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2015 US Tour


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Thanks for the clip, Ken, that is the cast I saw last night and they were superb. The very end of the ballet was very moving....the three principals joined hands and walked in slow

motion downstage and seemed to be walking on clouds.

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You may find this footage interesting ... The Royal Ballet has just released it. It's home movies from the 1955 tour of the USA and Canada by the RB. It's amazing to see just how much of New York is the same ... after 60 years ... Oh, but that Camel smoke won't see that now, huh ... If you go through to the end you will see a rehearsal on the West Coast (I assume) of Sleeping Beauty .... Was that Ashton as Carabosse??? ... You see Puss in his boots but no mask ... and the last act PDD is being rehearsed in heels by Aurora ... All in all a blast from the past ... and, as such, a privileged peek ;)

Who is dancing Aurora? Is it Beryl Grey by any chance? Also, Blue Bird looks like Rowena Jackson. Anyone know? Very fun. I see the same low placement of the leg for pirouettes as we saw in ABT's "SB" this season. And of course the lower arabesques which were common then. Still wonderful.

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Better response from the audience for Song of the Earth this evening--people in the orchestra still left by the dozens well before curtain calls were over, but those that remained received the ballet quite warmly. I was struck by how different Cuthbertson was in it than either Morera or Nunez. I liked her long lines, but in the beginning found her affect cooler than the other two. I didn't dislike that, but it did make the ballet feel different...by the end she built up the same kind of emotion ... But it still felt a more restrained interpretation. A great pleasure to see Watson again as the Messenger of Death. The other main male role was danced by Hirano. I confess I would like to see the ballet with someone who makes a stronger impression than I thought Kish or he did in that part, but it's possible I'm looking for the wrong things. I like the ballet very much.

The Dream received a more energetic and funny performance tonight than it had earlier in the week (with Golding as Oberon working up a little more speed than he had last night and the ensemble looking the most polished it has all week too). It got a very warm reception -- I think the warmest I have heard for the Royal this visit. In case anyone is wondering: Osipova, who danced Titania, did not slip--she was also a touch more restrained in the turns that last night had preceded the slip--and portions of the pas de deux with Golding went better than last night. To my eyes, she gives one the wild woodland creature Titania, though perhaps not equally effectively at all moments. I find her fascinating in the role.

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I saw two performances of Song of the Earth and thought that the Watson/Cuthbertson/Hirano trio was way more effective than Acosta/Nunez/Kish. Acosta and Nunez are both too sunny and Nunez in particular seemed like she was doing a series of flawless classroom exercises. I'm not surprised Watson was great -- he was so effective as Price Rudolf in that Mayerling video. But I thought he was wonderfully creepy as the Messenger of Death, and great at mirroring others' body movements like a ghost.

The two performances of The Dream were also very different -- McRae and Lamb more polished but a bit twee, Golding/Osipova more uneven (especially in partnering) but also more dynamic. Both Bottoms (Jonathan Howells and Bennet Gartside) were great, but neither James Hay nor Valentino Zecchetti erased memories of Herman Cornejo.

Full thoughts here: http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2015/06/still-loyal-to-royal.html

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Well, this was my 3rd night at the RB, my 2nd seeing Golding and Osipova (and Zucchetti as Puck) in The Dream. Tonight I saw The Dream from Row B orchestra (Side) and Song of The Earth from Row D (thank you Goldstar). Sitting so close is a very different experience from further back, where I usually sit, so it's hard to compare performances. It's never my choice to sit so close. The first thing I noticed about The Dream was how EXTREMELY hard the role of Oberon is. Much more difficult than any other in the ballet. Going, as Golding did, from 6 pirouettes into a penchée or arabesque? Wow! And he has to do that multiple times. The role of Titania is really nothing. Thankfully, no mishaps from Osipova tonight. But I really don't like (or understand) how she does the quick pencil turns basically in 5th position. I far preferred Sarah Lamb, who did them with the working leg 1 foot away from the standing leg. I also think Osipova simply isn't elegant enough as Titania. One thing I did notice was how soft her point shoes look. Like she's taken out the shank and totally destroyed the toe box. Usually dancers do that so their feet look better (assuming they're strong enough not to need the support). But her feet are still just so-so. Also, because I was on the side I could see Matt warming up (mainly his feet) to make his entrance. Very distracting yet funny. Zucchetti has nice long legs, a nice split jump but still Cornejo owns the role of Puck. Sorry. As Drew noted, the ballet received fairly warm applause. For NYers the applause has been a bit tepid most of the week. But based on when I saw the Mariinsky in London last August, London audiences are VERY restrained. No clapping during the performance and certainly no cheering or bravos at the end (except for me). So I'm sure the RB dancers are not offended.

