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 Post subject: Royal Ballet: Sylvia
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12648
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Reviews of Ashton's "Sylvia" at Covent Garden.

Clement Crisp in the Financial Times:

Financial Times

See also an intriguing short article by Crisp on Ashton's "defining moment" at an Anna Pavlova performance of the Fairy Doll in Lima, Peru in 1917:

Financial Times

Debra Crane in The Times:

The Times

Mark Monahan in The Telegraph:

The Telegraph


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 142
Location: London
Royal Ballet
Sylvia
Royal Opera House, London
Thursday 24 January 2008


The Royal Ballet presented their revival of Ashton’s “Sylvia” as part of their season. I saw the cast with Zenaida Yanowsky as Sylvia, David Makhateli as Aminta and Gary Avis as Orion.

“Sylvia” is one of those ballets that choreographers must find highly appealing, if only for the music by Delibes that has really beautiful passages. It certainly inspired Ashton to excel, especially in his choreography for the Nymph.

Many critics find the story totally ridiculous, and though it is not a masterpiece of invention and coherence, there is something about the development of the main character that is certainly touching. It is interesting that there are no female choreographers attempting to give their vision on this woman who undergoes such a peculiar journey of self discovery.

Yanowsky obviously relished the opportunity to give Sylvia as many layers of interpretation as possible and her transition from Amazonian to heartbroken nymph was rich and well developed. Her entrance was triumphant and daring, her movements big and majestic, responding effectively to the music and choreographic evolutions with understanding and clear phrasing. Her downfall through Eros’s revenge (making her fall in love… I have always found this point fascinating!!) was subtle and contained. Her bourrees were beautifully executed, especially if one considers that Yanowsky’s feet are not her most expressive feature.

From them on, Yanowsky simply excelled. Her execution of the pas de deux – one of the most beautiful Ashton choreographed- was musical and technically faultless. (Marianela Núñez in a previous cast was outstanding in this part of the ballet and thoroughly deserved the ovation she received at the end of it!)

Makhateli’s Aminta was not as layered as his female counterpart. Though technically correct and a good partner, Makhateli should really try to delineate some characterisation in the story, especially when competing with such a fiery character as that of Orion. Avis was good in the role, but Thiago Soares a couple of nights before gave this character such a presence and passion that Avis’s interpretation suffered in comparison.

The role of Eros was danced by Joshua Tuifua who managed to hold the viewer’s attention and execute his variation in the last act with beautiful sense of line.

As for the rest of the company, as it tends to be the case with so many of the Royal Ballet performances, there were moments when more rehearsals would have helped in getting the ensemble dancing in unison, especially in the opening number of the fauns and nymphs.[/b]


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 7:43 am
Posts: 19
I saw Sarah Lamb as Sylvia and also act 1 of Marianella's showing. I am yet to see Zenaida in March.

For me Sarah Lamb completely commanded the role in Act 1, her presence was known from the start and dramatically her performance completely carried to the back of the auditorium. She made more sense, to my mind, of the struggles between sylvia/aminta and sylvia/orion than anyone has before and you could really see her thoughts on stage.

I can only comment on Nunez Act1 as that was all I saw but I felt her presence less than with Sarah Lamb however has dancing was beautifully executed with every classical line and nuance expressed. It's interesting to see what different people bring to the roles but I am looking forward to seeing Zenaida whom I adore!!!

Several people have mentioned the lack of ensemble dancing in the corps but from someone who is usually constantly watching for sincronicity, i found the corps work to be very good. Yes the dancing from the fauns/nymphs in act1 could have been more together but I felt that the dancing towards the end of act1 with the peasants was very together and danced very well especially by some of the boys.


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