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Everything posted by Nanarina

  1. Indeed, Nanarina. Mason is one of the best Myrthas among the 200 or so Myrthas I've seen, live or on film. I also love Terekhova (Kirov), Pla (Cuba) and Van Hamel (ABT). My problem with the current RB version is the drab and dark Act I of designer Peter Farmer, a problem that I have with many Farmer designs of Petipa ballets (and Peter Wright editions of choreography). But the Royal's Act II is infinitely better than the current POB, I agree. [Cojocaru, in the current RB DVD, is close to being the most perfect Giselle I've seen live and on film, taking both acts into account....Vishneva being a close 2nd...Kirkland and Obraztsova right up there, too. The Cojocaru/Kobborg guest performance during one of the earliest Mariinsky Int'l Ballet Festivals ranks as one of my Top Ten greatest evenings at the ballet! Imagine the Best Giselle dancing in the Best Production for one night only and I was there...ahhhhhh!!!] Back to the 'ugliness' of Act II in this production by P. Bart and the late E. Polyakov. The most disappointing aspect of this version, to anyone who knows any of the traditional 21st-C versions (based on the Petipa-Mariinsky's), is the Wilis corps group. I failed to mention in my report (above) the single most offensive -- and unintentionally funny -- segment: the boureeing departure of the Wilis at the very end, as the sun rises (although one can hardly tell the time of night with this dismal lighting). Here, the 24 Wilis split into two platoons of 12, each platoon forming a tight square...two big white boxes, if you will. The two boxes then face each other and retreat rather quickly into opposite wings, performing pas de bouree. The effect, against the black background and floor, is of two white Humbee vehicles backing up; the only thing missing was the "beep - beep - beep" ....WIDE LOAD BACKING UP! Oh! lovely you have really made me laugh. I do have a wicked sense of humour which some times I have to curb at the ballet. As other members of the audience may not appreciate it. How wonderful to see that Marinnsky performance . When I was working at the ROH I helped out with the Bolshoi and then Kirov. My younger crushes were on Ayltinui Asl. Vasiev Ekaterina but I was so tongue tied in those and shy (yes ME) i could hardly speak to them, mind you it did not help that they spoke Russian. We used to give them sweets, and I can remember with horror some old bat in a uniform cutting some of the girls hair off for wig making. I was quite happy with the Royal Ballet dancers and got to know them very well. Still have a dear friend from the company. I agree with you about the dark scenery and terrible lighting at the POB, I do not think much of the lighting design team there, sometimes it is very hard to see. I also find the Garnier a nightmare as it is so dark inside, in the foyer and main building there are just tiny spot lights on the edge of the corridors, and the stairs at the side of the lift are pitch black, it is a wonder people have not fallen down. I always take a small torch with me now, too bad if they do not like it. Being particially sighted I have to be able to see okay.
  2. I am sorry to say that sometimes the lighting even in Paris is very dismal, so I am not very keen on their lighting design crew. I think I would also prefer the original versions you mention, Patrice Bart's choreography is somewhat disapointing. To appreciate this I watch my DVD of the Royal Ballet with Alina Cojocaru, it is equisite. If you want to see a special Myrtha, try and find a old clip of Monica Mason from the past.
  3. Poor Dorothee, she has had quite a lot of problems recently with injury, it is sad, perhaps due to the pressures of such a big tour, she has come back too soon. Her husband Alessio Carbone is very caring and tries to help her get over it.
