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English National Ballet Swan Lake Autumn/Winter 2022/2023


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Thank you PeterS and Sim. (And thank you for reporting on Lorenzo’s first run of Siegfrieds in London, PeterS, as well as the other performances.)

 

Painful to have to skip two shows when all the company are dancing so well, but this isn’t a hissy fit- it was a horrible experience, and it was insulting to see Tchaikovsky’s music treated like that. Had there been just silence it would have been ok. Just glad I got to see Salenko and Frola at least! 

 

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Regarding all the "tolerant behaviour" I think a massive complaint to the Coliseum AS WELL as to ENB management is the only way to -hopefully- change things. I strongly recommend to do this. At least here in Berlin, the management listens very attentively to the audience. I would be surprised if this is not the case with ENB.

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1 hour ago, PeterS said:

So, at the interval I asked if the Coliseum had changed it's policy in respect of the above and was told that management have, depending on Company guidelines (in this case the ENB), adopted a more tolerant and relaxed attitude to these random comings and goings.

 

I'm very disappointed to hear it's a deliberate change of policy rather than an inability to control audience behaviour. I found myself thinking at various points of the 2 performances I attended that a large proportion of the audience seem to have attended in order to 1) talk, 2) drink & eat, and 3) check their phones, with watching ballet being at 4) on their list of priorities. If selling popocorn, allowing people to go in & out, etc. are the price to pay to save ENO then I'm not sure I wouldn't rather ENO wasn't saved!

 

Given companies put on "relaxed" performances for people who are unable to sit through normal performances, I wish they'd also do "uptight" performances for those of us who are driven mad by audience chatter, eating, drinking, etc. and just want everyone to sit still & keep quiet!

 

There also seems to be some inconsistency in how "tolerant and relaxed" FOH staff are being as in one of the intervals on the first night I got snapped at by an usher when I moved in the direction of one of the closed main doors (I was not attempting to go out, I just wanted to stand aside from the crowd to slip my mask off & take a drink) and at the second performance I wasn't allowed to nip up to the Ladies between the stalls & dress circle levels before the performance, even though I had been at the previous performance & at the Nutcracker (I usually go there because it's quieter than the loos in the basement).

 

@PeterSThanks for reviewing Trosello. I'd been wondering how he was getting on in the lead role, having seen him in 2 Spanish dances within 3 weeks. What I can't understand is why ENB hired him only at Junior Soloist level then promptly cast him in one of the hardest classical males roles. Surely he should have been hired as at least a Soloist if not higher if they expect him to dance major roles straight off.

Edited by Dawnstar
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Thanks Sabine0308. 

 

Of course, what ENB/Coliseum call tolerant behaviour is tolerant to the guzzlers, tardy folk, ignorant loutishness but very intolerant of those who appreciate the art, paid their hard earned money and want to see and hear the whole thing, and people who don’t like sniffing secondhand alcohol, popcorn and whatever pungent food odours. Or listening to people yakking about their boss or their holidays in their ear while music is being played. 

 

I’ve been at a relaxed performance elsewhere before, and the audience and staff there showed more respect and courtesy to the performers and their music than this week at the Coliseum.

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23 minutes ago, Dawnstar said:

Given companies put on "relaxed" performances for people who are unable to sit through normal performances, I wish they'd also do "uptight" performances for those of us who are driven mad by audience chatter, eating, drinking, etc. and just want everyone to sit still & keep quiet!

 

HEAR HEAR!

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46 minutes ago, Sabine0308 said:

Regarding all the "tolerant behaviour" I think a massive complaint to the Coliseum AS WELL as to ENB management is the only way to -hopefully- change things. I strongly recommend to do this. At least here in Berlin, the management listens very attentively to the audience. I would be surprised if this is not the case with ENB.

 

I went to see the Berlin Philharmonic at New Year and the audience was very well behaved (and Petrenko was amazing - my mother wanted to take him home because he was so cute).  No talking, eating or misbehaviour. 

 

I wish the Coliseum audience could be as good.  I can't stand all of this eating and drinking during the show.  I mean I sometimes have a bottle of water or a cough sweet but that's only for emergencies.  I eat beforehand or afterwards.  I think people are too used to watching things on live streams at home where you can do what you want.  

