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Royal Ballet, Friday's Fille


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#16 Françoise

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 06:01 AM

I think it's Michael Somes in Fille mal gardée video with Collier

#17 Jane Simpson

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 06:25 AM

No, it's Michael Coleman - long past his best, unfortunately, when the video was made.

Galeazzi, by the way, did Lise for the first time a couple of years ago when the RB were appearing at the Royal Festival Hall. I can't remember how many performances she did - maybe only one; I missed seeing her but heard good reports from friends. She wasn't cast in the recent run at the ROH.

It's an interesting piece of casting, as she's more usually used in dramatic roles - she's one of several soloists who have obvious talents but who haven't really yet found their place in the repertoire. A challenge for Ross Stretton, perhaps?

#18 samba38

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 10:43 AM

But where was the pony? Pals who went to the Sunday matinee said they sang but the pony cart was pulled by people. Did the pony poop out, so to speak?

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 11:00 AM

Your pals are right. The pony wasn't there Sunday. I don't know why. I'm going to imagine that he doesn't work on Sundays. :)

#20 Ginny Kanter

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 08:05 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by 4Ts:
[QB]I saw Saturday afternoon’s performance and I was totally delighted. [QB]

A wonderful review, which has added to the pleasure I took in the performance--many thanks! You write very perceptively and accurately about the relationship between Lise and Colas, pointing out some things that I'd noticed but not yet processed into words. Like you, I wish Galeazzi had gotten the crowd response she deserved.

Now I can hardly wait to see Alexandra's review. Tomorrow's Post can't come too soon for me!

#21 Juliet

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Posted 11 June 2001 - 08:28 PM

Quick notes on Saturday evening:

Wildor was delightful--very well acted with just enough Bad Girl, but not teetering on the edge of petulance. I have no complaints about her technique or lack of stilettos in her pointe shoes....I thought she was lively and right on the mark in everything.

I am not a huge fan of Stiefel, but he was certainly born to play Colas, and play it magnificently he did. His acting and interplay with Wildor were a high point for me--tenderness and subtlety are not always translated over the footlights, and this is a great part of Ashton's appeal for me. This pair was in love and danced it very well--I loved the cat's cradle dance and the gentleness with which he consoled her after her embarrassment in the second act.....these are adult artists and they know how to demonstrate the nuances of love.

The corps was superb, and I must say that it is no less than I expect from this company and I am delighted not to be disappointed during this visit.....they were just wonderful and I am so sad not to have a chance to see the Swan Lake (although I give the barnyard flock very high marks for a well-crafted performance!!!!)

I had only one major disappoinnntment and that was the way Alain was depicted...I really don't see this character as the village booby. I was very, very uncomfortable with this portrayal--I only saw it for one performance, but so broad were the strokes that I am afraid that this is the general tone of this characterization now. Haplessness is not the same as fodder for ridicule of a particularly nasty sort.

It was a beautiful production, familiar, but brightened and spruced up--the lighting was particularly well done.....altogether a satisfying and joyous way to spend a June evening.

[ 06-11-2001: Message edited by: Juliet ]

#22 Ann

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Posted 12 June 2001 - 12:20 PM

Thank you for all these wonderful reviews; I've loved reading them. I mean, they are wonderful reviews for the Royal Ballet, but they are also wonderfully written, fresh, direct and heartfelt. (I sometimes think that Ashton is more valued and understood in the US than here in his own homeland, but perhaps that's just me).

One little disappointment; nobody seems to have reviewed the Sunday performance with Belinda Hatley and Stuart Cassidy. Did anybody see it and can they comment?

#23 Alexandra

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Posted 12 June 2001 - 12:22 PM

Seeing four performances of "La Fille mal gardee" left me with a very different impression of the company than I had from watching the opening night triple bill. I'm saddened by the internationalization, because to me, watching the sameness creeping through the ballet world is like watching the destruction of the rain forest.

HOWEVER, I thought the presentation of "Fille" showed that there are still people at the Royal who coach with care. I thought this was a very well-tended production; it was done with love.

Having seen all four of them, if I had to choose a cast to recommend to someone who's never seen the ballet and is interested in the ballet, I'd go with Belinda Hatley and Stuart Cassidy. I didn't think Hatley's dancing was the strongest, but the two at least matched.

Some things about the ballet that they made me see:
1. That the cat's cradle was a game they'd played frequently. A metaphor for love, but something they really enjoyed doing. They did it slowly and lovingly, not hastily, worried that they'd do something wrong and it wouldn't work. Many of the movements, without the ribbons, reappear in the adagio of the first act pas de deux, and I noticed that for the first time, in dozens of times viewing the ballet.

2. Mime things. I don't know how often Cassidy has done Colas, but I had the sense that he'd grown up watching the ballet. Why does this matter? Simply because he knows it from watching it. If you learn to carve a goose from watching your father do it, you'll have all kinds of little touches someone who learns this from a book or video will never match.

