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Subject: "RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2739
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Bruceadmin

19-05-02, 08:18 AM (GMT)
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"RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
 
   I hope everybody who was there enjoyed the Christopher Wheeldon premiere last night.

I always think of him as one we let get away and his work for RB Dance Bites often pleased me much. Sadly Tryst, on a first outing, did not do so much fro me - I hated the music and the movement seemed neither to flow or have the sharpness of neoclassical style. Very Zen and peeled back. But I'm the bloke who told you all you were mad for liking Mark Morris! (before later seeing the light)... so what did others think?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... sylvia 19-05-02 1
     RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... John Man 19-05-02 2
     RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... Flight 19-05-02 3
         RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... sylvia 19-05-02 4
             RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... Flight 19-05-02 5
             RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... lara 19-05-02 6
                 RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... Steven 19-05-02 7
                     RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please... Paul A 20-05-02 8
                         Month in the country Cathryn 20-05-02 9
                             RE: Month in the country Lynette H 20-05-02 10
                             RE: Month in the country Wendy Glavis 20-05-02 11
                             RE: Month in the country Paul A 20-05-02 13
                             RE: Month in the country sylvia 20-05-02 14
                             RE: Month in the country Wendy Glavis 20-05-02 15
                             RE: Month in the country Paul A 20-05-02 12
                             RE: Month in the country Robert 21-05-02 16
  Tryst etc - Monday 20th May Jane S 21-05-02 17
     RE: Tryst etc - Monday 20th May sylvia 21-05-02 18

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sylvia

19-05-02, 10:37 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 19-05-02 AT 02:11 PM (GMT)

Tryst
I thought Tryst was quite interesting in the rehearsal, and uprgraded my opinion to really good in the performance that night. It's divided into 3 parts, the first and third are for the corps and 4 soloist couples, the music for which Wheeldon said (in the Insight evening) brought to mind images of urban chaos. The middle is at a slower pace, an elegiac pdd, the music reminscent of Scottish Highlands (his words). The set is very spare, off kilter from what I remember of the models and it's occasional moving parts are interwoven with the imaginative lighting effects.

I'm expecting lots of complaints about the screechy music but I thought it was great, especially the way the music from the pdd interweaved with the third part of the ballet and how the trumpets built towards the climax at the end. Very nice touch that the RB managed to get the composer James MacMillan to conduct first night.

As for the choreography I wasn't overly impressed when all the dancers were on stage and were moved about - not as inspired as I expected from Wheeldon. If I had let it all wash over me I probably could have got very bored. But I thought the little details were fascinating. I liked what each dancer was doing, individually or with their partner. In spite of the jagged shapes the dancers made, the flexed feet and hands, they were part of long flowing movements. The 4 couples in the first and third parts were so impressive and seemed really well rehearsed. And Bussell and Cope's central pdd had a very dream-like quality - I don't think anyone can dance these kind of abstract ballets quite the way Darcey can. I think it helped a great deal to have been to the Insight evening and have seen the dancers rehearse this. It makes you appreciate the dancing so much more. The pdd is beautiful, fluid with some acrobatic lifts but they are so smooth you're barely aware of this. At one point Jonathan is on his back, balancing Darcey on his feet with only her arm on the ground for support. The 25 minutes passed by very fast (very unusual when you're standing!) and I left pretty happy. I think it's a ballet I wouldn't specifically book for but I'd be happy to watch again.

The Leaves are Fading
I couldn't say the same about The Leaves are Fading, a surprise since it's a ballet I really enjoyed back in February. I guess that's the problem - too many times and much too soon! It was all very beautifully danced but it's too long (especially when you have no seat!) and of course there's nothing new - it's exactly the same as it was danced last time. Cojocaru and Kobborg were great of course - Alina dances with a freedom that I rarely see in others and I just love the way she uses her arms in this. It's so nice how Stretton is letting their partnership flourish - I've only just noticed that she's dancing pretty much everything with him this summer - Swan Lake, Giselle, Onegin and Don Q...

