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2 minutes ago, Douglas Allen said:

Sorry, who is AR?

 

Must be Anna Rose (O'Sullivan).

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51 minutes ago, Douglas Allen said:

Sorry, who is AR?

 Anna Rose O’Sullivan

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I mentioned Ryo, and so did a few others!  (Refers to FionaE’s post above)

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6 hours ago, Sim said:

I mentioned Ryo, and so did a few others!  (Refers to FionaE’s post above)


ok good!
 

it is not easy to be so smooth, calm, unhurried and in sync with the ballerina 👏

Edited by FionaE
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15 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

There must have been a cast change because it was definitely Romany Pajdak dancing & she was correctly credited when the end credits rolled. Presumably Olivia Cowley was ill/injured/otherwise engaged at the last minute.

 

14 hours ago, Jamesrhblack said:

Hi, it was Romany Pajdak.

 

It stated Olivia Cowley on the Cast Sheet but it was definitely Ms Pajdak and her name appeared on the credits at the end.

 

Olivia Cowley is out of action thanks to a severe back spasm, as she has reported on Twitter.

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Ow.  Poor thing :(

 

I did think it looked more like Romany than Olivia, so pleased my eyes weren't playing tricks on me.

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This programme with its old fashioned approach to the construction of a mixed bill provides a snapshot of the company in the final years of Ashton's directorship and the first year of MacMillan's tenure when it was still very much Ashton's company, as it was to remain for some considerable time after his retirement, as its leading dancers were performers who had been formed artistically by dancing Ashton's choreography throughout their professional lives. This is true of every single dancer even those whom we  more readily associate  with MacMillan such as Lynn Seymour were at least as much his dancers as they were MacMillans.

 

The programme contains technical and stylistic challenges for today's dancers with their improved technique and more athletic approach to performance style and also to management which has largely abandoned casting according to the categories of dancer types within which Ashton generally worked as it now seems overly inclined to cast ballets on an "anyone can do anything" basis and on the ability of individual named dancers to sell tickets rather than their suitability for particular roles. The current approach to casting can produce pleasant surprises but it can also produce unpleasant ones. Getting the casting wrong in a ballet which was originally designed with contrasting types of dancers providing colouring, light, shade and nuance to its performance does enormous damage to it. Ballets only really live in performance and if you see your favourite dancer in an infrequently performed ballet in which he or she has been miscast you will almost certainly decide that it is the work which is at fault rather than those choosing the casts. It is worth remembering that fifty years ago at the end of Ashton's directorship casting was undertaken with considerable care and every effort was made to cast the right dancers for the roles to be filled and considerably less concern was expended on development opportunities. The  dancers of fifty years ago were capable of encompassing and meeting the technical and stylistic demands of all three of these works.

 

Concerto is a ballet deliberately devised to highlight technical deficiencies particularly a lack of precision, elegance and musicality . MacMillan made it to save him the trouble of attending daily class  to assess the technical health of the dancers in his Berlin Company. I hate to point this out but however wonderful you may find MacMillan's expressionist narrative works they provide ample opportunities for those whose classical technique is in less than pristine condition to make a terrific impact on audiences by enabling dancers to conceal their technical deficiencies, lack of elegance and precision, by emoting their way through performances. Concerto is not that sort of work it is a ballet concerned with elegance, precision and musicality using classical dance vocabulary with a few stylistic twists including steps drawn from more popular styles of theatrical performance. It is not a work in which a dancer can rely on a vigorous approach to the choreography to get through the ballet. The height of jumps , the number of turns and stage persona are not enough to enable a dancer to make an impact in this ballet which demands authority, precision, elegance and ease  and in which no dancer escapes scrutiny . The streamed cast was by far the best. It is not a question pf who your favourite dancer or dancers are. It is about the ability to reproduce the choreography in an authoritative manner and in a style that the choreographer would recognise as what he intended. 

