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Everything posted by sylvia

  1. Well that was quick - Choe's scheduled for her debut as Nikiya in mid November!
  2. I've just come back from their first night in London and they were brilliant - I didn't think it was possible to hit some of the balances Wu hit, much less balancing on pointe on Wen's head, but there you go. My heart was just racing throughout. Swan Lake it is not, but it is probably one of the best nights out I had in ages.
  3. Yes, it's like management have suddenly sat up and taken notice! As a first soloist I imagine she'll be pushed to the front and I hope that principal roles are soon beckoning.
  4. Received in the newsletter for the Friends of Covent Garden: To Principal Lauren Cuthbertson (First Soloist), Rupert Pennefather (First Soloist). To First Soloist Yuhui Choe (First Artist, Steven McRae (Soloist) To Soloist Helen Crawford (First Artist), Laura McCulloch (First Artist), Ryoichi Hirano (First Artist), Paul Kay (First Artist), Sergei Polunin (Artist), Eric Underwood (First Artist) To First Artist Elizabeth Harrod, Romany Pajdak, Pietra Mello-Pitman, Liam Scarlett (all from Artist) Gillian Revie will become Guest Principal Character Artist from next Season. James Hay to the Artists (joining from The Royal Ballet School and also two Prix de Lausanne apprentices Akane Takada and Kyle Davies.
  5. Well we can take Yuhui Choe off the list - she's just skipped a rank with a promotion to First Soloist at the Royal Ballet! I'm so pleased!!
  6. I couldn't resist replying...Yuhui Choe in the Royal Ballet. She has wonderful willowy arms, the way she holds and uses her head, and such a way about her dancing that's completely captivating, I've managed to pick her out from the back of the amphi where you can't see much of anything. I've had friends who are totally clueless about dancing pick her out from the corps too, and she's a firm favourite with the regulars. I don't think she's done many soloist roles apart from Princess Florine and other fairies in SB, but she's getting her big chance as SPF this Christmas. Watch this space - the soloist and principal ranks are a bit crowded at the moment, but I'd love to see her promoted. http://info.royaloperahouse.org/ballet/ind...252&cs=1252
  7. Nope. The dancers do all their own singing live. Apart from the dancer who was Tony? I saw this guy creeping around the front of the proscenium arch, and thought it was a rabid fan until he opened his mouth and started singing! I found the singing quite confusing! They sounded like the dancers/singers were miked up, but I didn't see any microphone packs or tiny microphones on the dancers. I could see singers in the pit during "I love to come to America" but it was hard to tell whether they were just singing the chorus or all of it as they were in shadow. I'm well impressed the dancers managed to both sing and dance tho. Ok, they do it all the time in musicals, but I hadn't expected dancers with no or little vocal training to do it so convincingly too. The dancer who took on Anita was incredible, and not the least bit out of breath!
  8. From a couple of masterclasses, I found Sarah Lamb to be intelligent and wonderfully articulate, with a huge vocabulary and an eagerness to share her views on dancing. I loved hearing about how she tries to translate what she is feeling or trying to say, into what we actually see. From insight days at the Royal Ballet, I've generally found dancers and their coaches very interesting to listen to. You do find though, after a few years of talks and masterclasses, that they do tend to recycle a lot of anecdotes. I guess language barriers get in the way sometimes too. But not with Sylvie Guillem - she's so keenly intelligent from the few times I've heard her speak about dance.
  9. It's on the website now!! Am excited beyond words!! http://info.royaloperahouse.org/News/Index.cfm?ccs=1133 La Bayadere Romeo and Juliet Jewels Nutcracker Les Patineurs / Tales of Beatrix Potter Sylvia Chroma / Different Drummer / Rite of Spring New Wheeldon / Afternoon of a Faun / A Month in the Country Sleeping Beauty Draft Works (in the Clore) Serenade / New Brandstrup / Homage to the Queen New Works (in the Linbury) The Dream / Dances at a Gathering
  10. Having read the glowing NY reviews and enjoyed seeing the different casts in London, I was a bit curious if anyone on these boards had seen History Boys' run on Broadway?
  11. No problem! The fact that Ansanelli's got 2nd night Lilac Fairy after Nunez is hopeful, but you can never tell with tours! Best just ask her at the stage door when you see her there imho! Apart from SB, Ansanelli's also danced Afternoon of a Faun, Tchaikovsky pdd, Polyphonia, featured in Requiem and as one of Lise's friends in Fille. She'll be dancing the Fonteyn role in Birthday Offering pdd with Valeri Hristov (with whom, from what I've seen in rehearsals and a preview, she has wonderful chemistry with!) in the last mixed bill next month. So she's making a few inroads into the RB repertory! But I guess I should be posting this in the Ansanelli thread...
