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Royal Ballet - Within the Golden Hour mixed programme livestream - 13/11/2020


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What a joy last night proved to be. A wonderful showcase for the breadth and depth of the company (and this with some wonderful dancers not featured on this occasion). There really wasn’t a weakness, although I have to concur that  Osipova’s Dying Swan is not to my taste . Of the divertissements, my own personal highlights were Concerto with Naghdi’s wonderful fluidity and her flawless technique a joy to behold,  and the yearningly beautiful Monotones, where  I thought Hamilton was outstanding for her other worldliness and composed serenity.  Much as I loved the bravado performances of several of the featured  pas de deux, I found these two pieces struck a quiet chord of humanity amidst all the craziness with which we are currently surrounded. I thoroughly enjoyed both Scherzo and In the Golden Hour, such variations of mood and pace and compelling for their musicality in the interpretation of two wonderful scores. I really wish that one of the main tv networks would decide to screen one of these evenings, rather than yet another Nutcracker, to both introduce a fresh audience to the scope of ballet and the quality of dancers that the Royal Ballet currently has in its ranks.

 

 

edited to add that I forgot to mention how wonderful  Edmonds was in Concerto. Apart from the strength of his lifts, I was impressed with his  ‘gaze’ - at times staring into the beyond and then, as if suddenly transposed, into the here and now with his partner. 

Edited by Odyssey
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I think these live streamed performances are wonderful and probably the best thing to come out of this awful period as far as I'm  concerned (well also the fact that not being able to teach during the first lockdown enabled me to have two cataract operations on my eyes!).   I am just praying that they will actually continue live streaming from time to time, even when the world has returned to "normal" whatever the new normal will turn out to be.  There are so many fans around the world, who would dearly love to continue enjoying this wonderful company's performances and it could be an added source of income for them.  I only ever get to London in the summer for long enough to attend a performance and that's  when the RB are away or on holiday.  

 

Funnily enough for me the highlight was Scherzo!  I adored it and was bowled over when I learned that the dancers were all young corps members - that says a great deal about the standard of the company, I think.  Those young male dancers were particularly amazing and they must have really enjoyed being challenged like that.  I have become a great fan of Sambé and think he has a great future ahead being a Principal at only 26!   I loved Corsaire - Nuñez and Muntagirov are amazing in whatever they do.  And Naghdi was brilliant as usual.  I also really love Francesca Howard, but agree that in Swan Lake she didn't move me as much as the Odette in the first gala did.   All in all a fantastic treat and I shall enjoy watching it again! And again.........  

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I’ve just managed to watch Scherzo again. Love it and, as others have said, a great line up of young talent from dancers in their second year to those who, I think, are in their sixth year (if one includes the Aud Jebsen year as well in each case).

Surely Mariko Sazaki and Leticia Dias are (over)due for promotion to First Artist?

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7 hours ago, Richard LH said:

............  Swan Lake partnerships, and they were simplifying some of the movements – for example (please excuse any deficient terminology)  when she hopped forward in arabesque, his accompanying  lift was straight up and down, whilst she held position – in other partnerships  Siegfried lifts Odette and turns  her around whilst she bends right over  backwards and extends one leg straight up into the air. ......

They were not simplifying this. It is a version that is used by many others in the Royal Ballet.

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8 hours ago, MargaretN7 said:

It is a version that is used by many others in the Royal Ballet.

Thanks, yes this version (or something like it) certainly  has been used before. I do think it looks a bit simpler, at least to my untrained eye. But I have also seen a version where Odette isn't lifted at all here! Interestingly, when Francesca and Will Bracewell danced it on 4th November, they did the  other version I tried to describe (bend over backwards and turn around with extended leg).

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I've just looked again at the Swan Lake pdd and I'm afraid I didn't seen any simplification of the choreography at all.  I saw dancers performing it beautifully, possibly with a slight variation in style but one that I have often seen and I'm afraid that it seems a bit picky to me to even mention it.

