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Just time before I go out to set up a new thread for the run of Jewels starting this evening.  Please post your thoughts here.

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I was at the rehearsal for the opening night cast (which I have just got home from - as Jane says, Diamonds magnificent - but then so was Rubies with Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, and the whole cast seemed to be having a blast).

 

Anyhoo - a few photos to whet the taste buds, as it were. Go see - its fab!

 

 

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Laura Morera and Ryoichi Hirano in 'Emeralds'
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Zenaida Yanowsky in 'Rubies'
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares in 'Diamonds'
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

 

See more...

Set from DanceTabs - The Royal Ballet in 'Jewels' (Christmas 2013)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

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I watched tuesday morning's rehearsal and had my mind blown to smithereens by McRae & Osipova in Rubies. Didn't know where to look in case I miss a millisecond of either performing.

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And in the evening performance Sarah Lamb was with Steven, and gave American pzazz to the role, plus Zenaida Yanowski excellently suited to the other Rubies role. Laura Morera was beautiful, and soft-footed, in Emeralds, while Marianela and Thiago showed that Diamonds are not just a girl's best friend (thanks mijosh for that comment)

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I watched tuesday morning's rehearsal and had my mind blown to smithereens by McRae & Osipova in Rubies. Didn't know where to look in case I miss a millisecond of either performing.

 

Did Osipova dance the in the Rubies dress rehearsal????  It seems from Dave's press photos that it was Sarah Lamb in the Rubies pas????  Perhaps they did it twice.  (Now there's a happy prospect .... but I would imagine incredibly tiring for Mr. McRae who was so spectacular in it in the evening - which I certainly DID see.  Divine he was!)

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Did Osipova dance the in the Rubies dress rehearsal????  It seems from Dave's press photos that it was Sarah Lamb in the Rubies pas????  Perhaps they did it twice.  (Now there's a happy prospect .... but I would imagine incredibly tiring for Mr. McRae who was so spectacular in it in the evening - which I certainly DID see.  Divine he was!)

 Osipova danced in the Friends 'general' rehearsal on Tuesday morning. We were invited to the pre-general (opening night cast) rehearsal on the Monday morning. Hence the discrepancy. Though no getting away from Steven McRae dancing Rubies full out 3 times inside 36 hours! Which was pretty awesome!

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They did announce during the general friends rehearsal that some dancers would only be marking their roles since they are performing in the evening. Though that announcement doesn't seem to have reached McRae - if what he did Tuesday morning was just a little warm up and not his fully fledged performance, my head will probably explode when I see him in a 'real' performance.

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Magnificent Diamonds from Nunez and Soares!

Saw this also and agree totally !

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Absolutely loved Jewels today!

 

Emeralds was like a calming breath of fresh air, and an outstanding performance from Beatriz Stix-Brunell. She was so serene and her dancing was beautiful - a commanding performance that speaks of some promising performances in the future if given some serious roles. Also worth mentioning that Nicol Edmonds had a very nice debut in the walking PdD with Itziar Mendizabal (who gave a lovely performance) - seems like he's been getting some good roles recently, and worthily so. The Pd3 was very well danced by Hinkis, Pajdak and Trzensimiech.

 

Rubies is never my favourite section of Jewels but Lamb, Yanowsky and McRae put so much jazziness and energy into it that I ended up enjoying myself. I just find it hard to take parts of the choreography seriously, am not a huge fan of the music, and don't "get it" like the other two sections. I did also realise this time around that there were segments that are almost a premonition of McGregor - moments in the PdD where the man pushes the woman over into a hyperextended attitude and the like. Didn't notice that last time the Royal performed it (hadn't seen any McGregor at that point!).

