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No comment on the dress rehearsal today, for the usual reasons, but did anyone happen to catch the pre-show announcement about two (I think) cast changes? I missed this as my neighbour arrived rather noisily at exactly that moment and so I am puzzling as to who we saw who isn't on the cast list. 

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22 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

No comment on the dress rehearsal today, for the usual reasons, but did anyone happen to catch the pre-show announcement about two (I think) cast changes? I missed this as my neighbour arrived rather noisily at exactly that moment and so I am puzzling as to who we saw who isn't on the cast list. 


Tomas Mock replaced Valentino Zuchetti in Raymonda.

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1 hour ago, Sebastian said:

No comment on the dress rehearsal today, for the usual reasons, but did anyone happen to catch the pre-show announcement about two (I think) cast changes? I missed this as my neighbour arrived rather noisily at exactly that moment and so I am puzzling as to who we saw who isn't on the cast list. 

Meaghan Grace Hinkis replaced Anna Rose O'Sullivan in "Raymonda" - grand pas and Variation 2.

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Does anyone know who the guest coaches are for this programme, other than Wayne Sleep?

 

 I wish the castbooks still told us!

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I wish the cast sheets still told us - I was wondering during Enigma Variations.

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I believe that Alfreda  Thorogood did some coaching for Concerto. She was in the audience tonight.

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Isabel McMeekan and the legendary Deanne Bergsma were also guest coaches for Enigma Variations.

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Is it the right bio in the programme for Alfreda Thorogood ?  It seems more the one of Viviana Durante to me...

 

 

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I enjoyed much of the new Triple Bill.  Concerto is a favourite and requires such high technical standards from the whole cast as it’s so exposed and any misalignment stands out.  I thought the evening performance very strong - Anna Rose O’Sullivan and Marcelino Sambe a joy in the first movement, Lauren Cuthbertson and Reece Clarke a dream in the second, and Fumi Kaneko excellent in the third.  And I thought the whole cast were on good form.

 

I’d never seen Enigma Variations until the morning’s Rehearsal and I very much enjoyed the evening performance.  Laura Morera was simply wonderful as Lady Elgar - just a few minutes on stage but what a presence she has and every gesture is so well expressed.  Francesca Hayward was an irresistible Dorabella.  And a special thanks to Bennet Gartside’s Nimrod.  Great cameos from the whole cast.  Less keen on the programme (unless I’ve missed something) and I had to resort to Google to find out about the telegram:
“Ashton contributes his own "enigma"; a telegram arrives: the characters know, but the audience does not, that it is from the celebrated conductor Hans Richter agreeing to conduct Elgar's new work.”  I found this helpful and again do question the synopsis material made available to audiences.

 

Raymonda Act III was also new to me.  I’m sure the performance was good, with Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov fine leads (no surprise there), but I don’t think I’ll have Raymonda in my favourites.  It seemed to make for a very mixed Triple Bill.  I’d have thought Symphony in C might have provided a better complement to the other two ballets but we’ve had lots of Symphony in Cs recently (although never enough for me).

 

I’ll be very interested to read others’ views.

 

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I'm surprised we haven't had more response to this bill yet: perhaps everyone's concentrating on World Ballet Day?

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

 

Raymonda Act III was also new to me.  I’m sure the performance was good, with Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov fine leads (no surprise there), but I don’t think I’ll have Raymonda in my favourites.  It seemed to make for a very mixed Triple Bill.  I’d have thought Symphony in C might have provided a better complement to the other two ballets but we’ve had lots of Symphony in Cs recently (although never enough for me).

 

I’ll be very interested to read others’ views.

 

I'd be very interested to know more about Raymonda- why it was a slight disappointment if so?

 

 

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Thanks Mary.  

I imagine my lack of enthusiasm for Raymonda is more a reflection of my lack of understanding/insight.   I’ve never seen the full ballet so I don’t even know if there’s a story.   But with just Act 3 presented, there’s no understanding of characters/narrative and so the question is whether the dance alone is engaging.  I’m afraid I found a lot of it rather tame compared to other classic final Acts.  I was going to say dull but the set/costumes/lighting all glistened.  Too much Hungarian posturing at the outset?  I wasn’t greatly taken with the Glazunov and I guess the choreography complemented the music.  It was a long 40 minutes.  