A Month in the Country
A Month in the Country was a welcome antidote. I will never, ever tire of this ballet, it's beautiful intricate choreography, the lush set and costumes, the little touches like the use of the bridge and Koliya with his kite, and above all the music, the music, the music! I liked Mariel Valtat from the rehearsal better as Natalia Petrovna - she's a much more natural actress and her face conveys a wider variety of emotions. But Guillem and Cope were more than fine. I thought Jonathan danced his solos with so much sincerity. His complete lack of guile makes him seem far younger than his 39ish years of age. I got over the initial disappointment of not seeing Cojocaru cast as Vera - Natasha Oughtred was very lively, hopeful and touching in her pdd with Jonathan and her own solo at the start was delicious and is one of my absolute favourites! (Bethany Keating is danced the rehearsal btw.) David Drew was wonderful, wonderful as Natalia's husband (I'm sorry, I don't remember his name) - so much character and I couldn't help but pay attention to a role that I wouldn't think twice about otherwise. Nice to see newest RB members Adam Linder and Jamie Bond cast as the footman too!

So a nice evening, good contrasts between ballets. If I wasn't so fed up with Leaves I'd probably say it was the most interesting mixed bill this season.


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John Man

19-05-02, 12:28 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #1
 
   Both of us went last night and we thought the mixed bill got better as it went along, i.e.

1 Tryst - we disliked this; the music was jarring; there might have been a meaning to what the people were dancing but we couldn't find it; perhaps we should have gone to the insight evening ?; hoever, Cope and Bussell were excellent (as expected);

2 Leaves are Fading - it would hvae been better but for the dancers; I know Cojocaru seems to be liked on here but we thought that she lacked dramatic expression and this affected how this work came across for us; and

3 A Month in the Country - our first time seeing this and we loved it; the choreography and the music were exquisite; Guillem (the first time we've seen her) just had this stage presence and then there's her dancing (better than Bussell); etc.

Despite the slating which the mixed bills appear to have got on this forum, I must say that if it wasn't for the Enduring Images mixed bill (in particular, In the Middle but in the end, it wasn't that which captivated us), both of us would never have contemplated going to see the Royal Ballet as opposed to the opera.


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Flight

19-05-02, 02:14 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #1
 
   Jonathan was born in December 1962. I think it was the 28th? I know this is completely irrelevant, but...


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sylvia

19-05-02, 02:23 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #3
 
   LAST EDITED ON 19-05-02 AT 02:26 PM (GMT)

No, I'm sure that's a useful bit of info for jonathan fans. A woman asked me how old Jonathan was last night and I was pretty confident when I said 40. She didn't believe me of course and asked someone else.


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Flight

19-05-02, 02:29 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #4
 
   Hey, I've just realised that I'll see him on his birthday - he is dancing Nut with Darcey.


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lara

19-05-02, 04:21 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #4
 
   Well, not _quite_ 40 yet. Still has seven months left to be 39.


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Steven

19-05-02, 08:14 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #6
 
   I'll keep to Tryst. I enjoyed it a lot. Yes, the corps did seem a little undisciplined at times. Another of my gripes is that Bussell and Cope were presented in their own section and not integrated into the rest of the work, though a poster above has made the comment that movements from that section were echoed in the third part - something I hadn't noted.

I didn't attend the evening which some people did, so I can't say I know what the piece was "about" - I was reminded by music, lighting and movement alike of big expanses of sky and seabirds, but other people may have made different connections. The screen behind Bussell and Cope with its changing layers of light created a very special atmosphere.

I liked the four short pas de deux for the four "secondary" couples - all very different in character (Jane Burn was wonderful).

I liked the way that at one point the girls froze or were petrified in motion and lifted up stiff, like statues and carried off the stage.

I liked the short piece for two couples, where sometimes the two boys echoed each other's movements while the girls were still, sometimes vice versa, sometimes one boy echoed the opposite girl while there partners were still - a real piece of choreographic virtuosity and a test of the dancers' co-ordination.

And I loved the closing moments, where the dancers all perform the same movements to a repeated phrase of music, but each time one more dancer doesn't do the movement, but stands still. Eventually (almost?) all the dancers are still and at the same time the lights are changing to turn them into silhouettes - this felt to me like a poetic evocation of the coming of nightfall, but as I say others may have different interpretations.

Anyway I would love to see this again - and I would say to anyone who's wondering... go!


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Paul A

20-05-02, 08:26 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: RB Tryst Mixed Bill - thoughts and reviews please..."
In response to message #7
 
   Saw the rehearsal, which I know we are not meant to judge.

