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Royal Ballet, Spring 2023 casting


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12 hours 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

 

That's brought back memories. I don't think I've ever seen another Odette/Odile use their eyes the way Benjamin did.

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Leanne Benjamin gave up the exposed tutu roles of the Tchaikovsky ballets in the latter stages of her career concentrating on Giselle and a handful of MacMillan roles which are part of the company's core repertory while devoting a great deal of her energies to new works and by doing that and with the assistance of her years in Germany and being somewhat vague about her age managed to continue her career ubtil she was nearly fifty.

 

As far as Morera is concerned, i think that throughout her career she has suffered from her versatility and range which has resulted in management not knowing quite what to do with her because, unlike other dancers who were her contemporaries or near contemporaries she straddles categories rather than fitting neatly into one predominant type. Now while I would agree that Morera is more of a demi-character dancer than a purely classical one that should not have prevented her at least being given the opportunity to show audiences what she could do with Odette/Odile and Aurora. I am sure that we would have got far more out of her Aurora than we did from Ansanelli's account of the role. The point here is that great demi-character dancers are shape shifters who can present themselves as convincingly in roles devised for specialists in  noble roles  as they can portray less exalted characters normally allocated to the demi and character dancer.I always enjoyed her SPF, a role in which there is no hiding place and I seem to recall Mr Crisp praising her account of it. I think that there is something admirable about a dancer who is game enough to tackle roles in her forties which she should have been dancing many years before. She was already in her forties when she first danced Swanhilda, and in my opinion she gave an exemplary account of the role perhaps only matched by Hayward in the expressive range she brought to the role including the sense of genuine fun she brought to her performance as opposed to the arch comedy of some of her colleagues.

 

Hayward is an interesting case. Again I think that she is essentially a demi- character dancer rather than a purely classical one and I don't think that she has been as well served by management as she might have hoped to be. I found her debut as Giselle interesting. Her  second act was much better than her first act largely because she had not really got her mad scene quite right. Her performances last season were far more convincing because the two acts were far more evenly balanced. As far as Swan Lake is concerned it seemed to me that she ran out of steam long before the final act. I believe that she has admitted that the ballet was far more tiring than she had bargained for, Having said that Hayward has extraordinary gifts as an interpreter of Ashton ballets covering a wide range of roles created on dancers as varied and technically accomplished as Nerina, Sibley and Colier. Like Morera she seems to have an innate understanding and feel for  Ashton's musicality and real interpretative imagination. With Cinderellla she will be tackling a role with combines warmth, humour, pathos and choreography, Fonteyn's account of the role makes it clear that it is capable of being considerably more than an exercise in pure classroom classicism. Hayward should be in her element dancing choreography which can be used as an expression of Cinderella's character and emotional state. There are a number of other  roles created on  Fonteyn that I should like to see Hayward perform.At the top of my list are Ondina and Chloe closely followed by Woman in a Ballgown and the forlorn Jiulia in A Wedding Bouquet. Personally I would not feel that upset if Hayward never danced Swan Lake again as long as she is permitted to dance the Ashton ballets which are hers for the asking. 

 

As far as missing recordings of Cinderella are concerned I seem to recall that the ballet was broadcast in about 1978 with  a cast headed by Collier and Dowell, That recording was never released on video or DVD. As far as the performance with Cojocaru is concerned  I would hazard a guess that the reason that that performance was not released on DVD  had something to do with the performances of Sleep and Dowell as the step- sisters. Their performances were difficult enough to take in the theatre because they were so coarse and lacking in nuance.

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16 minutes ago, FLOSS said:

I would hazard a guess that the reason that that performance was not released on DVD  had something to do with the performances of Sleep and Dowell as the step- sisters. Their performances were difficult enough to take in the theatre because they were so coarse and lacking in nuance.

 

I can just remember Sirs Helpmann and Ashton in London. They reunited for the AusBallet première of the ballet in 1972 and then Helpmann performed with the much-missed Ray Powell in 1980: I remember pathos as well as humour in the roles as performed at that time.

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1 hour ago, FLOSS said:

Leanne Benjamin gave up the exposed tutu roles of the Tchaikovsky ballets in the latter stages of her career concentrating on Giselle and a handful of MacMillan roles which are part of the company's core repertory while devoting a great deal of her energies to new works and by doing that and with the assistance of her years in Germany and being somewhat vague about her age managed to continue her career ubtil she was nearly fifty.

