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13 hours ago, stucha said:

That 'clap' is silent in all Russian productions.  (Not sure if it has anything to do with vulgarity.)

 

Nureyev always insisted that the clap should be heard in his productions.

When Asylmuratova guested with the Royal Ballet in November 1990, she really did give us very loud claps. 

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Well Yasmine Naghdi reminded us all tonight what we’ve been missing. Her return to the ROH stage after absence from injury heralded the most beautiful, emotional performance of the adagio in Concerto that I have yet seen. Sensitively partnered by Ryo Hirano, this was very special.  She deserved the loud cheers she got. Welcome back Miss Naghdi!  

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Agree Sim, it was a splendid second movement with Naghdi’s beautiful lines and Hirano’s exemplary partnering.  In fact, with Magri in the third movement and O’Sullivan in the first, the future of the RB’s female talent looks very secure.

 

The evening as a whole was the best I’ve seen from the RB in a while - Morera was at her sensitive dramatic best in Enigma Variations, partnered sympathetically by Christopher Saunders.  Muntagirov surpassed even his own high standards in the Raymonda variation - it’s becoming almost comical, as if gravity doesn’t apply to him - lots of fun to watch.  And Osipova made me laugh too.  I thought she looked a bit tired but she more than made up for it by vamping her way fiercely through the whole thing.  It was a long way from the ice queen that a lot of ballerinas deliver for Raymonda but absolutely no one can top her for entertainment value - you just never know what kind of crazy is going to turn up but it is never anything less than fascinating!

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Well, can’t sleep, so might as well write a review!

 

I loved it all this evening - with Raymonda probably my overall favourite, followed by Concerto, followed by Enigma Variations - but I enjoyed it all, given that I hadn’t seen any of the ballets (unless you count the Raymonda Act 3 pas de deux/principal variations on video).

 

Concerto was a lovely surprise - the bright, fresh colours, the music - and, of course, the dancing. In particular the really beautiful and moving Adagio with Naghdi and Hirano - Naghdi was simply stunning - and Mayara Magri, who seems to grow in confidence and aplomb each time I see her. Others that caught my eye were Melissa Hamilton and James Hay.

 

 I can understand why Enigma Variations isn’t, perhaps, everyone’s cup of tea, but I think if you can get your head around it as a series of character studies rather than a storyline (I know there is one, but it’s somewhat loose), then it is far easier to enjoy. I’m glad I had read previous reviews as they were helpful in explaining a lot that wasn’t immediately obvious (a better synopsis would be extremely helpful - my neighbours in the seats didn’t understand the significance of the telegram at the end until I explained it to them). I couldn’t fault any individual performance but my favourites were Francesca Hayward as Dorabella, and the very moving trio of Christopher Saunders, Bennet Gartside and Laura Morera - she never fails to impress me.

 

I loved Raymonda from the moment the curtain went up on that wonderful set - the music, the costumes and the dancing. Previous reviews referred to some raggedness in the Corps and the Pas de Quatre - I can’t say any of this was in evidence tonight. Fumi Kaneko, Claire Calvert and Beatriz Stix-Brunell all performed lovely variations, and it was very nice to see Ashley Dean getting some prominence tonight - very well performed too.

 

And really, what can one say about the Principal couple? I tend to be on the fence with Osipova - she either dazzles and charms me or leaves me cold. Tonight it was the former - her clapping variation was imperious, slightly over the top, and mesmerising to the point that it made me shiver pleasurably. Muntagirov - well, he didn’t dance, he flew - but all with such beautiful lines and understated charm that he took the breath away. The woman sitting next to me had never seen him, only other RB male Principals, but was whooping and cheering and a complete convert by the end of the evening. Really, in classical roles like this there is no one to touch him imo. The power of Muntagirov....

 

 

Edited by Balletfanp
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2 hours ago, Lindsay said:

Agree Sim, it was a splendid second movement with Naghdi’s beautiful lines and Hirano’s exemplary partnering.  In fact, with Magri in the third movement and O’Sullivan in the first, the future of the RB’s female talent looks very secure.

