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THE ROYAL BALLET 2021/22 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT


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On 23/03/2021 at 12:06, Beryl H said:

I'm most pleased with The Dante Project, Giselle, and Water For Chocolate (never heard of it until today but what I've just read sounds promising and perfect for Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales!  

I believe Hayward will be performing opposite Sambe on Water for Chocolate, though there could be a casting with them too I suppose.

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50 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

Perhaps it is a flaw in my character but I can't help thinking that many of us would have benefited from a little frivolity built into the programme at strategic points during the season as I think that we can all agree that it is unlikely that either of the new works,the Dante Project or Like Water for Chocolate, will provide much in the way of light entertainment.  However while I accept that this season is one in which the company may be required to do considerably more than merely break even I do question whether we really needed 31 performances of Nutcracker ? Surely at Christmas we could have been permitted something else relatively safe as an alternative option to the ubiquitous Nutcracker such as eight performances of Fille or Coppelia or an equally lighthearted and entertaining Ashton mixed bill of say Les Patineurs, A Wedding Bouquet and Facade? At present, to me at least, the programme seems far too unremittingly weighty and earnest.

 

At least Nutcracker is light, enjoyable & has a happy ending. Unlike Traviata, which is getting almost as many performances at 27. After the last 15 months do people really want to see a piece where the heroine dies from a respiratory disease?! It was the last thing I saw at the ROH before the first lockdown & even then it was rather uncomfortable viewing.

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We knew about most of the ballets in the season already of course, but I remain very happy with the choices and even more so with the newly revealed details. As it happens I have a feeling there will be quite a few Romeo and Juliet casts I'll be very keen to watch, so I'm glad about the spacing across the season. I'll admit I'm in a different position to many on this forum having never seen Giselle in the flesh or the Royal Ballet production of Swan Lake, so I perhaps anticipate them more keenly than others. 

 

Ever since I started reading this forum (only about three years ago to be fair) there have been calls to do something different at Christmas as a change from Nutcracker. As far as I'm concerned, that call has been answered admirably. I remember enjoying a wonderful triple bill (including Les Patineurs and Winter Dreams) I think in 2018 and then Nutcracker replaced completely by Coppelia in 2019 - possibly quite a brave move financially. Unfortunately last year there were only four performances of a reduced Nutcracker to distanced audiences. So I think we're actually overdue a full run of Nutcrackers again and the chance to see those promised debuts. 

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1 hour ago, FLOSS said:

It is a classic example of conservative programming which is intended to generate income and deal with a number of problems caused by the unavoidable cancellation of two major world premieres and a number of key debuts during the 2020-21 season. Of course the company had to stage those new full length works and keep the promises about career development which it made to its dancers a couple of seasons ago. I can understand why this particular selection of full length works is being programmed. It was so obvious that it probably did not seem to require much thought to draw it up . But that is its weakness. After the best part of eighteen months during which audiences have been without live ballet performances isn't the season just a bit too heavy? Does the entire season have to be quite so unremittingly serious?

 

Perhaps it is a flaw in my character but I can't help thinking that many of us would have benefited from a little frivolity built into the programme at strategic points during the season as I think that we can all agree that it is unlikely that either of the new works,the Dante Project or Like Water for Chocolate, will provide much in the way of light entertainment.  However while I accept that this season is one in which the company may be required to do considerably more than merely break even I do question whether we really needed 31 performances of Nutcracker ? Surely at Christmas we could have been permitted something else relatively safe as an alternative option to the ubiquitous Nutcracker such as eight performances of Fille or Coppelia or an equally lighthearted and entertaining Ashton mixed bill of say Les Patineurs, A Wedding Bouquet and Facade? At present, to me at least, the programme seems far too unremittingly weighty and earnest.

So agree Floss, especially re. the overly weighty programming, and scant  Ashton fare....7 performances in all. Not much opportunity for a wide variety of dancers to engage further in his work. In contrast, with 31 Nutcrackers even the cleaning staff will probably get a "crack" at a role.

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7 hours ago, FLOSS said:

While I am pleased to see an all Ashton mixed bill which includes Scenes de Ballet and does not include Marguerite and Armand, I  can't help thinking that Kevin could afford to be a little more adventurous in his selection. There are ballets spanning the best part of fifty years to choose from and while I don't expect to see works like Capriole Suite or Foyer de Danse on the main stage I should like the opportunity to see them in full at some point in the not too distant future. Also I can't help thinking that if we really were respecting the past rather than paying lip service to respecting it we would be offered the opportunity to see one of his two or three act ballets each season.

 

1 hour ago, FLOSS said:

 After the best part of eighteen months during which audiences have been without live ballet performances isn't the season just a bit too heavy? Does the entire season have to be quite so unremittingly serious?

