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Royal Ballet: Balanchine and Robbins Spring 2021


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Muntagirov bedazzled in the TPDD this evening through the veritable ease of his technical largess' majestic expanse.  With us all he shared his unalloyed joy.  The essence of such too was carried forward throughout the vast majority of tonight's DAAG.  O'Sullivan and Hay were both alluring and adorable - at one and the same time - in the encircling waltz of their wit and winsomeness ... and Reece - here perpetually celebrating the benevolent endowment of his own line - held the ever-engrossing Naghdi up to both arrest and monopolise heartfelt lustre's very core.  Together their sun rose on new birth.  No question of that.  Nor could there be any doubt that this was - in its entirety - an outing ripe with cordial capacity.  Nothing was muddied ... and that is just how it ought to be.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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They were wonderful tonight…as were everybody else on that stage.  More tomorrow, but meanwhile I will just say that Romany Pajdak has got to dance Juliet.  Period.  

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21 minutes ago, Sim said:

They were wonderful tonight…as were everybody else on that stage.  More tomorrow, but meanwhile I will just say that Romany Pajdak has got to dance Juliet.  Period.  

Just been discussing this with a friend on my train journey home. Couldn’t agree more

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5 hours ago, Sim said:

They were wonderful tonight…as were everybody else on that stage.  More tomorrow, but meanwhile I will just say that Romany Pajdak has got to dance Juliet.  Period.  

 

Yes! I can also already see her as Giselle. I know there will be a lot of potential Juliets and Giselles; but there should also be a lot of performances, and people should be cast according to their suitability for each role. She is a wonderful actress and the epitome of a Romantic ballerina.

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8 hours ago, Sim said:

More tomorrow, but meanwhile I will just say that Romany Pajdak has got to dance Juliet.  Period.  


I do agree but the RB has such a surfeit of talent that, maybe, it is the Principals who are at risk of being under-used. Dancers live for the stage, rehearsal is no substitute, and, say, a couple of Juliets for a Principal doesn’t really provide sufficient opportunity to develop an interpretation.

I don’t know, of course, but I have a sense that the audience’s thirst to see their favourites cast in this, that and the other  role might be at odds with how it feels from the perspective of dancers in the higher ranks especially.

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16 minutes ago, capybara said:


I do agree but the RB has such a surfeit of talent that, maybe, it is the Principals who are at risk of being under-used. Dancers live for the stage, rehearsal is no substitute, and, say, a couple of Juliets for a Principal doesn’t really provide sufficient opportunity to develop an interpretation.

I don’t know, of course, but I have a sense that the audience’s thirst to see their favourites cast in this, that and the other  role might be at odds with how it feels from the perspective of dancers in the higher ranks especially.

 

I remember there was a discussion in the "before times" about whether there should be some thinning out of principals dancing certain roles - it does seem that once a role such as Juliet is in a principal's repertoire they will keep dancing it until they retire, whether or not it really suits them. Maybe the thinking needs to change to allow either more junior dancers to have a crack or for dancers to have more outings in a run.

 

Obviously that would be a difficult discussion for the Director to have, but that's what he's paid for.

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30 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I remember there was a discussion in the "before times" about whether there should be some thinning out of principals dancing certain roles - it does seem that once a role such as Juliet is in a principal's repertoire they will keep dancing it until they retire, whether or not it really suits them. Maybe the thinking needs to change to allow either more junior dancers to have a crack or for dancers to have more outings in a run.

 

Obviously that would be a difficult discussion for the Director to have, but that's what he's paid for.


I take your point about ‘thinning’ but it was not that group of dancers that I had in mind. The ones I am thinking of are young and may not even have essayed a coveted role yet.

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I agree that it is a difficult decision for any AD, but younger dancers, principals or not, have danced main roles before.  At the moment there are a few principals who I will not go to see as Juliet, but love them in other roles. 

 

What a lovely problem to have...so much talent in all ranks that it's hard to give everyone a chance.  I think Kevin O'Hare is doing a very good job at giving younger dancers roles that give them some exposure to the audiences, as well as stage experience.  Finding the right balance can't be easy.