 

The evening as a whole was the best I’ve seen from the RB in a while - Morera was at her sensitive dramatic best in Enigma Variations, partnered sympathetically by Christopher Saunders.  Muntagirov surpassed even his own high standards in the Raymonda variation - it’s becoming almost comical, as if gravity doesn’t apply to him - lots of fun to watch.  And Osipova made me laugh too.  I thought she looked a bit tired but she more than made up for it by vamping her way fiercely through the whole thing.  It was a long way from the ice queen that a lot of ballerinas deliver for Raymonda but absolutely no one can top her for entertainment value - you just never know what kind of crazy is going to turn up but it is never anything less than fascinating!

 

Interesting, for Raymonda herself I think that the Russian choreography is more on the "icy queen" side while Nureyev version is more like demanding and arrogant with under the surface passion. I will see it next week to check what they deliver this time :)

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Naghdi in Concerto, Morera and Hayward in Enigma and Muntagirov in Raymonda, and lots more besides.

Last night, this perfection was emotional in itself. I felt so privileged to be there.

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Highlight of the evening was Concerto, the central adagio danced by Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano. Their performance was pure visual poetry, classicism at its purest, continuously pleasing to the eye. Ryoichi Hirano showed us noble partnering at its best ("It's all about the ballerina, she's the most precious one" as he so generously stated during the World Ballet Day/Concerto Masterclass); his partnering, combined with Yasmine Naghdi's exquisite classical line and feet, made the 2nd Movement a real visual feast, and I fully agree here with Sim, it was the most beautiful execution of the 2nd Movement I have ever seen too (sadly I have never seen Lynn Seymour). I love Marianela Nunez in this role too but with Yasmine Naghdi one gets the essential classical ballerina line which adds to the overall visual beauty of the 2nd Movement (yes I am a total sucker for beautiful classical lines). No wonder Mr. O'Hare choose Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano for the upcoming worldwide live cinema relay.

As demonstrated in the Concerto Masterclass/World Ballet Day this is a notoriously difficult Movement to perfectly execute, deceptively easy, its difficulty lies in the precise mastery and controlled execution of so many details. Anna-Rose O'Sullivan in the 1st Movement showed strong dancing, as did Mayara Magri in the 3rd Movement. A beautiful performance by all.

 

Enigma Variations and Raymonda not my cup of tea, nevertheless I loved  Laura Morera and Francesca Hayward's performance in Enigma Variations, and Vadim Muntagirov in Raymonda. Some nicely danced variations in Raymonda too. 

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

Naghdi in Concerto, Morera and Hayward in Enigma and Muntagirov in Raymonda, and lots more besides.

Last night, this perfection was emotional in itself. I felt so privileged to be there.

 

And is this the cinema cast for 5 November?  Indoor fireworks kicking off Concerto.

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On 26/10/2019 at 22:32, Bruce Wall said:

please know the film of the original cast in Elgar Variations is free to all comers to watch in the Robbin's Dance Collection on the third floor of the Lincoln Center Library.  I have seen it a few times myself and always come away feeling privileged at being able to do so ... and deeply moved.  

 

I have also had the privilege of watching this important recording. As a result I would like to add a comment based on the timing of it. 

 

Last night was my second time at this triple bill and, wonderful as some of the dancing was, it gave me the opportunity to test something which concerned me when I saw the show last week. Some commentators have been less than excited by Enigma Variations but are they currently seeing the work as Ashton intended? The original cast danced it in more or less exactly 29 minutes (counting just the music from start to finish) whereas last night's music ran for 31 minutes, which is some 7% slower. There were no stage waits nor interpolations of new music so the only explanation is that the conducting was significantly slower, and therefore, by extension, so was the dancing. 

 

There are various possible reasons for this. This particular conductor is not my favourite - my view is that he has the ability to render masterpieces uninteresting by conducting too slowly - and this may simply be his view of Elgar's music. Alternatively (as has been argued elsewhere on this Forum in the past) he is taking account of a cast less drilled in Cecchetti than the original Royal Ballet troupe Ashton created the work on, so perhaps less eager to dance this at the intended speed. 

 

This is not to denigrate any specific dancer - Morera, for example, was beautiful last night - but to explore the often disregarded connection between faulty conducting and the subjective experience of a work. I have my fingers crossed for next week's Sleeping Beauty, hoping that the conductor will heed Tchaikovsky's markings and conduct the work to speed, not as we had for so many years (until Koen Kessels put things right). The sluggish pace in the past may have been one reason for people to feel this magnificent classical ballet is "too long", "slow", "boring", and so on. 

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7 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

And is this the cinema cast for 5 November?  Indoor fireworks kicking off Concerto.