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1 hour ago, Richard LH said:

Thanks, yes this version (or something like it) certainly  has been used before. I do think it looks a bit simpler, at least to my untrained eye. But I have also seen a version where Odette isn't lifted at all here! Interestingly, when Francesca and Will Bracewell danced it on 4th November, they did the  other version I tried to describe (bend over backwards and turn around with extended leg).


Yes, and I think that Hayward and Bracewell make one of those wonderful onstage partnerships that should be nurtured whenever possible. 

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1 hour ago, balletnut55 said:

Question for ballet buffs: I was a little bit puzzled by the fact that the variation that Marianela danced in Corsair seems to be exactly the same as a Gamzatti one from La Bayadere. I guess it Pepita must have reused it. Is that right? 
https://m.facebook.com/royaloperahouse/videos/3854810867892261/

 

What Núñez performed in the live-stream was indeed Gamzatti’s variation, not Le Corsair at all.

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10 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

What Núñez performed in the live-stream was indeed Gamzatti’s variation, not Le Corsair at all.


I have seen that variation performed in the Corsaire pas de deux in previous galas. There are clearly options as far as these showpieces are concerned.

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2 minutes ago, capybara said:


I have seen that variation performed in the Corsaire pas de deux in previous galas. There are clearly options as far as these showpieces are concerned.

 

It may be “an option” for the showpiece but it is not Le Corsaire (given the question I was responding to wondered whether Petipa was reusing variations across the two pieces).

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I rewatched the livestream last night as these days I feel I need a bit more time to digest performances to crystallise my thoughts before writing about it. Things fell into place in my mind a bit more on a second viewing!

 

My thoughts in no particular order.... I really liked Scherzo and I think Valentino Zucchetti should feel justly proud of his creation. It was lovely to see dancers who rarely get much of a showcase dancing so beautifully and I loved the fact that all the dancers involved had a chance to shine. A stayer in the repertoire, I hope.

 

I won’t write at length, but other highlights for me were Takada’s delicacy and musicality in Rhapsody (and that music slays me every time, anyway!), Morera and Bonelli’s accomplished and moving Manon, Pajdak brittle and emotional with Calvin Richardson (I agree that she would make a wonderful Juliet - too much to hope that she may get her chance when things eventually go back to normal?), Bracewell’s grace in Dance of the Blessed Spirits, and of course, Nunez and Muntagirov - how lucky we are to have two such brilliant and world class international stars here in the UK. Muntagirov’s stage presence seems to grow with every performance and he seemed to garner the biggest cheer of the evening for his variation, which says a lot considering it came from his fellow dancers and colleagues.

 

I’m going to make myself unpopular now by saying that I found the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux slightly disappointing! I had looked forward to seeing O’Sullivan and Sambe, and it was danced well - but somehow lacked that full-on sparkle and exuberance that this piece demands and I didn’t think the fish dives gelled (in fact I felt a bit worried by them!). I think it suits Anna-Rose O’Sullivan, but I’m not convinced that it’s Sambe’s role....

 

Given that I had tickets for that night 😩 this wasn’t what I had wanted but I’m so glad they streamed it - at least I didn’t miss out entirely! Well worth a tenner.

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9 minutes ago, Balletfanp said:

I’m going to make myself unpopular now by saying that I found the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux slightly disappointing! I had looked forward to seeing O’Sullivan and Sambe, and it was danced well - but somehow lacked that full-on sparkle and exuberance that this piece demands and I didn’t think the fish dives gelled (in fact I felt a bit worried by them!). I think it suits Anna-Rose O’Sullivan, but I’m not convinced that it’s Sambe’s role....

 

Not unpopular with me...I completely agree but after reading everyone else rhapsodize about it didn't want to say.

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Forgot to say - Monotones I found rather tedious (and I’m usually an Ashton fan!) on first viewing but it grew on me slightly second time around - I just think it goes on for too long. No criticism of the performances, though - Melissa Hamilton was perfect for this (and what beautiful feet).

