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David Hallberg becomes Guest Principal at Royal Ballet


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Without wishing to be disrespectful to Mr Hallberg (I've only seen him a small number of times and mainly with great admiration), I wonder if this is at least in part a way of ensuring Osipova's continuing commitment to the RB. But it would be a real shame (for us and I would say for her) if she largely ceased to dance with the current RB men. (I know she's doing Onegin with Muntagirov, which I am greatly looking forward to, so I hope this will not be the case.)

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16 hours ago, bridiem said:

Without wishing to be disrespectful to Mr Hallberg (I've only seen him a small number of times and mainly with great admiration), I wonder if this is at least in part a way of ensuring Osipova's continuing commitment to the RB. But it would be a real shame (for us and I would say for her) if she largely ceased to dance with the current RB men. (I know she's doing Onegin with Muntagirov, which I am greatly looking forward to, so I hope this will not be the case.)

 

I'm looking forward to the Osipova/Muntagirov Oneign as well, Bridem.  I can but feel that this specific pairing (one which I've always enjoyed when I've seen them together in the past) may have come about because of the Cranko Estate's hold on casting assignments.  I saw Osipova/Hallberg in Oneign in Munich last season and I am aware there was some (justified in my personal opinion) disquiet about his performance in the title role.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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14 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

 

I'm looking forward to the Osipova/Muntagirov Oneign as well, Bridem.  I can but feel that this specific pairing (one which I've always enjoyed when I've seen them together in the past) may have come about because of the Cranko Estate's hold on casting assignments.  I saw Osipova/Hallberg in Oneign in Munich last season and I am aware there was some (justified in my personal opinion) disquiet about his performance in the title role.  

 

 

Mmmm, again.

Having a shot at Onegin should arguably be Muntagirov's well-earned right.

Hallberg is a member of ABT and the Bolshoi, is Resident Guest Principal at Australian Ballet as well as at the RB, guests elsewhere quite widely, and appears in Osipova's shows. The RB has a number of potential Onegins (and Florimunds and Siegfrieds et al) in its own queue and it is them that I would like to see, please Kevin.

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2 hours ago, Ian Macmillan said:

Mr O'Hare talks about the Hallberg/Osipova partnership in the interview to be found in today's Links.

 

Yes, but I don't read it like he does or as the two dancers describe their partnership. "Fire and ice", says Kevin. "Fumbled lifts and poor emotional characterisation from Hallberg", say I (with reference to his performances last summer).

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It's a difficult one this ....especially as have never seen Hallberg dance live yet....and at some point I hope to remedy this.

But it's going to be difficult as trying to juggle casts is difficult enough at the moment such is the strength of the Royal.

And maybe that's it ....at another time he may have been a more welcome fit but right now there are just too many good casts already to see and not enough time and/or money to see them. 

Im getting the feeling he may well be cast in Dances at a Gathering!! I hope not though .....but wouldn't mind seeing him in Swan Lake as Siegfrid.

Also I hope he won't ONLY be dancing with Osipova. 

 

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7 hours ago, nevsky said:

 

Yes, but I don't read it like he does or as the two dancers describe their partnership. "Fire and ice", says Kevin. "Fumbled lifts and poor emotional characterisation from Hallberg", say I (with reference to his performances last summer).

 

I'm afraid my opinion of Hallberg's dancing is closer to Nevsky's than Kevin O'Hare's. That said I've only seen him 'live' twice; once at the Fonteyn Gala doing the Romeo and Juliet pas de deux with Osipova. The other occasion was the Act One of Giselle where Ball took over splendidly in the second act after Hallberg's injury. So neither occasion was particularly ideal. However at one point I was really concerned about his partnering in Romeo. Some lifts look strained or off balance and I found myself thinking if he is like this for a relatively short pas de deux how will he stand the pace for a full length ballet, especially Manon with the very physical pas de deux right at the end of a strenuous three act ballet? Still, on the plus side it's helped my bank balance a bit as I wasn't remotely tempted to see him in Manon though I wouldn't have minded seeing Osipova, and if she'd had Shklyarov as a partner you couldn't have kept me away!

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My concern about the frequent casting of Hallberg isn't about RB dancers missing out: you only have to cast your minds back six months or so to recall how empty the RB leading men's cupboard was looking with the various absences which were going on. My worry is that for audiences unfamiliar with the pre-injury Hallberg - as most Londoners are - it might not be so obvious what all the fuss is about.

