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Marianela NuñezRoyal Ballet Principal


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#1 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 05:29 AM

I just noticed there has been very little discussion here about Marianela Nuñez , Royal Ballet principal since 2002, always popular for her 'sunny character', strong technique, and excellence in the 'strong roles' since her early years as principal.

She was always appreciated slightly less than some other of the RB's dancers (mainly Cojocaru and Rojo!) despite the fact she is such a pleasure to watch and has such a strong technique in every area - they call her here in London 'the ballerina with no weakness'. Maybe Nuñez's only weakness was her lack of weakness - that while she danced amazingly the strong roles (Lilac Fairy, Sylvia, Coppelia) , the sunny roles (Lise, Sugar Plum Fairy), and the 'mean' roles (Gamzatti, Myrtha); she never got the chance of doing Juliet, Giselle, etc and it was sometimes felt that she was less convincing in the tragical roles.

But in the last two seasons, Marianela Nuñez really shows us her strength, depth and excellence in every role she takes: in the last 2 seasons, she danced a huge variety and number of roles, and all to the highest standards, all with her unique magical touch which makes you unable to take the eyes off her while she is on stage. As well as finding a higher level every time in her traditionally best roles (SPF, Gamzatti, Sylvia, Aurora, Odette-Odile); she made astonishing debuts as Juliet and Giselle, and also found a new level of excellence in abstract contemporary works (the beautiful pdd with Watson in McGregor's Infra, Voluntaries, DGV...). And she became quite a favorite with London audiences this season!

This summer there will be released 2 DVDs featuring Marianela: by Opus, Swan Lake with her as Odette-Odile and Thiago Soares as Sigfried; and by Decca, La Bayadere with Acosta as Solor, Tamara Rojo as Nikiya, and Marianela as Gamzatti. In my opinion, the best thing about this performance was Nunez's Gamzatti (Rojo, while brilliant, is not a natural Nikiya, and Acosta's Solor was technically superb but without much dramatic depth) - maybe one of the most equally superb in technical precision and dramatic depth.

I'm very glad that Marianela, after being the 'number 2' for so long, is finally being so much appreciated and that her dancing will have the opportunity to be seen by a wider audience!

#2 Mashinka

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 01:05 AM

Ms Nunez is indeed an oustanding dancer and is a credit to the Royal Ballet, however........

This summer there will be released 2 DVDs featuring Marianela: by Opus, Swan Lake with her as Odette-Odile and Thiago Soares as Sigfried; and by Decca, La Bayadere with Acosta as Solor, Tamara Rojo as Nikiya, and Marianela as Gamzatti. In my opinion, the best thing about this performance was Nunez's Gamzatti (Rojo, while brilliant, is not a natural Nikiya, and Acosta's Solor was technically superb but without much dramatic depth) - maybe one of the most equally superb in technical precision and dramatic depth.


.....if you are tempted to purchase one of these DVD's, go for the one where she is dancing with Acosta, Soares really doesn't cut it as Siegfried at all.

#3 Giannina

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:12 AM

I'd see Nunez dance with anyone; I think she's fantastic.

Giannina

#4 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 07:40 AM

Mashinka, did you see the actual performance of Nunez and Soares which was filmed? Unfortunately I was not able to see it, but I did see a performance of Nunez and Soares earlier in the season (in fact, where they replaced an unwell Roberta Marquez and Johan Kobborg at very late notice) and I thought he did well with the role. Ok, he is not the best male principal RB have ever had, but this role is a better one for him than some others, and I heard that in the filmed performances, he was pretty clean.

If you're judging by his performance in the "Black Swan" pdd at the recent Diaghilev Tribute Gala, it was not the best by him at all, quite an "off-night" in fact... So the DVD performance should be better!

In any case, if you want to buy the DVD for Marianela's performance, I think the Swan Lake one is best - the Bayadere, whilst she is otherwise technically on her best level, she was actually injured at the time of recording, and as a result her elevation is not so excellent as it generally is. On the Swan Lake recording, on the other hand, she is on fire!

#5 Mashinka

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:08 AM

If you're judging by his performance in the "Black Swan" pdd at the recent Diaghilev Tribute Gala, it was not the best by him at all, quite an "off-night" in fact... So the DVD performance should be better!


I judge him primarily on a performance of Bayadere just over a year ago when he was the worst Solor I've seen anywhere - ever. Since then I've avoided his performances, but the dreadful Black Swan pas de deux just reinforced my initial opinion. To be fair to the guy he was an okay dancer in smaller, undemanding roles but definitely not prince material.

#6 annamicro

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 09:36 AM

the dreadful Black Swan pas de deux just reinforced my initial opinion.


I agree.