  4. I was recently asked by a friend and neighbour if I had anything planned, as she would like to go and see her first Ballet. We had gone to see Les Miz at the Theatre Royal in Norwich which we had both really enjoyed. Putting my thinking cap on I looked into the forth coming productions at Covent Garden. to try and find something that would give her an insight into the world of Ballet, which she could understand and enjoy When I saw the Triple Bill, with Birthday Offering, A Month in the Country and Les Noces, I thought that would suffice. Especially as some of the major stars were performing. I somehow got it wrong with Les Noces and it was only shortly before the actual .date that I realised what I had landed us with. When I worked with the Royal Ballet I hated The Rite of Spring, and here I was taking someone to see a similar work for a first experience. A real error of judgement. So I issued the warning before we went!! As soon as the orchestra was in situ, and srtarted to warm up my friend was on the edge of her seat. She clapped like mad when then Conductor appeared, and as soon as the beautiful Glazunnov music started she was eagerly waiting for the performance to start. There is no doubt the Royal Opera House Orchestra is one of the finest ones in exisstence today, with it's mellow tone, and wonderful musicians. The curtains opened to reveal the attractive set of borrowed scenery from Sophie Fedorovitch and La Veneziana, with its sky blue background, sumpsious white drapes, and tall candelabra re-cycled from Hommage to the Queen. Costumes designed by Andre Levasseur transport us back to the time of Petipa, and the long skirted bell shaped Tutu. The men wearing dual colour matching tights with black see though hose on top. Seven couples, all leading Dancers in the Company portray the roles of the original seven ballerina's and their consorts.The cast included Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares as the main couple, then Yuhui Choe, Helen Crawford, Sarah Lamb, Roberta Marquez, Itziar Mendizabal, Laura Morera. Alexander Campbell, Ricardo Cervera, Valeri Hristov, Brian Malony, Johannes Stepanek, Thomas Whitehead. The entree is very spectacular the couples dancing in a circle around the stage, which seemed bigger extending further back than I remembered it from before. This leads onto a total of seven variations, one for each ballerina. Danced to the charming music of Glazunov's Seasons music they were all very enchanting, each dancer showing their technical ability, but not forgetting the expression needed to complete the variation. The marzurka performed by the men uses very rousing music, and the choreography is full of virtuoso jumps, danced in two lines, which is very impressive. I must say it is one of my favourite numbers which always has the same response when I have seen it. This is followed by the Pas de deux specially created for Margot Fonteyn, a lyrical lovelyness with ponche arabeque, and stylish port de brae where the consort mirrors the ballerina's movements and supports her in the fantastic choreography of Sir "Fred".. The finale returns to the first music of the entree and the movements at the beginning of the ballet. We both enjoyed this performance and my friend was amazed at the beauty and the technical capabilities of the dancers. However there was something rather strange about the stage. At the front but behind the foot lights there was a long black feature that was very distracting, it went right accros the width front stage, so much so it cut off the feet of the dancers, which considering we were in the third row seated in the Orchestra Stalls the top price area, It was rather a let down. I mentioned it to my friend and a lady in the next row turned round to speak to us, saying it was not there a short time ago, and their view had not been restricted.I rtemember the DVD of Sleeping Beauty, which had the same problem. so I wonder what the idea is behind this obstruction? Hopefully it will not be a permanent feature.. Next came A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY again by Sir "Fred" a charming Russian based story, featuring Natalia Petrovnqa,(Alina Cojocaru) her rather dull husband Yslaev (Jonathon Howells) Kolia their son (Paul Kay) Vera Natalia's ward (Iohna Loots) Beliaev the Tutor (Federico Bonelli) This was truly siperb, a simple story, of lost love. Vera the young woman falls madly for the young tutor, as well as her guardian, an argument ensues where Natalia slaps her ward, Kolia is distressed at the goings on, especially when Beliaev, is discovered and thrown out of the house by the husband.. The set is lovely in gold and white with authentic period furniture, the costumes by Julia Treveltyan Oman are very true to the era the ballet is set in. And the music by Chopin, arranged by John Lanchberry for piano and orcherstra is stunning..Kate Shipway the pianist played with great quality and emotion, so deserved the applause she received at the end. This is pure Ashtonian, and so well performed by his "company". The choreography is beautiful with very imprssive solo's for Beliaev, and a in depth acting role for the characters. The final pas de deux is very touching, and can be seen on YouTube if you are interested. A poignant episode is when Beliaev returns momentarly, to find Natalia weeping, and without her knowing gently kisses the ribbons from her costume, before finally leaving. Alina Cojocaru was her usual wonderful self, not over stated or over acted, technically brilliant. Federicco Bonelli who seems to be dancing with her more often nowadays is an excellent partner, and equally talented dancer. But there does not seem to be quite the same chemistry on stage, as when she is dancing with her Fiance Johan Kobborg. Sadly time is creeping up(or is already at) his retirement and he will be sorely missed. Finaly, the disaster of the night, Les Noces. by Bronislava Nijinska, Music Stravinsky, orchestra and chorus. Costumes by Natalia Goncharova. Piano's for this prograame hired from and maintained by Steinway, London. Well I suppose it was just about bearable, an improvement I would think on the original Rite of Spring. But that is all. To start off there was a technical problems and it was late starting. A very near problem as we had to get back to Kings Cross to catch the last train back to Downham Market in Norfolk, where we had left the car. By the time it had finished we both kind of felt we wished it had not started!!!! My friend was bemused, as she did not understand it at all, seriers of erratic steps dancing in groups with very repetative movements, dressed in dark brown unimagnative costumes, somewhat representive of a Russian Peasant. The music disjointed, which went on and on loud to quiet and visa versa. Yes, it had a continues beat, but in the end I found it boring and un-interesting. The chorus and vocals did not really appeal to me either. So I wont be going to see that again. Personally I think it should have stayed in the archive where it belongs. But that is just me. ,
  5. As Belingard was leaving the Harris Theater, he was holding hands with a little boy who could have been a 4-year-old. He was with another gentleman pushing a baby in a stroller. Don't know who the other man was or whether or not the baby was the other son. Thankyou, Sounds as if it could hav e been Jacques, who has the same colour hair as Aurelie, the younger one is 18 montrts old and I dont know who he looks like.
