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Birmingham Royal Ballet Giselle


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We throw flowers too!  It was very emotional tonight at Birmingham Hippodrome as the audience stood to say goodbye and thankyou  to Ambra Vallo and Vicky Marr ,both dancing for the final time on their home stage and retiring at the end of the season after giving years of joy to  B.R.B. audiences across the UK and abroad. They both, as always, gave us fabulous performances, Ambra as Giselle and Vicky as Myrtha,  Queen of the Wilis  and they could have had no doubt how their audience felt. There were a lot of moist eyes. including mine and I am so glad that I was there to be part of it.  Thank you both

 

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Thanks to everyone at BRB for the most glorious performance of Giselle that marked Ambra and Vicky's final performance in Birmingham. There was a wonderful warmth in the audience and the cheers started as the final curtain fell. I was in floods at the end and I'm sure I wasn't the only one! Cheers, tears, bouquets galore and a fabulous flower shower of red roses.

 

Thankyou ladies for all your wonderful performances. We will really miss you both lighting up the stage.

 

Thanks for the memories!

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Friday night's performance sounds incredible and emotional - thanks for posting your experiences of that.

 

I'm just back home from today's matinee of Giselle (Saturday): Nao Sakuma dancing the title role with Jamie Bond as Albrecht. I've seen many versions and casts of Giselle but this is the first time I've seen the BRB version - this was up there on my 'best' list, utterly loved it. I loved the production, the lighting, the sets, the costumes, the staging. Sakuma was superb as Giselle - movingly and convincingly acted as well as technically well danced - she had me in tears at the end of both acts, brava. She just radiated the emotion of Giselle. Bond was also fabulous, he conveyed such a range of emotion and the look of horror on his face when Giselle breaks down at the end of Act 1 was very moving. Mathias Dingman was also a wonderfully danced and acted Hilarion. 

I was utterly chilled by Samara Downs dancing Myrtha. Sitting in the front row stalls, you can see every expression. She was glacial and with every fingertip she expressed vengeance. She was magnificent.

The corps were superb in both acts. And Momoko Hirata and Tzu-Chao Chou were sensational in the harvest pdd.

 

So, I've come home buzzing with elation from this wonderful performance, in terms of the ballet. It was sensational and so moving. Well done BRB.

 

I need to add one more thing about today's performance and I hope I'm not breaking any forum guidelines!  B) . This production uses a beautiful real live white horse who Bathilde rides in on stage when the court arrives in Act 1, which artistically adds to the spectacle and very much fits in with the staging. Oops, what can I say about today? The horse made a bit of a lets say 'slam dung' entrance! It was a very theatrically delivered pile on the stage and most in time to the music as well! Lots of laughter in the audience, the dancers on stage did well to stay in character.....You know what they say: don't work with animals. On the other hand, I wouldn't say don't work with children: they had some great young students from Elmhurst today on stage who were absolutely great.

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Well, I saw three performances last week - the two on Thursday plus Friday's glorious show.

 

Act 1 is not my favourite Gisell Act 1 - it looks too sparse to me.  I think the village would be more realistic if there were more men!  I love everything about Act 2 and I think the setting of the ruined church is absolutely glorious.

 

On Thursday afternoon we saw Nao Sakuma and Jamie Bond as Giselle and Albrecht.  Nao was just sublime.  Hers was a performance from the soul and her dancing was glorious.  I thought there was a nice contrast between her shy and demure act 1 and her ethereal, otherworldly act 2.  Jamie was a great Albrecht - a genuine romantic who had fallen in love against type and was devastated by what he had caused.  He and Nao looked fabulous together.  Mathias Dingman gave a superb performance as Hilarion.  BRB audiences are so lucky to be able to see Marion Tait in character roles and her performance as Giselle's Mother was a masterclass in acting and mime.  Delia Matthews was glacial as Myrtha. 

 

Thursday evening's performance was led by Natasha Oughtred and Chi Cao.  Natasha was ethereal and tragically fragile throughout.  Chi's performance of Albrecht was the most in-depth characterisation for me.  When I was talking to my friend later we both agreed that we could tell the exact nano-second he realised he really was in love with Giselle.  In Act 1 he was obviously attracted to her but well aware that she was of a lower class.  He was flirting with her.  Realisation of the depth of his feelings came during the mad scene and his descent into despair was tangible.  He is dancing at the height of his powers at the moment and he was absolutely scintillating.  It was a truly magnificent performance.  I really liked Oliver Till's performance as Hilarion, understated but heartfelt.  Again, Ruth Brill proved how versatile she is with a great characterisation of Giselle's Mother.  Goodness me, I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of Celine Gittens' Myrtha - she was terrifying!

