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 Post subject: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 11:06 pm 
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Review of this event at the ROH in The Times.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>THE sea of Union Jacks both inside and outside the Royal Opera House last night announced that this was a time to celebrate. “Five decades of the Royal Ballet and five decades of Her Majesty’s reign” celebrated in a royal gala in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. <BR>Inside, the black tie audience sipped champagne and helped to raise money for the Jubilee Fund, set up to further the work of young dancers and choreographers from the Royal Ballet. Outside, in the Covent Garden Piazza, a crowd of ballet-lovers braved the chill night air to watch a live relay of the performance free of charge on the Big Screen. But instead of a party, both audiences got a lazy, limp night at the ballet. Little effort and even less inspiration seemed to have gone into the planning (and execution) of this Golden Jubilee Gala. <BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,685-364294,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 12:43 am 
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I tend to agree with the Times reviewer on this one. It really was a very lacklustre affair and some of the items were very poor choices. I imagine the stagehands are all anti-monarchists, why else would they sabotage the evening with partially raised backdrops and ignored pieces of scenery?<P>Don Quixote seemed to go down very well with an otherwise unresponsive audience and the extracts from Eugene Onegin looked very good too. The pas de deux from Tryst also worked out of context, but not so the death scene from Marguerite & Armand which was always danced in its entirety by Fonteyn and Nureyev. Someone pointed out to me that it was a totally tactless choice to show someone who had just suffered two bereavements in a very short space of time. How anyone could consider it gala fare is beyond me. The extracts from Carmen were also wildly inappropriate.<P>The evening finished with a defile that included all the dancers and many of the RB staff including Lesley Collier, Monica Mason and Donald Macleary. It was lovely to see these old favourites on the Covent Garden stage again.<P>From my seat in the slips I could see Alexander Grant, Alicia Markova, Maud Lloyd and Pamela May sitting in boxes on the opposite side, on my way out I also spotted Beryl Grey. I bet any one of them could have put a better gala together. So could I for that matter.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 12:53 am 
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I was with a visiting non-dance fan yesterday evening but we spent a few minutes in the Piazza looking at the start of the Jubillee Celebration. From the standing places at the back of the area the screen still gave a good view of the ballet on stage and my impression from a brief view was of good televising. The highspot from the first two pieces I saw was Jenny Tattersall in "The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude". As I noted when I saw it earlier in the season, she has the speed to have time to play with the piece and make it her own. At the end of this season she leaves, having resigned to become an independent dance artist. What a great way to say goodbye to the Company she has been with for 9 years plus the RB School beforehand.<P>Debra Craine's comments on the programme seem to take little or no account of the practicalities of running a ballet company. I am pleased that Stretton has not burdened the dancers and risked injury with additional rehearsals for unfamiliar work after a busy year, which climaxed recently with the Australian tour and the current Summer season. When I read the good quality free programme that was distributed to the Piazza crowds (plus a small Union Jack) I thought it a good balance. Although I raised one eyebrow at the inclusion of Mats Ek's "Carmen" for the Queen, I then thought that it was a good idea for her to see this example of 21st Century ballet rep, even if she decides that it is not to her taste.


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 2:07 am 
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<B>Dazzling moves at the ballet</B><BR>by Sarah Frater in The Evening Standard<P><BR>There's nothing like a little competition, and the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, to bring out the best in dancers. On Monday night, Carlos Acosta and Marianela Nunez led a tired-looking Royal Ballet in its lacklustre new production of Don Quixote, and very dispiriting it was. The am-dram sets and floppy costumes little disguised the leaden limbs and wan smiles, but in last night's Golden Jubilee Gala the Royal was a company transformed. <P>Once Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh had settled, the curtain rose on three hours of dancing that came like a breath of air so fresh it took your own away. The programme was a mixed bill of short excerpts from the past season performed by a starry line-up of the Royal Ballet's finest. Sylvie Guillem, Darcey Bussell, Alina Cojocaru, Jonathan Cope, Carlos Acosta, Nathan Coppen, Nicolas Le Riche and Roberto Bolle led a strong supporting cast, and, as always on these Gala occasions, there was an implicit on-stage competition among the dancers. <P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/music/top_review.html?in_review_id=436017&in_review_text_id=390487" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><P>


