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Posted (edited)

I wonder .... Has anyone EVER looked human ... let alone good ... in that Kola wig????   I'm beginning to feel really sorry for these poor chaps.  First they have to dance the role of someone who is supposed to be seven (not an easy task) ... and then they are lumbered with that bale of straw on their heads.  A challenge indeed - and that's before they dance a step .... and it is, of course, Ashton's magnificent steps that provide everyone joy ... and certainly separate the men from the boys :)   There was no question but that Hay (no pun intended) dazzled!!

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Can't really see why a wig is necessary. Given that dancers in this role are generally young and have perfectly good hair it would seem better to discard the wig. There's no way any dancer can look like a 7 year old boy even with the addition of just about the ugliest wig ever seen, so why bother? 

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On 08/06/2019 at 10:52, Jamesrhblack said:

Thanks for this. I’d even bought a programme but there was no cast change flyer with the cast list ...

I also bought a programme but the flyer wasn’t with it! I obtained it only because in the first interval I went to the stall where the programmes were sold and asked for one. The seller had none, but a lady drinking wine at a nearby table heard us and said I could have hers. I have no idea what magic she had worked to get it, but I said thank you and took it! 

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1 hour ago, AnneL said:

I also bought a programme but the flyer wasn’t with it! I obtained it only because in the first interval I went to the stall where the programmes were sold and asked for one. The seller had none, but a lady drinking wine at a nearby table heard us and said I could have hers. I have no idea what magic she had worked to get it, but I said thank you and took it! 

 

I was trying to write the changes, which were displayed at the programme selling point on the ground floor, on my cast sheet, and was getting in everyone's way. So I started fumbling to get my phone out and take a photo, but it then occurred to me to ask the seller if she had any slips, and she produced one with a flourish. Why on earth could she not have given me one, when she saw I was both a) seriously interested and b) getting in the way of other patrons??

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In the next run of Month, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant future, I would love to see David Yudes as Kolya (hopefully sans wig!).

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56 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

I was trying to write the changes, which were displayed at the programme selling point on the ground floor, on my cast sheet, and was getting in everyone's way. So I started fumbling to get my phone out and take a photo, but it then occurred to me to ask the seller if she had any slips, and she produced one with a flourish. Why on earth could she not have given me one, when she saw I was both a) seriously interested and b) getting in the way of other patrons??

 

I was looking at the changes beforehand when it was pretty quiet and was offered a cast change slip without my asking which I took with thanks - perhaps I looked as if I was struggling? 

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25 minutes ago, Sim said:

In the next run of Month, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant future, I would love to see David Yudes as Kolya (hopefully sans wig!).

 

And I’d love to see Laura Morera as Natalia.

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11 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

I was looking at the changes beforehand when it was pretty quiet and was offered a cast change slip without my asking which I took with thanks - perhaps I looked as if I was struggling? 

 

Well I must have looked as if I was struggling/getting in the way. I think you must just have had a more sensible programme seller.

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47 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

And I’d love to see Laura Morera as Natalia.

 

she would be perfect!

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56 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

And I’d love to see Laura Morera as Natalia.

 

And the fact that she never been cast is inexplicable.

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4 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

Can't really see why a wig is necessary. Given that dancers in this role are generally young and have perfectly good hair it would seem better to discard the wig. There's no way any dancer can look like a 7 year old boy even with the addition of just about the ugliest wig ever seen, so why bother? 

 

The wigs are surely less bad than they used to be - didn't they use to be the same artificially golden colour as Matvei's?  These at least looked slightly more believable, especially on the darker-skinned dancers.

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23 hours ago, Don Q Fan said:

Wonderful photos! Much better than my attempts with my phone 😂

I really enjoyed the matinée on Friday and it was a day of firsts for me which made it special.

It was my first time sitting in the Donald Gordon tier after having sat in every other section of the ROH over the years. It was my first time seeing the company live this year - I was afraid that jet lag and the 13 hours of travel the day before would mean I’d fall asleep during the performance. It was also My first time ever saying hello to a dancer I admire - Leanne Benjamin was sitting in the same row and I couldn’t help myself when passing by after an interval. Lastly, it was my first time seeing David Hallberg dance although I’ve always wanted to.

