Posts Tagged ‘Tamara Rojo’

Royal Ballet Triple: Limen, Marguerite and Armand, Requiem, Covent Garden, October 2011

9 October, 2011

Having seen Limen two years ago, my main memory was of blue number lights at the rear of the stage in a confusing on-again-off-again pattern, along with dancers barely visible in a half-light, but that is only in the second part. The first half is better, and I like Kaija Saariaho’s music, I love the use of bright colours in Lucy Carter’s lighting, and I rather like the video projections of liquid crystal numbers floating in a blue background at the start. Wayne McGregor’s choreography was brilliantly executed by Steven McRae and a first rate cast, but the last part in half light is dull, overshadowed by the bright blue lights at the rear, and I was glad of the interval before the main two items of the evening.

Rojo and Polunin, photo Tristram Kenton

Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand is a beautiful ballet based on Alexandre Dumas’s La Dame aux Camélias, with designs by Cecil Beaton. He wrote it for Fonteyn, partnered by Nureyev, who was almost twenty years her junior, and it was performed here by Tamara Rojo with the 21-year old Sergei Polunin. Her dancing, reminiscent of Fonteyn herself, showed huge emotional commitment, and her pain is palpable as he throws her aside in anger. Hers is a characterisation of the role it will be hard to beat. Polunin’s stage presence and physicality were wonderful, and the rest of the cast gave fine support, with Gary Avis as a most engaging Duke, like a lightly bearded version of Bruce Forsythe, and Christopher Saunders as a very solid father. When Ashton originally wanted to create this piece the right music evaded him until he heard Liszt’s piano sonata in B minor on the radio in 1962, and the ballet followed the next year to an orchestrated version of the sonata. In this performance Barry Wordsworth conducted the orchestra, but with Robert Clarke sounding overly sententious on the piano the music failed to match the heights of emotion reached by the dancers.

Leanne Benjamin in Requiem, photo Johan Persson

Finally in Requiem, to Fauré’s music, the emotion of the dancers is more restrained but very much the essence of the piece. Kenneth MacMillan created this ballet as a tribute to another wonderful British choreographer, John Cranko of the Stuttgart Ballet. The board of governors of the Royal Opera House originally turned down the idea of creating a ballet to Fauré’s sacred music, but MacMillan turned to the Stuttgart Ballet itself, which performed it as a memorial to the loss of their inspiring leader. The dancers exhibit collective grief, and the evening cast was wonderful together, with Carlos Acosta exhibiting enormous physical presence, and Leanne Benjamin riding high above the company as they carried her. These are dancers whose very presence is a tribute to dance, and the performance of the Sanctus by Leanne Benjamin and Rupert Pennefather was beautiful. The company danced with utter conviction, and perfect placing, and the pas-de-trois with Pennefather, Acosta and Benjamin at the end was superbly done.

Carlos Acosta in Requiem, photo Johan Persson

Requiem is really something to behold, and this triple bill is an opportunity to see highly emotional work of Ashton and MacMillan in the same programme. Don’t miss it. There are four more performances until October 20 — for details click here.

Jewels, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, September 2011

23 September, 2011

On the back of the cast list is an advertisement for jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels whom Balanchine once hoped would bankroll his production. They didn’t …  yet all was well, and this ballet first came to stage in 1967 as a full scale work in three acts: Emeralds to Fauré’s incidental music for Pelleas and Melisande; Rubies to Stravinsky’s Capriccio for piano and orchestra; and Diamonds to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 3.

Leanne Benjamin in Emeralds, all images Johan Persson

The green of Emeralds represents Melisande whom Pelleas discovers by a stream in a forest, the colour representing both foliage and the underwater world of a naiad. Tamara Rojo danced with great fluidity, partnered by Ryoichi Hirano; and Leanne Benjamin was wonderfully musical both in her solo and her pas-de-deux with Nehemiah Kish, who showed a particularly elegant line. Samantha Raine, Deirdre Chapman and Alexander Campbell danced delightfully in the pas-de-trois, and the ending with the three men was performed with perfect timing and symmetry.