Overall impression - boring. Why on earth have me got Leaves are Fading when they are far better similar works out there (Dances at a Gathering springs immediately to mind)? Soupy music, choreograhy and splodgy designs that flattered nobody. Quite liked Benjamin (don't usually) and Watson was strong. Think they should be brave and give him Mayerling.

Tryst was deivative - Balancine, Nijinsky were the obvoius influences - but can't see what Wheeldon has done with them. The pdd was intense (think though they lost it at one point) and serene. The corps were untidy (but the off centre blurs your reaction). Was this so difficult a show technically, that forced the change of programme?

Month. Putrov excellent, best Beliaev I've seen. Bethany Keating very good as Vera. Sadly not covinved by Valtat - she seemed to be giving an impersonation of Lynn Seymour - rather than of Natalia herself. Thought she could have been braver and milked the ending more. Altogether the performance seemed rough and mechanical - it was well done - but it seemed to have lost the subtleties that were so apparent last summer. Badly lit too - the view through the window was much cruder than normal.


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Cathryn

20-05-02, 10:45 AM (GMT)
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9. "Month in the country"
In response to message #8
 
   Please could someone give me a quick overview of the plot before I go and see it on Friday?

Thanks


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Lynette H

20-05-02, 11:16 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #9
 
   Trilogy mixed bill, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, May 18 2002.

A gratifyingly full house for the Royal Ballet’s mixed bill of the season – but were they there to see new or less familiar work or for a rare chance to see what was the company’s core repertoire ? If you go by audience reaction, then by far the most passionate response of the night was for that old favourite Ashton’s A Month in the Country, with Guillem further refining her portrayal of Natalia Petrovna. Reaction to The Leaves are Fading was much more muted, even with Cojocaru and Kobborg in lead roles. Most media concentration, understandably enough, has been on the premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Tryst, which opened the programme, the only new work made for the Royal’s main house this year. There was a fairly positive response here, especially for Darcey Bussell, but not overwhelming – a pity the reception was not more a little more enthusiastic, because it’s a well made work which handles its large cast with confidence.

Tryst is a plotless work set to James MacMillan’s music of the same name, and has four pairs of soloists, a coups and Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope as the lead couple. In structure it was at times reminiscent of MacMillan’s Concerto – like that it is built around a beautiful central pas de deux, where the participants approach each other slowly and ceremonially across the stage. There are moments too when the corps echo the movements of the soloists in ways that recalled Concerto. But although the abstraction and the leotards also suggested Balanchine, this was decidedly Wheeldon’s own, very distinctive work. There are striking motifs of curiously angled hands, flexed feet, and a fascination with the floor which appear and reappear in various configurations – too much to take in at first viewing, but very densely and carefully worked. In the central pas de deux, Cope folds Bussell through a series of impossible poses like a piece of origami. It’s remarkable feat of partnering and totally unselfish – everything he does is to present her and her beautiful feet exquisitely.

MacMillan’s music is not however, the most immediately danceable work, and not easy to get to grips with – Wheeldon has given himself an uphill task in some of the sections. It’s also perhaps a pity that Bussell and Cope are on stage for such a short amount of time. At the close a clearly delighted Bussell leapt over her bouquet to bring on Wheeldon and the rest of the creative team (very striking lighting from Natasha Katz). Trust needs a longer look to get the measure of, but there are some fine details in there. It was perhaps too cool in mood to rouse the audience at the start of the evening.

Leaves are Fading is the third work by Tudor to be added to the Royal’s repertory in the last couple of seasons, and it suffers by comparison with his more dramatic and tighter structured Shadowplay and Lilac Garden. The four different pas de deux for lovers are not strongly enough differentiated from each other, despite the best efforts of the dancers. The costuming for all the cast is very similar and the cast list continues to refuse to tell us who is partnering who – all this leads to a sense of detachment rather than the intimate involvement which is needed. Perhaps this might work better in a smaller venue. There is some beautiful dancing here, with Cojocaru and Kobborg (the only dancers explicitly listed as appearing together) in very fine form.

A Month in the Country offered a marked contrast to the rest of the bill, offering a straightforward narrative and powerful conflicting emotions. There were many pleasures here in the supporting cast: particularly Vanessa Palmer as real character as the maid, with a zestful presence in the ‘cherries’ dance with Beliaev. Natasha Oughtred has also developed a strong and entirely credible presence as Vera, touchingly adolescent and infatuated. Cope’s Beliaev looks as if he’s not quite sure of what’s going on all around him, faintly bemused by the havoc he’s caused. Guillem didn’t disappoint her many fans, and the work has lost none of its power to move and enthral the audience.