I enjoyed Hallberg and Natalia Osipova in A Month in the Country. I did think however,  that he sure made the role look like hard work. It’s been a while since I last saw the piece performed but I do remember dancers like Rupert Pennefather seeming less harried - minor quibble though.

I could feel that Mayara Magri’s Firebird wanted to be free and was doing all she could to free herself from the pesky Ivan. The elevation on her jumps was impressive.

Bravo to Fumi Kaneko for not getting rattled after the slip of her shoe at the beginning of Symphony in C. Bravo to Joseph Sissens for just being a joy to watch. I did think that the 2nd movement was a bit slower than it needed to be but it could’ve been jet lag attacking my senses. It was a lovely performance and even more so as some dancers seemed to have got the better of their reported struggles.

 

I am quite excited about seeing the company in Tokyo later this month!

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I saw this last Wednesday with Osipova in A Month in the Country. I really enjoyed it although it was different to the kind of ballets I’ve seen before — my first Ashton. Hallberg and Natalia were great! I also enjoyed some of the Firebird which preceded it. But I left after the second interval when the curtain calls for David and Natalia died down because I had a train to catch. I made a night of it though as I dined in the splendid Paul Hamlyn Balconies Restaurant beforehand. A memorable night. Osipova and Hallberg make a great couple!

 

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Posted (edited)

Also attended last Wednesday:

 

Mendizabal as Firebird made a strong impression in the opening solo with big, twitching eyes and an exaggerated epaulement.  Her arms were fluttering and birdlike, but her positions went unfinished in the pas and she lacked the authority of Naghdi on opening night, particularly in the scene with Koschei.  Nonetheless Firebird is one of her better roles and one to which she is suited.  Much to my surprise Kish made a stronger impression than Watson as Prince Ivan.  Perhaps his added stature helped visualize the story more, but I found him utterly convincing in his fascination with the Firebird, love for the Tsarevna, and fear of Koschei.  Alas, in his most climactic part of the ballet he succumbed to the egg, which decided to split in half well before he was supposed to drop it.  Perhaps his days as a prince in the classics are gone but I second the proposal for him as a permanent Character Artist: he has a natural, unforced stage presence and remains a fine partner.  Claire Calvert normally doesn't do much for me beyond her gloriously arched feet, but she was radiant and romantic as the Tsarevna, and technically strong later in "Symphony in C."  A great night for her.  Chris Saunders's Koschei was considerably muted compared to Gary Avis the night before.

 

As for Osipova/Hallberg in "Month," I am torn.  Technically, Osipova didn't impress to the extent of Nunez in the first solo, with the epaulement and precise footwork sort of washed over. There was also some suspension of belief that Osipova's Natalia was much older and wiser than Hallberg's Beliaev: artistically the two seemed on the same plane.  However, this was the most introspective and restrained Osipova I've seen, with the sadness and melancholy of Natalia completely captured especially in her closing walk downstage.  Nunez was more a Grande Dame of the household; Osipova a lost soul.  I found both approaches fascinating, with Osipova's Natalia becoming more vivid in the days after than immediately in the theater.  Hallberg has unmistakable deportment -- he runs onstage as if he were above water -- and the sculptural purity of his work was in a far away league from Ball the night before.  Where he suffered in comparison were the security of pirouettes, his partnering (in particular with Vera and Katia, with whom he seemed to forget a couple steps), and his character's sense of naivety.  Throughout the evening I didn't see him so much as Beliaev but as David Hallberg.  He did achieve a kind of cosmic connection with Osipova in the final pas, but the Nunez/Ball partnership rang truer to the story for me, as did their interactions among the ensemble.  Meagan Grace Hinkis as Vera and Luca Acri as Kolia were good if not to the level of their first cast counterparts.

