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What was your Royal Ballet highlight of 2018?

Share your favourite moment of the past year and you could win a pair of tickets.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

27 December 2018 at 2.31pm | 161 Comments

As the curtain comes down on another eventful year, we're taking a look back at your highlights from a year of Royal Opera performances on the Covent Garden stage.

Were you bowled over by the Bernstein Centenary celebration? Were you moved by Manon? Stunned by Swan Lake? Did you discover a new favourite composer, or perhaps a new production?

We'd love to hear your stand out moments of 2018. Anyone who shares their thoughts on this blog post, via Twitter using the hashtag #ROHreview2018, or on the Facebook post sharing this blog will be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein.

Here's a few of your responses via Twitter:

Competition terms and conditions: The 2018 Royal Ballet review competition prize is two tickets to Frankenstein. Closing date for entry is 4 January 2019. The winner will be notified by 6 January 2019. All aspects of the prize are non-refundable, non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for another date. Travel or accommodation costs are not included in the prize. This prize draw can only be entered by tweeting with #ROHreview2018 or by commenting on this blog post, or on the Facebook post sharing this blog.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

27 December 2018 at 2.31pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged

This article has 161 comments

  1. Dani Boucher responded on 27 December 2018 at 5:40pm Reply

    Without doubt my highlight was Marienela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Swan Lake - simply sublime!!! I love the new production and they have honed their technique and artistry to perfection

  2. Jo Hooper responded on 27 December 2018 at 6:33pm Reply

    Too many to choose - but always, the privilege of hearing the breath, seeing the sweat, and hearing the extraordinary skill of the orchestra and dancers combined...

  3. Peter Lewis responded on 27 December 2018 at 6:48pm Reply

    Without doubt, the new production of Swan Lake stands out. The design is atmospheric and clearly will sustain for many years. La Bayadere was an enjoyable returning feast. Both performances I saw featured Marianela Nunez, the superstar of the Royal Ballet. We are very lucky to have her.

  4. Petra responded on 27 December 2018 at 7:04pm Reply

    marianela nuñez‘s performance of the sugar plum fairy in the nutcracker.

  5. Nicjtr responded on 27 December 2018 at 7:18pm Reply

    Vadim Muntagirov in pretty much everything he did! But especially in Winter Dreams - a performance so amazing and heartbreaking it knocked me for six and I still can’t find words to describe it. I’ll remember it all my life.

  6. Simon Smith responded on 27 December 2018 at 8:08pm Reply

    So many wonderful performances but I think your photo captures my Royal Ballet highlight - Francesca Hayward’s Manon, utterly mesmerising and heart-rending in the final Act, with Federico Bonelli and a fabulous cast. I was fortunate enough to see three of her performances and look forward very much to her Juliet next year post Cats filming.

  7. Emma Marks responded on 27 December 2018 at 8:35pm Reply

    Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb in Mayerling- truely virtuoso!

  8. Coppelia responded on 28 December 2018 at 10:25am Reply

    Mayerling (Federico Bonelli/Laura Morera)
    Swan Lake (Federico Bonelli/Akane Takade)

  9. elleG responded on 28 December 2018 at 11:16am Reply

    La Bayadere encapsulated everything which is wonderful about the RB at the moment: stellar performances from Principal Dancers (Takada, Naghdi, Lamb, Nunez, Osipova, Muntagirov), knock-out debuts from Soloists (such as Mayara Magri as Gamzatti), and a corps of astonishing quality and consistency. Mayerling once again elicited awesomely powerful characterisations, this time from Matthew Ball, Federico Bonelli and Laura Morera in particular.
    Both Yasmine Naghdi and Akane Takada seem really to have 'flowered' over the course of the year across a wide range of works.
    The RB also has astonishing rising talent which gives an added dimension to every performance [Cesar Corrales wowed the audience with his Hungarian Officer in Mayerling and his Solor; William Bracewell has the rare ability to inhabit his every role; Joseph Sissens whose quality of movement always catches the eye............the list is endless]
    And, saving the best until last, Vadim Muntagirov capped a year of superlative classical dancing (Albrecht, Siegfried, Solor, Symphony in C, Nutcracker Prince) and totally believable portrayals of these roles (plus his Des Grieux and Armand) with a Vershinin in Winter Dreams of unsurpassed intensity, beauty and emotion. If I could have captured only one performance from 2018 to keep for posterity, it would have been that. I could write a thousand words and still get nowhere near to conveying how extraordinarily special Vadim was on the 20th December and what an artist he has become.

    • jk62 responded on 5 January 2019 at 11:07pm

      are you joking? have you seen the video of the bayadere corps from the 90's filming? This crop are lacking proper training and coaching which I feel very sad about.

  10. David responded on 28 December 2018 at 4:22pm Reply

    Yasmine Naghdi demonstrating her versatility as a lead in all three of the contrasting ballets in The Unknown Soldier, Infra and Symphony in C mixed bill. And all this no doubt, after a full day shared by your company on World Ballet Day. How she remembered all the steps and that energy! It was exhausting just watching the performances.

  11. Louise responded on 28 December 2018 at 4:55pm Reply

    My absolute highlight was travelling to London with a friend to watch La Bayadere with Steven McRae, Yasmine Naghdi and Akane Takada in the lead roles. A wonderful experience!

  12. Alex responded on 28 December 2018 at 7:46pm Reply

    For my wife and I THE highlight of 2018 was Yasmine Naghdi as Odette/Odile partnered by Frederico Bonelli in Swan Lake. Absolutely stunning. Also Winter Dreams with Sarah Lamb/Vadim Muntagirov/Yasmine Naghdi. We have seen several Winter Dreams in the past but this cast was simply outstanding, their performance never to be forgotten. Another highlight: Giselle danced by Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball. We are so looking forward to their Romeo & Juliet in 2019. We also loved La Bayadere with Akane Takada as Nikya and Yasmine Naghdi as Gamzatti. Both so beautiful in their individual role. We appreciate all the RB dancers but the above are all great, stand-out artists. Happy New Year to all the dancers and we are looking forward to the rest of this Season.

  13. Morton D. Paley responded on 28 December 2018 at 7:55pm Reply

    Natalia Osipova's performance in Giselle on March 1. She was partnered in Act 1 by David Hallberg, who suffered an injury, and was replaced by in Act 2 by Matthew Ball (who performed nobly). Her Giselle was if anything profounder than ever in both acts, displaying a spectrum of emotions in Act 1 and plumbing the depth in Act 2. She is a living treasure

  14. Jill Osborn responded on 28 December 2018 at 10:58pm Reply

    Without doubt it was Swan Lake with Nunez and Muntagirov. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to see this as an encore screening. She is so beautifully lyrical in every role she dances and her Odette/Odile is sublime.
    Thank you so much for the wonderful screenings- quick question- is there any co-ordination regarding which cinemas get the live or repeat screenings? We have our local Odeon in Aylesbury doing the ROH live screenings, and frustratingly, the Waterside Theatre 2 mins across the road is doing the same (both venues in my experience are very far from sold out), yet neither are offering the Encore repeats.

