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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of Anastasia live in cinemas?

Your Reaction: What did you think of Anastasia live in cinemas?

Natalia Osipova danced the lead role in the live relay of Kenneth MacMillan's ballet.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

2 November 2016 at 10.21pm | 49 Comments

What did you think of Anastasia live in cinemas?
Let us know via the comments below.

If you experienced technical issues during this live cinema relay, please email details to cinema@roh.org.uk

Anastasia is available to watch again at Encore performances at cinemas around the world. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The next live cinema relay of the 2016/17 Season is The Royal Opera's Les Contes d'Hoffmann on 15 November 2016.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

2 November 2016 at 10.21pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Anastasia, by Kenneth Macmillan, cinema, Natalia Osipova, Production, your reaction

This article has 49 comments

  1. Jean Cant responded on 2 November 2016 at 10:34pm Reply

    Fantastic performance brilliant third act, seen from a small theatre in Chelmsford Essex.

  2. JEnifer herbert responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:06pm Reply

    Fantastic. Beautiful costumes, wonderful dancing and emotional beyond belief in the final act.

    Congratulations all round.

  3. Richard Amey responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:13pm Reply

    The impact of the story as he tells it, the superb insight of his choice and use of the music, the range of choreographic ideas and their expression, the calculation in delivering the drama, the astute avoidance of melodrama and the power thereby gained; if Romeo & Juliet is the only MacMillan you've already seen, then experiencing Anastasia tonight compels you to want to strive to ensure you discover and see everything this choreographer created for us.

  4. Alexandra Malmqvist responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:19pm Reply

    Wonderful production and faultless cast but the filming let this ballet down this time. I've seen several live ballets at the cinema and they have always been greatly. The filming of Anastasia wasn't: too many close ups of faces/upper bodies when we wanted to also see the leg and foot work, focus on other characters during important dances (could be solved with zooming out as integrating several characters in some scenes is important) and not enough general views of the stage. I hope this is constructive, I did enjoy it very much of course, it's a beautiful and haunting story extremely well produced.

    Thanks!
    Alex

  5. Anastasia responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:20pm Reply

    What a beautiful/haunting performance of the Royal Ballet! From the sets to the costumes and the dancing - kudos to everyone involved and thank you for making it possible to watch it in the cinemas all over the world. The casting was beautiful, from the three sisters to the Tsar & Tsarina, to a marvellous Kschessinska and all the little roles in between (like Kristen McNally, Sambé, Campbell - and was that Vincenzo di Primo rocking it as one of the lead revolutionaries?). Especially Olivia Cowley stood out - she showed great acting skills and was throughout lovely to watch. And when Natalia Osipova took her first bow it was as if the audience took a deep breath with her - out of relieve after the visually so powerful and emotional Act III. She was spectacular from the first to the last minute. Thanks again for making live-relays possible, I'm so happy I could take part in this incredible event!

  6. Diana Manock responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:25pm Reply

    Bolton Cineworld, Lancashire, England. A brilliant performance, totally riveting Act III, Natalia Osipova was absolutely magnificent. So was Marianela Nunez and Frederico Bonelli, along with ALL the cast, this production is a must see.

  7. Amazing performances especially Osipova,wonderful large set pieces and the pas de quatre with tsar tsarina ballerina and rasputin camera work disappointing Also enjoyed trio of swimmers

  8. anne responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:45pm Reply

    Was looking forward to seeing it bu.t was to expensive. As OAP normally pay £10 but it was almost £17 with old person discount. I cant afford that.

  9. Jennifer Barker responded on 2 November 2016 at 11:57pm Reply

    Natalia Osipova's performance tonight is one of the most incredible and moving I have seen. The whole production was stunning.

  10. Joan Hopton responded on 3 November 2016 at 12:06am Reply

    Just got back from the cinema broadcast and possibly enjoyed it even more than the live performance I saw at the ROH. Natalia Osipova gave the most amazing performance, especially in the third act. The cinema close ups were really able to focus on the intensity and heart breaking bewilderment in her eyes; they were like a window to her soul. I hope there will be a dvd as I feel I need to see it again to really appreciate the depth and layers of not just her performance but that of the entire cast. As always with Royal Ballet performances no role is too small to bring a nuanced performance to. it is not all just about the principles. the whole company put heart and soul into it and that showed. For a Macmillan Ballet not much happens dramatically in the first 2 acts before the revolutionaries appear at the end of Act 2 and so they may have possibly dragged but for the quality of acting and dancing which were brilliant. Well done everyone for an amazing evening. A great start to the cinema broadcasts.

  11. Sarah responded on 3 November 2016 at 12:47am Reply

    Was absolutely stunned by Natalia's interpretation . Was crying by the end . Well done to all stunning .

  12. Marzia Catania responded on 3 November 2016 at 5:21am Reply

    Unfortunately the 2 cinemas in Bergamo e Curno not played it. They are on your site and on the site of Nexo Digital.

    • Jimmy Chadda responded on 3 November 2016 at 11:24am

      Hi Marzia,

      I'm very sorry that the listings in Bergamo and Curno were not correct.

      We are now investigating this with our international distributor, and we will hopefully be able to update our information soon.

