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Oh Kevin....

Great dancing from all, interesting premieres, but what I wanted was light and uplifting for the return to the theatre...

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OK, so it wasn't a cheery start, but it was a facinating one.

The now familiar 'Within the Golden Hour' from Christopher Wheeldon is a piece I really enjoy - with small caveats. And those being the lighting too gloomy for the 'golden hour' in my opinion (that hour before twilight starts, not the hour after twilight starts!) and I much preferred the original costumes. Having said that, watching Yasmine Naghdi dancing in front of my own eyes again, almost had my heart burst out of my chest as the music soared. All three lead couples were on top form I thought (Yasmine with Ryoichi Hirano, Francesca Hayward with Valentino Zucchetti, and Anna Rose O'Sullivan with Vadim Muntagirov), each of their pdds a joy to behold. But please turn the lighting up a bit!

After a brief pause we had the new piece by Kyle Abraham (which seems stuck with the title 'New Kyle Abraham'). Arresting lighting with triangular pools of brightness, in the gloom. A little difficult to follow at times, but the choregraphy looked spectacular (i.e. when I could see it). After a setup of spoken interviews with a couple becoming estranged, it looked like a danced re-inaction of that with Natalia Osipova and Marcelino Sambe 'fighting' it out, plus Stanislaw Wegrzyn stepping in as her alternative interest. All 3 were superlative.

After the interval we had the 2 Crystal Pite pieces, new to ROH. the first, 'The Statement' had the dancers moving synchronously to their characters words, as a corporate session of blame spreading and responsibility dodging went on around a large meeting room table. Brilliantly done! Ashley Dean (a complete revelation), Joseph Sissons, the ever marvelous Kristen McNally and Calvin Richardson deliverd Pite's startling choreography with gusto. Couldn't help but feel though, this would have been even more astonishing in The Linbury, where we would have been close up to it. Pite's second piece, 'Solo Echo' was for me, more typical of the choreography of hers we have seen in the ROH before. To a snow falling backdrop, there was the sweeping, breathtaking choreography of individuals and the small group. I really liked this, and look forward to seeing it again.

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Really enjoyed last night and thought it such a coup to open not with obvious crowd-pleasers, but instead with bold, cutting-edge works which seem to be taking the ROH into a more interesting direction.
‘Within the Golden Hour’ was beautifully performed and a useful opener to ease the audience back in. 
The Kyle Abraham, titled ‘Optional Family: A Divertissement’, wasn’t immediately apparent to me in terms of narrative, but I enjoyed the humorous introduction and energetic choreography, which was a brilliant showcase for Osipova’s virtuosity (I wonder if it will have the same impact with the other casts). I hope to understand it better on second viewing.
‘The Statement’ was original in both form and tone, veering between satirical and disturbing which, coupled with strong performances, made it the evening’s most captivating piece for me.
I found ‘Solo Echo’ very powerful in its choreography, but here I had a couple of reservations: The cellist’s performance was lacklustre, and while I understood the point of the minimalist lighting, the baggy black semi-tailored costumes looked dated and obscured too much of the movement.

Thrilled to be back!

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I just want to mention the sheer delight of being back in our spiritual home... The Royal Opera House. At the beginning of the evening, and before a note had been played, there was a spontaneous standing ovation for the orchestra which went on for many minutes and was heartfelt by all. A magical start to an interesting evening of dance.

I love Within The Golden Hour... it is a joy from start to finish. The younger dancers and the principals gave it their all and their beaming smiles at the end showed us how much it meant to be back on stage performing for our delight once again...

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1 hour ago, oncnp said:

and the Telepgraph...less impressed, still moaning about the drinks and couldn't be bothered to get a current picture (paywall, limited access with registration and undoubtedly in tomorrow's links)

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/dance/ballet/21st-century-choreographers-royal-opera-house-review-balletic/

 

 

As you say, a rather downbeat review. Interestingly Rupert Christansen (the Telegraph's former Opera critic) reviewed the ENB yesterday, and I though that perhaps Monahan had moved  on - perhaps to open a restaurant or cafe as he seems more interested in food and drink!

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1 hour ago, oncnp said:

and the Telepgraph...less impressed, still moaning about the drinks and couldn't be bothered to get a current picture (paywall, limited access with registration and undoubtedly in tomorrow's links)

 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/dance/ballet/21st-century-choreographers-royal-opera-house-review-balletic/

 

 

To be fair, what he says about the works themselves was quite interesting and sounds quite balanced (I wasn't there so don't have an opinion). But I also wish he would forget about the drinks etc! It's just so churlish and unnecessary in the circumstances.

