout of The Plaint were cut, and the curtain suddenly descended when I assumed we were still in the middle of something.

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I should add, though, I thought the mixture of baroque and modern music in both Within the Golden Hour and Medusa made the two pieces a clever pairing.

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Posted (edited)

Yasmine Naghdi has just announced she’s debuting in Golden Hour this evening. ‘Third pdd couple’ presumably means she’s replacing Takada  

Edited by Rob S
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