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The Royal Ballet’s A Diamond Celebration honours the Buddies of the Royal Opera Home – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom The Royal Ballet’s A Diamond Celebration marking 60 years of the Buddies of the Royal Opera Home: Dancers of the Royal Ballet, Orchestra of the Royal Opera Home / Koen Kessels (conductor). Broadcast dwell (directed by Ross MacGibbon) from the Royal Opera Home, Covent Backyard, to Cineworld Basildon, Essex, 16.11.2022. (JPr)

Steven McRae and Natalia Osipova in live performance pour deux © Andrej Uspenski

This was a joyful event celebrating 60 years of the Buddies of the Royal Opera Home who as Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, defined are ‘Wonderful individuals and to assume we began with a couple of individuals – 2000 possibly – in the beginning within the ‘60s they usually’re actually an enormous quantity of individuals [now]. And so they care a lot about what we do, and I believe in the previous few years as properly, what with the pandemic, and occasions are exhausting, and we all know now we have obtained [the] help of those individuals.’

The goal of Dame Ninette de Valois, founding father of The Royal Ballet, was to ‘Respect the previous, herald the longer term, however consider the current’. So, on this A Diamond Celebration we noticed a variety of quick excerpts or new works overlaying the six a long time because the institution of the Buddies organisation. It was a well-recognized gala event and as typical there have been hits and misses. We started in 1960 with the pastoral La fille mal gardée Overture – with distinguished flute and piccolo and exquisitely performed as all the things within the programme was by the orchestra underneath Koen Kessels – adopted by the pas de deux which ends with the well-known ‘bum elevate’. A bounding Alexander Campbell and a vivacious Anna Rose O’Sullivan relished the empty stage. Why – oh why? – regardless of them being in costume was there so little real environment. This was due to the blue background beloved of such ballet galas and certainly in 2022 there might have been some projection to recommend Osbert Lancaster’s legendary scenic designs?

Kenneth MacMillan’s Act I ‘Bed room’ pas de deux dated from 1974 and at the least there was a desk and chair (however no mattress) on a darkened stage. Akane Takada was sensual slightly than seductive in attempting to get the eye of Calvin Richardson’s initially distracted however more and more aroused Des Grieux, although it wasn’t essentially the most passionate of duets. Ahead to 2003 and we noticed Wayne McGregor’s Qualia, the ballet which marked his debut on the Royal Opera Home stage. The duet delivered bed room exercise much more gymnastic than MacMillan’s. Of their white underwear, Melissa Hamilton went by means of a gamut of leg extensions with the benefit of a contortionist and Lukas B. Brændsrød was her extraordinarily achieved associate. The music by Scanner was repetitive and percussive.

Subsequent was a Royal Ballet premiere, Christopher Wheeldon’s 2006 For 4 which proved one of many higher items we noticed. 4 male dancers in patterned shirts and black trousers, Matthew Ball, James Hay, Vadim Muntagirov and Marcelino Sambé, danced to Schubert’s String Quartet No.14 ‘Demise and the Maiden’ splendidly performed by 4 soloists from the orchestra. It started with silhouettes in opposition to a rose-pink background and after a sluggish begin they leapt and spun with vigour and nice pleasure earlier than all 4 stopped in a pool of sunshine with arms outstretched. The dancers have been at their highest, although Matthew Ball and James Hay stood out.

4 world premieres started with See Us!! Joseph Toonga’s first work for the primary Royal Opera Home stage and supposedly influenced by hip hop, although ultimately not significantly so so far as I might see. The filmic rating by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante ramped up because it went on and on and on and there was little extra to the motion we noticed from the dancers in darkish garments than protest, anger, angst, and presumably violence. Then there was a primary outing for Pam Tanowitz’s deeply disappointing Despatch Duet for Anna Rose O’Sullivan (in white and crimson) and William Bracewell (in white and black) who can’t be criticised for his or her dedicated dancing. There was headache-inducing music from Ted Hearne and in opposition to a row of lights O’Sullivan and Bracewell apparently explored the creation of dance, although it regarded as in the event that they have been going by means of warm-up routines.