      Best regards,
      Jimmy
      ROH Cinema

  13. Pamela M Warry responded on 3 November 2016 at 7:56am Reply

    Wonderful performance..stunning costumes but why was the quality of this transmission so poor? It was so dark in our cinema and did not look sharp. This is the first time we have encountered this.. why was the lighting so underpowered? We watched in Vue in Fulham.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 9 November 2016 at 5:18pm

      Hi Pamela,
      I am sorry to hear about this. I believe one of the ROH cinema team has been in touch with you directly. The satellite transmission leaving the Royal Opera House was working fine on the night, so there were no general issues that should have caused it. Thank you again for your comment, we will be in touch with the cinema.
      Best regards,
      Rose

  14. julie nassau responded on 3 November 2016 at 8:22am Reply

    2017 is the 100 anniversairy of the murder of the Tsar and his family , it would be rather nice if a performance of this was held in their memory , obviously Anna Anderson has now been proved by DNA a fake. ( why not drop the rather nasty third act and restructure as one about the suffering of the family once the revoution took over?) I was suprised there was no role for Maria Feodrovona an influential denouncer of Anna Anderson. Rasputin was dead by the time of the revolution, so he should not be at the ball when the revolutionists arrive ( but then no balls were held after 1914 anyway, certainly none for GD Anastasia who would have been 12 in 1914.!) .

  15. Daniel Jackson responded on 3 November 2016 at 8:27am Reply

    The whole cast of this fabulous ballet was brilliant; Natalia was outstanding. Thank you ROH.

  16. Doreen Jones responded on 3 November 2016 at 9:17am Reply

    One of the best performances I have ever seen.The last act requires great acting as well as dance and it could not have been performed better.Congratulations.

  17. Francis Wilkinson responded on 3 November 2016 at 9:48am Reply

    I do hope that Natalia Osipova knows how stunning she was last night. In our cinema there was silence at the end and then clapping. Truly sensational, emotional, disturbing and brilliant all at the same time. Outstanding!

  18. William Swales responded on 3 November 2016 at 9:56am Reply

    Utterly mesmerising and truly astonishing.

    The first thing to say is just how wonderful it was to see the radiant and beautiful Deborah Macmillan x x x.

    Royal Ballet you have nailed it yet again with astonishing choreography; breathtaking dancing; brilliant orchestration; wonderful musicianship; brilliant staging; fabulous sets; stunning chiaroscuro lighting; magnificent costumes; fantastic cinematography; and gripping story-telling at its very very best - all intricately woven together like a complex plaid to deliver tense, terse drama filled with riveting action that is compelling, mesmerising, and utterly intoxicating.

    The wonderful superstars, the orchestra, and our stunning corps de ballet were on FIRE! The artistes, orchestra, and technical crew all pulled together to deliver the finest performance of Anastasia that you will ever have the pleasure to see - and a loud shout to maestro Simon Hewitt for his meticulous use of the baton to bring punchy precision to the most delicate of nuances - and wonderful vitality to the performance from the orchestra – who were ‘as sharp as a tack’.

    Romantic ballet utilises a ‘mirroring’ structure where we have ‘real-world’ events often ‘foretelling what will unfold’ that are in juxtaposition with the ‘ethereal’ ‘metaphysical’ world of thought; emotions; and ideas that we encounter on the journey.

    This deeply penetrates the psyche because in them we see the dark side of human nature - acts of villainy; treachery; deception; betrayal; torment; jealousy; and callous indifference – as we see portrayed in ‘Giselle’; ‘Don Quixote’; ‘La Sylphide’; ‘Swan Lake’; ‘Romeo and Juliet’; ‘The Winters Tale’; and ‘Manon’.

    In this compelling, trailblazing ballet, what we have is an outstanding, ingenious, very sophisticated, deeply unsettling, multi-layered, thought-provoking, intellectual, intriguing puzzle where morality is challenged as we ‘witness’ the dramatisation of ‘Anna Anderson’s’ psychiatric case-notes and delve into her warped tormented mind.

    The mystery begins and ends with a mystery as ‘Anna Anderson’ presents a fantastic ‘story’ that ‘she’ is ‘Anastasia’ - but is it ‘all in her mind’ or is she ‘really’ The Grand Duchess Anastasia?

    Everything is not quite what it seems in this moral ‘greyness’, and as everything is ‘laid bare’ before us, Kenneth MacMillan seductively taps into our own ‘inner reality’ to remind us that none of us are quite who we appear to be.

    Getting a GLOBAL audience to applaud a con artist and bestow ‘tributes’ upon her in the belief that ‘she’ is The Grand Duchess Anastasia is GENIUS!

    What an amazing ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ juxtaposition! On the one hand we have the contempt we feel for the con artist, intermingled with the anguish and compassion we feel as we witness her ‘comeuppance’ - permanently committed to a psychiatric hospital in Berlin - as we watch her in a gruesome horrific sedated state in the closing moments as she imagines that her hospital bed is a state carriage – whilst at the same time we have our compunction and deep desire to acknowledge the superstar Natalia Osipova for her astonishing performance depicting the ‘real’ Anastasia in acts one and two – and the devious con artist or sad deluded basket case that is Anna Anderson in act three.

    This total transformational ‘personality change’ is far more demanding, and goes far far deeper than the portrayal of the two personas of Odette and Odille in ‘Swan Lake’ – and you can count on one hand the world’s prima ballerinas who have the capability and capacity to deliver this amazing spectacle with true conviction – the gifted Diva Osipova being one of the very few ballerinas who have the ability to ‘nail’ it.