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I would like to see some more variety from the RB at soloist level. Perhaps it’s my imagination but I always seem to see the same 2 or 3 dancers in those roles 

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I wish there were more opportunities for principals and first soloists to exchange with BRB and perhaps other companies. I know it’s fraught with issues, but it would enable dancers to widen their repertoire and  would be good for audiences. I understand that dancers can request a year sabbatical to work elsewhere, but I don’t think many would risk this as the Company moves on and re-establishing  yourself might prove difficult, but for a dancer who isn’t looking for further promotions, it seems a good way to enrich your dancing career.

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About last night....

 

I loved Matthew Ball's interpretation of the god Apollo.  Very different from Muntagirov's, but equally effective.  I would say the main difference is lust and love...both very powerful.  Vadim is a sweet lad who needs coaching, whereas Matthew leaves us in no doubt as to what is on his adolescent mind.  He knows from the beginning that he is a gorgeous god and wants to partake of all the benefits that brings.  The way he looks at Terpsichore when he encounters her alone can only mean one thing.  His dancing was excellent, every move imbued with meaning, and conveying what is going on in his head.  When he ascends the stairway to Olympus he knows it is his right to be there, and so do we.  

 

Very nice dancing from the three muses(Melissa Hamilton (who appeared to have forgotten to remove her engagement ring before the show!), Claire Calvert and Fumi Kaneko) in support, but my preference is for the three in the other cast.

 

Beautiful Tchai PDD from Marianela and Vadim.  He is just something else...perfectly placed turns, beautiful airborne tours, whips through his manege, and no matter how high he jumps you cannot hear a sound when he lands.  Nela adds grace to what sometimes becomes a mere showpiece of technique.

 

DAAG.  What can I say other than that this was utterly mesmerising and utterly lovely.  Yasmine Naghdi as Pink Girl was gorgeous and brought real depth to this undefined role.  Her pdd with both Marcelino Sambe and Reece Clark were both moving and joyous, with each of the men delivering their own excellent dancing and partnering.  Anna-Rose O'Sullivan as Apricot Girl was superb and covered the stage with her amazing jumps and turns, as well as giving us all the delights of a summer's day. I love just about everything that Fumi Kaneko does, but I think she was miscast as Green.  Mayara Magri was a confident Lilac, full of youthful buoyancy.   Romany Pajdak as Blue Girl really manages to do something special with this role.  Her lovely, expressive face really says a lot without saying a word.  This is a dancer who has been sadly underused, and I  hope that this role will be the beginning of a redress for her.  She deserves it, and so do we.

 

As for the other men, they were all very impressive. This was my first time seeing James Hay onstage since Feb/March 2020, and this made me very happy.  He is on cracking form and his gentle, caring partnering was something special.  He is another one whose joy of dancing for us reaches the rafters.   Teo Dubreuil showed us exactly why he has moved up a rank.  He has great potential to go far.

 

My daughter said that this was the best performance of DAAG that she has ever seen, and who am I to disagree? 

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2 hours ago, Odyssey said:

I wish there were more opportunities for principals and first soloists to exchange with BRB and perhaps other companies. I know it’s fraught with issues, but it would enable dancers to widen their repertoire and  would be good for audiences. I understand that dancers can request a year sabbatical to work elsewhere, but I don’t think many would risk this as the Company moves on and re-establishing  yourself might prove difficult, but for a dancer who isn’t looking for further promotions, it seems a good way to enrich your dancing career.

An interesting idea. Many years ago (1977?), Margaret Barbieri who was with what was then SWRB danced Juliet with the RB at the ROH and in the late 70’s there were opportunities for RB dancers to try roles with SWRB that they didn’t perform at the ROH: I’m sure Monica Mason danced a couple of Giselles under such circumstances…

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8 hours ago, bridiem said:

 

Yes! I can also already see her as Giselle. I know there will be a lot of potential Juliets and Giselles; but there should also be a lot of performances, and people should be cast according to their suitability for each role. She is a wonderful actress and the epitome of a Romantic ballerina.

I absolutely concur re Giselle. Juliet too, but would management even consider that having already cast her as Nurse. Mind you, if all had gone to plan over Christmas she would have been the first Nurse to go on to debut as Clara…

 

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10 hours ago, Sim said:

About last night....

 

I loved Matthew Ball's interpretation of the god Apollo.  Very different from Muntagirov's, but equally effective.  I would say the main difference is lust and love...both very powerful.  Vadim is a sweet lad who needs coaching, whereas Matthew leaves us in no doubt as to what is on his adolescent mind.  He knows from the beginning that he is a gorgeous god and wants to partake of all the benefits that brings.  The way he looks at Terpsichore when he encounters her alone can only mean one thing.  His dancing was excellent, every move imbued with meaning, and conveying what is going on in his head.  When he ascends the stairway to Olympus he knows it is his right to be there, and so do we.  