  15. Alison Smithson responded on 29 December 2018 at 11:49am Reply

    Swan lake without a doubt, Nela and Vadim- utter perfection, not to mention the corps, set, costumes, music, just breathtaking!

  16. Jakegee responded on 29 December 2018 at 12:10pm Reply

    It’s so difficult to choose one performance, when several were unforgettable. However, I’ll select Reece Clarke and Lauren Cuthbertson in “Manon”. Breathtaking in the intensity of their dancing and dramatic focus.

  17. Andy T responded on 29 December 2018 at 3:13pm Reply

    Swan Lake was simply the most fantastic thing I have ever watched. I have been singing it’s praises to everyone I know ever since. I could easily watch that performance every day. Cannot wait for the DVD release.

  18. Patricia Casselden responded on 29 December 2018 at 3:30pm Reply

    No contest! It has to be the stunning (in every way) new production of Swan Lake by Liam Scarlet. So long overdue but worth waiting for!

  19. Diana Dicker responded on 29 December 2018 at 3:33pm Reply

    Vadim's solo in Act 1 Bayadere from the stalls on filming night December 8th.

  20. Linda Dicks. responded on 29 December 2018 at 5:42pm Reply

    Went to see the wonderful performance of Giselle on February 8th. The whole Ballet was captivating, it was so lovely to watch I was spellbound.

  21. Dave Morgan responded on 29 December 2018 at 8:10pm Reply

    Yasmine Naghdi's debut as Giselle. Having watched her as a Wilis in the corps, I knew she would be a fabulous Giselle, and she managed to surpass even my high expectations! Then was wowed again by her Odette/Odile debut in Swan Lake.

  22. Steve Clark responded on 29 December 2018 at 11:10pm Reply

    Every performance of the Royal Ballet is a highlight but Liam Scarlett's stunning new production of Swan Lake tops the list for 2018 and, possibly, for ever! The performance that we saw starred the fabulous Marianella Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov but the entire cast were sensational. An absolute triumph!

  23. Lesley main responded on 30 December 2018 at 8:34am Reply

    The trio of superstars in La Bayadere - Nunez, Osipova and Muntagirov.......perfection.

  24. Esther Drewett responded on 30 December 2018 at 3:24pm Reply

    My Margaret's highlight would be summed up in two words ."SARAH LAMB" and I must agree with her .After a superb live cinema season Sarah has carved her talent on our conciousness such grace agility and stamina

  25. Stevie responded on 30 December 2018 at 5:37pm Reply

    Symphony in C as part of the triple bill, with just about everyone in the company on stage.

  26. Jenny Taylor responded on 30 December 2018 at 9:48pm Reply

    Swan Lake - with Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nunez who just got better and better.... and they both shone in absolutely everything in which they danced. Magical.

    Alexander Campbell as both Lescaut and Des Grieux in Manon. So pleased he was given the opportunity to play both parts.

    Matthew Ball as Rudolf in Mayerling - what a debut! I had to go and see it again after that.

    … and one of the future, Will Bracewell as Siegfried in Swan Lake. Gave the part a different dimension and really looking forward to seeing him again in 2019.

    Finally, how can any list be complete without a mention for Gary Avis: character artist par excellence. Any performance in which he features is a highlight and he finished the year with 2 superb portrayals in Winter Dreams and the Nutcracker

  27. Jen hague responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:09am Reply


    My favourite has been watching the fabulous Francesca Hayward in different productions. Our family have loved her since seeing her in a Christmas documentary two years ago when she danced the Sugar Plum Fairy for the first time. She is a wonderful dancer with a lovely personality -go Francesca!

  28. Jacqui Booth responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:27am Reply

    I loved la Bayadere. It was a new ballet to me and I found the athleticism in the male lead absolutely spellbinding. So refreshing to see a male lead being the main role. He stole my heart.

  29. Anna Pryor responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:31am Reply

    Loved Liam Scarlett’s fantastic new Swan Lake- Yasmine Naghdi was utterly brilliant as Odette/Odile when we saw it at the ROH in June then thoroughly enjoyed watching it again on BBC4 on Xmas day with the totally amazing Marinela and Vadim. A wonderful new production of a beautiful classic

  30. Sue Cooke responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:54am Reply

    La Bayadere (4th time I have seen it) and Les Patineurs together with the Concert, neither of which I had seen before.

  31. Catherine Howie responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:02am Reply

    Sitting in the lush crimson auditorium lit with the magical red lamplights awaiting in anticipation the performance that is of perfect quality.

  32. Ami responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:30am Reply

    Favourite Royal Balletvmoment of 2018 was the open house immersive performace night in November when a Mad Hatter was running free with Alice through the hallways and we got to join a tea party that stretched up the escalators.

  33. Madge responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:34am Reply

    No doubt the highlight of my sad year was watching The Nutcracker with my dearest sister,probably for the last time together.Her face was like a child's again,completely enraptured in the beautiful dancing and the wonderful music.It took us back to when Mother used to take us every Christmass to your wonderful Opera House

  34. John Cooper responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:38am Reply

    The Nutcracker - an all time favourite that we see every year with dear friends at New Year's Eve. The production was a delight on 31 Dec with Takada san as The Sugar Plum Fairy. Some changes to the choreography proved very successful and many solo performances were wonderfully carried out. A wonderful experience to treasure with our good friends

  35. Jonathan Rackowe responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:40am Reply

    Manon was beautifully danced, beautifully staged, had beautifully performed music ... and it brought me to tears.
    Swan Lake was an absolutely fantastic production too.

  36. Nadia responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:41am Reply

    I think that the broadcast of the Swan Lake ballet on the national television at Christmas was one of the ROH’s finest hours.

    This made the beauty of ballet accessible to all. It also helped that the broadcasted production was magical in all aspects: dancing, staging, costumes etc.

    Keep up the good work!

  37. Wenche H Hafsmoe responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:44am Reply

    Yesterdays performance of The Nutcracker was the best I’ve ever seen. The most beautiful experience. I have been to see the Royal Ballet many many times, but there was something magical about yesterday. Loved the precision of the Little soldiers from the ballet school. Hope to be back to see Don Q.

  38. sally-ann baker responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:45am Reply

    Undoubtedly Marianela Nunez with Muntagirov in Swan Lake. I saw it in a cinema so got close ups of the faces and the expressions and acting were amazing. I had tears streaming down my face at the end. Campbell was also great in a supporting role.

  39. Judy Brason responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:46am Reply

    Virginia Woolf ballets. The most beautiful dancing - Alexandra Feri was AMAZING. Incredible sets and music.

  40. Zinèbe responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:49am Reply

    The Winter's Tale, in snowy London, nature in line with arts. Beautiful. Magic.

