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The Royal Ballet: The Winter's Tale, Spring 2014


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Thanks for pointing that out. This is the link to the synopsis.

 

That's an awful lot of plot to fit into one ballet - quite a difficult task to pull off particularly since, unlike Alice, Winter's Tale is not a story that's likely to be familiar to most of the audience.  Should be very interesting.

 

BTW, the rehearsal photograph reminds me of very much of Mayerling.  I'm sure the identical pose occurs in one of the pdds between Rudolf and Marie Vetsera.  Anyone else see the resemblance?

 

Linda

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At the Insight, they were talking about the need to cut characters to avoid making the story too complex for a ballet, I assumed the Autolycus part was one of the characters to go. Though if there will be ever been a Russian version of the play, I'm sure they'll be tempted to put him back in, Swan Lake joker-style.

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That's an awful lot of plot to fit into one ballet - quite a difficult task to pull off particularly since, unlike Alice, Winter's Tale is not a story that's likely to be familiar to most of the audience.  Should be very interesting.

 

BTW, the rehearsal photograph reminds me of very much of Mayerling.  I'm sure the identical pose occurs in one of the pdds between Rudolf and Marie Vetsera.  Anyone else see the resemblance?

 

Linda

Yes I thought the same as soon as I saw the photos!!  Mayerling also happens to be my favourite ballet (hope they bring it back soon..!)

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Polixenes visits Leontes and stays for NINE MONTHS? no wonder there was trouble at mill. Three days is the absolute maximum for guests if you want to avoid unrest.

I love the old Sicilian saying:  Guests are like fish; after two days they start to stink....

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Polixenes visits Leontes and stays for NINE MONTHS? no wonder there was trouble at mill. Three days is the absolute maximum for guests if you want to avoid unrest.

 

It was a long way from Bohemia to Sicily before they invented planes, trains and anything else motorised :)

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It was a long way from Bohemia to Sicily before they invented planes, trains and anything else motorised :)

Even so, it is still an outrageous abuse of a welcome. Was he even invited or did he just turn up? As if that wasn't bad enough, Hermione then goes and invites him to stay another week, on the very day he was supposed to be finally leaving. No wonder Leontes was vexed. I would have been climbing the curtains!! 

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That's an awful lot of plot to fit into one ballet - quite a difficult task to pull off particularly since, unlike Alice, Winter's Tale is not a story that's likely to be familiar to most of the audience.  Should be very interesting.

 

BTW, the rehearsal photograph reminds me of very much of Mayerling.  I'm sure the identical pose occurs in one of the pdds between Rudolf and Marie Vetsera.  Anyone else see the resemblance?

 

Linda

 

 

In a way - and with respect - I don't I agree.  The Winter's Tale - (apart from the play's fourth act - which is virtually a different play in and of itself - and about which I was delighted to read that Joby Talbot had said that he intended to treat it as such in his musical depiction) - is quite an intimate story of but a collection of five people's 'through story'.  It does not depend on a vast amount of historical and/or any other particular back knowledge much as Mayerling does.  I remember first seeing Mayerling done by the Royal Ballet in New York at the Met.  The audience at that opening evening was largely befuddled I think ... and at the next performance in the programme (the free one handed out to all patrons with their ticket purchase) there was inserted 'A Guide to Understanding the Synopsis'.  I honestly don't think that will be necessary with A Winter's Tale.  The heartstrings of its redemption celebrated here are, I should think, key fodder for balletic treatment if for no other reason than their universal simplicity.  I, as but just one, am very much looking forward to tonight's voyage of discovery/revelation.  Perpetual anticipation indeed.   

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Even so, it is still an outrageous abuse of a welcome. Was he even invited or did he just turn up? As if that wasn't bad enough, Hermione then goes and invites him to stay another week, on the very day he was supposed to be finally leaving. No wonder Leontes was vexed.

