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As its nearly Christmas - it must be (Royal Ballet) Nutcracker time!


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...and here are some photos from the opening night cast (designated as first time only/Sun readers performance; they will also be the cast beamed worldwide for cinema audiences on Dec 13th). I love the ballet, and especially this production, so doubt I'll ever tire of it!

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Nutcracker: Gary Avis does his magic, as Drosselmeyer

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Nutcracker: The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince (Roberta Marquez & Steven McRae)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Nutcracker: Roberta Marquez as the Sugar Plum Fairy

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Set on Flickr - Royal Ballet's Nutcracker lead, and cinema, cast

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind Permission of the Royal Opera House

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Fantastic photos! Did I spot a Snowflake in ballet flats? Never seen that before; would that be due to an injury?

 

I'm pretty sure she's [Romany Pajdak, middle-ish of the picture entitled "masses of Snowflakes"] in pointe shoes, just not onto pointe at the time the picture was taken. Let's not forget that Romany has just come back from injury and the photograph was taken at a rehearsal which wasn't open to FoCG or the public.

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Monday evening's Nutcracker - Emma Maguire one of the best Claras I've seen, possibly the best. But does Ryoichi Hirano agree, or would he prefer a gentler one? He was Mouse King and the thwack she gave him with her shoe echoed around the House! Yuhui Choe a delightful and fast spinning Rose Fairy. Marianela a wonderful Sugar Plum Fairy who had to swap her Prince during the Grand Pas. Hope Thiago's OK, and well done Rose Fairy escort Dawid Trzensimiech for stepping in, and the rest of the cast for the cleverly done rearrangement of the finale. Not a beat of music lost. And a deep curtsey from Marianela to Dawid at the curtain call.

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Monday evening's Nutcracker - Emma Maguire one of the best Claras I've seen, possibly the best. But does Ryoichi Hirano agree, or would he prefer a gentler one? He was Mouse King and the thwack she gave him with her shoe echoed around the House! Yuhui Choe a delightful and fast spinning Rose Fairy. Marianela a wonderful Sugar Plum Fairy who had to swap her Prince during the Grand Pas. Hope Thiago's OK, and well done Rose Fairy escort Dawid Trzensimiech for stepping in, and the rest of the cast for the cleverly done rearrangement of the finale. Not a beat of music lost. And a deep curtsey from Marianela to Dawid at the curtain call.

Please tell me what happened to Thiago. Was he injured or taken ill?

 

many thanks

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He finished his solo O.K although I thought there was something odd about the ending. Normally the SPF Cavalier is facing diagonally across the stage when he turns his upper body towards the audience and raises his left arm. I wonder if something happened at this moment. The SPF solo following is of course one of the longest solo pieces in the classics and whatever had happened, there was time to arrange things without stopping the performance. During the finale there were only 2 Rose Fairy attendants and Cavaliers and at the red runner only 3 couples took a call. I did not notice which Rose Fairy attendant missed out. The 4th Cavalier of course took his call with the wonderful Miss Nunez, The whole situation was handled so seamlessly that I am sure that quite a few people in the audience were totally unaware of what had happened.

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Some photos from the Friends (General) rehearsal Saturday. The lead couples are dancing different evenings though...

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Nutcracker: The Christmas Angel (Yasmine Naghdi)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Nutcracker: Alexander Campbell and Emma-Jane Maguire

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Nutcracker: Federico Bonelli and Laura Morera

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Set on Flickr - Royal Ballet's Nutcracker with Morera/Bonelli cast

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind Permission of the Royal Opera House

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He finished his solo O.K although I thought there was something odd about the ending. Normally the SPF Cavalier is facing diagonally across the stage when he turns his upper body towards the audience and raises his left arm. I wonder if something happened at this moment. The SPF solo following is of course one of the longest solo pieces in the classics and whatever had happened, there was time to arrange things without stopping the performance. During the finale there were only 2 Rose Fairy attendants and Cavaliers and at the red runner only 3 couples took a call. I did not notice which Rose Fairy attendant missed out. The 4th Cavalier of course took his call with the wonderful Miss Nunez, The whole situation was handled so seamlessly that I am sure that quite a few people in the audience were totally unaware of what had happened.

 

Thank you Tony. Obviously something happened but no one knows what as yet. What a wonderful example of 'the show must go on'

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Many thanks Dave for showing us photos of two casts. Beautiful, as always.

 

"The Christmas Angel" couldn't be more Christmassy, a stunning photo, and also the one of my favourite "Clara" Emma-Jane Maguire!!!

 

My fave Clara too! Not that there any I don't like!! Enjoyed Ms Hinkis' spirited performance too - and looking forward to Francesca Hayward and the lovely Leane Cope, amongst others.

 

Thanks all, for the kind words on the photos - its an unbridled joy for me taking, and processing them, but its nice to hear that others like them too!

