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mnacenani

Royal Ballet Winter 2018-19 Casting Posted

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1 hour ago, mnacenani said:

Osipova to dance only twice : as Kitri on 25th and 30th March ...... Acosta staging !

I'm wondering who else she is dancing with. She's much too young to phase down toward retirement. Please post if you see something about this.

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Posted (edited)

Amnacenani. I have no idea what Osipova's contractual obligations with the Royal Ballet are but I assume that she is meeting them by dancing in the ballets in which she has been scheduled to appear during the course of the entire season. I would not be inclined to read much, if anything,  into the fact that she is only due to dance two performances of Kitri during the run of seventeen performances of Don Q scheduled for the 2018-19 season. The fact that the two performances are only five days apart and towards the end of the run suggests that the dates have been selected to accommodate her performance schedule. I suspect that it is her choice to limit her performances as Kitri to two rather than a decision imposed on her by management. Few dancers who make their early reputation in demi-character roles like Swanhilde and Kitri want to continue to be associated with them in the public mind in perpetuity. It could be that it is for her a question of putting away "childish things". Also I hate to point this out but the Royal Ballet is not a one dancer company. There are quite a few other dancers whose names will induce people to buy tickets. For those who like Don Q  the performances by the cast led by Nunez, Muntagirov are likely to sell out quickly while both  the untried casts of Corrales, Kaneko and Naghdi, Sambe are  sure to attract those who are interested in the younger dancers in the company. 

Now while I might find it hard to understand why O'Hare has chosen to revive Don Q; I might even wonder why he agreed to let Acosta stage it in the first place as its performance  style is what Danilova once described as an "exhibition of dance" and as such not exactly the Royal Ballet's house style and never likely to be; but I am not surprised that seven different casts are due to dance it from February to April 2019. O'Hare has said on any number of occasions that while he cannot promote everyone he might wish to, he intends to provide his dancers with a wide range of repertory in which to appear. The company has a number of dancers who guest and work elsewhere during the course of a season and seems to be quite relaxed about those arrangements as it creates opportunities for talented  younger dancers to be challenged technically and to develop as artists while senior dancers are guesting with other companies. The  great advantage of the company's flexible approach to guesting with other companies is that it reduces the likelihood of senior dancers leaving and it ensures that talented dancers are not held back  and fail to develop  to  their full potential because a handful of dancers or a single dancer block their development opportunities. It should ensure that the company never suffers from the effect of a single dancer dominating the public imagination as far as repertory, casting  and performances are concerned. It was only when I read the comments of talented dancers like Ann Jenner describing the palpable sense of audience disappointment when Fonteyn was not dancing. and the feeling that they were seen as second best that I came to understand how detrimental Fonteyn's lengthy career was to the careers of several generations of dancers. It made the me wonder whether the company's problems in the 1980s and 1990's were the result of her over long dominance and what came close to being a cult of personality.

I am sure that there will be some who will say that the company should extend its stylistic reach to include the bravura, display performance style epitomised in the current performance practice  displayed in Don Q but I would much prefer that everyone in the company should be able to dance Ashton's choreography with an innate feel for its musicality and dynamics and that those cast in leading roles were able to show the ability to dance their roles rather than merely reproducing the steps accurately but seemingly without any understanding of the appropriate performance style  or sense of the character they are supposed to be portraying.The other ballets scheduled for performance during this booking period are much more "house style" ballets than Don Q is ever likely to be. Perhaps it is a lack of imagination on my part but I find it  hard to imagine which roles among those in the works scheduled  Osipova might have been prepared to consider dancing or that management might have thought of offering her. Masha in MacMillan's Winter Dreams is a possibility I suppose but apart from that I can't imagine her wanting to appear in Les Patineurs or The Two Pigeons although the role of the Gipsy would suit her admirably it is neither a prestigious role nor a particularly long one although very theatrically effective when danced by the right dancer.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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17 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

Now while I might find it hard to understand why O'Hare has chosen to revive Don Q;

It's one of the cinema broadcasts.  I suspect it will be one of the more successful ones, and Acosta is a well-beloved figure.

