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Subject: "Bussell's 'Manon' 19/4/2000" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #658
Reading Topic #658
Ann Williams

20-04-00, 02:37 PM (GMT)
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"Bussell's 'Manon' 19/4/2000"
   I was taken completely by surprise by Darcey Bussell's Manon last night. She has matured beautifully into the role and is a now long way from the naive girl I first saw doing it a few years ago.

Her incomparable dancing speaks for itself. It is juicy and sensual, and she takes time to show every nuance of every step. We are used to this, but we are not used to the cooly calculating and manipulative Bussell revealed last night. I especially loved her crucial 'pimping' first-act pas de trois with Lescaut (Nigel Burley) and Monsieur GM (Alistair Marriott); she never lost sly eye contact with Lescaut while giving a distinct 'come-on' to GM. Sadly, any attempt at showing the true sexuality of Manon was foiled by her dull partner, Igor Zelensky. Does this man have chemistry with anyone? All she got from him in the first bedroom pdd was a half-hearted hug in place of the lengthy 'kiss' we normally see. His dancing is splendid, of course, but last night he distinguished himself only by not dropping her. The sad thing is, he could be really great if he just tried a little.

Muriel Valat started the performance as Lescaut's mistress but, as was announced before the second act, became injured and was replaced by Deborah Bull (what would the Royal do without Bull?) who turned in an immaculately-timed comic performance. Still, I really would like to have seen what the normally restrained Valat would have made of the role.

I've now seen Manon so many times that I feel free to miss some of the action by homing in on detail with my opera glasses (I refuse to call them binoculars...) so I was able to spot what one or two of the chaps were up to in the brothel scene. I laughed out loud at the gent who goes for the'boy' - you just wouldn't believe the gesture he made to Madame to indicate what it was he wanted!

On the whole then, a very enjoyable evening..

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Bussell's 'Manon' 19/4/2000 lucy joyce 20-04-00 1
  RE: Bussell's 'Manon' 19/4/2000 Vicky Surman 28-04-00 2

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lucy joyce

20-04-00, 09:50 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Bussell's 'Manon' 19/4/2000"
In response to message #0
   You should have been at the Royal Ballet Saturday evening, you then would have seen the mistress danced the way Macmillan meant it to be performed, not the O.T.T.way Miss Bull danced Wendesday evening, Miss Valtat is a extremely dramatic dancer, trained in Paris by a English ex Royal dancer in the English style.
I was very pleased to have been able to see her Tuesday dance the wife in The Concert, one really could not call her restrained.
I do agree with you about Miss Bussell Wednesday evening pulling all the stops out, a pleasant surprise, long may this continue.
hopefully Muriel Valat will not be away for too long, as she always dances full out to give us the audience the best, restrained NEVER.

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Vicky Surman

28-04-00, 02:01 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Bussell's 'Manon' 19/4/2000"
In response to message #0
   I was very pleased to read your piece which reflected my views of the performance. Disappointing to read a couple of reviews which appeared to be referring to Darcey Bussell's performance of a couple of years ago at the Coliseum . Her Manon now has much more dramatic depth and personality. She also took considerable physical risks which (after twenty years of watching Manon) made me catch my breath.

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