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Wendy Glavis

20-05-02, 12:51 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #10
 
   It's always fun and illuminating to see how ballets change between rehearsal and performance - but I don't often get the chance to see both in the same day. I certainly saw changes on Saturday...some of them in my own reactions to what I'd seen.

At first sight I'm afraid I wasn't too thrilled by Tryst, the Christopher Wheeldon ballet. I didn't know what, if anything, was going on and I didn't like the music at all: definitely the kind of thing that hurts my ears. But I was knocked out by the dancing of Darcey Bussell and Jonanthan Cope and heartened to see the other dancers attacking the piece so energetically.

To be fair, almost everyone I spoke to at the rehearsal seemed to like the music and it was lovely to see the composer on the podium. The lady next to me was unhappy with the costumes and I had my usual reaction: costumes? Oh dear, I simply hadn't noticed them.

After seeing it again in the evening, however, some of my feelings had changed. I was sitting up in the amphi (instead of Stalls Circle sides, where I was more or less IN the orchestra) so the music wasn't so loud and I found it easier to listen to. I still didn't like it, but I could see that, in time, I might get used to it. From the Amphi, I could also see the patterns, which made me appreciate the ballet more. Perhaps if I'd bought a programme I might have had more of an idea of what the choreographer was doing. The dancing was smoother and even more energetic in the evening. And I was knocked out all over again by Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope.

The Leaves are Fading

Fascinating to see Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson in this rehearsal. Watching from the side, I was suddenly aware of how difficult some of those lifts must be (especially the one where she's kneeling on his bent thighs). I loved the music and even noticed the costumes - OK.

By the evening, however, I began to feel that the ballet was going on a bit, though that was no fault of the dancers! I loved Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in the leading roles and was impressed by the standard of dancing altogether.

Month in the Country

Frankly, if I were a young choreographer (and you're probably thanking your stars that I'm not) this is the kind of thing I'd want to take a very close look at. Gorgeous music, good plot, lots of subtle detail. In different ways, I think I enjoyed the rehearsal as much as the performance. It was lovely to see Muriel Valtat again and I was much taken, as usual, with Ivan Putrov, who positively exuded youth and ardent energy. I was especially touched by his performance, but I liked all the dancers in this.

Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Cope did a super job in the evening. Jonathan may be nearing 40 (alas), but he looks 25 and his lifting was wonderful. Once again, I enjoyed all the individual performances (special treat to see Vanessa Palmer in the cherry pas de deux) and really lost myself in the ballet.

The costumes. Actually took notice of these (!) and really liked them, especially that dress of Natalia Petrovna's. (A base, non-artistic side of my character kept wondering if John Lewis might have it in my size. Well, if it could make me look as good as Muriel or Sylvie....Oops, sorry about that.)


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Paul A

20-05-02, 04:49 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #11
 
   >The Leaves are Fading
>
>Fascinating to see Leanne Benjamin and
>Edward Watson in this rehearsal.
>Watching from the side, I
>was suddenly aware of how
>difficult some of those lifts
>must be


Wendy, was the evening different - how much was marked at the rehearsal? One bit obviously was (Watson) but I overheard some comments that a lot was.


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sylvia

20-05-02, 04:54 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #13
 
   If you don't mind me interjecting I thought apart from Edward Watson they danced the rehearsal almost full out. I thohght he was really great btw - why has it taken him this long to dance Leaves? He makes such a nice match with Leanne too!


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Wendy Glavis

20-05-02, 06:28 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #14
 
   Yes, Edward did some marking and he wasn't in costume - don't know why. He may have been holding back for the opening night, or there may be some other reason we don't know about! But in spite of the marking, both he and Leanne looked good. Otherwise I didn't notice any other marking of parts.

The main differences between rehearsal and performance were what you'd expect: a bit more polish, a bit more passion, more sense of occasion. The rehearsal was, after all....a rehearsal.


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Paul A

20-05-02, 01:23 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #9
 
   >Please could someone give me a
>quick overview of the plot
>before I go and see
>it on Friday?
>

Older woman (actually 25), bored by her husband and lover, is captivated by her ward's young tutor - as are the ward and maid. Lover and tutor leave the houshold to reduce the emotional temperature.

