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Here are a few pics, that barely do the bill justice... the opening night was utterly magnificent!

 

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Royal Ballet - La Valse
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


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Royal Ballet - Monotones I
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


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Royal Ballet - Marguerite & Armand
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


See more...

Set from DanceTabs - Royal Ballet Ashton mixed bill
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
By kind Permission of the Royal Opera House
 

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Yet again - proof of how individual is the reaction to a performance!  I found the Rojo/Polunin M & A totally uninvolving, completely unmoving.  A thoroughly disappointing end to an otherwise superb evening.  It was wonderful to see both Monotones again.

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Yet again - proof of how individual is the reaction to a performance!  I found the Rojo/Polunin M & A totally uninvolving, completely unmoving.  A thoroughly disappointing end to an otherwise superb evening.  It was wonderful to see both Monotones again.

 

Whilst I wasn't outwardly sobbing unlike the lady next to me, I was moved - by the brilliant dancing in M&A if nothing else. My faves of the evening were Monotones though, just simply loved them

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It's an interesting bill, a pity there are so few performances. La Valse is beautiful but at times there are so many dancers on stage, I think it looks messy unless it is executed with absolute precision. Last night I thought the dancing could have been better in parts. The men looked generally co-ordinated but the female corps and soloists were sometimes out of line and time. In Thais Leanne Benjamin was as remarkable as ever; she and Hristov dealt with the veil mishap so calmly if you didn't know the ballet you wouldn't have noticed anything was wrong. It's a beautiful piece but frankly was let down by Hristov's poor partnering and even more poorly danced short solo. I liked Campbell and Choe's charisma and infectious enthusiasm in Voices although she's too tall for him (or vv of you prefer) and I find it spoils the look somewhat. In Monotones there was a noticeable difference in quality between I & II. Watson, Bonelli and Nunuz executed II pretty much to perfection and it was spellbinding. The Montones I trio of Trzensimiech, Maguire and Takada were good but slightly less coordinated and less secure in those tricky balances which takes the edge of the choregraphy, there is just nowhere to hide in those costumes and on that sparse stage.

My personal highlight of the evening was the return of Polunin and Rojo in Margeurite & Armand. I thought it was one of the most glorious performances and partnerships I've seen on the RoH stage. It seemed to me that in his year away from the Royal, Polunin has grown considerably in authority and charisma and is without doubt one of the most gifted male dancers in the world today. If it was a nerve wracking experience for Polunin to return you would not have guessed: he took total command of the stage, and produced the most thrilling dancing I've seen at Covent Garden since he left. Something of a bittersweet experience to watch not knowing when we will see him there again and quite probably never them together. Rojo was of course sublime - what a pity that the ENB position didn't come up a few years later. They compliment each other perfectly in physique, dancing and acting, the chemistry between them was electrifying. Iit was touching to see them looking so happy at the curtain call. Bravo Kevin O'Hare.

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Anna: Looks like Zoe Anderson of the Independent liked them too:

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/marguerite-and-armand-the-royal-ballet-sergei-polunin-and-tamara-rojo-royal-opera-house-london-8492773.html

 

If more links appear, you're going to have to wait till tomorrow!

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I was going to type more or less the same views as Anna above, so I won't do it and be repetitive! 

 

ChrisChris, I think most of the hype has been about the fact that he was returning to the RB at all, not actually about his artistry or what his dancing and dramatic interpretation would be like.  As a consequence, the beauty of his vastly matured dramatic and emotional depth knocked most of us for six.  Of his technique there has never been any doubt.  He has certainly grown and improved artistically in the past year.

 

I never liked Marguerite and Armand, but when these two did it a couple of years ago, all of a sudden I liked it as they made it a different ballet.  Last night they did the same....only they took it to a whole new level in all respects.

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I was going to type more or less the same views as Anna above, so I won't do it and be repetitive! 