 

Like jmhopton, I've seen little of him live: I thought his Belyaev mostly very good; but the R&J pas de deux at the Fonteyn gala induced anxiety to the degree that I was almost relieved at the lift-that-wasn't, when he just walked Osipova backwards instead of carrying her. I'm hoping that this was a temporary problem, but I wouldn't lay money on it.

 

One important thing that has been overlooked here is that he does apparently shift tickets - though it's not clear how much of the credit lies with Osipova.

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49 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

My worry is that for audiences unfamiliar with the pre-injury Hallberg - as most Londoners are - it might not be so obvious what all the fuss is about.

 

I have seen him pre-injury - I was really looking forward to it- and I have to say I felt short-changed then, too. Perhaps it’s the lack of emotional engagement. 

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3 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

One important thing that has been overlooked here is that he does apparently shift tickets - though it's not clear how much of the credit lies with Osipova.

There are hundreds of unsold tickets for the Osipova/Hallberg show at Sadler's Wells starting in just over two weeks.

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9 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

 

I have seen him pre-injury - I was really looking forward to it- and I have to say I felt short-changed then, too. Perhaps it’s the lack of emotional engagement. 

 

I saw him too - with different companies - and was underwhelmed then too.

There are some dancers who manage to strike lucky (right place at the right time/good agent/endorsement from renowned partner etc) and I feel that Hallberg is one of them. Let's not kid ourselves: it's Osipova who shifts the tickets.

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For my part, I am unable to muster the slightest enthusiasm for Hallberg, past or present. I think he is very fortunate to have been given this opportunity with the RB. No matter how much KO’H talks it up, the shortcomings are clear. 

If guest invitations are to be made on merit, I can think of few better than Shklyarov or Vogel (he should have been invited for Onegin in my opinion - such a shame); Lantratov too but unfortunately he is still in rehabilitation from his serious injury. 

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30 minutes ago, capybara said:

There are some dancers who manage to strike lucky (right place at the right time/good agent/endorsement from renowned partner etc) and I feel that Hallberg is one of them.

 

I think that does Hallberg a disservice: from all the things we were hearing of him some years ago, he did sound an exceptional dancer.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to see much of him back then.

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I think maybe he was always a dancer who divided opinion. I feel I can't give an informed view as I never saw him live pre-injury, but based on YouTube clips which are supposedly good examples there's much to admire technically but he just wouldn't have been my cup of tea. That said, the things that don't work for me - a rather mannered style and the lack of emotional engagement Scheherezade mentions - may have struck me differently in the flesh: certainly they weren't as apparent to me in A Month in the Country.

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Have to say when Hallberg first guested with AusBallet in I think 2010, company dancers were telling me I must fly back from Hobart to Melbourne to see him, and raving about his feet. It was the Sir Peter Wright BRB Nutcracker and I did come back and he was marvellous. As he was every other time I saw him pre-injury.

 

Since his long injury and rehab layoff, I've seen him several more times down here and he's not quite the same.

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There is absolutely no doubt that Hallberg was a great dancer in his day - do you think the Bolshoi would have allowed him on their stage if this weren't true?  But he hasn't returned/been allowed to return after his sad injury reduced him to his current, lesser, prowess.  I think other companies continue to either hope some of the glitter remains, or will return.  I am sure he commands a large fee (and why not) and who knows what agreements have been put in place with RB or elsewhere?  Osipova's loyalty to him must, I feel, be personal rather than purely down to his ability.  Maybe, having seen him at the height of his powers, she feels empathy for what happened to him.  He does cut a striking figure on-stage to this day; his tall, blond good looks stand out more than those of many better dancers.  So maybe he has a fan club who can be relied on to buy tickets.  Looks are an important part of ballet, whatever you like to think.

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I remember seeing  Hallberg and  Nunez in a dazzling performance of Sylvia in Rome, I think it was in 2010. Last week I saw  him with Zakharova in Giselle at La Scala. While he is definitely a very different dancer from the brilliant and spectacular one who danced at the Bolshoi, before his long illness/injury-related absence, he continues to have an extraordinarily graceful presence,  very reminiscent of Erik Bruhn. IMO, of course. 

 

Edited by Aruna S
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I saw David Hallberg when he was very young , I think it was at SW with ABT and he danced the figure of Death in The Green Table, he was so frightening, since then I have enjoyed every performance of his I have seen, plus the Bolshoi DVD's that he featured in (especially the Sleeping Beauty), his almost rarified elegance and presence is enough for me I guess, hope he fully recovers from the injuries though.

 

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