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  1. I'd also recommend Zizzi's (just across from the Opera House, overlooking the young dancer statue). It's fairly inexpensive if you stick with pizza (good - thin crust) and House Red (also good). They have a wonderful dessert rather like an apple pie - but better and with a fancier name - which they bake for you (so leave time for this) and serve hot. That's a good one to share with a friend (or friends!) as there's rather a lot of it. If you sit by the window you can sometimes spot dancers leaving rehearsal/coming in for the performance. You might want to book your table ahead of time. Alternatively, you can buy a sandwich from Marks and Spenser (across from Covent Garden tube station) for a few pounds. (You're not supposed to bring food into the opera house but it has been known to happen.) Buying sandwiches in the Opera House always made me feel very posh - Floral Hall is a beautiful place to eat. Prices have gone up, though, and the sandwich fillings have got too fancy for me. (They used to do a good chicken salad sandwich; the beef was nice too. Don't expect to find anything so old-fashioned in the ROH today - unless you've bought your food elsewhere and smuggled it in!) And be warned: the crisps are NOT free with your sandwich! - Wendy
  2. Many, many thanks everyone!! That's given us lots of ideas to mull over - and I'm mulling like mad. (Have to say that the $800 a night place sounds really ME, but think I may have to give it a miss until I get that big lottery win.) Thanks again. - Wendy
  3. I'm hoping to get up to New York to see the Royal Ballet in July (possibly also being joined by a friend from the U.K.) and would deeply appreciate advice on where to stay. There used to be a nice hotel just across from the Met, but that no longer seems to exist. There also used to be a Howard Johnson's within walking distance but I don't remember exactly where it was - and am getting lost in a maze of internet hotel ads. IS there a good place to stay within walking distance of the Met? Any thoughts on this problem????? Where do other ballet fans stay???? - Wendy PS By "nice" I mean fairly respectable but not extortionately expensive.
  4. No time to post at length but having seen what everyone else has been saying feel I have to say a BIG, BIG thank you to Sylvia for a posting with which I am in almost total agreement (apart from a few comments re dancers). I've seen three casts for R&J and liked them all. Was knocked out by Ferri and Roberto but have to say I was, in a way, even more impressed by Yoshida (an intensity of despair I hadn't expected from her and a wonderful youthfulness in the first act) and was really, really impressed by Mara and Johan (preferred her to Ferri and absolutely agree with you Sylvia about taking the letter to Friar L. bit. Johan also gave an extremely convincing account of a young man deeply in love.) Surely the point of the harlots is to explore different emotional layers: harlots= pure sex, Rosaline = unrealistic, idealized romantic love, Juliet = the real thing and MORE. Though of course there is another parallel between Juliet and the harlots in that Juliet's love is basically being sold to Paris as part of some sort of family alliance. The street scenes ARE confusing (but great for those of us who've seen the ballet many times because there are so many individual performances to watch) and crowded, noisy and violent but that is the point of them (in Shakespeare as well) since they throw the love between Romeo and Juliet into greater relief. I adored the music (despite a certain amount of duff playing by the guesting orchestra on Friday night) and thought myself very, very lucky indeed to have seen so many cracking performances - including many by some of the younger members of the company. And I can't have been the only one who was loving it all - we had roars of applause for the last night. Oh, and I've enjoyed all the Manons in this run as well. - Wendy
  5. Well I have read the Ambassadors (brag, brag) but can't say I'm panting to read it again. Funny how we get this mad urge to read books we feel we really ought to. A few years ago I struggled through Proust (in English, though) which was definitely worth it for his strange relationship with Albertine (and means I can brag about my achievement for the rest of my days - including now!). Finally finished the Decameron (best read over a long period of time, if at all; can be extremely repetitive) at Christmas and am still working on Pepys (another long-term project but a much more entertaining one. Good bedside book, this.). As for this summer, I, too, will be pouncing on the new Harry Potter (also the new Victoria Clayton). Unfortunately, I'm running a local book club so don't know how much time I'll get for my own reading. But hope to convince them to do Bel Canto and The English Passengers and maybe a Patrick O'Brian....Don't see them agreeing to read anything about ballet, though. - Wendy
  6. Sorry, Alymer, that it's taken me so long to reply to the point in your last posting - and I'm afraid I'm going to have to fall down on the job here. Have been seeing lots of Beauties - and I fully intended to COUNT the girls dancing/dressing the stage/number of students in each act. However, these plans fell by the wayside: I've been so gripped by the quality of the dancing that I never got more than five minutes into a performance before forgetting about my totals. I've seen some glorious casts. Some were the 'all-star' casts (in which, as I said above, I think Makarova wanted to give us a really stellar experience!) but I've been thrilled to see many of the younger dancers (some very young) being given the chance to do some of the many difficult solos. Really loved the results too. - Wendy
  7. Thank you for the interesting review, Alymer, though I'd have to differ with you on a number of points - but most of these are matters of taste. Your last comment, however, I feel needs to be answered. You say: "It was interesting to see that soloists at senior level were cast, not just for the fairy variations and the fairytale characters, but also as Aurora's friends in Act I. How long will this continue I wonder, and what does it say about the standard of the company." I think this says more about Makarova than it does about the company; she clearly wanted us to see an 'all star' performance - and I, as a ballet fan, am not going to argue with that! Her casting decisions must also reflect the size of the company; Sleeping Beauty calls for lots of dancers.
