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Subject: "Last night at Covent Garden" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #1950
Reading Topic #1950
Ann Williams

05-08-01, 09:29 AM (GMT)
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"Last night at Covent Garden"
 
   Someone else, I hope, will do a detailed review of last night's end-of-season RB mixed bill, but meanwhile I just wanted to sketch in a few quick thoughts about the evening in general..

I hoped it was going to be a real first-time gathering of Balleter-coers, but shyness evidently prevailed so in the end it boiled down to the hard-boiled: Bruce, Alison, Tomoko, Shirley, Brendan, Patricia, Tony, myself, Anneliese (terrifyingly chic) and Pete (brutally handsome). We sipped wine, introduced ourselves and exchanged gossip - cutting-edge stuff really.

The presence of the Queen Mother on her 101th birthday added immeasurably to Sir Anthony Dowell's final retirement event and provided a huge thrill for the audience (see Brendan's posting).

Of the programme, I'll just say that 'Monotones' made it for me, a small, tranquil gem of a ballet that is not often performed as perfectly as it was last night, and that Sylvie Guillem broke my heart in 'A Month in the Country'.

Sir Anthony made a moving and emotional speech after the final curtain, admitting that the lump in his throat threatened embarrassement, but managing to turn humbly to the assembled company behind him without weeping. A muscularly accurate flower-throw followed, seeming to last for ages . Lord knows who we have thank for that or how much it cost, but belated and heartfelt thanks to you.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Last night at Covent Garden Viviane 05-08-01 1
     RE: Last night at Covent Garden Karen R 05-08-01 2
         RE: Last night at Covent Garden Tomoko.A 05-08-01 3
             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Jonny 05-08-01 4
                 RE: Last night at Covent Garden Lily 05-08-01 5
                 RE: Last night at Covent Garden sylvia 05-08-01 6
                 RE: Last night at Covent Garden Anneliese 05-08-01 7
                     RE: Last night at Covent Garden Pete G 08-08-01 24
         RE: Last night at Covent Garden Naoko S 05-08-01 8
             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Anneliese 05-08-01 10
             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Tomoko.A 06-08-01 11
                 RE: Last night at Covent Garden Naoko S 07-08-01 18
  RE: Last night at Covent Garden Bruce Madmin 05-08-01 9
     RE: Last night at Covent Garden Paul A 06-08-01 12
         RE: Last night at Covent Garden emma 06-08-01 13
             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Patricia 06-08-01 14
                 RE: Last night at Covent Garden Anneliese 06-08-01 15
                     RE: Last night at Covent Garden Helen 06-08-01 16
                     RE: Last night at Covent Garden Patricia 06-08-01 17
                         RE: Last night at Covent Garden Helen 07-08-01 19
                         RE: Last night at Covent Garden Helen 07-08-01 20
                             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Ann Williams 07-08-01 21
                             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Helen 07-08-01 22
                             RE: Last night at Covent Garden Bruce Madmin 07-08-01 23

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Viviane

05-08-01, 12:44 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #0
 
   Thank you so much Ann, for sharing your thoughts about the evening with us !


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Karen R

05-08-01, 01:50 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #1
 
   I was there too but I didn't get to talk to you Ann. What a wonderful evening and such a joy to be able to share it with you all. Thank you Bruce for your warm welcome and your generosity. I felt like one of the family. It was so good to put faces to names at last. I am sorry that I did not come down in the second interval but I had another quarry in my sites in the Amph bar! Truly a night to remember.


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Tomoko.A

05-08-01, 02:05 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #2
 
   It was a wonderful evening. Much better than the gala held in May. I didn't enjoy the gala very much as I felt lonely. It was really lovely to see you all last night. Sorry I missed Shirley, Pete and Annelise ! ( I was with a friend from Japan in the second interval.)


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Jonny

05-08-01, 03:32 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #3
 
   One of the last things Sir Dowell did was to promote Ivan Putrov from Corps to Soloist on Thursday Evening.


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Lily

05-08-01, 05:05 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #4
 
   Super! I thought that his portrayal of Beliaev in A Month was very moving. He is a wonderful lyrical dancer!

Good luck to him


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sylvia

05-08-01, 05:09 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #4
 
   Wow, the promotion is well deserved. I thought Ivan Putrov did such a lovely job with both Awakenings and A Month in the Country. And I have to say I'm very relieved. Didn't he say that if he lingered any longer in the corps, he'd move on to greener pastures?

