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2 hours ago, JNC said:

I know it's a job and it must be a sacrifice on some level to not have your evenings free like others but at the same time, but what a great job! 

 

I feel that the main downside of being a critic is having to see everything that comes under whatever genre of artform you review. Even if they know from experience that a performance is going to do nothing for them then they'd still have to suffer it. Whereas the rest of us can not go or leave in the interval!

 

I've decided to give this evening a go. On a train to London accompanied by water, Werther's Originals, loads of hankies, a scarf, and very high anxiety levels!

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Don't be anxious, Dawnstar, that will make things a lot worse.  If you think you're going to cough, you will!!  Just put it out of your mind, and feel better.  Do say hello if you see me:  I am in a bright pink silk shirt, sparkly earrings, blue trousers and black brogues.  :)

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Oh, I know, but I have a lot of problems with anxiety at the best of times. Thanks. I think I'm beyond the infectious stage by now! I'm wearing a pink cardigan & black trousers under a beige coat.

 

I texted my mother to say I'd decided to go down this evening & said "If I don't survive you could bury me with all my other upcoming tickets!". She replied "I'll get the money back." Thanks mum!

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I’m in a black t-shirt, no earrings, in SCS and will be taking a squillion photos at the end!! 

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Oh I wish I’d thought to ask if people were going to be there on Tuesday evening, I would have liked to say hello! Dawnstar, I hope you enjoy your evening and feel better once you are there 

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6 minutes ago, Rob S said:

I’m in a black t-shirt, no earrings, in SCS and will be taking a squillion photos at the end!! 

 

Ah, if I make it as far as the curtain calls I probably won't bother taking any photos then, as yours will certainly be better!

 

I should have also said that my most notable item of dress for spotting purposes is wearing gloves indoors (I have OCD).

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Wish I was there tonight - it sounds as though the Ballet Forum audience will be as colourful  as the action on stage!

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Given the fifth courtesan discussions a couple of pages back, I'm sure everyone will be delighted to hear that tonight Gina Storm-Jensen has made it to the giddy heights of fourth courtesan - though as it's a last-minute cast change replacing Olivia Cowley she still isn't actually on the cast sheet! (Other cast changes: McNally for McGorian as Madam & Hay for Kay as Beggar Chief.)

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Query: what is the correct choreography for the end of the first Manon/Des Grieux pdd before their final pose? I've now seen 3 pairs doing it with him sliding her along the stage on her pointes for a noticeable distance & 2 pairs, including tonight, where he pretty much put her straight down with minimal sliding.

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I'm not sure whether it's "correct" or "incorrect", but I guess some people may be more careful than others, as I think injuries have happened during that bit (or was it the bedroom pdd?)

 

I didn't hear any coughing from your direction, Dawnstar?

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2 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

Query: what is the correct choreography for the end of the first Manon/Des Grieux pdd before their final pose? I've now seen 3 pairs doing it with him sliding her along the stage on her pointes for a noticeable distance & 2 pairs, including tonight, where he pretty much put her straight down with minimal sliding.

 

I think that Bonelli's 'hold' may have been slightly out of balance tonight to slide Morera further than he did.  But that didn't matter, really.

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2 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

Query: what is the correct choreography for the end of the first Manon/Des Grieux pdd before their final pose?

 

I'm not sure if this will answer your question, but this rehersal from World Ballet Day last year is my go to for understanding the first pdd. Durante and Mukhamedov rehearsing Jurgita Dronina and Isaac Hernández of ENB. Mukhamedov seems to be asking for a slide and not getting it!

 

 

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It almost worked: I had one coughing fit, in Act 2 at the end of the "pas de parcel". I did apologise to my seat neighbours in the next interval & fortunately they were nice about it. I spent Act 3 determinedly sweet sucking! At least I was far from the only culprit, as I heard a fair few coughs from all over the house during the performance. On balance I'm glad I decided to go for it (of course my seat neighbours may disagree!). I did find it harder to concentrate on the performance because I was worrying about coughing so I may not have reacted to it in quite the same way as if I'd been fully fit (caveat to remarks below).

 

I wasn't quite sure about Morera in the first scene (possibly she would have been more convincing in that scene at a distance) but thought she was excellent after that. I don't know the technical description but I was repeatedly struck by the beauty of her arm & back movements. I read a review of Lamb that said something about her lacking voluptuousness in her arm movements & watching Morera tonight made me understand that comment. During Act 2, with her in that black & gold gown, I was suddenly reminded of her Gypsy Girl in Two Pigeons in the same colours. I thought Morera & Bonelli had fantastic chemistry together.

