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An unexpected (given their scheduling)  pleasure to have O'Sullivan/Hay dance the General Rehearsal today :) :) :) 

 

I didn't catch all the cast changes, can anyone confirm who danced the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain ? 

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I can’t answer your question Anna but the Sleeping Beauty rehearsal as part of World Ballet Day with the first soloists made me very excited for this run! Very much looking forward to hear what people who are going tomorrow report back! 

 

All the casts look fantastic and I probably could have happily seen them all if budget allowed (it sadly did not) so I am fully prepared to live vicariously through reviews here! 

 

(On a slightly glummer note I see that tomorrow night hasn’t sold out yet. And looking further ahead it appears the higher ticket prices have dented sales somewhat which is a shame.) 

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1 hour ago, annamk said:

An unexpected (given their scheduling)  pleasure to have O'Sullivan/Hay dance the General Rehearsal today :) :) :) 

 

I didn't catch all the cast changes, can anyone confirm who danced the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain ? 

Lara Turk

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4 minutes ago, JNC said:

On a slightly glummer note I see that tomorrow night hasn’t sold out yet. And looking further ahead it appears the higher ticket prices have dented sales somewhat which is a shame.) 

 

Looking at the numbers, I think the run will sell out or as good as, so the box office will probably consider they’ve pitched the prices exactly right.

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James Hay and Anna-Rose were lovely - a beautiful partnership. I'm just not that keen on SB !

 

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15 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

Looking at the numbers, I think the run will sell out or as good as, so the box office will probably consider they’ve pitched the prices exactly right.

 

I believe you’re probably right! 

 

There are still over 100 tickets for next Monday though...It seems to be the more expensive amphi tickets and the ‘cheaper’ stalls tickets which have sold less well - ie the less ‘value for money’ tickets (where you could pay a bit more for a far better seat, or pay much less) which led me to think it was pricing, as the cheaper seats have all sold well. 

 

I certainly want this to sell well for the dancers and overall ROH finances (especially after Manon!) but saying that part of me perhaps cynically/selfishly doesn’t want it to so ROH will stop the price increases...!

 

Anyway sorry for going off topic and being pessimistic! I am very much looking forward to reading reports back on how tomorrow night goes, as well as Kaneko/Clarke’s debut on Saturday! (For starters.)

Edited by JNC
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Who was the replacement Countess at the General Rehearsal, please. I'm sure I should have been able to recognise her, but didn't (it must've been the hat!)

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For those who attended yesterday's dress rehearsal when a considerable number of cast changes were announced after the house lights went down but were not on display anywhere, that I could see , I obtained the following information from the staff manning the main desk in the foyer. Some of the substitutes were obvious because the dancers concerned were instantly recognisable others were not. I am not sure that I have ever noticed Yu Hang before although I must have seen her dance under the category of "Artists of the Royal Ballet" on a number of occasions.

 

Carabosse  Mendizabal replaced Cowley

 

Prologue Fairies

Crystal Fountain Turk replaced Stock

 Woodland Glade  Yu Hang replaced Kaneko

 

Act 1

Aurora's Friends

Hinkis replaced Stock and Roscoe replaced Turk

 

Act 2

Countess McNally replaced Pajdak

 

Act 3

Florestan and his Sisters Gasparini replaced Stock.

 

Someone asked whether the dancers appearing with Hay and O'Sullivan were destined to dance with the same leading couple throughout the run. I think it most unlikely as all the divertisements are self contained involving two or three dancers at most and thus easily transferred from one cast to another. At the last revival Kevin was still ringing the changes until the end of the run. Some of the changes were clearly carefully calculated and intended  to stretch individual dancers others were the result of illness and injury, all were fascinating. I can see no reason why Kevin would want to keep  each cast as a self contained unit and events such as illness and injury will inevitably upend some of his best laid plans. The other complicating factor is that they are also performing Coppelia which is far from being a one woman show as the company needs to field strong authoritative soloists for both Dawn and Prayer. Prayer is one of those apparently innocuous solos which really separates the merely promising but not yet arrived from the those who are technically and artistically equipped to tackle anything. When the ballet was last revived I only recall Yanowsky really passed the test which the choreography presents.

