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Foteini Christofilopoulou was at the afternoon rehearsal with Daria Klimentová & Vadim Muntagirov cast. Here are a couple of photos to remind us of how glorious Daria is, for her retirement performances:

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Daria Klimentová as Juliet
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Daria Klimentová & Vadim Muntagirov
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Set from DanceTabs: ENB - Romeo & Juliet (Daria Klimentová cast)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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As I won’t be seeing an actual performance until the middle of next week, I thought I would jot down a few thoughts about last night’s dress rehearsal.  Rojo and Acosta marked a lot of their performance, sensibly saving themselves for tonight, so it would not be appropriate to comment on them.  Junor Souza and Yonah Acosta, as Benvolio and Mercutio respectively, were well matched artistically and technically and to my mind had the most interesting and enjoyable choreography of the production which they performed with great gusto. I cannot wait to see Souza as Romeo to Begona Cao’s Juliet (this cast’s elegantly flirtatious Rosaline) and he will also be partnering Fernanda Oliveira’s Juliet as Zdenek Konvalina has had to withdraw due to injury. The Cao/Souza performance will benefit from the Lady Capulet of Elena Glurdjidze, bringing her wealth of stage experience to this role.  Juliet’s friends were a delight and included Crystal Costa and Desiree Ballantyne, both making a welcome return to the stage after prolonged absences due to foot operations. Making his debut as Paris was Daniele Silingardi in his first season with the company.  Although to my mind no-one will ever match the much missed Julian Hosking as this character, Silingardi brings a natural nobility, excellent partnering skills and a surprisingly moving tenderness in his treatment of the Nurse as they grieve over Juliet’s body in the tomb. As always the corps de ballet put their hearts and souls into everything they do but in my opinion they are not always well served by Deane’s choreography in the street scenes.  I longed for the rambunctious ‘spontaneity’ of Nureyev’s street scenes with their full-blooded Italian vitality.  Deane seems to prefer his streets to be full of couples dancing in disciplined lines which does not lead naturally to the fight scenes.  Presumably to allow the audience to see the action, most of them had to disappear up the various stairways before the final swordfight between Romeo and Tybalt (another immaculate portrayal of a ‘baddie’ by Fabian Reimair) which proved much more exciting than the choreography for the swordfight between Mercutio and Tybalt with a rather contrived fatal blow. Max Westwell and Joshua McSherry-Gray made a strong impact during their relatively short appearance as Tybalt’s friends. Michael Coleman disappointed as the Prince of Verona, not having enough gravitas or authority for such a powerful figure and not helped by having a very weedy set of guards who also suffered from the worst costumes of the production.  Although they had helmets which covered their whole heads, they wore no other armour but only blouson and tights which only emphasised their lack of brawn. In my opinion, the best character portrayal of the evening was Tamarin Stott as the Nurse in a performance imbued with such subtlety and emotional range that she was mesmerising whenever she appeared.  As Juliet is lifted aloft in the ballroom scene, the Nurse gazes at her with a mixture of pride and admiration that is priceless and conveys a love for her that is beyond her mother’s capability.  After the harrowing scene when Juliet rejects Paris, the Nurse picks up her wrap from the bed and the stoop of her back says everything about her grief, to be compounded when Juliet rejects her as well. If there were an award for Best Supporting Actress in a Ballet, Stott would get my vote. Stott is also Nurse to Cojocaru, Oliveira and Cao so I look forward to seeing her interpretation grow even further as the season progresses.

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Here are some pictures to illustrate Irmgard's piece from last night's rehearsal.

 

 

ENB%2B-%2BR%2526J%2B-%2BRAH%2B-%2BJune%2
 
Friar Lawrence - Luke Haydon and Juliet - Tamara Rojo 
 
ENB+-+R%2526J+-+RAH+-+June+14_134_stott_

 

Nurse - Tamarin Stott, Benvolio - Junor Souza, Romeo - Carlos Acosta and Mercutio - Yonah Acosta 
 
ENB+-+R%2526J+-+RAH+-+June+14_070_acosta

 

Romeo - Carlos Acosta and Juliet - Tamara Rojo 
 
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I saw the performance this evening. The company were technically on strong form and the chemistry between Tamara and Carlos second to none. It seemed they could communicate a multiplicity of emotions in just one look or movement.

The soloists were technically strong although I felt some of the acting of Romeo's friends was perhaps not in keeping with the tradition of the rest of the choreography. Having said that their dancing was impeccable and they were extremely well matched. All credit goes to Juliet's friends who were also an asset to the production.

My main criticisms would be the lighting in Act 1 which when viewed from above seemed v red making it difficult to see the faces of the dancers. A number of members of the audience also commented on the speed of at which the music was conducted.