I’ve not seen the filmed performance of Swan Lake, but I’ve seen them in October (and I saw Nunez dancing also with Acosta).
She had great critics, but at that time I thought that it was just something used to mask the fact that the company was performing without people like Cojocaru, Lamb, Rojo and Yanowsky (alphabetical order).
Nunez is a top level dancer and gives high professional performances, but I’ looking for a deeper artistic dimension. To me she seems to remain only on the surface of characters (her Gamzatti, for example is no more than a stereotype) and I just cannot “see” the music when she dances: in Swan Lake, to my ears (but also to the ears of several friends – some others loved her, of course), she was almost “tuning down” the music, giving it no volume and no colours, giving nothing and taking nothing from Tchaikovsky wonderful score. When I knew that Nunez and Soares (!!!) were going to be filmed I was EXTREMELY surprised: sorry, but I prefer swans that can “sing”.
This Marianela & Thiago thing is very pushed (and probably gained also a principal promotion to him), but I saw yesterday by a friend the film of the Tchaikovsky pdd they danced in Osaka in July 2008 and I thought that it was really embarrassing to see such a performance from two dancers “labelled” as Royal ballet principals…

#7 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:59 AM

Annamicro, I understand some of your points about Nunez but I don't completely agree. For example, I do agree that for a conductor, she could musically make a problem - she does have a tendency to stretch the music to hold the perfect arabesque or fit in a few more rotations in her pirouette! But I wouldn't agree that she'd an unmusical dancer - she seems to feel and express the music beautifully. Not just in classical works, but also in the contemporary/abstract as well (for example, Serenade, Voluntaries, the Infra pdd)

It's true that dramatically she is far from subtle, but I don't find her Gamzatti stereotyped - she was one of the few Gamzattis who I felt could induce pity at the end, partly because at the beginning she was so proud - and then we saw this facade crumble, with every elegant gesture, her beautiful fluid epaulement playing there a big part, and her facial expression (which is always so clear and varied). And we must remember that usually her Gamzatti is opposite Rojo's Nikiya, which is a strong Nikiya, so Nunez must play her Gamzatti strong to be any "match" for Nikiya (this was where Ansanelli failed opposite Rojo).

Nunez might be sometimes over exuberant - her leap to death in the apotheosis in Swan Lake always seems a bit over-energetic to me! - but she does have dramatic intergrity. I do think that she "feels" the role she plays rather than just pasting a bland characterization onto her own stage personality.

Soares on the other hand - I don't think it's fair to imply that he is only Principal because of the relationship of him and Nunez. I agree he's not the RB's best, but he is tall, and with so many tall ballerinas, tall male principals are needed. I think Monica Mason has a very big sense of justice, and if Soares (and Makhateli, and Pennefather) dance the roles and the schedule of principal, because good partners of their height are needed, she will give them also the salary and the status of principal - which is fair no, if they do the job?

I don't think Soares is an embarassment, especially not now. He really improved a lot this year. Unfortunately that Swan Lake pdd was a blip, probably because his schedule before had been very overfull.

#8 annamicro

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 01:50 PM

for a conductor, she could musically make a problem - she does have a tendency to stretch the music to hold the perfect arabesque or fit in a few more rotations in her pirouette!


Wow! :)

Anyway, I didn’t say that Nunez is unmusical: I said that for me she doesn’t “use” the music as great artists do. As I said, I consider her a top dancer, but nothing more and that’s not enough for me.
In my opinion, she seems to do everything (steps, acting) she could be taught to do and that’s just not enough.

You like her “facial expressions” and those are the things I like the less of her, so probably our tastes are just antithetic: I’m sure we will survive perfectly to that. :)
If you think that her acting in Gamzatti was excellent (I’m not saying it was “wrong” or really “bad”), just look at what a clever dancer like Masha Alexandrova (for sure not a “weak” dancer) can do with that role and have an idea of how many aspects and facets that can be explored and shown.

I’ve not said that Soares is always “an embarrassment”. He was (and Nunez too, and also unmusical in that specific occasion) awful in the Tchaikovsky pdd I mentioned. To say that he is a principal because of Nunez could be unfair, but it was the only reason I found. Now I’ve discovered that he is a principal because he is tall, ok. I think that you can pay the salary (or bonuses) you want to people if they have to do a certain job, but for me one should be a principal (with all the prestige connected to that status) not for what he is asked to dance but for what he “really” is. (of course I understand that to have always a “principal” performing on stage has greater commercial appeal, but unfortunately that doesn’t change the quality of the performance).