  8. Glad to hear you enjoyed the performance, archaeo. I'm really looking forward to seeing Sylvie's interpretation....but can't wait to see Darcey and Roberto again. It must have been really exciting to catch a glimpse of Darcey rehearsing. What was she working on? (Was it a solo rehearsal of the new Sleeping Beauty, for instance??) - Wendy
  9. Anoushka - at the moment I've got tickets for two Sylvie Manons and Darcey and Roberto's last Manon. (If my lottery ticket comes through there may be more....) Re Roberto and the 'new' steps.....apologies for misunderstanding you. But it's often the sign of a really good performance, don't you think, when you feel as though parts are completely new to you. (Though of course it could be a bad sign too!! - but not in this Manon.) - Wendy
  10. I was also there on the 19th (for my first Manon of the run) and would have to agree with Anoushka that it was quite a performance. Darcey was absolutely brilliant and I think she's found the ideal partner for this ballet in Roberto Bolle. (Don't think he was doing different steps, though....just dancing them well!) Was also much impressed by Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera. And Vanessa Palmer was amusing as a courtesan. May have more to say when I've seen a few more performances. - Wendy
  11. Many thanks to everyone for the interesting stories. Just in case anyone's wondering, I’ve been known to hang about outside stage doors myself (much more fun – and certainly safer – than waiting at Kings Cross station for my train), but would tend not to ask for autographs elsewhere. (Though if I’d found myself on the same bus as Danilova……). - Wendy
  12. Thank you, Grace. I rather suspected that might be the case.
  13. A few months ago, my friend Felicity returned from St Petersburg bearing gifts: programmes from the Kirov, (used) tickets from ditto, ballet leaflets, newspaper reviews in Russian which neither of us could read, though we tried….and from the Hermitage Theatre a small piece of loo paper. (Just in case you don’t know, that’s 'toilet paper' in American.) Somewhat taken aback, I looked down at the small square of paper and was able to say – eventually and with total honesty – that her gift had left me completely speechless. Ah, but this was to help me remember something important, Felicity informed me. In Russian public loos, apparently, you have to be sure to pick up your loo paper from a shelf on the way in (as you will not find any in the loo itself) - which can lead to embarrassing problems. But there was more to be said of the Hermitage Theatre's ladies’ room than this, it transpired. While visiting that facility during the interval, Felicity spotted two girls from the corps de ballet. (They were in costume and make-up and, thus, pretty unmistakable.) It appears that the dancers don't (or didn’t on that day, at least) have their own loo backstage and have to share with the public. Now Felicity is a ballet fan and therefore quick to respond to any and all ballet opportunities. So she whipped out her programme (fortunately not having had to use it for other purposes) and asked for (and got) the girls’ autographs. Returning to the loos in the next interval (for research purposes) she saw a lot more dancers - who disappeared in a flurry of hysterical screams of laughter the moment she produced her programme and pen. (This Felicity informs me, was the only time she heard Russians laugh out loud during the whole course of her visit.) I was left to ponder the effect, on Ladies' rooms in the West, if the dancers suffered from similar backstage problems. I mean, imagine rushing off after the second act of Swan Lake and finding yourself miles back in the queue behind 32 swans. (And how long does it take to get out of a tutu, I wonder? Not to mention, getting it back on again.) I wondered, also, if any of Ballet Alert’s dancers had been asked for autographs in strange places…..or had experienced interesting backstage plumbing problems. - Wendy PS I should add that Felicity spent most of her time at the Hermitage Theatre being knocked out by the beauty of the Theatre and thrilled by the quality of the dancing she saw there! Better wonderful dancing and mediocre loos than vice versa.
  14. Have just seen on ballet.co that James Wilkie, who sometimes posts on this site, has joined the Royal Ballet, as of the day before yesterday. Congratulations, James - and I hope you won't forget us. - Wendy PS Here's the link to the Royal Opera House page on which the announcement has been made: http://www.roh.org.uk/ballet/index.cfm [ February 27, 2002, 07:32 AM: Message edited by: wjglavis ]
  15. My highlights (though there were loads of other great performances): - May - Gala for Anthony Dowell - November - Alina Cojocaru and Angel Corella in Don Quixote - December - Darcey Bussell's return in The Nutcracker. - Wendy [ December 24, 2001: Message edited by: wjglavis ]
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