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English National Ballet's 70th Anniversary Gala performances - January 2020 - London

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The Gala was meticulously planned and brilliantly executed.  Stunning, sumptuous, ravishing, scintillating and exhilarating from start to finish. A veritable celebration of dance. It deserved a standing ovation and I among others gave it one. I hope that it was recorded for wider viewing. 
 

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Edited by prs59
To include the word “brilliantly”
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I thought this perhaps the best produced/presented gala I have ever been to.  The transference from film to staged item and from one segment to the next in a first act so stuffed with sweets was immaculately seamless and meaningful.  No easy feat.  The work of the ENB Phil was mesmeric and massive.  Such a joy to hear the Coppelia mazurka come alive in a thriving tempi and pulsing in a wittily staged variety.  Standouts for me were Kase, Frola (is there ANYTHING he can't do? - That Apollo segment, his partnering of a zealous Rojo in Carmen and, my word, that display in Etudes were oh, so thrilling in part as much as in toto. - Can there be any question but that this is a major world talent who certainly - at least for me - more than lives up to the triumphant memory of his Paris Nijinsky) and Cirio - who has the feet and elegance of Bujones - and that - to my mind - is the highest compliment I know to pay in this particular realm.  That new ENB facility is obviously paying dividends.  The fine work of the ENB corps paid testament to that last night. 

 

As to what to revive ... I would love to see them do Lifar's Suite en Blanc again ... so too would I adore for them to keep Ashton's R&J alongside the Nureyev.  Ashton's is one of the best I know - much as ENB's stunning Skeaping Giselle is my favourite production of that historic landmark.  ... Too, I would love to see them do some of the Balanchine that they had owned o'er time.  That said I think it is clear they are in the safest pair of hands possible.  I have a ticket for Oneign for tonight - but I have decided in my heart to go to the ENB gala again.  I suspect this may well be the last time we see the extraordinary Ms. Rojo dancing on a London stage and it would break my heart not to honour that.  Having been entranced when I first saw her as a teenager to now the lady has given us all a vast treasury of joy.  Happily she continues to forge a keen array of riches which are testament to themselves as much as they are to the visions of Dolin/Markova, Beryl Grey and oh, so many others.  Bless her. Bless her BIG TIME!

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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A fabulous evening indeed. What I thought astonishing was how on earth can you cap the finale from Etudes yet Tamara Royo’s presentation did just that. Huge congratulations to all.

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Bruce, thank you as ever for your beautiful, poetic words - I was very moved by your final sentences. ENB hold a very special place in my heart, being the first ballet company (as LFB) I ever saw, aged 15, and I have followed them through various stages of my life since. I am so excited for this afternoon, and have even persuaded my husband, not usually a ballet-goer, to come with me. I’ll comment again later.

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Even the programme booklet is well produced, which isn't always a given on these sorts of occasions.  For the curious, there is a complete list of all the repertoire ENB has ever performed along with date ranges and numbers of performances.  I hadn't realised for example that the Khan Giselle has now had 90 performances: the Skeaping version 409. And Apollo has been performed 158 times. It sheds light on lots of corners of the rep that are unfamiliar. Lots of detail on the company's history, and reminiscences from former members.

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Etudes was my revelation of the night. I had never seen it and tbh was waiting for the corps to strap on their pointe shoes.  What a prefect ballet for an anniversary gala. Shiori Kase was mesmerising (why is she not a lead principle?) and Jeffery Cirio's dancing reinforced why I loved him in Le Corsaire.

Now I wish there were galas like this every season. What a treat to be in the audience amidst the buzz and excitement and party outfits.  
What a wonderful way to see the history of ballet brought to life. Bravo ENB

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A thrilling and moving evening, constructed and delivered with real intelligence and panache. I loved the integration of the film and photos with the 'live action', and found the filmed contributions of Beryl Grey especially moving. What an achievement to have kept this company going, and going from strength to strength in often adverse circumstances, for 70 years!