    ASIDE: Not to put to fine a point on it – have you noticed how notables from the world of art and science have ‘single-word’ names – names such as Euclid; Chaucer; Holbein; Shakespeare; Newton; Mozart; Beethoven; Tchaikovsky; Chopin; Verdi; Puccini; Turner; Ruskin; Milton; Byron; Gödel; Turin; Chaplin; Pavarotti; Callas; Petippa; Balanchine; Nijinsky; Nureyev; Karsavina (who danced with Nijinsky and was instrumental in forming ‘The Royal Ballet’); Fonteyn - and the gifted superstar that is Osipova?

    Osipova has made this ballet her very own – getting right inside the head of a deeply troubled and traumatised women to deliver the comparisons and contrasts of both Anastasia and Anna Anderson with poignancy, compassion, and sensitivity - whilst demonstrating her astonishing athleticism; her flawless ballet technique; and her incredible story telling ability filled with pathos and tragedy.

    ASIDE: Anna Anderson’s ‘big con’ is reminiscent of the ‘big con’ pulled by ‘Maria Altmann’ to successfully acquire Gustav Klimpt’s masterwork ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch’ and three other Klimpt masterpieces through devious means, and then instantly sell them on to a buyer in New York for $120 million so as to quickly amass a large fortune for herself – not even paying her naive lawyer who helped her achieve the ‘win’ by keeping him ‘on a promise’ until he successfully secured the paintings. ‘This’ ‘big con’ is portrayed in the film ‘Woman in gold’ - starring Helen Mirren as the shrewd, devious Maria Altmann.

    And as to the ‘super-power’ of Thiago Soares playing a very menacing, moody Rasputin - effortlessly lifting each member of the Royal Family into stunning ‘freeze-frame’ arabesques to emphasise Rasputin’s enormous physical strength as well as silently ‘intervening’ to perform his ‘miracles’ so as to hold the Romanovs in his control – his riveting chilling ice sent shudders down your spine.

    The second challenge is to have someone with the vitality, capability, and capacity to portray ‘Mathilde Kchessinska’.

    This presents a ‘serious’ challenge for any ballerina taking on this formidable role because technically they must be on a par with the ‘real’ Kchessinska – bringing grace; beauty; and fiery fluid dramatic expression married to a perfect ‘top line’ and a flowing ‘port de bras’ (carriage of the arms) – fluid arms and no ‘drooped shoulders’ or ‘broken wrists’ – and flawless execution of every dance movement; every ‘statuesque’ arabesque; and every mime element in perfect harmony with her leading ballerino.

    The ballerina must ‘feel’ the character; the music; and the floor – and deliver a world-class bravura performance to match Mathilde Kchessinska’s lyricism and precision punchy dancing; Kchessinska’s stunning ‘freeze-frame’ arabesques that conclude her pirouettes; and her amazing ‘stillness’ - without any opportunity to ‘become’ the character and draw out the emotions of the character prior to performing the pas de deux - and who better to deliver this stunning feat than the fabulous Diva that is Marianela Nuñez.

    Every time we see Marianela this stunning prima ballerina raises the bar higher and higher – as we saw in Carlos Acosta’s ‘Don Quixote’ (no other version comes close) and the ethereal performance of ‘Giselle’ given by Marianela with her partner Vadim Muntagirov – graciously transmitted live to a global cinema audience on April the sixth of this year (Hopefully ROH will release Marianela’s ‘Giselle’ in time for Christmas – or the BBC will transmit it on Boxing Day. Have a towel at the ready if they do – a handkerchief doesn’t cut it.)

    As to the beautiful, deeply moving pas de deux this exquisite ballerina danced with the brilliantly fluid Federico Bonelli in act two – it was AWESOME (Can we have a poster of Marianela in that fabulous tutu please?)

    Kenneth MacMillan was ‘modernising’ classical ballet and taking classical ballet forward to whole new heights by portraying dramatic events to a modern audience with punch, panache, and attitude – whilst still leaving plenty of room for the ‘traditionalists’ who like their ballets liberally sprinkled with sugar.

    Sadly, the unwarranted vicious spiteful attacks from the cloth-headed London reviewers who completely ‘missed the point’ when ‘Anastasia’ was first staged as a three-act ‘Greek Tragedy’ back in 1971, inflicted a permanent ‘wound’ upon this British genius because from that point on, Kenneth MacMillan only ‘tentatively’ delved into the ‘dark’ side of human nature – as we saw when The Royal Ballet graciously transmitted their amazing performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet ‘Manon’ to a global cinema audience on the 16th of October in 2014.

    ASIDE: If you enjoyed ‘Anastasia’ then watch ‘The flames of Paris’ – a deeply moving ballet that portrays and depicts ‘The reign of terror’ brought about by ‘Robespierre’ and his ‘guillotine’ as Robespierre ruthlessly and systematically murders such people as ‘Antoine Lavoisier’ (the father of modern chemistry) - and people run riot and murder each other with their ‘bordelaise’ (a small curved ‘scimitar’ shaped knife that is pushed into the stomach and then curled round to pierce the heart) in a lawless society as France establishes itself as a republic – its gripping stuff!

    And so we come to the ‘meat and potatoes’.

    The many clues - woven together as the intriguing story of deception, treachery, heroism, and courage unfolds - reveal the solution to the mystery – with the answer to the riddle literally ‘dancing’ right in front of us - if you know what to listen for; where to look; and what to observe.

