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It has to be said that Flight Pattern is rather more effective viewed from on high than from stalls/stalls circle level - if ever there was an argument for putting cameras for filming for the cinema in the Grand Tier I think this would be it!  And I very much enjoyed Choe and Hay's take on Golden Hour this afternoon - liked them (even) more than Stix-Brunell and Muntagirov - because I thought they really brought out the wit in the music and the choreography.  I thought Hayward and Zucchetti very fine, too.  But the number of replacements (injuries?) is getting very worrying :( 

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I was looking forward to seeing Beatriz S-B and Vadim tonight, but among the four substitutions Francesca Hayward easily made up for it - she was gorgeous.  Within The Golden Hour was much our favourite of the three pieces and I'd certainly go to see it again. Natalia Osipova is always a pleasure to watch but I thought Medusa didn't really develop enough - however electro-Purcell was a revelation. Olivia Cowley was barely recognisable in her Athena guise - kudos to the makeup team.  Flight Pattern was the most enthusiastically received by the audience, but while I found it interesting, I can't say I found it particularly engaging or moving, and I have a vague feeling I've seen something quite like it before  - the whole swaying crowd part at least.  

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I am reassured to find others not really liking Flight Pattern: not just me then.

 

I found a second viewing of Medusa brought me closer to Darlex's succinct 2 word view of it- really it is not a finished piece of work.

 

Why were so many replaced last night? Is this all injuries? even Muntagirov? now that is worrying.

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9 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 I realise dancers get injured but to have half of a cast of 14 replaced does seem to be getting a bit ridiculous. So much for that article the ROH tweeted recently about strength training reducing injuries!

 

 

Sometimes dancers are unable to dance because they are ill.

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...............but let's look at the current workload:

 

On Stage now:

Romeo and Juliet - a full company work

Current Triple - including a new work (Medusa) and a piece (Flight Pattern) which involves most of the corps

In Preparation:

Firebird - many dancers involved

Month - with newcomers to some roles

Symphony in C - principal couples, subsidiary couples and corps

Fonteyn Gala (including, surely, items not in the current rep.)

Getting Ready for the Tours:

Don Q - a full company work

Gala pieces (including additions to the above)

Mayerling - a full company work

Dante Project - a new creation

 

Plus all the Insights/Rehearsal evenings etc.

 

Phew!

 

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I was able to go to the matinee yesterday and found the programme to be thought-provoking and stimulating, with some very strong dancing across all 3 works. I found  In the Golden Hour truly mesmerising - inventive, ingenious, intriguing... I would happily watch that again and again. I thought there were no weak links in the casting at all, with the lead women especially strong. James Hay was - as ever - a real pleasure to watch. I also found Flight Pattern to be very affecting. The refugee crisis which was Pite's "inspiration" has probably been eclipsed  now by many other news stories, but the essential truths of displacement, disorientation, loss, grief and so on are powerfully evoked I think and it continues to resonate very strongly, being both unsettling and provocative (for me at least).  Medusa: I am not sure what I felt about this. I liked the music, set and costumes, although half-way through I realised that the men reminded me of my sons' power ranger toys from some years ago... which also made me realise that I was not really being held by the dance or the drama.. I can see how Darlex formed such a robust view of this work (!); I think I give it the benefit of the doubt for now, and will see it again with Osipova.

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I was at the matinee yesterday & thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. I didn't expect to like Medusa or Flight Pattern but I did, although I think Medusa could do with a bit of tweaking! Loved Fumi' performance & liked the ladies costumes. Not so keen on the see- through onesies. I was so moved by Flight Pattern. I was sitting in the stalls circle so could see all the angst on the dancers faces & the music is absolutely heart-rending. I found myself sitting there with tears running down my face. And what can I say about Marcelino Sambe? Just fabulous. WiTGH was gorgeous too. Excellent triple bill.

There are some aspects of the 'new' opera house that I don't like. Casting is very important for most patrons & I read on this forum that you had to ask for cast change slips! I did so & was told, no we don't do them anymore. I had to photograph the cast changes that were on a clipboard as there were a lot of changes, although I am not convinced that all were listed! Secondly, why does a shop in a dance house decide not to sell dance magazines anymore? Crazy.

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Although it might be a subject for a new thread, I am wondering if there is an even spread of workload at the levels of principals and first soloists. It strikes me that with new work, choreographers presumably have the pick of the company which means that the repertoire of some dancers becomes very heavy loaded whilst others are under used. Plus, Kevin O’Hare seems quite generous in allowing his dancers to guest - a policy that is good in theory, but must put tremendous strains on the company, particularly if you need to call on second and third cast members to call on at short notice.