 

Whether or not you approve the management's choice of the ballets included in this programme, and some of the national critics  did not the first and last pieces i are essentially tests of the current company's ability to perform works in two contrasting classical styles which its dancers would at one time have encompassed with consummate ease. Both ballets are a test of the dancers' authority, elegance, precision and musicality. The middle work is an exercise in the application of classical dance vocabulary and natural body language to the depiction of the characters of Elgar's friends pictured within the score. although I have heard several people say that it is "not typical Ashton" but what you think of as typical of this choreographer's output is almost entirely the result of the decisions of a handful of Artistic Directors about which of his works to revive. Enigma is the second of his works to create a series of vignettes of closely observed characters  in a well delineated provincial society. The main difference  between  A Wedding Bouquet " and Enigma is that  the former is a  comedy and the latter is an attempt to evoke rural Worcestershire at the end of the nineteenth century  and populate it with real people. I think that the cast in the streamed performance is about the best that the company can manage at present. it is a shame that those dancers are not going to have the opportunity to develop their roles.

 

As far as Raymonda Act III is concerned I wish that all the named soloists in the four female variations in the performances I attended had been less tentative and had performed as if they knew that they were there by right rather than by chance.

 

 

 

 

Edited by FLOSS
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1 hour ago, FLOSS said:

 

As far as Raymonda Act III is concerned I wish that all the named soloists in the four female variations in the performances I attended had been less tentative and had performed as if they knew that they were there by right rather than by chance.

 


I’m gonna write my thoughts on the triple bill over the weekend but couldn’t pass up saying that I wish Magri was up for variation 4 on the cinema relay after all the rave reviews she received. From what I read in pretty much all the reviews is that she was the one who was really swinging and going for it. 

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FLOSS, I enjoyed reading your review & comments... very thought provoking about the old v new approach to casting & actually I think a very wise observation.... 

I do sometimes find casting against type jarring... you really don’t see the same happening in Film/TV/Stage Acting IMHO....Actually.... now I’m going to contradict myself... yes, sadly you absolutely do; & it’s usualkg all about the box office return... casting ‘stars’ who will sell tickets regardless of what they are actually performing... the curse of our celebrity culture sadly. 

And whenever an Opera singer tries to do jazz or pop it’s rarely a success beyond a ‘good on them for trying’ again, IMHO!

I do understand individual & company versatility is a good thing to be celebrated but so too is not wrongly casting leads fir the sake of proving they can do it passably over giving a true fit in the role more performances... I am hating the fact that it seems there may be a rub with over 10 different leads but each with just a handful of performances...so hard to get to see cast of choice & so disappointing when you see a cast you feel is not quite right in role....

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8 minutes ago, Peanut68 said:

I am hating the fact that it seems there may be a rub with over 10 different leads but each with just a handful of performances...so hard to get to see cast of choice & so disappointing when you see a cast you feel is not quite right in role....

 

This is probably my lack of understanding of how ballet companies work but I can't understand why the RB has so many different casts do so few performances in some pieces. For instance, the recent run of Manon had 9 leading pairs, 8 of whom did 2 performances each & 1 did only 1 performance. The time & effort that went into rehearsing all 9 couples must have been considerable, even granted that there was, I think, only the one role debut. Wouldn't it make more sense in terms of rehearsal time needed per performance to have 4 couples doing 4 performances each?

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32 minutes ago, Ingrid said:


I’m gonna write my thoughts on the triple bill over the weekend but couldn’t pass up saying that I wish Magri was up for variation 4 on the cinema relay after all the rave reviews she received. From what I read in pretty much all the reviews is that she was the one who was really swinging and going for it. 

 

I agree, I was really disappointed not to see her! I get casting must be a bit of a nightmare to schedule and that ‘non principal’ roles need some flexibility but I do wish ROH advertised more roles (even if they couldn’t do this at the same time they cast the main roles, if they did it once the performances started it would be helpful...but I suppose then people may complain if things do have to be moved around last minute!). As has been discussed on another thread I would love to see casting for lilac fairy and others in the Sleeping Beauty run but I appreciate this is a big ask that won’t happen! 

 

13 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

This is probably my lack of understanding of how ballet companies work but I can't understand why the RB has so many different casts do so few performances in some pieces. For instance, the recent run of Manon had 9 leading pairs, 8 of whom did 2 performances each & 1 did only 1 performance. The time & effort that went into rehearsing all 9 couples must have been considerable, even granted that there was, I think, only the one role debut. Wouldn't it make more sense in terms of rehearsal time needed per performance to have 4 couples doing 4 performances each?

 

Dawnstar - I have to say I disagree. Yes it may have put additional workload on individuals and rehearsals, but limited casting means limited opportunities for individuals to dance (it would certainly result in fewer first soloists being cast in principal roles I imagine). I also imagine many principals would be quite annoyed if they didn’t have a chance to dance a key role, of course not every principal can/should dance every principal role but if they are suited and up for Kevin O’Hare thinks it will work I don’t see why not?