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I couldn't make any of the evening performances.  Really looking forward to the matinee today.  I might put my party frock on, you never know!

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If anyone is in a position to treat themselves take a trip over to Leicester Square 🙂

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4 hours ago, Bruce Wall said:

I thought this perhaps the best produced/presented gala I have ever been to.  The transference from film to staged item and from one segment to the next in a first act so stuffed with sweets was immaculately seamless and meaningful.  No easy feat. 

 

Absolutely.  And thank you to whoever had the idea of putting the screen at the front of the stage.  No more headless torsos, or torso-less legs, for those in the upper reaches of the theatre.  (Plus of course it allowed scene changes to go on behind it).

 

I think there were some people there who were hoping for more "ballet" ballet in the first half, but then they had Etudes to look forward to after the interval anyway.  I thought the segments selected were a good representation of the sort of work ENB has done over the years (and without the cop-out of putting on stuff from earlier in the season) - I only hope that the audience wasn't only made up of the "ballet faithful", and that less-regular viewers, or even complete newbies, were able to see that there's far more to ballet than they might have thought.

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I was chatting to someone in the interval who doesn't usually got to ballet and she loved it. Also quite a few people at Le Corsaire who were not ballet regulars. Well done ENB. 

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A marvellous Gala, I had to miss Etudes but the first half was so exciting it didn't matter! My favourite item was Tamara Rojo and Francesco Gabriele Frola in Carmen :) which was sensational, this was a true ballet lover's evening and brought back many memories, as already said the programme has a list showing details of every ENB performance, the ballet I would most like to see revived is Balanchine's Night Shadow.  

Edited by Beryl H
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7 hours ago, Lynette H said:

I hadn't realised for example that the Khan Giselle has now had 90 performances: the Skeaping version 409. And Apollo has been performed 158 times.

 

And a whopping 734 performances of Etudes!

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Today's matinee performance was, as others have said, a well-curated feast of ballet delights.  I found myself particularly enjoying the excerpt from Akram Khan's 'Dust' which I have avoided  up to now as I thought I would hate it!  What a surprise. Kaniukova was so light and delicate in 'Broken Wings' and at the other extreme, Mack was athletic and electrifying towards the end of 'Etudes'.  He certainly knows how to buckle his swash!  I just loved Precious Adams' Fascinatin' Rhythm solo - she certainly has a stage presence.  Arrietta impressed also, as did Martin, Frola and many others.  It was a celebration full of respect for what had gone before and hope for what is to come.  The ENB so, so deserve their wonderful new premises.

I took a photo of the final curtain call of the whole company which can be seen here:  https://www.extraloudpurrs.co.uk/ballet-pictures

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I was at the gala this afternoon with my DD. We loved it. Shiori Kase was stunning and Precious Adams carried off her solo with style. My favourite was 'playlist' which was a real fun dance to watch and the boys have gone from strength to strength.

 

Well done ENB. 

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Update from this afternoon: we loved it! There were so many highlights- Sergio Bernal, the joyous performance by ENBYouthCo, Precious Adams in Fascinatin Rhythm, Broken Wings, the power and beauty in the Carmen duet...I could go on. But Etudes absolutely blew me away - it was utterly thrilling- and could not have better showcased the depth of talent and versatility of the company. Outstanding performances all round - huge thanks and congratulations to all at the wonderful ENB. 

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Incidentally, on the back of the cast sheet there's a box asking for people's memories of LFB/ENB, if anyone wants to send them in.

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Absolutely blown away by this gala, Rojo and the company have done a fantastic job. A really good sample of things so too much to go into detail but my highlights were:

 

- Bernal in three cornered hat - what a dramatic kick off

- Khan showcasing contemporary dance/ballet fusion with the atmospheric Dust arms sequence (it reminds of a much better Mexican wave!)

- Absolutely stunning and mesmerising technique from Oliveira and Souza in Three Preludes. I want this to be revived immediately! 

- Rojo showing her brilliant Latin flair and wonderful personality as feisty Carmen. 