Apologies to all Raymonda enthusiasts and I’ll be delighted to know what I’m missing as I’ve another performance to see and there’s the cinema relay.

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1 hour ago, JohnS said:

I imagine my lack of enthusiasm for Raymonda is more a reflection of my lack of understanding/insight.   I’ve never seen the full ballet so I don’t even know if there’s a story.   But with just Act 3 presented, there’s no understanding of characters/narrative and so the question is whether the dance alone is engaging.

 

This is exactly the same issue I had with the Paquita grand pas in the RBS end-of-year shows!

 

I seem to remember enjoying Raymonda Act 3 pretty well the last time it was done at the RB, but not so much that I'd want to see it multiple times.  It's Enigma Variations that most interests me this time around, as it hasn't been performed since I started going to ballet (indeed I think I missed the RB's previous run by a matter of weeks) and I've therefore never seen it, though I did attend the recent Ashton Foundation Masterclass which concentrated on Dorabella and G.R.S. (with Lesley Collier coaching Isabella Gasparini, and Wayne Sleep coaching Luca Acri) as well as providing a considerable amount of background - I am, of course, already familiar with the music and its genesis.  And I adore Concerto.

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I hadn’t seen Raymonda before and really enjoyed it: a really lovely set - which got its own round of applause! - and beautiful variations (though somewhat unevenly executed).

 

Unlike JohnS I really enjoyed the Hungarian dance and and didn’t mind knowing nothing about the characters: I could just sit back and enjoy the spectacle. After all, when Vadim Muntagirov is in Petipa showpiece mode, all is right with the world.

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Concerning Raymonda, Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov were excellent.

 

To my opinion the problem is more the casting of some of the female variations.

 

We can understand that Kevin O'Hare has to cast his first soloists but Melissa Hamilton was ill at ease, Itziar Mendizabal seemed miscast, Yuhui Choe was doing the job as always but she did not seemed to be completely into it. Only Mayara Magri was on top form. The trio was very good too.

 

I really think Mr O'Hare should cast other dancers more suited to those tricky variations.

 

Enigma Variations wonderful, Laura Morera a beautiful artist, what a joy to see her on stage.

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It may be a question of age but when a company says it is going to stage a mixed bill I expect to be given the the opportunity to watch a carefully selected group of dance works which are truly varied and contrasting in content style and mood. I also like to think that due thought has been given to the order in which the works  are to be performed and who is to dance in them. Well, management has got the order right but I wonder whether it has spread the dancers a bit too thinly as far as casting is concerned as it has chosen to go for three casts for each work.As none of them were particularly well served when the company last revived them during Mason's  last two seasons as director  I should have thought management might have seen the need to make the strongest case for each of them by trying to cast each work from strength rather than giving a range of dancers the opportunity to have a go at them.

 

I am not sure that all the critics think that the choice of ballets in this programme is a wise one because it smacks too much of nostalgia but it is interesting to revisit a group of works which were first danced  by the company between 1968 and 1970 when the company was what it remained for at least a decade after Ashton's retirement , a company of dancers formed by dancing his choreography whether in his ballets or in his interpolations in the nineteenth century classics. Both the MacMillan and the Nureyev staging appeared quite regularly  in the repertory of both Royal Ballet companies for many years, Enigma Variations was seen less frequently because it needed a cast which Ashton deemed able to perform it. A mixed bill like this one is an opportunity for management to display the range and depth of the talent in the company's ranks; the precision, adaptability and authority of its Principal dancers, soloists and corps and  their collective understanding of the different choreographic styles required of them . But the challenge it poses is that in staging these works management is pitting the current crop of dancers against those of fifty years ago who definitely could dance these works stylishly with authority and flair.

 

The run has only just opened and perhaps things will settle down a bit but the corps did not look as sharp as they should in Concerto a ballet which was once the sort of work that both Royal Ballet companies took in their stride and seemed incapable of dancing unstylishly. The corps look better than the corps did in 2012 but one official performance  and an open rehearsal suggests that at present only some of the dancers on stage are able to produce the crisp precise finish which I recall was characteristic of the first and third sections of the ballet and gave those sections a sense of spritely, almost playfully sharp precision which contrasted so effectively with the middle section which is concerned with the beauty of simple movement. Perhaps they will have got there by the end of the run. I will reserve judgement on Enigma Variations until I have seen all three casts but I will say that I thought the first night cast were pretty good and I particularly look forward to seeing the cast lead by Avis and Arestis. Strangely it seems to be Raymonda Act III which is the most problematical  element in the programme    and yet in theory at least it is the ballet closest to the company's core nineteenth century repertory which makes it difficult to understand why the  company appear to have difficulty with it. I seem to recall that when it was revived in 2012 the overall effect was somewhat lacklustre as well because although the leads were more than acceptable the soloists' variations failed to hit the mark.

