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Mayerling, Royal Ballet Autumn 2022


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8 hours ago, Sim said:

Wow, what an amazing show tonight. This is how I want to feel when I come away from a performance of Mayerling.  Huge bravos and kudos to Steven McRae who delivered a performance replete with pathos, drama, great partnering, excellent dancing and a true understanding of the role. He took me with him on his journey from start to finish. I believed every minute of it. 
 

More on the rest of the cast tomorrow…I need a glass of wine 🍷!  

 

I'm so pleased as I'm seeing the same cast next Saturday!

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9 hours ago, Sim said:

Wow, what an amazing show tonight. This is how I want to feel when I come away from a performance of Mayerling.  Huge bravos and kudos to Steven McRae who delivered a performance replete with pathos, drama, great partnering, excellent dancing and a true understanding of the role. He took me with him on his journey from start to finish. I believed every minute of it. 

 

This is good to hear. I think that it's McRae's third run of Rudolfs and it's certainly a role which develops with a dancer over time.

 

8 hours ago, alison said:

  I don't imagine Osipova would choose to dance with him if he had nothing to recommend him.

 

Hirano, in common with Clarke, has the height and strength necessary for the kind of lifting which must breed confidence in someone of Osipova's build.

 

 

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I can’t properly speak for Steven McRae’s Rudolf as I’ve not seen him dance the role live, other than that I found his cinema performance in 2018 rather one-dimensional. However, such a huge role can only grow with further performances and it’s good to read the positive words above.

 

More importantly, I have nothing but the highest admiration for an artist of relatively slight stature and build coming back from major injury with the sheer strength and stamina to master a role that makes such enormous physical as well as emotional demands of the dancer.

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On 28/09/2022 at 10:10, FionaE said:


to give roles to the taller dancers I assume 

Yes!  Zenaida Yanowsky (she was a tall principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, now a principals’ coach) was given this role when she was 25.  She made the comment at one of the rehearsals.

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3 hours ago, capybara said:

 

This is good to hear. I think that it's McRae's third run of Rudolfs and it's certainly a role which develops with a dancer over time.

 

 

Hirano, in common with Clarke, has the height and strength necessary for the kind of lifting which must breed confidence in someone of Osipova's build.

 

 

This is an interesting comment.  Osipova danced a lot with Steven McRae in her earlier years with the Royal Ballet.  It is fair to say that people (and dancers are people) change over time: their bodies, technique, artistry, injuries, life events, etc. so I would say that both Steven McRae and Natalia Osipova have changed in recent years and they have naturally migrated towards other dancing partners.  Both remain magnificent artists in their own well-earned right and they continue to deliver outstanding performances.

 

I totally agree that roles develop with a dancer over time.  Hirano’s initial Rudolf, a few years ago as an emergency replacement for Ed Watson, was nowhere near as powerful and emotive.  Last Wednesday, he delivered an outstanding acting (and dancing/partnering) performance.  Hirano also played troubled Crown Prince Rudolf with the Scottish Ballet earlier this year, where he danced their adapted version of Mayerling.  Embodying such dark, dramatic, role (like Rudolf in Mayerling) will take time and experience to process, elaborate and finally make it their own.  I must say that Francesca Hayward also delivered an amazing performance as the terrified Princess Stephanie.  It was, without a doubt, a stellar cast in the opening night:  Laura Morera (Countess Larisch), Itziar Mendizabal (Empress Elizabeth), Marianela Nuñez (Mitzi Caspar), Reece Clarke (as the leading Hungarian soldier), Gary Avis (Empress Elizabeth’s lover), Luca Acri (Rudolf’s coach driver) and Christopher Saunders (as the Emperor Franz Joseph).  A very memorable evening!

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5 hours ago, capybara said:

 

Hirano, in common with Clarke, has the height and strength necessary for the kind of lifting which must breed confidence in someone of Osipova's build.

 

 

 

Is Osipova quite tall then?  I've not really seen that much of her, as I tend to opt for other dancers, but I didn't get that impression on the occasions that I have seen her. 

 

 

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So....about last night.  No-one has said anything about it, so maybe I am once again out of step with what others think (I wasn't crazy about Wednesday's performance, didn't much like Hirano's Rudolf, but all the critics did, so what do I know).  But here goes...

