I think popping into Convent Garden yesterday will go on 2 lists: Best things I have ever done on impulse, and The most beautiful things I have ever seen. My only regret is that it marked the end of the RB season. If otherwise, I'd be traipsing down to London every other night just to watch it again!<P>It was my first "Dream", and I was absolutely captivated! I literally had chills down my spine when the singing started, which I hadn't known about at all. (I rushed out and bought the cd right after.) Alina Cojocaru at nineteen charms and sparkles, a feisty Titania, and a truely lyrical dancer. She had some great chemistry with her Oberon, Essakow a soloist who did a lovely job. The two of them are so tiny, they did remind me a little of frolicking children, playful and squabbling. I loved the tug of war over the changeling boy..."he's mine!" "No, no, he's mine!". RB did an exceptional job with the comedic touches. It was like physical comedy, but unbelievably balletic at the same time... Lysander's mock anguish when Hermia tells him to find another tree to sleep next to...Oberon giving Puck the boot when he messes up with the herbs...the look on the fairies' faces when they see the object of Titania's affection is...an ass.<P>Luke Heydon was brilliant as Bottom the ass and I marvelled at his galloping on point. First time for me, I kept staring at his feet - is he? he can't be...he is on pointe! It also amazed me how expressive he was from behind his clunky mask. I swear, you could see the light go on in his eyes at the moment he realises he has Titania at his beckoning. <P>And it was lovely how the forest didn't feel static, but looked like it was fresh and alive. The fairies darted on and off between trees on a ramp above the stage, peeking down at the shenanigans that were going on the forest floor.<P>The final pas-de-deux between Titania and Oberon was dreamy. There were so many beautiful moments, I could go on and on and I can't think of a more perfect ballet than this one.<P>I went into Song of the Earth with less than low expectations given some of the reviews I'd read but I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't find the singing a turn off as some did. It was so beautiful that if anything, I think it added to the performance. For me, it would have been more of a distraction if it was sung in English as some people I chatted to there suggested.<P>At first I thought the audience was less than enthusiastic, given the muted applause between some of the dances. In the last and admittedly very long song, this woman next to me kept shifting and looking around, probably wondering why it wasn't over yet. Though some people made a quick exit, the applause afterwards was raptuous. Jonathan Cope stood out among all the others. I have to admit, when he came on stage I couldn't keep my eyes off him, neglecting everyone else. Why isn't there more information available? Why is it he is virtually known outside the ballet world? He's in his late 30s, but still in brilliant condition, very expressive and with soaring jumps, though at at one point, he managed to trip over another dancer. There's a lift where Cope was balancing Tamara Rojo on the back of his head and neck that got my heart that got my heart thumping! I was terrified the weight would break his neck! And at another point Cope lifted Johan Persson (the Messenger), another wonderful principal, as easily as can be, as he would a girl. Mara Galeazzi was another stand out for me, but it in part due to the quality of choreography. Likewise with Tamara Rojo, I wasn't impressed, but probably because I didn't especially like the dance either.<P>I have mixed feelings about this one. The dancing was sort of wierd and wonderful to watch. The themes were of life, death and renewal but I couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on, why one dancer was reaching out to another, why Rojo was in anguish. It was inspired by some chinese poems and the song translation was provided, but I'd read before that it wasn't a literal translation so I skipped it not wanting to confuse myself. It's not something I'd run out and see again, and then only if Cope was cast again. But it was definitely worth watching at least once. Sorry I can't explain it much better. There are far superior reviews of the ballets on the ballet.co message board.<P>Hope that was ok. It's my first review here, and only my 2nd ever for ballet.
<BR><p>[This message has been edited by sylvia (edited June 01, 2001).]