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Onegin - summer season


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#1 Lolly

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Posted 15 July 2002 - 04:15 PM

It's been very quiet round here lately!

I just got back from Onegin at RB, it was the opening night of this very short season before the summer holidays...

It was GREAT!:D I loved this ballet earlier in the season and am so pleased it came back. I saw Mara Galeazzi, Adam Cooper, Ivan Putrov, Jane Burn and Christopher Saunders. And it was fantastic to see everyone else in the crowd bits too - after them being away so long it was lovely to spot them all again. As glad as I am that Australia got to see how fab our company are at the moment, I am sooo pleased they are back!

The first thing I noticed was how long all the boys' hair is - they mustn't have had it cut while they were away!

Mara was good, she and Adam danced so well together, some of the lifts were so fast and precarious but it all looked passionate and exciting. Adam was extremely good. I saw the character Onegin in a completely different way than I had last time. (I saw Nathan Coppen twice) Adam was so different. He acted much more like he didn't want the duel, and also seemed much sorrier and more desparate that he killed Lensky. And I felt bad for him in the final pdd with Mara, he was so heartbroken when she tore up his letter like he had done to her before, I could hardly bear it - it was more than sorrow, he just didn't know what to do, he was so desparate. Nathan had been much snootier and more aloof - more like Mr Darcy! He didn't get so involved, and I really disliked his Onegin, but I found it easier to see how Adam's Onegin was feeling. Adam and Mara must have been pleased with how they danced as they hugged each other in their first curtain call, they were really happy!

I didn't like Jane Burn as much as I had enjoyed Marianela Nunez as Olga last time around. She wasn't cheeky or mischievous enough when she was dancing with Onegin to provoke Lensky - she is a nice dancer but I wasn't convinced by her Olga.

Ivan was fabulous but anyone who has read any of my reviews before will know that I am unlikely to be disappointed by him!;) He was stunning tonight though, I'm sure anyone would agree. He is so light when he moves, I can't understand how he does it! And when he danced before the duel, it was beautiful, so sad... That whole scene was amazing, I think I held my breath throughout. Wow.

The rest of the dancers were good too, lots of well known faces! (Hurrah!) The moustaches always amuse me, as if they are all in some sort of disguise!

I love all the colours of this ballet, it seems so old fashioned, everything seems faded and dusty. It's all old lace and ribbons, so pretty.

I'm so sorry I can only see Onegin once more this week, as I have a ballet exam next week I just can't miss classes to go to ROH! (Though for RAD Grade 6 it is a good ballet for tips on character - polonaise, mazurka, holubetz and breaks, all there!!) I can't wait to see it again though, I'm especially looking forward to Johannes Stepanek as Lensky, as he was so wonderful last time.

Isn't it funny how you can like one dancer's interpretation of a role better than another? My favourites aren't always the first I saw in the role either. Hmm. I can't choose my favourite Lensky though, Ivan and Johannes are both fab.:)

Did anyone else go, or is anyone going later in the week?

#2 sylvia

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Posted 15 July 2002 - 04:55 PM

Hiya Lolly

Thanks so much for the post. I'm so happy the RB are back again. and it's good to hear that Adam and Mara worked so well. I'm going to see them and some other casts later this week. I'll be curious to see how much their interpreations will have changed since last autumn. I'm really looking forward to Yseult Lendvai (from Stuttgart Ballet) and Robert Tewsley as well as Mara with Martin Harvey. And Belinda Hatley's Olga most of all. More debuts! I wouldn't wish injuries on anybody but it's shaken the casts up a bit and made things more interesting. For Galeazzi and Harvey I'm taking my Mom to her first ballet in 40 years! (a Chinese touring company back then.) It should be fun - I made sure to get front row seats. Anyway, will post when it's all over.

And wishing you the best in your exam Lolly! Will you see Don Q and Coppelia too?

Sylvia

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 15 July 2002 - 05:08 PM

Thanks very much for this, Lolly -- good to see both of you here :D Sylvia, I hope you'll report on your mother's reaction too -- 40 years without a ballet. I can't imagine it :)

I hope you'll both keep us posted on the summer season -- and others, too, of course. Jude, are you seeing any of these programs?

