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Northern Ballet - Casanova - Spring tour 2022


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6 hours ago, Emeralds said:

Couldn’t make it to Leeds but Casanova was shown on tv recently (Sky Arts) and it was really interesting.

 

Casanova is on at Sadler's Wells in May.  I can't say more but I think the Saturday evening performance will be particularly special.

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Sorry no re Mr Bonelli.  He indicated at a recent NB event that he is hanging up his dancing shoes.

 

As NB hasn’t made an announcement I am loathe to say anything more except that I think it will be a special evening.

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2 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Sorry no re Mr Bonelli.  He indicated at a recent NB event that he is hanging up his dancing shoes.

 

As NB hasn’t made an announcement I am loathe to say anything more except that I think it will be a special evening.

Federico is hanging up his dancing shoes???  😮🙁 At his Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet, he looked like he could continue for several more years. Then again, he has said twice (in his farewell announcement and in his speech after the show on 4 March) that the healthcare team of the Royal Ballet was so essential to him getting out on stage- he singled them out specially in his speech and even turned around to ask if by any chance any of them were around that night. Maybe an injury has meant it is difficult for him to continue. 

 

Ok....hmm...who/what could it be ? A guest star? Xander Parish? Elizabeth Harrod? Lol.....I’ll be keeping my ears peeled. 😀

 

 

 

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You've tempted me Jan - just bought a ticket! And with Northern Ballet bringing Great Gatsby to Cardiff a few weeks later, it's going to be a great late spring for catching up with the company 🙂

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I attended Northern Ballet's Casanova at the Grand Theatre last night.   It was the first time that I had seen the company live on stage since its 50th anniversary gala on 4 Jan 2020 and it was great to see it again.

The title role was danced by  Lorenzo Trosello who impressed me a lot.  It was the first time I had noticed him in a leading tole/ Also impressive was Abigail Prudames who danced Bellino which seems to be the most challenging female role.  However, it was a particular pleasure to see Hannah Bateman who has long been my favourite female artist at Northern Ballet.  She was Madame de Pompadour.

The story is not particularly easy to follow.   I have seen Casanova several times but even I had to refer to the programme notes at times.   I continue to admire Muzzey's score, Oram's designs and of course Tindall's dramatic choreography.   I have written a more detailed review in Terpsichore if anyone is interested.

The show will remain at The Grand until 19 March.  It opens at the Sheffield Lyceum on 22 March and will then proceed to London and The Lowry. IMHO Casanova is one of the best works in Northern Ballet's repertoire.  I strongly recommend it.



 

Edited by Terpsichore
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Kenneth Tindall worked on the libretto for Casanova with Ian Kelly, a noted biographer of Casanova so we get a flavour of the polymath he was and not just his reputation as a lover.

 

The set and lighting (by Christopher Oram and Alastair West respectively) are both absolutely spectacular and the costumes are lovely.

 

The ballet starts with a gathering of monks and nuns for a service in the church with Casanova arriving late with his charges - the Savorgnan sisters.  He is given a forbidden book by Father Balbi.

 

Because of his sexual dalliances Casanova is thrown out of the seminary as joins a group of itinerant musicians.  He is seduced by a nobleman - Bragadin - whom he nurses back to health after a stroke and by a Nun.  Father Balbi is arrested by the officers of the Inquisition and tells them he has given the book to Casanova.  Casanova is arrested.

 

In act 2 Casanova has arrived in Paris and catches the fancy of Madame de Pompadour.  He gains wealth and recognition through her.  He hires some castrati to sing for him, one of whom is a lady in disguise.  He also meets Henriette who becomes the love of his life.

 

He loses both the pretend castrato and Henriette and starts writing his memoir.  The end.

 

The duets between Casanova and his various lovers are gorgeous to watch with some intriguing lifts and a lot of tenderness included.  The crowd scenes are fun, showing the sybaritic life of the aristocrats both in Venice and Paris at the time.  Kerry Muzzey's cinematic score really fits the bill and adds to the overall atmosphere.

 

On Thursday evening Joseph Taylor was quite simply outstanding as Casanova and the ladies of the company gave us some very sensual performances.  It was a wonderful surprise to see the now retired Hannah Bateman back on stage as Madame de Pompadour - she absolutely oozed power and sensuality.  Javier Torres was fabulous as Bragadin and the whole company rose to the occasion, receiving a well-deserved standing ovation.

 

I can't wait to see more performances!