 

And Yasmine Naghdi is perfect for that Concerto movement. I must also say a word about Nicol Edmonds’ excellent partnering in both Concerto and Monotones - unobtrusive, but solid, secure and sensitive. I’m sure his partners appreciated it. Clarke too.

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5 hours ago, Balletfanp said:

I rewatched the livestream last night as these days I feel I need a bit more time to digest performances to crystallise my thoughts before writing about it. Things fell into place in my mind a bit more on a second viewing!

 

My thoughts in no particular order.... I really liked Scherzo and I think Valentino Zucchetti should feel justly proud of his creation. It was lovely to see dancers who rarely get much of a showcase dancing so beautifully and I loved the fact that all the dancers involved had a chance to shine. A stayer in the repertoire, I hope.

 

I won’t write at length, but other highlights for me were Takada’s delicacy and musicality in Rhapsody (and that music slays me every time, anyway!), Morera and Bonelli’s accomplished and moving Manon, Pajdak brittle and emotional with Calvin Richardson (I agree that she would make a wonderful Juliet - too much to hope that she may get her chance when things eventually go back to normal?), Bracewell’s grace in Dance of the Blessed Spirits, and of course, Nunez and Muntagirov - how lucky we are to have two such brilliant and world class international stars here in the UK. Muntagirov’s stage presence seems to grow with every performance and he seemed to garner the biggest cheer of the evening for his variation, which says a lot considering it came from his fellow dancers and colleagues.

 

I’m going to make myself unpopular now by saying that I found the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux slightly disappointing! I had looked forward to seeing O’Sullivan and Sambe, and it was danced well - but somehow lacked that full-on sparkle and exuberance that this piece demands and I didn’t think the fish dives gelled (in fact I felt a bit worried by them!). I think it suits Anna-Rose O’Sullivan, but I’m not convinced that it’s Sambe’s role....

 

Given that I had tickets for that night 😩 this wasn’t what I had wanted but I’m so glad they streamed it - at least I didn’t miss out entirely! Well worth a tenner.

I enjoyed the Tchaipas but agree it was missing that little extra sparkle. 

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5 hours ago, oncnp said:

 

Not unpopular with me...I completely agree but after reading everyone else rhapsodize about it didn't want to say.

 

I think the problem for me with the TchaiPas in Friday’s streaming was over-anticipation. Don’t get me wrong - I enjoyed it as a pdd and a performance. However, Anna Rose O’Sullivan’s and Marcelino Sambe’s dancing of it in New York in 2018 had been so widely lauded (including on here) that I was probably looking forward to it too much and expecting too much from them as well.

Having watched Muntagirov and Nunez rehearsing it - well running it straight through - during World Ballet Day and having been lucky enough to have also seen them perform it live on the 4th November, my view is that their rehearsal ‘performance’ in the Clore was the best of the three I saw this time out.

For me, also, Balanchine’s choreography for this bonbon works better on men with longer legs.

Nevertheless, I do wonder whether the camera angles on Friday in some way diminished the natural brio and sparkle of O’Sullivan and Sambe.

 

 

Edited by capybara
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I saw O'Sullivan and Sambe danced the Tchai pas in NYC in 2018 and was blown away by their energy and allegro dancing. I was looking forward to watching them again and while there were some very good things I too was disappointed. It just didn't have the zip and sparkle I remember their performances having in NYC. I thought it was a bit affected and precious.

 

However the rest of the program was great. I LOVED Monotones II -- such a peaceful, tranquil ballet. Also loved Yasmine Naghdi in Concerto's second movement. Osipova's Dying Swan was definitely not the graceful, elegiac solo I'm used to but it was very vivid. Loved the Rhapsody pas de deux. 

