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Last night i went to see RDB do Manon!

Manon- Silja Schandorff

Des Grieux - Nicolas Le Riche

Lescaut - Jean-Lucien Massot

I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by the 1st Act, it looked like the dancers were not fully warmed up (to the parts OR their bodies!!) Dancers were bumping in to each other, accidentaly grand battement-ing each other!!

Some of the dancers were off on the timing, though alot of the macmillan timing is difficult, however this really no excuse! I was dissappointed to see that Schandorff (whom i usually enjoy watching of all the RDB principles) giving what was a 'surface' performance of the 'nieve' and 'innocent' manon, however i think it might just have been nerves- i certainly hoped so!! I also noticed that schandorff what some figer twiching which i have never noticed before, how evr this is commonly (among dancers) known as a sign of nervousness!

By the end of Act One i was nearly ready to go home but stayed to give this usually lovely company another chance!! (Must say now that i have actually seen Manon by the Royal Ballet, London at least three times so am well aware of how it should be!?) In all honesty, Mogens Boesen (Monsieur G.M) saved the Act, he was so inside the charcter- you could really see it - esp. in his eyes (the most important place) The Pas de Trois with Manon, Lescaut ans Monsiour GM was so fab really smooth and this is when i saw Schandorff's Manon really come alive- she had just danced a fast paced but 'uncomfortable' pas be deux with Des Grieux and now faces the choice of love or money!!

When the curtain went up on Act Two i was not prepared for the Nutcracker style spectical that awaited me! The 'party' at Madam's house (gambling house and brothel) looked like a scene directly out of the xmas time ballet! If it hadn't had been for the choreograpthy i really would have left at that point! The female 'guests' at the party were dressed in net skirts some in a thinned out 'romantic' style ans others srunched up at the bact so some of the dancers looked like they had candy floss on their bottoms! Also for some reson the company have taken on a new corps dancer who, because of her height, sticks out like a sore thumb!!

Just after Manon and Des G run away from the party and collect their things, they performed a very passionate pas de deux, and although (in my eyes) Le Riche made no particular impact proir to this PdD, he really put his emotions on display and showed what he was made of! The PdD was well timed and Des Grieux really was mentally tormented by the glittering braclet Manon was wearing- he was bewitched by the power and symbolization of the braclet and was disturbing but enjoyable to watch. I was beginning to enjoy the ballet as w whole more by that point (must admit that it helped when those 'nutcraker' dresses left the stage- in away they were kind of offencive to macmillan's original costumes!)

Act 3, the costumes for the slave girls were different from those the public see at the Royal Ballet's production! In the RB version when the girls come of the ship they stand in rows heads bowed and hands seperating their hair as if to be checked for lice, but in this version the girls were wearing hats or hoods of sorts!! This gave a different feel to the entrace of these girls. The head of the pinal coloney was played by Peter Bo Bendixen, and although it was a small role, was rather good. I was particularly bemused by the very very very realistic enjoyment of stroking and Manon's leg (in the scene in his office where he 'advances' on Manon) while holding it between his legs. Very falic............

The final PdD was gorgeous, the timing was clear and concise and as far as my teaching eye would take me it looked fine. My only minor criticism is that they could have been more daring wiling to wait that extra second before catching her and being a little bit more violent with the catches in the air! I know that it takes a trusting relationship to take a PdD to that kind of height and difficult when Le Riche is only a guest dancer but it almost looked a bit too safe!

I'm sorry to say that i was disappointed but i was, and as a usually avid RDB fan i was upset!!

But hey, they've got another cahnce to impress me when i see the modern choregraphy triple bill tomorrow!! Good Luck to them!

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Thank you, Maria! (I have to say, I chuckled at your Nutcracker Act comments. I know exactly what you mean, and about the Sore Thumb casting, as well. ) I wasn't sure why they redesigned the ballet -- perhaps because the sets were too large for Gamle Scene?

I hope you see Schandorff at a second or third performance -- she often takes time to think through a role and make it work for her, but when it's inside her, she can be magnificent. (I don't think that she and LeRiche have a regular partnership, either.)

I'll be interested to see the reviews -- I'll check the Danish papers on line tomorrow.

And I look forward to reading more from you!

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I wasn't sure why they redesigned the ballet -- perhaps because the sets were too large for Gamle Scene?

I think thats probably along the right lines!! I remember the RB version being very spacious with wide and broad movements, esp. party scene! But the stage at the royal opera house is huge!! esp. compaired to Gamle Scene!

(I don't think that she and LeRiche have a regular partnership, either.)

She's too tall for him!! (as is often the problem with tall girls, eg. Darcy Bussel)

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Regarding the question of sets for Manon. The change is an artistic not a logistic change. As ballet master in Stockholm Frank Andersen produced the standard Manon, but found that the heavy settings and questions dwarfed the dancing. He then asked Lady MacMillans permission to change the decor, which she agreed and supported. The decor is considered a hit in Copenhagen. The costumes for act Two seems to be an eyesore for the UK critics, but the Danes rather like them (we have seen worse - much worse) Recarding the La Riche performance, I was impressed with him as a French not being to French and Schandoff performed beautifully, almost as good as she is with Kenneth Greve.

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Recarding the La Riche performance, I was impressed with him as a French not being to French

I've herd that said about LaRiche before, i have bot experienced enough of Paris opera etc to pass comment. :shrug: Though I must say he did give a good performance! :wacko:

Schandoff performed beautifully, almost as good as she is with Kenneth Greve

She was lovely, once she lost her nerves- but its only my (very personal) opinion! As i posted before, i have to write horrid things esp. about my favorite RDB dancer!!!!!!!! but i just didn't feel she was on top of it!!

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Yes indeed, danciegirlmaria, …. fluffy dresses, candy tutus whatever you will… I had to pinch myself on Saturday evening when I realized that these pink, green, yellow-clad women with tulle galore were actually les “filles “de Madame ! During the interval, my neighbour, a charming elderly man asked me if I was enjoying the performance. Could not help mentioning my surprise at the choice of costumes compared to the one’s I saw last June at the Paris Opera. He said , “Oh I see, in Paris they were surely wearing less…” . No, not necessarily less clothes, just not candy-fairy like…after all, it IS a brothel ! At this he laughed and he said, Yes you see that is typical of us in our strange little country !”All in all, a very enjoyable evening (with a wonderful orchestra conducted by Graham Bond) though I must say I was not very carried away by Caroline Cavallo’s performance, which I found rather bland…Not exactly moved by the way she explored the plight of the heroine; Andrew Bowman’s Des Grieux certainly seemed more heartfelt... And Peter Bo Bendixen was a downright evil Monsieur GM, little nuance, but tremendous effect. The corps de ballet (one can get a booklet with the headshots of the dancers : corps de ballet, aspiranter & all at the boutique) convincingly create the various atmospheres the ballet requires (could not keep my eyes off the exquisite Flemming Ryberg in the first act, where he plays the lusty old man … ) and it was an extreme pleasure to see such harmony.

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Yes, this might have sadly been the Manon during which I spent the least time watching the central character... Nonetheless there was a rapturous applause-curtain call session (the last time I saw such a one was for the Cojocaru/Kobborg/ Lund... Onegin, which certainly had a very different calibre of dancing! :yes: )

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