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The Royal's "new" staging of the 1946 Sleeping Beauty

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Eva Natanya's no longer with the company - I think she left a couple years ago to study theology from what I read in this forum. Alexandra Ansanelli danced Lilac Fairy last night, (Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli's cast). She also danced the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain for the first time tonight (Roberta Marquez and Rupert Pennefather cast), the one with all the brushing of the arms. I don't know whether you'll be able to get confirmation of when she's dancing on the tour - in London we don't any secondary cast info until we open the cast sheets 90mins before the performance, and there's always a bit of last minute juggling. But there are just 4 Lilac Fairies dancing I think - Nunez, Cuthbertsen, McMeekan and Ansanelli so I hope you get to see her. She's making her Aurora debut, dancing with Pennefather, with the RB at the start of next season.

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"Eva Natanya's no longer with the company - I think she left a couple years ago to study theology from what I read in this forum. "

Duh -- I knew that......but forgot. So thanks, Sylvia for the reminder, and for the information about Ansanelli. That's really good news

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Alexandra Ansanelli danced Lilac Fairy last night, (Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli's cast). She also danced the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain for the first time tonight (Roberta Marquez and Rupert Pennefather cast), the one with all the brushing of the arms. I don't know whether you'll be able to get confirmation of when she's dancing on the tour - in London we don't any secondary cast info until we open the cast sheets, and there's always a bit of last minute juggling. But there are just 4 Lilac Fairies dancing I think - Nunez, Cuthbertsen McMeekan and Ansanelli so I hope you get to see her. She's making her Aurora debut, dancing with Pennefather, with the RB at the start of next season.

The Kennedy Center website is only showing the 2 leads in the SB dates so no telling who the Lilac Fairy will

be in those 5(?) performances.

But Ansanelli is shown in the cast for La Valse in both the Mixed Bill nights so it looks like she will be in D.C.

Richard

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No problem!

The fact that Ansanelli's got 2nd night Lilac Fairy after Nunez is hopeful, but you can never tell with tours! Best just ask her at the stage door when you see her there imho! :wub:

Apart from SB, Ansanelli's also danced Afternoon of a Faun, Tchaikovsky pdd, Polyphonia, featured in Requiem and as one of Lise's friends in Fille. She'll be dancing the Fonteyn role in Birthday Offering pdd with Valeri Hristov (with whom, from what I've seen in rehearsals and a preview, she has wonderful chemistry with!) in the last mixed bill next month. So she's making a few inroads into the RB repertory! But I guess I should be posting this in the Ansanelli thread...

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On the controversial costumes—I've recently watched video snippets of Margot Fonteyn and Antoinette Sibley as Aurora at the New York Public Library. The most charming feature of their costumes was that their tulle underskirts were a different color than the silvery/gold/white brocade of the bodice and overskirt. I remember red for Fonteyn and pink for Sibley. This wasn't resurrected? A disappointment.

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rg wrote: "it's worth recalling that when ABT 'revived' messel's production for its skeaping-staged SLEEPING BEAUTY, the spectacle proved far less 'impressive' than it was said to look in its royal ballet heyday."

I was quite familiar with the "Messel" production which lived on with the touring section of the Royal for some years after the Covent Garden company abandoned it. I didn't see the ABT version live, but I have seen photographs and what struck me immediately was that the fabrics were wrong. Messel designed for tarlatan while ABT seemed to be using nylon net, or some other kind of softer fabric, so the tutus lacked structure. Some of the colours looked a bit strident too, but that may well have been colour reproduction.

I recall reading that when Robert Helpmann saw the preparations for ABT's revival, he was appalled by the general look of the production - the colors were off, details not as he remembered them -- and when he asked Messel about it he was assured that "everything is just as it was" or words to that effect, and Helpmann said they certainly were not. Messel was in poor health -- arthritis, heart disease -- and nowhere near peak form, which may have affected things.

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I went to see it on Saturday and I thought the production was wonderful. I thought the costumes were just right - over the top enough to be fairytale but not too far into camp territory. It was unsentimental, particularly with the excellent casting of Carabosse and the Lilac Fairy. My friend and i were in raptures over Act 2 and I thought the divertissements were just right. I even warmed to Marianela Nunez.

If you have the chance to see it, you must go!

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I was there on 31 May and 1 and 3 June as well. I happen to like Sleeping Beauty to begin with, but I had no problem sitting through the production three times. I got lucky as well and caught both Cojocaru and Nunez at top form - both sailed through the Rose Adagio (Cojocaru particularly without adjustment). Unfortunately Marquez was a bit off her game but Rupert Pennefather keeps getting more and more princely. Lauren Cuthbertson was a lovely Lilac Fairy with beautiful mime.

I'll be back for the Rake's Progress on the 7-9.

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Casting is up at the ROH website for four productions - Ansanelli will be doing three Auroras.

I only caught up with Miss Asanelli’s Aurora at yesterday’s matinee and she gave what for me, was the most authoritative performance of Aurora I had seen for many years. Technically assured, Miss Asanelli acted with expressively confident charm, making light of the challenges in the 'rose adagio' with an accomplishment that led me to ask my companion, 'Where on earth did she learn to dance like that?' and where did she learn to communicate through mime and facial expression so clearly her intentions and feelings to the point you thought she was actually speaking the words.

