Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Was at the dress rehearsal at ROH  for the final Royal Ballet mixed bill of the season, featuring 'Afternoon of a Faun' and 'In the Night' both by Jerome Robbins, along with Kenneth MacMillan's masterpiece, 'Song of the Earth'. The season seems to have flashed by!
 
anyhoo, here are a few photos:
 
18027532049_701331f761_z.jpg
Afternoon of a Faun: Sarah Lamb, Federico Bonelli
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
18210081342_8327bd5e72_z.jpg
In the Night: Thiago Soares, Marianela Nunez, Emma Maguire, Alexander Campbell, Zenaida Yanowsky, Nehemiah Kish
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

18027525399_205af9a782_z.jpg
Song of the Earth: Ryoichi Hirano, Lauren Cuthbertson, Edward Watson
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

See more...
Set from DanceTabs: Royal Ballet - mixed bill
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
By kind permission of the Royal Opera House

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And how good to see Lauren Cuthbertson back on stage at last.  Pity about the absence of Pennefather, though.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yes, I'm sure he is.  It would just have been nicer to have all 3 British principals on stage for once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Hirano's picture almost convinced me to book a last minute ticket. ;-)  I'm just not a fan of Afternoon of Faun or In the Night though, and much as I adore Song of the Earth, I can't really justify the cost to see a ballet that comes back fairly often.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely photos as always, so looking forward to seeing the Mixed Bill on Monday! Love 'In The Night' and can't wait to see Robbins' 'Afternoon of a Faun' and MacMillian's 'Song of the Earth', two ballets I haven't seen before, so that will be awesome  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are currently a number of tickets on the website for tomorrow and Monday, in case anyone's looking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful.

 

I hadn’t seen Afternoon of a Faun before, and while it is a fairly short piece, it captures nicely within its ten minutes the developing atmosphere between two dancers, until all ends due to the kiss. The faun spends quite some time on the floor so this piece, I thought last night, may be better seen from above than from the stalls.

 

While Afternoon of a Faun shows the development between people, In the Night has distinct stages of relationships in each of its three parts, and this with elaborate costumes that match the atmosphere of each part. In part four, the three couples meet, and for a brief moment it looks as if some of them ponder swapping partners beyond having a conversation with someone else however they then all return to their established relationship.

 

Song of the Earth. I love it more and more, and the sense of departing and renewal was really palpable last night. A huge relief – in contrast to the performances earlier this year, the music in the first song did not overpower the singing in the first song, and I found both singers superb throughout.

 

The applause was huge and the cheers were loud in response to all pieces last night. As all three ballets are about relationships, does this help create a special atmosphere in the house and thus stimulate a particularly warm reception? Surely Lauren Cuthbertson’s return to the stage influenced the applause and cheers in response to Song of the Earth, however also Afternoon of a Faun and In the Night had a very positive reaction. Finally, flowers. Beautiful bouquets, and an almost interminable number of them brought on stage for Lauren Cuthbertson. What an evening!

 

Heading off to see the matinee in a short while, and hugely looking forward to it.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with Duck, it was a wonderful evening, beautifully danced throughout.  Faun is erotic yet sweet, very languidly danced by Sarah Lamb and Federico Bonelli; they have such good chemistry and I felt that the action could have been playing out in a clearing in the forest on a hot summer's day just as easily as in a dance studio.  In The Night is a ballet I have only seen a few times, but loved it from the get go.  The three couples dancing it last night each printed their own stamp onto it, with Alexander Campbell and Emma Maguire easily holding their own against the other two principal couples (Nunez/Soares and Yanowsky/Kish).  The costumes and choreography are classy and elegant, and it was a pleasure to see it again.

