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Royal Ballet in Philadelphia

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As noted on another thread the Royal Ballet will be performing at the Mann Center in Philadelphia, July 10 - 13. Here are the performances and casting:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:00 PM The Royal Ballet - Romeo & Juliet

Featuring Principals: Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 8:00 PM The Royal Ballet - Romeo & Juliet

Featuring Principals: Mara Galeazzi and Edward Watson

Thursday, July 12, 2007 8:00 PM The Royal Ballet - Swan Lake

Featuring Principals: Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli

Friday, July 13, 2007 8:00 PM The Royal Ballet - Swan Lake

Featuring Principals: Marianela Nuñez and Thiago Soares

Any suggestions on which one to see? I am slightly more inclined to see Romeo & Juliet but could be convinced to see Swan Lake. As we are traveling from the other side of the state I think we will only go to one performance although it is tempting to consider going to both Wednesday and Thursday evenings....

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If there was any chance for me to travel to Philadelphia this summer, from everything I've read about this wonderful dancer, I would see the Swan Lake with Rojo. As much as I'd like to see Cojocaru and Kobborg, it wouldn't be for MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet.

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As has been noted on Johan's message board, I believe Alina Cojocaru is out for the rest of the season with a neck injury.

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As noted on another thread the Royal Ballet will be performing at the Mann Center in Philadelphia, July 10 - 13.

[...]

Any suggestions on which one to see? I am slightly more inclined to see Romeo & Juliet but could be convinced to see Swan Lake. As we are traveling from the other side of the state I think we will only go to one performance although it is tempting to consider going to both Wednesday and Thursday evenings....

I couldn't tell you which to pick; if you have the means to do both, you by all means should. Also, I hope you've gotten your tickets already. When we got ours, they had a huge block of tickets set aside for VIPs. Its a gargantuan venue, so you'll want to get the closest seats you can afford. And give yourself time to get up to "the hill"--last time I was there it was pretty poorly organized. It's no Ravinia or Tanglewood. As a transplanted Philadelphian, it's another one of those Philly things that I just shake my head at--a wonderful resource that's very poorly managed, and strangely out of touch with what's going on in nearby New York and DC--and with the city in which it resides!

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If there was any chance for me to travel to Philadelphia this summer, from everything I've read about this wonderful dancer, I would see the Swan Lake with Rojo. As much as I'd like to see Cojocaru and Kobborg, it wouldn't be for MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet.

From everything I've read about Rojo I would also choose to see her Swan Lake if I could, unfortunately this is a Tuesday - Friday engagement which really discourages anyone thinking about traveling in from out of town...

I'm thinking about trying to catch the Friday night performance with Nunez and Soares but I'm not sure. From what I hear the Mann is in a bad neighborhood and not easily accessible by public transportation. That makes things a little dicey since I don't drive. They supposedly have a shuttle bus that runs from downtown Philly to the Mann and then back after the performance but I don't know how reliable that is and I'm not sure I'm ready to count on it as my only option to get back to my hotel after the show...

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Ray - you'd know more about transit options to the Mann Center - can you address them?

It's a question of taste, but between Rojo and Nunez I'm only marginally more inclined to Nunez. I've liked her so far in everything I've seen her do. Between Bonelli and Soares though - Bonelli.

I'd also opt for Swan Lake over R&J. It's the MacMillan R&J, which can be seen here frequently. Now, most Londoners consider this production of Swan Lake to be far less than ideal, but when you compare it to NYCB's or ABT's version it's so much better it's disheartening. If you're yearning for a Swan Lake that actually quacks like a Swan (tragic ending, no jester, no dancing von Rothbart, not cut to ribbons or sped up) then it's worth your time.

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If you're yearning for a Swan Lake that actually quacks like a Swan (tragic ending, no jester, no dancing von Rothbart, not cut to ribbons or sped up . . .
What? :clapping: No jester? :( Rothbart isn't sexy? :speechless-smiley-003: And they have the sheer temerity to call it "Swan Lake"??? :smilie_mondieu:

What next?

