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April with Royal Ballet


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(Right here I’m going to state that at these ballets I paid particular attention to the acting. Giannina, who is a technician fanatic. Also, every dancer I saw was very gifted; my comparisons are just degrees of “gifted”.)

Wed., April 4th

At 8p.m. tonight I discovered that I had a ticket for tonight and the ballet started at 7:30! Grabbed the ticket, my purse, my opera glasses, gloves, scarf, coat, tube ticket, money, cab, and arrived at the theater at the end of the first intermission. It worked out OK; at least I got to see 2 outta 3 acts. “Onegin” with Mara Galeazzi and David Makhateli. She was very good. Her duet with her husband (another big role) in the final act was glowingly devotional. She didn’t go over the top with the drama, and I think she gave the final pdd the right amount of emotional determination. Makhateli as Onegin was a bit young and his acting was rather light, especially in the final pdd. His dancing was fine. It’s such a thankless role.

Thurs., April 5th

I’ve seen 1 2/3 Onegin’s in the last 2 days. I love this ballet! It has 4 major roles with wonderful dancing for all 4. There’s also major acting in all 4 roles, and, as I said, I paid special attention to the acting. Tonight Soares was Onegin. I like Soares a lot and was happy to get the chance to see him in this role. I liked his acting; his Onegin was distracted rather than mean or psychotic as I’ve seen it played. In the duel scene his hands were shaking before the duel, something I haven’t noticed anyone else do. After the duel he cried into his trembling hands, and I cried! Cried!! I hate the man Onegin and Soares actually made me feel sorry for him. The final pdd now poses a problem for me. I am tired of these interpretations of a deranged man with open-mouthed angst. I want him to be sexy in this scene; even tho he rues his mistakes he’s besotted by this woman and I want to see love rather than derangement. And get rid of that ridiculous mustache! Soares wasn’t bad. Coppen (no, not Kobborg; Coppen), whom I saw several years ago, was a great Onegin; drop dead gorgeous, sexy … Tatiana wouldn’t have been able to resist him.

The star tonight was Nunez as Olga. Great dancing and great acting with a smile that could light up a cave. Love her

If I have to miss an act of Onegin I’ve learned to miss Act I. The hard way.


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Monday, April 9

Acosta and Benjamin starred. Acosta’s dancing in Act I was shaky. From then on he was good because all he had to do was act manic. Benjamin, as always, was wonderful.

April 10.

“Mayerling” again tonight. The main thing better in this presentation was Johan Kobborg as Rudolph, but he was so enormously better that it made for a more enjoyable evening. Acosta’s angst was, again, mostly open-mouthed, head-thrown-back, on-the-verge-of-tears suffering. Kobborg had a wealth of different manifestations and he was superb. In the wedding night scene he toys with Stephanie … one minute sweet, one minute taunting, most minutes sadistic. His dancing was terrific. Both men seemed to be good partners in the frantic bedroom scenes with Mary Vetsera, but Kobborg was better in things like supported pirouettes; he had more control and support for his partner. In the wedding night pdd Kobborg’s beard came unglued and hung from his left cheek til Stephanie/Roberta Marquez got a chance to yank it off. Alina Cojocaru as Mary Vetsera was very good, but depraved she wasn’t. She did all the moves and slithered with the best of them, but she’s more a flirty girl having a good time, and she never stopped smiling. I guess you could chalk that off to a different interpretation but I prefer depravity. Not til the very end did Cojocaru get sultry. Leanne Benjamin oozed sex, and in the DVD of “Mayerling” Vivian Durante is much the same. The first scene with the gun: Benjamin is mesmerized, satanically drawn to it; with Cojocaru it’s more a case of, “Ooooh, you’ve got a gun; let’s play”.

There are many large roles in this ballet. I do not find Mary Vetsera the biggest or best female role; it’s one dimensional. To me that honor goes to Marie Larisch. She has many roles to fill: mistress, former mistress, former mistress trying to regain her position, soul mate of Rudolph, “promoter” of Mary Vetsera, one trusted by Mary Vetsera. (I’ll now refer to roles as 1 and 2 to match their order of appearance.) Larisch 1 was Mara Galeazzi and she was good. Larisch 2 was Laura Morera and she was wonderful. At first sight she had this “Janice Paige” (I’m showing my age!) face that seemed ditzy, but with time I found an expressive face and a wonderful manner with the role. Stephanie 1 was Gemma Bond. She’s a blond, and every Stephanie I’ve seen has been blonde. 2 was Roberta Marquez and not blonde. Silly, I know. Empress Elizabeth: no contest. 1 was Zenaida Yanowsky, and I like a tall woman in this role. She was perfect. 2 was Isabel McMeekan; she was very good but not tall and therefore not as powerful as Yanowsky. I know; silly again. Bratfish. I love this role, and because of that it’s a tie because, unless you fall on your face, the role makes you look good. Mitzi Caspar 1 was Marianela Nunez and no one can beat her in my estimation. 2 was Deirdre Chapman; she had a rather harsh hairdo that gave her an odd look … kinda Spanish. But Nunez was better; period.

I had 4 days of marvelous ballet; it was an honor to be in the audience each night and see such extraordinary dancers


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