#4 jude

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 03:25 AM

Unfortunately, after finishing my exams last month and sitting round twiddling my thuimbs for the past few weeks while the RB was on tour i am now vvv busy with preparations for a 3 and a half week holiday wich i leave for on sunday so no i wont be able to go!!

It is really such a shame as although i did not particluarly love onegin when i saw it last november, there some really interesting pieces of casting on offer this time round.

And then theres bayadere wich i have never seen and of course copelia with miyako wich i was really dying to see as its one of the few roles shes been given this year and if im not mistaken Marienela nunez is also dancing the lead and after seeing her masterclass last year i would really love to see her actual performance.

Anyway sorry this has turned into a big complaining rant but its really such a shame!

Please do all post all of the RB news, and plenty of reveiws, hopefully i will be able to have some access to a computer!

LOLLY!! good luck with your exam, grade 6 is a nice sylabbus but grade 7 is even nicer so you have got a lot to look forwards to!!
Let us know how it goes

jude xoxoxoxox

#5 Lolly

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 05:58 AM

Thank you for the good wishes for my exam, everyone! I had class this morning with the girl I am dancing with for the bits you do in pairs, and I feel quite confident now! (Amazing!)

I am going to Don Q and Coppelia, I'm excited about those too! What a shame you are away Jude! I really enjoyed Marianela in Coppelia this time last year and was convinced she would be promoted straight after! (And then again after her Don Q!) So if she isn't this time I will be upset! Well it is just us then Sylvia! Do you think we can cover it all between us?;) I am only going to two of each though. (So far!) Are you going to the Gala? I am, but sadly only in the Piazza...

I forgot to say, in my excitement last night, that I saw Monica Mason and Donald MacLeary in the audience. And I also forgot to say that the orchestra were wearing black t-shirts! They looked so strange! I wonder what that was about.:confused: I'm sure I have forgotten loads of things but hopefully I'll remember at some point!

#6 jude

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 09:24 AM

i read a really ecstatic reveiw of last nights performance in the times today. In particulatr it praised robert tewlsley. Did anyone see it? wat are your opinions on him?

thanx
xoxoxox

#7 sylvia

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 01:01 PM

I think we can manage Lolly. :) I'm seeing the gala onscreen from the Clore studio but I have some misgivings since the atmosphere can't be all that great with only an audience of 150ish. I'd much rather they broadcast it on the telly and save me the trouble of travelling!

Jude, regarding Robert Tewsley, when I read online that he was coming to the RB I was so excited I fell off my chair! I honestly never thought he'd dance here. I don't understand why he didn't go from the RBS to the RB in the first place, and he's such a brilliant dancer there must have been strong reasons on his part or that of the RB for not joining later. Ok, I've only seen his Onegin so far but he is truely one of the best dancers I've ever seen and I'll dream up some more accolades after I see his performance tomorrow.

Back to the reason I for posting in the first place, I went to see Alina and Johan last night. I'd planned to go to Mara and Adam tonight but I have tickets for Friday and Saturday as well and to travel to London 4 nights in a row is too crazy, even for me!

Alina and Johan were excellent. They are a must-see cast whenever they are dancing together. The tiny ways in which they respond to each other, the gestures they use are so natural, like they've been dancing together for years. They are so unique and too beautiful to watch. I wish the lighting was better in the mirror pdd because Johan is dressed in black and it was hard for me to see him clearly since I was much further back than usual. So all my focus was on Alina and she was amazing. Her pliant body allows her to create any shape she chooses and her deep backbends made her emotions seem much more raw and extreme. It actually took me a little while to get into the ballet but by the final pdd, I was completely moved. Just a niggling point - all those six o'clock penchees arabesques Alina did. I don't mind them, actually like them if they look completely effortless. But here they looked like she was pushing herself to go that little bit further, and it just stood out. It reminded me of her Juliet - impressive, admirable, but not always pretty. Johan's Onegin was beautifully realised, his first solo especially but golly, I've said it all before and it's getting boring repeating myself!