  41. Sharon responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:52am Reply

    Swan Lake has to be the highlight for us! Our then 6-year-old daughter Isabella was completely transfixed by the magic and beauty of the entire performance. She has been taking ballet classes since age 3 and now ever more inspired by Sarah Lamb in her passion for her art and exuberant technicality as Odette/Odil. We love it so much that we watched Swan Lake again on Christmas Day when it was broadcasted on BBC when we saw Marianela Nunez as Odette/Odil which was such a treat! We will be going for more this year, thanks to the ROH Family Events initiatives.

  42. Neil Heaton responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:52am Reply

    La Bayadere was simply superb. The Kingdom of the Shades was mind blowing. We came away assured we had witnessed the greatest company deliver the best performance on the planet. Thank you for the memory.

  43. Geraldine Courtney responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:53am Reply

    Nutcracker! Utterly riveting from start to finish, and a first ever for my eighty two year old husband who was mesmerised from curtain up. Incomparable performances, beautiful costumes and sheer pleasure from beginning to end.

  44. Brenda Matthews responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:54am Reply

    Undoubtedly Mayerling was my most thrilling ballet experience of the year. I had long desired to see this intense ballet which doesn’t depict a pretty story and requires not only great dancing but superb acting.
    It more than fulfilled these requirements and left me drained emotionally and filled with admiration for all those who participated in this fantastic production

  45. Lina responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:58am Reply

    Swan Lake. I saw it in Kiev, Ukraine for the first time and loved it. So to see it televised on Christmas Day and performed by the Royal Ballet was fantastic.

    The set, the costumes, the dancing and the music. Fabulous!! My favourite ballet!!

  46. Peter Rowe responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:04pm Reply

    Taking my wife to see Giselle as part of her birthday present. She loves this ballet and was overjoyed by the occasion. A dutiful husband escorted het to what was his first appearance at the ROH. I sat spellbound by the magnificence of the occasion and the breathtaking performance. A next visit is a must! I might even bring my wife with me.

  47. John Andrews responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:05pm Reply

    Swan Lake with the ineffable perfection of Marienela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in a Cinema near our home but live from RoH with so helpful interviews helping our enjoyment, and during the Christmas period on BBC but without those interviews due to barbaric scheduling!

  48. Lilian Hollands responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:06pm Reply

    A rehearsal in the Paul Hamlyn Hall! Marianela Nunez & Thiago Spares being coached by Darcy Bussell & Irek Mujhademoc in Winter Dreams. Magic!

  49. Eleanor Cross responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:07pm Reply

    Going to the Swan Lake insight then seeing the finished production - a true masterpiece, utterly bewitching in every aspect. Then being able to learn some of the choreography during the Dance Swan Lake insight was amazing and inspiring, it reminded me why I fell in love with ballet and why I want to be a dancer.
    And seeing Mayerling and The Concert.

  50. Henk de Vries responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:16pm Reply

    Celebrating Bernstein did it for me, with Jerome robbins choreography, could dance or play this all year!

  51. Maggie Dean responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:19pm Reply

    The most memorable performance for me was Steven McRae in Mayerling. Superb acting and dancing- sheer brilliance.

  52. Kay Hounsham responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:21pm Reply

    The live screening of The Nutcracker first night, stunning, the screen was so large we could see so much more expression. My Granddaughter and I were overwhelmed by the event and she has picked my live screening ballet for 2019! Thank you ROH

  53. Laura Shek responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:24pm Reply

    Without a doubt it was our first visit to see The Nutcracker on December 12. My son is an aspiring ballet dancer and although we have been to lots of performances screened in the cinema, but being from the North east we are not in London often so this was a real opportunity for him. His face during the performance was fantastic and a memory I will treasure for years to come! We watched Swan Lake together on Christmas Day too and afterwards sat together to read it from his ‘Ballet Stories’ book; so again a lovely memory for me to look back on fondly. He is desperate to visit again to watch another performance and has a copy of Frankenstein on DVD with his idol Steven McRae performing the principal role so I can’t imagine how excited he would be to have the opportunity to see it live and visit the ROH again!

  54. Susan Reed responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:36pm Reply

    Seeing the new Swan Lake production on successive nights - what a sumptuous feast for the senses - music, design and stunning dancing. Nunez and Muntagirov are an outstanding partnership.

  55. Susan Goodman responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:39pm Reply

    We went to the ROH on 3rd November to see La Bayadere. It was the most beautiful experience from the moment we stepped into the building. The Opera House is magnificent and the ballet was most magical from the excellent musicians, colourful set and beautiful dancers including Sarah Lamb who took our breath away. The day was completed with a glass of champagne in the delightful Paul Hamlyn bar. An experience to stay in our memories.

  56. Jeanette Martin responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:40pm Reply

    Les Patineurs triple bill.

  57. Sharron Phillips responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:43pm Reply

    Watching Christopher Carr's masterclass on 21st Nov. I was spellbound at his superb artistry and knowledge of each and every movement. Simply fabulous! Sharron Phillips

  58. Sue Abel responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:49pm Reply

    La Bayadere was wonderful and reminded me to come more often.

  59. Leonid Trakhtenberg responded on 1 January 2019 at 12:50pm Reply

    I traveled from Israel to London only for seeing an incredible Osipova, Nunez and Muntagirov in La Bayadere. This perfect performance was above all my expectations.I believe that the Royal Ballet is the leading classical troupe in the world now. Please maintain this and I'll come more and more.

  60. Kiti Westerback responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:02pm Reply

    My highlight was travelling to London from Finland to see the wonderful spring gala. Everything was superb but especially lovely was the Balanchine d minor right before the pause. Would love to relive it ❤

  61. Sandra Adams responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:08pm Reply

    A wonderful first experience at the royal opera and indeed ballet, seeing it live for the first time, swan lake was mesmerising and I look forward to seeing many more productions here.

  62. Simonetta responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:19pm Reply

    No doubt Marianela Nunez as Nikia. I saw it broadcasted at the cinema in Naples with my mother and my aunt and for me it was the opportunity to show them the one I consider the most talentous dancer in the world actually

  63. The Bernstein Performance was a Milestone 2018 and outstanding to enjoying.

  64. Paul Kilpatrick responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:33pm Reply

    ..... so many fabulous highlights; but for me, Francesca, Alexander and Akane's Act 1 / Pas de Trois from the new production of Swan Lake, and the marvel of Vadim taking flight in everything he does!

  65. Alison Nield responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:34pm Reply

    The Mayerling ballet of October was quite wonderful. Totally absorbing.

  66. Claire responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:44pm Reply

    Loved Giselle - beautiful.
    Les Patineurs / Winter Dreams / The Concert. Really enjoyed these three different contrasts and the short lengths. 'Les Patineurs' was particularly a favourite and wonderful for pre Christmas, wish it could have been a bit longer. 'The Concert' was funny and very clever.
    Missed Swan Lake - had I realised the big change, I would have booked. Watched it on TV Christmas Day - it was superb.

