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She had forgotten to position them so that they fell down her back - they were still tucked over her elbows, which would have meant some rather unromantic fumbling for Vadim to reach them! I thought the kissing of her hem actually worked just as well, so anyone who didn’t know what was supposed to happen wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss.

 

Apologies in advance as I saw the bill two nights running - unusual for me - so I may ramble on a bit! I’ll try to keep it brief.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed the performances on both nights, and what a fantastic triple bill. I’m so glad I splashed out and saw it twice. I think that was a benefit particularly for the Firebird. After the first night I wasn’t entirely sure about it as a ballet but a second night’s viewing enabled me to digest it a bit more, and I decided that I do like it. It’s certainly beautiful to look at. I loved both Magri and Mendizabal’s performances. Magri’s dancing perhaps had the edge, and she was a softer Firebird. However, on balance I preferred Mendizabal - her eyes and face are so expressive and she really commanded the stage.

 

A pity, really, that the Tsarevitch has so little to do by way of dancing, given that it was Kish’s last performance, but he partnered and acted well, and I was glad Kevin O’Hare came onstage to give him a fitting sendoff. I was in the front row and Kish had to wipe away the odd tear, and Mrs Kish also looked very emotional. He got a warm and enthusiastic response from the audience.

 

As soon as I had seen A Month in the Country on the first night (Nunez/Ball) I decided that it had become one of my favourite ballets. Ashton really was a genius - taking the story and telling it so charmingly and so movingly with such beautiful and expressive choreography. I really enjoyed their performance. I think Ball must have been reading the comments on here because he didn’t play Beliaev as a womaniser at all, and I enjoyed his performance, and Nunez was - well, Nunez - she never puts in a bad performance and her dancing was beautiful. Hay and Hayward were charming as Kolia and Vera (but god, I wish they would burn the awful yellow fright wig that they insist on making Kolia wear!).

 

However, for me the cast last night eclipsed that one. I loved Cuthbertson’s portrayal and her softer, more Ashtonian dancing. And I knew that this would be a perfect role for Muntagirov, and it was. His dancing - especially that first solo - was sublime - fluid, full of feeling and of course technically perfect and with those beautifully pointed feet (something that some Male dancers allow to slip all too often). But more than that, his characterisation was just so moving and so delightful, from the first scenes of him having fun with the family, to the emotionally charged ones later on as his situation becomes ever more complicated and his feelings for Natalia sweep him away. I had a lump in my throat. Whoever said he danced Ashton with a Russian soul hit the nail in the head. There is something so special about Vadim that goes beyond his wonderful dancing and is more just about something inside him. A very rare artist. Anyway, the smile on Sir Anthony Dowell’s face in the photo above says it all! He looks very happy with the performance!

 

I agree with you, Sim, that Vadim and Anna Rose would make a lovely Lensky and Olga. I think I preferred her performance to Hayward’s (although there wasn’t much between them), and I was also impressed by David Yudes.

 

And of course, Symphony in C is just such a firecracker of a finale! Brilliant performances all round but if I had to single any out - Kaneko, Muntagirov, Sissens, Lamb (with excellent support from Edmonds), Sambe and Magri - last night Magri looked as though she was having an absolute ball onstage!

 

A fantastic end to the season - how will I get through the summer?? And sorry - I did ramble on!

 

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19 minutes ago, Balletfanp said:

However, for me the cast last night eclipsed that one. I loved Cuthbertson’s portrayal and her softer, more Ashtonian dancing. And I knew that this would be a perfect role for Muntagirov, and it was. His dancing - especially that first solo - was sublime - fluid, full of feeling and of course technically perfect and with those beautifully pointed feet (something that some Male dancers allow to slip all too often). But more than that, his characterisation was just so moving and so delightful, from the first scenes of him having fun with the family, to the emotionally charged ones later on as his situation becomes ever more complicated and his feelings for Natalia sweep him away. I had a lump in my throat. Whoever said he danced Ashton with a Russian soul hit the nail in the head. There is something so special about Vadim that goes beyond his wonderful dancing and is more just about something inside him. A very rare artist. Anyway, the smile on Sir Anthony Dowell’s face in the photo above says it all! He looks very happy with the performance!

