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Ashton's Cinderella - new Royal Ballet production


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The Friends’ Spring ROH Magazine has just arrived and contains interesting news about the new production of Ashton’s Cinderella.  It seems that, in the past, women sometimes took the roles of the Stepsisters and Wendy Ellis Somes (who owns the choreographic rights to the ballet) has decided to allow women to get a chance at the parts – in alternate casts.  The Magazine quotes Kevin O’Hare saying that they wanted to take another look at the Stepsisters’ function in the ballet and ‘look at how we can make it work for audiences of today’.  We could be in for some surprises!

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9 minutes ago, Bluebird said:

The Friends’ Spring ROH Magazine has just arrived and contains interesting news about the new production of Ashton’s Cinderella.  It seems that, in the past, women sometimes took the roles of the Stepsisters and Wendy Ellis Somes (who owns the choreographic rights to the ballet) has decided to allow women to get a chance at the parts – in alternate casts.  The Magazine quotes Kevin O’Hare saying that they wanted to take another look at the Stepsisters’ function in the ballet and ‘look at how we can make it work for audiences of today’.  We could be in for some surprises!

Whenever I hear "how we can make it work for audiences of today" alarm bells start to ring.  But I may be pleasantly surprised;  I sure hope so!!  :)

 

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2 minutes ago, Sim said:

Whenever I hear "how we can make it work for audiences of today" alarm bells start to ring.  But I may be pleasantly surprised;  I sure hope so!!  :)

 

 

To be fair, he goes on to say "The story is quite real and you really care for Cinderella. So if you've got these grotesque characters, it becomes too much and takes you out of the story.  My feeling is you have to honour the choreography but make it feel right for today."

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I generally find that women playing the Sisters are more nasty to each other, and prefer the humour of men, although it was getting too broad (this is supposed to be a fairy tale) and needs to be gentler and sadder 🙂 

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They were the ugly stepsisters in my day.  Given that one of the original ones was the choreographer himself, and that the pictures show both Ashton and Helpmann in very exaggerated makeup and costume, I don't think these characters are meant to be taken too seriously!  i don't think the dancers portraying them should be too over the top, but on the other hand a sense of pantomime is always fun. 

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44 minutes ago, Bluebird said:

The Friends’ Spring ROH Magazine has just arrived and contains interesting news about the new production of Ashton’s Cinderella.  It seems that, in the past, women sometimes took the roles of the Stepsisters and Wendy Ellis Somes (who owns the choreographic rights to the ballet) has decided to allow women to get a chance at the parts – in alternate casts.

 

I hope they will therefore announce the stepsister casting in advance. Never having seen the ballet before, I would be interested in seeing both the male & female stepsister options so would like to be able to book for casts accordingly.

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Worth remembering that Ashton originally intended that the sisters would be danced by women, and it was only when one of those he had chosen (Moyra Fraser) dropped out that he changed his mind.

 

Fraser and Margaret Dale finally got their chance in 1958.

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The article is very interesting but did ring a few alarm bells for me, which I hope will turn out to be entirely unjustified! I just hope the designs/videos etc don't overwhelm the production - the magic is already there in the music and the choreography and I don't think the designs etc need to be too 'big'. But I'm looking forward to it with excitement.

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Very few ‘sister’ casts have come across as anything but grotesque to me so I welcome the intention to ‘update’. Just a tad disappointed that there will still be male casts. I find Wheeldon’s women very palatable.

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One RB principal (a great star but no names, no names) told me she had to stop doing Cinderella as the stepsisters "mucking about" - unmusically and against Ashton's intentions - made it impossible to bring out the beauties of the ballet.  

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3 hours ago, Sim said:

Whenever I hear "how we can make it work for audiences of today" alarm bells start to ring.  But I may be pleasantly surprised;  I sure hope so!!  :)

 

Yes.  When I read the article today, alarm bells rang for me. I have never seen the ballet, so hopefully, when I do see it, I will be pleasantly surprised too. 

 

I wonder when the casts will be announced? Booking for Premium 2 Friends is from November 22nd, so it must be soon? 

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It'll be interesting to see if the small number of dancers who have previously performed the role - which as far as I can find from the ROH database is down to Nunez, Lamb & Choe, with Cuthbertson off on maternity leave - will reprise it this time or whether younger dancers will be favoured. Much as I'd like to see Morera in another Ashton role, as she didn't get cast back in 2010-11 I suspect she won't get to do it this time around (mind you, I thought that about Coppelia...). Among the younger Principals I think Hayward & Magri would be the first I'd book for, if they get cast.

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Fumi Kaneko, Yasmine Naghdi and Anna Rose O'Sullivan among the female Principals for Cinderella for me with Muntagirov, Ball and Hay as their Princes.

I agree about Isabella Gasparini but I don't think that, with so many Principals now, a Soloist (as distinct from a First Soloist) would be likely to be cast.

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I noticed the friends’ magazine listed the opening night with a 7pm start as a “gala evening”. 
 

Any idea what this might mean - I presume it will get booked up with press and friends and sponsors etc but would be interested to perhaps book for it if I can (although casting is still key). 
 

