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After reading the Guardian review I really wish Woman with Water was part of the streaming, but as I was informed by Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød it won’t due to rights to the piece. 

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5 minutes ago, Ingrid said:

After reading the Guardian review I really wish Woman with Water was part of the streaming, but as I was informed by Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød it won’t due to rights to the piece. 

 

Like Rupert Christiansen, I've absolutely no idea what was going on but thought it was terrific!

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My thoughts on last night, in order of appearance:

 

1. Anemoi. I probably had unfairly low expectations, but I thought this was great, better by far than most recent commissions. I watched it thinking: every time I wonder, "whither classicism?", up pops something to show that it's still alive. Its dedication to Liam Scarlett makes perfect sense: lovely use of epaulement and pure classical lines in a vaguely modern context, nicely lit. I also loved that this was chock full of the younger dancers.  Super performances from all involved, and please consider me a Lukas Bjorneboe Braendsrod convert.

 

2. Morgen: essentially pointless, but very nicely danced and sung.

 

3. Winter Dreams: Lovely to see Laura Morera, as ever, and that was a first class hat throw from the so-handsome Hirano.

 

4. After the Rain: I really don't see it with Wheeldon, I find him as bland as milk! I don't begrudge the inclusion of "the Yoga Ballet", though, as it gave me a last chance to see Beatriz Stix-Brunell in something she clearly wanted to dance; as usual, Reece Clarke was rock solid as a partner.

 

5. woman with water: see above! I very much hope this is the start of Mats Ek bringing his works back into service - I'd love to see his Swan Lake, for starters.

 

6. Voices of Spring: I share Rupert Christiansen's reservations. Maybe it's because I know this piece best from videos of Eagling and Merle Park, but I thought this performance lacked spontaneity and playfulness - it was the disappointment of the evening for me.

 

7. Sleeping Beauty Act III: it's probably me, not them, but this just never really took off. Perhaps it needs the rest of the ballet to do so? It feels like quibbling, but the PDD was perhaps too faultless: in particular I could have done with more speed and danger in the fish dives, and wonderful as Marianela Nunez is, I miss the daringly slow ascent from the ground on pointe into the final attitude derrière which I think Anthony Dowell, after Fonteyn, has coached into some of the younger dancers. (I know every dancer must do their own thing, but once I started noticing this anything else is a disappointment!) The big stand-out for me was Meaghan Grace Hinkis as Florine. She's always looked very secure technically, but my perception has previously been one of brittleness - I didn't feel that way at all yesterday, nor when I saw her in DAAG a few weeks back. Lukas BB was pretty great as Florestan too - a busy evening for him.

 

Reading all this back, it looks like I didn't have that much of a good time, but I did! However, though it was a long evening, it felt a bit insubstantial - but maybe that was inevitable. What pleased me most was how some of the younger dancers have grown up in our absence. Or maybe it's me who's changed.

 

Edited by Lizbie1
clarity
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1 hour ago, Lizbie1 said:

k. Lukas BB was pretty great as Florestan too - a busy evening for him.


Florestan was danced by Calvin Richardson, beautifully IMHO.

 

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Edited by prs59
I missed out ‘beautifully’
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Many thanks Lizbie1 for posting your thoughts. I’m very much hoping there’ll be a few more detailed posts. I very much enjoyed the General Rehearsal which was this cast and will look forward to the live streaming. I’d disagree with your ‘essentially pointless’ Morgen comment. I thought Morgen was one of the highlights of lockdown when the Royal Ballet returned to the stage and found it deeply moving in the theatre. There’s a richness to the performance with its mix of words, dance, and music which I find compelling. I’ll wait to the live streaming before saying more.

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I think that the evening promised more than it delivered but then perhaps my expectations were just too high.The new ballet by Zucchetti is a useful work which allowed a number of the more junior dancers to show what they are capable of doing which is all to the good as, at the very least, it will aid recognition of individual dancers in the future. Surprisingly given current fashion it was well lit. The middle section of the  evening's fare , the divertisements was,I think, at one stage being described as representative of work by choreographers who had influenced the development of the company. If that was the original plan it seems to have been abandoned somewhere between the announcement and the performance itself. Given the fact that Kevin  mentioned the company's ninetieth anniversary when he opened the evening the pieces chosen seemed more like an eclectic mix of pieces that were readily available than anything else. 