 

Originally, I booked to see this cast because I wanted to see Yasmine Naghdi's debut as Larisch, Anna-Rose O'Sullivan's Stefanie and James Hay's Bratfisch.  To be honest, I wasn't particularly looking forward to Steven McRae's Rudolf as last time it just didn't do anything for me.  I was also underwhelmed by his performance in Rhapsody towards the end of last season.  So I turned up with fairly low expectations, wondering how he would cope with such incredible physical demands on a body that was until recently so badly injured. 

 

Well, this was one of those performances where I am very glad I didn't listen to myself.  I gave myself a stern talking-to and said 'keep your mind open.'  I did...and my reward was a performance that just worked, every which way, and from each and every cast member.  

 

As I said up-thread, for Mayerling to work, Rudolf needs to be believable, and show us how his relationships with various women both mould and convey his inner character and psyche.  He also needs to show us his contempt for a deeply hypocritical and socially stilted court, and how vulnerable he is to all the shenanigans going on around him.  McRae did all of these things last night, and I really felt for his Rudolf.  Starting with a marriage he did not want, then his utter dejection at his icy treatment by his mother, his father treating him with contempt with every encounter (making clear his disappointment in his son), his being hassled constantly by the Hungarian separatists, his mistress Mitzi Caspar betraying him, Mary Vetsera messing with his head but providing some kind of solace, his mother managing to show love to another,  and Marie Larisch, trying to win him back. ... we could see how all of these things combined to crush him, and why he longer wanted to be a part of that unhealthy, stifling world. The look on his face was heartbreaking as he stood, rigid, listening to Ich Scheide being sung lovingly to his father, whilst his mother had just given her husband a birthday present of a portrait of the opera singer (his mistress).  No wonder someone of a sensitive nature would mentally crumble.  The past four years have not been kind to Steven McRae (from a physical and artistic point of view).  He has had to work so hard to come back, he has been through a lot of pain and setbacks and sometimes must have wondered if he would ever be able to tackle these kinds of roles again.  Well, I could see that he channelled all that pain, hard work and suffering into his performance last night. In Act 3's solo, when he literally has to push one leg in front of the other for it to work, I realised that he really knows how that feels, and I felt it with him. He is older, he has matured and as a result he has toned things down and thus found a depth of interpretation that surprised me and knocked me for six.  Bravo Steven.

 

I have always thought that after Rudolf, Larisch is the most important role in the ballet.  She is complex, and has to convey many things:  hurt, spurned lover; procuress of a young girl for Rudolf's amusement as she thinks it will do him good; and most importantly, perhaps, the only person aside from Bratfisch who truly cares for him.  Her desperate gesture in Rudolf's bedroom in Act 3 says it all:  whilst Empress Elizabeth is blaming her for everything that is wrong with her son, Larisch flings her arm out, saying 'look at him for God's sake, and do something.'  Furthermore, she does not want to be rejected and ejected...but she is.  I always think that when she brings Vetsera to Rudolf after that, she knows it won't end well and almost does it as revenge for her treatment by Elizabeth.  Naghdi, on her debut, conveyed all of the complexities of Larisch's character, and added many of her own touches, making her a thoroughly believable character, whom I veer between liking and disliking in equal measure.  I have long thought that she would be suited to this role, and I was correct (just my own opinion).  I think she will be a worthy successor to Laura Morera's incredible interpretation of this multi-layered woman. I am now really interested to see what she makes of Vetsera; such a different role.

 

Sarah Lamb danced prettily (perhaps a bit too prettily) as Mary.  I like my Marys to be a bit more raunchy and passionate, but that just isn't the kind of dancer Lamb is.  So her Mary was more a young girl infatuated; with some Marys you get the impression they know very well what they are doing; here I thought that she found herself in over her head; she actually cared for this man, but it wasn't a large lust or grand passion...she just wanted to play.  The Act 3 pdd was nicely danced, but I didn't get the desperation and passion of their final coupling, nor that this was, in reality, their death dance and farewell.