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Oh, marvellous - having missed last night's performance due to a clash, and being unable to attend the one on 5th November, I was kicking myself for apparently managing to miss this cast altogether.  But it's now occurred to me that I can catch one of the Encore screenings on Sunday 10th :)

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I am so glad I bought a last minute ticket for this.  I loved it, I thought it was a splendid triple bill.  

 

Just a few thoughts.  I've seen Concerto before, but I thought it was extremely well danced last night.  Unfortunately, for some unknown reason I suffered a very nasty fit of coughing during the slow second movement, and my eyes started stinging as well.  At one point I thought I would have to go out.  I felt terrible as I scrabbled around for my bag containing my water bottle, which I had stupidly forgotten to get out in advance.  I have no idea what set it off.  From what I could see through the tears streaming down my face Naghdi looked sublime.  I am so glad it was being filmed, I shall be able to see what I missed. 

 

I enjoyed Enigma Variations much more last night than I did the last time the RB performed it, but I still felt that something was missing from some of the variations.  Geoff has mentioned above that it is a trifle slower, which may have something to do with it.  I felt that the women were much better than the men, and I enjoyed all their dancing.  .  Hayward was lovely, and Morera was magnificent.  I couldn't take my eyes off her when she was on stage; even the simplest gesture was full of grace.  I also thought the lady in the hammock was charming.  Was this Stix-Brunell as Isabel Fitton?  I'd forgotten the running order as I was watching.

 

 I don't know what it was about the men.   Their solos may be fast but they are also short.  However, they seemed to my eyes to be struggling with the rapid footwork and the pace, and at times it looked as if they were fudging some of the steps in order to keep up.  I thought Matthew Ball made a decent attempt at Troyte, but I felt it didn't have quite the impact that it should have done.  I would have loved to see Campbell in this role, and am a bit puzzled as to why he isn't in the filmed version.

 

I am not sure if I have ever seen Raymonda before.  I was confused by some of the scenery.  Why did the red curtains at the back look as though they were sagging on a drooping wire?  And what was the floor all about?  From my perch in the roof, it reminded me of a Roman villa I visited recently, with a painted floor that had faded in some places and vanished completely in others.  Not quite sure what it was supposed to add to the overall look.  I loved the costumes, although when Osipova first came on, I thought that the pattern on the front of the bodice where it joined the skirt looked a bit as though a dog's bone had been embroidered on to it.  Once I had that image in my head, I couldn't get it out.  

However, I loved the dancing.  I enjoy having the variety between the Hungarian dances and the balletic pieces.  I thought all the variations looked good, although of course not having seen it before I couldn't make any comparisons.  Muntagirov was sensational, but when does he ever give anything less than a wonderful performance?  How lucky the RB are to have him, and how lucky we are to be able to see him so often.  I don't always enjoy Osipova's performances, not because she isn't a terrific dancer, she is.  But I feel that sometimes she is a bit too individual for my tastes.  However, I loved her in this.  She was wonderfully imperious, and her hand claps were loudly audible to those of us in the amphitheatre.  

 

On the question of the conductor, something struck me during Osipova's second solo - the one with all the releves  that begin slowly and speed up.  It looked to me as if Osipova was definitely dictating the tempo, and the conductor was following her.  Did anybody else notice?  Was this my imagination, or is this normal?

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12 minutes ago, Fonty said:

I also thought the lady in the hammock was charming.  Was this Stix-Brunell as Isabel Fitton?  I'd forgotten the running order as I was watching.

 

 

Indeedy.

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Hopefully the filming (and cinema relay) of last night's cast will produce a "Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda" DVD.

This cast should have danced on Opening Night too (but one can't have it all :( ). A creme-de-la-creme cast.

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2 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

Hopefully the filming (and cinema relay) of last night's cast will produce a "Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda" DVD.

This cast should have danced on Opening Night too (but one can't have it all :( ). A creme-de-la-creme cast.

 

Osipova was otherwise engaged in her “Pure Dance” program at Sadlers Wells through 26 October. I’m thrilled to read that she & Muntagirov will do the cinemas cast! All three ballets on tap are heavenly, in different ways.

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I suspect Xandra was thinking of dancers other than Osipova, Jeannette :) 

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12 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

I’m glad I had read previous reviews as they were helpful in explaining a lot that wasn’t immediately obvious (a better synopsis would be extremely helpful - my neighbours in the seats didn’t understand the significance of the telegram at the end until I explained it to them).

