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Royal Ballet Productions


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#1 Ballet fan

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 05:12 PM

I must admit that the only Royal Ballet productions that I've seen of this beautiful ballet are the Anthony Dowell one with Viviana Durante and Zoltan Solymosi, and the one with Alina Cojocaru and Federico Bonelli. So my question is which one of these do people like more.

I know a lot of people don't like the sets and costumes of the Dowell production. I must agree that the sets were a bit ugly, but the tutus and everything else was fine.

As far as dancing goes I loved both Viviana and Alina as Aurora. However, I found Zoltan Solymosi a much better Florimund than Federico. He has great technique but Zoltan was able to give a little more depth to his character. His phrasing and overall expression were just much better.

As Carabosse, Dowell was great. Genesia Rosato was good but Dowell's Carabosse just seemed more wicked and evil.

So which one of this two productions do you like better?

#2 Wedgewes

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 06:28 PM

For me Marianela Nunez as the Lilac Fairy puts the Cojocaru/Bonelli ahead of Durante/Solymosi, but then again I am a huge fan of both Nunez & Cojocaru so I am a little biased. :)

#3 Simon G

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 07:32 AM

Hi BalletFan,

If you're talking about these productions you have to bear in mind that choreographically they're the same. It's only the designs which are different.

I have to say the production design Dowell commissioned from Maria Bjornsson is for me the worst production design I have ever seen. I don't mean this to insult you or your taste, at all but I can go so far as to say I hate it, it's atrocious, it masks, destroys and obliterates the most vital aspect of Sleeping Beauty, which is of course the dancing.

On television it's not so obvious but in the audience live it was impossible to focus on the ballet every inch of the stage was busy and drew attention away from the centre where the dancing takes place. The tutus are a problem for me too, over elaborate, over designed, with too many accessories breaking up lines, the purpose of a tutu is to give clarity to the ballerina's lines, everything about this production seemed hell bent on destroying the ballet.

Which is a pity as regardless of interpretation the Sleeping Beauty as produced by the Royal is one of the purest and most beautiful anywhere. One of Mason's good calls was to ditch that horrible overly cute Makarova production for a redesign, the only problem was for me that she created a production after Messel, why not just hold your hands up, say you were wrong and go back to the Messel?

I've always had problems with Durante, I find her cold, uninvolved, self-absorbed and technically solid, but not technically exciting or daring. The irony for me about her is that for such a slight dancer she's stodgy. If that makes sense?

Cojocaru and Nunez are a much better singing cast. Solymosi was a strange one, his break up with the Royal being famous, he was fired after calling Apollo s*** during a rehearsal, though I'm sure that was the straw that broke the camel's back. He nonetheless had something about him that I agree the anodyne Bonelli doesn't.

And as to Carabosse, again it's a matter of taste Dowell's high camp, like Baby Jane off her face on cocaine and crystal meth, or Rosato's more studied picture of malevolence.

#4 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 08:46 AM

I think there are choreographically some differences - Wheeldon's Garland Dance, first of all, and isn't some of Act II with different choreography?

I like the Aurora of both Durante and Alina Cojocaru; Cojocaru is maybe better in portraying the innocent 16 year old though; whereas Durante is a bit too self-possessed!

I find Bonelli very boring on this performance, he is much better now (if still more the Academic classical dancer rather than a dramatic one). However, Nunez's Lilac Fairy is much warmer and higher level technically than Hussein. I also think Nunez is probably the best mime artist of the RB current principals, which gives her something extra to this role.

In general, I prefer the supporting performances on the 2006 DVD too - they have many current Principals in the variations; Mara Galeazzi, Laura Morera, Lauren Cuthbertson. Also, Natasha Oughtred, now with BRB. You can also catch sight of the enchanting Yuhui Choe in the corps - most noticably as Lilac Fairy attendant.

#5 leonid17

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 11:14 AM

I find Bonelli .......... (if still more the Academic classical dancer rather than a dramatic one).


This always to be preferred, especially in Academic Classical Ballets.

A prince would be brought up to always be princely not reacting like some one from the lower classes. Save the drama for Carabosse.

Remember where it was first produced and the fact that it was seen as ’homage’ to the Imperial Family.

