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it would be really interesting to know what first nighters thought of this programme. I only attended the rehearsal so comment from me would be inappropriate at present.

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I am seeing this on Wednesday, so would love to hear about the programme - could anyone give me the running time, as it has not been given (even in the email I got last week)?

 

Thanks

Margaret

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run time is about 2hr 45mins (25mins, 34mins, 36mins respectively, with 25mins and 30mins intervals, plus 'leeway')

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The capacity audience enjoyed themselves thoroughly last night at the ROH.  It is wonderful to see the house that Monica Mason built - that now established through the prism of the choreographic voice /style she forged by bringing in Wayne McGregor and his dedication which, in and of itself, must be applauded (now being I assume the established 'Royal Ballet Style) - really take hold in front of a committed congregation that obviously feels that they own it.  (I mean this as a compliment.  There are far too many companies in search of just such a voice .... any voice.)  I realise this may well alienate those whose keen following was sourced when a different RB voice was then current.  I completely understand that - as my own RB appreciation was forged at a different time as well,  Still one has to live in the here and very much now of the Royal Ballet.  There is no longer any choice.  The balanced filigree of Ashton's petit allegro has long gone, having itself been based on dancing languages of past regimes.  Hyper extensions now prevail in a wealth of certain clinical coolness and it is wonderful to see such celebrated through the sounds of new composers, Joby Talbot still it seems reigns rightfully supreme, with Mr. Haines (Human Resources) joining happily in this new and vivid throng.  There was much of interest in David Dawson's Human Relations that had its premiere and Chroma has obviously become for the Royal Ballet as core a signature work for the Royal Ballet as, say, Serenade is for NYCB.  (I only felt, perhaps, that there was one too many principal couples for the development allowed in the premiere ... but really need to see it again.)  The RB dancers are now built for these works and they honoured them with a keen joy and precision drawn from their own comfort.  This is what they are built for (the works themselves in many cases having been built on them and their capacities) and one could certainly understand - seeing this - why the principals found certain difficulties with, say, the intricacies of speed and precision of Ballo.  It simply comes from a different world.  Watching the programme last night I was reminded of certain comments made by Merrill Ashley during her insights programme.  (For this same reason I would have loved to see the Sarasota Ballet be brought over to the UK to celebrate the Ashton heritage that they are now obviously the rightful and key purveyors of.  It would be great to applaud that too.)  MacMillan's Rites of Spring was as ever as vivid as the music he honours and Ms. Yanowsky has found a role to which her style is certainly comfortably suited to (e.g., more than some of the other roles she has been recently cast in).  You could here too see the effect of the McGregor/RB style on this Company's relating of such in MacMillian's colourful overall.  It is was wonderfully fresh take --- and it was refreshing --- to see Lauren Cuthertson glow in the unique glistening of McCrae, Bonnelli, and especially the enticing looseness of Watson and Underwood in the first two works on the bill.  These artists were at home in their now dedicated stylistic home ... and that was welcomed by the roars of a delighted throng.  These works are obviously theirs to own for much time to come, I'm certain and I look forward to enjoying their dedication to such for much time to come.  So wonderful to see that all of performances of this triple bill are completely sold out.  That is wonderful and certainly hopeful for future developments in the forward movement of this established 21st Century RB stylistic voice.  Certainly the differences with, say, ENB and BRB are now more clear than they have been for a very long time.  Such differences are all for the good for the long term health of the balletic arts methinks.  

Edited by Meunier
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Here is a sample photo from each ballet, from the rehearsal last week:

 


10777462873_2930a175b0_z.jpg
Edward Watson and Melissa Hamilton in Chroma
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


10777184785_fbb9753296_z.jpg
Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb in 'The Human Seasons'
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


10777213916_e68f2e44ef_z.jpg
Zenaida Yanowsky as The Chosen One (Rite of Spring)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr



See more...

Set from DanceTabs - The Royal Ballet's November '13 triple bill
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind permission of the Royal Opera House
 

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Well, I love Chroma - always have, always will. The cast has evolved from last run, and all 'newbies' acquitted themselves with glory. The 'regulars' simply improved! The piece also seems to evolve along with the dancers performing it - it certainly looked good last night. Will look forward to see how the other cast run with it.

Rite of Spring is one of my favourite pieces - i never seem to tire of it. I suppose the music is so rivetingly complex, you always seem to find something new in it. I also find it fun to focus in on one dancer and follow them around (when they are on stage that is) with the binoculars, to get an impression of what it must be like being in that 'tribe'. Zenaida Yanowski was a superb 'chosen one', a mixture of power-to-powerlessness and despair, during the dance of death. Now looking forward to seeing Claudia Dean's rendition (and official debut) on Wednesday.

