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Royal Ballet roster changes for 2017-18

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The RB published its promotions and leavers list this morning, including:


Yasmin Naghdi promoted to Principal


Matthew Golding leaves the company


Bennet Gartside, Christina Arestis, Kristen McNally and Thomas Whitehead promoted to Principal Character Artist


Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambe promoted to First Soloist


Reece Clark, Benjamin Ella and Anna Rose O'Sullivan promoted to Soloist


Hannah Grennell, Calvin Richardson, Gina Storm-Jensen, and David Yudes promoted to First Artist


Full listing



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I think most of the promotions were widely expected - the surprise perhaps is that Kevin O'Hare was reported to have said he would no longer promote to the Principal Character Artist rank - I'm pleased that he's changed his mind (or was misquoted), especially for the sake of Bennett Gartside who for me has been performing at that level for the last several years.

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

Congratulations to all.


(When the Royal was last in New York, both Nagdhi and Sambe made very positive impressions on me, so I can't help but be especially glad to read about their promotions.)


Without doubt, the two most deserving of promotion along with the very unique Bennett Gartside.  Keep an eye open for Anna Rose O'Sullivan, she's going to fly.


There has been a very disturbing anti Matthew Golding faction in the UK, very much a minority, but as the saying goes, empty vessels make the most noise.  Mr Golding had stated publically he had joined the company long term, I sincerely hope his detractors had no part in his decision to leave.

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39 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I too was shocked by the tone of some of the criticisms of Matthew Golding. I saw him in The Dream and saw nothing that would warrant an almost constant bashing. I didn't understand it and still don't.


There is an unpleasant parochialism displayed by certain of the RB fans, Iana Salenko, a beautiful dancer, is another victim of undeserved vitriol, so too is Osipova to a lesser extent.  They are guilty of coming from 'elsewhere', as was Golding.. 

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Golding is Canadian and in the past RB only hired Commonwealth dancers, but then allowed stars such as Nureyev, Makarova, Kirkland, various Cubans, etc to take the stage.


Strong male partners are always in demand, I think he will do well elsewhere. 

Edited by Jayne
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57 minutes ago, Jayne said:

Golding is Canadian and in the past RB only hired Commonwealth dancers, but then allowed stars such as Nureyev, Makarova, Kirkland, various Cubans, etc to take the stage.



Not quite, the RB always welcomed foreign guests and Russian Violetta Elvin danced as a  company membery before Nureyev or Baryshnikov appeared on the scene, the strong links to the Commonwealth were broken on joining the EU, the company has been international for some time now.


I too wish Golding well.

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Guests are a lot different than being a permanent member of the company, though.  Lynn Seymour wrote in her memoir that one of her favorite fellow classmates at the school, Marcia Haydee, would not be allowed into the Royal Ballet, because she wasn't from a Commonwealth country.   Membership requirements in the EU weren't defined until 1993, and before that, Great Britain wasn't among the six founding members, which were Germany, France, Italy, and Benelux.


Of course, what will happen after Brexit is still to be negotiated.

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2 hours ago, its the mom said:

Looks like Golding is a guest artist in Munich for this season


Yes, he has been listed as guest artist. Imho he has a fine physique. I saw him only

twice live at the ROH when he partnered Tsgankova (replacing Osipova !) in Don Kixot

and when he partnered Sarah Lamb (replacing Osipova !!) in Giselle. Going into Giselle

I was a bit doubtful regarding Matthew's dramatic characterisation capability but he

pleasantly surprised me and was quite believable as Albrecht.

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3 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

On February 17 Golding will be performing in La Bayadère with the National Ballet of Ukraine opposite company principal Natalia Matsak. Gamzatti hasn't been announced yet.

Thanks for this tip - just looked up but no tix are available on the website, could be sold out. For quite some time I have been wanting to see ballet in Kyiv :  there must be a strong ballet tradition there judging by the number of Mariinka and Bolshoy principals and first soloist who are of Ukrainian origin, from Zaharova on. Will email the box office now.

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For this performance the tickets are on sale through a third-party site. The prices are somewhat higher for this performance than would normally be the case, although the top price works out to about $91, which isn't too bad. Tickets have just gone on sale, and plenty are available. However, I see that the checkout process, even on the supposedly English interface, takes place partly in English and partly in Ukrainian.


The orchestra level of the opera house is not steeply raked. I would recommend either the front row (but not directly behind the conductor, of course)--feet will be completely visible--or an aisle seat on the right or left side. (The spaces that appear "empty" on the seating chart are not, in fact, empty, so you won't get a great view by sitting behind them.)

My experience with the company is that the soloists are strong, the women's corps is respectable, but the men's corps is weak. Fortunately, they don't have that much to do in this ballet. Matsak is a strong technician, and her performance style is, um, extravagant. But she's not boring.


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