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Royal Ballet Swan Lake


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#1 attitude

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Posted 06 June 2002 - 04:58 AM

One more sleep to go! Tomorrow night I'll be watching the Royal Ballet perform Swan Lake. I'm so excited! I can hardly concentrate on my forthcoming exams (Ugggh!).

#2 smile

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Posted 06 June 2002 - 02:19 PM

That would be so cool to see.I'm so envious!

#3 attitude

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 05:35 PM

I had a fantastic night! Despite having a really bad tummy ache in the first two acts I was still very moved.

The props were very impressive particularly the ballroom in act 3. What was most impressive was the grand "mirror" (large and oval framed in gold and I'm guessing is perspex or fiber glass) that reflected the dancers in a dark and mysterious way. I didn't notice it as much during the character dances because the stage was very busy but it was really eerie during the black swan pas de deux. It gave the sensation that something was not right. It was akin to looking through a crystal ball. It was in the mirror of course that Odette appeared.

The costumes, jewellery, and headdresses were stunning. The swan corps wore layered 3/4 length tutu skirts and the black swans wore the same but with a white bodice and black skirt. I thought it looked a bit weird, act 4 looked almost contemporary at a glance. The black skirt reminded me of an ostrich rather than a swan.

The pas de trois was very good, I liked particularly Mara Galeazzi (1st soloist).

Act 2 was beautiful. The corps were impeccable (as they were throughout), the Cygnets were lovely and in sync and it was at this point that I realised that their tutus were making lovely rustling sounds in time with the music! The Two Swans were a bit out of sync but I saw why people were raving about Marianela Nunez. She is lovely to watch, very effortless.

Darcey Bussell was absolutely breathtaking. Her movements were so fluid, her extensions were magnificent and balance flawless. She has beautiul expressions and I did not feel like she was just acting. I have never seen a more flawless act 2, but then again I've only seen a few. After act 2, my friend, who is not very well acquainted with ballet, said that you could really tell the Prima ballerinas and that there was something really special about her. my friend now wishes to see more ballets which I think is the highest compliment you could give to a performance.

The character dances in act 3 were very good. I absolutely loved the Neapolitan dance but then it has always been my favourite along with the Spanish. It was very cheecky and really delightful to watch. I was just smiling the whole way.

Black Swan PDD...hmmm...
Jonathan Cope's technique was very secure... and so was his performance. His jumps and turns were perfect but I thought he looked flat. I felt that he lacked bravura. It just didn't do anything for me. I found out this morning that he collapsed last week due to a virus and missed the Brisbane opening. At the risk of sounding extremely harsh (and thank god this is the buddy board!) he probably should have given last night's performance a miss too.
Darcey Bussell was amazing, very regal, evil and her facial expression was seductive. Everything was going well for her until the 32 fouettés. I've never liked her fouettés (floppy feet), I think she lost her spot near the end and was starting to travel a bit, she finished the last turn but lost her balance and ended up taking a step back with her back to the audience. The audience was stunned, the guests were stunned, Siegfried was stunned or maybe unstunned, he honestly had an expression on his face as if Odile's spell had been broken! and saw her for who she really was. Darcey walked to the corner for the next series still as Odile but I found, unmistakably by her body language, that she was composing herself. I think the entire theatre was there to see her because after the stunned silence there was an eruption of applause that shook the theatre.
It was such a shame because it was the only fault in the perfromance but it was so crucial and for me it broke the spell. The show went on and the rest of the act was dramatic and I think it's the only time that I felt something for Siegfried. Despite his lack of bravura Jonathan Cope is still a good actor.

Nevertheless act four was as solid as act 2. Darcey Bussell was again exquisite, the lifts were effortless, both Odette and Siegfried were heartbroken. Darcey was ever so graceful even as she jumped over the cliff.

At curtain call I had the urge to jump up and give Ross Stretton a standing ovation and I would have if I wasn't in any danger of throwing up. I wasn't a big fan of his when he was AD of the Australian Ballet but I was so grateful that he gave us the opportunity to see the Royal Ballet. Both Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope received a standing ovation, somewhat reluctantly.

I am now resolved to see Alina Cojacaru in Giselle.

#4 ScottieGDE13

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 06:50 PM

Wow- it sounds like you had a wonderful time! I have never seen Darcey Bussel dance, in person or on video, but I have seen many pictures of her and only remember her to be beautiful in more ways than one (technique, expression, and sheer exterior beauty). It's such a cool thing to get to see wonderful performances, although I do know what you mean about one small mistake breaking "the spell." I often wonder after seeing performances if I am just altogether too critical because small little things REALLY get on my nerves and make me really hate the entire performance or piece. And sometimes I think I am too critical. However in many cases these crucial things really can make or break a performance. All of that said, the messup in the fouettes may have been upsetting, however, at least we know that Bussel is just a ballerina, and not a superhero who makes no mistakes!
BTW- wonderful review, attitude. Thanks for posting!
Krista

#5 attitude

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Posted 07 June 2002 - 07:08 PM

Thanks Krista

The mistake was a shame but the rest was magical and memorable.