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 6:38 am 
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The performance to celebrate the Queen's 50 years on the throne was relayed to the Piazza outside the ROH, the Linbury Studio, and the Clore Studio where I sat. I think out of the three, the Clore definitely must have been the worst. Protected from potential bad weather for sure (though it was warm and muggy last night), but as there are only 150ish people it's lacking in atmosphere and very wierd to have people applaud and bravo when there is no one to applaud to. But it was for free and if I'd lived in London then it wouldn't have been a bad deal. The Vilar Floral Hall was completely decked out in flags and red and blue lighting - very beautiful. <P>I guess it was partly great, partly disappointing. Birthday Offering which began the evening started with a huge hiccup when the screen covering the stage got stuck 10 feet from the floor as it was being lifted. The dancing was quite nice but I'm embarassed to admit I remember very little from it. I think I would have liked to have seen more of all seven couples rather than just Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope's pdd. <P>And then, oh dear, The Vertiginious Thrill of Exactitiude followed - not just an excerpt like so much of the rest of the gala but the whole thing. The quality of dancing is great of course - Tattersall, Yoshida, Yanowsky, Maloney and Watson looked very sharp and it's an interesting vehicle for demonstrating their technical strengths. But I don't find the Schubert music very exciting, the frenetic dancing gets weary after about 3 minutes, and the costumes! Those silly lime-green disc tutus for the girls, the magenta backless shirts and shorts for the guys! It was good to see Jenny Tattersall one last time though (she's just left the RB). But I'm disappointed that this is all Yoshida got to do. She obviously is as good as she's ever been and deserves so much better.<P>I feel the same way about Remanso - again it was the whole ballet. I just would rather have seen a short except. But the physicality of the dancing is fun to watch and Bolle, Cope and Watson make the twisting, turning choreography seem so effortless. It's so impressive the way they turn their body inside out in one direction, the without any effort leap in a completely different direction. <P>I think it was Marguerite & Armand which followed - the last two scenes where Armand is disgusted with Marguerite and throws money at her, and then when they are reconciled before she dies. I love this ballet and Liszt's music so much. It was a little disconcerting to start right in the middle but the dancing from both Sylvie and Le Rice was so beautiful, so very, very convincing. Sylvie's expressions in the close-ups were so heartfelt, so natural - I don't care what anyone says, she is a tremendous actress. And that lift when Armand swoops in at the end, where he lifts here upside-down, then changes position so she's across her shoulders, and then again so they're face to face and her legs are flying, all the while spinning her around - wow!<P>Definitely the highlight of the first half was Marianela Nunez and Carlos Acosta in the Don Quixote pdd. Nunez has replaced Rojo in the current run of Don Q, and it seems that they are doing Cojocaru and Kobborg's performances as well. I can understand why - Nunez is fantastic. She's so young, only 20, and yet she has such charisma, such total command of the stage, to the point of nearly outshining Acosta. Acosta's solo - wow. He does these jumps where in the air, he's a 45 degrees to the stage, and sort of crosses one leg over the other at the knee and turns at that 45 degree angle before landing. Is there a name for this?! And I liked the smooth changes in position he made mid-pirouette, in complete control. A great show-stopper - a pity that the lighting was so rubbish! It seemed like most of the gala was performed in darkness and it's made much worse when you're watching from a blurry screen!<P>Second half was much better. Started great with Scene I, Act III from Onegin, the ballroom scene. I was very surprised and happy to see that Nathan Coppen was dancing. I thought it was so great he got to do this after missing all his Onegin performances this summer due to injury. Okay, it's not a great solo, but it's just nice to see him back. Mara Galezzi's pdd with Chistopher Saunders followed and again, she was so lovely and graceful. I'm disappointed that it didn't follow with the final pdd but they haven't danced it togther before.