I’m afraid that that Swan Lake pdd was more or less of the level of the other two I’ve seen by them and more or less of the level of the majority of the rest I’ve seen of the two together. :lol:

#9 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 02:35 PM

for a conductor, she could musically make a problem - she does have a tendency to stretch the music to hold the perfect arabesque or fit in a few more rotations in her pirouette!


Wow! :crying:

Anyway, I didn’t say that Nunez is unmusical: I said that for me she doesn’t “use” the music as great artists do. As I said, I consider her a top dancer, but nothing more and that’s not enough for me.
In my opinion, she seems to do everything (steps, acting) she could be taught to do and that’s just not enough.

You like her “facial expressions” and those are the things I like the less of her, so probably our tastes are just antithetic: I’m sure we will survive perfectly to that. :)
If you think that her acting in Gamzatti was excellent (I’m not saying it was “wrong” or really “bad”), just look at what a clever dancer like Masha Alexandrova (for sure not a “weak” dancer) can do with that role and have an idea of how many aspects and facets that can be explored and shown.

I’ve not said that Soares is always “an embarrassment”. He was (and Nunez too, and also unmusical in that specific occasion) awful in the Tchaikovsky pdd I mentioned. To say that he is a principal because of Nunez could be unfair, but it was the only reason I found. Now I’ve discovered that he is a principal because he is tall, ok. I think that you can pay the salary (or bonuses) you want to people if they have to do a certain job, but for me one should be a principal (with all the prestige connected to that status) not for what he is asked to dance but for what he “really” is. (of course I understand that to have always a “principal” performing on stage has greater commercial appeal, but unfortunately that doesn’t change the quality of the performance).

I’m afraid that that Swan Lake pdd was more or less of the level of the other two I’ve seen by them and more or less of the level of the majority of the rest I’ve seen of the two together. :(


Oh well, we just will agree to disagree I guess, and not everyone has the same tastes - which is good, because otherwise this world would be very boring! :) (the debate which already spanned 2 seperate message boards - wow!)

I also like very much Masha Alexandrova by the way, and her Gamzatti. I think it's very interesting to see these 2 great dancers who interpret the role in such different ways. I do think it's a shame though, that Marianela always has to dance Gamzatti opposite Acosta and Rojo, who (despite their many strengths) do not do much with the characters of Solor and Nikiya. I would love to see her opposite Kobborg and Cojocaru (always very effective when she and Cojocaru share the stage) but unfortunately I think it will never happen unless every other Gamzatti in the Company would be injured, as she and Johan don't partner.

By the way, I'm sorry if I was too aggressive, I didn't mean to be, only to share my opinion. So sorry if I offended anyone... Spanish habits!

#10 ami1436

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

I usually enjoy Marianela, although I will be honest and say that I have not seen her much in the past two years, especially as I moved away from the UK last July. However, her Lilac Fairy in every production I saw was lovely -- for me, to believe in the story of Sleeping Beauty, I need to believe in the Lilac Fairy as representing all that good, warm, and light-filled in this world.. ... and she makes me believe. (And now I am corny!).

As for Soares, I think he initially demonstrated a lot of promise, especially leading up to his promotion. However, he was injured soon there after, and in my opinion, has never danced with the same strength and ease on stage since. It's a pity, because I do really believe that he was dancing well, and there are certain roles he excelled at.

#11 vipa

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 05:57 PM

I usually enjoy Marianela, although I will be honest and say that I have not seen her much in the past two years, especially as I moved away from the UK last July. However, her Lilac Fairy in every production I saw was lovely -- for me, to believe in the story of Sleeping Beauty, I need to believe in the Lilac Fairy as representing all that good, warm, and light-filled in this world.. ... and she makes me believe. (And now I am corny!).



I've only seen her Lilac Fairy on video but thought it one of the best I've seen. Even in the video she made me believe! Not corny - just what a fairy tale should be.!!

#12 Mashinka

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:02 AM

Soares on the other hand - I don't think it's fair to imply that he is only Principal because of the relationship of him and Nunez. I agree he's not the RB's best, but he is tall, and with so many tall ballerinas, tall male principals are needed. I think Monica Mason has a very big sense of justice, and if Soares (and Makhateli, and Pennefather) dance the roles and the schedule of principal, because good partners of their height are needed, she will give them also the salary and the status of principal - which is fair no, if they do the job?


For myself I usually try to see ballets where both principals are of a certain standard, but surely only Yanovsky in the RB is unusually tall and until he retired last year Mason imported Kenneth Greve to dance with her. The idea of male dancers gaining the status of principal on the basis of height rather than achievement quite appals me.