 

Completely agree with this, Balletfanp. Muntagirov made his first solo so expressive - full of discontent. yearning and loneliness - that I then understood what happened subsequently. In his way he was as lost as Natalia at the beginning of the ballet, and first found release in fun and lightheartedness (for him) with Vera and Katia and then more significantly and unexpectedly with Natalia. They each see something of themselves in the other. But it's not a situation that can be allowed to develop, for any of them. A bit like a Russian Brief Encounter, I suppose. With Kolia whirring and spinning through the ballet as a symbol of the turmoil shaking the household and its residents.

 

The more I see of Month in the Country, the more brilliant I think it is.

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I forgot to add a special mention to Kate Shipway, the pianist for Month. Superb playing!

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I missed the Magri Firebird cast.  Can someone please tell me who was Kostchei and the Tsarevna?

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, alison said:

I missed the Magri Firebird cast.  Can someone please tell me who was Kostchei and the Tsarevna?

 

Marriott and Crawford. For some reason he wore his hunch back bump on his stomach

 

ab1

 

Edited by Rob S

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5 minutes ago, Rob S said:

 

Marriott and Crawford

Think it was Calvert on the Friday matinee? 

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17 minutes ago, Rob S said:

Marriott and Crawford. For some reason he wore his hunch back bump on his stomach

 

 

I read/heard Gary Avis saying that he wears the hunch back but not the pot belly. So it seems they have a choice as to which of these to wear (or both).

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15 minutes ago, RHowarth said:

Think it was Calvert on the Friday matinee? 

 

No, that was Crawford too.

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8 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

I read/heard Gary Avis saying that he wears the hunch back but not the pot belly. So it seems they have a choice as to which of these to wear (or both).

 

Oh ok...Christopher Saunders didn't wear the belly either. Looking at a different pic I see Marriott did have a hunch back too

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Was there with husband last night. We loved the Firebird - the music, costumes and dance. Thrilling and so glad that Kish’ retirement was properly marked. 

 

it was the first time my husband has seen Month and he liked it least. We both admired the dancers- Anna Rose O Sullivan was charming and very fleet of foot. Muntagirov was a bit of a lad - flirting with all the ladies! Cuthbertson very moving. It felt more Edwardian England than Russia to me.

 

we both loved Symphony in C - terrific but I thought Magri was not the right match for Sambé- his jumps were so light.

 

great end to the season and the company is full of talented dancers at all levels right now- lucky us!

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7 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

I was in the front row

 

May I ask if you were on the far right side? I was in B28 & the two ladies sitting in front of me were from their conversations evidently very knowledgable regulars so I'm now wondering if you were one of them.

 

While watching Muntagirov last night I was thinking about the comments on here as to whether the character is a womaniser or not & thought his in his interpretation definitely not. He comes over as far too nice! Which had me thinking: has he ever played any vilainous or unpleasant characters? I can't imagine him doing so.

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2 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

No, that was Crawford too.

Need my eyes testing, thank you! Lovely she was too. 

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1 hour ago, Dawnstar said:

 

May I ask if you were on the far right side? I was in B28 & the two ladies sitting in front of me were from their conversations evidently very knowledgable regulars so I'm now wondering if you were one of them.

 

 

No, it wasn’t me, but as a friend of mine was in A28 I do know who it was! And I wouldn’t say I was especially knowledgeable myself anyway 🙂 A shame I didn’t know you were there, I would have said hello!

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14 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

 

No, it wasn’t me, but as a friend of mine was in A28 I do know who it was! And I wouldn’t say I was especially knowledgeable myself anyway 🙂 A shame I didn’t know you were there, I would have said hello!

 

Please thank your friend for not being too tall so I got a nice unobstructed view of the stage!

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Yes that cast of Month was the one I slightly preferred ( though on the Wednesday night) largely due to Muntagirov ...he was an absolute delight in this role and Cuthbertson was just right ....just about the right amount of pathos ....their duet with those bourrees down the stage was extremely beautiful and very  moving. And when he was forced to leave you felt that pang that everyone was going through especially poor Kolya and wanted to drag him back!  

All the other roles were good including O Sullivan as Vera though I still like Hayward very much in this role and also liked equally Yudes and Hay in their roles. I hope they will do Month again in the year after next.

Naghdi and Watson were really good in Firebird again this was the same cast as the previous week .....the only thing that didn't quite work that evening was the magic power " egg" breaking...it just seemed to bounce ....but didn't spoil things too much! 