I'm still bubbling over last night though I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet anyone.

The Dream is forever a favourite of mine, and it was wonderful to see it's 200th performance fielded by such a strong cast. Sarah Wildor and Carlos Acosta blew me away, and I thought Justin Meissner and Jonathan Howells were tremendous as Puck and Bottom. My only minor criticism? That there was so mny interesting things going on all over the stage, I had a hard time deciding who to watch!

I hadn't have a clue what to expect of Monotones II, but it's simplicity won me over fast. I thought Cojocaru and Putrov made a lovely match in Awakenings. And I can't stop gushing over Manon pdd. I hadn't been a great fan of either Benjamin or Manon until now, and Kobborg just confirmed for me what an extraordinary dancer he is.
After the fireworks of Rojo and Acosta on Friday, I didn't think either Yoshida or Urlezaga would surprise me, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I thought they were both so exciting - Inaki's one handed lifts, tour en l'airs and Miyako's spot on fouettes.

I had to remind myself to breathe when watching A Month in the Country. I'd only seen it for the first time on Friday. I can't think of a more perfect cast than Guillem, Cope, Cojocaru and Meissner, and got such a buzz from seeing them dance the pas de quatre. Everything about it I found beautiful, poetic - the kite, the sets, the costumes and above all the dancing and music. Does anyone know if a CD with all the Chopin piano pieces exists?

What a fantastic evening. I feel so lucky to have seen the best dancers in the world (my opinion) all in one night. I was a bit dumbstruck when Princess Margaret wheeled past me, and it was a pleasure to see the Queen and Queen Mother as I'd never seen royalty before. And Anthony Dowell's speech was both sweet and touching.


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Anneliese

05-08-01, 05:54 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #4
 
   Well, where to start? Well, firstly with a blush... I've been called terrifying before, but terrifyingly chic... (oh yes, I remember, first day at college, my later best friend told me when she took one look at me and quailed her mother braced her with the words "She's not really that elegant, you just THINK she is because she's tall" - and I'm shorter than Darcey!) and the dress is 3 years old as well so I'm well chuffed. I loved your dramatic embroidery, Ann!

OK, serious stuff now. The Dream. At first I felt, hmm, overture a little slow, but I suppose it's inevitable given that all those fairies have to DANCE to it! I wasn't very certain about the four lead fairies (apart from the wonderful Galeazzi, who is just stunning in everything she does) - I thought they were rather ill-matched at first, but they seemed to settle down a bit later. I wasn't thrilled to discover it would be Acosta as Oberon - I didn't really think the role would suit him. Boy, was I wrong!! Tremendous elegance and presence. Justin Meissner was a very athletic and characterful Puck - I THINK last time I saw this I saw Kumakawa, but I felt that Meisner easily stood up to the comparison (but I keep feeling that the choreography changes every time I see this ballet...) The lovers were beautifully characterised (but I wish they'd chosen the women a little better for height - Helena should be significantly taller than Hermia) - Gillian Revie managed to lose her usual Grace Kelly glamour to look stressed and hard done by very well, and Muriel Valtat's comic timing was spot on. All the by-play with the quartet of lovers was beautifully done. The one performance I was a little unsure about was Jonathan Howells as Bottom. His pointework was just far, FAR too good! I've never seen it danced like that and somehow it didn't sit quite right with the role. His mime on awakening, though, was beautifully done. Sarah Wildor I thought gave a good performance, with her usual sensitivity, but there were a few moments in the pdd where I found the abrupt changes of direction a lot more abrupt than I felt they should have been, though - I didn't feel that the partnership had had a lot of rehearsal. But it was a joy to hear the music played so much better than 9 years ago (when it was just plain embarrassing), and overall it was a very nicely put across performance with a very high level of artistry. A far FAR better start to the evening than the Kirov's Serenade a month ago!

On to the second section. Cojocaru and Putrov were beautiful (despite that annoying thread from Alina's very unbecoming tutu). He is a fine dancer who is set to go far, and she was totally believable as a just-awoken princess. I thought it was a lovely piece, too - a beautiful little moment of tenderness which needed -and received - a lot of musicality and precision. Cojocaru appeared very close to tears at her curtain call.

