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A performance of rare artistry from Elena Glurdjidze as Swanilda yesterday afternoon in Oxford. She connected with the audience immediately she came on stage and carried them with her every step of the way. Her comic timing was a delight and the softness and phrasing of her dancing was beautiful throughout.

 

Mention has been made elsewhere on the Forum of the frequent emphasis given to steps over interpretation nowadays. Elena knows how to deliver 'the complete package' and show the soul of her character. The near to full theatre had a lot of very happy punters indeed and, unusually for a regional audience, there was a massive, cheering ovation at the end. So well-deserved.

 

Elena has one more Swanilda - in Bristol on the evening of 7th November. Catch her while you can. She is a unique artiste.

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As we were inexplicably denied the opportunity to see Glurdjidze's Coppelia in London, I suppose it wasn't so surprising to spot so many London fans in the audience that had travelled to Oxford for the afternoon, there were a lot of children in the audience too and what a wonderful introduction to the world of ballet it must have been for them. 

 

I can't improve on Capybara's excellent assessment of Ms Glurdjidze's performance, she really brought the role alive for me with so many little touches that fleshed out the role and made the ballet quite touching in places reminding us that it isn't just a jolly romp.  This Swanilda was deeply in love with Franz and she was visibly hurting when he flirted with the supposed new neighbour, she also showed regret at her treatment of Coppelius, aware that what she had done in the heat of the moment had been wrong and her brief backwards glance towards him spoke volumes.

 

Fine performances from the rest of the cast too,  Arionel Vargas has a real flair for comedy and turned out to be a natural in the role, and Fabien Reimair's Coppelius, played very much for laughs, had the little girl in front of me in giggles all the time he was on stage.

 

Terrific afternoon - a big BRAVIDE to all the dancers (and the orchestra too).

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Good to hear such positive reports. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to see her in the role since ... I think it may have been when Rojo was first in the company? ... but it's good to know she's still as good as ever.

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Elena Glurdjidze has not been seen often enough on an ENB stage in the last two years, which has been a great pity for all ballet lovers since she has the capacity to dance from the heart. She can live whatever role she is dancing, becoming the character and feeling all the joys or sorrows that are part of it. Look back to her Juliet at the Albert Hall and her Swanilda yesterday in Oxford. She has this rare quality that brings the audience into the world that she is experiencing. The  fact that she is a terrific dancer as well goes without saying. After Swanilda in Bristol there is just one Swan Lake in Liverpool and one at the Coliseum in January (along with quite a few Nutcrackers, of course) and then she bids farewell to ENB. She will be missed as she is a great example to younger dancers as well as a big favourite with us, her fans.

Edited by nevsky
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Important to record, I think, that, having been on all the Coppelia posters nationwide for months, Laurretta Summerscales finally made her debut as Swanilda in Oxford on Friday. An impressively confident and feisty performance it was too.

 

Other debuts this week have included Zia Zhang (Prayer) and Madison Keesler (Dawn) - both lovely.

 

And Yonah Acosta has been back on stage with his very amusing and well-danced Franz. He is cast for Siegfried in Milton Keynes (with Erina Takahashi) and in Liverpool (with Shiori Kase) - that will be interesting.

Edited by capybara
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Not quite a review but ...

 

My daughter went to the Bristol performance last night - as she takes drama at GCSE she had blagged a seat on the A level trip with her school.

 

Given that her brother is a ballet dancer, about whom for many years we had concerns as to whether he would ever grow tall enough to get a job, all I got by way of feedback was a detailed description of the physique of the male dancers (chorus and solists).

 

Oh, and as a musician, comments on the make up of the orchestral music.  Not enough for the trumpets to do.

 

Female dancers?  Overall impressions?  Not a word ..

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Oh, and as a musician, comments on the make up of the orchestral music.  Not enough for the trumpets to do.

 

 

Ha, that was my partner's immediate impression for Coppelia as well, though he did find it and Yonah Acosta's Franz very, very funny.

 

My mother was the same when I got us front row stalls seats for her first ever ballet - I think it was Morera's debut in Onegin. She forgot her glasses, so spent most of the time looking at the orchestra and feeling sorry for the musicians who didn't do much playing. I spend a ton of money on tickets so my less enthusiastic friends and family can maximise their enjoyment (I'd normally sit in cheaper seats on my own) but it doesn't always pay off :-)

Edited by Sunrise
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Just got back from the Hippodrome here in drizzly Brizzle after a jolly fun afternoon seeing ballet instead of the more traditional weekday afternoon doing spreadsheets!