- Playlist Track 2 - Cirio was one of the highlights of the evening in everything he danced, and all the men here looking in great form! 

 

And of course what a finish with Etudes! It just kept getting better and better, all dancers were excellent and brilliant conducting but I must mention Shiori Kase was luminous in her variations, Frola’s excellent jumps and Cirio again with his footwork and technique. 

 

I would happily see a gala of this sort with etudes in it every year. A brilliant way to start the year, and celebrate ENB. I also enjoyed the video clips providing a humorous insight into the company, and as already mentioned a fantastic detailed programme. Rojo is taking the company from strength to strength but I really hope she continues to dance too! What a brilliant evening and well done to all the dancers and the orchestra and ENB staff, they did themselves proud.  Even though it’s only January I can tell this will be one of my highlights of the year!

 

(oh and I know it’s unlikely but I really hope this was filmed! I would love a DVD!)

Edited by JNC
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A slightly tardy reaction to Friday’s opening performance and an absolute endorsement of everything that has already been said.
Cirio was electric, Kase exhilarating, Souza and Oliveira meltingly lyrical, while Frola, whom I had not seen before last week’s Corsaire, is fast becoming one of my must-see dancers.

There was not a single weak link in this wonderful company that, under the inspired leadership of the extraordinary Ms Rojo - what a wonderful role model for young girls - seems never to put a foot wrong.

Like so many others I loved Playlist, Three Preludes, Swansong, Carmen, Broken Wings... to be honest, there was hardly anything I didn’t love! And Etudes, always a favourite, was more breathtaking than ever!

With touching videos, meaningful tributes, a roll call of choreographers, dancers, the largely unlauded behind-the-scenes personnel and a perfectly-pitched peach of a speech from Ms Rojo, this was an object lesson in how to present a gala.

There is so much of this company’s repertory that I want to see again, and now! But that’s another thread ...

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Had a lovely evening at the ENB gala last night with my friend and our daughters. It was a great opportunity for our daughters to see lots of snippets of different pieces to start growing their tastes. After they were dazzled by Corsaire last Saturday night, we asked them to choose between the 2 evenings and was pleasantly surprised that they chose the gala.

 

Our unanimous favourite was Forsythe's Playlist, which was a brilliant piece of choreography for an all male group. Cirio (a confirmed favourite of ours) shone, but also picked out Rhys Antoni Yeomans who had impressed in the last Emerging Dancer with Forsythe's 'In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated'. He had a wonderful energy at Emerging Dancer and the gala and is one of those dancers who visibly is getting so much joy from being on stage.

 

Dust was incredibly powerful and beautiful, the snippet of Khan's Giselle also, looking forward to seeing his new creation in Spring.  

 

On the Classical side, the Sleeping Beauty excerpt was beautifully danced and a delight to see Katja Khaniukova and Daniel McCormick taking the lead roles.

 

Pleased that ENBYouthCO was includied with Of What's to Come  -a wonderfully energetic piece and loved the costumes.  Between RNBYouthCo and ENB School in Khan's Giselle, it was exciting to see the ability of the students to take on such diverse styles and it demonstrates how much must have changed in the 70 years since the company was founded.

 

Very much enjoyed seeing the company's character dance credentials shared with the colourful reel from Sylphide and Mazurka from Coppelia. 

 

Romeo and Juliet disappointed a little. I was looking forward to seeing McWhinney dancing the role, I could imagine how much this would suit her, but was perhaps disappointed with the section chosen for performance (Dance of the Knights) vs e.g. the balcony pas de deux to show off her talents. I think the key thing I didn't like in this piece was the choreography, having a greater preference for MacMillan's.

 

Etudes was a piece on my wishlist, I've never seen it before and very much associated it with the iconinc shadows against a blue lit backdrop.  It was a lovely piece to showcase the whole company and delivered excitement as the performance built from barre to grand allegro and a wonderful way to end the evening with everyone on stage. Cirio, Frola and Case were highlights here.

