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"Sylvia": Saturday 16: Osipova/Muntagirov.

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1 hour ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Hello! I just arrived in London today, and stopped by the ROH box office right on time to snatch a last minute returned ticked for Osipova's Sylvia this Saturday. Her Aminta will be Muntagirov.ūüėćūüėćūüėć

Will report back!

Awesome!!  Can't wait for your report!!

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I will just say that both Muntagirov and Clarke make the role of Aminta one which is really worth watching. While they can do little to make a character who is rewarded for his devotion to Eros an action hero because it is not in the script that Ashton was following they make Aminta's  choreography a real feast of wonderfully elegant dancing transforming the simple shepherd of the first act into a prince in the third act. On Monday night Muntagirov brought the house down with his solo in the grand pas de deux.

Edited by Ashton Fan
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Cornejo was remarkable at ABT a few years back and similarly "brought the house down with his solo in the grand pas de deux."  I thought -- and still think -- the performance ranks with the best male dancing I have ever seen. Would love to see Osipova and Muntagirov!

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3 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Same here !  Bonelli looked really a bit lightweight for the role when I saw them.

It's a lightweight role, it was created for Michael Somes who wasn't exactly a virtuoso.  Aminta is absent for the second act, curiously like Franz in Delibes other well known ballet.

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Intermezzo after Act I.

Muntagirov and Osipova OWN the stage. Natalia's jetes are as unhumanly executed as they can be. The woman FLIES, people! 

Muntagirov has a princely demeanor that probably reflects very well Ashton's intentions with Somes. He looks dashingly handsome onstage, probably mirroring one of Somes' best qualities, physical attractiveness. 

The house is FULL TO CAPACITY.

More to come. 

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27 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

It's a lightweight role, it was created for Michael Somes who wasn't exactly a virtuoso.  Aminta is absent for the second act, curiously like Franz in Delibes other well known ballet.

Wasn’t the original Franz played by a woman? I have never read anything about the original Aminta, but Delibes wasn’t composing at a time of great French male dancers ... perhaps that  inflected the narrative choices. 

(That said, the right male dancer can make Ashton’s Aminta into something quite poetic and appealing. And the role is not exactly easy to dance well.) 

I was in the middle of typing when Cubanmiamiboy posted. Sounds like a thrilling performance. Can’t wait to read more.

Edited by Drew
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Yes Franz was danced by a woman, however Amyntas (sic) was not, but Eros was danced by a girl.  Ashton has stayed faithful to the original libretto, the entire ballet follows Merante's original.

Osipova is for me the glory of the Royal Ballet, I saw her dance Sylvia on Monday, Cubanmiamiboy is in for a rare treat.

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"Cast change: Vadim Muntagirov to dance in Sylvia on 11 and 16 December 2017"  ....... so this was it - I normally would have booked Osipova-Muntagirov if given the choice and was wondering how I could have missed it, but when booking opened all three performances of Natasha were with Bonelli. This time Cubanmiamiboy and Buddy have struck gold ....... Buddy - where are you, where is your report ???

Edited by mnacenani
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On ‚Äé17‚Äé/‚Äé12‚Äé/‚Äé2017 at 8:32 AM, mnacenani said:

The only reason I will travel to see ballet at the ROH nowadays. The rest doesn't give me the buzz Bolshoy does (forgive my ignorance RB fans !)

Don't write the RB off, things are starting to brighten up there, go and take a look at Ms Hayward and Ms Naghdi.  Besides with the recent Bolshoi purge, the upper ranks of female Bolshoi dancers doesn't impress me at all.  Amongst the principals only Krysanova and Obrastzova deserve to be called ballerinas.

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I just arrived back to Miami. I will write some more impressions of the performance later on, as well as one Nutcracker from the ENB I also attended. For now I just want, once again, to really thank the wonderful Londoners for always making me feel so welcomed. London never ceases to impress me with its warm and endless displays of the best hospitality this world has to offer. I have nothing¬† but many words of appreciation for this lovely city which always make me feel right at home when I'm there. Its people really go above and beyond to make their guests feel special. I can't wait to be back!!ūüėćūüėćūüėćūüėć

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Some more thoughts. 

Sylvia is much about its beautiful score, something i could definitely grab much more at the ROH and its great orchestra than at the MET. Delibes' Wagneresque score full of brass and leitmotifs is so grand and intricate that it really makes this ballet hard not to be enjoyed.  Sylvia's first entrance music is as explosive as it can be, and Natalia, as petite as she is, made her way looking like  a true goddess.   Her petite allegro pizzicatto variation in the last act she completely owned it.  The sequence of sautes on pointe here are usually a feat that many ballerinas fail at executing with the required crispness and right length, and we know very well those ballerinas who can luxuriate in them without rushing, and those who can barely complete it in a speedy way. Case scenario, the Marzipan lead in Balanchine's Nutcracker, or the most aggressive sequence of the traveling ones in the Cuban black swan coda.  Natalia was perfect.

