Jump to content

English National Ballet Nutcracker: Southampton/London


Recommended Posts

I hope that there is a poster in the Southampton Area that can tell us how the latest ENB Nutcracker by Wayne Eagling looks in performance. Here are a couple of pictures to encourage you to see the production in the Mayflower Theatre running until Sunday or else you can see them at the Coliseum from the 12th December. As ever the children from Tring Park were well prepared and still full of bounce after a long day of rehearsals.

 

ENB%2BNutcracker%2BNovember%2B2012_jr_039_nutcracker_reimair_children_1000.jpg.small.jpg

 

Fabian Reimair - Drosselmeyer and Children from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

ENB%2BNutcracker%2BNovember%2B2012_jr_250_nutcracker_muntagirov_klimentova_1000.jpg.small.jpg

 

 

Vadim Muntagirov and Daria Klimentova

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

Edited by johnross
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John: We don't have anyone posting - yet - but a first-time ballet goer had a piece in the Chichester Observer this morning:

 

http://www.chichester.co.uk/lifestyle/entertainment/review-the-nutcracker-english-national-ballet-the-mayflower-southampton-november-22-25-1-4516608

 

He appears to have enjoyed it and, not surprisingly, was greatly taken by Daria. And I see from your Gallery that Michael Coleman is back on duty.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the last perf b4 the Coli just starting e'en as I pen this, (Back to Beauty next week in Manc Opera Hse), it amused me when languishing in the wet Algarve a week or so ago to find that a company called the Russian Classical Ballet Company was putting on Nutcracker for one night in Portimao & the automatic translation that came up for the work's title was "Breaking Walnuts" - how charming!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I'm afraid that I was a little disappointed with the matinee performance today. I should start by saying that I arrived at the theatre feeling very tense (for reasons that I don't need to go into) and this may well have affected my enjoyment of the performance. I like much of Wayne Eagling's production but today I found the party scene a little dull. I didn't think that the Tring Park children were as good as last year when there was a superb Freddie who really commanded the stage even among all those adult professional dancers. I really do feel that the young Clara's solo dance with the nutcracker doll should be a bit more challenging. After all, it's being danced by a girl who is at vocational school. The current dance has very basic steps. The snowflakes dance, led by Crystal Costa and Adela Ramirez, was lovely. I really liked the dance for Clara, Drosselmeyer and the Nutcracker (Prince?) at the beginning of Act 2. Nathan Young as the Nutcracker coped well with the challenging partnering (it's a shame that his handsome face was covered by a mask!) but Arionel Vargas' years of experience really showed in his partnering of Shiori Kase in the tricky choreography. Shiori made a lovely Clara and danced very well indeed. She has such secure technique that her dancing looks effortless. I feel sure that she will become a principal dancer somewhere some day. The waltz of the flowers was enjoyable but the national dances were not particularly well danced (to some very slow tempi) and the peculiar Arabian dance should be replaced with someting more suitable. However, I rather doubt that Tamara will ask WE to change it if she knows the history of the creation of this production. For me, the highlights of the afternoon were the snowflakes and Shiori's dancing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for this, aileen. I've merged the threads and changed the title accordingly so that we keep things in the same place. I couldn't believe there'd been so little discussion, then I realised that much had taken place on the thread discussing Vadim's promotion (http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/2493-promotion-for-vadim-muntagirov-at-english-national-ballet/).

 

Glad to know Shiori danced so well. Was it her debut?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alison, she was scheduled to dance it on Sunday, again with Nathan Young and Arionel Vargas. She also danced it last year, as I recollect with Vadim who was replacing an injured Zdenek Konvalina and someone else. She was very assured last year as well. As I said above, she has a rock solid technique, as well as a very attractive stage presence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, aileen.

 