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This Sunday Times video feature has a rather nice piece about Northern Ballet's Casanova from just over 12 minutes in:

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-to-watch-sunday-times-culture-show-065jqwnxj?fbclid=IwAR0Fzc14wb3pQbB8Rm_HSzSg4daMWp3NIT69cvtQxejzydSzk1mwfkPh9bw

 

Javier Torres announces in the piece that this is his final season before retirement.

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I was in Leeds over the weekend for the final three performances of Casanova and what three performances they were!!!

 

Like BRB, I think the company has a mini-Covid outbreak so the casting was a bit interesting.

 

On Friday evening and Saturday evening Abigail Prudames danced 2 of the major duets (the Nun MM in act 1 and Bellino in act 2) with Joseph Taylor as Casanova and she (and he) were just awesome together.  With the wigs and masks it would be very hard to tell unless you knew.  In just over a week Joseph Taylor has grown even more into the eponymous role and really was outstanding.  Sena Kitano was a delight as the cellist Belletti and Saeka Shirai was a delicate and vulnerable Henriette.  On Friday evening we had Javier Torres masterful performance of Bragadin and on Saturday evening we were treated to Sean Bates in the same role.

 

On Saturday afternoon Riku Ito made his debut as Casanova and he was also outstanding in the role.  His duet with the always wonderful Sarah Chun as Bellini was both breathtaking and profoundly moving.  The duet with Heather Lehan as Henriette was also incredibly moving.  Alessandra Bramante was a lovely Belletti and Abigail Prudames (I gather at very short notice) again excelled as the nun MM.

 

These really were performances to savour.

 

Saturday evening was particularly special because Hannah Bateman, dancing the role of Pompadour, finally had her valedictory performance almost 2 years to the day after it had originally been scheduled.  As usual at these valedictories David Nixon did what he always does so well - a beautiful speech about Hannah and her career with Northern Ballet as well as the presentation of a framed photograph of her in a signature role.  Joe Taylor presented the bouquet.  We all cheered.  Brava Hannah and a belated congratulations on your wonderful career with NB.

 

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I saw the matinee today. It was my first time seeing both this ballet and the Northern Ballet, and I'm glad I left with such good memories. 
 

The performance started with the Ukraine National Anthem. From what I could see from my seat in the circle, everyone stood. 
 

Lorenzo Trossello was outstanding in the title role. His mime, particularly in the scene where he relates his escape from prison, was clear and easy to understand. Through his acting you could see Casanova becoming more reckless. The choreography utilises a table throughout the show, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone leap off a table with more agonising passion. The second to last scene focus on Casanova being rejected, and haunted by his past. His dancing in this scene was brilliant. 
 

Other dancers I noticed were Harris Beattie as Father Balbi. His dancing in the scene where Balbi is tortured was excellent, and he was very acrobatic (but in the best way). Abigail Prudames as Bellino was another standout. There's a moment where, having just had her breasts binded to aid her disguise as a boy, Bellino walks forward to the mirror. Prudames walked with such sorrow, and created a true feeling of sympathy. Heather Lehan as Henriette achieved the same. Her miming (being pregnant, being a mother, and being shackled with an abusive husband) was wonderful. Alessandra Bramante as Manon Balletti was like a moving violin, and the Savorgnan sisters (Sena Kitano, Saeka Shirai) were playful and seductive. 
 

Bragadin was played by Ashley Dixon, who carried himself with such class you just knew he was aware he was better than everyone else. There's a brilliant moment where he uses one of his servants as a stool, and his comedic timing was good. Then, in the same scene, his character has a stroke, and Dixon switched to being incredibly moving. Trossello was an excellent partner to everyone he danced opposite, particularly with Prudames in their pas de deux. 
 

I also enjoyed the production side of it more than I expected. The score by Kerry Muzzey was cinematic, but it worked. It felt like the music was incensed with the emotion of the characters, and the action on stage. The costumes and set by Christopher Oram worked as well. I liked Bragadin's costumes, and the one's for Madame de Pompadour and her two handmaids. The lighting was good as well. From where I was sat (Row D of the Circle) it wasn't too dark on the stage, and I liked that the lights illuminated shadows of prison bars onto the floor of the stage when Casanova was recounting his escape from prison. 
 

All in all I had a very enjoyable afternoon, and I'd happily see this ballet again in the future.  

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  • 1 month later...
4 minutes ago, art_enthusiast said:

Looking forward to seeing this at Sadler's Wells. Just wondering if anyone has any updates on the Angel station situation?

 

I'm pretty sure that it's only closed this coming weekend (May 14 and 15).