 

As mentioned before, the video elements fitted seamlessly and really helped to celebrate the company reaching this milestone. ENB is a company close to my heart as growing up in Manchester, this was the company I probably saw most frequently. Tamara Rojo spoke about making ballet accessible for all - with touring being (for me the key component to making this happen. 

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2 hours ago, Blossom said:

Between RNBYouthCo and ENB School in Khan's Giselle, it was exciting to see the ability of the students to take on such diverse styles and it demonstrates how much must have changed in the 70 years since the company was founded.

Additionally, how wonderful for all those young dancers to have the opportunity to be part of this great event - something that I feel sure they will remember for the rest of their lives.

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Friday Nights gala was nothing short of fabulous.  Really enjoyed the show - ENB are very adept at doing these films intertwined with the show (Agnes Oaks retirement gala)  my only gripe is that I would have liked a bit more light in places as some pieces were quite dark to see.  Talking of Agnes Oaks she was guest as I saw her in the cloakroom and someone I spoke to had a seen Vadim as well.  I did see Alina Cojacaru in the curtain call such a pity she was not able to dance. I really hope ENB do more birthday galas in future I will just about still be here for the 100th!  Francesco G Frola was amazing in everything but especially those leaps in Etudes and I really enjoyed Jo Caley as well in La Sylphide and Brooklyn Mack in Coppelia.  Shiori Kase is a delight  and I loved Precious Adams' solo in Who Cares.  What a rich variety of rep we were treated to.  

Some photos from the curtain call.

 

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Etudes finale

 

 

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After a lovely afternoon at the reunion for the 70th anniversary alumni group held at ENB’s new headquarters, catching up with friends and colleagues, some of whom I had not seen since the last reunion ten years ago and a few not seen since the 1980s, as I watched the opening night of the gala performances, I was astonished by the vitality of the dancers (and orchestra!) at the end of the six-week Coliseum season with its punishing schedule both onstage and in the rehearsal room.  I was reminded of Artistic Director Wayne Eagling’s off-the-cuff speech at the 60th anniversary reunion in which he remarked that although he spent his performing career with the Royal Ballet, there was always a certain enviousness of the spirit which pervaded ENB, which Tamara Rojo also mentioned in the opening film, and this company spirit has certainly been evidenced in abundance not only throughout all the ‘Nutcrackers’ and ‘Corsaires’ I have seen but especially in the three gala performances. 

 

As to the gala pieces themselves, I felt rather sad that there was no real acknowledgement of the company’s great Ballets Russes heritage, with no works by Fokine represented and only a nod to Massine with a (fabulous) solo by guest artist Sergio Bernai that used the music from “Le Tricorne” but choreography by the great Antonio instead of Massine, but perhaps this exclusion was due to constraints on performing rights.  This may have also been the reason for a heavy bias towards repertoire from the second half of the company’s seventy years. 

 