Some of the acting appeared to need toning down amongst extras in Act 1 and footwear of the masked dancers looked a little as if they were wearing Ugg boots which was far from flattering in terms of line.

Acts 2 and 3 were the highlights of the performance and the changes in lighting added to this as facial features became more visible. I shall keep this as a technical comment as the dancers were young but I would have liked to have seen young students who could have galoped in a circle with stretched feet. I am sure they have worked hard and do not wish to undermine the confidence of the young but I am sure if this can be corrected it will increase the credibility of their performance in the days to come.

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..and a couple of photos from me, as I was at the evening rehearsal with Carlos Acosta/Tamara Rojo cast too. Seems I've gone for the 'despair' angle.

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Jane Haworth (Fabian Reimair) Lady Capulet (and Tybalt)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Carlos Acosta (and Tamara Rojo)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Set from DanceTabs: ENB - Romeo and Juliet (Acosta/Rojo)
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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My wife and I were at the performance night and really enjoyed it. We were seated on row 1 in the stalls and talk about being in the middle of the action. It felt very strange being so close so how it must feel for the dancers to have the audience seemingly amongst them. The market scene and masked ball were brilliantly conceived and performed; how they got so many on and off without colliding was worth the money alone.The balcony scene did not start very well with the top of the balcony not passing under the ceiling of the doorway without an almighty crash must have very disconcerting for Tamara sitting on the steps. Yonah and Junor were great as Romeo's friends and, of course, Tamara and Carlos were wonderful. My wife won tickets for the performance next Thursday with Daria and Vadim so really looking forward to that as well.

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Can anyone tell me who the other Mercutios, Tybalts and Rosalines are? I see that Like Haydon was a former dancer with the RB. Has he danced with ENB before (I understand that he is now a gardener)?

 

Especially for Aileen: - 

 

DATES JUNE 2014

11 E. 13 E. 15 M.17 E.

12 E. 14 E.

14 M. 19 E. 22M.

18 E. 21 E.

21 M.

20 E.

19 M.

Juliet

Rojo

Cojocaru

Klimentova

Oliveira

Takahashi

Cao

Glurdjidze

Romeo

C Acosta

Vogel

Muntagirov

Konvalina

Vargas

Souza

Vargas

Mercutio

Acosta

Bufala

Lukovkin

Acosta

Bufala

Acosta

Bufala

Benvolio

Souza

Forbat

G Menezes

Souza

Forbat

Forbat

V Menezes

Tybalt

Reimair

Westwell

Streeter

Bufala

Westwell

Bufala

Westwell

Paris

Silingardi

Vargas

Forbat

Vargas

Liotardo

Silingardi

Silingardi

Lord C

Streeter

Streeter

Reimair

Reimair

Streeter

Reimair

Reimair

Lady C

Haworth

Haworth

Quagebeur

Glurdjidze

Haworth

Glurdjidze

Haworth

Nurse

Stott

Stott

Hunt

Stott

Hunt

Stott

Hunt

Rosaline

Cao

Cao

McWhinney

Cao

Ovsyanick

Keesler

Ovsyanick

Friar

Heydon

Heydon

Coleman

Heydon

Coleman

Heydon

Coleman

Prince V

Coleman

Coleman

Heydon

Coleman

Heydon

Coleman

Heydon

 

Sorry.  I have tried to copy this table over three times but am obviously failing.  The dates give the order that performers will perform.  Some performers appear more than once because they appear with more than one set of titled principals. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Fernando Bufala was unfortunately announced as injured last night and was replaced by Yonah Acosta.

 

ENB's website now shows Junor Souza as dancing Romeo to Fernanda Oliviera's Juliet. Zdenek Konvalina appears also to be injured.

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There was so much about which to rejoice in last night's performance.

 

Alina Cojocaru was simply amazing as Juliet - her dramatic power and beautiful dancing absolutely filling the large auditorium. Ballet simply doesn't get much better than this. Strongly danced and acted performances too from Friedemann Vogel as Romeo, Yonah Acosta as Mercutio, James Forbat as Benvolio and Max Westwell as Tybalt.

 

The supporting cast was excellent also: James Streeter as Lord Capulet, Jane Haworth as Lady Capulet, Tamarin Stott as the Nurse and Luke Heydon as Friar Laurence - who, incidentally, has a much longer interchange with Juliet in Act III than in other versions of the ballet.

 

Hats off to the orchestra as well.