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I'm thinking about trying to catch the Friday night performance with Nunez and Soares but I'm not sure.

Nunez and Soares are wonderful together in Swan Lake, and I particularly love Nunez' Odette/Odile. She's a marvelous stage presence and a wonderful actress. In addition to a very solid technique, there's so much emotion in her body and her facial expressions - she's a very human and touching Odette, and her Odile is a force to be reckoned with. So you can't go wrong with Nunez/Soares, IMO (though Rojo/Acosta would be out of this world as well).

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So it sounds like, the two Swan Lakes :clapping:

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:clapping: The Royal Ballet in Philadelphia...!!! So close to home! And I'll be away all summer. :(

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Ray - you'd know more about transit options to the Mann Center - can you address them?

I've only ever been driven there (no, not in a pumpkin coach), but I did see a shuttle bus. So I did a little research and found this link: http://www.septa.org/news/promotions/manncenter.html

Unfortunately, as with all things SEPTA, it's not a very tourist-friendly map! You'd need to get into Center City from 30th St. station if you're taking Amtrak; or, if you're taking the SEPTA train from Trenton, go to Suburban Station (one after 30th St.), and get this bus at 15th and JFK. If you take the bus (Chinatown or Greyhound--they both come to approx the same area), you'd have to walk down to the Academy of Music. It's shocking that there is no "culture bus" from 30th St. station! (The entire transit system is run by suburbanites who think of the city as only a 9-5 workplace--very Man in the Grey Flannel Suit--they would NEVER be caught dead on public transit themselves.) Shocking also that the Mann doesn't think about hiring its own bus. And while the Mann is kind of in a "bad neighborhood" it's also far from any neighborhood--and high above them! (Quite spectacular views, actually).

All that said, best bet would be to try to get a group and share cabs from 30th St. station.

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I don't go to every performance of Swan Lake here (transport issues, especially with long ballets like Swan Lake or Beauty), but if you get Rojo/Acosta, go. Bonnelli is currently out with injury, so Acosta might fill in, as he is doing this Friday in London. Technically, Acosts obviously gets a big 'yo' factor... he's not the best of actors in my opinion, but it's okay for this, especially as he seems so besotted by Rojo's swan (or at least that's how it was last time I saw them do this together).... and I really do like Rojo in this.... And I mean like as in triple chocolate brownie with all the trimmings! :dunno:

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Well, I don't think I can pass up the chance to see anything resembling an actual traditional Swan Lake - so I'm going on Friday. I will plan to take the SEPTA shuttle but if anyone else is making the trip and wants to pool resources or even just meet at the shuttle - let me know!

Susan

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The Mann really is in the middle of Fairmount Park, so it's not part of any neighborhood, good or bad.

The roof is a heat trap IMO and Philly is very humid in the summer so dress accordingly. If it's really warm, bring a fan.

This is insane! I've lived in Philadelphia for 3.5 years. I constantly bemoan the fact that I am 'so near and yet so far' from NY and DC - and I'm moving two weeks before the Royal Ballet comes to town...

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Anyone who is interested in the Kirov reconstructions of Petipa-Era ballets via the Stepanov-notation books should see this amazing production. True, the decorations are cheap-looking filigree and most costumes are tacky BUT the staging of the two lakeside acts, in particular, is exquisite. It's the closest thing to the 1895 version of SL as can be seen on the planet. I just saw the two most recent performances at the ROH of the weekend (tentative Lamb/Putrov and spot-on Marquez/Kobborg pairings) and I'm thinking about going to Philly just to see the unparalleled Act IV staging once more. It is that wonderful, especially from the historical point of view.

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Thank-you for all your suggestions! I bought tickets for Friday night after all. My husband and I are going to stay at the Hampton Inn near the conference center (thanks to a good IBM rate) and take the Mann shuttle. I just have to figure out where the nearest stop is - as someone mentioned the shuttle map is not very visitor friendly.

Not quite a dance question but what is the "dress code" for these kinds of events at the Mann?