  12. Eva Natanya's no longer with the company - I think she left a couple years ago to study theology from what I read in this forum. Alexandra Ansanelli danced Lilac Fairy last night, (Tamara Rojo and Federico Bonelli's cast). She also danced the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain for the first time tonight (Roberta Marquez and Rupert Pennefather cast), the one with all the brushing of the arms. I don't know whether you'll be able to get confirmation of when she's dancing on the tour - in London we don't any secondary cast info until we open the cast sheets 90mins before the performance, and there's always a bit of last minute juggling. But there are just 4 Lilac Fairies dancing I think - Nunez, Cuthbertsen, McMeekan and Ansanelli so I hope you get to see her. She's making her Aurora debut, dancing with Pennefather, with the RB at the start of next season.
  13. I was wrong abour Carabosse - on 3rd viewing, as the Prince enters the bedroom, she stands above Aurora's bed, frantic and glowering. But she doesn't prevent the Prince from breaking the spell. It's only the Lilac Fairy at the castle gates she fights against. In light of the criticisms of the costumes, particularly the fairies, I tried to be objective. It is true, when the full company are onstage in the prologue they do appear to blend into one another, but harmoniously I thought! My first impression in the rehearsal, and then again in both performances was how airy and beautiful it all is. It does take binoculars to see the finer detail of the costumes. But in their solos, the fairies don't blend into the backdrop - the costumes certainly stand out against the intense blues and greens. My main objection is to the lighting in the vision scene when the dancers appeared to be in darkness at times, but I was focusing so much on Aurora and the Prince tonight I'm afraid I forgot to check whether there had been any improvement. I also have a bit of a question mark over the Wheeldon's new Garland Dance - I'm just not sure I like it! But I'll wait to see it from above again before I saw anything more. On the dancers themeselves, I think it's a mistake to cast Marianela Nunez as the Lilac Fairy...because she's in real danger of outshining everyone before her, including the principal casts. I thought she was simply glorious, radiant. Her prologue solo is so strong, so secure with long, long balances in arabesque and pulling off double, triple, quadruple pirouettes without distorting the music. And there is something so open about her dancing, so completely generous. She has a gorgeous natural smile and such expressive eyes that she uses so well, she makes all her mime scenes the highlight of the whole evening, seriously! The look of joy and wonder she has in the panorama, makes you really believe in this incredible journey that Floriumund is taking. Marianela really make you feel she's completely in control throughout the whole story, that everything's going to be ok. After the prologue I decided right there was no way I am going to miss her Aurora. I enjoyed the principal cast. I don't think Roberta Marquez and Rupert Pennefather are especially suited to each other, but the fact that she's so tiny and he's over 6' makes the first overhead lifts in the vision scene quite breathtaking. She's such a charmer in act 1 that she comes across as almost a child. I think her Rose Adage tonight was not what it could be - she can, as she did in the old Makarova production and the rehearsal on Monday, pull off such fantastic balances as to disdain to take the hand of the fourth suitor and continue to stay in attitude for what seems like an eternity - but she had to be rushed through the 4th turn tonight. Still she seemed assured in act 2, her vision almost a completely different dancer, and in act 3 she again matured into royalty. Pennefather made a fine prince. I'd like to know who coaches him as there are tiny mannerisms he has that really remind me of Jonathan Cope! Bluebird and Florine tonight were Yohei Sasaki and Belinda Hatley.
  14. Yes, I missed that in the rehearsal but in the performance Carabosse watches the prince and Lilac Fairy go throught the gates of the castle, then she lingers onstage contemplating while the gauzes lift to reveal Aurora's bedroom. She then moves up and behind her bed and tries to cast spells while the prince enters and kisses her awake. Incidentally, Florimund remembers how to break the spell on his own. He asks the Lilac Fairy what to do, and she mimes "Remember?!" and he does! I definitely prefer it to the more slow-witted Florimund! I haven;t got my programme to hand but it does say that there are gaps in the records of Messel's designs. And also he liked to update the costumes, but the designs are not dated so there is some uncertainty as to what goes when. I think at the Insight Evening it was also said that there is only one exact replica of a costume and that is the Queen's (in Act III? Elizabeth MaGorian wears a fabulously pink and bowed ballgown - I thought she looked like Marie Antoinette ) And the RB's reused shoes and wigs from the Makarova production to save money. Yes I think Nutcracker's the only officially released DVD that's out there, though she's appeared in a number of televised productions: Don Q (Armour), Cinderella, I think Daphnis and Chloe, a South Bank documentary about her partnership with Kobborg, and supposedly Giselle to be televised at the end of the year.
