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JMcN

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Everything posted by JMcN

  1. I've been reading the reviews for Tree of Codes, currently being performed in New York. The performance space sounds very different to the very conventional Opera House in Manchester and probably gave the piece a different feel. I'd love to hear what any board members thought.
  2. Such devastating news. As a fan of Northern Ballet I was lucky to see many of his performances with them. He was always so charming with his fans. When we saw him most recently as Swan/Stranger in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake he noticed a group of us sat on the front row at the Lowry. He acknowledged us with a wink at the curtain calls. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.
  3. I hope it will be as danced by LFB/ENB as opposed to the cut down version! It was the first version of R&J I ever saw (in 1985) and I have wonderful memories of outstanding performances.
  4. It lasts around 75 minutes without an interval. It started late at both performances I saw (15-20 minutes) but hopefully that was just teething problems.
  5. The review in the New Statesman (scroll down) describes Tree of Codes as a "sensual immersion". Stuart Maconie has summed up my feelings in those 2 words!
  6. I sat on the front row of the stalls for both performances at the Manchester Opera House and did not have an issue. On the first night I was over at the side and it was not a problem. I was in the centre of the row last night. I expect the lighting effects were more spectacular from further back and higher up but the effects were spectacular from the front row too. I suppose it depends on the theatre - for example, if I am able to go again when the show gets to Sadler's Wells I expect all the rows will be in place as there is no orchestra so no requirement for a pit. I have sat on the very front row there and it is too low. Sorry not to be more helpful.
  7. I saw the first night of Tree of Codes and immediately booked for last night when I got home! Critical opinion seems divided - non-dance critics loved it but the dance critics, while not condemnatory, were saying same old same old. I've seen Wayne McGregor's own company several times and also Infra and Chroma at RB. I have enjoyed what I have seen but am no expert on his work. Having seen and loved Tree of Codes twice (despite some apparent issues with the set last night (the mirror effects did not work properly for part of the time)) I have come to the conclusion that it is best not to see it as a dance piece but as an overall experience! That said, the dancers, without exception, are utterly magnificent. I loved the whole experience. The performance started about 20 minutes late last night and people were standing around and chattering. A lot of people did not realise at first that the performance had started because the score starts with what seems to be people clapping. The house lights dim but the audience is still lit so it can be a bit confusing. The stage is completely blacked out at the start and the dancers cannot be seen (or at least I could not see them at all) only the lights on their costumes moving around perhaps like a constellation. The next, very short, section starts with what seems to be lampshades on their sides and the only visibly bit of the dancers is their hands. Then the dancing begins... For me there were a couple of outstanding duets and a trio that I particularly liked as well as the ensemble work. The back of the set is a large, faceted mirror and it is fascinating to see the dancers reflected in it (as well as, at times, the audience - on a number of occasions spotlights come out into the audience). When a glass screen is lowered some of the dancers are behind it and they are reflected mutliple times while the dancers in front of it are only reflected once! Finally another glass screen is lowered, which all the dancers are behind. Two cut out circles start revolving and the lighting effects come out into the audience like the effect of a giant glitterball. For me, it was the overall effect that worked. If any of the three elements of the collaboration were not there, it would not work! Here's links for some of the early reviews: Neil Sowerby, Manchester Confidential Charlotte Gush, i-D Luke Jennings, Guardian Mark Monahan, Telegraph
  8. Well I'm thrilled that a certain Mr Campbell is cast in Two Pigeons and have got my ticket for 5th December. He was a terrific Colas and I am sure he will be the same as the young man in Two Pigeons! (It's a shame he hasn't got a chance to dance Romeo; having seen him dance the role with BRB I know that he is a very fine Romeo indeed).
  9. Kevin O'Hare was my first Young Man - Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet at Sadler's Wells - January 1990. BRB have performed Two Pigeons at least 3 times since 2004. It never fails to weave its magic on me. Re casting and Ashton Fan's comment - sometimes more mature dancers dance younger than young dancers. One of the most convincing 14yo Juliet's I have ever seen was Marion Tait in her final season as a principal dancer with BRB before she moved to the ballet staff (November 1994).
  10. It's Cranko's Shrew. The Sonnets is a new creation from Jessica Lang. The (wonderful) Shakespeare Suite is by David Bintley and according to the subscription brochure is being accompanied by the magnificent Colin Towns Mask Orchestra. I am especially excited by the Spring/Summer season and the T&V programme. Subscription booking opened today for Friends. The form has been a total nightmare and I aged 20 years in 4 hours last week trying to fill it in!!! I hope I have a successful (for me) outcome! (I was typing at the same time as Jane)
  11. I saw 2 performances in London last weekend and was transported to a world of delight! I think everyone above has given a good account of the overall programme. What I found interesting between the two performances was the fact that we saw the traditional La Sylphide on Friday evening and the new Sylphide on Saturday afternoon. I rather liked James black kilt and cap and the sylph costumes and would like to see the whole of the new production now. On Friday evening we were very privileged to see the sublime Gudrun Bojesen as the Sylph with Ulrik Birkkjaer as a spritely and passionate James and a magnificently scarey Sorella Englund. I did not know how this piece would come over with no sets and only 3 supporting sylphs but I was absolutely swept away on a sea of emotion! On Saturday afternoon we saw Suzanne Grinder, Gregory Dean and Sebastian Haynes. I have seen a man dance Madge before but never as a man (if you see what I mean). I thought all 3 were terrific and that Sebastian Haynes already has enormous stage presence for such a young man. Act 3 of Napoli is a total joy from start to finish. These were 2 glorious performances that I will treasure for a long time. A lot of the London ballet world was present at both the performances I attended. Although I didn't see him a friend told me that Kevin O'Hare was there on Friday evening. Fantastic news about the Festival being planned for 2018!!!
  12. I'm seeing this group in London on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. This all-Bournonville programme is really exciting to me. Gudrun Bojesen is magnificent and it is a super group of dancers that is coming. I would urge everyone to go and see them!
  13. And it is because of the racehorse named Nijinsky that I got into ballet-watching. Along with Sir Ivor he was my favourite horse. I saw a biography of Nijinsky (the dancer) in the library, borrowed it and started on the path of ballet-watching. My total conversion was a performance of Onegin by London Festival Ballet.
  14. Alejandro Virelles is now a principal at English National Ballet. He has recently been Siegfried to Alina Cojocaru's O/O.
  15. JMcN

