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I know that one shouldn't comment on rehearsals but I just wanted to say how lovely it was to have Lauren dancing Giselle today.

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It was indeed lovely to see her. I hope the veto only applies to negative comments, as I can’t resist going a little further. It was a beautifully danced, immaculately acted and utterly compelling performance.

I thought the whole company was on top form. A fine debut by Tierney Heap as a steely Myrtha.Elizabeth  McGorian brilliant in her foreboding mime as a fretful Berthe. A delightful pas de six led by Elizabeth Harrod and Valentino Zuccetti.Among so many joys.

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I thought the matinee today was danced with conviction by the whole company and that Mc Rae was excellent. Such a graceful dancer and although he is known for  technical fireworks, with good reason, he can also act sensiitvely.The ending was especially moving.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Giselle tonight,

 

Acosta has such presence. Osipova such virtuosity.  I also liked Elizabeth Harrod in Act II.  

 

This was my first visit to the House for some time and my first visit to the amphitheatre in 30 years,  I must say I miss the flower market, the stench of veg, the liveried footmen and the cut flowers thrown by the audience but there have been massive improvements in the catering.

 

It was a great pleasure to meet DonQFan and I wish her a safe journey home.

 

A full review will follow shortly.

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Royal Ballet Giselle pictures, by the smashing Dave Morgan, of the first cast cast with Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta.

 

 

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Giselle - Natalia Osipova (Carlos Acosta in background)

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Yasmine Naghdi and Marcelino Sambe

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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Natalia Osipova and Hikaru Kobayashi

© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

See more...

Dave Morgan: Royal Ballet in Giselle - Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta cast

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

Edited by Bruce
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I thought the matinee today was danced with conviction by the whole company and that Mc Rae was excellent. Such a graceful dancer and although he is known for  technical fireworks, with good reason, he can also act sensiitvely.The ending was especially moving.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks.

Who were dancing Giselle and Myrtha yesterday afternoon, Mary?

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Who were dancing Giselle and Myrtha yesterday afternoon?

 

Yesterday afternoon Giselle was Roberta Marquez and Myrtha was Claudia Dean.  I've seen Roberta's Giselle many times but thought yesterday afternoon's performance her best so far.  As for Claudia, she did really well in her debut as Myrtha - a very confident performance. Also, a special mention for Yasmine Naghdi as the lead female in the pas de six - quite lovely.

Edited by Bluebird
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A great opening night for Giselle.Osipova gave a moving performance and in the second act was as light on her feet as the wind that blew her round that sad forest glade. Acosta once again memorably etched Albrecht’s journey from carefree gallant to shattering and remorseful self-knowledge. Whitehead was hugely sympathetic as Hilarion, a decent man losing his life and love in the maelstrom of events he never fully comprehends. As was Chapman’s loving Berthe caught between her natural peasant’s deferral to the gentry and her dark awareness of the wiles. Kobatashi was an ice-cold master of ceremonies of these lost souls. The corps as in Swan Lake are the heart of this ballet and they were magnificent. In the first act with its happy optimistic sky bound peasant dances they soared joyfully. In the second act traversing the stage limping in arabesque like a flock of wounded birds they were unbelievably moving.

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Fascinating coming up to speed with Osipova's Giselle this morning. First 2 emails I got had mixed views and I've just put up Jann Parry's review on DanceTabs which starts:
"It looks as though Natalia Osipova is to become Sylvie Guillem’s successor at the Royal Ballet, giving her idiosyncratic interpretation of a role whether or not it aligns with the company’s existing production. The result can be both stimulating and disconcerting."

But elsewhere critics are falling over in the rush to dispense 5 star reviews - Judith Mackrell (Guardian), Mark Monahan (Telegraph) and ArtsDesk all deeply impressed. Await Clement Crisp's thoughts

Looking back I thought an RB with Guillem in the team was a very great thing and I look forward to seeing Osipova on Wednesday. I'll withhold judgement on the style until I've seen it but I'm sure she will make me think!

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I will be seeing her in Giselle next Monday and deliberately booked this to see her in a more interpretive and romantic role. I was impressed with her Juliet recently so am now looking forward to her Giselle.

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I haven't booked to see any of the Giselle performances this time around, for various reasons, so this is just a general thought.

 

One thing that Jann Perry mentions in the review is something that I noticed from looking at the photos of Osipova, and that is her very powerful looking shoulders and arms.  I am sure it is different when she is in motion, but from the pictures she does have a rather muscular appearance.

 

I used to enjoy Guillem's slightly different interpretation of the classics, and thought her Giselle was marvellous.  But she also had that very sinewy physique, that didn't seem to look quite right in romantic ballets, particularly when she was wearing a tutu. 

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I find myself unexpectedly in London Saturday and want to queue for a day ticket. Please could anyone tell me how much they are these days? And are they still amphitheatre seats?

 

ALSO which cast shall I go for? - Cuthbertson/Bonelli at the matinee, or Lamb/McRae evening? Which would you go for?