Rubies

The red of Rubies represents a racier, sexy milieu, and although Valeriy Ovsyanikov’s conducting and Robert Clark’s piano lacked a cutting edge, Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb made up for it with the sharpness of their dancing, and Zenaida Yanowsky shone with joy as the seductive other woman. McRae was extraordinary in his solos, and his dazzling chaînés turns elicited spontaneous applause.

Cojocaru and Pennefather in Diamonds

Tchaikovsky’s music for Diamonds is from his last composition before starting work on Swan Lake, and the ballerina in her white tutu has an ethereal splendour rather like the swan queen. This third part of the evening started beautifully with Yuhui Choe and Hikaru Kobayashi sparkling as they danced in and out of twelve members of the ensemble, and Alina Cojocaru and Rupert Pennefather were perfect as the main couple, though I found the conducting sluggish for their big pas-de-deux. The four female solists (Choe, Kobayashi, Crawford and Mendizabal) interwove beautifully between one another, the four men (Kura, Hristov, Stepanek and Whitehead) danced superbly in phase, and I thought Thomas Whitehead in particular showed a wonderfully strong line.

Excellent ensemble dancing for all three parts, and only the conducting left something to be desired. How odd that the conductor sees fit to take a solo bow — opera conductors wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing.

All in all a wonderful evening’s dancing to Balanchine’s choreography, aided by delightful sets and costumes, and the House was deservedly full.

Performances continue until October 5 — for details click here.

Swan Lake, with Rojo and Acosta, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, March 2011

19 March, 2011

Tamara Rojo is the quintessential Odette/Odile, showing a wonderful purity of movement as Odette, the Swan Queen in Acts II and IV, and a sinister, calculating quality as Odile, the daughter of the evil Von Rothbart in Act III. She dons the magical aura that allows her to take on the form of Odette, causing the prince to lose his heart to her, and then suddenly laughs in his face as soon as they have plighted their troth together. As he sees a vision of the real Odette in a mirror at the rear of the stage, her nasty laugh has a wonderfully sinister quality.

Acosta and Rojo in Act IV, photo by Johan Persson

Carlos Acosta as the prince was wonderful. He showed suitable ennui in Act I, and again in Act III with the six princesses, yet a readiness to hunt at night under a full moon in Act II. His anguish was palpable in Act IV, as he searches for his swan queen, and his emotion and his dive into the lake after her at the end was very well represented. And with Tamara Rojo his deft partnering allowed her to shine, which she most certainly did, holding an arabesque en pointe in Act III without the slightest fear on either part that she might not hold the balance.

The corps de ballet, photo by Dee Conway

I’ve commented earlier this month on the production, so I’ll leave that aside, except to say that I loved the set and the lighting in Act II. As to performance, the corps danced beautifully in the big ensemble pieces, and the pas-de-trois in Act I was very well performed by Akane Takada, Deirdre Chapman and Valentino Zucchetti. He was particularly good in his jumps and the conductor, Boris Gruzin took the music at just the right pace for his solos. What a shame he couldn’t do the same for the girls. The first two female solos in the pas-de-trois were markedly too slow, as was Rojo’s big Act II solo in Act II. These are ballerinas, not men, and they need the music at a pace that allows them to shine.

The character dances in Act III were all beautifully performed, and Yuhui Choe and Liam Scarlett were a delight in the Neapolitan dance. It was a treat to have Gary Avis as Von Rothbart, both in the white acts and particularly in Act III where he exuded a charmingly dark menace, well-supported by his dwarves. The interaction with his sinister daughter Odile showed skilful sorcery, and this was altogether a Swan Lake to treasure.

Before the performance started, Monica Mason, the Company’s artistic director, came on stage. It’s always an ominous moment when one wonders whether such an appearance is to announce injuries and replacements, but this was simply to tell us that the Royal Ballet had made their first visit to Japan in 1975, and they were dedicating this performance to the victims of the appalling recent earthquake in Japan. In fact they are putting on a special performance this Sunday, March 20 at 4 p.m. in the Linbury Theatre — details below.

As for the present run of Swan Lake, performances continue until April 8 — for more details, click here.

Concert performance in aid of the Japan Tsunami Appeal, with former Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet Miyako Yoshida and friends, including: Yuhui Choe, Valeri Hristov, Hikaru Kobayashi, Ryoichi Hirano, Kenta Kura*, Akane Takada*, and students from the Royal Academy of Music (*tbc).

