Friday, 23 March 2012

The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.

Last night we saw Romeo and Juliet danced to the haunting and magical music of Sergey Prokofiev. Juliet was danced by principal ballerina Lauren Cuthbertson, who was exquisite. Not only is she a beautiful dancer but also a very fine actress, bringing the part totally to life. Romeo was danced by the handsome Italian, Frederico Bonelli, and an equally beautiful and compelling dancer - they were the perfect pairing. The performance featured two of the company's most established dancers in this heart-breaking production by Kenneth Macmillan which has been wowing audiences for more than 40 years.
courtesy Royal Ballet
Lauren Cuthbertson and Frederico Bonelli
I now have to admit that we were not sitting in the Royal Opera House, but watching it from our local cinema. It was beamed live all around the world to 50 countries and 500 different locations.
If you like the ballet or opera, and have not been to one of these live performances then I would urge you to give it a try. You can watch operas from the Metropolitan, which are screened in the evenings here, but are matinée performances in New York.  You are totally absorbed into the atmosphere of the Opera Houses, you can see behind the scenes during the intervals, and have a grandstand view. In fact you can see more than the people who have paid £200 per ticket for their seats. During the intervals, the audience get out their picnic hampers to eat tasty nimbles with a glass of wine, and stand around chatting. Not the normal popcorn and coke affair.
Last night was full of reminiscences for me. It is exactly 30 years ago that I saw the great Nureuyev dancing the same role. By that stage Dame Margot Fonteyn had finished dancing the part of Juliet and took the role of Juliet's mother, a non dancing part.
I have just found my programme from 1982, and Dress Circle tickets cost me £13.50 which I thought was a fortune then. We have just paid more than that at the cinema.
Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing together
via wikipedia
Nureyev's incredible tomb at the Russian Cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des Bois just outside Paris. It represents a draped kilim over a wanderers trunk, someone that is rootless, which is what he was. It was done in mosaic by Ezio Frigerio who designed sets for several ballets. 

20 comments:

  1. It sounds like a wonderful evening, what a good idea. Your selection of photos is lovely too...RN's grave is amazing isn't it. Janice.

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    1. Dear Janice - the evening far exceeded my expectations. The grave is extraordinarily beautiful, and such an original design. I have never seen anything similar.

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  2. Hello Rosemary:
    WE have yet to see either ballet or opera on film in this way but are told, as you confirm here, that it is a wonderful experience. And what price today's tickets at Covent Garden?!!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - do give it a try. Friends were enthusing to us about the live performances recently, and although I had seen them advertised I had not heard of anyone going. I booked our tickets two weeks ago, and by then there were hardly any seats left.

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  3. I have been to the Opera, but never to watch ballet... I want that very much. What an experience it must be... And thanks for sharing the info about watching on local cinemas... I didn't know that. sometimes they put a screen outside the Norwegian Opera & Ballet House and is for free, but always so crowded with people I don't feel like going...
    The Nureuyev tomb touched me deeply... He was my first crash as a little girl

    - him and Houdini for some weird reason : D

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    1. Dear Demie - if you have the chance I am sure you would love it. I was very fortunate to see Nureuyev dance, someone who is now a legend. I can understand your crush, he was an enigma with a magical aurora surrounding him.

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  4. Dear Rosemary, Thank you for this lovely post. Romeo and Juliet is my favorite Ballet. We saw Nureuyev dance more than 20 years ago in Düsseldorf, Germany. It was a Scottish ballet and did not showcase his talent. The tickets then were $60 each. One day I would like to see his grave. The first time I saw a photo of this intriguing mosaic I made a promise to myself that one day I would visit. We will be in Paris this September. Maybe this year.

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    1. Dear Gina - it is my favourite ballet too and especially with Prokofiev's wonderful music. Last nights performance was very moving, many of the audience were in tears. It was beautifully danced and portrayed intense feelings.
      If you can fit it in, you must visit the grave, and then please show us a picture. The Russian cemetery is on the south side and only 23 km from central Paris.

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  5. What a wonderful way of spreading the experience of live ballet more widely, Rosemary. I've only ever seen ballet in the flesh or on TV, but cinema sounds so much better than the small screen. I remember queuing as a student for the cheapest tickets when the Royal Ballet came to Oxford and sitting high in the gods to watch Margot Fonteyn dance Swan Lake, not with Nureyev, but with David Wall.

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    1. If you have the opportunity, do give it a try. I had seen the live performances advertised but knew nothing about how good it would look until my friends told me. I feel very fortunate to have seen Margot Fonteyn as I am sure you do.

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  6. Hello, Rosemary.

     Your sweet message and works charms my heart.

     I thank for your usual and hearty support.
     The prayer for all peace.

    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma ❃

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    1. Hello Ruma - thank you for your kind words. I hope that your weekend is blessed with sunshine and laughter.

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  7. Wow! I've never seen Nureyev's tomb! I saw him dance a few times, but I was young and impressionable and those tight tights got in the way of my appreciation of his art.

    I shall go and see that tomb one of these days. Glad you enjoyed the Prokofiev. One of my all-time top favourite pieces of music...

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    1. The music would definitely go with me to my Desert Island Kate. The tight tights would be something of concern to a young and impressionable girl!
      Yes, I think the tomb is well worth a visit when in Paris, it is rather remarkable.

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  8. It's a beautiful post Rosemary I have seen it more then 20 years ago. So beautiful. I am a great fan of opera but the tickets are so terrible expensive overhere. For many years I was a singer in the choir of the Concertgebouworchestra of Amsterdam and heard a whole lot of beautiful music.
    Have great weekend
    Marijke

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    1. Dear Marijke - do watch out for the live performances from some of the famous Opera Houses in your local cinema. The performances are very reasonably priced, and with your love of opera, I am sure that you would really enjoy going.
      Enjoy your weekend too.

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  9. Rosemary,

    I saw Nureyev, too, at Teatro Petruzzelli, Bari, in Italy. I was very young, but I remember his beautiful body and the elegance with which every part of it moved. I will never forget the passion in his limbs, for as long as I live.

    I had never seen his tomb... it's really beautiful! Shame human life is not eternal...

    CIAO!

    ANNA

    xx

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    1. Dear Anna - those of us that have been privileged to see the great legend, Nureyev, will never forget our experience. His mastery of dance held you spell bound. We have been very fortunate.
      The tomb is rather extraordinary as befits a man like Nureyev.
      Ciao x

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  10. Hello, Rosemary - Thanks for this posting — if opera via cinema is offered here in Florida, I will certainly make a point to experience it. I had heard about Nureyev's tomb, but my imagination fell short of this remarkable masterpiece. Surely it was a labor of love.

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    1. Dear Mark - I am sure that you will find a cinema near you that does. It happens only once a month in my local cinema - we have Rigoletto on 17th April live from the Royal Opera House which will be going around the world again. They asked people to tweet messages during the interval which were put up on the screen, and there were messages from USA, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Hungary etc so you must have it in your part of Florida.
      Nereyev's tomb really is a masterpiece, it is hard to believe it is not made out of fabric the way the folds lie over the trunk.

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