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1 minute ago, SusanR said:

There are some aspects of the 'new' opera house that I don't like. Casting is very important for most patrons & I read on this forum that you had to ask for cast change slips! I did so & was told, no we don't do them anymore. I had to photograph the cast changes that were on a clipboard as there were a lot of changes, although I am not convinced that all were listed! 

 

Some staff members are not very well informed.  The cast change slips were printed.  I got them for both performances yesterday (from the desk in the main Bow Street foyer)  Maybe not all programme desks have them?

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I saw this triple bill at the cinema and it would be tempting (though rather frivolous) to say that the bit I enjoyed most was seeing Vadim warm up behind the curtain before the performance. He seemed to be doing a very energetic series of turns and possibly leaps though it was difficult to see as Ore and Darcey kept getting in the way! Personally I would be quite happy to see an entire night of Vadim doing anything like this (he even makes standing still interesting, and possibly even 'relevant'). Perhaps Liam Scarlett could devise a suitable programme.

 

After that the official programme was slightly anti-climactic and panned out much as I thought it would. I quite enjoyed Within the Golden Hour, which, as expected, was my favourite of the three. I agree with Dawnstar that I found it similar to Asphodel Meadows and while it was very pleasant it didn't personally engage me. Perhaps I need to see it again. However, the dancing was wonderful and an unexpected treat to have my first glimpse of Hayward before the Romeo and Juliet performance I've booked next Saturday.

 

Medusa, well.... Found it rather tedious and pretentious and kept wondering when it was going to end. No doubting the commitment of the dancers, especially Osipova who was terrific; just a pity they hadn't something more worthy to commit to.

 

Flight Pattern didn't do much for me either. The best bits were seeing Joseph Sissens; even in a small role he shone through as did Kristen McNally. Good to see her in a recognisable rather than character role.

 

Great to meet up with Jamesrhblack in the little Rye Kino cinema which was about half full.

 

Like many others I find the high rate of injuries very concerning both from an audience but more importantly the dancers point of view. I increasingly wonder about the decision to front load the next season with so many full length ballets, especially with so many performances. However, the problem might be more to do with the constant switching from classical to modern this season so perhaps next seasons decision to separate them more and have a classical first half of the season and a more modern spring and autumn might be better. Autumn is all classical, Winter; the only 'modern' ballets are the Marston/Scarlett double bill and they tend to be classically oriented choreographers anyway. The main modern programmes are in spring and summer with only the Tombeaux triple classical in the summer and the Heritage Linbury programme in May. Time will tell whether this works better from an injury point of view.

Incidentally, I've saved the 2019-20 seasons calendar http://www.roh.org.uk/seasons/2019-20 on my toolbar as an invaluable booking and information aid and cannot understand why Onegin (and La Traviata) are part of both the autumn and winter season. How can they be both and how do you manage for booking? As Onegin doesn't start until January how can it be part of the autumn season? The autumn season is going to be expensive enough without adding Onegin to it!

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3 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

 

Incidentally, I've saved the 2019-20 seasons calendar http://www.roh.org.uk/seasons/2019-20 on my toolbar as an invaluable booking and information aid and cannot understand why Onegin (and La Traviata) are part of both the autumn and winter season. How can they be both and how do you manage for booking? As Onegin doesn't start until January how can it be part of the autumn season? The autumn season is going to be expensive enough without adding Onegin to it!

 

Onegin is in booking period 2

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1 minute ago, zxDaveM said:

 

Onegin is in booking period 2

 

Thanks Dave. I thought it must be but in that case why have it in autumn on the seasons calendar? Another website glitch I expect.

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Maybe a glitch. Or just poor interdepartmental communication. Probably the latter, as they still haven't updated the casting for Tuesday's mixed bill for example.

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15 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

Incidentally, I've saved the 2019-20 seasons calendar http://www.roh.org.uk/seasons/2019-20 on my toolbar as an invaluable booking and information aid and cannot understand why Onegin (and La Traviata) are part of both the autumn and winter season. How can they be both and how do you manage for booking? As Onegin doesn't start until January how can it be part of the autumn season? The autumn season is going to be expensive enough without adding Onegin to it!

 

11 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

Onegin is in booking period 2

 

It's the Swan Lake booking I find most anomalous - the run is from March to May but it's part of the Winter booking period, which means casting for May should be published in August and Friends need to be geared up to decide what they're doing a full eight months ahead and probably before Sadler's Wells have announced for Spring/Summer.