 

I also think it must be pretty demanding to dance a role numerous times - dancing Manon twice is surely less demanding than dancing Manon four times? 

 

Also to add there may be a disadvantage with regard to sales - many of us on here book to see a particular ballet more than once because we like to see different casts. I imagine there are some people who like to see all variety of casts! I like to think dancers quite like to dance a variety of roles (although it is of course quite demanding and challenging!) and welcome the challenge the varied casting provides, along with the opportunities that brings! 

 

I’m not sure if historically RB have always had a diverse set of casts or if this is a more recent thing however. 

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26 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

This is probably my lack of understanding of how ballet companies work but I can't understand why the RB has so many different casts do so few performances in some pieces. For instance, the recent run of Manon had 9 leading pairs, 8 of whom did 2 performances each & 1 did only 1 performance. The time & effort that went into rehearsing all 9 couples must have been considerable, even granted that there was, I think, only the one role debut. Wouldn't it make more sense in terms of rehearsal time needed per performance to have 4 couples doing 4 performances each?

 

With so many Principals obviously wanting the roles, would you want to be the Director who told them they couldn't be cast this time - especially as 3 or 4 of the Manons and more than one Des Grieux will probably not get another shot at those roles.

The problem with each couple (and their Lescaut/Mistress combos) having just two shows, however, is that the dancers, whether they are new to the roles or familiar with them, believe that they need three performances: the first more tentative perhaps, the second to grow into their characters and the third to consolidate. Moreover, without the third opportunity, the amount of rehearsal time is hugely disproportionate to the time spent on stage. I think that, this season, only Hirano (Lescaut) was cast for four shows, although a couple of Mistresses gained more appearances through others' illnesses.

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19 minutes ago, JNC said:

Dawnstar - I have to say I disagree. Yes it may have put additional workload on individuals and rehearsals, but limited casting means limited opportunities for individuals to dance (it would certainly result in fewer first soloists being cast in principal roles I imagine). I also imagine many principals would be quite annoyed if they didn’t have a chance to dance a key role, of course not every principal can/should dance every principal role but if they are suited and up for Kevin O’Hare thinks it will work I don’t see why not?

 

That's why I was looking at it solely in terms of rehearsal time compared to performance time & didn't get into the question of what dancers want to dance, which is a different issue.

 

4 minutes ago, capybara said:

With so many Principals obviously wanting the roles, would you want to be the Director who told them they couldn't be cast this time - especially as 3 or 4 of the Manons and more than one Des Grieux will probably not get another shot at those roles.

 

May I ask which Manons you're expecting not to perform again? Morera is the obvious one but, unless Manon isn't scheduled again for 4-5 years or more, I would have thought all the others are young enough that there's a reasonable chance they'll still be dancing in, say, 3 years' time?

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1 hour ago, Ingrid said:


I’m gonna write my thoughts on the triple bill over the weekend but couldn’t pass up saying that I wish Magri was up for variation 4 on the cinema relay after all the rave reviews she received. From what I read in pretty much all the reviews is that she was the one who was really swinging and going for it. 

 

She certainly was going for it in my opinion last Saturday matinee and I too was disappointed when she wasn't cast for it in the cinema relay. But then I saw her do an equally fabulous variation in Concerto so it's swings and roundabouts really. 

To change the subject to cast changes there were a whole list of them read out before last Saturday's matinee. When I went to the main desk in the foyer and asked if they had a cast change list I was told they didn’t do them any more and I either had to copy them manually from their list or photograph it on my phone which I did. Leaving the theatre at the end of the performance I walked past the same desk which now had a pile of cast change lists on it which would probably end up being thrown away as being too late for most people. 

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11 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

 

She certainly was going for it in my opinion last Saturday matinee and I too was disappointed when she wasn't cast for it in the cinema relay. But then I saw her do an equally fabulous variation in Concerto so it's swings and roundabouts really. 

To change the subject to cast changes there were a whole list of them read out before last Saturday's matinee. When I went to the main desk in the foyer and asked if they had a cast change list I was told they didn’t do them any more and I either had to copy them manually from their list or photograph it on my phone which I did. Leaving the theatre at the end of the performance I walked past the same desk which now had a pile of cast change lists on it which would probably end up being thrown away as being too late for most people. 

