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This truly 'mixed bill' starts tonight and, on the basis of yesterday's rehearsal (where there were additional cast changes!), it's going to be a terrific end to a wonderful Royal Ballet Season.

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49 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

This truly 'mixed bill' starts tonight and, on the basis of yesterday's rehearsal (where there were additional cast changes!), it's going to be a terrific end to a wonderful Royal Ballet Season.

 

Looking forward to tonight and Friday - I keep checking for returns for 12 and 14 as I see Anna-Rose O’Sullivan is dancing Vera and there were some stunning rehearsal photos.  Did she by any chance dance at the Rehearsal?

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No, Vera was danced by Francesca Hayward at the rehearsal.

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Many thanks cackles - I hadn’t realised Francesca Hayward was dancing Vera.  Fabulous.

It would help enormously if there was more detail for the performers.

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Posted (edited)

 

From what it is possible to gather from various online peeps, the Veras and Kolias are: Hayward and Hay with Nunez/Ball; Hinkis and Acri with Ospova/Hallberg and O'Sullivan/Yudes with Cuthbertson/Muntagirov.

The RB/ROH themselves posted the lovely rehearsal photos of Anna Rose and Vadim - a gorgeous pairing.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by capybara
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I can't find the photos...being slow and on my phone...where? .....

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Many thanks: beautiful.....

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Is Firebird on first tonight? If anyone is there please post on Edward - I won’t be seeing him till next week and am absurdly anxious about tonight’s performance! 

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Also went to the rehearsal and can’t wait to see it again next week. Such a lovely mix of Ballets, KoH has really got this one spot on. Particularly enjoyable as so many wonderful principal and soloist roles so quite star studded. 

 

Look forward to the first BCF reviews!

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3 hours ago, capybara said:

 

From what it is possible to gather from various online peeps, the Veras and Kolias are: Hayward and Hay with Nunez/Ball; Hinkis and Acri with Ospova/Hallberg and O'Sullivan/Yudes with Cuthbertson/Muntagirov.

The RB/ROH themselves posted the lovely rehearsal photos of Anna Rose and Vadim - a gorgeous pairing.

 

Slightly disappointed not to see Hayward as Nunez/Ball are the only pairing I'm not seeing! However delighted and excited to see O'Sullivan! 

 

The rehearsal photos on social media etc look stunning. I look forward to reading reviews tomorrow of those attending tonight! 

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Kaneko replaces Osipova in Symphony in C.

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Wonderful evening. V fascinating Firebird and two works of sublime genius ...with  superb dancing! Bliss.

 

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Posted (edited)

All I can come up with to describe this bill is an assortment of superlatives. The programme itself, showcasing both the Royal Ballet and the influence of Russia on ballet across the ages, combined with the stupendous casting tonight made for a truly magical evening.

 

Hay and Hayward in Month in the Country are probably one of my favourite ballet treasures, Lamb was achingly beautiful in Symphony in C, as was pretty much everyone else.  Joseph Sissons even managed to distract me from watching Muntagirov.

 

I nearly don't want to back to see more performances, so this one doesn't lose its special sheen for me, but it would just feel rude to return my other tickets 😆

 

Edited by John Mallinson
Correction: Symphony in C for Serenade
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, MRR said:

Kaneko replaces Osipova in Symphony in C.

In which I thought she did very well indeed, looking every inch a future principle. 

Firebird: an intriguing, strange ballet but the powerful ending gets me every time. I thought that Yasmine Naghdi was great as the Firebird, demonstrating superb control & command towards the end. Lovely to see Edward Watson back on stage, with Christina Arestis. 

Month: love the ballet, but not wholly convinced tonight for some reason. I’m not sure that Matthew Ball has the length of line or adagio quality of movement for this Dowell roll, although dramatically he was good. Francesca Hayward & James Hay were both a delight, bringing a lightness of touch, speed & flexibility of movement ideal - it seems - for Ashton; the highlight for me. Also lovely to see Romany Pajdak in a soloist roll! 

