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Royal Ballet, Spring 2023 casting


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Why is it Nunez being filmed again?  While she is a wonderful dancer, is she so magnificent that the majority of her performances are the ones preserved for posterity?  A bit controversial of me, perhaps, and she and Muntagirov are terrific together, but personally I would have preferred to see other dancers that I believe are more suited to the Ashton style.

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25 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

I sometimes wonder the same, but then I remember that I've never seen her fluff anything. On a big night that has to be a consideration.

I was thinking the same thing..safe pair of hands ( and feet). 

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I find it a bit worrying that the reason a certain dancer is picked is because "they don't fluff anything"!  Should a safe pair of feet really be the main thought when filming?  Surely the fact that a particular dancer is considered to be THE best example the RB has to offer in that particular role should be the overwhelming factor.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, Fonty said:

I find it a bit worrying that the reason a certain dancer is picked is because "they don't fluff anything"!  Should a safe pair of feet really be the main thought when filming?  Surely the fact that a particular dancer is considered to be THE best example the RB has to offer in that particular role should be the overwhelming factor.  

 

 

just curious...who would you have chosen?

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Just now, Fonty said:

I find it a bit worrying that the reason a certain dancer is picked is because "they don't fluff anything"!  Should a safe pair of feet really be the main thought when filming?  Surely the fact that a particular dancer is considered to be THE best example the RB has to offer in that particular role should be the overwhelming factor.  


Tend to agree but Wendy Ellis Somes might not be familiar with the RB dancers’ potential as Cinderella until they begin rehearsals.

It’s a really big role with many interpretative challenges alongside technical ones.

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19 hours ago, jmhopton said:

I hope we're not expected to plug ROH Arts Council deficit with even more ticket price rises.

 

I thought that when I saw the ROH 9% Arts Council reduction yesterday. Ticket prices have only just gone up a significant amount. The other day I found my package booking email for the 2019-20 autumn booking, where I paid £94.30 for a Sleeping Beauty stalls seat. Without the package booking I think it would have been around £115. The same seat for this season's SB's is £151! And now there's no package booking to provide a reduction. Even with the inflation increase this year, that price rise is more than just keeping pace with inflation.

 

Might a consideration for the cinema casting be that Nunez has done the role before and only one of the other Cinderellas, Lamb, has. Maybe they'd rather have someone who knows the role than a debutante?

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47 minutes ago, oncnp said:

just curious...who would you have chosen?

I would have chosen Morera/Ball. She has so much experience and it may well have been the last chance for us to finally have her in a big role on film.  She is a great Ashton interpreter, both technically and dramatically….and a ‘safe’ and reliable choice.  But hey, what do I know?

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4 hours ago, Lizbie1 said:

I sometimes wonder the same, but then I remember that I've never seen her fluff anything. On a big night that has to be a consideration.

I have seen her 'fluff' her fouettés in Swan Lake - a big wobble and I thought she was going to fall out of them. Of course, she recovered beautifully and elegantly and got the biggest round of applause from the audience - including from me. Made no difference to her performance and her sheer willpower and determination to get those fouettés under control was amazing to see - all in the space of about 2 seconds! I expect she has been chosen because she will appeal to a lot of people - she is probably one of the most famous and highly regarded ballerinas in TRB? 

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11 hours ago, oncnp said:

just curious...who would you have chosen?

 

My personal choice would have been Morera and Ball.  She is a wonderful actress, very experienced, and great in Ashton ballets.  To my knowledge she has never been filmed, which is tragic.  

 

If it was a question of picking people who are experienced then Lamb/McRae have both danced it before.  I have come to appreciate Lamb rather late in the day, not having seen that much of her before.  I don't know what she is like in the Ashton rep, but  I think it will suit her very well.  Plus it would have been nice to see someone different.

 

When I am allowed to book, those are the two casts I will be interested in.  If the Friends haven't snapped up all the seats first!

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I hope to be proved wrong and find that with this revival of Cinderella Nunez will finally find the interpretive imagination and range which Ashton's choreography for the lead character demands. We have to remember that this ballet was not simply a tribute to Petipa it was an important element in Ashton's  campaign to eliminate the expressionist style dance works which Helpmann favoured from the company's repertory and place works using classical vocabulary and classically based themes at the centre of the company's artistic identity. The problem is that while the leading role does not call for acting skills it does need a dancer with a lively interpretative imagination who will reveal the full potential of the choreography, However in order to achieve that you need dancers who are willing to take artistic risks and dance on the edge rather than playing safe all the time.. The portrait of each of the main characters who appear in the ballet is contained in their choreography and its relationship to the music ro which it is set and it is up to the interpreter to .reveal this to the audience.

