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The Royal Ballet's Don Quixote, 2013


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I was fortunate to see the DQ rehearsal on Saturday and what a lavish production it was.  Steven danced with Iana Salenko, and what a well matched pair they were.  Steven's performance was a "knockout", he was jumping like I have never seen before, very agile and technically brilliant. Iana was so tiny, almost like a little doll, and made Steven look tall.  They had matching red hair as well!  They looked superb.  All the dancers had upped their game and performed very well indeed.  Carlos had coached them well. One lady to look out for in the future was Anna Rose O'Sullivan who featured as "Amour" in the dream sequence.  She was stunningly good with great stage presence, charisma and technical skill.  I believe she was a previous winner of the Young British Dancer of the Year.  A young lady to watch.

Thy Gypsy scene featured 4 acoustic guitar players around the camp fire which really set the scene brilliantly.  With imaginative sets, wonderful costumes, and super dancing, I cannot wait to see this again!

I would be interested in other comments after the gala performance this evening.

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Thank you for the feedback, Judo48.  I too shall be interested to hear from anyone who's going this evening (or to any other performances, for that matter). 

 

If I recall correctly, Anna Rose O'Sullivan played one of the two little girls in the first act of Swan Lake some years ago, and caught the attention of many of us then.

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I too was at the rehearsal. I agree that Steven produced stunning solos. Anna Rose was certainly the star of the dream scene. 'Lavish' does describe the sets. Almost unnecessarily lavish I would say. Prepare yourself for the buildings in the Square being on the move, frequently. Gamache's house moves into place enabling him to enter and is then whisked away. Other houses come and go. In the gypsy scene the windmill comes and goes, at each entry it gets larger. This all happens whilst the guitar group is playing and so diverts attention. The set for the Queen of the Dryads scene is a spectacular arrangement of huge flowers. Great to look at but they do somewhat dwarf the dancers. Be prepared for spontaneous outbreaks of shouting from those on stage. Listen out  for music from La Bayerdere. Above all enjoy a new experience. I am reserving my judgement until I have seen another performance.

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I noticed "A stellar cast of Royal Ballet dancers will perform in the lead roles of Basilio and Kitri, including ... Steven McRae, Iana Salenko and Akane Takada ...".  I suspect that's just badly worded, but could it be a sign of things to come?  (my highlighting)

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It's a wonderfully sunny production, and tremendous fun. Carlos Acosta has done the Royal Ballet proud, I think. There are some genuinely funny moments, and the ending, with Don Q (the excellent Gary Avis at the General Rehearsal) riding off into the sunset is actually quite moving. Brilliant performances from Steven McRea and Iana Slovenka in the leads (both in white, unusually, for the Grand Pas de deux), but all the company seemed fired up and were on top form on Saturday - I loved all the shouting and clapping the crowd have to do. Almost too much to take in on one viewing - especially in Act 1, which is a real fiesta of dance, but it's a cracking show.

 

I couldn't see the stalls from where I was sitting in the Amphitheatre, but someone told me afterwards that there weren't any photographers at the General - they were all at the dress rehearsal for the opening night cast the day before. As this is an important premiere I suppose any pictures may well be embargoed until after the Gala. 

 

James

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm pleased to see that Steven and Iana impressed at Saturday's rehearsal as I have booked to see them. I know that Carlos and Marienela (who I've also managed to get a ticket to see) are the star draw but I think that Steven is made for the role of Basilio, both technically and temperamentally.

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The Dryad Queen at the General was Melissa Hamilton as a last minute replacement for an injured Yuhui Choe.  Amore (cupid) was an enchanting Anna Rose O'Sullivan. I'm guessing that the alternate will be Frankie Hayward.

 

 

Some more casting is on the ROH website, mostly the character roles, but Espada is either Hristov or Hirano and Mercedes either Mendizabal or Morera so far,  more to come including Dryad Queen and Cupid.

First time I have seen Don Q. (went to the General) and enjoyed it. 

 

Cast info from a "Friends"'source:

 

Kitri's two friends:  Yuhui Choe/B.Stix-Brunell

                             

                              Hikaru Kobayashi/Yasmine Naghdi

                             

                              Elizabeth Harrod/Akane Takada

 

 

 

Amore (Cupid):      Elizabeth Harrod/Maegan Grace Hinkis/Anna-Rose O'Sullivan.