 

ChrisChris, I think most of the hype has been about the fact that he was returning to the RB at all, not actually about his artistry or what his dancing and dramatic interpretation would be like.  As a consequence, the beauty of his vastly matured dramatic and emotional depth knocked most of us for six.  Of his technique there has never been any doubt.  He has certainly grown and improved artistically in the past year.

 

I never liked Marguerite and Armand, but when these two did it a couple of years ago, all of a sudden I liked it as they made it a different ballet.  Last night they did the same....only they took it to a whole new level in all respects.

 

I disagree. His dancing has been enormously hyped (i've lost count of the number of times he has been referred to as the next Nuryev) and I have been left a little underwhelmed by him in the past, though I haven't seen this or any recent performances.

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I disagree. His dancing has been enormously hyped (i've lost count of the number of times he has been referred to as the next Nuryev) and I have been left a little underwhelmed by him in the past, though I haven't seen this or any recent performances.

I'm afraid all promising young male dancers are said to be the latest Nureyev. Pre Nureyev they were compared with Nijinsky.

 

Only when Polunin dances M&A and the applause lasts from 20 to 40 minutes will I consider he might be worthy of the Nureyev mantle. 

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It was hyped while he was still here, but the recent hype has been about his departure and subsequent highly anticipated return to the RB. Comparisons with Nureyev are misguided;  they are completely different dancers.

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Don't get me wrong, I think Polunin is great and i'm sure he's wonderful in this, I just think sometimes he is praised so much, and so many adjectives are thrown about, the actual performances can't always live up to such hype. A bit like being underwhelmed by a Meryl Streep performance.

 

I can't really comment on the actual comparisons to Nuryev. I don't really know much about him, and never seen any footage of him dancing.

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Really good tribute to Frederick Ashton last night, in no way overshadowed by Sergei Polunin's return, although it was great to see him again. The best pieces for me were Voices of Spring, exhilirating dancing from Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell, and M and A, having seen Fonteyn and Nureyev I feel it should be left to their memory, but last night came the closest I have seen to recreating their magic, although Sergei Polunin says he doesn't want to be a new Nureyev, more a new Barishnikov (in yesterday's Times) it was the best performance I have seen of this ballet by other dancers, Tamara Rojo outstanding too, another emotional ending, ballet at its best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's great to hear that SP's dancing is as good as ever and that he has matured artistically over the past year. Perhaps his departure from the RB has worked out for the best. If this run goes well I wouldn't be surprised if he were invited back to guest in other performances. You never know, perhaps he'll return full-time...The RB is going to be short of senior male dancers in the next couple of years.

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It's great to hear that SP's dancing is as good as ever and that he has matured artistically over the past year. Perhaps his departure from the RB has worked out for the best. If this run goes well I wouldn't be surprised if he were invited back to guest in other performances. You never know, perhaps he'll return full-time...The RB is going to be short of senior male dancers in the next couple of years.

 

I guess Kobborg and Acosta will be retiring soon? I wouldn't be surprised if Alexander Campbell was promoted to principal soon.

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 I'm afraid all promising young male dancers are said to be the latest Nureyev. Pre Nureyev they were compared with Nijinsky.

 

Only when Polunin dances M&A and the applause lasts from 20 to 40 minutes will I consider he might be worthy of the Nureyev mantle. 

 

I wonder if audiences have changed so much (for many reasons not least the availability of so much online ballet footage) that we are unlikely ever to witness 20 to 40 minutes applause ?  In my, relatively short, 15 years of RoH attendance the most noteworthy applause I've seen (leaving aside the retirement performances) were the stalls standing ovations for Osipova and Vasiliev's DQs.

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Tonight's Evening Standard has a full page focusing on Tamara's farewell and a crit of last night's performance. The article is at: www.standard.co.uk/arts/theatre/dancing-like-there's-no-tamara-8493169.html

 

 

Alas, the accompanying editorial reads as if its author believes that T is only now taking up the reins fully with ENB when, of course, she has been in charge since last August.