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I find myself unexpectedly in London Saturday and want to queue for a day ticket. Please could anyone tell me how much they are these days? And are they still amphitheatre seats?

 

ALSO which cast shall I go for? - Cuthbertson/Bonelli at the matinee, or Lamb/McRae evening? Which would you go for?

 

Both good casts - to the point where I am looking forward to seeing both!  But I suspect that Cuthbertson/Bonelli are spiritualy closer to Romatic ballet.

Edited by Bruce
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There are 67 day tickets: some in the upper Amphi, some Stalls Circle sides (near the stage), some standing in Stalls Circle and Balcony. Prices are normal for whichever performance, matinées being a little cheaper than evenings - details here.

 

Which cast? We all have our preferences. Both should be great. Pennefather is still cast for the evening but since he's off today maybe it will be McRae again.

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I'd choose Cuthbertson over Lamb in this particular role but haven't seen her dance live!!

 

I do like Lamb but I wonder if she has too much sophistication for this particular role......a bit like Guillaume.

 

Will be interesting to see reports back here!!

 

I'm seeing Cuthbertson in Winters tale but of course not quite the main role as Giselle would be.

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I saw the Osipova/Acosta performance, looking forward to seeing what I think after Wednesday and Monday at the cinema, it's certainly an extraordinary performance from Natalia Osipova, but it takes getting used to because her style is so different. I found Carlos Acosta very moving as Albrecht, he may have cut down the actual quantity of dancing but what he does is perfect!

 

I hope the other dancers are the same, the pas de six could not have been better, Yuhui Choe and Valentino Zuchetti's solo's were exceptional, with Francesca Hayward, Yasmine Naghdi, Marcelino Sambe and Luca Acri in the slightly lesser roles. I have seen and liked Hikaru Kobayashi as Mythra before, and Elizabeth Harrod and Akane Takada were Moyna and Zulme.  It was a really special evening, a privilege to be there,  and the good thing is it will be recorded for posterity!

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Thank you Bruce and John :)  I think it will be an amphitheatre seat for the matinee for me then! Looking forward to it.

 

Bring some binocs/opera glasses, then: the seats are at the back.  And of course, depending on the length of the queue it might be a question of which performance has the better ticket options.  Someone said there were 95 people in the day queue on Saturday, I think it was - but then of course that was for Osipova's debut and for Acosta.

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Here's my review of the evening performance on the 18 Jan:

 

"Why do we still watch Giselle?  Except for the occasional performance of La Sylphideand La Péri we don't see much of the romantic ballets of the 1830s and 1840s probably because we no longer believe in ghoulies, ghosties and lang-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night. So why is it that Giselle with its wilis has remained so popular and is in the repertoire of just about every major ballet company in the world?

I think it is because the ballet still has a lot to to say to us not about wilis or prince charming in reverse but about human relationships, shock and the imaginings of a deluded mind. Arguably it has a feminist message though  I doubt that was ever in the minds of Perrot, Grisi or the audiences around the world who have filled the theatres night after night ever since it was first performed. Modern theatre goers do know what it is like to build up one's hopes unreasonably, to see them dashed suddenly, to suffer public humiliation crushingly and in a few cases extreme cases illnesses that can lead to self harm,

Everything is hunky dory for Giselle.  She's the prettiest girl in her village.  She attracts the hunky new kid with style who is so much more fun than nerdy old Hilarion who is in with her mum for slipping her the occasional rabbit or partridge. There she is - queen of some kind of harvest pageant the envy of all her friends - and then Hilarion spoils it all by exposing Albrecht as a two timer.  Suddenly from queen of the pageant she is a laughing stock. No wonder she goes out of her mind. And her mum yapping on about the spirits of girls who die before their wedding day can't have helped.

Giselle's mad scene is the key to the ballet which forms the link between the merry making and flirting of the first part of the first act and the world of the wilis of the second.  It takes a ballerina with extraordinary dramatic powers as well as great virtuosity to do it well. And she needs a credible partner with similar powers to accompany her. I have seen many versions of Giselle by many companies but I can only recall a couple of performances when I have been entirely satisfied. One of those performances was by Fonteyn with Nureyev and another by Sibley with Dowell. A third last last Saturday night.Natalia Osipova who danced Giselle in the evening performance at the Royal Opera House on 18 Jan 2013 with Carlos Acosta has those powers. As for her partner, I would go so far as to say that Acosta, who dominates a stage like no other dancer, was the best Albrecht that I have ever seen, and that includes Nureyev.

