I forgot to put this up earlier - what an idiot! I also decided to tackle it differently....
The best classical ballet ever devised had been recut to fit the Albert Hall. Unfortunately it's lost something and does not seem so involving as their earlier in-the-round productions. However SB is still a 'big' spectacle and the last act wedding is sweet.
Third year of ENB doing in-the-round ballet at the Albert Hall and earlier years - of Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet - have sold well. Some critics were a little hound dog about them: the arena style does force change and is not to everybody's liking. True to form this production is by Derek Deane (the NEB Artistic Director) and is all new.
Oh come on!
The classic Fairy tale with a happy ending - prince gets princess. Along the way there is an evil villain type figure, Carabosse, that you can go boo to (but privately please). All to a marvellous Tchaikovsky score.
Sets and Costumes
If you like My Little Pony colours you will be in seventh heaven. Yes it's all kitsch candy colours, complete with large white wigs. By Roberta Guidi di Bagno they have a slightly off the wall feel, not dissimilar to the Bjornson deigns for the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty.
All that said, the designs for Carabosse's attendants were marvellously horrid and the wedding (last act) costumes looked smarter.
The lack of a proscenium arch and backdrop means that costumes/choreography have to work harder in these productions....
So much is changed compared to the productions many know - very brave. In Swan Lake many things were doubled or quadrupled up and that worked pretty well. Here there seemed to be lots of processing and not so much choreographic meat: the result is just not so involving.
Erina Takahashi, only recently made up to Senior Soloist, unusually got the premiere. Many have noticed her this last year or two, but this is one hell of a stretch. She did very well in what is a technical nightmare for a classical dancer. And her attitude is all princess. However the dramatic side remains to be filled out some yet.
Her Prince was Dmitri Gruzdyev - as calm and dignified a pair of arms as you could wish. Lovely jumps.
Anastasia Volochkova - a most beautiful, young dancer, ex Kirov and Bolshoi, was the pretty Carabosse. She was expressive and her arms seemed to go on forever and be capable of doing anything. But a pretty Carabosse somehow feels wrong.
Monica Perego and Yat Sen Chang injected much vitality and panache as the Blue Birds.
Does it work?
It's all a bit slow and unauthoratative at first and the short acts seemed to stop it developing and gaining pace. It will sharpen but on a first viewing I preferred the ENB R&J and Swan Lake rather more on first viewing.