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On 09/07/2021 at 23:32, JennyTaylor said:

I will be picking my R&J's, Giselle's, Nutcrackers and Swan Lake's with care and passing on the rest,  but am extremely concerned by those seating plans with so many seats greyed out. 

From ROH re. greyed-out seats   "To answer your query, The seat price map is still in the process of updating the price map. What is up on our website are just a brief outlook for anyone that wants to get a rough idea at the moment.
 
Before the booking period opens in August, it should all be updated. Please keep an eye out on our websites then".
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Not sure I’ve seen it Alison but whenever I see the word Spiegel it makes me think of the Spiegeltent here in the Pavilion Gardens in Brighton which is put up for performances for the Brighton Festival ... just finished yesterday as has been later this year. 
They never seem to have any ballet in the Spiegeltent unfortunately though!! 
 

I agree with those who say there is room for different interpretation in the music for the fish dives in Beauty...or the music taken at slightly different paces maybe.  Osipova is Osipova and Nunez is Nunez and love them both. 

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, alison said:

By the way, now the RB season is at an end, could I suggest a(n international?) moratorium on the use of Spiegel im Spiegel?  It seems to me that it's been used an awful lot during the last year and a half, and I must admit that I'm getting heartily sick of it.


it’s never been one of my favourite pieces. I have always found it’s tedious  repetitiveness hard to endure. 

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2 hours ago, Sim said:

That's a bit harsh...

 

It’s what audiences expect in Big Moments, sorry to say. Note the backlash to certain  ballerinas unable to progress past 12 fouettes, for ex. The general public (not expert members of this forum) expect The Big Moments.

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1 minute ago, Fiona said:

 

Personally speaking, I find the ROH wigs far superior to those used at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky companies.  (Especially those for the Corps dancers.)

 

Especially those pink beauties in the Mariinsky’s Rose Waltz!

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16 minutes ago, Scheherezade said:


it’s never been one of my favourite pieces. I have always found it’s tedious  repetitiveness hard to endure. 

 

You remind me of the (apocryphal?) story about someone forgetting to photocopy the middle four pages of Gorecki's Totus Tuus and nobody noticing, least of all the performers.

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2 hours ago, capybara said:

I wonder whether streaming makes viewers more pernickety?

Probably since you can see things with more detail. I'm pretty sure that I'm like that though. Never watch the live shows cause I'm not from UK

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Whoops Alison only just got what you meant earlier! You mean the music by Arvo Part or rather it’s overuse! 
Yes probably that piece has been a bit overused generally in the last couple of years though loved it when I first heard it.

For some weird reason I thought you were talking about an expression people had been using too much in their posts hence my comment that I hadn’t seen it 🙄 

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3 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

You remind me of the (apocryphal?) story about someone forgetting to photocopy the middle four pages of Gorecki's Totus Tuus and nobody noticing, least of all the performers.


Too true! Let’s be honest, who would notice?

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21 hours ago, Rob S said:


Were you in the front left curve of the Stalls Circle? Some people there couldn’t contain their laughs, a bit distracting. I really enjoy it, both Magri and Osipova were fantastic.

 

I was really impressed with Joonhyuk Jun’s Bluebird, so pleased I got to see that.

 

 

No I was sc right. I admired Osipova - she was as fluid as water, Sambe very strong. Voices of Spring was much preferred near where I sat.

 

agree re Bluebird- swift footwork and soft landings - impressive.

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On 10/07/2021 at 17:56, Jeannette said:

I just watched the Voices of Spring that I missed yesterday due to a technical glitch. Sigh. Absolute miscasting here, IMHO. O’Sullivan and Sambe - who I’ve greatly admired as individual dancers in the past - labored through Ashton’s steps with plastered grins...as if they had been forced to perform. This was about as far from the carefree and smooth (yet tongue-in-cheek) style of the originators, Park & Eagling, as one could get. 

 

Coming at the end of a string of finely-performed pas de deux, this only hurt the case for programming more Ashton works in the future. 

 

I share Jeannette’s concerns. It may help to consider the context from which the pdd was taken – a new production of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Films of the premiere in 1977, and performances in 1982, and 1990 are available on youtube. Park and Eagling dance the pdd in the first two, Durante and Cassidy in the third.