Song of The Earth had Cuthbertson in the lead tonight and again Lara Turk subbed for an apparently injured Melissa Hamilton in the 4th Song. Ryochi Hirano did the male lead with Watson again as the Messenger of Death. I have never been much of a Cuthbertson fan before but I loved her tonight! I thought she was exquisite, very moving and emotional. And what a gorgeous face!! It showed every emotion possible. After the show, at the stage door, she was mobbed by about 30 female SAB students. She graciously signed autographs and took pictures while her boyfriend waited with her flowers and presents in hand for at least 30 minutes. I have to say I liked Kish way more than Hirano. He has longer limbs, better technique and looks to be a better partner. I thought Lara Turk was lovely. Tall, long limbed, strong technique and able to emote. She's definitely one to watch. Watson was the same. I have to say I still don't understand this ballet, even after reading the poems. But I liked it a lot more. And, finally, towards the end, I saw some recognizable Macmillan steps.

Now on to the rep program. I have to say I'm really enjoying the RB and thrilled I missed all the mediocre (or worse) ABT SLs.

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But based on when I saw the Mariinsky in London last August, London audiences are VERY restrained. No clapping during the performance and certainly no cheering or bravos at the end (except for me). So I'm sure the RB dancers are not offended.

Don't you believe it, Amour! There may be less clapping during the performance (praise be!) but London audiences often go wild for the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and visiting companies - with a lot of shouting and prolonged applause.

Maybe Vadim Muntagirov in the extract from Le Train Bleu today will get you New Yorkers going??

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To mimsyb: I think it's Violetta Elvin as Aurora.

Judging from a large headshot in Ballet Panorama by Baron, published in 1954, it looks like Elvin to me. In any case, the whole video is just delightful. Thanks, meunier fan!

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Applause for the Royal has been warm. Not quite as effusive as ABT during, say, Swan Lake but then again ABT is sort of different in that each principal often has a devoted cheering section with flower throwers and stuff. However ABT audiences can be so frosty when it's a mixed bill or even a more low-key full length ballet like La Bayadere.

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And, yes, it's Rowena Jackson in Bluebird pas de deux.

Thanks. I had thought perhaps Maryon Lane. If my aging brain remembers correctly, this was the year that when the Royal came to San Francisco I was a student at San Francisco Ballet and was chosen to be one of the few used for children's roles in various ballets. I got to do "Sleeping Beauty", "Swan Lake" and also "Coppelia". Our "roles" or choreography was taught to us by Jill Gregory, who did everything while wearing quite tall high heels! I was impressed! My partner for "Coppelia" was Basil Thompson. I have always had a soft spot for the Royal over the years, I think partially because I had the opportunity to see so many of the great dancers of that era up close and on the stage. Just being there with them was an education in stage deportment and stage presence. Never to be forgotten! They also allowed us to watch them take class on stage, which was also very fun. Good times; good memories. Thanks for the video.