  15. I was fortunate to watch both the rehearsal this morning (Marquez, Pennerfather) as well as attend the first night and it's late so I have to be quick. I haven't seen the original Messel production but I personally feel the RB's got it right with this one. I can't see what's wrong with the colours at all because they are gorgeous, particularly the vibrancy of the costumes of the fairies and cavaliers against the intense blues and greens of the backdrop. I think it has what the previous Makarova production lacked, and that is magic - the growth of the forest at the end of the prologue and the Panorama with the moving backdrops leading to the kiss are simply wonderous. The choreography (with additional choreography by Ashton, Dowell and Wheeldon) really works for me. And I have to say how proud I am of the dancers - I enjoyed the dancing across the company immensely. I don't think anyone yearns quite as well as Kobborg does in act 2. And to add more names, Martin Harvey, Belinda Hatley and Deirdre Chapman were unforgettable in the Florestan pd3.
  16. Not surprising Cojocaru and Kobborg got first night at all In the last RB Sleeping Beauty run (the Makarova version) I think Lilac Fairies and Carabosses weren't announced by the RB until very late though, certainly not the Bluebirds until the actual night I asked at an insight day once and they don't tend to finalise dates of secondary casts until a few weeks before the run, so for SB in London next month I too am waiting with bated breath. Cojocaru and Kobborg danced Bluebird pdd last time. And Bethany Keating and Steven McRae danced it in a gala, so I have crossed fingers they'll all be cast this time too.
  17. I can't confess to know many dance photographers but one that I admire a great deal is Johan Persson. He retired as Royal Ballet principal a few years back with a knee injury and turned to photography instead. His photographs make me feel like I'm right on stage with the dancers. And he does beautifully intimate black and white ones of dancers in rehearsal - I've heard his camera clicking from the wings during an insight day or masterclass.
  18. The critical reviews and audience reaction for Tanglewood were very favourable. It's a plotless work, and I remember from a masterclass Marriott saying that some moments in the choreography he was trying to evoke images of Margo Fonteyn('s Aurora?). Darcey Bussell, Leanne Benjamin and Martin Harvey danced the first night and I remember Sarah Lamb being in the frame somewhere too. Some images here http://www.ballet.co.uk/gallery/jr_rb_lavalse_mixedbill_1105 I was watching MacMillan's Requiem at the ROH last night and was thinking how much I'd like to see Gloria again too in spite of the fact that it's only just been on. First cast for that was Alina Cojocaru, Carlos Acosta, Thiago Soares, Laura Morera, and second cast was Sarah Lamb, Edward Watson, Gary Avis...and I'm struggling to remember who the girl was, I'll have to look it up! But it's a powerful piece and both were fantastic - I imagine it'll be a similar cast for the tour.
  19. It's not just Ashton though, MacMillan's been cut back from next season too , just 3 ballets (though I guess Mayerling is such a mega-MacMillan ballet it could count as more than one!) - in comparison this current season has 5 of each. I take the point about keeping the Ashton style alive though, given how much change there is in the company ranks. The corps look very different year on year, and we have a lot of first soloists who haven't grown up with the RB. Given the limited number of dancers in Rhapsody (especially with only 4 performances) and Symphonic Variations (2 casts last year) half the company won't be dancing any Ashton next season at all. But I do trust Monica Mason - she's said often enough at insight evenings how important Ashton is to the RB. Why all the Balanchine though? I also vaguely remember Mason saying she wanted Kylian to choreograph for the company, maybe that'll be the result of bringing back Sinfonietta (sorry, not a fan). The mixed bills look interesting and I pray they sell well given how new work seems to depress audience numbers I'm especially excited about the new McGregor - I was crazy for Qualia which he created for the company a couple years back, though there were a few grumbles about the electronic music and "body-popping" choreography from certain sections of the audience! La Fin du Jour is the only one that's a complete mystery to me - has anyone here seen it? And finally I feel for the poor souls who'll have to dance Mayerling and Onegin back to back!
  20. Hooray for Arakawa. Re music, I feel the same way about Turandot as I do Carmen, it's been so over-used, but Arakawa used it wonderfully. I'm disappointed for Slutskaya, I love the quality of her jumps and spins and I wanted her to have a fantastic free skate. I really thought Fumie Sugari would score better - she's a gorgeous skater though it drives me mad the way she chops and changes the music, especially when Rachmaninov is so perfect for skating! I did love the men's competition. Even if Lambiel, Buttle, Weir, Joubert aren't technically as awesome as Plushenko is, they're all such beautiful, and when on form, evenly matched skaters, it's going to make the coming years and next Olympics incredibly exciting.