 

Edited to add link to TFL website:

https://tfl.gov.uk/tube-dlr-overground/status/?startDate=2022-05-14T00%3A00%3A00&endDate=2022-05-15T23%3A59%3A59&dateTypeSelect=This weekend#line-lul-northern

Edited by Bluebird
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I saw the matinee today at Sadler's Wells, which was only half full -- or half empty?

 

I thought it was a mixed bag tbh, it's essentially a Matthew Bourne ballet with Kenneth MacMillanesque pas des deux,  although I did like how they integrated the scenery (and, particularly, tables) in the choreography. The main issue is the plot I think, there's too much of it and it doesn't go anywhere. The score is nice and the set is lovely, but its true asset is the cast. Joseph Taylor in particular is fantastic and holds the show together. He has surprisingly little to do in the first act, which is part of the reason why I liked act two better (although it is weaker in terms of plot) but he's truly wonderful and the role is definitely a juicy one for any dancer. Also great to see Javier Torres one last time with the Northern Ballet, he has great stage presence and lovely chemistry with Taylor. The rest of the cast is also very good, particularly Abigail Prudames, Sena Kitano (Manon Balletti? Really??), Minju Kand and Saeka Shirai.

 

Definitely not a masterpiece, but very watchable and enjoyable. I'm glad I saw it and happy that the other performances in London sold much better than today's grim matinee

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3 hours ago, AnticaFiamma said:

I thought it was a mixed bag tbh, it's essentially a Matthew Bourne ballet with Kenneth MacMillanesque pas des deux,  although I did like how they integrated the scenery (and, particularly, tables) in the choreography. The main issue is the plot I think, there's too much of it and it doesn't go anywhere. The score is nice and the set is lovely, but its true asset is the cast. Joseph Taylor in particular is fantastic

I agree. I really enjoyed it as a spectacle, and thought much of the dancing was great, but it didn't match 'Dangerous Liaisons' - the last thing I saw them do at SW which I really loved. It was also a shame that the audience wasn't bigger, but at least we were very appreciative at the end! 

I'm very glad I saw it - it was definitely worth it.

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If ever there is a ballet to get the pulse racing, with Lorenzo Trossello dancing Casanova this evening (Thursday)  then this is a very good candidate. 
Beautifully staged and costumed to a live score that created both period and atmosphere whilst simultaneously heightening the emotions of the characters who through the choreography brought the narrative wonderfully to life. My guest and I definitely rate this as a good night out.

Reading the story in the programme before curtain up certainly contributed to our enjoyment of the piece.

I was told that Saturday evening’s show will be Javier Torres last dance for NB(T), surely à night to cherish. 


 

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Really looking forward to seeing this on Saturday night.... especially to see Torres in tote role as I only first saw him dance last month at the Dance for Ukraine Gala & wow did he impress!! Sad it’s my only chance to see this star (well, unless he continues elsewhere/guesting?).

I going the insight video innNB site really enlightening & am sure it will help greatly in me following/understanding the story to fully maximise my focus & enjoyment in the dancing.

BTW.... what’s this about Angel tube closures??? 

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14 hours ago, AnticaFiamma said:

I saw the matinee today at Sadler's Wells, which was only half full -- or half empty?

 

I thought it was a mixed bag tbh, it's essentially a Matthew Bourne ballet with Kenneth MacMillanesque pas des deux,  although I did like how they integrated the scenery (and, particularly, tables) in the choreography. The main issue is the plot I think, there's too much of it and it doesn't go anywhere. The score is nice and the set is lovely, but its true asset is the cast. Joseph Taylor in particular is fantastic and holds the show together. He has surprisingly little to do in the first act, which is part of the reason why I liked act two better (although it is weaker in terms of plot) but he's truly wonderful and the role is definitely a juicy one for any dancer. Also great to see Javier Torres one last time with the Northern Ballet, he has great stage presence and lovely chemistry with Taylor. The rest of the cast is also very good, particularly Abigail Prudames, Sena Kitano (Manon Balletti? Really??), Minju Kand and Saeka Shirai.

 

Definitely not a masterpiece, but very watchable and enjoyable. I'm glad I saw it and happy that the other performances in London sold much better than today's grim matinee


Manon Balletti - yes really!

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manon_Balletti

 

The vast majority of named characters in this ballet are real people from history.

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On 12/05/2022 at 23:23, Peanut68 said:

Really looking forward to seeing this on Saturday night.... especially to see Torres in tote role as I only first saw him dance last month at the Dance for Ukraine Gala & wow did he impress!! Sad it’s my only chance to see this star (well, unless he continues elsewhere/guesting?).

I going the insight video innNB site really enlightening & am sure it will help greatly in me following/understanding the story to fully maximise my focus & enjoyment in the dancing.