Symphony in 😄 as I overheard someone say, like the pop of champagne! A great way to end, although perhaps the first two movements were overall stronger than the second two? Vadim Muntagirov was (surprise!) outstanding & I really enjoyed Fumo Kaneko’s debut, actually more than I did seeing Natalia Osipova last time it was performed. Claire Calvert (despite a slight slip on the tricky backwards arabesque hops) & Beatriz Stix-Brunell both luxuriously supporting as soloists. Good to see Cesar Corrales & impressively Joseph Sissens (who has the most beautiful line!) as lead soloists too, although a few heavy landings from these two men. The second movement was a thing of beauty; I think Sarah Lamb really glows in this roll. Alexander Campbell was really great in the third movement; extremely accurate & beautiful, soft landings. Yuhui Choe was very appealing but at times seemed to demonstrate a lack of turn out & extension, especially compared to Anna Rose O’Sullivan. James Hay was again his brilliant, classically refined and virtuoso self in the final moment, partnering Francesca Hayward. While she didn’t do anything wrong, I wasn't convinced she was fully on top of the choreography & she seemed to be struggling a little on the fouettes & some turns towards the end (I think she may be a ‘left’ turner? Which would make this all the more understandable). But a super way to end on a high, with a loud roar from the audience. be

Edited by Ianlond
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I loved A Month in the Country & Symphony in C (somewhat to my surprise, as I usually prefer dancing to have a plot) but didn't enjoy The Firebird as much as I thought I would. Apart from Naghdi as the Firebird, the other main characters seemed to spend more time walking around than really properly dancing. I've heard the Firebird Suite & thought that the best music in it would be for the Firebird herself but no, it didn't turn up until the very last scene & the music before that I didn't find very appealing. I'm glad to have finally seen Watson live & I suppose a relatively physically undemanding role is a good way to come back after injury but it didn't seem to give much scope for his talents. I thought Naghdi was very good.  I must try to find out when the production dates from - some of the costumes I thought rather hideous! I confess that my heart sinks somewhat at the thought that, thanks to the Fonteyn Gala, this is the piece that I'll be seeing not just once but twice more in the next 10 days.

 

I really enjoyed A Month in the Country. Lovely choreography, music, set & costumes. I thought the cast were all excellent. Nunez seemed far more suited to this than Juliet, acting & dancing both so good. Hayward seems to be weightless on stage; even from the front row I couldn't hear the sound of her pointes. Ball partnered both very well. Hay should have been spared that wig but his dancing was great. I love Avis as roue types (see also Col. Middleton).

 

Having enjoyed Firebird less than I'd expected, I enjoyed Symphony in C more. So many amazing dancers. There did seem to be a minor glitch in the 2nd movement but other than that I thought everything looked great, which can't have been easy with the number of cast changes they've had to get round. Kaneko now seems to be down to dance the 1st movement in all 6 performances & pretty much every first soloist apart from those injured or Firebirding looked to be on. I'm glad that my knowledge of technique is nil as I was able to enjoy watching Hamilton as one of the subsidiery couples in the 2nd movement. I know the experts say her classical technique is wanting but to my ignorant eyes she's a lovely dancer.

 

The sheer number of dancers you get to see in triple bills still amazes me. Tonight there were 8 principals over the 3 ballets & that's after losing some to injury. Or, using another method of comparison, 7 Juliets, 3 Romeos & 2 Mercutios! I loved seeing again so many dancers I've seen in the R&J run.

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6 hours ago, balletyas said:

Is Firebird on first tonight? If anyone is there please post on Edward - I won’t be seeing him till next week and am absurdly anxious about tonight’s performance! 

 

I think many of us were eagerly anticipating Ed’s return to the stage having recovered from injury. His role was Ivan Tsarevitch who enters the Magic Garden and encounters the Firebird , beautifully danced in her debut performance by Yasmine Naghdi. Watson’s supportive partnering and characterful acting was confident and assured. The role does not have any solo dancing it is mainly partnering , for the Firebird and then with the Beautiful Tsarevna, danced with much grace by Ed’s friend Christina Arestis . 
The dancing is very stylised and at the end there is a superb set piece showing the wedding of the Tsarevich and Tsarevna. The piece received a huge round of applause and I could see that Ed looked very happy to be back on stage. 