    Two questions arise: ‘how did ‘you’ interpret the evidence?’ and ‘did you solve the mystery?’

    In Act One we see the Royal Yacht on a gentle ‘rolling swell’ (loved the ‘sea’ effect), and we see frivolity bordering on ‘boredom’ as the deck hands obediently join Anastasia in a frivolous game.

    But look deeper at the tranquil pastoral scene dear reader – there is ‘much’ more to be ‘observed’!

    On the surface we have a congenial close-knit family enjoying themselves in total seclusion from the outside world – surrounded by officers of the armed forces. But these very same sanguine people will later attack the Romanovs; strip them of their wealth and power – and ultimately KILL them – as we saw in the ‘revolt’ scene filled with spectacular dancing - and we see later in the one-hundred-year-old ‘footage’ taken from ‘Aero Films’ ‘From Tsar to Stalin’.

    In Act Two we are transported to Petrograd (the name of the city is significant) where we are all invited to spiritually attend a fabulous ‘coming out’ ball to welcome Anastasia into ‘high society’.

    So what do we ‘see’ – and what do we ‘observe’.

    We observe two things – the juxtaposition of the lavish lifestyle of the Romanov family starkly contrasted against a backdrop of hopelessness and misery from the Russian people - brought about by abject poverty caused through ignorance.

    And we also see the bewilderment of Anastasia at what is taking place because of her secluded sheltered upbringing – deliberately created by Rasputin to protect her brother Tsarevitch Alexei – who is a haemophiliac (as is Prince Charles) – which causes the Romanov family to ‘lose touch’ with their people – thus opening up the door for ardent revolutionists who wish to seize power and bring in a ‘new order’.

    In Act Three we see two things simultaneously unfold – a depiction of the alleged ‘events’ on the screen (which the anti-heroin would have seen and known about); and we see Anna Anderson’s own fantastic ‘story’ of intrigue and murder – used as a ploy to explain why she has no ‘physical’ evidence to prove her ‘case’ (not even an item of jewellery or any correspondence) – and why she cannot produce anyone to corroborate her story because they have all allegedly been ‘murdered’. The evidence is compelling!

    All of this is danced out before us to the music of ‘Bohuslav Martinu’ (‘Fantaisies Symphoniques’ – ‘fantastic story’ – the big musical clue to the sham), and ‘Fritz Winckel Rufer’ (the synthesiser depicting the ‘synthesis’ of the dark plot elements cleverly set out by Anna Anderson to fool everyone – fooling no one except herself) – in stark contrast to the pastoral 1st and 3rd symphonies of Tchaikovsky – the musical king of ballet - we heard earlier to depict ‘The golden age’ when we were all whisked away to spiritually share intimate moments with the ‘real’ Anastasia and we watched spellbound as ‘Mathilde Kchessinska’ danced for us.

    And in all of the compelling ‘evidence’ presented to the ‘jury’ (the audience), we see the brilliance of Kenneth MacMillan as he invites us to enter the mind of a con artist as she slowly and inevitably goes mad.

    Game over!

    Although the Romanov family abdicated and foolishly handed over all of their possessions in return for their freedom (thus providing the communists with the wealth they needed to fund their horrific Marxist regime – a regime filled with monstrous cruelty) - fearing that the family may seek the help of other nations and rise back to power, the family were ambushed and murdered on July 17, 1918 by forces of the Bolshevik secret police – but the Tsar’s daughter Anastasia was rescued by people who were ‘in the know’ and she was hidden before the massacre took place - and so her escape was secured.

    The mass grave near Ekaterinburg which held the remains of the Tsar; his wife; his son; and his three daughters was finally revealed in 1991 when the communists were overthrown - but the body of Anastasia was nowhere to be found – thus confirming the rumours that Anastasia ‘had’ escaped this terrible injustice.

    Recent advances in DNA profiling - developed by a team in the Netherlands to aid identification of mutilated murdered victims - and their perpetrators – utilising sophisticated ‘computer modelling’ fed with specific DNA genome information - enables the ‘heads’ and ‘countenances’ of individuals to be ‘dependably’ reconstructed in 3D from tiny fragments of DNA contained in all bodily fluids; hair; blood; tissue; organs; and bones.

    With regards to Anna Anderson’s ‘claim’ that ‘she’ was Anastasia, forensic testing of her DNA has conclusively proved that Anderson’s ‘claim’ was a capricious flight of fancy – possibly designed to con the Romanov family so as to enter their dynasty.

    Not only does Anderson’s DNA ‘barcode’ fail to match that of the Romanov dynasty – Anderson’s facial bone-structure does not bear any resemblance to any member of the Romanov family.

    Was Anna Anderson ‘do-lally-tat’ and suffering from ‘delusions of grandeur’? - or – was she a Soviet spy sent to infiltrate the Romanov family so as to locate their vast treasure-trove of wealth? – or – was Anna Anderson out to con the Romanovs so as to gain entry into the Romanov dynasty via the ‘back door’ to secure a life of untold wealth and unwarranted luxury? We shall never know.

    Whatever her motivation, having failed in her exploit – and having failed to exercise an effective ‘blow-off’ to escape the authorities (who promptly committed her to a lunatic asylum) – now stuck with the futility and failure of her ‘big con’ and now having to pretend to be Anastasia for the rest of her life – with no gain – did this harrowing aftermath of solitary confinement eventually drive Anna Anderson insane?