  67. Dr Arlene Hogan responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:44pm Reply

    Being escorted by my eighteen year old grandson to Nutcracker and sharing a spellbinding (literally), performance with him was a joy in itself. The chemistry between Emma Maguire as Clara and Luca Acri as Hans-Peter was tangible. The entire cast were magnificent, but for me, the seemless movement of the Arabian Dance was the magical highlight of the evening.

  68. matthew james responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:47pm Reply

    I took my 8 yr old daughter to our first ballet swan lake. It was a magical experience. The venue is stunning , music was brilliant and the dancing was out of this world. The costumes and scenery made it. We will be back even if I was one of the only dad's there !!!

  69. David C. Green responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:51pm Reply

    For my final visit ever to Royal Ballet I took my wife, our two daughters plus an old friend, to Swan Lake in the summer. I never could afford to enjoy a family outing to ballet for over forty years; but with my retirement payout I could now afford best seats for the most marvellous evening of our lives. Magnificent. Brilliant. Quite literally a bit of magic in a bad world. Thank you.

  70. Peter Scott responded on 1 January 2019 at 1:58pm Reply

    Welcome back to La Bayadere - a superlative production and specifically to see the corps de ballet in such mesmerising form in the Kingdom Of Shades - Thankyou ROH

  71. Alison Clarke responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:05pm Reply

    Seeing Giselle for the first time. I was moved to tears it was so beautiful!

  72. Pam Bluett responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:06pm Reply

    The performance I came to at the ROH
    was superbly danced, unfortunately I live in Sydney and only come each year.

  73. Stephanie Taylor responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:08pm Reply

    The Hamlyn Trust Ballet Day on 15th December 2018 Nutcracker Ballet was absolutely fantastic. From 11 am there were wonderful talks, displays and workshops for all ages. A fantastic insight into the hard work, dedication and team work which was so evidence. All the staff were so helpful and friendly, a true festive educational treat for all.

  74. Emily Platt responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:15pm Reply

    Fumi Kaneko as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the dance of the Snowflakes in the New Year’s Eve performance of the Nutcracker - just sublime! This was the first time for us to bring our daughters to the ballet at The Royal Opera House and the whole performance, including the beautiful music from the orchestra, was absolutely superb and we loved it! Touches of comedy and masterful storytelling throughout; gorgeous costumes, show-off dance sequences and stunning scenery - all in all just sumptuous!

  75. Lesley Taylor responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:16pm Reply

    I will watch anything by the RB at present. They are really on form. Particular favourites are anything by Natalia Osipova, La Bayadere ( brilliant to see Natalia Makarova at the RB again ). Liam Scarlett's Swan Lake, anything with Lauren Cuthbertson in ( one of the most underrated ballerinas ).

  76. Julie Moore responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:26pm Reply

    My highlight was discovering Manon. Seeing it for the first time via Live Cinema. It's now my favourite ballet - can't wait for it to come out on dvd.

  77. Patricia Ann Davies responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:30pm Reply

    Having live Ballets screened directly to cinemas is such a wonderful thing. When I was younger my husband and I visited The Royal Opera house many many times. He worked for a company that sponsored the ROH. Now in my doltage I rely on our fantastic Millenium Theatre in Cardiff, but of course they cannot bring all Ballets here. Manon is my favourite, I have the DVD but seeing it on the big screen with friends is magical. Long may it last. Thank you so much

  78. Gillian Beer responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:33pm Reply

    The wonderful Steve McRae and Sarah Lamb in the cinema broadcast of Mayerling - great acting and incredible dancing. They brought this unlikely tragedy to life - and ultimately death.

  79. Barbara Dinesen Hann responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:36pm Reply

    Travelling to London with my 14-year-old daughter on a cold February weekend to see Giselle at the Royal Opera House. Fantastic stay, starting off with an outdoor breakfast in a café overlooking Covent Garden, staying at a hotel with views of Tower Bridge, then the brilliant ballet in the evening. Best way to bond with my teenage daughter!
    Would have liked to watch the performance of Swan Lake as well, though, when the harpist was unable to play (we both play the harp) and the pianist stand-in ... another time, perhaps. So far we have seen Swan Lake in Copenhagen and Düsseldorf!

  80. Lorna Ogilvie responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:49pm Reply

    For me it was ‘Swan Lake’ with Natalia Osipova and Matthew Ball. It was a truly magical evening. One of the best productions I have seen in recent years and the audience reaction reflected this! I plan my visits to London from Scotland around the Royal Ballet programme and savour every moment. Thank you!

  81. Tony Rose responded on 1 January 2019 at 2:57pm Reply

    For ballet, despite the difficulty of choosing, I would say 'Manon.' Facial expressions and good acting were added to quality dancing. This meant there was real storytelling going-on. I've never seen Manon before, but it was easy to follow, as well as a joy to watch.

  82. Grazia responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:01pm Reply

    I saw all the ballets at the cinema from Italy. I can not forget Sarah Lamb in the Winter 's Tale , Steven Mcrae in Mayerling, the Nutcracker , Classic Christmas treat , and the exotic atmosphere of Bayadere with an exceptional cast but my favorite was breathtaking Swan Lake with magnificent Nunez and Muntagirov ❤️ I love Royal Ballet and I can’t wait to come there.

  83. Sally appleton responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:02pm Reply

    Osipovas Giselle - & a dash to come in and dance and 'save the day' (evening!) by Matthew Ball!

  84. Suzanne Osterburg responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:15pm Reply

    This is a very difficult writing task for me. Every experience I´ve made with the Royal Ballet has enriched my life profoundly. A chance encounter with the Freed's of London online video reignited my passion for ballet and consequently everything related to the Royal Ballet after a forty year dormancy. I took ballet classes as a girl in my home town in Texas, but stopped owing to my parents' divorce and subsequent moves. I clearly recall always wondering what pointe shoes were made of and how they helped the ballerinas to dance on their toes. The Freed's video led me, of course, to the Royal Ballet's extensive offering of online video content, so much of it moderated by your lovely Darcy Bussel. That was it. I was hooked. I simply could not and cannot get enough!

    In Jan. 2018, I booked tickets for an April performance of Manon featuring Marianela and Frederico. At the time, I really had no clue about the Royal Opera House and it's breathtaking beauty. Walking into the theatre on the evening, I was bowled over by ist majestic beauty. The performance and the music left me equally awe-struck. I couldn't believe - was so grateful that I could experience something of such profound beauty in such a historical setting.

    It's only through my renewed passion that I learned that classical ballet repertoirs go beyond Nutcracker, Giselle, and Swan Lake. Your production Manon with Marianela and Frederico was the perfect re-introduction to ballet with, in my eyes, the perfect dancers beautifully embodying beuatiful roles in a complex, tragically beautiful story. Since that performance, I have re-visited time an again your online content of interviews with the cast and explored other Manon videos. I've watched so many times online the final pas de deux with Sylvie Guillem and Robert Cope. It will never fail to provoke a viseral feeling of inexpressable beauty.