The opening of “Dust” (without the dust on this occasion!) was given its usual superlative performance by Fabian Reimair as the man wracked by shellshock with Erina Takahashi and ‘artists of the company’ working in mesmerising unison as what I prefer to regard as wings rather that the “Wave” referred to on the cast sheet.  “Swan Song” has always been a very special ballet for me as I personally knew the original cast of Matz Skoog, Kevin Richmond and Koen Onzia and was at the first UK performances of the work.  It took on an extra poignancy last year with the death of Kevin Richmond at a cruelly young age.  Watching James Streeter, Matthew Astley and the incredibly versatile Jeffrey Cirio, it was a very fitting tribute to the original team and I felt Cirio was a worthy successor to Onzia in the role of the victim, beautifully capturing the bewilderment, frustration and above all a sense of innocence which made Onzia so unforgettable in the role.  I could have done without the ENBYouthCo romping about to the wine festival music from Adam’s score of “Giselle” in banal choreography.  There was no real explanation of the purpose of this youth group in the otherwise very informative programme and they were certainly eclipsed by the polished dancing of English National Ballet School in the reel from “La Sylphide” (despite the odd costumes which seemed to belong neither to Schaufuss’s sublime production nor the most recent one by Frank Andersen).  Francesco Gabriele Frola gave a very elegant account of Balanchine’s solo for Apollo and it was interesting for me to see that, as this role was triple cast over the three galas (Aitor Arrieta and Daniel McCormick being the others), each dancer brought a different quality to the choreography.  The ballroom scene from Nureyev’s “Romeo and Juliet” featured a radiant Alison McWhinney as Juliet and was a wonderful reminder of her heartbreaking performances in 2015 and 2017.  She also shone brightly in the Diamond variation from the jewels pas de cinq from McMillan’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty”.  The excerpt from Khan’s “Giselle” was memorable for the astonishing, rhythmical drum solo and I was surprised that the orchestral player responsible was not given credit on the cast sheet.  The absolute highlight of the first half for me was the sublime performance given by Brazilians Fernanda Oliveira and Junor Souza of the first prelude from “Three Preludes” by Ben Stevenson.  I have loved this ballet for years, when mixed bills were a stalwart of the company’s performing schedule, but never have I seen it danced as such a hauntingly beautiful expression of the melancholic music by Rachmaninov. Not only was every movement they made, either separately or in pas de deux, seamless and absolutely ravishing, but also their souls seemed to be perfectly in tune with each other.  This really was a stellar performance and made me long to see the complete ballet again. In what I believe was her first performance of the pas de deux from Petit’s “Carmen” Tamara Rojo could not erase from my memory the steamy eroticism (which I felt was lacking in her partnership with Frola) of Begoña Cao and Fabian Reimair in their performances  in 2011.  Shiori Kase was an absolute delight as Swanilda in what I felt was a slightly odd choice of excerpt from “Coppélia” and I would have loved to have seen her in perhaps the final pas de deux instead.  It was great to end the first half with an excerpt from the exuberant dance-off which is William Forsythe’s “Playlist”, displaying the exceptional virtuosity of the company’s male dancers, complete with vocal encouragement from their colleagues in the wings. 

 

Only a fabulous performance of the company’s signature work “Etudes” could top that, and this is what we were treated to, with all dancers on scintillating form, especially Shiori Kase in the ballerina role with her jaw-dropping diagonal of speeding up chaîné turns which by the end resembled the speed of an electric drill! The solo which followed was delivered with such assurance and elegance, as well as her beaming smile, that it belied its fiendish difficulty.  Erina Takahashi also delighted with her exquisite sylph in which she truly appeared as an other-worldly creature of the air.  Joseph Caley delivered his customary beautifully clean technique and Frola impressed, as always, with the height of his jumps but the standout male performance for me came from Cirio in a truly virtuosic dance display, including the fleetest of batterie, as well as a smile which lit up the whole auditorium.  Fernanda Oliveira joined the line-up for the finale, a revision caused by the late withdrawal of Alina Cojocaru from the performances, and I felt it was very fitting for all three ballerinas – Takahashi, Kase and Oliveira - who have between them led the company for most of the season so far, to share the prolonged ovation from the very enthusiastic audience.  It did strike me that an omission from the programme was a pas de deux from one of the classics, which Dame Beryl Grey mentioned as being the mainstay of the company in her taped interview, and I would have loved to see these crown jewels of the company perhaps in the white or black pas de deux from “Swan Lake” with the partner of their choice (as they have such a wonderful line-up to choose from currently!), especially as there were three performances of the gala programme.  It would have also given us a preview of what is to come later in the season.  Only the Friday night audience was treated to the wonderful ENB Philharmonic’s stirring performance of “Bolero” under the baton of the incomparable Gavin Sutherland while more memories of the company’s glorious history were projected onto the frontcloth.  What was so lovely about this opening night was that the audience was full of people previously and currently associated with the company instead of the usual celebrities rolled out on these occasions for publicity purposes.  These included two past Artistic Directors of the company, Wayne Eagling and Matz Skoog, choreographers of the some of the ballets performed plus Christopher Hampson and Michael Corder,(whose award-winning ballets for the company were sadly not represented), and star dancers Thomas Edur, Agnes Oaks and Daria Klimentova, to name but a tiny few!  As as postscript, I did think this was one occasion when the company's annual pointe-shoe Christmas tree, created by dancer Amber Hunt, could have been left up beyond the run of "Nutcracker", celebrating as it did this year the company's seventy-year repertoire.