 

In certain ways "Symphony in C" looked more sure-footed the second night.  With her diamond cut positions and lines, Fumi Kaneko is ideally cast for first movement and danced even freer Wednesday, reveling in the nuances of Bizet and Balanchine.  I'm very envious of those who will see her Aurora.  Nunez had a rather extravagant, dramatic presentation to second movement with Hirano as her stalwart partner.  Her abandonment, complete security of technique, and ability to make every step fresh and alive were impressive as was her final balance in arabesque which luxuriated forever.  As I mentioned upthread, Campbell seemed more subtle in third movement, and the last partnered arabesque with Choe (faulty on opening night) was perfect Wednesday.  Naghdi was rock-solid in fourth movement with no problems navigating the numerous pirouettes which were a bit of a white-knuckle ride with Hayward.  Other mentions: first movement had some luxury casting with Cesar Corrales impressive for his long arabesque and textbook entrechat six.  I would love to see him as first movement principal.  Claire Calvert and Beatriz Stix-Brunell were dynamic as the two ladies and Joseph Sissens held his own against the high technical standard of Muntagirov and Corrales.  Muntagirov was gallant and impeccable as always.....until fourth movement where he missed an entrance.  He is human, after all.  

 

Edited by MRR
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Posted (edited)
On 08/06/2019 at 05:39, LinMM said:

No it was Denise Nunn .....original cast I mean ...sorry video may not be original cast of course. The other night was trying to remember with another Balletco member who the original Vera was! 

 

In the video, it's Denise Nunn too, not Julie Rose.

 

The video below shows the cast in Geoff's video.

https://youtu.be/DqWSu5ij1Bw?t=19

Sorry, I can't seem to embed the video.

Edited by saki
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Have finally watched this video so wonderful to see Seymour and Dowell in this!! This video only gives three three main soloists names unfortunately not all of them as far as I can see but definitely looks like Denise Nunn!! 

I was just wondering what makes Seymour such an almost unmatchable dancer .....in Ashton anyway. I think it's the final use of the head in the upper back movements throughout all the choreography ....there's a letting go of the head that you don't often see so much....but also her beautiful phrasing especially in this with Dowell ....as well as exquisite feet( just a minor detail!) 

so glad this is available for all to see so Thankyou Geoff for posting.....just gearing up for Wednesday 's performance now and not seen Cuthbertson or Muntagirov in these roles but expecting good things!

 

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Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the The Firebird, A Month in the Country and Symphony in C photocall...


48030695221_1f305099d3_c.jpg
Itziar Mendizabal in The Firebird
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
 
48030719066_f20ecf84f8_c.jpg
Marianela Nuñez and Matthew Ball in A Month in the Country
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
 
48030777463_b00f8e3830_c.jpg
Sarah Lamb and Nicol Edmonds in Symphony in C
© Foteini Christofilopoulou/ROH. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
 
See more...
Foteini Christofilopoulou: Royal Ballet in The Firebird, A Month in the Country and Symphony in C
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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A few late thoughts about last Friday’s matinee before this evening’s performance.  I very much enjoyed the matinee and it was good to see the Triple Bill from the Balcony Stalls, particularly Firebird and Symphony in C.  

 

As regards Month, I loved Osipova and Kish but was not as taken with some of the others. Osipova suggested real pathos at the end.  I found Hallberg ok but I thought he struggled lifting Vera, and I don’t think he was ‘acting’ the struggle.  I prefer Beliaev to have some feeling for Vera and for it not just to be Vera’s infatuation - and I don’t want Vera to come across as simply besotted as surely we want to feel some sympathy for her position.  I thought Acri good but Hay better.  I did like Bhavnani’s Maid but I found Howells pretty nondescript.  I’m afraid Hinkis seems to me to be putting in so much effort it rather gets in the way of the performance.  I always feel she’s in danger of getting behind whereas some dancers are so clearly on the beat if not that fraction of a second ahead which gives the impression of lightness, never rushing and driving the performance.  

 

Symphony in C was good.  I may well be wrong as I certainly never look at the times but I did think the tempi a bit slower than on opening night and thought certainly the first movement could have had more panache.  It was a shame about Kaneko’s first opening but she recovered well and she’s a real gem.  Sissens was excellent and I thought Corrales better than on opening night.  Ball isn’t Muntagirov but no one is.  I liked the second movement and I was very impressed with Campbell in the third movement - Choe seemed somewhat earthbound in comparison.  O’Sullivan seemed so much more naturally on the beat than Hinkis.  I really enjoyed the fourth movement which seemed to have a real zip to it and more relaxed (if that’s possible) than on the opening night.