    In November, my family and I attended the live cinema broadcast of La Bayadere in Cologne, our home city. Again, I had the joy of watching Marianela dance, this time with Vadim Muntagirov. Marianela holds a special place in my heart not least becuase she was my first prima ballerina to see live at Covent Garden. She is truly one of the great artists in her ability to transcend those lucky enough to experience her art from a grity reality to a world that only knows the pure beauty of music and dance. Thank you, Marianela! Also thank you, Frederico and Vadim!!

    Bringing all of this back round to the task of sharing my Royal Ballet Highlight of 2018, I'm very hard pressed to pinpoint just one thing. For me the highlight is the priceless opportunity as granted by the Royal Ballet to explore and engage in the ballet. Thanks to your wonderful online offerings, I was able to resurrect my love of the ballett. Your live cinema broadcasts allow me to share in the beauty beyond the financial limits of travelling to London. And when we do travel to London to attend a ballet at the Royal Opera House, it is nothing short of bucket list calibre. Thank you, Royal Ballet! Thank you, Royal Opera House! I hope to visit again soon!!

    • Suzanne Osterburg responded on 6 January 2019 at 1:30pm

      So sorry! I got a name wrong. Of Course I meant Jonathan Cope :/

  85. john santos responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:22pm Reply

    Swan Lake great performance

    • Suzanne Osterburg responded on 6 January 2019 at 1:34pm

      And I discovered another mistake!! Our performance of Manon featured Roberto Bolle and not, this time, Frederico.

  86. Lucia Coll Montserrat responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:37pm Reply

    How a magical evening when I went to see The Bayadère!

    Marianela Núñez as Nikiya and Vadim Muntagirov as Solor. The best performance that I have never seen in my life.

    They were magnificent, dramatic, spiritual, incredible! So moving! A precious ballet jewel!


  87. Ashley Dean responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:47pm Reply

    I have to say that my ballet highlight this year was bringing my boyfriend to his first ballet, Mayerling. He loved it and couldn’t wait to share his experience with his family and friends. I enjoyed explaining some of the movement interpretations within the roles to him, and we discussed the artists in their roles. It led to his family and I watching Swan Lake on the television st Christmas (which was, of course, awesome)!

  88. Valerie K responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:51pm Reply

    Lauren Cuthbertson & Matthew Ball in Marguerite and Armand. Spellbinding.

  89. Graham Lavers responded on 1 January 2019 at 3:59pm Reply

    I introduced a lady friend of mine to ballet as she had never seen a performance in her life,so we saw the Nutcracker(New Years Eve) and she loved it.So she wants to see Swan Lake next

  90. Aisling Reilly responded on 1 January 2019 at 4:49pm Reply

    Liam Scarlett's Swan Lake. Loved the new production, especially the return of tutus! And Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez were stunning as Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile!

  91. Robert Jones responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:10pm Reply

    The Unknown Soldier was a highlight for me this year. A very moving narrative with excellent use of interviews with the last Tommy Harry Patch. Unexpectedly touching, I hope this returns to Covent Garden in the future.

  92. Eugenia responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:11pm Reply

    My Royal Ballet highlight of 2018 was Mayerling with Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb on the 10th of October. I’m a passionate ballet lover. Just this year 2018 I’ve attended around 40 ballets, mostly in Russia in The Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theaters, but that particular night in the ROH was one that I’ll remember and cherish!

    Mayerling is one of my favorite ballets and I have seen it numerous times in Russia with Sergei Polunin, but never here, where this masterpiece was born.

    Looking for the tickets, for some reason I decided to entrust McRae to take me through all the steps of madness. But he didn’t. He did not lead to the abyss of madness step by step, he immediately jumped into the very eye of the storm ....
    His madnesses was not the version of irrepressible desire for destruction, passion, pain, but evil, cold and frighteningly empty ...
    His loud breathing that was heard from the stalls did not touch the soul and caused only a desire to escape. And never-never intersect with such Rudolf. Today there were no tears, there was no “crushed heart”, but there was deliberate admiration!
    Steven McRae - he is phenomenal! His technical capabilities, his elaboration of the character were fascinating and admired !!! Bravo-Вravo!
    I wanted to say that the ice was broken and I began to like English men, but it turned out he is Australian ))
    So Steven McRae is definitely a The Highlight of the Ballet year 2018 for me!

  93. Melissa Abraham responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:19pm Reply

    Seeing the utter wonder and excitement on my son's face as we finally got to the Royal Opera House itself (instead of watching it livestreamed in Bromsgrove) and then how thoroughly we both enjoyed a truly magical performance of the Nutcracker, a memory we will treasure forever and a fabulous way to celebrate my son's 16th Birthday. Unforgettable. We are already planning our next visit.

  94. Isabel responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:29pm Reply

    The entire Nutcracker!
    I watched it at the cinema and later live at the ROH as a birthday present. Unforgettable!

  95. Adrian Burley responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:30pm Reply

    Rioichi Hirano's interpretation in Mayerling-a la Romero and Juliet. Never thought of Mayerling in that fashion. Pity his partner did not follow but his interpretation was enough in itself

  96. Isabel S responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:33pm Reply

    The entire Nutcracker!
    I watched it at the cinema relay and later live at the ROH as a birthday present. Exquisite!

  97. Hilary Kelly responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:43pm Reply

    Swan Lake was brilliant and I love to see Francesca and Alexander in whatever role as I am a big fan of theirs since the documentary following the production of The Nutcracker a few years ago. I still watch it regularly.

  98. CARLOS AUGUSTO DEVORIK.- responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:53pm Reply

    I think that your season (at this difficult times) is OUTSTANING! All your programes are very convincing, an if Im overseas, everything sounds very good for me, being an specialist in Classical Music.-

  99. Tracey S responded on 1 January 2019 at 5:56pm Reply

    Seeing my two young daughters mesmerised by the Nutcracker.

  100. Lucia Coll Montserrat responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:00pm Reply

    There are so many amazing highlights in the Royal Ballet that is very difficult to choose only one!

    The best one for me is La Bayadère. How beatiful ballet with Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov! Their performance were so moving and magnificent! A treasure of the dance.


  101. Fiona Reed responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:35pm Reply

    So many to choose but the two that stand out are finally seeing Mayerling via a live cinema relay in my local cinema with the brilliant Steven McCrae. Great to have him back after his injury. What a performance he gave as did the whole cast. So powerful. Secondly the new production of Swan Lake, again via a live cinema relay. Vadim Muntigirov and Marienela Nunez were superb and the new production wonderful. Thank you so much ROH for the live broadcasts that enable so many people to see these wonderful performances.

  102. Sabina responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:35pm Reply

    Swan Lake is a definite highlight. Marienela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov are the epitome or grace and athleticism, and combined with this classic score they were a magical combination.

  103. Peter Clark responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:37pm Reply

    The Linbury Theatre... A triumph!!!
    The sound production brought the film screening of Romeo and Juliet to life.