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Thiago was dancing on an already injured foot which was,although I didn't notice it,heavily bandaged. He felt he couldn't continue without further damage after his solo. Marianela wasn't aware anything was wrong until she entered for the coda and was rather surprised to be met by Dawid! Thiago is now awaiting the result of a scan,though the ROH website still has him down for Friday's performance.

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Thiago was dancing on an already injured foot which was,although I didn't notice it,heavily bandaged. He felt he couldn't continue without further damage after his solo. Marianela wasn't aware anything was wrong until she entered for the coda and was rather surprised to be met by Dawid! Thiago is now awaiting the result of a scan,though the ROH website still has him down for Friday's performance.

 

Thanks Mijosh - please pass back our collective best wishes to Thiago, hoping he'll be fit and well and back on stage soon

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Fabulous performance last night. I watched it live at the cinema. Roberta Marquez and Steven McRae were perfection. I also loved Ricardo Cervera as the Nutcracker - his dancing was wonderful. Wasn't so sure about Meaghan Hinkis as Clara; her dancing was superb but she seemed to have a slightly crazed look about her face for a lot of the time?

 

Thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience at the cinema and would highly recommend it. You do almost feel like you could be at the ROH if you try :) . I especially loved the little films at the beginning of each act which showed very interesting behind the scenes footage.

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Cinema show – really enjoyed the cinema experience of watching Nutcracker from the ROH on Thursday. Although its not quite the same as actually being there, it was much more ‘involving’ than I had expected. The close ups were dazzlingly superb – and yet not too many of them that you lost the sense of the dancing. The wider shots were a little murky at times, due to the sepia tones of the lighting. We had a starter of some behind the scenes snippets – morning class, Christopher Carr taking the first full studio rehearsal, Steven/Roberta rehearsing the pdd, and Gary Avis (and a ‘poetic’ voiceover’) explaining the plot. Disappointingly, the cinema I was in was only about 1/3rd full, and they didn’t remember to pass out the cast sheet until near the end of the interval. During the interval, we had some more snippets from Gary about the plot – and how some of the theatrical ‘tricks’ were done.

Gary Avis drove along the story in his customary vivacious style as Drosselmeyer – he always manages to add that little bit extra. Meaghan Grace Hinkis was an adorable Clara, all wide-eyed excitement and nifty footwork in her dancing. Her party partner, James Hay, was a wistful, yearning - yet utterly elegant foil. As usual the battle between soldiers and mice was a mix of fierce competiveness, and twee cuteness, all played with convincing sincerity by all involved. The Hans-Peter (an ever elegant Ricardo Cervera) and Clara pdd, never fails to move me – before the highlight of Act 1 for me – the Snowflakes of the Corps de Ballet. Bouquets all round! A new development that I’d either not noticed before (and I can’t be THAT unobservant), was Drosselmeyer driving in the first few flakes and flurries, bedore the corps completely take over the stage.

Act2 I love – the opening appearance of SPF and her prince, with the corps ‘flowers’, the former Nutcracker’s mime of the battle and how he came to be saved, and most of the diverts. Particularly enjoyed Laura Morera as the Rose Fairy, and Melissa Hamilton in the Arabian (phew!!). The swirly Mirlitons are always a joy, and it was particularly nice to see Akane Takada back on stage. Could have done with more close-ups on all the Mirlitons though, we hardly saw them!

The overall response from the crowd in my cinema seemed very positive from what I overheard, though did overhear the old chestnut about ticket prices. I suppose for an equivalent view to that of your cinema seat, the ticket would be quite expensive, but then, not as expensive as seeing say Madonna, from about 200+ yards away…

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I too saw it in the cinema last night and agree with everything both Ribbons and Dave make (apart from one point Dave makes, see below). As to the experience overall, I couldn't help wondering how often we would attend live performances if we could depend on a regular supply of these cinema relays, given the high cost of theatre tickets and the dodgy sightlines and less than comfortable seats they buy.

 

I agree about Cervera's performance as the Nutcracker - he was perfect, a joy to watch. In fact, I enjoyed the whole performance so much that I found all the dancing wonderful - no doubt there were faults here and there, but I didn't care.

 

My point of departure from Dave’s comments concerns Clara’s role: The only fault I can find in Wright's otherwise stunning version is the annoying (to me, anyway) presence of Clara throughout the entire Kingdom of the Sweets scene; she just looks so out of place in her nightie amongst the exotically costumed character dancers and her presence seems distracting and unnecessary, rather like the Jester in those old Soviet-era Russian ballets. It does the dancer herself no favours (and Meaghan Hinkis is a very promising dancer).

 

On a more positive footnote: Ryoichi Hirano’s calm and authoratitve presence as one of the three men in the Arabian dance really stood out – principal roles surely can’t be far away.

 

Congratulations all round, I think!

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Staying on the subject of nighties, I was thinking just last night, as I watched the Neumeier Nutcracker, how droopy and frumpy in this case Marie's nightie was and how it looked a bit out of place in the big pdds. I don't know if there is a way round this as she's supposed to be dreaming everything. Actually, in the Neumeier she didn't even change into it from a party dress.

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