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Subject: "RB Manon video" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2790
Reading Topic #2790
Annelieseagain

05-06-02, 12:48 PM (GMT)
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"RB Manon video"
 
   I finally got round to watching this last week. Wow! This was a REAL treat. I was amazed when I went to check the date of the performance and discovered Sir Anthony was almost 40 when this performance was filmed. What a terrific dancer he was. A totally different interpretation from Irek's, Dowell was very much the innocent young student smitten at first sight by Manon. Jennifer Penney was utterly beautiful. Her death pdd eclipsed Sylvie's in every way - this was a broken woman, barely able to cling to her lover, rather than a skinny gymnast throwing her legs around. Her girlish response to flattery when she first appeared, later followed by her girlish abandonment to first love and then greedy vain coquetry, were all totally believable and always lovely to watch. She had a wonderful softness of line. David Wall and Monica Mason were, as you would expect, marvellous as Lescaut and his mistress. I'd forgotten what a very fine dancer Mason was (last "proper" role I saw her in was the Lilac Fairy, I think, in the late 70s) and David Wall was everything one would expect from the original (hope I'm right here) Prince Rudolf. Very much a man on the edge of reason. We don't have many principals left with such dramatic talents as these two had. It was nice to see the late great Gerd Larsen as the Madame, and also Ravenna Tucker in an early outing as a harlot. I was particularly struck by the quality of dancing from the male soloists in the company, and felt very much that the RB don't look so good these days.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB Manon video Flight 08-06-02 1
     RE: RB Manon video Paul A 10-06-02 2
         RE: RB Manon video AnnWilliams 10-06-02 3
             RE: RB Manon video Paul A 10-06-02 4
                 RE: RB Manon video MAB 10-06-02 5
                     RE: RB Manon video Flight 10-06-02 6
                         RE: RB Manon video Michael LL 11-06-02 7
                     RE: RB Manon video Ted 11-06-02 8
                         RE: RB Manon video Shantrice 11-06-02 9
                             RE: RB Manon video AnnWilliams 11-06-02 10
                             RE: RB Manon video MAB 11-06-02 11
                             RE: RB Manon video Paul A 11-06-02 12
                             RE: RB Manon video Shantrice 12-06-02 13
                         RE: RB Manon video Paul A 13-06-02 14
         RE: RB Manon video AEHandley 17-06-02 15
             RE: RB Manon video Flight 18-06-02 16
             RE: RB Manon video Paul A 18-06-02 17
                 RE: RB Manon video AEHandley 18-06-02 18

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Flight

08-06-02, 10:11 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #0
 
   It's an absolutely wonderful video! Penney is lovely.


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Paul A

10-06-02, 09:35 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #1
 
   Anneliese, the RB were on a roll with their Manon performances, 20 years ago. There was comment in the press that the wrong performance had been filmed - there was an electrifying partnership of Park and Eagling (I think) in the same run.

Interesting your comments on the standard of dancing. I remember those days as very inconsistent and not that confident.

Penney was a delight.


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AnnWilliams

10-06-02, 10:46 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #2
 
   No one has ever lived up to David Wall's Lescaut in that video, in my opinion When he fell backwards in that drunken collapse, he really fell - and I loved the dare-devil way he flung his bottle into the crowd - no-one does that either these days.

Paul, I am curious about your reference to the Park/Eagling partnership. I never saw Park dancing, but from the few interviews I've seen her give, I just cannot imagine this dignified, rather stiff woman ever abandoning herself to the bedroom pdd, or the dying one for that matter. Did anyone here ever actually see that partnership?


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Paul A

10-06-02, 11:36 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #3
 
   Ann didn't see Park do this but the reviews at the time were vey favourable for all the partnerships, "great dancing, shame about the ballet" was the tone. There was a third pairing at the time equally lauded but it escapes me.

Know what you mean about Park's grandeur (and by the early 80s she cancelled pretty regularly) but in 1982 her style wasn't as severe as she became.