 

Very nice dancing from the three muses(Melissa Hamilton (who appeared to have forgotten to remove her engagement ring before the show!), Claire Calvert and Fumi Kaneko) in support, but my preference is for the three in the other cast.

 

Beautiful Tchai PDD from Marianela and Vadim.  He is just something else...perfectly placed turns, beautiful airborne tours, whips through his manege, and no matter how high he jumps you cannot hear a sound when he lands.  Nela adds grace to what sometimes becomes a mere showpiece of technique.

 

DAAG.  What can I say other than that this was utterly mesmerising and utterly lovely.  Yasmine Naghdi as Pink Girl was gorgeous and brought real depth to this undefined role.  Her pdd with both Marcelino Sambe and Reece Clark were both moving and joyous, with each of the men delivering their own excellent dancing and partnering.  Anna-Rose O'Sullivan as Apricot Girl was superb and covered the stage with her amazing jumps and turns, as well as giving us all the delights of a summer's day. I love just about everything that Fumi Kaneko does, but I think she was miscast as Green.  Mayara Magri was a confident Lilac, full of youthful buoyancy.   Romany Pajdak as Blue Girl really manages to do something special with this role.  Her lovely, expressive face really says a lot without saying a word.  This is a dancer who has been sadly underused, and I  hope that this role will be the beginning of a redress for her.  She deserves it, and so do we.

 

As for the other men, they were all very impressive. This was my first time seeing James Hay onstage since Feb/March 2020, and this made me very happy.  He is on cracking form and his gentle, caring partnering was something special.  He is another one whose joy of dancing for us reaches the rafters.   Teo Dubreuil showed us exactly why he has moved up a rank.  He has great potential to go far.

 

My daughter said that this was the best performance of DAAG that she has ever seen, and who am I to disagree? 

 

I was at Wednesday's performance too, and I would agree entirely with what Sim has said. 

 

I haven't seen the alternate casting so I can't really compare other than to say I found it considerably more enjoyable than the 21st Century Choreographers a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully the Sleeping Beauty Mixed Bill will enable the company to end the season on a high!

 

I will certainly be watching the live stream on Friday!

 

 

 

 

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This evening's Apollo was on a completely different level.  It was - without hesitation - a dish fit for a king.  Well, a Prince of Wales, certainly and his consort - both of whom were in attendance in the Royal Box.  Naghdi was truly extraordinary .... She has the haunting aura of a Martha Graham - whom she to some degree resembles in repose.  There is no question but that a musical light shines on and - most potently - through her.  Always.  All women here were well cast and made an electric and electrifying whole.  

 

I wish I could say the same for the TPDD.  Osipova persevered bravely - as she had done before when better partnered - but Corrales was a shadow of the dancer I have for some time been passionate about.  I had seen his earlier effort and was hoping that was was simply a difficult debut.  Indeed I had this evening  everything crossed that this might be the case.  Sadly here too his partnering was beyond coarse ... maladroit I might say - and he was often turned in - something I hadn't remembered him being previously.  (I pray these are not the direct results of earlier operations.)  There were, of course, happy elements - the charismatic smile travels some distance - but that too often became somewhat fixed against a battlefield shot through with unrefined and straining feats and pounding landings.  It had, I fear, ever diminishing returns ... at least for me ... and I had OH, SO wanted to be thrilled by it.  I was MORE than ready to be so.  

 

Still, there was THAT Apollo which did but flourish .... It STILL does in my memory.  How I wish that this performance - this team - was the one to be captured for the world on film.  There is no question but that this evening's THRILLING rendition of that particular Balanchine landmark was MORE than worth the price of ANYONE's ticket.  

 

I wasn't able to stay for DAAG this evening due to work pressures ... and, of course, the incandescent memory of the evening before.  Still, I will look forward to seeing this cast again at Sunday's matinee.  

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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3 minutes ago, Bruce Wall said:

This evening's Apollo was on a completely different level.  It was - without hesitation - a dish fit for a king.  Well, a Prince of Wales, certainly and his consort - both of whom were in attendance in the Royal Box.  Naghdi was truly extraordinary .... She has the haunting aura of a Martha Graham - whom she to some degree resembles in repose.  There is no question but that a musical light shines on her.  Always.  All women here were well cast and made an electric and electrifying whole.  