 

Gosh I have written much more than I was intending to, so just a quick word about the rest of the cast:  I loved Annette Buvoli's Elizabeth.  Hers was a softer woman; someone who you can actually imagine as a mother. I had the feeling that she actually really wanted to hug and hold her son, and to help him, but because of who she was and the behaviour expected of her, she felt that she had to hold herself back. She also comes across as naturally noble.  Anna-Rose O'Sullivan reprised the role of Princess Stefanie with panache; the Act 1 pdd with McRae was perfectly nuanced between violence and abject terror, and it moved me much more than Wednesday night's.  I also really liked Mayara Magri's Mitzi Caspar, but I have to admit that I am always so taken with what's going on in the background that I often don't pay enough attention to Mitzi!!  :)   It was lovely to have James Hay back onstage again.  His Bratfisch is so very moving, and he danced beautifully.  I can only hope that the incomprehensible underuse of this wonderful artist does not continue.  Long may he grace our stage.

 

Finally...I wonder why they are not lowering the coffin anymore?  To me, it makes much more sense to do so.  Why show us that they were trying to hide what happened and cover it up by getting rid of Mary as quickly as possible, and then leaving her coffin on display?  I think that by lowering the coffin, it gives the ballet a dark sense of finality.  She is gone, he is gone, the whole story is buried along with her body, and we can all go home and (when it works as it did last night) marvel at what we had just seen.   

 

  

 

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

 

Is Osipova quite tall then?  I've not really seen that much of her, as I tend to opt for other dancers, but I didn't get that impression on the occasions that I have seen her. 

 

 

No, Osipova would not be described as tall but she is not as small as (say) Francesca Hayward.  Osipova is reported to be about 5.4-5.5ft but can’t be sure.   In pre-Royal Ballet times she had a very successful partnership with Ivan Vasiliev and he is not considered tall (and she was smaller than him, even when on pointe).  

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53 minutes ago, Sim said:

So....about last night.  No-one has said anything about it, so maybe I am once again out of step with what others think (I wasn't crazy about Wednesday's performance, didn't much like Hirano's Rudolf, but all the critics did, so what do I know).  But here goes...

 

Originally, I booked to see this cast because I wanted to see Yasmine Naghdi's debut as Larisch, Anna-Rose O'Sullivan's Stefanie and James Hay's Bratfisch.  To be honest, I wasn't particularly looking forward to Steven McRae's Rudolf as last time it just didn't do anything for me.  I was also underwhelmed by his performance in Rhapsody towards the end of last season.  So I turned up with fairly low expectations, wondering how he would cope with such incredible physical demands on a body that was until recently so badly injured. 

 

Well, this was one of those performances where I am very glad I didn't listen to myself.  I gave myself a stern talking-to and said 'keep your mind open.'  I did...and my reward was a performance that just worked, every which way, and from each and every cast member.  

 

As I said up-thread, for Mayerling to work, Rudolf needs to be believable, and show us how his relationships with various women both mould and convey his inner character and psyche.  He also needs to show us his contempt for a deeply hypocritical and socially stilted court, and how vulnerable he is to all the shenanigans going on around him.  McRae did all of these things last night, and I really felt for his Rudolf.  Starting with a marriage he did not want, then his utter dejection at his icy treatment by his mother, his father treating him with contempt with every encounter (making clear his disappointment in his son), his being hassled constantly by the Hungarian separatists, his mistress Mitzi Caspar betraying him, Mary Vetsera messing with his head but providing some kind of solace, his mother managing to show love to another,  and Marie Larisch, trying to win him back. ... we could see how all of these things combined to crush him, and why he longer wanted to be a part of that unhealthy, stifling world. The look on his face was heartbreaking as he stood, rigid, listening to Ich Scheide being sung lovingly to his father, whilst his mother had just given her husband a birthday present of a portrait of the opera singer (his mistress).  No wonder someone of a sensitive nature would mentally crumble.  The past four years have not been kind to Steven McRae (from a physical and artistic point of view).  He has had to work so hard to come back, he has been through a lot of pain and setbacks and sometimes must have wondered if he would ever be able to tackle these kinds of roles again.  Well, I could see that he channelled all that pain, hard work and suffering into his performance last night. In Act 3's solo, when he literally has to push one leg in front of the other for it to work, I realised that he really knows how that feels, and I felt it with him. He is older, he has matured and as a result he has toned things down and thus found a depth of interpretation that surprised me and knocked me for six.  Bravo Steven.