    This complex question is still up for conjecture - and in his brilliance, Kenneth MacMillan strips us of our ‘innocence’ and ‘naivety’ as he leaves us with a fabulous sub-text to ponder – whilst leaving the mystery of ‘Anastasia’ intact.

    Certainly – as we saw in the ballet - Anderson had many a ‘run-in’ with members of the Romanov family who could not see any ‘likeness’ (and such a closely knit family should know) so it does appear to point to the fact that Anna Anderson was trying to pull off a ‘big con’ and it all ended in tears.

    So where ‘is’ Anastasia? And what about the whereabouts of her offspring – who are carrying the Romanov royal bloodline?

    Many speculations and postulations have been put forward – which include fulfilment of a prophesy that Imperial Russia will once again be restored – with the Romanovs at its helm. The jury is still out.

    In 1917 the ‘October Revolution’ led by Lenin and Trotsky – based upon the principles of Karl Marx - took place in Russia on the 7th of November.

    Mathilde Kchessinska (brilliantly portrayed by Marianela Nunez x x x) – one of Russia’s greatest ballerinas – who danced at Anastasia’s ‘coming out’ ball and performed at the Maryinski Theatre for over 25 years – fled her beloved Russia for Europe when Lenin revealed that Russia could only become a ‘utopian state’ through ‘a dictatorship of the proletariat’ - which led to civil war and the formation of a repressive Soviet state under Joseph Stalin.

    When Mathilde Kchessinska arrived in Paris, she set up ‘The Kchessinska school of dance’ – and one of her pupils was a young promising ballerina called ‘Peggy Hookham’.

    Who was Peggy Hookham?

    Are you ready for this – she was ‘Dame Margot Fonteyn’ – the woman who put British ballet onto the world stage.

    ASIDE: To commemorate 60 years of ‘The Royal Ballet’, Darcey Bussell has produced a cinematic documentary about Dame Margot Fonteyn which is set to be televised by the BBC in December.

    Mathilde Kchessinska lived to the grand age of 99 and passed away in Paris in 1971 – the year the full version of ‘Anastasia’ was first staged.

    The cinema-live ‘encore’ is on Sunday the 6th of November – ‘curtain-up’ at 2PM.

    Thank you for reading my revue. I hope you found it interesting and enlightening and that you enjoy a deeper and more fulfilling appreciation of this wonderful art form – an art form that helps us to imagine more vividly, and feel more deeply, as it brings clearness of thought, and opens our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts like no other.

    Have a lovely day.

    PS: Something to consider as an apotheosis to Anastasia. Many people who see David Lean’s remarkable film ‘Brief Encounter’ (now fully restored by Martin Scorsese and available on BluRay and DVD) believe the film to be a ‘love story’.

    Its not – written by Noel Coward to illustrate to women how they can be duped by the sly underhand antics of vile men, ‘Brief Encounter’ is not about ‘star-crossed lovers’ – as most people believe it to be – the film illustrates the vile psychological tactics that contemptuous stalkers and womanisers use in order to bed woman, and the techniques they use to give the person the ‘blow-off’ afterwards, as a message to teach women the ‘signs’ to look out for.

    The film depicts the antics of a vile womaniser who uses ‘Savillistic’ ‘dissemblement’ tactics – pretending to be a ‘GP’ – a ‘GP’ who lives 50 miles away from his ‘practice’ – who ‘helps out’ with ‘operations’ at the local hospital - and a sequence of ‘confidence tricks’ so as to con his gullible ‘mark’ – concluding with the ‘blow-off’ to get rid of the poor unfortunate soul who falls victim to his vile ‘trickery’.

    Does he succeed in bedding the heroin and ‘taking’ her for all she’s got? Watch - see what unfolds – and learn from the heroine’s mistakes.

    And if you desire more of Noel Coward’s wit and wisdom then watch the joyous ‘feel-good’ film ‘Star’ – a fabulous film crammed solid with music and dance, and terrific excerpts from Noel Coward’s plays (ripe for revival).

    ‘Star’ stars the incomparable Julie Andrews – possessor of a pure white voice with a four-octave vocal range - displaying all of her comedic timing; her fabulous ‘sense of the ridiculous’; and her amazing song and balletic dance talents (savour the ballets – especially ‘In my garden of joy’ - and gasp at Julie’s wonderful soft caressing coloratura towards the end of ‘When my ship comes in’ as she begins her ‘grace’ note on E flat above top ‘C’ and then performs a breathtaking glissando down every semi-tone of the scale to conclude her grace-note on E flat above ‘middle C’ - priceless).

    • Jane responded on 3 November 2016 at 7:50pm

      Thank you for your post. You have answered all my questions. What an amazing performance.

    • julie responded on 4 November 2016 at 10:33pm

      There are a number of incorrect facts stated in this comment

      1 HRH Prince Charles is not hemophiliac!

      2.The grave of GD Anastasia was found 10 years after that of her parents and three sisters , along with the Tsarvitch Alexis in 2001, she is buried in the Cathedral of St Peters and Paul in St Petersburg along with the rest of her family. She most certainly did not survive and have a family as he has suggested. , in saying so

  19. Rita Medrano responded on 3 November 2016 at 11:12am Reply

    LOVED THE PERFORMANCE AND THE ROLE OF MISS OSIPOVA IS REALLY OUT OF THIS WORJD

  20. Lutz Kutscher responded on 3 November 2016 at 11:13am Reply

    I wrote the comment below when I came home yesterday night. Unfortunately I posted it to the wrong topic ("Watch: Insights into Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia"). I hope, that was the only reason, why i was erased.

