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Everything posted by JMcN

  1. I love both of these productions. The Don Q is huge fun!
  2. I feel very sorry for the dancers who perhaps did not renew existing contracts to take up this opportunity and who may have already relocated and now been left high and dry.
  3. The Ashton R&J was the first one I saw as performed by LFB (now ENB) in the mid-1980s when I first started watching ballet. Thinking back I realise I loved its clean lines and simplicity as well as the heart-felt performances of the dancers. I saw the Lavrovsky at the London Coliseum in the late 1980s and was totally bored by it. I have never wanted to see it again! I still compare every other version I see to the Ashton, probably because it was my first. The only other production I hold as dear is the one by Massimo Morricone/Christopher Gable for Northern Ballet. That is not to say that there are not other productions I enjoy and admire.
  4. ENB have announced the Autumn/Winter season today. This is the content of the email I received: Our 2017-18 Autumn/Winter season is revealed We're delighted to announce our new Autumn/Winter 2017-18 season. Highlights include: English National Ballet performs Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Song of the Earth and Frank Anderson's La Sylphide both for the first time, with performances on tour and at the London Coliseum. Roland Petit's Le Jeune Homme et la Mort returns with performances at the London Coliseum. The acclaimed Akram Khan's Giselle returns to Sadler's Wells in London and tours to Liverpool for the first time. Rudolf Nureyev's Romeo & Juliet makes a return to Bristol in its 40th anniversary year. The festive family favourite Nutcracker sees performances in Southampton and at the London Coliseum. Booking opens to our Friends this Friday 10 March at 10am, with general booking opening from 10am on Monday 13 March. I'm very excited that Akram Khan's Giselle is being performed in Liverpool and Song of the Earth/La Sylphide in Manchester. I feel a ticket buying binge will be starting very soon...
  5. Royal Ballet 2017-18 season

    Solitaire was performed by BRB during midscale last year in the North and this year in the South. It has been performed by them in the recent past too. Just to mention that it is Scottish Ballet who are performing Baiser. Northern Ballet (I think for the first time in their history) is performing a triple bill of MacMillan works in Bradford and Leeds - Concerto, Las Hermanas and Gloria.
  6. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Will it be the version he created for National Ballet of Canada?
  7. I'm so sorry to read that Sam Shepard has passed away. RIP
  8. Ratmansky's Swan Lake at La Scala