 

The divertisement section began with Morgen performed  by Hayward and Corrales in which her choreography allowed her to dance while the  choreography created for Corrales presented him more as a cross between a contortionist and an old fashioned muscle builder displaying his muscles than an actual dancer. This was followed by the pas de deux from Winter Dreams danced by Morera and Hirano. It is not one of MacMillan's greatest or most inventive

 bits of choreography. There are sections of it that are so repetitive that they look and feel more like padding to fill out the music than an expression of emotion. Having seen it on the main stage and at Sadler's Wells I think it works better in  the smaller auditorium, Needless to say Morera gave it her all but Hirano is nowhere near as responsive as the role's creator Irek Mukhamedov. Stix-Brunell and Clarke danced the final pas de deux from After the Rain very beautifully.The fourth piece was Ek's Woman with Water danced by Magri with the occasional assistance of Bjorneboe Braendsrod and a table. Although it was performed with great gusto by Magri I am not entirely sure how it came to be included in the mix as the only Ek work the company has danced is his Carmen and they did not do that for long. Perhaps it is included because Osipova wanted to dance it? I would think that if the company ever stages Dante Sonata then on the basis of this performance Magri would be ideal in the Pamela May role. The section ended with Ashton's Voices of Spring with O'Sullivan and Sambe which was a bit of a damp squib. I can't put my finger on precisely what the problem was. It certainly was not a case of dancers visibly struggling with the technical side of things but it was an extraordinarily matter of fact, literal account of a piece of choreography originally devised as an entertainment to be performed for an opera audience in the middle of a performance of Die Fledermaus. It might simply be a question of fine tuning the presentation of the choreography and feeling confident enough to play with it and make it sparkle by giving it light and shade. The fact is it did not look right and it did not register in the way you would expect with dancers of that calibre.

 

The evening ended with act three of Sleeping Beauty with Nunez and Muntagirov leading the cast and Hay and Hinkis as the Bluebird and Princess Florine and a somewhat depleted cast. Among other things the reduction in cast size required the Lilac Fairy to walk on without her retinue; the White Cat to make her entry perched on Puss in Boots' shoulder rather than being carried on stage on her usual cushion and Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf to act out their divertisement without the visible representation of the forest. It also deprived us of Bluebeard and his wife and Beauty and the Beast among the identifiable fairy tale guests and reduced the courtiers by about a half. But the most significant thing that was missing was the sense of occasion which a performance of act 3 Sleeping Beauty by SWRB under the name of Aurora's Wedding always managed to generate whatever the circumstances. All in all the performance felt a rather stodgy affair with everyone being just a bit too careful and reined in. In fact the performance felt a bit like the first post Christmas matinee where everyone is being a bit careful because they don't feel quite as fit and performance ready as they were before the Christmas break or quite as fit and performance ready as they will be in a few days time. It was the sort of tentative, cautious account of the choreography in which everyone seems more concerned with not doing anything wrong than with dancing with freedom,imagination,playfulness or apparent spontaneity.

 

I am pleased to have seen thus mixed bill but I don't feel unduly concerned at not being able to see all the casts.

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Marianela and Vadim were heart-rending last night in Winter Dreams - she was numb with grief and he was increasingly distraught.  A very powerful performance from both of them, awaking echoes of Darcey and Irek.  You could see what MacMillan was trying to express and how he exploited the technique and ability of Irek.

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4 hours ago, li tai po said:

Marianela and Vadim were heart-rending last night in Winter Dreams - she was numb with grief and he was increasingly distraught.  A very powerful performance from both of them, awaking echoes of Darcey and Irek.  You could see what MacMillan was trying to express and how he exploited the technique and ability of Irek.

Very much agree...indeed the very diverse "Divertissements" were probably my favourite section of this programme; I also enjoyed "Anemoi" very much and it was good to see how Zucchetti  has developed this from the earlier shorter concept piece. I am afraid Act 3 of The Sleeping Beauty felt a bit flat, probably for the reasons expounded by Lizbie1 and Floss above; also I was looking forward to seeing Hayward as Aurora for the first time but somehow, for me at least,  she didn't have quite the sparkle which I was expecting and which she usually presents. 