<P>Leaves of Fading next, with Cojocaru and Kobborg. I don't think anyone will ever dance this as well as these two. Kobborg looks younger than I remember! I'm a bit muddled about the order, but I think it was Ivan Putrov as the Golden Idol in La Bayadere, and then Bussell and Bolle in the R&J balcony pdd. And at some point Bussell and Cope danced the Tryst pdd which was controlled, languid, and absolutely terrific. <P>Then my favourite - a huge excerpt from Carmen, from where the soldiers light up, the pdd with Carmen (Guillem of course) and Jose (Murru), M's dance (Yanowsky), and Escamillio (Cope) and his golden hotpants. I don't know why, but I just love, love this! The humour is so appealing and the choreography extremely imaginative. I can't claim to understand half of what's going on or why dancers do what they do though! I remember reading that Mats Ek said there's great meaning behind each movement, so I want Carmen explained! And I love how the dancers really seem to throw themselves into it, the way the seem to be really enjoying it. I don't know, maybe they're just being very professional. But it looks like so much fun to dance. But I don't know what the Queen and Prince Philip made of it. They all dance like they've gone nuts - the vulgarity, the screaming, Carmen's splayed legs, Carmen pulling scarves from various parts of Jose and Escamillo's anatomy. I would love to have been a fly on the wall in that royal box. <P>It ended with a défilè with the artists and staff of the RB, choreographed by Christopher Carr. Very nice, especially seeing some dancers dance in costume, and others dance in their evening wear for the reception afterwards.<P>As soon as it was done I went outside to see the main dancers take their bows to the crowd in the piazza and meet the Queen. Suffice to say that this part was probably the most exciting for me out of the whole evening. Some of the excerpts were a bit strange for a gala. And I missed Robert Tewsley. Plus watching on a big screen is a poor substitution for watching live. I agree that it wasn't a terribly inspiring gala for the regulars but I'd much rather Stretton not risk the dancers with further injury by rehearsing new work. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 10:05 pm 
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Review from The FT.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The Royal Ballet's gala in honour of the Queen's jubilee was, sadly, far from golden. Iron pyrites - fool's gold - was substituted for the 24 carat stuff, and the evening was both ill-conceived and ill-executed. It bore all the signs of hasty preparation, from the bunting that decorated the auditorium (which looked like a village garage en fête) to the unconscionable waits while changes were effected to the minimal settings. The programme had the chutzpah to suggest that it offered a survey of the Royal Ballet's achievements during the Queen's reign. Not so. What we were shown was, to large extent, an unappetising selection of items from Ross Stretton's first and undistinguished year as director of the troupe. (Programming was reminiscent of those fraught moments when unexpected guests arrive for dinner: "Is there anything left in the ice-box? Can we use that tin of pâté with some of those decrepit olives? Why is there never any good wine here when we need it?")<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1027521251667&p=1016625900929" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And in The Telegraph.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>You do not need to be a frothing monarchist to think that certain courtesies are demanded on certain occasions. And, if the Royal Ballet is going to invite the Queen to a gala to celebrate her 50-year reign with its own achievements during that period, I do think it could, at the very least, recall the nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence and divvy up a dainty, specially cooked dish to set before her. A plate of this year's leftovers performed by any dancer still uninjured at the end of the season is not what I would consider up to the mark.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=%2Farts%2F2002%2F07%2F25%2Fbtjub25.xml" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And in The Guardian.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Someone at the Royal Opera House must have issued an order to put out more flags, because there were union flags and pennants everywhere: in the corridors, on the stairs, swagged around the gilt necks of the cherubs in the auditorium. The effect was a pub-like jollity, somewhat at odds with the spiffiness of an audience who had paid, in some cases, four-figure sums for their tickets. The same budget-conscious spirit informed the choice of programme, with highlights of ballets in the current repertoire comprising 10 of the evening's 11 selections. <P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4468043,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited July 25, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 11:10 pm 
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Ismene Brown writes, "What has Duato's goofy Remanso or Forsythe's manic The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude to do with the Royal Ballet? Apart from the fact that Stretton introduced them this year?"<P>Surely both these works were introduced into the rep by Sir Anthony Dowell at the time of the re-opening of the ROH and Ross Stretton has merely revived them?