I didn't see her do Isadora in 1981 but that surely demanded abandon - and was hailed as a personal triumph (again a case of shame about the ballet). Also to me Larisch demands an expressiveness and abandon that she had in spades when it was new - although less so when I caught up with this in 1986.


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MAB

10-06-02, 12:51 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #4
 
   Just to set the record straight, it was Jennifer Penney who was Wayne Eagling's regular partner in Manon. Dowell's usual partner was Antoinette Sibley, so the casting on the video is a little odd. Lynn Seymour also danced Manon, rather rarely but to great acclaim. Park and Collier danced the role less frequently and Makarova was simply born to dance Manon- the best thing I ever saw her do.

Lescaut was created by David Wall but far more memorably danced by Anthony Dowell who had a very personal take on the role. Desmond Kelly and Michael Coleman were also very good and far more individual in their interpretations than more recent Lescauts.

Although Sibley was the original Manon, she decided early in the rehearsal period that the role wasn't for her, so consequently much of the role was created on Jennifer Penney. However when Sibley saw how well the ballet was going she changed her mind again and did in fact dance the premiere. Personally I always found Penney brought more to the role than Sibley. For me the perfect cast would have been Penney or Makarova as Manon, Eagling as Des Grieux and Dowell as Lescaut.

Merle Park developed a sense of grandeur over the years; she certainly didn't start out that way. I saw her as Isadora and she was very good but the ballet was vile. I always remember her wonderful precise technique and the way she could "connect" with her audience. She was a lady with a lot of personality and Nureyev's preferred RB partner when Fonteyn wasn't available. There is a video of Park & Nureyev dancing Nutcracker together, watch it and you will see the Merle Park mischievous spirit in the first act and that afore mentioned grandeur in the second.


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Flight

10-06-02, 04:25 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #5
 
   I think Sibley was injured during the choreography, wasn't she?


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Michael LL

11-06-02, 02:00 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #6
 
   Sibley was indeed injured,but created it all except for last Act, which Penney did. She tells it all in her autobiography. You can see how the unique way that Sibley placed her head and neck shows up in much of Manons role, especially the second Act. The Penney-Dowell-Wall combination was the first cast for several seasons, and I'm very glad we havea record of such an excellent performance Makarova and Dowell were for me the most electrifying Manon and Des Grieux, and Jeffries is still my favourite Lescaut. Many magnificent interpreters have of course followed in their footsteps, but these were extra special.


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Ted

11-06-02, 04:10 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #5
 
   I remember my first 'encounter' with Merle Park was at a Saturday matinee when she danced Giselle with Nureyev in early 1972. That was my second visit to the ballet after watching Monica Mason and Nureyev in Swan Lake in or about November 1971 from the upper slips of ROH! I went on to watch Park in other full length and one act ballets and she had never disappointed me. She seemed to be able to deliver something extra whenever she was dancing with Nureyev (notwithstanding that she issued a solicitor's letter to Nureyev for defamation during their earlier days when Nureyev said something not very nice about her in a news conference). I recall another Saturday matinee of Sleeping Beauty with Park and Nureyev when they delivered some different and more difficult steps towards the end of the adagio of the Grand ppd in the last act. Her debut in Swan Lake at the age of 35 with Desmond Kelly was an experience one never forgets. She was wonderful in the Nutcracker, Mayerling, Cinderella, La Fille mal gardee (which apparently inspired Lesley Collier the little girl), The Dream, A walk to the paradise garden, Elite Syncopations etc etc. She was delightful in the ppd of Flower Festival at Genzano when she was partnered by Dowell in a charity gala held at the London Palladium in or about 1975. She was obviously not good at every ballet she tackled and I found a particular part of her Nikiya in Nureyev's La Bayadere, Kingdom of Shade, painful to watch. On all those La Bayadere performances I have attended, she always had great difficulties in executing the steps in the variation with the scarf. On the other hand, she did not require a 'fixed' partner. I have seen her partnered by Dowell, Wall, Kelly, Macleary, Nureyev, Coleman, Blair etc etc and she was able to deliver good to excellent performances on each occassion. I did not see her in the 80's as I was out of the country. The last time I saw her on stage was at Madame's 100th Birthday Gala at the Barbican when she delivered a short speech and left the stage accompanied by Dowell. Whilst I cannot comment on her mannerism in her later years, to me, she was always a wonderful ballerina.