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1 hour ago, MJW said:

perhaps Monahan had moved  on - perhaps to open a restaurant or cafe as he seems more interested in food and drink!

 

freebies missed, I expect

 

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I don't always think much of his reviews and he dwells on the food and drink more than I would, but I give him credit for being one of the few reviewers who try to think themselves into the perspective of an ordinary punter.

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12 hours ago, capybara said:

The 'new Kyle Abraham' is called OPTIONAL FAMILY: A DIVERTISSEMENT according to the cast sheet.

 

Which title (if the reviews are anything to go by) is almost longer than the length of the piece!

 

Don't forget to look at links tomorrow - a number of reviews have come through.

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8 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Which title (if the reviews are anything to go by) is almost longer than the length of the piece!

 

I think it's a terrible title! Sounds like a cross between a dry sociological study and a frivolous gala piece.   

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The reviews (so far) are included in a busy links day today.  For the first time in over a year there are more live reviews & features than streamed.  A landmark day!!!

 

 

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I'll just jump in here with a mini-report from today - how utterly lovely to be back at the ROH, and while I wait for the antibodies from that vaccine to kick in I'm doubly grateful for the generous spacing and strictly enforced masking policy. Still buzzing from the whole evening!

 

Still buzzing from the whole evening. Such different works and depth of talent. Within the Golden Hour was the "cast of all recently announced promotions" (Fumi Kaneko, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Joseph Sissens in the male duet and Leticia Dias in the ensemble), also Hay and Clarke in the main couples. Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell mesmerising - I haven't seen Takada dance that much, but she's always grace and loveliness personified for me.

 

I don't think the Kyle Abraham piece will particularly stay with me, although I'm certainly not complaining about watching Sambé and Osipova dance, and the voices in the beginning passive-aggressively fighting were amusing.

 

The Crystal Pite pieces were both very enjoyable and different from each other. I didn't read the reviews in advance so did not know the first one (Statement) was mostly based on spoken word. Not sure I've ever seen something so in-between dance and theatre, brilliant acting from Matthew Ball who brought out both the absurd and the existential angst in his character. The second one (Solo Echo) didn't seem to have a particular story, but I enjoyed all the dynamics going on, and thought the choreography worked well with the Brahms (I'm afraid my ears are not fine enough to comment on the quality of the cellist - I am just fond of both Brahms and cellos). Very much an ensemble piece but the most central were Mayara Magri (another promotion news of course), and an impressive Luca Acri.

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13 minutes ago, Sophie_B said:

I'll just jump in here with a mini-report from today - how utterly lovely to be back at the ROH, and while I wait for the antibodies from that vaccine to kick in I'm doubly grateful for the generous spacing and strictly enforced masking policy. Still buzzing from the whole evening!

 

Still buzzing from the whole evening. Such different works and depth of talent. Within the Golden Hour was the "cast of all recently announced promotions" (Fumi Kaneko, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Joseph Sissens in the male duet and Leticia Dias in the ensemble), also Hay and Clarke in the main couples. Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell mesmerising - I haven't seen Takada dance that much, but she's always grace and loveliness personified for me.

 

I don't think the Kyle Abraham piece will particularly stay with me, although I'm certainly not complaining about watching Sambé and Osipova dance, and the voices in the beginning passive-aggressively fighting were amusing.

 

The Crystal Pite pieces were both very enjoyable and different from each other. I didn't read the reviews in advance so did not know the first one (Statement) was mostly based on spoken word. Not sure I've ever seen something so in-between dance and theatre, brilliant acting from Matthew Ball who brought out both the absurd and the existential angst in his character. The second one (Solo Echo) didn't seem to have a particular story, but I enjoyed all the dynamics going on, and thought the choreography worked well with the Brahms (I'm afraid my ears are not fine enough to comment on the quality of the cellist - I am just fond of both Brahms and cellos). Very much an ensemble piece but the most central were Mayara Magri (another promotion news of course), and an impressive Luca Acri.

Maybe the Kyle Abraham ballet will look different with Claire Calvert and Melissa Hamilton dancing the Osipova role

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21 minutes ago, Sophie_B said:

I'll just jump in here with a mini-report from today - how utterly lovely to be back at the ROH, and while I wait for the antibodies from that vaccine to kick in I'm doubly grateful for the generous spacing and strictly enforced masking policy. Still buzzing from the whole evening!