 

I've seen Coppélia twice before, both by touring Russian companies and it was dreadful once and brilliant once. Since you ask, the brilliant one was, surprisingly, Moscow Ballet La Classique at that European powerhouse of the arts, the Yeovil Octagon. Anyway, I'm pleased to say there's now a 2:1 hit rate on this after ENB's lovely production. :)

 

It's easy to forget that Laurretta Summerscales is still a First Soloist. Very easy indeed. She was a confident and hugely likeable Swanlida. Her acting in the middle act was impeccable, with a deft comic touch and a fantastic instinct for character, and she's a fine dancer.

 

Junor Souza impressed me hugely in Le Corsaire and he didn't disappoint here. His Franz's matinee idol grin, I think, is the only thing that enabled Swanlida to forgive him rather than drown him in the fountain in exasperation. Souza's leaps and turns are mightily impressive. Although there was one slight comedy moment in the final act where, after a few tours of the stage, he ended up on one knee in front of one the male corps dancers rather than his bride. If I was Swanilda, this would've been the last straw and he'd be off to a watery grave post haste, but I guess it was that grin to the rescue once again. ;)

 

The one dancer who really caught my eye was Jeanette Kakareka in the role of Prayer. She seemed to have a few nerves, and the choreography in this particular role is merciless, with its long balances. So she might be a bit surprised to hear she was one of my stand-outs of the show. Kakareka has a lovely instinct for movement and traces beautiful lines in the air with her fingertips and toes. She was the only dancer I felt obliged to check my cast list for during the show, and I noticed an asterisk by her name (denoting a debut in the role) so it's unsurprising she was a little tentative. I hope she will be offered many more opportunities to showcase her talents and grow in confidence. I'll keep a keen eye out for her on the cast list in future shows.

 

If I were picking nits, I would say that there were moments where the sychronicity of the corps and the small group variations wasn't quite there. I don't think ENB has a bad dancer anywhere in its ranks - quite the opposite, in fact - so I'm not picking fault there, but it may be an area to focus on particularly as it's not the first time I've noticed this in an ENB production. Maybe I'm just spoiled by David Bintley's exacting standards at BRB?

 

In terms of the production, the costumes were lovely, the sets fantastic for a touring production. The middle act, in particular, had some lovely lighting touches, such as the stove - complete with steam! - and lit-up automaton. 

 

Anyway, a really fun afternoon at the ballet! I'm seeing it again on Saturday with Tamara Rojo in the lead role - something I'm quite excited about! - so I'll pop back with a bit more after that. :)

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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  :)

 

The one dancer who really caught my eye was Jeanette Kakareka in the role of Prayer. She seemed to have a few nerves, and the choreography in this particular role is merciless, with its long balances. So she might be a bit surprised to hear she was one of my stand-outs of the show. Kakareka has a lovely instinct for movement and traces beautiful lines in the air with her fingertips and toes.

 

 

This is interesting. On this ENB run, I have seen Prayer danced by: Laurretta Summerscales, Alison McWhinney, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Begona Cao and Jia Zhang - all them beautiful. And it is the most fiendishly difficult piece.

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This is interesting. On this ENB run, I have seen Prayer danced by: Laurretta Summerscales, Alison McWhinney, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Begona Cao and Jia Zhang - all them beautiful. And it is the most fiendishly difficult piece.

 

Ooh, I would love to see Alison McWhinney dance that part! *crosses fingers for Saturday* :)

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I went to the Bristol Hippodrome last night,    Elena was TERRIFIC,   there are no words to describe what a fantastic performance it was,    as she gets closer to her last performance with ENB she gets better and even better (if that's possible !),   her Juliet at the Albert Hall was absolutely amazing,   the whole performance last night was excellent,  the corp was brilliant and Arionel was well on form,   we're all going to miss her but I must let you all know that she, along with Arionel,  will be starring in the Nutcracker with Bristol Russian Ballet School and Youth Ballet Company on January 31st,  4 pm,  Playhouse,  Weston super Mare,  I hope some of you will be able to join her there.

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Well, a second bite of the cherry yesterday afternoon at the Hippodrome, with one Tamara Rojo in the lead role. It's not often I do a double-take at the ballet, but when the ENB are in such a quality-ballet-strapped-town as Bristol, and the theatre's only a five minute walk from my front door, it seems churlish not go a couple of times. :)

 

This was my first time seeing Tamara Rojo dance, and her casting was the reason I'd booked for the Saturday matinée particularly. I confess I've barely seen her dance before, but I've seen her Marguerite and Armand both at the cinema and on blu ray, and just from that I'd formed the opinion (rightly or wrongly) that Rojo's strengths are in the power of her dancing and in her willingness to throw herself into the emotion of the piece. Not necessarily the qualities required for a such a light-hearted role as Swanilda. I'd hoped to be awed by her performance. On stage, she had the supreme confidence of a dancer with absolutely nothing to prove, which made her wonderfully watchable, but it was only after the Spanish and Scottish dances in the second act that I felt I'd seen The Full Rojo. On quite a few occasions, though, if I'm completely, brutally, hope-that-Tamara-doesn't-read-this-and-recognise-me-from-my-photo-if-I-get-the-chance-to-meet-her-and-get-an-autographly honest... I wasn't strictly sure that I didn't enjoy Laurretta Summerscales' performance at least as much. I guess it feels tricky to say that, because from what I've seen Tamara is something akin to ballet royalty, but those are my thoughts and I'm sticking by them. :)

