Jump to content

The Royal Ballet, Manon, Autumn 2014


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 311
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Chrischris. Just seen your comment on Steven McRae. I thought that both his and Roberta's performances were excellent, very thoughtful, without any trace of showing off. It was an emotionally charged performance and people near me were also moved and impressed by them both. They both captured the essence of their respective characters very well, as did Valentino. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too really enjoyed Steven's and Roberta's performance. Until recently I didn't really appreciate Roberta. I think it is because she is so tiny and I am watching from the amphi. Perhaps she didn't 'project' sufficiently, especially as my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be. However, after seeing them at the cinema last year in La Fille I was really taken by her acting as well as dancing skills. the cinema close ups really brought out her personality and now I am always pleased when I see she is Steven's partner. Am looking forward to seeing Osipova at the end of the month though I wish she was partnered by Vadim. Given his amazing debut that would be an incredible partnership hopefully in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, yes, those "beats".  Unfortunately, there are too many leading dancers - both Lescauts and Manons - who don't seem to bother to put them in (Manon's being in the bedroom pdd).  I think Lamb did, and Hayward, but not Nunez, if I remember rightly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't want to be contentious here especially as I'm not seeing Manon this time round.

 

But I do wonder when some people say the evening fell "flat" if this isn't just too much of seeing the same ballet in the same week and in some cases on the same day!!

 

Sometimes one needs time to recover if one has been totally drawn into a performance ballet or otherwise so perhaps it felt flat because needed more space to give full emotional attention to again.

 

I think it would be very hard for any performance of Osipova to contribute to a feeling of flatness but then of course I wasn't there.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright then, I'll defend my "flat" comment.  It might seem absolutely ridiculous, but once Carlos's shoes started squeaking in the first act, the fourth wall was broken and I couldn't get into the relationship between the people on stage.  I had a few goosebump moments, but the performace just didn't become whole for me at the end.  Take it with as much a pinch of salt as you want.  I'll go back in two weeks and if Carlos's shoes keep making funny noises while their owner is confessing his love to Manon I'll be ready for it.    

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright then, I'll defend my "flat" comment.  It might seem absolutely ridiculous, but once Carlos's shoes started squeaking in the first act, the fourth wall was broken and I couldn't get into the relationship between the people on stage.  I had a few goosebump moments, but the performace just didn't become whole for me at the end.  Take it with as much a pinch of salt as you want.  I'll go back in two weeks and if Carlos's shoes keep making funny noises while their owner is confessing his love to Manon I'll be ready for it.    

All the DGs' shoes have squeaked in this run I'm afraid, and all in that same bit.  It is off-putting, but do try to ignore it if you can!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The way in which Sarah describes Manon sums up exactly how I felt about the character. 

 

On a slightly different point, Sarah's blonde curly wig definitely suits her, but I don't think it suited Nunez at all.  I have seen Guillem in this, and I am pretty certain she never wore anything with curls.  Are these wigs new, or did Guillem just do her own thing? 

 

Edited to add that I have just watched some of the clips,and the curls were definitely kept to a minimum!

Edited by Fonty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not believe that those who felt that Tuesday's performance was a bit flat did so because they were suffering from Manon overload.I described the impact that the performance had on me and I am sure that they did the same.

 

.It is a very rare dancer who is equally effective across the  entire repertory and it could be that this role is less suited to Osipova than other works that we have seen her in or those that we will see her in. Everyone has dancers that they will happily go and see in one role but will avoid in another and some that they will go and see in everything sometimes to the amusement of fellow ballet goers .I have always gone by what I see in performance rather than by reputation. It could be that with another partner i would have responded differently.It could even be that at this point Hayward has an advantage over Osipova in this role in that she has grown up with the ballet and had a far more responsive dancer partnering her,Who knows?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the DGs' shoes have squeaked in this run I'm afraid, and all in that same bit.  It is off-putting, but do try to ignore it if you can!!