 

I was a bit worried after finding Bolle rather too mature for Des Grieux that I might have the same issue with Bonelli but I was pleased to find that I didn't, in fact at times in Act 2, when he was looking at Manon with GM & the other men, he looked like a hurt & bewildered schoolboy! Actually Bonelli ended up being pretty much the antithesis of Bolle for me: Bolle I thought technically excellent but his acting didn't really move me whereas Bonelli looked a bit shaky on technique in a few places but I though his acting was very moving. I started crying pretty much as the final pdd started & by the time it got to the final moments I was in bits. Bonelli's final anguish was heartbreaking.

 

I though Acri was very good, his only issue being that he wasn't Corrales! (Ditto the other 3 non-Corrales Lescauts.) Hinkis likewise did a good job but she's not, thus far, a dancer who particularly "does it" for me. This is the second time I've seen Gartside as GM & while I thought he was better with Morera than with Cuthbertson I again found him a bit annoymous in the role (I think he's better as the Gaoler). Tonight's Gaoler, Avis, was again excellent at being arrogantly repulsive! It'll be funny seeing him doing Elgar in less than 48 hours' time! (Cold permitting.)

 

ETA Thanks @Saodan, I'll look at that tomorrow when I'm on my laptop rather than my phone.

 

ETA2 I did keep a look out of other forum members & think I spotted @RuthE but I thought it best not to speak to anyone in case it made my coughing worse or passed on any still-lurking germs.

 

ETA3 I didn't have time to stage door properly but did spot Gina leaving & said it was nice to see her as 4th courtesan rather than 5th courtesan. I hope she was pleased but she may have just thought I was insane!

 

Edited by Dawnstar
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8 hours ago, alison said:

I'm not sure whether it's "correct" or "incorrect", but I guess some people may be more careful than others, as I think injuries have happened during that bit (or was it the bedroom pdd?)


It’s the bedroom one, I’m almost certain.

 

8 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

It almost worked: I had one coughing fit, in Act 2 at the end of the "pas de parcel".


Glad it’s not just me that calls it that!!

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I'd never seen this partnership in Manon before last night, and I'm very glad I have now seen them. Morera's Manon is very different from the others I've seen; she does look a lot older, and more mature, and she knows (or thinks she knows) exactly what she's doing. She's not Lescaut's pawn, she's his equal partner and co-conspirator, with some of his arrogance too. At first I found that a bit difficult to absorb, but once I accepted her on her own terms it became not just acceptable but fascinating. This Manon has seen too much to allow her unexpected love for Des Grieux to derail the possibility of riches. Bonelli's Des Grieux really is an innocent - he sees the good at the heart of Manon, falls for it, and will never let it go. So whilst she plays her dangerous and ultimately fatal game, he is like her conscience - always there, reminding her, pleading with her, wanting her to turn to the light. But by the time she does, it's too late. Morera's Act 3 is somehow even more shocking than usual, because this Manon has been so confident, so elegant, so apparently in control; and now she is wrecked and broken and lost. Beautifully danced, beautifully acted, and horribly tragic.

 

I really liked Luca Acri's Lescaut - I found him very believable as a cocky, unprincipled but charming chancer, and he danced strongly. I was less convinced by Meaghan Grace Hinkis as his Mistress; she didn't seem to me to have the sensuality the character needs. Gary Avis was once more a distressingly evil Gaoler, and James Hay was an excellent beggar chief, the only issue being that when he and Luca Acri are near each other they look like identical twins... which was a bit distracting.

 

But another great performance of this great ballet.

 

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9 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

I though Acri was very good, his only issue being that he wasn't Corrales! (Ditto the other 3 non-Corrales Lescauts.)

 

Hahaha 😂 Agree that this has become a bit of a problem but I thought that Acri was really good. Not so, Hinkis however.

 

Last night, for me, was about being there to watch and honour two great artists who are nearing he end of their careers. They may not have hit the spot in every single respect but, on an emotional night for them, they showed us once again what great artists they are - and they went out on a real performance 'high'. Thank you Laura and Federico 💐🌼

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3 hours ago, capybara said:

Last night, for me, was about being there to watch and honour two great artists who are nearing he end of their careers. They may not have hit the spot in every single respect but, on an emotional night for them, they showed us once again what great artists they are - and they went out on a real performance 'high'. Thank you Laura and Federico 💐🌼

 

That's a beautiful sentiment Capybara. 