 

It was a tradition to interpolate some divertissements into Act 2, which is set in an elegant, light-filled (please note!) ballroom at Prince Orlofsky’s palace. As the Act proceeds there are songs about kissing, laughing and champagne, people losing their inhibitions, and much swaying to music in waltz time. In the first two films, the divertissements begin with Ashton’s explosion polka, two minutes of mayhem which are reminiscent of Facade with a hint of a 1930’s show number. I particularly love the "slippy" steps. It begins at 1.39.31 of the 1982 film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dka-_N6KaG0

 

In between the polka and the pdd in 1977, Daniel Barenboim played a Chopin ballade, and Isaac Stern the final movement of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. Chopin, Mendelssohn, Ashton. Yes! In 1990, the performance was the vehicle for Dame Joan Sutherland’s farewell, and the entertainment came from her, Pavarotti, and Marilyn Horne. Yes! In 1982, they had two songs from Hinge and Bracket and a rendering of “She” by Charles Aznavour. Yes – actually I think the best of all because they fitted the feeling of the operetta. In all three cases, by the time it came for Voices of Spring, the whole place had been warmed up, with waves of happiness buoying up the dancers as they entered to applause from the guests on stage.

 

Watching the streaming from the ROH, I felt that the dancers looked very lonely out there. Out on a limb, with no context of fellow feeling from the four preceding works. All of them were performed in semi-darkness, and even Voices of Spring was given a dark background. (Couldn't they back project an image from Vienna like the Schonbrun Palace or a peach or rose colour?) The other works gave no sense of build up to the Ashton, which in the opera is the climax of the divertissements, leading directly into the whole company dancing a waltz. It didn’t have a chance. I feel a bit sick about it because to me it shows a want of feeling, a lack of sensitivity to the RB’s founder choreographer. Or a deliberate slighting? 

 

At the end of the 1977 film, we can glimpse Ashton in the line up standing next to Kiri Te Kanawa. “It was nothing, just a piece of froth,” we might imagine him saying to her, secretly pleased to have stolen the show with it.

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45 minutes ago, Rina said:

 

I share Jeannette’s concerns. It may help to consider the context from which the pdd was taken – a new production of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Films of the premiere in 1977, and performances in 1982, and 1990 are available on youtube. Park and Eagling dance the pdd in the first two, Durante and Cassidy in the third.

 

It was a tradition to interpolate some divertissements into Act 2, which is set in an elegant, light-filled (please note!) ballroom at Prince Orlofsky’s palace. As the Act proceeds there are songs about kissing, laughing and champagne, people losing their inhibitions, and much swaying to music in waltz time. In the first two films, the divertissements begin with Ashton’s explosion polka, two minutes of mayhem which are reminiscent of Facade with a hint of a 1930’s show number. I particularly love the "slippy" steps. It begins at 1.39.31 of the 1982 film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dka-_N6KaG0

 

In between the polka and the pdd in 1977, Daniel Barenboim played a Chopin ballade, and Isaac Stern the final movement of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. Chopin, Mendelssohn, Ashton. Yes! In 1990, the performance was the vehicle for Dame Joan Sutherland’s farewell, and the entertainment came from her, Pavarotti, and Marilyn Horne. Yes! In 1982, they had two songs from Hinge and Bracket and a rendering of “She” by Charles Aznavour. Yes – actually I think the best of all because they fitted the feeling of the operetta. In all three cases, by the time it came for Voices of Spring, the whole place had been warmed up, with waves of happiness buoying up the dancers as they entered to applause from the guests on stage.

 

Watching the streaming from the ROH, I felt that the dancers looked very lonely out there. Out on a limb, with no context of fellow feeling from the four preceding works. All of them were performed in semi-darkness, and even Voices of Spring was given a dark background. (Couldn't they back project an image from Vienna like the Schonbrun Palace or a peach or rose colour?) The other works gave no sense of build up to the Ashton, which in the opera is the climax of the divertissements, leading directly into the whole company dancing a waltz. It didn’t have a chance. I feel a bit sick about it because to me it shows a want of feeling, a lack of sensitivity to the RB’s founder choreographer. Or a deliberate slighting? 