Also impressive were Thomas Whitehead who danced Hilarion, Deidre Chapman Giselle's mum, Christina Arestis Albrecht's girlfriend, Hikaru Kobayashi queen of the wilis and Elizabeth Harrod one of her attendants. I have been following Harrod ever since I first saw her at a Yorkshire Ballet Summer School Gala and it is great to see how well she is coming on.  I loved everything about Peter Wright's production and also John Macfarlane's designs

I used to go to the Royal Opera House frequently until it was refurbished.  I got out of the habit when it was closed for those works and I have only been back since though I kept up my membership of the Friends of Covent Garden for most of that time.  It must be over 30 years since I was last in the amphitheatre and how that has changed with its swanky bars and restaurants.  On the whole I welcome those changes but I do miss the old House with its stench of veg, the cut flowers tossed by the audience from the boxes, the liveried footmen and the ritual of the ballerina choosing her choicest bloom for her partner."

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Does Osipova's Giselle commit suicide, or does she make her a victim of a heart attack brought on by stress? 

 

Always interested to know, because years ago there was a choice, and it depended entirely on how the dancer chose to portray the character.

 

Nowadays, it seems to be compulsory for Giselle to kill herself - at least at the RB, anyway. 

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Does Osipova's Giselle commit suicide, or does she make her a victim of a heart attack brought on by stress? 

 

 

I watched closely and she deliberately stabbed herself with the sword (quite some distance from her mother).

 

Peter Wright has said many times (most recently at the ROH insight evening) that she commits suicide.  The story doesn't made sense otherwise as that "sin" is the reason she is buried in unconsecrated ground.

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Fonty

 

There's a little bit of discussion on that topic in Mark Monahan "The Romance of a Lifetime". I don't think it matters.  The point is that Giselle goes mad.  I have always thought of Act II as a nightmare. And in that sense it is a lot more real and a lot more scary than the spirit world which we don't really believe in nowadays. Do we?

 

Terpsichore

Edited by terpsichore

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Fascinating coming up to speed with Osipova's Giselle this morning. First 2 emails I got had mixed views and I've just put up Jann Parry's review on DanceTabs which starts:

"It looks as though Natalia Osipova is to become Sylvie Guillem’s successor at the Royal Ballet, giving her idiosyncratic interpretation of a role whether or not it aligns with the company’s existing production. The result can be both stimulating and disconcerting."

 

But elsewhere critics are falling over in the rush to dispense 5 star reviews - Judith Mackrell (Guardian), Mark Monahan (Telegraph) and ArtsDesk all deeply impressed. Await Clement Crisp's thoughts

 

Looking back I thought an RB with Guillem in the team was a very great thing and I look forward to seeing Osipova on Wednesday. I'll withhold judgement on the style until I've seen it but I'm sure she will make me think!

 

Bruce, I think to some extent I'm still witholding judgement too: I was surprised at how well she seemed to fit into Act I of the RB's production, but found Act II a bit strange, so perhaps I'm coming down on Jann Parry's side a bit here.  I can certainly see her point.  I certainly decided I needed to take another look first.

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I watched closely and she deliberately stabbed herself with the sword (quite some distance from her mother).

 

Peter Wright has said many times (most recently at the ROH insight evening) that she commits suicide.  The story doesn't made sense otherwise as that "sin" is the reason she is buried in unconsecrated ground.

 

I've never heard any talks about it.  Can I discuss it here, or is it not the right place? 

 

When I was a ballet student, my teacher said that the more modern approach by some dancers was to have Giselle commit suicide, but originally she was supposed to die as a result of her own weak heart literally being broken by the shock and pain of betrayal.  That is why the original mime and choreography emphasises this so much, and which now doesn't really make much sense if you think about it.  If she stabs herself, she could be in the most robust of health prior to that.  Why make her physically frail in the first place?

 

Sorry if I am annoying people with my questions, but I am genuinely interested as to how the story has evolved.

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I watched closely and she deliberately stabbed herself with the sword (quite some distance from her mother).

 

Peter Wright has said many times (most recently at the ROH insight evening) that she commits suicide.  The story doesn't made sense otherwise as that "sin" is the reason she is buried in unconsecrated ground.

 

Yes, Osipova's was definitely suicide, or at least she stabbed herself strongly enough to contribute to her death.  Thinking about how things were back then, I've wondered whether, if there was any doubt as to whether someone was a suicide or not, that might be enough to condemn them to being buried in unconsecrated ground.  After all, I'd have thought it ought to be pretty difficult to stab yourself effectively using a sword in your hand.

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Fonty, I think we're all a little confused, but I don't think dying of a broken heart would have been enough to deny her burial in a churchyard, and it's only because the ground where she's buried is unconsecrated that the Wilis can get at her in the first place.

 

On the other hand, thinking Tess of the d'Urbevilles here, I'm wondering what they did back in those days about unwed mothers - and there *are* all those theories linked with the Wilis and extra-marital pregnancies and so on ...

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Yes, I realised after I posted that presumably the Willis only have access to women buried on unconsecrated grounds, although I don't remember any mention of that in my day.  But doesn't her grave get marked with a cross, which is about as holy a symbol as you can get?  And isn't it the power of the cross that helps her to stand up to Mrytha and save Albrecht?

 

Doesn't the story, in fact, like most ballet stories, make absolutely no sense at all?

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