The turning point for me was Ivan's Act II solo. The last time I saw it danced so well was with Ethan Stiefel back in November. It was a huge, huge improvement on Ivan's previous performances. His long arabesques, his turns and jumps were so strong and secure, and his arms and body seemed to be weighted down with so much despair. I can't believe how he's matured. He got so much feeling out of that solo and it wasn't just the muisc, really! It couldn't have been danced any better. And Lolly, I like how he's grown out his hair too!

I had some doubts about Ivan Putrov with Jane Burn. I don't think Ivan is a very strong partner to begin with and their Act I pdd seemed shaky and Ivan looked a little tired. I agree about Jane Burn. She's not as technically skilled as Alina and Marianela, nor does she have their presence and personality. She was charming if unmemorable.

As for the corps, they didn't seem to have any energy with mistakes and missed moments. But I shouldn't be too critical - I can't imagine coming off a big tour, a week of rehearsals and then three 3-act ballets night after night.

A lovely evening, though I did wonder if I'd seen it too many times! Still, looking forward to tomorrow now and some fresh faces!

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 01:03 PM

Thanks very much for that, sylvie. I'll look forward to reading about the other casts. Good luck with the exam, Lolly. I hope you get to see some performances as well.

#9 Lolly

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Posted 18 July 2002 - 02:44 PM

Haha, that's two votes for Ivan's hair then!!;)

I'm jealous you are seeing the Gala in the Clore - how did you get tickets? At least you will be inside if it rains!

I can't wait to go tomorrow - I'm so excited I can't sleep! I don't think I could ever see this ballet too many times - it's like R&J, I could watch that forever too. The music is gorgeous for both, it must really inspire the dancers to greatness!

#10 Lolly

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 03:59 PM

I just got in from a FANTASTIC performance! I am too tired to do it justice now, but Johannes was just amazing - I cannot believe the power and depth of his dancing. Wow. Will write properly tomorrow!:)

I have to whisper this, but I think I liked Johannes better than Ivan... you can all faint with shock now.;)

Also, I happened to pass by the box office on my way in and got tickets for 3 more performances of Don Q and Coppelia... it was an accident, honestly! I just wish I could see Onegin again though - I would trade in everything I'm seeing in the next couple of weeks to see it just once more. I can get there in time for Act II tomorrow after classes - is it worth doing?:confused:

#11 Lolly

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 10:10 AM

It was so great last night I was still shaken this morning - I couldn't sleep for thinking about it. So that is two sleepless nights - one in anticipation, one in the aftermath! I feel like something has happened - as if the tragedy affected me personally. I will remember that performance forever I think, I have never seen anything like that. (I should start another thread for top "moments" but in my past couple of years intensive RB watching, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated moved me a lot, and Darcey Bussell and Igor Zelensky's Manon had such an impact on me I walked out with bruised hands from applauding so much - seriously! But last night is TOP of the top nights at ROH.)

This time the cast was Robert Tewsley, Yseult Lendvai, Belinda Hatley, Johannes Stepanek and William Tuckett.

To begin with I thought I wasn't going to like Yseult's Tatiana - she seemed very quiet, a bit of a wet blanket rather than just being the shy sister. But when she danced with Robert - wow! They were wonderful together. The mirror pdd was beautiful. Yseult was fantastic in the pdd but I could see qite well how Robert's Onegin got so irritated by her as she did get a bit mopey at times. She has the most extraordinary feet, she rolls in dreadfully so she is almost resting on her ankle bone - weird. The contrast between her as a romantic wistful young woman and as a self assured adult was very plain - her dance with Gremin (William!) was very confident.

Robert Tewsley was a revelation. He was so mean and thoughtless when he danced with Olga, but so carefree. When he did the final pdd with Tatiana I think he went mad, he crumbled completely. This was quite different to Adam's interpretation on Monday - he had been desparate and ended up a broken man, but resigned to his fate. Robert couldn't cope with the final rejection at all. When he took his first curtain call he looked really ruffled. I can't wait to see him dance more roles - I'm glad he has joined RB!

Belinda Hatley was good - better than Jane on Monday, but not as good as Marianela last time around! Belinda was cheekier and sparkier when she danced with Onegin, as if she was playing more. I didn't get that from Jane. I wonder what happens to Olga? We only see what happens to Tatiana - it seems unfair as it is really just as much Olga's fault as Onegin. (I will have to read it I suppose, but I didn't get very far because of the appalling and amusing translation - can anyone recommend a good one?!)