 

At the end of the 1977 film, we can glimpse Ashton in the line up standing next to Kiri Te Kanawa. “It was nothing, just a piece of froth,” we might imagine him saying to her, secretly pleased to have stolen the show with it.

 

Thanks, Rina. Beside the context, my main concern is that the pdd wasn’t danced in a light & carefree manner...seemed labored...one can sense a “heave ho!” yell from the man, despite plastered smiles. HOWEVER, even this wasn’t nearly as bad as one live rendition that I witnessed at an Ashton gala event, when the man failed to lift the woman at the start of the work, so he improvised the first run across the stage by carrying her in his arms like a sweet bundle against his waist.  

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Looking at that 1982 performance, it's not just the lightness and apparent ease, it's the sheer flow!

 

I would really like to see Hayward in this - lightness and flow are her hallmarks, IMO. I don't know who I'd have partnering her though.

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If you watch one of the earlier performances after looking at this one, the very first thing you notice is how much faster it used to be! Dancing it so (relatively) slowly is bound to change the character of it.

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The timings on the three films are all about 4 minutes 50 seconds. The streamed one is 5 minutes 5 seconds. Yet Park/Eagling give the impression of lingering and pausing at the end of phrases as if they had all the time in the world. They also differentiate the quality of each of the skimming lifts by subtle changes of tempo. Merle Park catches the Aphroditic spirit of this dance - precision and abandon all at once. Could the difference also be to do with counting? I seem to remember she said she never counted, so perhaps the modern way of counting could be a handicap in a pdd like this, but I'm not a dancer. I'd be interested in what others think.

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1 hour ago, Lizbie1 said:

Looking at that 1982 performance, it's not just the lightness and apparent ease, it's the sheer flow!

 

I would really like to see Hayward in this - lightness and flow are her hallmarks, IMO. I don't know who I'd have partnering her though.

 

Not Corrales. Terrific as he is in the right pieces, this isn't one of them. I love the Hayward/Bracewell partnership, both give out the suggestion of unforced, feather-light flow.

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50 minutes ago, Scheherezade said:

 

Not Corrales. Terrific as he is in the right pieces, this isn't one of them. I love the Hayward/Bracewell partnership, both give out the suggestion of unforced, feather-light flow.

I was thinking of Bracewell too.

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At least Sambe doesn't have to wear the original costume! - very Spring Waters. I vaguely remember the first night being broadcast and in the second interval there was a certain amount of joshing between Eagling and Robert Tear on the subject... but Cassidy wears it with pride and looks great - and how nice to see him again!

 

I haven't seen anyone credited with coaching Sambe and O'Sullivan - it's a pity no-one taught Sambe how to do that last lift and make it look easy.

Edited by Jane S
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56 minutes ago, Jane S said:

At least Sambe doesn't have to wear the original costume! - very Spring Waters. I vaguely remember the first night being broadcast and in the second interval there was a certain amount of joshing between Eagling and Robert Tear on the subject... but Cassidy wears it with pride and looks great - and how nice to see him again!

 

Oh dear.  I may never be able to un-see that image now :( 

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4 hours ago, Rina said:

 

I share Jeannette’s concerns. It may help to consider the context from which the pdd was taken – a new production of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. Films of the premiere in 1977, and performances in 1982, and 1990 are available on youtube. Park and Eagling dance the pdd in the first two, Durante and Cassidy in the third.

 

It was a tradition to interpolate some divertissements into Act 2, which is set in an elegant, light-filled (please note!) ballroom at Prince Orlofsky’s palace. As the Act proceeds there are songs about kissing, laughing and champagne, people losing their inhibitions, and much swaying to music in waltz time. In the first two films, the divertissements begin with Ashton’s explosion polka, two minutes of mayhem which are reminiscent of Facade with a hint of a 1930’s show number. I particularly love the "slippy" steps. It begins at 1.39.31 of the 1982 film at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dka-_N6KaG0

 

In between the polka and the pdd in 1977, Daniel Barenboim played a Chopin ballade, and Isaac Stern the final movement of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. Chopin, Mendelssohn, Ashton. Yes! In 1990, the performance was the vehicle for Dame Joan Sutherland’s farewell, and the entertainment came from her, Pavarotti, and Marilyn Horne. Yes! In 1982, they had two songs from Hinge and Bracket and a rendering of “She” by Charles Aznavour. Yes – actually I think the best of all because they fitted the feeling of the operetta. In all three cases, by the time it came for Voices of Spring, the whole place had been warmed up, with waves of happiness buoying up the dancers as they entered to applause from the guests on stage.