I would love to see Morera in this but sense it won’t happen. 
 

My casting choices probably would be Nunez, Hayward, Kaneko, Naghdi and O’Sullivan. Yes that’s half the principals haha so given prices I may narrow down to two and it will depend on dates but Nunez and Kaneko will be my first picks I think. It’ll be interesting to see who gets opening night! 
 

I have never seen this production before, or any Cinderella production, so am very intrigued. I have to say not overly pleased with video being mentioned as I prefer “traditional” style effects, and I’m not a panto fan so I fear the “male” stepsisters would not be my thing either. I admit I also am no big fan of the music which I find overly jarring and screeching. But I’m so looking forward to seeing the choreography and hopefully some lovely new costumes! 

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1 hour ago, JNC said:

I noticed the friends’ magazine listed the opening night with a 7pm start as a “gala evening”. 
 

Any idea what this might mean - I presume it will get booked up with press and friends and sponsors etc but would be interested to perhaps book for it if I can (although casting is still key).

 

I think it might mean a fund raiser dinner in the Floral Hall, after the performance

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7 minutes ago, zxDaveM said:

 

I think it might mean a fund raiser dinner in the Floral Hall, after the performance


My thoughts exactly. With one of those “please donate even if you think you can’t attend” communications sent out to Friends in good time before booking opens. Mind you, I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to go if I could in any way afford the eye watering cost of a table …

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In the original with Helpman and Ashton (it is on film) there were moments of real pathos when you felt for Ashton's sister. Although in many ways they were just like pantomime dames I do feel it was much more subtle and nuanced. Over the years it has coarsened. 

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19 hours ago, Geoff said:

One RB principal (a great star but no names, no names) told me she had to stop doing Cinderella as the stepsisters "mucking about" - unmusically and against Ashton's intentions - made it impossible to bring out the beauties of the ballet.  

 

Surely that shouldn't be allowed?  Having said that, whose responsibility is it to tell them to stop doing it?  Although men dressed as women are definitely in the pantomime tradition, it isn't a pantomime and never has been. 

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I only wish I could see it again. AusBallet has a very nice Ratmansky version to replace Stanton Welch's, but the Ashton hasn't been seen in many, many years apart from some extracts in a programme celebrating Dame Peggy van Praagh in 2010.

 

My first Cinderella (my first ballet) featured Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell, with Ashton and Helpmann as the sisters, Georgina Parkinson as the fairy godmother and bonus of Derek Rencher and Wayne Sleep as the sisters' suitors. December 1969.

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2 hours ago, MargaretN7 said:

The first time I saw it was Fonteyn and Somes, with Moyra Fraser and Margaret Hill as the step-sisters. Seen it many times since, and, with no qualms, am greatly looking forward to seeing it again.

 

I am so envious. 

 

4 minutes ago, Sophoife said:

 

 

My first Cinderella (my first ballet) featured Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell, with Ashton and Helpmann as the sisters, Georgina Parkinson as the fairy godmother and bonus of Derek Rencher and Wayne Sleep as the sisters' suitors. December 1969.

 

What a fantastic cast.

I think the last time I saw it, Yoshida danced the main role, but I cannot remember who was playing an of the other roles.  i would love to see Morera given a chance, and I am sure Lamb would be lovely in the role as well. 

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4 hours ago, Fonty said:

I think the last time I saw it, Yoshida danced the main role, but I cannot remember who was playing an of the other roles.  i would love to see Morera given a chance, and I am sure Lamb would be lovely in the role as well. 

 

Her last performances were with Steven McRae, who was a very attentive and gracious partner

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On 26/10/2022 at 18:26, capybara said:

Very few ‘sister’ casts have come across as anything but grotesque to me so I welcome the intention to ‘update’. Just a tad disappointed that there will still be male casts. I find Wheeldon’s women very palatable.

 

I like the way the Wheeldon version casts the sisters as well.  I hope RB does something similar.  

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17 hours ago, Fonty said:

 

I am so envious. 

 

 

What a fantastic cast.

I think the last time I saw it, Yoshida danced the main role, but I cannot remember who was playing an of the other roles.  i would love to see Morera given a chance, and I am sure Lamb would be lovely in the role as well. 

Sarah Lamb has already danced Cinderella with various partners in the past, and I hope she will be reprising it in this revival.  I’ve seen Laura Morera as the Fairy Godmother, but would like to see her as Cinderella too- her interpretation and artistry in the acting would be marvellous. Her Swanilda was my favourite of all the Coppelia casts I saw in the 2019/2020 season. 

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56 minutes ago, Emeralds said:

Sarah Lamb has already danced Cinderella with various partners in the past, and I hope she will be reprising it in this revival.  I’ve seen Laura Morera as the Fairy Godmother, but would like to see her as Cinderella too- her interpretation and artistry in the acting would be marvellous. Her Swanilda was my favourite of all the Coppelia casts I saw in the 2019/2020 season. 

 

Morera was my favourite in Coppelia as well.  She has a wonderful gift for comedy.   I saw her with Campbell, and they were marvellous together.  I would certainly pay very good money if they were paired together again.

 

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