I have now really made up my mind, after having a look at available seats, that I will go and see Alina Cojocaru in Giselle. I'll probably buy the ticket tomorrow. I know I should be studying but I'll probably never have this chance again while there'll always be make-up exams!

#6 Guest_Hazel_*

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Posted 08 June 2002 - 07:05 AM

I've seen Alina Cojucaru on video - she's brilliant. You're really lucky to get to see RB live. I know I live in the U.K but they never perfrom outside London and staying in London is so expensive. Not to mention the ticket cost and buying something fit to wear in the Royal Opera House! :rolleyes:

#7 Lolly

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Posted 08 June 2002 - 08:57 AM

Hazel, don't worry about dressing up to go to ROH! Half the time I go in jeans and trainers, it really doesn't matter! Yes there are times when I like to dress up (if I have a really good seat or it is an important night) but honestly I think I get more strange looks for wearing a dress and having flowers in my hair than I do for wearing trainers!

And there are always matinees if you don't live in London (I don't either) - or of course taking that last train home which gets back VERY late!! (But it's always worth it even if I vow every time that I will never do it again - that journey is sooo slow!)

And tickets are not that expensive either - I often decide to go at the last minute and gets slips seats for £3 or £4 - and even my favourite seats only cost £12!

Have I convinced you yet?:)

Attitude, I hope you will write a review of Alina in Giselle! This Swan Lake one is great!:)

#8 sylvia

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Posted 08 June 2002 - 09:14 AM

Attitude, thanks so much for the lovely review! Great to hear that Darcey impressed you so. This Swan Lake production has a lot of critics but I really love it, the sets, the costumes...the Neapolitan dance too! Can I ask who danced in it? I'm missing the RB a great deal here in the UK so it's so good to hear how they're doing on tour.

Great that you're seeing Alina's Giselle - she and Kobborg are truely, truely amazing in it, the best I've ever seen.

Exams - tell me about it. It's too awful trying to balance books with ballet!

Hazel, I'm with Lolly in that you'll usually find me and a lot of people in jeans and trainers, no one minds. You'll usually find me standing too. :)

#9 Natalia

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Posted 10 June 2002 - 12:53 AM

Attitude, thanks for the review. And how appropriate & timely, as I just attended the *other* 1895 'SWan Lake' that exists on this earth (as far as I can tell)...that of the Maly-Moussorgsky Theater of Opera & Ballet in St Petersburg, Russia. How interesting it would be to compare side-by-side videos of these two productions, which allegedly are the 1895 pure-Petipa/Ivanov versions, danced to the complete 1895 score.

Happy to read the details about casting, successes, etc. The Royal dancers are on a real 'high' nowadays. How wonderful!!

p.s. - Darcey B. is a beautiful Odette/Odile, regardlss of glitches on the fouettes! :)

#10 attitude

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Posted 10 June 2002 - 02:42 AM

Originally posted by Jeannie
p.s. - Darcey B. is a beautiful Odette/Odile, regardlss of glitches on the fouettes!  :)


Indeed! When I said it broke the spell I meant Odile's spell. The glitch didn't take away the beauty of the performance.

I was reading a review today and the critic didn't it find it emotionally moving. This was my first live Swan Lake and I was very moved. In the long queue to the bathroom all I heard were people gushing about the performance. I wonder sometimes if critics are really discerning or they've just been over exposed that they become disensitised and therefore looks for so much more to please them :(.

Sorry, Jeannie. No offence intended!

#11 Katharyn

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Posted 29 June 2002 - 01:41 AM

funny you should mention the long queue to the bathroom attitude - that was my only quibble on an otherwise beautiful night.

theres something terribly undignified about having to wait the entire interval to use the toilet!!

#12 Alexandra

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Posted 29 June 2002 - 10:08 AM

Oh, Katharyn -- don't run away now! Get back in line :D

I really miss your reviews -- tell us what you thought!!! (And thanks to everyone who HAS commented on the performances.)

#13 attitude

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Posted 30 June 2002 - 06:39 PM

Hi Katharyn!

How was the Triple Bill? I would have gone to see that too if I hadn't been desperately broke.

#14 Guest_DancingDanae_*

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Posted 07 July 2002 - 12:54 AM

Hey Attitude,
You must of had the best time when you saw the Royal Ballet
perform Swan Lake, my friend recently saw the performance Swan Lake in Melbourne and she thought it was Great!!!!
-Danae-


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