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Royal Ballet: Balanchine and Robbins Spring 2021


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Yesterday was the Friends rehearsal for this bill; the cast was the one for the live streaming.  

 

It's a terrific bill, I enjoyed it far more than I expected to. All three pieces looked well rehearsed and were well danced.

 

Just to mention a couple of standout performances :

 

Nunez/Muntagirov in Tchaikovsky pas de deux - what a joy ; and

 

it's a long time since I enjoyed Dances At A Gathering as much as yesterday. In a very strong cast, Teo Debreuil caught my eye and Sambe's Brown boy was quite simply magnificent. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, oncnp said:

 

According to @maymagriofficial Patricia Neary of the Balanchine Trust

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPoW1E9tt5n/

Yes, definitely Patricia Neary.  It is almost always she who comes over to rehearse the RB in Balanchine.  Much loved she is, too.  Very much looking forward to tonight...aside from the one Nut I managed in December before everything was snatched away from us, this will be my first trip there in 15 months.  I have never blubbed in a mask, so this will be a new experience for me...!!

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Fabulous seeing the Royal Ballet in yesterday’s rehearsal, first time since March 2020 when down for Dances at a Gathering/The Cellist (with Beatriz Stix-Brunell in what has now become an even more memorable performance) and the opening Swan Lakes. It certainly felt very fitting to have Dances at a Gathering ending yesterday’s performance and I’m looking forward to the live streaming. Impressive COVID arrangements at the Royal Opera House. I’d downloaded the NHS apps etc the previous day - there hasn’t been much call for them in rural Cumbria and definitely not on the fells. Worked well once shown which way round to use my iPhone by a very helpful Front of House staff member. Very pleased to have late lunch at La Ballerina - I’d bumped into the manager opening the restaurant in the morning and he insisted in giving me coffee. The train down was fine; going back it seemed as if mask wearing was optional which was not good. I’ll have another day trip for the Beauty rehearsal and am then very much hoping to book overnight trips for the new season.

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35 minutes ago, JohnS said:

Fabulous seeing the Royal Ballet in yesterday’s rehearsal, first time since March 2020 when down for Dances at a Gathering/The Cellist (with Beatriz Stix-Brunell in what has now become an even more memorable performance) and the opening Swan Lakes. It certainly felt very fitting to have Dances at a Gathering ending yesterday’s performance and I’m looking forward to the live streaming. Impressive COVID arrangements at the Royal Opera House. I’d downloaded the NHS apps etc the previous day - there hasn’t been much call for them in rural Cumbria and definitely not on the fells. Worked well once shown which way round to use my iPhone by a very helpful Front of House staff member. Very pleased to have late lunch at La Ballerina - I’d bumped into the manager opening the restaurant in the morning and he insisted in giving me coffee. The train down was fine; going back it seemed as if mask wearing was optional which was not good. I’ll have another day trip for the Beauty rehearsal and am then very much hoping to book overnight trips for the new season.

Pleased you had such a good day! Now looking forward  to seeing this next week.

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Posted (edited)

I had forgotten until I looked when the programmes were first mentioned, that Dances at a Gathering was by Robbins.  Whenever I see his name, I instantly think of his film work,  and start humming the music for the wonderful dance scenes from West Side Story.  

Now there is someone who was capable of doing both classical and contemporary (if that is the correct term for his choreography for stage and screen). 🙂  Just imagine if someone like him was to come along and start choreographing for the Royal Ballet.........

 

Edited by Fonty
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6 hours ago, oncnp said:

 

According to @maymagriofficial Patricia Neary of the Balanchine Trust

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPoW1E9tt5n/

I am glad she was able to come over and coach ( or did she do this remotely?) I recall her sharing the coaching for Jewels with the late, much missed, Elyse Borne. Interesting, in view of the discussions elsewhere regarding  Ashton, how the Balanchine Trust seems to work effectively when staging productions.

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1 minute ago, Odyssey said:

I am glad she was able to come over and coach ( or did she do this remotely?) I recall her sharing the coaching for Jewels with the late, much missed, Elyse Borne. Interesting, in view of the discussions elsewhere regarding  Ashton, how the Balanchine Trust seems to work effectively when staging productions.

Based on the picture, very much in person (or a really good editing job)

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6 hours ago, Odyssey said:

Really looking forward to the live screening with this cast ; a lovely triple bill. .What was Apollo like? I am wondering who has rehearsed this ballet.

 

And according to the cast sheet Ed Watson

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To whet your appetite (showing both Matthew Ball (who I am seeing next week) and Vadim Muntagirov) in rehearsal for Apollo)

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/royaloperahouse/albums/72157719329186801

 

Incidentally I saw Matthew Ball in class on the main stage on Wednesday - very impressive - as indeed it must be said were all the dancers.  Class was taken by Sian Murphy who was lovely and very amusing. 

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I found this fascinating piece on Youtube, with Patricia Neary talking about the staging of Balanchine ballets.  I hope this doesn't break any rules by putting it here?  Apparently one of the first things she does with any company is to speed up the tempo, because dancers like to dance slow.  This sounds like a very familiar complaint in many a discussion on this forum. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sczJRVQOU-8

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3 hours ago, MJW said:

To whet your appetite (showing both Matthew Ball (who I am seeing next week) and Vadim Muntagirov) in rehearsal for Apollo)

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/royaloperahouse/albums/72157719329186801

 

Incidentally I saw Matthew Ball in class on the main stage on Wednesday - very impressive - as indeed it must be said were all the dancers.  Class was taken by Sian Murphy who was lovely and very amusing. 

 

Was one of the boys taking class on Wednesday Harrison Lee do you know. I think he has been injured ro some time now. Hard to tell wearingmasks.