 

I too was surprised that the significance of the telegram wasn't explained, either in the sketches of the variations given in the cast sheet or in the programme, especially when the basics of the plot of Raymonda were given, even though they have no bearing on what happens in the third act.  I've just had a look at the programme from the last time BRB did it and there it was made very clear what was going on.  I quote: 'The fictional arrival of the telegram announcing Hans Richter's agreement to conduct the score brings a happy ending to the work with friends gathered around the composer for a group photograph, except for the 'absent' Mary Lygon who flits away just before it is taken.'

 

As an Elgar devotee who has sung his choral works many times over I absolutely loved Enigma Variations last night.  I have nothing to add to comments about the individual performances, other than that Francesca Hayward was, as usual, magnificent, but what struck me most is how Ashton grasped the essential character of both Elgar and the work in the way he set the variations.  To use modern parlance Enigma Variations was Elgar's 'breakthrough' work, the one that finally confirmed him as a composer of substance.  To me it is the perfect amalgam of the playful late-Victorian salon pieces of his early career, like Salut d'Amour, and the much deeper sense of melancholy that imbued his more substantial later works, the oratorios, the symphonies, and the almost unbearably sad Cello Concerto.  This reflected Elgar's own character, which saw a surface confidence undermined by a degree of insecurity engendered partly no doubt by his position as a self-taught provincial trying to infiltrate the metropolitan musical elite. Ashton captures this two-sidedness perfectly, balancing the moments of joyful abandon, like Dora Penny's solo, with moments of almost heartbreaking tenderness, like the central Nimrod variation, where nothing really happens and yet everything happens.  Most of all, and particularly in Nimrod, he saw the importance of Alice Elgar in Elgar's life in providing the rock on which he could anchor his career.  It's significant that Elgar wrote little of note after she died in 1920, and seeing their relationship through the lens of Ashton's choreography, you can understand why.

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3 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

.This cast should have danced on Opening Night too (but one can't have it all :( ). A creme-de-la-creme cast.


I think that Kevin O’Hare tries to share out the opening nights but, sometimes, injuries and illnesses thwart his plans.

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3 hours ago, Fonty said:

On the question of the conductor, something struck me during Osipova's second solo - the one with all the releves  that begin slowly and speed up.  It looked to me as if Osipova was definitely dictating the tempo, and the conductor was following her.  Did anybody else notice?  Was this my imagination, or is this normal?

 

I was on row C of the Stalls directly behind the conductor and can confirm that yes, that was exactly what he seemed to be doing!  He certainly had his eyes on her the whole time.

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How much do we really need to know about Enigma, though?  The composer is clearly doubting/distressed, his loved ones try to console him, then a telegram arrives which is obviously good news of some sort, because the mood becomes all happy and celebratory.  Do we really need to know the exact contents of the telegram?

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34 minutes ago, alison said:

Do we really need to know the exact contents of the telegram?

 

I thought it was good to know.  

 

Seems reasonable to me to make the information readily available so that those who wish to know can do so. 

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5 hours ago, Xandra Newman said:

Hopefully the filming (and cinema relay) of last night's cast will produce a "Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda" DVD.

This cast should have danced on Opening Night too (but one can't have it all :( ). A creme-de-la-creme cast.

 

I do hope there will be a DVD. I can't get to the 5th November relay and there is no encore showing at York.

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1 hour ago, ChrisG said:

 

I was on row C of the Stalls directly behind the conductor and can confirm that yes, that was exactly what he seemed to be doing!  He certainly had his eyes on her the whole time.

 

The tempo/tempi for Raymonda's big solo were very different last night with Osipova from those deployed for Lamb.

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10 minutes ago, Alice Shortcake said:

 

I do hope there will be a DVD. I can't get to the 5th November relay and there is no encore showing at York.

 

I don't know if it is proper but some insider told me that Raymonda Act III will have a DVD. Highly suspect that the other two will also have DVD, likely to put together with the triple bill early this year?  Maybe not in the same recording? I suspect that RB is building a box set for Vadim.  

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5 hours ago, Fonty said:

I am so glad I bought a last minute ticket for this.  I loved it, I thought it was a splendid triple bill.  

