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Your reaction: Afternoon of a Faun / In the Night / Song of the Earth

What did you think of The Royal Ballet's mixed programme?

By Paul Spear (Digital Producer)

30 May 2015 at 9.40am | 14 Comments

Press reviews:
Financial Times ★★★★★
Telegraph ★★★★
Guardian ★★★★
Times (£) ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★

What did you think of Afternoon of a Faun / In the Night / Song of the Earth?

The production is given with generous philanthropic support from Sarah and Lloyd Dorfman.

This article has 14 comments

  1. Lisa responded on 30 May 2015 at 3:14pm Reply

    I liked In The Night most, it was sublime. Song of the Earth was not precise in the ensemble moments, some mistakes and imprecisions by the dancers. Lauren C. was very very good by the way, as well as Sarah Lamb in Afternoon of a Faun, even if visibly very moved.

  2. Jakegee responded on 30 May 2015 at 11:54pm Reply

    I had the pleasure of seeing this triple bill at today's matinee, and what a delight it was!!
    I had never seen 'Afternoon of a Faun' before, and Vadim Muntagirov & Melissa Hamilton were breathtaking in their precision and grace. Vadim made every movement and struck every pose to perfection. He is a treasure to the Royal Ballet!
    'In the Night' was so elegant and colourful against the twinkling starry backdrop, and again all three couples were a joy to watch as they danced their differing roles in their stunning costumes. A pleasure to see 'recent Mum' Hikaru Kobayashi return to the stage. And kudos to solo pianist Robert Clark.
    Finally 'Song of the Earth' was an amazing display of the talents of so many of the Royal Ballet's wonderful performers! Edward Watson was, as always, a stellar dancer as The Messenger of Death, and Laura Morera & Nehemiah Kish likewise were perfect Woman and Man. Great to see Nehemiah on stage again, tall and elegant!
    The three pieces of this triple bill melded really well together to produce an extremely memorable afternoon's entertainment. Thanks to all!!

  3. Maya Kirk responded on 31 May 2015 at 3:08pm Reply

    Loved the ballets especially Song of the Earth and Edward Watson, Nehemiah kish and Laura Morera were lovely.
    Lara Turk was so lovely too and great to see her given a chance to shine.
    It was nice seeing 2 more modern ballets and I liked InThe Night as well.
    I love the Royal Ballet lots. Maya age 9

  4. Jennifer Jones responded on 31 May 2015 at 3:54pm Reply

    Vadim M and Melissa H a beautiful pair - mysterious and strange to fantastically played music. I enjoyed Roberta Marquez and Rupert Pennefeather (sp?) in 'In the Night'. Congrats to Roberta - the first dancer I have seen who managed to do the kneeling before your partner part without subjugating herself. More of a 'that's how I am and we're in it together' kind of kneel - really liked it.

  5. judy walker responded on 1 June 2015 at 1:19pm Reply

    Lovely. I loved the singing too. But I am deperately sad that I won't be able to see Melissa Hamilton again. I was so looking forward to seeing her dance Juliet in the autumn again. Please make sure she comes back

  6. ML responded on 1 June 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

    Hamilton and Muntagirov were aboslutely wonderful in Afternoon of a Faun; In the Night with Lamb, Bonelli, Kobayashi, Hristov, Marquez and Pennefather was beautiful (more so than when I saw it last with a different cast a couple of years ago), and I really enjoyed the performances of Morera, Choe, Turk, Watson, Kish and fellow cast members in Song of the Earth. I thought all 3 works worked well on the same programme, with beautiful playing from the orchestra and singing from Randle and Goeldner. We'll miss Melissa greatly when she goes to dance in Dresden - don't forget to come back, Melissa! And a warm welcome back and congratulations to Hikaru, dancing so beautifully after being on maternity leave!

  7. Holly Faithfull responded on 1 June 2015 at 6:42pm Reply

    I enjoyed the triple bill, but I'm puzzled why Song of the Earth is back again in a second triple bill this year, having already been performed as part of the Four Temperaments triple bill in April? And I see that Afternoon of a Faun is going to be repeated later this year as part of the mixed programme with Viscera. I enjoy the mixed programmes but I go to see new ballets, or ones I haven't seen for a few years, not to repeat ballets I've just seen a few months previously. I haven't known the Royal Ballet to do this before, and I'm wondering whether it's a cost-saving exercise.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 1 June 2015 at 8:33pm

      Dear Holly

      Thanks for your comment.

      More rehearsal time is required for the increased amount of new work being created and also to introduce a greater number of new casts into certain ballets. Therefore, in order to alleviate pressure on the dancers at certain times during the year one or two ballets may be repeated within the Season. In the 2015/16 Season, of the two ballets being seen twice, Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons re-enters the repertory for the first time in 30 years and Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour, enters the repertory for the first time.

