Throughout Act I Marianela Núñez‘s Juliet appeared more Núñez than Juliet. It seemed this was a naturalism verging on not-quite-trying but then the approach became more defined, more invested and consequently more affecting in Acts II and III. Passion and grief are Nuñez’s professional tessitura – as well as beautiful form and athleticism.
No doubt about it, the pairing of Watson and Whelan is an inspired one. They in fact share similar physical characteristics – both are rangy in body, gifted with an eloquently athletic élan, and both excel in contemporary choreography. Both are in the latter part of their careers with which comes experience and artistic ability. So too I gather they share a similar mindset on objectives and visions for their dance. (more…)
I didn’t like Robert Icke’s new Oresteia as much as I hoped I would. It has some fine moments, but it is inconsistent in delivering them. Worse, it suffers from a drastic crisis: in updating the Ancient drama and in removing the supernatural and favouring the domestic, it etiolates it of its true force.
This mixed bill gave results which were truly mixed. Two Robbins pieces (Afternoon of Faun and In The Night) met with MacMillan’s Song of the Earth for this matinee.
For some reason, this Fille didn’t go as well for me as my first of this run two days earlier. This might have been a function of my seat (upper slips), which lost some of the stage and robbed jumps and lifts of their amplitude and effect, or it could have been partly due to the people a few seats over to my right, who spent the whole time talking.
Chic, cool, sometimes clinical in staging, Maillot’s “Romeo and Juliette” is a whirling
spectacle of frentic dance, but one which didn’t fully move me. (Such is the bulk of
action written for her that it really should be called just “Juliette”.) Perhaps this was down to the minimalist set (Ernest Pignon-Ernest, and what a cool name) which removes all references to any medieval Verona, opting instead for a white palate, with a thing that looks like a slide bisecting the backwall, and two moveable panels. Credits are projected onto one panel at the start, which felt a bit strange. A touch of class came from the costumes (lamé, metallics, women in dresses slashed to the thigh) courtesy of Jérôme Kaplan.
‘Wow!’ said the lady next to me as Mathias Heymann‘s Siegfried soared through the air in his Act III solo, ‘wow!’ too from me, at some of his feats, and ‘wow!’ at the start and end coup de theatre of (spoiler alert?) Odette and Rothbart’s tattered ghosts (?) flying up to oblivion. And yet on leaving the theatre I didn’t feel wowed overall, instead a little underwhelmed. Why?
What is missing in the Royal Opera House’s Chénier?* We have a good cast with two of the leading voices of our age. We have one of the leading directors of opera too, a talent sure footed in his direction and choices. We have a subject that should thrill – love against the odds, love indeed unto death, set in Revolutionary France and yet we have…the Royal Opera House’s Chénier. What is missing really makes itself felt. So, what is missing?
A relaxed atmosphere in the house for the evening’s Don Quixote, Acosta’s staging inspired by Petipa’s 1871-ish original. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza elope from reality into picaresque adventure and here find Kitri (Marianela Núñez) in a tiff with young local boy Basilio (Thiago Soares). Of course father wants her to marry a noble man. Noble man has the hots for Kitri. Cue farce, lively dances, a Keystone cop-ish chase caper and eventually, a marriage.