Hope that's enough. It's amazing how Ashton distilled a five act play (running time 3 hours 20 mins) into so lucid a 40-odd minute ballet.


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Robert

21-05-02, 07:07 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Month in the country"
In response to message #12
 
   Saturday was a lovely evening at the Ballet. I was not sure about Tryst, like so much modern dance it is often just clever but Darcy certainly did the complicated movements very well, aided by Jonathan Cope who danced superbly all evening. James Macmillan conducted his own music, so I could not complain about canned music as I did at the last triple bill. Unfortunately I am always drawn to Macmillan’s music until I hear it. One is lead to believe he is inspired by Scottish folk music, but I cannot hear much. I am very interested in Scottish folk music and I play and dance to it regularly. Scots music is extremely danceable James Macmillan’s is not but at least it is live and the composer conducted.
The Leaves are Fading is one of those fairly anonymous displays, a few good moves here and there but not frightfully interesting. Leanne Benjamin danced well, as did Koborg and Cojacaro. Unlike most people I am not too keen on that partnership as to me they are both so small and Koborg’s head is slightly large to his body making them look like weird fairy tale children. They would be ideal for a ballet version of the Babes in the Wood or perhaps Hansel and Gretel.
A Month in the Country makes up for everything. Sylvie was absolutely convincing, she did appear to be madly in love and sexually attracted to Jonathan Cope. Superb acting and of course dancing. Every body danced well, as it was my birthday I was trying to work out how old David Drew is? It is good to see an old un out there even if he was being cuckolded! Johnny Cope was excellent, what are they going to do without him? In France they are forced to retire at forty. The sets are good the Costumes especially good and of course Ashton’s choreography at its best, he also chose his music (Chopin) and music adviser (John Lanchbury) well, A lovely evening, CG must keep some Ashton and revive something by Madame. Dimly lit unmusical miserable modern dance stuff should be restricted to one part of each triple bill.


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Jane S

21-05-02, 09:50 PM (GMT)
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17. "Tryst etc - Monday 20th May"
In response to message #0
 
   Just a few notes:

Tryst I enjoyed the music and the decor and lighting, and thought about 60% of the choreography was extremely interesting; but the rest looked to me as if it would have been much better with another week or so's work - as if Wheeledon had just run out of time and had had to take some shortcuts. The pas de deux in particular looked as if it was still in the stage where he'd accumulated a lot of material but hadn't finished the selection and arrangement to turn it into a living whole.

It was mostly very well danced - Jane Burn and Edward Watson looke particularly at home. Bussell and Cope looked good but I think it will be even more interesting to see it on another couple. (Wish I could be at the Sat mat!)

The Leaves are Fading Much more rewarding seen after a contrasting piece such as Tryst than it seemed earlier in the season. Kura and Benjamin were out (Kura was also out of Tryst so presumably it's him that's injured) and Morera and Stepanek did the first pas de deux - she was lovely. Cojocaru was her usual charming self but I do feel there's more to be got out of this role; at the moment I find Kobborg the more interesting half of this partnership, to the extent I sometimes find that rather than watching her, I'm watching him watching her. The bit I really liked best was Cervera's short solo.

Month in the Country I agree with what's been said about Vanessa Palmer - very nice. Cope acted better than I'd expected but I wasn't so impressed by his dancing. I'm glad to see that Beliaev has managed to find his hat since last season.

There's surely something wrong with poor Vera's wig? It put 10 years on Cojocaru last year and does the same for Oughtred now. I think it's the way it goes straight up off her forehead rather than going smoothly back - it's far too sophisticated, and jarred on me every time I looked at her. It may sound trivial but it makes a huge difference (to me, anyway).

An interesting evening. And when we came out there was a spectacular cloudburst in progress and we got very, very wet.


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sylvia

21-05-02, 10:00 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Tryst etc - Monday 20th May"
In response to message #17
 
   >There's surely something wrong with poor
>Vera's wig? It put 10
>years on Cojocaru last year
>and does the same for
>Oughtred now. I think it's
>the way it goes straight
>up off her forehead rather
>than going smoothly back -
>it's far too sophisticated, and
>jarred on me every time
>I looked at her. It
>may sound trivial but it
> makes a huge difference
>(to me, anyway).

No I agree. I think the one the Jamie Bond and Adam Linder had to wear as the footman was worse though!


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