Tickets: 20 pounds. Running time: about one hour.

HOW TO BOOK: Advance tickets available from the Royal Opera House Box Office in person and by telephone until 4pm tomorrow (Saturday 19 March). Day tickets available at the door (cash only, donations welcomed!). Box Office telephone number: 020 7304 4000

Cinderella with Rojo and Côté, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, December 2010

4 December, 2010

For a description of the production, see my earlier review of a superb performance in November. This was a second view, in which we had Tamara Rojo as Cinderella, with guest artist Guillaume Côté from the National Ballet of Canada as her prince.

Tamara Rojo as Cinderella, photo by Bill Cooper

Tamara Rojo — a superbly accomplished ballerina — made a strong start with a somewhat minx-like portrayal, rather than being a poor ingénue, but she was insufficiently matched by Jonathan Howells and Alastair Marriott as the step-sisters in Act I. They got off to a rather mechanical start, and though things greatly improved in the Act II ball scene, the humour in their roles never fully came over. The performance as a whole took some time to warm up, but in Act II, Rojo and Côté, surrounded by the ‘dancing stars’ gave a display of classical ballet at its best. Ashton was a master of large ensemble dances and this was magical.

Act I also had its moments, particularly after Francesca Filpi as the fairy godmother introduced the Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter (danced by Emma Maguire, Hikaru Kobayashi, Samantha Raine and Itziar Mendizabal). This forms a wonderful interlude after the real world has been swept away and replaced by the realm of magic for the remainder of the Act. Ms. Kobayashi was wonderfully warm and fluid as Summer, and Ms. Mendizabal showed great musicality in her dancing of Winter.

Paul Kay as the Jester, photo by Tristram Kenton

Guillaume Côté made a perfect prince in Act II partnering very well with Tamara Rojo, and Paul Kay danced the jester with perfect timing, jumping as if he were made of nothing more than the wit and charm he represented. Along with the principal couple, he was the star of the evening. Act III was beautifully executed by Rojo and Côté, and she gave a fine portrayal of the poor girl who retained the slipper matching the one she dropped in rushing away from the ball. Her sudden transformation there, from beauty to rags, was very well done, as were all the transformations in this production by Wendy Somes. It’s a delightful representation of Prokofiev’s imaginative score, very well conducted by Pavel Sorokin, and no matter which cast you see it’s an evening to savour.

Further performances are scheduled for December 9, 13, 17, 21, 28, 29 and 31 — for details click here. If you cannot get tickets, another run takes place around the Easter period — April 7, 10, 12, 13, 16, 19, 23, 25, and May 3 and 6, though booking is not yet open.

La Valse/ Invitus Invitam/ Winter Dreams/ Theme and Variations, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, October 2010

16 October, 2010

The high point of this lovely mixed bill was Theme and Variations, created by Balanchine in 1947 for Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch. The following year Ms. Alonso founded the Cuban National Ballet, and now at almost 90 years old did us the honour of attending, and appearing on stage at the end flanked by Monica Mason and Carlos Acosta. More on him later when we come to Winter Dreams, but in the meantime, what wonderful dancing from Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin in Theme and Variations. Their main pas-de-deux was flawlessly executed, and Polunin’s solo, involving a double tour-en-l’air followed by a pirouette — repeated perfectly time after time in perfect harmony with the music — elicited cheers from the audience. This was a wonderful show of classical dance, and indeed Balanchine intended this ballet: “to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky’s music.” The dancing from the entire cast was excellent, and it’s only a shame that the music — the final movement of the Suite No. 3 for Orchestra (opus 55) — was unevenly conducted by Barry Wordsworth. It was lifeless at the beginning but too loud when the trombones all roared into action, though it settled down later.

The first item — Ashton’s choreography for Ravel’s La Valse — was beautifully performed by the company. The music was completed in 1920, encouraged by a commission from Diaghilev, who then rejected it as “untheatrical” and not a ballet but “a portrait of ballet”. Since then it has been choreographed many times, most notably by Balanchine in 1951, and Ashton in 1958. Ravel envisaged La Valse as set at the imperial court of Vienna in 1855, and saw it as “a choreographic poem … a sort of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz … the mad whirl of some fantastic and fateful carousel.” The waltz themes in the music are subject to unexpected modulations and instrumentation, but the conducting did not quite bring out the macabre quality of Ravel’s creation, though the dancing was, as I said, excellent.