 

Highlight of the evening was, of course, the long-awaited return of Lauren Cuthbertson to the ROH stage.  Her performance was well worth the wait;  she danced just beautifully, with verve and strength, emotion and restraint.  Her depth of feeling, her interpretation of the music, her expressive eyes....they all combined to give a real meaning to this most interesting of ballets.   And those bourrees.....as fleet and flicking as we will ever see;  whether it's in this ballet or Romeo and Juliet or anywhere else that expression through the feet is required, no-one will ever do it better.   Until last night, my daughter hadn't liked Song very much, but she said that seeing Lauren has changed all that;  if anyone could, it would have had to be Lauren.

 

Ed Watson as the Messenger of Death belied his years and danced like a 20 year-old,  his litlhe, long limbs twisting and turning in parallel with the lives he wanted to take;  another lovely performance. 

 

A huge shout-out and congratulations to Ryoichi Hirano, the unsung hero of the evening who had learned the part in five days.  Imagine the pressure of having to to go out on stage and dance on the opening night and ensure that your partnering of Lauren, returning to the stage after a serious injury, is totally secure.  You could see the concentration on his face throughout;  he really wanted to do right by her, and the choreography, and the audience, and the music.  He scored on all of these, and we thank him wholeheartedly for being such a trouper.  

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am unbelievably envious, Sim. Lauren Cuthbertson is one of my all time favourite dancers. I would have loved to have seen her last night.

 

Keep the reviews coming and I will try to enjoy this triple by proxy! :-)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Ed Watson as the Messenger of Death belied his years and danced like a 20 year-old,  his litlhe, long limbs twisting and turning in parallel with the lives he wanted to take;  another lovely performance. 

 

Definitely so, and equally in today's matinee performance. The audience last night reacted with an enormous roar of approval when he stepped before the curtain after the performance. When, on the train this morning, I was searching for a word to describe that roar, the word "animalistic" came to mind and has stayed in my head since.

 

I also found it touching last night that, in the middle of Lauren Cuthbertson receiving the various bouquets, he started to applaud her, and then all dancers on stage joined in.

 

Thank you for pointing out that Ryoichi Hirano had only five days to learn his part, and congratulations to him.

 

With Melissa Hamilton dancing in Afternoon of a Faun today, her role in Song of the Earth was danced by Lara Turk. Valentino Zucchetti was unable to perform in Song of the Earth due to injury, and his role was covered by Tristan Dyer and Sander Blommaert. All three did really well. It's fantastic to see so many young dancers being given the chance now to dance such roles. In particular Tristan Dyer has had lots of good exposure in his first year as a soloist, and I look forward to seeing more of him in future seasons.

 

The cast change slip was short in number as it often is however it didn't matter today as a small glass case on the table where the programmes were sold displayed the cast change for all to see. I hope this practice will be continued in the future.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was at today's matinee - my first experience of a mixed bill so an interesting afternoon. Not helped by a man sat next to me wearing really strong aftershave that smelt like something my granny would have worn - a very old fashioned scent with top notes oddly reminiscent of tom-cat. Then a lady a couple of seats to my right kept having a coughing fit, then fumbling noisily in her bag for cough sweets, so the aftershave was overlaid by the heady whiff of cherry menthol. Not a good combination - it's a wonder I didn't pass out....

 

Anyway - gripes aside - I found it a mixed bag. First up, Afternoon of a Faun with Muntagirov and Hamilton. This I loved - they performed it sublimely, and the passionate undercurrents were palpable. I was wishing it was longer than 11 minutes long but then realised that as I was holding my breath for most of it I would probably have died if it was longer! Hamilton was lovely and Muntagirov's incredible quality of movement made it breathtakingly beautiful to watch. Both sensual and innocent. Big pat on the back for both of them.

 

In the night - lovely to watch. The best couple for me were Lamb and Bonelli. Lovely dancing from both and they danced with great feeling. Kobayashi and Hristov danced well, but I felt they had zero chemistry so it felt a bit flat. Marquez was just lovely; wonderful dancing, expressive and emotional. I had never seen Pennefather before and he danced well but I didn't feel he was giving much back to Marquez emotion-wise, so it felt a bit one-sided. (By the way, did anyone else notice Marquez clop Pennefather across the head with her leg when he was kneeling? Poor guy...)