What came next? Was it Monotones? I think so. Zanowsky was stunning in this - I have seen it a very long time ago when it just washed over me but last night I was engrossed (another example of a rather Balanchine-esqu piece that was just so much better than Balanchine could have done ). Occasionally I was distracted by a very slight height imbalance between the men ( I THINK Alastair Marriott (incidentally the best Simone I have ever seen) was a shade shorter than the one whose double barrelled name I can't remember) which spoilt a couple of the lifts (I'm someone who can't leave a picture hanging crooked), but as a whole it was a very fine performance which got better and better as it went on and finished beautifully. We don't see enough Zanowsky IMO!

Next must have been Manon (sorry if I've got these the wrong way round). This pdd is short but utterly lovely - I think it's such a wonderful divertissement piece because of the final minute or so of music (which got a wonderful rendition last night with brass and horns to die for) coupled with those swoopy slides. Kobborg and Benjamin were great in this (a bit of a waste of Kobborg, who shares a lot of Dowell's characteristics as a dancer, perhaps, but never mind, at least we saw him), and I couldn't fault their dancing - but I have to say that they didn't quite live up to Sylvie and Jonny at the closing gala (how I WISH I'd kept my tape... it was that pdd that made me see why people rave about Sylvie) and of course they weren't Viv and Irek (without whom Manon will never be the same) but they still gave a lovely performance and the house went wild (particularly the Queen Mother's head of household or whoever he is!).

Finally, the Don Q pdd. First things first - I was delighted to hear the music arranged the way I like it (i.e. as per my Stephen Irving LP with wondrous clarinet and bassoon duo in the adagio and woodwind rather than harp arpeggios in the female variation) and the costumes were stunning (LOVE the flamenco tutu!) and Inaki is looking better than I'd ever seen him before (I haven't been a great fan of his to date). On to the dancing. Well, Miyako needs no introduction - Petipa is what this girl does and there's no fuss, no bother, just fabulous, apparently effortless technical pyrotechnics. The partnership worked very well indeed - their dancing was very involving, very emotionally connected, and very together. The thing that really surprised me was the quality of Inaki Urlezaga's dancing. I have NEVER applauded in the middle of a pdd before - but that sequence of double tours en l'air and pirouettes was just spot on! His footwork has tidied up in the last few years, and there was a real sense of style and very neat finishes throughout. A real barnstormer, and the best performance of this pdd that I've seen (and I have (separately) seen Fadeev, Rojo and Kumakawa so far...) - the house was duly brought down again!

On to the final work - and here I have to declare a partiality. I love "A month in the country" unreservedly and will brook no messing about with it. I'm glad to say there WAS no messing about with it! It still looks fabulous ( I LOVE that big shawl that Natalya Petrovna wears...) and I hope no fool ever re-designs it. One question that I ask myself at each revival, though, is "Do the Royal have any other pianists?" If anything happens to Philip Gammon I don't know what they'll do! He was on great form last night, and I must say that I found the playing and conducting throughout the evening of a far higher standard than we're used to hearing! But back to the dancing. Can anyone tell me if I have seen a televised performance of this work with the original cast? I am sure I have - the pictures are very clear in my mind, and Sylvie recalled Lynn Seymour very much in the opening few minutes (btw, she WAS wearing tights, but she had apparently forgotten to sew the ribbons on her pointe shoes - they were secured with elastic alone, I assume!). Sylvie's performance was lovely. I am not a huge fan of hers, but she is a very intelligent dancer and so I was confident that she could put the role across - and she surpassed all my expectations with a deeply felt performance which also worked as an ensemble piece. Jonathan Cope I was surprised to find utterly believable in this role (again, I haven't been a great fan - maybe it's because I only ever seem to see him playing Petipa stuffed shirts?) - his lankiness worked very well, he managed to look very young and "coltish". Cojocaru as Vera was beautiful (but she, too, looked like Debbie McGee - must be the wig...) but maybe rather too histrionic and petulant towards the end? I think she will grow into this role very well, though. Justin Meissner turned in a very well danced performance as Kolya - but sadly the wig couldn't make him look young enough. That was a shame - I'm not sure how or if this could be remedied. I must mention Vanessa Palmer who gave a beautifully drawn characterisation of Katya - she is a lovely dancer who managed to make a big impression in a small role. Will we ever see her Lise? Anyway, the ballet worked its magic as ever - I'm going to go and read the play again later - the ensemble transported us to 19th century Russia for three quarters of an hour and left us laughing and crying and delighting over the beauty of it all.