    Manon

    I was fortunate indeed to see Francesca Hayward as Manon last week, her Des Grieux was Edward Watson and Lescaut was Alexander Campbell. From the second she appeared on stage I felt I was watching Manon rather than Francesca Hayward dancing Manon. This performance was a joy to watch with Watson and Campbell as her perfect foils. The interaction between the 3 leads was a joy to behold.
  16. In my near 40 years as a regular theatre goes I have walked out of plays only 3 times because we were not enjoying but always in the interval. We had to leave a performance of Blood Brothers early because the interval over-ran (which was explained over the PA because the queue was too long in the ladies!) but there was a place that we knew we could discretely slip out to catch the last train home. Ken Dodd, a well known British entertainer, notoriously over-runs - quite often finishing around 0100!! He calls after people if they are leaving!
  17. Not about RDB but it is common in the UK that a number of rows are taken out to house the orchestra pit. For instance at the Birmingham Hippodrome rows A-D are removed for BRB. Of course, they are still shown on the seating plan which will be generic, but you cannot buy them. I thought the old stage in Copenhagen started on row A but I could have mis-remembered as I haven't been able to get over there for about 4 years.
  18. When I was young I had a horsey phase and my 2 favourite horses were Sir Ivor and Nijinksy. Some years later I saw a biography of Vaslav Nijinksy in the library and I borrowed it out of curiosity. Then I started going to the odd ballet, usually mixed programmes. I only really became a ballet watcher on 26th May 1984 when I saw Onegin (London Festival Ballet (now ENB)) at the London Coliseum. I was an overnight convert to ballet. It was a good few years later when I found the programme and realised just whom I had seen - Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun. No wonder I was bowled over!
  19. I realised a few weeks ago that I have been watching ballet for 30 years. I have no technical knowledge whatsoever but I look at performances and I enjoy them or I don't. I make a point of never counting the number of fouettes because I think that is rude. For me, although I like great dancers, it is always the overall performance and impression it leaves with me. I read quite a few books about the history of ballet and I found that enhanced my pleasure too. Of course the online resources that we have now weren't available in the mid-80s! I'm based in Liverpool and don't go to London that much these days as I can see so much ballet outside of the South East but as well as ROH you will love the offerings at Sadler's Wells and also the Coliseum, where ENB usually performs. Good luck with your move to London and enjoy!
  20. And Mr Lendorf most certainly did not disappoint as Franz on Thursday evening! It is incredible that his joyous performance was his debut in role. I do hope we get to see more of him in the UK.
  21. Looking forward to seeing him as Franz on 24th July in London!
  22. Here's the link to Ms Brown's blog. She performs a great service for English-speaking ballet lovers with her translations.
  23. JMcN

    Jewels

    I saw the matinee on 30th December. It was the first time I had seen anything other than Rubies and I loved it all, especially the serenity of Emeralds. Natalia Osipova and Steven McRae were absolutely sensational in Rubies! Is it supposed to be erotic because that was how it came over to me?
  24. And she was absolutely RADIANT on the first night of Corsaire in Milton Keynes.
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