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Swan Lake


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I haven't seen it yet, but I have a funny story... I had a ticket for tonight's performance, first night, with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, but I gave it to a Romanian friend who desperately wanted to see Alina dance. So I went to class today feeling a bit sad that I could have been at ROH... but to my surprise we learned the czardas in class! How cool is that? So although I didn't get to see Swan Lake tonight, I did get to dance a bit from it.:)

I am going to both performances tomorrow so I'll report back then, but if anyone is there tonight, please do write about it!

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That's such a sweet gesture Lolly. I hope you have a chance to see Alina and Johan later in the run.

I was there tonight (or last night now - it's 3am!). Cojocaru danced very beautifully I thought, and she's so tiny and her swan-like gestures so delicate, she seemed like a fragile white flower easily crushed by Rothbart (and Siegfried too). I thought dance-wise she made a good distinction between Odette and Odile, but it's hard to conceive her as malovelent, a little disappointing as she had no qualms about being cruel and manipulative in Mayerling a few weeks ago.(which I keep meaning to post about and I will!) She struggled with the fouettes in both the rehearsal and the performance so I worry a little if she is up to the technical demands. I have mixed feelings about Cojocaru - I feel like she's unable to project to the auditorium enough. I didn't see anything particularly interesting or unique about her performance from there. It wasn't until a friend gave me her seat in the front row of the stalls for the last act that I began to enjoy her a little more and the chemistry between her and Kobbog really became evident. I didn't have this problem with Tamara Rojo last year where I had terrible seats and still saw one of the greatest performances of my life. So I won't say anymore until I see her again next week and can be sure.

I did think that Kobborg's dancing was absolutely stunning. I was beginning to forget all the reasons why I thought he is a truely great dancer after a couple weeks without seeing him perform (he was injured before his last Mayerling and I've seen other 5 Mayerlings since then!). But with his first solo in Act I, all those reasons came rushing back FAST! It's hard to explain, but he just dances so beautifully! Everything is so precise, every movement gently stretched out. In his variation in Act III his tricks are so amazing, his pirouettes don't move an inch and slowly speed up as he brings his leg in, and yet he has none of that flashy 'look at me' personna that say Acosta has. I just could not stop smiling in his solos, they bring one so much pleasure to watch. I do wish there was more dancing for Siegfried in SL but I guess after Mayerling Kobborg may be happy not to have to throw anymore ballerinas about! :) And I do think he's a first class actor, though his pleas to his mother "I want to marry her, oh please let me!" felt a little wishy-washy. But I suppose you can't be half-hearted about the mime and if Kobborg's intent was to portray Siegfried as a needy boy without backbone then he succeeded. I think that his Siegfried isn't some big hero, but just that boy who eventually finds strength and redemption in Odette's love and forgiveness. But I'll have to go and see it again because it's 4am and I have 9 o'clock lectures and I'm definitely over-analysing.

The corps looked ok from where I sat, though I heard people on the side complaining how messy it looked. Marianela Nunez, Mara Galeazzi and Yohei Sasaki were very fresh and enjoyable in the pas de trois - it's so good to watch so much quality dancing outside the main roles. Towards the last dance in Act I my eye wasn't drawn so much to the corps dancing as it was to Ricardo Cervera as a soldier getting obnoxiously drunk on the sidelines - he does it very funnily! And of course he drunkenly goes on to spot Rothbart in the forest later on. He and Laura Morera were also really sparkly in the Neopolitan dance. I don't have a problem with this production though I can understand why people think the sets are too dark, cluttered and gaudy. I was straining to make out Kobborg's legs in his Act III variation. But I think the Faberge-egg inspired sets make the RB production very unique and I love the fluffy white swans - I guess the fluffy skirts must go some way to hide any mistakes by the corps as well!

Have had to give up my tickets for Bussell & Bolle and Tapper & Putrov Lolly. :) I'll keep trying for other dates. I'm looking forward to what you say about them.

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You GAVE away a ticket to see the adorable Cojocaru ! You ARE an angel !

Let us recall here that Lynn Seymour, who was right up there with Galina Ulanova in my little book, could not pull off the 32, and was wont to stumble towards the orchestra pit after 11 or 12. Did that stop her ? Well, it did stop her from turning the rest, because she'd just ditch'em - and then get on with the rest of the play.

Depending on your physical construction (e.g. very swaybacked), you may not be able to get through them properly no matter how many hours you put to the grindstone. Does it matter ? The girl is too fragile, and frankly, the choreography should be altered so she does not have to suffer through them. One can allow oneself do that, when faced with a woman of that calibre. She probably spends most of the ballet worrying that it will Shortly be Expected.