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I really enjoyed this Gala yesterday afternoon not a dull moment and the whole thing flowed along almost cinematically as one piece blended into the other no waiting around at all as can sometimes happen at Galas. 
Etudes was fantastic such a long time since I’ve seen it and bought back some happy memories of watching this Company when London Festival Ballet. A great way to end it with such enthusiastic and exhilarating dancing...especially from Brooklyn Mack! 

Although I have seen quite a bit of this repertoire there were some which were new to me and would very much like to see again. 

Playlist which ended the first half was terrific loved the choreography and the music was irresistibly dancey. I heard a grandchild asking granny who was sitting next to me what her favourite piece had been and Granny liked Playlist the best ...she liked the moves! 
But I really loved Three Preludes by Ben Stevenson beautifully danced by Jia Zhang and Skyler Martin still can’t believe I’ve missed such a lovely piece before so hope that will be revived 

I also was really held by Swansong by Christopher Bruce ... never seen before but then never disliked anything by Bruce...interesting to see Miguel Angel Maidana as one of the dancers who I don’t recall seeing before so don’t know whether he’s new to the Company. 
Precious Adams was great in Who Cares seemed to be in her element in this number and saw a completely different side to her which I’d like to see more of! 
Although not new to me have to mention how well Katja Khaniukova and James Streeter performed this duet from Broken Wings ...difficult to take out of context of the whole but I thought they were both very moving. Katja has really made this role her own now and I wasn’t sure if anyone could after Rojo who was wonderful in it but now love Katja too and that’s great for the ballet and it’s longevity in the Rep. 
So a lovely afternoon again the only disappointment not seeing Prayer or Dawn in the Coppelia extract ( hate missing Isabelle in anything) and not seeing the speech which Rojo obviously gave on the Friday night  so us matinee people just a tiny bit short changed but on the plus side the brochure produced for this Gala was well worth the money for once as serves as almost a mini historical document will definitely treasure that along with my earliest programme of LFB ...in Nutcracker at the Festival Hall...another Lifetime! 


 

