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 Post subject: The Royal Ballet: Jewels
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:26 am 
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This month the Royal Ballet dances the full-length version of Balanchine's Jewels. Some years ago I remember seeing them dance Rubies, though not that well, so I imagine the ballet in its entirety may prove a challenge.

In today's Guardian there is a feature about the ballet's design.

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/dance/story/0,,2214506,00.html


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:21 pm 
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Alastair Macauley reviews the performances of December 5 and 7, 2007 at Covent Garden in the New York Times:

NY Times


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:10 am 
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Interesting that Macauley also thought that Rubies was rather poorly danced by the RB when it was given without the other two parts. I saw both casts on offer at the RB for this run and both times Rubies was by far the best danced section, rather as if the company was making amends for those second rate performances of the past.

Emeralds was mainly good too especially the first cast with Leanne Benjamin but Diamonds was problematic with neither cast really pulling it off. Cojocaru found herself in an unattractive little and large pairing with Rupert Pennyfather that was totally devoid of chemistry. She was nice in the solos though. In the second cast both Nunez and Soares looked as if they knew what they were about but they were presenting a nice preliminary sketch rather than the finished article.

Much as I enjoyed the searing sexuality of Lamb and Acosta in Rubies, I'd very much like to see them transfer to Diamonds for the next run as they are probably the only couple available with the level of star quality to totally bring it off.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:17 pm 
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What did you think, those of you who saw this production, of Puissant's set design? I thought the concept was interesting (see linked article in the first post above).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:00 am 
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I saw the second cast for Jewels and I was really disappointed with the overall performance by the company. It seemed as if the dancers had not been properly coached in anything that had to do with "mood" and "style".

Of the three parts, "Emeralds" (which is the most elusive and most beautiful when properly danced) fared the worst. True, Balanchine usually has his dancers dancing on the beat of the music... but not in "Emeralds"... it is a mood piece... why can't the dancers just listen to Fauré and let themselves be carried away?

"Rubies" was fine... though far from the standards from the Maryinski or Paris Opera Ballet... (though POB's strength shows in Emeralds... they know it's French we are talking about!). Sharper than when the Royal did it many years ago, still not enough sense of fun.

"Diamonds" was for me the biggest disappointment... Why do Royal Ballet dancers have to display these sweet smiles that have nothing to do with either the music or the mood? There was no grandeur... no Imperial Russia coming through...

As for the sets, I found the one for Emeralds with the Art Nouveau chandeliers interesting... but the one for Diamonds was simply bad. You might as well dance it without scenery altogether!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:28 am 
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I saw the first cast and I thought it was a thoroughly well performed Jewels. I felt Emeralds and Diamonds was performed better than when I saw POB perform it. I
liked Lamb in Rubies but I didn't think Acosta was suited to thart particular role and the soloist work was ok. Yanowsky was a joy to watch.

Emeralds was beautifully danced and I cannot imagine it being any better, it certainly knocked spots off the Kirov version I saw.

With regards to the smiles, I'm not sure that this is a company trait, certainly not in the ballets I usually see the RB in but since this was coached with the Balanchine trust and knowing how precise they are I should think this is what was asked of the company.

It is interesting to see that some reviews felt it was better performed than other companies and vice versa.

What we have to remember is that when the Royal Ballet dance Balanchine they do it with their own touch on the choreography. If one wanted to see it performed like NYCB then we should see NYCB and I think that the Royal made a very coherent, beautifully danced version which was obviously given the thumbs up from the trust, at least in the first cast that I watched.

Here is the Guardian and Observer reviews:

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/danc ... 50,00.html

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/danc ... 28,00.html


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 Post subject: Diamonds
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:41 am 
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Quote:
"Diamonds" was for me the biggest disappointment... Why do Royal Ballet dancers have to display these sweet smiles that have nothing to do with either the music or the mood? There was no grandeur... no Imperial Russia coming through...


Couldn't agree more, Ana, Diamonds should display all the pomp and circumstance of the tsarist court and when I first saw it danced by NYCB I remember thinking that Peter Martins in the male lead took to the stage as if he was the tsar. I've never seen his performance bettered.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:07 am 
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It is interesting that the NY times gave Jewels a pretty good review, saying
"The Royal Ballet dances “Emeralds” and “Diamonds” with much more precise musical definition than does the Kirov (which danced “Jewels” at Covent Garden in 2001 and 2002)."


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:38 am 
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Thought I would add Clement Crisp's review as he is one of the few critics old enough to have been familiar with the original cast.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4f5d0194-9b80 ... fd2ac.html

He's absolutely right about Diamonds.


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