 

On to Song of the Earth. Opinions seem to be polarised on this ballet and I can understand why. For me, it was a bit of a curate's egg. When it started I found myself not entirely pleased at the prospect of a whole hour of it. However, it did improve on me as it went on, although it was a bit up and down. It got much better towards the end and by the time the last song was reached I was hooked. I think the problem was that the music and singing were wonderful, but I didn't feel the choreography lived up to them a lot of the time. The singers were fantastic. Laura Morera, with whom I was hugely impressed in Fille, delivered another fab performance, moving and technically accomplished. Watson was of course incredibly good, and other standouts for me were Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell. Kish, another one I had never seen dance before, didn't blow me away but put in a solid performance, as did the rest of the cast. And of course I must put in a good word for the two singers, who were fantastic and sang with great feeling that added hugely to the overall performance.

 

All my own opinions of course so feel free to disagree!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this programme dull this afternoon. I only went because I wanted to see Robbins' Faun with Vadim. It's an odd piece but I think that it might grow on me. In the Night (I saw it in the last run and found it dull then, even with a starrier cast) was rather workmanlike and the first section seemed very dark from the amphitheatre. Hristov, Kobayashi and Pennefather didn't (imo) have enough personality to carry off what are essentially duets. Poor Marquez tried her best to liven things up but I felt that Pennefather was very miscast in the 'third' male role. I also feel that the unadorned stage rather swallowed up the dancers. You need a lot of stage presence to fill that huge black space. Once again, I wasn't won over by Song although Watson and Morera were very good. I found the singing too much.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Faun was definitely the highlight and you're right Aileen, it is an odd piece, but in a good way! And I was thinking that it must be incredibly difficult to keep up that whole "looking in a mirror" thing all the way through - I don't think I could do it; it must be all too easy to find your eyes dropping to the audience, for instance. Perhaps that's why it's only 11 minutes long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to the performance on Friday evening and have to agree with Duck that it was a wondeful occasion.  Really loved Lamb and Bonelli in Afternoon of a Faun, but found In the Night rather badly lit which took away some of the effect from our view in the Amphitheatre.

 

Song of the Earth wonderful - it is a very moving ballet - the music and choreography seem to me to fit together so well and the finale is very special (though I would have been happier if the applause had waited until the curtain has fallen).  Ed Watson as ever was very special and I enjoyed Lauren's performance and her partnership with Hirano.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was at the Friday evening performance (but only just .....travel probs from Brighton combined with feeling rather unwell nearly made me just turn round and go home again......however I'm so glad I did make it ......my effort largely due to not wanting to miss Lauren in Song of the Earth!

 

I think Duck and Sim have said it all for me .....I loved it all from a nice "tall " seat in the balcony.

 

I love the music for each of these pieces so that was a joy in itself but all the dancing (yes I know am easily pleased) was excellent.

Ive seen Faun many times and I though Lamb in particular suited this role really well but both got across the strange languid ness of the piece with Lamb just the right touch of other worldliness ......leaving you with that feeling of a dream.

 

Dances in the night was perfectly cast I thought each couple dancing so well together. I didn't mind the darkish quality on this occasion as I love the backdrop for this piece and like it to stand out.....too much lighting may have spoilt that effect but I could see all the dancers quite clearly from where I was sitting.

I thought Song of the Earth was really superb on Friday.......and those bourrees of Lauren were just unreal.....just how does she do that...amazing but also performed in perfect keeping with the feeling of the piece. She was just so refinely dramatic if one can say that ....and then that wonderful and very moving ending .......the singers voice just audible in those beautiful low tones as the three dancers moved onto another plane taking us all there with them......I couldn't possibly have clapped until the curtain was down as was completely absorbed in that final beauty.......so sorry for people who may have been sitting near early clappers as in a piece like this it can take away ones enjoyment a little.

