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Subject: "swan lake at the royal albert hall" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2811
Reading Topic #2811
phil

13-06-02, 03:37 PM (GMT)
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"swan lake at the royal albert hall"
 
   i would be interested to know anyone's thoughts
on last nights ENB performance of swan lake at
the royal albert hall ?
i'm afraid that i was bitterly disappointed !
....set in the round and without any scenery (for obvious
reasons)
made it feel as if i was at the big top (cirque de ballet?)
..the circus feel was heightened by the
appearance of jugglers and acrobats at the opening
of act I ..the sheer size of the 'stage' made it hard to
get immersed in the story or performance because i
was always aware of the shabby floor which looked
as if it would be better suited to a sixth form disco.
svetlana zakharova as odette/odile was beautifully
serene and graceful ....sergei filin never rose above
someguy filling-in and although technically impressive
never injected the slightest emotion into his role ..
the lack of preparation time that the guest artists had
together with the impersonal setting resulted in an
evening that to me was devoid of passion or feeling ....
the spectacle of 70 swans was impressively
staged and meticulously danced but it simply emphasised
for me the feeling that this was nothing more than a
'show' ...a kind of decaf swan lake !



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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Sim 13-06-02 1
     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall alison 13-06-02 4
  RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Bruceadmin 13-06-02 2
     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall phil 13-06-02 3
  RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Viviane 13-06-02 5
     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Sim 13-06-02 6
     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall phil 13-06-02 7
         RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall sylvia 13-06-02 9
         RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Viviane 13-06-02 10
         RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Sim 13-06-02 13
     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall sylvia 13-06-02 8
         RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Viviane 13-06-02 11
             RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall phil 13-06-02 12
                 RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall James 13-06-02 14
                     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall tania 14-06-02 15
                         RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Kevin Ng 14-06-02 16
                             RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Rachel 14-06-02 18
                 RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall alison 14-06-02 17
  RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall Bruceadmin 16-06-02 19
     RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall alison 17-06-02 20

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Sim

13-06-02, 04:26 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #0
 
   Hi Phil. I was also there last night and I do agree with a lot of what you say. I decided to sit up on the second tier last night because when I first saw this production when it was brand new I sat in the second row on ground level, and this time we wanted to look down on the swan formations. It was worth it just to see how lovely the corps looked, and how much they've improved these past few years.

I must say I felt detached from the whole experience sitting up where I was, which is a real pity because the two principals were excellent (I don't quite agree that he was just Filin in...!), particularly Zakharova. In typical Kirov style her arms and legs go on forever, as her extensions seemed to. She did her famous fouetees in Act 3 with verve and confidence, and hardly travelled downstage at all. A very convincing Odette/Odile. Filin is gorgeous, and with a bit more experience of the role will grow into it as a melancholy and sensitive Siegfried. There is a lot of space to cover at the Albert Hall, and both used the stage to the utmost of their technical abilities, Filin particularly covering a lot of ground with his leaps.

I would love to see these two dance together again, but hopefully next time it would be in a much more intimate setting so that the emotion between them could be imparted to the audience more effectively than it could in the cavernous space of the Albert Hall....I think any dancers would be hard pushed to draw us into the passion and emotional side of Swan Lake in that setting, so we just have to accept that this particular production is more a spectacle than a ballet performance, and just admire the technical side of the dancing, leaving the spiritual and emotional aspects to other productions.



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alison

13-06-02, 05:26 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #1
 
   I think any dancers
>would be hard pushed to
>draw us into the passion
>and emotional side of Swan
>Lake in that setting, so
>we just have to accept
>that this particular production is
>more a spectacle than a
>ballet performance, and just admire
>the technical side of the
>dancing, leaving the spiritual and
>emotional aspects to other productions.
>

Well, actually ...

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_99/jul99/ap_rev_enb_0699.htm

(although I have to say that on the basis of a number of other viewings I do tend to agree with you - I've complained about the big hole at the heart of this production a number of times before. But I admit that I far prefer the proscenium-arch version of this particular production - anyone in Liverpool will be able to see it in the autumn.)


