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Casting for The Sleeping Beauty


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13 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

I am beyond excited over the new of guest appearance of Yasmine Naghdi. And with none other than Joe Walsh as her Prince.

So am I! I saw her dance a couple of times at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden when visiting London and she's absolutely stunning, with an amazing, clean and very strong technic. I can't wait to see her on Wednesday 13th. 

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5 minutes ago, PeggyTulle said:

Huh. I feel like there are some amazingly able soloists ripe for Aurora. Imports can be nice, but not thrilled about it.

My guess is the situation with two principal dancers (Chung and Scheller) not performing Aurora this year did not provide enough time for a company soloist to learn this role. Park probably started to rehearse it early in the season when Helgi had to find a replacement for departed Kochetkova.

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1 hour ago, Phrenchphry11 said:

That's exciting news - I've seen Yasmine Naghdi perform at the Royal Opera House and she's lovely.

Looks like Wei Wang is performing with the Royal Ballet as a guest in Frankenstein: http://www.roh.org.uk/people/wei-wang

Wei Wang's IG post now makes sense - what an exciting opportunity:  

I have mixed feelings about the guest artist.  I do look forward to seeing Yasmine Naghdi (http://www.roh.org.uk/people/yasmine-naghdi) and also happy Joseph Walsh will now be able to dance in The Sleeping Beauty.  However, I do feel there are many soloists who should have had the chance at Princess Aurora - although perhaps the time to learn the role was limited.  Then again, sometimes that's how Soloists become Principals....  Perhaps with a different full-length - thinking Romeo & Juliet????

Edited by sf_herminator
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Additional Casting Posted (Tue, Wed, Thur):  https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting

Casting is subject to change.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa
Conductor: Martin West

Aurora: Wona Park*
Prince Desiré: Angelo Greco
Lilac Fairy: Jennifer Stahl
Bluebird: Esteban Hernandez
Enchanted Princess: Jahna Frantziskonis*

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa
Conductor: Martin West

Aurora: Yasmine Naghdi*†
Prince Desiré: Joseph Walsh*†
Lilac Fairy: Koto Ishihara*
Bluebird: Cavan Conley*†
Enchanted Princess: Julia Rowe

Thursday, March 14, 2019 – 7:30 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa
Conductor: Martin West

Aurora: Sasha de Sola
Prince Desiré: Carlo di Lanno
Lilac Fairy: Koto Ishihara*
Bluebird: Mingxuan Wang*
Enchanted Princess: Elizabeth Powell*

LEGEND

*Denotes role debut in current production
†Denotes debut in current production

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First, I am happy that debuts are being noted again.  Second, lots of exciting debuts:  In addition to Wona as Princess Aurora and Joseph as Prince Desire (not to mention Guest Artist Yasmine Naghdi as Princess Aurora), we also have Jahna & Elizabeth as The Enchanted Princess and Cavan & Mingxuan as The Bluebird.  Plus Koto as The Lilac Fairy - funny, I thought she had done this last year.  I will have to double check with last year's casting.

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37 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

I am beyond excited over the news of guest appearance of Yasmine Naghdi. And with none other than Joe Walsh as her Prince.

 

34 minutes ago, PeggyTulle said:

Huh. I feel like there are some amazingly able soloists ripe for Aurora. Imports can be nice, but not thrilled about it.

To be honest, I'm kind of torn between both reactions:  on the one hand, excited to see Naghdi (just bought a ticket), but -- disappointed an in-house dancer isn't getting a chance.  SB was performed last season, so I'm a little surprised at least one other soloist didn't prepare the role at that time (of course, maybe someone did and it just didn't work out for some reason).  Agree with PeggyTulle’s comment upthread that Rowe and (especially) Devivo would likely be lovely Auroras.  Plus, I'm surprised Dores Andre hasn't danced the role either last season or (so far) this season.

Having said all that, the 3/13 cast looks especially interesting:  I was worried Walsh wouldn’t get a Desiré, so happy for that.  Very much looking forward to Ishihara and Rowe.  Cavan Conley is a totally unknown quantity from the corps, so that’s going to be interesting.

