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Royal Ballet Firebird/In the Night/Raymonda Act III bill

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With Christmas only a few days, the Royal Ballet starts ... a triple bill. Please discuss it here (did anyone see the general rehearsal, or wasn't it an open one?)

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Here are a few sample photos from the General rehearsal (and yes, it was an open 'Friends' rehearsal).

 

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Royal Ballet - Firebird, with Mara Galeazzi as the Firebird and Edward Watson as Ivan Tsarevich

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Royal Ballet - cast of 'In the Night'

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Royal Ballet - Raymonda (Act 3) - grand pas dancers

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

See more...

 

Set on Flickr - Royal Ballet's Firebird mixed bill

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind Permission of the Royal Opera House

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Brilliant photos as always, Dave....and how wonderful to see Mara back!

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Here's a little side note: while looking at my last programme covering Raymonda Act III, back in 2003, I noted that Marianela Nunez was listed among the dancers for the Grand Pas, yet she was already a principal by then! Can anyone suggest why this might have been? I know the powers that be were bringing her up slowly, but it's a very strange bit of casting.

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Wonderful photos, Dave!

 

Look at all the marvelous triangles in the first one. Even as her arms come out of her shoulder- and even including his hat.

 

The third is a good example of the costuming being part of the choreographic pattern.

 

Love it.

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Brilliant photos as always, Dave....and how wonderful to see Mara back!

 

Thanks Sim - and yes, it was lovely to have Mara back on stage.

And thanks Anjuli - glad you liked them too

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Wonderful photos, Dave!

 

Look at all the marvelous triangles in the first one. Even as her arms come out of her shoulder- and even including his hat.

 

The third is a good example of the costuming being part of the choreographic pattern.

 

Love it.

 

An excellent Triple Bill, beautifully danced by all the dancers (a refreshing "break" from the Nutcracker) and "Raymonda" decor and costumes GORGEOUS ( loved the Corps dresses :) ). Happy to have seen a Nureyev choreography.

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This was a terrific triple bill, three very different pieces but thoroughly complimenting each other. I particularly enjoyed The Firebird as I love the costumes, colours and imagery. I thought Itziar was fantastic as the bird, she moved beautifully and didn't go in for the wild gurning that sometimes ruins the flow. Gary Avis was really creepy as Kostchei, I loved his finger curling. I wished he could have pointed them at the audience, as the level of coughing and general noise was unbelievable yesterday afternoon. The subtlety of the overture was almost completely lost in the relentless coughing and hacking that started on cue with the music.The woman sitting next to me kept trying to open something papery, then said sorry, then did it again and I just thought what is the matter with people? Meanwhile, back at the dance, In The Night was delightful, beautifully costumed, lit and accompanied on the piano. Sarah Lamb was gorgeous, so light and ethereal. Marianela was replaced by Zenaida and partnered by Nehemiah Kish. I am sorry to say he just doesn't do it for me, he has no real stage presence or zest and it is a shame that a dancer so elegant as Zenaida appears not to have a worthy partner. I know it is partly a height thing but she is in a different class altogether and there were some rather wobbly lifts.The part at the end where all three couples gather, rather highlighted the height difference. Alina and Zenaida together from the back looked quite comical.Onto Raymonda, again beautifully danced, costumed and interesting to see some Nureyev choreography. Zenaida shone-quite literally in that costume-and appeared to be enjoying herself. All in all, a very entertaining afternoon, full of contrast and colour. But oh, the audience!

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yes, the coughing was astounding - you'd think people that ill would stay at home... It seemed the only cure was louder music. As for rustling open cough sweets - surely this can be done at points when applause would cover your noise?

 

Out of idle curiosity - is it compulsory to cough and hack in the gaps between movements in classical music concerts? It usually seems like it!!

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Dave - wonderful photos - they really have whetted my appetite for next Satruday - can't wait! The costumes look a-ma-zing!

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yes, the coughing was astounding - you'd think people that ill would stay at home... It seemed the only cure was louder music. As for rustling open cough sweets - surely this can be done at points when applause would cover your noise?

 

Out of idle curiosity - is it compulsory to cough and hack in the gaps between movements in classical music concerts? It usually seems like it!!

 

I think it is nerves that starts the coughing chorus as soon as the music starts - people are so "worried" about making a noise that they DO! Also the tickets are so expensive I dare say people don't want to waste them if they are ill - so we all suffer as a result! As for sweet papers - unforgivable. At least at Birmingham Hippodrome they now give out paper tubs for you to decant your sweets into BEFORE the show starts but quite why people have to munch their way through a performance is beyond me - they only have to do without for max 45 minutes before thay can stuff their faces again!

