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Subject: "ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #441
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Bruce Madmin

09-01-00, 10:55 AM (GMT)
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"ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez"
 
   The final crop of ENB Nutcrackers featured some performances by Agnes Letestu and Jose Martinez - principals with Paris Opera Ballet and a great attraction for fans always keen to see new stars.

The only problem with Nutcracker is that there is little dance 'meat' for the Prince and Sugar Plum Fairy and therefore you see but a tantalising snatch of the possibilities. But we still have to go of course - just too foolish not to!

So with that proviso... Agnes Letestu left me in two wildly conflicting minds. She is stately, technically very accomplished with almost a clockwork perfection in getting to the right place at the right time. She also smiled much, posed prettily, but it all seemed a thin veneer on a performance with no emotional depth and in a role she would seem to have zero empathy with. I'd love to see her in some 20th century works where I suspect her chilly technique and detached manner might be more at home.

Jose Martinez, Letestu's regular partner I gather, looked much more comfortable and happy as the Prince. He is tall and quite fine in his build - most definitely not a chunky dancer. Again there was evidence of terrific technique and speed. He was also an attentive partner and despite the non-chunky look, managed all the lifts well - I promise I won't worry next time!

I've reviewed the ENB Nut a number of times so what more to say other than few random thoughts that came to mind. Chief of these was how well the orchestra played. It was also interesting to see the musicians actually looking at the conductor - not something you often see with the ROH orchestra (when playing for ballet anyway).

On the downside I definitely noticed much more of Drosselmeyer's less than healthy thoughts about Clara and which only detract. That's not to mention some previously unnoticed and rather unseemly sexual shenanigans involving Grandmother and the male guests. Again not really needed in a Christmas ballet for kids, though much of it might well be missed.

Special mention of Sarah Arnott for a great Teenage (Barbie) Doll and to Simone Clarke and Filipe Diaz (an announced replacement I think) in the Spanish Dance - they looked amazingly fired up. Agnes Oaks did the Ice Queen with stately aplomb and Tamara Rojo's Clara conveyed all the right emotions. She also looked even more sparkly in her dance with the Prince, as well she might - Martinez was enjoying it too.

Finally have to mention Yat Sen Chang - amazing attitude and power and quite the best 'Russian' dancer you will see in any Nutcracker. As usual the audience lapped it all up.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez Bruce Wall 09-01-00 1
     RE: ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez Eugene Merrett 10-01-00 2
  RE: ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez alison 11-01-00 3

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Bruce Wall

09-01-00, 04:11 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez"
In response to message #0
 
   Dear Bruce,

I was there and very much enjoyed the performance. I was thrilled with Letestu, but then I've always been a fan from the first time I saw her with the Paris Opera Ballet in New York. How thrilling to have such a brilliant example of textbook authority in dance, regardless of the (or rather lack of) choreography. It was a joy one does not often get here to behold. The feet were a ballet unto themselves and all was executed stunningly in its musicality. I also agree that the orchestra played very well. Certainly better, in terms of tempi, I thought that the performances I've seen at the Royal Ballet of late. I was also struck at how happy and of a piece ENB -- at least on this outing -- seemed. In all, most refreshing. If you found it chilly, I'm sorry. Perhaps that was simply Letestu's embodiment of grandeur. (That might be known as a Parisian compliment!) It was in all, I thought, an infectious delight and grandeur is, I think, what any self-respecting Sugar Plum would wish to employ. Certainly one, like Letestu, facing up-market. This was an ideal testament, as the programme noted, to the memory of the late Princess of Wales.


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Eugene Merrett

10-01-00, 11:45 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez"
In response to message #1
 
   I could not see anything remarkable in Lestestu performance. It seemed aloof, perfunctary and sterile.

It is a very difficult to pull a performance with minimalist acting. Elizabeth Platel could do with her natural majesty and serenity. But I Lestestu has someway to go.


Regarding the orchestra - I though the ENB orchestra was so poor I would rather have heared taped music. They sounded shrill and unrefined. It would be cheaper to used tape music as well.

I thought the ROH orchestra was far superior when I saw them on Dec 28. It was far more refined and polished particulary in the strings and woodwinds - and this when they were playing not at their best. They are even better in opera I am afraid.


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alison

11-01-00, 01:12 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: ENB Nutcracker with Letestu and Martinez"
In response to message #0
 
   I wasn't over-impressed with Letestu and Martinez - rather more so with Agnes Oaks' Ice Queen - lovely to see her back from injury and dancing so well. Martinez did something very odd with a series of 3 lifts in the pas de deux - the first one was only to chest height, and I couldn't work out whether he made the other two the same height to disguise the first one, or whether that's how they normally dance it at POB! And yes, I did find Letestu a little cool for my taste. However, I spoke to someone who saw the Saturday performance, and he said they were vastly improved, so perhaps I just got a bad night.

The best thing about the performance was that I finally got to see Rojo's Clara. As usual with everything she does, it was dramatically very satisfying, and in the first act she seemed to point up all the undercurrents - I was far more aware of the father sneaking off with his mistress and the mother knocking the champers back too fast, and by the time we got to the bit where she was about to slap him I was almost ready to shout out "That's right! Give him what for!"!


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