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 Post subject: English National Ballet - Performances 2005-6
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 1:48 pm 
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The Sleeping Beauty
By Donald Hutera for The Times

The financially and, some say, artistically beleaguered English National Ballet is forging ahead with a new artistic director and a new (to the company) production of one of the pinnacles of the classical repertory. Wayne Eagling has just stepped into the spot vacated, after four years, by Matz Skoog. ENB’s Sleeping Beauty, meanwhile, comes to us from American Ballet Theatre where Kenneth MacMillan created it in 1987. Tarted up with a new set and renovated costumes, this sumptuous remount will tour the UK into January.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 2:19 am 
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The Sleeping Beauty, The Mayflower, Southampton
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

He [Thomas Edur] has always been a princely dancer, with a human warmth to his elegance. He partners Oaks with tender gravity, with a touch of wonder in the vision scene. The mime is musical and spontaneous, feeling overflowing with Tchaikovsky, and he dances the wedding duet with terrific flourish.

published: October 24, 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:56 pm 
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Sleeping Beauty
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Every major ballet company has one, and this Sleeping Beauty created for the American Ballet Theatre in 1987 has just received its European premiere with English National Ballet.

With new sets by Peter Farmer and costumes designed by Nicholas Georgiadis, it is sumptuous with a subdued pastel palette not helped by the at times gloomy lighting of David Richardson.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:22 am 
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To have and to behold
ENB’s sumptuous revival of The Sleeping Beauty is a visual extravaganza, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times

By their Sleeping Beauty shall you know them might be the rule of thumb for any ballet company founded on dancing the classics. Tchaikovsky and Petipa’s grand fairy-tale masterpiece is the touchstone, the pinnacle, of traditional classicism. So it was good to see English National Ballet rising to the challenges and dancing on strong form in its latest new production, premiered at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre and now touring, with a London season to follow at the Coliseum in January.

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Sleeping Beauty
Birmingham Royal Ballet's homage to past masters is upstaged by a revival of Sleeping Beauty. By Jann Parry for The Observer.

English National Ballet is now touring MacMillan's production of The Sleeping Beauty, mounted for American Ballet Theatre in 1987. This, his third staging of Petipa's masterpiece, is based on the Royal Ballet's early productions, minus the choreography added by de Valois and Ashton. MacMillan's contributions are discreet, observing the traditional structure of the ballet. Everything seasoned Beauty-lovers look for is present, from the patterns formed by Aurora's fairy godmothers to the filigree details of her solo variations.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:52 am 
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Sleeping Beauty
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

None of the other dancers could match such glories but the Fairies, headed by Elena Glurdjidze, were beguiling and you could see how hard the company were working to raise their form. Beauty is famously a masterclass in classical style and ENB have a production to inspire not one but two generations.

published: November 15, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:37 am 
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Wide-awake Beauty and a perfect prince
by CLEMENT CRISP for the Financial Times

The staging is visually a delight, albeit underlit, and at Thursday night's opening performance ENB's artists gave of their best. Although I may quibble with certain unfeeling musical cuts, this handsome Beauty is respectful of what this masterpiece means as apotheosis of classic ballet. Agnes Oaks was a secure and bright-edged Aurora, holding balances, ever-charming.

published: January 9, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:41 am 
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An impressive vision of Beauty
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

The hunt is this production's most beautiful scene. Georgiadis dresses the Prince's court in 18th-century riding habits, skirts sweeping, while Farmer provides a misty winter landscape. Edur leads the winding court dances with chivalrous grace, without losing his melancholy. The corps, showing touches of strain in the first act, have relaxed in time for the Vision scene, flitting in and out with confidence.

published: January 10, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:52 am 
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As the reviews above suggest, the current ENB production "Sleeping Beauty" is a humdinger, showing the Company on good form and an excellent farewell present from Matz Skoog.

There are still chances to see this excellent production at The Coliseum:

Thursday 19 January 1.30pm*

Simone Clarke, Yat-Sen Chang

Begoña Cao, Maria Ribó Parés

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Thursday 19 January 7.30pm

Elena Glurdjidze, Arionel Vargas

Erina Takahashi, Greg Horsman

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Friday 20 January 7.30pm

Daria Klimentová, Dmitri Gruzdyev

Sarah McIlroy, Maria Ribó Parés

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Saturday 21January 2.30pm

Fernanda Oliveira, Fabian Reimair

Désirée Ballantyne, Greg Horsman

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Saturday 21January 7.30pm

Agnes Oaks, Thomas Edur

Elena Glurdjidze, Maria Ribó Parés

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Here is the link for booking information:

http://www.ballet.org.uk/beauty_info.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:28 am 
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The line of Beauty
by LUKE JENNINGS for the Observer

Around them, however, the company struggles with the tone of the ballet. On Tuesday, the Prologue fairies dashed off their solos competently enough, but with the exception of Adela Ramirez's articulate Fairy of the Golden Vine none seemed to understand that these dances have a specific meaning and narrative purpose. Sarah McIlroy's Lilac Fairy, meanwhile, dispensed her divine powers with the cheerful benevolence of a staff nurse. This is a ravishing production, but the ENB dancers don't yet properly inhabit it.

published: January 22, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:00 am 
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Giselle, Royal Opera House, London
The Sleeping Beauty, Coliseum, London

by JENNY GILBERT for the Independent

Nonetheless, the pair's exultant final duet, complete with blink-and-you'll-miss-them fishdives, left the Coliseum on a roaring high.

published: January 22, 2006
more in the second part of the linked article


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:45 am 
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The Sleeping Beauty
English National Ballet
London Coliseum
18th January 2006



