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

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28 minutes ago, RHowarth said:

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!

Cast sheets were available from all the programme sellers but you have to ask for one - they don't make it obvious!  

 

52 minutes ago, Fonty said:

 

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!  

Other audience members also commented on the lack of the speech at both shows on Saturday.  Even if we couldn't be treated to the orchestral 'postlude' of "Bolero" with accompanying film for time constraints, it would have been nice to have the streamer shower at the end of "Etudes".

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53 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 took it as an 'opening night' premiere kind of affair on the Friday replete with its cannon of streamers into the house and glitter fall from above on the Company - as much as for the director's speech and the extended film of historic pictures and poignant list of names/active positions of those ENB personages now passed to the thrilling playing of the Bolero by the ENB Philharmonic.  The latter items were, after all, not in the running order on the cast sheet EVEN ON THE FRIDAY.  Much as creating choreographers/staff as a rule ONLY appear following the first performance/premiere -  I just understood it to be the same in this instance.  The electrics of the Etudes certainly made for a definitive end of the other performances.  I honestly don't think the intent was for anyone to feel cheated.  The stage displays were the REAL fireworks ... and golly what a stunning show they were.   (As it was a goodly number of people got up and left during the Bolero on the Friday ... which I thought was rather rude given the number doing so.  Five people pushed past me in the front row of the balcony certainly ... one woman hitting me with her rather alarming shopping bag - my body still smarting - and one dedicated balletomane across from me left as the concluding applause for the Etudes began on the same night - I'm sure thinking it was all over - and thus missing what was to come.) 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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1 minute ago, Bruce Wall said:

 

(As it was a goodly number of people got up and left during the Bolero on the Friday ... which I thought was rather rude given the number.  Five people pushed past me in the front row of the balcony certainly ... and one dedicated balletomane across from me left as the concluding applause for the Etudes began on the same night - I'm sure thinking it was all over - and thus missing what was to come.) 

 

 

At the end of her speech, Ms Rojo invited the audience to look at the images playing on the screen and enjoy Bolero as you leave. The message was confusing and walking out when the names of company alumni who are no longer with us were being shown would have seemed disrespectful - otherwise I would have been tempted to do so myself.

Maybe there wasn't a place for a speech at each performance but the glitter and streamers could have had repeat showings.

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13 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

 

I took it as an 'opening night' premiere kind of affair on the Friday replete with its cannon of streamers into the house and glitter fall from above on the Company - as much as for the director's speech and the extended film of historic pictures and poignant list of names/active positions of those ENB personages now passed to the thrilling playing of the Bolero by the ENB Philharmonic.  The latter items were, after all, not in the running order on the cast sheet EVEN ON THE FRIDAY.  Much as creating choreographers/staff as a rule ONLY appear following the first performance/premiere -  I just understood it to be the same in this instance.  The electrics of the Etudes certainly made for a definitive end of the other performances.  I honestly don't think the intent was for anyone to feel cheated.  The stage displays were the REAL fireworks ... and golly what a stunning show they were.   (As it was a goodly number of people got up and left during the Bolero on the Friday ... which I thought was rather rude given the number doing so.  Five people pushed past me in the front row of the balcony certainly ... one woman hitting me with her rather alarming shopping bag - my body still smarting - and one dedicated balletomane across from me left as the concluding applause for the Etudes began on the same night - I'm sure thinking it was all over - and thus missing what was to come.) 

 

 

Bruce, while I agree with you that the dancing provided the real fireworks, this was different to the opening night of an extended run.  All 3 performances were described as "Gala".  And priced accordingly, I believe.  Given that there were only 3, and that this was a very special occasion, I still think the audiences on Saturday should have enjoyed the same treatment.  I am not bothered about showers of glitter or whatever, but I would have liked to have seen the extended film.  I was rather disappointed, I have to say, especially as the curtain calls were so short.  Only two, if I remember correctly, for the matinee.  


There were people sitting in my row, some of whom had been there the previous night, and they told their companions to remain seated the end of Etudes.  They were quite surprised when the house lights came up, and said "Is that it?"  

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29 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

The latter items were, after all, not in the running order on the cast sheet EVEN ON THE FRIDAY. 

 

Bruce, not even the running time was on the cast sheet on the Friday!  I don't think they had room.  But I wish I'd known the (unmentioned) end part was an "added extra".  Wonder if they can put any of the video on the website, or somewhere?