Symphony in C which looks hellishly difficult to dance was looking pretty strong and really good all round with Sarah Lamb and Magri being particularly good technically and Joseph Sissens standing out for me in particular from the men his technique is so clean and classically pure I'm always drawn to watch him in pure dancing type roles. He certainly held his own against Corrales in this piece. 

However in the end Ballanchine often leaves me a bit cold ....though I always enjoy watching this  work I just can't get really excited about it and feel the same about Jewels too.. ....though for some friends this is one of their favourite pieces!! 

This was a terrific triple though and now can't wait for the triple with Enigma and Concerto  in next season. 

 

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Have just been reading backwards on this thread and just like to say Thankyou Capybara for that lovely photo of Muntagirov and Anthony

Dowell. 

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On 13/06/2019 at 21:51, Geoff said:

 

At the risk of repeating myself, maybe take a look at the YouTube recording I posted earlier (see https://www.balletcoforum.com/topic/20401-the-royal-ballet-firebird-triple-bill-june-2019/?do=findComment&comment=286956 ) Imho this section of the old recording is funnier because it is so much faster (so there is less of the now-we-dancers-are-doing-something-funny style we have been seeing this run: it is impossible to be mannered when going as fast as they were in the 1970s).

 

If the differences in tempo are linked to who is conducting; whether today's casts are not as versed in Cecchetti as in the old days; or a grumpy Sir Fred got everyone to go as quick as possible, I leave to experts to say.

 

 

 

Thanks, @Geoff , for posting the link to the old recording of ‘Month’.

And what a fascinating watch it was! It compares very favourably across the board with any of the three performances I saw in this current run; in fact, in some respects it seemed slightly better.

About the only facet that I felt was below par compared to now was the role of Vera – it didn’t seem as sharply performed in places, for example where Vera charges around the stage ‘kicking out’ at Natalia.


Perhaps the most impressive aspects is the sheer pace at which the action unfolds. I’m a bit of an inveterate clock-watcher, and I often make a mental note of lights down to curtain down. It’s been over a week now, but I’m pretty sure that Month came in at around 42 (the answer to a very famous question, which is why it stuck in my mind!).

The old recording is under 40 mins. That’s roughly the difference between someone doing 30 instead of 32 fouettés which, I reckon, is definitely noticeable. To sustain that seemingly small increase over the whole performance is quite a feat of footwork and timing. And, yes, this ‘Italian’ version does look speeded up in places, so much so that I dug out on old, never watched, sub-VHS standard recording of the same performance (with English credits) for comparison – and they are the same.


The comic aspects certainly benefit from the increased tempo, and are crisper in their execution as a result (and by necessity). There is a little bit of physical, silent-era movie comedy about it; and everything had more of an ‘everything happening in parallel’ feel to it than I remember from the recent run. Comedy is all about timing, and physical comedy adds speed and risk to that equation; it becomes more difficult to execute, but more rewarding when it works out - as it does here.


Graham Fletcher’s Kolia was a complete bundle of youthful energy. His incredible technique in some of the spins and jumps made me think that some of his more ‘ragged’ moves were there to reflect the character he was playing rather than anything else.


Others have drawn attention to Lynn Seymour’s upper body, but I was mesmerised by her feet. The way they fluttered and stuttered and flitted across the stage in those tiny, tiny steps spoke volumes of her inner feelings during those PDD with Beliaev. 


What a fabulous set of ballet dancing, acting and comic skills were on display in this compact, concentrated, filler-free, non-stop roller-coaster ride of a tragicomedy.

 

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Was it just my imagination or,  as Beliaev,  did Ball wear stripey trousers and Hallberg wear chequered trousers? I always remember the stripey version from previous casts. 

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Beliaev arrives in check trousers and changes into striped ones. Dame Monica Mason was asked why at an Insight many years ago and her answer was something to do with travelling - but I couldn't work that one out!

 

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On 16/06/2019 at 13:08, Dawnstar said:

 

Please thank your friend for not being too tall so I got a nice unobstructed view of the stage!

Thank someone for something they cannot change???? Why??? If they had been taller it still would not be their fault if your view was not perfect. Can't help your height. Now hats and mad hairstyles now that's another story....

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19 minutes ago, jules_skichick said:

Thank someone for something they cannot change???? Why??? If they had been taller it still would not be their fault if your view was not perfect. Can't help your height. Now hats and mad hairstyles now that's another story....

 

I think Dawnstar was joking...

 

But yes, it's extremely aggravating to sit behind someone with a bouffant hairdo of some kind (especially if they're tall to start with!).