    For the past two weeks I've been looking forward to viewing Anastasia live at a cinema in Flensburg. Tonight I went there - leaving my family at home as they don't share my enthusiasm.
    The introduction was great. A glass of sparkling wine in the entré, then, as the screen brightens a little bit of background, seeing some of the dancers minutes before they appear on stage, and the interview with Mrs.MacMillan.
    The first dancers appeared on stage with wonderful movements... and then the horror began...: some camera director who obviously has no feeling for, what a ballet on stage is about, starts cutting this ballet hundreds of tiny pieces - or video clips. Did I end up in some strange pop music video? Every time I just had adapted my perception to a certain view - be it a solo dancer or a group of three or four dancers, the camera view jumps to the next view - a face, cuts off the feet of DANCING (that's about feet too, you know!) dancers or jumps from one dancer in a pas de trois to the next.
    All the other dancers standing around are part of the scene too. The whole picture makes the stage - and the scene - and the feeling - AND THE THEATRE ATMOSPHERE!
    I am very sorry, out of respect for the performers I NEVER left a theatre performance before it's end, but this time I already left at the first intermission.
    I just couldn't stand the thougt, that a video diretor, that already demolishes the first act that way, would surely not refrain from cutting the solo in the third act to showing face, hands, feet in full screen, while such a great dancer like Natalia Osipova dances her heels off!!
    Please !! Never again let any ballet be destroyed like that. For the stage performance of a ballet ONE camera is enough, and zooming in to a single face or one dancer in a group destroys more than it shows.
    One last thought: Fred Astaire, who may not have been a great dancer, but an excellent dance movie director, was some years ago - ok, it may be 50 or so - praised for being able to film one complete dance whithout a single cut.
    I believe we need more (recording) directors with this ambition.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 4 November 2016 at 9:26am

      Hi Lutz,
      Thanks for your comment. It is difficult for our multi-camera director, who is a former dancer of The Royal Ballet, to please everyone in the capture. The reason why we have multiple cameras is so that we can capture tiny expressive moments in detail, highlight intimate engagements between the characters and bring cinema audiences closer to the story. I believe a member of our Film and Broadcast team has replied to your email with further detail.
      All best wishes,
      Rose

    • Jakegee responded on 4 November 2016 at 7:58pm

      I saw this same cast perform in the Royal Opera House on Saturday, 29th October, from a central seat in Orchestra Stalls, and I can assure you that the cinema relay only added enormously to the performance. I have in the past been quite critical of Natalia Osipova's acting ability, in particular I felt she lacked character in Ashton pieces.
      However, the close-up views in the cinema relay showed her fulfil the role of Anastasia more than admirably. Indeed the drama of the cast watching the screen in Act III was unseen on stage, since the dancers were facing away from the audience. On the cinema screen, Osipova's torment and anguish was real!!

      I have a collection of many dozens of DVDs and BluRay of Ballet performances, and in that collection there is only one which shows the full stage throughout. That is a production of "Snow White" with Tamara Rojo. When I first viewed it I was extremely disappointed since the detail of both dance and drama was lost due to the wide viewing. Even on a large TV screen the details of the dancers' feet can not be seen clearly when an entire stage is being screened.

      I find comments such as yours most insulting to the directors, in this case Ross MacGibbon, who danced with Royal Ballet and has directed dozens of productions, not only at the ROH. He knows his craft to perfection. Sometimes there are minor criticisms, but these can be corrected from additional footage before DVD production.

      My advice, therefore, is this ..... if you want to see the entire stage, you pay your money and get your ticket to be there at the ROH. However, you must realise that, even then, your eyes can not be following ALL the action on stage - you select which part you want to observe in detail ..... that is what the director captures for you. He knows where the main action is taking place on stage at any one time.

  21. Rita Medrano responded on 3 November 2016 at 11:15am Reply

    we loved the performance, staging music and cast. Specially Miss Osipova who's preformande was really out of this world

    fantantic

  22. Nick B responded on 3 November 2016 at 12:19pm Reply

    I had never seen Anastasia before. Seeing it last night made me realise afresh that MacMillan was a genius.
    Stunning performance from all the cast!
    I hope Anastasia is performed more regularly in future.
    I think this would make an attractive DVD as there are no other versions of this ballet out there and it is a stunning performance of a classic.

  23. penelope simpson responded on 3 November 2016 at 1:10pm Reply

    Could somebody please give consideration to replacing Darcey Bussell? She was quite dreadful last night, forgetting names and, more importantly, talking over her interviewees. I and many others wanted to hear what Viviana Durante had to say but Darcey hardly let her get a word in edgeways.

    Deborah Bull would do this so much better

  24. Andrew Brown responded on 3 November 2016 at 3:55pm Reply

    An incredibly moving performance by Natalia Osipova and by Marianela Nunez, very well supported by the rest of the cast. Stunning stage set and costumes - the opening of the second act was quite beautiful as was the orchestra.
    Third act painfully moving.
    Brilliant!