#13 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 03:56 AM

Soares on the other hand - I don't think it's fair to imply that he is only Principal because of the relationship of him and Nunez. I agree he's not the RB's best, but he is tall, and with so many tall ballerinas, tall male principals are needed. I think Monica Mason has a very big sense of justice, and if Soares (and Makhateli, and Pennefather) dance the roles and the schedule of principal, because good partners of their height are needed, she will give them also the salary and the status of principal - which is fair no, if they do the job?


For myself I usually try to see ballets where both principals are of a certain standard, but surely only Yanovsky in the RB is unusually tall and until he retired last year Mason imported Kenneth Greve to dance with her. The idea of male dancers gaining the status of principal on the basis of height rather than achievement quite appals me.


Yanowsky is the only "unusually tall" Principal, but several of the other girls are quite tall: Nunez herself is on the tall side (probably 5'6 1/2 or 5'7, and when en pointe, that's quite tall) and Galeazzi and Cuthbertson are also quite tall. Ansanelli also, is probably about the same height. And then if we consider the fact that technically, the smaller male dancers are often stronger (we can see this historically: Nijinsky, Nure'ev, both were not tall. Also in ABTs roster f.i, a lot of super talented, not too tall guys. And RBs own technically strongest dancers are not the tallest either) it can lead straight away to this inequality.

I agree that Nunez's Lilac Fairy is wonderful, she is actually a better Lilac Fairy than Aurora in my opinion (I seem to have a hang up about height today, but I really think Aurora is a better role for smaller ballerinas - the Rose Adagio, for example, is much easier for shorter dancers).

#14 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 05:49 AM

Marianela's website came online a few weeks ago - not a lot "new" there yet (I think she basically took her ROH bio and changed all the "she"s to "I"s :) ) but some nice new performance photos.

www.marianelanunez.com

In Spain she got a very good reception for her performance of Odette-Odile in the Festival of Music and Dance in Granada; also her and Soares' performance of the R&J pdd got a great reception in Havana, although unfortunately her participation in that tour was cut short to that point :wub: (she had been scheduled to dance Le Corsaire pdd with Acosta and Polunin in the following galas. it would have been Sergei Polunin's debut of the pdd, I don't know if he performed it with another dancer or not)

#15 kdubzz

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 06:08 PM

I just noticed there has been very little discussion here about Marianela Nuñez , Royal Ballet principal since 2002, always popular for her 'sunny character', strong technique, and excellence in the 'strong roles' since her early years as principal.

She was always appreciated slightly less than some other of the RB's dancers (mainly Cojocaru and Rojo!) despite the fact she is such a pleasure to watch and has such a strong technique in every area - they call her here in London 'the ballerina with no weakness'. Maybe Nuñez's only weakness was her lack of weakness - that while she danced amazingly the strong roles (Lilac Fairy, Sylvia, Coppelia) , the sunny roles (Lise, Sugar Plum Fairy), and the 'mean' roles (Gamzatti, Myrtha); she never got the chance of doing Juliet, Giselle, etc and it was sometimes felt that she was less convincing in the tragical roles.

But in the last two seasons, Marianela Nuñez really shows us her strength, depth and excellence in every role she takes: in the last 2 seasons, she danced a huge variety and number of roles, and all to the highest standards, all with her unique magical touch which makes you unable to take the eyes off her while she is on stage. As well as finding a higher level every time in her traditionally best roles (SPF, Gamzatti, Sylvia, Aurora, Odette-Odile); she made astonishing debuts as Juliet and Giselle, and also found a new level of excellence in abstract contemporary works (the beautiful pdd with Watson in McGregor's Infra, Voluntaries, DGV...). And she became quite a favorite with London audiences this season!

This summer there will be released 2 DVDs featuring Marianela: by Opus, Swan Lake with her as Odette-Odile and Thiago Soares as Sigfried; and by Decca, La Bayadere with Acosta as Solor, Tamara Rojo as Nikiya, and Marianela as Gamzatti. In my opinion, the best thing about this performance was Nunez's Gamzatti (Rojo, while brilliant, is not a natural Nikiya, and Acosta's Solor was technically superb but without much dramatic depth) - maybe one of the most equally superb in technical precision and dramatic depth.

I'm very glad that Marianela, after being the 'number 2' for so long, is finally being so much appreciated and that her dancing will have the opportunity to be seen by a wider audience!


I feel that Marianela is a world class ballerina who was somewhat overlooked at the Royal Ballet for some years (seen as a sort of 'second string' principal), but they are finally recognizing, it seems, what they have - a true star. Just compare her 'Sylvia' on youtube with, say, Darcey Bussell's (in my opinion quite overrated). She also shines in neoclassical ballets (see her pdd with Edward Watson in 'Infra', Wayne McGregor's ballet, also on youtube). Marianela seems to have grown artistically over the past couple of years especially and is no longer simply the 'sunny technician.'


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