 

mmmm not good. I would take it up with RoH  - clearly some training needed there! I would suggest mentioning in the review that one gets sent after a performance but since it only asks two questions and doesn't give any opportunity to comment, I won't !

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19 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

 

She certainly was going for it in my opinion last Saturday matinee and I too was disappointed when she wasn't cast for it in the cinema relay. But then I saw her do an equally fabulous variation in Concerto so it's swings and roundabouts really. 

To change the subject to cast changes there were a whole list of them read out before last Saturday's matinee. When I went to the main desk in the foyer and asked if they had a cast change list I was told they didn’t do them any more and I either had to copy them manually from their list or photograph it on my phone which I did. Leaving the theatre at the end of the performance I walked past the same desk which now had a pile of cast change lists on it which would probably end up being thrown away as being too late for most people. 

 

When I asked about a cast change slip on Saturday, the reply was 'oh, just take a quick photo.' I replied, 'not everyone has a smartphone!' I hope I didn't sound too harsh, and I would say at least some feedback has been taken on board by the ROH, as they did make an announcement before curtain up, but it would be nice to be able to have a sheet to read at leisure.

 

Perhaps they could place the paper a little higher up, so any changes are easier to see, and make a note of. The programme desk can get very congested, it seems to me, as people are hurriedly trying to take any cast changes on board. Placing the note a little higher might avoid some of this congestion. Just a thought 🙂 

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18 minutes ago, Rachel H said:

Perhaps they could place the paper a little higher up, so any changes are easier to see, and make a note of. The programme desk can get very congested, it seems to me, as people are hurriedly trying to take any cast changes on board. Placing the note a little higher might avoid some of this congestion. Just a thought 🙂 

 

A really good idea. Have you got time to write in about this @Rachel.H ?

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Last season they were scrolling cast changes in the screen behind the counter in the caff! It was impossible to read as it was at the bottom of the screen and hidden by staff serving. Have they stopped this? It still seems to me that they have not grasped the fact that some of their audience is interested in casts apart from the principals.

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1 hour ago, ninamargaret said:

Last season they were scrolling cast changes in the screen behind the counter in the caff! It was impossible to read as it was at the bottom of the screen and hidden by staff serving. Have they stopped this? It still seems to me that they have not grasped the fact that some of their audience is interested in casts apart from the principals.

 

The cast changes I have noticed on that screen recently have been scrolling across the top of the screen, which makes them decidedly easier to read than across the bottom. Hopefully that's as a result of feedback & will remain across the top.

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2 hours ago, MJW said:

 

mmmm not good. I would take it up with RoH  - clearly some training needed there! I would suggest mentioning in the review that one gets sent after a performance but since it only asks two questions and doesn't give any opportunity to comment, I won't !

 

What review? I've never been sent one and so far I've attended 4 performances this season. Anyway they can't be that interested in people's opinions if there is no room for individual comments. X

I'm going again this Saturday evening so I might mention the cast change list then. 

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3 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

Wouldn't it make more sense in terms of rehearsal time needed per performance to have 4 couples doing 4 performances each?

I totally agree, Dawnstar. The current policy is absurd.  Dancers benefit from and give better interpretations when they have several performances in a relatively short period of time. They, and we, would benefit from a change in line with your suggestion. Obviously, some dancers would then miss out on the chance of performing a particular role, but the converse would be that not everyone would try to dance everything. So, for example, Dancer A might not perform Odette/Odile in a season but would have significantly more performances, say, of Aurora. We need to move away from the idea that once a dancer hits a certain level, say principal, that any dancer should be able to (and have the expectation to) dance everything.

3 hours ago, JNC said:

I also think it must be pretty demanding to dance a role numerous times - dancing Manon twice is surely less demanding than dancing Manon four times? 

JNC No, not at all. Why do you say that? All the evidence from the past suggests otherwise and all the dancers I know would reject your assertion. No-one is suggesting that they dance three shows a day.

3 hours ago, capybara said:

With so many Principals obviously wanting the roles, would you want to be the Director who told them they couldn't be cast this time

That is one of the tasks Directors are paid to do.

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5 minutes ago, jmhopton said:

 

What review? I've never been sent one and so far I've attended 4 performances this season. Anyway they can't be that interested in people's opinions if there is no room for individual comments. X

I'm going again this Saturday evening so I might mention the cast change list then. 