Lauren and must have been a little over whelmed by her reception and ALL those flowers.....but very well deserved though.....and hope to see much more of her next season.

 

One thing though I had always thought of Edward Watson as being a tall dancer but he appeared such a slight figure up against Hirano ...though not in his dancing of course.......I also had no idea that Hirano had learned the role in such a short time so definitely well done to him.

A very rewarding trip to the ROH and if people can catch this cast definitely don't hesitate to go.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saw the matinee on Saturday.  Muntagirov was gloriously natural in Robbins' scintillating FAUN aside Hamilton who was (for my taste) a little too knowing.  Apart from the incisive romance of Lamb and Bonelli in the first movement, Robbins' carefully crafted IN THE NIGHT was, I thought, rather misguided on this occasion.  Sometimes crudely so.  Certainly this performance lacked much of the wit that is oft present in the most telling renditions.  That latter might well have offered a certain variety to the overall accomplishment of this triple bill. Indeed I'm certain such might well have been the intent in its master plan.

 

SONG OF THE EARTH was certainly the jewel in this particular afternoon's crown and Laura Morera unquestionably its monarch.  Her cheers were well deserved.  The warmth of her command was regal.  Her countenance oft melted in its stealth as might best have been honoured via a Georgia-O'Keefe-like lens.  Surely SONG is one of this extraordinary dance-actress' best roles and this ballet  - aside CONCERTO - is unquestionably one of MacMillan's masterworks if not his doyen.  The very air of the ROH's amphitheatre crackled with a delighted tension.  The animated detail of both Morera and Watson hauntingly answered every choreographic demand.  Each response was masterful.  It was a privilege to bear witness. ... In addiition - whereas Robert Clark's turn at the Chopin sometimes choppily barked in my ear - the Mahler was sumptuously played by the ROH orchestra en mass under departing Barry Wordsworth's eloquent command and Bethge's verse was aptly honoured by the lucid vocal largess of both Katharine Goeldner and Thomas Randle.  Lovely too to see Ricardo Cervera amongst the MacMillan number.  He has been much missed for most of this RB season.  

Edited by Bruce Wall
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Muntagirov was gloriously natural in Robbins' scintillating FAUN aside Hamilton who was (for my taste) a little too knowing.  

Apart from the incisive romance of Lamb and Bonelli in the first movement, Robbins' carefully crafted IN THE NIGHT was, I thought, rather misguided on this occasion. [...]  Certainly this performance lacked much of the wit that is oft present in the most telling renditions.

 

Yes, I felt that Hamilton's portrayal wasn't quite ... right ... somehow, too.  Perhaps "too knowing" is the right description.  I'll have to have another look next season.  Oh, wait, she won't be there, will she ...  :(   I very much liked Lamb and Bonelli on the first night, though: thought they very much caught the dreamlike, sunlit, sultry feel of the music, and I found I kept finding parallels with the original which I don't think I've ever been aware of before.

 

So, some dancers find wit in In the Night, do they?  Is the lack of it why I've been finding it so dull, or do I just really not like it?

 

SONG OF THE EARTH was certainly the jewel in this particular afternoon's crown and Laura Morera unquestionably its monarch.  [...] the Mahler was sumptuously played by the ROH orchestra en mass under departing Barry Wordsworth's eloquent command [...] Lovely too to see Ricardo Cervera amongst the MacMillan number.  He has been much missed for most of this RB season.  

 

I must admit that on her debut I thought Morera's performance wasn't really pitched quite right (I seem to remember the word "strident" coming into my head), but this cast has definitely been growing on me.  It also helped, of course, that they'd had a lot more rehearsal time (and it showed in better synchronisation, among other things), but kudos to Hirano for managing to learn the part so quickly for the other cast (as I'd suspected, since his biog had to be added to the cast sheet, so it was after the programme had gone to print) - can't be easy rehearsing two casts sharing the same Messenger of Death - although I wonder why he had to: was there no cover in place?  I hope they have one in place for the MoD - though God forbid they should need it - as it was, I was slightly concerned about the demands of dancing that role twice in less than 20 hours, because it seems to me that it involves quite a bit of jumping.  Agree that it was great to see Cervera back in this, too - I'd missed him in the previous run.

