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Drew

New Royal Ballet Swan Lake

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, Mashinka. The Makarova-Dowell version was the first full-length recording of Swan Lake I ever saw and I don't think I've seen any others quite as dramatically compelling and satisfying since. And of course I loved the Nureyev solo performed by Dowell which I've missed in the subsequent productions. 

 I've found the black-and-white Fonteyn-Somes video from 1954 on Youtube. Danced at this tempo, Odette feels terribly alive.

Edited by rhys
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On a recent stay in London I was really lucky to be invited by my guests to attend the new "Swan Lake" production at Covent Garden. I saw the superb Marianella Nunez dancing with Vadim Muntagirov, what a great dancer he is!  Much has been said here above about the production, some loved it others not so much. I very much enjoyed the new production, and I loved the stage and costume designs!

I also saw the performance of the only Royal Ballet ballerina selected by the Director to dance her debut as Odette/Odile, Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi. That night she danced with fellow Principal Frederico Bonelli. I have never experienced a Covent Garden audience applauding and cheering a ballerina mid performance, she was clearly much loved and adored by the audience. Her characterisation of Odette/Odile was so well portrayed, her technique was simply outstanding (THAT balance in Act 3, which apparently went on and on in a previous performance of hers), her beautifully executed fouettes showed her superb musicality), she is also visually stunning to watch, I simply loved her and she surely has gained another fan across the ocean! I would love to see her guest here in NYC! 

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Posted (edited)

So lucky you got to see Naghdi’s performance. Her only performance the week I was there was a “schools matinee”; not sold to the public and I had to miss her....I was bummed about that....

Edited by Drew

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6 hours ago, Katia Kapustin said:

On a recent stay in London I was really lucky to be invited by my guests to attend the new "Swan Lake" production at Covent Garden. I saw the superb Marianella Nunez dancing with Vadim Muntagirov, what a great dancer he is!  Much has been said here above about the production, some loved it others not so much. I very much enjoyed the new production, and I loved the stage and costume designs!

I also saw the performance of the only Royal Ballet ballerina selected by the Director to dance her debut as Odette/Odile, Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi. That night she danced with fellow Principal Frederico Bonelli. I have never experienced a Covent Garden audience applauding and cheering a ballerina mid performance, she was clearly much loved and adored by the audience. Her characterisation of Odette/Odile was so well portrayed, her technique was simply outstanding (THAT balance in Act 3, which apparently went on and on in a previous performance of hers), her beautifully executed fouettes showed her superb musicality), she is also visually stunning to watch, I simply loved her and she surely has gained another fan across the ocean! I would love to see her guest here in NYC! 

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Thank you, Katia. Not knowing Yasmine Naghdi at all, but unable to resist comments like this, I looked at the only video that I could find that shows much dancing. Among other fine qualities she has lovely long lines that almost float at fully extended highlights. I look forward to seeing her some day.

Here is the video as posted by The Royal Ballet.

"Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball rehearse The Sleeping Beauty (The Royal Ballet)"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL7em0GEsBQ

Here’s an interview posted by a ’sponsor.’ She seems quite charming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxfsOx0jkpU

Edited by Buddy
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Thank you so much Buddy for those links!

 My friends in London told me that Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball are a firm favourite couple on the Covent Garden stage. They are on the "Romeo & Juliet"  worldwide live cinema relay poster so hopefully we get to see them here in the States too. I was told they caused quite a stir in 2015 when they both danced their debut in Romeo&Juliet. 

https://www.roh.org.uk/showings/romeo-and-juliet-live-2019

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rhys,

I don't think that I would take Jann Parry's comments at face value. The Dowell Swan Lake represented  a deliberate move on his part to return to the notated text of Swan Lake which is what the company first danced. This meant abandoning all the Ashton choreography which had been created for the Helpmann production. Dowell wanted to retain Ashton's Neapolitan Dance but the choreographer was so upset that he refused his permission for its use and went off in a mega- sulk. The company were not able to reinstate that bit of choreography until after Ashton's death. The thing that was wrong with the Dowell production was not that he was not a curator.The text danced in his production was a far closer to the original text than anything the company had danced since the1960's. Although I think I should say I could have done without the Bintley waltz and the " Jack the lad" prince and his drunken attendants the actual text was sound.