 

I don't think that any prior knowledge of the ballet's narrative would assist appreciation of  the choreography of the third act. Raymonda's libretto is a paper thin  excuse for dancing and is the sort of story line that gives late nineteenth century narrative ballets a bad name. It is its score and its  choreography  rather than its narrative which have kept it in the repertory in Russia. As far as the Nureyev staging is concerned he had already staged a short lived full length version of the ballet for the Touring Company when he came to stage the third act for the main company who took it to Helsinki before it was seen at Covent Garden. The choreographic text  is  Nureyev after Petipa  which means it is a version which not only accommodates the changes in technique, style and taste which had taken place in Russia after the Revolution but it also reflects Nureyev's own personal tastes and choreographic preferences.

 

Now just as in 2012 the soloists' variations came across as technical challenges which should be approached with extreme caution. The problem with that approach is that the variations which should register as displays of fearless technical prowess and mastery come across as merely muted, bland and dull. When it was first danced by the company Beriosova and MacLeary took the lead roles while the female variations were danced by Park, Sibley, Mason and Lorrayne. For years the variations were danced by junior Principals rather than First Soloists with the fourth variation usually danced by someone who had Lise in her repertory.If it were me I would not have worried about seniority when casting these variations I would have gone for suitability. Perhaps the dancers who are needed are lurking in the third cast.The female soloists were for the main part far too tentative and cautious. The point about the variations is that they are intended to be varied and contrasting in tone as well as challenging but the dancers should not look as if they are afraid of them  They need to be danced with complete  fearlessness and mastery. Magri was the only dancer among the soloists on opening night who displayed  the necessary assurance  and panache. It will be interesting to see who else comes up to the mark. I also think that the lead dancers in the Pas Hongrois should register as dancers  with real stage presence who are full of personality rather than being  merely palely interesting.

  

 

Edited by FLOSS
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23 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

Now just as in 2012 the soloists' variations came across as technical challenges which should be approached with extreme caution. The problem with that approach is that the variations which should register as displays of fearless technical prowess and mastery come across as merely muted, bland and dull. When it was first danced by the company Beriosova and MacLeary took the lead roles while the female variations were danced by Park, Sibley, Mason and Lorrayne. For years the variations were danced by junior Principals rather than First Soloists with the fourth variation usually danced by someone who had Lise in her repertory.If it were me I would not have worried about seniority when casting these variations I would have gone for suitability.

 

I remember Claudia Dean in 2012 dancing the 4th(?) variation in her first featured role as an Artist...

Edited by RuthE

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I hope this doesn't seem too daft a question. Several of the reviews of the triple bill have included a photo of (I assume) the entire cast of Enigma Variations. I'm trying to identify who's who but am stuck on a few of them (not helped by most of the men having fake moustaches!). Can anyone say who are the two dancers on the right of the main group, who look to be costumed as servants, and the three dancers on the staircase at the back?

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4 hours ago, RuthE said:

 

I remember Claudia Dean in 2012 dancing the 4th(?) variation in her first featured role as an Artist...

 

And on her birthday, if my own recollection is correct...

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Could anybody help with an exact running time - I have to get to Kings Cross for 3.30 on the 2nd November!!

 

Thanks

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12 minutes ago, JANICEP said:

Could anybody help with an exact running time - I have to get to Kings Cross for 3.30 on the 2nd November!!

 

Thanks

 

The 2 hours and 50 minutes given was pretty much bang on on opening night.

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I think the first dancers I saw in Raymonda were Merle Park and Rudolf Nureyev ....and I loved it! I really like the music! 

I lived in Acton at the time and went to some Library there which lo and behold had the whole set ....records in those days...for the whole ballet. I played it a lot back then.

But it's a while since I've seen it ......the third Act that is...so be interesting to see how it fares now with me. But I am a bit of a succour for Hungarian/ Polish/ Russian type character dances or based on ethnic style dances. Absolutely love Mazowsze ( not sure correct spelling) the big Polish Company that turns up from time to time in UK!! 