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Does anyone know why in the Coppelia section casting was given for Prayer and Dawn but these variations didn’t happen? 
Perhaps they were abandoned on the Friday night because of things starting to over run with the speech etc but perhaps could have been left in for the other performances? 
Anyway don’t want to moan as it was such an enjoyable Gala but at least the Bolero with the film could have been run I think ....I’m not so bothered by the lack of streamers( more work for the Coli staff to clear up I suppose) 

My experience of the cast list situation was I did ask for one and was told they could only be sold with a Programme Brochure before the performance but they might be released separately later on when more Brochures had been sold! So I bought the Brochure...I’m glad I did though as said. My guess is that not enough had been printed? So priority had to be given to Brochure buyers? 

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Cast sheets were placed at the side of the balcony bar next to the water jugs on Friday evening. The programme seller in the balcony pointed them out to me but there was a distinctly limited supply. 

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41 minutes ago, Fonty said:

All 3 performances were described as "Gala".  And priced accordingly, I believe. 


My (bargain basement) ticket was the same price as my Corsaire ticket from the week before. I don’t know about the upper end, though.

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I received an email a couple of days before telling me that I was due for a free programme, which I duly collected.  I wasn't expecting that and was a bit confused!  This was for the Saturday matinee.  They had loads of cast sheets in the shop, which is where I had to go to get my programme.

Edited by maryrosesatonapin
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Well the lady outside the Upper Circle wouldn’t give just  a cast list to the person in front of me or to me separately from the Brochure! 
Perhaps the people downstairs had been given more cast lists! But then she could have told us to go downstairs to get one I suppose. 
I think they knew they might be a bit short and it certainly wouldn’t have been fair to have people pay £10 for a Brochure without a cast list in it!! 

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The programmes at Northern Ballet's 50th Gala were complimentary.  As some were left at the end the Ushers were inviting people to take extra copies if they wanted - I was able to get a couple for friends who had not been able to come!

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29 minutes ago, LinMM said:

Well the lady outside the Upper Circle wouldn’t give just  a cast list to the person in front of me or to me separately from the Brochure! 
Perhaps the people downstairs had been given more cast lists! But then she could have told us to go downstairs to get one I suppose. 
I think they knew they might be a bit short and it certainly wouldn’t have been fair to have people pay £10 for a Brochure without a cast list in it!! 

Quick trip to the photocopier would have solved that problem!

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1 hour ago, LinMM said:

Does anyone know why in the Coppelia section casting was given for Prayer and Dawn but these variations didn’t happen? 
Perhaps they were abandoned on the Friday night because of things starting to over run with the speech etc but perhaps could have been left in for the other performances? 

Sadly the variations were never meant to be included, they only named them because they were the two girls Franz was mucking around with who later appear in Act III in these roles.  It was a real shame, especially as Adela Ramirez, who is a First Soloist, and has been with the company for twenty-two years, was not featured in anything else, apart from being one of the rock-solid pirouette girls in "Etudes"! 

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I had been hoping to see these variations, and the pdd for Franz and Swanhilda too :) 

I was given a cast list without having to ask by the lady lift attendant, who assured me it was going to be a fabulous night, I have spoken to her before and think she is a ballet fan.

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I think it is pot luck with the staff at the Coliseum.  Some of them are terse to the point of rudeness;, and others couldn't be more helpful.  I splashed out on a £10 programme, and as I had no cash on me paid by card.  When I asked for a receipt, I was told very curtly by the programme seller  that "It is not the policy of the Coliseum to give receipts."  Excuse me?  I didn't think any business that allowed people to pay by card could refuse to provide them with a receipt.  I am obviously wrong. 

 

Also, sitting up in the Upper Circle on Saturday afternoon, one of the doors at the back kept on opening during the performance. .  The bright light shining in from outside was right in my line of vision, and seriously disturbing.   It could only have been members of staff coming in and out, as there was no movement of people towards seats.   On one occasion, it was open for quite some time, with an individual framed in the doorway.  It really was most annoying!

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Yes that would have annoyed me too....apart from the draught as well. It was only just warm enough in the Upper Circle I thought but I was on the end of a row. 

I was baking at the last ROH performance and nearly had to take jumper off but was almost wishing still had coat with me on Saturday ...though this time had put all  in cloakroom after previous week's fiasco! 

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7 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:


My (bargain basement) ticket was the same price as my Corsaire ticket from the week before. I don’t know about the upper end, though.

