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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of The Royal Ballet's The Firebird / A Month in the Country / Symphony in C?

Your Reaction: What did you think of The Royal Ballet's The Firebird / A Month in the Country / Symphony in C?

Audience and press reviews of The Royal Ballet's new triple bill, featuring three ballet classics with a Russian flavour from Fokine, Ashton and Balanchine.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)

5 June 2019 at 10.31am | 13 Comments

Press reviews:

The Times (£) ★★★★★
Evening Standard ★★★★★
The Telegraph ★★★★
The Stage ★★★★
The Jewish Chronicle ★★★★
Bachtrack ★★★★
The Arts Desk ★★★★

More press reviews will be added in due course.

What did you think of The Firebird / A Month in the Country / Symphony in C?
Share your reviews via the comments below, or by using #ROHfirebirdmixed.

The Firebird / A Month in the Country / Symphony in C runs until 14 June 2019. Limited tickets are available here.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Aud Jebsen, Sir Lloyd and Lady Dorfman, Julia and Hans Rausing, Victoria Robey OBE, The Taylor Family Foundation and John and Susan Burns. A Month in the Country – generous philanthropic support from Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson and the Fonteyn Circle.

By Becky Black (Social Media Editor)

5 June 2019 at 10.31am

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Production, review, The Firebird / A Month in the Country / Symphony in C, The Royal Ballet, your reaction

This article has 13 comments

  1. elleG responded on 5 June 2019 at 4:48pm Reply

    This Triple Bill is an overwhelmingly wonderful example and exhibition of the Royal Ballet's heritage, its versatility, the skill of its coaches, the stunning talent of its stars and the teamwork among all its dancers and staff.
    To be able to mount a diverse programme of this kind, involving three distinct styles and, in two cases, most of the Company, is a huge achievement in its own right. Yet, at the same time, the RB is still performing Romeo and Juliet, has the Fonteyn Gala on Saturday, and is preparing to tour with Don Quixote, Winter Dreams, a Gala repertoire, Mayerling and new choreography from McGregor. This is nothing short of astonishing, especially when the quality is being maintained at a breathtakingly high level.
    Thank you to everyone involved for an amazing season. My admiration knows no bounds.

  2. Karen responded on 5 June 2019 at 8:18pm Reply

    Absolutely loved last night's triple bill. A month in the country has long been a favourite of mine, I remember Sylvie Guillem and Jonathan Cope a few years ago and it was a treat to see last night's fantastic cast bringing it to life again. Sarah Lamb was gorgeous in the second movement of Symphony in C , beautiful, graceful and elegant. Great debut too from Fumi Kaneko in the first movement. Brilliant Yasmin Naghdi in the Firebird - she really was fierce and Gary Avis was great, as he always is in everything he does.
    What a fantastic wealth of talent we have at the RB at the moment! Can't wait for the Fonteyn gala on Saturday and may have to try Friday rush for another ticket next week for the mixed programme .

  3. keith responded on 6 June 2019 at 2:04pm Reply

    I saw A month In The Country twice, once with Nunez/Hayward and again with Osipova/Hinkis. I am no expert, just an enthusiast, but thought and felt that the two casts created two very different versions of the Ballet.
    The connection between Nunez and Hayward and the sense of how Vera (Hayward) had been shaped by Natalia (Nunez) was palpable. The emotional power of both characters lit the stage and their conjoined storyline was at the centre of the piece.
    Osipova's Natalia was sexy, knowing and selfish. Hinkis's Vera was the naive satellite/victim orbiting Natalia whose appetite formed the centre of the piece.
    Ball's Beliaev was an active participant in the action with Nunez/Hayward; Hallberg's Beliaev was danced as a more passive receptacle of Osipova's fancy.
    Both casts exemplary but, in me at least, they engendered two very different reactions.
    Both versions were breathtaking and a perfect illustration of the power that great dancers have to transmit entirely different messages from one choreography.
    I think the RB must be in a very good place indeed if it can inspire us to want to see every cast (and every performance) just to experience the differences.