Muntagirov, as I said, looked beautiful onstage, and his variation in the pas de deux was spotless.  Still, it is obvious that this is a ballerina's ballet, for which Aminta does not has much stage time.  As someone else noted, he's absent from the entirety of Orion's island act.  I have never been too fond of the inclusion of the two little goats in the middle of the grand pdd, although I guess Ashton wanted to follow the score as it originally was intended. As it is, we get the pdd in a complete different way as the standard form we're used to, and instead we have Sylvia, goats, Aminta, Adage and coda.  Somewhat unorthodox.  

Sylvia is quite a wonderful addition to any company wanting to expand its full, story classical ballets repertoire in the best Petipatesque line.  My mother asked me why, if this is a Roman mythology-inspired ballet, Sylvia and her entourage were wearing tutus in the last act.  I tried to explain her that this is quite a tradition in the best Imperial ballet times fashion, regardless of plot, historical correctness and such.

The ticket was expensive, but totally worthy.


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I was also there the 16th. I've been traveling and not able to get on the internet, so I haven't had a chance to post or see all the other comments. Here are some very quick thoughts.

How can you not love Natalia Osipova ?  :) 

I thought that she was lovely in the Act III duets. I've seen her space-age Don Quixotes with Ivan Vasiliev several times and was knocked over. She didn't really have a chance to do that sort of thing much here, but she was impressive. She managed all the difficult, 'non Russian' demands of Sir Frederick Ashton's choreography quite well, but her strength lies in her 'Russian' sensitivity and energetic prowess.

As I've suggested, she's now developing her expressiveness and theatrical artistry. This can be a more subtle affair. Without theater glasses to watch her face, some of this can be missed. She's now attempting more contemporary work, so it was nice to see her again in a classic. I hope that she continues to refine and grow in both these areas. She has so many excellent qualities going for her.

Vadim Muntagirov was fine, very Russian looking.  Anna Rose O'Sullivan as the Goat had an agile loveliness performing interestingly and as well as I've seen any 'homegrown(?)' Royal Ballet artist do. I'd like to see how she does with other parts. Claire Calvert, as Diana, had a similarity, but there wasn't a chance to see her do much. Not knowing that Beatrice Stix-Brunell was among "Sylvia'sAttendants" I missed focussing on her, something that I've wanted to do. 

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On 12/20/2017 at 10:39 AM, cubanmiamiboy said:

  My mother asked me why, if this is a Roman mythology-inspired ballet, Sylvia and her entourage were wearing tutus in the last act.  I tried to explain her that this is quite a tradition in the best Imperial ballet times fashion, regardless of plot, historical correctness and such.

You Mom sounds like Fokine.

I love Ashton's Sylvia -- thanks to everyone reporting on this performance.

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To be pedantic the 1876 ballet for which Delibes wrote the music and Merante created the choreography was not actually based on a Roman source, Its libretto was a reworking of a narrative which first appeared in a sixteenth century poem by Torquato Tasso . According to Ivor Guest the libretto's revisions made Sylvia a far more resourceful character than she was in the original poem and reduced Aminta to passivity. Strangely the previous year when he created his version of Daphnis and Chloe Ahton had made another ballet with a passive male character at its centre. If you are looking for clues about the sources for the costume and scenery designs of Ashton's ballet then you need look no further than Poussin and Claude.

 The entire run of Sylvia has been a delight, so much so that people have been asking why it languished unperformed for so long. Although some seem to find it difficult to adjust to a ballet without a strong narrative, an active hero and a lot of suffering and expressive dancing in the third act once they accept that this is not a MacMilllan three act dramatic work and that what story there is, is simply a paper thin excuse for a lot of dancing they tend to relax and enjoy its choreographic content. 

This revival finally showed that the company has begun to develop a performance tradition for the work. Everyone seemed to know and understand why they were on stage and actually enjoying being involved in it. Perhaps the corps were simply relishing appearing in a ballet where the choreographic content is high and demands that they perform the sort of movement that they have spent years learning and perfecting. Choreography with lots of steps must have made a pleasant change after the mixed bill which preceded it which only gave limited opportunities to dance to a small proportion of the company. Perhaps this ballet has now become part of the company's living performing tradition which explains their obvious enthusiasm for it.


Edited by Ashton Fan
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