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4 hours ago, RuthE said:

Glad it’s not just me that calls it that!!

 

I know I picked it up from someone on here, who used it when commenting on the ENB performances last season, so it was probably you.

 

3 hours ago, bridiem said:

I really liked Luca Acri's Lescaut - I found him very believable as a cocky, unprincipled but charming chancer, and he danced strongly. I was less convinced by Meaghan Grace Hinkis as his Mistress; she didn't seem to me to have the sensuality the character needs. Gary Avis was once more a distressingly evil Gaoler, and James Hay was an excellent beggar chief, the only issue being that when he and Luca Acri are near each other they look like identical twins... which was a bit distracting.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds Acri & Hay rather similar-looking. I was okay last night because they were in different costumes but tend to get them mixed up if they're in a group & costumed the same. Maybe for Manon we could postulate that the Beggar Chief is Lescaut's illegitimate brother or cousin, which would explain why they're so friendly despite being of different social standing!

 

3 hours ago, capybara said:

Last night, for me, was about being there to watch and honour two great artists who are nearing he end of their careers. They may not have hit the spot in every single respect but, on an emotional night for them, they showed us once again what great artists they are - and they went out on a real performance 'high'. Thank you Laura and Federico 💐🌼

 

I found it very moving watchin the final pdd knowing it might be the last time either of them ever dances it. Ballet does seem cruel sometimes. If they were opera singers then they'd just be coming into their peak in their early 40s but in ballet it's careers ending.

 

Another query that has occurred to me: if the appearance of all the different characters in the swamp scene is because Manon is hallucinating her past then why for the 5 girls who dance at the start of Act 3 appear when Manon hasn't arrived when they're dancing?

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Good question!

 

Another of mine: didn't there use (used?  I never know!) to be a mirror brought into the "creepy pas de trois" scene for Manon to admire herself in her new finery?  I keep missing it, but am not sure whether I'm hallucinating :) 

 

Also, I've come to the realisation in the last couple of performances that Des Grieux' coat in the brothel scene has some convenient pocket-like structure in the rever (if that's the correct term so far down the front of the coat) for him to conceal his extra cards in.  I thought he used to fish the cards out of his main pocket, the one with the flap on top, but that was always a bit clumsy.

 

 

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Oh dear, that reminds me of yet another query! Last night when Manon & GM were sitting at the side in Act 2 Scene 1 Gartside had the diamond bracelet out & was showing it to Morera in an "If you're good I might give it to you" way, so when he then ordered her to dance & be passed around she knew she was doing it for the bracelet. With the other cast I've seen I don't recall seeing the bracelet until GM put it on Manon's wrist at the end of her dance. Is it that I've been looking in the wrong place with the other casts so have missed the earlier displaying of the bracelet or is it a bit of "business" specific to this cast?

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If it is unique to this cast/performance I can only assume GM was pointing out the added security of the safety clasp that other similar looking bracelets don’t have 😉

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I've seen GM have the bracelet out earlier - but which GM it was, I don't now know.

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Dowell did this as G.M. in performances with Guillem. He made more of it than Gartside did.

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31 minutes ago, Rob S said:

If it is unique to this cast/performance I can only assume GM was pointing out the added security of the safety clasp that other similar looking bracelets don’t have 😉

 

Good point! First time I've seen Manon have to rip off her own bracelet!

 

Another bracelet-related query: does anyone know if the bracelet the Gaoler tries to give Manon in Act 3 is the same prop as her Act 2 bracelet? They do look rather similar!

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Just now, Dawnstar said:

 

 

Another bracelet-related query: does anyone know if the bracelet the Gaoler tries to give Manon in Act 3 is the same prop as her Act 2 bracelet? They do look rather similar!

 

He's not giving her the bracelet, he's saying "so where did you get this rather fancy bracelet?"

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36 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

He's not giving her the bracelet, he's saying "so where did you get this rather fancy bracelet?"

 

I thought he was trying to give her the bracelet in return for sexual favours & she was refusing because not only did she not want to perform any sex acts on him but also it reminded her of the previous row with Des Grieux over GM's bracelet. Is it supposed to be that they've brough the bracelet to America with them & the Gaoler finds it? If so then how? I don't recall seeing him rifle Des Grieux's portmanteau? And why would Des Grieux pack the bracelet when he'd been doing his best to get Manon to get rid of it? I'm now very confused!

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