Jump to content

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Bluebird said:

 

 

 

There are two men's duets.  In some casts they have both been danced by the same two dancers.  However, if I remember correctly, last night Leo Dixon and David Yudes danced the opening duet and Téo Dubreuil and David Donnelly danced the later one.

Thank you for clarifying Bluebird xx 

 

1 hour ago, Thalia said:

 

It was definitely Teo Dubrueil and David Donnelly. They were great.

 

Thanks for your correction Thalia. Apologies to mart and all readers for my error . Teo you were terrific . I still stand by my general comments on Leo, one to watch, I think . 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Mandy Kent said:

Teo you were terrific . I still stand by my general comments on Leo, one to watch, I think . 

 

I’m more and more impressed by Téo every time I see him perform; such a beautiful dancer. As for Leo – I completely agree and have been keenly following his progress for a long while now. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wednesday’s Triple Bill – Opening Night


In The Golden Hour:


I was rather underwhelmed the first time I saw this a few years ago, so I was a bit surprised to find myself rather enjoying (most of) it on Wednesday evening. I had not heard any of Bosso’s music before, and was intrigued enough first time round to listen to it on Spotify (a lot of the music in the ballet comes from his album The Way of 1000 and One Comet). 
The first half of the ballet appealed to me the most as it contained more ensemble dancing, with the second half containing more duets; Wheeldon’s choreography for pairs doesn’t capture my attention particularly well, and I think part of the reason is that he tends to break up, in my view, the dancers’ ‘flow’ with his own brand of awkward (ugly?) moves (in that sense there is something McGregor-esque about Wheeldon’s choreography, though thankfully diluted to near-homeopathic levels). When this happens with a lot of dancers on stage, the effect is less intrusive compared to when it happens with just a pair.

For example, what on earth is added to the overall effect of an otherwise engaging duet when Campbell lifts Lamb flat above his head and Lamb sticks her arms and legs up in the air in the pose of the dead mouse-king in the ABT Nutcracker? It grates – especially when Lamb’s character otherwise comes across as serenity personified (and no one does ’serene’ like Sarah Lamb!). 


The new costumes did not work for all the male dancers – the hairy legs and pale complexion of one of the male leads made for a rather unflattering contrast to the shimmering, pastel finish of his costume. 

 

Medusa:


I found this a sufficiently fascinating piece to want to see it again, but perhaps that is more to do with Osipova taking the eponymous lead rather than the piece itself (I’m basically happy to watch anything with Osipova in over and over again - even when that was ‘Hanging Out With Sergei’ [© Quintus]  in Project Polunin).

She completely inhabits her roles, and when this is amplified though the choreography the effects can be devastating (Anastasia, Manon, Giselle, etc). In Medusa, the choreography was more cryptic and less familiar, but she still managed to make the story her own and convey terror, preternatural power, and loss and reflection. For the stage call she looked drained, emotional, overwhelmed, triumphant, happy – she had given it her all and was greeted by a deservedly rapturous reception. 


I don’t know if this is the choreographer’s first ‘narrative’ ballet, but the narrative thread seemed very understated, almost ‘flat’. In the programme notes he alludes to the difficulties inherent in presenting the core of the story – essentially the victim-blaming and punishment of the violated priestess.

There is no room, therefore, for melodrama. Instead, the story is almost relayed to us in an unemotional, slow, steady, documentary style. We are left to digest the facts of the matter and draw our own conclusions.

Correctly, there is also no room for anything graphic – the parallels with the modern world of a powerful male figure abusing a female ‘employee’ do not require it and, in fact, debar it. Instead, the terrorising of Medusa by Poseidon is highly abstract and stylised, almost ritualistic, and its impact increased by being played out with the slow inevitability of ‘bullet time’ in films.

One particular sequence conveyed the totality of the power he held over her, and her helplessness to resist the abuse – Poseidon lying on the floor, legs vertical, with Medusa balanced on her side on his feet (one in her armpit, one on her hip); she with legs and arms outstretched; him slowly turning her.