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Shantrice

11-06-02, 06:56 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #8
 
   I guess this is quite a famous story. Kenneth Macmillan actually wanted Lynn Seymour to dance Manon but she was pregnant at that time so he made a compromise and as a result, Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell were chosen to dance instead. After Macmillan choreographed three pas de deux on them, Sibley injured herself that she could no longer continue to rehearse the fourth pas de deux. She even begged Dowell to ask Macmillan to wait till she could recover. Nevertheless, Macmillan turned her down and consequently the last pas de deux was created on Jennifer Penny and Dowell.

From this episode, I could imagine Sibley considerably adhered to the role of Manon as she danced the premiere, which she had to force herself despite of the injury. Her motive seemed unclear whether she persisted to dance just because the ballet won the popularity or she was simply attracted to the challenging role as a ballerina. In my own view, I personally want to believe in the latter idea.

Dowell as Des Grieux is already a fixed idea in my head that Ifm unable to compare him with anyone else because he perfectly suited the character. His Des Grieux has taken a strong hold on me probably because he was the first Des Grieux I saw in Manon.

Macmillan always seemed to prefer Seymour for the heroine in his ballets. Therefore it is more believable to consider Seymour as Manon was the most appropriate as the choreographer intended.

To me, the role of Manon is so strong that the character itself became independent and it seems none of the ballerinas have actually captivated her character. However each dancer has onefs own interpretation of the role and itfs fun to enjoy every different performance.


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AnnWilliams

11-06-02, 12:42 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #9
 
   'I guess this is quite a famous story. Kenneth Macmillan actually wanted Lynn Seymour to dance Manon but she was pregnant at that time so he made a compromise and as a result, Antoinette Sibley ....'

Shantrice, where did you hear this? I have just quicly checked Sibley's and Seymour's memoirs, and it is quite clear from both books that 'Manon' was created by MacMillan soley for and on Sibley. There is no hint in either book that Seymour was in his thoughts when he created the role. He is quoted in Sibley's book as saying 'I just thought (Sibley) was the natural one to do it...I can't tell you why. Her body was beautiful - she could do anything, anything. And I always thought Antoinette had great allure and glamour on stage, and allure's not the sort of word the Royal Ballet particularly would like to use about someone. Manon as a character does have allure. She attracted men all the time, all through her life'.

Seymour was very excited when, later on, MacMillan offered her the chance to dance the role for a few performances, and I would have paid good money to have had the opportunity to see what she made of it.

It will be interesting to see - if the BBC's plans for the televising of an RB performance of 'Manon' next year materialise - who will be dancing the role and what they will make of this most dramatically testing of ballerina roles.


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MAB

11-06-02, 12:54 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #10
 
   it is quite clear
>from both books that 'Manon'
>was created by MacMillan soley
>for and on Sibley.

In fact that is NOT the case. Much of the Manon was created on Jennifer Penney, as I have stated above.

I did not get the information from a book but from Ms Penney herself at a Ballet Association talk she gave about her career. She was obviously deeply hurt that after all the work she had put into the ballet, she was denied the right to dance the premiere.


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Paul A

11-06-02, 01:50 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #11
 
   >In fact that is NOT the
>case. Much of the
>Manon was created on Jennifer
>Penney, as I have stated
>above.

There's certainly the story of MacMillan giving Sibley and Dowell a copy of the book with the date of the premiere noted in before they started rehearsals.