 

Accompanying Tamara was Fernando Bufalá. And his interpretation of Franz couldn't have been more different to Junor Souza's. Well, I suppose it could've been if he'd played it as an overweight octagenarian one-legged pasta chef with a limp, but you get my meaning. Where Souza's Franz felt like a foolish soul, forever at the mercy of his adolescent impulses, Bufalá's Franz was a raffish rogue. This Franz was having a whale of a time, two-timing his way through life with a cheeky wink knowing full well his effortless charm would allow him to get away with murder. :) Both were exceptional dancers, but it was the two different takes on the same role that made seeing this twice so compelling.

 

The cast in the smaller roles were pretty much the same, but I should give proper credit to Seo-Yeon Yu, who had impressed on Thursday, but who narrowly missed out on featuring in my first review.

 

Finally, even though the cast sheet said otherwise, I was surprised and delighted to be treated again to another appearance by Jeanette Kakareka as Prayer. Shaking off any nerves she had on Thursday, this was much more confident performance, something I was relieved to see. And once again, she was the stand-out of the show for me. Which presumably means she'll be heading to Royal Ballet Flanders at the end of the season, so catch her while you can. ;)

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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So you didn't wait for Tamara at the Stage Door after all then, BBB?

 

I was among several people waiting in torrential rain for Elena Glurdjidze on Friday evening and she came down very quickly to meet everyone, still in make-up but dressed in a onesie. So nice of her to think of others in that way and to spend time talking in terrible conditions.

 

Elena's performance as Swanilda was every bit as wonderful as described at post #12 (above). The audience went wild and her colleagues in the Company and the orchestra gave her a big clap. A privilege to be there.

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So is that the last performance of Coppelia this season? The first time that I saw Coppelia it was actually in Bristol, in March 2008. A cast change was announced and I didn't really catch the name but I'm pretty sure that it was Elena who replaced Venus Vila as Swanilda. Whoever it was, she was delightful.

 

BBB, I have an affection for Bristol as I was a student at the university 30 years ago. The son of a good friend of mine is at the university now and I keep threatening to visit him!

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So you didn't wait for Tamara at the Stage Door after all then, BBB?

 

No... I've either been fighting a cold or something off, or I'm just not coping well with autumn, but I've been so run down the promise of a sofa and a blanket was too strong compared to a potentially long wait in the cold! I know, I know... Rock and roll... 

 

BBB, I have an affection for Bristol as I was a student at the university 30 years ago. The son of a good friend of mine is at the university now and I keep threatening to visit him!

 

I work at the University! If you ever go through with your threat, give me a shout and I'd be happy to show you around the uni if you fancy some nostalgia. :)

Edited by BristolBillyBob
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So is that the last performance of Coppelia this season? The first time that I saw Coppelia it was actually in Bristol, in March 2008. A cast change was announced and I didn't really catch the name but I'm pretty sure that it was Elena who replaced Venus Vila as Swanilda. Whoever it was, she was delightful.

 

 

Yes, Coppelia is now over.

 

I was at that performance when Elena and Arionel Vargas (who were first cast in that run) replaced Venus Villa (who was injured) and Fernando Bufala (who re-joined ENB last year).

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On quite a few occasions, though, if I'm completely, brutally, hope-that-Tamara-doesn't-read-this-and-recognise-me-from-my-photo-if-I-get-the-chance-to-meet-her-and-get-an-autographly honest... I wasn't strictly sure that I didn't enjoy Laurretta Summerscales' performance at least as much. I guess it feels tricky to say that, because from what I've seen Tamara is something akin to ballet royalty, but those are my thoughts and I'm sticking by them. :)

No problem for me there, B3 (can't do the subscript from my laptop at the moment). If you've read my comments elsewhere, you'll see I don't rate Swanilda as one of her best roles :) 

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  • 2 months later...

What department, BBB?

 

(With apologies for re-upping an old thread!)

 

Hello! Sorry Aileen, reading back over this thread I think my reply was a little brisk, there. I blame the cold I had at that time. ;) I'm not in an academic department, but I work in international student recruitment, so I guess I cover everywhere in a way. :) 

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I didn't find your reply brisk, B3. I may be visiting Bristol later this year with my own son who will be applying to university in the autumn (assuming that he works hard enough to get good enough grades in his AS levels). Apparently, parents attend open days (and even the talks) with their children now. I don't think that I've been back to the city since 2008. Have there been a lot of changes since then.

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