  6. I have also found them very pleasant and willing to c hat when I go to Paris.
  7. I saw Belingard leaving the Harris Theater with his young son before the evening show. Oh! Only one of them, was it Jacques the 4 year old or Georges the little one.? Were they both with them at the airport? Sorry for the barage of questions. I know Aurelie wants them to see why their parents are absent from home some evenings when they are old enough.
  8. This promotion is well deserved, she is lovely, I saw her dance in La Source, last October at The Garnier.
  9. Definatly Aurelie Dupont, Josua Hoffalt, Nicholas Le Riche Clairemarie Osta, Ludmila Pagliero, Jeremie Belingard, Isabella Ciarvola,Mathias Heymann, Matilde Frostey, Karl Paquette. Marie Agnes Gillot. (Must See) ENJOY.
  10. Oh how lucky, to see their children as well, I did wonder if they would take them, as Aurelie has said that she hates leaving them behind, as she misses them, was Jeremie Belingard with her as well, ? Auirelie can be quite shy, but more animated if he is with her, as he is more chatty. Nicholas Le Riche and Clairemaries girls are older I think? Now I feel quite jealous.
  11. I do not know if your are aware of the fact, but Clairemarie Osta is married to Nicholas Le Riche, and they used to dance together quite a lot in the past, but only seem to be back as partners again recently.
  12. Why did you not speak to her, tney all speak very good English and are friendly and approachable, and welcome your interest.
  13. I am looking forward to hearing about your meeting, so please do post some details for those of us who cannot make it to the USA. I love La Bayadere as well, both the Gamzatti and Nikiya roles.
  14. Nanarina


    Having just seen Manon in Paris at the Opera Garnier, with Aurelie Dupont and Josua Hoffalt, Lescaut Jeremie Belingard (Aurelies partner in life) Muriel Zusperreguy was Lescauts mistress (also Josua's life partner) so there was a lot of chemistry. I am waiting to see Alina Cojocaru dance it in London, will be very interesting to make a comparison.
  15. chiapuris....... You are very welcome, it was rewarding to be able to comment on the ballet, having been closely involved with it when I was younger. I am waiting for The Royal Ballet to perform it again, hopefully in the nearish future. My ideal would be to see two of my other favourite dancers, (yes I do have more than one) they are Alina Cojocaru as Manon and Laura Morera as Lescaut's Mistress, both very good dancers..
  16. trieste, it is good to hear you agree with me about Agnes Letestu, she seems fine in non character roles, like Jewels, she is brilliant in Diamonds, with Jean Guillamine Bart on the DVD, so classical and technically correct, JGB also fits the role, and seems to have the "Balanchine" touch, reminding me of NYCB Male Dancers, he dances it very much in the same style. Diamonds is my favourite movemnet in Jewels, I love the way it builds up to the marvelous ending, and of course Tchaikovsky's music.. Sadly he is now retired, and possibly Agnes Letestu will soon go as well, I think she is older than Aurelie Dupont, who will be 40 in January 2013. Sure will be interesting to see how the younger Etoile's work out.
  17. trieste.... I agree with you, I love the Paris Opera Ballet and their technical perfection. But the way different Ballerina's porftray roles really does vary beyond belief. For this reason although she is a wonderful dancer, I find Agnes Letestu very cold., understated and and lacking emotion. I saw her live in Le dame aux Camelias, and she seemed to just go through the movements without much thought to feeling. She was dancing with Stephane Buillon who also did not seem very responsive to her. But that all changed when he danced with Isabella Cia. then he was all passion. I like Aurelie Dupont because she can act, but even her portrayal changes from time to time. I just got the DVD of Manon for the Royal Ballet original version with Jennefer Penny and Tony Dowell,with my dear friend David Wall as Lescaut, now he was something else., partnered with Monica Mason, absolutly brilliant. There seems to be much more facial expression and the use of port de brae, on this disc. It is difficult for me to see if I am not close to the stage, and at Paris recently my seat wias in the balcon, so I had to use Opera Glasses. But you can still see the body language and style being danced..