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What a good idea at Birmingham Hippodrome to give out tubs. The woman next to me could have unwrapped her sweets before the performance and had them ready. She repeated the unwrapping just after the start of In The Night, when there had just been a half hour interval. I am also mystified as to why people cannot get through such a relatively short period without refreshment. I suppose we live in a society for which constant grazing is the norm, no matter the location or timing. Coughing and hacking through the music does seem to be compulsory, as if it's only the music so it doesn't matter. I hadn't been to the ROH since May, and although I have noticed this before - how could one not - last Saturday was the worst I can remember. BillBoyd, I am sorry you found my comments about Nehemiah Kish 'very offensive'. They are just my opinion, based on having seen him a few times now.

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Jacqueline, I don't think that your comments about NK were "very offensive". You are entitled to express your opinion of any dancer even if that opinion is not very complimentary.

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Out of idle curiosity - is it compulsory to cough and hack in the gaps between movements in classical music concerts? It usually seems like it!!

 

When I saw the recent Macmillan triple bill, it felt as though coughing and spluttering was taking the place of applause during Requiem. Honestly, it almost sounded like a deliberate chorus of loud coughing whenever a section of dance finished and really detracted (I felt) from the atmosphere :( I ended up feeling that applause would have been less intrusive and distracting.

 

This triple bill sounds fab and the photos are gorgeous :)

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What a good idea at Birmingham Hippodrome to give out tubs.

 

Yes, but aren't they only available if you buy the sweets there?

 

 

Coughing and hacking through the music does seem to be compulsory, as if it's only the music so it doesn't matter. I hadn't been to the ROH since May, and although I have noticed this before - how could one not - last Saturday was the worst I can remember.

 

I'd agree with you there. Up in the amphitheatre, it really was appalling at times (and much of it unmuffled, too). The worst bit was the quiet introduction to Firebird, which was really completely ruined - forget any possibility of building up atmosphere.

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I find the comments about Nehemiah Kish in the above post from Jacqueline very offensive.

 

I am with you Aileen, I didn't find Jacqueline's opinion offensive at all. She's free to have her personal opinion, and if she didn't like what she saw that's her right no?

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I agree with Aileen and NinaG - and anyway isn't this precisely why we're on a forum - to debate! Personally I thought Kish was a bit of a dish when he partnered Zenaida in Swan Lake the other week and came across as lovely in the interviews...

 

Re the sweetie tubs I am sure they'd give you one if you asked even if you had not bought sweets - let's not be too picky on the detail it's only a paper cup not a golden goblet they're giving away LOL!!

Edited by Don Q Fan

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Well, nobody can feel short-changed by this triple bill. There were dozens of dancers, some sumptious sets and costumes and lots of dancing.

 

I thought that Itziar was excellent as the Firebird. She is physically really suited to the role. I liked Bennet's portrayal of Ivan Tsarevich as a rather callow youth. Often the character is rather bland. The princesses were lovely. Today, I accepted the choreography of The Firebird rather than wishing that some of it, for example the apple throwing, could be changed. I think that the strangeness of the piece came across well, which perhaps accounted for the rather muted response from the audience who I felt was a bit bemused by the whole thing. In fact, I thought that the audience was generally rather cool. I wasn't so keen on some of the costumes worn by Kostchei's accolytes and I felt that the big "group dance" before Kostchei was defeated lacked some of the excitement of the Mariinsky's production which I saw at the ROH (with a stunning Ekaterina Kondaurova in the title role) in the summer of 2011. This may have been at least partly due to the orchestra's playing in this section.

 

In the Night was enjoyable enough but I probably wouldn't go and see it again. Marienela was replaced by Hikaru. The pdd for Alina and Johan really showed the latter's partnering to advantage.

 

Raymonda was very enjoyable, although I don't think that either Steven or Alina were on top form, and I'm not convinced that the role really suited her. The clapping in her solo was a bit awkward. The pas de trois was lovely and the dance for the four men was well executed. Melissa was replaced by someone but I can't remember who it was.

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Melissa Hamilton was only replaced as one of the Firebird princesses; she danced the first solo in Raymonda Act 3 as listed. I'm not sure this solo suited her that well. Other debuts by Emma Maguire, Claire Calvert and Claudia Dean were more successful IMO.