The new Dawson was a bit of a mix for me. There are some glorious, gorgeous parts in it, notably the pdds, but it loses me a bit during the seemingly endless running around in the dark, that seems de rigeur for modern choreography. No graceful exit stage right - no, a circuitous trot around the stage one a half times or so, interferring with the action to my eyes. Didn't know sometimes whether to applaud or whip out a sponsor form. Which is a shame, as I say, some of it is staggeringly beautiful, but perhaps a 10mins of running too long. Edward Watson with Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb, Federico Bonelli with Marianela Nunez, and Eric Underwood with Melissa Hamilton, all have moments that steal the breath (some of the lifts have that 'wow factor for sure) - the 'corps' (for better want of a word) of 3 women and two men (Olivia Cowley, Beatriz Stix-Brunell, Itziar Mendizabal, Dawid Trzensimiech and Johannes Stepanek) all have their moments too - such spectacular leaps, graceful intertwinings, before they too are are asked to pop out for a jog. Really enjoyed the music by Greg Haines - the costumes are OK, functional rather than 'wow', the set expansive (the stage goes WAY back), the lighting is a bit too gloomy, especially in one rather large corner of the stage, and at the front - the dancers sometimes all but disappear, other times they are very effectively and attractively lit. Seeing it again later this week - hoping it will grow on me.

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Far too long and suffering by following the far superior "Chroma" which I discover I have seen all 16 of it's previous performances. It remains endlessly fascinating,superbly danced (the all new second cast are pretty hot too!) and the only MacGregor that I truly love,and this being it's first revival since Alice was premiered I was so aware of the similarity of so much of the music.

 

Like Dave I was driven to distraction  by all the pointless running round the stage in the gloom In Dawson's work, which is just about saved by the brilliant dancing of all concerned. I seriously doubt that I will be watching this piece for every one of it's performances.

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I went to the FGR and I was driven to distraction too, all that pointless running around the stage and constant manhandling of the dancers becomes so tiresome to look at. I lost my concentration halfway through (which is very rare) and was wondering when it would finish (luckily I had my favourite Rite of Spring to look forward to).  However, there are some really lovely parts in it such as Marianella's pd2 and Solo. I don't want to see it again (not in this run), unless the other cast is dancing but the last four performances still show TBC on ROH website. Why can't they announce the casting? 

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. I don't want to see it again (not in this run), unless the other cast is dancing but the last four performances still show TBC on ROH website. Why can't they announce the casting? 

 

As I understand it, its the same cast for the Dawson throughout (barring mishaps)

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"Chroma" remains endlessly fascinating,superbly danced (the all new second cast are pretty hot too!) and the only MacGregor that I truly love,and this being it's first revival since Alice was premiered I was so aware of the similarity of so much of the music.

 

 

 

I'm sure if you scrutinise many of the great composers collected works you'll find themes and 'ticks' and similarities in may of their pieces. Tchaikovsky has a few pieces which remind you of his ballet music (or vice versa) for example. Saying that, the Alice score has definitely borrowed from Chroma, as well as some of Joby Talbot's other works. But not in a bad way, to my ears.

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As I understand it, its the same cast for the Dawson throughout (barring mishaps)

Thank you for letting me know. At the General some Friends talked about the other Dawson cast. I was looking forward to see those dancers!

Edited by Nina G.

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I went with friends on Wednesday evening and a very enjoyable one it was.  We enjoyed The Human Seasons, but felt it was rather overshadowed by the other two items and were not sure quite how it fitted with the title.  Loved the other pieces - Chroma seems different each time I see it and the score is good.  Rite of Spring is always fascinating - the patterns, movement and the score - so much to watch and listen too.  A really good evening and a very full house.

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Claudia Dean made her debut in Rite of Spring last night, as 'The Chosen One'. And danced it superbly I thought! Certainly had an effective mix of bravado for the steps that a 20yo 'plucked from the corps' (a la Mason) would have, and a look of terror for the impending doom. Most impressive

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Fantastic photos as always, Dave. So lovely to see Lauren dancing again.

 

They did remind me how much I dislike the Chroma costumes though. ;-)

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I went to see this last night and thought it was fantastic! LOVED Chroma and the Rite of Spring, and thought Claudia Dean's debut was brilliant. I did think, though, that because The Chosen One's costume is a lighter colour than the others and more or less blends into the scenery, that some of the detail of movement was lost. Not so keen on Human Seasons, I agree with criticisms here - there was a lot of seemingly pointless running around in the gloom, the costumes added nothing, and while the dancing was beautiful, it didn't seem to have much point or really build to anything.