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I really enjoyed the show tonight, such a wide range of ballets and divertissements, many of which really struck home with me. I enjoyed Anna Rose O'Sullivan and Marcelino Sambé in Voices of Spring, so would be interested to know how their performance compared to the first night. Apart from that lighter finishing note, I was struck by the deep emotions of all the other divertissements, wonderfully portrayed by the dancers. 

 

I thought Anemoi was very enjoyable and I have a big soft spot for Sleeping Beauty so was more than happy to see the socially distanced act 3! 

 

Lots of wonderful performances but two big highlights for me were Beatriz Stix-Brunell in After the rain - absolutely breathtaking and a reminder how much she'll be missed. And Isabella Gasparini's debut as Princess Florine - a real delight and full of joy. 

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On 27/06/2021 at 21:12, Lizbie1 said:

It feels like quibbling, but the PDD was perhaps too faultless: in particular I could have done with more speed and danger in the fish dives, and wonderful as Marianela Nunez is, I miss the daringly slow ascent from the ground on pointe into the final attitude derrière which I think Anthony Dowell, after Fonteyn, has coached into some of the younger dancers.

 

I think that's what Hayward did - plus some arms en couronne which I'm not used to seeing somewhere.

 

Incidentally, on re-scrolling through this, I notice that Osipova appears to have an ankle strapped.

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1 hour ago, Rob S said:

Wasn’t it supposed to be the first performance for the other Anemoi cast tonight?

Good point! There was no announcement about the change. I guess the burst bubbles suggestion is the likely reason. Hope that doesn't affect any more of their shows. 

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We were pondering this last night. The Anemoi cast change was listed on the ROH date listing of the performance yesterday afternoon. The cast sheet only lists the cast that actually danced. Quite a few of the Anemoi cast pop up again in Sleeping Beauty including David Donnelly, listed in the disappearing second cast for Anemoi, yet he appeared onstage to dance Florestan later.
The only pre-show cast change announced was Harry Churches replacing Leo Dixon as Puss in Boots. Leo Dixon once again danced most admirably in Anemoi and also turned up on stage as a courtier in Beauty.

Curious and curiouser…..

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Posted (edited)

Nevertheless I very much enjoyed seeing Anemoi again with this same cast, all brilliant dancers.  I hope this work is kept in the rep. as it is very elegant and joyful, romantic at times, thrilling at other times,  with  great choreography and lovely music. Towards  the end, several couples  are seen as silhouettes as they stand near the backdrop at the rear of the stage, which  is very effective in showing some wonderful outlines, but would be rather unforgiving if anyone was slightly out of position with the others!

 

Beatriz S-B got a particularly good response from the audience  for After The Rain, so perhaps  many attendees were aware of her forthcoming  departure.

 

Act 3 of The Sleeping Beauty came across better than Monday I thought, with Osipova very sprightly and Clarke very elegant for a tall fellow. I can see why these two are being partnered more and more. Gasparini and Sissens made a charming Princess Florine and Bluebird.

Edited by Richard LH
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I'm glad to see that everyone else who was a Wednesday's performance enjoyed it. Perhaps I wasn't looking forward to it as much as I should have been as I am not overly keen on divertissments but other than Morgen which rather left me cold, I enjoyed them all including the slightly bizarre woman with water  (Mayara Magri certainly impressing). Reece Clarke and Beatriz Stix-Brunell made a lovely pairing in After the Rain and they certainly got the loudest applause).

 

I'm not too sure what to make of Anemoi - I think the slower movements worked better for me - otherwise I felt it was sometimes too fast with too many dancers rushing on and off stage. Comparing it to say Concerto which although has a large cast, it is much better paced and certainly for me lasts longer in the memory. But perhaps that comparison is unfair given the choreographer!

 

Sleeping Beauty seemed just a tad flat - I think the smaller cast really had an impact. 

 

Of the three performances I have seen I would say that the Apollo mixed was the most impressive, then the Sleeping Beauty mixed and lastly the Within the Golden Hour mixed (which apart from Within was a bit too dark for me).

 

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KOH came on before the start to say that Valentino Zucchetti had had an accident on his bike which was why he couldn’t perform tonight. Apparently he’s not badly hurt but was advised to rest.

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  • alison changed the title to Royal Ballet: Beauty Mixed Programme, July 2021

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