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I attended the Royal Ballet performance tonight.
The good-

Generally superb divertissements, especially Choe/Campbell in Voices of Spring set to Strauss's music and Acosta/Lamb in Carousel ('If I Loved you') pdd which stood out in terms of their theatricality, humor, rhythm, and athleticism

Infra - a ballet about urban/metropolitan life set under a LED banner with moving stick figures which reminded me in many ways of NYCB's Glass Pieces. It was enthralling with a particularly touching moment being a grieving woman (Nunez I believe) ignored while a crowd surges past her

The OK-

Nunez/Bonelli in Aeternum - I struggled to connect with this work. I recall some beautiful fish dives but the music was jarring and this piece paled relative to the other two pdd divertissements

The bad-

The age of anxiety - what was this about? The whole thing started off well enough with a beautiful 1940s set in a midtown bar. Then it became increasingly incoherent - the whole piece was great at evoking anxiety but did not make any sense. Between the random entry of the soldier and his girlfriend (who proceeded to get hit on by another), people repeatedly using the washroom at the bar, the bacchanalia that resulted in everyone getting kicked out by the bartender, one of the guys passing out in his new lover's apartment to her chagrin, and then the random 'empire state of mind' finale, it was all just too much reminiscent of a drunken night out that one would rather forget

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This afternoon's performance of Infra, along with a collection of excerpts, pas de deux, solos etc. and Age Of Anxiety had, for my taste, mixed results, though I found the Scarlett consistently rather interesting which I had not quite anticipated. Same program in the evening with mostly different dancers (in many cases more senior or in case of the Scarlett the 'original' cast) went rather better. Age of Anxiety is the third Scarlett ballet I have seen and the first that has made me curious about how he will develop.

Don't know about this afternoon, but this evening Scarlett was in the audience, as was Wheeldon (whose pas de deux from Aeternum was one of the excerpts danced) and Justin Peck. From the NYCB family I also saw Peter Martins, Darci Kistler, and Amar Ramasar--and from the Royal's Monica Mason. I rather suspect someone sharper eyed than myself, or more familiar with the two companies, would have recognized others.

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danc1988, the grieving woman tonight in Infra was Lauren Cuthbertson, who the work was created on. Nunez danced the final PDD that came last in the piece. More thoughts, later.

Oops. It was a dark set in Infra and hard to distinguish who was whom from fourth ring. blushing.gif

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Oops. It was a dark set in Infra and hard to distinguish who was whom from fourth ring. :blushing:

Ooh! I'm glad the 4th ring was finally open (though I was in the orchestra). And finally some good NYC thunderous applause tonight for basically everything:))

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I thought Infra had some interesting parts, and some less interesting parts. Overall, I prefer Chroma. If this kind of ultra modern pull me stretch me choreography is not your thing, you will not enjoy it. Most of the pdd and bits and pieces were very interesting. Unlike the post above, I liked the Aeterum pdd and was wishing I could see the entire work. I thought the Age of Anxiety was a bore. The sets and costumes were first rate, though Why are the intermissions running over 30 minutes?

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I saw 'Age of Anxiety' at the Sat Mat....for me, it was 'Fancy Free' updated for our current times.....it was a joy to see a contemporary ballet with marvelous sets (ah! shades of the glory days of Ballet Theater) The first scene was a bar, the second an apartment living room and the third, a wonderful backdrop curtain of NYC. (John MacFarlane, with lighting by Tipton) There were three main male characters and one girl.....I wondered how they would pair off. I assumed two of the boys would be gay and the other male would pair off with the girl.....but

the males were all gay....and the girl??? deep anxietyspeechless-smiley-003.gif. I hadn't heard the Bernstein score in a long time and thoroughly enjoyed it........All in all, the Royal Ballet was a great antidote to ABT

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I attended the Sat eve show. Infra would be better without the digital media. I found it softer than Chroma, which I found kind of harsh. It was neat to see RB dancers in a completely different genre; Osipova even more extreme than in her Solo for Two choreography, and fun to compare after seeing her dance Titiana in The Dream.

I also liked Aeternum best of the Divertissments, and would like to see more.

Funny, I had same thoughts on Anxiety as the two posts above. Reminded me of Fancy Free, but for me not as musicial so it was way too long. I really enjoyed Steven McRae's dancing and seeing Laura Morera (after seeing her in Song of Earth Thursday) in a completely different role.