 

I have always thought that after Rudolf, Larisch is the most important role in the ballet.  She is complex, and has to convey many things:  hurt, spurned lover; procuress of a young girl for Rudolf's amusement as she thinks it will do him good; and most importantly, perhaps, the only person aside from Bratfisch who truly cares for him.  Her desperate gesture in Rudolf's bedroom in Act 3 says it all:  whilst Empress Elizabeth is blaming her for everything that is wrong with her son, Larisch flings her arm out, saying 'look at him for God's sake, and do something.'  Furthermore, she does not want to be rejected and ejected...but she is.  I always think that when she brings Vetsera to Rudolf after that, she knows it won't end well and almost does it as revenge for her treatment by Elizabeth.  Naghdi, on her debut, conveyed all of the complexities of Larisch's character, and added many of her own touches, making her a thoroughly believable character, whom I veer between liking and disliking in equal measure.  I have long thought that she would be suited to this role, and I was correct (just my own opinion).  I think she will be a worthy successor to Laura Morera's incredible interpretation of this multi-layered woman. I am now really interested to see what she makes of Vetsera; such a different role.

 

Sarah Lamb danced prettily (perhaps a bit too prettily) as Mary.  I like my Marys to be a bit more raunchy and passionate, but that just isn't the kind of dancer Lamb is.  So her Mary was more a young girl infatuated; with some Marys you get the impression they know very well what they are doing; here I thought that she found herself in over her head; she actually cared for this man, but it wasn't a large lust or grand passion...she just wanted to play.  The Act 3 pdd was nicely danced, but I didn't get the desperation and passion of their final coupling, nor that this was, in reality, their death dance and farewell.

 

Gosh I have written much more than I was intending to, so just a quick word about the rest of the cast:  I loved Annette Buvoli's Elizabeth.  Hers was a softer woman; someone who you can actually imagine as a mother. I had the feeling that she actually really wanted to hug and hold her son, and to help him, but because of who she was and the behaviour expected of her, she felt that she had to hold herself back. She also comes across as naturally noble.  Anna-Rose O'Sullivan reprised the role of Princess Stefanie with panache; the Act 1 pdd with McRae was perfectly nuanced between violence and abject terror, and it moved me much more than Wednesday night's.  I also really liked Mayara Magri's Mitzi Caspar, but I have to admit that I am always so taken with what's going on in the background that I often don't pay enough attention to Mitzi!!  :)   It was lovely to have James Hay back onstage again.  His Bratfisch is so very moving, and he danced beautifully.  I can only hope that the incomprehensible underuse of this wonderful artist does not continue.  Long may he grace our stage.

 

Finally...I wonder why they are not lowering the coffin anymore?  To me, it makes much more sense to do so.  Why show us that they were trying to hide what happened and cover it up by getting rid of Mary as quickly as possible, and then leaving her coffin on display?  I think that by lowering the coffin, it gives the ballet a dark sense of finality.  She is gone, he is gone, the whole story is buried along with her body, and we can all go home and (when it works as it did last night) marvel at what we had just seen.   

 

  

 

 A terrific review, Sim - thank you. I too have booked for McRae because of the allure of his supporting cast and I really hope that he will convince me this time round, as he did you. I’m always ready to have my eyes opened afresh.

Incidentally James Hay has posted on Instagram that last night was his return to the stage after 8 months. Hopefully, we can now look forward to him being cast in, say, Sleeping Beauty.

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I'd agree with most of what Sim has said - but do think Sarah Lamb was a terrific Mary. Sarah and Steven always (to my mind) dance really well together and last night no exception. Sarah's Mary had an almost malicious glee in the gun-toting scenes, and all the pdds were 'wow' in my eyes; the lifts which can look awkward and almost cumbersome in less able arms, flowed beautifully, and yes, thrillingly. Steven McRae was astonishing - perhaps the best I've seen him dance. He really 'inhabited' the character (sometimes he has struck me as too show-offy with his technical wizz-bang ability, but last night his dancing illuminated the character, in a great performance). Yasmine Naghdi is one of my favourite dancers, and her debut in such a complex role as Larisch just bolstered my opinion of her. Beautifully danced, stunning characterisation - and we know she will only add to that. Can't wait to see her Mary as well now.

And all that from someone for whom Mayerling not a favourite ballet!

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3 hours ago, art_enthusiast said:

Do dancers have to be of a certain build to dance Mary Vetsera then? I would absolutely love to see Marianela Núñez in the role - and Mayara Magri at some point.

Interesting question. Mmmm….I am not sure that we can reduce those casting choices to a certain ballerina’s build.  I think that you need to take a careful look at partnerships, artistry, and temperament.  Also, certain people are excellent dancers but just not ‘right’ (for a variety of reasons) for certain roles. 