I seem to have missed the boat on this rather: for many of the performances, the balcony seems to be completely sold out. I'd been keeping my eye on the Leicester Square tkts listings, but have yet to see anything coming up half-price there, even for those performances where there are still hundreds available - does anyone know differently, and/or have I just been unlucky? At this rate, I'm going to have to give it a miss completely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder whether ENB has rather miscalculated the appeal of its mid-week matinees. State schools don't break up until the end of this week. They were off the equivalent week last year. I know that there are school parties visiting (there was a least a couple yesterday afternoon) but I don't suppose that they pay as much as the general public, and the Nutcracker does generate a substantial proportion of ENB's revenue. I also think that the spread of ticket prices could be improved. Yes, there are £10 and £15 seats (and these have sold very well, I note) but most of the other seats are at least £40, which feels expensive. I think that there should be more tickets at £30 and £35, certainly in the upper circle. There are half-price tickets for children at some matinees (not the weekend ones and not next week, I think). I've said it before, but ENB needs to advertise its discounts (for children, pensioners and for two or more productions) far more clearly on its own website AND ON THE COLISEUM'S WEBSITE). And the Coliseum staff need to be more informed about the two or more productions discount. I had to ask the box office assistant about this and she had to check the position with another member of staff as she didn't seem to be aware of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lynette Halewood's review of the same cast (strangely bearing the date 12 December, which is earlier than the first performance by this cast which was on 16 December) appears in today's reviews section. I'm pleased to see that she agrees with me about Shiori!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw yesterday afternoon's matinee and agree that Shiori Kase was very beautiful and assured as Clara, most of all in the Act 2 pdd which is extremely difficult in this version, this was helped very much by the partnering of Arionel Vargas, who showed great ease and delight in this role, he was equally good last year when he partnered Anais Chalendard at short notice!

 

The ballet itself didn't seem to look quite as good this time round in the first act, the party is boring, there's not much of a transformation scene and I prefer the adagio to be just a pdd, the constant changing from Drossmelmeyer, Nutcracker and Nephew is confusing. The snowflake waltz is lovely though, and after the Mouse King episode is over it's non-stop dancing until the end, I really liked the Mirlitons dance with Adela Ramirez, Guilherme Menezes was good in the Spanish, I didn't mind the Arabian Dance given to a man, Fabian Reimair, but the duet with Freddy was odd and out of place.

 

It was Shiori Kase who made this performance so special though and I was pleased to see her on the Nutcracker's 120th anniversary.

 

I was surprised by some empty Balcony seats, if you look online it appears sold out but yesterday did have unsold ones, there were school parties so maybe the Coliseum book whole blocks, also I've noticed before that often the first 2 rows are empty as you can't book them online, another Coliseum ticket policy that irritates me, there are quite a few, glad others think so too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more thing about the matinee yesterday: I felt that the lighting was a bit low for the "skating scene" in Act 1.

 

Beryl, did you think that the tempi were very slow for the national dances?

 

I didn't notice slow tempi in the national dances particularly, but did think the lighting was down at the beginning, I missed some of the details, also there's a gauze across the front stage at the start.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pleased to report that the audience at the Coliseum tonight (at least in the balcony) seemed to be in good health, unlike some of the dancers, unfortunately. There were several (unannounced) changes to the cast (I wonder when the cast sheets are prepared) but, happily, Daria and Vadim were still performing and were on great form. It was their 100th performance together and at curtain call a large bunch of balloons bearing the number 100 was brought onto the stage and handed to Vadim, which I thought was a nice touch. I enjoyed the party scene more this evening. It seemed to have a bit more zest to it, and young Freddie was particularly good in his role. What really struck me tonight is how strong and confident Vadim's partnering is now. There are a lot of high and complicated lifts in this production which he managed with ease.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, so that's what it was. I looked at the cast sheet, wondering if it was the 100th performance of this production, and discovered that we were only up to 98, so it couldn't be that.

 

I quite agree with you about Vadim's partnering - and that shoulder-sit was quite something! I was waiting for the repeat, until I realised that in this Grand Pas de Deux there isn't one, but a one-legged lift instead.

 

The cast changes were sort of announced. At least, that is, if you happened to go down to the "Guests" table in the foyer between picking up and reading your cast sheet and realising there had to be an error, and the start of the performance. The cast change sheet wasn't there when I looked in the interval.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was watching that night too.... Dress circle was packed out too. I loved Daria and Vadim. She looks younger and more radiant than she did when the show opened two years ago....how is that possible? And he is a delight going from strength to strength and radiating a love of his art. Despite the cast changes I feel there is a high energy level in the company, even as they near the end of a long nutcracker run. I look forward to new things in the future under the new director but hope she continues to reach out to new audiences as enb has done recently in joint ventures with Flawless. I also thought young Freddie was particularly good.... But I could be accused of being a tad biased. :)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vadim so obviously loves dancing with Daria. When he came onto the stage and saw her on Friday he gave her the loveliest smile. The challenge for him is to generate the same level of enthusiasm in performances (and to bring out the character in the role) when he is dancing with other partners.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes aileen and she with him too - her smile lights the stage when he comes on to dance with her - a friend told me it was Daria's own idea to have the balloon festoon presented to him & he knew nothing b4hand

 

re the cast changes it appeared to us in the stalls that James Forbat danced the Nutcracker for the first act as listed but after an unusually long interval Max Westwell took over unannounced - as I always say I may be wrong but certainly Max took the curtain calls as Nutcracker unmasked at the end