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As I understand it, eating and drinking revenue at venues goes to the venue. (Landlord). Hence, particularly in these difficult times, a venue will push its food and drink offerings as much as it can. Producers of visiting companies e.g. ENB,  mostly don’t have any say in the matter even if it is to the detriment of its ‘product’ I.e the show. Thus there will always be friction and discord around this issue as there are conflicting interests.. 
Box office revenue goes to the producers who have assumed the risk of putting on the show or is split between the producers and the venue depending on the agreement. (The latter is more common in the regions who want to attract shows to their theatres). I don’t know the specifics for the Coliseum. In the West End producers are charged rent and all costs right down to the number of toilet rolls used while proceeds of bar and food sales go to the theatre. 

The ROH has more control because it is both landlord and producer.
 

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Well I did have some luck on Wednesday then as nobody near us was eating or drinking at least just people allowed to come very late ( not just a little bit late) into the performance. 
Im a bit dismayed to hear they may be giving the message out that it’s okay to come and go as you please though! 
When it looked like everybody was staying put I didn’t even dare go to the loo in the interval because of all the palava and not remembering exactly how many loos there were! 
I think I’m going to send a separate email to customer services as not sure my comments on the survey will get to the right people. 
I still don’t see why people can’t buy what they want in “snacks” but just keep them for the intervals this incessant need to eat and drink is becoming a bit of a curse. 
I love your idea of a special showing for us uptight lot lol Dawnstar! 

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20 hours ago, PeterS said:

So, at the interval I asked if the Coliseum had changed it's policy in respect of the above and was told that management have, depending on Company guidelines (in this case the ENB), adopted a more tolerant and relaxed attitude to these random comings and goings.   I said how disruptive it is for everyone else and was told that my feedback would be reported.  (I'm not holding my breath). I was also told that, during the wonderful orchestral overtures before each Act, talking, phones etc were permitted and that only when the curtain was raised "on the action" would patrons be asked to desist.  As a result the start of each act saw ushers running up and down the aisles, again very disruptive when this could have been accomplished a few minutes earlier with a better result.


This is just wrong! Totally shocking, wholly unnecessary, disrespectful to the orchestra and unacceptably dismissive of audience members there to enjoy the performance. Which most definitely includes the orchestral overtures and interludes. 
i am sadly not surprised by the ‘don’t care’ attitude towards drinks and food in the auditorium since for some time now, when placing orders, I have been asked did I want to take them in and met with looks of incredulity when replying that, no, I wanted my drinks at the interval. 

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18 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

 

I'm very disappointed to hear it's a deliberate change of policy rather than an inability to control audience behaviour. I found myself thinking at various points of the 2 performances I attended that a large proportion of the audience seem to have attended in order to 1) talk, 2) drink & eat, and 3) check their phones, with watching ballet being at 4) on their list of priorities. If selling popocorn, allowing people to go in & out, etc. are the price to pay to save ENO then I'm not sure I wouldn't rather ENO wasn't saved!

 

Given companies put on "relaxed" performances for people who are unable to sit through normal performances, I wish they'd also do "uptight" performances for those of us who are driven mad by audience chatter, eating, drinking, etc. and just want everyone to sit still & keep quiet!

 

There also seems to be some inconsistency in how "tolerant and relaxed" FOH staff are being as in one of the intervals on the first night I got snapped at by an usher when I moved in the direction of one of the closed main doors (I was not attempting to go out, I just wanted to stand aside from the crowd to slip my mask off & take a drink) and at the second performance I wasn't allowed to nip up to the Ladies between the stalls & dress circle levels before the performance, even though I had been at the previous performance & at the Nutcracker (I usually go there because it's quieter than the loos in the basement).

 

@PeterSThanks for reviewing Trosello. I'd been wondering how he was getting on in the lead role, having seen him in 2 Spanish dances within 3 weeks. What I can't understand is why ENB hired him only at Junior Soloist level then promptly cast him in one of the hardest classical males roles. Surely he should have been hired as at least a Soloist if not higher if they expect him to dance major roles straight off.

I’m ready to sign up for the uptight performances too! 

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I've just written them an email of complaint, saying I have no intention of going to the theatre until they change these policies.

I simply can't afford to pay so much  money (travel etc as well) for such a poor experience, and I object to the theatre allowing this behaviour as disgracefully rude to the majprity of the audience and to the performers and whole Company.

 

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14 minutes ago, Mary said:

I just sent an email here: customerrelations@eno.org

 

 

Let us know if you get a reply, Mary. When I complained to them about something a couple of years ago they replied quite quickly.  

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45 minutes ago, Mary said:

I've just written them an email of complaint, saying I have no intention of going to the theatre until they change these policies.

I simply can't afford to pay so much  money (travel etc as well) for such a poor experience, and I object to the theatre allowing this behaviour as disgracefully rude to the majprity of the audience and to the performers and whole Company.

