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Royal Ballet season 2009/10


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I just thought maybe it would be good to start a topic for the Royal Ballet's 09/10 season, which will begin in October.

Before that, the Kim Brandstrup/Tamara Rojo project will take place in the Linbury at ROH featuring several RB dancers (Rojo, Thomas Whitehead and Steven McRae among others...) starting tomorrow. But the 'season proper' at ROH opens on 8th October, with Mayerling. First night cast is Johan Kobborg, Leanne Benjamin and Laura Morera.

In this run, debuts are including: Thiago Soares and Rupert Pennefather as Crown Prince Rudolf; Lauren Cuthbertson and Melissa Hamilton as Mary Vetsera; and Marianela Nunez as Larisch. Sarah Lamb also takes Larisch, but I'm not sure if it's a debut or not (?)

The Sleeping Beauty also opens in October, on the 23rd with Sarah Lamb and Ivan Putrov first performance. The only scheduled debuts are Hikaru Kobayashi and Sergei Polunin (together) as Aurora and Prince (however, watch this space...unlikely there will be no cast changes).

I think though, we will see many debuts as Lilac Fairy, which unfortunately the RB don't announce in advance. The two who did many of the performance of the Lilac Fairy in the last run, Isabel McMeekan and Alexandra Ansanelli have retired. Lauren Cuthbertson did a lot of performances but we don't know yet if she'll be back for the start of the season as she was signed off ill at the end of last season. Marianela Nunez is certainly RB's best Lilac Fairy, but since she debuts in Sphinx and Mayerling she likely won't do 100 performances! Hopefully we will see Laura McCulloch again after her very good debut in the role in 2008, I would guess Helen Crawford will do it too, and I'd like to see Nathalie Harrison (first artist) take the role!

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I would love to hear reports on the Royal Ballet season, but I am perhaps a little out of the loop regarding Cojocaru--as I was surprised not to see her name in the upcoming casts you mentioned. Is she injured again? or has she still not fully recovered from her neck injury? It seemed last spring as if she was on her way back...

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In this run, debuts are including: Thiago Soares and Rupert Pennefather as Crown Prince Rudolf; Lauren Cuthbertson and Melissa Hamilton as Mary Vetsera; and Marianela Nunez as Larisch. Sarah Lamb also takes Larisch, but I'm not sure if it's a debut or not (?)

No. She danced it just the same in 2007 with Edward Watson and Mara Galeazzi but I think she was replacing Alexandra Ansanelli by then

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Drew: Alina Cojocaru is still back on stage, and is scheduled to dance this autumn - as far as I know, she will perform.

Originally, Cojocaru was scheduled to dance Mary Vetsera in Mayerling on the opening night of the season, but she was replaced by Leanne Benjamin. Cojocaru said in a few interviews, that she prefers not to dance this role yet after her recent injury problem, because it's a role that she has to commit herself physically 100% and at the moment it's better for her to take still some precautions..

However, she will dance Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty with Kobborg and she will take the female lead in Sphinx, with Polunin and McRae. The other cast in Sphinx is Marianela Nunez, with Ed Watson and Rupert Pennefathers - all the dancers in both casts making debuts in the ballet.

I forgot to say there is also a triple bill in November: Agon, Sphinx and a new work by McGregor (as yet untitled and no casting listed...)

Alexandra: Things that I'm particularly looking forward to are: Thiago Soares's debut in Mayerling (it will be a good role for him, I think!); McGregor's new work (it's interesting to see how he's developing his choreography in each new work); seeing both Nunez and Cojocaru in Sphinx lead; Marianela Nunez's Aurora; and seeing Sarah Lamb again after she has been absent from the London stage for more than one year!

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There have been this week some important changes to casting for the booking period 1. I'll run through it quickly!

Due to illness, Lauren Cuthbertson won't perform any of her scheduled roles until the new year. She is replaced as follows:

By Mara Galeazzi for Mary Vetsera in Mayerling (3, 10 November). This is for the cast of Thiago Soares' debut.

By Galeazzi in Agon on 4, 13, 18 November, and by Yuhui Choe on 5, 9, 17 November- role debut

By Evgenia Obraztsova in the Sleeping Beauty (31 October, 14, 21 November)

By Marianela Nunez in the Nutcracker on 27 November, 5 December and by Laura Morera on 11, 30 December

As you can see, Lauren had many scheduled performances, so it must have been quite some organization to replace her.

Federico Bonelli is injured, and replaced for his performances this autumn as follows:

30 October, 12, 17 November: By Johan Kobborg in Tamara Rojo's Sleeping Beauty cast

26 November, 2 December: Replaced by Steven McRae in the Nutcracker (with Miyako Yoshida, which is apparently her season with RB). Role debut

Zenaida Yanowsky is replaced for her only scheduled performances this autumn, in Agon. 4, 13, 18 November, Melissa Hamilton will make her role debut in her place.

Viacheslav Samodurov too has been replaced for his only scheduled performances in booking period one or two: Steven McRae will replace him in The Sleeping Beauty in Roberta Marquez's cast, 31 October, 6, 14 November, McRae's role debut. No reason given for this change...

The cast of Wayne McGregor's new work, which is now named Limen and is in the triple bill with Agon and Sphinx, has been announced, as follows: Leanne Benjamin, Samantha Raine, Steven McRae, Ryoichi Hirano, Marianela Nuñez, Helen Crawford, Brian Maloney, Liam Scarlett, Sarah Lamb, Olivia Cowley, Eric Underwood, Johannes Stepanek, Melissa Hamilton, Sian Murphy, Edward Watson and Sergei Polunin. It's the same cast for all performances.

I hope that makes it a bit more understandable!

Meanwhile, the season already opened with Mayerling last week. Sleeping Beauty will open next week also. I've only seen 1 performance of Mayerling (Watson, Galeazzi, Lamb) so I'll write a little about it when I've seen other casts too..

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