 

I really enjoyed Itziar, Bennet and Gary in The Firebird. The orchestra however seemed to have an off afternoon.

In the Night didn't really grab me, I think mainly because of the less than stellar piano playing. Is it too intimate a piece for the main stage?

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MrsBBB, so the first solo in Raymonda was danced by Melissa Hamilton. I thought that it looked like her but I couldn't work out who it was!

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Melissa Hamilton was replaced in both her scheduled parts (Firebird and Raymonda Act III) this evening, so possibly something *is* up. It's difficult to tell at this time of year: I understand from a couple of years ago that cast sheets end up being printed rather earlier than usual, as a result of which there may well be what seems like a longer list of substitutions than usual. However, in previous years these have always been notified on an "injury slip": these have been noticeable by their absence in recent weeks, and this is a matter which needs to be addressed. Many of us who hadn't been to the matinee were operating under the mistaken belief that Nunez' injury must only have been something relatively minor which had been dealt with, and there was audible disappointment in the auditorium when an announcement was made that she was unable to dance Raymonda.

 

Anyway, tonight's performance was notable (in my eyes, anyway) for the first performance (as the Firebird) from Mara Galeazzi in what must be almost 15 months after her maternity leave, and a lovely, fresh debut by Emma Maguire (ably partnered by Alexander Campbell) in the first pas de deux in In The Night. Zenaida Yanowsky replaced Nunez in Raymonda Act III, partnered by Ryoichi Hirano, who was making his debut in the role (replacing Rupert Pennefather, who I'm told was dancing in In The Night at the matinee, so it's conceivable that he could have some sort of injury niggle which prevents him from dancing the one role but not the other) - Yanowsky is keeping very busy in this bill!

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The RB now has 3 Robbins ballets in its active repertoire (or 4, even, if you count Afternoon of a Faun as well). Can you make a triple bill of Dances at a Gathering, In the Night and The Concert? I think it would be workable time-wise, albeit rather unbalanced length-wise, but would be hugely demanding in terms of piano requirements, wouldn't it?

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Rupert Pennefather did dance in "In the Night" as part of the second couple, with Hikaru who was replacing Marienela.

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However, in previous years these have always been notified on an "injury slip": these have been noticeable by their absence in recent weeks, and this is a matter which needs to be addressed.

 

The cast change slips are still in existence but they never print enough. Nuñez's absence yesterday afternoon was announced on a slip (though the Floral Hall programme desk had run out at least 20 minutes before the start time) and also in the pre-performance tannoy announcement.

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Aileen, I agree about the strangeness of The Firebird coming across. The applause at the matinee I attended was also a little muted, as if to say what was that about? Should the clapping in Raymonda be audible? I think it makes more sense if it is, as in the Sylvie Guillem version. I don't think Zenaida's clapping was audible, or if it was, it was lost in the coughing. As for the cast change slips, I did get one just before I went in but there was no announcement and most people around me were unaware of the change. I don't know if this is old news, but I asked in the shop when the online version will be available again. Apparently the problem is something to do with the payment system, which is currently going through twice and as they assume most people won't want to pay twice, the difficulty is still being resolved.

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A friend of mine went to the Triple Bill Matinee yesterday and - besides the coughing "orchestra" - also commented on hearing clapping coming from the wings...well after the audience had stopped clapping! Dancers clapping for fellow dancers? Surely this can be done away from the wings... it was perceived as very unprofessional.

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I didn't think that there was too much coughing yesterday, and I didn't notice clapping from the wings. The clapping to which I was referring was Alina's own clapping as part of her solo. At a performance of St Matthew's Passion at the RAH several years ago there was a request in the programme that people about muffle their coughs (in their handkerchiefs?), and an offer of free boiled sweets if people needed them (perhaps I've imagined this bit).

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A friend of mine went to the Triple Bill Matinee yesterday and also commented on hearing clapping coming from the wings...

 

The only clapping from the wings I heard was after Claudia Dean's solo in Raymonda Act 3. It was her birthday and a debut which counts as extenuating circumstances for me :)

Edited by MrsBBB
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I've read somewhere that in Russia it is considered very rude for a woman to smack her hands and Russian ballerinas merely touch their palms together in Raymonda's solo (honestly), must admit it is more graceful.

 

I saw both of yesterday's triple bills, too many dancers to mention at the moment, except how fantastic Roberta Marquez and Carlos Acosta were in the third In the Night pdd, wonderful dramatic dancing!!!

 

 

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