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Mixed Bill

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I went last night to the Mixed Bill and thought it was excellent-certainly one of the best selected Mixed Bill (usually there is one ballet I don't like out of three or four, which I still have to sit through to see the rest!)

Castings were as follows:

Daphnis and Chloe:

Daphnis-Federico Bonelli (replacing Inaki Urlezega)

Chloe-Miyako Yoshida

Lykanion-Laura Morera

Dorkon-Martin Harvey

Bryaxis-Jonathan Howells

Pan-David Pickering

I really enjoyed this piece, with its bright sets from John Craxton-they seemed to relfect the cheerful tone of the ballet. This was futher emphasised by the vivid cotumes, which I know not everyone has liked but I thought they really suited the ballet. The ensemble pieces were superb, with the corps really throwing themselves into the lively Ashton chreography-both in the village scenes and as pirates.

Bonelli was a bit non-descript as Daphnis but I think that is partly because it is quite a minor role-I was really surprised that he didn't go and rescue Chloe (I hadn't seen it before, or read the synopsis before the performance) but instead was asleep!

However Miyako's Chloe more than made up for it in vibrance and joyful dancing, coupled with genuine terror of the pirate chief, played very menacingly by Jonathan Howells.

The Spectre De La Rose:

Leanne Benjamin

Ivan Putrov

I loved this despite the garish hat the rose was wearing-luckily Ivan's dancing is so beautiful I wasn't distracted by the slightly daft cotume-and I think all the boys who wear it deserve a medal for doing their curtain calls without a big coat over it!

Fokine's choreography fits so perfectly with the music for this ballet, and it is such an enchanting story. Leanne Benjamin was excellent as the girl asleep-I was sat up close for this for the first time, and I had never realised how much time the girl spends dancing with her eyes shut! Scary!

Ivan's dancing was, as I said, beautiful, and I feel he really suits this dance because of his slighter build to someone such as Acosta-though I haven't seen Acosta yet but I agree with someon on ballet.co.uk who said he seemed to be more of a tiger lily than a rose!

L'Apres-Midi D'un Faun

The Faun-Viacheslav Samodurov

Leading Nymph-Gillian Revie

I think I need a few more viewings of this before I judge it too much-I loved the music but some of the actions of the nymphs and Faun struck me as very mechanical which I found off-putting.

Unfortunatly the programme notes didn't have any useful background material on this ballet-for example Mallarme's poem would have been interesting to see where Debussy got his inspiration from.

Les Noces

The Bride-Christina Arestis

The Bridegroom-Valeri Hristov

Parents- Genesia Rosato, Alastair Marriott, Gillian Revie, William Tuckett

Friends and Villages- Laura Morera, Ricardo Cervera, Isabel McMeekan, Vanessa Palmer, Jonathan Howells, Brian Maloney

I loved this! It was so good, and I loved the really precise choreography coupled with the singing. It may be portraying a joyless wedding but there was immense power behind the rituals of peasant Russia. The dancing from the corp was superb and I think this was one of the best perfomances I have ever seen by the Royal- I was completely mesmerised by the different rituals shown to prepare the Bride and Groom-definatly worth going to see this bill just for Les Noces! xx

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I posted this on Links, but for those who don't check that forum:

David Vaughan reviews the Royal Ballet's Diaghlev program on DanceView Times:

"Celebrating Diaghilev” at the Royal Ballet

Like nearly every major ballet company nowadays, the Royal Ballet follows the practice of presenting a full-length ballet or a program of one-acts devoted to a “theme” for a certain number of performances, and then dropping it. One might prefer the old system, which I believe only New York City Ballet still preserves, of maintaining a repertory of ballets and showing them in various combinations during a given season, but probably as much for marketing as for artistic reasons, the “theme” idea seems to be what we are stuck with. As its last mixed bill of the 2003-2004 season, the Royal Ballet presented during May a program of four ballets under the rubric “Celebrating Diaghilev” (specifically, the 75th anniversary of his death and the consequent demise of his Ballet Russes): Fokine’s Le Spectre de la rose, Nijinsky’s L’Après-midi d’un faune, Nijinska’s Les Noces, and a revival of Frederick Ashton’s Daphnis and Chloë. It might be argued that the fourth ballet should have been by Balanchine, but both surviving ballets of his from the Diaghilev era, Apollo and Prodigal Son, have been given in all-Balanchine evenings over the last two seasons. In any case, from my point of view no excuse was needed to bring back an Ashton masterpiece last seen in an unsatisfactory recension.
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That program does sound quite exciting indeed (I wish the POB could program something similar, instead of coupling "Les Noces" with two not very interesting modern works in their recent mixed bill...)

I think that "Le Spectre de la Rose" is a work which can easily look dated, especially with that male costume... The most convincing "spectre" I've seen so far was Manuel Legris on video, he managed to look so light and ethereal.

About "L'après-midi d'un faune", the "mechanical" aspect of the movements might come from the fact that Nijinsky was inspired by some drawings on ancient Greek vases (with the bizarre arm angles and all that)... It was the first ballet I ever saw (on TV, around 1991) and just the beautiful sets and music, the special atmosphere (and Charles Jude in the main role) were enough to fascinate me :thumbsup:

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