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8 hours ago, Jane S said:

 

Anne, I believe that if you really don't like a ballet after 20 years of trying, you probably never will. Just stop going to it - it' s a huge relief, as I found myself with Manon , decades ago!

I agree, Jane - and I have been doing that with the two other Ashton ballets that I have never liked, namely Two Pigeons and Marguerite and Armand.  However when a piece is in the middle of a triple bill it's hard to avoid unless one sits it out in the bar (as my other half did!).  However I used to wonder what all the fuss was about over Month in the Country and then I saw Genesia Rosato do it and suddenly "got it".  Now it's one of my favourites.  And I know your feelings about Manon which I really love.  It takes all sorts ...

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2 hours ago, AnneMarriott said:

I agree, Jane - and I have been doing that with the two other Ashton ballets that I have never liked, namely Two Pigeons and Marguerite and Armand.  However when a piece is in the middle of a triple bill it's hard to avoid unless one sits it out in the bar (as my other half did!).  However I used to wonder what all the fuss was about over Month in the Country and then I saw Genesia Rosato do it and suddenly "got it".  Now it's one of my favourites.  And I know your feelings about Manon which I really love.  It takes all sorts ...

 

I think casting can have a really big impact on how you enjoy a ballet, more than you might expect! So I would always try and catch different casts to see if they illuminate something for me. 

 

For example Manon with Alina Cojocaru earlier this year (ENB) made me believe I loved the ballet Manon. But dare I say, the recent run with the various RB casts hasn’t really done it for me - there have been some great performances (Ball as Des Grieux was great for example) but nothing for me really touched what Cojocaru brought to the role. I like the ballet still but it has gone down a little in my estimations.  I think if I had seen the Hayward/Campbell/Corrales/Magri cast, that would have hit the spot for me.

 

Having said that I think there’s a limit to what casting can do - I really dislike Don Quixote (RB and Bolshoi) and even Nunez/Muntagirov’s excellent dancing/casting wouldn’t tempt me to see them dancing it again. (Though I would like to see others like Takada/Naghdi/Osipova/Sambe in the role so I may be tempted to go see them, but anytime the main two aren’t on stage the plot and dancing just drags for me...) 

 

So I try to be open minded and give things a try with different casts (budget/priorities depending!). 

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I positively hated Marguerite and Armand, and then I saw it with Rojo and Polunin... Mind you, I still have some reservations about it. I've gone through phases with Enigma Variations; it was the first ballet I ever saw and so occupies a very special place for me, but for quite a few years thereafter it didn't really grip me (except for the music). It's only in recent years that I've really begun to appreciate it again. But yes, casting can make a huge difference, and so can the changes in one's own life and perceptions.

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14 hours ago, Mary said:

For me it was Concerto where in some places more precison would have been welcome: Francesca Hayward was 'perfect' but I felt Corrales, whose energy and power I much appreciated, could have been more precise and perhaps especially in the arms? but am very happy to stand corrected..it was my perception though.

 

 

Definitely my perception too - especially his arms and hands. (And hair!!! It was flopping rather too much, exacerbated by his tendency to give a final little flourish with his head after finishing a tricky step, a habit I don't like.)

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Gosh...talking about heavy scheduling:  this coming week the RB are doing the triple on Tuesday, Manon on Wednesday and Beauty on Thursday.  Crazy if you ask me, but I am full of admiration for those dancers!

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I enjoyed yesterday's matinee and think these three contrasting ballets make for a very entertaining occasion - even if you aren't keen on one you will very likely love another.  Being still under the spell of the previous evening's BRB Giselle, and having seen the Bolshoi's Raymonda on screen a few days ago, my enthusiasm for the RB dancing was somewhat diluted although Muntagirov was as superb as always (but is it my imagination that he is becoming even more slender?  I hope he's not fading away!).  Osipova's Raymonda was very haughty and proud - she is one of those dancers whose personality seems to fill the stage, and indeed the whole theatre.  I can't imagine her ever fading away.