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Bruceadmin

13-06-02, 04:40 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 13-06-02 AT 04:41 PM (GMT)

I thought I'd look up our past reviews on the ENB Swan Lake. I did this by going to the Reviews Advanced Search Page:
http://www.ballet.co.uk/cgi/reviews_database_search/db_search.cgi
and typing in the relevant boxes, "Swan", "ENB", "Albert" & "Ballet.co"

It turns out that we have rather over 10 reviews stretching back to the first night of the production 5 years ago.

Its worth learning how to use the advanced search page because we have a big back catalogue of reviews of productions and you can be forearmed or indeed even use it to decide if the production may be for you or not. For speed here is a link that does the above search automatically:
Ballet.co reviews of ENB Swan Lake at Albert Hall

None of this is to stifle debate here and now about the merits of the ENB Swan Lake that opened last night. Things can and do move on but I'm not always sure that readers are aware of our back catalogue and thought it worth drawing to peoples attention.


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phil

13-06-02, 05:02 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #2
 
   hi sim
i was sitting in a grand tier box so i had a similar view to you
....i think that you are right that " any dancer would be hard pushed to draw us into the passion and emotional side"in this venue, but i really did feel that filin was dancing by numbers - although like you i would love to see them both in a 'regular setting'.... however i still feel confused as to who this was aimed at ...in my opinion it's not spectacular enough to capture a non ballet audience and it is far too sterile and
detached for regular ballet goers....i probably have been a little harsh on the dancers ...but i have been suffering withdrawal symptoms since the RB went to australia (i tend
to go about 2 or 3 times a month) and i was really looking forward to this event filling the gap until mid july !( the fact
that alina was performing the same ballet on the other side of the world didnt help either!)


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Viviane

13-06-02, 05:33 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #0
 
   And I was so looking forward to see this version at long last !
Glad I've found Alison's more positive review in the archive.
Oh dear ! Not so sure if I will survive another abused Swan Lake


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Sim

13-06-02, 06:13 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #5
 
   Viviane...please post your impressions once you've seen it; I'd be interested to know what you think. Don't worry, there are lots of positive aspects to this production as well! I guess a lot will depend on who's dancing the leading roles.

Phil....funnily enough I was just saying last night that I wonder when Alina will be dancing The Swan, and this morning I read the review on this site that she had debuted in the role in Sydney! Lucky, lucky Australians.....let's hope it's not too long before she reprises it here...hopefully next season! Her Giselle which I saw in April is still a fresh and beautiful memory.

Alison....I agree, a proscenium arch theatre is infinitely preferable for the classical ballets which require depth and passion; I think that type of theatre is more conducive to dancers and their audience being able to interact with each other on an emotional level.


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phil

13-06-02, 06:41 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #5
 
   viviane
i am sorry if my negative comments have stopped you from looking froward to going ...my remarks were the result of disappointment rather than a desire to spoil anyone's future plans ... i wonder if viewing the performance from a lower vantage point would help reduce the feeling of detachment ?


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sylvia

13-06-02, 07:50 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #7
 
   Phil, from the front row, the feeling of detachments comes and goes! It's fantastic because at times you have the leads less than 3 feet away from you! And at others you can't even see them because they're on the other side of the hall with all these dancers in the way! But I think it's worth seeing it both close up and above.


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Viviane

13-06-02, 07:59 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #7
 
   Phil & Sim : Hey, I do understand !
I had recently a very disappointing experience with a "Swan Lake"...and can't cope with another one I fear !
Phil : it's possible you spotted one of the weak points : a performance can change miles depending on the seat you have.


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Sim

13-06-02, 08:35 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #7
 
   Phil has a point, Viviane. When I went the first time, as I said I was sitting in the second row on the ground, and I certainly felt a lot more part of things (also, Tamara Rojo was The Swan and she certainly was passionate and seductive and vulnerable in turn....lovely performance). However, my complaint remains that even if you are not in one of the more expensive seats, you should always feel a part of the performance, which is why the RAH is not the best of venues....it is just too big for that to happen.


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sylvia

13-06-02, 07:48 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #5
 
   Vivane, I hope you don't find this SL disappointing. Personally I thought it was kind of nice to get this whole new '3D' perspective on Swan Lake. I do agree, it's hard to get as emotionally involved in the story, even down in the front row where I was last year. But to have the leads and corps rushing past you, or seeing those patterns from above can be exhilarating. It's more of a spectacle than the usual ballet experience but it can be quite fun if you let all preconceptions go.


