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Your reaction: Ashton Mixed Programme 2014

Audience comments from the first night of works by Frederick Ashton, including Scènes de ballet and Symphonic Variations.

By Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products)

22 October 2014 at 4.12pm | 9 Comments

Press Reviews:
Guardian ★★★★★
Telegraph ★★★★
Financial Times ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★★
Bachtrack ★★★★

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

This article has 9 comments

  1. Annie Gentil responded on 22 October 2014 at 7:01pm Reply

    I booked the show just to see the Isadora Duncan part and I did enjoy it although it was a bit short... Nicely done!

  2. Dana responded on 23 October 2014 at 12:45pm Reply

    I personally was waiting for A Month in the Country. Loved Osipova in this - she brought a touch of theatricality to it all and seemed truly at home in her Russian settings.

  3. Claire responded on 25 October 2014 at 11:11pm Reply

    When Natalia, Vera, Kolya and the tutor danced towards the audience on Wednesday night it was the most joyful beautiful sight . A marvellous performance.

  4. r.a. responded on 29 October 2014 at 1:58am Reply

    Tuesday 28 October: Osipova absolutely wonderful as Natalia in A Month in the Country. Pas de deux with Bonelli was exquisite. Melissa Hamilton very poised and beautiful in the Symphonic Variations. I was looking forward to the Five Brahms Waltzes but was very disappointed. I saw this years ago with Tamara Rojo when those 9 minutes were the highlight of the whole evening - tonight it fell very flat. It really requires an artist of Rojo's calibre to make it work. I do hope it will be revived again hopefully with one of the principal dancers that is as good an actress as a dancer.

  5. Sheila responded on 29 October 2014 at 3:03pm Reply

    What a wonderful evening. Great music and dance but the expressive Osipova was my favourite. She is able to 'be' the character and dance exquisitely at the same time. A Month in the Country was just exceptional.

  6. Sebastian Petit responded on 29 October 2014 at 3:55pm Reply

    I agree re Osipova's superb Natalya Petrovna. I just loved the precision and the emotion combined in her performance

  7. I went last night too and have also seen all the component works before r.a,. things I liked last time round, I didn't this time and things that disappointed I enjoyed! just the nature of things.... The highlight for me had to be Osipova in Month in the Country. What a shot in the arm she is for the company! live and learn people. I am captivated by her emotion and her dancing. Nice to see Muntagirov on the royal stage although not sure how suited he was to Symphonic Variations, he had some nice expressive and explosive moments however, maybe the man always looks a bit bizarre in this kind of work and can't wait to see him again. Scenes de ballet was so terrifically 1948, love the delicately blue toned tulle too.

  8. This was a programme that looked much better on paper than it did in the theatre. This programme includes two of Ashton's greatest works Scenes and Symphonic both of which are very difficult to cast satisfactorily.I wish that I could say that the company had succeeded in doing so.
    On the first night Symphonic was well danced but this was not the cast that the management had originally selected.Some of the dancers in the second cast struggled.
    The corps in Scenes were ragged and at times danced as if there was no floor plan.This sort of thing is very noticeable from the Amphitheatre. Does anyone ever venture up there these days to see what things look like? Neither Lamb nor Choe brought the quality of movement to their roles that I recall from past revivals, I think the main problem was their epaulement which is never an optional extra in Ashton. The male role in this ballet is far more demanding than it appears.It requires apparently effortless elegant precision. The audience should see real beauty in the apparently simple movements of his arms.Both men have strong techniques but the role requires less obvious effort and a polish that both have yet to find.
    It is a great pity that Seymour was not brought in to coach Crawford and Pajjdak in Five Brahms Waltzes.This piece does not need a star to bring it to life but both dancers would have been assisted by the active involvement of the dancer on whom it was made.
    The only ballet that seemed to have had real thought and care given to its casting was Month and it showed in the performances of both casts.
    I think that in the past any one contemplating a revival of Symphonic would have sorted out the casting for that ballet first and then, if necessary, revised the contents of the programme in order to ensure that Symphonic had the cast it required. At one time once a cast was established it would return to the stage at subsequent revivals with minor changes in casting.This maintained a consistent level of performance over a period of years.
    It seems to me, from what I have seen on stage this season, that far greater care is currently being given to the casting and coaching of MacMillan's works than is given to those of the company's founder choreographer.

  9. Jakegee responded on 16 November 2014 at 5:56pm Reply

    I was at the final performance of this mixed programme on Wednesday evening. There were no less than four major cast changes, but, in the event, it did NOT disappoint!!

    Scenes de Ballet was performed with skill and precision - Yuhui Choe and Valentino Zucchetti danced up to expectations. I, too, love those costumes!

    Romany Pajdak was elegant and flowing in 'Waltzes', though this has never been a favourite piece for me! To each his/her own!

    In Symphonic Variations,dancing opposite Marianela Nunez, Matthew Golding was replaced by youthful Reece Clarke - and WOW!! - THIS YOUNG MAN CAN DANCE!!! I can't wait to see him progress up the ladder at Royal Ballet. He has height, strength, precision, elegance and seemingly boundless energy.... And grace..... And so handsome and manly in that white outfit! All of the cast in Symphonic Variations excelled, but, Reece, I'll be watching for you!

    Finally, 'A Month in the Country' was profoundly moving and performed to an unbeatable standard. PLEASE, Royal Ballet, give us this piece to enjoy on DVD, hopefully with this stellar cast of Zenaida Yanowsky, Rupert Pennefather and Paul Kay. I'm sure replacement dancer Zenaida could not have been bettered by Natalia Osipova in the role of Natalia Petrovna. Great to see Rupert back to healthy stage performance after his injury, too. He also excelled as Beliaev, and I had the privilege of seeing Federico, whom he replaced, dance on Friday evening in 'Aeternum'! Paul Kay also was a wonderfully agile Kolia.

    So, Mr. Kevin O'Hare, please consider an early return of this mixed bill, with this cast list including Zenaida, Rupert, Marianela, Paul Kay and the amazing Reece Clarke, and provide us with a DVD, which I am sure would be a best-seller!

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