 

If you look at the original cast (1978) for Mayerling, the role of Mary Vetsera was interpreted by Lynn Seymour. She was an amazing dancer/actress, an inspiration to Kenneth MacMillan. He originally created his 1960s Romeo and Juliet based on Lynn and Christopher (Gable) not on Fonteyn and Nureyev.  Most would tend to agree that Lynn’s more athletic body build did not conform to the stereotypical perception of the classical ballerina but that did not preclude MacMillan from casting her in the role with David Wall partnering her as her Crown Prince Rudolf, or dancing with Nureyev in other ballets.  

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A wonderful review indeed, Sim, I totally agree with almost everything, but with a nod to zxDaveM, as I also enjoyed Sarah Lamb’s Mary. I did not find her characterisation as complete as Laura Morera’s (there was more of an older dancer’s reading of a teenage girl, albeit less ‘knowing’ than I tend to find Osipova) but I thought that her pas de deux with Steven McRae were terrific, with the act 3 pas de deux particularly raw, and heavy with desperation. And Steven’s Rudolf delivered everything, including the occasional glimpse of a frequently overlooked compassionate side by gestures such as a protective arm around Stephanie early in the brothel scene.

Yasmine Naghdi delivered a distinctly multi-dimensional Larisch, signalling watch your step with this woman every bit as much as her undeniable feelings for Rudolf. Rudolf aside, empathetic towards others she was not. 
Wonderful dancing once more from the Hungarian officers, an engaging and sympathetic Stephanie from Anna Rose O’Sullivan, with Mayara Magri providing a worldly and relatable Mitzi Caspar. And, as ever, a totally stand-out Bratfisch from the wonderful James Hay. One of my companions who comes along from time to time asked me “Who was that?” after his first appearance in the brothel scene and I had to remind her that he was the same dancer whose Mercutio she had remarked on some time back, saying how much she would love to see his Romeo. But that’s another story …

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Please don't get me wrong...I really enjoyed Sarah Lamb's Mary.  I guess I didn't make that clear enough.  My personal preference is for a bit more of the raunchy as that often conveys the desperation of both parties.  However, as I've pointed out before part of the genius of MacMillan is that he leaves room for each of his characters to be open to interpretation.  Sarah's was different and I enjoyed it, but I have liked (or perhaps related to) others more. 

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6 hours ago, TurningPointe said:

Interesting question. Mmmm….I am not sure that we can reduce those casting choices to a certain ballerina’s build.  I think that you need to take a careful look at partnerships, artistry, and temperament.  Also, certain people are excellent dancers but just not ‘right’ (for a variety of reasons) for certain roles. 

 

If you look at the original cast (1978) for Mayerling, the role of Mary Vetsera was interpreted by Lynn Seymour. She was an amazing dancer/actress, an inspiration to Kenneth MacMillan. He originally created his 1960s Romeo and Juliet based on Lynn and Christopher (Gable) not on Fonteyn and Nureyev.  Most would tend to agree that Lynn’s more athletic body build did not conform to the stereotypical perception of the classical ballerina but that did not preclude MacMillan from casting her in the role with David Wall partnering her as her Crown Prince Rudolf, or dancing with Nureyev in other ballets.  

I'm mystified that anyone could call Lynn Seymour's body build 'athletic'. In her younger days she did have a bit of a weight problem, for a dancer, but she didn't dance 'heavy', she was weightless, as though she didn't have a bone in her body, the most wonderful, fluid, lyrical dancing imaginable. I've never seen her equal. In my view her only physical weakness as a dancer was that her neck was a bit short- but that was also true of great dancers like Pat Ruanne and the incomparable Galina Ulanova. People remember that she was a great dance actor but forget what a wonderful dancer she was, inspiring Ashton (Two Pigeons, Brahms Waltzes, Month in the Country) as well as MacMillan (9 ballets, including the very classical Symphony and Baiser de la Fee, so not just dramatic roles). Her musicality and phrasing in classical roles were exceptional.

