Archive for the ‘Les Sylphides’ Category

Les Sylphides, Sensorium, The Firebird, Royal Ballet, 21 May 2009, return visit

22 May, 2009

Firebird–banner

This was a return visit to see a performance with a different cast. Here is the link to the earlier review of the first night.

This time Les Sylphides featured David Makhateli and Tamara Rojo as the principal couple, backed up by Yuhui Choe in the waltz, Helen Crawford in the Mazurka, and the same leading sylphs as before. All were very good, as was the corps, but I thought Rojo and Choe were outstanding. The conducting by Barry Wordsworth was very slow at the beginning, though it picked up tempo later, but the trouble is that his work lacks incision and edge — it is just mellifluous and laboured, or in a single word, dull.

In the other cast for Alastair Marriott’s new ballet Sensorium, to music by Debussy, we had Mara Galeazzi with Bennet Gartside, and Melissa Hamilton with Gary Avis as the main couples. The lighting worked well this time, and the designs by Adam Wiltshire were excellent as before, with white leotards for the principal ladies and light peacock blue for the others. The cast seemed very much in tune with the ballet, and Melissa Hamilton was simply wonderful. It’s astonishing that she’s a mere 21 years old.

The Firebird was once again a blaze of colour, and the corps were terrific. This time we had Leanne Benjamin as a very fine firebird, with Edward Watson as the Tsarevich, Genesia Rosato as the Tsarevna, and Christopher Saunders as the immortal Kostcheï. All did well, and Saunders was very strong in this part, which seems to suit him better than some of the other roles I’ve seen him do.

Les Sylphides, Sensorium, The Firebird, Royal Ballet, May 2009

5 May, 2009

Firebird–banner

This was a lovely triple bill, with a new ballet by Alastair Marriott sandwiched between two well-known works by Mikhail Fokine.

The first item, Les Sylphides was very well danced, with Johan Kobborg and Yuhui Choe doing an excellent job as the principal couple. They were backed up by Laura Morera in the waltz, Lauren Cuthbertson in the Mazurka, and Iohna Loots and Bethany Keating as leading sylphs, not all I’m afraid as musical as Yuhui Choe. But with good technique it’s difficult to go wrong with Fokine’s glorious choreography and Chopin’s wonderful music.

Sensorium, choreographed by Alastair Marriott to music of Debussy, was a sensuous and cleanly performed dance work that lasted almost half and hour, and didn’t flag for a minute. The costumes were simple leotards for the girls and full length leotards for the two men, Thomas Whitehead who danced with Leanne Benjamin, and Rupert Pennefather who partnered Alexandra Ansanelli. All danced well, as did the ten girls who backed them up, and Pennefather in particular showed a lovely line, and very clean technique. One fault was that dancers moving across the front of the stage were in the dark, but otherwise the lighting, designed by John Read, gave just the right texture for this work.

Finally The Firebird was a terrific show of colour, with Mara Galeazzi heavily made up for the part of this magical bird. Her dancing however seemed to lack fluidity, and Thiago Soares as the Tsarevich did not cut as strong a figure as he might. But Elizabeth McGorian was a lovely Tsarevna, and Gary Avis was simply superb as the immortal Kostcheï. The supporting cast did a very fine job, and this might have been a successful Firebird were it not marred by Barry Wordsworth’s sloppy conducting — the music is Stravinsky and should sound like it.