It was good to see what a fine dancer Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød is becoming - not to mention what a very handsome young man!  Here he is with Melissa Hamilton.

concerto hamilton and bjorneboe braensrod small.jpg

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30 minutes ago, bridiem said:

I positively hated Marguerite and Armand, and then I saw it with Rojo and Polunin... 

Snap!  Sadly however the magic disappeared with subsequent viewings and I shan't book to see it again - or at least I'll sit it out ...

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36 minutes ago, bridiem said:

I positively hated Marguerite and Armand ... But yes, casting can make a huge difference...


As can costumes and props - reference those dreadful ‘Liszt’ wigs!

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Well I have never seen Enigma Variations before so I have an open mind but I do love the music and thanks to all the reports here will have a much better understanding of the production. For me liking the music always helps. 
 

I find the modern works more challenging!

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I really appreciated the varied programme yesterday afternoon. I was most looking forward to seeing Enigma Variations as I have only seen it once before, nearly 50 years ago, with mainly the original cast, and it made an indelible impression on me. I wasn’t disappointed but there were one or two performances in it that could have been a little bit better. As others have said, Arestis, Avis & Whitehead were on top form, Campbell also. 

The other two pieces were new to me but I did enjoy Concerto - lovely music and piano soloist- despite the fact I am not MacMillan’s biggest fan (with the obvious exception of Romeo and Juliet and also Song of the Earth). Melissa Hamilton was superb, although not quite as successful in her Raymonda solo, in my opinion. 

I am hoping to see the programme again at my local cinema! 

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Thanks AnneL for your thoughts, what exactly did you find unsuccessful about Hamilton’s Raymonda? I find her almost always sensational 

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2 hours ago, bridiem said:

casting can make a huge difference, and so can the changes in one's own life and perceptions.

 

1 hour ago, Scheherezade said:

As can costumes and props - reference those dreadful ‘Liszt’ wigs!

 

As can - to labour a previously discussed point - the conducting (slower is usually worse imho).

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1 hour ago, Geoff said:

 

 

As can - to labour a previously discussed point - the conducting (slower is usually worse imho).


Agreed, and I did feel that the first movement of Concerto could have been a bit pacier, particularly for Frankie Hayward. 

Edited by Scheherezade

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4 hours ago, Sim said:

Gosh...talking about heavy scheduling:  this coming week the RB are doing the triple on Tuesday, Manon on Wednesday and Beauty on Thursday.  Crazy if you ask me, but I am full of admiration for those dancers!

 

And, unbelievably, they have a Sleeping Beauty pre-general (and other full calls, no doubt) at the start of the week and the General Rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty at 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Not to mention the double Sleeping Beauty on Saturday. 

So, as I did earlier, if one focuses on just one or two dancers, excluding studio rehearsals - Yasmine Naghdi will be a (the) central figure in Concerto on Tuesday's Cinema Relay, will doubtless have a full stage rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty at some point Monday to Wednesday, and dances the opening night Aurora on Thursday; Alexander Campbell danced in Enigma yesterday, will doubtless have a Sleeping Beauty stage call Mon/Tues, has an extra Des Grieux on Wednesday (with a different partner from his Aurora) and is Prince Florimund Saturday evening.

But, as for the corps..................phew!!!! We shall have the opportunity to watch 5 shows this week, 3 different programmes, 5 ballets. But what we won't see are all the backstage rehearsals and the stage calls for the various casts - all of which involve the corps. Phew again!!!!!

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2 hours ago, Sassenach said:

Thanks AnneL for your thoughts, what exactly did you find unsuccessful about Hamilton’s Raymonda? I find her almost always sensational 

I just thought the Concerto choreographic style suited her better. I certainly didn’t find her unsuccessful in Raymonda- perhaps I worded this badly- it was more that I thought she was so good in Concerto and had been raving about her performance in it during the first interval, that the Raymonda didn’t quite hit the same peak. 

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47 minutes ago, capybara said:

General Rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty at 1.30pm on Wednesday.

 

I think the General Rehearsal is 12:30 - I wouldn’t want anyone to be late.

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25 minutes ago, JohnS said:

 

I think the General Rehearsal is 12:30 - I wouldn’t want anyone to be late.