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For me, the matinée performance almost eclipsed the first night, with its showcasing of newer talent in the company as well as its established stars.  Miguel Angel Maidana, who impressed me as Birbanto in “Le Corsaire”, took on the role of the victim in “Swansong” and gave an excellent interpretation if not quite matching Jeffrey Cirio’s soulful performance which he repeated in the final performance on Saturday evening.  It was an absolute pleasure to see Stina Quagebeur bringing her elegance and grace to the role of Lady Capulet in the “Romeo and Juliet” excerpt, as well as that frisson with the brooding Tybalt of Fabian Reimair which suggests there is more to their relationship than just being related by marriage.  Emma Hawes was a delightfully skittish Juliet, partnered by the noble and tender Paris of James Forbat.  It was therefore a revelation to see her in the “Carmen” pas de deux with Aitor Arrieta as Don José, which literally sizzled with a palpable, overwhelming chemistry and was almost the highlight of the first half for me. In the evening, she was back to her skittish side, in a joyous rendition of the “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” solo from Balanchine’s “Who Cares?”, which was given a cheeky, carefree performance by Precious Adams in the afternoon.  “Three Preludes”, while not reaching quite the heights of Fernanda Oliveira and Junor Souza in both evening performances, was a stunning showcase for the woefully underused Jian Zhang, partnered with quiet elegance by Skyler Martin.  Shiori Kase, who was single cast as Swanilda for all three performances, was even more charming and spirited at the matinée with Junor Souza as her Franz (mistakenly identified on the cast sheet as Brooklyn Mack, who only did the evening performances) who brought a real sense of fun and affection to the role.  Fernanda Oliveira and Joseph Caley gave a dreamy rendition of “The Man I Love” by Derek Deane, as did Erina Takahashi and Isaac Hernandez in the evening performances, despite the singer being out of tune and occasionally out of synch with the orchestra at both performances on Saturday.  My highlight of the first part of the matinée was the (shortened) central pas de deux from “Broken Wings” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, with Katja Khaniukova as Frida reminding me why this is my favourite new ballet of the past decade if not longer.  With very strong support from James Streeter as Diego Rivera (although it was a shame Irek Mukhamedov was not available to recreate their extraordinary chemistry), Khaniukova was transcendent and demonstrated why she has been nominated for a Critics’ Circle award for her interpretation of this role (and I did find it strange that ENB would not want to highlight this by casting her for the opening night of the galas), being at times vulnerable, coquettish,  playful and most definitely a young girl in love whilst performing Ochoa’s quirky choreography with a crystalline clarity.  The sight of her being tossed around by Streeter in the joyous lifts, as if she were as light as a feather, was both breathtaking and uplifting.  Sharing the ballerina role with Kase in “Etudes” at the matinée, Khaniukova demonstrated why she has also been nominated as best female classical dancer, with her diagonal of chaîne turns almost as spectacular as Kase’s with their lightning speed, and giving a ballerina sheen to the challenging solo. In the evening, she was back to being part of the ensemble as a ‘white tutu girl’ but that incomparable Russian style of hers, especially the carriage of her upper back and arms, was showcased in her very elegant, shimmering Diamond variation in the Jewels pas de cinq.  The matinée performance of “Etudes” also had Alison McWhinney as the most delicate, meltingly beautiful sylph, reminding me of her exquisite performances as the Sylphide in 2017/18.  As I said after watching Kase and Khaniukova in “Le Corsaire”, they surely represent the next generation of lead ballerinas for ENB and I would add the lovely McWhinney to that roster. Jeffrey Cirio, replacing the injured Ken Saruhashi, repeated his stunning tour de force at both the matinée and evening performances of “Etudes” bringing the galas to a rapturous end for which it was absolutely fitting that almost the entire audience in the Stalls, where I was sitting (and I assume in the other levels of the theatre), rose to its feet with the hugest of ovations for this spirited company.  With all those onstage joining in the applause, some of the loudest cheers were for the orchestra which once again demonstrated why live music is so essential to spur on the dancers to give such exceptional performances, especially when directed by a conductor as in tune with the dancers’ needs as Maestro Sutherland is. I think the audience would have been happy to applaud for a lot longer, had the curtain not been brought down to allow the dancers to depart on their extremely well deserved break.

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When did Rojo make a speech?  Was it just Friday night?  After the photos on here, I was waiting for her to step on stage after Etudes finished at the matinee performance, but the curtains closed, the lights came up, and we all filed out.

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1 minute ago, Fonty said:

When did Rojo make a speech?  Was it just Friday night?  After the photos on here, I was waiting for her to step on stage after Etudes finished at the matinee performance, but the curtains closed, the lights came up, and we all filed out.

 

She did on Friday night. I don't know about Saturday night. To be honest, I would have thought that she should have done this after each performance even if some of the content may have been a bit different (various 'luminaries' came on stage on Friday night who may not have been at all the performances).

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6 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

She did on Friday night. I don't know about Saturday night. To be honest, I would have thought that she should have done this after each performance even if some of the content may have been a bit different (various 'luminaries' came on stage on Friday night who may not have been at all the performances).

 

I agree.  Even if a luminary couldn't give up a Saturday afternoon, surely Rojo could have donned a frock and said a few words, if she did so on the Friday night.  I feel a bit put out, actually!  

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Friday night was very geared up to the press. I could only find a cast sheet from the press table, and the chap manning it wasnt keen to relinquish it to a mere paying customer!

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