 The real problem was the Sonnabend designs which the dancers had to contend with each time they performed the ballet. They made the stage look cluttered while the costumes were far too fussy and bling laden. Designs establish a ballet's mood and where it is set, and as Danilova said good designs assist the dancers in performance. But with both his Swan Lake and his Sleeping Beauty Dowell's good intentions for the choreographic text to be danced were hijacked by his designers who created over elaborate designs which got in the way of the audience's appreciation of the choreography.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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I think that the reason why Naghdi was the only younger dancer to be given the opportunity to make her debut as Odette/Odile in this initial run of the new production is attributable to the prior claims of the more senior female principals rather than a lack of talented dancers capable of taking on the role. I think that many in London expected the ballet to be programmed next season and the "missing" dancers such as Hayward, Kaneko and Magri to make their debuts then. While  I don't think that Kevin is right to take such an arm's length approach to the works he commissions  he seems to have a far surer touch when it comes to managing the development of his dancers' careers.

Dancers like Naghdi and Hayward are just the most obvious names among a vast pool of talent present in the company, at the moment, and Kevin seems to have the ability to identify the right developmental roles for his dancers and no one blinks when a junior dancer in his or her first year in the company is cast in a role which would usually have been reserved for a really experienced one. Last season Joseph Sissens, a dancer in his first year as a company member, after a season as an apprentice, was  very impressive in the  Brian Shaw role in the second cast of Symphonic Variations and Roverro in his first season with the company was given a role in Scarlett's Symphonic Dances and was equally impressive. Earlier on in the current season both Naghdi and Hayward made their debuts as Giselle within hours of each other. Both gave fine accounts of the role and somehow the local audience took it all for granted when a few years ago we would have been grateful for one such debut in a season and considered ourselves very fortunate to have seen it.

A great deal of the company's current artistic health is attributable to the work of the late  Gailene Stock at the RBS. I sincerely hope that in the future no one loses sight of the part that having an effective school plays in the artistic  health of the company. An understanding of that essential link was lost sight of during the seventies although the evidence was there for anyone who cared to look closely at the company. It took a very long time for anyone to accept that there was a problem and even longer to take decisive steps to deal with the problem in an effective manner.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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Yes my friends told me all about this "phenomenon" of numerous mega talented dancers in the Company - from the Corps de Ballet dancers up to the amazing young Principals such as Yasmine Naghdi and Francesca Hayward who have all come out of The Royal Ballet School when the late Gailene Stock was the Director of the School. They also said what you stated Ashton Fan that the most talented dancers are given so many opportunities and no longer have to "sit and wait" for their turn to dance major roles until they are at the right rank. The results are there for all to see: Mr O'Hare didn't waste any time developing his most talented dancers! Apparently those dancers are "reviving" the Company and have taken it to a much higher level compared to the past decade or so. 

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I have found this Royal Ballet Swan Lake curtain call of above mentioned Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi, after dancing Odette/Odile, on YouTube. She can be seen taking her bows from 0:40 into the recording. 

Edited by Katia Kapustin
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I don't get to see the Royal Ballet very much and am not really familiar with its dancers but I do like Marianela Nuñez very much. I did see a young dancer in The Winter's Tale who made a very fine impression in a brief appearance with her lively and fine performance. Anna Rose O’Sullivan, maybe ?   Anyone know whom I might be thinking of ?

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy

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Posted (edited)

Ashton Fan, I'm aware that the Dowell production was a return to a more authentic choreographic text.
I'm sure Parry was too. I doubt she was implying that it was in a choreographic sense that Dowell had failed as a curator. The spirit of the ballet, the poetic truth as you say, surely matters just as much.
In any case, my point was that, while Scarlett had the choreographic resources of the Ashton and Dowell productions at his disposal, he still managed to produce a staging that seems distinctive primarily in its design, and even further away from being definitive than its predecessor. And this is both ironic and deeply regrettable.

Incidentally,

16 hours ago, Ashton Fan said:

Although I think I should say I could have done without the Bintley waltz and the " Jack the lad" prince and his drunken attendants the actual text was sound.

I agree. Act IV in particular always had remarkable clarity and beauty for me, even when danced by uninvolving leads and in spite of the corps dressed like ostriches.

Edited by rhys
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