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Subject: "Half-time report from the Piazza" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1933
Reading Topic #1933
alison

30-07-01, 09:12 PM (GMT)
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"Half-time report from the Piazza"
 
   (Just in case you're not aware, the Royal Ballet's performance of Swan Lake tonight is being broadcast to the big screen on the Covent Garden piazza): and boy is it overcrowded! It's quite a fascinating atmosphere - most people are being pretty attentive, and I haven't noticed many mobile phones going off, but there are people crowding virtually every square inch of pavement and trying to sit in the gangways. I think all the publicity they've given it (the last opera performance was affected by rain, if I remember correctly), plus the hot weather, has had more effect than expected.

So what's it like watching on the big screen? Quite good, really, as many closeups as possible, including expressions where relevant, but I don't think it's as involving as being inside - too many extraneous things happening. The main problem, though, is that the screen really needs to be a fair bit higher for ballet at least: there's a horizontal corridor left clear about 1/3 of the way back through which people were continuously passing, and their heads were blocking out the dancers when seen in long-shot, as were the heads and shoulders of the security people, who suddenly decided to stand in the way during the Act II pas de deux, to the annoyance of a lot of people. It's far much more of a problem with ballet than with opera, and needs to be attended to. But obviously there would be teething problems first time around, and I hope this'll be sorted out by the next broadcast.

Still, I'm sure it's exposed a lot of people who haven't been to the ballet/the Opera House before to live (ish) performance, and if it encourages them to go again it'll be worth it.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Half-time report from the Piazza sylvia 30-07-01 1
     RE: Half-time report from the Piazza Brendan 30-07-01 2
         RE: Half-time report from the Piazza Ann Williams 31-07-01 3
             RE: Half-time report from the Piazza alison 31-07-01 4
                 RE: Half-time report from the Piazza Ann Williams 31-07-01 5
                     RE: Half-time report from the Piazza alison 01-08-01 6
             RE: Half-time report from the Piazza Jane S 07-08-01 7

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sylvia

30-07-01, 09:21 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 30-07-01 AT 10:24 PM (GMT)

Thanks Alison! Looking forward to your next report, especially on the audience's reactions to Act III! How are Yoshida and Urlezaga doing?


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Brendan

30-07-01, 10:03 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #1
 
   Alison, It's absolutely terrific to get your newsflash from the Piazza. I had been wondering how it had gone - and look forward to hearing more!


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Ann Williams

31-07-01, 09:05 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #2
 
   I was there. Initially I found it an uncomfortable experience; so crowded, confused and hot that I was tempted to turn tail and flee back to the cool suburbs, but I'm glad now that I stayed for most of the course.

After the shock of seeing the size of the crowd, the next shock was discovering that I was expected to sit on the cobblestones rather than stand, which I had expected to do. There was a great deal of confusion here; either we all sat or we all stood and a sizeable section of the crowd thought we should all sit and so booed, heckled and jeered us standees until we sat. This was obviously a learning curve for the ROH and one hopes they will have learned that the crowd needs to be advised at the oustset whether they should stand or sit and, as Alison said, they will also have learned that the screen needs to be several feet higher.

Once the performance got going I forgot the discomfort. Andrea Quinn's brisk conducting of the (magnificently amplified) score made the music an event in itself. I was too far from the screen to make any useful judgements of the dancing but I'll just say that Yoshida seemed technically perfect and Urlezaga's performance too was polished, especially given his recent serious injury. Both he and Yoshida gave long interviews on camera but it was difficult to hear what they were saying with the extraneous Covent Garden noises.

There were some technical problems; the dark costumes made some of the male dancing all but invisible, and some wobbly camerawork cut Yoshida's feet from view when executing the fouettes in the black act - unforgiveable.

The piazza crowd went wild for Laura Morera and Philip Mosley in the Czárdás, and I thought Alina Cojocaru,Mara Galeazzi and Justin Meissner were wonderful in the first act Pas de trois. Of note too was Nicola Tranah in the Spanish Dance - what a gorgeous backbend she has!

I thought the crowd was wonderfully warm and appreciative and I would love to know what proportion were 'drop-ins' i.e first-time ballet watchers. It would be nice to think that this event will have stimulated at least some of them to start watching ballet on a regular basis.



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alison

31-07-01, 01:32 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #3
 
   I think the reason the ROH advertise it as "standing only" is simply to discourage people from bringing portable seating, which is banned. It is in fact a "sit on the ground only", and always has been. In fact, if people stand they block the view for everyone behind them.


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Ann Williams

31-07-01, 03:41 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #4
 
   >I think the reason the ROH advertise it as "standing only" is simply to discourage people from bringing portable seating<

Then they should clarify this by making a simple announcement at intervals before the start of the programme; as it is, more than half of us last night appeared to think that it was mandatory to stand rather than sit. Very confusing.

Alison, did you stay for the whole of the programme? I left at the end of Act III because I couldn't face the thought of the crowds in the tube station. What was act IV like?


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alison

01-08-01, 06:49 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #5
 
   No, I went halfway through, hence the "half-time report"! What really annoyed me was to see that although Tutton's Brasserie cleared the cobbled area of their tables for the performance, the eatery on the other side didn't, and took up an unnecessary amount of space which could have been occupied by spectators.


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Jane S

07-08-01, 10:45 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Half-time report from the Piazza"
In response to message #3
 
   I just found this long and, I thought, interesting account of the relay in the Piazza:

http://www.danceinsider.com/f2001/f802_3.html


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