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how true. I've just re-read her autobiography - few dancers created so many works with so many different choreographers, and her approach to the art is just fascinating. She's wonderful about Nureyev and he was clearly a great and true friend to her. what an utter and absolute tragedy that the original R and J in the Macmillan ballet were never caught on film. i remember her being interviewed about the role she created in Mayerling - it might have been in the BBC doc about the RB at 50 - and saying "she's a bit of a social climber, not a terrific person" - i loved that! and somewhere in the dark recesses of my memory is that her dress came to pieces in one of the pdd and yards of fine tulle enveloped them both. I may have made that up though - may be a completely different story!  I can't really imagine anyone other than Seymour having created Mary for Macmillan. 

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7 hours ago, Suffolkgal said:

 somewhere in the dark recesses of my memory is that her dress came to pieces in one of the pdd and yards of fine tulle enveloped them both. I may have made that up though - may be a completely different story! 

 

No, you didn't make it up! Her dress got torn I think in the final pdd and they had to negotiate long strands of material as well as the fiendishly difficult choreography! (This wasn't at the première but at a performance soon afterwards. Unless it also happened at the première, of course - I wasn't there.)

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As someone who spends several weeks every year just down the road from the village of Mayerling, I have tried to keep up with the many and various writings about this sad historical episode.

 

Recently Greg King and Penny Wilson published their well-researched account (mentioned once before on this Forum although the poster got the name wrong) and this is the book I now recommend to people who want to know more. Here is a link to an informative Amazon review:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R1SWX0LUZGJJPU/

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4 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

As someone who spends several weeks every year just down the road from the village of Mayerling, I have tried to keep up with the many and various writings about this sad historical episode.

 

Recently Greg King and Penny Wilson published their well-researched account (mentioned once before on this Forum although the poster got the name wrong) and this is the book I now recommend to people who want to know more. Here is a link to an informative Amazon review:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R1SWX0LUZGJJPU/

 

Thank you for the reminder. Might be time to re-read before the performance.

 

Excellent book. Well written and easy to read. Not recent though (2017)

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10 hours ago, Suffolkgal said:

how true. I've just re-read her autobiography - few dancers created so many works with so many different choreographers, and her approach to the art is just fascinating. She's wonderful about Nureyev and he was clearly a great and true friend to her. what an utter and absolute tragedy that the original R and J in the Macmillan ballet were never caught on film. i remember her being interviewed about the role she created in Mayerling - it might have been in the BBC doc about the RB at 50 - and saying "she's a bit of a social climber, not a terrific person" - i loved that! and somewhere in the dark recesses of my memory is that her dress came to pieces in one of the pdd and yards of fine tulle enveloped them both. I may have made that up though - may be a completely different story!  I can't really imagine anyone other than Seymour having created Mary for Macmillan. 

Coincidentally there’s a blog about Lynn Seymour by Alistair Macaulay in today’s links, in which he remembers her amazing 1977-78 season.  He says at one point that she created Mary Vetsera in 1968…clearly a typo!  
 

The blog is a timely reminder of what a special artist she was.  I will never forget how her Act 3 Anastasia sent me stumbling out of the theatre in a shocked daze. Unbelievable.  

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6 minutes ago, Sim said:

Coincidentally there’s a blog about Lynn Seymour by Alistair Macaulay in today’s links, in which he remembers her amazing 1977-78 season.  He says at one point that she created Mary Vetsera in 1968…clearly a typo!  
 

The blog is a timely reminder of what a special artist she was.  I will never forget how her Act 3 Anastasia sent me stumbling out of the theatre in a shocked daze. Unbelievable.  

Yes, she was a stunning actor, I reacted the same way as Sim to her Anastasia, when it was still a one-act ballet. I also remember watching her in Onegin and she totally convinced me in the final act that she was going to change the end and give in to Onegin, even though I had already seen that ballet many times.

On the classical side, I saw her in MacMillan's Sleeping Beauty at the Coliseum, partnered by Peter Martins, and her Vision scene had the most beautiful lyrical dancing imaginable. Sheer perfection. And she was my first ever full length Odette, at a matinee in Birmingham in 1959, when I skived off my very strict school. Magic- well worth getting in to trouble when I was found out!

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2 hours ago, oncnp said:

Excellent book. Well written and easy to read. Not recent though (2017)


Thank you. The extensive bibliography covering the people and events of Mayerling goes back well over a century, indeed (if one includes suppressed or unsigned writings) as far back as the 1890s. The only substantial works I know which have been published since King/Wilson five years ago have not been in English.
 

The little that is new in, for example, the more recent German works is of marginal interest but should anyone want to dive down those rabbit holes, feel free to send me a message.