 

As far as Morera is concerned, i think that throughout her career she has suffered from her versatility and range which has resulted in management not knowing quite what to do with her because, unlike other dancers who were her contemporaries or near contemporaries she straddles categories rather than fitting neatly into one predominant type. Now while I would agree that Morera is more of a demi-character dancer than a purely classical one that should not have prevented her at least being given the opportunity to show audiences what she could do with Odette/Odile and Aurora. I am sure that we would have got far more out of her Aurora than we did from Ansanelli's account of the role. The point here is that great demi-character dancers are shape shifters who can present themselves as convincingly in roles devised for specialists in  noble roles  as they can portray less exalted characters normally allocated to the demi and character dancer.I always enjoyed her SPF, a role in which there is no hiding place and I seem to recall Mr Crisp praising her account of it. I think that there is something admirable about a dancer who is game enough to tackle roles in her forties which she should have been dancing many years before. She was already in her forties when she first danced Swanhilda, and in my opinion she gave an exemplary account of the role perhaps only matched by Hayward in the expressive range she brought to the role including the sense of genuine fun she brought to her performance as opposed to the arch comedy of some of her colleagues.

 

Hayward is an interesting case. Again I think that she is essentially a demi- character dancer rather than a purely classical one and I don't think that she has been as well served by management as she might have hoped to be. I found her debut as Giselle interesting. Her  second act was much better than her first act largely because she had not really got her mad scene quite right. Her performances last season were far more convincing because the two acts were far more evenly balanced. As far as Swan Lake is concerned it seemed to me that she ran out of steam long before the final act. I believe that she has admitted that the ballet was far more tiring than she had bargained for, Having said that Hayward has extraordinary gifts as an interpreter of Ashton ballets covering a wide range of roles created on dancers as varied and technically accomplished as Nerina, Sibley and Colier. Like Morera she seems to have an innate understanding and feel for  Ashton's musicality and real interpretative imagination. With Cinderellla she will be tackling a role with combines warmth, humour, pathos and choreography, Fonteyn's account of the role makes it clear that it is capable of being considerably more than an exercise in pure classroom classicism. Hayward should be in her element dancing choreography which can be used as an expression of Cinderella's character and emotional state. There are a number of other  roles created on  Fonteyn that I should like to see Hayward perform.At the top of my list are Ondina and Chloe closely followed by Woman in a Ballgown and the forlorn Jiulia in A Wedding Bouquet. Personally I would not feel that upset if Hayward never danced Swan Lake again as long as she is permitted to dance the Ashton ballets which are hers for the asking. 

 

As far as missing recordings of Cinderella are concerned I seem to recall that the ballet was broadcast in about 1978 with  a cast headed by Collier and Dowell, That recording was never released on video or DVD. As far as the performance with Cojocaru is concerned  I would hazard a guess that the reason that that performance was not released on DVD  had something to do with the performances of Sleep and Dowell as the step- sisters. Their performances were difficult enough to take in the theatre because they were so coarse and lacking in nuance.

 I wish I could write as eloquently and expressively as you Floss. So much of what you write encapsulates my own thoughts re Morera and Hayward and I love the shape shifter analogy.

 

Like you, I’d not be concerned as to whether Hayward danced Swan Lake again, just as Monica Mason danced only two Auroras in London (although i think she may have done one more on tour).

 

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I agree with the overall point that every dancer has different strengths and even at principal level it make sense for not every dancer to dance every main role. Particularly with the number of principals now it’s not feasible anyway, unless mammoth runs like the Beauty over Winter and Spring become common (which is not my preference…)

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But it has become the norm that every RB Principal must dance every major role if they want to - which means that most only get two shows in many runs and we have examples of dancers dancing the classics when they are not suited to them (or technically ready for them).

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2 hours ago, capybara said:

But it has become the norm that every RB Principal must dance every major role if they want to - which means that most only get two shows in many runs and we have examples of dancers dancing the classics when they are not suited to them (or technically ready for them).

 

While I am sure a principal could opt out of a role if they didn't want to do it, I don't think they automatically get the chance if they say they do, however keen they are.  Sometimes I do query why X has been chosen at the expense of Y, when the latter would probably be far more suited to the role based on their previous performances. 