 

Just a few thoughts.  I've seen Concerto before, but I thought it was extremely well danced last night.  Unfortunately, for some unknown reason I suffered a very nasty fit of coughing during the slow second movement, and my eyes started stinging as well.  At one point I thought I would have to go out.  I felt terrible as I scrabbled around for my bag containing my water bottle, which I had stupidly forgotten to get out in advance.  I have no idea what set it off.  From what I could see through the tears streaming down my face Naghdi looked sublime.  I am so glad it was being filmed, I shall be able to see what I missed. 

 

I enjoyed Enigma Variations much more last night than I did the last time the RB performed it, but I still felt that something was missing from some of the variations.  Geoff has mentioned above that it is a trifle slower, which may have something to do with it.  I felt that the women were much better than the men, and I enjoyed all their dancing.  .  Hayward was lovely, and Morera was magnificent.  I couldn't take my eyes off her when she was on stage; even the simplest gesture was full of grace.  I also thought the lady in the hammock was charming.  Was this Stix-Brunell as Isabel Fitton?  I'd forgotten the running order as I was watching.

 

 I don't know what it was about the men.   Their solos may be fast but they are also short.  However, they seemed to my eyes to be struggling with the rapid footwork and the pace, and at times it looked as if they were fudging some of the steps in order to keep up.  I thought Matthew Ball made a decent attempt at Troyte, but I felt it didn't have quite the impact that it should have done.  I would have loved to see Campbell in this role, and am a bit puzzled as to why he isn't in the filmed version.

 

I am not sure if I have ever seen Raymonda before.  I was confused by some of the scenery.  Why did the red curtains at the back look as though they were sagging on a drooping wire?  And what was the floor all about?  From my perch in the roof, it reminded me of a Roman villa I visited recently, with a painted floor that had faded in some places and vanished completely in others.  Not quite sure what it was supposed to add to the overall look.  I loved the costumes, although when Osipova first came on, I thought that the pattern on the front of the bodice where it joined the skirt looked a bit as though a dog's bone had been embroidered on to it.  Once I had that image in my head, I couldn't get it out.  

However, I loved the dancing.  I enjoy having the variety between the Hungarian dances and the balletic pieces.  I thought all the variations looked good, although of course not having seen it before I couldn't make any comparisons.  Muntagirov was sensational, but when does he ever give anything less than a wonderful performance?  How lucky the RB are to have him, and how lucky we are to be able to see him so often.  I don't always enjoy Osipova's performances, not because she isn't a terrific dancer, she is.  But I feel that sometimes she is a bit too individual for my tastes.  However, I loved her in this.  She was wonderfully imperious, and her hand claps were loudly audible to those of us in the amphitheatre.  

 

On the question of the conductor, something struck me during Osipova's second solo - the one with all the releves  that begin slowly and speed up.  It looked to me as if Osipova was definitely dictating the tempo, and the conductor was following her.  Did anybody else notice?  Was this my imagination, or is this normal?

I have not seen RB version of Raymonda before but have seen La Scala full length one. 

 

By saying Osipova's 2nd solo, does Raymonda have 2 variations in RB Act III?

 

Plus do we have the famous multiple entrechats variation? It is in Act 2 if I remembered correctly in La Scala.

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25 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

The tempo/tempi for Raymonda's big solo were very different last night with Osipova from those deployed for Lamb.

Different in what way, @capybara?

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I was also there last night - one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had at ROH for a while.  I concur with all the other members praising the Concerto second movement - it was simply beautiful. Frankie Hayward was a delight, Fumi Kaneko was gorgeous and Vadim floated... plus all the others to numerous to mention, the whole programme was a treat.   I was sipping a house red before the show in the Amphi bar and spotted Bella Brouwers of ENB - it's good to see that professional dancers still choose to go watch ballet to relax!

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Raymonda can end in two different ways. One way is the couple happily marry together with a proud Raymonda. Another is that Raymonda marries Jean de Brienne but she has hidden sadness for the Abderakhman because she grows an affection of him before he dies.

 

The original novel has Raymonda falls in love with Abderakhman but after Abderakhman dies, some magic removes Raymonda's love memory but she will never be the same girl as before.

 

 

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1 hour ago, maryrosesatonapin said:

Different in what way, @capybara?


To my ears, firstly slower and, then, quite varied, whereas, for Lamb, the beat seemed more regular.

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After all these reports I am very much looking forward to 5 November performance at ROH

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