  18. Yes, Hamorah, I would agree with you on this, and it was exactly what I was expecting, but I honestly did not find it so with this cast, even the corp de ballet, had the mood correct with the choreography, at the party and last two scenes. I do think Aurelie Dupont mastered the role, Josua also gave a good impression of De Grieux,, he seems to be growing into the repertoire. I recently saw a clip of Tamara Rojo of the Royal Ballet from a recent performance, now she was definately dancing her part far too technically, with beautiful pointed toes, when she was supposed to be dying. I do not know what the other casts will be like, except Ludmila Pagliero the new etoile, who dances it later, is also a very lyrical and musical ballerina. I worked in close connection with Manon when it was created by Sir Kenneth, and the work had a great atmosphere, Another version which has been kept true to the original has been danced by The Australian Ballet and was taught to them by Pat Ruanne who worked with the Paris Opera for many years. In regard to POB dancers being too technical, it is probably due to their schooling, high extensions etc, but when you compare them usually with the Corp de Ballet, en mass, they are beautifully together, in unison, something many companies need to improve.. I still really enjoyed the performance, and am usually very critical expecting perfection at times, which iis not always possible.
  19. I went to see the above performance wondering if the ballet "Manon" had survived with pure authanticity during the years since it was created for The Royal Ballet by Sir Kenneth Mac Millan The moment the curtain was raised and the first dancers appeared on the stage my fears were well and truly quoshed. I soon realised that thanks to people like Monica Mason and Pat Ruanne who have past down this wonderful ballet to the younger genaration of Dancers it is pretty well intact. The performance still had the emphathy and character I remembered, and was performed very well by the cast I saw. Aurelie Dupont, (Manon) Josua Hoffalt ( De Grieux) Manon's sweetheart Jeremie Belingard (Lescaut) brother to Manon, Muriel Zusperreguy (Lescaut mistress) Aurelien Houette (as Monseir G.M,) Viviane Descouttures (The Madame). Aurelie Dupont's role portrayal was perfect, sensative, niave, and beautifully danced, it was neither overdone or understated, she is able to create a picture to fit any role. and was up to her usual brillant technical standard. Her partnership with the newest Etoile Josua Hoffalt seems to be going from strength to strength, whether it is just a trial or will become permanant we will have to wait and see. I know Aurelie found herself without a regular partner after Manual Legris retired. The brief spell with Herve Moreau showed great promise, but he has only just returned after a long absence. Josua Hoffalt is beginning to show he right fully deserved his rfecent promotion, and danced the role of the lovesick De Grieux with conviction, mastering the challenging variations that are both full of technical brilliance and emotially demanding. He was a strong reliable partner, handling the many lifts and feats with apparent ease, as choreographed by Mac Millan. Jeremie Belingard, shined as the disreputable Lescaut, from the scene opening when you see him sitting mid stage his cloak surrounding him you know he is going to form the character, of the scheming money craved young man who will stoop to the lowest levels to achieve his aims, which turns out to be at the cost of his sister Manon. It is a very strong role, needing a good technique. Something you do not always see Jeremie cast in. But he excells in this ballet, in the scene at "Madame's, party together with his Mistress, he gets very drunk. the result of which is a hilarious pas de deux full of wonderful out of control lifts and very funny to watch. Wearing a black embroidered frock coated costume, He looked stunning, very sexy being the handsome guy he is. Muriel Zusperreguy danced Lescauts mistress, she was somewhat coy, she performed well, but did not seem to take advantage of the opportuinity to get fully into the character. She was too nice, and could have been more exaggereated, there is a chance to act the bawdy wench albeit tongue in cheek, to mis behave. There could have been much more frivality, the role, especially in the Pas de deux, where Lescaut can easily outshine her should be equally entertaining.by both the partners dancing it. It was although carefully danced a little too restrained. Another milestone in Manon, is the male virtiuoso Pas de Trios danced in the same scene, it usually is a "show Stopper", it needs to be crisp, in complete unison, a stunning piece, the music ably supports the variation, full of jaunty steps, danced ln turn by each dancer. I am sorry to say in this perfiormance the guys simply did not meet the required precision or effect this variation should give. They were not together, or able to give the desired quality of dance that is needed to make this variation spectacular. It was messy and weak. Finaly the musical score, the original composition for the ballet was not