Winter Dreams with Acosta and Nuñez, photos by Johan Persson

 

Winter Dreams, to music of Tchaikovsky arranged by Philip Gammon, was beautifully performed by Gammon himself at the piano, along with a small band at the rear of the stage, playing traditional Russian music, and including traditional Russian instruments. This ballet by Kenneth MacMillan is a distillation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, but its genesis was a pas-de-deux for a gala celebrating the ninetieth birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1990. After he’d created it MacMillan said, “When I saw it, I realised that this was the farewell between Masha and Vershinin from Three Sisters, and I had to go on and make Winter Dreams”, which he did in 1991. The central pas-de-deux was superbly performed by Marianela Nuñez and Carlos Acosta as Masha and Vershinin, and Masha’s husband was wonderfully portrayed by Jonathan Cope. The other two sisters were beautifully danced by Mara Galeazzi as Olga, and Laura Morera as Irina, and the whole cast performed with elegance and emotion. The ballet is not a rendition of Chekhov’s play, but recreates its melancholy and atmosphere of quiet despair.

Invitus Invitam with Benjamin and Watson

The new item on this mixed bill was Invitus Invitam by Kim Brandstrup, a ballet inspired by the relationship between the Roman emperor Titus, and Berenice, queen in the Roman province of Judaea. Racine created a play Berenice on the story of their ill-fated love. When Titus’s father Vespasian died it seemed he would be free to marry Berenice, but public opinion was against marriage with a foreign queen, and Titus chose duty to Rome over his love for Berenice. The ballet involves three meetings between them. In the first she senses something is amiss, in the second she knows it but resists it, and in the third they meet for the last time before parting forever. The title comes from a single sentence in Suetonius where he says that Titus, who passionately loved Berenice and intended to marry her, let her go invitus invitam (against his will, against her will). Berenice and Titus were danced with subtlety and restrained emotion by Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson, and this was a fine sequel to the unworldly quality of La Valse. The setting by Richard Hudson, with clever lighting by Lucy Carter, involved lines, circles and spirals appearing on a vast blackboard, with rulings like a piece of graph paper, showing mathematical constructions of angles. This created an atmosphere of calculation and inevitability, and later morphed into brick walls from the Royal Opera House’s Rigoletto set. On the other hand the presence of two people with notes, who seemed to be preparing the scene, suggested that things might always have gone differently, but that is life. It always seems more inevitable in hindsight. Music was by Thomas Adès after Francois Couperin.

That the Royal Ballet could put on these four works in one evening, and do them all to perfection, is a testament to the strength of this company. A single ticket buys an eclectic evening’s entertainment, and further performances will take place on October 18, 22, 28 and 30 — for more details click here.

Royal Ballet Triple: Electric Counterpoint, Asphodel Meadows, Carmen, Covent Garden, May 2010

5 May, 2010

Pennefather and Nuñez in Scarlett's fine new ballet Asphodel Meadows, photo by Johan Persson

Asphodel Meadows is a very interesting new ballet by Liam Scarlett, to Poulenc’s Concerto in D minor for two pianos and orchestra. There were fourteen dancers plus three principal couples, one for each movement of the concerto. The first was beautifully danced by Marianela Nuñez and Rupert Pennefather with lovely elegant movements, the second more spicily by Tamara Rojo and Bennet Gartside, and the third fluidly and fast by Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera. Costumes were leotards for the boys and simple skirts and tops for the girls, bluish/beige for the fourteen dancers, with dark brown, charcoal, and crimson, in that order, for the principals in the three movements. I thought the designs by John Macfarlane were excellent, as was the lighting by Jennifer Tipton. It all lasted a little under 25 minutes and was a delight to watch. The title is interesting. Asphodel is a type of lily, and the name is from ancient Greek. Meadows of asphodel appear in Homer’s Odyssey (Book XI, line 539), where Odysseus travels to Hades and encounters the shades of dead heroes.