Another key moment that was dealt with non-sensationally was the decapitation of Medusa by Perseus. There was no sword-swinging or hacking; he approached Medusa, who was on the floor, with the scarf she had given him, placed it over her head, and pulled off the headdress/her head; she leaned back to put her head on the stage, hidden, and convulsed a bit while he took the ‘head’ back to present to Athena. There was nothing triumphant about him – he looked sad at having had to do it.

Having mulled it over and consigned it to print, I think I’ve just convinced myself that the fairly low-key choreography and story-telling was deliberate. This is less a heroic tale of the defeat of a monster, and more a tragedy arising from the crass arrogance of god-like power.


The staging supported the stark, documentary style of the story-telling well. Everything was bare and minimalistic, the only embellishments being the large brass dish-like vessels scattered around the stage - the lighting of which from above gave the impression they contained lit candles. The back-lit (stone?) pillars that descended for the middle section provided a more claustrophobic atmosphere for the ‘fight’ scenes between Medusa and the soldiers, amongst whom was Perseus (Matthew Ball).

These fights, too, were highly stylised and played out in slow-motion; Medusa’s superhuman power was evident in the way she toyed with and then dispatched her soldier victims. 


Costume design was mostly effective. The non-mortals (Athena, Poseidon and Medusa) all had striking vertical lines drawn down their faces/bodies. Apart from Athena’s scarf, the only significant amount of colour was in Medusa’s Gorgon dress, with the lower half blood red. Her Gorgon headdress (a mass of thick, black, semi-opaque tendrils) pulled off the trick of simultaneously being rigid – so they didn’t just bounce around – but appearing to be in motion due to their coiled, translucent nature.


One particular aspect of the staging was not convincing -  the soldiers’ costumes (gauze-like jumpsuits) looked like they had been borrowed from The Unknown Soldier (though their face-masks – a means of hiding from Medusa’s gaze? – looked the part).


Perhaps the most ‘dramatic’ aspect of the production was the music. A curious mix of Purcell songs and electronica, the result was a score that provided a kind of aural illumination of the on-stage events. It worked for me (though, thinking of another thread on ballet scores, it’s not one I’d want to sit down and listen to in isolation!).


Perhaps it was the presence of the vocals, but I couldn't help thinking back to another ballet based on mythology – Diana and Actaeon from the Titian Metamorphosis trilogy in 2012. What a contrast between the two, with Diana and Actaeon played out for (melo)dramatic effect (complete with a ‘torn flesh’ costume) against the priapic, riot-of-colour backdrop by Chris Ofili. I would like to think there is room in the ROH’s pantheon of original work for both pieces.


Flight Pattern:


Wednesday’s performance was my first opportunity to see this work, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again next week. Triple bills tend to end with big, loud pieces that send the audience out happy, even if that’s briefly into the cold and rain on their way home to warmth and shelter. This is a different beast – an unrelentingly serious work that makes us appreciate our good fortune in having those welcoming destinations rather than just an interminable journey between one place and another.

 

It starts very slowly, with a poorly-lit, huddled mass of people making slow progress across the stage. It’s one of the triumphs of this production that, over the course of the next half an hour, this swarm (to call out the dog-whistle vocabulary of certain politicians) resolves itself into what it really is - individuals united in their predicament, but with their own stories to tell and relationships to explore.

Small movements by large numbers of dancers, and explosive movements by individual dancers (such as the angry despair portrayed by Sambé right at the end), combined with atmospheric lighting and the use of huge, black, mobile walls to ‘channel’ the refugees’ journey, are used to great effect throughout.

A stand-out moment for me was the sight of one of the women (McNally?) cradling a swaddled ‘baby’ in her arms, only to turn around to unravel and drop an empty coat on the floor. After a brief duet with Sambé she picks the coat up and walks towards the back of the stage. One by one, other dancers put garments on her outstretched arms, until she collapses to the floor under the load; at this point, all the other dancers rush up behind her for support, helping her to carry on - very poignant, and speaking volumes about loss and suffering.