Yes, but since it was Leontes who originally asked him to stay longer, and then was rebuffed, so he asked Hermione to plead his cause, he really can't complain when she's successful! (He can just conclude from this that because she succeeded where he failed there must be something going on between her and Polixenes. The logic of the male mind!)

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The synopsis doesn't mention Autolycus, a "star part" in the play, has he been cut from this production?

When Wheeldon talked to the Ballet Association he said Autolycus was not in it, but some aspects of him were included in the shepherd'a son, Clown.

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Just noticed the cast change for Saturday, that's a disappointment although I have booked to see the second cast again, the running time is increasing too, it's now 2h 55m, hope it stops at 3hours.

Well the original 2.30 hours it was going to last included one hour's worth of intervals, so I do hope the extra time is more dancing, not more interval time!!  Maybe it's just for tonight, because trying to get the critics and the great and the good first nighters away from their drinks in 30 minutes is nigh on impossible!! 

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Well the original 2.30 hours it was going to last included one hour's worth of intervals, so I do hope the extra time is more dancing, not more interval time!!  Maybe it's just for tonight, because trying to get the critics and the great and the good first nighters away from their drinks in 30 minutes is nigh on impossible!! 

 

I hope you're not suggesting it might be difficult to drag me away from drinkies tonight...  :P

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Well the original 2.30 hours it was going to last included one hour's worth of intervals, so I do hope the extra time is more dancing, not more interval time!!  Maybe it's just for tonight, because trying to get the critics and the great and the good first nighters away from their drinks in 30 minutes is nigh on impossible!! 

 

"The performance lasts about 2 hours 55 minutes, including two intervals. The Prologue and Act One will last for about 50 minutes, followed by a 30 minute interval. Act Two will last for about 40 minutes followed by a 25 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 25 minutes."

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I shall be traipsing down to t'Smoke on Saturday to see the show. Anybody else going to the House that evening who would like to say "Howdo" to this simple country mouse over a libation in either of the intervals? With Cuthberton, Lamb, Yanowsky, Watson, McRae and Bonelli in the team it should be good.

 

Also I shall be in The Peacock at 15:00 on the 13 to take my little grandson, Vlad the Lad, to see My First Ballet: Coppélia

 

And as I am down there anyway I shall mosey on down to the Civil Service Club on Monday to hear Peter Wright talk to the London  Ballet Circle.

 

A lot of ballet in three days!  

 

Anyone coming to either or both of those other events who could care to say "Eyup"?  

 

Also hope to see a little bit of Middlesex against Notts. 

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Yes, but since it was Leontes who originally asked him to stay longer, and then was rebuffed, so he asked Hermione to plead his cause, he really can't complain when she's successful! (He can just conclude from this that because she succeeded where he failed there must be something going on between her and Polixenes. The logic of the male mind!)

Ah, I didn't know that. I am not familiar with this tale, I was just going by the synopsis. I suppose the moral of the story could be that sometimes it is best to take no for an answer. 

I am going to see the April 26th matinee and am very much looking forward to it, particularly to seeing Vadim Muntagirov for the first time. I was interested to see the revised running time as I had booked my return coach already, based on the original timings. This will now give me less than an hour to get to the coach station or pay a supplement for a later coach.  Oh, the romance of it all.

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Is that Victoria coach station?  If so, an hour should be ample.  I did Covent Garden tube to Victoria recently in 16 minutes (assuming you can get into the station - oh wait, isn't it exit-only at the moment?).  Alternatively, if you can walk down to Embankment it takes 5 minutes to Victoria, and the coach station is only another 5-10 minutes after that.

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Is that Victoria coach station?  If so, an hour should be ample.  I did Covent Garden tube to Victoria recently in 16 minutes (assuming you can get into the station - oh wait, isn't it exit-only at the moment?).  Alternatively, if you can walk down to Embankment it takes 5 minutes to Victoria, and the coach station is only another 5-10 minutes after that.