Sarah Lamb and Edward Watson in Electric Counterpoint, photo by Dee Conway

This new ballet was sandwiched between works that were performed within the last two years. The programme started with Christopher Wheeldon’s Electric Counterpoint, to music by Bach and Steve Reich, played by Robert Clark on the piano and James Woodrow on the solo guitar. It appealed to me much more than when I saw it in early 2008, though the cast was almost identical, with Edward Watson, Sarah Lamb, Leanne Benjamin and Eric Underwood — last time, Benjamin’s role was performed by Zenaida Yanowsky. In the first part each dancer appears alone, starting with Sarah Lamb. There is a wall facing the audience on which is projected another version of Sarah Lamb, dancing as if she were a mirror image. Gradually, however, the dancer and her image go disconcertingly out of phase with one another, but later there is little connection between dancer and image. During this first section, along with the piano music by Bach, there is a recorded voice-over by the dancer who is performing, giving personal details of their life and motivation. In the second part the wall facing the audience vanishes and there is another wall at an oblique angle, with four doors through which the dancers appear. The electronic music is accompanied by guitar, and there is pas-de-deux work as well as solo dancing. It lasts thirty minutes, which I found well spent, and I liked the designs by Jean-Marc Puissant and the lighting by Natasha Chivers.

After seeing this, followed by Asphodel Meadows, the evening didn’t need spoiling with Mat Eks’ dreadful Carmen, and I’m delighted they put it as the third item on the bill, so I could happily leave.

Romeo and Juliet, Royal Ballet, January 2010

13 January, 2010

What a relief this was from the Maryinsky’s old Soviet pantomime Romeo and Juliet last August. Kenneth Macmillan’s version is the choice of several ballet companies, and with its designs by Nicholas Giorgiadis forms a fine response to Prokofiev’s wonderful music.

Tamara Rojo as Juliet

The cast for this first night of the present run was a strong one headed by Tamara Rojo, whose portrayal of a convincingly distraught Juliet at the end could hardly be bettered. She was very well partnered by Rupert Pennefather, whose elegant and youthful Romeo was equally convincing. Gary Avis was terrific as Tybalt, never overstepping the line into pathological irascibility, as sometimes happens. He was always controlled, while smouldering with mockery at the Montagues, and rage at Romeo.

Romeo’s friends Mercutio and Benvolio were very well danced by José Martín and Sergei Polunin, and in fact Polunin was the best Benvolio I ever remember seeing. His first sword fight in Act I was superbly on the music. David Pickering portrayed an anxiously callow Paris, Genesia Rosato was an excellent nurse, and Elizabeth McGorian a suitably dramatic Lady Capulet. A couple of comments on the more minor roles: Brian Maloney was superbly musical as the soloist in the Mandolin Dance, and the three harlots were all well danced by Laura Morera, Samantha Raine and Francesca Filpi.

Boris Gruzin in the orchestra pit did a superb job, giving the dancers ample musical stimulation. Tamara Rojo will be dancing Juliet again on January the 16th, presumably with Pennefather who replaced Acosta in this performance,  so any available tickets should be snapped up. If you miss that performance there are plenty more, with a whole range of Juliets, some of whom will be very good indeed — Cojocaru, Benjamin and Nuñez particularly spring to mind.

Mayerling, Royal Ballet, 29th October 2009

30 October, 2009

Tamara Rojo as Mary Vetsera, Royal Ballet photo by Bill Cooper

This was the October 29th performance with Carlos Acosta as Crown Prince Rudolf. A brief discussion of the story appears in my review of an earlier performance with Johan Kobborg as Rudolf. Certainly Kobborg was very good, but Acosta was arguably better, portraying Rudolf’s angst with emotional restraint and superb physicality. Tamara Rojo as his mistress Mary Vetsera was prettily seductive, and their pas-de-deux at the end of Act II writhed with passionate intensity. Rudolf’s wife was very well danced by Iohna Loots, and Countess Marie Larisch was well performed by Mara Galeazzi. Last time, Laura Morera took that role, but on this occasion she was Mitzi Caspar, the courtesan, and danced beautifully. This ballet has a large cast of soloists, and I won’t list them all, but I did particularly like Ricardo Cervera as Bratfisch.