 

17 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

It was only when I read the comments of young talented dancers like Ann Jenner describing the palpable sense of audience disappointment when Fonteyn was not dancing. and the feeling that they felt that they were seen as second best that I came to understand how detrimental her lengthy career was to the careers of several generations of dancers who followed and see how that played out in the company in during the 1980s and 1990's.

A childhood friend went to see the Royal Ballet when it was on tour to NY -- it would have been the '60's or very early '70's.  There was no advance casting, and she did her calculations to guess which performance Fonteyn and Nureyev would dance.  When they weren't cast in her performance, she decided never to buy tickets again to any ballet company before casting was posted.

She probably saw Seymour or Beriosova or Sibley or Nerina, but to her, she saw Not Fonteyn.

It happens all over:  before Pacific Northwest Ballet started to publish casting, I used to go to the desk in the Phelps Center (school/library building) to check the casting sheet the receptionist had.  One day, she challenged me, and I told her I was trying to see all of the casts, and that I wouldn't buy extra tickets randomly.  She eyed me suspiciously, because people kept trying to see only Patricia Barker.  I loved Patricia Barker, but I wanted to see other dancers in the same roles.

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Posted (edited)

I admired Acosta as a dancer in some ballet but being a great dancer does not make him a great stager of ballets  or even a competent one. Nureyev staged the Kingdom of the Shades for the company before he was let loose on anything bigger and more costly and at the time that he was working with the company it had three choreographers on hand one of whom at least would have been prepared to intervene whether or not she was asked. I am afraid that I think that O'Hare seems much better at managing his dancers' careers and giving them the opportunities they need than he is when it comes to decisions about new works and new productions where he shows a complete lack of discernment and taste. The worst thing is that he seems to see no need to keep an eye on what is being created for him and the company is paying for. In an interview he gave while the company was in Australia he seemed to say that he commissions a choreographer and then lets them get on with it. Perhaps the problem is that as someone without any experience of making dance works he does not feel able to intervene. But while that arm's length approach has given us "The Winter's Tale" it has also given us a large quantity of choreographic dross. It has  given us Wheeldon's Strapless which I assume was intended to have some psychological depth to it. It is hopeless with large chunks of choreography intended to give us local colour looking as if they are sections cut from his production Of An American In Paris plus a series of bland neo classical works and some even blander pieces of inoffensive choreography by Marriott. In addition it has given us Acosta's Carmen which is unspeakably bad; Scarlett's Swan Lake which is a disaster area when compared with the text which the company danced until 2015 and Frankenstein which is far too reverential towards its literary source and contains a great deal of action and choreography that need to be cut including a totally unnecessary scene in an inn which appears to be an unhappy combination of the brothel scene in The Rake's Progress and the Tavern scene in Mayerling. 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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9 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

I admired Acosta as a dancer in some ballet but being a great dancer does not make him a great stager of ballets  or even a competent one.

That is not, I suspect, why he was chosen.  He would not be the first male principal dancer given opportunities as a stager, choreographer, or artistic directors without much supporting experience or track record.

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27 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

 In an interview he gave while the company was in Australia he seemed to say that he commissions a choreographer and then lets them get on with it.

FLOSS, could you say which RB directors you know did anything more than that?

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I can't help thinking that Acosta tailored his Don Q production in the knowledge that the previous two DQ's by Baryshnikov and Nureyev didn't work.  The RB has it's limitations when compared to the Kirov or the Bolshoi and when I saw the last run it was painfully apparent that, to give one example, although other roles were successfully filled by a couple of casts, that of Dryad Queen was not.  His Carmen, admittedly disliked by some, was very much a crowd pleaser and he was already experienced in staging works before being commissioned by the RB.

Personally I've not heard much about directors meddling in a chorographer's actual work, though I have heard verifiable stories concerning directors/management influencing the choice of dancers available to a choreographer.

Osipova is a star and that is a fact, she puts bums on seats just as Fonteyn did.  Having a huge name on the roster is a matter of prestige.  The RB does has a number of promising dancers right now, although whether they develop into much remains to be seen.