The speeches have already been reported - I was delighted that HRH Princess Margaret was able to be there for the last night despite her ill health (WAS she in the box? Sir Tone's speech had us wondering if she'd been in the wings!) and it clearly meant a lot to Sir A that she was there. I was scanning the stage for faces from his past but of course most dancers are tiny therefore hard to spot if they're not at the front! Anyone recognise anyone?

All in all, a wonderful evening - I was still on a high when I got to bed at 2am. It was pure chance that we were there - I only realised last week that it would be Sir Tone's last night and I'm so glad I was there. Until the early 90s, Anthony Dowell was my all time favourite male dancer after Nureyev - and only Irek has displaced him! A great sendoff.



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Pete G

08-08-01, 04:14 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #7
 
   I love your comments on Saturday night. What a great evening! It's so refreshing to see something written about the RB that I completely agree with! (I gave up reading Dancing Times because I could never believe that Mary Clarke was reporting the same performances that I'd seen with my own eyes ....)

I've just left the Friends of CG and rejoined the mailing list so I only received the booking info for next season this morning. I notice that Irek has vanished from the list of Principals. Could someone fill me in on why this is? (and maybe give me some clues about how to keep more up to date with what's going on?? - again Dancing Times is a complete failure in this respect.)

Thanks.


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Naoko S

05-08-01, 08:47 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #2
 
   Nice to have met you Ann - but it was a shame we could barely talk! I should have arrived there earlier..... Anyway the evening turned a great success - much more satisfactory than the first night (Thursday).

Don Q pdd left the strongest impressions on me; another class act from Miyako, who as always showed the perfect example how classical works should be danced. Her precision, the lightest footwork and ever-so-elegant stage manner put Tamara in shade, I thought. And Inaki... was it only me who could not recognise him at the entrance? I saw this very THIN and slender figure on stage and went; "Gosh there must have been a last minute cast change.... this guy must be another good-looking Latino on loan from somewhere else....". But then after a close look I recognised it was Inaki - he looked so gorgeous in the black & white Basilo costume and so confident in everything he did. The best thing was they were full of joy for dancing - together they literally brought the house down.

Manon pdd was much better done by Benjamin & Kobborg than Wildor & Bolle, and in SB Awakening pdd Cojocaru & Putrov were full of youthfulness and brought a refreshing air.

A Month in the Country: To me it was only the second viewing, but this piece already won my heart dearly and became strong favourite in the entire RB repertoire. I loved everything displayed on the stage. Design: Very tasteful color scheme was used both for costumes & designs. Everything was shaded in the combination of blue, yellow, brown & gold; every care was given to make the interior of the sitting room look anything but an affluent bourgeois would have decorated. With this, there's a beautiful scenery in the back; total effect was noble yet light & summerly. (This magnificent design required viewers enormous concentration though; in fact I was busy looking at both dancers & details of the design, which was SO detailed indeed! Even the pattern on the floor appeared something not to be missed....)

Given the Russian setting a leading male dancer and a maid wore folklore costumes which were just as lovely. I was so glad to see Cope back in the picture on this special evening, but as a younger & yearning lover Murru to me was more appealing. His desparation and straightforwardness was very moving. Music: I found the music from Don Giovanni, lightly arranged for piano solo, very pleasant and effective. It somehow stressed the atmosphere of the self-complacent, nonchalant middle class family just before the domestic storm.

...and onto the central figure in this exceptional setting - thank heavens we had Sylvie Guillem. I can't think of any other artist more desirable than Sylvie for the role. Natalia Petrovna was supposed to be a woman whose charms inevitably stirred chivarly in men around her; they couldn't help but adore this happily married yet slightly bored lady. She briefly fell for her son's tutor, young & handsome Beliaev, whom her ward Vera happened to find a romantic potential.

Guillem expressed every emotion of this middle-aged, beautiful now in full bloom as a woman with eloquent eyes and mimes. Her facial expressions were just so moving; the way she glanced at her younger lover was full of emotions - apprehension, expectation, fear - were all there. The pdd between the two was truly heart-breaking, yet her solo variation after the pdd was more moving. She danced in both joy and desperation; her face went almost ecstatic.

.... Now the mix pro. was over I sincerely wish RB stage the piece in the nearest future.....


