Jump to content

Royal Ballet - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, December 2014


Recommended Posts

The Royal Ballet's second production for the festive season opened tonight. I was fortunate to be at the dress rehearsal, so here are a couple of photos:

15776275050_8c1703f504_z.jpg
Sarah Lamb, Ricardo Cervera
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

15962901462_d87ce50e5f_z.jpg
Zenaida Yanowsky (and Flamingoes)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

See more...
Set from DanceTabs - Royal Ballet: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am seeing this on Christmas Eve. I saw it first time round and found it light weight but still quite entertaining so probably right for Christmas period. And it's nice to look at anyway.

Just for a moment there in the first piccie I thought it was Lauren(I believe on who the role was based) so thought "good she's dancing again" but alas no.

She had bad luck last time round with this ballet as she injured her foot then and couldn't do her planned performances.....I saw Beatrice Stix-Brunell instead of Lauren then and she was very good in the role.

 

This time round it's Francesca Hayward so am looking forward to that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The photos are great!

I love the one with Muntagirov in passé :wub: !

 

I'll go and see the transmission on the 16th! Am already looking forward to it, I've seen the DVD with Lauren Cuthbertson and Segei Polunin.

 

Mr P and I probably will be the only ones in the cinema... but it's such a perfect pre-Christmas treat!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, Dave, was this supposed to be the first cast? (I'm assuming because of the presence of Yanowsky). If that's the case, does it mean that Ed Watson's not back from his foot op yet?

 

Yes first cast apart from a change here and there - Ricardo Cervera in his place, and it wasn't even mentioned on the cast sheet on opening night as a change. The web-site for ROH casting must be way off the pace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was the first night with four Principal subsititutions - is that a record for an opening night? Lamb for Cuthbertson, Muntagirov for Bonelli, Cervera for Watson, Campbell for McRae.

 

There was that Mayerling a few years back, when all 5 leads were changed on the night.... (as I recall)

 

(edit to correct the name of the ballet)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was that Mayerling a few years back, when all 5 leads were changed on the night.... (as I recall)

 

(edit to correct the name of the ballet)

Yes, but it wasn't the case of all being injured or ill.  I believe it was Kobborg who was 'off' and because of the difficulty of the pdds all the female leads had to be replaced too.  Judging by the earlier comments on Symphonic Variations that also sounds like a ballet where you need a cast who are all used to dancing together: piecemeal substitutions don't seem to work.

 

Linda

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Judging by the earlier comments on Symphonic Variations that also sounds like a ballet where you need a cast who are all used to dancing together: piecemeal substitutions don't seem to work.

Oh, I don't know. Putting Muntagirov in for the first night didn't seem to bring any complaints :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are still 15 performances to be seen between now and Jan 16: all sold out but 67 day tickets available for each if you can go and queue, or you can check the ROH website for returns, or you might pick up tickets in the Ticket Exchange forum.

 

There are 'encore' screenings of the cinema relay (which was very good) all over the place on Sunday Dec 28 at 2 o'clock. You can search for your locality on this page.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was that Mayerling a few years back, when all 5 leads were changed on the night.... (as I recall)

 

(edit to correct the name of the ballet)

There was also an Onegin some time ago where there so many substitutions that it was felt necessary to make an apology before the start. Quite a lot of the audience left.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really looking forward to it.  We are in the balcony.  Managed to arrange a (free!) playdate for little dd.  This has the added bonus of her being none the wiser that we're going to the ballet!  She probably would love it too but for a 7 year old I really can't justify the expense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just seen Francesca Hayward's Alice. Jolly good job and she never really puts a foot wrong, Muntagirov offered strong support and gorgeous jumps in his solos. They both have much precision. Claire Calvert is a little young for Queen of Hearts I thought - a fair stab that took off at times. But its a senior ballerina-bitch role and a big ask really. This was my first Alice of the season and while I'm pleased its sold out it still rather feels like a piece of entertainment that is not fully firing on all cylinders. Lots of invention from the creative team, but for many highs there are dreary or slow interludes just around the corner. So not going to happen, but it still feels like a big edit would be beneficial.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought that Francesca Hayward made Alice her own today and danced and interpreted this really demanding role beautifully throughout.

 

Vadim Muntagirov was his usual superb self as Jack, the Knave of Hearts, James Hay performed splendidly (rather against type) as Lewis Carroll/the White Rabbit and Donald Thom was a terrific tap dancing Mad Hatter.

 

But I do so agree with Bruce (above) about the need for some judicious pruning - for me, the gruesome sausage factory and the sequences for the gardeners and the flowers could be shorter. Also, perhaps,. the solo for the Queen of Hearts could disappear without anything much being lost. And that's only for starters.