 

As others have said elsewhere - you have to suspect front-loading, bringing money into the coffers early. (Sorry for going well off topic.)

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24 minutes ago, Bluebird said:

 

Some staff members are not very well informed.  The cast change slips were printed.  I got them for both performances yesterday (from the desk in the main Bow Street foyer)  Maybe not all programme desks have them?

I did actually ask for a cast change slip at the Bow Street foyer, but the member of staff gave me the impression that I was a nuisance! 

 

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I nearly went to see it yesterday afternoon - I was wondering if they drop the prices a bit like "standby" flights of old? Not that they were expensive in the first place...

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On 17/05/2019 at 19:30, Sim said:

Posting something on Instagram takes about 15 seconds.   Trying to navigate the ROH website takes much longer than that.  

Not meant as a further reposte, Sim, but hopefully a helpful suggestion....you can considerably speed up ROH website functionality  by creating a bookmark for each production you are interested in. (I think this has been mentioned elsewhere).

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55 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Not meant as a further reposte, Sim, but hopefully a helpful suggestion....you can considerably speed up ROH website functionality  by creating a bookmark for each production you are interested in. (I think this has been mentioned elsewhere).

I have known this for quite some time, Richard, but thanks anyway for the technical advice.  We weren't discussing productions, we were discussing a dancer finding the time and inclination to look around the website for news of cast changes prior to announcing such changes on social media.  

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Not meant as a further reposte, Sim, but hopefully a helpful suggestion....you can considerably speed up ROH website functionality  by creating a bookmark for each production you are interested in. (I think this has been mentioned elsewhere).

 

This is true - but I can't ever see the dancers perusing the website checking their casting! They will have been told, I assume, either personally if being asked to step up as a replacement - especially at short notice - or on their noticeboard when casting decided. I can't see them thinking - oh, better check the website before posting this nice new opportunity on my social media thread, so  my friends will know too. If there is a reason NOT to announce this news, I'm sure they would be told not to announce it when they themselves are given the news.

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34 minutes ago, Sim said:

We weren't discussing productions, we were discussing a dancer finding the time and inclination to look around the website for news of cast changes.

Yes indeed but you do find listed casts and other relevant details by going to the production pages. As I said, I just posted this as helpful tip for anyone's benefit,  not as an attempt to resuscitate  the earlier discussion which I agree has had its day.

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3 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Yes indeed but you do find listed casts and other relevant details by going to the production pages. As I said, I just posted this as helpful tip for anyone's benefit,  not as an attempt to resuscitate  the earlier discussion which I agree has had its day.

Maybe, but it still takes a lot longer than making a quick post on Instagram, and that's my final word on the matter.  

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I did wonder, from the number and seeming suddenness of the replacements, whether there might have been some bug or something going round the company.

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7 hours ago, SusanR said:

I was at the matinee yesterday & thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. I didn't expect to like Medusa or Flight Pattern but I did, although I think Medusa could do with a bit of tweaking! Loved Fumi' performance & liked the ladies costumes. Not so keen on the see- through onesies. I was so moved by Flight Pattern. I was sitting in the stalls circle so could see all the angst on the dancers faces & the music is absolutely heart-rending. I found myself sitting there with tears running down my face. And what can I say about Marcelino Sambe? Just fabulous. WiTGH was gorgeous too. Excellent triple bill.

There are some aspects of the 'new' opera house that I don't like. Casting is very important for most patrons & I read on this forum that you had to ask for cast change slips! I did so & was told, no we don't do them anymore. I had to photograph the cast changes that were on a clipboard as there were a lot of changes, although I am not convinced that all were listed! Secondly, why does a shop in a dance house decide not to sell dance magazines anymore? Crazy.

 

Susan - that's very interesting about the cast slips - I asked and got one !

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11 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

Sometimes dancers are unable to dance because they are ill.

 

I suppose arguably being off ill is better for them than being off injured, as it's likely to be a faster recovery.

 

10 hours ago, Odyssey said:

Although it might be a subject for a new thread, I am wondering if there is an even spread of workload at the levels of principals and first soloists. It strikes me that with new work, choreographers presumably have the pick of the company which means that the repertoire of some dancers becomes very heavy loaded whilst others are under used. Plus, Kevin O’Hare seems quite generous in allowing his dancers to guest - a policy that is good in theory, but must put tremendous strains on the company, particularly if you need to call on second and third cast members to call on at short notice.

