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RB Mixed Bill 4/8/01


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What a fantastic evening. I feel so lucky to have seen the best dancers in the world (my opinion) in an array of divertissments sandwiched between 2 of my favourite ballets.

The Dream

It was wonderful to see it's 200th performance fielded by such a strong cast. Sarah Wildor was a fiery Titania and Carlos Acosta's Oberon was arrogant and majestic, the final pdd taking my breath away. I also thought Justin Meissner and Jonathan Howells did fantastic work as Puck and Bottom. My only minor criticism? That there was so many interesting things going on all over the stage - the fairies darting between the trees, Puck hanging off a branch and egging on for a fight, the quarelling lovers - I had a hard time deciding who to watch!

Monotones II

I hadn't a clue what to expect of Ashton's Monotones II, but Alistair Marriot, Zenaida Yanowsky and Maurice Vodegel-Matzen won me over fast. The bare black backdrop and white unitards and Yanowsky's long legs would have exposed every single flaw in the dancing - but there were none. It was very quiet and very moving.

The Sleeping Beauty

Awakenings pdd

Cojocaru and Putrov made a loving match in Sleeping Beauty Awakenings pdd. Putrov was promoted from corps to soloist after the mixed bill on Thursday, I've read, and I thought it was very much deserved after seeing him both as Beliav in A Month in the Country on Friday, and as the Prince on Saturday. Cojocaru continues to astound me - she's one of the most expressive dancers I've ever seen, and especially for one who isn't yet 20.


Act I Scene 2 pdd

I hadn't been a great fan of either Benjamin or Manon until now. But she and Kobborg were dreamy and passionate and I saw the pdd in a completely different light. Kobborg, whom I saw in The Dream the day before just confirmed for me what an extraordinary dancer he is.

Don Q

Act III pdd

After the fireworks of Rojo and Acosta on Friday, I didn't think either Yoshida or Urlezaga would surprise me, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I thought they were very exciting - Inaki's one handed lifts, double tour en l'airs interspersed with pirouettes (probably a dozen in a row) and Miyako's spot-on fouettes.

A Month in the Country

I had to remind myself to breathe when watching A Month in the Country. I'd only seen it for the first time on Friday and it ranks as a close second to favourite ballets. I can't think of a more perfect cast than Guillem, Cope, Cojocaru and Meissner. Cope missed several performances due to illness, so I was very pleased to see him back. Everything about it I found beautiful, poetic - the kite, the sets, the costumes and above all the dancing and music. Does anyone know if a CD with all the Chopin piano pieces exists?

I'm both bubbling and desolate as it is the last of RB until October. And as it was the Queen Mother's 101st birthday, we had a royal turnout as well. I was a bit dumbstruck when Princess Margaret was wheeled past me, and it was a pleasure to see the Queen and Queen Mother as I'd never seen royalty before. And Anthony Dowell's retirement speech was both sweet and touching.

There are many more reviews on http://www.ballet.co.uk

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I saw this too!!! I had a wonderful trip and I wrote everyone a little "postcard" which I'll now print.


You start with a strained back that's been hounding you for over a week and threatening the success of your trip. We're talking pain whose prescribed medication nauseates you. Rock and a hard place. You get the picture.

Royal Opera House, mixed bill, heavy on Ashton, great seats. It opened with The Dream which is a "dream" of sets and costumes. Much had been posted about The Dream lately so I got a hint of its flavor. Having never seen it I relaxed and let it "do its thing" on me. Thank you all for those posts because I was carried away by the music, dance and choreography. Sarah Wildor and Acosta starred, but so did the rest of the cast. The pdd between Wildor and Acosta was so beautiful and sensual. Wildor is a lush dancer: lush in build and lush in technique. She moved me to tears.

Add to this a meeting with Jane Simpson and her husband at the intervals. I won't embarrass them with details (unless they want me to!) but they were most gracious and my husband and I had a wonderful time with them. My public thanks to both.