    I never count the number of fouettes (it seems impolite to me) and I have discovered I prefer well executed singles to multiples which never seem to fit the music (unless danced (in my experience) by Momoko Hirata of BRB who does them so fast the orchestra has trouble keeping up with her! Thanks for linking the clip Christian - I love the tutu!
  9. It is not the roundabouts per se it is the lack of directions on them! A number of "new towns" built up here in the 1950s/60s, designed to be efficient and pedestrian friendly. They all seem to be surrounded by roundabouts with very little in the way of telling you which exit you need. And please don't get me started on the masterpiece outside High Wycombe!! I think special celebrations for retiring dancers is comparatively recent outside of the London-based companies. The first I was aware of was Jeremy Kerridge at Northern Ballet when he came back a couple of months after he had actually retired for a valedictory performance as Scrooge in Christmas Carol. Apart from announcing this in advance it was marked by David Nixon coming on stage for the curtain calls and making a speech. A couple of years later when leading lady Chiaki Nagao retired there was a speech followed by all the dancers presenting her with flowers. At BRB they have made a couple of announcements in recent years for Robert Parker and for Ambra Vallo and Vicky Marr.
  10. I agree with every word Sandik. When Kenny Tindall retired from Northern Ballet his final performance was announced to be Heathcliff in Milton Keynes on a Saturday night. A lot of us went, despite issues with roundabouts! It was a very wonderful night! I will never forget the final Birmingham performance of Ambra Vallo and Vicky Marr of BRB (dancing Giselle and Myrthe respectively). Members of the company who weren't dancing in the performance showered the stage with 200 red roses. Many tears were shed!
  11. Here in the UK they tend to be "end of season" announcements issued just after the season has ended. If a long standing dancer is leaving it may be that that is announced earlier in the season so that people can mark the occasion. However sometimes dancers seem to prefer to slip away quietly and without fanfare. ENB has bucked the trend a little recently by announcing some joiners and a promotion before the end of their season.
  12. I popped over to Paris for the final 2 performances of BNC's run of Giselle at the Salle Pleyel. Coincidentally the last time I had seen their Giselle was also in Paris but in a "pop up" theatre in the Grand Palais. Salle Pleyel has an art deco foyer and a plain, dark interior. It had been a concert hall home to an orchestra which lost its funding and now presents all different types of show. It struck me that the nightlines would be good wherever you sat. I was on the front row of the stalls, which offered a perfect view, except that the wings were obviously so shallow that one could see more than would be usual even from the central block of seats. Nevertheless it was a great place from which to watch the performance! Sadly the company were performing to recorded music and I have to say that even to my uncultured ears it was not a good recording. Occasionally, for example, there seemed to be some overly long gaps in the music. I very much like Alicia Alonso's production of Giselle - it is so very clearly told with excellent mime too. In this production it is very clear that Giselle dies of a broken heart rather than committing suicide with the sword (it is grabbed off her before she can do any harm), The Wilis are very scary. I did, however, find the lighting too bright and harsh, especially in Act 2. I like the way the backcloth of trees is used to hide and reveal the Wilis at the start of Act 2 - it does make them much more mysterious and ghost like. On Tuesday evening Sadaise Arencibia and Raul Abreu led the performance. Sadaise is a lovely Giselle, playful in act 1 and forgiving and loving in Act 2. Raul played Albrecht as someone who genuinely adores Giselle right from the start and is very romantic and ardent. Reading the programme I was shocked to realise that he can't be more than 19 or 20 - he gave such a mature performance. I think he has a great future ahead of him. I thought Ernesto Diaz was excellent as Hilarion - lovelorn and jealous and then horrified by Giselle's death. If I thought I enjoyed Tuesday evening (and I did) I was transported to another plain on Wednesday evening when Anette Delgado and Dani Hernandez led the performance. Dani plays Albrecht as a man who knows his position but is attracted to Giselle and then is broken when he realises what devastation he has caused. What can I say about Anette - she was completely, utterly and totally magnificent. Her technique is so strong and yet she is still so fragile and vulnerable. In reality I was not watching Anette Delgado I was watching Giselle. I was in floods by the end. At the curtain calls Alicia Alonso came on stage and was greeted with rapturous acclaim. What an amazing and gracious lady she is. Of course, 2 people do not a performance make and I must say that I thought the whole company looked excellent. Everyone was engaged in the action in Act 1, making it very believable. The Wilis were exemplary in Act 2. I was very glad I had made the trip to Paris (even though with the current parlous state of sterling it was ruinously expensive!).
  13. Ballerina Anette Delgado

    Just home from Paris. Will post performance details on the BNC thread.
  14. Royal Ballet 2016-17 Season

    I absolutely agree with Mashinka about the Khan Giselle. I saw a preview performance, the official world premiere and one other performance - all in Manchester. I was completely blown away by the performances I saw (and I was fortunate to see 3 casts). All three performances I saw earned a standing ovation. However, one friend walked out of a performance at the interval and another refuses to discuss the performance we saw together in case she upsets me! The very brave Tamara Rojo is bringing this Giselle to Liverpool in the Autumn and I can't wait!!! I say brave because the Liverpool audience is notoriously conservative and because Liverpool and Manchester are close together and most people do not go and see a production more than once in a short period of time. I was unable to get to the recent ROH triple bills so can't comment on them but I think the company is looking on wonderful form at the moment. Yanowsky is a very great artist who will be much missed but there is a heck of a lot of young talent coming through.
  15. Special tips for sold out shows?