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Shantrice

12-06-02, 05:23 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #12
 
   The story of Macmillan initially intended Seymour to be Manon was written in the ballet magazine, which I read on the internet in the past. I tried to find that website again but somehow it already disappeared. Perhaps the writer mixed it up with the episode of Seymour when she had an abortion for eRomeo & Julietf. Ifm Sorry for posting the unreliable information.

I also heard the story that Paul A stated above. When Sibley and Dowell were dancing eSleeping Beautyf, Sibley found the book of Manon in her dressing room and something was written inside it along with Macmillanfs signature. Sibley sensed that Macmillan would make a ballet for her. After her solo, she ran to her regular partner, Dowell, who was watching her dancing from the wing. Sibley urged him to search for the book so Dowell dashed to his dressing room and he found the same book. Then they finally discovered themselves to be cast as Manon and Des Grieux.

Previously I thought Macmillanfs intention for Seymour as Manon faded away before he actually offers the roles to Sibley and Dowell but as this information came to be unsure, itfs more natural to consider that from the start, Macmillan had a concrete decision on casting Sibley and Dowell.

Macmillanfs quotes, which Ann wrote, are very convincing. I always see a slight coquettish quality (in a good way) within Sibley. She had a scented wild fascination, which is quite unusual for the ballerina to possess. She was also able to dance an innocent role like princess in a romantic way but I found her most attractive when she cheerfully oozed sensuous allure from her supple body. There might have a community of quality between Sibley and Manon as Femme Fatale.

Now it became obvious to me that the ballet was originally made for Sibley and Dowell. However Penny also contributed so much in this ballet. I certainly respect her achievement although she wasnft able to dance the premiere. Her great performance was preserved on the video, which Ifm still able to see her sparkling artistry.


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Paul A

13-06-02, 02:18 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #8
 
   She was wonderful in
>the Nutcracker, Mayerling, Cinderella, La
>Fille mal gardee (which apparently
>inspired Lesley Collier the little
>girl), The Dream, A walk
>to the paradise garden, Elite
>Syncopations etc etc.

And The Concert. Thanks for such a happy memory jogger.


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AEHandley

17-06-02, 10:43 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #2
 
  
>Interesting your comments on the standard
>of dancing. I remember those
>days as very inconsistent and
>not that confident.
>

Actually, I felt the same about the Ferri/Eagling R&J video - back then the male soloists seemed far more tidy and precise, together, musical, but also had style and personality (in short, they DANCED rather than jumping about). I tend to notice flabby feet, bad timing, inconsistent line between any 3 soloists and zero use of head these days.


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Flight

18-06-02, 05:39 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #15
 
   However, in the Ferri/Eagling balcony pdd there are some terrible feet to be seen when Eagling jumps.


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Paul A

18-06-02, 10:18 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #15
 
  
>back then the male soloists
>seemed far more tidy and
>precise, together, musical, but also
>had style and personality (in
>short, they DANCED rather than
>jumping about). I tend
>to notice flabby feet, bad
>timing, inconsistent line between any
>3 soloists and zero use
>of head these days.


Intrigued that we are seeing this differently. At the time of those videos you could never rely on a group of three or four more usually men to be together, tidy, on the music etc. Fairies' cavaliers etc were on their own flight path.

Less precisely, then the company's "personality" seemed blander, less forceful. I think now they register more strongly. Are we saying we have now a more athletic, rather than artistic, company?

To acknowledge Flight's observation about Eagling's feet - yes, know what you mean but Ferr's feet and legs are splendid. And If you had seen Nicholas Johnson as Nureyev's Romeo in the late 70s - feet flapping all over.


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AEHandley

18-06-02, 11:14 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: RB Manon video"
In response to message #17
 
   OK, right, tomorrow I'll watch again WITHOUT the ironing board in the way and see if I still feel the same!


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