 


Well said, Mary!

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Emeralds, thanks so much both for your review and also for expressing what went wrong re the Coli’s expectations of audience behaviour. I was shocked and disappointed at the amount of background noise during the music at the start of Act 2 at last Sunday’s performance and couldn’t understand why the music wasn’t enough of a signal for people to stop chatting! Fortunately for me I was seated in a stage box on my own (exchanged from my original seat which I mentioned on the casting thread) so I was close enough to the orchestra for the noise to not make too much of a difference to me personally but I felt sad all the same that it was happening!

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I too have emailed the above address. I like to wear nice clothes to the ballet, and it would only be a matter of time before someone tripped and spilled red wine down my pearl grey suit!

Last night's performance was spectacular however, notwithstanding the grazers and boozers.

Edited by Balletbloke
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Surely there are (genuine) health and safety issues involved in people tripping around in the dark, up and down steps and falling over other people's feet (with bags and etc also in the way)??

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1 hour ago, bridiem said:

Surely there are (genuine) health and safety issues involved in people tripping around in the dark, up and down steps and falling over other people's feet (with bags and etc also in the way)??


Exactly - I was trying to get to my seat in the middle of a row last Saturday, and there were several full glasses of alcohol on the floor right next it (plus bags) which could certainly have led to an accident. People shouldn’t have to struggle amongst alcoholic drinks to achieve their main goal of attending - sitting in their actual seat!

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30 minutes ago, art_enthusiast said:


Exactly - I was trying to get to my seat in the middle of a row last Saturday, and there were several full glasses of alcohol on the floor right next it (plus bags) which could certainly have led to an accident. People shouldn’t have to struggle amongst alcoholic drinks to achieve their main goal of attending - sitting in their actual seat!

 

I did once have some red wine spilt over me, I think at Sadler's Wells. Fortunately I wasn't wearing anything light but it was still really annoying!

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Oh my oh my….Frola/Salenko this afternoon!  Sigh and sigh again.  I am bowled over by such a beautiful and stunning performance.  Huge bravas as well to the gorgeous corps of swans.  Talk about finishing on a high, and leaving ‘em wanting more…. Fabulous.  ❤️

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39 minutes ago, Sim said:

Oh my oh my….Frola/Salenko this afternoon!  Sigh and sigh again.  I am bowled over by such a beautiful and stunning performance.  Huge bravas as well to the gorgeous corps of swans.  Talk about finishing on a high, and leaving ‘em wanting more…. Fabulous.  ❤️


i really can’t add to that, Sim. But I’m going to anyway. 
As someone who couldn’t engage emotionally with Sakenko when she guested at the RB, I felt that I was watching someone else entirely at ENB today. Her Odette was exquisite, her Odile a master class in measured dynamism. 

And Frola? I didn’t think it was possible to love him more than I did already but after today’s performance I’ll take that back. This man really does have it all - classicism, virtuosity, emotional heft - and a tangible, very special connection with his Odette/Odile. Just wonderful!
And as Sim had already said, huge bravado to an absolutely gorgeous corps of swans.  

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I went last night to see the Aitor Arrieta/Emma Hawes cast- I thought they were both fantastic.  After reading everyone's awful audience experiences on here I was prepared for the worst but it sounds like I'm the luckiest forum member who went as everyone around me behaved perfectly- so the ballet gods must have been smiling on me last night!  But I am very sorry to hear everyone else's experiences!

 

Although the music and a lot of the choreography is absolutely beautiful Swan Lake has never been a great favourite of mine but I think last night might have converted me a bit.  For the leads- I thought Emma was amazing equally as Odette and Odile.  I thought her Odette really came through as a gentle but strong soul; in anguish about being trapped but resigned to it.  When she came on as Odile it really did feel like she was a different dancer the acting was excellent.  Also best fouettés I've seen in a while.  Aitor was great as the prince, I really liked the interpretation.  I was immediately invested in his character (outside of the romance) and his journey, I thought he did a really great job with the character portrayal and of course the dancing was excellent.  I also did really feel a completely genuine connection between them which of course makes everything better! 

 

The other standouts for me were Emily Suzuki in the Pas de Trois and the Spanish dance- I thought she was excellent.  I feel like someone on this forum made a comment like she brought poetry to her dancing or something like that.  It was a while ago when I read it but anyway, if I've got the dancer right then I totally agree 😂.  Francessca Velicu and Noam Durand were the lead peasants, they were excellent.  I really enjoyed Rhys Antoni Yeomans in the Neapolitan.  I absolutely loved the Spanish Dance.  Loved the ending (I have seen ENB version before but it was a few years ago and I had bad seats so I couldn't quite remember how it ended- but glad it was my favourite ending- to me it's the only ending which fits that particularly transcendent bit of Tchaikovsky's music at the end.  Last but not least the corps of swans were just amazing.