 

They certainly have in all the performances I've seen: guess they all have new boots?  OTOH, I didn't find myself put off long-term by it in any case, so I'm not sure the boots can take the blame :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They certainly have in all the performances I've seen: guess they all have new boots?  OTOH, I didn't find myself put off long-term by it in any case, so I'm not sure the boots can take the blame :)

I noticed it when I saw Vadim's debut on Sunday but I assumed he simply hadn't had enough time to break them in, not even having had a stage call before that remarkable performance.

 

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez last night and they were fantastic, This was how Manon should be and I knew it from the very first pdd. This was in complete contrast to all 3 performances I have seen so far (not seen Vadim and very regretful of this). Steven and Roberta were as one - they were a perfect physical match and there was immense passion. Steven was anguished, Roberta loved her jewelery and as ever, when she dances with Steven, she was on fire. Steven's dancing was phenomenal and his fast spins in Act 3 when he has killed the Gaoler were breath taking. I felt the rest of the cast rose to the occasion and I left the building feeling as I have always felt in the past after watching Manon, but never so far in this run. I too, had wondered if I was suffering from Manon fatigue and I had just seen it too many times.

 

As an aside, I love watching what's happening in the background too, especially in Act 2 where the corps have a wail of a time. I noticed on Tuesday that a couple of them had "frozen" in some very difficult positions where it must have been really difficult to hold their position. Last night they didn't.  Did I also spot the beginnings of a conga at the back of the stage early in Act 2?

 

Loved Valentino Zuccheti as Lescaut and he's one to watch. Noticed some subtle differences from Thiago, particularly where Thiago held the audience at the end of Act 1 Scene 1 when he came to the front / middle of the stage and really held that position with great effect before the cloak sweep exit..........and Act 2, Thiago scrambled for the money that M.GM throws. I think no other Lescaut's do this. 

 

That's why I book to see so many casts for this ballet - all are really different, and that's so fascinating. Still on a high from last night and actually relieved to be so.....as I had started to be worried,

 

Also delighted that I was with a friend, for whom it was her first Manon, She was transported, and so glad I picked this performance for her.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Precisely why I didn't comment on Tuesday's performance, Lin!  If tonight's seems "flat" to me, then I'll know you're right.  If it doesn't, then I will say that Tuesday's did. 

I felt really flat after Tuesday - and I had been looking forward to it immensely,   and almost feel traitorous to Carlos for saying this,  Wednesday's performance (Steven/ Roberta) was for me, 100 times better in all respects

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw Steven McRae and Roberta Marquez last night and they were fantastic, This was how Manon should be and I knew it from the very first pdd. This was in complete contrast to all 3 performances I have seen so far (not seen Vadim and very regretful of this).

 

Interesting post. Who else have you seen this run?

 