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Anneliese

05-08-01, 10:22 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #8
 
   . And Inaki...
>was it only me who
>could not recognise him at
>the entrance? I saw
>this very THIN and slender
>figure on stage and went;
>"Gosh there must have been
>a last minute cast change....
> this guy must be
>another good-looking Latino on loan
>from somewhere else....".


I wasn't going to say this - but YES! I agree absolutely!


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Tomoko.A

06-08-01, 00:04 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #8
 
   Oh no, Naoko, I didn't get around to meet you ! Kevin often told me about you and I always wanted to meet you. Next time..hopefully soon.


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Naoko S

07-08-01, 00:53 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #11
 
   Hi Tomoko

Thanks for your message - let's meet up sometime soon at the House!

Naoko


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Bruce Madmin

05-08-01, 09:01 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #0
 
   I'd hate anybody to miss what was actually the first thread to record something of last night:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/1949.html


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Paul A

06-08-01, 09:26 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #9
 
   Good to meet you Helen and Anneliese.

Everybody else has said it but a few thoughts:

Urzelaga - have we found an Onegin?

Guillem - very intelligently acted (at least through opera glasses, otherwise she didn't project. Thought this was a very honest performance, showing us how unlikeable Natalia is.


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emma

06-08-01, 10:11 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #12
 
   I went to the matinee so saw a different cast.
It was the first time I've seen ballet since I left school ten years ago and the first time my partner had been at all.

We loved The dream. This piece made my boyfriend want to go and see 'something in full with a proper story'.

Manon was my fave so much emotion.
Monotones II was okay, the lady next to me thought it was the best part the girl had done.
DonQ was great and fun.
With Sleeping beauty my complaint is with a black boots and brown trousers against a black floor it was difficult to tell what the man was doing.

A month in the country was dull dull dull. Neither of us enjoyed it. The set was impressive though.


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Patricia

06-08-01, 11:22 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #13
 
   What a wonderful evening! It was great to meet so many of
you, I was sorry not to get down at the 2nd interval but
we had friends with us and I felt I should spend it with
them. Isn`t the Queen Mother an amazing old lady!
Could anyone clear up a mystery for me, the music at the
beginning of A Month in the Country seemed suspiciously
like a duet from Don Giovanni but was credited to Chopin..
did anyone else think that or am I getting a bit senile!
Probably the latter.
Thanks to Rachel for doing such a wonderful flower throw,
it was really fantastic and semed to go on for ever...I`m
sure Sir Anthony really appreciated it!


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Anneliese

06-08-01, 12:55 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #14
 
   Chopin's variations on La ci darem is the piece that opens the ballet, so you're not going senile at all. I don't think the entire set of variations is used, but I'm not sure.


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Helen

06-08-01, 05:04 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #15
 
   Was I at the foot of the wrong escalator? I met Anneliese and Paul, but managed to miss the rest of you. I would have loved to meet all of you, especially Bruce.

I'm trying to work out which thread to put my comments on, when I have sorted out my thoughts. I have only just got home from London - and (rather pathetically) the first thing I did was read Ballet.co!


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Patricia

06-08-01, 05:07 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #15
 
   Anneliese...thank you very much! I`m sorry not to have seen
you on Sat...maybe some other time. What a great evening!


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Helen

07-08-01, 07:48 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #17
 
   I am a latecomer to this thread, as I only returned home yesterday, but I can't resist airing a few opinions. The evening had a good start for me - I walked into the ROH alongside Adam Cooper!

I loved Wildor in The Dream - Alina in the afternoon danced beautifully, but I didn't feel that she understood Titania's sinister and sexual elements as well as Wildor did. (Paul disagrees with me.) However, I preferred Essakow in the afternoon to Acosta in the evening as Oberon. Lovely ballet, and with far more depth than I realised when I first saw it. I didn't think either Bottom quite got it, and in fact I missed Alexander Grant more than any other member of the original cast.

Exquisite dancing from Cojocaru and Putrov in the SB extract, and the living sculpture of Monotones worked beautifully - divine simplicity, sublime stuff.

Manon could hardly be further away from Monotones, and is not my favourite ballet, but I do think that Benjamin and Kobborg were superbly convincing, both afternoon and evening.

Don Q - well, again not a favourite of mine. Have to admit that Acosta was utterly stunning with Rojo in the afternoon - but I liked Urlezaga too, in a different, more subtle way. Yoshida has divine simplicity, like Monotones, even in this.