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45 minutes ago, PeggyR said:

 

To be honest, I'm kind of torn between both reactions:  on the one hand, excited to see Naghdi (just bought a ticket), but -- disappointed an in-house dancer isn't getting a chance.  SB was performed last season, so I'm a little surprised at least one other soloist didn't prepare the role at that time (of course, maybe someone did and it just didn't work out for some reason).  Agree with PeggyTulle’s comment upthread that Rowe and (especially) Devivo would likely be lovely Auroras.  Plus, I'm surprised Dores Andre hasn't danced the role either last season or (so far) this season.

Having said all that, the 3/13 cast looks especially interesting:  I was worried Walsh wouldn’t get a Desiré, so happy for that.  Very much looking forward to Ishihara and Rowe.  Cavan Conley is a totally unknown quantity from the corps, so that’s going to be interesting.

I'm with you PeggyR - occasional guest artists are fine, especially during a long program run, but this feels like a bit of panic on Tomasson's part, while there are plenty of SFB talents that should be learning Aurora. The good side of this is that Froustey and Luiz get to rest a little between performances.

This is what I have so far for the leads:

Sat, Mar 9, 2019
8:00 pm
Sasha De Sola, Carlo Di Lanno

Sun, Mar 10, 2019
2:00 pm
Mathilde Froustey, Vitor Luiz

Tue, Mar 12, 2019
7:30 pm
Wona Park, Angelo Greco

Wed, Mar 13, 2019
7:30 pm
Yasmine Naghdi, Joseph Walsh

Thu, Mar 14, 2019
7:30 pm
Sasha De Sola, Carlo Di Lanno

Fri, Mar 15, 2019
8:00 pm
Mathilde Froustey, Vitor Luiz

Sat, Mar 16, 2019
2:00 pm

Sat, Mar 16, 2019
8:00 pm

Sun, Mar 17, 2019
2:00 pm

Edited by pherank
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Cavan Conley has been quite busy this season. He danced multiple roles in the Nutcracker, Espada in DonQ and the petit allegro sequence of Etudes. This is from what I can remember, maybe he did more than that.

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2 hours ago, PeggyR said:

 Cavan Conley is a totally unknown quantity from the corps, so that’s going to be interesting.

 

1 hour ago, Dreamer said:

Cavan Conley has been quite busy this season. He danced multiple roles in the Nutcracker, Espada in DonQ and the petit allegro sequence of Etudes. This is from what I can remember, maybe he did more than that.

I have to say I have been impressed with Cavan Conley.  I saw him as Russian in Nutcracker, Espada to Madison Keesler's Mercedes in DonQ, Etudes, The Fifth Season (corps), and Hurry Up We're Dreaming.  It was when I saw him in Hurry Up we're Dreaming dancing with Wei Wang that I realized who he reminded me of - former Soloist James Sofranko. 

Edited by sf_herminator
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Mingxuan Wang as Bluebird - at last! I would love to see Yasmine Naghdi, but she is not dancing on a night, Wednesday and presumably Saturday, when I am free.  This weekend I watched a video in when she was rehearsing the Act III pas de deux with RB director Kevin O'Hare and she looked beautiful.    I hope someone will report here about the performance.   

That is thrilling news and a great privilege that Wei Wang will be guesting with the RB.  He was so moving in Frankenstein. 

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I can understand some fans are upset because their favourite soloist will not get a chance to debut as Aurora but I think the most important factor here is that Joseph Walsh needed a suitable and experienced partner, and for this reason Helgi must have felt the need to invite a guest ballerina who has Aurora in her repertoire. The Royal Ballet's Principal Yasmine Naghdi is a highly classical ballerina and no doubt she and Joseph Walsh will look stunning together. Thanks to her coming over from London Joseph Walsh will be able to dance his debut as Prince Desire.

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6 hours ago, Katia Kapustin said:

I can understand some fans are upset because their favourite soloist will not get a chance to debut as Aurora but I think the most important factor here is that Joseph Walsh needed a suitable and experienced partner, and for this reason Helgi must have felt the need to invite a guest ballerina who has Aurora in her repertoire. The Royal Ballet's Principal Yasmine Naghdi is a highly classical ballerina and no doubt she and Joseph Walsh will look stunning together. Thanks to her coming over from London Joseph Walsh will be able to dance his debut as Prince Desire.