My own personal interpretation of this episode was that it was not the death of her child being portrayed, but rather it was the thwarting of her dreams of a life in which she could have one; such is the unrelenting plight of the refugee that ‘ordinary’ things that might otherwise come to pass are denied and can only be imagined, and that realisation only adds to the suffering. As she made her way to the back of the stage, the weight of all those broken dreams overwhelmed her.

 

Overall, very sobering and thought-provoking. Thank you, Crystal Pite.

 

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

 Nogoat - thank you for rescuing me and my sanity! You absolutely nailed Medusa...I’m not alone. Actually the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung really liked it too in a very detailed review. I’m micro-obsessed with it, I think it’s a fascinating piece and I’m so disappointed that it’s not come across so well. Interesting....

Edited by Vanartus
Sp
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frustrated to find out that the second cast doesn't have many performances - having just decided I need to see Flight Pattern from above, that leaves me only one performance, as the amphi's student-only for the other one.  And I'm getting really sick of 1.30 matinees - somehow they seem to be the worst of all possible worlds!

 

As for the cinema showings, I haven't as yet found anywhere that wants to charge me less than it would cost me to go and see the bill live 4 times as frequently, so I think I'm giving those a miss ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does look a bit Star Trek!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the photocall for Medusa, Within the Golden Hour and Flight Pattern...
 

47033409234_d9e94f307a_c.jpg
Natalia Osipova in Medusa
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 

47823144821_0041a3dd89_c.jpg
Ryoichi Hirano and Lauren Cuthbertson in Within the Golden Hour
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 

46906716615_f4cfe3f187_c.jpg
Royal Ballet in Flight Pattern
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 

See more...
Foteini Christofilopoulou: Royal Ballet in Medusa, Within the Golden Hour and Flight Pattern
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still not sure why Medusa's chinstrap needs to be black ...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This  triple bill has set me thinking about what distinguishes contemporary ballet from  modern dance. To me (no expert in technique, and having seen each of the three works just the once) the triple bill seems to represent a progressive transition from the neo-classicism of WTGH, to more or less modern dance (rather than ballet) in Flight Pattern, with Medusa perhaps somewhere in between. But I am prepared to be educated !

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could someone do me a favour and tell me a little more about the singing in this performance? I'm going with someone who has a sensory processing disorder and any kind of operatic singing makes them very uncomfortable. Just need to know if I should bring ear defenders or not :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tatiana said:

Could someone do me a favour and tell me a little more about the singing in this performance? I'm going with someone who has a sensory processing disorder and any kind of operatic singing makes them very uncomfortable. Just need to know if I should bring ear defenders or not :)

 

It's not particularly loud, as opera singing goes (I say that as somebody used to hearing much louder voices and orchestrations) but as it's with two high voices both generally quite high in their respective registers, I wonder if the intensity rather than the volume of sound may make your companion wish to use ear defenders.  Without knowing their specific tolerance levels I'm not sure I can be any more specific than that.

 

Please be aware that there is also a brief passage in Flight Pattern involving an operatic soprano's voice.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to see this triple bill at the kino cinema Rye tomorrow if anyone else from the Forum will be there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

I'm going to see this triple bill at the kino cinema Rye tomorrow if anyone else from the Forum will be there. 