Johannes, well what can I say, RUN to see him dance! I truly hope he is promoted soon, I'd pay a million pounds to see him do something like Romeo! His dancing is in his whole being. His technique is so effortless and beautiful. He could hold an arabesque on demi point forever, his balance and centre is phenomenal. And his acting is fab. When Olga first danced with Onegin, he raised his eyebrows as if to say, "Hmm, what are they up to?" Then as they carried on, he watched them more, and got more and more disturbed. He tried to get Olga back and when she refused it was as if he couldn't believe what was happening - his best friend with his lover! For a moment it seems like everything will be all right, Lensky and Olga come back on stage dancing together. But then Onegin is so fed up with Tatiana's attention and her weeping when he rejects her, he seemed to need to do something impulsive to take his mind off it almost - he was nearly spiteful. So then Johannes didn't know what to do at all, he was standing at the side of the stage clenching his hands and looking lost, his heart broken. He paced abound thinking about what to do and seemed to think of the duel, then it was agonising watching him thinking, "I can't... I have to... I have nothing left - there is no option." I thought it was interesting that it was at this point I was almost in tears, whereas when I saw him dance last November it was during his solo before the duel that I nearly cried. Not that his solo was easy to watch this time either - he had all his emotion on show so vividly, it was painful. His solo was draining to watch, you could see him tearing his heart out. When he kneels down and leans so far back he falls, you could imagine him screaming, it was horrific. In the duel, I willed him to get his shot in first... To be fair, Robert did look very sorry as he walked away, but it is a bit hard to sympathise with someone who has just killed their best friend!

The whole performance was really something special - it GLOWED.:)

Ross Stretton, Monica Mason and Donald MacLeary were there, and I am sure Roberto Bolle was too! I thought he was dancing in Milan...:confused:

#12 sylvia

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 06:12 PM

Lolly, I was there on Friday night as well. I didn't have very high expectations after the lukewarm reviews Yseult Lendvai got but I've had a complete turn-around. How many times am I allowed to say "that was the best I've ever seen!"? Because I think I've already overstepped my quota. :) I was all hyped up to fawn over Tewsley again, but I'm going to write about Lenvai instead. She danced THE BEST Tatiana I have ever seen. In my eyes she actually outshone Tewsley, and if you've seen my past posts of him you'll know that's a near impossible feat!

Lenvai - she's luminous. You can't take your eyes off of her. She isn't classically beautiful and without a smile her face she can look pretty grim. At the start her Tatiana is a cold fish, stern, almost school-marmish. She has been untouched by passion. Even her interactions with Olga are cool and not so affectionate - very different from the very warmth the RB dancers have shown. In fact, this Tatiana rarely smiles, and when she looks into the looking glass, she sees a plain Jane and her disappointment is obvious. She does not see a future with love.

But when Onegin lifts her for the first time, the transformation is amazing. She has this sudden intake of breath, breaking into a smile, and she looks like she's overwhelmed with new emotions. Tatiana suddenly blossoms and becomes beautiful. These things, yes I've seen in Rojo, Cojocaru, Galeazzi, etc, but never with the kind of clarity that Lendvai has. There is nothing forced about her acting and she is so utterly unique. And it's curious to see how differently she dances the role to the others. Those four flying lifts in the mirror pdd for example, she makes such beautiful shapes in the air with her legs. And watching her here made me realise how unfinished Cojocaru's Tatiana is, which I had always loved. It's so hard to describe how much better Lendvai's dancing is, but she is in a completely different class. She is a brilliant actress - dragging Onegin behind her in the final pdd, she seemed to break into tears with such terrible pain in her face. And she just has this resonance, this maturity that I've never seen with the others, though it may have a lot to do with the greater experience she has with the role. In Act III, when she entered the ballroom with Gremin, everything about her, her face, her poise, her dancing, was true royalty. I have to confess I've snoozed through this pdd before but with Lendvai I was riveted. Can I say again, that was the best Tatiana I have ever seen!