 

 

 

Edited by FLOSS
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Goodness the dancers work hard. I’m surprised there aren’t even more injuries.

 

Very sorry that Cowley, who is one of favourite artists, is off but I bet Mendizabal was a fantastic Carabosse. That’s been one of my “I wish” castings too. 

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2 hours ago, FLOSS said:

I am not sure that I have ever noticed Yu Hang before

Thanks for posting all the changes Floss, I rather lost track and the audience seemed quite amused at the long list. 

I did notice the Yu Hang change though. This seemed to me like a great early opportunity  for her, replacing a First Soloist, considering she has only just become an Artist this Season.

I imagine she is  well thought of. 

From what I could see (high up in the Amphi) she did very well.

Here is her 2016 Prix de Lausanne prize winning Classical variation (aged 16). 

 

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1 hour ago, Jamesrhblack said:

I bet Mendizabal was a fantastic Carabosse

 

Don't bet against it....!

Edited by Richard LH

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Yes I followed her through the Prix that year there was some discussion on the Doing Dance thread at the time of which way round her name should be ; Yu Hang or Hang Yu......and I’ve already forgotten ..... I think her first ( Christian ) name is Yu .....however in China I believe the tradition is to put the Family name ( surname) first. 

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5 hours ago, Richard LH said:

Thanks for posting all the changes Floss, I rather lost track and the audience seemed quite amused at the long list. 

I did notice the Yu Hang change though. This seemed to me like a great early opportunity  for her, replacing a First Soloist, considering she has only just become an Artist this Season.

I imagine she is  well thought of. 

From what I could see (high up in the Amphi) she did very well.

 

Yes, thank you, Floss. It's no wonder I couldn't quite work out who the McNally look-alike Countess was: I thought she was the replacement Carabosse and couldn'y believe she would be doing both roles. There was a lot of wry amusement about the long list around where I was sitting but it is not surprising. The workload is extraordinarily heavy and there is a pig of a cold going round.

Yu Hang is a lovely dancer who featured prominently in the Royal Ballet School's end of year performance is 2018. Indeed, she took the role of Aurora in the version of Sleeping Beauty Act 3 (Aurora's Wedding) that the school danced. I believe that she joined the RBS in the second year of the Upper School.

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Please would someone who has been there on opening night reveal the dancers for: Lilac Fairy, Carabosse and the Bluebirds. Many thanks.

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

Please would someone who has been there on opening night reveal the dancers for: Lilac Fairy, Carabosse and the Bluebirds. Many thanks.

 

Kaneko, McNally, Hayward, Sambe (don't know how to do an accent on my phone!). Great performance - just leaving.

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12 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

Kaneko, McNally, Hayward, Sambe (don't know how to do an accent on my phone!). Great performance - just leaving.

 

Thank you. Rather as expected. Luxury casting. Lucky audience.

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And the prologue fairies were all First Soloists. Stix-Brunell, Magri, Calvert, O’Sullivan and Choe.

Edited by Tony Newcombe
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Apparently Magri and O’Sullivan were also Florestan sisters ( with Hay as Florestan). 

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1 hour ago, capybara said:

Luxury casting

 
Totally. Feeling spoiled. 

 

As an ongoing lament —  how I wish they would list the full cast on the website. 

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54 minutes ago, capybara said:

Thank you. Rather as expected. Luxury casting. Lucky audience.

