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I've got tickets for Soares and Pennefather. Looking forward to it. I've seen the Watson version on dvd and I found it confusing to follow, but interesting and very dark, so really looking forward to seeing it live. Think there should be more ballets created around the male dancer, as it creates a different dynamic.

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I've got tickets for Soares and Pennefather. Looking forward to it. I've seen the Watson version on dvd and I found it confusing to follow, but interesting and very dark, so really looking forward to seeing it live. Think there should be more ballets created around the male dancer, as it creates a different dynamic.

 

I went to the Pennefather/Hamilton rehearsal this morning and I thought it was truly gripping but you really feel for the male lead at the end! I was sitting in the front row (stalls circle) and at the end it started to feel like the pain expression on his face was very real. I particularly liked Itziar Mendizabal's Countess Larisch and I am now really looking forward to Hamilton's Juliet after seeing her as Mary. 

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I went to the Pennefather/Hamilton rehearsal this morning and I thought it was truly gripping but you really feel for the male lead at the end! I was sitting in the front row (stalls circle) and at the end it started to feel like the pain expression on his face was very real. I particularly liked Itziar Mendizabal's Countess Larisch and I am now really looking forward to Hamilton's Juliet after seeing her as Mary. 

 

That's good to hear. I'm really looking forward to it. Pennefather has his detractors but he's one of my favourite dancers and i'm looking forward to seeing Hamilton for the first time. I've heard male dancers talking about how painful Mayerling is to perform.

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Johan Kobborg once said that after the first act of Mayerling he feels as if he's already done three acts of Swan Lake!  Chris, if you ever get a chance to see the SouthBank Show documentary filmed as David Wall and Lynn Seymour were creating the roles of Rudolf and Mary it is fascinating!

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There's quite a lot of general background concerning the RB production in this article by Laura Thompson for tomorrow's Telegraph.

 

Have just read the whole of the printed article. Laura Thompson undermines her piece by stating that it is the Hungarian officer who return to harass Rudolf just as he is about to kill himself when  it is, of course, his valet Loschek, Prince Philip of Coburg and Count Hoyos.

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I have just about recovered from last night's opening performance of Mayerling.  I cannot imagine that there will ever be a better cast, from the two leads right down to the girls in the brothel. 

 

Ed Watson was unbelievably good, technically, dramatically and emotionally.  He inhabits Rudolf to the point where he IS Rudolf, not Ed dancing Rudolf.  He charts his descent from disturbed to drug-fuelled despair with empathy, understanding and edge-of-the-seat drama.  He understands the psychological complexities of this very sad man looking for love and acceptance (especially from his mother), and the consequences of finding neither.  By the end of the ballet, I could only feel relief that he had removed himself from the abject misery that had taken hold of his whole being and enveloped him tightly within it, not allowing the prospect of escape except by death.  A tremendously moving performance, one that I will never forget. 

 

Mara Galeazzi, as Mary Vetsera, was Watson's equal in all ways.  Sexy, manipulative, feisty, obsessive....this Mary understands how to hook her prince.  However, by their final pas de deux, she is a terrified young woman, but will stick to her guns (pardon pun) and carry through the suicide pact with Rudolf.  Ed and Mara understand each other totally; they trust each other and they can tell us so much without speaking a word;  they have been dancing together for more than ten years, and theirs is a MacMillan partnership the like of which, in my opinion,  hasn't been seen since David Wall and Lynn Seymour and, I venture, won't be seen again for a good while.  Mara showed us last night what the Royal Ballet, and its audience, is going to be missing when she's gone.

 

Big hurrahs for the rest of the cast too:  a wonderful performance from Emma Maguire as Princess Stephanie.  Her terror in the bedroom pdd was manifest as she was being thrown around like a rag doll (almost overthrown at one point!) and terrorised by this maniac of a new husband.  She is definitely a star of the future;  I was very impressed with her dancing and her acting all the way through.  Zenaida Yanowsky as Empress Elizabeth maintained an outward air of coldness towards her son, but the occasional tender look, outreached hand, showed that deep down, beneath the protocols of State behaviour and her veneer of frigidity, there is a woman who, like her son, is looking for love and being able to let go.  She finds this in Bay Middleton, a small role but as always Gary Avis made the most of it, leading us to believe emphatically that Elizabeth would look to him for what she wasn't getting at home.  Laura Morera reprised her role as my favourite Mitzi Caspar, dancing with a spring in her step and, at the end of her scene, turning into a deceiver with a small flick of her eyes.  The four Hungarian soldiers were also very good, but Ryoichi Hirano stood out with a marvelous show of virtuosity in every jump, jete and turn. A merit too for an on-form Ricardo Cervera's touching portrayal of the loyal Bratfisch.