 

Yes, of course - it's 12.30pm. Apologies - I'd just looked at my tickets for next Saturday!

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8 hours ago, JNC said:

 

I think casting can have a really big impact on how you enjoy a ballet, more than you might expect! So I would always try and catch different casts to see if they illuminate something for me. 

 

For example Manon with Alina Cojocaru earlier this year (ENB) made me believe I loved the ballet Manon. But dare I say, the recent run with the various RB casts hasn’t really done it for me - there have been some great performances (Ball as Des Grieux was great for example) but nothing for me really touched what Cojocaru brought to the role. I like the ballet still but it has gone down a little in my estimations.  I think if I had seen the Hayward/Campbell/Corrales/Magri cast, that would have hit the spot for me.

 

Whereas I saw Cojocaru in January & found her in conjunction with Joseph Caley less moving than Alison McWhinney & Francesco Gabriele Frola, who I saw 2 days earlier. Though admittedly I think that was more due to Caley not really doing it for me compared to Frola rather than the performances of the two ladies. (I better not start on the relative merits of the 5 RB casts I've just seen as this is the wrong thread for Manon!)

 

I really enjoyed the triple bill yesterday, my first time seeing the pieces. I think this may partly be because, while I have loved my Manon repeat-viewings in the last month, it was nice to watch some rather less emotional ballet for a change & not end the performance as a sobbing mess!

 

While I generally prefer ballet to have a plot, I really liked Concerto, though I don't think I'd want to see a full 3 acts of that style. I was very pleased I managed to see this cast, especially Hayward & Hamilton. I thought Hamilton & Brændsrød were beautiful in the second movement.

 

I enjoyed Enigma Variations, as a series of vignettes. Nimrod, the only music from them I, and I suspect most people, know, wasn't at all what I would have expected it to be. After seeing Avis & Whitehead playing a pair of deeply unpleasant 18th century characters during the past month, it was nice to see them yesterday as a couple of decent Edwardian chaps instead! It was the first time I'd seen Arestis dancing en pointe & her partnering options when she was younger must have been quite limited, given she was noticably taller than Avis when en pointe & he must be nearly 6 foot. I thought all the different vignettes were good except for not being quite sure about Hinkis as Dorabella. I found myself wishing it was Hayward instead, who I'm only going to see in the cinecast, as I felt Hinkis seemed to lack lightness.

 

Having not been very keen on the Bolshoi's Raymonda when I saw their livestream last week I was a bit apprehensive of what I'd think about the RB's Act III but I found it far more enjoyable. Even the music sounded better! I think it helps when you know who more of the dancers are, for instance in the variations where I was watching dancers all of whom I know from seeing in other roles, rather than several "identikit" Bolshoi dancers who I couldn't properly tell apart. I was surprised at how little Muntagirov had to do; his solo was noticeably shorter than Osipova's.

 

It was nice meeting up with some of the other forum members in the intervals. At least I know my posts on here are read: 3 people asked me how my cold was! (Still going is the answer, but I managed to avoid any mid-performance coughing.) I confess to particularly enjoying the gossip about which dancers are/were dating each other, though there were so many couples mentioned that now I can't remember who they all are!

 

I'm hesitating over posting any photos with @Rob S's wonderful examples on the previous page but as he hasn't posted any on here for yesterday's Concerto and, by my standards, my Concerto ones seem to have come out okay, I'll try posting the link to them.

 

 

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I think they've all come out rather well Dawnstar, I particularly like the one of Christina Arestis with her flowers 👍

Edited by Rob S
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What a terrific evening at the cinema. So glad to have seen Concerto (which I missed on Saturday) which I thought was fantastic. The lighting was a bit too dark for Engima but i think I "got it" this time. Raymonda was a splendid way to finish.

 

Off to the general rehearsal of Sleeping Beauty on Wednesday. I may be a bit ballet-ed out !

 

I would also just say how impressive the general presenting, interviews and behind the scenes videos are for the screening - and what a lovely guy James Hay is !

 

Edited by MJW
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Just got back from my local cinema's screening of the triple bill of Concerto/Enigma Variations/Raymonda Act III and it was really good,  mum and me enjoyed it immensely, The Royal Ballet looked in fine form.