 

Lucky audience indeed. Superb dancing at all levels, and a real sense of the company's total commitment to this ballet. You'd never have guessed it was the first show of the run. Yasmine Naghdi was a breathtaking Aurora. All the technical challenges dealt with with complete insouciance and a brilliant smile. Matthew Ball a handsome and supportive Florimund. Kristen McNally a terrific Carabosse, rejoicing in her evil and all but licking her lips as she cast her wicked spell. Fumi Kaneko a serenely beautiful and gracious Lilac Fairy. And so many other riches. No-one does regal like Elizabeth McGorian. Hayward and Sambé as Princess Florine and the Bluebird flew through the air and flitted and sparked like truly magical creatures. I normally find Puss-in-Boots and the Cat, and Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, a bit tedious; but they were performed with such verve tonight (by Paul Kay, Ashley Dean, Romany Pajdak and Nicol Edmonds) that they were hugely entertaining. I thought all the fairy solos were excellent, as were Hay, Magri and O'Sullivan as Florestan and his sisters (once more, Hay and O'Sullivan seeming like a perfect match). And Thomas Whitehead a convincing, fussy, indignant Catalabutte. He and the King (a lovely performance by Christopher Saunders) could both however learn something about not passing the buck: the King is happy to land Catalabutte in it when Carabosse demands to know who is responsible for not inviting her to the christening; and Catalabutte is quick to point the finger at the women who had the knitting needles, knowing it could seal their fate. What rotters.

 

I still find many of the costumes for this production a bit garish, and the effect of the forest growing isn't as effective as in other/previous productions. And I'm not happy with the ending in respect of Carabosse - she appears to have been defeated by the Lilac Fairy en route to the palace, but she then pops up again and creeps over to Aurora's bed, only slinking away behind it when the Prince approaches. But where does she go? She needs to be seen to be defeated once and for all, and that doesn't seem to happen (although it says in the synopsis that she is 'finally vanquished' - but that isn't made clear on stage). I was left with the horrible sensation that she and her rats (which were amazingly rat-like) might rise again. I also preferred the ending where tribute is paid ultimately by all to the Lilac Fairy, whereas here it is Aurora and Florimund who are given the final reverence.

 

But all in all, a great performance abounding in magnificent dancing.

 

 

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A truly sensational performance tonight.  A radiant and technically assured Yasmine Naghdi delivered one of the best Auroras I have seen in many a year.  A stunning Rose Adagio presaged a performance of wonder. This was also the best classical dancing I have seen from Matthew Ball.  Together with the beauty of Fumi Kaneko’s Lilac Fairy and the pyrotechnics of Marcelino Sambe’s Bluebird, this was a very special night.  Last week I said that Francesca Hayward is the Manon of her generation, and tonight I can say that Yasmine Naghdi is the Aurora of her generation.  Such pure, beautiful and natural classicism, paired with a very strong technique, is a rare gift and I feel so privileged to be able to see it. My daughter put it best:  she is a classical superstar.  Indeed. 

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Bridie I don’t know what the view was like where you were sitting, but Carabosse appears in the mirror above Aurora’s bed. As soon as the kiss happens, Carabosse clearly expires.  In previous performances the mirror shatters so it’s very obvious, but tonight it didn’t. 
 

Another difference tonight was that during the pause in the final act , instead of the music starting as soon as the curtain dropped there were a few minutes of silence, so lots of people got up to leave, especially in the balcony where the poor ushers were running around trying to get people back in their seats. One was heard to say “you can’t leave, they still have to get married!”   To avoid this confusion in future performances they really should start the music as soon as the curtain drops.  

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5 minutes ago, Sim said:

Bridie I don’t know what the view was like where you were sitting, but Carabosse appears in the mirror above Aurora’s bed. As soon as the kiss happens, Carabosse clearly expires.  In previous performances the mirror shatters so it’s very obvious, but tonight it didn’t.

 

Ah, I see - or rather, I didn't see. I just saw Carabosse herself slither behind the bed, but it wasn't clear that she'd expired. That's a blessed relief! Thanks, Sim.

Edited by bridiem
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It almost felt Christmassy as the magical scenery of this traditional production was revealed, augmented by Tchaikovsky’s sparkling music.  Highlights for me:

-          Hayward and Sambé as the Bluebird and Florine – both lovely, but especially Sambé who was on top form and an absolute joy.

-          Paul Kay as Puss-in-Boots: I love the way Kay performs each role he is given with the utmost relish.  He doesn’t have the appearance or presence of a heroic character, but when he’s given a part that suits him he is outstanding.