Yes, the lovely Victoria coach station it is. If the performance is over by 3pm and I can get out quickly, I will have to hotfoot it down to Embankment as you suggest. I usually get the number 11 bus when there is time, but with living so far away from London, the early start matinee already means a crack of dawn coach and no margin for error. Now this. Oh well, it's not worth spoiling the day worrying about it. I just hate arriving anywhere in a stressed heap. Sure fire recipe for a migraine.

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Was at the dress rehearsal for this - really enjoyed it too! Just home from the brilliant opening night - what a super evening it was.
 
Anyhoo, a couple of photos:

 
13763439604_63929ec18c_z.jpg
Hermione's trial
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

13763069555_cbf42e0c86_z.jpg
Bohemia - the Great Tree of the spring festival
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

13763073903_f35292b890_z.jpg
Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson (Hermione, Leontes)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 

See more...
Set from DanceTabs - The Royal Ballet in 'The Winters Tale'
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

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It works! Act I is all about the story, a slightly slow start to the ballet with a bear that might need a little rethinking, act II is non-stop dancing (from funny to beautiful) around a gorgeous tree followed by a ship chase, and in case one didn't have enough of either drama or dancing yet, act III packed in all of that, beautiful group scenes (one even appeared to me to have a hint of Bollywood) for the 'wedding scene', familial heartbreak with a reunion with a statue of the dead child behind them (sniff) and a surprisingly forgiving wife.

 

Some the the highlights for me were Zen beating up Ed Watson, Bonelli lurking in a tree, McRae/Lamb pdd (though his costume really didn't work for me...I wanted to take his trousers up for him...), act III group scenes, the tree, Cuthbertson coming back from the dead...and so on and so on.

 

Not sure about the score yet, it occasionally soared beautifully, there were some lovely flute solos, but I didn't 'feel' the music in the first act, seemed a bit generic, though it definitely became more interesting later on. I also think ballet music needs to able to cover up the sound of scene changes, just a piano won't cut it when moving large pieces of scenery.

 

Exceedingly pleased that I have a bunch of tickets for this :)

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Gosh, there was so much to absorb that I think I'm going to wait until I've seen it again on Tuesday to say anything.  I agree with Coated's posting above.  Act 1 didn't do it for me (it looked a lot to me like Ed being Rudolf), Act 2 was lots of fun (with a wonderful pdd for Sarah Lamb and Steven McRae, and a chance for Valentino Zucchetti to really ham it up) and Act 3 had a lovely pdd for Lauren and Ed, although it all seemed to end very quickly.  However, you have to go with the Shakespeare, and without words I guess the ending would seem rather sudden!  That tree was very impressive I must say.  I thought the music was pleasant but sounded like incidental music, perhaps for one of those sunny 60s films.  One thing I must say is that it is very well lit;  in these days of constant gloom in new dance productions it made such a pleasant change to be able to see everything happening on stage from start to finish.    Anyway, will post more after the second viewing....and look forward to hearing what everyone thinks.  

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We came away from this with big smiles in place  : a super evening for all the reasons in the two posts above - and more! 

 

No problems following the plot - it's all there in the dancing. And what a lot of dancing there is .... 

 

It seemed that a good time was had by all - especially by a woman in row A of the SC who insisted on standing for the curtain calls, blocking our view completely (trying to stand in Row B just lets you see a lot of lowering ceiling). I'm very equivocal about standing ovations that serve only to draw attention to the  exaggerated enthusiasm of the stander, to the detriment of those behind. Harrumph.

 

My reading of the tealeaves is that this will be a splendid keeper. Very much looking forward to seeing the second cast now.

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I loved this Winter's Tale. I thought choreography, music and design were all wonderful - but for me, the greatest accolade has to go to Talbot's stunning score, which rolls out a meticulously coloured carpet of evocative moods and a precise, pitch-perfect storyline, which can't fail to produce a convincing stage narrative.

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