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

 

I think Dawnstar was joking...

 

But yes, it's extremely aggravating to sit behind someone with a bouffant hairdo of some kind (especially if they're tall to start with!).

As a tall lady ( not as tall as some men I know) I often feel I should hunch down a bit if there are shorter people behind me. Its the fault of raking. Everyone gets a much better view looking down from one of the circles...Last night at the theatre in the stalls,a very tall man directly in front of me obscured much of the first half of Rosmerholm.. went upstairs for act 2. much better view !

Cant expect the theatres to sell tickets in height order can we ! ;)

 

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12 minutes ago, Mandy Kent said:

As a tall lady ( not as tall as some men I know) I often feel I should hunch down a bit if there are shorter people behind me. Its the fault of raking. Everyone gets a much better view looking down from one of the circles...Last night at the theatre in the stalls,a very tall man directly in front of me obscured much of the first half of Rosmerholm.. went upstairs for act 2. much better view !

Cant expect the theatres to sell tickets in height order can we ! ;)

 

 

I think the 2nd circle of Sadler’s Wells is also quite bad for this - from memory, the rows aren’t offset, so you are directly behind the head of the person in front and due to the high-ish viewpoint the rake isn’t enough to mitigate the impact of a tall person. This isn’t the tall person’s fault of course, just a poor bit of planning by SW.

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15 hours ago, capybara said:

Beliaev arrives in check trousers and changes into striped ones. Dame Monica Mason was asked why at an Insight many years ago and her answer was something to do with travelling - but I couldn't work that one out!

 

It’s curious that Rakitin’s jacket seem to be made from the same loud check fabric used for Beliaev’s (first) trousers.

The most prosaic explanation is that the costume department got a job lot from the local market, but the conspiracy theorist in me wants it to be deliberate and meaningful. 

Is Ashton hinting that Natalia’s ideal man is part-Beliaev and part-Rakitin?

You could combine the trousers and jacket to make a two-piece suit; could you similarly combine the two men to make a two-piece suitor? 🙄
 

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16 minutes ago, Nogoat said:

 

It’s curious that Rakitin’s jacket seem to be made from the same loud check fabric used for Beliaev’s (first) trousers.

The most prosaic explanation is that the costume department got a job lot from the local market, but the conspiracy theorist in me wants it to be deliberate and meaningful. 

Is Ashton hinting that Natalia’s ideal man is part-Beliaev and part-Rakitin?

You could combine the trousers and jacket to make a two-piece suit; could you similarly combine the two men to make a two-piece suitor? 🙄
 

 

I do love this forum. 😍

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6 hours ago, jules_skichick said:

Thank someone for something they cannot change???? Why??? If they had been taller it still would not be their fault if your view was not perfect. Can't help your height. Now hats and mad hairstyles now that's another story....

 

I'm very sorry, I didn't intend to annoy anyone with my remark. It was just meant to be a facetious aside. I'm afraid I can't remove it myself now but if I've contravened any forum rules on mentioning personal appearance perhaps a moderator could remove it?

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7 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I'm very sorry, I didn't intend to annoy anyone with my remark. It was just meant to be a facetious aside. I'm afraid I can't remove it myself now but if I've contravened any forum rules on mentioning personal appearance perhaps a moderator could remove it?

 

I can’t see why your jokey remark should have offended anyone. Please don’t feel bad about it. 🙂

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55 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I'm very sorry, I didn't intend to annoy anyone with my remark. It was just meant to be a facetious aside. I'm afraid I can't remove it myself now but if I've contravened any forum rules on mentioning personal appearance perhaps a moderator could remove it?

You haven’t contravened any rules Dawnstar, nor is there anything offensive in your post.  I think most people could see it was a joke.  Joking is a risky business these days....

 

Please don’t worry about it. 

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1 hour ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I'm very sorry, I didn't intend to annoy anyone with my remark. It was just meant to be a facetious aside. I'm afraid I can't remove it myself now but if I've contravened any forum rules on mentioning personal appearance perhaps a moderator could remove it?

 

I must admit to having a giggle when I read your post.  If someone I know is sitting in front of me I usually ask them to keep their heads down (in a jokey way of course!)!

 

A young man who worked with me for a few months was 6'10" tall and he said he would always get a seat at the back so as not to impede other people.  The thing was he didn't look that tall sitting down - he was all legs!

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