Good point.  However, during the Don Quixote run, Walsh debuted Basilio with the also debuting Wona Park, so he didn’t need an experienced ballerina for that, and Basilio has a lot more dancing/acting than the rather bleh Desiré (who seems to me to be more of a device than a character – but that’s a different discussion). 

 Also, now that we know Wei Wang is guesting at the RB in Frankenstein, perhaps this was an exchange situation:  one of ours there, one of theirs here, which I think is good for the dancers and good for the audience now and then.   Based on the favorable comments re Naghdi on this board, I’m very much looking forward to seeing her.

9 hours ago, PeggyTulle said:

Ludmila Bizalion danced Lilac last year. Wonder if she'll be cast again...? 

I saw her last year and she was good, though I think she needed more majestic sweep, but it was a good start.  

Also looking forward to another Carabosse from WanTing Zhao:  very vivid characterization.

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23 minutes ago, PeggyR said:

Also, now that we know Wei Wang is guesting at the RB in Frankenstein, perhaps this was an exchange situation:  one of ours there, one of theirs here, which I think is good for the dancers and good for the audience now and then.   Based on the favorable comments re Naghdi on this board, I’m very much looking forward to seeing her.

9 hours ago, PeggyTulle said:

Based on info from a UK Ballet Forum this is not an "exchange" situation. Several RB dancers scheduled to dance the role of Frankenstein are injured so choreographer Liam Scarlett urgently needed a replacement dancer who had danced the role before: Wei Wang was an obvious choice since he has danced Frankenstein before with SFB.  Naghdi on the other hand has a four week performance gap between her two "Don Quixote" Kitri performances in Covent Garden and thus was free to dance Aurora with Joseph Walsh. 

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Aurora & Prince Desire pairings posted for remaining performances - https://www.sfballet.org/season/casting

Casting is subject to change.

Friday, March 15, 2019 – 8:00 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa

Aurora: Mathilde Froustey
Prince Desiré: Luke Ingham

Saturday, March 16, 2019 – 2:00 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa

Aurora: Wona Park*
Prince Desiré: Angelo Greco

Saturday, March 16, 2019 – 8:00 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa

Aurora: Yasmine Naghdi*†, Guest Artist Courtesy of The Royal Ballet
Prince Desiré: Joseph Walsh*†

Sunday, March 17, 2019 – 2:00 pm

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson after Marius Petipa

Aurora: Sasha De Sola
Prince Desiré: Carlo Di Lanno

Sasha will dance three performances while the other Auroras will get two (unless you count Student Matinee for Mathilde).

Mathilde will have two different Princes - Vitor on Sunday and Luke on Friday.

 

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Oh, so many exciting casts and pair-ups, so little time (and too far to drive). I'll look forward to hearing others' reports about Naghdi/Walsh and Park/Greco, in particular. Seconding others' comments that Cavan Conley really rocked as one of the Russian dancers in the Nutcracker performance I attended. As soon as the lights went up, I went diving for my program to find his name -- it was brand new to me. Always fun when that happens.

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6 hours ago, Katia Kapustin said:

Based on info from a UK Ballet Forum this is not an "exchange" situation. Several RB dancers scheduled to dance the role of Frankenstein are injured so choreographer Liam Scarlett urgently needed a replacement dancer who had danced the role before: Wei Wang was an obvious choice since he has danced Frankenstein before with SFB.  Naghdi on the other hand has a four week performance gap between her two "Don Quixote" Kitri performances in Covent Garden and thus was free to dance Aurora with Joseph Walsh. 

Frankenstein being a co-production between RB and SFB, it certainly makes sense. RB is one those companies that SFB has a "relationship" with (Neumeier's Hamburg Ballet being another). The choreographers Wheeldon and Scarlett are a big part of maintaining that connectivity.

Although there may have not been a pre-plannned exchange, both companies find themselves short on female principals at an inopportune time, so, here we are. My complaint (expressed earlier in the thread) is that SFB isn't lacking the talent, and they aren't down to the young Corps dancers alone, there are experienced dancers still healthy (mostly) available, but the infamously tight schedule has once again left no time to coach dancers in new roles. Although it's interesting that there's (presumably) time to teach Naghdi in the Tomasson/Possokhov variations.