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I was at the opening night cast rehearsal last Friday (Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez). Here are a couple of pics:

 

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Basilio & Kitri - Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nunez
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


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Christopher Saunders, Marianela Nunez
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr



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Set from DanceTabs - Royal Ballet's Don Quixote
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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and some curtain call photos. There was a bit of a flower throw, in keeping with the red flowers decorating the theatre

 

10029356125_049386e237_z.jpg
Basilio & Kitri - Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nunez
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


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Philip Mosley and Christopher Saunders, as Sancho Panza and Don Quixote
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr



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Set from DanceTabs - Royal Ballet's Don Quixote curtain calls
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Thank you very much for the gorgeous photos DaveM. And for the comments from those at the rehearsals. I shall be spending the day online waiting for reviews on here and elsewhere, I know! :rolleyes:  I'm getting so excited about my trip to see Acosta/Nunez with my son.

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Does anyone know if there is a planned recording for DVD or TV?

There is a live cinema broadcast of Nunez/Acosta scheduled for October 16th. The ROH website also states there will be cameras filming in the auditorium on 11 and 16 October. If they film twice it often results in a DVD being produced. Isn't Carlos under some sort of contract with Decca in that line?

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I think this was a very creditable production of what is often a VERY silly ballet, and that it will stand the company in good stead.  Carlos has very wisely refrained from seeking deep inner meaning and instead gone for wit, lightness and (thankfully) lots of dancing.  The sets were pleasant enough West-end fare and the costumes bright and non-gimmicky (anyone remember the windmill headpieces in the last production?)  with some very lovely tutus for the dream sequence.  

 

Having said all that, the dancing did not look ready for a first night.  The corps, although enthusiastic enough, were straggly at best and the soloists appeared to be suffering from a collective case of nerves, or maybe under-rehearsal.  Espada dropped and got tangled up in his cape, ending his variation by staggering to his knees at the feet of Mercedes.  The Queen of the Dryads fell out of her final set of fouettes half way through and even Marianela took a tumble in her first variation, which, although she acted the part well, did seem to induce a degree of caution thereafter.  Carlos himself is really not the dancer he was (although he made an excellent job of the one-handed lifts at the end of Act 1) and technically I imagine that McRae and others will bring more fireworks to the part.  However, Carlos brought the personal charm and assurance which is so right for this role and which I'm not sure any of the company's other male principal really have. In fact, there were no really stand out dancing performances although some of the jumping and turning by the toreadors and street urchins was impressive, if uneven (Valentino Zucchetti really does not know how to blend into group dances).

 

On balance, I felt a lot more encouraged by this than I did after the last premiere of a full-length.  Wheeldon's Alice was much more polished but unwieldy, pretentious, gimmicky and ultimately unsatisfying.  If (and it's a big if) the company can raise the level of their dancing to meet the challenge, I think this Don Q has much more potential - I look forward to seeing a couple of the other casts....

 

edit: on reflection and in fairness, I should say that Laura Morera as Mercedes was pretty damn good.  I don't want to deny credit where it is due....

Edited by Lindsay
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There is a live cinema broadcast of Nunez/Acosta scheduled for October 16th. The ROH website also states there will be cameras filming in the auditorium on 11 and 16 October. If they film twice it often results in a DVD being produced. Isn't Carlos under some sort of contract with Decca in that line?

 

If I remember rightly, Carlos' contract with Decca was for 3 DVDs, and was covered by Spartacus and - unfortunately in my view - Romeo & Juliet and Manon, I think it was.  So I doubt there are any remaining contractual obligations.  And anyway, it would be good, if there is to be a DVD, to see it as a Royal Ballet DVD rather than "Acosta and supporting cast", which was rather the impression given by the others.

 

the costumes bright and non-gimmicky (anyone remember the windmill headpieces in the last production?)    

 

I liked the windmill headpieces: I thought they were witty :) (and in case anyone's confused, that was actually the one-but-last production, the Baryshnikov rather than the Nureyev version).  In fact, I generally quite enjoyed the designs for that production, barring some of the frilly tutus for the bridesmaids, I think it was, which, edged with contrasting ribbon, reminded me rather too clearly of various slugs in my garden.  (Oh, and I seem to remember the age-old problem about the men's black tights disappearing against the scenery in sections).

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