Next the the Sleeping Beauty pdd, totally foreign to me in choreography by Ashton and music by Tchaikovsky. Apparently Ashton added this as part of the awakening scene. And then....THEN....Monotones II. Finally. I have no words. The music has been an emotional part of my life; I guess you could choreograph a soccor game to it and I'd love it. But Ashton choreographed the most marvelous ballet and I'll never recover. Christina Arestis starred and was perfect. I mean it: perfect. One of her male partners was off in timing, but in spite of this the ballet, to me, was perfection. Remember that thread we had about ballets that make you cry? I was a sobbing mess, which caused my husband to look at me askance. He did that. This was one of those ballet moments that bring you back to the theater time after time. Oh, I really do love ballet!

After that things were downhill but still wonderful. We had the bedroom pdd from Manon with Benjamin and Kobberg. I love MacMillan and Manon. I agree completely with Sylvia about Benjamin as Manon; she gave what I think is the best presentation I've seen. She was strong and secure. This was followed by the Don Q pdd with Yoshida and Urlezaga. As a couple they did not shine but their solos were very good. If you're into the fouette thing, hers were excellent.

The evening ended with A Month in the Country. Now I'll walk over broken glass to see Guillem, and I truly like A Month in the Country, but.....! Murru subbed for Cope and, having seen so much of him lately I'm getting to like him quite a bit. But nothing clicked between him and Guillem, and Guillem's idiosyncricies (spelling) are finally getting to me. None the less the choreography is gorgeous, as are the costumes Natalia/Guillem gets to wear.

I saw this program once more but it couldn't match the excitement of seeing it for the first time. Later I saw, again!, Guillem's Giselle. Nothing had improved.

Finally, may I add that the applause was applied at the correct moments. No burst when the star emerged, no hoots when sensational dance steps (including multiple fouettes) were offered, and (I could hardly believe it) total silence as the Willies did their traveling arabesques across the stage!



[ 08-22-2001: Message edited by: Giannina Mooney ]

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Giannina, I was wondering when your posts on the mixed bill would crop up - I remember you saying you were coming to London way back in June!

I'm so happy you enjoyed it too. When I think back to it, I just smile and smile. My only regret? That I didn't see all 5 performances.

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Giannina - I'm so glad you enjoyed the Mixed Bill performance. I went to the last matinee and evening, and saw two casts. I agree absolutely with you about Wildor who really can dance Ashton, and also about The Dream and Monotones, both wonderful ballets. A pity you didn't see Muriel Valtat in Month - she isn't a principal, and only did one performance, I think, but was much nearer than Guillem, I felt, to Ashton's intentions.

I'm glad that there's someone else who cries at ballet! Though I have to admit I used to cry much more - is it me or is it ballet that has changed? I'll never know....

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You're welcome, Alexandra.

Helena...I did see Valtat in "A Month...." at the Sat. matinee. The problem was her co-star, Putrov. Both are fine dancers, but Putrov looked much much too young for the more mature Valtat and the plot lost is plausability for me.


[ 08-22-2001: Message edited by: Giannina Mooney ]

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Giannina - I didn't think of Putrov looking too young, though I didn't think that he had the measure of the role yet.

I suppose, as a fanatical Fonteyn and Nureyev watcher I found the combination of somewhat sophisticated older woman and ardent young Russian quite familiar! I have no idea how old Valtat is, but not very old, I would think.

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Gianna -

I'm thrilled by your wonderful review of the RB's mixed bill - I simply didn't want it to end. I think its amazing how passion for something - some art form - brings out the hidden writer in us all.

And I agree with you absolutely about 'Monotones'. To me, it's the most perfect ballet, and it moves me almost to tears to.

Re Muriel Valtat, she certainly isn't 'old' - there was a thread on Ballet.co a while back expressing amazement that she had been cast as the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet. She can't be more than in her mid-30s, if that.

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Giannina, the real interest of your visit may only become apparent in five or ten years - will you be able to say you saw some of the last performances of the 'old' Royal Ballet?

I wish we'd been able to see the originally announced Urlezaga as the tutor in Month in the Country - his normal air of slight bewilderment might have made him just right!

(And it was great meeting you - come back soon!)

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