 

Concerto

I love the Shostakovich music used by MacMillan in this ballet, and the choreography fit so well, Anna Rose O'Sullivan and James Hay were great in the first movement, lots of energy, and Yasmine Naghdi and Ryoichi Hirano were spellbinding in the second movement, her lines are so beautiful and elegant, top quality and finally Maya Magri was also fab in the final movement, my mum really liked the ballet too.

 

Engima Variations

Really enjoyed this too, I've never seen it in full before, mostly know it through odd clips, photos etc. so to see it properly was a real treat, loved all the characters and it resonated with me as my ladies choir I am a member of have been performing a couple of Elgar pieces this year (Fly Singing Bird Fly and The Snow), so no escaping this composer! Matthew Hay was really good as Troyte and Francesca Hayward was lovely as Dorabella, brought the music to life. 

 

Raymonda Act III

Well what is there to say but WOW a riot of Hungarian and Byzantine scenery and costume, plenty of white and gold, Vadim Muntagirov and Natalia Osipova were superb, I sometimes like Osipova and sometimes don't and in this she really was in her element, commanding the stage and Vadim, well he was brilliant as usual, could of watched him dance all night, also special mention to Fumi Kaneko, Meghan Grace Hinkis and Claire Calvert in the variations, lovely dancing. Itziar Mendizabal and Reece Clarke were great as the Hungarian couple. Again great music, very lush.

 

Real treat seeing so many of my favourite dancers, and two ballets I've never seen before so that was cool, hope it comes out on blu-ray!

 

It's nice to see the Royal Ballet with strength and depth, they have a great company of dancers. 

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Rather a thin [cinema] audience- what a shame! They don't know what they were misisng.

 

Osipova was worth the price of admission alone- her expression during her stunning hand-clapping solo was priceless!

 

Edited by alison
For clarification
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Enjoyed the cinema broadcast very much, particularly as I'd not felt well on Saturday afternoon and hadn't been as involved as I'd hoped i might have been in the performance.

 

Of course, one will have preferences (I'd have had Hayward with Hay in Concerto for a start and felt O'Sullivan was being ever so slightly "cute to camera"), but Naghdi was sublime (and I liked Hirano in this), whilst Magri made something almost impossible look almost easy. Lovely to see the splendid Kate Shipway interviewed and receiving a well deserved bouquet after Concerto too.

 

Enigma Variations works well on screen, with added detail. I still feel the tone of the work can seem uncertain and need to revisit my David Vaughan re Lady Mary Lygon. I preferred Avis, Arestis and Whitehead for Nimrod, and (just) Campbell, as slightly neater, to Ball as Troyte (both turning right not left I think), but Hayward was absolutely blissful as Dorabella (why not Gasparini for this in other casts? Much as I love her I just can't imagine Naghdi in this - I appreciate she's out of it now -  although it's always good to see artists working against type).

 

I loved Raymonda: the glow of the Glazunov score matched by the glory of the set. Mendizabal (now there's a character principal in the making: will we see her Carabosse this time round?) and Clarke were fantastic as the Hungarian Couple (I still think he will make Principal as a Prince but it's good to see him being tried in a wider range of things to build stage presence, rather like Ball doing Tybalt) and the female soloists much surer than on Saturday afternoon, with, for me, glamorous Ms Kaneko and dazzling Ms Stix-Brunell (who had another busy time), stand outs (although Magri had been rather stunning on Saturday afternoon: she's really growing on me as an artist and dancer with a real individuality of manner and style). For individuality, Osipova is probably unique, and I though, however charismatic, she was at her most wilful with phrasing this evening. As the other half remarked on Saturday, "there are two sorts of virtuosities: she likes to show it's difficult, Muntagirov makes it look effortless. I know which I prefer." 

 

Great to see Alfreda Thorogood, Gary Avis, Christopher Carr and Wayne Sleep in interview, but still not entirely convinced by Darcey Bussell in such scripted environments. Still a lovely evening and a pity that my local cinema in Rye was more than half empty. 