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Fonty said:

 

While I am sure a principal could opt out of a role if they didn't want to do it, I don't think they automatically get the chance if they say they do, however keen they are.  Sometimes I do query why X has been chosen at the expense of Y, when the latter would probably be far more suited to the role based on their previous performances. 

 

Sometimes seniority; sometimes 'diversity'.

Currently, I don't understand why we don't have Alexander Campbell as Rudolf in Mayerling.

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12 hours ago, capybara said:

 

Sometimes seniority; sometimes 'diversity'.

Currently, I don't understand why we don't have Alexander Campbell as Rudolf in Mayerling.

Yes, I thought this too. Is Alex the only established male principal not to be cast as Rudolf? I'm not including Bracewell, Clarke and Coralles as they are very new principals and its right they should wait until next time but it does seem very unfair not to cast Alex.

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9 hours ago, jmhopton said:

Yes, I thought this too. Is Alex the only established male principal not to be cast as Rudolf? I'm not including Bracewell, Clarke and Coralles as they are very new principals and its right they should wait until next time but it does seem very unfair not to cast Alex.

 

Especially as some of the chaps dancing with 2 different Marys

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It just seemed that there was a suggestion he was somehow being overlooked for the role so I was just wondering whether he hadn’t been cast because he didn’t want to dance it…. inspite of peoples wish lists!! 
Although considering his acting abilities this does seem rather unlikely. 
 

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Well he wasn't cast as Romeo for absolutely ages, was he?  Very strange, considering he danced it at BRB I think?  Is the problem that some of the ladies are too tall for him?  I may be wrong, but I get the impression he is not one of the tallest men in the company.

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16 minutes ago, Fonty said:

Well he wasn't cast as Romeo for absolutely ages, was he?  Very strange, considering he danced it at BRB I think?  Is the problem that some of the ladies are too tall for him?  I may be wrong, but I get the impression he is not one of the tallest men in the company.

I think Marcelino Sambe is about the same height as Alex Campbell, and he seems to be being cast in everything...yet he is a more 'junior' Principal than Alex Campbell.

 

Yes, AC did dance Romeo at BRB.  

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I’ve had to change my Mayerling ticket so will now be seeing Sambe and Hayward on 30th though would rather have seen Ball and Morera in these roles which my original ticket was for! 
I don’t think Sambe is right for the role yet so at least will be interesting to see what he does just doesn’t strike me as a perfect match though am sure Hayward will be fine. 
I would definitely think Campbell over Sambe at this current time and Campbell and Hayward have been good together in the past. 
I guess if Campbell is ever interviewed it might be a good question to ask : are there any roles he would still like to perform but hasn’t yet been cast in. 

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17 hours ago, Sim said:

I think Marcelino Sambe is about the same height as Alex Campbell, and he seems to be being cast in everything...yet he is a more 'junior' Principal than Alex Campbell.

 

Yes, AC did dance Romeo at BRB.  

This is what I've been thinking for ages Sim but nothing seems to change.  Also James Hay.  I know he's only a first solo but many other first solos have been cast in leading roles. Indeed, that's what I thought the position of First Soloist was for; to assess suitability for major roles and possible promotion to principal. I know James was cast as the prince in both the last run of SB and this one but this role, though a major classical role, hardly stretches the person's acting ability, an important pre requisite for any RB principal. I'd like to see both James and Alex given a greater variety of important roles.

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I've only just seen the casting, I've had a stressful few weeks and only now have some time!

 

I am such a fan of Marianela, I think she is a sublime ballerina, and her and Vadim are amazing together. But, we're about to get them paired in Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and then Cinderella? It all just seems very much samey! 

After seeing her with Reece in Diamonds and footage of her partnering Bracewell, could we not have had a bit of a mix up? Also, Fumi works beautifully with Vadim, so they could have swapped those two pairings and had something a little different.

 

I'm very surprised to not see Anna Rose cast.

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Perhaps a little off topic (if so, mods please delete) but does anyone know where to access a full seating map with prices for Sleeping Beauty?

 

I have family members who want to book tickets for the Takada/Hay cast and it would be helpful to show them the full range of ticket prices and tiers so they can decide where to sit. The seat map option on the SB page reroutes me to the maps for the earlier winter season performances, which are incomplete as the seats already bought are greyed out. 

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