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volcanohunter

Royal Ballet cinema season 2016-17

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It's first intermission at Sundance cinema in Seattle.

 

Stix-Brunnel's arms were lovely in the Verdy role.  Laura Morera was stunning in the Mimi Paul role .  Both of the women in the trio, Emma Maguire and Helen Crawford, were superb.  The taller of the two, did the second solo like I'd never seen it before.  On the whole, the performances were individual, very well thought out, with details galore, and there was terrific energy in Emeralds, which can often drift off into vapors. 

 

Patricia Neary is a force of nature.

 

Balanchine would have been surprised to learn that he trained and danced in France.

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The Royal Opera House is encouraging us to tweet our impressions.

 

I don't think they really want me to, apart from really liking the corps and the pianist.  As Tall Girl, Melissa Hamilton really shone in the last movement, where the choreography is non-stop.  The challenge of Tall Girl in the first movement is the same as in Flamenco: you have to be able to nail something and increase the energy when you're still.

 

Steven McCrae did what Rubies men do when they don't get that energy from their partners: he projected forward.  The key to the leads, especially in the past, is that it's a conversation, and you have to feel the electricity between them.  

 

Sigh.

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Everything Marianela Nunez did was from her live core.  That she added a whiff of Black Swan to the end of the pas de deux as she boureed away at the end was too delicious.  She and the four Demis, Claire Calvert, Tierney Heap, Yasmine Naghdi, and  Beatrix Stix-Brunell, put me in such a happy place, that spending three hours in the dark on a precious sun-filled Seattle day and knowing I've got work to finish when I get home can't put a dent in it.

 

Nunez is Da Bomb.

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Helene,

It is very interesting to read your views on the streamed performance. I should certainly like to read more of your thoughts on the quality of the performances which were on show. At one time the Royal Ballet used to dance Balanchine with a strong local accent. It does not do so to the same extent now but then it does not dance its Ashton repertory as idiomatically as it once did.

 

I think that generally this run of Jewels has proved to be the most successful that the company has mounted and in large part that is because it now has the dancers to do Emeralds justice.All the ballets were multi cast and it was able to muster three casts for Emeralds each of whom caught the elusive quality of the ballet. I am not sure that we would all have agreed that the cast for Rubies which appeared in the streamed performance was the best of the run but then I think that when it comes to streamed performances management feels that it is under an obligation to show the company's senior and best known dancers as for many people living outside London this is the only opportunity that the audience has of seeing dancers of whom they have heard.Lamb can be a very cold remote dancer and she did not really thaw out with McRae. I think that a lot of people were disappointed that Osipova was not paired with McRae for this revival.Although it may not have been quite what Mr B. intended, what they did with the Rubies pas de deux when they appeared in it had to be seen to be believed.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Helene said:

Balanchine would have been surprised to learn that he trained and danced in France.

I chuckled when I heard that, too.

 

Emeralds is my favorite part of Jewels and, by and large, I thought the Royal did it justice. Beatrix Stix-Brunell and Laura Morera were lovely in their roles although the "afterimage" (as Arlene Croce described it) I was left with was that of the superb trio: Emma Maguire, Helen Crawford and James Hay. The two cavaliers, Valeri Hristov and Ryoichi Hirano, were nondescript but, in Balanchine, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

 

Rubies was a split decision for me. Steven McRae lit up the stage in his part but, alas, Sarah Lamb was a theatrical blank in hers. On a happier note, I did make -- for the first time -- certain connections between Rubies and other forms of theatrical dance. I still don't think of it as a "jazz" dance but parts of it reminded me of a Busby Berkeley musical from the 30s. Balanchine almost certainly would have seen those musicals and stored away the best parts from them for future use. I was also intrigued by Balanchine's use of everyday movement. People forget that, in 1967, postmodernist dance (that is, presenting everyday movement as dance) was the rising tide in New York. Balanchine's use of this was almost like him saying to Yvonne Rainier and the other postmodernists: "Anything you can do, I can do better." He also prefigured postmodernist dance in the 70s when the postmodernists started presenting stylized versions of everyday movement instead of the raw, real thing.

 

My reaction to Diamonds is a lot like my reaction to the Martha Graham repertory without Graham in it: No matter how well the lead ballerina dances it, there's a negative space there without Suzanne Farrell. That being said, Marianela Nunez was beautiful in it. Her cavalier, Thiago Soares, labored hard and there was a moment where he made a face where he knew he was laboring hard.

 

Hideous set designs and I prefer the Christian Lacroix costumes for the Paris Opera Ballet's production to the Karinska costumes.

 

The camera work was mostly good although there were certain moments in Rubies when I wished the director had gone to close-up of Steven Mcrae when he was sprinting around the stage with the other four guys. He was clearly doing some fun head tilts with them that would have registered better in close-up.