  4. Alex responded on 6 June 2019 at 3:39pm Reply

    My wife and I attended the Triple Bill Opening Night on Tuesday and what a thrill it was to be there! The Firebird left us both on a high, danced by the stunning Principal Yasmine Naghdi. She was so fierce, so powerful and so strong, her flying jumps on to the stage made her all the more avian, and every single detail in her portrayal registered. This is a Firebird we will treasure forever. Her stand-off with Kostchei, establishing her power, is a moment in the ballet we'll never forget! Gary Avis was simply superb as Kostchei. A Month in the Country was very enjoyable to watch and Symphony in C was also beautifully danced, but it was The Firebird we appreciated above all. Our congratulations to the RB and all the dancers for giving us such immense pleasure and beauty at the end of the Season. The wealth of talent combined with the highest standard of dancing is truly impressive!

  5. Simon Smith responded on 7 June 2019 at 5:06pm Reply

    This really is a scintillating Triple Bill and a fabulous way to bring down the curtain on such a magnificent season, with the Royal Ballet in such tremendous form.

    One observation for enhancing audiences’ experience, particularly in the spirit of Open Up. I do think it would help if the Cast Sheets included brief synopses. There are short synopses on line but only by searching each production, not by the Triple Bill. Why not use these for the Cast Sheets as there seems to be a fair bit of white space? It would be even better if the on line Month in the Country synopsis included a reference to Rakitin. There was a fair amount of audience chatter about what was going on in both Firebird and Month in the Country and I think the ROH needs to be much more helpful in providing synopses.

    The programme also has no synopses which is pretty poor for £8.00.

    That said I’ve been delighted to see the opening night and this afternoon’s matinee and look forward to next week where I’ve been fortunate to pick up a returned ticket.

  6. Lesley main responded on 8 June 2019 at 9:43am Reply

    A terrific afternoon, especially Meaghan Grace Hinkis in A Month in the Country.

  7. Alison Brown responded on 8 June 2019 at 5:11pm Reply

    I won't repeat what other's have already said. I agree with every word. The Firebird is so important because of it's heritage and I felt that I was transported back to Diaghilev's era. The Month In the Country is a perfect Ashton piece and another part of our ballet heritage. Osipova moved me to tears. She showed the pain of forbidden love so beautifully. To have seen her and Hallberg in Romeo and Juliet the previous week then to see this ballet, it was really a progression of their thrilling partnership and I feel privileged to have witnessed it. Then Symphony in C, a fitting tribute to our exceptional company. The wealth of talent on stage headed by Marianela Nunez (always brilliant) brought me, again, to tears. How lucky we are to have such a company and also to have the talents of Kevin O'Hare. The company is the best it's every been (and I've been watching it on and off since 1968) and it's thanks to a leader such as he. So thank you to everyone for a wonderful year's ballet. I look forward to winter.

  8. ML responded on 9 June 2019 at 9:04am Reply

    What a superb triple bill - and outstanding performances from all the cast! Yasmine Naghdi has secured her place as one of the most outstanding Firebirds of our time- what a powerful and dramatic performance which negotiates the fine balance between fearsome creature of legend and beautiful bird in flight. Edward Watson is an expressive and compelling Tsarevich, bringing out the nuances of the character. Matthew Ball and Marianela Nunez also made outstanding debuts as Natalia and Beliaev - even more incredible to note that Ball was only cast after injury sidelined a colleague. James Hay pretty much danced everyone else off the stage - what a dazzling display of virtuosity in his solo, and expressive acting (without overdoing it) to portray a 10 year old. Francesca Hayward was a compelling Vera, and Romany Pajdak a delightful Katia. Stunning performances from everyone - from principals to corps - in Symphony in C. Glorious and beautiful! The orchestra gave excellent performances in all three works too, with beautiful solos from the two harpists in Firebird.