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Viviane

13-06-02, 08:04 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #8
 
   Sylvia, sometimes this board is rather 'tricky' : I didn't saw your postings !!!
I do appreciate your enthusiasm ... hmmm, I wonder... do you have enough with 2 viewings ?


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phil

13-06-02, 08:27 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #11
 
   if i were to go again i would try and sit as low as possible directly opposite the orchestra 'stage' ..a good proportion of the dancing is 'aimed' in this direction.....some of the ringside seats elsewhere were obstructed by small groups of dancers who stand and sit on the edge of the stage during some of the ballroom scenes.. whereas the section i suggested is kept free because that central stair aisle is used as a route to and from the stage area by the principle dancers.


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James

13-06-02, 11:58 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #12
 
   We really enjoyed last night's performance. Syvia had the right word for it - exhilarating. Of course, in a vast arena that seats 5000 you are not going to get the same experience as in a conventional theatre - you have to make concessions to the space. We just went with the flow, although we did have a good vantage point in a box on the grand tier.

Svetlana Zakharova was a beautiful swan queen, regal yet vulnerable, and the black swan pas de deux produced real fireworks - the 32 fouettes were done straight (no doubles), but immaculately placed - and the audience loved it! Sergei Filin was, I think, a very sensitive, ardent partner, and acted well. What impressed me, in particular, was the way in which he stayed totally in character, even when acknowledging his applause.

Despite the changes to the choreography necessitated by the location, the story was well told. In some respects the demands of the staging meant that some of the odd conventions of standard ballet productions were done away with - to good effect. For example, both soloists stayed on stage for each other's variations in the balck swan pdd. It gave a greater sense of dramatic cohesion to have Odile seated by Rothbart to watch Siegfried's jubilant solo.

I must also say that Gary Avis was a superb Rothbart - the way in which he seemed to be controlling Odile in the black swan pdd was particularly effective, and Jane Howarth managed to make a real character of the queen - I have never seen her anger and frustration at her son's failure to choose a bride so well conveyed.


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tania

14-06-02, 09:16 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #14
 
  
I went last night and I am sorry to report that I agree with the negative reviews above, i found it lifeless and empty. I simply felt that everyone was just going through the motions, it felt like a dress rehearsal with many dancers simply marking their steps.I usually leave a ballet theatre on a cloud, but this time the cloud was dark and above me


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Kevin Ng

14-06-02, 09:38 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #15
 
   Tania, did Agnes Oaks dance last night with Thomas Edur? She was injured when ENB danced at Covent Garden; I wonder if she has recovered now.


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Rachel

14-06-02, 05:37 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #16
 
   Agnes was dancing with Thomas at the rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon. The company were applauding them during the black swan pas de deux.


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alison

14-06-02, 01:34 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #12
 
   I wouldn't! If money were no object, I'd either sit towards the back of the stalls or in the loggia boxes, where you can see over the heads of the dancers but still see all of the stage, something I doubt (from my experience) that you can do from anywhere in the grand tier, second tier or balcony. If you're sitting in those latter areas, I really wouldn't recommend being right at the opposite end from the orchestra - you'll miss a lot of important comings and goings. I'd aim more for South-East or -West, if you look at the orchestra as North. (Having said that, I think the review I quoted was done from about the 4th row of the stalls).


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Bruceadmin

16-06-02, 11:19 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #0
 
  
I've done some thoughts/review at:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/2814.html


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alison

17-06-02, 01:52 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: swan lake at the royal albert hall"
In response to message #19
 
   How nice to see such a long thread about ENB for a change!

I went to the Saturday matinee, and despite my doubts as to how a partnership that had never done an "in the round" performance before would cope with the conditions I was pleasantly surprised. Jan-Erik Wikström looked as though he'd been dancing them for years, and was projecting as far as the balcony quite well. Not quite so sure about Kristin Long, though, or perhaps it was just that she's more suited to Odile than to Odette, as most dancers seem to be. From up above the corps were really pretty impressive, and managed to keep their spacings very well, which is no mean achievement.

Something to be borne in mind for next year's production (as it should have been every year, though), is that although the arena itself is large there is only a much smaller central oval which can be seen from all locations in the hall, and important matters should be concentrated in that area. It's no good, for example, having Odette miming "I want to die!" up at the tip of the oval if a substantial proportion of the audience can't actually see her!


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