      Best wishes


  8. penelope simpson responded on 2 June 2015 at 10:13am Reply

    Underwhelmed. I don't think this stands up as a Triple Bill at all and I left last night feeling vaguely cheated. Okay, it was the first time I've seen Faun so perhaps more exposure is needed, but the pairing did not seem made in heaven, to me.
    In the Night - three sets of dancers on a bare stage is a big ask and it didn't do much. I like Song but in combination with the two earlier damp squibs, I rather regretted my six hour round trip. And that's a first for me at ROH - usually go home walking on air. Wish they had done more performances of Woolf Works or the Schechter rather than this limp combination.
    Also, ROH really need to get on top of the camera problem. I had a woman two down from me video for a large part of the performance. It is not enough to make an announcement that photography is forbidden. It should be made clear that phones and cameras must not be turned on AT ANY TIME in the auditorium. Seats are too expensive and the artistes too special for this obsession with photography to ruin them.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 2 June 2015 at 11:22am

      Hi Penelope,

      Sorry to hear you were underwhelmed by the performance but thank you for sharing your comments.

      In regard to your comment about cameras - our ushers are trained to deal with instances of unauthorized photography. If you do see anyone using a camera in the auditorium, do please alert a member of the Front of House staff who'll be happy to ask them to stop.


      ROH Content Producer

  9. David Montgomerie responded on 3 June 2015 at 10:04am Reply

    While Song of the Earth was a joy to watch, the remainder of the triple bill was poor.
    In The Night would be better performed in the dark.

  10. MC responded on 4 June 2015 at 2:07pm Reply

    I thought that this was a far better mixed bill than the one in which Song of the Earth was danced earlier in the year where the choice of ballets provided insufficient contrast and Song's corps seemed to struggle perhaps as a result of the amount of time required to prepare Shechter's Untouchable. Having said that it is a better choice of ballets it did depend on which cast you saw as to how effective you deem this programme to be.

    Faun is an eleven minute masterpiece which is as far removed from the Nijinsky original as you can imagine but still manages to refer obliquely to the original although it is not dependent on those references for its effect.

    Unless it is performed by dancers with strong stage personalities who can command the stage and bring musicality and wit to it In the Night can seem like an under powered bit of Dances at a Gathering which got left on the cutting room floor.The first cast were pitch perfect the second cast was variable only the first couple Bonelli and Lamb really gave the ballet the sort of performance that it requires.

    I would be happy to see Song of the Earth every season but I know that it is not to everyone's taste.As it is expensive to perform we do not get to see it as frequently as I would like. I thought that the male corps were much better than they were in the spring. I imagine that the spring performances suffered from the time taken in preparing Untouchable which was, for me at least, terribly earnest and a great waste of everyone's time. As for the current performances of Song of the Earth are concerned the Morera, Kish, Watson cast is the one that I think gets closest to the heart of the piece.When I saw the Cuthbertson. Hirano, Watson cast I thought that Hirano was a bit tentative which surprised me as he usually dances with great commitment and authority. As far as the Nunez,Soares,Acosta cast are concerned they are a stellar cast which no doubt pleased their followers who may not be interested in other dancers but comparing their performances with those of the other casts on offer they would not be the cast that I would turn to if I wanted to see a great performance of this ballet.The orchestra was outstanding in the first and third ballets but is there a reason why the singers have been allowed to drift on to the stage?.I recall that when I first saw this ballet the singers used to stand within the uprights of the proscenium arch rather than at the edge of the performing area.

    A general question.Atmospheric lighting seems to very popular but lighting which is atmospheric and enhances a ballet when seen from the stalls.can be impenetrable gloom from higher up in the theatre. Does anyone every go up into the Amphitheatre to see whether or not a ballet can be seen adequately not only from row A of the Amphi but also from rows M or N and row S ?

    Many of McGregor's works suffer from atmospheric lighting schemes but it is not just contemporary works that present this problem. There is a thin line between a dimly lit stage where everything is visible and one on which it is not.Too often the line to invisibility is crossed.

  11. Jacqui Watts responded on 4 June 2015 at 7:46pm Reply

    Absolutely loved Afternoon of a Faun. Melissa Hamilton is mesmerising. In the Night was exquisite too. I am not such a fan of Song of the Earth but signed up for this because Steven McRae was due to dance and I adore his work. Hence I was disappointed that he wasn't there.

  12. TA responded on 5 June 2015 at 12:13pm Reply

    I have seen yesterday performance and have to say, I have mixed feelings about it.

    Robbins was wonderful. Loved Afternoon, you could feel the sensuality and tension up in the Amphi! Sarah Lamb is such a beautiful ans delicate dancer.
    In the night, was also perfect. The set is amazing. All dancers were really good and gave me chills. I adore M Nunez, so much power!

    But I have to say that I was really disappointed with the second part.
    It was the first time that I was bored by a ballet and wanted it to end. Nothing to do with the dancers though..

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