*Is* Barry Wordsworth actually going at the end of this season?  I'd thought that he was, but see that Koen Kessels is still down to conduct at BRB next season.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops, sorry, Janet.  That'll teach me not to read PR threads thoroughly :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oops, sorry, Janet.  That'll teach me not to read PR threads thoroughly :)

 

Alison, I used the word 'departing' only in the sense that Barry Wordsworth will be 'departing' from his specific role as the Royal Ballet's noted Music Director and that these triple bill performances will be his last at the ROH in that official (and specific) capacity (i.e., he is 'departing' from that distinct/exact obligation.)   That is all.  

Edited by Bruce Wall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Barry Wordsworth will now concentrate on what he likes doing best - conducting. I know for sure he is doing Two Pigeons and Giselle next season (two of his favourite scores), and maybe more, I'm not sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just back from tonight's performance and very underwhelmed. Faun:  Bluh.  Booked for this performance because I wanted to see Muntagirov but, frankly, it could have been anybody.  Nothing wrong, just nothing. Not sure about the pairing, etiher.  Like Melissa Hamilton but she seemed hefty beside Muntagirov's slender limbs.  Possibly you have to see this piece several times and tonight was my first but, ...

 

In the night.  Okay, good stuff.  But three pairs of dancers on a massive bare stage?  It's a big ask.  The dancing was great - Sarah Lamb particularly notable and I'm not her biggest fan -but, again, so...?

 

Song of the Earth saved the evening for me but this is a piece I know and love.

 

Verdict? Doesn't add up to a row of beans.  Six hour round trip, no, simply not worth it.  The first two pieces are just not strong enough.  Why on earth didn't they put on more performances of Woolf Works (gobsmackingly terrific) or the Schechter?  This was a damp squib.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Penelopesimpson. I am not an expert but I felt very underwhelmed with the first two. Sitting in row E in the stalls I thought Vadim looked very uncomfortable lifting Melissa, struggling even at times. The second I thought a complete damp squib, got nothing out of that at all.

 

Thank god for Mahler and MacMillan and, of course, Nela. The whole cast was good but she was wonderful. Bravo.

 

I hope the pyrotechnics of the Woolf Works have not ruined it for me in the modern stuff.

Edited by SPD444

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also nowhere near whelmed about the Robbins pieces tonight, and don't feel that they stand up to repeat viewing as currently performed. There are glimpses of something interesting, but meh.

 

Song of the Earth however seems to get better with every performance, and this time around both singers work for me, so it's a double treat.

 

I keep noticing Paul Kay in Earth. Maybe he always had that extra bit of presence, but I wonder a little if his beautiful success as Alain put a proverbial spring in his step.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too find Faun a strange ballet but I thought that last night's performance by Muntagirov and Hamilton was both beautiful and emotionally spot on.

 

In the Night continued to be a bit of a non-event as far as I was concerned.

 

Can someone explain why these two pieces by Robbins seem to have achieved iconic status?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These ballets were too similar to make a good double bill, since I don't like Song of the Earth anyway it was a bit of a downer especially after the excitement of Woolf Works.  Thought Faun was very good, it does follow Nijinsky's movements for the Faun quite a lot, very atmospheric and brightly lit!  In the Night needed stronger lighting especially the first pdd, lovely to see Kobayashi and Hristov together, Roberta Marquez gave the best performance for me, again nice to see Rupert Pennefather at last!

 

I just cannot warm to Song, I try to but Mahler song cycles are one of my least favourite pieces, as always the last song was very powerfully danced by Marianela Nunez, Thiago Soares (looking very intense and sad) and Carlos Acosta.

 

I'm sure there are other good pairings for Song, The Dream is the obvious one, but this one didn't work for me.

Share this post


Link to post
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
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...