 

While they both seemed to be holding up alright, I was surprised to see on the R&J thread that both Sambe & Hirano were in Friday's performance of R&J. Since they were both dancing on Thursday & Saturday I would have thought it'd make more sense to cast other dancers on Friday so they both had a day off, especially as none of the other Tybalts were appearing in the Triple Bill, though admittedly the other Mercutios were. I agree on the guesting. Since I joined Instagram a couple of months ago I've been really surprised at how much some of the dancers do. For instance today both Hamilton & Hay have been posting images of travelling elsewhere. I can understand Hamilton, who is certainly not one of the over-employed dancers this season, but how Hay has the energy, when he danced both Golden Hours yesterday & is on again tomorrow, I can't imagine!

 

9 hours ago, SusanR said:

I did actually ask for a cast change slip at the Bow Street foyer, but the member of staff gave me the impression that I was a nuisance! 

 

 

When I was waiting to look at the cast change notice the person in front of me asked for a cast change slip & was given one, but as I heard the attendant say something about there only being a limited number I didn't have the nerve to ask for one as well so just took a photo. I thought it rather a shame that only the principal cast changes were announced over the loudspeakers (i.e. Stix-Brunell/Muntagirov & Cuthbertson/Hirano) & not the various ensemble changes in all 3 ballets. It wouldn't take that much longer to announce the lot.

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On 17/05/2019 at 19:30, Sim said:

Posting something on Instagram takes about 15 seconds.   Trying to navigate the ROH website takes much longer than that.  

😳🤣

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For the Saturday night, did they actually say due to injury/illness or whatever?  It did strike me that there might have been an alternative reason ...

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There was no reason on the cast change sheets & I don't recall any reason was given in the announcement either. I didn't look at the screens so can't say what they had.

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It’s so frustrating that in this age of technology where everything is available at the click of a button, that ROH website can’t get its casting correct, and, up-to-date.  Never mind easy-to-read.

 

I can understand not wanting to say if a dancer is injured vs ill - that’s private.  

 

On the website my major bugbear is that you cannot click on a calendar date and find out the shows & events on that particular date.  Any visitor (particularly from abroad) to London will want to know this.  

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It took me 6 clicks to get to the Medusa performance I wanted, starting from the "Tickets and events" page.  Not good at all.

 

And they do frequently announce "due to injury/illness" - although it doesn't necessarily mean that the dancer being replaced is the one who's injured/ill.

 

Anyway, getting back to yesterday's matinee performance, I did feel that Medusa made more sense in the Kaneko cast's performance (such as it was, with a number of dancers from the first cast performing roles which had originally been assigned to others).  To what extent that was down to my - or the dancers' - greater familiarity with the piece (my 2-and-a-halfth viewing!), though, I wouldn't like to guess.

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On ‎18‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 01:22, Sim said:

Frank, I don't see how you can say you lack aesthetic sensibility when you write so beautifully about Golden Hour!  You simply didn't like the other two, that's all.   For just about every performance discussed on this forum, there are widely varying opinions of every aspect of the production.  That's what makes it so interesting! Nothing is set in stone with art; it affects us in some way, and how boring it would be if that way were the same across the spectrum of those who engage with it.

 

Thank you Sim for your kind words, and thanks to Mary for her supportive comments. It is always nice to find that someone else has a similar reaction about a particular performance, as I am certainly not experienced enough in my knowledge and appreciation of ballet, to distinguish between the truly great and the merely good.

 

However I wasn't being as humble in my review as might have appeared. Each person will have a slightly different aesthetic sensibility, and may thus be "blind" to what others find beautiful. An instance which occurs to me is the fact that Tchaikovsky intensely disliked Brahms' music, and was very rude about it, calling Brahms "talentless". As I greatly love the music of both composers, I find this very hard to understand, and can only assume that Tchaikovsky had a blind (or, rather, deaf) spot as far as Brahms was concerned.

 

Thinking back to my reactions to the RB triple bill, I realise I didn't experience it in the best of circumstances. I had had a rather tiring afternoon at the university where I am a part-time lecturer, listening to students giving presentations, and assessing them. So perhaps my momentary lapse into sleep during Flight Pattern wouldn't have happened otherwise. The very subdued lighting of the piece certainly didn't help. As for Medusa, from the posts of others I learn that this may be regarded as a work still in the process of development, and that Cherkaoui's ballets evolve and develop considerably.

 

My disappointment with these two works is also partly bound up with the fact that they deal with very important themes - masculine ill-treatment of women, and the plight of refugees and the dispossessed. If artists in any medium tackle these sorts of themes, they had better make a very good job of it. Otherwise these days it would only be too easy to dismiss their efforts as merely "politically correct". I am glad to read that many of you were very moved by Flight Pattern, even if I couldn't appreciate it on the night.

 

 

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