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 Post subject: The Royal Ballet 2008-9
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:34 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 712
Location: Rugby, UK / Taipei
Having just taken a good look at The Royal Ballet's programme for next season. I know the company needs to fill the house, but do we really need two runs and 24 performances of Swan Lake? Balanchine did have a point about the ballet but this does seem to be overdoing it a bit.

Add to that the 20 Nutcrackers, 14 Giselles, 13 Bayaderes and 13 Manons and 11 Ondines (two runs) and it seems Kobborg really does have apoint when he says it is fast becoming an English ABT. There are four triple bills, five if you include Jewels, but none get more than six performances.

And the lack of matinees is again notable. Yes there are 16 through the season, but half of those are Nutcrackers. Only one mixed programme gets an afternoon showing. Not only that, many matinees now start so early (12 noon in some cases) that it's impossible to get to London in time using off-peak train tickets. It seems the company no longer cares about being seen by non-Londoners. Of course, it gave up any UK touring many years ago. Not so much a British institution as a London one.

Full prgramme as follows:
Swan Lake: Oct 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20, 21, 25; Feb 27, 28 (mat & eve); March 13 (mat), 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28; April 1, 4.
Manon: October 11 (mat), 13, 15, 17, 22, 24, 30; November 1 (mat & eve), 4, 17, 22, 24, 27.
Serenade, l'Invitation au Voyage, Theme and Variations: October 28, 29; November 5, 7, 10.
The Lesson, Voluntaries, New McGregor: November 13, 14, 19, 20, 26.
Ondine: November 29; December 3, 5, 6; May 27, 28; June 1, 3, 5, 7.
The Nutcracker: December 15, 17, 19, 20 (mat & eve), 21 (mat), 23 (mat & eve), 26, 27 (mat), 28 (mat), 31 (mat & eve); January 3 (mat & eve), 6, 7, 9, 10 (mat & eve).
La Bayadere: January 13, 15, 16, 17 (mat), 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29; February 4, 7.
Seven Deadly Sins, Carmen (Ek), DGV (Danse a Grand Vitesse): January 31 (mat & eve), February 6, 19, 20, 21.
Isadora, Dances at a Gathering: March 11, 12, 18, 20, 21.
Giselle: April 6, 9, 13 (mat), 14, 16, 22, 23, 28, 30; May 1, 13, 16 (mat), 22, 26.
Les Sylphides, New Marriott, The Firebird: May 4, 9, 19, 21, 29, 30.
Jewels: June 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19.

Matinees start between 12 noon and 1.30pm. Evenings between 6 and 7.30pm.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:21 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1641
Location: London UK
Although I'm a Londoner, I too have very strong views regarding matinees as it just isn't on to exclude people living a distance outside the capital in this way. Whether you live in the Home Counties or beyond you still support the RB through your taxes and should therefore have the opportunity to see the company at least occasionally. I travel extensively around the UK watching ballet and I'm aware of the convenience of matinees and the huge expense involved with overnight stays (and nowhere is more expensive as London). Saturday matinees should be a requirement of the ROH grant to enable the people outside of London to attend.


Very pleased to see a revival of Michael Corder's highly atmospheric l'Invitation au Voyage, though without the unique talents of Bryony Brind, it may prove difficult to cast. Nice also to see revivals of DVG and Jewels.

The Ashton neglect continues with Ondine being the only one of his ballets on offer. If they put Sarah Lamb in the title role it could be the hot ticket of the season though.

Dozens of dreary Swan Lakes and Nutcrackers, the former being an unbelievably vile production and the latter only marginally better. Interesting that Manon is revived to coincide with its inclusion in the ENB repertoire.

Seven Deadly Sins doesn't deserve a revival at all but even that is better than the proposed new production of Isadora in a new shortened version by Deborah MacMillan; a ballet that has been dead for over 25 years, righteously slain by both the critics and public who correctly identified it as the hideous monster it was. To revive its festering corpse is little short of criminal and gives me very serious worries about the artistic judgement of Monica Mason.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:03 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1641
Location: London UK
More on the new season from the Guardian's Judith Mackrell ... house.html

Note the added comment by Luke Jennings at the end, setting down for the first time the regularly heard mutterings about the malign influence of Deborah MacMillan on the RB rep.

I wish Frederick Ashton had someone to fight his corner too.

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