 

Back to the presentations we had discussion in the forum sometime ago about Sam Lauron who was THE flower man at Covent Garden for many years - some will be interested to read Michael Foreman's letter to the Guardian on the subject entitled "Saying it with flowers, trees and swans" in 23 Dec edition of the paper - sorry I'm not up to giving links but the Guardian's search function brings it up quite efficiently

Link to comment
Share on other sites

tim b, so it was Daria who organised the balloons. That's rather sweet. The poor men rarely get anything at the end of a performance however hard they've worked. Few people in an audience realise how incredibly strenuous it is lifting even tiny ballerinas. I don't know how these very young men, barely out of their gangly teens, manage it. That's interesting to hear that Max Westwell had to step in for James Forbat half way through the performance. I was surprised to see Max unmasked at curtain call. James had some strenuous lifting during the first half and I belive that he was injured earlier this year. Max was then scheduled to dance the same role with Tamara last night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's interesting to hear that Max Westwell had to step in for James Forbat half way through the performance.

 

I don't think he did. The cast change announcement was out before the performance started, so I assume it was Max throughout.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They don't provide "cast change sheets" as the ROH do: there's merely one piece of paper with cast changes listed on it, somewhere in the foyer (possibly maybe at programme desks as well - I've never looked).

 

(Prompted by moaning about the sightlines in the RB triple bill) When I went to see this production the other week I found the rather excessive number of "concertina" festoons hanging from the "ceiling" a bit of a distraction, and thought that the lower-hanging front ones, at least, must surely block the view of some members of the audience. The other night, I was further over to the left than previously in the balcony (albeit still at the front), and realised that they do seriously obstruct the view of some important segments of the party scene, upstage right, at least: for example, you totally miss young Clara saying farewell to Drosselmeyer's nephew, so don't realise how taken she is with him, and Drosselmeyer (I assume it was him, because it usually is, but I couldn't see) moving the clock hands to midnight, not to mention various other goings-on during the party. I suspect the obstruction might be a problem at below-balcony level as well - can anyone confirm? It also strikes me that the Mayflower in Southampton is probably a "taller" theatre than the Coliseum, in which case I guess the problem could be bad in the balcony there, too. Perhaps this could be tweaked in time for the next run?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that the festoons block some of the action for part of the audience. Clara's farewell to Drosselmeyer's nephew, when she gives him her ribbon, is quite important in the context of this particular version, but I don't think that I saw it clearly from either my seat in the upper circle or my seat in the balcony, both quite centrally placed in the auditorium. This could be rectified quite easily if the company was aware of it. Perhaps someone should tell the company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A fabulous last performance of Nutcracker from all the Company last night. The pdd from Daria and Vadim was out of this world and deservedly received a rave reception. Also terrific were Zsenia Ovsyannick as the sister/Mirliton, Shiori Kase and Jose Becerra in the Chinese and Russian dances respectively, Laurretta Summerscales as both a Lead Snowflake and a Lead Flower and (although uncredited in the programme) Juan Rodriguez and Anton Lukovkin as two of the strange 'show' characters at the first act party.

 

The audience remains confused by the constant swapping between the Nephew (Prince) and the masked Nutcracker and this element needs sorting if the production is to return next Christmas. But one has to admire the professionalism of all concerned to deliver this exceptionally high quality after 36 performances with matinees as well as evening shows on most day for nearly 4 weeks. And there is no chance for a rest as Sleeping Beauty starts on Wednesday with Tamara, Vadim and Daria in the lead roles on the opening night.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually like the swapping between the Nutcracker and the Nephew/Prince (Clara is dreaming and dreams are often strange and confused) but I can see that it is confusing for someone seeing this production for the first time. Without this, there is no need for two dancers which is perhaps not a bad thing given the huge number of performances staged in such a short time. Furthermore, Drosselmeyer is not merely a character role. He has quite a lot of proper dancing to do, both with Clara and in the Mirlton dance. I agree that the dancers are to be congratulated for their hard work and professionalism. I believe that there were also several performances in Southampton as well and so the dancers must have danced over forty Nutcrackers. Not wishing to take anything away from the principals, it is the more junior dancers who danced in virtually every performance, sometimes twice a day for several days, who are really to be admired. I suppose that it is unavoidable give ENB's financial position, but I feel that too much is being asked of the non-principal dancers. They have an absolutely gruelling schedule which, as capybara says, continues with Sleeping Beauty - another big ensemble production - in London and I think Southampton before the winter break.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...