Swan Lake may, overall, be a little too technical for her. Moreover, it requires great stamina, and she does not have it.

Which brings us back to a point I have modestly tried to make elsewhere, that the things she was taught in Kiev are Not Good for the Body.

Anyway, asfor projection at a distance, let us bear in mind that we are dealing with a girl who is just over five foot tall. Very small dancers, like Elizabeth Maurin, Monique Loudières, or Laetitia Pujol, have all had difficulty, despite their great charisma, in projecting on the large Bastille stage. And, lastly but not leastly, Bournonville's own favourite dancer was Juliette Price, about whom he wrote something like "her refined style of dancing did not project well at a distance, and had to be viewed at close range to be properly appreciated".

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Spur of the moment decision to see newly principaled Jaimie Tapper and Ivan Putrov last night. Hmmm...mixed feelings again. I thought Jaimie's white acts were very good - she reminds me of Agnes Oaks actually. Her expression is desperately sorrowful and she has the loveliest, softest arms. Her Black Act was ok, overall technically it was nothing to go wild over and her Odile didn't make an impression one way or another. (It's Tamara Rojo and Zenaida Yanowsky I'm most looking forward to in this.) I wasn't sure about Putrov. The two of them seemed to be on different emotional planes. I found his performance too restrained. He didn't appear to me to *really* fall in love with Odette, nor did he seem all that aggrieved when she says she wants to die. But I wonder if he has been reading these boards and seen my complaints about his partnering! :D Because I thought he did an excellent and very sensitive job this time! No worries at all, but it looked like he was concentrating so hard on getting it right he forgot to inject any emotion into those bits of his performance. Having said that, he danced very beautifully and very cleanly. I think his performance as a whole lacked weight but in his solos he really commanded the stage. His huge, HUGE jetes in particular elicited big oohhs from the audience. I don't think he and Tapper make for a particularly exciting pairing. They were great in (their latter) Giselle, but only competent here. I think I'd rather see Putrov partnered with Yoshida - she has such a sparkling aura some of that might rub off on him. Oh well, it's just my impression of the performance. Tapper and Putrov got some terrific screams from the amphi, no kidding! I think there were a few RBS students up there. So maybe it's just me!

Enjoyed the pas de trois a great deal. Jose Martin and Dierdre Chapman are really proving their worth here. Chapman in particular I'm really warming to. She has such a bright smile that always draws your attention. Recognised Lauren Cuthbertson as one of the two big swans - she's another, only recently out of the RBS, that draws the eye and she's been getting some big roles which is great and deserving I reckon.

A ballet-free weekend for once! Nothing until Alina again on Wednesday. I liked the review in the Daily Telegraph said exactly what I couldn't seem to articulate about her performance. Did anyone see Rojo and Acosta?

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I had tickets for 5 performances and I thought it was a bit greedy to go to so many and I wouldn't mind missing one... my friend did enjoy it. Thank you Sylvia for posting a long review of it, I am consoled now I have read about it in detail! (Have you seen Brian Maloney on stage yet? I was very sad not to see him at all on Tuesday, especially since it seemed as if the entire company did something in one of the performances that day!:( ) I know what you mean about Johan K's pirouettes gathering momentum on the way, the first time I saw it I couldn't believe it!

Tuesday was a very long but exciting day for me, I went to work in the morning then excused myself for the afternoon (hoorah, I managed it!!) then saw Ivan Putrov and Jaimie Tapper in the matinee, went to ballet class and dashed in just in time for the 3rd act of Darcey and Roberto! (You will all think I am mad again, but it was an important class, and I will see Darcey and Roberto in it again next week.) There were a lot of names on the injury slips for both performances, so I hope everyone is all right.

Ivan suited the dark blue and silver costume down to the ground, so I was impressed before he even danced a step!;) He was stunning to watch, he is such a beautiful dancer. Jaimie was quite good, but my impression of her was spoiled by seeing Darcey in the same role on the same day - there is just no comparison. There wasn't a spark between Ivan and Jaimie, and I wasn't entirely sure why he wanted her instead of another swan, like Christina Arestis for example, who was gorgeous as one of the two swans. (Emily Low was the other, she was lovely too.) Tom Whitehead as Benno was brilliant, I got the feeling he was holding everything together, he was fantastic!

The national dances were great, I really enjoy seeing how the character dancing I do in class is shown on stage, it is very inspiring! I wasn't keen on the black wigs for the poor Spanish dancers though!