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I must admit that I frequently find myself disappointed with Tchai Pas.  Weirdly, I think it must be something about the piece itself/my reaction to it, because somehow (I don't get to see it that often) it almost invariably turns out to be other than what I expect it to be, and then by the time I've adjusted my expectations accordingly and reminded myself that this is how it's supposed to be, it's too late and the piece is nearly over :(  Sorry, that's not a very good description, but I can't think how else to put it.

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Hi, Everyone - My first "impressions" post!  

 

I finally caught up with the stream. A different feel to the evening than the first gala. I think this second one pipped the first for me, programming-wise. (I didn't mind the interventions of the host so much in the first -- it was nice to hear from the company members. But chiefly, I thought Elite Syncopations, which I hadn't seen before, would be, I don't know... more? While the dancing was as committed as one could hope, the piece seemed oddly paced to me. I kept expecting it to build up somehow and have a bigger payoff at the end. Is it considered a major MacMillan?)

 

Some random thoughts:

1. It was a real treat to see a bit of Rhapsody. I wanted more. 

2. Interesting to see the Marston danced by a different couple. I think I'm getting it more with more viewings.

3.  O'Sullivan/Sambe danced the Balanchine with aplomb though neither quite hit their sweet spot as they did with the Ashton.

4.  Loved the yearning in Hayward's Odette -- more despairing human than histrionic bird. I can imagine her pdd fitting into a full telling of the story.  

5. Morera's little touches spoke volumes. Bonelli was dreamy.

6. Osipova doing it her way, take it or leave it. Good on her!

7. There's something about Bracewell that really charms me.

8. I like the RB in lyrical mode.

9. No Magri/Ball? Natch!

 

Overall,  I thought it was an excellent showcase for the Company. This pandemic really needs to end soon so these beautiful artists can go back to doing their thing full-time.

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, SantosA said:

I finally caught up with the stream. A different feel to the evening than the first gala. I think this second one pipped the first for me, programming-wise. (I didn't mind the interventions of the host so much in the first -- it was nice to hear from the company members. But chiefly, I thought Elite Syncopations, which I hadn't seen before, would be, I don't know... more? While the dancing was as committed as one could hope, the piece seemed oddly paced to me. I kept expecting it to build up somehow and have a bigger payoff at the end. Is it considered a major MacMillan?)

 

I know exactly what you mean about Elite Syncopations. I really enjoyed it when I first saw it MANY years ago, and I've very much enjoyed the recent performances as a colourful company come-back work; but for me it never really does take off. It's too slow, and too long, and the choreography is not sufficiently interesting or varied. (And the costumes are way OTT!). I'm not sure who decides these things, but I wouldn't have thought that it's considered a major MacMillan - it's just unusual for him in that it's entirely lightweight/happy/frothy or however you want to describe it, and I suppose the music is popular and it's very easy on the eye (if you have a strong eye!). But just to repeat - I've really enjoyed these recent performances! And they've been very well danced.

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22 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

possibly with a slight variation in style but one that I have often seen and I'm afraid that it seems a bit picky to me to even mention it.

Maybe but I was just trying to use one example to analyse and explain what I felt about the piece overall in a little more detail ! 

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4 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

I know exactly what you mean about Elite Syncopations. I really enjoyed it when I first saw it MANY years ago, and I've very much enjoyed the recent performances as a colourful company come-back work; but for me it never really does take off. It's too slow, and too long, and the choreography is not sufficiently interesting or varied. (And the costumes are way OTT!). I'm not sure who decides these things, but I wouldn't have thought that it's considered a major MacMillan - it's just unusual for him in that it's entirely lightweight/happy/frothy or however you want to describe it, and I suppose the music is popular and it's very easy on the eye (if you have a strong eye!). But just to repeat - I've really enjoyed these recent performances! And they've been very well danced.

 

Yes! To your point about the music, I guess the fact that it's on Joplin, et al skewed my expectations. I thought MacMillan would do more with it. Like Rubies but in reverse, hehe!

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