 

Perhaps it is a flaw in my character but I can't help thinking that many of us would have benefited from a little frivolity built into the programme at strategic points during the season as I think that we can all agree that it is unlikely that either of the new works,the Dante Project or Like Water for Chocolate, will provide much in the way of light entertainment.  However while I accept that this season is one in which the company may be required to do considerably more than merely break even I do question whether we really needed 31 performances of Nutcracker ? Surely at Christmas we could have been permitted something else relatively safe as an alternative option to the ubiquitous Nutcracker such as eight performances of Fille or Coppelia or an equally lighthearted and entertaining Ashton mixed bill of say Les Patineurs, A Wedding Bouquet and Facade? At present, to me at least, the programme seems far too unremittingly weighty and earnest.

 

Yes, I'm with you, Floss in wishing there was more Ashton. Why couldn't there be one of his full length ballets performed every year as well as Macmillan's, or if that takes up too much of the year then alternate between a full length Macmillan and Ashton? It would have been great to have something a bit light and cheerful and I still think La Fille would have been a great opening ballet. You know where you are with dancing chickens! Also, though respecting the fact that the Nutcracker is a huge money spinner, it would have been great to have a mixed bill to counteract all that sugar! I would suggest Patineurs, The Concert and Facade or Symphony in C if you think Facade is too similar to The Concert and want something cheerful and classical. (Just realised I've quoted Floss' suggestions almost verbatim. We obviously think along similar lines!)

 

Finally, I thought I'd read all programmes were being shown at the cinema. Is that right and do we know which dates? If you click on the cinema option it just shows a date for La Boheme and Dante.

 

Still, like everyone, I've been so starved of ballet I'll take anything on offer. There's bound to be great casting even if some of the rep. choices are not the most exciting.

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7 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Not too enthused either about a repetition of Kyle Abraham and Solo Echo. Bring your night vision goggles for this one.

 

That's a good idea! 🙂

 

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Posted (edited)

Finally, I thought I'd read all programmes were being shown at the cinema. Is that right and do we know which dates? If you click on the cinema option it just shows a date for La Boheme and Dante.

 

I've realised how you find out about filming dates. You go to performances and click on 'See dates' or 'buy tickets' and it says what dates the filming takes place. Doesn't say if it's for streaming or cinema but I'll take either! All main stage productions seem to have a date to be being filmed for the first season. Swan Lake seems to be the first ballet with no recording date and this also applies for subsequent ballets. I hope this just means they haven't finalised even tentative casting this far ahead and eventually filming dates will appear, especially for the all-important Ashton programme.

Edited by jmhopton
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1 hour ago, DanJL said:

I'll admit I'm in a different position to many on this forum having never seen Giselle in the flesh or the Royal Ballet production of Swan Lake, so I perhaps anticipate them more keenly than others. 

 

 

For my money, Giselle is all but the perfect ballet. I hope you will enjoy it live, as much as I do 🙂

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1 hour ago, DanJL said:

I'll admit I'm in a different position to many on this forum having never seen Giselle in the flesh or the Royal Ballet production of Swan Lake, so I perhaps anticipate them more keenly than others.

 

I've not seen either ballet live either. I was booked to see my first live Swan Lake on 28th March 2020 but we all know how that went!

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53 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I've not seen either ballet live either. I was booked to see my first live Swan Lake on 28th March 2020 but we all know how that went!

Good to know I'm not the only one! I had a similar experience with Swan Lake. Hopefully next year we will both get to see it 🙂

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2 hours ago, DanJL said:

We knew about most of the ballets in the season already of course, but I remain very happy with the choices and even more so with the newly revealed details. As it happens I have a feeling there will be quite a few Romeo and Juliet casts I'll be very keen to watch, so I'm glad about the spacing across the season. I'll admit I'm in a different position to many on this forum having never seen Giselle in the flesh or the Royal Ballet production of Swan Lake, so I perhaps anticipate them more keenly than others. 

 

Ever since I started reading this forum (only about three years ago to be fair) there have been calls to do something different at Christmas as a change from Nutcracker. As far as I'm concerned, that call has been answered admirably. I remember enjoying a wonderful triple bill (including Les Patineurs and Winter Dreams) I think in 2018 and then Nutcracker replaced completely by Coppelia in 2019 - possibly quite a brave move financially. Unfortunately last year there were only four performances of a reduced Nutcracker to distanced audiences. So I think we're actually overdue a full run of Nutcrackers again and the chance to see those promised debuts. 

OK. I am going to play Mr. Grumpy here, but am going to say that once Nutcracker has been rested for at least ten years (yes please), then we may just begin to consider it 'overdue.' Cinderella is most certainly overdue. 