 

I wish I could say the same for the TPDD.  Osipova persevered bravely - as she had done before - but Corrales was a shadow of the dancer I have for some time been passionate about.  I had seen his earlier effort and was hoping that was was just a difficult debut.  Sadly here too his partnering was beyond awkward and he was often turned in - something which I hadn't remember him being previously.  (I pray these are the results of the earlier operations.)  There were happy elements - the charismatic smile travels some distance - but that too often became somewhat fixed amongst the effortful undertakings and pounding landings.  It had, I fear, diminishing returns.  

 

Still, there was the Apollo which did not but flourish .... More than worth the price of ANYONE's ticket.  

 

I wasn't able to stay for DAAG this evening due to work pressures ... and, of course, the incandescent memory of the evening before.  I will look forward to seeing this cast again at Sunday's matinee.  

Agree with all this Bruce....sorry you couldn't stay for DAAG tonight...it was another piece of ballet heaven!

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I'm in agreement too! Blown away by Apollo - as much as I enjoyed the other cast on Saturday, this was another level. And DAAG was heavenly! I did enjoy the excitement of Osipova in the Tchaikovsky pas de deux though to be honest. 

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Agree about Apollo tonight. Extraordinary in the most wonderful of ways.

For me, it showed the benefit of casts having more than a couple of performances. The Muntagirov/Naghdi/Magri/O’Sullivan line up was superlative on the opening night but, tonight, they completely took one’s breath away.

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54 minutes ago, DanJL said:

I'm in agreement too! Blown away by Apollo 

I did enjoy the excitement of Osipova in the Tchaikovsky pas de deux though to be honest. 

 

to my mind, Apollo is a great ballet - and was performed as such this evening. Saying that, I really enjoyed their previous outing too - would love to see Yasmine  Naghdi and Vadim Muntagirov as partners more often, I cannot deny.

Osipova was on fire I thought - and bang on the money timing wise (she was mistiming slightly last time, to my eyes). I'm afraid she doesn't always 'do it' for me - but tonight she sure did. Perhaps royalty should attend more often! 😉

As for the Gathering - Laura Morera nailed it again as the 'Green Girl' - almost more character than the rest of the cast put together! Much prefered seeing Fumi Kaneko as 'Blue', and enjoyed Francesca Hayward's dancing too.

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I completely agree with Dave.  Last night's Apollo was taken up yet another notch by the whole cast...truly heavenly.  

 

I saw Osipova in the Tchai PDD on Friday night and was left feeling a bit disappointed.  Last night she was, well, Osipova again.  Quickfire, pinpoint turns and the return of that wonderful jump.  She looked like she was having a great time.  Corrales pulled out some great pyrotechnics but as others have said he could do with some special teaching in partnering.  I noticed at one point he did thump a landing, but the next one was much better, as if he corrected himself.  

 

DAAG was lovely once again, and each time I get a chance to see Morera onstage it is a great thing.  She is an outstanding dance actress and really inhabits this undrawn character.  On the whole, my preference is for the other cast...but there is certainly nothing wrong with this one.

 

Prince Charles and Camilla were in attendance and applauded enthusiastically after each piece.  As we were leaving, the dancers were all at the top of the stairs leading to the Crush Room, still in costume and quickly donning masks.  They were obviously waiting to be presented to the Royals.  After the performance they had just given, they were probably all just dying to have a shower!  

 

This was my final viewing of the programme, and what a beautiful reintroduction to live performance it has been for me. 

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Oh!  I had quite a different experience last night to some previous comments.

 

This was my second time back in the ROH this year.  I am so impressed with the high level of form and quality of dancing from everyone.  Bravo to all dancers and to the staff fir caring gir and preparing the dancers back to this level 👏👏👏

 

And  … good lighting at last too! 
 

APOLLO took a while to warm up for me … though it was good from the Terpsichore pdd on.  The 3 muses (Yasmine, Mayara and Anna-Rose) were faultless and beautiful.  I really wanted Vadim to be superlative but my brain kept referring to Xander Parish’s luscious movement quality, his beauty, his youthful vulnerability and genuine interactions with his muses.  I am very interested in seeing some of these qualities in the alternative cast in the stream tonight.
 