I’m intending to if I can get a ticket ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another fab performance last night :)

 

osipova

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw this last night (sounds from posts here as though cast was mostly the same as opening night) and for me it scored a solid 2 out of 3 on the triple-bill-ometer, which is a perfectly decent average over recent seasons.  As you might guess Medusa was the disappointment  - not a complete failure in concept and execution (looking at you Unknown Soldier) but  "not enough" good stuff so that even Osipova at her slinkiest best (what does that woman have where the rest of us keep our shoulder joints???) couldn't raise it above the average.   The costumes as many have said did not help - the snake headdress and Athena/Princess Leia outfit being particularly unintentionally hilarious, the musical choices seemed to me incoherent, narrative was confused (when you have a concept as interesting as not been able to look the Gorgon in the eye, why not build that into pas de deux choreography??) and despite some good moments of imagery in the choreography, I didn't feel as though it was anything I hadn't seen before.  Professionally done and the dancing was excellent but wouldn't rush to see it again.

 

Within the Golden Hour on the other hand was a delight.  Wheeldon can be such a good abstract choreographer - Stix-Brunell and Muntagirov were particularly delightful in their pas de deux - she really does suit Wheeldon's choreography and the joyful mood of this piece.  I didn't expect to be as moved by Flight Pattern as I was at first viewing, given that I now knew what to expect, but Sambe's solo at the end made me cry.  The expression of pent-up anger and frustration is so powerful - he is really a very special dance-actor - and Pite's pacing and handling of her large ensemble is exemplary.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure Perseus spent even more time looking directly into Medusa's face last night than he did the previous time I saw it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Lindsay said:

 (when you have a concept as interesting as not been able to look the Gorgon in the eye, why not build that into pas de deux choreography??)

 

it was - Perseus spent the whole pdd either moving his face out of line, or with eyes closed

(and the soldiers helmets were so designed to cover their faces so they could not see)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did he? I was near the front of the stalls and didn't get that.  I had thought when he took his helmet off the first time and at several points during the pdd he was looking right at her.  Maybe I need my eyes tested...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine *have* been - and corrected - yet I still couldn't see that.  Bet it doesn't show from the back of the amphi ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

 

it was - Perseus spent the whole pdd either moving his face out of line, or with eyes closed

(and the soldiers helmets were so designed to cover their faces so they could not see)

 

Thanks Dave - will be interesting to see what comes across in the cinema.  But it does seem a bit contrived if audiences need to be on the lookout as to whether dancers are averting their eyes or have their eyes closed.  I saw the Triple Bill from Balcony Stalls earlier and am looking forward to seeing it from much closer on Saturday - I was wanting to see the cinema/Saturday’s matinee before commenting as I’m sure a closer view would help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re Medusa I have just seen the live relay and I agree Lindsay that 'the musical choices were incoherent'- or just meaningless/random except for Let me Weep at the end. But Osipova- a dancer I have not always booked for by any means-  I thought quite wonderful. A truly unique performance, mesmerising and one for the memory bank.

It was a shame that the piece as a whole did not feel fully formed or complete as there is clearly the germ of genius in it.

 

I am in a minority perhaps of one but never liked Flight Pattern one bit, so came home.

 

I loved Golden Hour again- but the original costumes seemed better to me:  the men's new leotards looked a bit daft.

 

It seemed a discourtesy to the audience and the dancers to tell us the cast had changed, but then refuse to give names (yet there is always time for meaningless banter.)

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What was the cast change, then, please, someone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, alison said:

What was the cast change, then, please, someone?

 

Hayward and Zucchetti replaced Cuthbertson and Hirano in the Wheeldon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Cuthbertson/Hirano replaced by Hayward/Zucchetti

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, alison said:

What was the cast change, then, please, someone?

 

Within The Golden Hour:

Cuthbertson and Hirano replaced by Hayward and Zucchetti

Edmonds and Mock replaced by Dubreuil and Donnelly

 

Medusa

Edmonds replaced by Ella as a Soldier

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dear - I hope that's not more injuries :( 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Also teo dubreuil  and David Donnelly were stunning as the male soloist double in Hour - replacing Nichol Edmunds and Tomas Monk - who last night were equally thrilling.  Edmunds was replaced by Ella as a soldier in Medusa.  

 

.... Oh, dear ... a multitude writing at the same time it seems ...

Edited by Bruce Wall
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...