  25. Julia responded on 3 November 2016 at 8:01pm Reply

    Is there any chance of the performance being released on DVD?

    • Emma Nevell responded on 4 November 2016 at 10:02am

      Hi Julia,

      There are currently discussions to release a DVD of Anastasia in Autumn next year.

      Best wishes,
      Emma

  26. Hugh Axton responded on 3 November 2016 at 10:52pm Reply

    Yet another Macmillan masterpiece which we see all too rarely. Everyone danced brilliantly, of course and I thought Beatrix Stix-Brunell dancing Tatiana was sublime. My one real comment is the camera work. I was fortunate to see the live filmed performance on Saturday 29th October and watched as Marianela walked across the stage on her arrival as Kschessinska, however the camera focussed on the Tsar and we just saw Marianela fleetingly as she passed him to disappear change into her ballet kit. Further during her flirting dance whenever she was near the Tsar and Tsarina the look on the Tsarina's face was a picture - well done Chirstina Arestas, but at the cinema this was totally missed until the very end as the Tsarina walked off. Surely having filmed the performance on the Saturday the directors could have spotted this. Macmillan had clearly put this in as part of the story but it was, as I say, totally and unnecessarily missed for the cinema audience. I did think though that Marianela got the look of enjoyment as she flirted with the Tsar absolutely brilliantly. No one could be better for the part. I am assuming there will be a DVD of this and I will play it time and again just to watch her dance that pas de deux. But the whole company was exceptional the sisters change of emotion was as brilliant as their dancing. Thank you for a glorious evening. Hugh Axton
    PS I should say that Mark Monahan in his review in the Telegraph on 28th October had missed completely that Marianela was dancing as Kschessinska, Tsar Nicholas's former mistress. Monahan says "two dancers hired for the ball" hardly! That entirely misses their reason for being at the ball, and hardly does justice to Macmillan's art in constructing a ballet.

  27. Hugh Axton responded on 3 November 2016 at 11:15pm Reply

    May I thank William Swales for his comprehensive and impressive review of the ballet and especially for his glorious description of the "Deva" Marianela - so, so right in every detail, gosh the Royal Ballet - and we are so, lucky to have her.
    I believe Mathilde Kschessinska came to the first night of Anastasia aged 98.
    Finally the DVD of last April's Giselle (Marianela Nunez) comes out in the spring - but goodness it took a lot of persuasion.

  28. Daniel responded on 3 November 2016 at 11:50pm Reply

    This was an absolutely perfect performance from everyone involved. I can't describe my emotions after seeing it. It was so beautiful and sad...

    I would like to request a Blu Ray with it, please.

    Also, thank you, William Swales, for your comment, it was a pleasure to read it!

  29. Having attended opening night, I was pleased to get the opportunity to revisit the performance in the cinema. It is always interesting to get a different perspective on the performance, and I for one enjoyed the close up. Seeing the intensity in Osipova's eyes only added to the impact of what was an astonishing individual performance. Sometime I did find myself wanting to focus on something different to the director, but on balance it was fine.

    I would also like to express my hopes for a DVD in due course. This really has been a wonderful production for the whole company. Olivia Cowley and Vincenzo Di Primo especially stood out for me.

    My only minor gripe was a number of brief, but annoying, sound drops at the Harbour Lights Picture House, Southampton. They did not ruin the performance by any means, but were distracting none the less.

  30. Rob Hawker responded on 4 November 2016 at 3:37pm Reply

    An amazing event, great dancing, (minor ensemble blemishes, no matter) superior acting by all concerned. Surpassed my expectations and not having seen Anastasia before it was a revelation.
    Genius from Macmillan. Ms Osipova confirmed her greatness as dancer and actor. The last act left me in tears and is still difficult to recall. Must be rated one of the greatest performances. The other cast members were fully worthy of this standard. As were the orchestra and conductor, set designer and staging.
    On the relay, the use of hand held mic's during the interviews were almost useless waving about, losing the sound etc. A bit of training! or clip on mic's. But this showed the world what a great set of artists can produce in the UK.

  31. Stevie responded on 4 November 2016 at 8:44pm Reply

    I loved all three acts and would not have been satisfied with just a single act. More importantly and a better measure, is that my wife, usually more difficult to please, loved the whole thing as well. Brilliant and can't wait for Hoffman, Woolf Works and the rest of the season.

  32. Elizabeth Twine responded on 6 November 2016 at 6:12pm Reply

    The third act was performed in such a way I will not forget it in a hurry. I was reduced to tears. Beautiful and brilliant

  33. Bern responded on 8 November 2016 at 12:36pm Reply

    I was so happy to have the opportunity to see Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia at the cinema. It was a fascinating ballet, the performances and the staging were wonderful.
    I did feel that due to the cinematographic choices, the cinema audiences missed quite a lot of the dancing. I was extremely frustrated when the camera honed in on peripheral action, and so denied the audience the chance to see the dancers. Also the frequent occasions when the camera zoomed in to reveal a shoulder upwards, or waist upwards shot so that the audience could not see the rest of the dancers’ bodies. Even when a dancer is not doing something spectacular they are dancing.
    I understand that filming the stage from a fixed point without any zooming would be undynamic and not successful. The least disruptive approach would be an attempt to mimic the interest that the eye takes when watching the ballet in the theatre – at times taking in the whole stage and at times focussing on particular dancers as they take centre stage. The audience is never able to see a close-up of a face (even with opera glasses) and it seems a disservice to the dancers and the creators of the ballet to ignore the rest of their bodies at these points. The style of filming used in the cinema broadcast of Anastasia seemed to borrow from the conventions of cinema and TV where it is the dialogue – plus reaction shots etc. – that interest the viewer the most and so we frequently see the actors close-up.
    Having said that, the filming of the third act was much more successful and the viewer was able to watch the ballet without the distraction of hyper-active camera work and strangely selective view points. It made me feel that there was a lot more confidence in the last act as an artistic work, and that in the first two acts the camera was attempting to make it more interesting.
    I feel quite strongly about this because it was exciting to see the ballet performed – and yet I felt as if I saw maybe only three quarters of it.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 9 November 2016 at 4:32pm