 

And finlly, to Sarah Lamb as Larisch.  Again, a wonderful actress who really understands this woman and gets under her skin and into her soul.  Larisch is the only character in this ballet who really loves, and cares about, Rudolf.  She is always there to pick him up when he falls, and to give him a loving touch of comfort.  The fact that she manipulates a young girl to go and be his plaything (she must think it will cheer him up) without any thought for the potential consequences to her or her family must make her seem very scheming, but underneath it all I think she does it to try to help Rudolf.  Since she can't have him, being able to decide who can will enable her to keep an eye on him from close quarters....but it doesn't turn out like that.  Sarah has one of the most expressive faces (especially her eyes) in the Royal Ballet.  The slightest of movements of her eyes or mouth can change the whole feel of a scene.  The look on her face when Elizabeth ejects her from Rudolf's bedroom is searingly heartfelt, as is the moment when she desperately gestures to a despairing Rudolf, slumped on the chair having just injected himself with drugs.  "Instead of concentrating on me, just look at your son.  Do something...."  is the plea from that one move of her arm.  A superlative performance from her. 

 

The ovations at the end of the evening were loud and long.  When Ed came out for his first red run there was shouting, cheering and feet being stamped.  He was so overwhelmed by the reaction that he put his head in his hands and was almost in tears when he came up again.  Many of us were in tears too.  Don't be surprised Ed....your accolades and ovations were thoroughly deserved.  A huge bravo to him and and the whole cast....they have set the bar so high that I will be very interested to see how other casts will be reaching for it.

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A 'red run' is when the soloists take their bows in front of the curtain when the other dancers have gone. I think Deborah Bull in one of the performances she introduced (Carlos La Fille?) referred to it, presumably refering to the dancers 'running' through the red curtain folds. Joan

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A 'red run' is when the soloists take their bows in front of the curtain when the other dancers have gone. I think Deborah Bull in one of the performances she introduced (Carlos La Fille?) referred to it, presumably refering to the dancers 'running' through the red curtain folds. Joan

Oh I see. We call those "opera calls" in Toronto - even for the ballet. I'm not sure what the opera people call them! Our curtain isn't red...

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Saw Mayerling last night.  Edward Watson and Mara Galezzi.

 

One of the sublime experiences of my life.  Had previously seen Kobborg/Cojoharu and thought they couldn't be beaten but this was in the same league.  Absolutely totally wonderful.

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Thank you Penelope, and welcome to the forum!  I think just about everybody in the House felt like we did at the end of the evening last night....the twittersphere was buzzing immediately, with everyone reacting in the same way.  That in itself says so much about what a magnificent performance it was. 

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I haven't seen the show, but I have Mayerling DVD at home and I think Mara is the Italian art par excellence.

Mara is the daughter of Italian art of acting.

She is a great dancer and a refined actress.

She plays every roles so naturally and true and that makes her a star.

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Sim - you say it all really about Friday's opening night with Ed Watson/Mara Galeazzi. It was superb and I'm still not 'down' from the emotion. I agree with what other people above have said - was hard to sleep last night. I can't really say any more at this point without dissolving into tears again  - it was so moving and so powerfully danced.

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Thank you for the welcome. Have only just discovered this forum.  I am something of an amateur but managed to get to ROH 4/5 times a year.  When I saw Cojocaru and Kobborg two years ago I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, so booked for them twice this season.  But Cojocaru is injured so Bennet Garside is taking over next week - any thoughts?

 

I spent this afternoon booking another ticket for Edward Watson.  This is my total budget for ballet for the year, but how better to spend it?  I have been on a high all day, almost as if I went through some sort of divine experience last night.  Weird, eh?

 

The line-up last night was also, surely, exceptional?  Will it be repeated?  Princess Stephanie may, I feel be a star for the future.

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Thanks for a wonderful review Sim.  Am now so pleased I went mad and bought an expensive ticket to see Ed & Mara on June 13th (which I think must be Mara's last performance with the company). 

 

I thought your comments on Larisch were most interesting - sometimes this role is a little underplayed as merely a jealous and discarded mistress trying to retain her hold over Rudolf.  I think that she was in fact, his cousin, hence their closeness was not just sexual.

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Some outstanding performances in last night's opener in particular Ed, Mara (who reminded me just how much I am going to miss her) and Sarah Lamb.

 

Yes, indeed.  Words were failing me last night, or I'd have posted directly after coming home.

 

Ed and Mara understand each other totally; they trust each other and they can tell us so much without speaking a word;  they have been dancing together for more than ten years, and theirs is a MacMillan partnership the like of which, in my opinion,  hasn't been seen since David Wall and Lynn Seymour and, I venture, won't be seen again for a good while.  Mara showed us last night what the Royal Ballet, and its audience, is going to be missing when she's gone.

 

So, so true.  Things like that really do take time to build up, and I shall be hugely sorry to see it disappear (as I shall the Watson/Benjamin partnership, too). 

 

a wonderful debut from Emma McGuire as Princess Stefanie. 

 

I don't think it was her debut - didn't she dance the role in the last run (although not in the Watson cast)?