I wonder if Tomasson contacted Kochetkova for this one-off, but found she was booked solid?

Edited by pherank
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22 minutes ago, pherank said:

Although it's interesting that there's (presumably) time to teach Naghdi in the Tomasson/Possokhov variations.

 

And this is where I am left baffled. There have to have been SFB dancers that know the variations. And they already know the production. Maybe it's politics and not wanting to give too many junior dancers a prime role? But with Natasha Sheehan knowing the role (or most of it) and not getting a chance, and tons of able dancers on the roster, albeit not principals, this last-minute guesting leaves me feeling uneasy.

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22 minutes ago, PeggyTulle said:

 

And this is where I am left baffled. There have to have been SFB dancers that know the variations. And they already know the production. Maybe it's politics and not wanting to give too many junior dancers a prime role? But with Natasha Sheehan knowing the role (or most of it) and not getting a chance, and tons of able dancers on the roster, albeit not principals, this last-minute guesting leaves me feeling uneasy.

We're having our ABT moment.  😉

But I'm not actually worried for the future. I find the constant shuffling of partners a little odd though - it may make things seem fair and equitable from a theoretical standpoint, but does it make for better dancing, and productions?

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I echo what others have been saying about the depth of talent at SFB right now, I hope the staff continues to cultivate it (rather than relying on guest artists, though I think Naghdi might just be a one-off).  I'd like to see those dancers get more Principal opportunities.

I've not seen much of Natasha Sheehan this season, I was hoping to see her in more Soloist roles, but it seems like she may have been injured earlier this year.

FWIW, I am glad to have seen lots of corps women featured in Don Q - Madison Keesler, Norika Matsuyama, and others seemed like they were given chances at bigger soloist roles.  We still have a lot left of the season, I hope there will be more Principal/Soloist opportunities to come for some of the corps dancers.

 

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I am relieved that SFB is careful not to cast dancers in roles that they are not ready for in classical ballets such as Sleeping Beauty. Aurora requires pure classical technique, epaulement, attention to port de bras, refined carriage, and an ability to differentiate stylistically among the three acts.   It's a role you prepare, not learn.  Wona Park has shown that she can get through a full-length ballet and she possesses a remarkable serenity and pristine classical technique.   During World Ballet Day 2017, there was a segment with Helgi Tomasson's rehearsing the accomplished Ana Sophia Scheller in the Act III pas de deux, which indicated the detail that goes into the arduous role.  Sheehan was on stage for Etudes, but did not appear at that time to be in the best shape.   Plus, some of the SFB dancers should benefit from observing a Royal Ballet principal in their midst. 

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6 hours ago, Josette said:

Aurora requires pure classical technique, epaulement, attention to port de bras, refined carriage, and an ability to differentiate stylistically among the three acts.   It's a role you prepare, not learn.

I fully agree with you Josette . Dancing Aurora is not just about learning and executing the steps: it also demands for great artistry - as in each act Aurora is at very different stages in her life - and a ballerina needs to be able to clearly portray this to her audience. The Royal Ballet Principal Yasmine Naghdi is a complete product of The Royal Ballet School system of training: to produce dancers with a strong, clean classical technique with great emphasis on artistry, musicality, purity of line, co-ordination and quality of movements being totally free of mannerisms. Her guesting with SFB will be a great opportunity for the audience, as well as for the dancers, to observe and appreciate the English style of dancing classical ballet. I for one can't wait to see her dance again.

Edited by Katia Kapustin
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Count on Mathilde to post some relevant videos…
[I like being able to see Felipe Diaz at work in all these preparations]

Me at work today : Not good/ upset/ a little better/ still upset ! 🤷🏻‍♀️🤣
https://www.instagram.com/p/BuqPT9zlqa-/

Rehearsal is called Répétition in French.
As you can see here It also means repetition... most of the time a lot of repetition.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BusxZSBlV7e/


Nice photo of Sasha De Sola and Carlo Di Lanno in SB guise:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BuhQlrBn0Xc/

And Angelo Greco too:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Buj0w-eFomS/

Photo of Joe Walsh, Yasmine Naghdi and Helgi Tomasson in rehearsal:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BusEuFvg_H0/

 

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