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Scenes de Ballet/Winter Dreams/Sinfonietta


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I'm feeling left out because of all the discussions about POB - I am sure there must be some others who see RB! Then everyone won't have to just read about me talking about my favourite dancers all the time.;)

So... anyone going to the Triple Bill which opens next week? It is Winter Dreams, Sinfonietta and Scenes de Ballet. I am very excited about seeing Anthony Dowell in Winter Dreams... and dying to know who is in Sinfonietta (and wondering why it is a big secret!). Is there anyone who has seen it and can tell us what to expect? I haven't seen any Kylian at all. Scenes de Ballet looks interesting from the snippet of rehearsal I saw on the screen in the ROH foyer.

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Lolly, you'll just have to get your friends to start posting about what they're seeing :)

I wish we had more Londoners, too, but I think so many post on Ballet.co -- www.ballet.co.uk -- where there are a lot of Londoners, and many people don't want to post twice about what they're seeing.

"Scenes de ballet" is gorgeous, I think; there are those who think it's Ashton's finest ballet. It's for a leading couple and a small corps, and one of its secrets is that Ashton was reading Euclid when he choreographed it and its patterns are very geometric, and no matter where you sit, at what angle you view it, you'll see a completely work; there are no "off" angles. ABT does "Sinfonietta" and it's very popular -- a "pure dance" work with lots of jumps, good parts for the men, especially.

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Lolly, I talk about the POB because it's the company I see the most often, but I'm interested in reading your review of the RB performances! That surely looks like an exciting program (and Alexandra, your depiction of "Scenes de ballet" makes me regret once more that it's nearly impossible to see any Ashton works in France. A ballet inspired by Euclid, that sounds great! :) )

I saw "Sinfonietta" once, in 1995, at the Paris Opera. I don't have a precise memory of the choreography but I had found it pleasant to watch, and I especially liked the music, it made me discover Janacek.

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Lolly, don't panic - we are out here, it's just some of us don't manage to get up to London that much! When I do manage to get there I have put up my 'reviews', but please don't stop with yours because although I am extremely jealous I do love to read them :( .

I'm going to see the Chisinau National Ballet down here on Monday - not sure that they'll be too good but I've decided that bad ballet is better than no ballet at all!! I booked 4 tickets today in the stalls for Monday - that's really unusual for Bristol - ballet sells out very quickly down here!! We don't get very much coming through Bristol - usually the ENB, the Northern Ballet Theatre go to Bath, and then these odd ones that are here at the moment.

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I'm excited about seeing Scenes de ballet for the first time after everything I've heard about it. I'm desperate to see something new (to me) after weeks and weeks of Swan Lakes and Nuts. I'm going for three performances, probably will book for more as I always end up doing after first night! Plus all my essays will have been handed in by then so I'll try to post as much as I can. :(

Beckster, good luck with the move! I adore this city and have been so happy since I moved here a few months ago.

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Thank you everyone for your tidbits about the ballets - it sounds like it is a good bill. I am going twice, but sadly I am sitting in the same seat! So I won't get to experience the "all angles" thing of Scenes de Ballet.:( Mr Johnson, by "workmanlike" do you mean that it is dull?

I don't live in London either, I sometimes think it is a good job I don't or I would go to ROH every day.:) Not that it would be a bad thing - actually I can't think of anything I would like more!

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But "workmanlike" does have a connotation of dull, as does "serviceable," I think, so I don't think we'd want it on the poster trying to entice people to come in. "Scene de ballet" is beautifully constructed, Lolly -- its form is perfect, I think it's fair to say. And I'm sure it's received dull performances, but I don't think it's a dull ballet. :)

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However, don't overlook that synonym, "masterpiece". Ashton considered it his most well-crafted work, and while that word is not publicity fodder either, that's not what I'm addressing. Ashton was demonstrating the highest sort of professional craft and sophistication in "Scenes de Ballet" and it is always exciting in my eyes, even if the casting sometimes leaves things to be desired.

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Well I must say I am really looking forward to seeing this Triple Bill! Especially as I get to see both casts, I still find it amazing how different a ballet can be with a different cast. And to see Anthony Dowell is unmissable! I'll let you know I find them xx

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I am also looking forward to this triple bill - Winter Dreams is a favourite of mine and I loved it with Bussell, Mukhamedov and Dowell some years ago. Scenes de Ballet I don't know but it sounds interesting. It is also repeated later in the season in a triple bill which includes 'Song of the Earth' and a new ballet by David Bintley.

I have a copy of Sinfonietta on tape, with NDT, it's theme is, I think, a 'longing for the homeland'. It has haunting music and flowing choreography - though maybe a bit repetitive. Having said that, a live performance is very different. I particularly remember Les Noces being difficult to watch on video, but was stunning in an actual performance and quite mesmeric.

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One of the interesting things about this programme will be to discover what is this year's take on the costumes for Scenes de Ballet: for years people used to complain that they were dated and dowdy; then at the last revival they were suddenly seen as amazingly chic again. Also it'll be interesting to see how Cojocaru gets on in Fonteyn's role. I agree with Mel that you don't need to know anything about how Ashton made the ballet, or what he thought of it himself - it's just a masterpiece, vying with Symphonic Variations for a place in the programme I'd choose for my last night on earth.

I'm looking forward to seeing Dowell in Winter Dreams - I think it's arguably one of the three best roles he ever had made for him - but very different from what you might expect, if you've never seen it before!