 

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13 hours ago, SheilaC said:

I'm mystified that anyone could call Lynn Seymour's body build 'athletic'. In her younger days she did have a bit of a weight problem, for a dancer, but she didn't dance 'heavy', she was weightless, as though she didn't have a bone in her body, the most wonderful, fluid, lyrical dancing imaginable. I've never seen her equal. In my view her only physical weakness as a dancer was that her neck was a bit short- but that was also true of great dancers like Pat Ruanne and the incomparable Galina Ulanova. People remember that she was a great dance actor but forget what a wonderful dancer she was, inspiring Ashton (Two Pigeons, Brahms Waltzes, Month in the Country) as well as MacMillan (9 ballets, including the very classical Symphony and Baiser de la Fee, so not just dramatic roles). Her musicality and phrasing in classical roles were exceptional.

SheilaC:  Thank you for your comment. I am very sorry, and surprised, to hear that you would be “mystified” by my using of the word “athletic” to refer to a dancer’s body that, while exceptionally expressive, did not conform to the perception of the idealised ballet body. Indeed I could have used different words but I chose carefully out of politeness and respect to the magnificent artist that she was. 

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Just a quick word after seeing the streamed Opening Night show locally this afternoon.  A powerful performance all round, and it all seemed more intense than I recall, with the Company in great form.  Mr Hirano and Mme Morera were particularly strong, I thought.  

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Watched the repeat cinema relay of Mayerling today, luckily they are still transmitting ROH performances, what a treat. I do hope German cinemas will keep this up as there were hardly more than 20 people attending. 

 

Really enjoyed it and having watched Mayerling multiple times in Stuttgart it was great to discover many new things in the ROH rendition of Mayerling.

I had read some reviews here beforehand, so I did expect so see a Rudolph that would really take off towards the end of the evening and so it was. In the past I had seen snippets of Ryoichi's Rudolph and was not really able to connect, tonight this was very different and thought that he particularly excelled in the final variation and PDD especially. But I did enjoy his whole performance much more than than anticipated.

 

The real eye-opener for me, not having seen her in this role before was Laura Morera's Larisch. We had some very good "Larisches" in Stuttgart (Amatriain, in particular) but with her I felt I understood so much more about MacMillan's brilliant retelling of this tragic story. In those cinema close-ups, several times she looked positively frightening and dangerous, sending chills down my spine As SIM wrote above, an incredible interpreter of the role. I am so pleased if, as was written here,  Yasmine Naghdi shows promise of following in these huge footsteps.

 

All the other roles were great, I particularly liked Francesca Hayward as Princess Stephanie, even if for me she was occasionally, a little too much on the adoring side. Loved the moment when Mizzi Caspar (Marianela Nunez) first meets Rudolph but found that towards the end where she dances with the officers and Rudolph, the great sweep of the melody and festive mood did not show as much as it could or should have in the dance. I did admire the perfection paid to details though.  

 

Osipova's Mary high-spirited and unpredictable approach worked very well for me.

One highlight tonight, largely due again to Morera, too, was the card-laying scene which i found totally mesmerising. The contrast between fiendish indtrique-spinning manipulator Larish and Osipova's complete besottedness with the portrait & prince was wonderful, let alone the worried mother was just wonderful, 

 

The PDD with Elizabeth I found beautiful, but her appearances could have been a touch more glamorous for my taste. Bay Middleton, however, was everything one can only wish for in this role, of course. The same goes for Franz Joseph.

 

Very much liked Luca Acri's Bratfisch and after what I read about James Hay would love to see him, too.

 

So, overall, a total treat to be able to watch the Royal Ballet in the cinema and I do hope these showings will continue in the future against all odds!

 

By the way, if I am not mistaken, next Saturday my ballet friends and ballet regulars at Stuttgart Ballet, Margit and Annegret, will be watching Mayerling with Steven McRae. They have seats in the front row stalls, so say hello to them, should you overhear some German accents there...

 

 

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On 08/10/2022 at 09:10, capybara said:

Hirano, in common with Clarke, has the height and strength necessary for the kind of lifting which must breed confidence in someone of Osipova's build.

And earlier:
Osipova, who is (let me phrase this carefully 😉) of more mature build has always been Mary.

 

 

Unless Osipova's size has changed dramatically in the two months since I last saw her dance, I am surprised you make these comments given there are many ballerinas who are much larger than she!

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