I love Month in the Country, and although nothing can erase the image of Seymour and Dowell in this (and yes, it was on television once),I enjoyed, with reservations, both performances on Saturday - partcularly Muriel Valtat's bored glamour at the matinee. Why don't we see more of her? I preferred Guillem's Natalia to her Marguerite, but to me she just doesn't look right for Ashton. I must put in a word for Natasha Oughtred's Vera, which somebody was very rude about on another thread. I was impressed. If I hadn't known she was more or less straight out of school, I would never have guessed - she looked as if she had been dancing Ashton leads all her life. I do agree the wig is awful.

Philip Gammon played beautifully at both performances, and I was glad the audience appreciated him. Usually the musicians slave in the pit and don't share in the glory. The choir sounded tired by the evening - nice treble solos, though.

I recognised Monica Mason and, I think, Antoinette Sibley at the final curtain. Dowell's speech made me cry - I have been around for all of his 40 years. I hope he felt loved - there has been so much negative comment in the press that he must have felt at times that he had wasted 14 years. Well, I hope his reception showed him that most of us love and respect him.


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Helen

07-08-01, 07:50 AM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #17
 
   I am a latecomer to this thread, as I only returned home yesterday, but I can't resist airing a few opinions. The evening had a good start for me - I walked into the ROH alongside Adam Cooper!

I loved Wildor in The Dream - Alina in the afternoon danced beautifully, but I didn't feel that she understood Titania's sinister and sexual elements as well as Wildor did. (Paul disagrees with me.) However, I preferred Essakow in the afternoon to Acosta in the evening as Oberon. Lovely ballet, and with far more depth than I realised when I first saw it. I didn't think either Bottom quite got it, and in fact I missed Alexander Grant more than any other member of the original cast.

Exquisite dancing from Cojocaru and Putrov in the SB extract, and the living sculpture of Monotones worked beautifully - divine simplicity, sublime stuff.

Manon could hardly be further away from Monotones, and is not my favourite ballet, but I do think that Benjamin and Kobborg were superbly convincing, both afternoon and evening.

Don Q - well, again not a favourite of mine. Have to admit that Acosta was utterly stunning with Rojo in the afternoon - but I liked Urlezaga too, in a different, more subtle way. Yoshida has divine simplicity, like Monotones, even in this.

I love Month in the Country, and although nothing can erase the image of Seymour and Dowell in this (and yes, it was on television once),I enjoyed, with reservations, both performances on Saturday - partcularly Muriel Valtat's bored glamour at the matinee. Why don't we see more of her? I preferred Guillem's Natalia to her Marguerite, but to me she just doesn't look right for Ashton. I must put in a word for Natasha Oughtred's Vera, which somebody was very rude about on another thread. I was impressed. If I hadn't known she was more or less straight out of school, I would never have guessed - she looked as if she had been dancing Ashton leads all her life. I do agree the wig is awful.

Philip Gammon played beautifully at both performances, and I was glad the audience appreciated him. Usually the musicians slave in the pit and don't share in the glory. The choir sounded tired by the evening - nice treble solos, though.

I recognised Monica Mason and, I think, Antoinette Sibley at the final curtain. Dowell's speech made me cry - I have been around for all of his 40 years. I hope he felt loved - there has been so much negative comment in the press that he must have felt at times that he had wasted 14 years. Well, I hope his reception showed him that most of us love and respect him.


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Ann Williams

07-08-01, 08:49 AM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #20
 
   Helen, what a lovely (and touching) posting. Thank you for these thoughts. We're lucky have you here - your memory seems to go back a long way and you are more fortunate than most of us in actually having seen the 'greats' and being able to make comparisons. I'm certainly of an age to have seen them too, but unfortunately only became interested in ballet about eleven years ago so, in ballet terms at least, I am young and green.

Please e-mail me to see if it will be possible for us to meet at a future ballet performance, either at ROH or Sadlers Wells.


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Helen

07-08-01, 11:40 AM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #21
 
   Believe me, being able to remember original casts is a mixed blessing, especially in Ashton. The images are so strong that they get in the way, I find. I almost envy people who can watch things with a fresh eye!

Ann, I will e-mail you.


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Bruce Madmin

07-08-01, 12:26 PM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Last night at Covent Garden"
In response to message #22
 
   I almost envy
>people who can watch things
>with a fresh eye!

I have not been at this anywhere near as long as you, but from a more limited vantage point I do agree - I really envy those who are unpacking some productions for the very first time. What a thrill it can be!


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