In the evening performance when the curtain went up on Act III I expected it to be Ivan again, but was entirely consoled by it being Roberto instead! He was superb, I am so pleased he is dancing so much with Darcey at the moment. Darcey was wonderful, and was perfectly mean as Odile, she gave some delicious little smiles and smirks as she was tricking poor Roberto. (I whispered to my friend as the curtain came down on Act III, "OOH! She's so MEAN!!") Marianela Nunez was lovely as one of the two swans, I do like seeing her on stage with Darcey. I did wish she had got her own Swan Lake though - maybe next time. Ricardo Cervera and Laura Morera were astonishing in the Neapolitan - they were so vibrant, I couldn't stop smiling! They look so good together.

So standout performances for me were Tom as Benno and Ricardo and Laura in the Neapolitan - I do hope I see them again in those roles. I am excited to see Darcey and Roberto again too, after being given a taster! And VERY much looking forward to seeing Zenaida later on. And of course I wish it had been me in the Czardas...;)

I was surprised to see the boys stealing the guards' crossbows for the hunt - I had thought Siegfried had a crossbow for his birthday so that was why they had to go on the hunt, rather than seeing the swans and having an impromptu hunt. I suppose it is just two different interpretations.:confused: And I think, if I was paying attention properly, that Ivan and Roberto were wearing different costumes for the last two acts - Ivan had grey tights and shoes, but Roberto was in black. The costumes were gorgeous, and I really love the gold spiral staircases at the side of the stage in the palace. There are lots of good pictures and interesting stuff in the programme, including a beautiful picture of Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley.:)

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Hi! I'm Fabiana and I'm italian! I'm happy that everything has gona well for Roberto, as I wished him "merde" for this Swna Lake when I last saw him! I really want to see him with Darcey because it seems she's her favourite partner. Luckily it seems that they will dance together in Verona on december. The first chance for me to see this couple!



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Hi Fabiana! Lucky you to see Darcey and Roberto in Verona! Be sure to tell us all about it. I can't wait to see them again on Friday. Roberto seems very versatile - he can be the perfect prince but looks great in modern ballets too. I'm glad dances here a lot!:(

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Lolly, I haven't yet seen Brian Maloney yet, though I must have seen everyone else in the company! I was sitting in the Royal Box for the Putrov/Tapper performance and it is unreal how close you are to the stage!

Your Tuesday doesn't sound so mad. :-) I went into Tewsley's Mayerling knowing I'd only be able to see Act I, leave for a meeting in Act II and hopefully rush back for Act III. As it was my meeting over-ran and I missed both Act II and III, but I got lucky and got tickets for his subsequent performnces!

And yep, Ivan was wearing grey tights as opposed to Kobborg's (and everyone else I've ever seen) black. Someone told me that he requested to wear grey to show off his legs better! I have to agree! I was really squinting to make out Kobborg's legs against the black floor. And the light in the black pdd gets so dark for some reason.

Fabiana, look forward to hearing about Darcey and Roberto when they dance in Verona!

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who squeezes as much ballet into the day as she can! And in the Royal Box, hey? Very swanky!

Interesting about Ivan's costume - I wouldn't have thought the dancers had a say in what they wore. I agree that black makes it hard to see the legs and feet - and if I had beats like Ivan I would certainly want to make sure the audience saw them!

It's peculiar about Brian. I hope he is back this week.:(

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I went to the Rojo/Acosta performance on the 21st, and I thought it was wonderful. I've seen it before by various companies who deigned to tour in Yorkshire, but the Royal definitely beat them all hands down.

Anyway, speaking of the tights, the person sitting behind me (who incidentally kept pronouncing it "ballut" rather than "ballay", I hope ironically) was complaining they couldn't see Seigfried's legs in the third act. He said it was all very well for the youngsters (me, presumably, after I moved his coat because it was poking me in the neck during the second act) but older folks wouldn't have been able to see, and he was going to write to the director about it (!). His companion said "do you think it will make a difference?" and he said "Oh I expect so" with complete confidence. Hilarious.

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And then you find out that the person behind you was Lord Fitzbattleaxe or some other toff whose family is still stuck in the eighteenth century, when they used to talk about "dancing ballot". (Sounds rather like an election in Florida!) Anyway, Lord F. is supporting the company this year to the tune of £100,000. You never know.;)

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Originally posted by Lolly

I'm glad I'm not the only one who squeezes as much ballet into the day as she can! And in the Royal Box, hey? Very swanky!

The people in the box didn't think so - they were giving my bootleg jeans and doc martins the evil eye. :) I wouldn't pay full price (£73) to sit there though - I stood in the returns queue and bargained it down to £15! It's good for an alternative view if you're seeing the umpteenth Swan Lake.