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44 minutes ago, Coated said:

Edited 30 minutes ago by John Mallinson 
Correction: Symphony in C for Serenade

D'oh, guess my brain decided any Balanchine starting with S will do. Thanks for changing it.

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A scintillating evening, luxury casting, and I thought Emmanuel Plasson conjured some magical playing from the orchestra, with Kate Shipway the soloist in Month in the Country.  Very much enjoyed Firebird with Yasmine Naghdi and Ed Watson, with Gary Avis almost stealing the show as Kostchei.  Month is such a gem, beautifully performed, and Symphony in C just fizzes.  Looking forward very much to Friday and chance to get a better perspective from the Balcony Stalls rather than front Stalls and hoping to get a return for next week.  A fabulous way to bring the curtain down on this season.

 

The cast sheet has a 10:30 finish but I think the house lights went up at 10:45.

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Now that's what I call a triple bill! Three brilliant works, contrasting but complementary. And all quite long, so a real evening of riches.

 

The Firebird: a thrilling production, and a stunning début from Yasmine Naghdi. She was strong, fierce, both frightened and frightening, and powerful, with a real sense of 'otherness'. The story is so strange, and not of this world; but the Firebird represents even deeper magic, and her power triumphs. Naghdi's jumps were so high and fast that even near the back of the Amphi I felt a moment of real fear as she leapt towards me. And Edward Watson was a superb Tsarevich; that can be a slightly pallid role, but he made it as strange and dramatic as the Firebird herself. At the end, you really believed this was a Russian prince in his blazingly colourful realm. Gary Avis was a terrifically vivid Kostchei - like an evil, stooped, bright-winged moth who finally disintegrates in the face of the Firebird's greater power.

 

A Month in the Country - a perfect gem, and a perfect vehicle for Marianela Nunez. She was subtle and moving, as was Gary Avis (again) as Rakitin, and Matthew Ball was an excellent Beliaev (even if not quite as poetic in his dancing as was Anthony Dowell).

 

Symphony in C: a magnificent closing ballet. I particularly loved Fumi Kaneko's glamour, Vadim Muntagirov's lightness and speed, Sarah Lamb's dreamy beauty, and Alexander Campbell's brio and pizazz.

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Great to read all the reviews above.
 
Triple bills get hashtaged ‘Mixed’. Which is how I typically feel about them. Tonight was one of the best I’ve seen at the Royal Opera House. Yet only Symphony in C makes me want another ticket. Not just because I am a Balanchine junky. That music and choreography is pure joy and what a showcase for the wealth of talent at this company. 
 
Having never seen Firebird, I was double excited to be there for Yasmine Naghdi’s debut. And she was fantastic, as you’d expect and many have detailed above. Great role for her.
 
I should have done my homework, though, to be prepared that the rest is more folk dance than virtuoso ballet. Edward Watson did some nice partnering and some emoting, however the part doesn’t call for much more. And I know it’s historic design and all, but his costume looked like Santa’s chief elf, not heir to the throne. 
 
Then Mabel and her sisters, I mean the enchanted princesses, come out and spend a lot of time doing a folk dance where the most challenging bit is catching an apple. Quite a few dropped balls there. But a waste of their talent imo, especially casting senior soloists (Stix-Brunell, Calvert, Kaneko) to a group role that corps members would relish. 
 
When the rest of the colourful characters come out I was less bored, but still really just waiting for Yasmine to come back. Which she does to fiercely save the day. I’m very hopeful that we will get her doing her Firebird super hero for the Fonteyn tribute. 
 
Mixed bills do let us see lots of dancers and different pairs. A treat to see Francesca Hayward as Vera get to dance with Matthew Ball. Was reminded of all the discussion around Juliet as a role more suited for a younger dancer. Nunez would never be cast as Vera would she? Not just because it is a smaller part. She’s perfect as Natalia. 
 
Also a treat to see Francesca with James Hay in C. And a joy to see Alex Campbell on stage again in anything 😁
 
 
 
 
 
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I so enjoyed this evening.  Yasmine Naghdi was a fierce, fiery and feisty Firebird, with such effective use of her eyes and those beautiful arms.  As for her jetes....wow!  So high, so precise, so softly landed.  She is a very special artist. 