 

The other thing I noticed today was that, because of how the music carries on, there is very little opportunity for the audience to show its appreciation and, thus, to get involved in the way one feels people would want to in this kind of ballet. But the enthusiastic applause and cheers at the end were so well-deserved by this excellent cast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it was really well danced by all the leads today too......Francesca Hayward Vadim Muntagirov and James Hay all superb and a special mention too for Donald Thom as the Madhatter and Eric Underwood as the Caterpillar .....both excellent and stand out dances....however I also agree it needs cutting in places!

 

It's not only the expense Lemongirl for a 7year old but it's very nearly THREE hours..... far too long for most 7's and unders!! So although parts are fun and very suitable for kids the length is of putting I think.

 

It's a strange ballet in some ways. It really has some delightful and innovative features to help tell what is a bit of a weird story anyway.....absolutely love the Cheshire Cat and the way that was done.....but it is strangely un satisfying on another level. Some bits like the court scene go on too long and I'm not sure Alice and the knave are that believable as the "love" interest so although their main pas de deux was danced beautifully it didn't hold much meaning for me. ........perhaps it should come more right at the end of the ballet when Alice is dancing with a "real" person.

There is a lot to it though and I had certainly forgotten quite a few bits from when I saw it two years ago.

It is visually stunning especially in parts so if you go along taking it as a fun theatrical experience with some nice dancing here and there then it's fine......but don't take your three year old unless absolutely unavoidable!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So enjoyed both Hayward and Muntagirov in ALICE (my only one of this run).  What an wonderfully astute comedienne she is.  (She entirely enervated that ;stuck in the red door' segment for me.)  The pairing of these two - from a balletic point of view - is manna from Royal Ballet heaven.  I would love to see that partnership firmly established.  They feed off each other's extraordinary capacities and flow oh, so naturally together.  Muntagirov's third act solo variation was - in a word - spectacular.  James Hay was wonderfully animated as the White Rabbit ... but the poor lad does seem to get stuck with the world's worst wigs ... be it as Lewis Carroll in the opening of ALICE or as the son in A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY (i.e., how to make an attractive chap look unnecessarily ugly in one easy lesson.)  Cervera, McNally and Underwood all built on the glorious detail of the roles they originated .... and I found myself wondering whether or not Mosley has finally found his calling in life:  an utter delight. :)  Acri and Dyer additionally lionized their vaudeville turns as both frog and fish while Ball and Campbell showed admirable precision as one of the painters and an attending card respectively.  (Why are some of these roles no longer itemised on the cast list I wonder?)  Agree that some careful internal pruning of the overall piece might well be in order ... and feel confident that Wheeldon would now be well primed for such following his AN AMERICAN IN PARIS triumph which - as we all know - led directly to that linear marvel which is THE WINTER'S TALE; itself oh, so much more spare from a narrative - and every other - perspective.  NBoC's Briskin cherished each and every crevice of Talbot's score and the ROH orchestra responded much more potently than their sullen account of 'Ballo' might have suggested but a few nights earlier.  In all it was an enjoyable afternoon.  I'm so glad I went.   

Edited by Bruce Wall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The performance of Alice on Wednesday came close to persuading me that it really is a ballet rather than an entertainment with a considerable dance element. Hayward, Muntagirov and Hay were all excellent and the piece had a freshness and charm that it lacks when the roles of Alice and Jack are taken by more mature dancers. Perhaps it is a ballet that is improved when these roles are taken by younger dancers or perhaps it is just that these dancers are just exceptionally good.

 

As for ballets that are suitable for younger children Ashton's Fille is the only full length ballet that can be recommended as suitable for audiences from three to ninety three; It is packed with dance and incident and all the dance arises out of the action. The problem is that neither the Royal nor BRB dance Fille sufficiently frequently for it to be the regular repertory piece that it was during the 1960's and 1970's  as a result it may not be available as a first ballet for an individual child .The Royal has not cottoned on to the idea of performing the ballet regularly either as its second Christmas ballet or at Easter and if not annually at least every other year. In spite of the fact that the ballet is recognised as a masterpiece the Royal usually ends up advertising its performances of Fille because the title is not as familiar to the general public as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty or Nutcracker,

 

The fact that the late nineteenth century classics were mounted to display the riches of the imperial theatres at which they were created reduces their suitability as first ballets for young children as the narrative stops at regular intervals for dances that have little or nothing to do with the narrative. It has always struck me that,Sleeping Beauty is probably the least suitable ballet for a young child's introduction to the art form because of its length and.the amount of non narrative, pure dance it contains.  

  • Like 2
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...