  104. Dr.Zoltan Csontos responded on 1 January 2019 at 6:59pm Reply

    Among ballets of the last year MacMillen: Mayerling and Minkus Bajader ballets were the most fun for me

  105. Cathy Godfrey responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:03pm Reply

    Watching the Christmas tree grow in size in The Nutcracker. It's so magical, you can almost imagine that Drosselmeyer is really making it happen with his magic and the music is so perfect to go with it too.

  106. Catherine Howie responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:09pm Reply

    Sitting in the glorious sumptuous theatre lit by lovely red lamplights awaiting the curtain to lift to enjoy a wonderful ROH production.

  107. Outi Martikainen responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:34pm Reply

    I saw Marianella Nunez on live screening from Royal Opera balet in Swan lake. She is a star with her very sensitive talent of timing.
    Much of the great joy of these screenings absolutely goes to great filming ! Hardly ever it’s possible to go that near to see every move and expression on stage.
    I <3

  108. Barry Davies responded on 1 January 2019 at 7:37pm Reply

    Steven McRae as Prince Rudolf and Sarah Lamb as Mary Vetsera in Mayerling. I was left in awe for several days by their pas de deux in the third act. Come to think of it, I'm still in awe now!

  109. Nicole Cornell responded on 1 January 2019 at 8:11pm Reply

    I was delighted with Elite Syncopations: having only seen it on the screen, I wasn't prepared for the live experience. It is such a joyous, infectious piece of work and was served by brilliant dancers who looked as happy to dance as I was to watch them.

  110. Jean Ord responded on 1 January 2019 at 8:43pm Reply

    The live screening of La Bayadere was a revelation both for its music and its dancers. This was a new one for me and utterly beguiling. Well done all.

  111. Josephine Anders responded on 1 January 2019 at 8:53pm Reply

    I love to see the classics though also appreciate modern dancing.
    My favourites, difficult to say, loved them all, but distinctly remember Diamonds and Don Quixote.
    Would love to be able to see anything performed by a Russian company and Manon, which I sadly missed.

  112. Edilia Emordi responded on 1 January 2019 at 9:06pm Reply

    The Nutcracker on the 3rd of December. Such a thrill to see some of my favourites actually performing

  113. Belinda Payne responded on 1 January 2019 at 9:36pm Reply

    Saw triple bill of Ashton’s Les Patineurs, Macmillan’s Winter Dreams and Jerome Robbins’ The Concert in December. The first and third I had seen before so I knew I would love them (and I did) but Winter Dreams provided the most memorable moment when Sarah Lamb collapsed to the floor, reducing me to tears.

  114. Diana Mitchell responded on 1 January 2019 at 9:55pm Reply

    La Bayadere in November
    Marinela Nunez and Osipova were perfection and the corps de ballet in the kingdom of the shades was staggering,unbelievably well danced

  115. Jessica Acton responded on 1 January 2019 at 10:06pm Reply

    Manon was stunning but the highlight has to be the Live at Linch events - as someone working in dance but trained in literature I feel that I’ve learned so much more by going to see training & classes in action than just seeing the polished performances. So inclusive, inspiring, exciting & different. #ROHreview2018

  116. D.Gottelier responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:04pm Reply

    Anything with Federico Bonelli is a delight to watch. Long may he continue to enthrall audiences.

  117. Karen responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:19pm Reply

    Without a doubt, my favourite moment this year was an utterly breathtaking performance of The Nutcracker. Absolutely stunning. #ROHreview2018

  118. Lily Stuart responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:31pm Reply

    Mayerling was my favourite. Amazing performance and so dramatic.

  119. Sarah Langfield responded on 1 January 2019 at 11:33pm Reply

    The Infra pdd with Marcelino Sambe and Mayara Magri which I saw online. It touched something so deep within me that I fell more in love with them, Infra ( which Id never seen) and the mesmeric music. Within a few minutes Id bought a ticket to see it.

  120. Christine Heiden responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:14am Reply

    Magical Swan Lake, new production is wonderful.

  121. Philippa Metberell responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:43am Reply

    Definitely highlight was Swan Lake. I was so enthralled and immersed in the ballet and, when the dancers all lined up so symmetrically, Degas paintings of dancers popped into my head and I got the movement he was creating on canvas from what was on the stage. Such precision and beauty with the movements and music and the skills of the dancers. Also, started the year with Nutcracker and what a cracker to begin 2019 with. Happy New Year ROH!

  122. Cecilia K responded on 2 January 2019 at 8:59am Reply

    Watching Nela Nuñez on Sylvia!!! That ballet is for ballerinas what Spartacus is for male dancers! What an elegant, elated and techinically perfect marathon!

  123. Eva Blumenthal responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:16am Reply

    Thank goodness for your cinema transmissions. I have watched several this year and it is a delight to be able to see them properly. I splashed out on one real stalls ticket and sadly could see very little.

  124. Carik Ward responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:36am Reply

    My especial favourite ballet of 2018 was watching the exquisite duo of Marianela Nunez and Vadim Mutagirov in La Bayerdere. Their faultless performances and the evident chemistry between them was breath taking. I had not see this ballet before and could have watched it many times over again.

  125. Gillian Stone responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:48am Reply

    Watching Mayerlng in the cinema - Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb gave thrilling, breathtaking performances, full of passion and drama.
    Having a wonderful first-time experience of seeing a performance at The Royal Opera House - such a beautiful venue, and a beautiful ballet, La Bayadere. I hope it won't be a once-in-a-lfetime experience!

  126. Ivan Saxton responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:16am Reply

    On 5 May 2018 I took a girlfriend to see Manon and paid £98 per ticket which was money well spent.
    The dancing was spectacular throughout, especially the finale which has no equal.

  127. For me it was Mayerling in October. I'd never seen it before and the range of emotions clearly expressed through the dance made it both understandable and a very special evening.

  128. Elizabeth Okey responded on 2 January 2019 at 12:51pm Reply

    My year's highlight was to see and hear the reaction of two friends, who love dancing, but new to the Royal Ballet, as they watched the live cinema screen of Mayerling, which I took then to see in October. They were blown away! Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb were unbelievable! Two new converts to the ballet who had previously called it "elite" and "stuffy"!!!

    There were several new ballets I also loved. The Unknown Soldier was very moving.

  129. Lavinia responded on 2 January 2019 at 12:53pm Reply

    Snorting with laughter at 'The Concert' was a surprise - I have never before experienced such hilarity at the ballet!

  130. Fiona Jordana responded on 2 January 2019 at 1:25pm Reply

    I saw a few ballet screenings and I LOVED that they were introduced beforehand, to give audience members, young and old, a different perspective of the ballet. This seemed a very effective way of widening future audiences and of being more inclusive. However, I find the habit of camera closeups in both ballet and opera screenings very annoying! People who buy tickets for screenings would ideally want, as much as possible, the same experience as if they were at the live the best seat! Closeups are for television..Only! But still, fantastic value for such brilliant quality and I do hope there will be more? Thank you for making such a difference to my Xmas.