 

Watching the streaming from the ROH, I felt that the dancers looked very lonely out there. Out on a limb, with no context of fellow feeling from the four preceding works. All of them were performed in semi-darkness, and even Voices of Spring was given a dark background. (Couldn't they back project an image from Vienna like the Schonbrun Palace or a peach or rose colour?) The other works gave no sense of build up to the Ashton, which in the opera is the climax of the divertissements, leading directly into the whole company dancing a waltz. It didn’t have a chance. I feel a bit sick about it because to me it shows a want of feeling, a lack of sensitivity to the RB’s founder choreographer. Or a deliberate slighting? 

 

At the end of the 1977 film, we can glimpse Ashton in the line up standing next to Kiri Te Kanawa. “It was nothing, just a piece of froth,” we might imagine him saying to her, secretly pleased to have stolen the show with it.

I was lucky enough to be at the live recording in 1982 and there was a further 'cabaret item' which didn't make it to the recording.  Paul Tortelier played (as I remember it) some Bach with his wife and another member of his family.

Relating to the original costume for the Male dancer, an alternative cast was the delightful Ravenna Tucker with Julian Hosking.  He wore the dreaded Male toga which was just too camp for words.  I can see why Wayne Eagling refused point blank to wear it.

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I didn't sign up for the streaming so can't test this - but maybe part of the problem is the modern dread of looking messy or imperfect? Watching Eagling and Park - and you have to make allowances for this being a live performance in a difficult space - you see lots of moments which are far from picture perfect.  But it works!

 

Edited to add: I did however see it live on opening night with O'Sullivan and Sambe and agree with the more negative reviews here.

Edited by Lizbie1
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4 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

I would really like to see Hayward in this - lightness and flow are her hallmarks, IMO. I don't know who I'd have partnering her though.

Bracewell ?......as per  Dances at a Gathering...

Edit...I see others have suggested the same!

Edited by Richard LH
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1 hour ago, Two Pigeons said:

I

Relating to the original costume for the Male dancer, an alternative cast was the delightful Ravenna Tucker with Julian Hosking.

 

There's a Tucker/Eagling performance - a gala in the US, not with the RB - on YouTube.

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Right, better late than never - quick review of the two performances I saw on the 9th and 11th. Being able to see two different casts for everything is a rare luxury for me but I will try not to make it a blow by blow account and I’ll just pick up

my particular highlights.

 

I enjoyed Anemoi. I think Zucchetti has a real future as a choreographer and if he has a fault it lies, for me, in a tendency to make the lifts over-complicated, which in turn makes it difficult for the dancers to maintain a flow. But I really love the fact that his compositions give the younger dancers a chance to shine, and shine they did. Of the two casts, my pick of the crop was Daichi Ikarashi - not only a fantastic dancer, but he possesses real stage presence and a very winning smile.

 

Of the Divertissements, I hadn’t been particularly impressed by Morgen when it was premiered in the lockdown concert some months ago, but it has grown on me, not least due to Joseph Sissens performance - his movements were just incredible, and fascinating to watch. For me, the Naghdi/Sissens combination just edged it over Hayward/Corrales - although both were excellent.

 

Winter Dreams was quite odd - I yearned to see it in the context of the whole ballet as I think it loses a little of its impact as a stand alone performance. With the Morera/Hirano combination, Morera was wonderful and emoted to the hilt, but Hirano seemed a bit leaden both dancing and acting-wise. With Nunez/Muntagirov, I found the opposite - Muntagirov’s dancing soared as ever and his body is just so wonderful at expressing his extreme anguish and despair - a very emotional performance. But uncharacteristically I found Nunez lacking somehow - I just wasn’t feeling anything from her. Odd, as she is usually so good in emotional acting roles.