Edited by capybara
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I agree with Capybara that last night's production was lovely, with its main strength being the acting and the staging/lighting.  Alina was wonderful;  the depth of her passion and despair filling the large arena from that tiny body....truly a masterclass in how it should be done.  Friedemann Vogel is making a very welcome return to the company as a guest artist.  He is the perfect Romeo:  boyish, bounding around like a young pup, partnering his Juliet with love and all the joys of spring and the promise of wonderful times to come.  The supporting cast was indeed equally as good as the principal pair.  I can't remember ever having been as frightened of a Tybalt as I was of Max Westwell;  a real tour de force interpretation of the role.  Jane Haworth was an icy Lady Capulet, portraying her as incapable of loving anyone except Tybalt (there is no illusion or doubt in this version of the ballet as to the relationship between Lady C and Tybalt!).  Yonah Acosta (replacing Fernando Bufala) as Mercutio was cheeky and fun, just as Mercutio should be, and died a very poignant death, just as he should.  James Forbat as Benvolio made a good foil for him.  Tamarin Stott was very moving as The Nurse and deserves the plaudits she has been getting for her performance.  I didn't like James Streeter's Lord Capulet.  I found it way over the top and, despite the size of the arena, unnecessarily exaggerated. 

 

My main quibble is the choreography.  I find it a bit thin and unchallenging.  I know that, again, the aim is to fill the arena, but for me there just isn't enough depth, passion and narrative in the steps.  Luckily the dramatic skills of the dancers override this, but try as I might I just can't put aside the genius of MacMillan's pas de deux.  Even the crowd scenes and the fights don't have anywhere near the same gravitas, and the four harlots don't have much to do here either....a shame as we had Ovsyanick, Osbaldeston, Summerscales and Ramirez last night.  Having said this, the production is grand and grandiose, and makes the most of the unusual venue for ballet.  I too would like to congratulate the ENB orchestra, who gave a mighty account of Prokofiev's beautiful score, and played without a blip through ten minutes of a very noisy, failing light, that caused people to get up and move around as well as making a real racket.  If the dancers were aware of it (and I don't see how they couldn't have been) it didn't show at all.  Another example of the professionalism of the entire company.

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Agree thoroughly with both Capybara and Sim, certainly about Alina's heartbreaking Juliet.  I actually think she carried the whole thing last night, with the matchless combination of her perfect dancing  and her total absorbtion into Juliet's tragedy - she just was Juliet, from the moment of her first  apppearance to her desspairing death scene (it was nearly a relief to see her similing and normal self at the curtain call). 

 

Sim has said it all about the production overall, and I particularly agree with her comments about the impossibility of keeping the MacMillan version out of mind (inevitably unfair to any post-MacMillan choreographer attempting another version of R & J).

 

All congratulations to the entire cast for throwing themselves so wholeheartedly into the production and  seeming to enjoy it, and to the orchestra for making us listen properly to the familiar Prokofiev score. 

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Oh, did I miss a competition somewhere?

 

It was in the Enfield Advertiser a couple of weeks age.

 

Sorry, I have already answered alison on this but don't know how to delete.

Edited by SPD444
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This recently in from the Royal Albert Hall:

 

"Dear Customer,

 

Thank you for booking an event or restaurant at the Royal Albert Hall.

 

Please note that, due to road works, the eastbound carriageway on Kensington Gore and Kensington Road will be closed between 8pm and 5am on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 June. During this time there will be east-bound diversions in place for all vehicles, including buses. Please bear this in mind when planning your arrival and departure from the Hall."

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Moved to tears this afternoon by the balcony pas de deux from Daria Klimentova and Vadim Muntagirov: so beautifully danced it was absolutely heart-rending. Vadim's interpetation has deepened so much since he was cast as Romeo in Nureyev's version of the ballet 3+ years ago.

 

Strong performances too from Anton Lukovkin as Mercutio, James Streeter as Tybalt and Stina Quagebeur as Lady Capulet.

 

But, now that I am getting more accustomed to Derek Deane's 'in the round' version, I feel that he gives four sixths of the auditorium the backs of him main characters on too many occasions and also surrounds them with so much 'business' that key moments can get a bit lost.

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I am gutted I cant go especially as I have 3 very young students in the cast who have become, overnight, seasoned young opinionated Ballet fans! "Tamara dies beautifully but I prefer Alina's first act"...they had barely even heard of ENB before.

 

So please folks keep posting and when you next go, keep a special eye out for my lads!

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Strong performances too from Anton Lukovkin as Mercutio, James Streeter as Tybalt and Stina Quagebeur as Lady Capulet.

 

But, now that I am getting more accustomed to Derek Deane's 'in the round' version, I feel that he gives four sixths of the auditorium the backs of him main characters on too many occasions and also surrounds them with so much 'business' that key moments can get a bit lost.