Ok, everyone else. I have to confess, I was barely watching Tewsley at all and I was sitting in the front row! His dancing and acting was as usual excellent, and the electricity between the two of them was terrific. I've posted about him before. 'Nuff said. :)

I REALLY enjoyed Belinda Hatley's Olga. On par with Cojocaru and Nunez. Hatley is so graceful, so musical, with a very expressive face. She was petulant and immature without losing her sweetness. Hatley makes a good match with Johannes Stepanek, her Lensky. Their pdd was a dream to watch. Lolly, I was very impressed with Stepanek. I think Putrov is the better dancer but Stepanek is still beautiful to watch and by far the better actor. He had such a sweetness to him in his first solo, and so handsome! It's a wonder that it is he who is infatuated with her and not the other way around. I liked his different shades of moods - when Onegin started flirting with Olga, the way he went from good humour, to tolerance, to unease and then hurt, the way he manfully tried to put a brave face on, and how young he seemed at that moment. It made his motive for challenging Onegin seem much clearer. Like it stemmed from his immaturity, trying to mask it and be a real man. His solo was very nice, a little wobbly I thought! (Lolly, I think we'll have to agree to disagree again :) I'm comparing it to Putrov's solo which I thought was more tragic, but I'll get to Stepanek's Saturday's matinee in a minute!).

A really fantastic evening, probably one of my best, and I would love to see Lendvai guest again. I'm very sorry that she only had two performances. I'm tempted to write to the director and ask him to ask her to stay! :) It was interesting to see the way opinion divided over her - some of my friends thought she was the best Tatiana ever, and probably too good for the RB. Others thought she was alright, not too special. It was a full house which is what all the dancers deserve. I was a bit disgruntled to hear that all tickets on their Tuesday performance were half-price - unheard of at the ROH except when performances are selling particularly badly. London just doesn't know what it missed.

KB, I'll have to get back to you on your post - I need some sleep first!

#13 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 20 July 2002 - 07:07 PM

There's a previous Onegin discussion where we talked about the merits of the ballet itself as well as individual performances.

It's here - http://www.balletale...=&threadid=4134

Please feel free to continue it and add your thoughts, as well as to discuss the latest performances here.

#14 Lolly

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 03:06 AM

Phew! Thank you Sylvia, I don't feel so out of place now! I was starting to wonder whether I was seeing the same ballet as everyone else! Though I didn't see any wobbles in Johannes' solo and I was close enough to hear him breathe! (Do you think we were sitting next to each other?!) We like the same dancers yet still disagree!!;) I wonder why the performance earlier in the week sold so badly to merit selling half price tickets? Both I saw were packed.

Originally posted by kb:

Lolly, I have to say as a ballet I really think it's bad, really, really stinky

KB, I don't know how to respond to your opinion - I just really love Onegin and can't see why you hate it so violently! Whilst respecting that and not wishing to "convert" you, I have to say that I love the mirror pdd - it may be adolescent fantasy but I wish each time I see it that it was me! Imagine someone you are completely in love with but is out of reach steps through your mirror and dances with you like that in your bedroom! How exciting would that be?! Maybe it is a sign of my youth and/or few years of ballet watching experience, but I like the choreography - it is risky (those lifts - let go too soon and you will be in the orchestra!) and beautiful. I'm not sure what you mean by saying it isn't subtle. I think that pdd is joyful and longing at once - Tatiana is imagining it after all, and she is letting her imagination run wild - fantastical things happen in your dreams. (And if you are lucky, it happens in real life too!) If it truly was awful, I'm sure it wouldn't have left such an impression on me - it shocked me to the core.

I have that issue of Dance Now (is it the Spring one?) and will have to re-read it before I comment. I can remember the writer saying there should have been a dance for Onegin and Lensky to cement their friendship - well yes, that would have been nice but we can't have everything! Maybe someone will add one, one day. The way it was danced on Friday, I think the dancers could have improvised one - it felt so spontaneous and real.:)

#15 sylvia

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Posted 21 July 2002 - 07:07 AM

Lolly, I was sitting in the front of the stalls on Friday (really, the only place worth sitting for someone as tiny as me) in A6. Unless you're a guy or Japanese I'm pretty sure it wasn't you I was sitting next to. :)

Btw, did you see the interview with Ivan Putrov in the Sunday Telegraph today? Lovely pic! And Louise Levene reckons Ivan is a candidate this year for principal status too!