  21. And I would add my agreement too to both Ami and Jane's posts, Rojo and Bonelli were deeply moving and brought beauty and passion to the ballet that I had not seen previously. They truely made the choreography and especially the music come alive for me. I do think Tamara brings out the very best in her partners - I would love to see her dance with Federico again.
  22. I was mad that Leanne and Johan Kobborg's Manons this year were Paul Hamlyn performances only (reduced priced matinees to introduce people to ballet and opera for the first time - obviously I don't qualify!) I imagine they would've been fantastic together. I'm with you Ami in the unfairness that Cope's dancing with Rojo only on the tour, (not just Manon but Swan Lake too which he supposedly retired from!) Anyway, Sylvie Guillem and Tamara Rojo's "Marilyn Monroe-inspired" Manons have to be my favourite. Cojocaru and Kobborg for their pdds too, so wild and reckless that they've actually resulted in accidents I would love to see Ferri in this someday. ABT doesn't bring Manon out often does it?
  23. sylvia

    Darcey Bussell

    I was looking at the 2004-5 season, and she danced: Requiem Sylvia Awakenings pdd Cinderella Manon Pavane pour une Infante defunte Symphony in C A Month in the Country I missed her Manon and Cinderella unfortunately, so I haven't felt I've seen her as much this year. Given by own admission that she's not an Ashton dancer, I was very curious to see what she'd make of A Month in the Country earlier this month. Well either she's had it all along and I've been too blind to notice, or she's really absorbed all the Ashton epaulement throughout the season, because it was as clear as could be in her Natalia. All the swoops, bends, twists, and expressiveness in her upper body were there from her very first solo, and gosh she danced it so beautifully! I was very, VERY impressed and I think given how relatively little Ashton there must be in her rep, she must have worked hard to make it look so right. In fact it's probably one of the best roles I've ever seen her dance. I applaud her and I applaud her coaches too. I also loved her in Requiem back in October - it's hard to explain why though. Apart from a technical abilities, there's something very open about the way she exposes herself to audiences dancewise. Anyway, I'm delighted it's back next season. I wish she'd danced in Song of the Earth in the last run. I have to admit she isn't one of my favourites when it comes to dramatic ballets like Manon, although the last time I saw her Juliet a few years ago I was extremely moved by her act 3. Her Giselle with Jonathan Cope a few years ago was wonderful. I agree about the Raymonda divertissement, and I'll add Aurora too - she absolutely glows in it and is as perfect for the Rose Adage as anyone I've ever seen dance in it. Will have to think of more - as she's had two children in the last 4 years, we probably haven't seen as much of her as we'd like.
  24. In the last couple Mayerling runs in London, my friends and I would joke/wish that a dvd package of all three casts (Rojo-Cope, Cojocaru-Kobborg, Galeazzi-Tewlsey) should be released! Not only that, if you didn't, say, care for the Bratfish in the C&K version, you'd be able to automatically splice the footage and pick your cast. ;) And if studios can release huge dvd packs with hours of behind-the-scenes footage, ballet dvds should come with rehearsals, masterclasses, interviews, production info. Not to mention available footage of first casts and documentaries. And running commentaries too! A big expensive dream I'm sure! But I do feel a bit short-changed when, given the extortionate prices charged, all we get are simple transfers from video as most ballet dvds seem to be.
  25. They're early - we usually have to wait until after the tour! It's been on the ROH website since Thursday apparently, but here's the link: Promotions (with effect from the beginning of the 2005/06 season) Edward Watson is promoted to Principal Gary Avis is promoted to Principal Character Artist Jose Martin is promoted to First Soloist Victoria Hewitt, Bethany Keating, Natasha Oughtred, Gemma Sykes, Rupert Pennefather, Johannes Stepanek and Joshua Tuifua are promoted to Soloists. Laura McCulloch, Paul Kay and Steven McRae are promoted to First Artists. Joiners (with effect from the beginning of the 2005/06 season) Demelza Parish, Gemma Pitchley-Gale, Sabina Westcombe, Xander Parish, Liam Scarlett (graduates of the Royal Ballet School) and Vito Mazzeo (graduate of La Scala Ballet School) join as Artists. Kate Shipway joins as a Company Pianist Marcelo Ribeiro will join as Company Masseur on a 3 months contract Leavers Marie Doutrepont will be leaving, at her own request, at the end of this current season. Philip Gammon retires at the end of this season but will return next season as a Principal Guest Pianist Luis Cano, Company Masseur, will be leaving , at his own request, at the end of this current season. Am pleased - I don't think any of the promotions are a surprise given that they've been a long time coming or are obvious up-and-comers. Congrats to them all
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