 

My problem is that I tend to find Nunez for all her technical perfection, or perhaps because of it,dull and lacking in interpretive and artistic interest. Having said that you can be pretty certain that she will have the best supporting cast on stage with her which is why I shall probably book to see her. I thought Lamb was too serious for Lise but I thought she was good in Cinderella even when dancing with a partner who proved more than a little wayward at points when attentive partnering was required. As far as the rest of the casts are concerned are concerned the title role can be danced quite successfully as a close relative of Aurora so Kaneko and Naghdi are likely to acquit themselves well but I am looking for more than that. If I could only see one cast I would choose that headed by Morera but Hayward has also proved to be a fine Ashton dancer in a range of roles created at different stages of the choreographer's career on dancers of contrasting types and styles. Osipova of course is something of a dark horse but you can be sure she will be different. I hope that Cinderella sells well, as I always suspect that there are those in management who are forever looking for excuses to stage even less Ashton than is usually permitted.

 

If it had been me I would have been tempted to allocate six of the performances allocated to Cinderella to an all Ashtom mixed bill based on last year's offering  of Scenes and Rhapsody with  a revival of the complete Apparitions replacing Month. As to the casting for such a revival I think that Hayward alternating with Morera as the Woman in a Ballgown and Bracewell and Ball alternating as the Poet would do very nicely.

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Incidentally this will be Alexander Campbell's third Cinderella's Prince. He danced the Bintley version at BRB, and the AusBallet Ratmansky (Daniel Gaudiello, on whom that role was created and who was sitting behind me, said AC was the only man he'd seen dance every single step of the choreography apart from himself).

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On 06/11/2022 at 09:47, FLOSS said:

 

My problem is that I tend to find Nunez for all her technical perfection, or perhaps because of it,dull and lacking in interpretive and artistic interest. Having said that you can be pretty certain that she will have the best supporting cast on stage with her which is why I shall probably book to see her.

 

 

I wouldn't go so far as to say I find Nunez dull!  Far from it, but I find that some dancers are so technical in their performance that every single piece of choreography is danced in the exactly the same way.  If that makes sense?  They are so perfect that it can come across as a bit bland. 

 

I adore Campbell, and think he and Haywood make a terrific partnership.   Unfortunately, I have seen Haywood a couple of times recently and been every so slightly disappointed with her performance.  Nothing specific, just not quite as good as I was expecting.  However, I agree she has been great in previous Ashton works, and the style suits her.  I am still hesitating between this pairing and the Lamb/McCrae one.  If someone gives me a late Christmas present, I might see three casts.  

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I’m hugely disappointed in the casting of so many of the older ballerinas in this.   For me the quintessential was Alina Cojocaru and her fresh faced young self seems the ‘right’ sort of casting for this.

 

I think RB management have made a big mistake seemingly relying on box office names.  Coppélia is an interesting comparable …  Marianela’s Swanhilda was safe but uninteresting compared to Yasmine Naghdi’s sparkle and musical dynamics.  
 

The technical challenges of this role would be easily mastered by the new younger principals … Magri and O’Sullivan.  Better than some existing principals.  I’d be worried about Morera, Hayward, Lamb.   And why is Yuhui Choe not cart?  She has performed this role so many times beautifully before?  She may be older now but still youthful looking on stage and technically secure.

My top choices of what has been offered are Takada, Naghdi and Kaneko.  

  
 

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32 minutes ago, FionaE said:

I’m hugely disappointed in the casting of so many of the older ballerinas in this.   For me the quintessential was Alina Cojocaru and her fresh faced young self seems the ‘right’ sort of casting for this.

 

I think RB management have made a big mistake seemingly relying on box office names.  Coppélia is an interesting comparable …  Marianela’s Swanhilda was safe but uninteresting compared to Yasmine Naghdi’s sparkle and musical dynamics.  
 

The technical challenges of this role would be easily mastered by the new younger principals … Magri and O’Sullivan.  Better than some existing principals.  I’d be worried about Morera, Hayward, Lamb.   And why is Yuhui Choe not cart?  She has performed this role so many times beautifully before?  She may be older now but still youthful looking on stage and technically secure.

My top choices of what has been offered are Takada, Naghdi and Kaneko.  

