Month: December 2015

The Operatunist’s 2015 in Review

I saw ninety four shows give or take, this year. Factor in those I had booked in but didn’t get to, and the number would be probably a neat one hundred, or just over.

I travelled far but not very widely in pursuit of beauty and I am glad I did. Paris saw a lacklustre Swan Lake, but New York gave me Sara Mearns (and an un-reviewed American in Paris) as well as the Met at its most overblown. Milan offered me a very fine Sleeping Beauty.

And then London. How lucky I am to be close to this city, and able to get to see things. Not as much as I would like perhaps, but I am well satisfied.

I consider myself lucky to have seen so much, and to have been made happy.

I continue to wish this for those shows I can see in 2016.

Dance Highlights

Bournoville by the Danish National Ballet

Ratmansky’s remaking of Sleeping Beauty (x2) .

NYCB’s Swan Lake for Sara Mearns

Woolf Works (acts I and III)

The Trocks uproariously funny show at the Peacock – with dazzling dancing from all (a show I did not get round to reviewing, mainly as to do so felt a bit churlish!)

Memories that linger:

Ferri’s kiss in Woolf Works. Her surrender to the Waves.

Sara Mearns’ hands, her Odette’s sadness.

Delia Mathews’ exquisite Odette

Osipova’s Fille Mal Gardée

Iana Salenko’s Act II Adagio in the White Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake.
McRae’s soaring grand jete in Act III of the same.

Nunez post-Onegin, grief stricken, as if still Tatiana.

Soares as Romeo (a brave statement, I realise, but I enjoyed his acting!)


Wheeldon’s Cinderella.
Acosta’s Carmen
Guillem’s farewell.

2016 promises much, Ratmanky’s Zurich Swan Lake for one (if I can get to it!) and I hope to see Mathews as Odette one more time in Southampton.



I saw less opera this year. Dance has won my heart for now.


As above, the Met’s ridiculously overblown Turandot
Matilla’s Ariadne
Finding Bayreuth experiencing the magic of the auditorium, and the discomfort of the auditorium.


Un Ballo in Maschera.

ENO’s Boheme

Opera takes a backseat in 2016. I hope to see Tannhäuser at the ROH at least, but Lord knows how I will find a ticket. The Southbank Ring beckons, but the same applies: tickets are rarer than Fafner’s missing specks of gold!

To all those who have read my posts and thoughts: Thank You. I am humbled to se that readers from 116 countries around the globe have at some point decided to read something I have written. I only hope that you found it worthwhile.

I wish you all well, wherever you are in the world.



Nutcrackers Galore

Cultural institutions can become quickly established. A full Nutcracker wasn’t shown in England until 1934, and in America until 1944. Now, in traditional stagings, with swathes of snow, tutus, Chrsitmas trees and rats and that forever fey Sugar Plum Fairy, it has become integrated into the experience of Christmas for many. (Let’s leave aside any comment on commercialisation of the same!)


Monotones I and II, The Two Pigeons (mat. & eve.) – The Royal Ballet, December 5 2015

A double dose of Ashton, two pieces more in opposition in tone and character couldn’t really be programmed. The program itself underscores Ashton’s individual talent and innovations – and his ardency for tradition.


Romeo and Juliet – Núñez, Soares, Underwood – The Royal Ballet – Dec 1 2015

On a second viewing, Marianela Núñez‘s Juliet comes into even clearer focus. This Juliet reveals herself as an almost post-adolescent girl, far from childish in the Nurse scenes. As such, those scenes come through with slight mixed messages. The steps and stage manner seem to ask for childlike innocence (or in some readings, a teasing of the Nurse). Núñez plays for innocence but it reads oddly. There is throughout the ballet, little progression from budding girl to mature woman:  Núñez’s Juliet is already ready to love and be loved, and she moulds the story around that trajectory of Fate.