 

As regards comments about the lack of synopses, I’ve put something on the ROH website lauding the Triple Bill but bemoaning the lack of printed (or accessible) synopses on either the Cast Sheet or Programme - not very ‘Open Up’.  I also noticed that there was a similar comment and I do hope the ROH takes note.

 

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Loved Naghdi’s firebird tonight. This production really emanates the golden age of Russian ballet- the music, the style, the wonderful wedding scene at the end which is so powerful and of course the beautiful backcloth in the finale.

 

Month in the Country was wonderful to see again, got so much more from the story with Cuthbertson as Petrovna. Realised that she only wanted the attention of Belaiev and not Ratikin and her emotions were very clear. David Yudes was the star of the show though as Koloa. Anna Rose Sullivan was a lovely Vera, role really suited her. Love the sets and the music, the wonderful Ashton port de bras, the oh so obvious ‘Fred step’ (minus the pas de chat?) and the wonderful Ashton comedy. Still trying to work out why I don’t get Vadim and I wish I did. I don’t think this was really his role and much preferred Ball’s interpretation who came across as a complete womaniser! 

 

Symphony in C was star studded again- a real celebration of RB talent. A delight to see Gasparini as always and some of the other more junior dancers taking the soloist roles. Fumi Kaneko was outstanding- would love to see her promoted at the end of this season. Great partnership with Matthew Ball. Someone seems to have replaced Meaghan Grace Hinkis tonight but I didn’t see any cast changed. Can anyone shed any light?

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On 09/06/2019 at 16:51, Sim said:

In the next run of Month, which I hope will be in the not-too-distant future, I would love to see David Yudes as Kolya (hopefully sans wig!).

 

On 09/06/2019 at 17:19, JohnS said:

 

And I’d love to see Laura Morera as Natalia.

 

Well Sim had her wish come true with David Yudes as a spectacular Kolia (even with the wig).  We’ll have to wait for the next run for any chance of Laura Morera’s Natalia but I did enjoy Lauren Cuthbertson.  At first I thought there was just a sense that her Natalia might be heading for the sherry a little too frequently but her portrayal of boredom and the excitement offered by Beliaev was wonderful to see.  The final moments, discarding Beliaev’s flower and the slow walk towards the front, were achingly poignant.  And a fabulous cast.  Vadim Muntagirov danced wonderfully and brought much more to the role, delighting in flirting with Katia (Lara Turk) and, having checked either that he couldn’t escape or that no one was coming, I thought he showed a real tenderness for Vera.  But of course his heart was broken by Natalia and he left the Yslaev country estate sadder but much wiser.  I found Anna-Rose O’Sullivan’s Vera delightful, a sparkling debut, and her dancing with Vadim Muntagirov was exquisite.

 

Firebird of course was first with fabulous, utterly compelling performances from Yasmine Naghdi and Gary Avis.  Symphony in C really fizzed for me.  Joseph Sissens again standing out in the first movement, I loved Sarah Lamb’s second movement, great to see Mayara Magri and Marcelino Sambé in the third movement, and Francesca Hayward and James Hay scintillating in the fourth movement.

 

This Triple Bill has provided a really fitting end to a fabulous season, sadly my last performance.  So congratulations and many thanks to the Royal Ballet and looking forward to October.

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Blossom said:

Someone seems to have replaced Meaghan Grace Hinkis tonight but I didn’t see any cast changed. Can anyone shed any light?

 

Chisato Katsura replaced Hinkis in 3rd movement

Kevin Emerton replaced Dyer in 4th movement

Edited by Saodan

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5 hours ago, Saodan said:

 

Chisato Katsura replaced Hinkis in 3rd movement

Kevin Emerton replaced Dyer in 4th movement

Thank you!

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7 hours ago, Blossom said:

Still trying to work out why I don’t get Vadim and I wish I did. I don’t think this was really his role and much preferred Ball’s interpretation who came across as a complete womaniser! 