  131. Ian Arnott responded on 2 January 2019 at 3:34pm Reply

    My first ever visit to the ROH at the age of 68 was to see La Bayadere- exquisite dancing and excellent orchestral playing

  132. Sally Henbest responded on 2 January 2019 at 4:31pm Reply

    La Bayadere was the perfect celebration for our friends 80th birthday. His favourite ballet in my favourite venue. The Kingdom of the Shades had us truly mesmerised and the whole evening made a truly memorable occasion.

  133. Mike Burgess responded on 2 January 2019 at 5:40pm Reply

    As with so many other contributors, the absolute and utter delight for me was the live cinema screening of Swan Lake back in June. Please, please, ROH - make this available on DVD/BluRay soon!

  134. david nickson responded on 2 January 2019 at 6:25pm Reply

    steven mcrea as the prince in mayerling-best male perfpormance this year

  135. Isolda responded on 2 January 2019 at 9:29pm Reply

    Well, Mayerling was an extraordinary ballet!! It touched all my senses. Absolute perfection. I could hardly breathe overwhelmed with so much beauty. Bravo!!!!

  136. Ian Paul responded on 2 January 2019 at 10:09pm Reply

    Having only seen the Royal Ballet on live cinema links I was very nervous about my first live ballet at the ROH. It seemed such an inposing and grand venue on screen and I wondered if I would feel like an outsider.

    The first thing I realised was just how friendly, helpful, and cheerfully polite the staff are. I felt very relaxed after a short time, and then there was the moment I entered the auditorium, what a wow moment that turned out to be, I was in awe.

    Seeing the ballet (Winter Dreams etc) was for me a certain kind of ecstacy. Marianela and Vadim are so precise and expressive. What art and what emotion they and the whole cast conjured up for us, Cant wait to return.

  137. Michelle responded on 3 January 2019 at 12:32am Reply

    Carmen was beautiful and eloquently told the story. The stage was colourful and imaginative. My husband first time to The Opera house and he and I were blown away with the performance. Going to a Ballet or opera performance is a real treat for us.

  138. Kate T responded on 3 January 2019 at 4:29am Reply

    My standout moments of 2018 were (in no particular order):
    - Frankie Hayward as Princess Stephanie in Mayerling, perfectly partnered by Ryoichi Hirano. At the end of the pdd I realised my entire body was tense and I was holding my breath. She seemed absolutely fearless.
    - Marianela Nuñez as Gamzatti. No holding of breath this time - there were audible gasps from around the auditorium as she gave a masterclass in virtuosic dancing! And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ballerina “fume” on stage before, but I swear she did at the end of the confrontation with Nikiya...
    - the corps de ballet in the white acts of Swan Lake and Bayadere. They moved as one in a way I’d never experienced live before, resulting in a kind of supernaturally powerful beauty.
    Thank you to the whole company for the joy you give, and very best wishes for the year ahead!

  139. Felicity Monckton responded on 3 January 2019 at 9:31am Reply

    Without question, my ballet highlight of the year was the live screening of Mayerling. The incredible choreography and astonishing performances by both Steven McRae and Sarah Lamb left me reeling. Such an amazingly passionate production! Having seen countless ROH ballets and operas, both live and screened, over the past 20 years, this is one that will remain in my memory for a very long time. Thanks to everyone at the ROH for making these productions accessible to so many around the country, not just in London.

  140. Martin Baxter responded on 3 January 2019 at 10:12am Reply

    We have seen some sublime ballet this year at Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and our favourite experience was watching La Bayadere and the beautiful Kingdom of the Shades. We are back on Saturday to see The Nutcracker and are introducing my sister to the Royal Opera House and her first ballet performance. Thank you for making our visits so wonderful

  141. Nick Burdett responded on 3 January 2019 at 1:08pm Reply

    Live highlights for me were Osipova and Nunez performances of Manon, La Bayadere with Osipova and Nunez and Winter Dreams with Lamb and Muntagirov. Best screening for me was TV Swan Lake - fabulous new version and Nunez and Muntagirov were superb.

  142. Dan Hunt responded on 3 January 2019 at 6:40pm Reply

    Matthew Ball's debut as Rudolf. An astonishing performance of great dramatic power, made all the more extraordinarily by the limited rehearsal time. Ably supported by a superb cast including Olivia Cowley's machiavellian Larisch, Fumi Kaneko's sophisticated Mitzi, and Paul Kay's Bratfisch bring great pathos to the final act.

  143. Ann Dean responded on 3 January 2019 at 9:54pm Reply

    My most recent highlight was Winter Dreams with Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov. Sarah Lamb always stands out for me as a dancer who demonstrates great technical, artistic and acting ability.

  144. Alan Barnes responded on 4 January 2019 at 12:10pm Reply

    Having attended a live production of the Nutcracker in 2017 and through the excitement of it all perhaps missed some of the finer details. It was therefor satisfying to revisit the live cinema showing in 2018 and enjoy it all over again.

  145. Jenny Kelly responded on 4 January 2019 at 12:39pm Reply

    We were in London to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary and saw the matinee of Frederick Ashton's Triple bill on 20 Dec. it was a totally amazing experience, my first visit. We were guests and were given a tour backstage. We look forward to seeing Queen of Spades at our local cinema as we saw Fabien's marvellous Tchaikovsky heads.
    Wonderful memories of our stay . Thank you We always enjoy your live events..

  146. Richard responded on 4 January 2019 at 12:53pm Reply

    Francesca Hayward as Giselle and Manon, and as Perdita in Winters Tale.
    Alexander Campbell as Des Grieux and also Lescaut, in Manon.
    Francesca Hayward and Akane Takada as sisters dancing with Alexander Campbell as Benno in Swan Lake.
    Akane Takada as Manon, as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake (especially with William Bracewell as Siegfried), as Mary Vetsera in Mayerling, as Nikiya in La Bayadere (with Yasmine Naghdi as Gamzatti) and as the lost girl in Infra.
    What an array of fantastic, diverse, nuanced performances from Akane this year !
    Finally the brilliant Corps ladies especially in Giselle, Swan Lake and La Bayadere. White Acts rule !

  147. Bruce Wall responded on 4 January 2019 at 1:04pm Reply

    I agree with many of the highlights above -- but will add a few more. (i) James Hay as Lescaut in Manon was one of the most brilliantly calibrated dramatic dance performances I've ever seen on ANY ballet stage. Searing it was. He is currently much missed. Come back soon, James. (ii) I had the great good fortune to see Marcelino Sambe and Anna Rose O'Sullivan dance all three of their Balanchine performances in the City Center 75th Anniversary celebrations in NYC as the Royal Ballet representatives. They were truly outstanding - and became the darlings of the day. I heard one audience member compare Sambe in Tarantella to Villella. Now there's a compliment. (Villella and McBride were in the audience of their first performance and I saw avidly applauding) Their one performance of the Tschai PDD was totally electric. One NYCB dancer related to me that the ladies now usually do seven rapid hops on pointe on the diagonal in the piece. The Maryiinsky dancer sadly only ever did three. There are supposed to be - I was told - ten. O'Sullivan did the full set and the NYCB dancer related 'suddenly the choreography made total sense'. She said she was going back to ask HOW O'Sullivan did it ... and it was, I understand, her debut!!! Breathtaking.
    The audience went wild. Indeed it was the ONLY time when artists were brought out for a second front of curtain bow. The audience demanded it. The Royal Ballet could be VERY proud. (3) Who could forget Precious Adams/ENB in her sassy brief stint in McMillan's Elite Syncopations in those multi company mixes. Her minx was entirely intoxicating.