 

 

Edited by Jamesrhblack
Grammar
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4 minutes ago, Jamesrhblack said:

For individuality, Osipova is probably unique, and I thought she was at her most wilful with phrasing this evening. As the other half remarked on Saturday, "there are two sorts of virtuosities: she likes to show it's difficult, Muntagirov makes it look effortless. I know which I prefer." 

 

99% of the time I agree entirely- and Muntagirov is to me the finest dancer currently to be seen- but, I must say that in this piece it was that very contrast between them  that added a certain something to this performance, which I didn't get live last week- not sure why, but some chemistry seemed to click and I found Osipova irresistible and the whole Raymonda performance delightful!

Ballet heaven in fact.

 

Yasmine Naghdi and Hirano  were sublime in Concerto, as many have said- it bears saying again but it was also wonderful to see James Hay and Anna Rose O Sullivan close-up on screen giving it their all- a fine pair they are;

Laura Morera gave a peerless performance which it is so good to have filmed, but I did miss Gary Avis  as Elgar. ( It was nice to see him interviewed but he didn't get the chance to say that much- there is still too much superficial 'It's amazing' chat to my mind.) It might have been Francesca Hayward's first time as Dorabella but she is made for the part and Ashton would surely have loved that performance.

 

- and Reece Clarke and Itziar Mendizibal an exciting Hunagrian couple- goodness,  such an impressive range and variety on stage tonight.

 

 

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I saw the live screening in Wimbledon - the cinema was pretty well full. What a brilliant performance of these three magnificent works! The company now on top form in all three. I loved Anna Rose O'Sullivan and James Hay in the first movement of Concerto, and Naghdi and Hirano were unbelievably beautiful in the second, with Mayara Magri bold and bright in the third movement. Seeing Enigma Variations close up was wonderful - every nuance and detail clear, and a really moving performance. Christopher Saunders was touching as Elgar, with Laura Morera intensely musical and quietly dramatic as his loving wife. Hayward was a scintillating Dorabella and Acri a thrilling George Robertson Sinclair - so fast and nimble! The general rejoicing on the receipt of the telegram, before Elgar has seen it, was so beautiful - all his friends rejoicing, dancing, rising, spinning, in the knowledge of the happiness he was about to be given - their selfless love and artless affection distilling the whole essence of the ballet. And Raymonda was absolutely brilliant, with Osipova a less mysterious but more exotic princess than Cuthbertson, and Muntagirov beyond perfect as Jean de Brienne. Dazzling all round.

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I agree with most of the comments above about the cinema screening. It was a fantastic evening! Though I have no ballet expertise, these are my immediate thoughts:

 

Concerto: I loved this, particularly Yasmine Naghdi. She was exquisite.

 

Enigma: My least favourite. I had watched the online rehearsal with Avis and Arestis, and think I preferred that partnership. After the beautiful simplicity of Concerto, I found the Enigma costumes a little fussy and bulky, and felt they hid the beautiful lines.

 

Raymonda: I didn't think I would like this after reading some of the posts, but was pleasantly surprised! I loved the mix of classical and Hungarian dance, and I loved the music, set and costumes. Muntagirov was beautiful to watch; he jumps so effortlessly, as if he was on springs. I liked Osipova much more in this than in R and J. The role seems perfect for her.

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Approximately 10 in our cinema tonight, I think, worrying. I loved the show, another opportunity to see this marvelous programme. The whole cast of Concerto were fantastic but the performance belonged to Yasmine Naghdi - what more can be said of this wonderful ballerina? Her musicality, her artistry and her phenomenal technique is always a pleasure to see. Enigma Variations was a showcase of the acting ability of the RB. I was so pleased to see Romany Pajdak again, she is perfect in this role it really suits her calm, romantic persona. In fact Romany was gorgeous in every ballet tonight , I can't wait to see her in more solo opportunities, it was exciting to see her partnered with Cesare Corrales in Raymonda. Another notable performance came from Hannah Grennell in Concerto & Raymonda. And Reece Clarke was excellent in Raymonda. The whole cast of Raymonda were brilliant though, especially Vadim Muntagirov as usual. One moment I thought was particularly lovely when the camera caught Isabella Gasparini with a big smile on her face as she watched Osipova in her solo. Just magic.