from the opera Manon, but was a special collaboration of music from Massenet's works arranged by Leighton Lucas, the music was adapted again in 2011 by Martin Yates. I am not sure how much of which version is included in this performance, but it is credited to Yates. Whether the conductor Keon Kessels is responsible for amending any of the music I cannot say. I do not favour him as a conductor for Ballet, as I find his musical imputt is erratic, and he thtends to cut short passages in mid stream. I found the orchestra to be lacking in finese, there was very tittle bass in the music, with a higher treble element in the strings and woodwind, no beautiful toned melodies, and on a number of occasions an overkill from the brass sectiion, which produced a louder than normal degree of very harsh notes, that went on for too long and detracted from the otherwise beauty of the score. Give me The Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra any day. Their performance is much more mellow and beatiful in construction than The Paris Opera Orchestra. It is basically a differently toned Orchestra. Would I recommend going to see Manon, a definate yes, it is absolutely wonderful,. The final scene in the Everglades, takes your breath away, and almost redueces you to tears. Manon is yet again mis-used for her beauty, and raped, by the Goaler, who De Grieux in desparation kills with a knife, forcing the couple to run away into the swamps, starving exhausted and with her ripped dress, Manon is dying. The final act starts with a vision of the events that fashioned her fate. With the last of her strength she is comforted by her lover, the despartion and desire that fuels her being, makes her try to go to him, when she finaly makes it, she slips through his arms, but dies in the process. The destraught De Grieux trys to revive her, but it is in vain, his tears shake his very being, as the curtain falls. After a truly amzing performance Aurelie and Josua return to their dressing rooms, no doubt still full of emotion, which takes them time to overcome, and return to the realities of everyday life Some time later, having rested showered and dressed they walk with their life partners, Jertemie with Aurelie and Muriel with Josua ( also stars in the Ballet) to the Artists exit, where I waited to see them, and was able to have a conversation. And so the chemistry continued OFF STAGE. BRAVO.
  20. Yes, hydraulix, I went looking forward to something new and special, since then I have seen POB in Manon, with Josua Hoffalt and other members of the same cast, and I was totally won over by the latter. My mind is now definatly made up, the Character Dances and their performance are feeble and really need a different aproach. I hope they can get it sorted out before it comes back into the programme.
  21. Gosh this brings back memories, many of them were my close friends, how time flys, but it is so brilliant to know they are still remembered..... Someone else to mention Sandra Conley for a long time after Gerd Larson became the chief character artist.
  22. Lots of music, gets me humming, depending on the most recent DVD I have watched, or performance I have seen. Currently Variations from Manon (Massenet) Le Baiser de la Fee (Stravinsky in the form of Tchkaivosky) " None but the lonely heart" & other themes. "De da dee dar dar, la da da da " la la laa la la and so on. Les dame aux Camellias (Chopin) Le Corsair pas de deau (which my mother loved and was played at her funeral) Nutcracker pas de deux (Sugar Plun Fairy and Prince ) Lots more I cannot bring to mind!!!!
  23. There are some clips from Paquita of Aurelie Dupont, on YouTube, which are very much better than the film featuring Agnes Letestu, she is my preferred ballerina , together with the recently nominated Ludmila Pagliero. I too was rather disapointed in this DVD, But as already mentioned it should have been Aurelie Dupont, who had to withdraw due to injury. Pierre Lacotte put a lot of work into researching this ballet, and he explains his findings in the "extra's" on the DVD.
  24. A lot of what happens within a company goes back to the school, if the variety and quantity of dancers is there for training a talented number of people can suceed in going successfully through the ranks of a company. As the older members change companies or retire, there would always be people to fill the empty spaces. But it raises the question are there still enough young people taking up dance.currently. Without the promotion of dance or funding for training it makes it difficult to attract the right people into the genre.and therefore many companies suffer from this shortfall.
  25. Just as a footnote, it has now been banned that any smoking products are to be allowed on view in large stores etc in the UK, they have to be hidden behind doors. I cannot quite understand the logic in this, as surely having these items on view in smaller shops is equally is just the same. It is meant to stop encouraging young people to buy the goods. The next move is to make the producers pack the cigerettes in plain wrappers.
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