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2002 3:41 pm 
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I completely agree with Ismene Brown and Clement Crisp. The choice of items and inept technical presentation made me embarrassed for the dancers. They were wonderful, especially Bussell, Watson and Le Riche. Call it The Prospect before Us, or Pity the Poor Dancers. HMQ would have had a much better time at tonights Don Q, led with fabulous aplomb by the glittering Yoshida and wonderfully uninhibited Cope. The audience were audibly electrified. I hope Mr Stretton learns from his mistakes.


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2002 7:29 am 
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<B>Stretton under fire, but Guillem shines</B><BR>By Valerie Lawson<BR>July 26 2002<BR>The Age<P><B>London</B><P>The Queen aged 50 years in three hours on Tuesday night at Covent Garden. Well, her portrait did, at the Royal Ballet's three-hour gala to celebrate the Queen's golden jubilee at the Royal Opera House. The gala was bookended by giant, on-stage portraits of the Queen, the first showing the young Queen of the 1950s, the last showing her as she is today. <P><A HREF="http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/07/26/1027497400510.html" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2002 1:00 am 
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Very short review in the Sunday times (scroll down article)<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The Act III pas de deux from Don Quixote, along with Nunez and Acosta, turned up again in Tuesday Night’s Golden Jubilee Gala Concert. It was part of an odd assortment of excerpts ripped from works that the Royal Ballet’s artistic director, Ross Stretton, has introduced during his first year. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-364318,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And in The Observer.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>For her silver jubilee gala in 1977, the Queen sat in the centre of the Opera House's grand tier, perfectly placed to watch the performance. At Tuesday's Golden Jubilee Gala, she was in the royal box, stage left, where she could be seen by most of the audience but had a restricted view of the dancers and the surtitles announcing each item. She would've been hard put to recognise the excerpts, since instead of reflecting the Royal Ballet's repertoire over the 50 years of her reign, the ill-assorted fare was left over from Ross Stretton's first season as director. <P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,764289,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited July 28, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 10:22 pm 
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Two reviews from the Independent.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>You'd have needed £2,000 to bag a top seat for the Royal Ballet's charity gala for the Queen on Tuesday – and that was the official price, not the ticket touts'. News of this had some renegade critics considering trying to flog theirs to spend a night at the Savoy instead. The fact that none of them did had nothing to do with the prospect of seeing something new in the course of the evening. All but one of this gala's 11 items had been part of the current season, and even Ashton's Birthday Offering (created in 1956 for the Royal Ballet's own jubilee) was exhumed within recent memory for Dame Ninette's 100th. What the evening did offer was a chance to see every single Royal Ballet star and guest star (barring the injured ones) at a single pop. And it can only have been this that persuaded hordes to park numb bottoms on the cobbled Piazza to watch a live relay on a fuzzy screen. Others took advantage of additional freebie screenings indoors at the Opera House. So it was a People's Gala, in its way, and as such it was unique.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/story.jsp?story=319651" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The Royal Opera House celebrated the Queen's Jubilee with a programme that included two world premieres, one by Frederick Ashton and the other by Kenneth MacMillan, and some opera as well – but that was for the Silver Jubilee, 25 years ago. This all-ballet gala for the Golden Jubilee contained no premieres, no surprises. On the contrary, its content was familiar to the point of tedium. The director, Ross Stretton, not only restricted his choice to the company's present repertoire, but often selected the dullest extracts – such as Tatiana and Gremin's pas de deux in Cranko's Onegin – or the most hackneyed, such as the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/story.jsp?story=319553" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 3:20 am 
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sounds like a complete embarrassment and I'm very glad I wasn't there. You would have thought that for the regular ballet-goer, such an occasion should be made unmissable but I guess the place gets filled up again with a particular group of people prepared to pay huge ticket prices regardless. I sould like a cultural snob, but this gala business just goes from bad to worse.


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 3:31 am 
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It is really sad - a gala should enthuse the audience by seeing the diverse talent of a company but a lot of times it just seems that galas are thrown together as a sort of we have to do it. It really could be some the company's best publicity if handled well.


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 Post subject: Re: Jubilee Gala
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2002 8:59 am 
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<B>Empire strikes back at 'colonial'</B>
August 13 2002
Sydney Morning Herald

<B>British chauvinism is partly to blame for Ross Stretton's critical mauling in London, writes Valerie Lawson.</B>

Like the two cantankerous Muppet men who ridicule the action on stage, two well-known London critics rose from their seats at interval to complain in booming voices about Ross Stretton's Royal Ballet gala on July 23.

As they were leaving the auditorium, one critic grumbled to the other: "Terrible, terrible." Heads turned to stare as his companion replied "Ghastly, ghastly." Even the Union Jack decorations in the Royal Opera House were "terrible, terrible". Yes, they agreed, Stretton's show was a disaster.

<A HREF="http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/08/12/1029113895532.html" TARGET=_blank><B>More...</B></A>


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