    I've seen advice that says to keep checking the website for returns. This worked a couple of years ago for me, last time the company performed Jewels, and I managed to get a return on the front row of the stalls!
  16. Mayerling 28 September Osipova Watson

    I suppose we are back to the age old issue of what a dancer may want to dance and what the dancer wants to dance. I was under the (probably mistaken) impression that she joined the RB to expand her repertoire beyond the classics she is known for. Certainly her own shows give the impression that she is interested in different dance styles. I think the role of Mary Vetsara is much coveted amongst dancers. I know many people who are not very keen on Mayerling for the same reasons that you have stated. I wouldn't say it was a favourite of mine either but I was totally bound up in the performance I saw with Edward Watson last time around. I haven't felt there was anything "evil" about Rudolf's character more that he suffers from the weight of expectation and being brought up in such a rigid society. For me that goes a long way to explaining his actions. For what it's worth I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on Mayerling.
  17. Mayerling 28 September Osipova Watson

    The most exciting thing for me would have been seeing Edward Watson as Rudolf. I had the good fortune to see him at the last revival and he was truly exceptional. This time I am going to a convenient matinee (combining a few days in London for American in Paris (mainly to watch some favourite ex-BRB dancers) and Northern Ballet's awesome new Casanova. I will be seeing Thiago Soares' cast. If I had had the opportunity to choose a cast to see I would choose the dancer performing Rudolf rather than any of the ladies (although they are also important). I chose to see Soares this time because he got such wonderful reviews last time.
  18. Mayerling 28 September Osipova Watson

    PS - Do you mean 28th April 2017?
  19. Mayerling 28 September Osipova Watson

    On the whole, I think the more important character is Rudolf!
  20. Vienna 2017/18 Season

    The Slovak schedule has (to me) some interesting items on it. The new theatre is fab and Bratislava is a lovely but nicely compact city to wander around. If you are travelling from Europe, especially the UK, it may be cheaper to fly into Bratislava and get the train to Vienna. Several of my friends have done this recently.
  21. Ashton (London Festival Ballet - now ENB) MacMillan (both RB & BRB) Morricone/Gable (Northern Ballet - my favourite) Cranko (Scottish Ballet) Robert North (Scottish Ballet) Pastor (Scottish Ballet) Derek Deane (ENB - both "in the round" and proscenium) Nureyev Neumeier (RDB) Maillot (Geneva Ballet and Northern Ballet) Van Dantzig (?) Dutch National Ballet in late 1980s Royal New Zealand Ballet early 2000s - sorry can't remember choreographer
  22. The extra week this coming September at Sadler's Wells, which was announced ages ago, is apparently already sold out. Sadly I can't see that happening in the barn known as the Liverpool Empire but I expect the hoteliers will be rubbing their hands with glee as I am sure people who can't get tickets to the Wells will be travelling to Liverpool!
  23. I believe Scenes de Ballet was Ashton's Homage to Sleeping Beauty. I absolutely adore this work and wish we had more opportunity to see it. I think with Ashton he makes characters you end up caring deeply about even though the story may be silly and the characters not initially likeable. I adore Two Pigeons and have fortunately been able to see many memorable performances in recent years thanks to Birmingham Royal Ballet. I believe it is a piece about redemption in a way - the young girl realises how silly and flighty she has been and the young man realises that he behaved badly towards her by walking out. The final, reconciliation duet is incredibly beautiful and poignant and a masterpiece in how to make such a quiet and gently dance. I don't think I've ever seen a performance where I have not cried during this final section. There are several performances where I have sobbed out loud from the moment the young man has been thrown out of the encampment. These performances were by Chi Cao and Ambra Vallo (BRB) and last year by Alexander Campbell and Yuhui Choe (RB). One performance that will live with me forever occurred on a Saturday afternoon in Birmingham when danced by Robert Parker and Nao Sakuma. Not only was I sobbing out loud but so was everyone around me. My friends and I couldn't speak for ages afterwards we were all so overcome!
  24. I saw An Italian in Madrid (with Chacony and Tangent (Lawrence)) last night at The Lowry in Salford. I thought it was absolutely exquisite. I liked the melding of Kathak and contemporary for the Princess and thought it highlighted the cultural differences between the Princess and the Prince in their beautiful duet. I also very much enjoyed the other 2 pieces. Altogether it was a blissful evening.