It's ironic that Ross Stretton saw Kylian's Sinfonietta as the highlight of the whole season - I wonder how many of the audience will agree with him? - but since he left it's had almost no publicity at all. (Kylian and the RB fell out sometime in the 1980s and this is the first time since then he's allowed them to do one of his pieces.)

(Actually ANYTHING would be interesting, after a straight run of something like 40 performances of Swan Lake and Nutcracker!)

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Kylian's Sinfonietta is done in New York at American Ballet Theatre. It has a lot of jumping, lots of earnest earthy folk looking at sunsets and, if I remember, rolling on the ground. No pointe shoes for the women. I guess it is considered a good piece for men.

I can't believe Stretton thought that would be the highlight of a season that included Scenes de Ballet and I've never seen Ashton's ballet. Unfortunately, I've only seen photos of the work (and the costumes look gorgeous, very chic).

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While I agree that the 'highlight' of this program, certainly, for me would be the Ashton, I think Sinfonietta -- if well danced -- is pretty thrilling. When I saw it first (with Kylian's company) and later with ABT, I enjoyed it very much. The music has a brilliant, brass 'fanfare' type opening. At the Metropolitan Opera House, ABT had several instrumentalists placed in boxes so that the opening brass surrounded one; I assume this is an effect that Janacek wanted.

The choreography is definitely contemporary not classical or even neo-classical, and I mostly remember the repeating series of big, simple, but in my opinion very effective, grand jetes that punctuate the entire work. But though the choreography is in an athletic, contemporary style, I find that it manages to seem easy and joyful rather than merely driven and acrobatic. If the company captures that quality it could be a hit. So, as a contemporary-style repertory acquisition for the company I don't think this a bad choice at all -- unless one thinks the company should not be doing any contemporary ballets and I wouldn't go quite that far.

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I've just come from the triple bill rehearsal and I'm kicking my heels round Convent Garden til the Cathy Marston double bill tonight. Not a review - just some thoughts as I'm dying to say...how much I loved Scenes de ballet!! Everyone I spoke to kept saying the same thing - how beautiful the choreography and Stravinsky music is (I want to buy a CD now!), how good the dancers were, especially Alina (partnered by Kobborg). I think the only quibble I have is the costumes - Alina looks wonderful and fresh in daffidol yellow but I wasn't keen on the funny head pieces for the girls - they make them look like little birds, and the guys look like they're wearing t-shirts for a punk concert! I'm sure it will all grow on me :)

Jonathan Cope is injured - I quite gutted but I hope he can still make the last performance of Winter Dreams.

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well i must be a very boring person: i don't even remember sinfonietta, although i know i have seen it. i find winter dreams boring in the EXTREME! and scenes de ballet leaves me cold. i wouldn't even attend this program, if i could. :(

i am amazed to discover that ashton rated it so highly (scenes)...that's one thing new i've learned today. :)

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Lolly, it was a stage rehearsal so the coaches were probably watching off stage. But names, here you go!

Conductor - Charles Barker

Scenes de ballet

Music - Igor Stravinsky

Choreography - Frederick Ashton

Designs - Andre Beaurepaire

Lighting - John B. Read

Staging - Christopher Carr

Ballet Mistress - Gail Taphouse

Principal Coaching - Lesley Collier, Antoinette Sibley

Alina Cojocaru, Johan Kobborg

Ricardo Cervera, Yohei Sasaki, Joshua Tuifa, Edward Watson

Dierdre Chapman, Emily Low, Isabel McMeekan, Vanessa Palmer, Jane Burn, Mara Galeazzi, Laura Morera, Samathan Raine, Victoria Hewitt, Bethany Keating, Sian Murphy, Natasha Oughtred

Winter Dreams

Music - Tchaikovsky, arranged by Philip Gammon, Thomas Hartman

Choreography - MacMillan

Designs - Peter Farmer

Lighting - John B. Read

Staging - Grant Coyle, Monica Mason

Piano - Philip Gammon

Olga - Nicola Tranah

Masha - Darcey Bussell

Irina - Tamara Rojo

Andrey Prozorov their brother - Edward Watson

Natasha his wife - Genesia Rosato

Kulygin Masha's husband - Anthony Dowell

Lt. Colonel Vershinin - Inaki Urlezaga

Lt. the Baron Tusenbach - Alistair Marriot

Captain Solyony - Martin Harvey

Dr Chebutykin - Chistopher Saunders

Anisa the family nanny - Sandra Conley

Maid - Vanessa Palmer

Soldiers - Kenta Kura, Ernst Meisner, Richard Ramsey, Johannes Stepanek


Music - Leos Janacek

Choreography - Jiri Kylian

Designs - Walter Nobbe

Lighting - Kees Tjebbes

Staging - Jiri Kylian, Roslyn Anderson

Ivan Putrov, Jonathan Howells, Ricardo Cervera, Jose Martin, Thomas Whitehead, Bennet Gartside, Martin Harvey

Marianela Nunez, Tamara Rojo, Emma Maguire, Jane Burn, Dierdre Chapman, Vanessa Palmer, Zenaida Yanowsky

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Winter Dreams was lovely - a little long but lovely. I found it so much better on the bare stage than on video (which I kept fast-forwarding through). I really feel like MacMillan's choreography brought out the best in the dancers. Sinfonietta - ummmm...I'll wait til I see it for real before posting anything. :)

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An OT question just arises in my mind: I wonder if Ricardo Cervera is some twig off the family tree of the great Spanish naval family. Old Admiral Cervera once lost a sea battle, and was taken onboard the enemy flagship. He so charmed the officers and sailors that they all wondered who had won and who had lost! If Ricardo has that sort of deportment, he must be something to see and watch for the future!:)

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