 

Woman with Water I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not - but in the event I did, very much. It’s a fascinating piece (what is it about? My feeling was of an abusive relationship, but I could be way off the mark!). On both performances, sections of the audience broke into laughter when the woman finally collapsed and was swept off the stage. I’m not sure why, I felt no inclination to laugh as I felt it was sinister and tragic. But two amazing performances from both Magri and Osipova - how do you even begin to learn something like that?? Magri just edged it for me - she conveyed more of a sense of desperation, I thought - and Lucas Bjoerneboe Braendsrod was also excellent.

 

I’m afraid I’m with the critics of O’Sullivan and Sambe in Voices of Spring. It felt a bit tense and messy - even under rehearsed. The smiles seemed fixed. I felt Hinkis and Zucchetti nailed it rather better, they had a sense of fun, genuine smiles, and seemed to just get the spirit of it more than the others did.

 

I saw Stix-Brunell and Clarke in both performances and they were sublime in both. I felt tearful in her penultimate performance so it was inevitable that the last one would be worse! You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium - a beautiful performance. She will be so much missed. It was lovely to see the affection and esteem she is held in both by the Company and the audience, and I’m so glad I managed to see her big send off!

 

Sleeping Beauty highlights - Isabella Gasperini! She was one of Florestan’s sisters on the first performance and Florine on the second, and was a delight in both, with her beautiful smile and evident enjoyment of performing. She had the quickness to keep up with the fast tempo which I’m afraid some of the other dancers struggled with - however I do think Koen Kessels was partly to blame there because the tempo was very fast in some pieces but too slow in others. I had a good view of him and I don’t think I saw him glance at the dancers once.

 

Joonhyuk Jun made a fantastic debut (finally!) as Bluebird - a technically sound and powerful dancer who made it look easy. However, I do agree with Capybara above somewhere in as much as he needs to develop his stage personality more as I was getting very little stage presence from him, not even a smile. Nerves perhaps?

 

As for Nunez and Muntagirov, they get better and better. I was frustrated by the the very slow tempo (I mean, there is only so long even a dancer like Vadim can stay in the air!), but they dealt with it like the pros they are and it was a sparkling performance. There has been criticism of the fish dives being slower than some people would like - personally, I prefer to see artistry over flashy effects and the dives were beautifully performed, and the last one was held for what seemed like ages. Gorgeous. Naghdi was also a very beautiful Aurora, and Bonelli is always pleasant to watch, a wonderfully dependable partner and a very likeable presence. I think they may have taken the dives a tad faster, but they weren’t so clean.

 

A wonderful weekend to satisfy my need for performances before the long wait now until October 🙁. Only spoiled by the fraught walk to any station we could find that was still open through a football riot! Not the greatest end to the weekend, but hey, we survived it!

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Everyone has a different way of viewing things, but there are two counter-arguments I'd like to make to those in favour of the slower fish dives.

 

The first is that speed is definitely not the opposite of musicality, and in my opinion not the opposite of lyricism either - both require give-and-take, and as I think Jeanette said, the fish dives offer contrast and punctuation to the slower passages.

 

The second is about interpretation. While Act III presents to us the "fulfilled" Aurora, she is still a very young woman (notwithstanding her long sleep!) and a new bride; not a queen or even a young matron. She should be as capable of excitement and energy as she is in Act I, and the fish dives remind us of that.

 

But really I have to be honest and say that the thrill of the faster dives is a large part of my preference for them. :)

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2 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

Everyone has a different way of viewing things, but there are two counter-arguments I'd like to make to those in favour of the slower fish dives.

 

 

Beautifully expressed Lizbie.

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It seems to me that it's less a question of speed, and more a matter of how the fishdives are executed.  A ballerina throwing herself headlong into them, as happens when they occur in some other ballets, for example would not be appropriate for the character of Act III Aurora, in my opinion - I suppose because it would lack a certain grandeur/poise.  The first time I ever saw Sleeping Beauty was with Northern Ballet Theatre, and the speed of their Aurora was stunning (I'm not sure I've ever seen the fishdives done faster), but I never felt it was inappropriate in the context.

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

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