In works like the Sleeping Beauty, I personally find Bonelli in a direct line from Somes to MacLeary and following Jonathon Cope.

I would like to see a return to the Oliver Messel production (without the choreographic amendations) which I grew up with. Failing that I could happily watch Vikharev's reconstruction for the rest of my life.

#6 leonid17

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 11:49 AM

I think there are choreographically some differences - Wheeldon's Garland Dance, first of all, and isn't some of Act II with different choreography?



The choreographic additions apart from the Ashton’s Neapolitan dance which was resuscitated in the 1992/93 season, include David Bintley’s Act 1 Waltz, Irina Jacobson’s pas de trois variation and the National Dances in Act 3.

#7 CarmelaSMira

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:24 PM

I find Bonelli .......... (if still more the Academic classical dancer rather than a dramatic one).


This always to be preferred, especially in Academic Classical Ballets.

A prince would be brought up to always be princely not reacting like some one from the lower classes. Save the drama for Carabosse.

Remember where it was first produced and the fact that it was seen as ’homage’ to the Imperial Family.

In works like the Sleeping Beauty, I personally find Bonelli in a direct line from Somes to MacLeary and following Jonathon Cope.

I would like to see a return to the Oliver Messel production (without the choreographic amendations) which I grew up with. Failing that I could happily watch Vikharev's reconstruction for the rest of my life.



Oh yes, I totally agree. Sleeping Beauty is certainly not the ballet where either of the leads should go overdramatic! And Bonelli as he is today is perfect for these Princely roles, dancing as he does with such refined style and technique. I can't imagine him in Mayerling, which I guess is why he doesn't dance this ballet!
Still, on this DVD I find him a bit bland, despite the fact that this role is not one for drama, I feel he could have found a bit more expression and depth in the role - as he does now.

#8 Lynette H

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 03:52 AM

I think there are choreographically some differences - Wheeldon's Garland Dance, first of all, and isn't some of Act II with different choreography?



The choreographic additions apart from the Ashton’s Neapolitan dance which was resuscitated in the 1992/93 season, include David Bintley’s Act 1 Waltz, Irina Jacobson’s pas de trois variation and the National Dances in Act 3.


Leonid, has your focus moved here to Royal Ballet versions of Swan Lake rather than Sleeping Beauty. Are you in fact referring to Ashton's Neapolitan dance being reintroduced to the ballroom act of Swan Lake i 1992/3 ? Likewise the other changes that you mention.


My cast sheet from the RB Beauty from 1994 (which says it is being recorded for TV) gives the following notes on the choreography
"The choreography for the Fee des Lilas Variation in the Prologue is by Feodor Lopokov; for the Garland Dance in Act 1, Kenneth MacMillan: Aurora's variation and the Prince's Variation in Act2 and the Sapphire variation in Act3 by Frederick Ashton: entree and coda in the Act 3 pas de quatre, Anthony Dowell after Frederick Ashton"

This version has gold, silver, sapphire and diamond in Act 3. (I miss that sapphire variation - didn't Sarah Wildor use to do this ?)

The May 2006 "after Messel" production cast sheet gives the following:
"Additional choreography
Prologue: Carabosse and Rats, Anthony Dowell
Act 1: Garland Dance Christopher Wheeldon
Act 2: Aurora's variation and The Pronce's variation Frederick Ashton
Act 3, Florestan and his sisters, Frederick Ashton after Marius Petipa
Polonaise and Mazurka Anthony Dowell assisted by Christoher Carr"

This version does not have gold, silver etc but Florestan and his sisters instead.

#9 leonid17

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 04:46 AM

I think there are choreographically some differences - Wheeldon's Garland Dance, first of all, and isn't some of Act II with different choreography?



The choreographic additions apart from the Ashton’s Neapolitan dance which was resuscitated in the 1992/93 season, include David Bintley’s Act 1 Waltz, Irina Jacobson’s pas de trois variation and the National Dances in Act 3.


Leonid, has your focus moved here to Royal Ballet versions of Swan Lake rather than Sleeping Beauty. Are you in fact referring to Ashton's Neapolitan dance being reintroduced to the ballroom act of Swan Lake i 1992/3 ? Likewise the other changes that you mention.


And I thought I could multi-task. Apologies trying to deal with more than one correspondence at a time.


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