For example: when Widow Simone throws things out the window at Colas, the other Colas's ducked at eveything. Cassidy made the scene funnier by really reacting. The first four (cabbages?) weren't lethal, just messy. He ducked, but didn't scramble. Everyone else ducked with equal vigor when she threw the nightcap, but Cassidy saw it coming and stood there, with his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Oh, please." Then when she picked up the flower pot, he knew that could hurt, and he got out of the way. For those bored by mime and who put up with it to get to the dancing bits, this is an irrelevant detail, but for those who see mime as part of the fabric of the ballet, it's crucial. It's the 56 moments like this that make up the ballet; if they're gone, it looks thin. (This, to me, is the one great difference now between ABT and the Royal. ABT tosses out the little touches -- or puts in unicorns :) )

Also, the way he acted in the picnic scene, really listening to the bells, counting them, then announcing, "It's quitting time," made me think of him as not just another farmer, but the foreman -- Kobborg did this too, but not as clearly.

On other casts, I thought Kobborg's dancing was the best stylistically. He's got the Ashton epaulement down, as well as the kneeling backbends (which also came up in his roles in Rendezvous and Symphonic). He also made distinctions among the different kinds of pirouettes that the others couldn't, or didn't do -- they smoothed them out. There's a series of pirouettes in the first act where the working foot (the foot that's not on the ground) hits the leg at different places: knee, calf, ankle. Very hard, especially hard to do cleanly. Persson just smudged them so they looked messy (but everything he did, to me, looked messy. The flapping foot and drooping leg in his grands pirouettes a la seconde...) Stiefel did a lot of pirouettes -- brilliant, but not Ashton.

Galeazzi was not my ideal Lise -- she's a beanpole and her dancing was all over the place. The wildness in the jumps was appealing, but I want more polish in the arms and upper body. HOWEVER I thought her acting was extraordinary. To me, she had the best comic timing. She uses her eyes -- you can actually see them -- and knows how to hold back, just for a second, to have a gesture register. Her relationship with the mother (Luke Heydon) was especially detailed. This Lise was a pistol, as we'd say, and that mother had been running after her, two steps behind, if not five, since she could crawl. The whole ballet turned into a chess game between them with first one, then the other, having the upper hand, and it was grand fun.

Although Kobborg and Galeazzi were a bad physical and stylistic match, I thought the fact that they were total opposites in character worked. Kobborg made a distinction between public and private (I think this is the Danishness). His tenderness was saved for the second act, when the two are alone. I had a different take on the "Three children?" mime. I thought he did it so sweetly that it was to be reassuring. "So it's *three* children we will have?", almost a proposal. And I saw a great tenderness in the arm kissing scene.

Of the Lises, I'd go for Wildor, and she'd be my nominee for the ballerina on whom Ashton would be most likely to choreograph, were he still around. One of the things that explains how so many different people, sitting side by side, can have different opinions of the same performance is that we all value different things, and I value musicality above almost anything. (I can't think of a musical dancer who has a sin that overrides the musicality, for me.) I also thought Wildor was the only one of these four who "built" the dancing. One of the old tests for ballerinadom was that the ballerina revealed more of herself as the ballet progressed, and I thought Wildor did that beautifully. At the end, her dancing said "they will live happily ever after," because it would be impossible for someone who was as radiant, as confident, and as transcendentally beautiful to ever dance, or live, any other way.

I'll write on the Alains, Widows and Roosters later.

#24 Helena

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Posted 12 June 2001 - 12:52 PM

I am so glad you enjoyed Wildor's performance, Alexandra. For me, as well, she is a true Ashton dancer, and the one who most reassures me that we in Britain have not quite lost the Ashton touch! I have enjoyed reading all the reviews and opinions. What a wonderful thing the Web is!

#25 Shirley

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Posted 12 June 2001 - 03:55 PM

Thanks for all the reviews folks, especially yours Alexandra on the 4 casts.

Stuart Cassidy has recently come back to the RB so I'm not sure when he would have last danced Colas. Also when the RB performed their most recent run of Fille in London I thought Belinda Hatley gave the best alround performance of all the casts I saw.

#26 Sonja

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Posted 13 June 2001 - 10:21 AM

Stu Cassidy has returned? Sorry, seems I have lost track... Any more company news of who has joined / will join???

#27 Alexandra

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Posted 13 June 2001 - 10:30 AM

Cassidy returned and did the Somes role in "Symphonic Variations" second cast as well as Colas on the Sunday matinee.

I hope some of our British posters can answer your other question :)

#28 Shirley

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Posted 13 June 2001 - 03:40 PM

I had heard Stuart has rejoined for the tour but I am unsure if he will continue after that!


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