 

Definitely, on both points.  And as proof:

 

I am gutted I cant go especially as I have 3 very young students in the cast who have become, overnight, seasoned young opinionated Ballet fans! "Tamara dies beautifully but I prefer Alina's first act"...they had barely even heard of ENB before.

 

So please folks keep posting and when you next go, keep a special eye out for my lads!

 

I was keeping more of an eye on hfbrew's lads (mainly because they happened to be in front of me) than I was for the actual main characters :)

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[quote name="alison"

 

 

I was keeping more of an eye on hfbrew's lads (mainly because they happened to be in front of me) than I was for the actual main characters :)

 

I hope that they were behaving themselves!

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I must say that I enjoyed this evening's performance much more than I had expected. I agree that the choreography is thin. There's only really two pdds in the whole ballet. Key moments can be difficult to see from the stalls but this is offset by the excitement of being so incredibly close to the dancers. Deane's strengths are his clear storytelling and characterisation. The first act sped by after a very lively opening scene. There is rather a lot of filler in the form of the corps marching into and out of the arena and some of the ball scenes dragged a bit. There's very little dancing for the women apart from Juliet. Really, the men have the best of the ballet in the form of dancing, sword fighting and acting. Alina and Friedemann were very convincing as the lovers and were strongly supported by the rest of the cast. I was pleased to see Fernando Bufala as Mercutio after hearing that he was injured two days ago. He was really good in the role and I'm looking forward to seeing him as Franz in Coppelia. The characterisation of Lady Capulet (Jane Haworth) and the Nurse (Tamarin Stott) were outstanding. Lady Capulet was shown as a cold woman who had little maternal feeling towards her daughter and who was frozen by grief after Tybalt's death. In contrast, the Nurse loved Juliet like a daughter. The final scene with the lines of monks and the health and safety defying candles brought the ballet to a close on a note of high drama.

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I should have added to my post last night a couple more points. Firstly, I really liked the rumbustious marketplace crowd scenes in which the townspeople enjoy seeing the vendetta played out between the two families and are always up for a fight between their aristocratic betters. Secondly, you really felt that Juliet was a pawn in the greater dynastic plans of her parents. Finally, I found the fights leading to the two deaths, to an energetic rendering of the brooding score, genuinely exciting. I'm taking my daughter to see the Tamara and Carlos cast this afternoon. 

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I found the fights leading to the two deaths, to an energetic rendering of the brooding score, genuinely exciting.

I agree. And both deaths are also very movingly portrayed. I wanted to applaud yesterday afternoon's Mercutio (Anton Lukovkin) as he was carried away, but the music and the ongoing action don't allow for that.

Edited by capybara
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It was interesting to see this production from higher up today. The crowd scenes look better from above. The best of the corps dancing is at the beginning of Act 2. Tamara made a passionate Juliet but (and I seem to be in a minority here) I was less convinced by Carlos who I feel is now past his best. His partnering is still very smooth but he looks underpowered especially next to the frisky pair of Yonah and Junor. I think that it's wise of Carlos to have made a decision to retire next season. I found Alina and Friedemann's pdds more affecting (the woman sitting next to me last night was so overcome by the first of them that she was practically hyper-ventilating). Fabian was fantastically mean and menacing as Tybalt. Yonah and Junor were great fun and danced well, predictably, but could do with toning down the jack-the-lad act a little; their larkiness was a bit too twenty-first century. I felt that Daniele was undercast as Paris. It's quite an important role which require some good acting, and his partnering was rather tentative. The drama is really heightened by the orchestra who draw out all the moods of Prokofiev's incredible score.

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The final scene with the lines of monks and the health and safety defying candles brought the ballet to a close on a note of high drama.

 

That reminds me: I was desperately hoping that the two candles forming the "gateway" for Romeo's entrance weren't real ones (the ones close to me certainly were), because Muntagirov's cloak came perilously close to them!

 

I wanted to applaud yesterday afternoon's Mercutio (Anton Lukovkin) as he was carried away

 

He would certainly have deserved it.  In fact, there were a lot (virtually all the named characters) of debuts yesterday afternoon, and some which seasoned ENB-goers will definitely not have wanted to have missed.

 

Tamara made a passionate Juliet but (and I seem to be in a minority here) I was less convinced by Carlos

 

Well, I don't know, but I seem to remember quite a few of the critics in the past saying that Romeo really wasn't his role - certainly it's one he didn't take on until pretty late in his career.  Anyway, the reason I booked for this cast - probably unlike most of the ticket-holders? - was for the Juliet, rather than the Romeo.

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