Valentino Zucchetti’s Prima © Andrej Uspenski

Far more profitable was one other bed room duet, concerto pour deux from Benoit Swan Pouffer to some lush Saint-Preux music. This time it was an all-too-short, lyrical and dreamily romantic duet for Natalia Osipova (in pastel-shaded nightdress) who’s peerless on this type of choreography and Steven McRae (in shirt and shorts) who was completely invested in exploring the connection we have been proven between the couple. Equally good was Valentino Zucchetti’s Prima, a companion piece to For 4, besides now with 4 ballerinas and deserving of at all times being carried out collectively. It started in a lot the identical method with silhouettes once more a rose-pink background. Costumes for 3 of the dancers have been delightfully multicoloured creations while Fumi Kaneko was in a scarlet flamenco gown as a result of she danced to extra of Saint-Saëns’s Spanish sounding music within the third motion of his Violin Concerto No.3 (splendidly performed by Vasko Vassilev) which she did with nice aptitude. It’s a show-offy piece with 4 seeming buddies, Francesca Hayward, Kaneko, Mayara Magri and Yasmine Naghdi, clearly having nice enjoyable.

Reece Clarke and Marianela Núñez in ‘Diamonds’ © Andrej Uspenski

Underneath two glowing chandeliers and in opposition to some curtaining there was the crystalline geometricity of Balanchine’s ‘Diamonds’ from his 1967 three-act Jewels. The music was actions 2, 3, 4 and 5 from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.3 in D main and Balanchine pays homage to the choreography of Marius Petipa and the opposite nice Russian choreographers of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. It was the pièce de resistance of all we noticed. Marianela Núñez and Reece Clarke have been framed by members of the corporate in glittering type. The magnificent Núñez channelled Odette in Swan Lake along with her arched again, arms thrust again and trembling foot beats. Nevertheless, Balanchine usually has her spinning and spinning, and all through ‘Diamonds’ Núñez was as radiant and smiley because the demanding steps allowed her to be. She was partnered by a hovering Reece Clarke who danced with brio and partnered assuredly. The rampant finale involving all of the dancers in ‘Diamonds’ was a becoming finish to a celebratory night.

Jim Pritchard

La fille mal gardée – Overture and Pas de deux
Choreography – Frederick Ashton
Music – Ferdinand Hérold (arr. John Lanchbery)
Designer – Osbert Lancaster
Dancers – Anna Rose O’Sullivan, Alexander Campbell

Manon Act I ‘Bed room’ pas de deux
Choreography – Kenneth MacMillan
Music – Jules Massenet (orch. Martin Yates)
Designer – Nicholas Georgiadis
Dancers – Akane Takada, Calvin Richardson

Qualia
Choreography – Wayne McGregor
Music – Scanner
Design – Wayne McGregor and Vicki Mortimer
Dancers – Melissa Hamilton, Lukas B. Brændsrød

For 4 (Royal Ballet premiere)
Choreography – Christopher Wheeldon
Music – Franz Schubert
String Quartet – Vasko Vassilev, Anna Blackmur, Amélie Roussel, Christopher Vanderspar
Costume designer – Jean-Marc Puissant
Lighting designer – Simon Bennison
Dancers – Matthew Ball, James Hay, Vadim Muntagirov, Marcelino Sambé

See Us!! (World premiere)
Choreography – Joseph Toonga
Music – Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante (orch. Peter Riley)
Lighting designer – Simon Bennison
Dancers – Mica Bradbury, Ashley Dean, Leticia Dias, Leo Dixon, Benjamin Ella, Olivia Findlay, Francisco Serrano, Joseph Sissens, Amelia Townsend, Marianna Tsembenhoi

Dispatch Duet (World premiere)
Choreography – Pam Tanowitz
Music – Dispatches by Ted Hearne
Costume designers – Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung
Lighting designer – Simon Bennison
Dancers – Anna Rose O’Sullivan, William Bracewell

concerto pour deux (World premiere)
Choreography – Benoit Swan Pouffer
Music – Saint-Preux
Lighting designer – Simon Bennison
Dancers – Natalia Osipova, Steven McRae

Prima (World premiere)
Choreography – Valentino Zucchetti
Music – Camille Saint-Saëns
Solo Violin – Vasko Vassilev
Costume designer – Roksanda Ilinčić
Lighting designer – Simon Bennison
Dancers – Francesca Hayward, Fumi Kaneko, Mayara Magri, Yasmine Naghdi

‘Diamonds’ from Jewels
Choreography – George Balanchine
Music – Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky
Costume designer – Karinska
Set designer – Jean-Marc Puissant
Lighting designer – Jennifer Tipton
Dancers – Marianela Nuñez, Reece Clarke, Claire Calvert, Leticia Dias, Isabella Gasparini, Ashley Dean, Luca Acri, Nicol Edmonds, Calvin Richardson, Joseph Sissens

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