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Ha ha “night vision goggles” I haven’t been to current programme but had a friend on the phone lamenting they poor lighting of a couple of ballets and then she went to see ENB and more of the same!!! She definitely had it in for lighting people in general tonight lol! 
I agree with a lot of what Floss says above. 

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2 hours ago, Richard LH said:

Not too enthused either about a repetition of Kyle Abraham and Solo Echo. Bring your night vision goggles for this one.

 

Well, I nodded off during Solo Echo last time, so I suppose I could do with seeing it again.

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I know that many people groan at the prospect of yet another undiluted season of Nutcrackers but I have to say that for me Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas without an annual dose of Nutcracker glitter and magic. It’s like taking the children to see Santa. 
Perhaps the answer would be to dilute the undiluted; keep the Nutcrackers but stir a seasonal something else into the mix. Is there any reason why this isn’t possible?

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I wonder whether bubble restrictions might play a part?  I haven't looked at the actual scheduling, but are the different programmes more separate from each other than usual, rather than overlapping?

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A very long time ago the Festival Ballet used to do so many Nutcrackers at the Festival Hall that certain musicians used to know how to time it exactly to get to their orchestra place ( from the bar) in time to play their instrument on cue!! 
Yes I think a mixture of Nutcrackers and a “seasonal” triple for example could work well. 

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There was a time, maybe back in the 80s and 90s, when Cinderella (the company's more usual seasonal offering,) was alternated with The Nutcracker more or less every other year, although some years both were presented. 

 

The problem, for me, with the current production of Nutcracker is, it is like Christmas itself: glossy, eagerly anticipated. bit of a disappointment. 

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2 hours ago, Rob S said:

Maybe all of the audience should bring cigarette lighters to illuminate the place 🔦 

 

a whip round to put a few extra 50p's in the meter....

 

(as they say - contemporary choreographers do it in the dark)

 

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33 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

a whip round to put a few extra 50p's in the meter....

 

(as they say - contemporary choreographers do it in the dark)

 

I mean....all the hours of work and rehearsals.... and then we can’t see the final result!  I have been saying it for years:  don’t these choreographers want the audience to actually see the results of their (and everyone else’s) hard work?  🤔

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4 hours ago, Sim said:

I mean....all the hours of work and rehearsals.... and then we can’t see the final result!  I have been saying it for years:  don’t these choreographers want the audience to actually see the results of their (and everyone else’s) hard work?  🤔

 

I think it's just fashionable now; wearing black, seeing black. All part of not wanting to be seen as anything approaching (dread word) 'entertainment'. 

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I have a real battle over lighting every time I do my own show. Technicians seem obsessed with the "black box" effect. Fine for moody contemporary pieces, but not suitable for classical ballet, particularly children's dances.

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7 hours ago, Darlex said:

OK. I am going to play Mr. Grumpy here, but am going to say that once Nutcracker has been rested for at least ten years (yes please), then we may just begin to consider it 'overdue.' Cinderella is most certainly overdue. 

 

I completely agree about Cinderella, but if/when it comes back I wouldn't want it seen only as a 'Christmas' ballet, any more than Sleeping Beauty is.

 

And I absolutely can't wait to see Nutcracker, this Christmas and every Christmas. I went quite a few years without seeing it at one stage, and when I went back I was stunned all over again at what I'd been missing. Now, the music, the tree, the snowflakes, the sets and costumes, the love, the dancing, the sheer beauty of it all fill me with joyful anticipation that is never disappointed. I did see a Covid Nutcracker last year, but although I was delighted to be there I was aware of the compromises. So I very much hope that this year's production will be the real deal.

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3 minutes ago, Pas de Quatre said:

I have a real battle over lighting every time I do my own show. Technicians seem obsessed with the "black box" effect. Fine for moody contemporary pieces, but not suitable for classical ballet, particularly children's dances.

 

Strange how rarely contemporary pieces want to express any mood but gloomy. Does joy not exist in the contemporary world? (Mark Morris an obvious and honourable exception.)

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11 hours ago, jmhopton said:

It would have been great to have something a bit light and cheerful and I still think La Fille would have been a great opening ballet. You know where you are with dancing chickens!

 

Precisely what I was hoping for, particularly with O’Sullivan and Sambé.  I think we could all do with a lovely run of La Fille this year. 😔

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Cinderella would provide the perfect combination of crowd pleaser and honing of classical technique (which Floss refers to) . What is the current situation with the rights to this ballet? Someone from the ‘older generation’ with influence and excellent persuasive skills needs to be recruited.

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From various previous comments on this forum I believe it currently isn't possible to put on Cinderella (I'm afraid I don't know the reasons, but maybe others can remind us). So that isn't an option at the moment. I'd love to see it when that changes though! 

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