 

Im just trying to remember if I've seen the whole ballet ....did the Royal ever do the whole ballet ...or a visiting Russian Company ....just seem to have a vague memory of it 🤔 

Anyway am really looking forward to this triple in December.

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Sorry FLOSS I've only just read your post earlier and you did say there was a full length version of Raymonda with the touring company! 

Im sure now that I did see this .....can't remember who I saw dance in it though.

Edited by LinMM

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LignIn the complete Ballet was done by Fonteyn and Nureyev with the Australian Ballet, I think around the late 60s.If memory serves me correctly it was performed in a large cinema near Victoria Station, totally unsuitable for balket. Needless to say, Fonteyn was exquisite. 

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1 hour ago, LinMM said:

Im just trying to remember if I've seen the whole ballet ....did the Royal ever do the whole ballet ...or a visiting Russian Company ....just seem to have a vague memory of it 🤔 

 

 

Funny you should mention it, but the Bolshoi are doing a live cinema relay of it this Sunday, at 3 pm:

 

 

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2 hours ago, LinMM said:

I think the first dancers I saw in Raymonda were Merle Park and Rudolf Nureyev ....and I loved it! I really like the music! 

I lived in Acton at the time and wen

 

Im just trying to remember if I've seen the whole ballet ....did the Royal ever do the whole ballet ...or a visiting Russian Company ....just seem to have a vague memory of it 🤔 

Anyway am really looking forward to this triple in December.

The Bolshoi did it in their Coliseum season in 1999. For me, especially memorable as it's the only time I ever saw the fabulous Nina Anashavilli dance live and she did Raymonda. I don't know if they've ever done it since and I can see why. Even by ballet standards the plot is non existent and the hero, despite returning from the Crusades is totally boring (well to me anyway). The only interesting person is the villain who tries to kidnap Raymonda. He has a terrific variation with really exciting music but sadly is killed before the last act. At one time when ballet was new and exciting to us we put this variation, danced by the amazing Gediminas Taranda  on whenever anyone came round as we felt we had to share this awesome dancing with everyone. It perhaps accounted for the sudden drop in visitors! 

 

 

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7 hours ago, jmhopton said:

The Bolshoi did it in their Coliseum season in 1999. For me, especially memorable as it's the only time I ever saw the fabulous Nina Anashavilli dance live and she did Raymonda. I don't know if they've ever done it since and I can see why. Even by ballet standards the plot is non existent and the hero, despite returning from the Crusades is totally boring (well to me anyway). The only interesting person is the villain who tries to kidnap Raymonda. He has a terrific variation with really exciting music but sadly is killed before the last act. At one time when ballet was new and exciting to us we put this variation, danced by the amazing Gediminas Taranda  on whenever anyone came round as we felt we had to share this awesome dancing with everyone. It perhaps accounted for the sudden drop in visitors! 

 

 

 

The Bolshoi also did it in 1986.  I saw it at the Palace Theatre in Manchester and was devastated when Abderakhman was killed off as he was the only interesting character in it!  I remember thinking Raymonda was very foolish to prefer Jean de Brienne.  I do remember enjoying the ballet but some years ago I saw the Nureyev production in Paris and those 2 performances are 6 hours of my life I will never get back!

 

I do enjoy Act 3 as a stand alone and am looking forward to seeing this programme in December.

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Sarasota Ballet performed this 40-minute Nureyev version in spring 2015. It’s a physically gorgeous production. It’s almost like a Paquita Grand Pas in the number of fleet-footed variations contained therein. I also remember  my delight in the quality of the dancing. Margaret Barbieri and her coaching team drilled them well. 

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In case it’s useful here is a discussion thread about the full-length Raymonda from a couple of years ago:

 

 

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8 hours ago, jmhopton said:

At one time when ballet was new and exciting to us we put this variation, danced by the amazing Gediminas Taranda  on whenever anyone came round as we felt we had to share this awesome dancing with everyone. It perhaps accounted for the sudden drop in visitors! 


Gediminas Taranda - now you’re talking!

Liudmila Semenyaka and Nina Ananiashvili really knew how to dance the title role - as, I have to say, did Elena Glurdjidze and Daria Klimentova when ENB danced Act 3.

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