Edited by capybara
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I wonder what Tamara had in mind when she said that she hoped that she and Polunin would dance together again. It's great to hear that Polunin's mother was in the audience last night. I assume that this was the first time that she had seen her son dance on the ROH stage. It must have been thrilling (and emotional) for her. Is Tamara going to get a full send-off at her final performance of M&A?

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Goodness me, this really is "in the eye of the beholder", so many different opinions. I thought La Valse was very pretty but not much else. The 1st act ballets  then improved and reached a dazzling crescendo with Alexander Campbell and Yuhui Choe who received the most spontaneous applause from the audience all evening. I hated Monotones. Nothing to do with the dancers at all, but no atmosphere and dreadful costumes.

 

Of course, I had bought my ticket in anticipation of M&A. I thought it was very good and was really hoping to be moved, but it failed to do so. I'm slightly bemused by the critics adulation. For me, Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Cope are still unsurpassable in this ballet (I never saw Fonteyn & Nureyev - so wish I had).   I remember going to a ROH rehearsal where Jonathan (in some orange shorts) and Sylvie (who I understand did not believe in public rehearsals) marked a lot of their steps but still did the PDDs, and I was swept away but the speed and passion of their delivery and came away walking on air.  The audience reception last night was quite muted initially. Only when the principals and cast made their bows was there more reaction. Compare that to the spontaneous reception for Alexander and Yuhui,  and Onegin with Marianela and Thiago last week - not a patch. 

 

I'm sure the intensity will heighten in the next 2 performances. 

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Interesting...I didn't like Guillem in it at all. She might have been fast, but she left me cold. Audience reaction is often muted when the curtain goes down on a  tragedy...there is silence, then it starts slowly and builds. This always happens at the end of R&J, Manon and Mayerling. Onegin  ends sadly but without a death. Voices has a happy, jaunty end which naturally spurs immediate applause.   I don't think either type of response is a reflection of what the audience necessarily thinks of the dancers at first. Yuhui and Alexander thoroughly deserved their applause, they were wonderful!

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I wonder what Tamara had in mind when she said that she hoped that she and Polunin would dance together again. It's great to hear that Polunin's mother was in the audience last night. I assume that this was the first time that she had seen her son dance on the ROH stage. It must have been thrilling (and emotional) for her. Is Tamara going to get a full send-off at her final performance of M&A?

Yes, I think she will....

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Yet again - proof of how individual is the reaction to a performance!  I found the Rojo/Polunin M & A totally uninvolving, completely unmoving.  A thoroughly disappointing end to an otherwise superb evening.  It was wonderful to see both Monotones again.

 

I, too, was surprised to find myself totally uninvolved with it. 

 

 

(annamk:) Watson, Bonelli and Nunuz executed II pretty much to perfection and it was spellbinding.

 

Looking at the programme in its entirety, if you'd told me beforehand that I'd be thinking Monotones (which I've struggled with in the past) the best of the lot, I'd have been really surprised.  But I'm struggling to remember a time when I've seen a better performance of II (I is more difficult, since I may only have seen it the once in a couple of decades or so).

 

 

 

Rojo was of course sublime - what a pity that the ENB position didn't come up a few years later.

 

Mmm.  I was missing her already by the time Las Hermanas came around.  Probably before that, actually.

 

 

 I'm afraid all promising young male dancers are said to be the latest Nureyev.

 

Yes, but as I commented some years ago, it's probably less inaccurate in this case than in most others.

 

 

 

(chrischris:) I wouldn't be surprised if Alexander Campbell was promoted to principal soon.

 

I would.  Obviously, we don't yet have any idea of O'Hare's criteria where principals are concerned, but Campbell hasn't as yet had any principal-worthy roles, I'd say.  And even getting those roles is no guarantee.

 

Interesting...I didn't like Guillem in it at all. She might have been fast, but she left me cold.

 

Nor did I.  But then I always said that Rojo should do it, even back in her first period with ENB.  I was most disappointed to find out it was Guillem.

Edited by alison
Totally botched the quotes - again
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