    What a pity this triple bill is only scheduled for 6 performances - so quickly sold out and no performances on a Saturday at all, it surely merited a longer run (perhaps it should have been scheduled for May instead).

    Only one gripe/gaffe: with two story ballets on the programme with plots perhaps unfamiliar to many first time attendees in the audience, it was a bizarre oversight that no plot synopsis of any of the ballets were included in either the thick £8 souvenir programme or the cast sheets (compared to Romeo and Juliet or Nutcracker, for example, where the synopsis appeared in both). With the cost of the souvenir programmes and seat prices now higher than they used to be for mixed bills, the relevant department needs to do better (plot synopses for Firebird and Month, which are frequently revived, could easily have been downloaded from existing opera house materials, and fitted easily into the blank spaces on the cast sheets, which are freshly printed for each performance for the day of the show and hence could be rectified at short notice).

  9. Margaret Lavender responded on 9 June 2019 at 4:36pm Reply

    My daughter and I went solely for Month in the Country. 30 years since I saw it with Makarova & Dowell, over 40 years since Seymour and Dowell. So to say I was looking forward to it immensely is a great understatement and I wasn’t disappointed!
    I was crying buckets in the pas de deux. The lyricism of Ashton, his trademark stuttering steps and movements of the arms/body, Osipova was brilliant. A heartbreaking pas de deux, knowing they could do only the right thing, and Baliaev has to leave. I too felt heartbroken as I’m in a bad place at the moment. (Not of the heart!) Then the utter sharpness, brilliance, quickness and sheer class of Balanchine’s wonderful Symphony in C. A masterclass indeed in itself of how to dance classical ballet.
    Firebird well done, lovely costumes, but not “my type” of ballet so very glad it was on first, and over with.
    Topped off with birthday Afternoon Tea and a glass of bubbly in the Piazza Restaurant! A wonderful day out.

    • ML responded on 14 June 2019 at 12:10pm

      I agree heartily with Margarent Lavender and Alison Brown about Osipova's brilliance in A Month of the Country, whom I had the good fortune to be able to pop back to see in the matinee after enjoying a most delightful opening night. She and David Hallberg were extremely moving in their portrayals and their dancing, and compelling in their interactions with Vera (Meaghan Grace Hinkis), Rakitin (Nehemiah Kish), Katia (Tara Brigitte-Bhavnani), Kolya (Luca Acri) and Yslayev (Jonathan Howells) who were excellent. Just to add that Marianela Nunez and Ryoichi Hirano were also sublime and beautiful second movement of Symphony in C. We don't see them partnered together often, but it's almost like they are now reliably sublime (if there can be such a thing, Nunez and Hirano would embody it) in any classical duets - Nunez glorious and in masterful command of the choreography, Hirano the superbly gallant partner who always makes his ballerina look wonderful. (He was wonderful in Sleeping Beauty a few seasons ago and will be a treat to see next season). Bliss!

  10. elleG responded on 13 June 2019 at 2:13pm Reply

    At last - a Beliaev (Muntagirov) who not only dances Ashton like a dream but also makes the role, and therefore the story, absolutely real. Amazing!

  11. Joe J responded on 15 June 2019 at 7:23pm Reply

    Saw the final performance last night and so glad I went. The Firebird is one of my favourite pieces of classical music so being able to see it in its original context was what drew me to this programme, but I enjoyed the other two as well. I think my favourite of the three may have actually been Symphony in C. My first time seeing a Balanchine ballet and hopefully not my last – just so joyous and such a perfect match to the music. And for someone who doesn't get to go to the Royal Opera House much due to not living in London, being able to see so many of the stars of the Royal Ballet dance in one evening was a real joy.

    P.S. Very best of luck in the future to Nehemiah Kish.

  12. Cynthia responded on 23 June 2019 at 4:05pm Reply

    Please put this out in cinemas!!! I live in Texas and attend all the cinema performances here and see the company live in London when I'm there. Please don't neglect to show this lovely trio in cinemas!

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