I think Ivan would have had to have asked Dowell for permission to change the costume. But I like black tights better so I think they should just change the floor!

I really can't wait to see Tamara and Carlos after their wonderful reviews. Saturday is too far away!!!

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I think maybe it could have been Lord Fitzwatchamacallim. He had a waxed raincoat thing which is obviously de rigeur among the eccentric upper classes. But what was he doing in the back of the amphitheatre where he couldn't see? He should have been in the royal box wearing wellies and tweed, distracting people's view away from Sylvie's Docs.

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Just got back from watching Zenaida's Swan Lake (the last of them) and it was unbelievable. She was so good, I was truely bowled over.

Jonathan Cope was injured so he was replaced by Inaki Urlezega, who was ok but wasn't my ideal Prince Siegfried. However considering it was a last minute replacement it was pretty good.

I can' t think very clearly at this time in the morning so I'll post more tomorrow when I have had time to reflect! xx

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I was at the last night too - it was wonderful, my favourite performance of the four (well, 3 1/2!) I saw. Zenaida was amazing. Her Odette was mesmerising, truly beautiful and her Odile was seductive and powerful. I had really enjoyed Darcey's performances, but after seeing both dancers, I much preferred Zenaida. She was so moving as Odette! Darcey was lovely, as she always is, but her Odile was stronger than her Odette. I can't remember much of Darcey's Odette, but there were breathtaking moments in Zenaida's. At one point (could have been the end of Act II) just before she bourreed offstage sideways, she stopped, absolutely still, with her arms in 2nd, it made me gasp! Isn't it strange how being so still can make such an impact? For those interested in fouettes, Zenaida remained glued to the spot throughout.:) And the end was sooooo lovely, as Odette and Siegfried lay in the golden carriage together... And a thank you to Zenaida too, I finally understood what my teacher means when she wants me to stretch into arabesques! (Yay!) Zenaida has such a luscious line, you can't help but learn from her.

Inaki Urlezaga was okay but not the Price Siegfried for me I'm afraid. He was a bit wet! He worked well with Zenaida though - it didn't look like a last minute partnership, considering he had been dancing with Miyako Yoshida who is probably half Zenaida's height!

I really enjoyed all the national dances, I think they are one of my favourite parts! Ricardo Cervera was so lively in the Neapolitan, my goodness he could cheer up the whole world with his big smile! And for anyone other Brian Maloney watchers out there, he was in the Act I waltz and polonaise!;)

The swan corps were beautiful, so fluid in the spiralling circling parts. I love the part where they all move downstage adding lines at the back so they form a triangular pattern led by one dancer at the front - they look so fierce and formidable!

And so ends this run of Swan Lakes! I wish I had seen more of them, but I must say I think Zenaida was perfect, I couldn't wish for a better swan! Ivan was my favourite Siegfried - shame they couldn't dance together but I can't imagine that, somehow.:D I wish I had seen Tom Whitehead again as Benno, he really brought something to the small role. Now I just need to find out what casts they will be using in Russia...;)

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I can't agree with you about Urlezaga, Lolly - though of course I saw a different performance (the first one he did with Yoshida). He's very different from the RB's other Siegfrieds, but to my eyes he's going back to an older performance tradition which is less 'naturalistic' than we usually see in this production. My husband remarked that he reminded him of the way Donald Macleary did the role, and as we saw Macleary in the audience that evening I wonder if he has been coaching Urlezaga. Urlezaga's dancing looked a bit tentative (except for the bit in Act 1 which I thought was beatiful), but he's been off for a long time and maybe just needs some more performances to get back his real form.

When I saw Yanowsky (with Jonathan Cope) I thought that she, like Urlezaga, looked as if she was in a different ballet from everyone else (thought not the same different one as him, if you see what I mean - they must have looked rather odd together.) She's so strong - I thought she was holding back dramatically in Act 2, and if she really let go I felt she might bring the whole ridiculous production crashing down around her. I liked her very stern interpretation in Act 4 - when Siegfried arrives there was none of the "Never mind dear, I forgive you" that you often see - she knew he'd ruined everything and that there was no way out but death.

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I know what you mean about Zenaida, Jane. Watching her you get the feeling the stage is too small, she is incredibly powerful and floods her dancing with emotion. I remember Donald Macleary talking on TV some time ago about the difficulty of finding suitable partners for Darcey, because they needed to be tall AND "up to her level". I think that is a problem with Zenaida and Inaki - she is just bursting with everything and is so in control that he didn't get a look in, which is why he came across as wet and a bit nothing - he just couldn't compare.

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