And re the gala, I failed in my original application for tickets - no surprise, I was VERY specific "I want these seats and nothing else!", so I was sent a ticket for the Clore instead. I'd much rather be inside though so I may try to queue for returns.

***
Martin Harvey and Mara Galeazzi – I was really excited about this performance because it was Martin’s Onegin debut, (his first principal role of any kind?). There were some dicey moments during the mirror pdd and I thought he was suffering from nerves or something so I wasn't as 'into' it as normal. I was watching ‘Martin dance Onegin’ rather than getting absorbed into the character. But overall, I was very impressed. It was very good for his first big role. He has always had a charisma on stage that makes him stand out from the other dancers and this was magnified by the weight of the role. I honestly thought he might be too sweet for Onegin but a good haircut stripped off those boyish layers and he really looked a man, taller even! with real presence. He has an old-fashioned kind of elegance, an aura that actually makes him look much more at home in this period than anyone else I've seen. Acting-wise I was very convinced. Can I add that he even got Yseult Lendvai's endorsement the night before? Act III was excellent – his Onegin wasn’t as sick with obsession as the others were, but no less passionate. It was a purer kind of love, though nerves and stamina did seem to get the better of him at times. I see SO much potential in him, I really wish he had more than one performance because I want to see what more he can do with the role, and who knows how long it will be before Onegin is back. Anyway I am VERY happy he was given this role.

Mara Galeazzi's Tatiana was lovely. I wasn’t a huge fan after her performances in January. Back then, to me she over-emoted – it was too strong from the stalls. But she’s really toned it down. She’s gentler, more beautiful and has really grown into the role. I liked her Tatiana, and she and Martin look really good together, though to be truthful I wasn’t paying so much attention to her. I wanted to take in as much of Martin's performance as possible! It's hard to figure out what to watch sometimes. Like in the ballroom scenes, do you watch Onegin dancing with Olga? Or Tatiana with Gremin, looking at him longingly? Or Lensky on the sides, watching his jealously grow? But back to Mara, in the mirror pdd, and especially in the pdd with Gremin I was really impressed. And the way her arms were trembling as the curtain came down, the terrible expression on her face – wow. Martin seemed so happy at the end and in the first curtain call he rushed out and plopped a big sloppy kiss on Mara's lips!

Marianela Nunez's Olga - her interpretation is perfect. Johannes Stepanek's Lensky – a really excellent match for her. They seem equal in their adoration. Their pdd was beautiful. He looked wonderful in his solo – much less wobbly! Forgive me for being so nit-pickity Lolly. :) I hadn't looked at the cast sheet properly so I was surprised to see Adam Cooper dance Gremin. Golly he looks good in uniform! It’s must have been a little weird for them having danced the lead roles together only a couple night before. And it was fun to see some of the newest RB dancers from the RBS in the peasant scenes and ballroom.

Alexandra, regarding my Mum’s reaction, I don’t think I inherited my enthusiasm for ballet from her, that’s for sure. :) The best I could get out of her was ‘pretty good’. She did enjoy it and missed all the little mishaps. She agreed that Martin, Johannes and Adam were really handsome (hurrah!), was surprised at how small everyone was and how the guys were able to lift the girls so high. When she wasn’t watching the dancers(??!!) she was looking at the orchestra and feeling sorry for the guys playing the trumpets because they didn’t have much to do. I don’t think I’ve converted her, but I have convinced her to come to see Swan Lake with me next summer (her first and only other ballet 40 years ago). She reckons once a year is good enough!
_________________________________________________

As for your criticisms of Onegin KB, I can't add much more to what Lolly and Alexandra have already said. I've said many times how much I love this ballet and I think the choreography is exquisite. Personally it's hard for me to comprehend that even great dancers could convince someone that a truely awful ballet, in the manner you described, is any good. In spite of it's flaws it's clearly touched many people. I'm a bit mystified as to how you made such an about-turn after your first performances.


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