Now i've seen SL/RP, my favourite Manon pairing, it's Yanowsky i'm most looking forward to. Can't wait to see how she plays it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What was so great about Vadim's performance was that you followed his story as well as Manon's. It was his tragedy as well as hers and he was not simply a vehicle for Manon's story. There is a lot of 'mooning about' for Des Grieux to do in the first two acts, which is very difficult to make interesting, but Vadim acted his part at all times and through subtle movement and facial expressions you saw his first shy interest in Manon and later his sorrow and bewilderment when she seemed to have willingly given herself to Monsieur GM. You really felt his pain at her (apparent?) betrayal. 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What was so exciting for me during last night's MANON was the clearly obvious continuing maturation of what we have long known would/will be a truly world class artist.  I am not aware that I have ever seen that first meeting pas BETTER performed.  The informed and easy partnering present in Muntagirov's DG was for me on a scale with Dowell or Kobborg or Soto and - of perhaps of more current issue - the enthralling genius that is Tyler Angle.  It was simply SO thrilling. Muntagirov's (sadly I don't know him personally so I must refrain from referring to him by his given 'christian' name) luxurious arabesques simply melted into music and as the poster choosing to refer to herself as 'capybara' suggests above his new found consistency in the art of naturalistic dramatic embroidery lifted - indeed inflated - the combined artistry of all within its catalytic grasp.  Even Yates sadly sodden re-orchestration (forget the minor squeak of any shoe) was less troubling - and that is by way of paying SOME compliment.  The theatrical flesh was heady such as was thrown against MacMillan's choreographic bones last night and the additional responses of all were clearly elevated by, through and against Muntagirov's elevation.  Zucchetti gleamed with an intoxicating intelligence in his delivery of a maliciously malevolent Lescaut - one always wry in more than just an auspiciously iniquitous grin; Acri dazzled in the precise animation of his beggar boy with a ready catch; Avis delighted in the ever burgeoning tilt of his open jawed delight as Monsieur G.M.; James Hay exuded an especially pointed perfume in the midst of a fine trio of gentlemen; Whitehead glowered with calamitous damnation as the Goaler - making even those lugubrious breeches appear a welcome addition - and, thoughout, this Manon - a phosphorescent Lamb - was allowed to respond with her own shapely (and yes) knowing allure until fate's clock did but stop and we all retired with a grin in our hearts.  Those cheers from a less than capacity audience at the ROH last night were well deserved.    

Edited by Bruce Wall
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The house looked pretty full to me, from the amphitheatre. Were there many unsold seats further down? The applause certainly belied the less than capacity audience. I actually thought that the orchestra sounded very good last night, particularly in the section played by just the strings near the beginning. I agree about Zucchetti. In fact the whole cast was on very good form and worked really well together, which I feel is very important. Performances are much more satisfying (for me) if they are not dominated by one or two 'stars'.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The house looked pretty full to me, from the amphitheatre. 

 

I can only say that I had the better part of an amphi central row to myself, Aileen, and it was entirely clear behind. (I should add that I had only bought standing room - which itself was not full and rapidly became entirely depleted.)   Indeed I placed my satchel in the lap of an empty seat in front (and there were more than several seats in its surround) for careful observance - as suggested - indeed requested - by that ever present interval announcement.  I must confess, however, that the amphi was a tad more full than it had been for Hayward's entrancing debut. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually thought that the orchestra sounded very good last night, particularly in the section played by just the strings near the beginning. 

 

I was actually referring to the (re)-orchestration.  Perhaps you are too young to remember how it used to be.  (Don't worry, Aileen.  You can still hear that same in Toronto, New York or Moscow refreshingly.)  

Edited by Bruce Wall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that Acosta and Osipova have been cast together in a number of ballets and as a result it did not come as a surprise to me that they appeared together in Manon. .I clearly should have thought more carefully about the question that I asked about casting.What I should have asked is how much the decision to cast a particular pair of dancers together is a management decision and to what extent the dancers had a say in the matter .

 

The fact that Acosta and Osipova have been cast together so much does not necessarily make much sense in terms of box office receipts since Acosta has a solid fan base who will pay to see him in almost anything in which he appears. You might have thought that management, if it was their decision alone, would have cast Osipova with other dancers rather than him if only in order to boost box office receipts. I suspect that Acosta decides who he dances with and that the only reason that he is not dancing with her in Fille is because he has an established partnership with Nunez in that ballet. It will be interesting to see what casting looks like in the post Acosta era. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had been worrying slightly about all the praise for Vadim after his debut as Des Grieux on Sunday:  can he REALLY be as good as all that in his first performance?  Can he be as good as all that on his second performance?  Can he possibly live up to all of the superlatives?