      Hi Lutz,
      Thanks for your comment. As expressed to another viewer who shared your concerns, it is challenging for our broadcasting team to please everyone in the capture. They are, however, always keen to hear feedback on each relay so I have passed your comment on to the head of the department.
      Very many thanks,
      Rose

  34. Manon1753 responded on 12 November 2016 at 8:23pm Reply

    I saw teh ballet when it originally opened as a 3 acter in London. It was pretty incoherent then, the only structure being the performances (and I remember in particular Seymour, Beriosova and Sibley and Dowell), the dancers, the scenery, the costumes. And this time? Dancing on a ship with a funnel that sits askew? Whatever hapened to the evocative birh trees? Dancing with dancers dressed up as Russian dolls for sale to tourists (don't get me wrong, the costumes are gorgeous, but I doubt the court in those days dressed up in what we Westerners believe to be the "Russian" style) in a ball room with wonky chandeliers. And all of this to pretty bland music (viz the rebel scene) despite some jolly good tunes. Everyone did his or her best. But no, thank you. I won't want to spend my money on this full evening programme again, despite the brilliant dancing.
    Perhaps Act 3 could be tweeked into a stand-alone ballet, no need to change the choreography or the strong and perfectly well-chosen sound track and music, but the visuals could make it clearer that this woman believes the is (or pretends to be) Anastasia. A poor, deluded person, with a pretty horrific story to tell - or to live.Thank you to the dancers, the coaches, the musicians and the dres- and headdress and wigmakers.

  35. Jan Heys responded on 15 November 2016 at 6:14pm Reply

    Natalia Osipova portrayed the role of ANASTASIA so beautifully - I watched it in the cinema with my ballet friends and we just loved it - thank you Covent Garden for giving us the opportunity of seeing these beautiful productions near ones homes - I did many years ago organise the dinner (the company that I worked for was sponsoring this first production) after the first night of Turondot with Sir John Tooley - happy days, wished I lived nearer London - live in Cheshire ! congratulations to all the cast, the scenery and the beautiful costumes and of course ALL the dancers .

  36. Frida De la Peña Mendoza responded on 30 January 2017 at 12:13am Reply

    I loved Natalia's performance, it was amazing and the was she delivers emotions is amazing.

    I'm dying to buy it !!!!!!!

  37. Morton D. Paley responded on 30 January 2017 at 5:52pm Reply

    Act III was one of the most deeply moving scenes I have ever witnessed in ballet. Osipova is a great actor as well as a great ballerina.

  38. Hugh Axton responded on 24 February 2017 at 5:05pm Reply

    As of 24th March I am looking forward to obtaining the DVD in the autumn. 2 weeks ago I purchased a number of copies of the Marianela "Giselle" that is now available in the ROH shop. I could not help but notice the following two sentances:
    "In the RB revival of 2016, the pairing of Marianela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov as Giselle and Albrecht caused particular excitement, with elegant technique and fresh chemistry between the dancers. Given the audience response to the performance - both in the theatre and in a live cinema relay - The Royal Ballet was eager to release it on DVD". Every word is accurate except "eager". After 180 comments many of them pleading for a DVD when they had been told that a DVD was not planned, the RB finally changed its mind and in October 2016, 6 months after the performance we were promised a DVD in the spring. We now have this but for the RB to say it was "eager" to provide one is an rare example of terminological inexactitude. Why not be accurate and say "The Royal Ballet was persuaded to release it on DVD? It certainly for six months show not one iota of eagerness. At some loss of respect, especially for two amazing dancers. Marianela especially deserved her dancing to be recorded on DVD having given, and continues to give total and absolute dedication to the company.

    • Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media)) responded on 28 February 2017 at 1:00pm

      Dear Hugh,

      Many thanks for your comment.

      There a number of factors in play when it comes to the decision of which productions (and performances) to include as part of our DVD releases. You're correct, there were originally no plans to release this on DVD - not through a lack of eagerness, but due to a number of financial, legal, and artistic decisions at play when deciding which DVDs are released. Following the huge response from our audiences, we set plans in motion almost immediately to prepare for release, but unfortunately this takes a little time and cannot be announced before all the agreements are in place - hence the frustrating response that there were no plans for a release.

      We are very pleased to have been able to respond to the considerable demand.

      Many thanks,

      Mel

  39. Hugh Axton responded on 24 February 2017 at 5:07pm Reply

    The two sentences I quote above were taken from the pamphlet included with the Giselle DVD.

  40. Hugh Axton responded on 28 February 2017 at 4:17pm Reply

    Dear Mel
    Very many thanks for your full explanation.
    yours sincerely
    Hugh

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