 

I get an automated message after a visit, saying they hoped I enjoyed a performance and asking me to complete a survey  - it only has two questions: did I enjoy it (1 to 10) and would I recommend someone to visit (1 to 10)

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Yes, totally and utterly useless.  Makes me wonder who created it, because they can't be very good at audience research.

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21 minutes ago, MJW said:

 

I get an automated message after a visit, saying they hoped I enjoyed a performance and asking me to complete a survey  - it only has two questions: did I enjoy it (1 to 10) and would I recommend someone to visit (1 to 10)

 

Like those surveys you get after a hospital appointment - would you recommend us to your friends?! (At least they don't ask if you enjoyed it.)

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It's actually the accompanying email that's worse - it makes it sound as though it's going to be quite an in-depth survey, and then it's the shallowest I've ever seen.

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On 06/11/2019 at 12:23, Two Pigeons said:

However, the whole performance was remarkable for the truly tremendous Laura Morea as Lady Elgar.  I am so pleased to have seen her in an Ashton role, and one she so obviously understood.  I never saw Beriosova in the role but I felt, accurately or otherwise, that I had seen the nearest thing.  She was Alice Elgar as she would like to have been, to partially quote the bon mot about Monica Mason being Alice as she actually was.  It should never be forgotten that Elgar had all his major successes during the time he was married to her and that they ceased with her death.  She was his true inspiration and I really felt that with Morea.

 

Completely agree

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17 hours ago, JNC said:

I also think it must be pretty demanding to dance a role numerous times - dancing Manon twice is surely less demanding than dancing Manon four times?

 

14 hours ago, Douglas Allen said:

JNC No, not at all. Why do you say that? All the evidence from the past suggests otherwise and all the dancers I know would reject your assertion. No-one is suggesting that they dance three shows a day.

 

I would have thought it would be less demanding for a dancer to rehearse a role & give 4 performances of it than to rehearse 2 roles & give 2 performances of each during the same time frame. I also wonder if it is harder for dancers to have to do different performance styles in close proximity? For instance, doing pure classical with a lot of pointe work one day and modern dance with no pointe work the next.

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5 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

 

I would have thought it would be less demanding for a dancer to rehearse a role & give 4 performances of it than to rehearse 2 roles & give 2 performances of each during the same time frame. I also wonder if it is harder for dancers to have to do different performance styles in close proximity? For instance, doing pure classical with a lot of pointe work one day and modern dance with no pointe work the next.

 

I have no actual knowledge as I’m not a dancer and haven’t spoken to dancers about this directly so it was just an opinion/thought! Fully imagine that you and @Douglas Allen are more likely correct on this point. 

 

I do however still maintain (in my opinion) that dancers would prefer to dance a variety of roles rather than one - if the choice is between dancing Manon four times, but not Aurora at all, or vice versa, or dancing Manon twice and Aurora twice I believe most would likely choose the latter, but again I may be wrong! 

 

I note that for Sleeping Beauty most are getting three performances of Aurora (with the exception of Kaneko/O’Sullivan who are arguably very lucky to be dancing it all, not suggesting they are undeserving of this but in the sense it’s clearly a ‘test’ and gift from O’Hare rather than because they need that many Auroras) so if Manon had a longer run there may have been more performances. Ok three isn’t quite four performances but I think it allows a dancer considerable opportunity to solidify themselves in a role, whilst also giving the audience good diversity of casting choices. 

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1 hour ago, JNC said:

I do however still maintain (in my opinion) that dancers would prefer to dance a variety of roles rather than one - if the choice is between dancing Manon four times, but not Aurora at all, or vice versa, or dancing Manon twice and Aurora twice I believe most would likely choose the latter, but again I may be wrong! 

 

 

Isn't that the reason (meaning the diversity of roles and repertoire) why so many principal dancers in smaller companies later join a bigger company ( like William Bracewell did ) or in the case of the Vaganova school students some prefer the Bolshoi over the Mariinksy? It would be great if the dancers had on average 3 performances to find and develop their roles but I understand that KOH tries his best to give his dancers oportunities, and many dancers have said in interviews ( in english and others in their native language)  how much they appreciate his efforts to do so.

 

Edited by Ingrid
Punctuation.
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