Miss Asanelli was 'on song' in a manner I had never seen from her before. At this performance, she was entitled unlike many others, to be called a ballerina, as she gave a 'star' performance that took me back to the 1960's when such performances were less rare at the RB than they are today.

I took a reality check with a number (4 in total) of RB ballet-goers of long standing who agreed with my assessment of Miss Asanelli.

David Makhatelli, for the first time for me, showed that he is worthy of dancing leading roles in the 19th century classics exhibiting style, perfect support and attention to Miss Asanelli and dancing at a level of technique that one had always expected him to exhibit. Mr. Makhatelli only needs to add a more dynamic attack in some steps to become a serious rival to the other leading male dancers in the RB.

The company generally danced in tired manner, and several soloists gave performances well below the standards that the audience is entitled to expect. Casting or coaching in a more effective manner is a necessity at the Royal Ballet as it would I feel prevent what for me has been fairly unsuccessful all round performances in 'The Sleeping Beauty' both this season and last except for most of the principal dancers.

I am not surprised that the RB has only one dancer ( M.Nunez) who dominates the casting of the Lilac Fairy

because this situation occurred in previous eras of their history, i.e. Beryl Grey, Svetlana Beriosova and Deanne Bergsma.

There were many young children at this performance and all those within my sight and earshot, behaved impeccably and appeared to be both entranced and appreciative. It is an excellent move for the Royal Opera House to provide inflatable cushions for them to sit upon.

Earlier in the week I saw Sarah Lamb blossom from a very good birthday scene, to an extraordinary pristine classicism with thrilling moments in the Vision Scene and her last act Grand Pas de deux was marked by a beautifully extended line and epaulement fitting for royal princess.

Sarah Lamb continues to impress and if consistency is matched to her undoubted gifts, the Royal Ballet now has four dancers who perform the standard classical repertoire at a level that I expect.

Regrettably I have yet to see Tamara Rojo as Aurora but have heard very good reports.

Two beautifully performed Aurora's in one week, as good a Christmas present as I could hope for.

Edited to add an interesting article in todays NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/arts/dance/17sulc.html

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Thanks, leonid, for that review. And for the link to the NY Times article on Ansanelli. I especially enjoyed her response to suggestions that she left NYCB because of issues relating to the way she is treated in the film "Bringing Back Balanchine."

“That was certainly an uncomfortable event,” Ms. Ansanelli said in an interview backstage at the Royal Opera House. “But it was two years before I left. I’m not the kind of person to leave for those reasons.” Instead, she said, her motivation was “simply to try something different.”

“It sounds crazy,” she said, but “I just knew I had to take the first step, and that meant leaving City Ballet.”

Ms. Ansanelli said she had no specific plans but knew she wanted to go to Europe and dance the 19th-century classics. At City Ballet, which mostly adheres to a more contemporary repertory, she had performed Aurora in Mr. Martins’s version of “The Sleeping Beauty,” based on the original 1890 choreography by Marius Petipa. But “I knew that stylistically I was wrong,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about the classical works, and it was important to me as a ballerina to get that education.”

An artist willing to take risks in order to grow! Shades of Nureyev and Barsyknikov! Good for her. :)

Perhaps this article could be spun off to start a new thread, not only because of the interest in Ansanelli, but also for the impllications it raises about styles, training, etc.

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Ms. Ansanelli said she had no specific plans but knew she wanted to go to Europe and dance the 19th-century classics. At City Ballet, which mostly adheres to a more contemporary repertory, she had performed Aurora in Mr. Martins’s version of “The Sleeping Beauty,” based on the original 1890 choreography by Marius Petipa. But “I knew that stylistically I was wrong,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about the classical works, and it was important to me as a ballerina to get that education.”

An artist willing to take risks in order to grow! Shades of Nureyev and Barsyknikov! Good for her. :)

Perhaps this article could be spun off to start a new thread, not only because of the interest in Ansanelli, but also for the impllications it raises about styles, training, etc.

I thought it was a very heartening interview , too. I was surprised to see how Ansanelli had expanded her range when I saw her last Summer with the RB in DC. Evidently she is still working very hard at this.

I give her great credit. Think of the range of styles she'll be able to encompass! :)

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Thanks, Leonid, for that great review. Many of us here in New York truly miss being able to see Ansanelli perform. It sounds as though all of her Sleeping Beauty performances went very well. I've been watching the ROH website for the casting of the last installment of Swan Lake performances at the very end of the year, because I've got my fingers crossed that she will get one of them. You have to give Ansanelli credit for her courageous leap, but I also credit RB for its unwillingness to exploit her in every Balanchine piece in their rep (which they could easily do), and instead, investing time and effort in her classical future.

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No Swan Lake for Ansanelli this time, I'm afraid - there is a new Odette/Odile but it's Lauren Cuthbertson.

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Has anybody, by chance, seen Lauren Cuthbertson perform Aurora in Sleeping Beauty? I went to see The Royal Ballet 1st November '06, and Lauren Cuthbertson replaced Jaimie Tapper (Florimund = Federico Bonelli, Lilac Fairy = Alexandra Ansanelli).

I was honestly thrilled about Alexandra Ansanelli, she was a beautiful Lilac Fairy.

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