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Please send Infra to the ballet graveyard immediately. The dancers' bodies did incredible twisty things, but to no effect other than to look backbreaking. Absolute bore. When the video cartoon people in the area above the stage are more interesting than the dancers you know you're in trouble.

Despite the excoriating review in the Times, I enjoyed the balance of the program, although I'd call "Voices of Spring" (however charming) slighter than the "Beau Gosse" excerpt. Brief as it was, it was certainly nice to see Muntagirov looking more animated than he did when he danced Solor with ABT a couple of summers ago, where he seemed zonked from jet-lag, or in a trance, or both.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Age of Anxiety," to my surprise. Yes, it's "Fancy Free" turned inside-out, and no, its narrative is hardly incoherent (unless you are unable to follow a story), and yes, how can I not enjoy watching Steven McRae. By the way, although Alastair thought the men were English bisexuals, not Americans (does he know something I don't?...hmmm), the young gay man (Tristan Dyer, I believe) who was attracted to McRae clearly had a patch on the shoulder of his jacket that read "Canada."

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By the way, although Alastair thought the men were English bisexuals, not Americans (does he know something I don't?...hmmm), the young gay man (Tristan Dyer, I believe) who was attracted to McRae clearly had a patch on the shoulder of his jacket that read "Canada."

The character named Malin, danced by Federico Bonelli at the performance I saw, is indeed a member of the Canadian armed forces. Both the Bernstein score and Scarlett's ballet are based on W. H. Auden's 1948 Pulitzer-prize winning poem of the same name. The poem is very long -- essentially book length -- and features the same the same four main characters as Scarlett's ballet: Rosetta, a department store buyer; Quant, a middle-aged clerk; Emble, a Navy recruit; and Malin, a Canadian airman. Scarlett is true to the poem's setting, Manhattan, and more or less true to the poem's story-line, such as it is; most of the text is taken up with its protagonists' philosophical ruminations, however, to which the ballet can do little more than allude, really, and no surprise there. The poem's Wikipedia page is pretty sparse; if you're not familiar with the Auden, this Glynn Maxwell piece, which considers it in the context of Bernstein's symphony, might be a better intro. (I did battle with Auden's poem when I was in grad school; let's just say it wasn't where my head was at then ...)

I too liked Scarlett's ballet more than I expected to and would like to be able to see it again. I think the resemblances to "Fancy Free" are superficial once the dust settles, however.

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Brief as it was, it was certainly nice to see Muntagirov looking more animated than he did when he danced Solor with ABT a couple of summers ago, where he seemed zonked from jet-lag, or in a trance, or both.

Muntagirov did not come across to me like that at all when he danced Solor with ABT last year.

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Please send Infra to the ballet graveyard immediately.

Couldn't agree more. What passes for "ballet" these days is pretty disheartening. Am I the only one who thought it was terribly vulgar when one of the guys takes the ballerina's foot and rubs his crotch with it a few times wallbash.gif So sad that after an 11 year absence this is what they decided to bring us.

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I attended the Saturday Matinee and loved most of the programme.

I was really taken by "Infra". It is such an emotional ballet and I adored the music. The dancers showed such strength and grace, and their flexibility is amazing. I also loved the Julien Opie background design of moving images. I was particularly pleased to be able to watch Yasmine Naghdi again, a dancer I really took to after watching her dance "Amour" in Washington. Naghdi and Ball danced the Finale pdd in "Infra" and they looked stunning together to say the least. All the dancers in "Infra" were lovely but for me it was Ball and Naghdi who stood out. I am now even contemplating flying over to London to see them dance "Romeo and Juliet" this Autumn.

I did not enjoy "Age of Anxiety" and I rather forget about it. "Aeternum" was gorgeous, such a pity the RB did not show us the complete ballet. The other Divertissements were pleasant enough to watch but I would have preferred to see the Royal Ballet dance a full-length classical ballet in NY. Hopefully next time.

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