  
 

 

Why would you be worried about Morera, Hayward and Lamb (which just happen to be my 3 choices)?  The first 2 are proven Ashton dancers, more than capable of coping with the technical demands.  Lamb is a bit of an unknown quantity for me,  I admit, but I have always been impressed with her capabilities on the few occasions I  have seen her.  I mentioned her originally because the discussion seemed to suggest that the cinema performance should go to dancers who have performed the role before, and both she and her partner have done so.  However, with such a range of casts, as I can't see everybody I would also be looking at the male partners as well.   

 

With regard to the actual age of the dancer, what does it matter?  Surely it is the ability to portray youth that counts?  Morera in particular is extremely good at this. 

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I adore Nunez and she is one of my (if not the?) favourite dancers.

 

Having said that I do echo that it’s a bit formulaic for her and Muntagirov to her the new/revival opening nights and cinema relays. Recently they have had Coppelia (the first revival in a while and first recorded performance in 15 years?); the “new” Swan Lake opening and recording, and now Cinderella. 
 

could they have at least given the recording and gala night to two different casts? Given the opening gala night looks unlikely to be attended by regular people (due to pricing and or availability), perhaps it could have gone to Morera/Ball? (Although would have preferred Morera to be filmed as others have said this feels like one of the last chances…)

 

Hayward had the Like Water for Chocolate opening, Kaneko had the sleeping beauty relay and Naghdi has had a few recordings already so what about Takada, or a good way to establish the newer principles of O’Sullivan and Magri (who I know aren’t cast but this would have been a great opportunity for them). 
 

To give Nunez her due she is a fantastic ballerina, internationally known for excellent technique and I think she brings lovely characterisation (her Lise and Nikiya and Giselle show her range), has been at the Royal her entire career for 20 years, and while I have no doubt her career will continue for a while yet, there will be plenty more opportunity for those younger dancers over the next 15 or so years for them to have! 

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As an aside, does anyone know what happened to the Cojocaru recording? I’ve seen some clips on YouTube which indicated a performance was recorded but presumably not released on dvd, I wonder why? She would have been lovely in the role I imagine, feels a shame. 

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I don't know why it was never released - I don't remember there being anything wrong with it.  Particularly disappointing, since I've still never - to my knowledge - been on a DVD :)

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55 minutes ago, JNC said:

As an aside, does anyone know what happened to the Cojocaru recording? I’ve seen some clips on YouTube which indicated a performance was recorded but presumably not released on dvd, I wonder why? She would have been lovely in the role I imagine, feels a shame. 


would be super if this, and other archive Cinderella recordings , could be released on the stream.  

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

 

Why would you be worried about Morera, Hayward and Lamb (which just happen to be my 3 choices)?  The first 2 are proven Ashton dancers, more than capable of coping with the technical demands. 


Hayward has lovely Ashton upper half … her legs and feet can’t keep up with the speed (as evidence in Rhapsody) and not does she have the technical range (as seen in Giselle).  
 

For the other two it’s more a personal choice .. I don’t like their style in tutus.  
 

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4 hours ago, FionaE said:


Hayward has lovely Ashton upper half … her legs and feet can’t keep up with the speed (as evidence in Rhapsody) and not does she have the technical range (as seen in Giselle).  
 

For the other two it’s more a personal choice .. I don’t like their style in tutus.  
 


interesting to read this. I seem to recall getting some Forum grumbles when I mentioned that I’d thought Hayward struggled with the speed of Symphony in C as well as with some of the technical challenges in Giselle and Swan Lake. I do think she’s an exquisite and very remarkable dancer who is magical in the right thing. Conversely, her limitations such as they are (and very, very few are uniformly blessed) seem exaggerated when she is however slightly out of her comfort zone. That said (written?), I’ve a hunch her Vetsera is going to be superb.

 

I also received some grumbles when I mentioned after Coppélia that Morera’s line in a tutu and classical dancing per se could be disappointing in context, whilst her work in Mayerling, Winter’s Tale (and now Giselle ajd Month) is a fantastic match of dance, theatre and technique. She’s a dancer I adore but not universally perfectly cast and I can understand why she’s not been cast as Odette / Odile or Aurora, although I’ll never understand why she wasn’t cast as Juliet. I also think she should have been one of the Woolf Works casts.

 

Nevertheless, I’ll be booking for her Cinderella. She has so much intelligence, experience and style that I’m sure she’ll find a way through Act 2 whilst the outer acts promise charm, pathos and some feistiness as well as beautiful footwork, expressive arms and glorious musicality.