 

Sadly I had a big argument with someone standing next to me just before Month started, so I was feeling miffed and angry throughout so wasn’t concentrating as much as usual. However, I really liked this cast and how the piece was put across.  I always love Francesca Hayward in Ashton pieces.  She really seems to get it.  A very assured debut from Matthew Ball, wonderful dancing from James Hay, and a suitably nuanced performance from Marianela Nunez.  I do think the company could benefit from dancing more Ashton, but sadly this isn’t really going to happen next season.  

 

Symphony was a joy (what a beautiful debut from Fumi Kaneko, replacing Natalia Osipova.  I can’t wait to see her in Swan Lake- assuming she will get the role!) and by the time it finished I was happy and content again!

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@Sim , what a shame. I hate it when that happens,  especially at a good performance. Ideally all standees could respect the space / boundaries of others. There are some places where I won't stand anymore to avoid potential trouble.

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7 hours ago, Mandy Kent said:

 

I think many of us were eagerly anticipating Ed’s return to the stage having recovered from injury. His role was Ivan Tsarevitch who enters the Magic Garden and encounters the Firebird , beautifully danced in her debut performance by Yasmine Naghdi. Watson’s supportive partnering and characterful acting was confident and assured. The role does not have any solo dancing it is mainly partnering , for the Firebird and then with the Beautiful Tsarevna, danced with much grace by Ed’s friend Christina Arestis . 
The dancing is very stylised and at the end there is a superb set piece showing the wedding of the Tsarevich and Tsarevna. The piece received a huge round of applause and I could see that Ed looked very happy to be back on stage. 

So great to read this about Edward - thank you! 

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13 minutes ago, balletyas said:

So great to read this about Edward - thank you! 

 

Who is Edward?

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18 hours ago, maryrosesatonapin said:

I'm very much looking forward to seeing this on Friday!

 

Me too 🙂

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I think after Johnny Cope's very sad acccident , his first role back was in the Firebird, - (correct me if I'm wrong) so I had a sense of deja vu. Ed Watson was perfect in this role which, though it is not a dancing role as such, does require enormous expressive power if the balllet is to have its effect, especially at the end when his one simple gesture -raising the sceptred arm - speaks volumes- and indeed it did- of right triumphant and order restored ( if only). It was marvellous to see him back, and may we see more of him in future.

Yasmine Naghdi was a beautiful and fiery firebird indeed. Such classical speed and precision- just what is needed.

 

The highlight of the evening though had to be Nunez in A Month in the Country which is a work of genius- of deep and profund genius. I;ve watched it many times on video and it is enthralling to really dwell on the level of detail in the characterisation, the built up motifs, the way the steps fit the music, the movement of characters in and out of the set- and the exquisite expression of love and loss, set off by the innocent observation of Kolia, a boy who can't quite understand what is going on.

Nunez was heartbreaking as Natalia, and Ball a dashing Beliaev ( no he does not -yet?- have Anthony Dowell's line- who does? perhaps Muntagirov and I look forward to his performance again soon).

 

Symphony in C is  ballet heaven every time and the combination of these two ballets is almost too much joy.

 

The company in such great form can do full justice to a ballet that has to be done perfectly- so much timing, symmetry that must be right, speed but also proper restraint. Everyone was good, Fumi Kaneko was ideally regal I thought, Alexander Campbell on top form and so well able to show off the lilting rhythmical fun in the dance,  but Muntagirov was the really sparkling jewel in this lovely piece.

Seeing it once is just not enough....

 

However, Month did remind me yet again that I want very much to see more Ashton: such masterly choreography should not be lying in a vault.

 

 

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I have no idea how the company can perform a bill like this, three long complicated works involving a large number of dancers (and sets, costumes, lighting etc too), with many debuts involved, having been in the thick of R&J for weeks (and still a performance of that to come) whilst also preparing for the Fonteyn gala, the Japan tour including Don Q, Los Angeles including the new McGregor, etc. Literally unbelievable.

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