 

As soon as he appeared onstage, I knew that the answer to all these questions was a resounding ‘yes he can’.   He is so convincing as a shy young man who has absolutely no idea of the debauched world that is about to consume him body and soul.  When the girls try to flirt with him he recoils almost as a schoolboy in the playground:  “hey, leave me alone.  Don’t touch my things.”  But when he first sets eyes on Manon,  his transformation from boy to man begins with a few shy looks from under the brim of his hat, right to that first admission of love.  And what an admission of love;  I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I saw that solo danced so emotionally and believably, and so technically fluid and exciting.  His control, his line, his desire, all so perfectly conveyed.  What girl wouldn’t fall for such ardour?  Every move of those long limbs expressed a yearning, both physical and emotional, that I have seldom seen from a male dancer as they have relatively few chances to do so.  I have never said this about a male dancer, but what beautiful arms, wrists and hands Vadim has.  A slight flick of the wrists downwards and I had a lump in my throat;  so much was said in that most slight of movements.  This was a DG who seemed to know pretty much from the beginning that his story was not going to have a happy ending, and yet he couldn’t help himself.  His partnering of the wonderful Sarah Lamb, in all of their pdd, was ardent and sympathetic, and the adoring way he handled her and looked at her throughout made the final tragedy so much more poignant…from start to finish he loves her a lot more than she loves him, and we wish that he could know this.  At the end of this performance I looked like a raccoon:  I had full circles around my eyes from not being able to remove the binoculars from them, and those circles were black with running mascara at the end of the ballet.  Having to go out in the street looking like a cross between Rocky Raccoon and Alice Cooper was all worth it;  Vadim was stunning and sublime;  long may his career last.

 

Sarah Lamb gives the performance of her career in this role.  Her Manon revels in her sexuality and her effect on the rich, lecherous men who surround her.  She likes the rewards this offers, and she knows how to get more without giving more.  She is a shallow young girl who starts off with a silly old man she’s met on the coach, then finds out what love is, then throws it away for another old man’s material gifts, then realises what she is missing and pays the ultimate price for choosing the right path.  Sarah dances so beautifully in this ballet;  she has a gorgeous line that, like Vadim, expresses so much.  However, when it comes to telling a story and imparting any kind of emotion, she dances and acts with her eyes, in such a way that I’ve never seen.  Her transformation upon having the fur and necklace bestowed upon her in the bedroom is almost cruel; in that moment, her eyes turn steely and hard, a huge realisation takes place, and we all know it.  Her take in the final act is interesting as well…she isn’t physically very ill when she disembarks from the boat.  She isn’t the pale, half-dead shell of her former self like other Manons.  It seems that what does for her is the final humiliation and abuse suffered at the hands of the Gaoler.  Despite DG’s absolute love and dedication to her, that is just one man too many that has used her and abused her, and we get the feeling that she literally loses the will to live.  The final pdd had me choked up right from the start;  we could see the lifeblood ebbing away with each step, each bend of her body, with DG somehow trying to convince himself that this couldn’t be happening and encouraging her to live by taking risks with the movement (a bit like Johan and Alina used to) and adding a bit of extra danger to the throws and the low-level catches.  His abject despair at the end was utterly heartbreaking.

 

As has been mentioned above this was a truly ensemble piece.  This was my first viewing of Zucchetti as Lescaut and I was very impressed.  He was a slimy, nasty piece of work, very obviously only out for himself, but then redeemed by reluctantly helping his sister regain love and self-respect at the price of his life.  He even managed to make me smile in the drunk pdd as he didn’t over-egg it.  Yuhui is a lovely Mistress and works well with Valentino.   For the few seconds that I could bear to take my eyes of Vadim and Sarah, it was lovely to watch the interaction between those two old mates Gary Avis and Genesia Rosato, as well as all the stories happening in the background.  No mere padding out in MacMillan’s ballets;  every person on that stage has his or her own story.  Luca Aldi was a fun, buoyant Beggar Chief and  Thomas Whitehead was a dark and menacing Gaoler, the evil catalyst of Manon’s final downfall.

 

This was One Of Those Nights at the ROH, and one that won’t be forgotten, for its depth of emotion, its glorious dancing by all concerned and, most importantly, a reminder of why the Royal Ballet is the finest dramatic ballet company in the world.  A huge ‘bravo’ to the whole company.

  • Like 19
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...