 

I have seen all 3 casts now, and last night was by far the most accomplished  performance  of Month for me. I was mesmerised and truly moved by the sheer beauty of Cuthbertson and Muntagirov's dancing and their interpretations. I really do think this is his role, and very much not Ball's or Hallberg's in comparison. He danced the first solo as well as Baryshnikov, who is probably the only other dancer I personally have seen to have equalled Dowell for the seamless quality of movement  that the steps demand. There was so much light and shade in his performance, drawing out all the inner turmoil  and impulsiveness in the character through his dancing. In other ballets, I have often  found Vadim not entirely convincing dramatically, but here I thought he acted well - his portrayal was subtle and thoughtful,  and he was perfectly matched by Cuthbertson: her portrayal was elegant, nuanced  and under-stated but there was no doubt that under her sophisticated demeanour very powerful feelings were stirred. I thought she danced beautifully - her footwork and port de bras especially fine.  This is a partnership I would like to see more often. Conversely, I thought Nunez had danced well but her portrayal  was just too obvious and melodramatic  for me. Osipova was - I thought - surprisingly muted; in the performance I saw last Friday the central pdd with Hallberg was well danced by both of them, but I felt he - like Ball - was very ill at ease with  the demands of the choreography.  I hope we will not have to wait so long to see the ballet again: it is a masterpiece and I never tire of seeing it.

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Actually, I don't think that Beliaev is meant to be a womaniser. A dancer who essayed the role some years ago told me that he needs to 'arrive' somewhat tentatively in terms of his relationships with the family and grow in confidence as he realises his attractiveness to the women in the household and 'responds' to that.

I thought that Muntagirov captured the character and nailed the very difficult choreography in spades last night. He was a believable young tutor and, as with Dowell, Baryshnikov, Putrov,  Cope, Sansom and Pennyfather (among others) before him, it felt as if he was born to dance Beliaev.

I also found Cuthbertson's characterisation very well drawn and both Anna Rose O'Sullivan and David Yudes a delight.

 

Wasn't it extraordinary that Naghdi could come off her searing Juliet on Tuesday and embody The Firebird so thrillingly last night (less than 24 hours later)?

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Last night was wonderful and I loved Cuthbertson and Muntagirov's interpretation the most out of all the casts. They were very moving.

For Naghdi to dance the role of Juliet as well as The Firebird within the space of 24 hours is a real tour de force, not only physically very demanding but also to have to perform two such very different roles one right after the other. Her beautiful Juliet was still so fresh in my mind and it felt a bit surreal to see her so soon after as an avian mythical creature. 

Symphony in C is always beautiful to watch.

The dancers must be near exhaustion, they have all been amazing, such a long R&J run, followed by this magnificent Triple Bill.

I wish them all much success in Japan, and thereafter a well-deserved rest. What an amazing season this has been for the RB! 

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I watched the Dowell, Seymour recording on Tuesday before seeing last night's performance and my first reaction was this would be a great role for Vadim and in my opinion it was. I thought he was terrific, a beautifully nuanced performance and Laura Cuthbertson was splendid too as Natalie as was David Yudes as Kolia. However I think the main star of the show was Frederick Ashton. I am constantly in awe of how this man can take a complicated story and distill it into the most beautiful one act ballet that can be followed so easily without needing involved programme notes : sheer genius!

After Month in the Country Symphony in C made the perfect finish to a wonderful evening. The casting and dancing were truly awesome. It's a while since I'd seen it and I forgot how much it fizzed along. Looking forward to seeing it all again tonight though am still very cross it wasn't filmed. Such fabulous performances should be captured for ever. 

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Something of a tangent, I know, but seeing Firebird again kindled some old memories. Does anyone recall seeing Dance Theatre of Harlem's production of the Firebird which came to the Coliseum sometime in the 80's (I think).  It was very striking. I think the dancer playing the Firebird descended on wires to preside over the final tableau.  Does anyone remember this ? 

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1 hour ago, jmhopton said:

the main star of the show was Frederick Ashton

 

Indeed.

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Sounds as though I was the only one who found that last night's Month didn't quite work for me, then, I can't quite put my finger on why. I have noticed from all 3 casts, though, that the humour of the "lost keys" segment is a bit lacking - the timing could be sharper, I think.

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I saw Jonathan Howells and thought him very funny, but I fear I was also laughing at myself, I am forever fumbling with keys!

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