I don't understand Ashton Fan's animosity towards Fonteyn, from the 60's onwards her status was that of a guest and frankly she danced nowhere near as frequently as I would have liked, other dancers emerged at that time, often performing roles that were outside Fonteyn's repertoire, of all those MacMillan ballets of the 70's and 80's, Fonteyn danced just one.  The truth is she blocked no one.  Frankly I find it rather bizarre that someone who purports to admire Ashton so much should have such a low opinion of his muse.

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Lots of people didn't like Suzanne Farrell.  Balanchine thought the world of the teenaged Guillem, and I was put to sleep by her 2nd movement in Palais de Cristal.

You don't have to love the museum: choreographers aren't infallible gods: they're inspired by what they're inspired by, but no one else needs to be.

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4 hours ago, Ashton Fan said:

The worst thing is that he seems to see no need to keep an eye on what is being created for him and the company is paying for. In an interview he gave while the company was in Australia he seemed to say that he commissions a choreographer and then lets them get on with it.

There are other artistic directors who do the same. With pretty much the same result: lots of "dross" that should NEVER go on stage. A calamity strikes when a newspaper critic, or two, writes a favourable review. Then the piece is guaranteed to stay in the repertoire for a while, even if it is "unspeakably bad".

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36 minutes ago, Laurent said:

A calamity strikes when a newspaper critic, or two, writes a favourable review. Then the piece is guaranteed to stay in the repertoire for a while, even if it is "unspeakably bad".

"The unspeakable in pursuit of the unwatchable" !  :D:D

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I don't see ballet companies anywhere tossing expensive new productions of the core rep the way opera companies do in Europe, regardless of critical response, unless there is an aesthetic turnover, usually from hiring a new AD who is doing a 180.  (In the US, many opera productions are conservative because that production of "Carmen" or "La Boheme" or "Aida" is expected to run for decades, until the costumes are threadbare.)  They might tweak with them to the satisfaction of few the way the Royal Ballet has done or the way ABT did with its Kirkland "Sleeping Beauty," but it wasn't critical response that had the Mariinsky ditching the reconstructed "Sleeping Beauty."

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Posted (edited)
On 8/3/2018 at 1:37 PM, Helene said:

Lots of people didn't like Suzanne Farrell.  Balanchine thought the world of the teenaged Guillem, and I was put to sleep by her 2nd movement in Palais de Cristal.

You don't have to love the museum: choreographers aren't infallible gods: they're inspired by what they're inspired by, but no one else needs to be.

Fascinating....I had no idea Balanchine was even aware of Sylvie Guillem much less tried to invite her into his company.  At the time of his death she would have been a coryphee.

While he might have enjoyed her dancing, that is not to say he would have definitively enjoyed her in 2nd movement of Bizet.

Edited by MRR

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16 minutes ago, MRR said:

Fascinating....I had no idea Balanchine was even aware of Sylvie Guillem much less tried to invite her into his company.  At the time of his death she would have been a coryphee.

I have no idea if Balanchine tried to recruit Guillem, but he was, apparently, crazy about what he saw of her as a teenager.  Based on that, I was very excited to see her, but was sorely disappointed.  I think she was in her early 20's when she toured to NYC (Met Opera) with Paris Opera Ballet in the '80's, and that would have been after he died.

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1 minute ago, Helene said:

I have no idea if Balanchine tried to recruit Guillem, but he was, apparently, crazy about what he saw of her as a teenager.  Based on that, I was very excited to see her, but was sorely disappointed.  I think she was in her early 20's when she toured to NYC (Met Opera) with Paris Opera Ballet in the '80's, and that would have been after he died.

According to People Magazine (admittedly not the best source), Balanchine offered to take her into NYCB if Paris Opera didn't want her. Surely, given her talent he probably thought the chances of that happening were slim to none. Guillem is interesting because while she had a quintessential Balanchine body, she was not, to my eyes, a Balanchine dancer in the least. She did perform some (not a lot) of his work at POB and Royal, but I sense his choreography didn't appeal to her.

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41 minutes ago, MRR said:

She did perform some (not a lot) of his work at POB and Royal, but I sense his choreography didn't appeal to her.

That seemed to me the way she danced it.

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