 

And I’ll ignore any relative maturity. My last Cinderella, many years ago, was Antoinette Sibley, convincingly captivating (and opposite David Wall to boot) whilst Morera’s Vetsera on 29 October projected a more convincingly youthful energy than the other casts I have so far seen this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Jamesrhblack said:


interesting to read this. I seem to recall getting some Forum grumbles when I mentioned that I’d thought Hayward struggled with the speed of Symphony in C as well as with some of the technical challenges in Giselle and Swan Lake. I do think she’s an exquisite and very remarkable dancer who is magical in the right thing. Conversely, her limitations such as they are (and very, very few are uniformly blessed) seem exaggerated when she is however slightly out of her comfort zone. That said (written?), I’ve a hunch her Vetsera is going to be superb.

 

I also received some grumbles when I mentioned after Coppélia that Morera’s line in a tutu and classical dancing per se could be disappointing in context, whilst her work in Mayerling, Winter’s Tale (and now Giselle ajd Month) is a fantastic match of dance, theatre and technique. She’s a dancer I adore but not universally perfectly cast and I can understand why she’s not been cast as Odette / Odile or Aurora, although I’ll never understand why she wasn’t cast as Juliet. I also think she should have been one of the Woolf Works casts.

 

 

 

 

Can't say I've noticed anything wrong with Morera's line in a tutu, although I will agree that she doesn't have the extremely long, very slender legs of some of the other ladies.    I don't think I have ever seen Lamb in one, so can't pass comment on that.  I thought Guillem, who was a superstar, also didn't look her best in a tutu.  Thinking about it, aren't there some dancers that never dance in a tutu ballet?  I can't recall ever seeing Leanne Benjamin in one, and she was one of my favourites, although she may very have in the early days of her career.  Just trying to think of others of yesteryear.  Sarah Wildor maybe?  I know she didn't dance Swan Lake. 

I suppose a dancer's appearance is a very personal thing for the viewer.  I can remember one of the critics, I can't remember who, being rather rude about Rojo in a tutu.  In Cinderella as I recall.  I thought she looked splendid. 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Fonty said:

Thinking about it, aren't there some dancers that never dance in a tutu ballet?  I can't recall ever seeing Leanne Benjamin in one

I would be surprised if there were any professional ballet dancers who would NEVER dance in a tutu ballet, although no doubt for some (including Leanne reportedly) it is not their favourite. I never saw her perform  live, but looking at her DVDs,  for example, she wore tutus in  Firebird and Coppelia.

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1 minute ago, Richard LH said:

I would be surprised if there were any professional ballet dancers who would NEVER dance in a tutu ballet, although no doubt for some (including Leanne reportedly) it is not their favourite. I never saw her perform  live, but looking at her DVDs,  for example, she wore tutus in  Firebird and Coppelia.

 

Of course she did!  How could I forget.  I suppose I was thinking of the Tchaikovsky ballets.   However, there is no doubt some dancers look better in them than others.  The mid calf length skirts of the romantic ballets flatter everyone.

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2 hours ago, Fonty said:

Thinking about it, aren't there some dancers that never dance in a tutu ballet?  I can't recall ever seeing Leanne Benjamin in one, and she was one of my favourites, although she may very have in the early days of her career.  

 

Leanne Benjamin has definitely done Odette/Odile. I remember seeing her performances and loving her in the role.   

 

I just did a quick search of the performance database and found that she featured in several performances in 2005 - i.e. when she would have been around 40 years old. 

 

Here are two of them:

 

 https://www.rohcollections.org.uk/performance.aspx?performance=1909&row=184

https://www.rohcollections.org.uk/performance.aspx?performance=1927&row=190

 

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1 hour ago, Bluebird said:

 

Leanne Benjamin has definitely done Odette/Odile. I remember seeing her performances and loving her in the role.   

 

I just did a quick search of the performance database and found that she featured in several performances in 2005 - i.e. when she would have been around 40 years old. 

 

Here are two of them:

 

 https://www.rohcollections.org.uk/performance.aspx?performance=1909&row=184

https://www.rohcollections.org.uk/performance.aspx?performance=1927&row=190

 

Interesting cast lists!

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28 minutes ago, Richard LH said:

Interesting cast lists!

Aren’t they just!  Seeing those names brings back lovely memories of those dancers I used to see so regularly.  

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