 

However, last night did crystallise something for me. I'm just not sure I enjoy watching dance on the ROH main stage. You just can't ever get close enough to the stage to see faces, and it really, really bugs me when I can't tell who is dancing because they all look alike to me from a distance. As a non-dance person it's also important to me to be able to see facial expressions in order to better understand what the dance is about - I suspect my lack of any dance knowledge means I struggle to interpret movement alone. From a distance it's hard to discern the level of effort put in, and the amount of detail. For me it's a bit like going to a big concert where you watch the screened video rather than the performer themselves on the stage; you get more from a DVD than from seeing it live and that's disappointing.

 

My favourite thing I've seen since I started going to watch ballet a year and a bit ago is still Berne Ballet's 'Witchunt' in the Linbury. So much up close!!

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Where did you sit, newballetfan? I never have trouble seeing faces from the stalls or from the Grand Tier. From the Amphi you may well have trouble without binoculars!

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newballetfan, as someone who generally sits in the amphitheatre I strongly recommend that you purchase some opera glasses. I did this a couple of years ago and it has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of ballet performances at the ROH and elsewhere. You can even buy them at the ROH.

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However, last night did crystallise something for me. I'm just not sure I enjoy watching dance on the ROH main stage. You just can't ever get close enough to the stage to see faces, and it really, really bugs me when I can't tell who is dancing because they all look alike to me from a distance.

 

Nbf, I do sympathise!  Particularly, as you said, with the gloom of The Human Seasons, I was really struggling to work out who was who out of the ballerinas, given that they were all wearing identical costumes and had pretty much identical buns, and the lighting wasn't clear enough to see their faces properly.  As a result, I found I was doing things like looking at their muscle definition etc. to see if I could work out who was who that way, with the result that I ended up missing some of the dance!  Aileen's recommendation is a good one, but I have to say that opera glasses didn't really help me from front-ish amphitheatre last night.

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Nbf, I do sympathise!  Particularly, as you said, with the gloom of The Human Seasons, I was really struggling to work out who was who out of the ballerinas, given that they were all wearing identical costumes and had pretty much identical buns, and the lighting wasn't clear enough to see their faces properly.  As a result, I found I was doing things like looking at their muscle definition etc. to see if I could work out who was who that way, with the result that I ended up missing some of the dance!

 

The gloom seems to be part and parcel of what must now be accepted as the Royal Ballet's 'house style'.  Surely nothing could be more dim however than Raven Girl.  The pitch itself seeped in gloom on that occasion.  The solitary glimmer of those silvery wing shanks blinded.  (Wonder what the Russians will make of it when the Royal Ballet bring their house style to the Bolshoi.  Who knows?  They may be braying:  'Come Back Flames of Paris!!  All is forgiven.'  Then again they might want more of the Royal Ballet style as so, so many wished during the last two evenings' the latest triple bill has played.)  For me It was SO refreshing to be reminded of balletic illumination in ENB's Corsaire.  (Of course I do realise this ballet company's style is - of its very nature - very different.)  Certainly it was warm.  I must confess that's inviting for me.  Indeed it was hot in places.  Certainly when placed aside the Royal Ballet style; one drawn from a calculated coolness which is I know deservedly much admired from a variety of angles on its geometrical bias.  

Edited by Meunier

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Went to both performances of this at the weekend and I was not particularly expecting to like it as my first excursion to a contemporary ballet – but wow Chroma blew my socks off. I can’t wait to get this on Blu Ray so I can watch it again, really loud just like being there! This was my first time down from the amphitheatre and the thing that surprised me most was the very different experience from being close up to being further away. I think on balance I prefer being further away to get a sense of everything that is going on.

 

Chroma: from Row A orchestra stalls it was electrifying and thrilling, I just cannot believe how much I enjoyed it; totally immersed in the experience. From the balcony it took on a totally different character and became so beautiful, just as enjoyable but in a very different way.

 

Human Seasons: It was OK. It would probably grow on me, but I doubt I will see it often enough for that to happen. However, whilst the choreography did not do much for me, it was fabulous to see the top stars of the RB so close up. Whilst I could see that the dancing and lifts were challenging and hence very enjoyable to watch, the whole thing was just not memorable for me.

 

Rite of Spring: Whilst I did enjoy this, it is not what I think of when I think of ballet. It was also very LOUD from the orchestra stalls  :lol:. A lot of extra seats appeared in the orchestra pit between Human Seasons and Rite of Spring, that should have given me a clue!

 

All in all, combined with a free pizza voucher, I had a great day out.

 

And, as Wayne McGregor is responsible for my worst ballet experience to date (Raven Girl), Chroma nearly makes up for it, nearly but not quite – he still owes me!  :angry: 

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