 

The Willis were superb throughout - beautifully in unison and really vengeful.

 

On Friday evening, Cesar Morales was a very romantic and loving Albrecht.  He is such an elegant dancer and he was a perfect partner for Ambra.  Kit Holder was outstanding as Hilarion and again Ruth Brill was wonderful as Mother.  What can I say about Ambra and Vicky - they were both utterly magnificent.  The whole company rose to the occasion and it really was a very special evening indeed.  Oh dear, I'm welling up again as I am writing about Friday evening so I had better stop!

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Here's a local review:  http://lichfieldlive.co.uk/2013/06/24/review-giselle-birmingham-hippodrome-2/

 

"Tyrone Singleton was dignified and moving as Hilarion her promised husband, later hounded to death for the crime of simply being a man."

 

Vicky Marr has tweeted a couple of photographs:

 

https://twitter.com/vicky_marr/status/349085867652046848/photo/1

 

https://twitter.com/vicky_marr/status/349081338185388033/photo/1

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I need to add one more thing about today's performance and I hope I'm not breaking any forum guidelines!  B) . This production uses a beautiful real live white horse who Bathilde rides in on stage when the court arrives in Act 1, which artistically adds to the spectacle and very much fits in with the staging. Oops, what can I say about today? The horse made a bit of a lets say 'slam dung' entrance!

 

Yes, the horse has no real value to the production, as I remember?  It's one thing where it has something important to do like the pony in La Fille Mal Gardee (oops, we have italics back, but no French accents apparently), but I do think this is unnecessary.

 

Act 1 is not my favourite Gisell Act 1 - it looks too sparse to me.  I think the village would be more realistic if there were more men!  I love everything about Act 2 and I think the setting of the ruined church is absolutely glorious.

 

Have they got rid of the second moon? :D

 

BTW, I presume it was the end of the season at the weekend?  The Evening Standard from this week on has a ridiculously cheap offer on Chiltern Trains between Birmingham and London :(

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Oh gosh, please I hope they are not taking the horse to Ireland. That would be very unnecessary. I'm a vegetarian animal lover as well as ballet lover. I was OK with the horse at the Hippodrome because it appeared to to me to be having a good day out and comfortable on-stage.  If I felt an animal was being used superfluously, I would be critical. I would not want it to be used unnecessarily. Now I'm racked with guilt - now I think the horse is unnecessary in this production and think it should stay in its paddock. 

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Just to reassure everyone that the horse does not tour. Bathilde walks on.

 

I forgot to mention in my earlier postings that both James Barton and Brandon Lawrence (in different performances) play a very convincing drunk in the harvest scene!

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I've always assumed they used a local horse when on tour.  Several times David Bintley has mentioned when somewhere in Europe, they used a one-eyed stallion, which got somewhat "excited" on stage, leaving the mothers in the audience to shield their childrens eyes.  When I was at the Hippodrome, I was a bit disappointed to see that the royal hunt didn't have the dogs like they usually do.

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A detailed review from Seen and Heard International:

 

 

http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2013/06/24/brbs-giselle-midsummer-madness-and-poignant-farewells/

 

".....for me she will now be synonymous with her swansong Giselle, a quintessential interpretation. Her natural acting talent was in abundance throughout Act I: the lovesick peasant girl with the dicky-ticker was tenderly put across; the empathy with her anxious mother (Ruth Brill successfully disguising her innate cuteness) in contrast to her delight on receiving the necklace gift from ‘rival’ fiancé Bathilde (the glamorous gold lame gowned Samara Downs) meant no storylines were blurred; the dismay upon discovering the true identity of the Count and her subsequent manic derangement on this midsummer night was truly graphic; ...."

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I wish I could have seen this performance,I remember Ambra Vallo from her days in ENB and lately With BRB when in London ,she is such an honest dancer and a wonderful actress, I hear from one of her colleagues that her family had come from Italy ,and her former  coach (ballet master) was there also ,apparently it was a very emotional moment when they met on stage after the show.

I wish her every success .

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Yes, her Dad, nephew and partner were sat next to us.  Also saw her Mum in the foyer.  It was a very emotional and wonderful evening altogether. 

 

Ambra's very final performance with BRB is as Gislle in Dublin next Friday evening.

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