Liszt’s music, arranged and orchestrated by John Lanchbery, came over very well under the baton of Martin Yates. The designs by Nicholas Georgiadis are still fresh and entirely in keeping with the story, and the whole cast worked well together in reviving this Kenneth MacMillan ballet. As the programme noted, it was on this same day 17 years ago that he died back-stage at the Royal Opera House — his creative talent is sadly missed.

Goldberg, The Brandstrup-Rojo project, Royal Opera House, Linbury Studio, September 2009

22 September, 2009

brandstrup[1]

This was a new work by Danish choreographer Kim Brandstrup to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, played on the piano by Philip Gammon, with some parts pre-recorded by Henry Roche. There were seven dancers: Tamara Rojo, Steven McRae and Thomas Whitehead from the Royal Ballet, along with Clara Barbera, Laura Caldow, Tommy Franzen and Riccardo Meneghini. Things started slowly with Tamara Rojo in a black dress and pointe shoes, McRae sitting next to Philip Gammon on the piano, and then getting up to climb a very tall ladder. Gradually the dance warmed up, with a mixture of ballet and ‘street dancing’. Among the four cast members not in the Royal Ballet, Tommy Franzen was brilliantly musical and wonderfully acrobatic, looking like a slightly undersized teenager in his baggy pants, but what a dancer! His occasional partnering of Rojo was very well done, and his musicality shone through, both in his solos and his dancing with the others. Clara Barbera was also excellent, part of the time on pointe and part in bare feet. McRae was musical as usual, and his solos were expertly danced. Rojo too inhabited the music brilliantly, her stage presence was excellent and she came over strongly as the star of the show. As the variations progressed, things seemed to drag a little and I waited for a climax that never came. The momentum slowed and everything wound down, but without seeming to go anywhere.

Costumes were black for Rojo, McRae and Whitehead, grey for the others, and the lighting by Paule Constable was subdued throughout. It showed occasional white lines against a dark background, giving a sense of geometric design, which was presumably the idea of designer Richard Hudson. The designs and lighting worked well, and Philip Gammon’s piano performance was excellent. This is definitely worth a visit to see the eclectic style of choreography, and the dancing of Rojo, McRae, and Franzen.

Jewels, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, June 2009

9 June, 2009

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This 1967 Balanchine ballet is in three parts: Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds. Mr. B originally hoped that the jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels might bankroll the ballet, and although that never happened, they did sponsor this Royal Ballet production two years ago. The staging is simple yet effective and in each part the costumes, reflecting emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, are delightful.

Emeralds is to Fauré’s incidental music for Pelléas et Mélisande. In this strange tale by Maeterlinck, Mélisande is found by a stream in a forest, like a naiad, and the green of emeralds recalls both the forest and the watery world from whence she comes. The leading couple were Tamara Rojo and Valeri Hristov, with Leanne Benjamin and Bennet Gartside as the second couple, and Deirdre Chapman, Laura Morera and Steven McRae in the pas-de-trois. They all danced extremely well, particularly Tamara Rojo, Leanne Benjamin and Steven McRae, as did the supporting artists, and this was a wonderful start to the evening.

Rubies is to Stravinsky’s Capriccio for piano and orchestra. The racy choreography involves a pas-de-deux for a central couple, in this case Alexandra Ansanelli and Carlos Acosta, who were full of vivacity, looking as if they were really enjoying themselves. They are complemented by another woman, in this case Laura McCulloch, who plays a temptress role, and she and the lead couple take it in turns to accompany the supporting dancers. Again the ensemble work was excellent.

Diamonds is to music from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony 3, which was his last composition before starting work on Swan Lake, and the ballerina is like a diamond in glacial splendour, a precursor to the cold beauty of Odette in Swan Lake. The principal couple, Alina Cojocaru and Rupert Pennefather were brilliant. He danced like a god, with great precision and a lovely line, and she was simply delightful. They were attended by: Yuhui Choe, Hikaru Kobayashi, Helen Crawford and Emma Maguire, as the four soloists, whose dancing was a delight to watch, as they inter-weaved with one another on stage. Again the ensemble work of the other dancers was superb, and this was altogether a terrific evening with a wonderful cast. Valeriy Ovsyanikov conducted with great brio and precision.