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I am going Tuesday and Thursday nights. I live right outside Philly (and about 5 minutes from Mann). I could offer transportation back to 30th St train station for a few attendees- PM me.

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Not quite a dance question but what is the "dress code" for these kinds of events at the Mann?

Well, because it's Philadelphia High Culture, some in the audience will be terribly overdressed for the venue/season. But ignore them: the Mann Center can be HOT HOT HOT so wear as little as you can get away with!

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Thanks for the wardrobe advice Ray, and thanks to dufay for that very generous transportation offer. I envy you getting to see the Royal in R&J and am especially sorry to miss Tamara Rojo's Swan Lake - but it just didn't make sense for me to travel in from NY mid week. I'm going to come in for the Friday night SL and stay at a hotel near Rittenhouse square. I'll rely on the special shuttle to get me there & back - so I'll be wearing my running shoes...

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Here's another lodging option for the die-hard balletomane on a budget:

http://www.philahostel.org/

Chamounix Mansion Hostel, in Fairmount Park, is a mere 7-minute drive from Mann Center. Cost for dorm-room bed: $20/night members; $23/night non-members. Price includes sheets/pillows/etc. No age limit (not just 'youth'). Plenty of 'bunks' left for every night of the RB run! :)

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Here's another lodging option for the die-hard balletomane on a budget:

http://www.philahostel.org/

Chamounix Mansion Hostel, in Fairmount Park, is a mere 7-minute drive from Mann Center. Cost for dorm-room bed: $20/night members; $23/night non-members. Price includes sheets/pillows/etc. No age limit (not just 'youth'). Plenty of 'bunks' left for every night of the RB run! :flowers:

Ah, Fairmount Park, Philly's untapped and neglected urban woodland--lots of, ahem, shabby gentility. I don't mean to be too cynical, but just be ready for an adventure: FP is no Central Park or even Prospect Park. (And notice how the hostel is very close to an extremely busy freeway, not to mention railroad tracks.)

Actually I'm impressed by the website, and I never knew that Chamounix Mansion was a hostel--the mysteries of Philly! (Though it's annoying that the FP map they link to doesn't show where the Mann Center is.) Those who stay should report back to us!

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Actually, I've stayed at Chamounix House before, Ray, and it's up on a hill in an idyllic woodland setting, far above any freeway or railroad. Quite a lovely house; the common areas (living room, etc.) are full of antiques & furnished elegantly. The 'dorms' are spartan but clean and pleasant. I've stayed at hostels all over the world & this is one of the most beautiful and non-hostelish-looking. It's like staying at a big old family manse.

The one negative, IMO: a midnight curfew. No problem if the ballet ends at 11pm and it takes so little time to drive back.

I ran a 'mapquest' between the mansion and Mann Center - it's absolutely close. You just drive down the hill from the mansion on Chamounix Drive, continue round a circle, then you're practically at the doorstep of the Mann Center.

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I wonder how the dancers will do tonight (Tuesday)--it's supposed to be super hot again. (Not easy for the viewer either!) I'd hate to be the nurse. Anyone who goes, please report.

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Yes, R and J is NOT the ballet to be doing when it's 100 degrees. I don't think it affected the company too much, except, perhaps, some of the men's dancing. I loved the production- and comparing it to ABT- the RB sure knows how to do crowd scenes. I was disappointed that Alina C was injured, but was impressed with Leanne Benjamin. I didn't realize she was so tiny-she looked quite young, and her acting was refreshing. I thought Johann Kobborg was a bit too understated, but the heat and humidity might have wilted him. The poor orchestra probably had to tune constantly thruout due to the weather, and except for a couple of understandable oops, did a wonderful job.

Unfortunately, being Philly (and I live there, so I can say this), some treat the occasion as a night out at the ball park.

SL on Thursday. with Rojo.

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I was disappointed that Alina C was injured, but was impressed with Leanne Benjamin. I didn't realize she was so tiny-she looked quite young, and her acting was refreshing.

That's a real tribute. Judging by an article in the Telegraph, she is 42.

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