-          Kaneko’s Lilac Fairy was fluid and graceful, radiating goodness with her beautiful smile.
 

Matthew Ball was suitably princely and an excellent partner, but I’m afraid I do not share others’ enthusiasm for Naghdi’s Princess Aurora, although she seemed to improve as the evening wore on.   The audience were appreciative throughout.

Sleeping Beauty 081119 McNally Naghdi Ball small.jpg

Sleeping Beauty 081119 Fumi Kaneko as Lilac Fairy small.jpg

Sleeping Beauty 081119 Sambe and Hayward as Bluebird and Florine small.jpg

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We were a lucky audience indeed tonight.

To have the Opening Night danced by two of Mr O'Hare's youngest Principals, Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball, shows the great confidence Mr. O'Hare has in them.  

They were stunning, I expected nothing less from Yasmine Naghdi, and Matthew Ball gave us, as Sim said, his best classical dancing to date. They look so good together and so at ease dancing with each other. Well, what more can I say about Yasmine Naghdi's stunning Aurora, Sim has summed it all up! Naghdi has it all when it comes to dancing the great Classics and tonight she showed us yet again great control combined with a very strong technique. There was nothing showy in her performance (as I remember Tamara Rojo showing off in her overlong Rose Adagio balances), she never went for one moment over the top and she stuck to the choreographic text, danced it as it should be danced (I believe she was coached by Darcey Bussell). Fumi Kaneko was a very fine Lilac Fairy, Sambe was Sambe in the Bluebird Variation but I was disappointed in Francesca Hayward's Variation, her dancing lovely but nothing outstanding and rather flat (I have seen it danced much better by others). Anna Rose O'Sullivan danced a beautiful Fairy of the Song Bird. During the red runner Yasmine produced seemingly out of nowhere a white rose which she presented to Matthew Ball, a lovely gesture of her appreciation. 

Edited by Xandra Newman
typo
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6 minutes ago, Xandra Newman said:

Sambe was Sambe in the Bluebird Variation but I was disappointed in Francesca Hayward's Variation, her dancing lovely but nothing outstanding and rather flat (I have seen it danced much better by others). 

 

Maybe this was as a result of the current workload, which has seemed to impact even more on Hayward and O'Sullivan than on the overstretched others?

Thank you everyone for the terrific reviews. Feeling very envious.

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What dream casting!! 

 

@maryrosesatonapin - I don’t wish to put you on the spot but I’m intrigued as to why Naghdi didn’t do it for you? 

 

I do sometimes find on this forum a little bit of confirmation bias (we generally only book casts we have a preference for and hence most of the reviews are always positive, so I always find it interesting to see more critical ones!). 

 

I am seeing Naghdi later in the run and now I really hope the casting is the same as those roles sound dreamy - and all fairies first soloists, what a treat! 

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21 minutes ago, capybara said:

 

Maybe this was as a result of the current workload, which has seemed to impact even more on Hayward and O'Sullivan than on the overstretched others?

 

Perhaps, but I was also disappointed with Hayward in Bluebird which is why I didn’t mention her above. “Flat” is a good description, and I found some of her footwork sloppy.  Anna-Rose and Marcelino were a great match in the last run!

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49 minutes ago, Xandra Newman said:

During the red runner Yasmine produced seemingly out of nowhere a white rose which she presented to Matthew Ball, a lovely gesture of her appreciation. 

 

 

69A36E3B-7607-42B9-AFA5-5852E720F978.jpeg

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Looking at last night's Opening Night cast sheet it suddenly occurred to me that the majority of the cast ALL trained at The Royal Ballet School. Both Principals Naghdi and Ball trained at White Lodge and the Upper School,  many of the Character Artists such as Saunders, McGorian, McNally, Gartside, Whitehead, Avis, as well as several of the Prologue Fairies such as Calvert, O'Sullivan, Magri, Hay, Zucchetti, Hayward, Sambe,...., and many of Princess Aurora's Friends trained at the Upper School, with Pajdak (WL and US). The Act III cast all went to the RBS.

This cast was loaded with RBS trained dancers. Must be a first?  

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