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20 minutes ago, SPD444 said:

 

Was one of the boys taking class on Wednesday Harrison Lee do you know. I think he has been injured ro some time now. Hard to tell wearingmasks.

 

I don't recall seeing him - but given the masks it was quite a struggle to recognise some of the dancers.

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Hugely enjoyed this evening.  What a stellar combination of choreographic wit, wisdom and, most crucially, joy. 

 

There were a goodly number of standouts but Muntagirov took all of us with him whilst scaling the heights of Apollo amid his bevy of gloriously characterised muses.  It made this masterwork sing anew.  What jubilance .... Something oh, so desperately needed just now surely.  .  

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Fantastic photos, Rob S! Thank you so much for posting them. I won't be able to see this bill live but these photos make me feel as if I was there!

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Great pictures Rob after what looks like a fantastic evening!  If you go to Vadim Muntagirov’s Instagram he has just posted a series of lovely backstage photos of him and his Muses. Photos five and six are especially amusing.

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I would certainly give it 5 stars; terrific dancing from all, and so wonderful to be back at the ROH.  Daughter and I loved the triple (and what a nice bonus to be out of the ROH by 9.45 pm), had a great, if slightly restricted view, and kudos to the ROH staff for being so friendly and keeping us as safe from COVID as possible.  

 

Standouts for me were Naghdi and Muntagirov’s beautiful pdd in Apollo (more of these two together, please), Reece Clarke’s ballon and his beautiful soft landings despite those long legs, and the whole DAAG cast but most particularly Bonelli, Nuñez and Morera.  I was so moved by Nuñez and Bonelli in their pdd, just heavenly.  

 

Due to the socially-distanced orchestra, daughter and I were surprised to find the cymbals, bass drum and snare drum in the box next to us - their volume and proximity gave us a bit of a fright during the Tchaikovsky pdd! 😆

 

PS many thanks for the brilliant photos, Rob ☺️

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

Due to the socially-distanced orchestra, daughter and I were surprised to find the cymbals, bass drum and snare drum in the box next to us - their volume and proximity gave us a bit of a fright during the Tchaikovsky pdd! 😆

 

 


Yep, I noticed your reaction to the cymbals 💥😆

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1 hour ago, Rob S said:


Yep, I noticed your reaction to the cymbals 💥😆

 

Haha! 😆 You should have come and introduced yourself! 

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Well what a wonderful return to the ROH!  Since March 2020 I have managed one Nutcracker, and that was it.  So to be back in my second home was joy enough, but to be greeted by the standard of dancing we saw last night was so very, very special.

 

I arrived stressed out and furious because of terrible traffic, but that melted away when the lights went down, the music started, the curtains rose...and there were real, live artists on the stage and in the orchestra pit.  And what artists...Apollo has not been seen here for some years now, and last night's cast rekindled my love of this piece.  Vadim Muntagirov was a coltish boy, shy and unsure of who he is and why he was born.  He cavorts with his muses (lovely dancing from Mayara Magri as Polyhymnia and Anna-Rose O'Sullivan as Calliope) but ends up being besotted by Terpsichore, the music muse.  And who wouldn't be, when the role is interpreted as wonderfully as it was by Yasmine Naghdi?  Her musicality is so precise and full of feeling, and she really understands the nuances of Balanchine's choreographic language.  Her movements fluid, her lovely arms so full of expression...she can attack the steps whilst looking as graceful as a bird in flight. The chemistry between her and Vadim really worked a treat.  It all started as she was standing over him;  their fingers touched oh so fleetingly, but the look he gave her as they did made my heart skip a beat.  The skipped beat must have gone to my throat because it felt weird all of a sudden.  Their pas de deux was simply sublime.  These are two very natural classical dancers and I really, really, really want to see them paired again in a full length classical ballet.  By the end of the piece, we could see and feel Apollo's transformation from a newbie to a true, dazzling god, taking his place upon Mount Olympus, and leaving the rest of us worshipping in his glorious wake.

 

The Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, danced by Natalia Osipova and Reece Clark, was done really well.  Technical fireworks are not Clark's thing, but he managed the demands with grace and humour, and was a strong partner for Miss Osipova.  She danced with joy and panache, but I think that there is more to come as she does a couple more shows.  

 

Dances At A Gathering can sometimes make me start thinking about what to cook for dinner that evening, or what I need at the shops.  For it to work for me, it needs a truly special ensemble that is the sum of its parts, each of which needs to grab and keep my attention.  Well, we got that last night.  There was no weak element at all, and the ballet flew by for me.  It moved me, it made me smile with joy, and a kind of winsome melancholy overcame me as I basked in the beauty of Marianela Nunez and Federico Bonelli's pas de deux.   I felt the same way having the privilege of seeing Laura Morera as Green Girl once again.  Seeing these older dancers sharing the stage with the younger ones gave me a real sense of pleasure for so many reasons.  Last night proved that we are blessed with a proliferation of talent at the Royal Ballet that will last for years to come.  The dancers have shown not only their creative and technical prowess, but perhaps most importantly,  through their delight with being back onstage, how much they need an audience...and how much an audience needs them.  A huge thanks to them all for making me feel happy and positive once again.

 

 

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An absolutely wonderful evening from start to finish! Have to agree Muntagirov was out of this world. Something particularly comforting about seeing a big and incredibly executed pas de deux with him and Nuñez again - something like normal service is resumed! 

 

I loved Apollo and Dances at a gathering too though. Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Marcelino Sambé particularly sparkled for me in the latter. Matthew Ball was fantastic in the former. Can't wait to see the other cast next week! 

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