 

Zenaida Yanowsky as Empress Elizabeth maintained an outward air of coldness towards her son, but the occasional tender look, outreached hand, showed that deep down, beneath the protocols of State behaviour and her veneer of frigidity, there is a woman who, like her son, is looking for love and being able to let go. 

 

I thought Yanowsky and Watson were really very effective together.  I think it's the first time they've been in the same cast, isn't it?  Was Yanowsky still on maternity leave for the last run?

 

And finlly, to Sarah Lamb as Larisch.  Again, a wonderful actress who really understands this woman and gets under her skin and into her soul. 

Yes, I thought she really set the whole third act up very well: I had tears in my eyes from just about her entry in the second scene right through to the end.

 

The ovations at the end of the evening were loud and long.  When Ed came out for his first red run there was shouting, cheering and feet being stamped.  He was so overwhelmed by the reaction that he put his head in his hands and was almost in tears when he came up again.  Many of us were in tears too.  Don't be surprised Ed....your accolades and ovations were thoroughly deserved. 

 

I don't think I've ever heard a reaction like that at the ROH before - it was tumultuous.  And well-deserved.  And just think, this is only the first performance of the run.  What's it going to be like by mid-June?

 

I spent this afternoon booking another ticket for Edward Watson.  This is my total budget for ballet for the year, but how better to spend it?  I have been on a high all day, almost as if I went through some sort of divine experience last night.  Weird, eh?

 

The line-up last night was also, surely, exceptional?  Will it be repeated?  Princess Stephanie may, I feel be a star for the future.

 

Penelope, welcome to the forum.  I too am still on something of a high.  You say you're five hours away - did you realise this is the cast that's scheduled to be beamed to big screens around the country on June 13th?  (I assume - I haven't yet looked to see how many towns are covered).

 

As for the line-up, I'd expect it to be more or less the same for the other two performances, barring injuries.  Francesca Heyward was supposed to be dancing Stephanie in the earlier casting, but I understand she's been injured - they may keep the casting the same for the other two performances regardless, now, especially if time is short to rehearse alternatives.

 

And Janet - I'm so sorry.  I completely forgot you were coming to this!

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Thanks for a wonderful review Sim.  Am now so pleased I went mad and bought an expensive ticket to see Ed & Mara on June 13th (which I think must be Mara's last performance with the company).  

Last performance with RB in London. Mara is dancing Manon with them in Monaco at the end of June.

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I am not sure if I am placing this query in the right thread, as it is not a comment on performance. Does anyone know of an online link to an image of Zenaida Yanowsky as Empress Elisabeth? A friend who saw Friday's performance would like to be able to email this (if it exists) to a friend in Germany. Thanks if you can help.

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No, I had no idea it was going on the big screen.  I live in the depths of Dorset so it may still be a problem but thanks for the info.

Yes, indeed.  Words were failing me last night, or I'd have posted directly after coming home.

 

 

So, so true.  Things like that really do take time to build up, and I shall be hugely sorry to see it disappear (as I shall the Watson/Benjamin partnership, too). 

 

 

I don't think it was her debut - didn't she dance the role in the last run (although not in the Watson cast)?

 

 

I thought Yanowsky and Watson were really very effective together.  I think it's the first time they've been in the same cast, isn't it?  Was Yanowsky still on maternity leave for the last run?

 

Yes, I thought she really set the whole third act up very well: I had tears in my eyes from just about her entry in the second scene right through to the end.

 

 

I don't think I've ever heard a reaction like that at the ROH before - it was tumultuous.  And well-deserved.  And just think, this is only the first performance of the run.  What's it going to be like by mid-June?

 

 

Penelope, welcome to the forum.  I too am still on something of a high.  You say you're five hours away - did you realise this is the cast that's scheduled to be beamed to big screens around the country on June 13th?  (I assume - I haven't yet looked to see how many towns are covered).

 

As for the line-up, I'd expect it to be more or less the same for the other two performances, barring injuries.  Francesca Heyward was supposed to be dancing Stephanie in the earlier casting, but I understand she's been injured - they may keep the casting the same for the other two performances regardless, now, especially if time is short to rehearse alternatives.

 

And Janet - I'm so sorry.  I completely forgot you were coming to this!

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here are some photos, from 2 rehearsals last week. Bennet Gartside and Mara Galeazzi led one cast, Rupert Pennefather and Melissa Hamilton the other. They have their opening shows over the next couple of weeks.

 


8668504421_0bf6f767bf_z.jpg
Mayerling - Bennet Gartside as Rudolph, Emma-Jane Maguire as Stephanie
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


8669601794_17e9f8b921_z.jpg
Mayerling - Bennet Gartside (Rudolph), Mara Galeazzi (Mary Vetsera)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


8668488935_9b27abb727_z.jpg
Mayerling (different cast) - Rupert Pennefather and Melissa Hamilton (Rudolph and Mary Vetsera)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

8668494495_0c509b4972_z.jpg
Mayerling - Empress, and ladies-in-waiting
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr



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Set from DanceTabs - Royal Ballet: Mayerling
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind Permission of the Royal Opera House
 

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