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Jane S

A little reminiscence

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60 years ago at this very minute I was at Covent Garden for the very first time, watching a matinee of Swan Lake (still Le Lac des Cygnes at that time) with Svetlana Beriosova and Donald Macleary. It was a very foggy day and my train was 3 hours late so I missed most of Act 1 - they used to let latecomers in to stand at the sides of the Stalls Circle and I vaguely remember just catching the end of the pas de trois.

 

Beriosova was already my idol and I had never seen her live before -  I thought she was wonderful. Otherwise from my notes I seem to have been most impressed by the size of the stage and the way the curtains went up 'sideways' - but  looking at the cast now I really wish I could see the cygnets again - Merle Park, Antoinette Sibley, Doreen Wells and Debra Wayne - Wayne didn't stay long in the company but she had already danced Odile at her graduation performance and I wonder if they ever again had four once-and-future-Odiles as cygnets!

 

My Stalls Circle seat cost 17/6 (about 86p) and the programme was 1 shilling. I don't remember if the fog had lifted by the end of the afternoon but it was a memorable day, anyhow!

 

 

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A lovely memory to share. I never saw Beriosova, but the many beautiful pictures I used to see in ballet annuals suggested she was the very epitome of elegance. I gather her personal life  was not the happiest. As for those cygnets, what a cast. Doreen Wells was my first Aurora with David Wall.

 

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Thank you, Jane.  Someone (was it Lizbie?) suggested a while ago that we should have a thread of reminiscences from people whose ballet-going goes way back, so perhaps any others could go on this thread too?

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Yes it was me. These are my absolute favourite posts so it’s a selfish wish really!

 

Here’s the post which sparked it:

 

 

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Svetlana Beriosova and Donald Macleary were my favourite dancers for many years, especially in Swan Lake, there was something about them that really made me believe in the story in a way I never have since! 

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50 minutes ago, Beryl H said:

Svetlana Beriosova and Donald Macleary were my favourite dancers for many years, especially in Swan Lake, there was something about them that really made me believe in the story in a way I never have since! 

Saw them in Cinderella at some point, towards the end of Beriosova's career. Earliest ballet memory is Festival Ballet in Oxford where, to my excitement, I saw Markova dance the Dying Swan, Dolin the Ravel Bolero, they then both danced the divertissements from Nutcracker. All preceded by Chopiniana which was, I think, the original version of Les Sylphides, although I may be,wrong.

 

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