 

 

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I also really have nothing to add to Sim and Scheherezade's comments about the matinee today but I'm going to anyway :) simply to acknowledge a consummate performance. 

 

I agree with Scheherezade about Salenko and the RB, today she was transcendent. And in the flawless Frola she had a partner of peerless quality. 

 

I absolutely love this production.  In particular Act IV with the monumental drum roll heralding Siegfried's desperate run on stage to the lakeside (which Frola does to perfection) and the apotheosis which fits the music like a glove - IMO in these two respects the current RB production is a crime against ballet. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading the comments about today's matinee has me envying those who were there, even though I saw the same cast on Wednesday. If only the performance hadn't been sold out I would have been very tempted to go again (admittedly probably good for my bank balance it was sold out).

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1 hour ago, Scheherezade said:

And as Sim had already said, huge bravado to an absolutely gorgeous corps of swans.  


And to highlight what happens when you don’t proofread for autocorrect before or shortly after posting, that should, of course, have read “huge bravas”. 

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I also saw Salenko and Frola on Wednesday and found it deeply moving. Salenko was gorgeous, I was so happy I booked for this cast. Her delicate Odette was completely heartbreaking, and the Act 2 pas de deux was especially beautiful. I liked her Odile too, but I admired her in Act 3 more for her technical brilliance than her pizzazz. Frola was marvellous throughout, with him I did like Act 3 the best - that jump at the entrance to his solo! In smaller roles, I enjoyed Francesca Velicu's lead peasant and Precious Adams's Pas de Trois.

 

Having previously seen Swan Lakes elsewhere incl the RB, it was my first time watching this Derek Deane version and I liked the first act corps dances in particular, and the apotheosis ending. It really does suit the music so much better than the strange RB ending. I liked the faster tempi in the music compared to the RB when it came to Act 1, but whether because of the faster music or the general staging, found Siegried's heartbreak at the end of Act 3 and their death in Act 4 a bit too quick. I thought those moments were over before they had even arrived and I had no time to get emotionally involved.

 

I know others have mentioned dark lighting before. I noticed this particularly in Act 1, where it seemed unfair to Precious Adams in particular, since she danced such a delicate solo but I found it just too dark to see her legs properly (in dark brown tights). I did have the same issue with Frola's dark leggings in Act 3, but it seemed particularly strange during the Pas de Trois because I could see Emily Suzuki's legs, but not Adams's. If letting dancers wear skin colour tights is one of the small gestures towards ballet becoming a bit more inclusive, should companies not also adjust the lighting rather than standardising it for almost-glow-in-the-dark bright white tights?

 

I was also very confused by some of the audience behaviour including the chatting before Act 2 and the very late arrivals. I was quite lucky though, I did smell wine throughout the performance but at least nobody was munching popcorn next to me!

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1 hour ago, Sophie_B said:

I know others have mentioned dark lighting before. I noticed this particularly in Act 1, where it seemed unfair to Precious Adams in particular, since she danced such a delicate solo but I found it just too dark to see her legs properly (in dark brown tights). I did have the same issue with Frola's dark leggings in Act 3

 

I was in the Upper Circle, and did struggle at times to make out both Adams' and Frola's legs easily: both were at times dancing against areas of floor which were - or appeared to be, due to lighting - of similar colours to their tights/shoes.  I suspect this wouldn't have been a problem when viewed head-on from e.g. the stalls, where they would presumably have been seen against the backdrop rather than the floor.  It's not only this production - or even Swan Lake - where this can be a problem: I've had similar with the previous Royal Ballet Swan Lake production with Siegfried in navy blue, Onegin in black in the dream sequence, and probably quite a few others which don't immediately come to mind.

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Like others above, I was mesmerised by Salenko and Frola and blown away by the stunning Corps. So good. 

And while I'm NOT excusing bad audience behaviour, a great performance makes it easier for me to tune out other people. Plus, having an excellent seat for literally 54% of a similar one at the ROH put me in a happy mood to start with. It extended to a feeling of comradeship with the mix of people around me as we experienced this gorgeous show together.

My favourite moment was after all the applause when the man sitting behind me said to his companion, "I didn't think I was a ballet person, but I guess I am."

 

Well done ENB 🤍 

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