 

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It can be quite difficult to catch Gasparini without a smile on her face!  Muntagirov looked as though he could hardly be having more fun as he sailed through his - allegedly horribly tough :) - variations in Raymonda.

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My brief thoughts which mainly echo the above:

 

Concerto - really fantastic. O’Sullivan and Hay spot on, perfect technique and real energy in tune with the music and each other. Naghdi - sublime! Good to see her solid and back on stage after her injury. Hirano a good partner but didn’t bring anything ‘extra’ (which I’m not sure the role requires anyway to be fair).

 

Enigma Variations 

Sorry to the Ashton fans but this one did nothing for me. It felt like a serious of unconnected variations but there is meant to be a plot - which is difficult to discern. I wish I could have enjoyed it and ignored a plot but (cue the unpopular opinion) the choreography just didn’t do it for me, so I couldn’t appreciate it and forget about the plot. Hayward was of course lovely as expected, as was Morera but this is one piece I wouldn’t see again - if even Hayward can’t get me to like it there is probably no hope! (Before I get destroyed by those Ashton fans I did enjoy and appreciate A Month in the Country!) 

 

Raymonda

Clarke and Menzibal great as the Hungarian couple. The variations by the four female soloists were solid but, I’m sorry to say, none had a particular extra special something that blew me away (which may be the choreography to be fair?). Muntagirov of course pulled out all the stops and the corps really worked well together in synchrony. But the piece belonged to Osipova - she was in her element, nailing the technique, doing the dramatic flourishes, bang on time to music and fully in control of tempo and really projecting personality. Sorry but I can’t imagine anyone beating her in this role - well it’s personal preference of course and I’ve not seen anyone else, but to me Osipova now is the definitive Raymonda. 

 

Overall a bit of a mixed bag. Highlights definitely Osipova and the second movement Concerto (Naghdi). Rising stars to O’Sullivan/Hay/Clarke. I’m glad I’ve seen it all once but I wouldn’t rush to get another performance in this run. I think it was a good mixed bill in the sense the works are varied and there’s something for everyone, but to me it did feel a bit all over the place, but it was great to see so many principals and first soloists and others in one night - so you can’t complain! 

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Just got home after attending tonight performance. A real treat. Originally I booked 2 performances last week but could not make them for a very busy working schedule myself and illness. I got to this one. Only got 3 hours! And what a wonderful night!

 

Concerto: love Shostakovich, wonderful dancing of the leading roles. the middle piece is nice, the 1st&3rd parts is a little "chaos" to my taste. I would say that I would prefer if shorten into a 20minutes work.

 

Enigma: No it is not for me. Although I found it "interesting" and watched "carefully" but I doubt if I would attend another performance of it. (Maybe just sitting outside at the bar) The music is okay, but unfortunately it is put in the middle of the great Shostakovich and the wonderful Raymonda. :( I would say that "a month in the country" will be a better choice to put in the middle for the cinema screening. Francesca Hayward Laura Morera perfect. Ball managed that interesting solo. 

 

Raymonda: I watched La Scala version and loved Raymonda. So I was very looking forward to RB version and  it is WOW! Natalia and Vadream are beyond my word to describe. It will be quite a lot of pressure on them. Because in this version Act III, the leading pair actually does not have very long stage time and the other solos are also very compatible. In traditional full length Raymonda, Raymonda has very demanding solos in the first two acts. Besides the leading pair,  Fumi Kaneko also stood out. 

The costume , music and dancing are wonderful. The tile effort on the floor looks very beautiful from Balcony. However I was really worried for a moment (especially that famous ariation pour quatre danseurs) because it looked very slippy, it was possible to see the reflection and shadows! (I am being silly lol)

To be a bit picky, I don't know if it is the angle problem from my seat or not. It seems that Natalia Osipova was almost late for the 2nd "bell" turn with male soloists in Grand adage but she saved it. And Hinkis did not control some steps in the last part of her solo that well. Hope either my eyes lied to me or they will make it up in the DVD. 

 

 

 

Edited by HelenLoveAppleJuice
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