 

Still buzzing from the whole evening. Such different works and depth of talent. Within the Golden Hour was the "cast of all recently announced promotions" (Fumi Kaneko, Meaghan Grace Hinkis, Joseph Sissens in the male duet and Leticia Dias in the ensemble), also Hay and Clarke in the main couples. Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell mesmerising - I haven't seen Takada dance that much, but she's always grace and loveliness personified for me.

 

I don't think the Kyle Abraham piece will particularly stay with me, although I'm certainly not complaining about watching Sambé and Osipova dance, and the voices in the beginning passive-aggressively fighting were amusing.

 

The Crystal Pite pieces were both very enjoyable and different from each other. I didn't read the reviews in advance so did not know the first one (Statement) was mostly based on spoken word. Not sure I've ever seen something so in-between dance and theatre, brilliant acting from Matthew Ball who brought out both the absurd and the existential angst in his character. The second one (Solo Echo) didn't seem to have a particular story, but I enjoyed all the dynamics going on, and thought the choreography worked well with the Brahms (I'm afraid my ears are not fine enough to comment on the quality of the cellist - I am just fond of both Brahms and cellos). Very much an ensemble piece but the most central were Mayara Magri (another promotion news of course), and an impressive Luca Acri.

You have pretty much and  eloquently summarised my own initial reactions Sophie...WTGH the amazing stand out for me, and I'm thinking it would have been best last, to finish the evening with this  on a beautiful high. Also agree with others that we need more lighting!

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7 hours ago, Tony Newcombe said:

Akane Takada and Alexander Campbell mesmerising - I haven't seen Takada dance that much, but she's always grace and loveliness personified for me.

Yes these two are always wonderful together - utterly lovely in WTGH last night. Akane then displayed  a completely different character and style   in The Statement !

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Posted (edited)
On 20/05/2021 at 02:36, bridiem said:

 

I think it's a terrible title! Sounds like a cross between a dry sociological study and a frivolous gala piece.   

 

Could somebody please remind me of the prices for in-theatre tickets for this performance? Other than the   freebie tickets for professional reviewers, the audience has to pay, right?

 

Why do I ask?

 

From what I’ve read & seen so far about this bill - especially about the Abraham & Pite works - I’m wondering if balletomanes are simply so desperate to see anything live?

 

edited to add:

just questioning the quality of works, not the performers

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jeannette
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I've not looked around extensively but the reviews I've seen have been pretty positive. I'm off to find out for myself tomorrow anyway, so will report back!

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3 hours ago, Jeannette said:

Could somebody please remind me of the prices for in-theatre tickets for this performance? Other than the   freebie tickets for professional reviewers, the audience has to pay, right?

 

I *think* they ranged from £6 to £90.

 

I didn't book for this - I'm too far from London to go and see a show "because it's there" and the RB's recent form with new work is mixed at best.

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3 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I *think* they ranged from £6 to £90.

 

I didn't book for this - I'm too far from London to go and see a show "because it's there" and the RB's recent form with new work is mixed at best.


yes £90 for top price stalls and grand circle.  
 

I think £43 for amphitheater front centre.

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Posted (edited)
On 19/05/2021 at 11:01, Tebasile said:

Really enjoyed last night and thought it such a coup to open not with obvious crowd-pleasers, but instead with bold, cutting-edge works which seem to be taking the ROH into a more interesting direction.
 


Ok, I know these have been exceptional circumstances, and we are all overjoyed to see the RB back on stage.  However, this seems to be the message being put across generally - Kevin O'Hare giving "an important indicator for the company’s future" to quote one review.

If the future rep is going to consist of modern works, the 3 Tchaikovsky ballets, and the full length MacMillan ballets in rotation, with the occasional Month in the Country to satisfy Ashton fans (or possibly Marguerite and Armand if someone is retiring) then I might have to give up watching the Royal Ballet.  If heritage works are going to be reduced to something dusted off to mark an anniversary in the company's history, tentatively danced to cool reviews, and thankfully discarded afterwards, then I might have to give up going.


While I don't mind a new work, I want to see it balanced with something more traditional with attractive costumes.  People in office outfits, or leading ladies with bare legs (a particular dislike of mine) just don't do it for me.  

Edited by Fonty
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Someone said to me the other day that the RB “is becoming a contemporary dance company.”   That set alarm bells ringing.  Even if it isn’t true (yet), if that’s what the perception is that is a bit worrying to me.  This is not the first time I have heard this.  

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