 

And as for Diamonds? If there is a ballet heaven, then surely Nunez/Soares in Diamonds is on eternal repeat. So in tune with each other, and brilliantly musical, their dancing was just sublime. It seemed like Nunez was channeling aspects of all of the great Petipa/Tchaikovsky roles - the crystalline dancing of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the beauty and balance of Aurora, the passion of Odile, and the classical and emotional purity of Odette. But this didn't result in a disjointed performance - quite the opposite. The sum was greater than the parts and Nunez was just perfection. Soares was an attentive partner and made the most of when he had time to shine (earning applause for his grand pirouettes). Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes during their PdD and also during the finale with some fantastic corps work. 

 

So I guess you could say I rather enjoyed Jewels...  ;)

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Have to say that I agree with, Dave.  This (the Saturday 12.30 pm matinee) was - all round - a much improved effort in the presentation of Balanchine's Jewels.  What a perfect time this is for a matinee performance.  More please.  

 

Emeralds was, unquestionably, the most improved.  Stix Brunnell - while not approaching the heady distinction of, say, a Stephanie Saland, brought a spontaneous delicacy to her sensuous perfume that was sadly missing from the dancer in the first cast (not that she wasn't wholly efficient, she was).  The trio too was much enhanced and of a piece.  While Nature may have given David Trzensimiech the silken legato line that was robbed from the previous cast's counterpart, the stunning turn in counterbalance of his delicate entrechats will surely have been the result of much hard - and musically sensitive - endeavour.  Pajdak and Hinkis in turn offered added delight in the trio's relief.  Indeed for one brief moment Hinkis reminded me in the gust of her zeal of a fellow country-'person' of hers, the divine Ms. Katrina Killian.  (I know, I KNOW - I show my age here.)  The handsome Nicol Edmunds was a cavalier to the life, refreshingly building his strength through a tradition appropriate to Balanchine's requirement in partnering as opposed to say, that milled through the much admired current Royal Ballet house style.  One was most pleased to make his acquaintance.

 

The Rubies and Diamonds sparkled as before (as Dave suggests) - with, perhaps, an even greater luster ... much as one begins to appreciate through time.  McRae IS an animated marvel in Rubies ... Surely this MUST be one of his best roles EVER.  How I would love to see him in the fourth movement of Brahams-Schoenberg.  It would seem to be his natural progression.   .. 

Edited by Meunier
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I am sure many of us were moved to tears by Diamonds today. Nunez was indeed very fine, Soares was at his most panther-like, landing from big leaps with incredible softness.

Rubies was amazing-Mc Rae's now signature extreme spinning at its best. Lamb/McRae is an excellent partnership: they are well matched physically and seem to strike sparks from one another.

It's Emeralds I always find hardest to like but not today-it was danced with more convincing expressiveness than I have seen before.

 

 

I agree with David-ballet heaven.

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Just to add that I have just seen on Twitter that it was Hinkis' debut in Emeralds Pd3 today. It certainly speaks of her performance that I had no inkling that it might have been a debut... Fantastic stuff! 

 

So I believe it was debuts from Stix-Brunell, Hinkis and Edmonds in Emeralds - all three were superb.

Edited by DavidW

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Just to add that I have just seen on Twitter that it was Hinkis' debut in Emeralds Pd3 today. It certainly speaks of her performance that I had no inkling that it might have been a debut... Fantastic stuff! 

 

So I believe it was debuts from Stix-Brunell, Hinkis and Edmonds in Emeralds - all three were superb.

 

And Itziar Mendizabal I believe

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So I believe it was debuts from Stix-Brunell, Hinkis and Edmonds in Emeralds - all three were superb.

 

My collection of Jewels cast sheets is far from complete, but I've no indication that Romany Pajdak has danced the pas de trois previously either.

 

And it seemed to me - admittedly I had a very restricted-view day seat on the first night, so had a very sideways-on view - that Soares was rather better today than on the first night.  Nunez was marvellous on both.

 

And yes, I wouldn't have thought, prior to this, that Beatriz Stix-Brunell would have been an obvious choice for Emeralds, but I thought she was great in it.  Once I've had a clear view of both casts, I'll be able to compare first and second casts better.

