Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Royal Ballet Triple Bill at the ROH

This was only the second time I had ever seen a ballet at the Royal Opera House, but felt like I really got value for money for my £16 ampitheatre (face on, about 4 rows back - not bad!) ticket. Chroma, Tryst and Symphony in C were, I believe, performed for a specially reduced rate to encourage non-typical ballet goers to attend, and they didn't disappoint. Quite how the dancers didn't pass out through the heat in London that day (it topped about 33degrees at one point, I am told) made their spectacle all the more impressive.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Chroma, but it certainly didn't disappoint. The programme talked about Wayne McGregor's desire to challenge the status quo and push dancers to their physical limits. The stark 'box' of white the dancers performed in only served to enhance this strangeness: it was at once ballet and not-ballet as I know it, but none-the-less beautiful. The music was compelling, although, again, rather more pulsating than symphonic. It certainly took an orchestra of unspeakable skill to make such an amazing job of whitestripes music gone orchestral. Mr B. was most impressed although, as we both saw E=MC2 and the Centre and its opposite recently, I think we were both expecting something more musically akin to these. The dancers, however, were flawless, filling the space with their often alien movements and showing off their beautiful lines both in solo, duet and trio work. There was a real harmony to the way they both moved together, and at odds with one another, and it left me with a sense of relationships not quite explained, yet perfectly balanced at the same time. I'm not sure I totally understood the ballet, but then I'm not entirely sure it was meant to be understood in the way, say, Sleeping beauty (or even E=MC2) had a narrative; it was, however, stunningly danced and really showcased the talent of both principal and solo artists of the royal ballet.

I'm going to gloss over tryst quickly, not because I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but because by the end of the second performance, having driven for 2 1/2 hours to get to London and probably not drunk enough water throughout the heat of the day, I felt quite dizzy, and therefore don't remember a great deal about the specifics of the performance (I admit to feeling rather sad about this as my overall impression was that it was equally, if not more, impressive, than chroma!). Still, thanks to the wonderful hospitality at the ROH, and their ample supply of free water and a truly awesome chocolate browny on the beautiful rooftop terrace of the Opera House at the expense of Mr. B, I was fully ready to appreciate the wonderful Symphony in C!

I had never seen a Balanchine ballet before, but I loved it. I think to say that it was everything I probably expected from a ballet as a little girl would be the best way of describing it. Beautiful white tutus, gorgeous lines and 'proper' classical ballet dancing of a range of stars. I was completely mesmerised throughout. I enjoyed star-spotting Alina Cojocaru (she has AMAZING footwork but also incredibly, scarily, bendy feet... I think I am quite jealous) and Rupert Pennefather. But I also have to admit (and I blame the heat) to not realising that there were actually 3 sets of Ballerinas until right near the end. Mr B. was rather more perceptive than me, but does say that if it hadn't been for Rupert Pennefather's shock of red hair he too might not have realised this! Whilst the other two ballets were more suited to the more open minded ballet goer, I would recommend Symphony in C to anyone who wants to see a 'proper' ballet; children and adults alike. I loved it!

Quick recommendation for anyone visiting London: Go to the ROH terrace restaurant, even if only for a chocolate brownie. It's GORGEOUS! We felt like we were back on honeymoon in Italy as we relaxed in the sun, listening to the bustle of Covent Garden far below.

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