BTW.... what’s this about Angel tube closures??? 


I’m afraid Javier really is retiring.  I think tonight will be very special and very emotional.

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You were not wrong Jan!

What a fantastic night in every way & wow, what a performance by Torres!

Wishing him every success that will surely come his way in whatever direction his journey takes him.

His dancing, acting & physical presence perfectly embodying the title role was worth the over 7 hour round trip drive!! 
Loved every single aspect of this production & performance. 
Seamless story telling with a perfect marriage between choreography & music…. It had me musing as to whether the 2 were created in tandem; music written to complement already devised choreography or vice versa - the match was so ‘in tune’.

Set/costumes/lighting all spot on to create the mood & enhance every scene.

And a sincere heartfelt & emotional farewell at the end to a dancer clearly much loved by company & audience alike. 
💜

Edited by Peanut68
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On 14/05/2022 at 07:04, Jan McNulty said:


I’m afraid Javier really is retiring.  I think tonight will be very special and very emotional.

I ‘liked’ but really I don’t like as think it’s a huge shame he is seemingly retiring from performing 😢

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Just a very brief footnote to mark my admiration for Bonelli, who during his generous remarks at the end of Saturday's performance in tribute to Torres, turned and made a specific address in Spanish to the dancer's family who were there present in order that they might best understand.  Their appreciation was clearly audible.  It was a  touching moment indeed.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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I saw the three performances over the weekend at Sadler's Wells.  You will have realised with my earlier posts that I absolutely love this production!

 

Riku Ito's cast was as terrific as they had been in Leeds.  I was very glad to see Lorenzo Trossello (at last) on Saturday afternoon.  He more than matched up to my expectations.

 

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I was so privileged to be in the audience on Saturday night to see Javier Torres' final performance before his retirement.  It was an incredibly emotional performance with all the dancers giving every they could to make the evening special.  Javier was utterly magnificent, with every tiny gesture and expression having meaning.  I was in floods by the end!

 

As Bruce has said the evening was made extra special by the speeches and presentation at the end.  Federico Bonelli made some beautiful opening remarks and the speech was taken up by Ashley Dixon who spoke from the heart.  Javier was presented with a couple of bouquets and a framed photograph of his performance in Gloria.

 

When Javier first joined Northern Ballet from Cuba in 2010 he was already an established star of the Cuban ballet - indeed it had only been April of that year that I had seen him as Siegfried in Swan Lake with them.  At the annual Friends' open day one of the dancers commented that someone was joining from Cuban National Ballet and that he couldn't walk across the stage ... he could only progress!  Well within weeks, believe me, he could walk across the stage!  When we first had the pleasure of meeting Javier he could hardly speak any English but within months he was fluent - showing his commitment to both Northern Ballet and the UK.

 

I saw his debut performance on a Saturday afternoon in Bradford in David Nixon's Swan Lake in the leading role of Anthony.  From then on he went on to perform most of the leading roles in NB's repertoire.  He created the role of Julius Caesar in Cleopatra and showed he was just born to dance Rochester when he created that role in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre.  He was a magnificent Pinkerton and a brilliant Prince in the Nutcracker.  He made Gatsby and Casanova his own.  But my favourite memory of all the performances of Javier that I have seen was as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights on a Friday night in Bradford with Lucia Solari as his Cathy.  I think that was the best performance of that ballet I have ever seen and I will never forget it.  As was obvious in Ashley's speech Javier has always been generous in sharing his talent and knowledge with the other dancers and that is also a wonderful legacy to him.  Bravo Javier and very, very best wishes for your future.IMG_8876.thumb.jpeg.e10710b3f0d5e011973309f22251e324.jpegIMG_8877.thumb.jpeg.ea454ca3dc0d88b9b15380f625701961.jpegIMG_8879.thumb.jpeg.b958d8f0a740b97477988bc6a16bf768.jpegIMG_8884.thumb.jpeg.7db3b1b3ffd1b465db9ca198b8ff5d49.jpegIMG_8885.thumb.jpeg.731b578bbd064978481262d02fab867a.jpegIMG_8888.thumb.jpeg.040961a6b4581f2e4e19148be7126a80.jpegIMG_8891.thumb.jpeg.359216fe9d1634b4f99d3d198eb2a239.jpeg

 

Left to right - Ashley, Ian Kelly (Casanova biographer) Federico (with Kenny Tindall hiding behind him!), Dan de Andrade, Joe Taylor and Jonathan Hanks

 

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You can see Kenny next to Federico on this shot

 

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(photos from my phone so not best quality)

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