Osipova is back in good shape and form and put her own stamp of effervescence on the TCHAI PDD.  I do not like her dreadful feet snd shoes, her bent knees, her lack of turnout, the crossed arms in pirouettes and other non-traditional classical ballet technique.  I specifically chose this date to see Akane and not Natalia for this reason.  However Natalia’s attack and portrayal are always enjoyable and I do appreciate those.  She delivered those in spades!  I know I will prefer Marianela’s interpretation in the livestream .. she has the pure classical technique, musicality and serene beauty that this role was made for.  
 

Cesar was a charming partner, perhaps they needed more rehearsal time … although I suspect these two deliver a different level of energy in performance than in rehearsal and so what they actually need to be better together is more performances! 

 

Cesar was sensational and explosive in his solos.  The speed of his many many a la seconde pirouettes turned into a blur, and the attack and line of the jetes en manège was superb.  The stage was not big enough!  We missed the final flourish of one diagonal as he was already partially in the wings.  He certainly took risks and his dancing to the edge of what is controllable.  It was thrilling, if a little scary.  
 

Marianela was outstanding in DAAG.  She seems to have extra time in every phrase.  Just lovely.  Alexander Campbell’s musicality is exceptional, Federico doesn’t quite get it in their duet, but what a super partner in his duet with Marianela.  Joyous dancing and phrasing from everyone.  
 

I even preferred Meaghan to Yasmine (seen in previous cinema relay / livestream) as ‘apricot.’  She was great!  Really clear phrasing and lightness.  I do wish RB would change that costume though … it’s so flouncy it does no one any favours and detracts from their dancing.  

I am still buzzing from a wonderful evening.  


 

 

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Yesterday evening was my first live ballet for 15 months and 4 days so it was going to be a great occasion whatever happened. I was thrilled especially to see Apollo for the first time ever, as I have great enthusiasm for major early 20th century works such as this. But what surprised me was how lovely it was to hear music played live again! I have listened to the Stravinsky score many times on CD so hearing it live and seeing the superb dancing on stage made the evening as memorable as I wanted to be.

I have no comments to add to those of others on the pdd. I enjoyed DaaG but it will never be a favourite ballet of mine - not even my favourite set to the music of Chopin (that is Les Sylphides, which never seems to be performed these days). But to my inexpert eyes the dancers all seemed to be on great form in Dances and displaying their joy in dance and movement as well as their skill. Therefore it was a pleasure to watch. 

However it’s the memory of Apollo that will linger - the marriage of music, choreography and beautiful interpretation from the talented cast. 
 

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Well All of my best hopes and none of my worst fears were confirmed last night! 
This was my first return to live dancing and in fact to pretty much any type of ballet viewings as I can only watch streams in my phone so can only take so much of that. 
So I was definitely up for it and had a wonderful time watching all three ballets. 
It has got to be years since I’ve seen Apollo so took me a while to get into it but the beauty of the precision in the choreography came across superbly. Muntagirov was a noble Apollo but had a slightly melancholic and even moody undertone in his interpretation to my viewing which I didn’t mind at all but not seen it quite this way before. The ending of Apollo has got to be among the best in Ballet along with Song of the Earth and The King Dances. 
I loved the Tchaikovsky Variations a little explosion of pure joy. Neither of these two are the tidiest of dancers but they make up for it in their exuberance of performing and we do need this too in ballet!! I thought they suited each other very well in this ballet as both tend to go for broke. I imagine partnering Osipova could be a little risky on occasions but Corrales is up for the risks and a brave heart though I almost couldn’t look at that second dive near the end 😳 Great stuff and just what was needed after the Apollo piece. 
I won’t say much about Dances as it’s one of my faves and I particularly love  the current casts in this. All beautiful to me. 
I know it’s hit home when at the end when they go to their partners to walk off there is a melancholic feeling that they will not meet again for a long time and we won’t see them for a long time either ...I just don’t want them to go ...“hey come back” as a little child once called out as the Queens car went past far too quickly for his liking after waiting for hours to see her! 
A tour de force of dancing last night. 
 

And my glasses didn’t mist up once ...they didn’t fall off into the Balcony below and I kept my mask on properly ALL the time! 
I know it’s not good for the ROH but I do rather like the socially distanced seating but of course will be great when full houses can resume. 


 

 

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I rarely post in this section of the forum, but I was there last night and was blown away in particular by Apollo, which I found quite mesmerising.
 

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