  148. Julie responded on 4 January 2019 at 1:38pm Reply

    It’s so hard to choose. Bayadere was a definite highlight - a sumptuous production which I very much adore and got to see Nunez/Osipova/Corrales as well as Cuthbertson/Magri/Ball. I loved so much about both Corrales, Magri and Ball’s debuts.
    Naghdi was born for Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, set designs and costumes were beautifully done to make this another visual feast and Tchaikovsky is really the master in terms of creating the perfect music for ballet.
    And this was also the year of discovery for me in terms of MacMillan choreography - revisiting Mayerling once I had swotted up on who is who made this complex work even more engaging with outstanding leads Bonelli and Morera who brought so much passions to Rudolph and Mary. In Manon, Hayward was a delight in the role and it was wonderful to see the usually charming and gentlemanly Alexander Campbell play the devious Lescaut.

  149. Clare Desilva responded on 4 January 2019 at 9:33pm Reply

    We had a magical evening watching La Bayedare, my favourite ballet. The whole production was simply amazing.

  150. Philip responded on 4 January 2019 at 9:53pm Reply

    Bernstein Centenary triple bill. Age of Anxiety was simply stunning!

  151. - The Winter's Tale (Francesca Hayward/James Hay)
    - Mayerling (Federico Bonelli/Laura Morera)
    - Manon (James Hay as Lescaut)

  152. Karen responded on 5 January 2019 at 2:03pm Reply

    Alexander Campbell as Lescaut in Manon. Anything and everything with Marianela and Vadim, Matthew Ball's debut as Rudolph in Mayerling, Anna Rose O'Sullivan as Clara, Yasmin Naghdi in everything she's done this year. How lucky we are to have such a fantastic wealth and depth of talent in the RB. Currently on superlative form right across the company and much to look forward to in 2019.

  153. BEN NITHSDALE responded on 5 January 2019 at 4:51pm Reply

    I'd appreciate it if you got my name right.

  154. Sandie Lush responded on 5 January 2019 at 11:17pm Reply

    There are several performances that rank very high for me including the amazing Nunez/Osipova//Muntagirov Bayadere performances (please release a DVD of the live broadcast!). Also up there was the Osipova Halberg/Ball Giselle and the Osipova Shklyarov performance in Manon. It has also been a great pleasure to watch the lovely Yasmine Naghdi unfurl her petals as a principal dancer and mark the amazing progress made by Joseph Sissons. Thank you ROH for a wonderful 2018!

  155. Noel Patrick responded on 8 January 2019 at 12:44pm Reply

    Believe it or not the BBC FOUR Swan Lake on Christmas Day. Takada/Hayward/Nunez/Muntagirov all outstanding.
    Sheer Ballet perfection; the whole production was five star from beginning to end.

  156. It's so hard to narrow it down to one highlight. The Royal Ballet has now become a Supercompany - full of depth, nuance and virtuosity throughout all the ranks, and they now dance every performance - matinees included - as though it were opening night or a grand occasion. Every show is a special occasion and every dancer (including the children performing in The Nutcracker etc) gives 100%- nobody is "just in the background"; there is no weak link. Full credit to the artists, musicians, crew and the coaching staff.

    My favuorites then:
    1) Yugen - gorgeous, beautiful choreography by Wayne McGregor which does full justice to Bernstein's iconic Chichester Psalms. I saw the performance led by Sarah Lamb, Ferederico Bonelli and Benjamin Ella, and the dancers were all immensely moving and incredible in their technical mastery, but the recordings of the cast with Calvin Richardson in the role he created were fantastic too. I even liked the sets and costumes (not typical "ballet costumes" but they still moved beautifully with the dancers).

    2) Unknown Soldier (in the gala with Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball and in November with Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball) - such beautiful and expressive duets. Both Florences I saw Hayward and Naghdi moved me to tears. Unforgettable.

    3) Symphony in C (excerpt in spring gala with Lamb, Kaneko, Hay etc and in November with Nunez, Hirano, Muntagirov, Naghdi, Campbell etc) - the finale in May was one of the best performances I have ever seen by any company. It should really have closed the entire gala rather than just the first half. Such musicality, panache and unison (but not in a robotic fashion - more an ensemble breathing and moving as one). Bravi!

    4) Swan Lake with Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov, Bennet Gartside, Elizabeth McGorian, Alexander Campbell. Super, super performances of finesse, technical mastery and depth. (And plaudits to Tierney Heap's charismatic Spanish Dance, and Beatriz Stix-Brunell's princess quietly glowering at the interloper Odile in Act 3!)

    5) Natalia Osipova, Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nunez "doing the double" as they took turns being NIkiya/Solor/Gamzatti, and Gamzatti/Solor/NIkiya in La Bayadere. I'd have liked to see Cesar Corrales as Solor too, to add to the fun - I hope he is recovered from injury soon. But having Vadim twice as Solor was pure gold - having seen all the "big stars" as Solor from the 80s, he is my favourite Solor, together with Semyon Chudin of the Bolshoi. Nunez and Osipova were both compelling and memorable as NIkiya and Gamzatti.

    6) Additionally, a shoutout to Luca Acri, Marcelino Sambe, Yasmine Naghdi, Sarah Lamb and Melissa Hamilton, for making every performance and role they perform a delight to watch - too many roles and ballets to list here! Oh, and the Nutcracker, which the entire company present with such joy, freshness, charisma and above all, magic. (I don't like every production of The Nutcracker I've seen, and I've seen many! This one is exceptional and I can happily watch it every year which I never used to....oh wait, I do!) The year that the Nutcracker wasn't performed and was replaced by Don Quixote, it was sorely missed (and I normally like Don Q). I think the alternative choice this Christmas with Les Patineurs/Winter Dreams/The Concert was a fantastic idea. Such a treat to see Les Patineurs return for this Christmas. What a pity there were so few performances (it sold out swiftly) of this triple bill - the cast we saw on the 19th were wonderful. A double delight for us this Christmas!

  157. ysun responded on 11 January 2019 at 9:49pm Reply

    Manon definitely! I broke my personal record by seeing four times in a row: twice with Natalia Osipova and Vladimir Shklyarov, twice with Marianela Nunez and Roberto Bolle. Everything was wonderful of this production!

  158. Julian responded on 13 February 2019 at 5:43pm Reply

    Many highlights, the shortlist including Francesca Hayward in Manon; Steven McRae and Akane Takada in Mayerling; and Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov in Swan Lake. But the winner has to be Natalia Osipova and Matthew Ball in Swan Lake. Simply sublime!

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