 

All in all, a pleasant way to spend a few hours in a movie theater. I don't know that Jewels is Balanchine's masterpiece. But it is a way for a ballet company to project how "mega" it is in the world ballet marketplace and the Royal certainly achieved that.

 

Edited by miliosr

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5 hours ago, miliosr said:

... On a happier note, I did make -- for the first time -- certain connections between Rubies and other forms of theatrical dance. I still don't think of it as a "jazz" dance but parts of it reminded me of a Busby Berkeley musical from the 30s. Balanchine almost certainly would have seen those musicals and stored away the best parts from them for future use. I was also intrigued by Balanchine's use of everyday movement. People forget that, in 1967, postmodernist dance (that is, presenting everyday movement as dance) was the rising tide in New York. Balanchine's use of this was almost like him saying to Yvonne Rainier and the other postmodernists: "Anything you can do, I can do better."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes -

Agree. Balanchine was making Broadway and Hollywood musicals at the same time as Busby. The influence of musicals on Balanchine is pretty significant. And I like that hypothetical image of Balanchine and Rainier.

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I can't say how much Nunez is indicative of Royal Ballet style/training, but while I wouldn't call her a Balanchine dancer, she did not have the mannerisms and imposition of a dominant style that I've seen from other companies, particularly the exaggerated backs and uber extensions.   While "Diamonds" might be "Swan Lake"'s cousin in the pas de deux -- and "Raymonda"'s in the final movement, with its character dance influences -- it's neither of those ballets, and that is often the default when non-Balanchine companies do it, and that's often most evident in their casting.  (In general, Kitri's need not apply.)

 

I particularly appreciated that everything was controlled by and radiated from her center, and she didn't break the axis or the line, which is rare in general.  

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The RB cinema broadcast on 7 June is Zenaida Yanowsky's farewell performance.  She appears in the final work of the evening with Roberto Bolle.  This performance is also broadcast free to various outdoor screens around the UK. 

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A little late to the party, but nonetheless...

 

I love Emeralds best as well, though I have moments in the other sections that I'm always looking for.   This cast of Emeralds really did it for me, especially Stix-Brunell.  I was so impressed with the way she filled the stage with her presence.

 

I've liked Macrae very much in other things, but this particular performance felt too clean to me -- the moments that are supposed to be aggressive or pugnacious felt too winsome, like he was winking at us.  And Lamb, while very skilled technically, was very controlled, which felt wrong.

 

I do like Nunez' version of Diamonds here -- she was regal without being imperial.  But I was really disappointed in the camera work -- they cut back and forth between cameras far too often, as if they didn't trust the dance itself to keep our attention.

 

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Even later to the party.

 

I did have a few reservations about the pointe work of Stix-Brunell. Sometimes her rises onto pointe were two-stage affairs--one motion to get up and a second to lock her ankle, which would send a sort of jolt through her entire trunk. I found this to be a greater problem in "Diamonds." On the other hand Morera, who has smaller and sturdier feet, had perfectly seamless pointe work. In Hamilton's case my objection was to the way she would ram her knees straight, a common hazard given the current predilection for gummy bodies and hyperextended joints, but one that sent a jolt through my trunk with every échappé. Patricia Neary, like most Balanchine dancers of her day, had rapier-straight legs, and it's a body type that I think works better in the Tall Girl role. I appreciated that Nuñez was true to herself and approached "Diamonds" in her own way. The remote ice princess interpretation is cliché today, so I'm especially grateful for ballerinas who don't fall into that trap, such as Nuñez (or Mearns, or Körbes). I'm wish that when Soares fell out of his grand pirouette the look of disappointment on his face hadn't been so obvious.

 

I enjoyed the performance, but I do wish it'd had a bit more of the "local accent" Ashton Fan mentioned. That's the pleasure of seeing the work performed by companies other than New York City Ballet.

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The Ashton triple bill of The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand will be broadcast live to European cinemas on June 7. If you're lucky, a screening may be coming to your corner of the U.S. in the coming weeks. Search for showings using the "screening search" box.

https://www.roh.org.uk/showings/the-dreamsymphonic-variationsmarguerite-and-armand-live-2017

 

The posted casting isn't especially detailed.

 

The Dream - Akane Takada & Steven McRae
Symphonic Variations - Marianela Nuñez & Vadim Muntagirov
Marguerite and Armand - Zenaida Yanowsky & Roberto Bolle

 

As Lynette H mentioned above, this is Yanowsky's farewell at Covent Garden.

Edited by volcanohunter

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Alas, the theater in Seattle that was scheduled to show it has just been closed. 

 

I've been trying to see Symphonic Variations live for years and years -- this is the closest I was going to get.  Obviously, I'm doomed.

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We had talked about taking a field trip to Bellingham for it, but, alas, the weekend performance is on Sunday, July 9 at 11am, the day of Kabby Mitchell's memorial at the Paramount.