English National Ballet has struck gold with this lovely, new to the UK, version of “The Sleeping Beauty”. Originally produced by Kenneth MacMillan for American Ballet Theatre, this is a very traditional production, with just a few choreographic changes by MacMillan in the first and last acts. The costumes are by MacMillan’s frequent collaborator, Nicholas Georgiadis, but with new sets by Peter Farmer and happily the styles of the two designers blend very well together with no visual clashes. The Prologue looks as if it’s set in a particularly far-flung, leafy corner of the gardens at Versailles in this 17th century setting, though Carabosse, when she makes her entrance looks inspired by portraits of the virgin queen. The costumes for the non-dancers seem to cover a longer period than 116 years I thought, but in general it all looked good to me though I wasn’t terribly enamoured of the fairy transporter (supposed to be a boat but didn’t look like one) in Act 2 that appeared to me more like an oversized bath tub, nothing magical at all, in fact not much was made of Florimund’s journey to Aurora’s palace and an opportunity for a voyage of discovery was missed. Other than that the entire production was very easy on the eye.

Back in the 1970’s MacMillan produced a version of this work for the Royal Ballet; it followed the medieval production by Ashton and Wright and lasted in the repertoire for only a brief spell (rather like the last RB Beauty). Although it was a more than serviceable production, it didn’t please the critics and rather than give it a facelift and alter those details that didn’t quite gel, it was dumped in favour of yet another version – how history repeats itself! This later re-think is a more balanced production and deserves a lengthy stay in ENB’s repertoire.

So it all looked pretty good, but how was it danced? Well, the line up of fairies in the Prologue was quite impressive, with sound performances from all five dancers. The Lilac Fairy was danced by Fernando Oliveira, an unexpected piece of casting as this role traditionally goes to a taller girl, perhaps that’s not just convention as the breadth of movement of the solo doesn’t really suit a shorter girl, though Oliveira had an air of sweetness and compassion that fitted the part and her wicked fairy opponent was Maria Ribó Parés making a glamorous and malevolent Carabosse with a real sense of drama emanating from both. The attractive souvenir programme that accompanies these performances gives the reader a very helpful guide to understanding the mimed sections, particularly those from the prologue and one of the most admirable features of this production was the clarity of all the mimed passages. The only jarring note here was struck by the rather fussy and annoying posturing of Catalabutte played by former Royal Ballet virtuoso Michael Coleman; a toning down exercise would be in order here.

Act 1 sprang a surprise; a gorgeous garland dance of springtime freshness choreographed by MacMillan that was a timely reminder that MacMillan wasn’t just a master of dark passions, but could create bright sparkling choreography equally well when he put his mind to it. Of course the heart of the ballet is the Sleeping Beauty herself, in this instance Erina Takahashi and what a wonderful Aurora she made! Seemingly tiny and of perfect proportions, Ms Takahashi is ideally suited to the role, technically proficient and blessed with a delicacy of manner, I did however note a slight unease at her entry, but after dancing the best Rose Adagio I’ve seen in a long time, she shed any fears the role might still hold for her and blossomed.

The vision scene was graced by an excellent corps de ballet and in this scene Takahashi really came into her own as a graceful but unattainable ideal. As the prince, Cesar Morales, was something of a weak link, as he hasn’t yet acquired the noble bearing the role requires: hopefully this will come, but in the last act I admired his easy turns and crisp pirouettes.

The final act divertissements were well performed by all, though I miss Cinderella and her prince, always part of Russian last acts, but not favoured by British producers. The final choreographic change was ‘Florestan and his Sisters’; if there was one role Kenneth MacMillan was acclaimed for in his dancing career it was that of Florestan, so I was surprised to see the familiar pas de trois passed over in favour of a quintet of gold and diamond couple plus three girls as silver: unusual. The final pas de deux was quite beautiful with Ms Takahashi dancing the exact same steps I remember performed by Fonteyn decades ago without needless embellishments that have crept in over the years. All in all this was a performance to cherish.

The orchestra sounded good under conductor Nigel Gaynor who kept an even tempo throughout; though I heard a couple of odd sounds from the woodwind in the Prologue, but I suppose everyone has an off night now and then.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:53 am 
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An enthusiastic review of ENB's Giselle in today's Telegraph with well deserved praise for new director Wayne Eagling.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2006/03/16/btgiselle16.xml


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:34 am 
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Thunder in their hearts
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

...Edur isn't natural casting. Neither cad nor heedless, he partners Oaks with a devoted tenderness that makes nonsense of the story. But he's completely at home in the ghostly world of the second act. His dancing is smoothly assured, and his partnering makes Oaks a genuinely insubstantial ghost. Oaks, too, is strongest in the second act.

published: March 22, 2006
more in the second part of the linked article


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:21 am 
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English National Ballet
by DEBRA CRAINE for the Times

Against a kitsch starry backdrop and dressed in girlish pink skirts, the four ENB women wrap themselves in Dolin’s modesty and grace. They looked lovely but a little precious, less than comfortable perhaps with a style in which the showiness is all in the detail.

published: April 4, 2006
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 Post subject: The Canterville Ghost
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 9:38 am 
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Beware of the plot holes
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

The Canterville Ghost commission was, as Tuckett admits, a surprise. It came about because Matz Skoog, then director of ENB, had taken his kids to see Wind in the Willows and Pinocchio, and wanted to acquire something similar for his company. It was unusual for Tuckett to accept a commission without a story in mind, but he set about trawling through 45 children's books, searching for a scenario to fire his imagination. As soon as he read Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost, he knew he'd found the perfect vehicle. "It had a story that would work for both children and adults - plus there were all these holes in the plot, where I could put the dancing."

published: May 25, 2006
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