Mine was about £2 more for exactly the same seat as for last week’s Corsaire (in the upper circle.) 

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The illogic of being short on cast sheets when they have on the back your opportunity to vote for your preferred dancer escapes me.

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Yes ... I’m still trying to decide who to vote for this year 🤔

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3 hours ago, Fonty said:

I think it is pot luck with the staff at the Coliseum.  Some of them are terse to the point of rudeness;, and others couldn't be more helpful.  I splashed out on a £10 programme, and as I had no cash on me paid by card.  When I asked for a receipt, I was told very curtly by the programme seller  that "It is not the policy of the Coliseum to give receipts."  Excuse me?  I didn't think any business that allowed people to pay by card could refuse to provide them with a receipt.  I am obviously wrong. 

 

I don't think you are wrong. The UK Cards Association website says that 'Retailers are required to give you a receipt for card payments in a shop, and you can request a receipt for contactless payments'. (I'm sure the Coliseum would count as a shop.) (And I used to work in a library where we took card payments, and we always gave receipts for chip and PIN payments - where the receipt was generated automatically - and always offered them for contactless.)

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20 hours 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).

 
Agreed - I feel very fortunate to have gone on Friday and assumed all three performances would have included Tamara Rojo’s presentation. If not it should have been made clear and I think priced accordingly and on that basis I’d have been happy to pay an extra margin for Friday.

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20 hours ago, LinMM said:

Well the lady outside the Upper Circle wouldn’t give just a cast list to the person in front of me or to me separately from the Brochure! 

 

14 hours ago, Fonty said:

I think it is pot luck with the staff at the Coliseum.  Some of them are terse to the point of rudeness;, and others couldn't be more helpful.  I splashed out on a £10 programme, and as I had no cash on me paid by card.  When I asked for a receipt, I was told very curtly by the programme seller  that "It is not the policy of the Coliseum to give receipts."  Excuse me?  I didn't think any business that allowed people to pay by card could refuse to provide them with a receipt.  I am obviously wrong. 

 

Also, sitting up in the Upper Circle on Saturday afternoon, one of the doors at the back kept on opening during the performance. .  The bright light shining in from outside was right in my line of vision, and seriously disturbing.   It could only have been members of staff coming in and out, as there was no movement of people towards seats.   On one occasion, it was open for quite some time, with an individual framed in the doorway.  It really was most annoying!

 

I agree, pot luck. Most of the front of house staff at the Coliseum are delightful and professional but there can be problems, which risk spreading and changing the theatre’s friendly open culture. 

 

After a conversation with senior management at the theatre a while ago I would always recommend taking the time to draw attention to these sorts of issues (with, if possible, enough detail so the particular member of staff can be identified). If the front of house managers don’t know, nothing can change.

 

The appropriate email address can be found on the website. It is CustomerRelations@eno.org (this is the general address for all Coliseum front of house matters, both for ENO productions and also others)

 

Incidentally if people are interested in the standards expected of front of house staff, they are spelled out in this job description from a couple of years ago:

 

https://d2ae1n566nbglo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/09123508/Casual-FOH-Assistant-Nov-2016.docx

 

Edited by Geoff
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You may remember a couple of years ago I complained to the Coli because of the noise made by the clattering and rattling of trolleys loaded with glasses that were being pushed up and down just after the interval.  Not only that, but the chattering and laughing of the staff doing so.  I was sitting at the back of the balcony, near the exit doors.   A lot of people were distracted by the noise and kept looking round.  This was during a quiet moment (I think it was Giselle) and it spoiled the magic.  I got a nice, positive response from the front of house manager promising it wouldn't happen again.  Not sure if it has or not, but he made the right noises!!

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On 20/01/2020 at 11:03, Irmgard said:

Cast sheets were available from all the programme sellers but you have to ask for one - they don't make it obvious!  

 

Cast sheets also available online at enb. 

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Loved this Gala - so many interesting, well-chosen excerpts from ballets I hadn't seen before - which were well sequenced and combined with video clips. I like the slightly more relaxed atmosphere at the Coliseum - though it is a bit crowded during intervals - and thought my £46.00 seat in the upper circle was an absolute bargain. I don't normally buy programmes - I rely on cast sheets - but loved the programme too, stylish and informative. The evening reminded me how much I enjoy watching this company - and to make sure not to miss their shows in future.(Is it just me or are the ENB men super charged?)

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