 

The alternate day showing is on Wednesday, July 12 at 6pm. which may be too close to a software launch I'm working on to take time off, but I might know better closer to the date.

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The casting  I expect to see this evening is the one which danced on Friday evening they are as follows :-

 

The Dream

 

Titania             Akane  Takada replacing Lamb who is injured. She made her                                                                            debut in the role on 2nd June.    .

 

Oberon           Steven McRae

Puck               Valentino Zucchetti

Bottom            Benet Gartside

 

Helena            Itziar Mendizabal

Demetrius       Thomas Mock

Hermia            Claire Calvert

Lysander         Matthew Ball

 

Peaseblossom Gemma Pitchley-Gale

Cobweb           Emma Maguire

Moth                Elizabeth Harrod

Mutardseed     Romany Pajdak

 

 Symphonic Variations

 

Marianela Nunez     Vadim Muntagirov

Yuhui Choe             James Hay

Yasmine Naghdi      Tristan Dyer

 

Marguerite and Armand

 

Marguerite    Zenaida Yanowsky 

Armand         Roberto Bolle

His Father     Christopher Saunders

A Duke          Gary Avis

 

Admirers of Marguerite 

Matthew Ball, Reece Clarke, David Donnelly, Nicol Edmonds, Kevin Emerton, Thomas Mock, Fernando Montano, Erico Montes

 

 

I would not usually bother with the list of admirers as they merely decorate the stage but I think that the list is of interest in much the same way that the cast for the pas de six in the streamed performance of Giselle was of interest in that it represented a snapshot in time of dancers some of whom have advanced to the top of the company and others who may well do so.

 

In this list the dancers to look out for are Ball who actually dances a few steps in this work and Reece Clarke who is the tallest of the group and who is dancing the male lead in the second cast of Symphonic with Cuthbertson. There are quite a few people who have expressed regret that Clarke is not dancing Armand in place of Bolle but presumably that would have caused all sorts of problems  as far as ensuring that Symphonic did not become a training opportunity in the way it did when it was last revived.

 

The general feeling is that Naghdi, Ball and Clarke will all move up a rank when the promotions are announced at the end of the season.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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12 hours ago, Helene said:

We had talked about taking a field trip to Bellingham for it, but, alas, the weekend performance is on Sunday, July 9 at 11am, the day of Kabby Mitchell's memorial at the Paramount.

 

The alternate day showing is on Wednesday, July 12 at 6pm. which may be too close to a software launch I'm working on to take time off, but I might know better closer to the date.

 

I'll drive -- and you know I hate driving...

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Unfortunately, the last bus to Seattle out of Bellingham leaves at 8:30pm, which is not enough time to see it and get home any other way.  I could get a car2go and drive, if you don't mind bump-bumping to Bellingham.

 

Anything for art :)

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The digital program for the Ashton bill has been made available free of charge with the promo code FREEASHTON. Click on the red link that asks, "Do you have a promo code?"

http://www.roh.org.uk/publications/the-dream-mixed-digital-programme

The Dream

Titania Akane Takada
Oberon Steven McRae
Changeling Indian Boy Ambrose Bartlett
Puck Valentino Zucchetti
Bottom Bennet Gartside
Rustics Benjamin Ella, Kevin Emerton, Solomon Golding,
Erico Montes, Calvin Richardson

Helena Itziar Mendizabal
Demetrius Tomas Mock
Hermia Claire Clavert
Lysander Matthew Ball
Peaseblossom Gemma Pitchley-Gale
Cobweb Emma Maguire
Moth Elizabeth Harrod
Mustardseed Romany Pajdak
Fairies Artists of The Royal Ballet
London Oratory Junior Choir

Symphonic Variations

Marianela Nuñez   Vadim Muntagirov

Yasmine Naghdi   James Hay

Yuhui Choe   Tristan Dyer

Solo piano Paul Stobart

Marguerite and Armand

Marguerite Zenaida Yanowsky 
Armand Roberto Bolle
His Father Christopher Saunders
A Duke Gary Avis
Admirers of Marguerite Matthew Ball, Reece Clarke, David Donnelly, Nicol Edmonds, Kevin Emerton, Tomas Mock, Fernando Montaño, Erico Montes
Maid Mica Bradbury
Solo piano Robert Clark

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For some reason I get the reply "unknown exception" when I try this.

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17 minutes ago, sandik said:

For some reason I get the reply "unknown exception" when I try this.

 

Worked for me

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35 minutes ago, kbarber said:

 

Worked for me

 

Yes, well, I've already accepted that I'm doomed when it comes to Symphonic Variations...

 

I'll have my daughter do it -- she doesn't care one way or the other!

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Good news for Seattle people -- this will be screened at the Crest on June  July 11 at 7 pm!  (the theater where it was originally scheduled was closed abruptly at the beginning of the week)

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Argh it conflicts with the season encore at PNB

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