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Will be missing Jewels this time round unfortunately but thanks for that lovely review David W. Will have to catch ballet heaven next time round!

 

Beatriz Stix-Brunell is one of my favourites of the young emerging dancers in the company so am not surprised she is being noticed for her beautiful unforced dancing.

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My collection of Jewels cast sheets is far from complete, but I've no indication that Romany Pajdak has danced the pas de trois previously either.

 

 

She hasn't.

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A quality that I liked very much in Marianela Nunez's Diamonds was her ability to transition seemlessly from a lovable almost Broadwayesque liveliness into some of the most graceful motion (arms, etc.) that I've seen. 

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I totally agree with all the comments posted above about yesterday’s Jewels. This was my first live Jewels and it was everything I had hoped for and more. I knew I would love Emeralds and Diamonds and I did. I hadn’t expected to like Rubies but it was the most fun.

 

Emeralds was delightful, lyrical and charming. Beatriz Stix-Brunell was so gentle and graceful.

 

As well as that posted above, Rubies was great amusement with Steven McRae being chased by the other four boys with come hither looks and beckoning on from McRae. His high speed spins were stunning, seemingly getting even faster as he left the stage.

 

Diamonds. Wow. A great end to my personal ballet year!

 

The whole thing even had a Christmassy feel with the occasional left over ‘Nutcracker’ snowflake falling from above throughout the show.

 

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I have to agree with all the above comments about yesterday's Jewels matinee - RB seemed to have upped their game this time around (3rd outing now for RB?) and Emeralds in particular shone for me.  Agree about Beatriz Stix-Brunnell - Emeralds seems made for her, though I missed Leanne Benjamin in the other main role taken here by Itizar Mendizabal. Steven MacRae was having a ball in Rubies and Marianella Nunez was just fabulous in Diamonds!  Jewels certainly dazzled for me and now I am looking forward to seeing it again on 30th.  I must praise the orchestra as well  - lovely music throughout.  I just hope one day this will be screened to cinema as well.

 

Unlike Meunier the 12.30 start is a right pain the whatsit for anyone like me living outside London and having to travel nearly 200 miles, so it's 2.30 for me please!!!  Never please everyone eh?!

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I hate the 12.30 start too I must say. 2 or 2.30 is fine!!

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RB seemed to have upped their game this time around (3rd outing now for RB?)

 

4th, I think.

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^^ Really 4 runs now? Was 2007 the first time they performed Jewels plus 2008 and a couple of year ago so yes it must be!  How time flies!!

 

I forgot to mention Dawid Tresenzimeich as well - I thought he danced really well in Emeralds and Rubies on Saturday!

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2007, summer 2009, when they were really pushed to get injury-free dancers, autumn 2011, I'd guess (Watson wasn't in that one because it clashed with The Metamorphosis, I recall) and this one.

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I thought Tierney Heap replaced Itziar Mendizabal for the matinee performance on Sat 21? They announced a last minute replacement for Yuhui Choe, but there was a printed cast change for Mendizabal. I spent some time staring at Tierney's biography picture to figure out who she was on stage and thought I figured out who she was (she did rather well, and the RB retweeted one of her tweets where she mentioned her first red run)

 

Either way, I fully agree on the comments made upstream - the performance was a real delight

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She did indeed - possibly because Mendizabal had been moved into the Emeralds cast, although why that should have required a late substitution I'm not sure, since the Emeralds change had taken place a while back.  And then Beatriz Stix-Brunell replaced Yuhui Choe in the pas de quatre in Diamonds due to injury, yet she and Kobayashi didn't actually dance the part Choe and Kobayashi had danced on the first night (are you getting confused yet?) - Heap and Hamilton did that.

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Ta! That clears up the whole lot in one go. It's bad enough that I mix up Dyer and Zucchetti on occasion, glad that I haven't developed another confuddlement involving Mendizabal

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Confuddlement! Love this word!

 

Think my confuddlements are definitely on the increase.

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